Top 10 Bishoujos

December 29, 2007

It’s that time of year again. Yup, around last year at this point in time, I did a top 20 list of the most pretty, kawaii, attractive ladies of anime. In my eyes and heart of course. However that was on the last day of year 2006. Since I can’t wait for a few more days, I decided to bring forward this blog (haha what difference does it make?). But just like the last time, this will be my final blog for the year 2007. Oh what a year it has been. Time really flies when you’re having fun.
 
Also, if you notice, my list for this year has been cut down to 10 instead of last year’s 20 candidates. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, somehow the ladies from the animes that I watched don’t seem as pretty as they should (controversial! Those who want to beg to differ may do so) and secondly, I feel like I didn’t watch as much animes as compared to last year, thus lowering the possibilities of discovering new bishoujos. Uh huh. Lame.
 
But even having said so, there is still the usual minor headache of deciding which of the handful of ladies should be admitted into my top 10 list. So why didn’t I just expand my top 10 list to accomodate them? Well well well. The number 10 has always been associated with perfection like a perfect 10 score. You get what I mean. So without wasting any further precious moments, here is the list of 10 ladies who made the cut. Of course, in alphabetical order.
 
1) Ayumi Kubota (Aishiteruze Baby)
Ayumi Kubota 
 
2) Hime (Kaibutsu Oujo)
 Hime
 
3) Mai Tokiha (Mai-HiME)
 Mai Tokiha 04
 
4) Miu Furinji (History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi)
Miu Furinji 
 
5) Najimi Osana (Doujin Work)
 Najimi Osana
 
6) Nao Yoshikawa (Good Morning Call)
 Nao Yoshikawa
 
7) Nobuko Ishihara (Lovely Complex)
Nobuko Ishihara 
 
8) Orihime Inoue (Bleach)
 Orihime Inoue
 
9) Suigin Tou (Rozen Maiden)
 Suigin Tou 5
 
10) Tsukino Azusagawa (Yakitate! Japan)
 Tsukino Azusagawa
 
Congratulations to those lucky ladies who managed to make the cut. But I need to mention those who nearly missed out on this coveted place too. They include Nana Komatsu of NANAMisaki Nakahara of NHK Ni YoukosoNanaka Shirakawa of Da Capo II, Shinobu and Sakuya of Nagasarete Airantou, Nagi Sanzenin and Maria of Hayate No Gotoku, Rangiku Matsumoto of Bleach, Sasha of Pita Ten, Setsuna of Kyoshiro To Towa No Sora, Kagami Hiiragi of Lucky Star, Sherwood of Kaibutsu Oujo, Kyoko Himeji of Girl’s High, Saber of Fate/Stay NightMama of Seto No Hanayome, Keiko Fukuya of Momoiro Sisters, Shihou Matsuri of Sola, all those pretty side character girls of Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge and as well as all those beautiful rich side character school girls from Ouran High School Host Club.
 
Although I’m not really into manga, I have to say that a particular manga character did caught my attention. She is Isuzu Rin of Fruits Basket. Yup, unfortunately though the series was adapted into anime, however her character wasn’t. So if she was, she would’ve made it into my top 10 list. Uh huh. Just like some sources say, she’s ‘exuding sex appeal’. Hehehe. Hey, I kinda notice that most of the bishoujos who made the top 10 list are brunettes. Do I have a festish for brown heads? Not really. It’s just coincidence.
 
And if you also notice that one of the ladies who made the top 10 list is a repeat from last year’s. Yes! That’s right! It’s Mai Tokiha!!! She’s still the number 1 bishoujo and will always occupy the top spot in any bishoujo list, and my heart ;). So here’s another picture of her to celebrate her eternal beauty which is no other than the one and only Mai Tokiha! (Hmm… Doesn’t this line sound like deja vu from the last time?).
 Mai Tokiha 20
 
Hopefully with the dawn of the new year, there’ll be more bishoujos for me to discover and of course more animes for me to watch. Erm… Maybe that line made me sound like a loser and a pervert. Mind you, pretty kawaii bishoujos are 1 of the many things that I look for in an anime besides the storyline, drawing, animation, voice acting and soundtrack. Therefore, let me assert once more: Long Live Anime Bishoujos!

Butterfly Kiss

December 28, 2007

  Fukai yami no hotori nemuru chou tachi yo,
  Aoki sora sae mo shirazu ni iru no ka
 
Ah, another one of those songs which brings back memories when I was watching the anime series Rave on tv. The upbeat first opening theme song Butterfly Kiss was catchy enough to make me curious to watch the series. Actually at that time there weren’t much animes on tv and that the internet streaming or download was something non-existant at that time. At least from what I know at that point in time in my country.
 
  Tsumiki no you ni moroi sekai wo,
  Habataku sube ga hoshii,
  Hitotsu dake sou negatta,
  Ai subeki hito no tame ni
 
Sung by Chihiro Yonekura, the song isn’t your typical simple love song as it mentions about the sky, light, paradise, dice and of course butterflies. But they’re just briefly mentioned as part of some love metaphor rather than some long guest descriptions or blabbings. Maybe just like love itself, it’s somewhat hard to describe.
 
  Hitotsuji no hikari wo motomete,
  Bokura wa michi wo ikiru,
  Hitotsu dake ima shinjita,
  Ai subeki hito no tame ni
 
I won’t really say that this is a rock song but more like a pop song (forgive me, my categorization of music is quite bad) ang though there are some synthesizers and sound effects, I still can’t really make out that string instrument (I think so) which is being played as the opening tune and after the chorus. The solo part has a more classical guitar plucking which personally I think it’s soothing and to a little different beat from the other parts of the song.
 
  Sai wa chijou takaku nagerareta,
  Rakuen sore wa hiizuru mirai,
  You and I tooi yume ni musubareru,
  Kono akai kawa wo koete
 
As usual because of the singer’s slightly higher pitch tone, I had a little difficulty trying to sing those lines especially the lines at the end of the chorus part. Uh huh. Going out of tune again. This sure really brings back memories. The verse is manageable and I suppose this is the part where I’m confident that I won’t go wrong. Aside from that. I remember when I first sang this song, my timing was a little off. Meaning sometimes I was either saying my lines too fast or too slow. But that problem has been taken care off over time.
 
  Hana wa mujou sarau juujika wo daite,
  Saita hakanaki tenshi,
  You and I itsuka mitsukeru nara,
  Kimi ni sasageyou paradise
 
There is a line in the chorus which goes ‘You and I…’. I found out that there is a play on words here as that line can be substituted as ‘Yuuen no ai’ which means faraway love. So that line it either could ‘if someday you and I are found’ or ‘if someday that faraway love is found’. But I still prefer the ‘You and I’ line because it somehow seems easier for me to say and it’s smoother to go over. Now to practice that chorus part again.
 
  Kimi ni sasageyou paradise…

Sumomomo Momomo

December 22, 2007

The title of this anime sounds like some tongue twister or stammer and it’s definitely not a typo error. One may say a ‘Mo’ too short or long if one is not careful. Yup, the anime is Sumomomo Momomo (try saying that fast. Sounds funny, right?) and it means ‘Plums and Peaches too’. Well, that’s what I translated it to be.
 
Oddly, this anime which has been adapted from the manga of the same name has only 22 episodes. I was wondering why it has such an odd numbers of episodes (even actually). Maybe the producers just wanted it to be different and surprise viewers in the sense that they want to catch viewers of guard when it ends at 22 rather than your usual 24 or 26 episode series. Or maybe they just ran out of material for the storyline. Just kidding.
 
Comedy is one of the main factor in the series, which is the main reason why I decide to check it out in this romance-martial arts genre. The show has a little Chinese element in it in the sense that it uses the 12 Chinese zodiac animals as part of its show. Apart from that, there is a little ecchi element in it but don’t worry, no full frontal nudity here. Almost.
 
The main plot of this series is about this little girl Momoka Kuzuryuu who is the daughter of some legendary powerful martial arts fighter. This martial arts crazy girl has been training with her dad for a long time in the forests and mountains but 1 day after all those hard training, her dad still isn’t satisfied with her. In his eyes, Momoko hasn’t become a powerful fighter and at this rate will never be (because she’s a girl. What is with this people that boys make better martial art successors than girls?). So he tells Momoko to marry the world’s strongest fighter so that she could bear the child and produce the world’s strongest offspring. Of course Momoko is thrilled with that idea and accepts it. One thing I’d like to mention about Momoko is that when I first looked at her, her eyes are so big that I thought that she’s some kind of bug. Really. But I’ve gotten used to it since then and her eyes don’t really look bug-eyed anymore.
 
So who’s this powerful guy Momoko has to marry? You see, Momoko’s dad has another powerful martial arts fighter who is also his close buddy. He too has a son named Koushi Inuzuka. While Koushi’s dad may look fiercesome and intimidating, his son seems opposite. Yeah, he is a total opposite. Why, besides his good looks, Koushi actually dislikes violence, hates fighting and martial arts, and has his ambition to become a public prosecutor (a lawyer, that is) when he grows up. Not something good for a martial arts family, isn’t it? Koushi doesn’t listen to his dad on becoming a martial artist and continues with his studies on law, much to his dad’s disappointment.
 
I suppose it’s normal for a little girl who first laid eyes on a handsome guy to instantly fall in love with him. Okay, there’s some flashback that Momoko did meet Koushi before as the latter got bullied (I wonder how this is seen as being strong? But she cheered him on to do his best then) As seen in the first episode, Momoko abruptly enters Koushi’s life, trying all sort of weird stuffs to catch his attention, freaking him out in the process. I mean, anybody would if some little girl you don’t know suddenly pops out in front of you from nowhere and proposes to you to become your bride. Not only that, this episode is hilarious with Momoko’s failed attempts to get Koushi to share a bed with him. It gets a little ecchi here like she tries to let Koushi see her non-existent little boobs. You get the idea. Why, at one time she even set up a bed in the middle of the outdoors and is on top of him! And at times I guess Koushi just wants to play mean by giving some teasing signals that he’s willing to bed her but in the end gives her a cold shoulder and rejection. It’s funny to see Momoko getting depressed after all that yet so close yet so far reaction. Well, this doesn’t deter her from trying again. I read that the subber’s note that the Japanese audio actually said to have sex but the subbers decide to translate it into something less ‘offensive’.
 
If you notice that even though Momoko considers herself as weak, you’ll see her protecting Koushi most of the time. So who is the weaker sex now? Can’t blame that guy. He has no martial arts training background (okay, maybe you can partially blame him for not taking up some defensive martial arts, but hey, that guy hates the use of violence) and whenever Koushi gets bullied, he’ll try to advice those bullies and quote sections and paragraphs of the law! Will that work? Nope. Those gangsters are too dumb to understand some section of the penal code and do their talking with the fist. Luckily Momoko is there to teach those losers a lesson and you can see some super fiercesome dragon aura of hers in the background. Don’t mess with this gal. In the end, I guess Momoko is still bent on making Koushi get into bed with her as she lays 1 right smack in the middle of the street road. Hehe. I think a room would’ve been better. Over the series, she (as well as other martial art characters) will unleash some super moves or techniques of theirs and the screen will go black and display the name of that ultimate technique in kanji. Seems pretty okay at first. Of course exaggerated lah.
 
Since Momoko ain’t giving up yet, she has begun staying at Koushi’s house, much to Koushi’s dismay. Call it a training to become his bride. Not only that, Momoko enrols herself at the same school and even in the same class with Koushi in episode 2. I don’t remember how because Momoko’s younger than Koushi and the stuff they learn at school are pretty heavy for a girl like her. But I suppose nothing would stand in the way of their love. Also we’re introduced to a new character, Sanae Nakajima, who is the bright class rep and if you notice, Koushi seems to like her and vice versa. At least Sanae’s a person where Koushi can talk normally. Normally. Since lots of freaks and weirdos will soon be appearing to interrupt his peaceful life. We also see that the bullies of Koushi have a muscular and mean looking boss named Saigo. This Saigo guy doesn’t have any proper speech throughout the series except his occasional grunt and groans and whenever his underlings decide to call him to teach Koushi a lesson, Saigo will usually go off somewhere else. Though he may look tough with his sunglasses and moustache, Saigo actually loves kitten and reads romantic novels! How sissy is that? Good thing he doesn’t pick fights but even if he does, he ends up on the losing side. Bummer.
 
Mainly this episode sees how Koushi’s gym teacher (another loser) decide to teach him a lesson because he’s jealous that he’s got too many girls flanking him. Is it? So he’s holding various contests to discredit Koushi but everytime his plans get foiled but an unsuspecting Momoko (laugh out loud with all those slapstick comedy moments) who seems to pass all of his contests with flying colours and beyond anyone’s normal expectation. I guess the word ‘normal’ is going to be referred many times here. This episode ends with 2 mysterious figures in masks who’s planning to move in and assassinate Koushi.
 
Though the hilariousness continues in episode 3, we learn that there’s some kind of plot to assassinate Koushi. As far as I can remember, there are 12 clans each representing the Chinese zodiac animals and right now there is some dispute which is causing the clans to be divided into East and West faction to fight among themselves. So to bring order and prevent an all-out war, Koushi and Momoko must be wedded together. If you’ve guessed it from their surnames, Koushi’s from the dog clan whereas Momoko’s from the dragon clan and these 2 clans are opposing to each other. Thus the 2 mysterious figures are revealed to be siblings (not blood related in that sense) of the snake clan, Iroha and Hanzou Minamoto.
 
While Koushi reluctantly goes on a date with Momoka at the zoo, Iroha and Hanzou uses some spell of theirs to let the wild animals out of their cages and causing a rampage. Koushi gets to witness first hand Momoko’s superb strength when she tackles a polar bear. Eventually the chaos managed to be quelled and looks like Iroha and Hanzou has to be real serious if they want to assassinate Koushi. Don’t worry, you’ll notice that these 2 are like idiots especially Hanzou. They may seem intimidating but actually more comical.
 
Iroha personally attempts to assassinate Koushi at his home in episode 4. Yeah, after observing the relationship between Koushi and Momoko, they summarize it to be something like a master-dog relationship. Hahaha. I like this funny part whereby Koushi decides to go to bed and listen to some law cassette tapes. Momoko notices how he’s repeating those lines while he’s sleeping. She decides to experiment by whispering some lines into his ears. And to her happiness, it does work. Finally when she whispers "I will rock you senseless…", she finds that Koushi is awake and disgusted by what she’s doing as Koushi kicks her out of his room. Classic line. Hahaha. If she was quieter and faster perhaps it could’ve turned out better.
 
While trying to assassinate Koushi, Iroha’s mask fell off thus exposing her face. But it seems Koushi isn’t shock and pats her on her head. It is then that Iroha develop some crush on Koushi. Yup, mission in jeopardy. Can she do it or not? At night while Koushi’s asleep, Iroha sneaks in to stab him but seems hesitant. See, when you need to do something, do it fast that’s because Koushi’s turning and rolling in bed seems to have caught Iroha in some ‘compromising position’. Haha, it’s so funny! Since Koushi’s on top of her and too heavy, there’s nothing Iroha could do. Ahem ahem. Does she look like she’s enjoying it? Plus, Koushi’s sleep talking and saying some things which made Iroha blush. I will rock you senseless… Anyway, Iroha fails to do so and leaves after having such ‘close intimacy’. Time for Plan B. In the end, it’s revealed that Momoko is trying her luck again by putting and talking through some earphones on Koushi while he’s sleeping. Luckily Koushi gets to expose her trick before he really rocks her senseless…
 
Iroha continues to assassinate Koushi in episode 5 by trying to dress all girly and date Koushi, much to Hanzou’s dismay. Yeah, that guy’s got a crush on Iroha and gets pissed off if somebody else is in love with her. Hanzou would do anything for Iroha and doesn’t this scene reminds you like Koushi-Momoko’s master-dog relationship too? Anyway, I like this funny part whereby Momoko and Iroha are dating Koushi at the park (Hanzou impersonating as Koushi’s dad to tell them to go on a date). Iroha wants some ice cream and Koushi went to buy some for her. When Momoko too asks Koushi for one, he just gave her a coin and tells her to go buy 1 herself. Hahaha! Later the ice cream fell off on to Iroha’s little chest. I don’t know what Koushi’s thinking but he took his hanky and wiped Iroha’s chest! The scene is like… is like… groping! Oh be patient Hanzou, he’s having a nosebleed out of jealousy as he watches and observes from afar. Then Momoko is thinking of the same thing as she smudges the ice cream on her head. Koushi told her to go clean it up herself. Hahaha! Poor girl. Clearly, there’s some double standards here. But I suppose Koushi favours a more cute innocent looking girl rather than 1 who’s always pestering to come into his room to sleep with him.
 
Because Hanzou can’t stand watching Iroha being so ‘weak’, he kidnaps Koushi and ties him up at some port with ferocious creatures waiting to devour him if the rope ever breaks. So you could say it’s a showdown between Iroha and Hanzou with Momoko as they battle it out. So some clash of ultimate techniques as we find out that the duo are doing this to revive some honour in their clan bla bla bla. If Momoko has her dragon aura, you can see Iroha’s snake aura too. Though Momoko eventually wins and gives them some good advice, it seems that they’ve forgotten all about Koushi. While they’re fighting, we could see Koushi in a frantic as those creatures were trying to reach him. Keep your eyes on Koushi in the background that’s because soon in a flash he’ll be ‘gone’ when the match ends. I know, Momoko and Iroha are good pals now but don’t you think she really really forgot something?
 
Though Koushi is depressed that Momoko forgot about him in episode 6 (I wonder how he got out of that situation), his troubled days aren’t over yet. There’s another assassin who’s coming to assassinate Koushi. It’s Tenka Koganei of the tiger clan. This football guy has a ball named Becky and similar traits to a cat. Oh that tiger aura in the background. Not only that Tenka seems to know Momoko and has a crush on her since young. So Tenka throws down a challenge to Koushi which is a duel to the death over Momoko (after witnessing some accidental ‘compromising position’ between Koushi and Momoka of course). The game is like some penalty shoot-out in those football games and the winner is the 1 who gets to score 3 goals. Also, it seems Iroha is getting more and more to be cheering on for Koushi and is even getting on his side now. How is that gonna be helpful in restoration of her clan? Even if Koushi seems to be losing at the start, but Koushi proves that brain over brawns is better and that the power of observation. He notices how Tenka is afraid of water (like every other cats) even when Momoko the girl he loves is up close to him giving him a bottle of water to drink. With that, Koushi turns the game around and wins. Tenka tries to kill himself but was stopped in time by Koushi.
 
In episode 7 we learn a little about Momoko and Tenka’s past on how they came about. Okay, it seems Tenka likes Momoko but Momoko doesn’t. So they wrote some promise on Tenka’s football which the sentence was left uncompleted with the word ‘ke~’. Tenka interpreted that it would mean 1 day he would marry (kekkon) Momoko but he latter interprets it more of 1 day they will fight (kettou) and finish this duel since Momoko lost to him back then. Other than that, Koushi and Momoko learns from Koushi’s dad about their marriage significance. Yeah, for once that guy is acting a little nice to her. Later while Koushi and Sanae are walking back together, those bullies are seen doing some extortion. Of course, Koushi decides to stand up and fight after 1 of them punched Sanae as she tries to shield Koushi. Hey, Koushi, aren’t you letting girls doing the protecting when it’s supposed to be the other way round? Koushi tells Sanae to get away while he takes them 1 on 3. Sanae agrees and does. Is it for real? I mean Koushi has no martial arts background. Yup, Koushi gets beaten up badly. Predictable. At least Koushi thinks that it’s better than getting bullied. At home we see Momoko attending to Koushi’s wounds. Koushi realizes his mistakes of hurting Momoko (yeah, all those abuses and ignoring times) and tries to make a little amends. See, it’s not so bad after all. For now.
 
Well, Iroha and Hanzou even enrolled and joined Koushi in his school and class in episode 8. Things looking bleak right now. Iroha seems to have a new objective and that is to make Momoko and Koushi be together even if it means sacrificing her own love for Koushi. I wonder if Hanzou is okay with that. Not only that, Iroha and Hanzou seems to be renting a room nearby and that landlady seems to look like a character from Beavis And Butthead. Yeah, she’s really particular about rental on time and those sagging boobs… Anyway Iroha notices how Koushi is more friendly with Sanae instead of Momoko so much so she tries to help Momoko convey her feelings more strongly to Koushi. It seems that Sanae is also 1 of the Chinese zodiac clans, the horse. Her clan’s job is to protect Koushi and Momoko and see to it that they are married and such. So it’s like a tragic love story for Sanae, no matter how much she loves Koushi, she can only watch from the shadows and do her duty.
 
Plus, if you notice that scantily clad Uma Kamen (Masked Horse) going around is actually her. Yeah, everybody’s laughing at such a weirdo going around saving people in such a weird attire. Even when Sanae transforms herself wearing that outfit to help Koushi and co from time to time, she’ll deny that she’s anybody they know. I’m wondering if Koushi and the rest could identify her since she doesn’t wear that much clothes. Unless the mask hides it all. Furthermore, Sanae has to keep this Uma Kamen identity of hers a secret. Then there’s this part whereby Koushi is gonna confess something to Sanae. How she wished it was his feelings. Actually, Koushi’s saying that he could talk freely with her because she’s a normal person and not like those martial art weirdos which he hates. Oh Sanae, that’s really got to hurt. She’s like 1 of them too. But I guess that’s why some truths aren’t meant to be known. Iroha and Hanzou went to spy to see if Sanae is 1 of the zodiac clans but didn’t find anything (something to do with her name being written differently which spells ‘horse’ in kanji). Also, that landlady, Kimie, is Sanae’s grandma. It’s a small world after all.
 
You’ll hear all of that in episode 9. How Sanae has to protect Koushi from all sorts of danger without revealing her identity. I know Batman has it easy because he’s rich and got a large cave hideout. Sanae’s just an ordinary school girl in love. Uh-huh, this episode is a Sanae’s episode as Koushi-Momoko slapstick love comedy takes a rest. Also, we see how Kimie trains Sanae in a sadistic way to become some super Uma Kamen of justice. Sanae looks like she’s reluctant, struggling and going through things she doesn’t want. Ah, at an age where girls are busy dating their boyfriends and putting on make-up, this is the fate of Sanae. But it’s all in the name of love. Unreturned. Though saving Koushi and without him knowing her pains her much, there’s something that will be even more shocking and painful for Sanae. At the end of this episode, it seems Kimie has arranged a future husband for Sanae, a muscular macho guy named Hikaru also of the horse clan. WARGH!!!! Oh the horror. How she wished she’d just die now.
 
Even so, Sanae thought that a guy with such a name would look like those cute handsome bishoujo you’d normally see in mangas and animes. Thus in episode 10, Hikaru comes to propose to Sanae through the horse clan’s weird tradition, that is, through the display of power and strength. I’ve never seen Sanae been so freaked out before. Wouldn’t any girl if she has to marry a guy whom she doesn’t love? Sanae tries to ignore Hikaru but the latter doesn’t give up easily. This guy is another one of those brawn over brains. Yeah, not the brightest one is he? Plus, when Hikaru finds out that Sanae has her heart set on Koushi, he tries to challenge him. But the thing is, Hikaru thinks that Hanzou is Koushi and challenges him to a 1 on 1 duel. I mean, if you compare Hanzou to Koushi, who do you think is the ‘tougher’ one? Though both of them sucks, really. At the same time because of that, Sanae has a hard time trying to hide her identity from Koushi. Of course he didn’t really find out that Sanae is behind that Uma Kamen thing.
 
Eventually Hikaru discovers who the real Koushi is in episode 11 and challenges him to a duel in his school so that he could win Sanae’s heart. We all know Sanae’s feelings, right? Saigo gets a little screen time but he got trashed by Hikaru. Haha. Anyway the battle soon takes place and Koushi has to reluctantly fight because Momoko will be cheering on him. Bummer. However this episode feels like an excuse to provide lots of fanservice. Uh-huh. Sanae’s scantily clad Uma Kamen gets more screen time than usual. Sanae decides to butt in (pun intended) in order to stop Hikaru’s madness. It somehow reminded me of Ultimate Girls because there’s a short flashback on how Sanae could power up and turn the tables when she’s being overpowered by Hikaru. Kimie said something about some super powers unleashed when more pieces of her Uma Kamen clothes is taken off. Alright, I know what you’re thinking. The outfit is sexily perverted enough already. Though she’s next to naked, the necessary parts are still covered (barely enough. Haha another intended pun). With that, Sanae in her embarrassment gets to defeat Hikaru with some super kick. I think that it’s because Hikaru and the other guys are more being a pervert. Yeah, the semi-nakedness distracted them and make them ‘lose their power’. Hikaru admits defeat and in a way Sanae saves Koushi and her. Probably they were looking elsewhere and not really concentrating on her face. But before Hikaru can call out Sanae’s name, she quickly carries him away. The next day, Sanae’s troubles aren’t over yet because Hanzou took lots of pics of Uma Kamen and is selling like hot cakes. Those perverts. At least they’re so into her sexiness that they still didn’t bother who that masked woman is.
 
Both Koushi and Hanzou are sick in episode 12 but they get really different treatment from the girls. You’ve guessed it that Koushi gets the VIP treatment whereas Hanzou gets the cold shoulder one. And to make things worse, Iroha seems to be getting closer to Koushi though she did say that she’s gonna root for Momoko to be the one but in her heart Iroha still wants to be the girl Koushi looks at. You could say Hanzou gets jealous and tries to sabotage Koushi by impersonating him. After all these years Hanzou has only eyes for Iroha and I suppose it’s okay if it’s not returned. But when some other guy cuts in (purposely or not), this has got to be Hanzou’s limit. It’s funny to see Hanzou himself bear the brunt of his own doing as he disguises himself as a doctor and Koushi’s dad. What goes around comes around. What’s this? Koushi fainted and lands on Sanae’s breasts? That guy is out cold to feel anything. And there’s this part whereby Iroha is thinking of seducing Koushi and is gonna give Koushi (Hanzou in disguise after tying up Koushi in some sleeping bag) some body warmth while Momoko isn’t around. Didn’t happen. It could’ve been something Hanzou has been waiting for all his life. Unfortunately because of Iroha’s touching words, Hanzou’s tears ruined his disguise. Busted. Looks like even if Hanzou recovers from his illness, it’s gonna be a long one from his bruises.
 
Koushi gets a new teacher, Inaho Kameda, for his class in episode 13. Wow, this teacher is sexy in addition to being knowledgeable in law. I’m sure this interests Koushi very much. I suppose Momoko, Iroha and Sanae have every right to be worried. Who wouldn’t, Koushi did faint a little in class and I think it’s not because the law material is too heavy ;). Yeah, she brings him to the infirmary and later even invites Koushi to her house. Sanae is suspicious (partly jealous too) and spies on her. Next day, Koushi is gonna have is bento but finds a bra inside it. Just like a real lawyer, Inaho decides to hold a trial and it seems the culprit is that gym teacher. Sanae is still suspicious of her. To cut things short, later Sanae and Inaho have some sort of a showdown and it is revealed that she’s from the tortoise clan and is supposed to get close to Koushi and marry him so that her clan can be part of the 12 Chinese zodiac. Something like that. At first I was thinking is there a turtle in the Chinese zodiac? Inaho even told Momoko that she’s an obstacle to Koushi’s dream. Because of that, Momoko feels dejected. I don’t know why she took her words so seriously. Where has that ‘I want to bed with Koushi’ attitude gone to? So much so Sanae herself has to comfort Momoko.
 
Though Inaho is going to set her plan in action, Koushi refuses, which made Inaho knock him out unconscious. This means Inaho is gonna force marry Koushi. Luckily Sanae was there to save Koushi before he becomes the turtle’s bride and a battle soon ensued between the horse and the tortoise. Funny combination. Yeah, it’s funny enough that her name’s Kame Kamen (Masked Turtle), she’s also scantily clad just like Sanae. Due to the intensity of the battle, they kick up a storm, literally, which is heading towards Koushi. They both decide to combine their powers and save Koushi. Though Inaho’s love for Koushi is genuine, it seems Sanae’s love for Koushi is more powerful and she even said out loud how she likes Koushi. Should’ve said that when he’s conscious. In the end, Inaho admits defeat and realize that a teacher-student relationship isn’t ethical. So as things are going back to normal for Koushi and co, we see several scantily clad masked ladies from the shadows saying to themselves how they’re gonna marry Koushi. However, this is as far as it gets as we won’t see them making any moves over the remaining episodes. Maybe it’s just a point to ponder?
 
Episode 14 is like a filler episode. Koushi’s class is supposed to do a haunted house for their school festival but there is a legend saying that if anyone does a haunted house, the spirit of a deceased girl Yazawa will haunt the class. Coincidentally there’s a classmate in Koushi’s class which looks exactly like her, Rumi Miyazawa. Thing is, nobody ever notices she ever existed! Yeah, not even if it’s right smack in the middle of the classroom. Plus, Rumi has a crush on Koushi but hasn’t got the guts to confess. So while preparing for the school festival, some coincidental turn of events made everyone think that the spirit of Yazawa has appeared. Since Rumi is too shy to say anything, she has no choice but to play along. Upon further research, the gang finds out that Yazawa passed away without confessing to the boy she loves which looked so much like Koushi. It’s Koushi’s dad actually. With that, everyone forces Koushi to date her so that she could go peacefully to the next life. Rumi’s also a genius so much so she has weird inventions to make it all look like she’s a ghost like levitating and such. Rather, everyone else is too dumb. Thus Koushi and Rumi goes on a date filled with weirdness from those bullying boys to Iroha’s jealousness. In the end, they’re supposed to confess at the school rooftop but Koushi instantly rejects her! Wow. Not only that, it seems everybody else is a busybody and has been hiding and eavesdropping on them! These people have no life. Because everyone expects her to fly to heaven, Rumi has no choice but to use some super propulsion jet to fly sky high. Everyone is touched that she finally found peace. Dumb people. Next day, everything is back to normal. Rumi is back in class but nobody seems to notice her. She’s better than any invisible man. You won’t see her again though. Probably the producers too ‘ignored’ her existence after that. Haha.
 
Episode 15 is Saigo’s episode and I felt that it’s a way to make sure he doesn’t stay an unimportant side character. We see Saigo saving a girl Alice Uzuki from thugs. Because of that it’s love at first sight for Alice. Also Saigo is pretty shy so much so he runs away leaving his jacket behind. Alice decides to return his jacket by tracking him down and finally manages to find the school he attends. This is the funny part. Because Saigo can’t really say a word (tongue tied?) Momoko acts as an interpreter for him. Does she know what he’s saying? Maybe it’s that love language thingy. Saigo even enlists Momoko’s help on what to do on a date. Honestly, communication plays an important role in a relationship. So if this guy can’t speak, I’m wondering how it’ll all go. However there’s more than meets the eye about this travelling musician. That night, Alice is approached by a guy who is offering her a last job to kill Koushi or else he’ll dispose of Saigo. You see, Alice is an assassin from the rabbit clan and is currently on the run because she doesn’t want to kill anymore. Alice is in a bind but decides to kill Koushi in order to save Saigo. So during the date at the amusement park, Alice tries various ways to stealthily assassinate Koushi but fails. Finally, Alice decides to knock out and drag Koushi to a haunted house and Iroha saw this. Iroha suspects that Alice is an assassin and they soon engage in combat. Momoko arrives in time to join in. Alice reveals her predicament and since she knows she’s no match for Momoko, she’s going straight for Koushi, only her attack to be blocked by Saigo. Saigo said (through Momoko the interpreter) some touching words like how her hands are supposed to create music and not shed blood, made Alice realized. Meanwhile Iroha and Hanzou managed to tie up that guy who forced Alice into it outside. Looks like he’s weak and only talks intimidating. In the final scenes, we see Alice leaving to study music in France. For the first time (and the last time) we hear Saigo’s farewell words to Alice, "Good luck". So this guy can speak. Not bad, as he gives her a thumbs up, making Alice more confident about herself.
 
Momoko is back to her ways of trying to gain Koushi’s attention in episode 16. She’s taking hints from a tv programme on how to bring some spark into one’s marriage like changing of hairstyle. Yeah, her fantasies running wild. As expected, she flops partly because Koushi doesn’t give a damn about Momoko’s attempts. This goes way beyond dense. Why, Momoko even tried to make Koushi jealous by chatting with some loser nerd but he’s busy talking with Sanae. Probably he doesn’t mind if Momoko hooks up with him. As part of the advice to attract Koushi, Momoko enters a tv quiz show as a way to gain his attention through doing something special. You know, I didn’t know Momoko is that smart. While she’s on tv, Iroha and Hanzou are supposed to make Koushi watch the show but as usual they flop and he misses the entire show. Momoko later returns and decides to bring home some abandoned kittens she found but since Koushi doesn’t like animals (okay, maybe he’s from the dog clan) he doesn’t allow her to. Momoko gets an idea to spice things up by keeping them secretly. Next, Momoko makes a t-shirt with the words "I love Koushi" and another for Koushi but the latter refuses to wear them. Remember that cat? Yeah, it made a mess out of Koushi’s room. As a result, Koushi is mad at her. But the situation got a little better when Momoko made some instant noodles and Koushi compliments how good it was. Anybody can cook instant noodles. But Momoko eventually remembers the final advice, that is, to be yourself, when Koushi gives her a pair of shoes that he and Sanae had chosen earlier on. Momoko must be real happy. I guess even if she’s a weirdo, she’s Koushi’s weirdo! Hahaha. But the end of the episode sees Koushi and Momoko stumbling into something familiar. They find a very thin and ‘weakened’ Tenka right smack in the middle of the trash. Not eating well? I suppose he’s back and the dysfunctional gang won’t be complete without him.
 
Tenka’s return marks the start of the final story arc of the series. Koushi and Momoko takes Tenka into their home in episode 17. However, Tenka is now on their side and he warns them that his 4 other siblings are out to assassinate Koushi since Tenka failed to do so. So a little jealousy here and there as Tenka live in their house to see Momoko still having eyes for Koushi. Yeah, especially that part whereby Tenka hears some ambiguous statements from Momoko and Koushi coming from the latter’s room. Back to serious stuff, the gang are heading to school to when they spot a kid exceptionally juggling a football with his feet. Tenka recognizes him as his little brother, Tenchi, but the latter pretends not to know him at first. Later after school, Koushi is attacked by Tenchi but Tenka manages to intercept. We hear some back story how Tenka was once looked up by Tenchi but ever since he failed to assassinate Koushi, Tenka was bullied and Tenchi no longer respected him. Thus Tenchi came to challenge Tenka to some gladiator football, whereby one is supposed to aim the ball at the opponent’s body instead of the goal. Tenka seems to be beaten real badly until Tenchi realizes that he’s doing it on purpose so as not to hurt him. More back story before Tenka does his usual talk with Becky and unleashes his ultimate move. Umm… Isn’t that some cat toy? But heck, it worked. It seems all is well and both siblings are back on good terms. Everyone is happy except for Koushi who seems to think the group of weirdos is just getting more and more. But it’s not over yet as Koushi and Momoko return home only to find their home set ablaze. Oh no. Looks like the tiger clan is dead serious on Koushi’s assassination.
 
Thus in episode 18, Momoko and Koushi needs to find a place to live and to Iroha’s delight that they’ll be moving and staying at the same 2 storey apartment those 2 snake clans are staying. Even though Koushi and Momoko has a room by themselves (and Koushi putting up his usual barrier to keep Momoko at bay), expect some ambiguous moments. Yeah, even Tenka is staying there with some stray cat. However, he has to keep it a secret as Kimie doesn’t allow pets. Other tenants include an old lady who lives in the attic who is actually from the rat clan and has plans to assassinate Koushi (let’s call her Rat Woman), and some mad looking law prosecutor wannabe. Yeah, this guy looks like a zombie and he’s taking his studies in law far more worse than Koushi. So let’s call him Zombie Lawyer.
 
But the main thing about is episode is Kimie’s weird tradition of welcoming new tenants through some nabe party. I wonder what kind of broth is that and I’m sure everybody has second thoughts about putting disgusting looking stew in their mouths. However they have to since Kimie throws down a challenge whereby the 1 who gets the pink ball-thingy gets 1 year rent free! It’s a big deal for those poor tenants. Each of them has their own ingredients to add to the pot as part of the rule and of course their own hidden agenda, from making the other party fall in love to secretly protect or assassinate Koushi. So we see hilarious battles and aftermaths as slowly 1 by 1 each one is taken out. Tenka is out after eating Zombie Lawyer’s chilli dumplings while Iroha ate some hair Tenka put supposedly to make Momoko fall in love with him but it was Iroha instead, same with Zombie Lawyer who fall in love with Hanzou and they’re out after biting the chilli dumpling. Momoko and Sanae were disqualified in a 69 position. Even Rat Woman runs away in fear after she saw dunno their deadly animal auras. That’s the last you’ll see of her. Finally it’s 1 on 1 between Koushi and Kimie as they spot that pink ball. During the chopstick tussle, the pink ball rolled over to Tenka’s cat as it soon eats it. Yup, the winner is Tenka’s cat and because of that, the cat gets permission to stay with Tenka.
 
Momoko decides to bring in a busty maid, Kinu Ayatsuji, who collapsed in front of the apartment in episode 19. She seems like a kind person, doing all the chores (and other mind blowing acts) as gratitude for their kindness. However, 1 day while walking with Momoko back from shopping, Kinu punches Momoko in the stomach and leaves her behind. Momoko slowly trudges home to find everybody having a decent meal with Kinu but Momoko chooses not to say anything. I wonder why everybody doesn’t care where Momoko went. Maybe it’s because Kinu’s around and hogging the limelight. Just kidding. That night, Momoko tells Koushi about the incident but that guy doesn’t believe her and is mad that Momoko is trying to bad mouth her. Why not? Kinu seems gentle and kind and it wouldn’t be in anybody’s right mind to think that she’s a bad person. Then later at the kitchen, Kinu tells Momoko that she’s an assassin out to kill Koushi. Whatever Momoko did seems to reflect that she herself is the ‘bad guy’ because everyone still finds it hard to believe that Kinu’s an assassin. I find Momoko’s depression abit disheartening because it’s as though she’s given up. What happened to that cheery girl who keeps on trying in the earlier episodes?
 
One night, Kinu invites Momoko to an open space to do battle. Kinu says she’s Tenten’s servant, a tiger clan member who is also Tenka’s sibling. She has some cosplay power which allows her to change uniforms in a flash. Unknown to Momoko, Kinu has left a letter asking Koushi to come to this place. When Koushi arrives, Kinu in a flash changes back to her maid uniform and make it seem that Momoko is the 1 who lands the killer blow on her poor self. With that, Koushi ticks off Momoko and chases her away. Momoko is wandering dejectedly through the streets when she spots another tiger clan member, Tenga, the eldest of the siblings. She attacks him but he easily absorbs them. Meanwhile Koushi realizes that he may have been too harsh on Momoko and starts searching for her, only to meet a cheongsam clad Tenten and her other brother Tenrei. Kinu is there and is happy as she wants Tenten to praise her and such but Tenten disposes off her. What a way to die. Oh well, you won’t see her again. Tenten then makes Koushi swallow some poison balls in which he has only 1 week left to live. Momoko arrives and is devastated to find out about this.
 
However in episode 20, Momoko also decides to follow Koushi’s fate as she swallows the poison ball. She’ll go wherever Koushi goes. However, there’s an antidote and Tenten tells them to come face them at their place if they want it. At home, we see that the poison made some ugly marks on their body and there’s lots of emotional and dramatic talk from the gang. Koushi for once, realized that he’s been a mean ol’ jerk to Momoko after all that she’s done. You know, that whatever training Momoko got from her dad and Koushi’s dad seemed a little rushed. But at least she spots a cool outfit now. The gang decides to head to the tiger clan’s base and settle this once and for all. Wow, it looks like a huge mansion over the mountains. Upon entering, they find that Tenten is some sort of commentator (with pandas flanking her?) and that they need to beat them all if they want to get the antidote, since the antidote is separated into 3 parts. So first up is that bespectacled braces billards master Tenrei against Tenka. Since they’ve got Tenchi in their grasp, Tenrei decides to make things more interesting by asking Tenka and Tenchi to team up and beat him. We get to see Tenka and Tenchi unleashing their double football moves but Tenrei is still a class above them. Their match is interrupted when Uma Kamen arrives. Yeah, Sanae’s riding a horse this time. So it’s Tenrei vs Sanae. You know, I felt that this was just another excuse for fanservice because Tenrei is beating the crap out of Sanae with his billard balls hitting off Sanae’s clothing pieces, making her embarrassed. That guy’s a pervert too. Remember she gets her ultimate power from nakedness. So much so, Sanae unleashes some giant Pegasus as it stomps on Tenrei. With that, Momoko’s group wins this round and they move on to the next after getting the 1st antidote.
 
It’s Iroha and Hanzou up against Tenten in episode 21. We see Tenten controlling a zombie of Chinese martial art fighters against their will to do her fighting. When Tenten’s army is no match for the duo, she launches a verbal abuse on Iroha like how Iroha likes Hanzou, in which Iroha denies, sending Hanzou into depression. Then Tenten says Iroha likes Koushi, causing more shock waves and paralyzing Iroha. Yeah, she’s crying like a little girl. Hanzou tells Tenten to stop which made the latter launching some super attack. Iroha manages to block Hanzou or else he’ll lose his head. A few more tiger-snake battle aura before Momoko interrupts and says that Iroha and Hanzou lost this battle. Tenten continues her mockery when Momoko goes up to her and gives her a good slap on her face! This should shut her up. Momoko lectures Tenten about love and a woman’s feelings which also in a way made Koushi feel bad. This episode also tells of Tenten’s flashback on why she hated Iroha so much. Back then when Hanzou came into the clan, he was quite close to Iroha. Yeah, Tenten likes the guy because she gets to be herself, not like the fake one she puts up with everyone else. You could say Tenten had a crush on Hanzou and that loser does actually have a secret admirer. So that’s where all her hate and revenge originated from. Kinda petty if you think about it. Tenten decides to give up her portion of the antidote before walking away. I’m sure Tenten realized that Hanzou will never be hers, the same as Hanzou for Iroha. So the final battle between Tenga awaits Momoko and Koushi who are walking up the stairs to meet that scary muscle scar-faced guy.
 
The final battle begins in episode 22 and it seems Tenga has a little martial arts warrior pride by saying how low his sis could go by employing such a technique. But this doesn’t mean Tenga will forfeit the match as Momoko delivers some super blow to protect Koushi from Tenga’s attack. But Tenga isn’t scathed by it. While the rests are recuperating (looks like their buddies now), Tenrei mentions about Tenga obtaining some Power Of The Ancients whereby the more he gets hurt and needs to heal, the more powerful his body becomes. Tenga unleashes another powerful attack but Momoko blocks it before Koushi gets any harm. While Momoko is unconscious, Tenga turns to Koushi, who’s now showing signs of fear. Koushi is desperate and tries to do some move… Tenjou Tenge? Just finger movements? Yeah, what the blue hell is that. Didn’t work. Momoko is conscious again but since she used up her energy a lot, the poison is spreading faster through her body, making her weak. Tenga notices this and gives them the antidote because he feels that it isn’t right to fight them with such a handicap. However, the antidote is only enough for 1 person. Wait a minute? I thought they needed all 3 antidote? Maybe this is the stronger one. Koushi wants Momoko to drink it and admits he’s a useless guy but Momoko says otherwise. Any how they have to decide fast because it’s nearly sunset. Koushi is also in a dilemma because if he takes the antidote as Momoko wished, he’ll be able to achieve his dreams of becoming a legal prosecutor. But can he live with the guilt?
 
The others arrived where the battle took place but to their horror saw Koushi and Momoko lying unconscious with the poison spread throughout their body. Iroha snaps and attacks Tenga as Hanzou tries to stop her but Tenga is too powerful for them. Then Tenka too is mad but meets the same fate as his comrades. Tenga is furious that there isn’t anybody who can challenge him when Momoko got up to her feet. Looks like Koushi decides to save Momoko after all. Momoko is sad and mad that Koushi sacrificed his life to save hers and wallops Tenga with her super aura. However this ultimate blow causes Tenga to undergo some ultimate transformation. Dubbed The Power Of The Dragon (though he’s from the tiger clan), Tenga looks more like a red devil alien. No, I don’t mean he’s a Manchester United football club supporter. While Momoko takes on an intense battle with Tenga, she reminisces about the past with Koushi. Momoko sheds a tear which drops onto Koushi’s face. With that, Koushi gains a little consciousness and we see a flashback whereby Koushi’s late mom asking him what he wants to be when he grows up. A young Koushi replies a martial artist. However his mom doesn’t want him to go through what she and his dad went through and tells Koushi that he’s a gentle kid that doesn’t want to harm others and uses some power of hers to let that power inside Koushi sleep. So probably why Koushi became infatuated with law in the first place since his martial artist side has been cast aside.
 
In Momoko’s rage, she unleashes some super ultimate technique which seems to cut the sky in half. In short, Momoko won. Tenga loses his battle aura and reverts to his normal self and is lying in some large crater. Even though Momoko won, she doesn’t feel like she’d won since Koushi’s gone. Wait a minute, how come Koushi’s body seems normal? Where has the poison marks gone to? Later I read that it was his inner latent martial arts power which healed the poison. Everyone rejoices. For once, Tenga puts on a smile on his face and thinks Koushi is an interesting fellow. Really? With that, Iroha announces for the gang to return to their broken apartment. Yeah, it’s run down and messy, but it’s important that they’re all together and happy.
 
In the final scenes we see the gang doing things together like having their bento at school, dinner at home, cleaning the apartment up, and Koushi being approached by an assassin of the cow clan (haha what a joker) when Momoko returns from her home (she’s been away at home to rest) to send that masked cow flying away. Koushi admits that his daily life can’t be without her. Yeah, he’s come to realize the fact that weirdos will be part of his life. Also, Koushi’s dad is relieved that he’s fine. Oh those bullies are still around but they get a shock when Saigo waves back to Koushi. Friends? Finally just when Momoko tells how she was touched when Koushi gave her the antidote mouth to mouth like it was a kiss though her vision was blurred then, we see Koushi actually dumping and pouring the whole antidote into her mouth. Aw, too bad Momoko, sorry it wasn’t what you wished for. Another yet so close yet so far case. Shocked. I suppose her plans for Koushi that night by wearing some sexy lingerie is spoiled by the truth. Well, Koushi did say it was her misunderstanding and not to get mad. Koushi sounds more lenient now. What’s this? A picture showing Koushi and Momoko with a baby in her arms? Must be another one of Momoko’s fantasies. Can’t really say it won’t happen.
 
Overall, this anime is just pretty okay. I mean it was really interesting and funny to see Momoko trying her various futile attempts to get Koushi in bed with her. Not because I’m a pervert but rather because it’s really funny. Then that fizzled out somewhere along the way and I kinda notice the plot going nowhere. After that it all ends with a potential of a sequel. At least it’s a happy ending.
 
Momoko is still my favourite character in terms of being funny and she looks cute and amusing in her chibi form. Yui Kano who voices Momoko did a fine job in making her sound ‘unique’. Uh-huh, she does sound funny when she goes "Ugh… Ugh…" and all those ‘being rejected’ sounds. I checked around and notice that Yui Kano doesn’t voice many characters and even so they’re just minor side characters in Da Capo Second Season, Lucky Star and Kamisama Kazoku. Rising star Aya Hirano is the voice of Sanae and is more famously known in her role as Suzumiya of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu and Mei of Manabi Straight. I don’t know why many viewers hate the character Sanae. Is it because of her personality? But those who like her must’ve love her for her sexiness in her Uma Kamen outfit. Ui Miyazaki is Iroha and though she doesn’t have a long voice acting resume, she did voice Aisia of Da Capo Second Season and Suzaku of Izumo: Takeki Tsurugi No Senki. Hiroki Takahashi is Koushi and you may recognize him as the voice of Eiji in Prince Of Tennis, Harima in School Rumble and Hisoka in Hunter X Hunter. Chihiro Suzuki is the voice behind Hanzou and also did roles like Arima of Kare Kano, Keisuke of Keitai Shoujo, Ikko of Amaenaideyo and Ryunosuke of Rizelmine. Tenka’s voice actor Takashi Kusao is known as his role for Hanamichi of Slam Dunk among other famous animes like Dragonball Z, Saiyuki and Inu Yasha. Even Yuji Ueda who is the voice behind Morita of Honey And Clover and Hajime of Jigoku Shoujo fame made his 1 episode appearance as that Zombie Lawyer.
 
The drawing, art and animation seems pretty standard but they use computer graphics when they show that fiercesome animal aura in the background. Though the action and fighting sequence isn’t anything to shout about but it provides enough entertainment to keep viewers satisfied. There are several background music in the series but they weren’t that appealing to me. Some sounded really comical and funny and others downright serious. The several opening and ending themes too doesn’t seem appealing to me though both the openings sounds a bit ‘Chinese’ and quite upbeat to get viewers into the action mood. The endings too sounded a bit ‘Chinese’ but on a moderate pace. Even the short mid-intermissions too.
 
I was hoping to see the other assassins from the other zodiac clans but it didn’t materialize. Probably it would be downright funny to see how the monkey, chicken and pig assassins look like in their masked costumes. Hahaha. I can only imagine. So if you’re down in love, remember never to give up and try try again. Of course you can’t force somebody to fall in love with you and it’s better that he/she does it whole heartedly. Speaking of ecchiness, if you can’t stand them, I would advice to skip this anime then. Even the episode title has the girls in sexy positions, though the episode title is literally bigger.
 
I wonder if Koushi is still pursuing his dreams of becoming a legal prosecutor? Looks like since we saw him doing some studying with Sanae at the library in the end. What about being a martial artist? Maybe he’s got Momoko around os he doesn’t have to lift a finger. He just needs to be cautious about Momoko’s advances. Come to think of it, Momoko’s a little pervert but in a good way. Hey, there isn’t a section in the law or legislation where you can’t show your love excessively. Erm… Okay, maybe that would amount to stalking and public nuisance. I suppose Iroha too can’t seem to hide her love for Koushi and would much prefer to go on a friendly love battle with Momoko. Now can you say Sumomomo Momomo smoothly and perfectly without getting your tongue tied? Yeah, it’s funny to see Momoko saying that during the next episode preview. I will rock you senseless…
 
Sumomomo Momomo

Mermaid Melody

December 21, 2007

You know, something must’ve attracted me to watch the anime series Mermaid Melody Pitchi Pitchi Pitch when it was shown on the local television some time ago. Was it the kawaii bishoujo girls? I can’t really say that the girls here look very very very beautiful but at the same time, I’d be lying if I said that pretty looking wide eyed ladies aren’t my type of anime girls. So parlty yes and no, it must be those ladies.
 
As the title would’ve suggests, it has something to do about mermaids. Plus, this series is classified as a mahou shoujo (magical girl) genre. Mermaids and magical girl? Do they really go hand in hand? Anything is possible if there is some henshin (transformation) that the cute girls have to undergo to battle evil. I suppose you have magical girls who fly, so I’m thinking maybe it’s about time to have one that swims. Haha. Just joking.
 
Thing is, I’m not really an avid follower of the series and I wasn’t glued to the tv religiously everytime the series starts airing. Thus, I don’t really have a good idea of the flow of the storyline nor do I have any minute and very explicit details about the series. I just watch them whenever I can or feel like it. Yeah, must be those pretty girls alright. Or rather the charming and hypnotizing voice of a mermaid (yeah right. The show is dubbed, mind you).
 
In addition, in a way, this series reminds me of Sailormoon in terms of girliness. Yeah, so what does a guy like me watching a show for girls? I must be a sissy alright. Yeah, must be those girls. Besides, how girly is this show? Well if I can remember, part of the plot is we see how the protagonist girls try to win the affections of the guy they love. Seems like a typical teenage girl crisis, don’t you think?
 
Before you jump into anymore conclusions about that, the basic storyline is like this. We have Lucia, who is the mermaid princess of 1 of the 7 oceans in the world, who has entrusted her pink pearl to a boy named Kaito Domoto after she has saved him from a shipwreck. Several years later, she finds that boy all grown up to be your typical teenager enough for girls around his age to swoon over (okay, he’s not thaaaat handsome). So like in most fairytales and even in the real world, love works in mysterious ways. Yup, Lucia is in love with Kaito but that guy doesn’t seem to recognize her. Probably that surfer boy was too young to remember anything then or maybe it was all just a dream. Furthermore, Lucia is in human form. The top is the same, but now she loses her fish tail and has a pair of gorgeous legs (okay, not thaaaat gorgeous).
 
But there’s a catch. Since Lucia is a mermaid, a legend has it that she cannot reveal her identity to him or else she will turn into foam and bubbles! Is that the fate of all mermaids who reveal their identity. No wonder we’ve never heard or seen a real mermaid before. Even so, we have mistaken it to be those sea cows AKA dugongs. But even that rule has a loophole (oh the irony). The legend didn’t say about the mermaid turning into bubbles if the human discover it him or herself. Ah… I see. So thus, Lucia tries her best to give hints and make Kaito know that she’s the mermaid who saved him long ago and probably get the chance to be his girfriend. However, I kinda noticed that the episodes I watched that this Kaito guy is pretty dense when it comes to this. Not to say that he doesn’t care for Lucia, but I find that he treats her more of a friend and nothing closer. Lucia, you just have to be patient. There’re lots more guys who are worse than him. Furthermore, Lucia can’t really come into contact with water or else she’ll turn into a mermaid. So it’s kind of a sticky situation and a pinch whenever Lucia has to go to the beach or pool. Bummer. She has to sit out and be careful. It doesn’t really help too with Kaito who loves surfing as his hobby.
 
So Lucia enrolls herself in a local school along with Kaito and you could pretty much guess it from there. But it wouldn’t be fun if it was just Lucia alone. She too has a few buddies, who are mermaid princesses of some other parts of the ocean. They are the perky and girly Hanon and the more serious Rina. They are also in the same class with Lucia and even lives in the same house. Mermaids need to stick together. I’m sure the sea kingdom wouldn’t want their precious princesses to roam all alone in a world where cruel creatures breath air. So living along them is Lucia’s elder sister Nikora, who also runs some sort of a hotel called Petite Hotel Pearl Piari, and Madam Taki, some elderly lady who looks like a gypsy fortune teller with her typical crystal ball.
 
There’s also another character who also lives with them. He is Hippo and is Lucia’s guardian. Initially, I think this Hippo guy is a comical character and provides most of the comical reliefs in the show. I started thinking how could this short chubby funny looking penguin (yes, a penguin, not a hippopotamus) could end up with such a name called Hippo. I did a little deduction of mine. Hippopotamus in Japanese = Kaba. Idiot in Japanese = Baka. So if the word is reversed then in a way it makes a little sense right? Hahaha. Just kidding. Much later in the series, I saw Hippo’s true form, which is some cute blonde kid. So how did he end up looking like a penguin? Donno. I also later found out that his name is derived from that greek creature, Hippocampus, literally a sea-horse as it has a front of a horse and the hind of an eel. Yeah, Hippo did transformed into 1 too later in the series.
 
However, the main plot of the story isn’t about Lucia going around trying to make Kaito realize and fall in love with her. Remember, this is a magical girl genre so there must be some bad guys. The main antagonist and villain of the series is Gakuto but somehow his name was changed to Gai because in Japan, there is a singer by that name. Copyright issue here. So I’ll just refer him to Gai. This dark coat wearing guy is supposedly the leader of the dark side of the undersea and lives in some castle which emits black smoke. First thought is to hide his location, but wouldn’t that give him away. And isn’t the depths of the ocean dark enough not to see anything?
 
Because there are 7 oceans in the world, there are 7 mermaid princesses whom each possess some magical pearl and Gai wants to get his hands on them all. Since Gai’s the boss, he’s got several underlings to do his biddings. They are Izuru, Eriru, Yuuri and Maria. They’re actually some ugly fish, stingray, shark and eel. But since this is a bishoujo anime, it only make sense and is better for them to turn into one so that viewers like me can watch the show with ease and is ‘easy on the eye’. The quartet are known as The Dark Lovers and are faithful servants of Gai as they would do anything in return for his love. So far, they’ve always failed, you know what this would mean, right? But I suppose a fish’s love is different.
 
But this is the most amusing part that I find while watching the show. The series don’t really have that fistfighting violence, so how do our mermaid heroines battle it out with the dark side? Through singing of course. Since the show is dubbed in Malay, whenever Lucia and co starts singing, they’ll say how they’ll start a performance and soon the dub voice-over will revert back to another dub version, which is in Mandarin! Oh the obvious discrepency in the voice. So this dubbed version must’ve been taken from the Mandarin one. Thus, this is where the henshin begins. Lucia and co will use their magic pearl to transform themselves into cuter outfits to sing. I suppose the outfits enhance their singing abilities. Then they’ll have a microphone which looks like some shampoo hair conditioner bottle. Not only that, they’ll be enclosed in some bubble so that they could sing. I thought sound travels faster through water medium? Maybe since they’re in human form, if they try singing, it’ll sound like somebody drowning. Haha. Just kidding.
 
I’m not sure if this is also evident in the Japanese version, but I find that the songs that the mermaids sing are actually the same song! So much so everytime when they start to go into this mode, I’d quickly change the channel as it gets irritating. Yeah, not only that, this scene is somewhat an excuse for using recycled scenes for each episode. Another amusing point is that, while the mermaid heroines are singing, The Dark Lovers would be tightly gripping and putting their hands covering their ears to shield themselves. By the end of each performance, there isn’t any physical wounds to show that they’re hurt nor that ringing in their ears. That’s because, The Dark Lovers can still go about and say in their normal tone of voice how this isn’t really the end yet bla bla bla before doing an Arnold by saying we’ll be back. So typical. Not only that, the mermaids have the cheek to say "Do you want an encore" everytime. Of course the baddies wouldn’t want to hear it again (same with me). It was amusing at first, then it really gets old and irritating. Yeah, my hair actually stood on ends whenever they start to perform and during the performance. As the mermaids power up throughout the series, their song will also change to a different tune (probably bored of the old one and to show new power means new outfit means new song).
 
So do the song really hurt? I mean it doesn’t sound that bad, right? They didn’t go off pitched nor their voices are really hoarse. Why, they could be Star Idols of the undersea world. So what is it that makes the baddies cringe everytime they hear their beautiful melody? I have a theory. Remember how kids these days love punk, rock, rap and techno music? How they all would go into some trance when the music is played? Now imagine, if those kids’ parents were to play golden oldies in their presence, what would be their first reaction? You got that right. It’s not to their taste. So same principal here. It just make the ‘victim’ want to go away somewhere else.
 
Later on, Gai employs the Black Beauty Sisters to help him in his quest to retrieve the magic pearls after several failed attempts from The Dark Lovers. The duo seems a little yuri and they can do a performance to let our mermaid heroines have a taste of their own medicine on what it’s like to be on the receiving end. Yeah, more recycled bits here and I can’t belive they’re both ahem ahem with each other while performing. Though they have their own brand of song, in the end, it’s our heroines who triumph over this minor singing setback. The Black Beauty Sisters don’t really get along well with The Dark Lovers as they’re always competing with the latter thinking the former will replace them and get Gai’s favours. Well, if you can’t do the job, you’re out. I wonder why Gai still have them around. Maybe he’s got an ulterior motive?
 
So most of the episodes follow this some sort of pattern. You have the mermaid princess facing a particular problem or doing something, then the baddies come and try to cause a stir, they transform and perform, win, baddies run away and in the end, all’s well ends well. Yeah, your feel good kinda show. Well, at least for the episodes that I caught.
 
Some filler episodes like Lucia and co going on a school field trip to an island whereby there’s a legend about some buried treasure said to grant anyone’s desired wish (as expected Lucia went on a treasure hunt to find it), the gang throwing a birthday party for Lucia, Lucia asking for Kaito’s help in her studies for her exam (I suppose it’s another way of getting close to that guy), a visit to a haunted house, receiving a mysterious message in a bottle and trying to find its author, Lucia starring in a class play alongside Kaito who has to step in for the injured lead guy, Lucia avoiding Kaito because she dreams of him being mad at her, a dream about the 3 mermaid princesses having some career in show business, Lucia and co trying to stop Nikora from accepting some guy’s proposal in marriage (of course Nikora turns it down herself after some thought), and a skiing trip being cancelled due to a blizzard but at the same time causes Lucia to go missing. Then there’s an episode whereby Hippo falls in love with 1 of The Dark Lovers, Yuuri, and it felt a little like Romeo and Juliet but it didn’t go as far as they had to kil themselves (I suppose just maintaining a ‘long distance’ relationship. Hehe).
 
Also later on, the trio mermaid heroines get another ally on their side when they enter some beauty contest. She is Karen and is also 1 of the mermaid princess of the seven oceans. Well, not to really say that she joins them or be with them 24/7. At times when of need, they’ll band together to ward of the evil ones. Or else, she’s more like a loner who prefers to keep her distance from the other mermaids.
 
If you notice how Gai and Kaito have that uncanny resemblance, that’s because later on you’ll find out that they’re both related. During the series, whenever Lucia is in trouble, Kaito unknowingly can unleash some super power through his forehead. But after that he collapses and has no recollection of whatsoever. So what is Kaito’s connection with Gai? Kaito is Gai’s twin brother. Something like they’ve been separated at birth bla bla bla so Gai thinks Kaito’s part of him and wants him to get himself out of this darkness bla bla bla and for world domination yada yada yada. So a little flashback and how Kaito slowly regains his memories and in a way, realizes that Lucia is a mermaid. Well, there’s previously an episode whereby Gai disguises himself as Kaito to find out about Lucia’s feelings so I suppose the uncanny resemblance did a little trick there.
 
Though I didn’t really sit through and watch the last few episodes thoroughly, but at least it was enough for me to understand what was happening. At the same time, The Dark Lovers and Black Beauty Sisters has been ‘disposed off’, meaning they’re useless to Gai as you can see them just hanging around. I remember Gai turned back those Black Beauty Sisters into those ugly fishes they were when they were losing to the memaids. It seems that they were pleading for Gai to help them from afar but since Gai’s busy trying to control Kaito, he decides that they were too noisy and just shut them up. Wrong timing, I’d say. 
 
Also, Gai seems to have in his clutches the other mermaid princess, so Lucia and her 3 other pals decide to storm Gai’s undersea castle to rescue them. Though they manage to free the prisoners, however 1 of the mermaid princess, Sara, seems to be siding with Gai. Sara’s got this guy Taro Mitsuki, who is Lucia’s music teacher and the guy Hanon has a crush on, under her spell and hypnotizing the gang with his piano play. Yeah, it’s another complicated relationship too because this Mitsuki guy too saw a mermaid before and wants to know her identity. I’ll leave it just there. Gai knows that with only 6 mermaid princesses, their powers won’t be optimum. No choice, though. The 6 mermaids reluctantly have to face 1 of their own. Talk talk talk, sing sing sing eventually good triumphs over evil.
 
Kaito tries to persuade Gai to come with them as the castle is crumbling but I guess Gai wants to be like a captain and go down with the ship. If that’s what he has made up his mind with, I suppose they have no choice but to let him be as the rest flee the castle. However, as Gai is sitting lonely in his throne, he gets a surprise. It seems Sara decides to go back and be with him forever and whenever. Not only that even The Dark Lovers too. Sad to see them going down but in a way, Gai won’t be a lonely person anymore. Back ashore the last scene shows Kaito and Lucia kissing to the sunset in the background.
 
I guess that’s enough mermaid story for me. However it doesn’t really end there. Yup, that was just the first season, which has 52 episodes. The second season is called Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pure has additional 39 episodes so the whole series has a total of 91 episodes. New villains new stuffs but generally the same storyline and plot. If you really like this kind of shows then you would want to check it out or else like me, I’m not planning on continuing. Besides, there’re several video game on it and I’m curious how the gameplay is like. Would it be like those music games or something?
 
During the series, I find that there are some inconsistent moments. For example, Gai loves to drink wine in his dark undersea castle. I mean, it doesn’t seem like the castle is air tight or what so drinking wine under the ocean, wouldn’t that dillute the wine already? Also there are cases where the wine or some other drink is spilled on the ground of the sea floor and it’s like as though it’s spilled on land. Furthermore, shouldn’t the ocean have all those little particles floating. But I guess if they made those, then you wouldn’t see things so clearly, would you? And what about their hair and clothes which don’t seem to move or wave with the undersea currents? Ah, I shouldn’t be so petty about the details. It takes the fun and enjoyment out of it.
 
The art, drawing and animation seems pretty okay and as mentioned, it feels like the show is to appeal to teenage girls. It’s like Han Anderson’s fairytale given an anime makeover. Using music seems like a different way to battle opponents as compared to your usual hand-to-hand or weapon combat or even casting extravagant magical spells. Maybe we should try doing this method in the real world. Perhaps not. So an encore anyone? No please, I had enough already thank you.
 
Mermaid Melody

Jigoku Shoujo

December 15, 2007

I’m sure we all have someone whom we hate. How we wish that someone would just die and go straight down to hell. Don’t worry, you could just do that in Jigoku Shoujo. All you have to do is wait right at the stroke of midnight and have an internet connection so that you could access the Jigoku Tsuushin (Hell’s Portal or Website) and enter the name of the person you would like to send to hell. Seems easy, right? Plus it’s all just at your fingertips and you don’t have to do anything elaborate.
 
At first, I was reluctant to watch the series because it’s more of a supernatural genre and it isn’t a comedy one. As usual, the write-up on the series was so darn good so much so that it was enough to made me curious to watch it. And I was glad I did as it didn’t disappoint. Most people would classify this series as a horror flick but to me it’s more supernatural because I notice that the main villains here aren’t the ones who send people to hell, but the ordinary mortals called human beings themselves. There’s a devil in all of us. Plus, unlike most horror genres, there aren’t really any scenes which would suddenly appear intentionally to scare and raise your heartbeat level.
 
There are 26 episodes in this series and it is interesting to see what kind of grudges, vengeances and hatred the human kind has against another. Some I felt were very pitiful and were really forced into it as they’re being pushed to a corner while some were so pathetic that it made me go "Like this also can send people to hell ah?". In short, human’s hatred is limitless and they could get really creative if they wanted to.
 
Before that let’s meet the team who makes people’s ‘dream’ (or nightmare, depending how you look at it) come true. The head of the group is Enma Ai, who looks like a school girl and with her pale skin and red eyes, one might become frightful at first sight of her. She doesn’t really speak much unless necessary. The rest of the team includes a young man Ichimoku Ren who has a third eye to see things, a beautiful woman in kimono Hone Onna whose name literally means bone woman and in a certain light, you could really see that she’s made out of bones. Then an old man named Wanyuudou who acts as Enma’s chariot of fire whenever she goes to fulfill requests of her client. Also, Wanyuudou turns into a straw doll with a red string (which is his red scarf) so that Enma could give it to her client if he/she ever intents to exact his/her revenge.
 
So how does this sending of people to hell work? Usually, immediately after one sends the name of the intended victim (better hurry because the webpage will only be available at exactly midnight. So you’ve got to decide and do in 60 seconds), Enma Ai will appear and give the client the straw doll. In each episode, you’ll notice that they say the same lines so much so I can nearly anticipate what they say everytime. It won’t get boring after a while because the producers will try various ways to ‘present’ them. This is what Enma says to her client after giving the straw doll.
 
"In order to eliminate your antagonist, you must untie that red string. However, if you untie the red string you’ll enter into a contract with me. If I deliver your vengeance, I must have you make a restitution for me. Your soul will fall into the pits of hell, left wandering without the possibility of ever knowing paradise. But that is only after you die".
 
Doesn’t sound like a good deal to the client, right? It may seem longwinded but Enma’s spelling out the terms and conditions of the contract so that her clients could really think over and know what they’re getting in to. See, she’s not the bad guy. Most of them would ask back why do they have to go to hell too. This is Enma’s answer: "When one is cursed, two graves are dug". Reminds you of Aesop’s fables Jupiter And The Bee, doesn’t it? Yeah, one bad deed deserves another. "And the rest is up to you to decide" is Enma’s closing words.
 
Having hear all of this, you may think the client will have second thoughts about not pulling the string. Unfortunately, they always do in the end and partly because it won’t be entertaining if majority of them won’t. Once the red string is pulled, a gust of wind will blow the straw doll away as Wanyuudou will say "I hear and deliver your vengeance". Then Enma and co will be on their way to deliver the vengeance by giving the victim a terrifying experience. Though it’s intended to make the victim confess their sins and wrongdoings, I feel that the later episodes, they just skip this part. So if one confesses, would the victim avoid going to hell? Not sure. But usually, the victim is stubborn and still thinks his/her actions are right. With that, Enma says another trademark (recycled) line.
 
"O pitiful shadow cloaked in darkness. Thy actions caused men pain and suffering. Thy hollow soul drown in thy sins. Would you like to see what death is like?".
 
Enma will stretch out her right hand and the flowers on her kimono will start coming out to the sound of a bell. The next thing the victim knows, he/she is lying on a slow little boat to hell. Some is in shock, some just accept it. While Enma rows the boat into hell, she’ll say "I’ll carry this vengeance to hell". Back on Earth, the client experiences peaceful days without his/her antagonist but a black round mark is always seen on his/her chest as prove that he/she has entered the contract. But I suppose they have no time to worry when they’ll die and go to hell and will go on living the rest of their pitiful lives happily. In every episode, the final scene will show a lited up candle with the client’s name and Enma saying "I will exact your vengeance". The candle is supposed to represent the client’s life and when it goes out, so does the client’s life.
 
Each of the episode follows this pattern. We’re introduced to someone who is being antagonised by another in some situation, he/she contacts Jigoku Tsuushin and gets the straw doll. Some need a little time to think it over while others have no qualm about pulling it straight away. Enma and co goes into action, victim sent to hell and a somewhat happy but sombre mood ends it all for the client. You can take a guess even at the next episode preview which is narrated by Wanyuudou asking the next client’s name, his/her vengeance, his/her wish (the client always say "Send him/her to hell) and finally "I hear and exact your revenge".
 
While Enma and co aren’t exacting other people’s revenge, they would be stationed at some place whereby it’s always sunset among the valley and streams with lush greeneries and flowers. I’m not sure what they really do in that hut but there seems to be an old woman (let’s call her Grannie) always spinning a wheel behind a paper door. You’ll never get to see her face, only her shadowy outline, as she sometimes make a conversation with only Enma. Meanwhile Enma is seen doing things to kill time like soaking in the stream or eating the berries off the bushes. And there’s a mysterious spider whom everyone tries not to talk or say more than they should when it’s around. Yeah, there’s a computer in the hut and whenever there’s a request, Grannie will inform Enma about it and prepares her kimono for her job. Since some of the clients need time to think over before they pull the string, Enma and co would disguise themselves and undergo some sort of an investigation work. I later find out that this is to see whether they should accept or reject a client’s request based on their heart. Something like that. It got me thinking, in later episodes for some requests that they should’ve turned down, why didn’t they do so.
 
In order not for each episode to be a total bore or monotonous, the producers also presented the episodes in a different manner such as being told through a flashback or the opening scene shows how the victim goes to hell first then the story is then told how it all ended up like this. Even some of the way they show Enma conducting her terrifying experience on the victims are quite creatively done. After watching the entire series, I still find the first episode to be the most pitiful and best one. What a perfect way to start things. It tells of a school girl Mayumi who is entrusted with a large sum of class funds. But the fund went missing and she is in a panic. An obnoxious and b*tchy classmate, Ayu, who is actually the one who stole the money, ‘rescues’ Mayumi by using her own money to cover up. So in order for Mayumi to be grateful, she has to become Ayu’s ‘dog’. Mayumi has to do every of her bidding or else Ayu will spill the beans that she lost the funds. So much so, Mayumi has to go and meet her fancies as to when the latter likes. And there’s 1 time whereby Mayumi was forced into compensate dating, only to later find Ayu and her friends have taken a photo of her in such situation with her handphone. As usual Ayu threatens and blackmail her. Mayumi has no choice but to obey and keep quiet even if it incurs the wrath of her parents and teachers. Then Mayumi reaches her limit when that pic circulates and her teacher knows about it and even changed his perspective of her. Why, that poor girl didn’t even do anything wrong or against Ayu! Why that sadistic #&*$#&^ b*tch! Mayumi could no longer take it and pulls the string (earlier on she did contact Jigoku Tsuushin when she overheard rumours about it but hesitates to use it). As Ayu goes straight to hell, Mayumi’s at least glad that the b*tch won’t be around to torment her further.
 
Episode 2 is the second most pitiful and saddening episode. It’s about a girl Ryouko who’s been terrified because there’s some stalker who’s stalking her with weird gifts like dead insects. She’s very very emotionally broken down, traumatised, very afraid and it’s pitiful to see her parents trying their best to defend her from that unknown stalker. Her dad enlists the help of a detective who reveals that the stalker may be his young partner and advices him to pretend that everything is normal as not to arouse his suspicions. The ending was an unexpected for me because it’s revealed that the true stalker is the detective himself! Didn’t see that one coming. He even went great lengths to frame his younger detective and even killed him! Just when the detective is about to lay his hands on Ryouko, she finds the strength to pull the red string and sends the detective straight to hell. He deserves it. I’m sure Ryouko can breath easier now after all that terrifying ride she’s been through.
 
I somehow felt the rest wasn’t as good as the first two but nevertheless they’re still good to watch. Perhaps I’ve come to expect the same kind of intensity by then. Like episode 3, a school baseball club member sends his rising star comrade to hell when the latter’s responsible for his friend’s death but everyone blames him for it, episode 4 a little girl does the same to a vet doctor because he lied to her about unable to save her pet dog when he’s just attending more important things and pet lives aren’t that important to him, episode 5 a lady employee sends her cocky corporate lady boss there as the latter thinks life is like a game as she uses her to do her biddings, episode 6 a high school girl gets rid of a b*tchy woman (who’s also the head of the housewives committee) because her mom saw her committing adultery and ever since then her family is shunned and bullied, episode 7 a young upcoming actress decides to send her employer to hell because she chose another girl instead of her but before she could pull the string, the other chosen girl whom she has ‘taken care of’ exacts her revenge first and sends that ungrateful young lady to her doom.
 
By episode 8, Enma’s activities has gained the attention of a journalist named Hajime Shibata. This guy seems to be blackmailing celebrities and gets his ‘income’ by nicely ‘threatening’ to reveal their scandal. But he isn’t a bad guy. Though he has heard of rumours about people sending others to hell, he isn’t really interested at first but soon find out that the rumours are true. Not only that, Hajime’s daughter, Tsugumi, sometimes have visions of Enma and the next victim. Yeah, she goes into some sort trance. Scary for a little kid to see such things. Luckily Tsugumi stays strong. Other than that, Tsugumi’s a cute little girl whom you’d feel like pinching her cheeks and I find it a weird habit that she calls her dad by his first name. Is it the trend today these kids? Because of Hajime’s strong opinion that sending people to hell is wrong no matter what the reason, most of the subsequent episodes sees the father-daughter pair in a race against time trying to reach (Tsugumi can see where the string pulling incident takes place through her visions) and convince the client not to pull the string. Would they listen? Either they’re too late or the client is too stubborn and as a result, their efforts are futile. Because of that, Wanyuudou, Ren and Hone are cautious and wary whenever Hajime is involved. They don’t like the idea someone else butting into their job. So like in this episode, Hajime didn’t manage to stop a lady who sent her best friend’s boyfriend to hell because she thinks that it’s his fault that her best pal is hospitalized due to his abusive ways.
 
The rest that follows seem the same too. In episode 9, one of the sisters decides to send some celebrity baker to hell because not only he stole some cake creation of theirs but he’s causing them problems which will crush their dream like shutting down their store. Episode 10, a young school girl Minami wanted to send her best buddy Shiori to hell because the former thought that the latter ditched her to be with the more ‘in’ group of friends but when Shiori got betrayed, realized and come back to her, during a struggle due to Shiori’s curiosity of Minami’s straw doll, she accidentally unties the string. With that Minami hopes to become her friend when she meets her in hell. Episode 11, a guy sends some chief editor to hell because the latter ruined his family with some accusation article of his. Episode 12 a school girl sends her teacher she has a crush on to hell to end his misery and acknowledges the fact that she’ll go be with him in hell when her time comes. Hajime goes to interview an old client of Jigoku Tsuushin in episode 13 and though he’s old, he tells Hajime about his grudge and revenge back when he was young (back then it was through newspapers. Oh even Jigoku Shoujo changes through time and technology). Hajime saw a large painting of his which is a portray of Enma. Soon that old guy dies and we see the painting weep. He’s happy to see Enma still her same old (young rather) beautiful self as he rides the boat to hell.
 
Episode 14 a young girl Saki decides to send the town mayor to hell because though he looks like a caring person upfront but has ties with the underworld and is responsible for her dad’s death. Episode 15 a girl named Mina sends her aunt to hell after she discovers that she’s responsible for her mom’s death and her corpse is hidden in some cellar, whom Mina was always told that she committed suicide after getting pregnant and dumped by her boyfriend. Episode 16 is about a pair of circus twins who really look alike, Yumi and Yuki, so much so I can’t really tell them apart except when they dressed differently. However, one of them is always abused and the other always in favour by the ring master. Hajime thinks that the abused twin is gonna send the ring master to hell but her intended victim is her other twin. With her twin gone, the abused one becomes the ring master’s favourite gal. See, he can’t tell the difference too right?
 
Episode 18 a young girl Miki is held ‘hostage’ by a cruel woman Meiko because Miki’s dog accidentally injures her. Meiko plays on Miki’s conscious by holding her dog as a hostage and tells her to do all her bidding or else she’ll kill her dog. Though Meiko killed the dog, Miki eventually snaps and decide to send her to hell because Meiko killed the new born puppies! That woman’s a sicko. Even when the police arrived to arrest her, she thinks that they or anybody else is out to steal her whatever fortune. She deserves it badly. Episode 19, a young bride sends her doll maker mother in law to hell because the latter thinks that she’s just a doll but just when she thinks her troubles are over, to her horror that her husband-to-be too shares the same view as his mother. Episode 21, Hajime and Tsugumi visits the latter’s friend Yuuko who intends to send her dad’s best friend Ryousuke, who’s a con man, to the other world because of him, their life was a miserable one and her dad passed away in misery. Though Hajime and Tsugumi manages to persuade Yuuko not to exact her revenge, but the end scenes show Yuuko in her new orphanage home and an accessible computer. Oh well, I guess viewers could imagine themselves from there. Episode 22 a man sends his lover to hell because she didn’t love him for himself but for his money. This episode is also the death anniversary of Hajime’s wife Ayumi and we could see some tension between Hajime and Tsugumi arising. Throughout the series, Tsugumi’s perception of Enma’s doing gradually changes and differs opposingly from Hajime because she thinks it’s right to send bad people to hell to end innocent people’s misery.
 
There are some requests that Enma turns down like in episode 17 whereby the client is actually a spirit of an abandoned doll who thinks that she’s a real life child. She’s so lonely that she wants Hajime and Tsugumi to forever stay at this place. But in the end, it’s all just an illusion as she eventually turns into dust. Maybe Enma prefers human souls. If there’s a Jigoku Shoujo, then there has to be a Jigoku Shonen, right? That’s what episode 20 is. Now this Hell Boy has no relation with the one from the American comic book Homo Sapiens. I don’t really remember but this guy wants to do battle with Enma and draws her out by making some comical actor to access the Jigoku Tsuushin. When Enma appears, he gives Enma a sound beating while he bounds her team as they watch helplessly. Why doesn’t Enma fight back? Anyway, that comical actor unties the string because he’s always bullying and taking advantage of him and thinks that he’ll eventually kill him. With that, Enma kicks into high gear and sends that dracula-like guy back to hell. So why is he called Hell Boy? He did mentioned that he went to hell and escaped from it once. So why is he so afraid of going back there when Enma does her thing? Dunno. But he said to wait because he’ll be back in the future and will make his escape once again. Don’t worry, you’ll never hear of him anymore. Besides, this Hell Boy did bring up some old vague memories of Enma’s past, which will play a significant role at the series’ end.
 
Episode 23 is the most heart wrenching one that it made my heart sank. Hajime investigates and tries to persuade an old man from sending a kind nurse to hell because he blames her for his wife’s demise. It’s not the nurse’s fault and it’s due to the circumstances that time. He’s really full of anger and wants revenge. The nurse on the other hand is really innocent but Tsugumi has visions of her being sent to hell. In the end, that old man reveals that he isn’t tech savvy and doesn’t know how to use a computer. So who send that nurse to hell? Some random dirty looking drug addict! What the? Does he even know her? Why did he do it? For thrill for fun? How did he know her name? Was he under that old man’s orders? Dunno. I felt really pitiful because the nurse didn’t know what hit her and when she realized that she’s going to hell, she pleaded for Enma to turn around the boat. I don’t know why Enma didn’t turn down the request in the first place. Enma’s comrades did notice how her heart is wavering after this.
 
Episode 24-26 is Enma’s flashback and how she came to be. It also tells the connection of Hajime and Tsugumi with Enma. Long ago when Enma was a mortal, it seems that she’s just not an ordinary mortal. She has some powers. Because of that, the villagers feared her and treated her differently. They finally decided to get rid of her as a sacrifice to the Gods when their crops are dying and blames it on her. However a young boy Sentarou was against all this and tried to protect her but he could only do so much. So on the day Enma was supposed to be sacrificed, Sentarou faked her death. After that, Enma is seen living alone in the woods and Sentarou comes to play with her every night. However, the villagers soon discover that Enma is alive because their fortunes did not turn as they followed Sentarou one night. In a rage, the villagers killed Enma’s family and buried her alive. Enma is in fear and pleads for Sentarou to help but in her final vision, she saw him running away. That’s when all her respect, believe and love for him went down the drain. Sentarou bowed to the villager’s pressure to bury her but eventually ran away. In actual fact, Sentarou didn’t run away because he was a chicken but he’s saddened that he couldn’t do anything to save her. While the villagers took over to bury Enma, in her rage, she burns down the entire village with her powers. Only Sentarou survived because he wasn’t there when it happened.
 
So what is Sentarou’s connection with Hajime? Hajime is actually a descendant of Sentarou! Enma finds out about this when the father and daughter visited some shrine, supposedly where the sacrifice took place ages ago. For the first time, Enma shows her angry side, otherwise, she’s quite expressionless. She’s gonna take her revenge on them and kill them (after showing her the flashback of course) as her comrades try to stop her. Though she failed at first attempt (that spider’s rowing the boat with Enma on it to hell. What a funny sight), Enma manages to escape and is gonna get her revenge her way. She gives Tsugumi a straw doll. Holy cow. Tsugumi didn’t even access the website. Enma is desperate. Will Tsugumi pull the string. Enma shows Tsugumi a vision how her mom died and show it was Hajime’s fault. While Ayumi’s alive, she was having an affair with a politician Hajime was spying on. Well, since Hajime is a workaholic, Ayumi felt lonely. After Hajime found this out, he throws Ayumi out of the house and forbade her from seeing Tsugumi even though she regretted her actions. However, Ayumi soon got into a car accident near Hajime’s home and dies.
 
After witnessing this, Tsugumi is confused. Enma is telling her to pull the string. Pull the sting. Pull the string. However, Tsugumi decides not to pull the string because even so, he loves her dad very much. Just like how Hajime loves Ayumi and regrets that he should’ve forgave her earlier and that the accident wouldn’t have taken place. It’s quite heart wrenching to see Hajime and Tsugumi hugging and forgiving each other in tears. In return, Tsugumi tells Enma that Sentarou’s love for her was also real even though he made a mistake. Hajime pleads to Enma to let them go and in return he’ll stop investigating or interfering with them. Enma burns down that shrine in her rage. After that, she goes back to her usual place with her team while Hajime and Tsugumi start their life together anew. So is Enma forgiven? I suppose so. That’s because it ends with yet another client and another job for Enma and co. Somebody’s got to do the job.
 
It doesn’t end there as there’s a 2nd season called Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori with 26 more episodes of human vengeance. Though viewers can expect generally the same thing but the 2nd season springs a few differences and surprises. For instance, Wanyuudou doesn’t have the sole honour of becoming the straw doll as Ren and Hone too take turns. Even the next episode preview is narrated by several other characters. The team also does more investigations and sometimes get a little ‘attached’. Also, when Enma sends her victims to hell, she’ll stretch out both arms to unleash a flurry of sakura petals. There’s a new enigmatic and mysterious little girl called Kikuri. I’m not sure what her real role is throughout the series but don’t be fooled by her looks. She’s actually a mischievous naughty little kid who enjoys creating little problems for others. It’s like fun to her. Even Enma’s comrades aren’t too fond of her, just tolerating her childish ways. Yeah, the feeling’s mutual too. Kikuri like he always call Wanyuudou baldy and Hone and old aunty. She can appear and pop out just about anywhere either back at Enma’s sunset place or the real world. By the way, Hajime and Tsugumi won’t be appearing as main characters anymore but will make a one-off appearance in a later episode.
 
We also learn from the start of the 2nd season is that Enma is doing such a job as a punishment for burning down her village. Thus, her loved ones are being held as ‘captives’. In a way, by ferrying people to hell, this keeps Enma herself from going to hell. Ironic.
 
Another surprise in the 2nd season is that the next client in the next episode preview doesn’t necessarily end up pulling the string but somebody else. It’s quite refreshing. Like episode 5 whereby some geek is always getting bullied by some stupid gangster, Leon. The geek contacts Jigoku Tsuushin but finds out that Leon has a crush on a school girl. Unfortunately, that Leon’s gangster boss is gonna teach him a lesson not by only beating him up but steal that girl he loves. Thus Leon enlist the help of that geek for revenge. Leon pulls the string to send him to hell but it’s a shortlived one. That’s because soon after that in his happiness, Leon gets into a bike accident. And what goes around comes around. Everybody watches him bleed to death as he lies there pathetically asking for help. Wow. Only after 1 day, he’s gone. He’ll be meeting his boss sooner than he thinks. If you pay attention, the candle scene at the end shows his light going out.
 
The same case in episode 5 whereby a chubby kid, Souta is like the loser kind. He likes a girl, Kiwako, but because she likes someone else, he doesn’t say a thing and prefers to watch from behind. It’s like if she’s happy, I’m okay with it. Souta one day finds out that Kiwako’s boyfriend is the bad type and is in a dilemma on whether or not to contact the Jigoku Tsuushin to send this @$$hole to hell. But it seems Enma rejects his requests. Then 1 day Souta is in the infirmary with Kiwako as she shows him the mark on her chest. To his horror, Souta concluded that she must’ve sent her boyfriend to hell (because he his buddies drugged and gang raped her during their date. @(*#@!). Souta then decides to go to hell himself as he is seen preparing to stab Kiwako’s boyfriend buddies at their meeting place. Looks like there are several ways to go to hell.
 
Also this season explores how Enma gathered her 3 comrades and their past. Like episode 12 whereby a truck driver wants revenge because of an old man’s stubbornness not to relocate his house at a dangerous cliff bend resulting in the death of his brother previously. But he didn’t get to pull the string because the old man passed away just in time. In a way, the driver’s safe and realizes that old man’s intention. This road brings back memories to Wanyuudou because it was the road he was fleeing and protecting a princess but failed to do so as the princess’s carriage perishes. Also on Wanyuudou’s past in episode 19 whereby history repeats itself on a descendant of a victim of the hotspring inn owner sent the present hotspring owner’s descendant to hell. It’s an episode whereby Wanyuudou is seen as some large chariot fire on wheels. Enma offers to take him in as Wanyuudou gets to see Enma’s job and by the end of it, he agrees to be Enma’s chariot. It does bring back memories for Wanyuudou, huh. Same hotspring spot, same grudges, same aftermath. Humans never really changed.
 
Hone’s flashback is in episode 21 whereby she becomes a prostitute because she was betrayed by her lover to pay off his debts. At the brothel, she befriended another prostitute, Kiyo, and plans to escape. However, she got betrayed once more and was killed and her body dumped at a nearby river. It was when Enma came to pick her up. In present time, I’m not sure what’s happening because the ghost of Kiyo possessed some pregnant woman to send her no good boyfriend to hell, then disappears. Huh? Ren’s past is in episode 17 whereby he’s actually a spirit of a samurai sword and has witnessed countless murders. He was abandoned after some great battle and that was when Enma came to retrieve him. In present time, a girl named Nene plans to send her mom to hell. Some family problem thing. Thing is, Ren wanted to interfere but was prevented by Wanyuudou. It seems Nene’s mom did use the Jigoku Tsuushin to send her abusive husband to hell to protect them both. Though Nene is stubborn, she eventually realizes everything. Though Nene didn’t pull the string, her mom jumped off the bridge herself. Oh the horror. Ren stops Nene before she follows her mom down. Oh humans, they’re all so pitiful.
 
The other episodes could pretty much follow the same flow with more human grudges to be seen. Like episode 1, a school girl sends her mad teacher to hell because the teacher enjoys conducting weird experiments on her but in the end she finds out that her best friend may also be her accomplice and could’ve have a hand in it. Episode 2 about a family desperately looking for a missing daughter by distributing leaflets but Enma and co knows that girl is already dead and her soul is wandering aimlessly. They tell her living sis Yayoi about it and she gets her revenge by sending the murderer to hell. I don’t believe I remember the criminal’s name nor was it ever revealed. How did she know his name? Anyway even after that, Yayoi and her family continues to look for the missing child but at least Yayoi does it with more enthusiasm now even though she knows her sis is already gone. Episode 3 about a girl Tae who loves her childhood friend Kei so much that she rather stay behind and watch Kei be happy with his girlfriend Yumie. Eventually Tae realizes that Yumie is cheating on Kei and that she’s just loving him out of pity, Tae pulls the string (Yeah, Kei accidentally fall to his death when he had a chat with Tae about love, life. I think they ‘did it’). I don’t know but it seems Tae moved to another place and there’s a boy which looks so much like Kei. Episode 4, a man named Shuuichi needed money as his wife’s at hospital so he joined some host club. Unfortunately that host club head, Shouki, killed another member and made Shuuichi an accomplice. Thus he blackmails him. Shuuichi eventually has had enough and sends Shouki to hell because the latter 1 day came to the hospital room and told his wife that he killed a man. But when Shuuichi thought everything will be fine after that, his wife doesn’t recognize him but asking about their daughter (Kikuri, who’s been fooling around. They had no daughter).
 
Episode 7 about a girl Megumi who has a really psycho mom. She’s the kind who love her son so much so that when he died in a bike accident, she went berserk, going to the media and demanding a shrine being built at the place where her son died, etc. Sick. It’s revealed that even her son isn’t too fond of her mom because it ‘restricts’ him. Could no longer tolerate her mom’s strange behaviour, Megumi pulls the string. Yeah, her mom is still insane on the boat to hell. A fake Jigoku Tsuushin in episode 8? A student Nonohara tries to access it but fails. Ren finds out she wants to send to hell an elderly teacher Shouko Baba, who puts heavy make-up, as she’s said to be cold and heartless with students. Then it’s revealed that a teacher Kuriyama is using Nonohara for her revenge against Baba. It’s a little complicated so I’ll keep it short, back when Kuriyama’s a student, she didn’t like the way Baba treated her and decides to send her to hell but chickens out when she finds out that she has to go to hell too. She thinks she deserves to go to heaven. In present time, after much drama and such, eventually Baba accesses the website and sends Kuriyama to hell. All right in front of her eyes. Baba is willing to go to hell for making a monster out of her. Well, as for Kuriyama, she’s in shock why did she have to go to hell. Remember, when 1 is cursed, 2 graves are dug. Episode 9 sees a pair of siblings Maho and Mikio. Mikio’s not only a pretty model guy but he cross-dresses too. Mikio loves his sis so much that whenever Maho got a new boyfriend, Mikio will cross-dress and steal them away! What the? I can’t believe those losers would actually ditch Maho for some cross-dressing jerk. Yeah, he does look pretty in that too. Maho knows this and it has been going on for some time. In the end, Maho sends Mikio to hell because she loves him too. What a weird love. Well, love is indeed weird.
 
Episode 10 is about some bum, Tetsuro, who lives off a couple of woman albeit he’s more like a useless person than a violent parasite. Hone even joins in to make it a threesome. It’s a little comical here. But in the end when Tetsuro goes to hell, he thinks that it’s okay since it’s 1 of the woman who sent him there. But to his surprise, Enma tells him it’s not. The one who pulled the string is some random guy who drives a car so much like Initial D’s Toyota AE86, whom Tetsuro accidentally bumped and spilled coffee onto him. What the?! Like this also can have a grudge. I wonder how he knows his name. Episode 11 is a weird psychological one. A girl named Shizuko seems to be stalked by her mysterious neighbour, Tachibana, and has something to do with cats. I’m not sure if I understand this episode because Shizuko eventually contacts Jigoku Tsuushin to send Tachibana to hell but then it is revealed by Ren that Shizuko is Tachibana herself! Is she living in denial? Does she have a split personality? Did she send herself to hell? I dunno. Okay, so there is a real Shizuko. Once Tachibana is gone, Shizuko enters her room to find lots of pictures of cats. Probably the main reason why she’s mad at Shizuko. That stray cat Shizuko has been taking care off may be Tachibana’s.
 
Enma and co works in an oden restaurant in episode 13 to find their client Kihachi is the restaurant owner who’s wife died in an accident while her daughter is in coma. Years ago when the accident happened, there was a news report on it. While the reporter was reporting on the scene, there were 5 idiots making silly signs for attention like as though they’ve never been on tv before. Kihachi is enraged and goes on to kill them for disrespect. However, Kihachi is ill and there is just 1 more to go and he doesn’t mind going to hell by contacting Jigoku Tsuushin. When he finally does and soon surrenders, to his horror, his daughter has opened his eyes. He regrets that his daughter will now know he’s a killer. Yeah, Kikuri had a hand in waking her up. A quiet town near a lake in episode 14, sees how some tv writer Kakinuma keeps a family from moving and under his whatever schemes. The family, including their son Takuma, has been receiving threats and abuses from an unknown source. Though Takuma knows it’s Kakinuma and contacts the Jigoku Tsuushin, he gives back the straw doll. When Takuma’s dad realized that Kakinuma is behind all this and the person who killed his wife, he’s gonna confront him but Kakinuma has the upper hand. Finally the one who sent Kakinuma to hell is a woman supposedly his ex-girlfriend or what. But when the police arrived, they only find Takuma there and thinks he killed his dad, though he’s still alive and is in critical condition. Ever since then, Takuma is arrested and is called Devil Child. Well, it’s hell on Earth for him one way or another. Pitiful.
 
The elections is coming up in episode 15 and Yuriko’s dad seems to be quite involved as a campaigner for the candidate Oizumi. Yuriko’s dad is the kind where he cares about nothing except his own and would go to great lengths to achieve even if it means endangering his own daughter’s life! What kind of father is he? When Yuriko realizes all this is and contacts the Jigoku Tsuuhin, Enma turns down her request because somebody else has already requested it, her mom. Yup, her mom eventually sends him to hell. Still talking politics, isn’t he? With that, Yuriko and mom moved away and stayed out of politics for good (shouldn’t most of us too?). A woman named Ran is in a dilemma to pull the red string to send a man, Tejima, who lied to her to get some company’s info in episode 16. But Ran didn’t manage to do so. Just then an elderly woman Matsu makes a deal with Ran to beautify her so that they could get back at Tejima. Ran becomes a beauty and manages to charm and deceive Tejima (that womanizer!). They even managed to exposed him. Because of that Tejima commits suicide. Ran, being the good innocent girl is in a panic but Matsu is a total opposite and says that she’s also responsible. In the end, Matsu decides to silence Ran and manages to wound her with a knife but before Ran dies, she manages to enter Jigoku Tsuushin and send Matsu to hell so that nobody else will fall into this evil woman’s scheme. Another sad episode because soon after that, Ran too dies of her wounds.
 
Episode 18, a young lady Rina along with her dad is taking care of her gloomy and paralyzed mom. But something happened in the past which made Rina’s mom like that. At first impression, she looks like a typical pain in the ass person to take care of and only a very patient person could do so. In the end, it’s Rina’s dad who pulls the string to send her to hell because she still wouldn’t forgive him for whatever it was. A friendship turned bitter in episode 20 about Juri holding Mari ‘captive’ as the former threatens to pull the red string if she doesn’t do her bidding. This is because do to some jealousy thing and Juri’s leg got injured in the process unlike in the 1st episode of the 1st season whereby it’s for mere fun. Lots of drama to see how their friendship mended back and it seems Juri’s leg was okay all along, it was rather her heart that’s hurt. Then an accident befall on Juri and she really gets injured this time. The 2 friends are in the hospital and some touching conversation they had. Mari wants Juri to pull the red string because if they she dies, she won’t know where she’ll end up but if she pulls the string, they’ll meet in hell for sure. What kind of reasoning is this? Though Juri is reluctant, Mari pulls the string for her. Sometimes I wonder if these kids know the meaning of what they’re getting into.
 
Remember that Takuma kid back in episode 14? He’s back and this will be the major final story arc of the series, episodes 22-26. Because of lack of evidence, Takuma is released but everyone in town still thinks he’s an evil kid and tries to keep their distance. Episode 22 sees Takuma bumps into a girl Seri who seems to be the only one who don’t think he’s that Devil Child and before you know it they became friends but Takuma isn’t too fond because he thinks he’ll bring trouble to her. Anyway Seri’s returned to this place as it was once where she lived and loved. Something to do with her parents selling the house to get money so that the contractor could develop it. Oh oh, Kikuri trying to stir up some trouble, but not if Hone and co could help keep her at bay. Then some accusation from Seri to some head developer of the place saying that she’ll expose his relationship with her as a minor but in actual fact the developer didn’t have any relationship with her at all. Because of that, the developer’s wife holds a grudge. Just when Takuma gets a little comfortable with Seri’s presence, the developer’s wife pulls the red string and sends Seri to hell. Takuma finds out too late and he is alone once again. Yeah, his house is always in darkness. Saving electricity?
 
A detective comes to investigate a missing woman in episode 23 and by this time, Takuma’s reputation as Devil Child has grown so much so a vigilante is stationed outside his house to make sure he doesn’t do anything. The leader of the group Naito firmly believes that Takuma’s the 1 behind all those bad things. The detective appearance may remind you like Hajime’s case back in season 1 and he too has a younger sister, Hotaru who indirectly helps in his investigation. The detective soon finds out about Jigoku Tsuushin (when that missing woman shows up as a bruised corpse with that black mark on her chest) and is curious but unlike the rest, he doesn’t jump to conclusions. As fate would have it, Takuma and Hotaru meets and the latter too doesn’t believe that Takuma is the cause of all this and tries to investigate this all but Kikuri seems to transport Hotaru to Enma’s place. In the end, the detective heads to Takuma house and Naito and co thinks he’s here to arrest him but instead he’s just looking for his sis. Naito notes that they’ve seen a young girl entering Takuma’s house but hasn’t come out since. Fearing the worse, they barge in and confronted Takuma. Takuma says that Hotaru probably has gone home but Naito refuses to believe. Just then, Naito vanishes right in front of everyone’s eyes, scaring the wits out of everybody (2nd time for Takuma to see such things). It seems that the wife of Naito’s friend is the one sending him to hell for whatever grudge she had against him. Meanwhile Hotaru is at Enma’s hut and wonders if there’s a phone she could use to call.
 
Episode 24 is ‘funny’ in the sense that everybody in town is sending each other to hell! Wow. Everybody really hates everybody. It’s crazy. Enma and co must’ve never worked so hard before. I’ll deliver your vengeance. I’ll deliver your vengeance. I’ll deliver your vengeance. They all deserve each other. I wonder if the maximum per night to accept a request is 3 because there can only be 3 straw dolls at a time. Not only that, the clients are blaming Takuma for the victim’s disappearance. Obviously that kid is confused and terrified as he doesn’t know what to do. The detective finds several books written by Hajime about the true Jigoku Shoujo and learns about its workings. Meanwhile Kikuri shows Hotaru a jar whereby there’re several candle with names of clients who have used Jigoku Tsuushin. I dunno how long Hotaru took to find Takuma’s name but she’s convinced that Takuma’s name isn’t there. Tsugumi makes a very brief appearance at the end of the episode to tell that detective to believe in Hajime’s work (because he’s trying to find out more about Hajime and why he wrote such a book). I don’t really know the implication of this. But after that she scoots away, never to be seen again. Then Kikuri appearing before Tsugumi asking her to play with her but the latter says next time. Huh? The detective goes back to Takuma to confirm that black mark on his chest but there isn’t any. Then some angst guy Tsuyuki doesn’t believe the detective’s words that Takuma isn’t the 1 and soon a struggle ensue in which the detective saw a black mark on Tsuyuki’s chest. With that, Tsuyuki beats up the detective and thinks he’s conspiring with Takuma to kill them all while Takuma is helpless cowering in fear. Also, Hotaru has managed to get out of the place and back to the city. I wonder if Hotaru really saw Grannie’s face back there? Did she really freak out then?
 
Tsuyuki and his gang are out to kill Takuma in episode 25. By this time, Takuma and Hotaru are together and trying to run and hide from them. Eventually they’re caught and Tsuyuki plans to slowly drown them at the lake. They pleaded for them not to do so but as usual they won’t listen. The detective is still alive and shows up in time to scare them away with his single gunshot in the air and rescue the kids. But Tsuyuki hasn’t given up yet and thinks that they must take care of the detective. Since 1 of the members, Hasue, hasn’t used the Jigoku Tsuushin, Hasue gives in because he’s like a henpecked husband. Some drama and talk while the detective drives Takuma and Hotaru out of town when suddenly, the detective disappears. It looks like Hasue bowed to pressure to untie the red string to send the detective to hell. The car crashes. Not him too. Hotaru is in total shock and grieve. Hotaru then takes out her laptop and accesses the Jigoku Tsuushin and types Takuma’s name, saying that she has to send him to hell to end this craziness, which is opposite of what she said earlier on that she’ll always protect him. Oh no. Is Takuma going to hell?
 
Hotaru did send Takuma to hell in episode 26 though the latter pleads for her not to. On the boat, Takuma pleads to Enma which in a way reminded her of her own past. Back in the real world as Hotaru attempts to drown herself, Kikuri tells Wanyuudou, Hone and Ren that Takuma didn’t went to hell because Enma turned the boat around. Wow, for a change. Then Kikuri starts to change, especially her voice, and it seems she’s the Lord Of Hell (later I found out she’s just a vessel for it) and tells the trio that Enma has been released of her duties and is now a mortal! Takuma comes to in the real world with Enma lying beside him. Takuma is saddened and cries uncontrollably when he finds Hotaru’s lifeless body and decides to end it all by running away with a weak Enma trying to go after him. Tsuyuki and co are trying to find Takuma and succeeds when they saw Takuma throwing gasoline over his house (Hasue still frantically trying to get rid of the black mark so much so his chest is sore. You can’t buddy). Wanyuudou and the rest spot Enma trudging along but to their horror, she doesn’t recognize them. Wanyuudou says it’s their punishment as their ties with Enma has been severed.
 
During the struggle, Takuma drops the lighter and sets the house ablaze as Tsuyuki and the rest continues to hit Takuma until Enma appears and tells them to stop. They are shock to see her and thinks someone has requested for her and before you know it, Hasue goes crazy and starts whacking her. Wanyuudou and the rest can only watch helplessly from afar. As the gang beats up Enma, Takuma gets enough courage to yell at them to stop. With that, Enma soon passes away and a bright light glows and her body turned into sakura petals and disappeared into the air. I read and found out that with Enma’s self sacrificing act, this allowed her and her loved ones to be freed. Kikuri on the boat to hell thanks Enma for her hard work. In the end scenes, we see that before the detective’s demise, he has published some report to prove Takuma’s innocence. Takuma is seen with his recovering dad as they visit Hotaru in hospital. She isn’t dead yet, just in coma. Finally things turned for the better for Takuma. Those townspeople went missing not sure whether into hiding or to hell. Finally, Wanyuudou, Hone and Ren parted and each went their own way. Grannie is still spinning her wheel. But it ends with a cliffhanger. Because there’s a new Jigoku Shoujo as a request is seen on a girl’s handphone. Who could it be? Donno. But it’s sure that the business of avenging human grudges will never end.
 
Overall, the ending left me with mixed feelings. Though I felt good about Takuma’s change of fortunes and Enma’s freedom, I still wonder who Kikuri really is and about Wanyuudou and the rest, where did they really go since they went their own ways. Since Takuma wasn’t sent to hell, does this mean Hotaru won’t have to go to hell? And with Enma gone, will those souls designated for hell have the contract nullified? Nevertheless those townspeople got what they deserved and I’m quite disgusted with the way they think and act. The dark side of humans working at its best. And I’m pretty sure even without the Jigoku Tsuushin, humans will still find a way to carry out their revenge. So how popular is Jigoku Shoujo? Well, there’s a live action series too albeit it’s only 12 episodes.
 
Besides the series touching on human grudges, it also makes you ponder about the afterlife especially hell. I’m still wondering if those clients who accessed the Jigoku Tsuushin have really any idea about eternal pain and suffering. Do they ever stop to think that their current situation won’t be as bad a million times compared to the situation they’ll be in in the afterlife? Instant and immediate gratification comes to mind. Typical. Humans always want instant results, the ‘have it now’ factor and think about the consequences later. Yeah, why not for the hell of it.
 
There seems to be something about the drawing, art and animation which makes it unique. I mean, that if I ever see this kind of drawing, my first impression is that it has to be from this series. Though, some of the lesser characters in a way look the same. Also, at times the scenes may be a little too dark. I need to mention something about the episode title screen. It’s so bloody ‘cakar ayam’ (doodly) that I can’t even read it. Actually, it’s written in red-blooded kanji and I can’t read kanji ;P. Even so, the writing is so ‘fanciful’ that one has to be very proficient in Japanese to actually read it. They seem like just lines to me. Even the subbers tried to follow its writing.
 
Of all the opening and ending themes of both seasons, I still like the opening of the 1st season, Sakasama No Chou, the best. Both the openings as with the 2nd season opening, NightmaRe (not a typo error), is sung by SNoW (also no typo error here). The ending themes Karinui (1st season ending) and Aizome (2nd season ending) are sung by Mamiko Noto who is the voice of Enma. The song starts out with a nice slow melodic tune but when she starts to open her mouth and sing, it send shivers down my spine. No, her singing isn’t horrible, but rather it sounded like a ghost/spirit. And with Enma’s ‘scary’ voice, you know lah. So I always quickly skip this part. Basically the song is about pain and suffering which fits the show well. There are several background music in the series and most of them gives you that eerie and gloomy feel.
 
As mentioned, Mamiko Noto voices Enma and is also famed in other roles like Yakumo of School Rumble, Ana of Ichigo Mashimaro and Hecate of Shakugan No Shana. You may recognize Wanyuudou’s voice actor Takayuki Sugo as Zangetsu of Bleach and Ren’s voice actor Masaya Matsukaze from Ouran High School Host Club’s Kyoya. Takako Honda voices Hone who also does Catherina of Trinity Blood and Junko of Nana. Tsugumi is voiced by Nana Mizuki who also did Oboro of Basilisk and Fate of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha. Since there are new characters in nearly every episode, the cast list is a long one, though there are some who voice several characters in different episodes. You can’t tell the difference, right? There are even famous seiyuus lending their voice for a small part like Akemi Kanda (Asuna of Mahou Sensei Negima) and Junko Minagawa (Ryoma of Prince Of Tennis).
 
I don’t mean to sound a sexist but I kinda noticed that in the 1st season, a large majority of the clients who pulled the red string are females. Hold it. Before you girls start calling me a male chauvinist pig, doesn’t it show that mostly females are often bullied and pushed to a corner? It’s like the only way out since they’re not the violent kind. Having said so, perhaps guys would likely let their fist do the talking. I’m still not anti-female okay. In the 2nd season, the client gender thingy is more balanced.
 
I browsed over the internet and actually came across a Jigoku Tsuushin! Of course I know it’s fake but better not play play. I don’t want some pale faced Jigoku Shoujo standing right next to me or being whisked away to that sunset world. With this I have a few questions in mind. Firstly, can a client request for a contract a 2nd time? I mean, all the while we’ve seen them as 1 time users. Maybe they’ll get rejected. Secondly, if one adjusts the clock on his/her pc to midnight, will it work? I mean, time can’t be that accurate, right? Everytime we see the stroke of midnight on the pc or wall clock, Jigoku Tsuushin is accessible. Thirdly, what if there are 2 or more people with the same name? I don’t think Enma and co are that stupid to send the wrong person to hell. Fourthly, if somebody else other than the client pulls the string, will the person who pull the string be the one to go to hell or the original client? Then again, Enma isn’t that dumb.
 
I’m glad I watched this show and after watching this show, I keep reminding myself that even if there are people that I have a grudge against, I shouldn’t resort to such things. Besides, there are better ways to solve problems. If only everyone in the world has watched this show and change for the better. But you know, what are the chances of that happening, right? Hey, I don’t mean to insult, annoy or condemn anybody. So don’t type my name and send a request via Jigoku Tsuushin, okay!

Tokyo University Story

December 14, 2007

Contrary to the name of its title, Tokyo University Story doesn’t actually take place at Tokyo University. In fact, the story takes place even before the main protagonists enter the prestigious academy. Maybe they should’ve named it some high school story but I think it’s because the main characters aim to enter Toudai, the abbreviated Japanese term for Tokyo University.
 
Though this is just an OVA with just as little as 2 episodes, I read that this is based on a long running manga of the same name. How contrasting is that? But I suppose there must be lots of teenage stories going on like love and jealousy, you know, those typical teenager stuffs. And probably why it didn’t last more than 2 episodes when they adapted this into an anime series is because there’s too many of such shows around. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Hey, I’m just telling from my own point of view.
 
Anyway this story tells of a smart kid Naoki Murakami who is in love with Haruka Mizuno. Of course the 2 became an item but somehow it went downhill from there. Not that they’re fighting or quarrelling but you get the feeling that their relationship is on the rocks and going no where. Some would say it’s a doomed romance. Since the university entrance exam is just around the corner, their relationship will face an even stiffer test if only 1 of them gets to admit into Toudai. How will they fare? Let’s find out in this love romance comedy with a little ecchiness.
 
Episode 1
The episode starts off with some weird vague flashbacks and sayings of "I’m home" and "Welcome home". Back in present time, Naoki is riding a train with his buddy Sasano (who looks like a gangster at first). Naoki’s saying though it’s been a hot summer, it’s a short one in Hokkaido. Then a flashback at a tennis tournament whereby Naoki and Sasano spots Haruka playing in 1. Naoki notices that she’s a student from their school and fell in love with her at first sight. Of course he’s nervous and is doing some self emotion analysis on himself.
 
Haruka wins the set which gets Naoki really excited. She eventually wins the game. Sasano at the stand says to Naoki that he didn’t expect to see such a cute girl in their school but Naoki’s just staring at her. Haruka is congratulated by her friends as she tells them she’ll go change. Haruka bows to the crowd to acknowledge them.
 
Naoki and Sasano are walking to school when Sasano says how he wants to make Haruka his and blabs about her. Naoki spaces out, indecisive and worried because he knows Sasano will take action as he wonders what he’ll do. Yeah, Sasano still laughing like an idiot. Naoki then tells him that he shouldn’t befriend her because she’s got an infectious disease called Severe Sexually Transmitted Disease and almost 99.9% of those who have sex with her will die from the disease. Really? I haven’t heard of such STD before. Well, if you want to make up a lie, at least do a good one. Naoki continues that there isn’t any cure, how the minister is keeping the figures low and away from public. Sasano then suggests using the condom but Naoki counter replies by saying bacteria could infect him if condom breaks. Naoki concludes that Sasano could only talk with her but the latter decides to confirm with Haruka herself, much to Naoki’s horror. Yeah, Sasano’s rushes off with Naoki giving chase.
 
Sasano is asking Haruka’s 2 pals about these before 1 of them, Motoi, punches in his face and tells him not to go spread lies about Haruka. She seems pissed off. Who wouldn’t if somebody says bad about your friend. She then asks him who he heard it from. Naoki confesses and apologizes. Sasano than grabs him in his fury when Haruka arrives. Some chat with her friends before she asks who the 2 guys are. They told her about that weird disease thing. Uh oh.
 
Back home, Naoki lying on his bed and reflecting today’s event. It seems Sasano’s only joking and that Naoki’s being too serious that’s why the plan failed and Sasano wanted to punish him. Naoki has a hard time sleeping as his heart is still beating fast. Then some blabbings about Sasano’s good points which’ll attract girls always and his own jealousy, weakness, bla bla bla. Looks like it’s already morning, much to Naoki’s disbelief and thinking what’s been doing last night. This guy thinks too much. I wonder if he’s that smart or just smart in this sense.
 
At school, Naoki and Haruka coincidentally met at the bicycle parking area. They stare at each other as Naoki’s into his usual deep thinking about that bad mouthing incident and that he’s a bad person who doesn’t care for other’s feelings. He then thinks the next step is to be respectful to her. Haruka wishes good morning and asks if he’s Naoki. More analysis of what to say and should I answer that from Naoki. He then says "Will you be with me?". Is that a slip of a tongue? Haruka’s surprised and Naoki’s fearing the worst but Haruko replied okay. This surprised Naoki very much. Meanwhile a bespectacled girl is seen eavesdropping on them and runs away in tears soon after.
 
In Haruka’s class, 3-D, nobody’s there and it seems it’s Sasano’s plan to let Naoki apologize to Haruka and even gives him a small present to give to her. In Sasano’s mind, this is some sort of punishment for what he did to him. The girls then suddenly return and Naoki goes into hiding under the teachers desk. To make things worse, the girls are changing their clothes. By the time Naoki decides to take a peek, all the girls changed back to their uniforms already. Should’ve done it faster. Before he could rush out, the next teacher comes in and starts class. Trapped. Again he thinks something will happen to him like getting exposed in the newspapers and going to jail. He’s thinking of what to do.
 
Haruka then gets called up to do a maths problem on the blackboard. Naoki is peeping from underneath the table and is trying to help Haruka solve the problem but his whispering caught the teacher’s attention who said "Who said that". Some more self analysis from Naoki like there’s a mischievous student here who’s a peeping tom, this student’s a role model, teacher’s pet, independent, etc. Before you know it, Naoki rolls out in style and stood in front of the teacher who’s asking who he is. Haruka’s 2 friends recognize him as the guy yesterday. Naoki then says he’s attending his lesson because he heard that he’s a good teacher and have enlightened him. Naoki soon thanks him, apologizes and leaves. As Naoki walks pass Haruka, she whispers thank you to him. Once outside, Naoki heard the teacher saying when did he get in. A student says when no one was around. The teacher continues then probably it’s when the girl’s were changing. All the girls realized and is in a little commotion. Motoi then decides to teach him a lesson. Naoki quickly runs away. What about Sasano? He fell asleep in the broom closet at the back of the class while hiding. Yeah, that guy’s kissing the broom thinking it’s Haruka.
 
The next few scenes see Naoki and Haruka having their fun together, dating. I suppose they’re an item now. At Haruka’s home, she receives a call from Naoki and chats about Haruka going to University Of Education because she wants to become a primary school teacher. She asks about Naoki too but he asks her to come to Toudai as her results are good since any university will do if she wants to be a teacher. Haruka agrees. At the school rooftop, Haruka excitedly sketching and drawing how will things be at Toudai and showing it to Naoki. Some chat about getting admitted into it when Haruka says to let’s try their best energetically. But it seems Naoki isn’t too fond of it and wonders how long can she endure.
 
At Haruka’s class, the teacher calls her to solve a quiz on Japan’s history but since Haruka’s sleeping, she has to be awaken by her friends. Haruka of course in an instant stood up to answer. Good thing is she got it all right. Bad thing is, this is a maths quiz. Bummer. At recess, Naoki is surprised to know that Haruka studied overnight for 4 days for 60 hours! Now that’s really burning the midnight oil. Naoki says not to force herself but she says if she perseveres she’ll make it because there’re so many interesting things and happy moments to look forward there. Now that’s the way to look things at, positively. Some concern talk from Naoki but Haruka says no and she must get into Toudai as she’s determined to spend her university life with him. Then some staring before they kissed. Naoki then says her special training starts now and will help her attain her goal.
 
They’re both cycling home when they passed Haruka’s pals. One of the friend asking what’s wrong when Motoi says that she feels that Naoki isn’t compatible with Haruka. The day of the exam results are out and it seems Naoki gets 752/800 points while Haruka gets 640 points. Haruka compliments him while hers is just a borderline score. Naoki says she must do better next time to get in. Haruka replies she’s got a feeling she’ll get in and still look happy. Naoki seems worried because if she doesn’t, they’ll be separated in April. However Haruka is still that optimistic girl she is. She then remembered she left something in the class room and decides to go get it. That bespectacled girl seems to be watching them at the next table.
 
At the bicycle parking area, that specky girl confronts Naoki and wants him to help her unlock her bicycle chain. Naoki is successful and she thanks him. She introduces herself as Eri Suzuki and is Haruka’s classmate. Soon Eri leaves with a happy feeling because she gets to chat with Naoki. I see that girl has crush on Naoki. Haruka seems to have find her whatever she’s looking for in her desk. Later Naoki goes to search for her in class but nobody’s there. Then Naoki’s thinking that if Haruka fails to get into Toudai and if Eri gets into Keio University, then he could spend time with Eri in Tokyo and says sorry Haruka. Wait a minute? This guy is planning on two-timing Haruka? What the? But Haruka then replied "Yes?", shocking him. Haruka reminded him how he appeared suddenly in class, the part whereby he rolled out from underneath the teacher’s desk, and wonders how he managed to stay under there for 1/2 hour. Because of that, she asks him to let’s talk in that special place. Uh huh. So the 2 cramped up underneath the desk and chat like how he likes her a lot and wants to spend his study life with her. Soon Haruka kisses him and confesses she loves him.
 
However, the teacher then comes in and asks if anybody’s in there. Dang. They could’ve got creative if you know what I mean. Looks like Naoki has already fainted. They’re in a bind. Haruka then rolls out from underneath the desk in style just like how Naoki did back then and stood in front of the teacher. Haruka writes on the blackboard the answers to the questions she couldn’t solve in September. Since she wanted to solve them, she came back to look for him. The teacher says since she has answers already, there’s nothing further he can do for her but asks why is she bare footed. She apologizes that she can’t answer that question and asks him to let this be her homework. The teacher leaves and reminds her there’s only maths regarding useful knowledge. Naoki seems to be back to his senses and quickly tells Haruka to get out before the teacher changes his mind. But since that perverted guy saw her slip from the back, he got ‘frozen’.
 
Something still bugs me. I wonder why the teacher showed up at the classroom at that time. I mean if he was doing his usual checking rounds, then why did he call out to see if anybody was there? I like the part where Haruka rolled out from the desk as it shows you that she did learn something right? Hahaha.
 
Episode 2
The results for Toudai entry are out. Speaking of fast forwarding time. Naoki and Haruka are there and the former is relieved when he got chosen but unfortunately Haruka did not. Haruka’s apologizing that she didn’t get admitted and says her dream of spending university life is dashed. Naoki says that she can take the exam next year and try again as there are exams every year.
 
Naoki narrates how he’ll be studying away from Haruka for some time despite their promise. Plus, he gave up football to get better results. He seems happy and satisfied when a football comes his way. Naoki managed to handle it well, showing off his skills. While he’s boasting to himself and how he wants to be a qualified medicine practioner and not interested in Toudai amateur football because it’s boring. He soon spots a cute girl there and before you know it, he’s playing football and scores a goal. Naoki meets Sasano who’s playing on the opposing team. Sasano didn’t expect him to join a football team and gives some talk about showing his true potential. But Naoki says he has more important dreams to pursue as he thanks Sasano for being able to play with him for a short time and runs off. That cute girl is saddened by his departure as Naoki jumps over the fence. Erm… What’s going on actually?
 
The next scene shows Naoki in bed with Eri. So this guy decides to go with his earlier plan, huh? He’s going over his report card filled with A’s to the brim. Then some prideful talk before he grabs Eri and kisses her. Soon we see Naoki playing in some live band and Eri is part of it. Later the other band members disagree that Naoki’s disbanding the group as they’re discussing a world tour performance. Naoki left with Eri following behind. Naoki says it feels different and it isn’t what he’s after. Eri asks what are his future plans but Naoki says he isn’t sure. Naoki sure has become more arrogant.
 
Is job hopping the ‘in’ thing? I dunno. Seems that Naoki has written a best selling book but refuses to do a sequel as the publisher tries to persuade him to do so. Naoki gives an excuse that he has many exams before leaving. In an airplane, Naoki reads a letter from Haruka saying that she’s surprised to have read his book. Also, Haruka’s 2nd attempt to enter Toudai failed and she’s studying at University Of Education. Naoki thinking what should he do and thinks this way she’ll forget him. Yeah Haruka, better forget this guy fast. It seems that the letter is asking for Naoki to meet her. When they finally do, they hugged each other. Then a voice saying "Naoki, you made the decision alone. Isn’t that very selfish of you?". Naoki wakes up and freaks out that this was all just a dream. Yeah, it was so real that I nearly believed he actually achieved all those. Now this is more like it and down to earth.
 
Naoki wakes up with another girl, Maki Koizumi by his side. Oh now he’s got another girl. Back a bit to the time of the Toudai exam results, we see what actually happened. Haruka is jumping with joy that she passed and mentions that Naoki passed too. But upon closer look, she saw the wrong name Hideki. Looks like Naoki didn’t pass, to his horror. Poof! His dreams are all up in smoke. Haruka tries to be optimistic by saying there’re other result boards but there isn’t any 1 with his name on it. Naoki is freaking out and runs away crying with Haruka chasing close behind. I notice the way they draw the tears… It’s so ‘overflowing’. She manages to grab him as they both crashed. Naoki tells her that he’s not what she think he is and he has betrayed her once. That is, before the exams, he was with Eri. A short flashback how this guy made love with Eri. Now he’s overcome with guilt, huh? Naoki continues that is he not a terrible and unfaithful man (yeah you are), isn’t she disgusted (yes I am), that this is the real him, despicable, disgusting, disloyal (I can think a few more terrible adjectives). But Haruka hugs him by putting his head on her chest and says no matter how much he hate himself, she still loves him and let’s strive towards Toudai together again. Aw… This girl… However, Naoki says he can’t and tells her to go ahead first.
 
So back to the part whereby Naoki’s in bed with Maki. He’s saying how useless he is, bla bla bla. Maki then says she loves him very much and his despicable and stubborn side. She asks him to do whatever he wants with her and some talk like that which is ‘tempting’. Lights off. I think you can guess what happens next. Later the phone rings and Haruka is looking for Naoki on the other end of the line. But it’s Maki who picks it up and says Naoki can’t come to the phone right now. Maki then yells at her that Naoki doesn’t want to speak to her and tells her to stop calling from now on. Since Naoki’s with her, he doesn’t need Haruka anymore and hangs up the phone. A shocked Haruka softly says sorry. Naoki comes out of the bathroom and asks Maki who she’s talking to but she replies no one. Oh great. The 2 continue to make love. So over the next few scenes we see Naoki and Maki on their date, enjoying themselves.
 
Then in a room, Naoki is surprised to hear that Maki may be pregnant. Oh the horror! She asks what he wants her to do now and if he wants to abort it. Before Naoki could say anything, Maki chides him that is he threatening her, that this child was the labour of love between them, and for his convenience he wants her to abort it and goes on blabbing about abortion and pain. She then says he don’t love her because he still loves Haruka. Naoki tells her to keep the baby as she’ll be a good mom. Maki asks then how to take care of the baby. Naoki replies that he’ll take part time jobs, will take turn looking after and after graduating they can work and provide for the child. Talking is sure easy. Maki continues her grilling "What are you thinking of… Of course we can’t keep it". Now she’s changing her mind? Naoki’s shocked as he’s serious about it. Maki gets up and leaves while Naoki pleads he’ll do his best and not trouble her too much. Maki then says he dare not face responsibility and never cared for her feelings. If she keeps the baby, her 20 years of youth and happiness will be taken away by the baby and she’ll be weak and become a fulltime housewife suffering every month. She’s got a point too. Maki continues scolding him.
 
Naoki pleads to her not to harm the baby but Maki grabs him and is gonna slap him but backs off. She says she understands the real Naoki now. She doesn’t want to see him again and scolds him some more before leaving. Yeah, she mentions regretting being with him. I wonder if this would be Haruka’s fate if she was with him. Naoki just stood there and saying to himself that she should know his character and his relationship with Haruka was developed during the exams, that she threatened him and such. Therefore, he wants to… wants to… Erm… did he just masturbate? Oh my goodness! But anyway, he’s sad that whatever it was it didn’t work (short term relief only lah) as he rushes out of the room.
 
We soon find out that this whole pregnant thing is just a lie. Sasano is smoking a cigarette and looks more like a mafia now, watching from afar with Maki. Looks like it was a setup to teach Naoki a lesson. Maki wonders if Naoki is looking for her (Maki, that is) but Sasano says he isn’t because he’s panicking and can’t think of anything else than running away. He continues that she lied to him that she’s pregnant and he believed he and he’ll feel to guilty to face Haruka. He’s going to a place where someone will reprimand him. Maki then say isn’t Sasano his friend? Sasano answers that though he is his friend, he should’ve understand how a girl feels.
 
I guess that said person to reprimand Naoki is supposedly Eri as he arrives at her doorstep. He’s thinking she’s the one he feels comfortable with and can mend his broken heart. What the? Naoki gets another surprise to see Eri, looking a little different, with a tough looking boyfriend. Eri sees him and says it’s been a long time. I suppose that jerk has to back off now as he says that he was doing something nearby and wanted to see how she’s getting on. Better not mess with a guy who is physically bigger and stronger than you. Eri invites him in but he declines and leaves.
 
Naoki is sitting dejectedly on the steps with smoke coming out of his head. He soon rushes off and yells "Eri… you idiot!". What? Is he blaming her now? Naoki eavesdrop at Eri’s door. Uh-huh. Sounds of making love. Naoki deserves to feel sad alright. He’s saying to himself the Eri she love was an innocent girl 1/2 years ago. Things change pal.
 
Meanwhile, Motoi is having some dinner with several construction workers at the construction site when she saw Naoki passing by and calls him to come over to share his woes. As they chat, Motoi mentions how she wants to be an engineer so she study by day and practice by night. Naoki tells her how only Haruka got admitted to Toudai and because he failed, he got admitted to Waseda University instead. Motoi says it’s good enough and Haruka’s waiting for him. But Naoki says he has given up hope, his priority to enter Toudai, his hopes to work in a finance department, his hopes that he’ll pass his legal exam to be a lawyer. Wow that’s a lot. But to give up this early? Motoi chides him for being too naive and says once he enters society, will he still yearn for a companion and has he ever spare a thought for others. Though she heard that didn’t enter Toudai from Yoshiri (I’m thinking must be Haruka’s other pal and the one always seen with Motoi), doesn’t he know how much he has hurt Haruka? She grabs him and pushes him off and continues that after he’s lost his dignity, he wants others to console him. She says though she doesn’t understand why must it be him, she wants him to stop causing Haruka misery. Yeah, Naoki really gets some good proper grilling alright.
 
Later Motoi meets with Haruka and tells her all that has happened and asks her if she still wants to be by Naoki’s side. Haruka responded she still do but have to suppress the thought for now since he’s decided not to meet before he passes the exam because she likes him and everything about him (I guess love does work in a funny way that sometimes when you love a person, you tend to love his/her bad traits too). Haruka respects Naoki’s decision as she shed a tear.
 
It’s spring time and once again the posting of the exam results are out. We see Naoki’s name there. But Naoki isn’t arrogant, prideful nor boastful. Maki comes up to him and says why isn’t he happy since he has always wanted to get into Toudai. Naoki says he has another more important promise. When Naoki asks about her baby, Maki apologizes and says it was all a lie. Naoki doesn’t seem mad but just relieved it’s just that. It could’ve been much worse if it was for real. Naoki then says he’s leaving as he’s made her wait for too long and walks away. Sasano comes up to Maki and says can she bear to let him go just like that. Maki replies that she has her own pride. Sasano then jokingly invites her to sit in his Ferrari. I wonder what that means.
 
We see Naoki increasing his pace when he sees Haruka at the far end. Finally when he manages to reach her, Naoki hugs her as Haruka says "Welcome back" and Naoki replies "I’m back". I guess this is the part where all the weird vague flashbacks were shown at the start of the first episode. As expected, they both kissed with the beautiful cherry blossoms in the background. Naoki then narrates how the cherry blossoms are much more beautiful this time and that he’s embracing reality.
 
Graduation Day
Overall, I’m glad how things ended on a happy note. At first, I’m really disgusted with the way Naoki goes about two-timing Haruka like as though he takes everything for granted. So it really serves him right all those scary experiences he went through to realize things. Good thing he’s opened his eyes. I suppose some people need to go through this for them to get both their feet back on the ground. As for Haruka, she’s a girl who keeps looking at things the positive way and though she may not be as bright as Naoki (in high school at least) but she has a nice personality any guy would want to have as his girlfriend. I felt that Eri’s role was just a side character. Nothing much of her.
 
Because there are only a couple of episodes, the story time line seems a little ‘fast’. But it’s better than dragging on for several episodes through long-winded flashbacks. Yeah, just straight to the point and show only what matters. Though this is a year 2004 production, the quality of the anime isn’t something to shout about. The drawing and art may look simple at times. The voice acting? Just okay. Can’t find any famous voice actors or actresses on this one besides Naoki (Shoutaro Morikubo who does Shikamaru of Naruto, Kirihara of The Prince Of Tennis, Saji of Ikkitousen and Robert of Hare+Guu) and Haruka (Atsuko Enomoto who does Yukino of Kare Kano, Misaki of Angelic Layer an Kurumi of Steel Angel Kurumi).
 
It’s a good thing that I managed to watch this OVA so that I could learn from Naoki’s mistakes and make sure that I myself don’t repeat them. And it’s not just before one enters college or university but throughout life itself. It doesn’t take a university degree or college diploma to be successful in life but the important things is even if you don’t 100% achieve your dream, at least live happily and to the fullest. I still can’t get over that Severe Sexually Transmitted Disease line. Don’t ever try this as a warning note. Or even a pick up line! Just don’t.
 
Tokyo University Story

Even Much More Mai Tokiha

December 2, 2007

Regarding last week’s blog-cum-tribute to Suigin Tou, I felt that I need to do one on Mai Tokiha in order to ‘justify’ my act. Besides, I haven’t been doing 1 for quite a long time and the last time that I did so was somewhere in the 4th quarter of last year. It really does feel like a long time.
 
So Mai, can you now forgive me? Okay maybe not. Sigh… Wounded hearts are so hard to heal. Hey, I think I would be the same too if it were to happen to me and the other way round. For those of you who don’t know who this Mai Tokiha is, she’s that lovely pretty kawaii protagonist-cum-heroine of the anime series Mai-HiME. You could pretty much say that she stole my heart and I fell in love with her head over heals at first sight. Enough talking already and enjoy the pics.
 
 Mai Tokiha 39
DYNAMIC DUO… Mai and Kagutsuchi make a wonderful combination.
 
Mai Tokiha 55 
SPRING TIME… What a lovely day for Mai and her buddies to relax and enjoy the greenery.
 
Mai Tokiha 40 
DON’T MAKE ME ANGRY… You won’t like it when I’m angry.
 
Mai Tokiha 42 
GOING HOME… Mai preparing to head home in the evening.
 
Mai Tokiha 43 
FORLORN LOOK… Looks like something is bugging Mai.
 
Mai Tokiha 50 
WISH UPON A RED HIME STAR… The red Hime star is still up there.
 
 Mai Tokiha 44
IT’S STILL THERE… Yeah, that red Hime star has been up there ever since Mai transferred.
 
 Mai Tokiha 45
HOLD ME IN YOUR ARMS… *Sign*. How I wished that guy was me. Lucky guy.
 
 Mai Tokiha 46
SULKING… I can’t believe that I’m dining alone without a date. And those pals of mine ditched me for something else.
 
 Mai Tokiha 47
ON THE WAY… An energetic Mai looks forward to going to school on a wonderful day.
 
 Mai Tokiha 48
ALL WET… Huh?! It wasn’t me who caused that spiralling fire in the garden. Or could I?
 
Mai Tokiha 49 
FIRE AWAY… Get ready for some serious fire butt kicking power when Mai is using her Equipment.
 
 Mai Tokiha 51
BIG SISTER… Tell me who did this to my little Takumi and I’ll rip his/her head off!
 
Mai Tokiha 52 
HOW DO I LOOK… That red scarf actually does make her look prettier.
 
Mai Tokiha 53 
I HAVE A CONFESSION… I… I… I… Love… Love… I LOVE YOU!!! (Yeah, right. That’s probably what I wanted her to say. Dream on).
 
Mai Tokiha 54 
NOT ON THE MENU… HEEEEEEH!!! WHAT? You… You… You want to have me as your main course?!
 
Mai Tokiha 41 
AVATAR… Even a small avatar makes Mai look beautiful.
 
Mai Tokiha 38 
DON’T CRY… Tears do not fit you, Mai.
 
Mai Tokiha 37 
ANNOYED… Erm… Is that a kind of joke? Are you trying to be funny?
 
Phew. I could’ve go on even further but due to limited space and pics (not because my love is limited, mind you) I have to stop here. Of course do watch out in the near (indefinite) future for more Mai Tokiha. See, you’ve just gotta love this gal (some may beg to differ) and just like in most cases, our love withstood the tests of time (haha. Like real). Though I couldn’t really say I’m over with Suigin Tou, I’m not trying to indicate that I’m two-timing Mai. Hey, what this world needs is love and not war. Once again… MAI-SAMA EIEN NI KOISHITERU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Red heart

Tenshi No Yubikiri

December 1, 2007

  You may dream, Oikakete sunao na kono kimochi,
  Tsutaerareta nara, Dreams come true,
  You may dream, Masshiro na koi wa tsubasa ni naru,
  Tenshi no yubikiri, Kanau you ni
 
I remember singing this song when I was watching the anime series, Kare Kano or also known as His And Her Cirmustances. Tenshi No Yubikiri is the opening song of the series and is sung by Mai Fukuda. Ah, how it brings back nostalgic memories about the anime.
 
  Me no mae wo sugiru yokogao,
  Tokimeki ga odori hajimeru,
  Hanasu koe mimi wo katamuke,
  Mata hitotsu anata wo shitta
 
With the lyrics about love and such, this song is quite fitting for the series itself. Thus, in a way, it’s quite easy to remember the words and the meaning. The lyrics aren’t that lengthy and besides, the chorus is nearly the same with just a few changes here and there. In my opinion, I think amateur Japanese learners can still go about and understand what the song is mainly about.
 
  Hon no sukoshi yuuki dashite,
  Sono hitomi wo mitsumetai
 
Basically, I didn’t find this song that hard nor tough to sing at all. Not to say that there is any long sustaining high pitched lines, but sometimes I find myself out of breath after singing the chorus part. At first it may sound ‘monotonous’ but the chorus lines do drag a little longer, thus I need to time myself properly on my breathing periods. Still because of that, sometimes I may go a little ‘off-pitch’. Don’t worry, it isn’t that bad.
 
  You may dream, dakishimete ima sugu kono omoi,
  Kotoba ni kaetai, I love you,
  You may dream, masshiro na koi wa tsubasa ni naru,
  Tenshi no yubikiri, Kanau you ni
 
For your information, a yubikiri is more like a pinky swear. You know, kids in Japan have this tendency to make some kiddy promises like getting married to each other when they’re older (at least in the anime world) by grabbing the other’s pinky finger with their own. Sometimes a yubikiri may be translated as a promise or pledge depending on the situation but basically that’s what it means. As usual, if ever I’m feeling nostalgic, this would be 1 of the songs that I’ll really love to sing. *Making a yubikiri with myself*. :)
 
  Kanau you ni…