Trigun

January 26, 2008

There is one main reason why I decided to go watch an old anime like Trigun. That’s because the main character, Vash The Stampede, looks super cool in his crimson red trenchcoat! Wow! It’s like falling in love at first sight. Mind you, I’m not a homo, please. It’s just that this blonde broomstick head looks too handsome in such outfit. And with a fiercesome revolver in his hand, it just gets better.

Just how old is this anime? It was first aired in the year 1998! Now that’s 10 years already! Imagine how time flies and anime has evolved since then. Of course you’ll first notice how different the drawing and animation because this is one of those really old school animes but it’s still good enough to watch.

There are 26 episodes in all filled with gun slinging action (okay, perhaps not the whole way), sci-fi adventure, drama and of course, comedy. Also note, for those who have watched the anime series, Grenadier, you’ll notice almost how similar both the main characters are. I’m not sure if they’re from the same creators as I can’t find any information on this.

 
The main storyline is this. There is a bounty of $60 billion on the head of the man called Vash The Stampede or also known as the Humanoid Typhoon. That’s right, $60 billion. That’s 10 zeros alright. Not sure if the authorities really want this guy so badly or the inflation rate is sky high. Vash is nicknamed so because he has the ability to destroy cities just like a hurricane, leaving massive trail of destruction behind. But there is 1 miracle. Each time this happens, there are no casualties. Isn’t this amazing?

Therefore, in order to minimize the property damage, the Bernardelli Insurance Company has sent 2 staff, Meryl Stryfe (this shorty somehow reminds me of Akane from Ranma 1/2) and her junior partner, the towering Milly Thompson, to track down and follow Vash so that his damaging actions can be minimized. I mean, at this rate, doing insurance will be a losing business, right? One thing I need to mention about Milly is that at first I thought she’s a he even though she has a girly face because you know, anime drawings of certain characters seem ambiguous. Plus, her stout and large figure assured me that she’s a man. Then when she opened her mouth, it’s like a high pitched squeaky voice! Somehow it just doesn’t feel right having such voice with such body. But don’t mess with this girl. She’s really strong and wields a stun gun which shoots out X-like claws to bind its victims. She is both sharp and blur at the same time, in which Vash later quipped that even though she’s sharp, she herself doesn’t realize that.

You may also notice that this anime has a Western cowboy setting. The Wild Wild West? Yup, beside the main characters and some side characters, the rest of them look like western people if not your typical average Japanese anime people drawn from that era. Plus, is the setting located in the heart of the Texas desert? Don’t think so. Though most of the scene is filled with golden hot burning sand, I don’t think this is the planet Earth we know because there are 2 suns in the sky! So it’s really darn hot here. In addition, the names of the characters sound very Western-like and I kinda notice the names for most of the cities are taken after months of the year.

 
As seen in episode 1, Meryl and Milly are attempting to find and locate Vash but has no idea how he look like. Not only that, I think everybody else too doesn’t know how Vash looks like. Yeah, just like the wind. Can’t be seen, hard to describe. The duo find themselves in a bar and starts asking the bartender if they have seen this Vash guy. The bartender gives them a description on how he looks like. Big, a Mohawk hairstyle, having a boomerang. Well, seems good enough like a typical ruffian. Before that we see this mohawk guy and his croonies cornering that blonde broomstick head and it’s like another massive gun battle is gonna start. Also we see a bounty hunter, Ruth, trying to hunt down Vash. I mean, with such a large amount on his head, everyone is gonna bet their lives into taking him down. Okay, almost everyone. Especially those who love those dollar signs.
 
Erm… Is Vash supposedly the fierce fighter everyone think he is? I mean earlier on we see this red coat guy taking out his gun and it’s like he’s gonna do some terror gunslinging. Actually his gun’s out of bullets. Dang. With that, mohawk guy and his gang unleashes a hail of bullets. This Vash guy is so dorky! Because of this silly personality of his, it contributes to most of the comical humour of the series. Remember Grenadier’s Rushuna’s ability to dodge bullets? Yeah, Vash is running away like a coward trying to dodge all those bullets, in which he successfully does. But he calls his bullet dodging skills more of luck than anything else.
 
Meanwhile Meryl and Milly have arrived at the place where Vash is taking on mohawk guy. Remember, the duo still thinks the latter is Vash. Ruth also arrives and a misunderstanding takes place. Ruth thinks mohawk guy is Vash and mohawk guy too thinks Ruth is Vash. Uh huh, something about deception or something. Before you know it, these 2 starts another gun slinging battle. While the 2 groups slug it out, Meryl and Milly along with the real Vash escape and ride off into town on some weird animal. Besides being a dork, Vash too loves donuts as Meryl gives him some of them and some cash to escape and warn the town of ‘Vash’s’ arrival because they have to go back and watch that ‘Vash’ as part of their job.
 
But when the duo returned to the fight scene, it seems Ruth and mohawk guy realized their mistake and teams up by kidnapping Meryl and Milly in order to lure the real Vash out. Of course Vash can’t leave things as it is and returns to save the ladies. Another round of cool action ensues with Vash emerging victorious (lady luck must be smiling on him. Not once, but several times). Mohawk guy’s croonies thinks that this may be the real Vash after watching their boss going down and runs away cowardly. Though, the town that Vash was supposedly told to warn, is decimated by a large rock during his battle with mohawk guy. Ah well, the legend is so true. Meryl and Milly are typing their report as Meryl can’t believe that this donut loving dork is Vash. While Milly accepts this Vash to be the real thing, over the next few episodes, you’ll hear of Meryl’s suspicions on whether this guy is the real thing or not. Plus, whenever Vash tries to tell his real name, something interrupts him from doing so. So you’ll be suspicious too if this guy is Vash or not. But this is confirmed at the start of episode 10 whereby Vash narrates that he is the legendary Vash himself. Other than that, even with Meryl’s initial distrust of Vash, fate somehow plays a cruel fate on them as they’ll always end up bumping into each other. Perhaps God is giving Meryl a sign saying that this dork is the real Vash.
 
It would also like to note that in nearly every episode, there’ll be an appearance of a black cat randomly. Reminds me of Nya of Pita Ten because it’s charcoal black and reminds me of Utamaru of Da Capo because it sounds like a person trying to impersonate a cat voice but failed (not sure whether it’s intentionally or not). Nya… I’m not sure what its purpose in the series is about but if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll be able to spot it, usually in comical situations.
 
In episode 2, Meryl and Milly arrives in another deserted town and at the doorstep of some rich water tycoon, Cliff. Upon entering his mansion, they’re shock to find Vash there. As his bodyguard! Since there’re people out there who wants to kill him, why not hire the legendary Humanoid Typhoon. So why did Vash take up this job? This guy’s a slight pervert too. Cliff has a niece, Marianne, who’s visiting him. That Vash guy just wants to flirt and even boldly asks her hand in marriage! There’s this funny part whereby Vash is talking lovey dovey stuffs to Marianne and does that gun shot hand symbol of love to her. But it’s that Meryl who exaggeratedly over react to it, like as though she’s the one being shot, making that weird sound. So perasan!
 
Meryl tries to convince Cliff that this Vash is fake, but Cliff knows Vash isn’t the real thing too. He just wants someone to pretend he’s Vash to scare away his would-be attackers. During dinner time, Vash hears how Marianne doesn’t like the way Cliff does his business by selling water at a high price though Cliff admits it and says it’s business. Marianne excuses herself with Vash following her. That perverted Vash tries to get a kiss from Marianne when the latter thought she saw something outside. Vash kicks into full gear to prove he’s a man worthy to protect her. However, it’s just Meryl, who’s still sulking on Vash’s real identity. As the duo argue, they notice Cliff and Marianne are missing. Some lucky and fluke turn of events caused them to discover a hidden underground passage. There they saw Marianne being beaten up badly by Cliff. It seems Marianne’s a police and is doing an undercover job on the monopolizing of water supply. Because of Vash’s bunglingness, their presence is soon discovered. Since the cat is out of the bag, Cliff is gonna eliminate them all. Uh huh. You’ll see more of Vash’s lucky bullet dodge. Even Cliff can’t believe his eyes he had such skill/luck. One of Cliff’s shots hit the water tank in which it burst and floods the nearby town, turning it into a lake and destroying Cliff’s mansion. In the end, Cliff is arrested by Marianne and Vash decides to part ways saying that if he reveals himself to Marianne he’ll probably be arrested. Don’t want that kind of love. Better be a bad boy on the run.
 
I was hoping to see Vash in his gun slinging action but it seems over the series Vash is the kind who won’t use his gun as a last resort. Just like Rushuna, he despises violence and wishes for the world to be a more peaceful place. Though a little disappointed, but I’m sure that his comical ways is enough to make me continue watching. In episode 3, Meryl and Milly once again stumbles into Vash, just when Meryl is talking about how to find the real Vash. Speak of the devil himself. So the trio gets into a new town and Vash enters a bar and somehow ‘befriends’ a drunkard named Frank Marlon, supposedly a local hero and a great gun repairman but has quit doing so for a long time. While the insurance girl leaves Vash with his newfound friend (getting too friendly there), the girls find out that this town has no sheriff at all! So bloody confident that they’re safe. At the same time, a group of bandits are contemplating to rob this town under the guise as Vash The Stampede. Might as well use this guy’s name since nobody still really don’t know how he looks like.
 
Vash and Frank are still drunk and Frank tells his sad story why he gave up gun repairing because his family was killed by the same bandits whom he repaired the guns for. I don’t remember but I think Vash wants Marlon to fix up his own gun too but Frank refuses. The next day, those bandits arrive in town as Vash and robs the bank. The mayor should’ve seen this coming. No choice they had to cooperate. The real Vash then comes in to quell the situation and has a hand in his pocket and makes it as though he’s pointing his gun from inside it. Soon the townspeople has had enough and joins the real Vash as they all point their guns at the bandits. The bandit leader is panicking (thinking that the real Vash may have showed himself up) but he still claims that he has some firepower to take everything down. Before he could do that, Frank points a ‘gun’ at his back head. Just like a barking dog with no bite, they flee with their tails between their legs. It’s revealed that Frank just made his hand just like a gun, as what Vash did too as they both gave out a heartily laughter. While the town celebrates that night, Frank gives Vash his newly repaired gun and thanks to Vash, Frank has got his confidence back. Meryl is relieved that there’s no damage to the town this time. Though her perception of Vash gradually changes, she still has a little reservations.
 
Episode 4 starts off with the daughter of the town’s mayor winning her card game when some rough looking baddie comes up to her and takes her hostage as well as the other patrons in the saloon. Later outside the saloon, the mayor Earl and his sheriff Stan surrounds the saloon and finds out a ransom demand of $10 million. Okay, not as bad as $60 billion. Meanwhile Vash is jaywalking across them and into the bar, oblivious of his surroundings because he’s got a headphone on. The music must be damn good. Funny part is, when he realized what’s happening, he screamed like a girl and tries to escape. Didn’t make it. He too gets tied up along with the insurance girls. Outside, Stan has employed some bandits to fight fire with fire. They don’t care who they work for as long as they get paid. Soon Stan’s bandits storm into the place and gets rid of rough baddie leader’s henchman. However, they’re endangering the safety of the hostages too. Vash manages to cut himself loose and with the help of rough baddie leader’s, they manage to take out the menacing threat.
 
We soon find out that the reason rough baddie leader is doing this. Previously, Earl took away his land and killed his family. He was known as Earl The Grim Reaper then and was ruthless. So he challenges Stan to a 1-on-1 duel in which rough baddie leader wins, but since he isn’t that all bad, he only shoot Stan in his shoulder. However Earl isn’t too happy with the way things are going and is going to betray and shoot them all. Plus, he’s gonna make it as though they killed each other and blames it on Vash. If you’re wondering why Meryl wears such a cloak in such a hot place, it’s because underneath it, she has dozens of derringer like pistols. In order to stop Stan from killing, she takes them out and starts shooting to stop them. It’s like a one-time use only pistol. Uh huh. Not environmental friendly. Shoot and throw, shoot and throw. Plus, you’ll never see Meryl use this move again. In the end, Stan is apprehended when Vash knocks him out on his head. Since everybody else is safe, all’s well, ends well. Also something on how he says about ‘peace and love’.
 
Another city in episode 5. But this time a group of bandits in a bar storms in a starts firing away. Oh no! Vash is hit! Blood is streaming out from his body… Nope, it’s just tomato juice. Vash then takes a nearby little boy’s dart gun and starts firing away. Bullseye. They realize how good this Vash is and soon runs away. The little boy is in awe. As the bar’s owner is gonna treat Vash as gratitude, she pulls out a gun on him. Yup, she wants the $60 billion dollar reward. Not only that, the whole town is looking and hunting down Vash. As expected, Vash hilariously runs away. Luck is definitely on his side, evading everyone by the skin of his teeth. Meanwhile Meryl and Milly has arrive at this town and they find out that the mayor has ordered everyone to capture Vash so that they could get the reward and repair a large broken generator. Looks like an oversized light bulb. You’ll see one in every city. Not only that, it seems a father-son criminal called Nebraska Family has escaped from prison (dad claims to be release on good behaviour) comes in seeking for Vash. Another bunch of weirdos. The dad looks like a mad scientist riding like a kangaroo in his oversized part mechanical vocab limited frankenstein-like son’s pouch.
 
While a group of women has captured Vash and tells him their sad story of how they need him to save their town and economy, an explosion occurs. Everyone is surprised to see Vash, eventually he faces off with the Nebraska Family. Because daddy doesn’t want to play fair, he orders his son to aim at several innocent unconscious women there. Vash is scary when he is pushed to a corner. While the son’s giant projectile hand charges towards them, Vash manages to fire several shots to change its direction. Now Vash is mad. He then fires 1 last shot in his gun directly into that mechanical arm of that giant son, sending a sharp pain down his spine as he crashes down. Everyone is in awe. Finally, Meryl starts to believe that this dork is the real McCoy. Though not obvious and not mentioned, you’ll kinda notice that Meryl in a way has a crush on Vash.
 
Because Nebraska Family has been caught and a meager reward sum of $700,000 (haha, an insult if you compare it to Vash’s) has being collected by Vash, in episode 6, Vash decides to donate this reward to this Inepril City so they could repair their generator. A giant sand steamer (looks like a locomotive) comes by and a beautiful lady, Elizabeth comes down and makes her way into the city. You know what that perverted Vash is thinking, right? He instantly proposes for her to marry him. But Elizabeth is a highly respected engineer and wants Vash to do something for her. In return, she’ll do anything he wants. That sounds like a good deal. Vash immediately accepts. I guess Meryl isn’t too fond of it all. Jealous? Later Elizabeth and Vash stayed at separate but adjoining rooms in a hotel when some cyborg assassin comes into Vash room and starts attacking him. Though the bomb sends Vash flying outside, Elizabeth is grateful and mentions that the room Vash is staying was initially hers. Vash thinks that he should sleep with Elizabeth since his room has been blown away but Elizabeth says that he’s got the bed and that’s good enough. Haha. Sleep outside in the cold, pervert.
 
The next day as Elizabeth starts repairing the generator, 1 of the section starts to malfunction. While Elizabeth gives evacuation orders, she and Vash head to that sector and finds out that the cyborg assassin is there as well. Though Vash has no problems in disposing of him, he later finds out Elizabeth has locked the door of that room and is gonna let Vash and that poor cyborg whom she hired, vaporize in the explosion. Elizabeth reveals that Vash destroyed her city when she was young and left her an orphan. So she grew up hating him and wanted revenge. I didn’t understand this part because when the generator seems it’s gonna overload, Vash calmly walks up to it as though he’s embracing it. Soon the plant returns to normal. How did he stop it? Dunno. As everyone cheers and Vash emerges from the plant, Elizabeth sticks a gun to him (how come nobody notices this). Vash tells her that he has no memories of what happened in his early days and since Elizabeth hears how the townpeople love him, she hesitates. Furthermore, a short flashback that the person who picked and saved her after her city was decimated, could be Vash himself. She breaks down in tears as Vash hugs her. Hey, what happened to that cyborg guy? Has the producers forgotten about him because we won’t here of him anymore.
 
Vash leaves on the sand steamer in episode 7. Now he’s the town’s hero. I suppose Meryl and Milly can’t loose sight of him as they manage to board it on time. Plus, they’re working part time there to earn some extra cash. Later the conductor asks Vash if he wants to be their bodyguard since they’re going into a territory ruled by the Bad Lad Gang. Though Vash refuses at first, he eventually agrees in exchange for a private room. Here he bumps into a stowaway boy, Kaite, whose dad designed this sand steamer. Vash tries to be nice by offering his food but Kaite soon knocks him out and signals to the Bad Lad Gang to attack. Yup, this kid is on their side. Soon they arrive and hijack the sand steamer. The leader, B.D.N. (Brilliant Dynamite Neon – because his outfit has weird neon lights) and his gang of mole people (actually their radiation suit made them look like that) holds everyone on board hostage to rob their valuables. Since there’s a big safe he can’t crack open, he decides to crash the whole sand steamer into a ravine as he changes its course. Because 1 of the sand steamer is being disobedient, Neon kills him, shocking Kaite. Dang, and I thought that there won’t be any deaths in this series. This is the 1st of what’s more to come. Neon beats up the lad for talking back. Meanwhile Meryl and Milly are hiding somewhere in the sand steamer while Vash comes in time into the control room to save Kaite before Neon could put a bullet through his mouth. Vash and the kid manages to narrowly escape by jumping out of the window. Dangerous. Could’ve died. With them gone, Neon continues using 1 of the passengers to steer the ship, in which the sand steamer captain finally gives in.
 
This continues in episode 8 as Kaite takes out blueprints of the sand steamer and plans with Vash on how to take down Bad Lad Gang. So a short flashback how his dad spend all his time on creating this sand steamer and had no time for Kaite. You know this kind of story. Thus, Kaite communicates to Vash through some communicator directing to some room but it seems Neon knows where Kaite is leading him and ends up ambushing Vash as Kaite is then captured. As Neon is gonna shoot Vash, 1 of his henchmen points a gun at Neon’s throat. Why, it’s Meryl! Milly too reveals herself as she disguised herself as 1 of the henchmen. Better hurry since the sand steamer is approaching the ravine. So just like the famous 1-on-1 gun duel, Neon agrees to stop the ship if he wins. On the deck, the 2 began their battle. However, Neon notices that Vash is injured and refuses to shoot him even though he could have easily won. Neon has some honour too. He wants to win the hard way and not take the easy way out. The captain then relays a bad news. The brakes aren’t working. Kaite tries to ask the other staff to help him but they refuse, thinking that he’s part of the Bad Lad Gang. Kaite then has to do it on his own and put those guys to shame as he manually hit the emergency brakes. Why is such a thing located in a hard to reach place? But it’s still not enough at this speed. Neon soon uses all his strength to steer the ship to a stop, claiming that he paid off his debt for his duel with Vash. Just right on the edge. I wonder if it’ll topple over if a slight extra weight is put on the tip. It’s dawn and Vash recognizes the tune Kaite hums. It seems that it’s a song of a woman he once loved, Rem Saverem (as in… save rem?!). You’ll occassionally see some flashbacks here and there of this woman, whom has a great influence on Vash’s life and the main reason why he follow her teachings of not killing others. Say, this song kinda sounds like an Indian song. Even the way Rem sings it.
 
Since the sand steamer is out of commission, the passengers continue their journey on a bus in episode 9. Along the way, Vash spots someone lying in the desert. They picked up a man named Nicholas D Wolfwood, who’s a priest. Soon the bus stops so that the passengers can stretch their legs, Vash finds out Wolfwood is a travelling priest trying to make some money for his orphanage. Uh huh, trying to sell some mobile confession church (what the? It fits the head only?!) in which anyone can confesses anytime to Vash but of course Vash is no saint and refuses. Not only that, Wolfwood carries a giant cross wrapped in cloth (is he trying to be like Jesus?) which is quite heavy. Suddenly a commotion that a passenger got injured. Then several mechanical spiders surfaces from the sand and starts attacking them. As everyone hops back onto the bus to escape, 1 of the passengers realized her daughter is missing. Vash and Woolfwood leaps out of the bus to try and rescue her. It dawned to Wolfwood that his giant cross weapon is left on top of the bus. No choice, Vash gives him a knife. The duo takes out the spiders by destroying its heat sensors.
 
They saw the little girl in a distance and rushes towards her but they fell into a sandtrap. It looks like an abandoned underground lab. More spiders appear (if it was abandoned, how come there’re more spiders in production?) as Vash and Wolfwood heads for the control room to stop it. Just when a spider gets Wolfwood cornered, Vash unleashes some move we’ll never see to save him. Then as though like all of this was so easy, Vash enters the control room, press some buttons and stops the production and even those functioning spiders came to a standstill. What the? How does he know the code? In the first place, who activated all this. Really dunno. Then another thing is that, I don’t know how Meryl and Milly know where the duo is as we see them popping out from the roof, claiming to have found them and is gonna rescue them. So they continue their journey to May City in which Wolfwood parted ways. But this won’t be the last of him, Wolfwood will be a regular ally for Vash in the episodes to come. However with all those inconsistent and unanswered questions, I felt that this episode took the fun out of everything.
 
In episode 10, it seems Vash is a hit among the children, playing with them. Then this is the funny part. We see Vash covered in blood when a girl stops by to asks how is he. Vash then suddenly springs up and asks the girl for lunch. He gets slapped as she walks away. Uh huh. It’s some weird method of his on picking up girls. And that blood is actually tomato. Vash also notices a loner child, Neil, and asks him if he could eat at his mom’s diner. Upon entering the place, Vash is surprised to find Wolfwood there. We hear a sad story how Neil’s dad ran away, leaving the family in debt. Wolfwood mentions a quick draw tournament and if they enter and win it, they’l be able to help them out financially. Of course Meryl doesn’t agree, thinking that more damage will be done. Also, the organizer thinks that this Vash is just some punk using his name.
 
Next day, the competition starts. Looks simple enough. Just shoot a few empty bottles. We see lots of potential looking guys but I feel all of them has no skill. We also see that Wolfwood’s cross has a secret chamber which carries several use and throw pistols, just like Meryl’s. Vash and Wolfwood advances to the next round, whereby it’s a 1-on-1 draw. The duo manage to easily dispose the other competitors without killing them. See, what did I tell you. No skill. In the finals it’s Vash vs Wolfwood but Wolfwood decides to withdraw. But the organizer didn’t allow him because he’s got Neil and his mom as hostage and to guarantee their safety, he must beat Vash and split the reward with him. The money must have finally opened his eyes, huh? Wolfwood reluctantly takes on Vash and in the end, they both downed each other. Those greedy bastards rejoice when suddenly the duo gets up and starts firing back at them without killing them. I see they’re just pretending. And those guns are only firing blanks. That tomato juice sure comes in handy. As they collected the prize money, in order for this episode to end on a happy note for everyone, Neil’s dad returns and the whole family forgives him and his happy. Wow. So easy can come back just like that. Well, let bygone by bygones. Vash and Wolfwood can be seen playing joyfully with the other children.
 
Wolfwood is playing chess with some guy in episode 11 and is on the losing side. Milly who is arguing with the bartender about some pudding then comes over to Wolfwood and moves a chess piece and turns the tables. That guy saw how awesome that move was and admits defeat. Haha. Later to show his appreciation, Wolfwood helps to buy Milly some groceries when a girl, Moore, comes running into them asking them to hide her. There are several men after her and are asking Wolfwood where she went. Wolfwood immediately tells of her position but since 1 of those guys stepped on Milly’s pudding, Milly is furious and shoots her stun gun on them. Note to self, don’t touch her pudding. However, more men are on the way. Moore then hides under Milly, making her like she’s pregnant and probably having septuplets! Milly and Wolfwood manages to get away as they pretend to be a married couple. Meanwhile a group of men approaches Vash and Meryl in a caravan. At the same time, Wolfwood, Milly and Moore rendezvous with a guy named Julius outside the caravan group. It seems Julius and Moore are childhood friend and Julius is against his dad, Fondrique’s way of importing more than just goods into the city. Yeah, importing woman as well. Julius is like a key and without him, the caravan can’t enter the city. So the guy decides to elope with his sweetheart. Also it seems the guy who approached Vash is Fondrique and wants him to bring back Julius in return for a $20 million reward. Tempting.
 
Wolfwood tells the couple that if Julius doesn’t return, the caravan will go underground and tries to stop them from running away. Wolfwood threatens to shoot himself in the head if they leave. The lovebirds thinks he’s lying and walks on. But a group of men have found their location as Wolfwood tries to face them. Vash then comes along and takes out his gun and shoots Julius and Moore! Oh no! Is this true? The men are mad because they’re being told to retrieve them not kill them. Vash looks them back which sends shivers down their cowardly spine as they escape before they think Vash will turn on them as well. Milly is extremely upset at what had happened and hits Vash. But it seems Wolfwood discovers that it’s that same prank Vash use to pull back at the quick draw tournament. Yup, they’re just blanks. Moore and Julius are still alive. With that, the duo decides to start anew and vowing to rely just on themselves. With that, Vash, Meryl and Milly heads out in their caravan while Wolfwood once again parted ways on his motorbike. Hey, where did he get that?
 
Episode 12 is the start of the turning point or seriousness of the series. We see some guy Legato Bluesummers telling one of his henchmen, Monev The Gale (looks like Apocalypse from X-Men) about his turn has come. Meanwhile some kids are playing dodgeball and their ball hit Vash on his head. But he doesn’t mind and joins in playing with them. After that, he bought some ice cream for them and even for a loner girl, but she just ran away. Later when Vash is sitting alone, Legato appears next to him and says how his days are numbered. It seems Vash knows him and is pretty alarmed about him. He does some illusion thingy about that loner girl to make him sweat a little. After Legato leaves a brown paperbag as his present, a shoemaker’s wife runs out screaming, saying her husband is dead and that it’s Vash’s fault. Because of that, Vash is arrested and thrown into jail. While spacing out and thinking back about Legato, Meryl and Milly comes to visit him when Monev arrives and starts blasting the sheriff’s building with his super chain gun. He tells Vash that he’s here to kill him and goes on ranting about how he’s waited for this day after his hell training all this time bla bla bla.
 
Monev grabs Vash by the throat as Meryl tries to stop him but is flung away. Milly uses her stun gun to knock him away, enough time for Vash to break free. Vash is frantically running through the streets yelling at the people to run for safety and even saving those unsuspecting ones from Monev’s firepower. Monev realizes this and soon decides to do a massacre. Woah! The whole lot of innocent bystanders are being slaughtered! Just when Monev thinks Vash is a goner during that, Vash rises up and Monev starts to shiver when he sees his eyes. Oh oh. Now he’s done it by making Vash mad. Even Meryl and Milly are terrified to see this side of his. As Vash enters a bank, Monev continues to fire at his back. Vash unleashes his other hidden gun, which is a robotic left arm. Vash fires several shots back to disamour Monev and points his gun in his eyes. Now Monev is scared stiff. Can’t believe such a big guy’s pleading for mercy. Vash has a flashback about Rem, remembering how his promise to her that he can’t kill anyone or else she’ll die in his heart. Even so, Vash’s glance is enough to make Monev cower in fear as Vash walks away, still pointing his robotic handgun at him.
 
Episode 13 is your typical recap episode. It’s narrated by Meryl while writing her report back to her insurance company the events that has so far happened. Haha. Meryl still has that perasan reaction whenever she thinks back about that Vash shooting his finger gun to Marianne. Other than that, we get to see Vash topless. Don’t expect it to be curvaceous like Rushuna’s. Though he’s got a six-pack but his body is riddled with scars and metallic implants! It’s so ugly! The first time I looked at his body it nearly made me wanna puke. Ugh!
 
Episode 14 is Milly’s episode. Vash doesn’t make any prominent appearance here. In a new town called New Arcadia, Milly heard and saw gunshots outside her window while writing letters to her family, a young guy called Badwick (how apt the name) pointing his gun at an elderly couple. Luckily Vash is there to protect them. Well, more like the couple using Vash as their body shield. Hehe. Later the couple requests Meryl and Milly to be their bodyguard. Meryl refuses until they offered it to Vash. No choice, Meryl has to accept. The trio are taken to a luscious farm just outside town and are told that their landlord Morgan wants to take away their land for development. Plus, Badwick comes by to demand that they hand over their land and Milly is shock to find that Badwick is the couple’s son! So some drama here and there. Next, we see Morgan and his croonies and the other Nebraska Family members (the mom looks just like the son while the rest of the siblings are like… balls? Yeah, only the daughter is the ‘odd’ one out since she’s the only pretty one) arrive as they’re being hired by Morgan.
 
As Badwick tries to persuade his dad to give up his deed, he still refuses and he and his loyal old friends are determined to defend their land with their lives. Badwick is still stubborn and can’t understand why his dad wouldn’t give it all up. The Nebraska Family starts attacking since Badwick took too long and soon Meryl and Milly joins in. Just then, Badwick realized what’s happening, takes the deed and tries to escape on his bike. Nebraska Family mom throws one of the siblings at him. Milly tries to shoot it away with her puny gun. Woah! It worked?! Actually, Vash is the one behind that deflection. Haha! That’s so much screen time he’ll get. With the Nebraska Family fallen (on Morgan) and the rest of the henchmen running away, everything is safe once again. The next day, Badwick gives the deed to the bank teller but finds out that his parent’s transferred the land’s name to him, making him emotional. In the end, Meryl followed Milly’s example of writing letters to her family and posting them.
 
Episode 15 sees Vash carrying Meryl and Milly sitting on a chair walking through the desert. I guess it’s Vash fault somehow for destroying their ride. But the tone of the series starts to get more serious here. A group of bandits arrives in a town bar and is having it their way, bullying those around them. Legato is eating at that bar and the bandit leader doesn’t like it and starts to threaten him. We see Legato having some mind control power as he shows them who’s boss, making each of the bandits kill themselves. Scary. I was wondering why that saxaphone guy was continuing playing his sax amidst the killing. Later I found out that he’s part of Legato’s gang. Vash and the ladies soon arrive in this city but Vash is suspicious. Meanwhile the remaining bandits gather around Legato just outside town and wants revenge but Legato uses his mind control power and easily kills them all. Then he does a roll call for the appearance of his Gung-Ho Guns (GHG) gang. Uh huh. They’re members who discarded their humanity to obtain super powers and each of them has a nickname relating to their special skill. Let’s see. There’s Dominique The Cyclops, Zazie The Beast, Gray The Nine Lives, Hoppered The Gauntlet, Caine The Longshot, E.G. The Mine, Leonof The Puppetmaster, Rai Dei The Blade, Midvalley The Hornfreak (the guy with the sax), and Chapel The Evergreen (only one who isn’t here yet).
 
Legato tells Dominique to take care of Vash, which she agrees. Vash is trying to find out if Legato is around but everyone is too afraid to let Vash in and 1 of them slam the door on his finger. Soon Vash meets Dominique and a battle starts. Does Dominique have teleporting skills, since she’s here a second ago and there another second? Well, it’s like she has some sense numbing device which is embeded in her eye dubbed the demon’s eye. Vash manages to beat this technique by concentrating on his pain at his finger (huh?) and with that, fires a shot to destroy her demon’s eye. Meryl and Milly arrived and Dominique uses this chance to escape. Vash tells them not to follow him anymore as he’s gonna put a stop to Legato’s terror.
 
After 2 weeks not knowing Vash’s whereabouts, Meryl is fed-up and decides to go after him in episode 16. Vash is in a bar thinking about Legato when some guy comes in and tells him to go to Augusta City before shooting himself in the head. Vash is horrified but knows Legato is behind this. Wolfwood makes a return and along with the 2 ladies finds out Vash is going insane as he shoots wildly in the air asking everyone to leave. Vash then walks around the city to find the dead bodies of Monev and Dominique hanging when a GHG member, E.G. (looks like an oversized sea urchin), appears and battles him. But his battle is cut short when Rai Dei appears and slices him! I didn’t expect him to be killed by his own comrade. While the duo duke it out, Legato appears in Vash’s head trying to force him to use it. Suddenly his right arm transformed into some alien arm with a glowing energy ball! Huh? Rai Dei’s in shock. Vash can’t control it and an immense energy is released so much so it blasts a hole in 1 of the moons! Wow! Not only that, the explosion is so great that it obliterates the city. Later Rai Dei emerges from the wreckage to see Wolfwood sitting on his bike next to him. Rai Dei wants Wolfwood to help him but Wolfwood shoots him! At this point, I’m thinking Wolfwood may be 1 of the GHG, Chapel. But the final scene shows Meryl receiving a letter from Bernardelli asking for their immediate return to office. Why? They have decided to classify Vash’s act as and act of God and would no longer want to have any association with him. OMG! So typical insurance clause. Then we see all those characters that once came into contact with Vash like Elizabeth to Neon to Kaite, getting to know the news. But that’s so much you’ll ever get to see on them.
 
A flashback episode 17 tells how it all came about. It seems there was an expedition Earth to find habitable planets for the human race to begin anew. Inside each ship lies a bunch of humans in their cryogenic sleep. One such group is Rem’s and a handful of astronauts. At that time, Vash was a young kid and had a twin called Knives. Vash is quite close to Rem as she teaches him about life and such. However 1 of the crew, Steve doesn’t like the twins and calls them monsters, since they’re ‘special’. Then there is 1 part whereby Vash is watching how a spider traps a butterfly and is gonna eat it. Vash wanted to do something but is indecisive. Knives than crushes the spider, much to Vash’s shock. Knives tell him that in order to save the butterfly he kill spiders. Vash is adamant with the fact that he wants to save both. In a way, what Knives said is true. I mean, life is a vicious cycle, right? Unless you teach the spider to be vegetarian. Over several scenes, we see the remaining crew going crazy killing each other, starting with Steve. Actually it’s all Knives doing. He’s plotting to destroy everything as he sees no hope in humans. Knives decide to kill everyone except Rem because he thought Vash was quite attached to her. Furthermore, Knives is planning to crash this whole ship on a near desert planet. Since only Vash, Knives and Rem are the remaining survivors. Rem decides to stay back to do 1 last ditch attempt to save things, thus leaving Vash and Knives to escape as she tells Vash her last words to take care of Knives. Vash is devastated. Though Rem died while trying it, at least she’s able to save several of those humans as they crashed scattered throughout the planet. 100 years later, we see Vash determined to confront Knives. Woah! How old is this guy? Besides, there’s no appearance of that black cat here.
 
Episode 18 continues with that short flashback whereby a grown up Vash confronts Knives in a room with a man lying dead in his pool of blood. Knives did something to make Vash turn his right arm into an alien one against his will, causing that super explosion annihilating the city. Back in present time, Wolfwood arrives in a town whereby a gang of bandits supposedly led by Vash are aftering a young girl named Lina. An explosion at the bar causes Lina to be taken hostage. A blonde guy named Eriks (sounds like Vash) who is with Lina pleads for the bandits not to harm the girl and would in exchange strip, bark and act like a dog. Oh how humiliating. After witnessing such entertainment, the bandit leader (looks real hideous) lets Lina go and decides to shoot Eriks. Eriks is rushed to the hospital and Lina’s grandma is upset over the matter and wants to fight back but is restrained. Wolfwood walks into the hospital where Eriks is lying and slaps him to wake up! Yeah, he’s awake alright. We soon find out Eriks is indeed Vash, who’s taken up another identity and deciding to live a simple life after that hole-in-the-moon incident. Wolfwood also gives him back his repaired gun, which Wolfwood found Frank to fix it. A short flashback shows how Vash is being found by Lina’s grandma lying in some alley as she takes him in and fixes him up. She doesn’t care who he is and considers him as part of her little family. Wolfwood tells Vash about the name ‘Knives’ written in blood in a town square in a city called Caracas and all its residents have vanished too. Then news that the bandits have kidnapped Lina. Vash takes his gun and head straight to their place along with Wolfwood. Funny part is that the bandits outnumbered them and is welcoming the duo with a hail of bullets. But they all missed! Such bad shots! We also get to see Wolfwood’s cross working as a machine gun. He looks cool in that pose holding the machine gun. In the end, the bandits are no match for the duo and Lina is rescued. Finally, Vash decides to leave the family to settle things though Lina and grandma are sad but she’ll always consider him part of their family.
 
In episode 19, we see Meryl and Milly back at their office. Meryl gets word that Vash is still around and decides to go follow him with Milly. I’m not sure if the company allowed it or not, but they did anyway. Love? Meanwhile, Vash and Wolfwood are arguing where to go so much so they ended up going to a city called New Oregon. There they got involve in a family squabble between the Polo and the Fris. Vash of course would try and help out this family feud. Meryl and Milly heard Vash may be going there and took a train there, but it got hijacked instead. That train later crashes into a satellite and we see the Fris family is the one behind the hijacking. Through the loud speaker, the head of the Fris says he wants death to the Polo family. While Meryl and Milly manages to free themselves from the captors, Vash and Wolfwood storms into the train and disarms the hijackers without killing them. Vash manages to reach the control room where 1 of the Fris family is pointing the gun at the head of a young Polo man. He has a grudge against this family because this guy murdered his daughter. Vash tries to talk some sense into this guy without any bloodshed. So you’ll hear lots of drama and sob story but in the end, he hasn’t the will to pull the trigger. As everything ends peacefully, we see 1 of the Fris family member breaking apart like into a puppet and into a suitcase. Oh oh. It’s one of the GHG, Leonof.
 
Since there’s a storm coming in episode 20, Vash decides to use this opportunity to get to an Earth Ship, the only 1 that has never crash land on the planet. Kids, don’t ever try this anywhere. Jumping off a cliff and onto a platform which takes Vash and Wolfwood to it. To bad they have to leave the insurance girls behind, clinging to the very edge as the storm sweeps the city. It must’ve been a long time since Vash has returned. An old man greets him along with a young tough man named Brad. Just then, a girl named Jessica rushes out and affectionately hugs him, making Brad angry. You’ll guess that this Jessica has only eyes for Vash but Brad has a crush on her. Tough life. Speaking of which, the inhabitants of this ship don’t like outsiders, especially Wolfwood, thinking that they’re all violent. They’re staring and saying mean things to him. But Wolfwood lectures back at them.Vash and old man enters a room to have the former left gun hand upgraded. While Wolfwoof is walking along the corridor, he spots 2 dead bodies in a room. An inhabitant arrives and misinterprets the situation. Brad soon arrives and points a gun at him though Wolfwood still insists he didn’t do it. Brad is in a dilemma because we see other inhabitants falling dead and Leonof’s puppets appearing. They’re holding Jessica hostage and in order to assure her safety, Brad must shoot Wolfwood. Vash soon arrives and the puppet break into pieces. Though Jessica runs to hug Vash, this isn’t time to feel jealous brad. A short flashback on how Rem love those red germanium flowers because it means determination (probably why Vash is dressed in red). The gang have to fight waves and waves of Leonof’s puppet when Leonof mentions how 2 other GHG are also on board. Come to think of it, how did they get on board?
 
Wolfwood and Vash decides to find the other 2 GHG in episode 21. Before that, we see Legato in some dark place talking to a guy in a test tube (supposedly Knives) about how he’s gonna make Vash pay. To cut things short, Wolfwood gets Gray while Vash faces Hoppered. Lots of fighting and shooting and to cut things short, the duo are here to destroy the engine to bring down the ship. Wolfwood finds out why Gray is called Nine Lives because he’s practically a machine. Not because he’s related to a cat. After lots of blasting, Gray detonates himself causing 1 of the ship’s engine to blow. Meanwhile, Hoppered uses his last ounce of strength to destroy another engine as he sacrifice himself, thus sending the ship crashing down on the desert planet. In the aftermath, the inhabitants are fearing the worse because their sanctuary is no more and blames Vash. However, Brad steps in and stands up for Vash. Surprise surprise. He even lecture back at them, making them feel ashame of their outburst. Wolfwood is inside the ship and enters a room to see Jessica being tied up. Realizing that she’s being there all the time, he quickly tries to warn Vash about the fake Jessica. However it’s too late as she open fire at Vash. Unfortunately, Brad was the one who threw himself in front of Vash to protect him. Vash is terrified to see what’s happening. Some tear jerking moments as Brad slowly passes away. At least he realized things before he breathe his last breath. I’m not sure how Wolfwood knows Leonof’s exact location in the desert, but he eventually manages to find this guy who acknowledges his plan has failed, and blasts him with his bazooka! Boom! With the inhabitants agreeing to start things anew with refreshed hope, Vash continues to weep for Brad at his grave.
 
Vash, Wolfwood along with the 2 insurance girls continue their journey in episode 22 but Vash is blaming himself for the previous deaths. They reach a closed city whereby the guards refuse to let them in. At this point, I’m wondering how did Wolfwood-Milly relationship started? I mean, the way the 2 of them said things as though as they’re an item or something. As the quartet decides to go away, they spot a boy stealing some stuff from their car. They follow him to a nearby abandoned building in which to their surprise find several orphan children living there. Though the kids aren’t happy with the adults, they manage to break the ice. The kids tell them how that closed city was evacuated and those who remained refused to let outsiders in. The orphan’s parents 1 day walked away in a trance, leaving them behind and nowhere to go. The next day, a group of men open fire at the orphan’s place, blaming Vash and co for the incident the other night. Previously, Legato and Midvalley came in and did mind control on some of the inhabitants to kill themselves. Before anything could happen, giant sand worms in the area terrorizes them (look like those from the American movie Tremors). They try to drive the beasts away and seek cover in the closed city. During the battle, Vash sensed something wrong and notices something about the boy who earlier stole stuffs from his car. He shoots his earpiece and the sand worms immediately grinds to a halt. That boy reveals that he is Zazie. Though Vash tries to reason with him, Zazie has his gun at the children. Some talking and tense moments before Zazie falls dead to the ground. It looks like Wolfwood had shot him! Vash is stunned and engages in a bitter war of words with Wolfwood. Wolfwood too has his own believes, which pretty much differs from Vash. Yeah, kill or be killed. In the end, Wolfwood leaves.
 
Episode 23 starts off with Wolfwood’s flashback how he shoot and killed his abusive dad. Since then he has been taken in by the church by a man named Chapel (oh those freakish eyes). Meanwhile Vash in in a deserted town looking at a monument with the words ‘Knife’ on it, before blasting it. Also, Chapel comes to see Wolfwood and tells him that he’s a successor of he GHG and must kill Vash or else the children back at the orphanage will die. At the same time, Caine arrives outside town with his looooooong gun and position himself ready to snipe. Of all the GHG, I find that Caine is the most cool looking one in my opinion, though he may look like some American horror movie psychopath. So more of that Wolfwood-Milly drama as the next day Wolfwood confronts Vash and points his cross gun at him. Vash tells him that if he kills him, he must promise not to kill anymore. Wolfwood can’t do it. Just then a stray bullet barely misses them. Wolfwood tells Vash that there’s a sniper outside town and tells Vash to go find him while he himself needs to find Chapel.
 
Caine’s shot really packs a punch as Vash drives a vehicle evading his shots trying to reach him. Soon Caine’s gun is blown into pieces and Vash is standing next to him. Vash tells him nicely to go home but Caine points a gun at his own head. Vash frantically tries to stop him but is too late. Meanwhile Wolfwood comes face to face with Chapel and a fierce battle ensue with Wolfwood emerging tops (still don’t get that apple snatching lesson). Instead of killing Chapel, he just walk away. Chapel uses his last ounce of strength to shoot Wolfwood in his back. We didn’t see who shot who, just heard some gunshots. The scene changes to Wolfwood meeting Vash burying Caine. Some talk here and there before we see Wolfwood bleeding. So he got shot after all. As Vash tells Wolfwood he failed to save another life, Wolfwood stumbles into a nearby church bleeding and said his last words before he died on his knees. I can’t believe he’s gone! Milly is seen crying and screaming uncontrollably (pity her) and I’m not sure but it looks like she’s pregnant with his child. Things are gonna get grimmer.
 
Episode 24 starts off with Chapel meeting with Legato and Midvalley. Doesn’t look like a good one. Wolfwood probably opened his eyes and the reason why Wolfwood died is because he came to believe Vash’s ideals. We find out Legato was the one who forced Chapel to pull the trigger on Wolfwood. Knives finally makes his full body appearance and says how he hate humans before sending Chapel to his doom in some black hole. Meryl and Milly are still not over that previous incident but after some heart to heart talk, they decide to go after Vash. Vash himself is eating some donuts and looking at how the people around him are happily going on with their lives when Vash starts to break down. Two boys come up to him and wonders why an adult is crying when they fainted. The whole town soon follow suite. Legato appears nearby and tells him to meet him at the top of the mountain. Plus, he’s purposely blaming Vash for the deaths of Wolfwood and GHG. As Vash gets up, he soon find himself with battle against Midvalley. However his saxaphone play deflects all of Vash’s bullets. Furthermore, his melody is making the townpeople fight against their will. After a long battle, Vash uses his robotic gun to richochet bullets and destroy Midvalley’s sax. With that, Midvalley blows himself up with his own sax. Vash is in anguish to see another person dead even though he’s the enemy. Vash manages to make his way up the mountain and meets Legato. Some talking before Legato tries to force that alien arm of Vash’s but the latter manages to control and restrain it. Soon Legato uses his mind control and order the townpeople to kill their captives, Meryl and Milly (earlier on, they’re heading to this town but got kidnapped when they stopped to help an injured man). Legato tells Vash (who’s pointing a gun at Legato’s forehead) that he must kill him or else the 2 girls will die. Vash undergoes more mental anguish. Finally Vash pulls the trigger, killing Legato. Though the girls are safe and everyone else returning back to normal, we see Knives giving out an evil laughter saying how he’ll make Vash suffer.
 
Because of that, Vash is spacing out with low self esteem in episode 25 saying how he killed his 1st time and is no different than Knives. Thus Meryl and Milly try their best to bring back the smile and confidence in Vash by taking up part time jobs as a waitress and construction worker respectively, and nurse him back to health. It’s tough at first but with perseverance, Vash gradually recovers. One day, a truck driver spots Vash and soon tells everyone to get out of town because he’s here. So much so the townpeople rounded up the ladies and beat up Vash, taking their anger out on him. Vash says how he deserve to die and doesn’t fight back. Looks like the name Vash doesn’t strike fear anymore. However Meryl calmly talks to them, which reminded Vash so much about Rem. The angry mob backs down and realized. Later that evening, Vash chats with Meryl and Milly and since he was so inspired by Meryl back then, he hugs her. Didn’t see that coming. Tears of joy. The next day, Vash has fully got his confidence back and sets out to find and save Knives. He also brings along Wolfwood’s cross slinging across his back as the 2 ladies wave goodbye and will await his safe return.
 
Episode 26 is like a series of fast forward flashback before the final battle. It shows how Vash and Knives are travelling the desert world and even though Vash doesn’t like Knives thinking, he follows him for fear of being alone. Their travels bring them to see the dark and uncivilized side of humans. After some time, Knives created 2 guns and gives 1 to Vash (it took 1 year for that? Can’t believe Vash actually waited that long). Since their beliefs still differ, they end up arguing so much so, Vash accidentally shot Knives in the leg (how’s that for a taste of your own medicine on pain). Vash panics and run away. Fast forward several years, after lots of wandering and memory losing, Vash gets info of a guy who’s related to Rem and proceeds to find him to tell all about Rem. Unfortunately upon his arrival, he saw that guy dead and Knives was the one who killed him. In Vash’s rage, that’s where Knives made him unleash his alien arm and destroy the city of July. Now it all make sense. Then a fast flashback recap on how the GHG were assembled by Knives to bring hell to Vash and all their battles with him. 130 over years later? This guy must be the envy of all those seeking eternal youth. Just kidding.
 
The final battle starts with Vash arriving at a beautiful garden where Knives is seen having tea. Soon a really cool and awesome gunfight ensue which reminds me so much like Grenadier’s last episode battle between Rushuna and Setsuna. Then Knives transform his alien arm with angel wings and Vash soon follows. I can feel the elaborateness of the alien arm, charging up its power and getting ready to fire. Since their blasts are so great, it cancelled out each other. More fighting until what it seems Vash is losing and lying on the ground. He then hears Wolfwood’s voice to use it, in which Vash takes out the cross lying nearby and starts to fire back. I think the reason why the producers did this is so that Wolfwood doesn’t get ‘left out’. With Knives stunned, Vash fires a few more shots at him and finally points his gun at his head. It’s over. Back at town, due to Milly’s construction work, the town is flooded with water. Soon Vash returns carrying Knives unconscious (didn’t think he’d kill him after hearing that last gunshot) and the 2 ladies are overjoyed. Vash says to himself how he’ll still honour Rem but will live with his own words from now on.
 
Overall, I must say that I’m a little dissatisfied how it all end. I felt that the ending could’ve been a little better. No doubt, the good guys won, but it made me feel it isn’t the end of it all yet. Uh huh. Like if ever the producers want, they’ll just make a sequel. I still like the early parts of the series, seeing Vash in action (comical and dorky ones of course), though he doesn’t do much of it. Then with the introduction of the GHG arc, it gets somewhat a little serious and I feel it wasn’t as good. He still looks pretty cool with his gun, though.
 
Based on the manga title of the same name, I read that there are several slight differences between the anime and the manga in terms of the characters’ personality and role. In fact, there’re a few more GHG members. If you like to see more of Vash and Wolfwood, the manga story continues under the title Trigun Maximum. Heck, there’s a movie called Trigun X, which I believed is released somewhere last year. Can’t get enough? There’s a video game too but for me, the anime is sufficient.
 
Masaya Onosaka who voices Vash does an amazing job especially making him sound dorky and comical. He’s also the voice behind Momoshiro of Prince Of Tennis and Haruka of Lovely Complex. Meryl is voiced by Hiromi Tsuru who also voiced Ukyo in Ranma 1/2 and Bulma in Dragonball Z. Milly is voiced by Satsuki Yukino who is famous for her roles as Kagome of Inu Yasha, Tina of Ai Yori Aoshi, Chidori of Full Metal Panic and Ayu of Ultra Maniac. You may recognize Sho Hayami as Wolfwood because he’s also the one behind Aizen of Bleach and Meister Kirisaki of Yakitate! Japan.
 
Though there aren’t any memorable background music, I kinda feel that there’s a lack of them during the anime so much so that certain dialogue scenes have that ‘deafening silence’ in the background. Even so, some of them sound like old country Western music like the next episode preview, which is narrated philosophically by Vash. Not that I really understand or remember them. Aside that, the music is more on hard rock. Like the opening theme, H.T. is an instrumental piece which gets viewers into that action atmosphere while the ending theme Kaze Wa Mirai Ni Fuku, sounds like the singer is singing it in a ‘drowsy’ way. The mid-intermission has a short but heavy and loud electrical guitar jamming so you might want to turn down your volume level at that point.

 
Speaking of the dialogue part, at times I thought the characters were just thinking aloud when I wonder how the other characters know he/she is thinking. Then it dawned to me that they’re actually having a conversation. Probably the way I see they don’t move their mouths made me think so. I’m not sure if the subtitled version one I saw is actually done by the company who acquired its licence or a fansub group because since my basic Japanese vocab is a little better (ahem ahem) there are certain speeches in which it’s meaning is translated for non-Japanese speakers. Like how Milly addresses Meryl as her senior in Japanese, ‘senpai’. But it’s translated as ma’am. Though it generally means the same, fansubbers would leave it as it is. I think the sub version has to be the former one since the title is all in English and I have glimpsed 1 in Japanese kanji during my surfing on the internet.
 
All in all, this series is still worth a good watch. As usual, we learn that violence only leads to violence. Probably it’s in our genes that we humans naturally love to be in conflict with each other whether back here on good o’ Earth or on another new planet. So just how civilized are we? If there’re more people like Vash around, heck I wouldn’t mind everyone to be so dorky like him.
Trigun

You

January 25, 2008

  Mune ni idaku kimi e no kotoba,
  Itsuka tsutaetai na…
 
I wonder how long has it been since I’ve sung this opening theme song from the anime series Shuffle. Yup, that love comedy harem anime adapted from the simulation game of the same name. Well, not that long actually. From time to time I still find You (yes, this is just what this song is called. Zero marks for creativity and variation) quite a satisfactory melody to belt out.
 
  Koboreru binetsu takanaru kodou,
  Hajimari wa wakaranai kedo,
  Ichido kizuita kesenai omoi,
  Uso ni wa mou dekinai kara
 
Even though I have said that it’s quite a satisfactory song to sing, I didn’t mean that I could sing it perfectly. Yeah, there are still some ‘weaknesses’ from my part. But let me get to the good part first. Since the tune and pitch of the verses are simple, straightforward and unproblematic, in my humble opinion, I think I do sound quite close to group singing the song, YURIA. You’re mocking me already, right?
 
  Deaeta no ga arifureta guuzen da to shite mo,
  Tokubetsu na imi wo kanjiteru
 
That’s so much about the good part. Haih… Though the early part of the chorus is manageable, one needs to have a certain ‘powerful control’ in order to hit the final chorus lines right. Strange thing is, I kinda notice that could cope with the first chorus, then it starts to ‘diminish’ with the second chorus and the last chorus doesn’t feel like it sounded close at all.
 
  Kimi no soba ni irareru koto wo,
  Itsumo kamisama ni kansha desu,
  Mayoi no nai kimi no yokogao,
  Zutto nagamete itai
 
Because of that, another thing I noticed is that as I continue singing the song, I gradually become tired and nearly out of breath as the song reaches the end. Even with much practice on the timing and breathing periods, I still can’t seem to overcome this problem until today. Perhaps it would’ve help if there are background vocals. You’ve guessed it. There’s only an off vocal version of this song.
 
  Sore wa iromeku hana na you ni,
  Touku sakihokoru monogatari,
  Keshite kie wa shinai iro ga,
  Kaze ni nosete hibiku
 
Other than that, with quite an upbeat and lively tune accompanied with a wild electric guitar playing style, I’m sure this rock song is enough to make most people get up and do a little shuffle with their feet, if not perhaps a little frenzy dance trance. Probably suitable to be a dance song.
 
  Kimi to futari sugosu jikan ga,
  Yuruginai chikara wo kureru yo,
  Inori komeru kimi e no kotoba,
  Fukaku todoku you ni…
 
And the song ends with what seemingly sounds like one big soft explosion after all that blaring. Don’t worry, it won’t be loud enough to shatter any window glasses or scare anyone with a weak heart. Talk about going out with a bang.

Nodame Cantabile

January 19, 2008

Fancy an anime with classical music? Then Nodame Cantabile may just be your cup of tea. Don’t worry. The entire series won’t be filled with classical music concerts from start to finish. It wouldn’t make sense to turn it into an anime, right? I mean, if you’re really a classical music enthusiast, wouldn’t it be better to attend the real live concert? To get more viewers to be interested in classical music especially otakus, you say? Maybe. But I wouldn’t bet on it. I feel it’s an acquired taste if one really wants to appreciate such music.
 
Though classical music is the main music theme of the series, the anime’s storyline is mainly driven by comedy, romance and some slice of life bits. Not that you’d get to see how classical music students go about in their daily lives. I mean, it would be plain boring just to watch them practicing their instruments day in day out, right? They’re just like any other college students, trying to strike a balance between their study and social life and of course thinking about their future career. And most important of all, their love life. Okay, maybe not all of them.
 
The series main protagonist as seen in episode 1 is Shinichi Chiaki a piano student at Momogaoka College Of Music, who is an expert in playing piano and violin. However, his dream isn’t to be like Richard Clayderman or Vanessa Mae, but rather an orchestra conductor. Chiaki looks up to some famous conductor, Sebastian Viera, when he was young and would like to follow in his footsteps. However, his fear of flying and even stepping into an airplane (not to mention taking a ship) has prevented him from following in dream and has since been ‘trapped’ in Japan. Thus Chiaki finds and questioning himself how far he could go in music as he watches everyone surpasses him. Even so, Chiaki still hasn’t lost his musical touch and at times still strut his stuff whenever he has to. Because he’s the son of some famous pianist, it’s no wonder there are other girls swooning over him and other guys admiring him.
 
Probably because of this attitude of his and recently being dumped by his songstress girlfriend, Saiko Tagaya (she did admit she hate losers), is Chiaki’s life gonna take a turn for the worse? Well, that depends on how you look at it. But definitely Chiaki’s life will undergo a transformation when he meets a free spirited student, Megumi Noda or more fondly known as Nodame. Note that it’s a short of her first name and surname together and no, it doesn’t stem from that famous French cathedral. Because Chiaki’s depressed from his recent break-up, he somehow slept outside his apartment and that’s when Nodame found him sleeping in the hallway.
 
Chiaki wakes up the next day to find himself in a room filled with garbage everywhere. Is this really a room or a dumpster. However, among the filthy stench, Chiaki hears a nice piano piece being played by Nodame. Of course Chiaki is still shock to find himself in this endless piles of trash but wait. Isn’t this his room or what. It’s Nodame’s room alright and just like fate itself, Chiaki’s room is just next to hers. With that fated meeting, thus begins the quirky and weird relationship between the duo.
 
Nodame is practically my favourite character in every aspect. Her ‘dreamy and naive’ voice makes her sound unique in addition to those funny sounds she make when she’s surprise like "Pukya!" and "Gyabo!". Hahaha. Her personality is really quirky and amusing. Though she may be a person who lives in a pig sty-like environment and doesn’t know proper hygiene, Nodame is a bloody good pianist. Though she can read music notes, her true forte is that she’s able to play a difficult piano piece perfectly at first go after hearing the entire song once! That’s fantastic. I really envy people who could play by ear. How I wish I was like her. Unfortunately, I’m just a rogue pianist, meaning someone who’s not destined to play a piano no matter how much I try :'(. But that’s the good part about her piano skills. There is one bad habit though. Since I’m not a classical music enthusiast nor have I heard most of the classical pieces before, all of Nodame’s pieces sound really good and I couldn’t tell the difference. However, since Chiaki is a maestro in this area, he seems to notice that Nodame’s peculiar habit of adding and deleting some notes of her own when playing such masterpieces. So much so he gets pissed off and hits her as he tells her not to ‘rewrite’ the entire piece herself. Yeah, Chiaki spots a talented girl and in a way decides to give her a little piano lesson.
 
So you could also say that it’s the start of a one-way love relationship. Nodame falls head over heels over Chiaki but her love is unreturned. Why, Nodame even claims Chiaki to be her boyfriend but the latter just gives her the cold shoulder everytime. Poor girl. And sometimes when Chiaki’s in a bad mood, he’ll abuse Nodame with weird items if she becomes too bothersome. Yeah, not to mention throw things at her. Because Chiaki is giving a little piano lesson to Nodame, he can’t stand the pig sty of her room and even took the liberty to clean up her room! I suppose he doesn’t want to do that but maybe it’s just his reflex. Not only that, since Nodame is a horrible cook, Chiaki too has to cook for her sometimes in order for them both to get a decent meal! Oh the irony.
 
Just like the odd Nodame herself, the entire series has only 23 episodes. I was wondering why not 24 or 26 or recently the trend of 25 episodes. Maybe the producers want to catch viewers off guard when the series ends at that episode. Maybe the number 23 is related to some piece like Opus or Symphony number 23. Dunno. Just speculating. Besides, there’s a live action version of the series and though I read many viewers prefer the live action one, it has only 11 episodes and it’s not a very popular series either.
 
In most of the episodes, there will be at least 1 classical music piece being played. There will be a display on the screen to prompt when this happens by spelling out the name of the piece and its composer. I’m thinking and sure the producers didn’t go to great lengths to record a live orchestra just for this anime. I mean, that would exceed the budget, right? So while the excellent music is being played, you’ll just see the calm faces of the audience and some even giving their acclaimed opinions about it. Uh huh. I feel that such scenes provide more ear candy rather than visual. So I suppose it’s best just to close your eyes and enjoy the music.
 
Back to the storyline, episode 2 introduces another weirdo who’ll be part of reluctant Chiaki’s group. He is Ryutaro Mine and is a violin student (more towards rock music and he’s currently looking for members for his own band) and his dad runs a Chinese restaurant which is right next to the college. Mine is going to take a practical exam in which he once failed and he needs someone to be his piano accompaniment. Since Chiaki once disliked his playing style, he’s out of the question. During his practice, Nodame accidentally trips and unplugs on his electric violin’s cable. Thus the start of another fateful meeting. Mine asks Nodame if she would want to be his piano accompaniment for his exam. She agrees. Thing is, Nodame hasn’t learn the piece they’re gonna play at the exam yet. So over the episode we see and hear more classical pieces being played and… more food. Yeah, I guess Nodame’s a glutton since every darn food also she likes. Still Chiaki isn’t too fond of Nodame proclaiming herself as his girlfriend so much so Mine gives her some advice like being sexy in order to sleep with Chiaki. I don’t think that’ll work. But it’s hilarious to see Nodame putting too much make-up. So after much practice and talk, we see Chiaki replaces Nodame at Mine’s exam because Nodame comes down with a cold. However, since the duo’s combination is flawless, the examiners are impressed and Mine passes the exam with flying colours. In the end, because of his earlier chat with Chiaki, Mine decides to break up his band and go into classical music as he joins Chiaki and Nodame’s circle. Well, two’s a company, three’s a crowd. Wait, it’s been rowdy even with Nodame alone.
 
Episode 3 introduces yet another weirdo. This time the timpanist student, Masumi Okuyama. What’s so weird about this guy? Besides being claustrophobic and sporting an afro hairstyle, he’s actually the kind of guy who thinks he’s a woman born in a man’s body. In other words, a ‘pondan’. Furthermore, Masumi’s in love with Chiaki and with Nodame butting in, the competition is really heating up. Most of the time (especially when it involves Chiaki), Masumi and Nodame don’t see eye to eye (I like it especially Masumi calls Nodame ‘No-Dummy’ and ‘No-Dame’ meaning not good. Haha), other than that, they’re just fine. Thus in this episode, we see Masumi pulling off several pranks on a hapless Nodame as revenge. But since it’s getting no where, Mine suggests to see who can get to date with Chiaki on Christmas Eve. I believe Chiaki isn’t homo and if he has to choose I’m sure he has to pick the lesser of 2 evils. Anyway, those 2 losers failed. As the duo reflect on it, we find out Masumi has been kicked out of his orchestra group and has no where to go. Nodame suggests for him to join them and form a 3 piece ensemble. Though the usual bickering ensue between Nodame and Masumi, the trio starts their practice session. And soon Chiaki joins and helps them in their jazz-like piece, since he doesn’t mind to lend an extra hand, making Masumi extremely happy. Earlier on, Chiaki and Saiko did had a walk together but that Chiaki guy refuses whatever Saiko had offered him. Didn’t she dumped him? Yeah, looks like deep down Saiko still loves him but there’s no turning back now. Better be with a unhygienic weirdo than an obnoxious selfish b*tch.
 
Nodame meets another weirdo in episode 4. A foreigner from Germany by the name of Milch Holstein. This is by far the worse weirdo ever. Why? He’s a womaniser and a pervert. Probably Nodame’s naiveness got her to bring him around here and there and eventually to Chiaki’s room, which Nodame claims to be her boyfriend’s room. I didn’t know Chiaki’s good in German because he can see that Milch guy’s a fake. He’s actually Franz Von Stresemann, a highly reputable and respected conductor who comes to visit the college as a guest instructor. And yes, the part of him which womanizes is still true. Stresemann visits the college next day and meets Chiaki. He claims to know Viera and asks him if he wants to be a conductor, in which Chiaki affirmed he wants to. I suppose it’s Chiaki’s intuition not to let Nodame go out with that dirty old man rather than he has feelings for her as Chiaki makes up excuses or attempts to get Nodame away from him. Of course Nodame would choose Chiaki and everytime this happens, Stresemann gets jealous and would be plotting something against Chiaki. In addition to teaching the college’s A Orchestra, Stresemann’s here to form an orchestra of his own and would consist of students he’ll personally pick. Mine and Masumi or on his list (Nodame is in too… as their mascot. Huh?) and with that, Chiaki decides not to transfer to the conducting course. Of course Stresemann didn’t allow this and rips apart his transfer letter.
 
So a little flashback when Stresemann met Viera 15 years ago (that guy’s still flirts around and with Viera’s wife!). Though Stresemann’s S Orchestra has gathered in the hall and waiting but Stresemann arrives late and wants to get to know them all to some drinking party. It’s his excuse of flirting around. Is he really a world famous conductor he claimed to be? Nodame also finds out that if Chiaki transfers to the conducting course, his graduation will be delayed by a year and this means an additional year to be with Chiaki. So Nodame tries to persuade Stresmann to approve the transfer but to no avail. Because of that, Chiaki thinks of quiting college but Nodame rips his letter and forcefully brings him to the principal’s office to sort things out. Seeing a pitiful Nodame in tears pleading, Stresemann admit he lost but will approve Chiaki’s transfer on 1 condition, that is, Nodame has to kiss him. He’s still a pervert right till the end, isn’t he?
 
Well, Nodame didn’t make the kiss in episode 5 because like any other girl’s reaction, she gave him a sucker punch right in his face. Who’d want to kiss an old geezer like you. Meanwhile the S Orchestra is getting tired of waiting for Stresemann and decides to leave when Nodame comes in and says Chiaki will take over. Though Chiaki thinks he’s just filling in, he can’t let this chance pass up, since everyone else is eager to know how good is Chiaki’s conducting. Mine is acting like the concert master because he said Stresemann picked him, much to the dissatisfaction of others. As they practice, Chiaki realizes that this whole bunch of misfits in S Orchestra are awful players of the college. Yeah, the cacophony and no synchronization. Why, Chiaki could even pick out and sharply criticise those wrong notes or playing just by hearing. He’s good. But it all sound normal to me. Chiaki has had enough so much so he quits. Stresemann, who’s watching from the audience seat stands up and says Chiaki has failed. Why? Because Chiaki made a girl cry. Doesn’t it feel like American Idol here? Yeah, harsh words, crushed dreams. Don’t worry, she isn’t kicked out yet. Stresemann takes over and starts from the top with his gentle persuassion, everybody feels better and cooperates. Yeah, probably it’s part of his plan to make Chiaki look bad.
 
Next day, Chiaki again tries for his transfer but Stresemann rips it apart but Chiaki mentions that he’s gonna keep on trying till he accepts him. Stresemann notes that his talents are being wasted by being Viera’s student and that he should continue with his piano course. When he’s not doing so, he could try being at Stresemann’s side. Stresemann invites Chiaki to a place where he could get some girls when Nodame barges in and protest and says she’s not gonna let Stresemann have Chiaki. But Stresemann isn’t perturbed because he thinks by getting Chiaki, he’ll get Nodame as well.
 
Stresemann lets Chiaki know in episode 6 that the S Orchestra is going to play against the A Orchestra in an upcoming concert. Thing is, Stresemann is busy missing in action flirting and the S Orchestra hasn’t practice much under him so much so Chiaki has to be the substitute conductor. Other than that, we see one of the S Orchestra members, Sakura Saku, facing a few difficulties of her own as Nodame tries to help her out. Eventually Chiaki and Nodame visits Sakura’s house and learn her father’s an avid collector of violins, which in a way contributes to the family’s bankruptcy. Uh huh, he should’ve sold off all those violins to lift the family out from trouble since he himself can’t play them. Well, he took Chiaki’s advice to sell them all and Sakura’s family is doing well again. Something about that violin being cursed too.
 
Beside Mine creating some weird trademark movement for the S Orchestra (whereby everyone lifts up their instruments in the air), Stresemann drops the bombshell by quitting the S Orchestra and decides to coach A Orchestra and leaves everything to Chiaki. Why? Because the previous night outing, the girls especially Nodame, ignored him. I mean, Chiaki’s surprised to learn from Nodame that Stresemann thought her how to be seductive. And to see Nodame trying to be all over Chiaki, he can’t take it anymore. Be careful, he’s such a vengeful creature. Though Mine feels it’s their chance to show their true potential and overthrow A Orchestra, Chiaki is feeling depressed with the responsibilities he’s shouldering and thinks he can’t win against Stresemann, so much so Chiaki evades and ignores Nodame’s attempts to kiss him while he’s in deep thinking. He didn’t even realized she’s trying to do that. As usual Chiaki continues his usual criticism on everyone’s play which made everyone to think Chiaki’s like a dictator akin to Napolean Bonarparte.
 
With that everybody’s confidence is shattering as Chiaki himself is having a hard time trying to keep the orchestra together in episode 7. Meanwhile a student who looks a bit like Chiaki, Oukouchi, who’s a student of Stresemann wants him to allow him to conduct the orchestra in his absence. But Stresemann pisses him off saying that he could only swing chopsticks. Oukouchi decides to go see himself how good Chiaki is but is stopped by Nodame who thinks he’s a spy from A Orchestra. While the duo are arguing, the door to the orchestra door opens and slams Oukouchi and we see lots of girls streaming out crying. Even Mine! Can’t take the heat any longer. Later we find out Nodame is an obsessed fan of some movie called Puri Gorota. I’m not sure what it’s about but she pissed off Chiaki when she commented how he’s similar to 1 of the characters. Yeah, he’s gonna kill her.
 
Next day, Chiaki notices his S Orchestra members aren’t paying attention to him and Nodame wonders if they’re boycotting Chiaki. Later Mine and the rest apologizes for not doing so as Chiaki does the same for his selfishness. With that, they continue practicing. On the day of the performance, Chiaki is shocked to see his orchestra wearing black t-shirts with ‘S Orchestra’ printed on it. In the end, S Orchestra pulls off an astounding performance and the audience are thrilled as they give them a standing ovation. As for A Orchestra, they did badly because of a last minute sudden change in conductor. Uh huh. Stresemann decides to leave it to Okouchi to conduct. But in the end, that loser ran away, claiming stomach ace. Later the S Orchestra thanks Chiaki as it was him which made them pushed harder and promised to try their best in the future. Then we see Chiaki sleeping on a park bench and this time Nodame sees an opportunity to kiss him. She successfully does and quickly runs away in ecstasy. Well, it seems Chiaki purposely let her do so as gratitude. And that Stresemann is burning in jealousy as he watches from his window. Chiaki will always be number 1 in Nodame’s heart, pal.
 
Stresemann tries to go back to the S Orchestra by inviting them to that party again in episode 8 but they rejected him since he abandoned them before. However, Stresemann says who wants to have a feel on Chiaki’s chest, made all the girls change their minds. I suppose let bygones by bygones as we see the S Orchestra members having a swell time with Stresemann at that restaurant. That guy still wants to flirt, especially with Nodame. Later Chiaki does some research on Stresemann and finds out that he’s supposedly missing after some public performance in London and that police are searching for him. Next day, a helicopter lands in college and Stresemann recognizes the woman coming down from it as Elise and starts running away. Elise orders her henchmen to capture Stresemann in which they successfully done so. Yeah, he’s gagged and bound. Chiaki finds out that Elise is Stresemann’s secretary-cum-manager and the reason he’s here is because of a woman, Mina, which is his ex-lover and is also a director of this college. So Stresemann becomes a topic among them to talk about like his true intention and such.
 
While Stresemann is rehearsing with the S Orchestra, Mina comes to see him and Stresemann even seriously asks her to marry him, which she just brush it off as a joke. Uh huh. He got dumped so fast. With that, Stresemann decides to conduct the S Orchestra for a while. Chiaki thinks he’s just doing it to gain Mina’s attention. Stresemann spots Nodame playing 1 of her pieces and asks what are her ambitions. Nodame replies that she wants to be a kindergarten teacher and marry Chiaki. But Stresemann says at this rate she can’t marry Chiaki. Besides that, Chiaki hears from Elise a little about Stresemann’s past and Stresemann and Mina discussing things about Chiaki with the former suggesting to take a trip to Nagano as there’s a music festival over there. We also see Nodame frantically clinging on to Chiaki because she believed what Stresemann said to her.
 
We see Chiaki, Nodame, Mine and Masumi in a car on their way to Nina Lutz’s musical festival in episode 9. This festival is held yearly whereby each participants take lessons from famous musicians to further enhance their music skills. While Mine is overwhelmed by the many talented musicians, Nodame gets Nina herself. But Nodame fails in her eyes because she’s lousy at note reading and partly because she’s thinking about Chiaki. So much so Nina loses her patience and tells Nodame to get out of her class. Meanwhile Chiaki and Stresemann are attending the festival’s party and Elise gives Chiaki Stresmann’s schedule and even a book on how to deal with that guy! Must be like an animal. But isn’t that Elise’s job? Yeah, she says she’s on vacation now and as expected Chiaki ends up becoming Stresemann’s P.A. Poor guy.
 
Later Nodame is relieved that she gets to see Chiaki after a long time and touches his hand, freaking him out. He finds out Nodame got kicked out and tells her to go home if she’s scared of the teacher. Because Stresemann again has a hangover, Chiaki has to play temporary conductor for Stresemann’s pupils. Yeah, more harsh criticising and correcting their playing style. Chiaki notices a violinist, Miki Kiyora, the only one among the pack which sounds different and talented. On the final day of the festival we see Stresemann conducting while Nina performs with a special orchestra. Also, a couple of reporters seem interested in Chiaki because they think Stresemann’s student should be newsworthy. Nodame on the other hand is behaving strangely like an orang utan (as said by Masumi) and can’t be found anywhere. Chiaki went to ask Nina but she said she lacked passion and was excused from class. But Nina later heard a beautiful piano piece (by Nodame) and by the time she reached to room to see who it was, nobody was there. Finally that girl hit the right notes. What’s this? Chiaki bringing back Stresemann on a train instead of riding back with his pals? Ah, the lesser of 2 evils. Besides, he is his assistant for the day, right?
 
The college will be holding a cultural festival soon in episode 10 and Mine wants the S Orchestra to do a costumed orchestra for it. However, Chiaki won’t be joining them because he’s busy practicing with the A Orchestra. At the same time, Stresemann is still fooling around and this didn’t make Mina happy because she thinks he’s not taking Chiaki seriously. Mina nearly ‘kills’ Stresemann and tells him not to belittle her students and the festival before leaving. A letter opener can be a deadly weapon too. On the day of the festival, the S Orchestra comes dressed in some traditional Japanese costume, except Masumi who’s in some lady’s attire. Why did they dress so? Something about a chance to beat Chiaki. Anyway if you’re wondering that weird costume thingy at the end credits, worry no more because it finally made it’s appearance. Well, it’s a badly made mongoose actually and Nodame is wearing it. Uh huh. Some unrelated blabbings about mongoose from Nodame, stumping everyone. Funny part is that it appeared on stage as the S Orchestra is about to perform and though Chiaki can’t see who the person is behind it but has a strong feeling it’s Nodame. A mongoose playing a melodian? The S Orchestra does another astounding performance even though they pulled off that weird trademark move of theirs. Though Nodame is the orchestra’s mascot, she still feels she isn’t really part of it and wonders why a piano isn’t included in an orchestra. Good question. Maybe it’s because piano pieces sound better on its own in classical music? On the final day of the festival, everyone is anticipating with excitement a performance of Chiaki with Stresemann. However, Stresemann informs Chiaki that he’ll soon be leaving Japan.
 
The combined performance of Chiaki and Stresemann begins in episode 11. One thing I notice is how darn smooth the animation when they show the person’s fingers playing the piano. It made me go wow. I don’t know if they simply just move the fingers without any correlation with the music, but that’s a different story. You’ll see this smoothness everytime a piano piece is being played. Talk about providing eye candy now. Of course the duo’s performance was the best so much so the S Orchestra comes in second place. Nodame is awed by Chiaki’s performance so much so she frantically tries to search and play that piano piece Chiaki played that day. She’s more like panicking. Then some advice from Stresemann to Nodame saying that she has to take music face on or else she won’t be able to truly enjoy music, which makes Nodame a little angry.
 
This episode also sees Saiko trying her opera voice part as she still reminisces about Chiaki. Though she still loves him, she realized that Chiaki had all along loved her voice only. Funny part is that she decides to go peek at Chiaki and ‘the other woman’. Since Nodame is practicing that piece non stop, she looks like a zombie! After Nodame is instructed to take a bath by Chiaki, the latter fixes her some food in which Nodame refuses to eat so much so Chiaki has to force feed her! Saiko must be really shock to see those 2 like that. Especially Chiaki on top of Nodame trying to forcefully feed her. Haha. Also, you won’t see Stresemann anymore and that perverted old man has made his last appearance. Is that a good or a bad thing?
 
Besides the continuation of the force feeding frenzy, in episode 12, Nodame is still adamant that she wants to play that piece but Chiaki notes that it’s impossible since she can’t read notes but Nodame says she has heard the song several times and is able to. Thus Chiaki decides to bring Nodame to college and try it out in a room with 2 pianos. As expected, while playing, Chiaki notes Nodame’s haphazard playing style and isn’t too amused. Their playing attracted the attention of a teacher, Kouzou Etou, and other students. Everybody’s saying how Chiaki is playing with ‘his girlfriend’ prompting Saiko to be shocked and soon leaves. This episode also has a little more on Saiko and sees how she gets teased and such. Some Dorabella thing. But I’m not going into that. Besides that, we see the rest of the S Orchestra planning about their future careers as some of them will be graduating soon. Also, Keiko and Sakuma, writers from some magazine is doing a story on why Chiaki is still in Japan. It seems they’ve become a fan of Chiaki after that performance at Nina Lutz’s festival. Chiaki gives his reasons for not going as he can’t possibly tell about his phobia on flying. In the end, Chiaki is surprised to learn from Nodame that she’s gonna be a kindergarten teacher and not enter competitions. He thinks it’s a waste of her talents even though her personality is one kind. Chiaki also wonders why such a good pianist like her won’t aim for higher goals. However this prompts Chiaki to remind of his own case. Yeah, can’t leave Japan because of fear of flying. Right back at ‘cha.
 
Graduation is just around the corner in episode 13 and Mine asks Chiaki if he wants to set up their own orchestra with he graduates since after graduation the S Orchestra will be disbanded. Chiaki declines the offer but Mine is still persistent. Not till Kiyora comes in and suggests the same thing to Chiaki, did Chiaki immediately accepts. Double standard? Probably Kiyora has more talent compared to those weirdos. With Chiaki accepting, Kiyora says that oboe player Kuroki and cellist Kikuchi will join too if Chiaki asks them. After Kiyora leaves, Mine Chiaki to allow him and his friends to join in but Chiaki throws him a condition that if he could be in the A Orchestra in the next exam, he would allow it. With that, Mine rushes off to practice. Besides that, we see a little flashback from Masumi how he met Chiaki and ‘fell in love with him’ when Chiaki stopped him from falling downstairs while Masumi is carrying some drum. Also Masumi is in ecstasy when Chiaki invites Masumi to join his orchestra if he has the time. Finally, the S Orchestra gathers for 1 last outing together. Funny to see Nodame and Saiko bumping into each other at the ladies and Saiko proceeds to ‘torture’ Nodame like trying to drown her head in a water filled basin because Nodame’s drunk. While the nearly the whole S Orchestra becomes drunk and annoyed Chiaki with their horrible karaokeing sessions before parting, it ended with Chiaki and Nodame walking home as they waltz through the night streets.
 
Chiaki goes back to his family in episode 14. It all started when Nodame picks up Chiaki’s ringing handphone and Chiaki’s uncle, Takehiko, thought it was Saiko. Nodame gives the handphone to Chiaki and Takehiko tells him to immediately come home… and bring his girlfriend along too. It then dawned to him that he had spend the night in Nodame’s room after last night’s outing. Eventually Chiaki has to bring Nodame along and we hear a little family background from Chiaki like how his parents are divorced and that they’re going to his mom’s parents’ home. Upon arrival, we see Takehiko has a son, Toshihiko, who in a way is jealous and hates Chiaki, and a daughter Yuiko, the kind who wants Chiaki to be all hers and doesn’t like Nodame too well. But before you know it, Nodame and Yuiko hits off on the right note and become best pals. Yeah, like the terrible twins causing a little ruckus here and there.
 
A reason for Takehiko to call Chiaki back is to cure Chiaki’s flight phobia through hypnotism. Didn’t work. Probably being with weirdo Nodame has ‘numbed’ his senses. During dinner, Takehiko tries to persuade Chiaki to give up his music and come join his company, which is what Toshihiko is doing. Yeah, that guy once loved to play the violin and even looked up to Chiaki. Something must’ve gone wrong. During this conversation, Toshihiko snaps and in his sarcasm tells Chiaki about a failed plot to knock out Chiaki to force him to board an airplane. Scary. Before he leaves the dinner table, he tells Chiaki that he should join the company. That night, Yuiko asks Nodame to sleep with her and the duo had a little chat. Since Chiaki had a nightmare, he decides to come down to listen to some music. Nodame too can’t sleep and since she’s amazed by the huge music collection, Nodame decides to play them along with Chiaki. Soon the rest of the house occupants are awaken due to the harmonious melody of the duo.
 
I suppose their music could really heal ties and make them realize things. In episode 15, because the family are amazed by the duet, Takehiko and Toshihiko thinks Chiaki should continue with his music while Takehiko says Toshihiko can do anything he wants and if he wants to carry on continuing the family’s business, it’s up to him. So as the family bid farewell to Chiaki and Nodame, Takehiko tells Nodame to come again so that she could meet Chiaki’s mom, Seiko. However, everyone agrees and persists that Nodame should be a pianist and not a teacher because Chiaki quipped that she’s dangerous and would hurt children, pissing Nodame off. So much so Nodame tells Chiaki he can go home alone. Well, I guess it’s okay with Chiaki too. While Chiaki takes a taxi, poor Nodame is still fuming and walking back.
 
Back at college, Chiaki meets with Kiyora, Kuroki and Kikuchi and discuss plans about forming their orchestra. As for Nodame, things must be getting worse for her as she finds out to her horror, her usual teacher, Hajime Tanioka, has been replaced with a more stricter one, Etou. It’s like those 2 don’t click. I suppose under Tanioka, Nodame could play all those children and Puri Gorota songs but when she does this under Etou, he quickly smacks her with a paper fan. So much so this punishment has become his trademark. Yeah, Nodame’s acting like a stubborn student while Etou tries to change her and make her listen to his ways. So futile. Don’t worry, Etou isn’t a bady guy. He just want to bring out the best from his students. But too much is no good as Nodame eventually snaps and storms into Tanioka’s room, pleading him to take her back. However Tanioka has engaged another student and is unable to do so and Nodame finds out this transfer was done at Etou’s request. Gyabo! Pukya! Oh the horror. Is it a conspiracy? Nodame is so depressed that she goes to find Chiaki but can’t find him anywhere. She finally arrives at Mine’s dad’s restaurant, in which Mine’s dad tries to cheer her up but to no avail so much so he contacted his son. Mine thinks there’s nothing wrong with her until he realized his dad told him how she refused free food. Uh huh. Where’s Chiaki? He’s at some get together outing with his newly formed orchestra members and notices how they’re more ‘civilized and cultured’ than the S Orchestra. Though Chiaki wants to go home and check on Nodame, the members want to for another outing.
 
In episode 16, Chiaki’s new orchestra, dubbed the R-S Orchestra (that stands for Rising Star), starts practicing for their first performance. Mainly the first half of this episode sees how Chiaki tries to understand the playing style of the newly formed group. Chiaki notices that Nodame is with him and wonders why isn’t she at her own class. Nodame tries to make an excuse like how Tanioka is sick when she actually doesn’t want to be in Etou’s class. Chiaki doesn’t believe her and tries to call Tanioka but Nodame stops him. Before Chiaki can pursue the matter further, Kuroki interrupts and Nodame uses this chance to escape. Looks like Kuroki has a crush on Nodame. Well, love works in funny ways. At the same time, Mine is impressed by Kiyora’s violin skills and asks her to take him as her student, in which she refuses. Meanwhile Etou is searching for Nodame who is hiding from him. Funny to see Etou chasing Nodame who’s frantically trying to get away from him. So much so, Etou got stuck in some narrow lane. Haha. With Nodame managing to escape, she bumps into Kuroki and asks him if it’s weird being a kindergarten teacher aiming for a higher goal. Since that guy has no clue what she means, he says as long as he can play his oboe, he’s happy. Later Chiaki gives some advice on how to handle Nodame, which is to buy some Puri Gorota figures. Nodame falls for that old trick by picking up a trail of Puri Gorota figures which leads to Etou. She freaks out and tries to run away when she finds out he’s behind all this. However, since she can’t get away anymore, Nodame agrees to be Etou’s student on 1 condition. If he helps her compose a song and promise not to hit her with his paper fan again. Okay, so that’s 2 conditions.
 
Mainly episode 17 is about the R-S Orchestra trying to get a hall for their first performance and also some publicity. Keiko and Sakuma plans to help some guy Kimura with the publicity thing. Mine is still trying to get Kiyora to be her student and as usual she turns him down. There’s this funny part whereby Kuroki buys a pot of flowers as gratitude for Nodame. Chiaki asks what does this guy see in Nodame and Kuroki replies that she’s cute, bright and such. How ironic. He should try living with this girl for once. Chiaki listed to him her not so good qualities like surfing erotic websites and peeping while he’s changing. Wah! But Kuroki doesn’t believe him and ignores Chiaki. During practice, everyone laughs off Mine when he criticized everyone for not concentrating enough. Though Mine is betting his future on this orchestra, the members seem to have intentions of going overseas and do better staff rather than seeing a future in this orchestra. Though Chiaki believes what Mine is saying, he didn’t say anything and feels depress. So much so his cooking is affected and Nodame can only have can foods.
 
Since some of the orchestra members have their own competitions, Chiaki decides to call for a break until the competition is over. But because Chiaki is also so obsessed with his orchestra that he didn’t bath or eat for 3 days. Wow. He’s becoming like Nodame. Meanwhile Nodame has finished completing her children song ‘Moja Moja Suite’ with Etou and must now honour her end of the deal. He gives Nodame 3 songs to learn the next time they meet. But Nodame is more concerned about Chiaki and tries to buy some stuff for him to eat. Kuroki spots Nodame and tries to chat with her but since she’s in a hurry and the way she says things, Kuroki realized that she’s in love with Chiaki. Another depressed guy. So much so he soaked his oboe reed to long, damaging it. Also Kiyora’s stiff neck causes her to get 2nd place at some competition. Though Kikuchi gets 1st place, it’s funny to see his 3 girlfriends finding out that he triple-timed them, earning their wrath. It’s getting catty.
 
R-S Orchestra’s practice continues in episode 18 and Chiaki once again rear his ugly head with his harsh criticisms. In the end, everyone is dead tired because they practiced for a marathon of 5 hours! Keiko and Sakuma comes by to tell them that they’ve already sold some tickets for their debut performance and even has a poster of it. Kiyora punches Mine when she finds out that he and his dad came out with that Rising Star name for their orchestra. Also, Chiaki has a little dream which may reveal about how his flight phobia came about. Funny part was when Nodame tried to do her hypnotism with the clock watch Stresemann gave to her before he left. Though it didn’t work at first, Nodame is persistant and finally surprised when Chiaki actually falls asleep soon after! Later that night, Chiaki gives Nodame a special ticket to the concert. On the night of the performance, the R-S Orchestra does another splendid performance and one of them features Kuroki as the main player. He’s thankful to Chiaki that even though he didn’t perform well in his previous competition, Chiaki still believes in him and vows to do his best. Keiko and Sakuma did their usual reporting and finds out not many people know of Chiaki’s conducting skills. Not only that, they find Kiyora’s teacher, Kai Dowin, at the concert too. Though his peers are praising the concert, Kai says otherwise. Sounds like an obnoxious dude.
 
The performance continues in episode 19. As expected, the R-S Orchestra receives a standing ovation. Mainly this episode is about how Chiaki developed his phobia. Well first, we see Nodame successfully hypnotizing Chiaki again! Chiaki is asleep and is dreaming about the time he was small and on a airplane trip back from Vienna to Japan with Seiko. Nodame is like a pyschiatrist listening to Chiaki’s words. An old man who’s sitting to the right of a young Chiaki loves music and wants to go see Viera’s performance again next year. But the airplane experiences turbulence and that old man got a heart attack. His wife tries to get some medicine for him but it fell off her hands and rolled down the aisle. Chiaki tries to grab it but couldn’t reach. Back in present time, Nodame tells Chiaki that it’s not his fault and he can board an airplane now. Before Nodame leaves, she tells Chiaki to open his eyes when the alarm goes off and forget everything during the hypnosis.
 
I guess that hypnotic treatment works because we see Chiaki at the airport but since he’s still too scared to board the airplane alone, he drags Toshihiko along with him. Hmm… Still some signs of fear but you could say he’s relatively cured thanks to Nodame. So why a trip to Hokkaido and not Europe? That’s because during the hypnosis Nodame asks Chiaki to go there to buy some crabs and souvenirs. Wow. Her therapy is effective. When Chiaki returns, she doesn’t find Nodame around. She’s currently practicing her piano with Etou at his home for an upcoming Maradona Piano Competition. Chiaki decides to visit Nodame but without seeing her. He can’t believe that girl studying under Etou when Etou’s wife, Kaori, spots him and invites him in. Chiaki just wanted to hand over the crabs and souvenirs before leaving when Kaori tells her about Nodame’s participation in the Maradona competition, which surprises Chiaki. He thinks that Nodame’s style of playing isn’t suitable for such competition and wonders how Etou will fix her weaknesses. Soon Chiaki decides to leave so as not to disturb Nodame’s practice. Later Nodame finds out that Chiaki did indeed went to Hokkaido to get the crabs during dinner time. Also, Chiaki’s family celebrates his cure of his flying phobia.
 
Nodame starts her Maradona preliminary competition in episode 20 and even wonders if there’s a way to cheat here like bribing the judges. Don’t worry, she won’t stoop that low. Meanwhile Chiaki is busy with another rehearsal when Kai comes in and joins them as their concert master. Kai is telling everyone how to play! So Chiaki, how does it feel to have a taste of your own medicine. Chiaki finds out that Kai has been invited by their college directors just like Stresemann’s case. The R-S Orchestra does another wonderful concert so much there is a guy who comes to them and decides to join them. He is Noriyuki Takahashi, a handsome looking guy enough to be Chiaki’s rival in terms of girls swooning over him. Noriyuki too has a sharp tongue in the sense that he openly says how he’s better than Kiyora and can even replace her because he listed his outstanding results of competitions he participated. Kiyora is gonna kill him only to be restrained by Mine. I think this Noriyuki is gay because he got distracted and fantasizes when he sees Chiaki changing his top. Must be. He even asks Chiaki to strip down! I suppose they got enough of Noriyuki as Kiyora and Masumi violently tie this gay guy down.
 
Meanwhile Nodame herself has passed her preliminaries and is on to the next round. Though she has trouble with some pieces, it’s enough to captivate 1 of the judges and sends her qualifying to the next. Etou must be having a roller coaster ride. Later, Kaori and Etou mentions Nodame’s next rival which is Segawa Yuuto, which somehow brings shivers to Nodame whenever she hears that name. I think it’s her childhood friend or something (perhaps bully). I like the funny part whereby Kaori is putting make-up on Nodame and giving her some advice on her next piece. Something to do with love. Kaori goes on to mention "Sometimes I see Kouzou-san surrounded in roses" and a picture of Etou’s face appears being surrounded by the red flowers. Nodame replies "That’s scary". Hehehe. But Nodame receives an SMS from Chiaki telling her to do her best and that he’ll come to attend her final. With that, Nodame is happy and starts playing her next piece on stage.
 
Episode 21 starts off with Yuuto giving an astounding performance while Noriyuki demonstrates his violin skills to the other R-S Orchestra members. Noriyuki tells them that he’s here to be the concert master and is sure he’ll get even though he has an offer to work in some entertainment industry but turn it down. Noriyuki explains his reasons of wanting to join this orchestra so much so it touched Mine as he tells Kiyora to got to Vienna like she wanted so that when she comes back, she can show off her several awards to be better than Noriyuki. Kiyora agrees. Mine even says she won’t cheat on her while she’s away because he’ll be practicing his violin so hard. Then it dawned to Chiaki that Mine and Kiyori are in a relationship. I too didn’t know they’re seeing each other. Chiaki soon gets an SMS from Nodame saying that she’s got into the finals. But because Nodame is practicing too hard, she falls ill. Kaori sensed that Nodame was acting strange so much so Etou didn’t believe her at first. Uh huh. He said something like this "She always act weird. So I didn’t even notice when she was really acting weird". Hahaha.
 
While Nodame’s resting in bed, she’s restless and has a weird dream about her mongoose suit (it’s been some time I’ve seen that outfit), Puri Gorota and Yuuto. She eventually wakes up and reflects on Yuuto’s words what would happen if she make mistakes. On the performance day, since Nodame is better and has no time to learn the score, Etou gives her a CD to listen. Then a funny thing happen on the train. As Nodame and Etou are riding it, Nodame is practicing the song in her mind while listening to it in order to memorize. Then some guy’s handphone’s ringtone starts ringing and disrupts her concentration. At the stage, Nodame dresses like Scarlett O’Hara of Gone With The Wind fame and starts playing and impressing the audience as usual. Suddenly she stops halfway and goes blank. What happened? Remember that ringtone part in the train? It seems Nodame can only remember the ringtone after this part. Oh oh.
 
Nodame tries to be innovative in episode 22 as she tries adapting and playing that ringtone on the piano, shocking everyone and even Chiaki who’s there. Not only she goes back and forth with that earlier piece and ringtone, she even create her own lines during the play! Though the audience are still happy with her performance, the judges decide to set aside Nodame even though her performance was amazing. In the end, that Yuuto guy got second and nobody got first place? What the? Shouldn’t the 2nd placed guy get first. Perhaps that place is for Nodame who could’ve won. Chiaki manages to catch Nodame who has left the hall. So the 2 had a little chat like how Chiaki wants to invite her to go study in Europe with him but she declines. But in the end, Nodame gets a little mad at Chiaki as she questions him what’s wrong with playing the piano freely.
 
Next scene is about Mine and Kiyora and something about their upcoming Christmas performance. Just when Kiyora decides to take Mine as her student, her refuses and instead prefers Chiaki, which he got rejected as well. Then on New Years Day, Nodame is seen at her family’s home and a flashback of how she plays the piano her way. When she was young, she was hit by the piano teacher for not playing the way she is instructed to. As a result, Nodame hits the wall and ended up bleeding. She stopped playing piano for a long time and was traumatised. No wonder she’s such a rebel in piano. Other than that, Nodame’s familyt is just as wacky as her. It’s all in the genes. Meanwhile Chiaki and Sakuma meet up and the latter tells his reason why he’s being supportive of Chiaki all along. Something to do with music not only needing talent but an important partner as well if that musician is to go down in history as being famous. Furthermore, Chiaki and some of the members are leaving R-S Orchestra, thus he got this guy Matsuda as his replacement. Soon Matsuda conducts a performance with a few R-S Orchestra members which Noriyuki is in.
 
Chiaki begins his final performance for R-S Orchestra in episode 23, a piece which he was consider a failure by Stresemann 2 years ago. Later the R-S Orchestra are having a drinking party and 2 twin ladies are expressing their gratitude as they hug Chiaki. Masumi decides to join in, not wanting to be outdone by the duo. Just when Noriyuki decides the same thing too, Masumi does some submission move on him. Chiaki tries to contact Nodame but doesn’t have her handphone number and tries to search for it through a package Nodame’s send her but could only find her address. Etou is also looking for Nodame to tell her an urgent news but is also having a hard time locating her. Back at Nodame’s family, Nodame is impressing the neighbourhood with her piano. Her grandma praises her playing after she’s done. Later Nodame finds 23 SMS from Etou! Then there’s 1 which is from Puri Gorota which she excitedly opens. Actually it’s just a heading Etou disguises as in order for Nodame to read his message. Haha. Tricked. Etou informs that Nodame has been recommended to study in Paris. Since the exams are in February, she has to contact Etou as soon as possible if she wants to go.
 
Chiaki is taking a cab to Nodame’s family home when he receives an SMS from her saying that she’ll go study abroad. To his surprise, he also sees Nodame walking by as the cab passes by. Chiaki tells the driver to stop. Unexpectedly, as Nodame continues with her SMS, Chiaki hugs her from behind! Woah! Didn’t see that one coming. Though Nodame is a little embarrassed (finally her dream come true), she wishes him Happy New Year. However, it seems Nodame’s dad is watching them while sailing his boat along the river, much to Chiaki’s horror. And Nodame’s loving it. In the end credits, we see Nodame’s family welcoming Chiaki with their weird pranks. Yeah, it really does run in the family. Back at college, Nodame bids farewell to her friends and Mine, who promises to keep in touch. Also, Nodame decides to hug Tanioka instead of Etou, leaving that guy depressed. Chiaki even ignores that fellow. Then a short conversation with Chiaki and his dad about Nodame’s past and strict piano instructor. Chiaki says Nodame will be okay and that he loves her playing the piano.
 
Overall, I still find the whole series rather enjoyable. Though I have to admit that it started off quite interesting in the beginning then I kinda felt it was a little drag after that Nina Lutz’s festival. It gets a little serious after that though there are still some of their usual jokes here and there. The end came of a sudden surprise to me because I actually anticipated this to be a 26 episode anime, at least a 24 episode one. But still, it’s quite okay actually. I still like the parts whereby Nodame tries to win Chiaki’s affection but that sadistic jerk returns her efforts with abuses and things. Not that I’m a sadist too. But poor Nodame, it’s bloody hilarious. As because of so, Nodame still remains my favourite character as mentioned earlier. But I’m glad Chiaki is more receptive of Nodame of who she is and her playing style in the end.
 
The drawing, art and animation seems to remind me of the anime series Honey And Clover. Yup, it kinda feels ‘bleached’. Yeah, that’s because the producers, J.C. Staff are the same people behind that anime. It never ceases to make me smile everytime the character goes into their shock or surprise mode. With their mouths opened wide, their eyes will be totally white and blank. Still the best animation is when they animate those finger movements while playing the piano pieces.
 
Ayako Kawasumi does a great job voicing Nodame as she’s done famous roles before like Osaka in Azumanga Daioh, Aoi in Ai Yori Aoshi and Hime in Kaibutsu Oujo. Tomokazu Seki is the voice behind Chiaki who also did Sagara in Full Metal Panic, Kyo in Fruits Basket and Pierrot in Yakitate! Japan. Mamiko Noto too play a role here as Sakura. There are many other characters as well but somehow I don’t really seem to think of them as memorable. Not that they’re bad, it’s just that, in an orchestra, there’re too many members so it’s hard for me to keep track.
 
The first ending song, Konna Ni Chikaku De by Crystal Kay is still my favourite theme song for the series. Whereas the opening theme, Allegro Cantabile, sung by SUEMITSU & THE SUEMITH (not a typo error) has heavy piano pounding and is quite upbeat. They also did the second ending theme, Sagittarius, which is a much more slower ballad. If you like your opening and ending credits to be filled with orchestra instruments and music notes and symbols, then you should really enjoy this.
 
However each of the episode titles are only listed as Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, etc. It really doesn’t help me ring a bell what happened in that episode. I thought they could get creative by putting in some musical terms. The next episode preview too isn’t that much. It lasts around 2 seconds and shows some random picture of the next episode while some character say some short random lines, which I don’t think would give you a good idea what’s to come in the next episode. Besides, during the end credits, there’ll be clips of the next episode itself.
 
So whatever your taste in music is, I believe it’s best that you enjoy your kind of music. Since there are many kinds of music, I’m sure not everyone will have the same taste. Classical music is just another genre. And playing or creating music has to come from one’s heart and passion. It cannot be forced upon. Classical music enthusiasts should give this anime a go just for the pieces featured even if not so the storyline. Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting back and relax, listening to my anime songs. Now that’s music to my ears.
 
Nodame Cantabile
I wouldn’t have known that there was actually an additional episode for the anime series Otome Wa Boku Ni Koishiteru. Previously, I’ve always thought that there were only 12 episodes to this series since the final episode seems to have indicate to end it all.
 
Then when the subs for the 13th episode came out, I was really taken by surprise. Well, this episode isn’t actually shown on the tv and is released as a special episode on the DVD. So you could say that this is an OVA episode. Because the tv series was okay (not that I’m a diehard fan), I decided to check it out.
 
This particular episode has no relation whatsoever in terms of storyline to the tv series. Yup, it’s a full fledge comedy episode with the characters of the series. Furthermore, the drawing and animation for this OVA is mainly drawn in the characters’ chibi form. You know, big round head which looks like some candy or jawbreaker and their eyes and mouth as small as a dot. Get ready for some outrageous laughs.
 
The name of this episode’s title too is longer than usual, which is, Ookina Shonen Shoujo No Sekai Meisaku No Mori – Tsunderella. Roughly translated as Woods Of The World’s Masterpiece For Big Boys And Girls – Tsunderella. With the word Tsunderella, you might be thinking that it’s gonna be a Cinderella spoof. You’re right. But it’s a little like Shrek in the sense that it mixes and weave several fairytale characters into this story.
 
Besides, the term ‘tsundere’ (which I recently found out what it means) is a term use to describe a character who is tough, cold, sharp and sarcastic in the beginning but as time progresses, will soften up once he/she becomes lovestruck. Yup, it’s like a hot-cold personality. Nice play on words. So it’s sharp and sarcastic on the outside (tsuntsun) but deep down inside is a lovestruck and fawning person (deredere). This is true especially in one of the series’ main characters, Takako.
 
In this OVA, Takako is the main star and that tsundere attitude fits her for the pun word Tsunderella, the young maiden character that she’ll play in this episode. But to avoid any confusion (me especially), I’ll still refer to her as Takako. I’ll also refer to the other characters as their real names in the tv series rather than the character names of the roles that they’re playing. You’ll know things have started off on a funny note when the narrator introduces Takako as she is seen standing high on a rocky mountain on a stormy night, laughing like an idiot, when a lightning strikes her. Hahaha! Does anybody ever told you never to stand on a high altitude during a thunder storm?
 
Anyway Takako is still full of herself saying how fit she is for her to play the role because of her artistic traits, bla bla bla. She goes on laughing like an idiot again before a metal basin hits her head and she falls off from the cliff. Probably it’s a sign to say don’t laugh like an idiot. On her way falling down, she gets struck by the lightning again. Bad luck or what? I suppose heroines have to endure hardships at the start of the episode.
 
Takako crashes into that dorm and Mariya along with Ichiko and Yukari went to see that crashing sound. You’ll guess that Mariya’s Takako’s evil and wicked stepsister (Mariya even admits it herself. Can’t believe Ichiko and Yukari admires how Mariya says she herself is evil) and tells Takako not to slack on work. Mariya is thinking of this play as revenge and wants Takako to go fetch some water and then clean the toilet after that. Yukari is so taken in by Mariya’s energeticness that she decides to try and become evil. I don’t think at this cute rate, Yukari can be evil. Of course Takako refuses. Mariya then tells Ichiko to scare her. Ichiko seems more funny than scary. Remember Yukari is afraid of ghosts in the tv series? Yeah, she passes out here. While Takako is taking a little breather as Ichiko and Mariya attends to a fainted Yukari, Takako gets another metal basin thrown at her head as Mariya orders her to bring some water now. She has to. Or else would she want to see that scary-cum-funny face of Ichiko again?
 
While Takako is drawing water at a well and laments her situation, Kimie appears (dressed as Snow White) which surprises Takako. Because of that, Takako pulled her cheeks and wonders why is there another princess here. Anyway, Kimie heard that Takako is being bullied though Takako refutes. Kimie goes on to say that Takako is a person who can’t be bullied, somebody who stands above the rest, her dreams is world conquest and with an army of robot armies, she’ll destroy anything in her path. Is such a role befitting for a princess? Takako still doesn’t believe all that when Kimie asks if she should marry the prince. Like that will happen. Besides, Takako even thinks what are the chances some prince will be lying around here. Haha. The prince, which is Mizuho, is seen lying unconscious nearby. Kimie snickers to Takako and tells what if she revives him. Though Takako blushes and says she won’t stoop that low, it’s precisely what she’s thinking. Hehe. Kimie leaves but Takako purposely throws a metal basin at her and knocks her out.
 
Unfortunately before Takako could ahem ahem to revive Mizuho, the latter woke up already and is asking for some water. Should’ve done it faster. Takako gives Mizuho that full metal basin for him to drink. Mizuho thanks her and asks what he should do in return. But Takako is having a nosebleed because she finds that ray of light emitting from Mizuho is too moe. Haha. Mizuho asks Takako’s name but before the latter could reply, Hisako appears looking for Mizuho. With that, Takako abruptly apologizes and leaves. Hisako gives Mizuho that hug on her breasts thingy before she drags him back to the palace. Mizuho thinks how beautiful that girl was (haha, so funny when they show that chibi face of Takako). Poor Kimie, she’s still lying there. Takako meanwhile takes a breather from that heart stopping encounter.
 
Also you’ll note that there are some little ecchi scenes here and there. Don’t worry, it’s all in the name of comedy! The next day back at the dorm, the 3 stepsisters are having a sumptuous meal but Takako’s one is real miserable. Takako is thinking of going on a diet when Mariya asks why she hasn’t touched her food. But when Takako’s stomach growls, those 3 stepsisters laugh wickedly, pissing off Takako. Then Takako overheard their conversation about the upcoming Royal Ball. Since all the young woman are going to be invited, Mariya thinks she has a chance to dance with the prince. Furthermore, there’s a rumour that the prince is going to choose a partner. While the trio are happily fantasizing about it, they notice Takako eavesdropping and further teases her that she didn’t want to go in the first place. Oh those scary bullying look in their eyes. Poor Takako.
 
As Takako takes a stroll in the forest, a voice from the sky asks her if she would like to attend the ball. Then a spaceship with a green witch hat is seen coming down and landing right before Takako. Well, it’s actually Shion and she claims to be the magic user of the forest that will make wishes come true. Takako immediately refuses and walks away. Shion is persistent and tells her not to hold back and follows her. I will help you. No I don’t want to. Please stop following me. Ah well, Shion uses her hair to tie Takako up and says she WILL accept her help. No choice for Takako but to accept lah. Talk about being forced against her will.
 
First, Shion decides to create a wonderful dress for Takako. Shion goes into a wild frenzy tribal dance and swings her magic wand. Takako soon transforms into her bishoujo self… but naked! Shion too! What the? Why did they become naked bishoujo of themselves? I can only think of 1 reason. Fanservice! Gawk all you want, since you only have 1 second to do so. Soon Shion fixes Takako a splendid dress (looks normal to me).
 
Meanwhile, the Royal Ball is going to start and the 3 mean stepsisters are already there. Mariya says how there’s no contest and that the prince will definitely pick her and nobody is standing in her way except… A vision of Takako comes to mind. Mariya is taken aback a little and thinks she’s thinking a little too far. At the same time, Shion is telling Takako to have fun at the ball must be back here before 12 midnight as the magic will wear off by then. If she doesn’t then something dripping and wet along with totally naughty things will befall on her. Uh… Isn’t that some blurred-out hentai scene? Must be lah. Looks like something hentai will happen to her if she doesn’t come back by then. I’m sure Takako will pretty much heed this rule. Next, Shion decides to provide a transportation to the castle. Don’t think it’s an extravagant pumpkin carriage and some beautiful horses. Why, it’s Kana Mobile. Uh huh. Kana is the lone horse and she’s just attached to a seat of a playground swing. Cheapskate. Kana then uses her ribbons on her head as flapping wings and soon they blast off into the sky.
 
Umm… Why is the mid-intermission so ecchi? I mean we see a naked Mizuho and Takako standing up front in their chibi forms and the dresses next to them are supposed to be like paper cut-outs. Since they’re in their chibi forms, you won’t see any of those parts even though they’re not obstructed by anything.
 
Anyway, Takako’s scream must be loud enough to wake up Kimie. She ons her super vision screen in her specs to find that Takako is in trouble. She decides to throw that metal basin at Kana. Right on target. With that, the duo fall straight down into the forest below. Meanwhile, we see Kei as that evil queen from Snow White asking her magic mirror who is the most evil of them all. The mirror, which is Michiko, replies Kei. She wonders what’s so good about being evil since she doesn’t look happy. Kei refutes but Michiko reminds her about their role in interfering with Takako since they’re the bad guys. At the same time, Takako is walking her way to the palace when Kana says that she’ll carry her again. Takako gives her that evil stare which frightens Kana as she flies away in fear. Kimie comes along and is relieved that Takako is alright. Soon Takako finds out that Kei was the one who knocked her out of the sky and soon does a submission move on Kimie and punching her. Poor Kimie. She gets another beating.
 
So the duo are trudging along in the forest when Kimie wonders if she knows where she’s going. Takako confidently says yes but nearly falls into a ravine when she steps out from the long grass. You know, Takako should listen to Kimie and ask for directions. Kimie is worried what if they ran into some monsters… Yup, they did ran into some. Several giant cats, many vicious man-eating plants, hordes of Kana-like pixies, and the duo got the receiving end of it all. Good thing they’re still alive. While resting and thinking they should ask someone for directions, Takako thinks who would be walking in the forest at this time. Well, there is someone who crossed their path. It’s Little Red Riding Hood! Michiko in disguise actually. I suppose Takako’s pride is a problem even though Michiko offers them some help. But since she’s walking away, Takako ‘threatens’ her that she wouldn’t mind it if she wanted to show them the way.
 
As Michiko is leading the duo, she relays back to Kei about her progress. Soon the trio arrived at the gingerbread house. Michiko is taking her leave when Takako stops her and wants an explanation why she took them to a gingerbread house when she said to take them to the palace. The gingerbread house door then opens and we see Kei in a disguise of an old cloaked woman. Kei is saying how she’s got beautiful visitors and though Takako says she’ll accept her compliments of her being beautiful (perasan!) she’s not her visitor. Kei then takes out a purple apple on a stick and decides to give it to Takako but the latter knows it’s a poison apple. Kei counter this by saying that Takako’s a chicken and if it wasn’t a poisoned apple, her cowardice will be on the front page of every major newspaper as she’ll be a laughing stock. Not wanting to lose, Takako agrees to eat the apple. Well, not herself of course. She gives it to Kimie, who herself too thinks it’s poisoned. However Takako just stuff the whole apple in Kimie’s mouth and soon she experiences some spasm before passing out with green foams coming out from her mouth. So Kei and Takako had a little egoistic argument there when Michiko notes how they’re both on the same level.
 
Kei then decides to show her true form but Takako isn’t interested. Kei summons her magic mirror Michiko (who notes how tiring all this is) and orders her to do some Flamethrower Lightning attack. What in the world is that? Before that could happen, that spaceship of Shion comes landing before Takako to help her. Funny to see Takako in her surprise calling that mahou tsukai oba-sama (magical grandma) when Shion hits her with her wand and says she didn’t hear that clearly. Takako corrects herself by saying mahou tsukai onee-sama (magical sister). Thus, ensued the greatest magical battle with Kei and Michiko unleashing their Rolling Thunderbolt against Shion’s Lightning Breaker. Zap! Zap! Zap! Poor Kimie. She got caught in between and got fried. The battle is so great that it causes some atomic-like explosion throughout the forest. Let’s just leave it there.
 
Meanwhile Takako is fortunate to have gotten away from that unrelated duel. What luck! She arrived just in time outside the palace. Takako walks into the palace and into a room filled with ladies. But the first lady she had to meet was Mariya and Mariya starts teasing her how she eventually came. She went on to say if she wants to dance with the prince, she’ll have to queue up. Yeah, it’s a pretty loooooong line. By that time, it’ll be morning. Takako remembers that hentai consequence warning Shion told her earlier on. Though Takako is determined not to lose, it’s already 11pm and she’s sitting dejectedly somewhere in the ballroom. Mizuho is taking a rest on his throne as Hisoka decides to give him a ‘massage’. Mizuho spots Takako, who is being further mocked by her 3 stepsisters. Quite funny to see how Mizuho’s saying about Takako’s perfect combination and good looks while we see that angry and frustrated chibi Takako’s look.
 
While Takako is waiting outside the balcony, Mizuho comes by her and asks her for her hand to dance. This is the weird part. As soon as their hands meet, we see those 2 dancing in their chibi naked form and in their fantasy world of their own. Naked?! Like I said, since they’re in chibi form, there’s nothing really much to see. Uh huh. We also hear them in some weird conversation and laughter. However, the clock strikes midnight and Takako soon realizes it’s time as she rushes off. Takako is running down the stairs when she heard Mizuho telling her to wait. Takako soon runs back up the stairs and takes off both her glass slippers and purposely leave it at Mizuho’s feet before she tumble down the stairs. Hahaha. Didn’t see that one coming. You’d expect for her slipper to accidentally come off, didn’t you?
 
We see Kana Mobile waiting for Takako as the former is asking her to hurry since there isn’t enough time. Soon the 2 take off into the night sky. The narrator then mentions how the prince had fallen in love with her and that he could see nobody else but her. The next day, the prince organizes a search throughout town to find her. Finally they arrive at the dorm and as usual, whosever feet fit into that slipper will be the one Mizuho is looking for. First up is Ichiko. Well, since she’s a ghost, she has no feet. Hisako says how it’s a technical issue, which freaks out Ichiko. Next we see Mariya’s feet too big to fit in whereas Yukari’s feet is too small for size. Rejected! That statement send both girls running away and crying in tears. Serve them right for being such a big mouth and a bully.
 
Finally it’s Takako’s turn and her feet fits like a glove. With that, Mizuho comes up to her and asks her name. She says Tsunderella and as he take her hand, they both kissed. What a funny sight (and sound). The narrator then narrates how they married and soon lived happily ever after. Or did they? We see back at the dorm, the 3 stepsisters ordering them to clean the toilet afterwards. What the? I thought Mizuho and Takako are supposed to live in the palace but instead why is Mizuho cleaning the place with her as well? The stepsister’s revenge for not being able to be the one? Whatever the reasons, I’m sure they’re happy together. Therefore, they lived happily ever after.
 
Overall, because of how funny this entire episode is, I could say that this is my favourite episode among the rest for this series. At times I caught myself laughing my heart out with all those absurdness and hilariousness. Perhaps they should’ve make more episodes like this. I’d really look forward to it. The chibi drawings did play a big part to make it all funny especially when they mention about being beautiful and all that, then pops out that chibi head shot. Haha. Doesn’t seem to fit but it’s so funny lah!
 
I like Takako’s voice acting as she really sound funny and comical and at other times prideful. It’s so like her back in the tv series (at least that b*tchiness of hers). Of course the other character voice actresses still remain the same and I could still remember how each of them sound like. At least Mizuho plays the part of a guy even though in the tv series he’s supposed to be a guy dressed as a girl. He still looks girly though.
 
I still don’t understand that chibi naked part. I mean, yeah, it’s supposed to be funny but it kinda made me raised my eyebrow. Can you consider it to be a full frontal nudity? Maybe not. Perhaps the producers want to have a little fanservice since the tv series itself does have some. Hmm… I wonder what happened to the battle between Kei and Shion. Maybe that’s not important. But since it’s a fairytale, good must’ve triumphed over evil.
 
I’m sure everyone knows Cinderella’s moral of the story like beauty is a treasure and that graciousness is priceless. But here, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (taking into account those chibi drawings!) and sometimes one good intentions may end up having far worse off consequences. Well, at least it’s the thought that counts. Then again. Ah, all’s well, ends well. Who says you have to marry a royal family, live wealthily in a big spacious castle with a hundred servants, to be happy?

Momoiro Sisters

January 12, 2008

You know, there’s this thinking among men that women are hard to understand. Vice versa too. Not that I’m saying that they’re troublesome or what so I thought by watching Momoiro Sisters, it would at least give me an insight of their everyday hardships and situations of being a woman. At least, that’s what the synopsis from Anime News Network said.
 
Honestly, I don’t really recall if I really do understand girls better but this show seems to be mainly driven by comedy and ecchi. Uh huh. I don’t think most girls are like that. You see, the 2 main protagonist of the show Sakura Murakami, a working office lady, and her high school going younger sister, Momoko, are going through what most girls now are experiencing at their age. Love, that is. The fact that these 2 girls haven’t got a steady boyfriend means that they’ll try some methods in attracting the opposite sex. Some funny, some ecchi (in a funny sense).
 
Though there are only 24 episodes in this entire series, each episode is only approximately 8 minutes long. Take away the opening credits and you’ll probably have 6 minutes or so air time. Not much to tell? Yeah, well if the series really wanted to make viewers understand women better rather than just a glimpse of it, I’m sure there are other better subjects to cover. So at least for just this series, you’ll just have a peek into the daily lives of 2 single sisters (typically not the kind to show each other their sisterly love but at times with some little argument and disagreement here and there. Some call it a love-hate relationship).
 
In each episode, I kinda notice there is a brunette girl with no dialogue lines appearing at certain points in the show. At first I thought she was a chibi version of Momoko. Later I realized she’s the original story person and her role is to make short comments and remarks with her signboard. Yup, she’ll hold out 1 with some kanji words on it for viewers to read.
 
Also most episodes can stand alone by an episode itself. At least in the beginning. I find that I can’t seem to understand what’s going on at the end of some of the episodes as when the next one begins, it has no relations or continuation from the previous. Towards the end of the series, there will be several episodes to form a short story arc.
 
Things start off with that adult joke on period already in episode 1. Uh huh. Momoko saying something about how their series is gonna start when Sakura thinks it’s her period because her high-schooler-without-a-boyfriend sister seems so happy. After Momoko corrects her, she shoots back by saying hers is late. Yeah, she admits it’s 3 months late as Sakura goes into depression. But mainly this episode is about sexy lingerie. Uh huh. I know what you’re thinking. Anyway Momoko gets jealous seeing that her sis is wearing one. Even at school, Momoko is surprised to find her best pals, the cosplaying and doujinshi fanatic (especially yaoi and yuri!) Moeko Kaneko, and Miki Shimizu, too dons them. It’s a different case at office as we see Sakura always envying the big breasted Yukari Outani and squeezing her breasts from behind. Even Yukari herself notices the men always stare at them. Of course Sakura is then given some advice from another colleague, Yuki Kurakata, the right strategies about how to attract men. Something about uniform cosplay. So back home, Sakura pleads to her sis to lend her her school uniform. Of course Momoko won’t do it without a price. Is 5000 Yen expensive? Anyway, Momoko is trying to be an entrepreneur and tries to rent additional items like her gym clothes, which Sakura badly wants. However, the episode just ends here.
 
Episode 2 is more on slimming down and dieting. Which girl doesn’t want to achieve that hourglass figure. Miki and Moeko kinda thinks Momoko may have put on some weight in which the latter confessed that she had some ice cream. Of course some remarks from Moeko like how she’d never diet before pisses off Momoko because she’s jealous why rich people like her has relatively low maintenance of one’s body. Life’s ironic itself. Meanwhile Sakura herself is depressed because she tells Yuki that she may be getting a little fatter when her bum can’t fit into a pair of jeans. Yuki tells her it’s because of age. With that the 2 sisters decide to work out and go on a diet. However, several days into it, Sakura is already out of steam. To make matters worse, Sakura is envious of Yukari when the latter tells her no matter how she diet, she would lose the stomach fat and not her breasts size. This blows Sakura’s top as she gives Yukari that breast squeezing punishment. Back home while Momoko is happy that she lost 3 kilos, Sakura as usual gives her that breast squeezing thing (this girl sure likes to do this weird thing). Momoko retaliates by pinching Sakura’s tummy. Before you know it, an argument ensued. Of flat chests and flabby belly. Let’s just leave it here.
 
Momoko’s class gets a new transfer student, the pretty Keiko Fukuya in episode 3. Every boy and girl is taken in by her beauty. Because Keiko sits close to Momoko, she kinda notice that everytime Keiko sits down, she has to be careful and do it slowly as she grimaces. Later as Momoko and Miki chats with Keiko, Moeko comes in and shows them her all new yaoi magazine. Yeah, Momoko and Miki are reading it and are surprised to find ‘2 guys doing it’ and ‘even in the butt!’. Keiko is shocked and immediately grabs the book to have a look herself. The rests noticed that she kept saying "Not in the butt" over and over again, which of course Keiko says it’s nothing. Later at the gym, the girls are supposed to do a pummel horse jump. When it’s Keiko’s turn, she didn’t make it and the pummel horse hit her butt. It must be painful because she soon passes out. In short, Keiko has piles! Ouch. When she comes to in the infirmary she accidentally sleep talk how she musn’t let anyone know she has piles. When she realized the trio had already known this, she ran out in tears and thinking the worse how everyone will make fun of her. Keiko faints again and once more awakens in the infirmary. Keiko decides that she’s gonna have an operation since she won’t allow this to go on any further. The trio are supportive of her. The day after her operation she returns to class and the trio wants to know what happened in excitement. However, Keiko tells them the operation has failed. I guess the piles is too hard to be operated. Another painful memory Keiko wished she’d never experienced. Uh huh. It’s like the piles is stuck to her and part of Keiko. Hehehe.
 
In episode 4, Sakura is reading an article whereby one half of high school girls are inexperienced today and how Momoko hasn’t got anything to do with this, pissing the latter. Because of that, she lost some video game she was playing (that chibi original story girl like Mario?). I don’t know why Momoko’s being a little upset seeing that she’s still a virgin. Does she want to lose it that bad? At Sakura’s office, Yukari spots a magazine article ‘My First Time’ and she curiously takes it up to read it. Her colleagues misunderstood the situation when they think she’s into all that. Later, Yukari got some ‘advice’ from the ‘queen’ herself Sakura and Yuki, and asks questions like does it hurt and all that. I suppose Sakura is so experienced that she has no qualms of saying it hurts like hell so much so she thinks of not doing a second time. But after doing it over and over again, they kinda feel addictive. I shouldn’t comment on this. Then their male colleague, Rin, joins in this forum and shares his views too. Of course, this guy still can’t beat Sakura on the topic. Uh huh, she’s damn knowledgeable. At Momoko’s school, Momoko finds out Miki already did her first time. Though Miki mentions she did it the normal way, Moeko bumps in and says something about the butt and it’s a guy’s romantic way. This girl is really sick. Moeko goes on blabbing about some forbidden scenes when Keiko objects and says anything about the butt. She’s lecturing about the pain in the ass (no pun intended) which makes life a living hell. Keiko then suspiciously asks Momoko if she’s done so as Momoko unknowingly yells out how she’s a total virgin. Like I said. I wonder why she’s so eager to do her first time. What’s wrong with keeping her virginity till she’s married.
 
Episode 5 is more on Yukari and how she dreads everytime those male perverts keep staring at her breasts. Then as usual, Sakura teases her about it. Before you know it, Sakura surprisingly finds out that Yukari is still a virgin, which attracted the whole damn male office workers. Oh the embarrassment. However, Yukari has a secret crush on a guy, Keisuke Tsuchikawa because he’s the only 1 who doesn’t stare at her twin peaks. Later you’ll find out that this guy is only interested in food and eating. Most of his topics are around that even though it may seem ambiguous. So we see have frank the boss is when he tells Yukari how he always notices her big boobs. Tsuchikawa steps in to seemingly protect Yukari but he’s just correcting him. Bummer. Then Tsuchikawa decides to show Yukari his 1 shot gag on Yukari’s boobs using 2 pomelos. What the? However even having said that, Yukari’s feelings for him doesn’t change, since Tsuchikawa did apologize. But I guess they both hit off from there. In the mean time, I’m not sure why Momoko and Miki are undoing each other’s bra straps.
 
Tsuchikawa loves the bentos Yukari makes for him in episode 6. This prompts Yuki and Sakura to bet among each other to see whether Tsuchikawa actually loves Yukari for herself or her lunches. Since Yuki bets on Yukari while Sakura on the lunch, the loser will have to treat the other some Super Gorgeous Luxurious Steak Lunch Set. Meanwhile Momoko is having a chat with Miki and Moeko and more of that rich girl statements like having different chefs coming to cook for Moeko, pissing off Momoko. Back to the office, Yukari is sick and is unable to come to work so much so Tsuchikawa thinks without her, he has no lunch. Sakura thinks she’s gonna win. But when Tsuchikawa fixes his usual bread lunch and notices how it’s not the same as Yukari’s, it’s Yuki’s turn to rejoice. Next day when Yukari comes back to work, she had a chat with Tsuchikawa (while Yuki and Sakura spy and eavesdrop on them) in which the latter seems to indicate that it was her lunch that he’s interested in. Sakura claims victory and is gonna dig in but Yuki stops her as there’s more to come. After Tsuchikawa finishes Yukari’s lunch, he says how damn good it is and gives her a love hug, making Yukari blush. With that, Yuki claims victory and starts to eat the super lunch set. I guess everybody’s full except for Sakura, who’s sad on an empty stomach.
 
Yukari asks Tsuchikawa what kind of chocolates he like and that guy says chocolate pork. Huh? Valentine’s Day is coming in episode 7. Though Sakura and Yuki aren’t too fond of that, eventually Yukari makes it and gives it to Tsuchikawa. As expected he gobbles it down with love. Even so, this made Yukari quite happy. Meanwhile Momoko is saying how she wish she was an idol so that her fans would give her chocolates. That way she could pick out the best one and give to the boy of her choice. Bottomline: This way, it save costs. Nice idea. Dream on. On the other hand, Sakura is lecturing Tsuchikawa on White Day, a day whereby the guys have to give back the girls in return for their chocolates. Of course, that guy is a bloody blur case. Later as Sakura and Yuki are coming out of the ladies, they spot Tsuchikawa giving a small gift of sweets to Yukari. Surprisingly after that, Tsuchikawa kissed Yukari on her lips! This must be the biggest shock in her life. Not once but twice! While they’re at it, it seems Sakura says how she lost again as Yuki celebrates. Looks like another bet between those 2.
 
Sakura’s company organizes a company trip to the beach in episode 8. While Sakura and Yuki are sitting in the shade and notes how guys haven’t start hitting on them beautiful ladies (perasan!), they’re watching with envy how Tsuchikawa and Yukari are having a great time together. Meanwhile a colleague, Rika Kouno, is watching the pair from her binoculars and notes how Yukari isn’t suitable for her Tsuchikawa-senpai. Hmmm… Another girl with a crush on this glutton. What’s this? the screen displays her bio stats as well as her favourite stuffs? Is it necessary for this side character? Determined not to lose, Rika dashes and hugs Tsuchikawa but the latter thinks it’s some wrestling and gives her a judo throw over his shoulders. Another lady, Miwako Haraike, also another same case like Rika who dislikes Yukari’s big boobs (another full screen stat display?) is gonna show off her sexy body in her skimpy swimsuit to Tsuchikawa. However, Tsuchikawa’s staring doesn’t mean he’s admiring her, but rather wonders if her swimsuit is cheap because of the lack of materials to make it. Really blur case. But it was enough to make Yukari giggle. Later Sakura and Yuki learns that Yukari has been invited by Tsuchikawa to night stroll on the beach and the duo are having their wild fantasies on what might happen. Seems like a normal stroll until the lovebirds kissed and Yukari felt Tsuchikawa’s hand coming up to her breasts. She doesn’t mind until Tsuchikawa tells her that she actually got some seaweed stuck on her boobs, making Yukari a lot embarrassed. When Yukari returns, Sakura and Yuki kept pestering for details on what they really did. Losers. Got nothing better to do.
 
Momoko gets a love letter in her shoe box from a boy named Akira Tobari in episode 9. Is it too good to be true? Momoko has a chat about this newfound discovery as Keiko feels a little envious about it. Momoko can’t seem to concentrate and could only think what if that petite Akira boy is a girl (you know this idea from who lah). On the day to meet Akira at the park, Momoko is surprised to see this Akira as a cute boy. Yeah, cuter than any other girls around, so to quote her. Momoko asks why he had chosen her. A short flashback whereby we see Akira searching for his lost contacts on the ground. Momoko decides to help but accidentally stepped on the contacts. She then tries to erase her guilt by saying that it’s just trash and that she doesn’t have to replace it. Akira who saw her happy face fell in love at first sight. I suppose he didn’t see the clearer picture. Akira soon surprises Momoko by asking her to go out with him. Is going to the library considered an outing? Well maybe since Akira says he’ll help her with her homework but Sakura mocks her by saying that they may not end up at the library studying. Even Miki seems to have the same idea that Momoko may go to the library more than just study, annoying Momoko. At the library, as the duo studies, their hands accidentally touched when they reached for the same eraser. Some blushing here and there before Momoko realized that the work that they’re doing is some high school entrance exam. She’s shocked to find that he’s a middle schooler. She stunned and wonders why he’s helping her with her homework. Looks like she’s dating a boy younger than her and probably smarter than her. At least she doesn’t follow that social stigma whereby young girls should date older guys.
 
In episode 10, Momoko once again gets surprised when she finds out her pals Moeko got her first kiss when she’s 15 years old. But Miki’s even earlier than her, 12 years old. Momoko must be feeling ‘left behind’. Furthermore, they’re saying those who hasn’t kiss at this age are worse than monkeys. I really feel your first kiss should be saved for someone you truly love and not because of the in-thing or peer pressure. At home, Momoko is really sleeping well because the next day she’s got a date with Akira at the amusement park. Yeah, she slept really good so much so she woke up late. I’m not sure why but it seems Momoko is mad even though she’s the one who’s late. Maybe she’s mad at herself. Because so, she decides to atone it by buying something Akira really likes, which she really doesn’t want to. Maybe that’s why she’s mad. Anyway they had their fun at the park and by evening when they head back, Akira gave Momoko her first kiss! Another surprise for the girl. Since it’s her first one, she’s really spacing out a lot back home when Sakura comes in and tells her how it’ll all soon become memories and will be forgotten away in 3 years, causing Momoko to blush. She also went on ranting about like how one does it the first time, from behind, outside, sideways… She’s really an expert in this area, isn’t she?
 
Momoko hugs Akira without thinking when the latter informs her how he passed his high school entrance exam in episode 11. Momoko’s 3 pals saw it and of course wants her to introduce that cute boy to them. As usual, Moeko is that yuri girl and asks if Akira likes all those homo stuffs, pissing off Momoko. Even back at home, Sakura is asking since they’ve both kissed, have the ‘put it in’ yet. Busybody. Of course Momoko denies doing anything like that. Yet. But what Sakura meant was kissing with the tongue. Still… But mainly this episode is about Momoko and Akira together at the beach as Momoko is having thoughts about her first wet kiss with Akira. Funny thing is they’re watching 2 crabs walking and bumping into each other which seems like a kiss. After the duo had their fun in the sun, eventually Akira gives her another ‘deep kiss’. Back home, Sakura notices how Momoko’s in a good mood. Momoko thinks that with that kiss, she’s grown up a little.
 
Another night outing between Momoko and Akira in episode 12. They’re sitting shy shy and blushing on a park bench when Akira timidly asks Momoko what she wants for her birthday. She replies that she wants Akira. Oops a slip of the tongue? Momoko then said what she meant was anything that Akira gives her will be fine. Back home, Momoko’s putting on some lipstick and fantasizing a date with Akira and kissing him on his lips in which some of her lipstick got stuck on Akira’s lips. Seems girly enough to make Momoko drop the idea. I think Momoko’s a little ‘itchy’ as she’s hoping to do her first time with Akira. But there are days whereby nothing really happens when she wished something would really happen. Then 1 night when the duo are supposed to have their first time at some hotel, Momoko instead spend the entire time enjoying herself singing karaoke. Then later as the duo sat dejectedly on the playground swing, Momoko then says that they should take it slow and easy since they’ve got lots of time and to make more memories together. With that, they both feel better and kissed once more to the city lights in the background.
 
Before Akira could finish his sentence about this coming weekend for a vacation in episode 13, Momoko jumps to a conclusion and fantasizes that this could be it about doing her first time and how she’s gonna deal with it like she’s poor and how she’s gonna tell her parents. Unfortunately, what Akira’s gonna say is that he’s spending his vacation with his family and wonders what souvenir Momoko would like him to get. Haha. While Momoko is sulking back home, Sakura is dancing happily because her company is organizing a trip to the hotspring. On the bus trip, I suppose the office workers have to endure their boss’s horrible singing (for the 34th time?) but some couple doing it in a nearby car caught the attention of Yuki and Sakura. Now Sakura’s an armchair critic as she’s commenting how it should be done, like this and not like that, out loud. No comment. At the hotspring, those jealous side characters of Tsuchikawa, Rika and Miwako are staring with piercing glances at Yukari changing. When Sakura comes in and squeezes her boobs, the duo looked at theirs and admits defeat. Then as the duo losers are soaking in the hotspring, Sakura pops out and starts talking about their bio stats, embarrassing them further. And all those perverted guys are eavesdropping nearby. Actually Sakura’s doing it for Rin as in return he’ll give her a big bottle of sake. Sakura then is gonna turn to Yukari next but when she saw how her breasts are floating. Sakura barges into the men’s area to tell Rin the amazing thing she just saw when Tsuchikawa tells them about it. How does he know about it? Ah well… Then during dinner time, it’s Yukari’s turn to sing but finds that this song isn’t suitable. Since everybody isn’t paying attention, Yukari somehow scream from the top of her voice for somebody to ‘put it in’. Sounds ambiguous doesn’t it? Another Then Sakura is arguing with Rin out loud about how when one does it, must do it till the very end until it’s dry and nothing really comes out because it becomes useless so quickly. Hopefully, it’s the dinner party she’s referring to as Yukari says.
 
In episode 14, we see Yuki doing her work super fast. That’s because tonight’s the night where her beloved boyfriend, Sho-chan will come see her. She’s even hurrying home. But all that effort is wasted because when she reaches home, she’s got a message from him saying that he can’t over because of work. We’ve been through such disappointment before right? The next day, we can’t blame Yuki for being pissed off. A short flashback of how Sho-chan never even spend time with her on her birthday. Though he asked what Yuki wants for her birthday, she says Sho-chan but of course that guy says it’s impossible since he’s busy. In her rage, Yuki tells him to get someone that could replace Sho-chan himself. A doll that would let lonely girls sleep easy at night, which is Mr Bob, before slamming down the phone. Obviously that dense guy really send a Mr Bob to her. Just dump him, Yuki. Back in present time, Sakura gives her a swimsuit to cheer her up. Later, Yuki wears the swimsuit and calls Sho-chan to come home early. If not it’s too bad because he’ll really miss seeing her in that outfit. Obviously that guy’s a typical pervert too and he soon rushes home. So predictable. As Yuki thanks Sakura, soon the 2 embrace and before you know it, they did it. That’s really fast. Then Sakura is surprised to hear Yuki is pregnant as she’s showing symptoms of being one. Back home, Yuki notes how Sho-chan has gotten thinner but the latter says he’s trying to gain weight for marriage, which made Yuki happy as she hugs him. I guess they did another round of you know what lah. Yuki doesn’t need that Mr Bob anymore.
 
Yuki and Sho-chan officially gets married in episode 15. With that Yuki retires from her job, leaving Sakura the only one left in her age group. I’m sure she must be feeling the ‘last one standing’ syndrome. Yuki tosses the bouquet of flowers in which Sakura grabs it. So according to old wives tale, could Sakura be the next one? Back home, Sakura is feeling depressed on this marriage thingy but Momoko says don’t worry as she’s still young. This however leads to an argument and as a result Sakura pinching her cheeks then ultimately squeezing her breasts. Since Momoko doesn’t have any, she takes it out on Yukari and feels much better. Maybe that’s why no guys want to marry her. Though Yukari notes how popular Sakura is, Sakura mentions that she did dated many guys in the past but none has ever propose marriage to her. Sakura decides to drown in her sorrows at the bar with Rin. Yeah, she even drank his portion of liquor. Then we see Tsuchikawa and Yukari taking a stroll near the river bank, also talking about marriage. Before they could kiss, their growling empty stomach spoils the mood. Time to eat. Eat each other, that is. Haha, just kidding. Back at the bar, I guess Rin had too many drinks and a little drunk when he declare how he’d make Sakura his bride anytime and that he would make her happy. He realized his mistake when Sakura keeps pestering for assurance, "For real, right?". Oh oh. The start of his troubles. You know men and commitment, right?
 
Sakura’s saying how Rin proposed to her in episode 16 but Rin doesn’t remember and thinks it’s that last night at the bar. Sakura then went on to say how Rin is average in everything and if she herself don’t have a chance within the next year, she’ll accept Rin’s proposal. Yeah, he’s like insurance. Back home, Momoko notes how quiet Sakura has become and this year there isn’t much weddings. This piss Sakura off because she says back how everybody else got married already and does some sick ecchi punishment stuff on Momoko. Then a weather report prompts Sakura to remember her period is late again. She thinks back that all she does is work, drink and go karaokeing. It seems to hit her that she seems worried about her situation and needs to do something about it. She even went to see Yuki for advice. The way Yuki says things implied that Sakura still had a long way to go, pissing Sakura off. At office, Sakura is walking with a young colleague when an older former head of director passes by. Since the younger colleague doesn’t know him, Sakura proceeds to tell her a little about it before it dawned to her that she may be ‘old’. Even when the other colleagues called her to fix the photostat machine, Sakura’s knowledge of fixing the problem has made her realized that she’s already the department’s living dictionary woman. Yeah, she’s ‘old’ alright. Another round of depression for her as she says how she’ll settle with Rin if that’s the case.
 
In episode 17, Sakura asks if Rin would like to go hunting this weekend. Since that guy has no plans, he agrees. Sakura then says to bring his passport and family seal. Huh? Sakura later shows him an application for a trip to Hong Kong and that hunting she meant was a shopping spree. They manage to take a trip down and are having a meal at a local restaurant. Since the food isn’t to Rin’s taste, obviously it tastes horrible. Sakura then jokingly said out loud how that stuff was some turtle extract and how ecchi he was. Thing is, the whole restaurant are filled with Japanese people. So their conversation can be understood. How ironic. Later as the duo went shopping, Rin wants Sakura to buy some sexy lingerie and goes on his dreaming his perverted fantasies of her in it. However, Sakura’s intention to bring him along is to let him carry her bags. Men, we should’ve expect and see that one coming. Back at Japan, Momoko wonders how autumn is like in Hong Kong when Moeko brings and shows her new yaoi magazine. It looks like Miki is now into these things 2. Though Miki reads the magazine, Moeko is a little mad because she’s not reading it with passion. Meanwhile, Yukari is cooking a sumptuous meal for Tsuchikawa and that fellow is gulping it down like a glutton. Back to Hong Kong, we see Sakura and Rin naked in bed. Some ambiguous talk like how Sakura wants to do it again since she mentions how Rin wanted to do it that much yesterday. Rin gives that usual excuse that he’s tired but Sakura says she’s not gonna let him rest and does something that makes our imagination run wild underneath those blankets. I suppose what they meant refers to shopping as you could see piles of shopping bags in their room. Okay, maybe a little of that ahem ahem… "A-Ah… feeeeeeeeels so GOOOOOOOD!".
 
The duo are back from their Hong Kong trip in episode 18 and it seems Sakura has a little muscle ache as a result of using Rin as her pillow. However, Rin is sad and doesn’t want a pillow that pulls his hair! Yup, his forehead is a little bald and shiny. Later, Sakura meets Yuki over tea and the 2 chat about marriage and stuff. Sakura is still so full of herself. She really doesn’t feel embarrassed talking out loud like that. Then Yuki mentions about if she marries old, her guests at the wedding banquet will also be old, therefore it’ll get dull. Sakura gets worried even more when Yuki mentions what if her fiance loses his hair. She has to really think about it. Don’t want a husband who’s bald, doesn’t she? Meanwhile Yukari and Tsuchikawa tries to comfort Rin that he’s still got lots of hair when a gust of wind blows up his bangs. Oh well. Sakura then comes in when Rin suddenly pleads to her to get married right away before he turns bald. Sakura asks what those 2 said to him but Tsuchikawa’s slip of tongue, "We didn’t say he’s got a big forehead or something", makes matters worse. Sakura then lectures them about some things that shouldn’t be said, making the duo feel guilty. But since Sakura’s the devil herself, she can’t help finding herself fondling Yukari’s boobs soon after. While Rin puts on a serious face and proposes to Sakura, Sakura soon accepts. Then it’s like the whole office’s waiting to hear those lines as you can see the rest of the colleagues suddenly gathering around them and wishing congratulations. Back home, Sakura is still spacing out and thinking a lot as all of this seem to sudden.
 
Before we all forget about Momoko, episode 19 sees Moeko having her pals Miki, Keiko, Momoko and Akira on board her mini cruise having fun on their vacation when their ship sank during a storm and they got washed ashore on some deserted island. Akira comes to but the first thing he’s concern is Momoko. Yeah, he zoomed passed by the others lying unconscious on the beach. Since Momoko is unconscious too, Akira is in a dilemma whether to give mouth-to-mouth CPR. When he finally decides to do so, Momoko seems to have regained a little consciousness and freaks out when she saw Akira’s mouth closing in so much so she bumps her head on Akira’s. Momoko realized what she’s done and frantically asks Akira not to die. The rest too must’ve come to since their commotion was a little noisy. Moeko is sad because all her doujinshi magazines are washed away. Haha. Soon the gang regroups and discuss their current situation. Moeko still isn’t over the loss of her doujinshis yet. Momoko wonders if nobody comes and rescue them, they’ll die here and she doesn’t want that because she hasn’t done it yet. I’m amazed that she could think of such things at this time. I suppose since Momoko has started the ball rolling, Miki says if they want to they could leave them alone. Keiko advices Akira not to confuse between the front and back because tragedies start from there, while Moeko says she thinks Akira is better off being a yaoi. "Stop expanding this conversation!". Who’s great idea was it to start it? Anyway, everyone agrees to cooperate until rescue arrives. In the end, we see a couple of fishes reading Moeko’s doujinshis and getting the shock of their lives. I’m surprised that those fishes could really understand what they read.
 
The gang continues their jungle survival in episode 20 but it seems poor Akira gets into sticky situations while the girls could only look in horror. After walking for some time, they decided to take a rest. While resting, Keiko takes out her handphone but to Miki’s surprise she snatches it and says that she should’ve told them sooner that she had one. However, Keiko says that’s just a mobile bum cleaner. Too late. Miki pushed some button which squirts water over her face. Should not have told her that earlier too. Soon Akira decides to go take a leak by himself. Unknown to him, some amazon queen of the jungle is watching him from above a tree branch. Say, doesn’t she look like Sakura? As Akira unzips his shorts, he notices that jungle woman watching him from behind. The girls heard his scream and rushes to find him. Moeko spots Akira’s t-shirt on the ground and his shorts hanging on the tree. Momoko is fearing the worse. Meanwhile, Akira is in his underwear and is being brought to a cave by that self proclaimed queen of the island. Though Akira is relieved that there’s somebody else on this uninhabited island, the queen says she has to do lots of things on her own, that’s why she wants him. Akira then says he’s no slave and spells out his name and age. The queen gets excited to learn that he’s a young lad and is gonna get a taste of him and blushes. Oh great, an ecchi and horny queen of the jungle. Though Akira says he’s decided to have his first time with a certain girl already, she’s still adamant and… Ah well, being alone must’ve made her feel ‘deprived’.
 
Queenie is gonna ‘dirty’ Akira in episode 21 but the latter panicked and shouted Momoko’s name to come save him, which prompted her to hesitate for awhile. Soon Momoko and the rest finds the cave as Momoko tells that jungle woman to get off and what on earth she’s doing. Well, my intuition was right. That jungle woman is indeed Sakura. Speaking of which, this is the first time she meets Akira. Momoko thought she was on a luxurious vacation in Hawaii but Sakura mentioned that the yacht she and Rin were on capsized. However, only Sakura got to this island. So where’s Rin? Dunno. Anyway Akira’s glad Momoko’s around. Later Momoko and Akira strolled together on the beach and had a little chat. Another chance to get up close and personal when Moeko’s presence ruins it all. Not only that, the others are actually spying on them behind the bush! I guess they’ve got so much free time on this island. While the sisters are arguing, Rin comes paddling with all his might on his makeshift raft. He’s coming to save Sakura and the rest. It’s a good thing Rin’s still alive. However, when Rin says that the raft can only fit 6 people, we see the dark side of the rest as they automatically numbered themselves so that they can go onboard the raft. Since there are 7 of them, guess who got left out? Poor Rin. Hahaha. After slogging and making that raft, Rin gets abandoned by those ungrateful uncivilized ‘friends’. Also since there’s only 1 oar to paddle, Akira does the paddling, but it’s better than being left behind. Really pity Rin. Is this the kind of woman he’s gonna marry?
 
It seems that those events back then didn’t really matter because episode 22 sees how Momoko’s class is gonna organize a haunted house for their school festival. Of course before that, the class has come up with their own ideas of their own like Moeko’s cosplay show and Miki’s no-ordinary food stall theme because everyone will be selling food in their lingerie. No comment. What’s this? Keiko is suggesting a lecture topic on piles? No comment too. Though Momoko suggested the haunted house, the rest thinks that if a cute guy comes in, they could do this and that. Haih… Their thinking is just like Sakura’s earlier on. But they all agree unanimously. Back at Sakura office, Sakura tells her colleagues that her little sister’s school is organizing a cultural festival and asks them to come. I really wonder how Rin got back from that island. He looks all energetic and has no emotional scar from that ‘left behind’ incident. Tsuchikawa decides to go and Yukari thinks he’s after the young girls. But you know, he’s thinking more of the different he could taste there. On the day of the festival, Moeko and Miki are dressed as ghost but they don’t look scary at all. Keiko is the one looking like a real ghost because her piles this morning was real bad. Scary. Soon Sakura, Rin, Tsuchikawa and Yukari comes to visit Momoko’s haunted house as they took their first step inside. Momoko wonders if it will all go well.
 
The journey into the haunted house continues in episode 23. Because Yukari says how her heart/chest is pounding, Sakura gives Yukari her usual boob squeezing thingy, freaking out Yukari. Momoko thinks it’s all going well. And that Tsuchikawa guy has no qualms eating anything edible he finds in the haunted house. Later the gang splits into 2 and Sakura imagines that if Yukari gets scared, she’ll grab Tsuchikawa’s arms with her breasts being pressed on it. Sakura then gets jealous and rushes to find her because she thinks Yukari’s boobs are all hers. Sick woman. Again, Rin is left all alone. Poor Miki, nobody notices her standing there too. Meanwhile, Yukari and Tsuchikawa bumps into Moeko in a cat costume who looks more cute than scary. Moeko’s blabbing about some cosplay thingy. Scary? Not. Later, Momoko, Miki and Moeko are having a break and Miki notes how Akira will come visit soon. He does, so Momoko asks Akira to protect her if the time comes. As the duo walk inside, unfortunately Miki wasn’t that scary after all. Same goes for Moeko. Makes you wonder if this is a real haunted house. Uh huh. They reached the exit already. How disappointing. However, Keiko comes in and freaks them both out because Keiko now looks even scarier since her piles got worse! Wargh! Keiko’s asking permission if she could go see the doctor. After Keiko left, Akira and Momoko realized they had hugged each other unknowingly. Some staring moments which is a prelude to a kiss. But before that could happen, they heard a crashing noise. It seems those busybodies are spying on them. Uh huh, some last episode parody punch line about how they thought they could see Momoko and Akira kissed since it’s the last episode. Momoko is in disbelief and says how she hadn’t had her first time yet and starts chasing that chibi original story girl round and round. What the? Anyway that scene looks hilarious as Momoko couldn’t forgive that chibi original story girl for writing and ending the story like this.
 
But that isn’t the last episode. There’s still 1 more and that is episode 24. However this episode doesn’t really have anything to do with all the previous stories and is like an idol episode. Almost everyone’s an idol star here. We start off by seeing Momoko as some singing idol and her reason to become 1 is simple… For money! Sakura is her manager and is seen telling Momoko her schedule but the latter seems uninterested. Not until Sakura say some sympathetic lines did Momoko starts to feel a bit sorry and guilty. But it seems Sakura has her own ulterior motive too. She becomes a manager so that she could meet celebrities. Later we see Yukari as a Big-Breasted Superstar Idol doing some lingerie ad on tv as Momoko and Miki chats. Miki seems to be into acting while Moeko is some Idol Warrior Misty Moeko at some magical stage play. What’s this? Moeko donning a Pikachu costume too?! Yeah, that Pikachu costume got its eyes purposely censored due to copyright issues. I can’t believe Keiko too becomes some sort of idol. Something to do with piles! What the? Later as Momoko take a walk on the street, she sees a group of girls swooning over a newly released poster. It’s Akira! Another idol. Momoko notes that even though he’s her boyfriend they’re rivals in the idol world. Momoko saw a defaced Akira poster with pins sticking in his nose and decides to take it out but eventually realizes that she’s running late and rushes off. She makes it in time and looks like Yuki is her make-up artist. As Momoko rushes on stage, she accidentally trip on some wires causing the entire set to crash. The next day, it’s in the news that idol Momoko comically breaks the set. Of course she freaks out and says it wasn’t like that. Now it’s the end for real, as displayed by that chibi original story girl. The end credits show the gang going on with their normal lives and finally Momoko and Akira walking home holding hands.
 
Overall, I think this whole anime is just fairly okay. If you’re an ecchi fan than I suppose you might want to have a little look at this one. Having watched the entire series, I don’t think I could say that all women and girls are like that horny Sakura and Momoko. Not even generally. Though I suppose perverts would really hope for such ladies to exist. A girl who wants to do it so eagerly? Me, no thanks. Someone who’s as loudmouth as Sakura would only bring embarrassment even not to herself but to others around her. Don’t even think about Moeko or Miki. It could send shivers down your spine. However in today’s changing world, there are some true elements like how girls these days are getting younger in terms of losing their virginity and such.
 
Other than that, the other thing that’s nice about this anime is the opening theme song called Margaret. Sung by Mikiko Sato, it sounds like an all-female rock group singing a rock song during that era. Quite catchy and nice the tune. Except for the last episode, there is no ending theme nor credits when the episode ends. It’s like there’s a head but no tail. Since this is a year 1998 production, the drawing, art and animation of the anime of course can be considered to be standard at that time with some bishoujos (couldn’t say for the men here, though. They all look ordinary). After watching a number of recent animes, I also noticed that the colouring seems bland and dull. Like it’s worn out. Hey, it’s from that era and time. The characters are quirky and amusing enough for this short series. I don’t think there’s an anime character with piles as bad as Keiko.
 
I suppose not only being a woman is tough, but being a human being is even tougher with all the crazy rules, procedures, customs, traditions and prejudices. Maybe the key here is to take life as it is, one step at a time. That way, life wouldn’t seem so harsh, wouldn’t it? And I’m sure that there are more than several ways to express one’s love. Ah teenagers. A precarious time when they turn into adulthood. I suppose youth won’t last forever therefore it makes sense in a way to rush it. Then again, it’s all in one’s mind.
 
Momoiro Sisters

Innocent Starter

January 11, 2008

  Hiza wo kakaete heya no katasumi,
  Itsumo fuan de furuete ita,
  Hontou wo shiru koto ga kowakute,
  Tobira wo tojita
 
This opening theme song was the main reason why I decided to watch the anime series Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha. Because Innocent Starter had such a catchy tune, it was enough to make me sit and watch the opening credits even though I felt the whole series was just okay. See, first impressions really do count.
 
  Yasahii uso ni ibasho mitsukete,
  Yume no naka ni nigekonda,
  Dare mo shiranai kodomo no umi wo,
  Fukai ao ni someteku
 
Sung by Nana Mizuki, surprisingly most of the time I could sing this song well and smoothly. The verses are easy on my voice though the chorus part has a line that changes to a higher pitch. Amazingly I could sing that part without any flaw. Destined to sing this song? Unless I have sore throat and such of course that would be impossible. Also, I feel that the final lines of the chorus needs to be sung ‘with all one’s might’. Meaning that I really need to ‘push out’ my voice with full force if I’m to successfully sing that part.
 
  Sabishi sa kakusu ichizu na omoi,
  Kimi no kokoro wo kizutsukete iru
 
As for the lyrics, because I’ve been singing this song many times, I have seemed to memorize the entire words even though each of the chorus lines are different (not many repeating lines, that is). What do you expect when you’re singing it more than once and even so, doing a duet with the singer at times when I feel ‘lazy’ on playing the karaoke version. Thankfully this is a real karaoke version and there are some background vocals so the song doesn’t feel too ’empty’ when I sing it.
 
  Hitomi no oku no himitsu suikomare sou na,
  Egao no ura no shinjitsu ni,
  Yawaraka na ai boku ga todoke ni yuku yo
 
I’m still wondering why this song is called so even though the lyrics isn’t your typical simple love song. I mean, overall the lyrics may have something to do with the story and characters of the show, though I’m not sure and could be wrong. It does touch on love, hope and lonliness. Even if I translated and read the whole song in English, I still can’t really understand what the whole song is trying to say in the bigger picture. So I just take it line by line.
 
  Furetara koware sou na nukumori ga ima,
  Kako wo hanare afuredasu,
  Zutto soba ni iru kara,
  Kanashii kage ni madowanaide
 
The music itself is quite upbeat though it starts on a slow and gentle note before it gradually becomes lively at the chorus. The solo part is quite short though the ending solo seems a bit longer with a stormy electric guitar playing. Thus I can safely say that I’ll be hearing this song over and over again and won’t bored of it for a long time.
 
  Boku no namae yonde,
  Ano hi no you ni warai kakete…

Dai Mahou Touge

January 5, 2008

This isn’t your ordinary nor typical mahou shoujo (magical girl) genre. Yeah, it’s a mahou shoujo with a twist. A twist of blood and violence. It gives a whole new meaning and perspective to the word mahou shoujo. Though I’m not a fan of mahou shoujo genre, Dai Mahou Touge is more than just that. In fact, because of its outrageous and hilarious nonsensical comedy, it is one of my favourite animes. I could even say that this is my number 1 favourite mahou shoujo genre anime.
 
Unfortunately, this series is quite short. Meaning that there are only 8 episodes in total. Furthermore, each of the episodes in this OVA series is only approximately 15 minutes long. Since they show it in a 30 minute slot, we’ll get a double dose of this mahou shoujo in 1 sitting.
 
This series may not be suitable for younger audiences, especially little girls who love mahou shoujo genres. This is because as mentioned, there is quite an amount of blood and violence. Older audiences may find it funny but with all the bone breaking and blood spilling scenes, this show is a no no for little kids. Also, the subtitles are quite offensive in order to reflect the atmosphere. Of course, that’s what make it funny too.
 
So we’re introduced to this young lady, Punie Tanaka, who is the princess of Magical Land (looks like a colourful fantasy-like kingdom). Her mom, Esmeralda is the current ruler and her husband is your usual and typical submissive husband who is always fearful and does what Esmeralda says, though he looks like a punk. Thus in episode 1 we see Punie needing to become a Japanese transfer student in a Japanese high school as part of her task in order to become queen of Magical Land. Esmeralda and Punie’s dad (this guy has no official name) sees Punie off to the human world. Uh huh, Punie just crash through the palace roof and flies straight down to her Japanese high school as she introduces herself. Talk about heavenly body dropping down right in the middle of the class room.
 
It seems Punie is a hit with the boys because all those male losers instantly fall in love with her. However, it seems a group of delinquent school girls aren’t too fond of that blonde b*tch’s arrival (that’s what she actually said!). Led by the cigarette smoking Anego, her other group of motley crew don’t look very feminine at all. Uh huh. Downright ugly. They look like some zombie, frankenstein or punk. Yeah, Anego even has no qualms to send her underlings to beat up some weak teacher passing by.
 
While Punie is joyfully strolling in the park (with those loser guys watching behind the trees), Anego and co confronts Punie. However, first thing Punie did was to stretch Anego’s face! Looking for trouble. That’s what Anego would interpret. Anego and her gang are gonna cut, slice and stab her with whatever dangerous looking weapons they have (1 of them with a chainsaw?) but Punie screams to activate some magic device. Yeah, whenever Punie needs to do a henshin, she’ll say this words, "Lyrical Tokarev, Kill Them All!". Really! Soon Punie unleashes hordes of living vegetables (happy smiling vegetables, anyone?) as it pounds and covers Anego and co. In short, they lost. All the loser boys are cheering on Punie as the latter acknowledges them. Wow. It’s like a show.
 
Next, the school is having a school festival and Punie is excited to know the human customs. Meanwhile, Anego and co are causing their usual trouble by trying to accuse a curry stall, which is run by a student named Tetsuko, that there are cockraoches in their plate. Of course Tetsuko pleads to them saying that she has taken steps to make sure that everything’s clean and there has to be a mistake. Just as they’re gonna wreck the place up, Punie shows up and asks what’s the matter. This freaks out Anego because they lost to her, remember? With that, they quietly left. Tetsuko is very grateful and after she tells them about Anego always bringing trouble, Punie decides to be her customer. However, after tasting the curry, Punie shocks Tetsuko with this statement, "This isn’t curry. This is yellow shit". OMG! Did she really say that? Yeah, after a few more mocking sentences, Punie uses her magic to help Tetsuko out, making the latter feel a little relieved.
 
At the same time, Anego is running a curry stall too and they’re having a hard time attracting customers. Is threatening them to come in a good way? Then some guy in cloak is looking through a crystal ball tells them that a magic pendant (from Punie) is screwing things up and decides to give them this Evil Anizaki Doll to seal Punie’s powers. Anego agrees but then 1 of their members return and reports that Tetsuko’s curry stall is selling like hot cake! It’s bloody crowded! Looks like some celebrities are tasting the food which is getting rave reviews. Yeah, something about the vegetables are alive. Anego decides to go investigate.
 
Now this is the hilarious part. Outside the home economics room, Anego spots several happy vegetables dancing! The vegetables are happy to become a good curry but as they’re gonna jump into the boiling wok, the carrot hesitate. Yeah, he’s thinking is he gonna sacrifice himself to be a good curry meal. A tough potato scoffs him for being too weak and asks to bring the peeler. He’s saying they need to repay their debt to Punie and does a hara-kiri on himself with the peeler! He shaved his own skin as the other vegetables looked on in horror and respect! This is frienship…?! The carrot then pushes the shaved potato into the pot as he’s crying while the potato salutes back at him. Uh huh. After that each of them soon follow the potato. Hahaha. Bloody hilarious!
 
Anego has witnessed this evil magic and decides to get rid of it. But Punie arrives and decides to teach Anego and co a lesson. Another henshin from Punie but Anego isn’t worried because she shows her the Anizaki Doll. Though Punie is surprised at first, Anego orders her girls to whack her. However, this is a mistake. That’s because, without her magic, Punie is still lethal and deadly as ever. Why, she has her submissive attack and painful grappling moves! Note her voice change from that innocent squeaky high pitched tone to a dark sly scheming lower voice. Holy cow! Punie’s really good in her submissive moves. Oh here comes the pain! She can be WWE’s new superstar! Also, she has a variety of submissive moves each with different names. After Anego’s underlings are taken care off. Finally it’s Anego herself. Anego is scared to death as Punie grabs her right leg. Hahaha! Anego’s pleading to her that she’s afraid of pain and is panicking. WARGH!!! The scene changes to sunset outside as Punie stands in front of several makeshift graves. Did Anego and co died? Anyway, we see that cloaked guy is actually Punie’s dad and he is saddened that the bad girl group didn’t work. As Punie heads back to the school festival, she notices a group of guys crying because their squid isn’t selling. Punie uses her magic to help things out. Only thing is, the squid turned into a giant monster squid and is on a rampage. Ah, all in a day’s work.
 
Since every mahou shoujo has a magical pet, episode 2 sees how Punie got one. The episode starts off with Tetsuko rushing to school when a malnourished little chibi unicorn dog is asking for food. Tetsuko gives him a nabe and instantly he is refreshed. The dog introduced himself as Paya-tan AKA Paya (because he ends his sentences with that), that he is from Magical Land and is looking for his master. Soon Punie arrives and Paya recognizes her as they both ran towards each other and embrace. So a touching reunion and conversation like why Punie left him all alone and such. As they walk towards school, Tetsuko thinks she too would like a mascot. Paya says that she could get 1 from Waku Waku Mascot Village, since many of his buddies are there. Tetsuko is thinking all those cute anime characters like Doraemon (note the blurness is purposely done due to copyright issue).
 
Thus the flashback story begins. Okay, the village doesn’t seem all happy happy kinda feeling. It’s like a dead cowboy town with no law. And all of the unicorn dog inhabitants are really one kind. Rude and no manners. Punie is wearing a cloak and is walking through the town till she enters a bar and proclaims she is here to find a mascot. Everyone there laughs and mocks her. She grabs 1 of them by the arm and takes off her cloak as she says she’s not interested in garbage like them. Unfortunately, Punie’s grasp is too strong so much so that unicorn dog’s arm broke and he fainted. Oops. With that, the rest all charge towards her. As expected they’re beaten badly. Paya then comes in. Yeah, also note the tone of his low sexy voice and serious facial expression as compared to his innocent and squeaky voice. It seems Punie is looking for him, rumoured to be the king. While Paya has his usual drink, they chat as he tells her to leave. But Punie isn’t gonna leave, so Paya is thinking of settling this outside.
 
The 2 come face to face in the rain and Punie wants him to be her mascot. But Paya sets the rule saying that he’ll do so if she defeats him. The fight soon begins and though Punie does some submissive moves on him, it doesn’t seem to work. Yeah, Paya gives some super punch which breaks 1 of Punie’s ribs! And another to her mouth, making her spew lots of blood. Gory! In the end just when Paya thinks he has won, Punie stands up and says it isn’t over yet and that he is worthy of being her mascot as she does a head lock. At first, Paya seemed disappointed with that uneffective move, but soon feels a stinging pain in his brain. The other unicorn dogs are watching in surprise to see Paya losing. His head is as hard as a rock? Punie explains about her head lock move goes right through the joints and right through brain. Paya is bleeding profusely! Oh the blood. The other unicorn dogs run away after knowing Paya is defeated.
 
However, Paya notes that Punie may regret this because Paya says that she won’t have a moment of peace even if she’s sleeping or eating. Punie laughs it off and says if there isn’t at least a person who wants to kill her, how can she be called queen. In a way, I think that statement make sense. With that, Paya acknowledges her and pledges his loyalty to become Punie’s mascot with his life forever.
 
Back to present time, Tetsuko is shocked to hear it all as Punie and Paya are happy happy among themselves. Just when Tetsuko thinks that all that is in the past and that they’re on good terms, Paya takes out a knife and is gonna strike Punie. But Tetsuko’s scream attracted the duo as Paya hides his knife. Punie is asking what’s wrong but Tetsuko says nothing and thinks to herself that even now Paya still wants her life. Punie and Paya rushes off in a happy mood as Tetsuko still stood there in shock. Punie then remembers she didn’t use any magic today when Anego shows up and says screw her magic. Punie’s wondering why she’s still alive as Anego says back "Don’t just decide I’m dead like that". Yeah, if she’s gone, who would Punie do her submissive moves on. Besides, Tetsuko and Anego seems to have become Punie’s ‘friends’.
 
In episode 3, Punie and Tetsuko are walking to school together when Punie suddenly stops and puts on a serious facial expression. Tetsuko wonders what’s wrong. Punie pushes Tetsuko forward and suddenly the road in front starts to cave in! Wow! A large crater. Looks like Punie used Tetsuko as a guinea pig and even has the cheek to ask whether she’s alright and that she’ll help her in her squeaky innocent voice tone. It seems there’s somebody hiding behind a pole saying to herself that it’s her way of greeting Punie.
 
During P.E., Tetsuko tells Anego about this. Yeah, even Anego says including herself, many people wants her dead. Punie is gonna jump over a pummel horse when she sense something wrong again and asks Tetsuko to jump first. Tetsuko agrees and runs happily towards it. After she jumps and successfully lands, the ground caves in and an even bigger crater surfaces! Holy crap! A lady in some jester outfit named Eliz Von Barbaroque shows herself praises Punie for dodging her trap. Uh huh. Punie remembers her as Hole Digger Eli. Still pissing off people in a way, is she? Eliz wants Punie to give up being the next queen. Do you think Punie would allow that? Thus, Eliz unleashes poisonous snakes while Punie let loose cute mongoose to counter them. Tetsuko is thinking how cute those mongooses are but have second thoughts when she sees the bloody biting battle.
 
Since Eliz knew that they can’t decide with their magic, she decides to have a 1-on-1 combat. The duo pull off some cool moves and manoeuvres until Eliz unleashes her fake arm handcuffs trap cursed with Evil Anizaki Doll, which will seal her magic and submission moves. Tetsuko then stood up and asks why must Eliz do this and take the throne by force. A short flashback as we see Eliz’s dad was the previous ruler of Magical Land but an uprising by Esmeralda led her dad to be imprisoned and the latter ascended the throne ever since. Therefore, Eliz felt that the throne is rightfully hers. Tetsuko doesn’t believe it and wants Punie to say something. Punie replies "Your father was too weak. That’s why he was overthrown", shocking Tetsuko. Well, at least Punie’s telling the facts.
 
Eliz isn’t satisfied and goes on saying how her dad found it hard to find a job because he couldn’t do anything else besides being a king (hahaha) thus she wants Punie to taste her hardships and sufferings. Eliz takes out a deadly scythe as Punie’s dad is watching through some magic mirror and freaking out that her daughter’s done for. Of course Esmeralda is cool by saying that if Punie falls to such enemy, then she has no right to ascend the throne. As Eliz is gonna strike, Punie uses the handcuffs to block. Yeah, it seems that the handcuffs are no handicap for Punie as she does a spinning kick on Eliz. After a few more lectures on to rule one needs power, Punie manages to trip Eliz and grabs her left leg. Yup, it’s over. Punie does a submissive move and no matter how hard Eliz tries to hold it, eventually she feels the pain. Oh, you can hear the bones cracking. Sounds brutal. Probably that’s why they don’t want to show how Punie does her various submission moves. I mean, it’s gotta be real bad because Tetsuko soon faints. Uh huh. Real bad. We see Eliz limbs very ‘crooked’ and she is being taken away in an ambulance. Even Tetsuko quotes that if Punie used her magic, Eliz wouldn’t have ended up so bad like this.
 
In episode 4, Tetsuko and Anego are walking together when a pair of cute little twins, Potaru and Pyun, asks ‘the wrinkly faced, dry skinned woman’ if they have seen this girl in the photo, which is Punie. Be careful. Even though the twins are cute, they have a very sarcastic tongue. Anego is pissed off as Tetsuko tells them that they’re Punie’s friends. Anego realized that they may be Punie’s sisters and perhaps evil to the bone. The twins wants them to take them to Punie and they’re still mocking Anego when she decides to teach them a lesson. They seem so helpless and weak as Tetsuko protects them from Anego’s harm. But Anego is thinking of taking out her anger on them when Punie appears from behind and gives a good twist to Anego’s head. Thank goodness she didn’t die from that move.
 
Tetsuko is moved when she sees the twins are gonna give their big sis a hug but gets another rude shock when the twins take out a giant pair of scissors ready to cut Punie. Another freaking out moment for Tetsuko. It’s not good for her heart. As expected the twins wants Punie to give up her right to become queen. Punie stops the scissors with her fingers and overpowers them. She’s gonna do some scary punishment on them. The twins are trembling in fear. Erm… She just spanked their butts…?! While the twins are crying like little babies and Anego manages to fix her head back, Anego wonders why she just spanked them only but Punie says she’ll give her all when necessary.
 
The twins aren’t satisfied yet as the trio heads off. Paya is walking happily when the twins asks for that ‘fake nipple thing’ to come with them to some garage. As soon as they shut the door, Paya’s voice and facial expression change to that low one. He wants to know what’s troubling them. The twins say to forget about Punie and be their mascot. Paya isn’t interested and walks off. Before he does, the twins took off their gloves and reveal some ring on their finger, which shocks Paya. It seems they’re half rings and they’re gonna join them together. Paya pleads for them to stop but it’s too late. The whole garage emits some red light before exploding…?!
 
Punie and Tetsuko are talking on a bench when Pyun and Potaru comes by in a horse cart. Yup, Paya’s the single horse and he’s being whip badly. Oh the blood trickling down his pitiful face. Though Punie is angry, the twins also say that they’re mad and decides to unleash the ring’s fury. Looks like that ring is an A level secret magic equipment from their family called The Ring Of Immoral. Lyrical Tokarev, Destruction Of Evil! With the rings combined, it unleashed a giant dark demon named Zephiel Ietsura, 1 of the Gods from the ancient legends. Zephiel is showing off his powers by punching the ground and splitting the school building into half. Thinking that Punie can’t do her submission moves on something this big, they demand Punie to give up the throne and even tells the b*tch to kneel before them. My my. Such words at such tender age. When Punie refuses to do so, the twins order Zephiel to finish her.
 
Did Zephiel manage to finish Punie off in 1 single blow? Nope. Punie is seen running up his arms and before he knows it, Punie does a submissive move on 1 of his fingers. I guess this will pretty much do. Anyway it’s painful enough for Zephiel to give up and make him realize that Punie’s the witch from that time. Thus, Zephiel freaks out and quickly returns to the safety of the ring. Tetsuko who’s watching from behind the trees wonders what horrible thing she has done to that God in the past. Punie’s such a scary and dangerous person. Punie confronts the twins who are helpless now and tells them that if they ever do it again, she’ll break their joints again and again till they become piles of meat! Well, it’s enough to scare those little girls. Note that they wet their pants so much that it leaks and overflows to the ground. Haha. With that, Punie’s voice and tone return back to her innocent squeaky one and they’re all back on good terms. Tetsuko can’t believe she’s seeing all this. Magical Land is so fearsome. Damn right she is. What about Paya? He’s still lying there and as a crow pecks it head. Anego then quips that his status in this show is becoming closer to hers. Uh huh. I think nearly everyone will. So Punie has taken on gangsters, magical animals, vengeful rivals, terrible twins and even Gods. Nothing can stop her! Everybody run for your lives!
 
Punie, Anego and Tetsuko are walking to school in episode 5 and Anego is dreading the upcoming exams. Punie decides to show them how far she has studied and with Paya, they did some… simple multiplication table? Anego says that’s elementary level and that they’re both idiots, sending shockwaves to the both of them. Anego is bloody happy that the princess of Magical Land is an idiot when Punie does a submission move on her. However, Punie notes she has a plan.
 
At class, a mean lady teacher Gesoumi enters the class and tells everyone to be silent and put everything away except a pencil. Anego is a little surprised because she thought another teacher, Tateno, was supposed to supervised them. Gesoumi says Tateno is sick. Which means, Anego will have a hard time cheating. Punie asks Anego what kind of teacher is Gesoumi and the latter explains that she’s a sadist who will torture cheaters (tying cheaters naked and tickling or putting rocks on them?) and warns Punie not to cheat. During the test, Anego and co are waiting for a chance to cheat. When Gesoumi is a little distracted and not looking, Anego and co goes into action. We see them having weird places where they store their answers. One of them hit her hands until it becomes red and the answers revealed while another takes off her fake hair and another her fake tattoo.
 
However, Gesoumi has mirror in her specs and saw it. Gesoumi then take some chalks from her thighs and throws it at Anego and co. Hey, wait a minute. Did you notice Eliz is there taking the test there? Since when did she become a transfer student in Punie’s class? Anyway, Gesoumi says she’s gonna give Anego 1 more chance and if she wants to cheat, do it in a way which moves her soul. OMG! Gesoumi stuck her high heels on Anego’s forehead till it bleeds! Wihle Gesoumi is distracted by Anego’s commotion, Punie says now it’s the time and tells her living vegetables to come out. Haha! She’s gonna use her vegetables who claimed to have studied all night to cheat. However, after looking at the sheet, the potato says he’s unable to do so and Punie says "You piece of shit", sending the potato into shock mode. The potato decides to kill himself with a blade to atone for his sins.
 
Punie notes that she is out of options and sends a message to all her other vegetables that since the leader has died, the mission has finished and tells them to retreat and go back to their vegetable state. Punie then summons a magical nuclear bomb and says that if she’s found cheating, she’ll have this planet accompany her to hell. She’s serious! Eliz freaks out when she sees this and wonders does Punie wants to become a martyr just because she doesn’t understand the test. Punie is gonna press the button on her desk (where the hell did it came from?) when Paya is seen flying in an Apache helicopter with a pilot friend of his as the former tells him to hurry.
 
The helicopter arrives at the school and the trigger happy pilot starts firing away. Holy cow! The whole classroom is decimated! Tetsuko is hurt badly and bleeding during pandemonium as Anego, Eliz and another guy tries to bring Tetsuko to safety. Punie spots Paya giving some morse code signal. With that, Punie knows what to do. She take Tetsuko’s test paper lying on the floor, rubs her name of and writes her own name on it! How sly! Punie signals back and the helicopter soon leaves. The pilot reminisces the old days when he and Paya were together in the army fighting some war (looks like Vietnam. So funny and odd to see a unicorn dog fighting there). The pilot wonders if he’s coming back to the army but Paya says he’s a magical girl’s mascot now. As the helicopter flies into the sunset, Gesoumi wonders if somebody is using the army to cheat and realizes time is over and tells the class to hand in their papers. When the test results are out, we see Tetsuko crying on her knees because she got a zero for her test. Punie consoles her by saying that even if she’s an idiot, she’ll still be her friend. Yeah, some friend she is. I guess Eliz too failed because in the background we see her on her knees with her test paper. Anego tells Punie she did a good one. All’s well, ends well. For Punie, that is.
 
Even bad girls like Anego do have a crush on a boy. In episode 6, as Anego is walking to school, the boy she has a crush on, Yamada, greets her while passing by. Obviously the blushing on her face tells it all. Soon he rushes off to school. Anego says to herself that though she is in love, she mustn’t let anyone find out or else her reputation will go down the drain. Unknown to Anego, Punie and Paya are spying and has witnessed everything behind the pole. Oh oh. I know that evil scheming look.
 
In class while Anego is sipping her can coffee, Punie comes up to her and asks whether she’s confessed to Yamada. In Anego’s shock, she spits out her coffee and rushes somewhere else bringing Punie along. Anego wants to know if Punie has told anyone else when Tetsuko’s telling another classmate whether she heard about Anego and Yamada. Anego instantly went over there and punched Tetsuko’s face. Another bloody face. Anego admits that she’s in love but gives up because of their different background. Uh huh. Yamada’s a rich kid and grows up through a protected upbringing. Punie then tells her about things of love and being a girl when Tetsuko gives her a pair of tickets to the amusement park. Punie and Tetsuko then pushes Anego towards Yamada and tells her to invite him there.
 
Nervous at first, Anego manages to ask Yamada, in which he accepts. Anego (as well as busybodies Punie and Tetsuko) is in ecstasy. Anego rushes back and hugs the duo and proclaims them her best friends. She even went to apologize all the bad things she’s done to them so far. This isn’t over yet. On the day Anego is waiting for Yamada, she hears Punie’s voice and notices that the ear studs are actually some walkie talkie. Yup, Punie and Tetsuko are gonna help Anego to be successful by giving orders from behind. I can think of only disasters waiting to happen. Though Anego wants them to mind their business, she has no choice but to allow them since Punie said who are the ones who allowed this to come true.
 
Yamada arrives and asks what Anego wants to do. Punie suggests to ride the jet coaster, which Anego reluctantly says so. Erm… Is that ride a little too high? WAAAAAAAARGH! I think they’re coming down from the stratosphere or something because we see an airplane passing by! Anego is screaming from the top of her voice. But there are more terror rides to come. From the ferris wheel to the merry-go-round to the boat rides, they’re all too fast! While Anego and Yamada are taking a breather, Tetsuko thinks of starting ‘that’. Punie then pleads to Punie to leave her alone but Punie says the real show starts now and if Anego doesn’t go there, she’ll kill her.
 
That place is a haunted house. However Anego isn’t worried nor afraid of the scary man-made stuffs. It’s the unexpected thing which Punie is gonna pull that she’s worried about. Yeah, Punie’s not a human in many sense. Yamada notices Anego’s legs trembling and tells her not to worry as he’s here. Yamada then takes Anego’s hand, which Anego felt happy so much so Anego undergoes a mood swing and now thanks Punie in her mind. As they enter the pitch black room, they saw a sofa and sat on it. The sofa then gradually accelerates to the light at the end of the tunnel. As they reached the end of the tunnel, Anego opened her eyes to find herself sitting in a car driving through the night city. Punie tells Anego that she has prepared something that will shiver her down to her bones, which is an idiot driver who just got his licence and is a racing manga fan.
 
Holy cow! That car is Initial D’s Toyota AE86! Oh the parody. Even the background music becomes techno. That idiot is showing off his ‘super’ driving skills and is laughing like mad. Soon Anego knocks him out with a kick and takes over the driving seat. Wow! Sugoi! Anego’s got some superb driving skills as she slides and drift through the curves and corners like a pro! Such precision driving as she negotiate the turns. Hey Takumi, meet your match! There’s even that yellow sports car from Initial D for Anego to challenge side by side. Finally, Anego manages to stop the car by the side and asks if Yamada’s okay. Obviously that guy has seen Anego’s fiercesome driving skills and frantically runs out while telling her not to call him on anymore dates. Wuss. Poor Anego. Oh the heartbreak. She sat there shedding a tear saying that her first love is over. I really felt pity for her.
 
The next day, we see Anego spotting a meaner look with her underlings (why, there’s more of them now!) walking through the streets. Don’t mistaken this for a parade. They pass a lone innocent boy and Anego yells at him what is he looking at. Before anything else could happen, her underlings pummel the hapless guy. Pity this guy. Left alone bleeding and beaten up real badly on the streets. Guys, make sure you make a safe distance between yourself and Anego. She’s not in the mood and will not hesitate to take it out on any boys. The pangs of love. Punie says how she has become more violent and that she’ll be less popular. Anego yells back to leave her alone. I guess such a reputation fits Anego.
 
The principal gives Punie the green light to be the head of the sports festival in episode 7 since Punie tells her sad story that her training time on Earth will soon be over. Is the principal crying because he’s happy to know Punie is leaving soon? Oh, he doesn’t know the mess he’s getting into. On the day itself, Tetsuko finds Anego smoking underneath a tree. Anego mentions that since Punie is in charge, this year’s festival is gonna get violent. Damn right she is. Anego is participating in an egg race and she’s going psycho the things that Punie may come up with. Yeah, Aliens parody here. She thinks a face hugger Alien will burst out from the egg and cling around her face or burst out from her bloody stomach. But Tetsuko takes an egg with no worries and heads straight to the finish line. Anego is shocked to find that the eggs are normal and wonders if Punie intends to make this a normal race. That’s what happen if you’ve been around Punie for too long. Too many violent moments.
 
The other activities seem to be normal as well. Pyun and Potaru soon arrive to give Punie their home made lunch. Yeah, they’re still teasing Anego with names like delinquent and pig. Tetsuko is enjoying the lunch and wonders why Anego is having any. Anego soon takes a bite since she notes that there isn’t any poison. Haha, using Tetsuko as a test subject. The twins then asks Punie to let them join in the kibasen event, in which Punie agrees. Though Anego is sceptical because she thinks Punie will eventually use her magic to win, after a few touching words (like making memories with her bla bla bla) and the promise of not using her magic, Anego seems to have a little faith in her and she’s looking forward to it.
 
The match is about to start and Anego and co who are on the red team are feeling pretty confident when she saw Punie’s team, Anego starts to freak out. Why? Because Punie and her white team members brought real calvary horses! They don’t stand a chance. It’s like a real war and Punie gives the signal to charge forward. As expected the red team are no match for the white team and those who did well are rewarded some muffins by Punie. But it’s not over yet. Pyun and Potaru says how cocky Punie has gotten and decides to use this chance to ambush her. Yup, they’re defecting and have their own army. It’s the newly formed pink team. The red team are caught by surprise and are losing badly. Anego notices Punie’s team are off balance and also uses this chance to attack. Eventually it’s only Punie and Paya left in white team as the other teams surround them. Paya hits Punie’s horse back to let Punie escape while Paya alone is gonna take them all at once. Yeah, reminiscence of that war past thingy again. Too bad, Paya didn’t make it. Looks like his bloodied body is being speared and lifted up in the air by those barbarians.
 
With that, they all shift their attention to catch Punie who’s still escaping on her horse. Is this the end? Nope. Once Punie jump over a trench, we see a line of her white team members with guns ready to fire back once Punie crosses over. Since when did they get guns? The red and pink team are going down like flies as they make their retreat. In the end, we see heaps of bloodied corpses piled over each other as the narrator says how this became the first time that guns were being used in a school sports festival. It’s really getting serious. We also see Pyun and Potaru tied up and being taken to some place Punie is awaiting them. She is gonna punish them for their treachery. Note the scary monster expression on Punie’s face. However the punishment is just some soft spanking. That’s it? Perhaps it’s scary enough for those brats.
 
The twins are up to no good again in episode 8 as they’re tasting some cupcake they made. It must be real horrible as you can see their horrible zombie facial expressions. They’re gonna give it to Punie. Anego, Tetsuko and Punie are walking to school when they spot a commotion at their school gate. It seems there are lots of guys trying to take a peek at something. Say, isn’t that Pyun and Potaru, all grown up and sporting a busty and sexy figure? No wonder those losers are drooling over them. But it seems the trio didn’t recognize them and just left after some short praises about their bodies. Punie realizes they’re her little sisters when they call onee-tama and wonders how they become adults. They said something about some books occasionally showing up on Yahoo! Auctions.
 
Anyway Pyun and Potaru mentions that the reason why they can’t beat dog shit Punie (that’s what they said!) was because they were powerless kids. Soon the twins did some special moves on Punie. Why do all their moves start with Gemini~? That’s because they’re both doing it at the same time and with their powers doubled up, they’re sending Punie flying and even causing the buildings to be smashed! I can’t believe Punie is getting beaten up like this. Is she getting a taste of her own medicine? Meanwhile Punie’s dad is freaking out that his cute daughters are killing each other when Esmeralda reminds him how she became queen in the first place. Umm… Is Esmeralda sitting on him and treating him like a chair? Punie’s dad answered that’s because she’s the strongest. Esmeralda went on to say that there were stronger witches than her back then like Akko, Sally, Megu and Momo (note that these are mahou shoujos from real animes. I can’t believe they’re considered to be strong). This is the hilarious part. As Esmeralda squeezes the apple and drinks its juice while saying she got rid of everyone stronger than her, once done she throws the wrinkled apple skin away and her husband quickly gobbles it up! Eww! But funny lah! So now he’s a trash can too.
 
Back to the fight, it seems the twins have the upper hand. Punie goes on to tell them that she can’t defeat them and that they have the possibility to kill her and even Esmeralda. However, if they ever succeed, who shall be queen, since there can only be 1. Oh, Punie’s starting to play mind games. The twins are taken aback for a while but continues to do some submissive moves on Punie and dismiss her words. Punie then tells Potaru that she could get rid of her and Pyun at the same time to get the throne, which made Pyun back off. Paya is smiling because he knows Punie has made them suspicious of each other. Because of that, they can’t use their combined attacks anymore. Paya acknowledges Punie’s cunningness and fearsomeness and is willing to follow her to hell.
 
While Potaru tells Pyun not to listen to Punie and that she can only do her submission move on 1 person at a time, Punie says that she has studied their moves for 8 years and knows how to go up against them. Wait a minute. Aren’t the twins 8 years old. Meaning to say that Punie has been preparing to fight them ever since they were born. And the tactic Punie is gonna fight them with is called sisterly love. Well, I don’t see anything special about it except Punie manages to dodge all their attacks and land several powerful blows on them. With the twins down, Punie grabs Potaru’s leg first and does her submission move over and over again. Potaru is panicking so much so she over wet her pants (see the difference in the ground colour around that area?). Next, Punie takes Pyun’s leg and does the same thing. Same after effect too. Punie decides to do a finishing move called Princess 44 Hold Lock. She manages to do a submission move on both of them at the same time the way she grab, hold and lock their legs. Now it really hurts. Holy schmolly! You could see the twins sh*t in their pants like a baby! The magic wears off and the twins return to their normal size. But Punie isn’t gonna forgive them yet and that the punishment has just begun. Oh oh, it’s that monster face again. Tetsuko pleads for Punie to forgive them but it seems Punie’s punishment is just playfully tickling them. Well, urm… I don’t really know how they think but Tetsuko concludes that Magical Land is a peaceful place. I think some things are better left unexplained.
 
Come to think of it, I think a way for Punie’s enemies to stop attacking her is for Punie to do her painful submission move on them. I mean, after Punie does it on Anego and Eliz on the first time, they don’t really try and attack her again. Whereas for the twins, they keep coming back and eventually got a taste of Punie’s deadly attack.
 
However it doesn’t really end there and there’s more. There are 4 more episodes which are actually omakes (extras) and are only a minute long. Not much but it’s good for those who can’t get enough of it and for a few more laughs. I’d refer to them as episodes 9-12.
 
Episode 9 is the Civilization Chapter and Tetsuko gets to see what Magical Land first hand when she wonders what it’s like. Punie whisks her away there and they arrive by free falling from the sky. Isn’t that a shocking start for Tetsuko? They land on a bus (Tetsuko landed right smack onto it) which is supposed to be the Magical Land’s Light Rail. Tetsuko wonders what powers it’s run on as she opens to take a peek. To her surprise, it’s man-powered and we see some slaves turning the clogworks. Yeah, 1 even claimed that he hasn’t seen the light for 10 years! Before anything could happen, Punie suggests to take the Express. Poor Tetsuko crashing onto it again. Tetsuko notices that there’re no rail lines and looks under. To her horror she sees human feet running the train! Reminds you like The Flintstones pretty much, huh? I suppose the whole carriage is just to fit and hide their upper bodies. Hey, isn’t that twin tower behind look so much like the KL Twin Tower in Malaysia?
 
Episode 10 is the Society Chapter. Tetsuko and Punie are riding on a training and talking about how wonderful Magical Land is. After they’ve passed through a tunnel, the scenery changes to a desolated run down post apocalyptic one. Gangs fighting, homeless and sick people on the street, is this the bronx? Another train passes carrying many prisoners prompts Tetsuko to ask Punie what is this place. Punie replies that the gap between the rich and poor is hard to solve and thus have to get rid of them to keep the country going. Politicians should never ever say this. Ever. The train suddenly stops and a mob of angry people are gonna attack them. Punie thinks of getting rid the ‘terrorists’ with her magic but notices their shield has Anizaki powers and decides to let her fists do the talking. Yeah, more submission moves on each and every rebel. Tetsuko wonders if the kingdom is ruled by a facist as they continues their train ride to the palace.
 
Episode 11 is the Cuisine Chapter and the duo are taking a walk in the magic forest to hunt for some mushrooms. They heard horses neigh from a distance and we see a couple of unicorns. Why those the horn look like a penis?! Anyway Punie notes that mushrooms here grow on unicorn heads. They’re supposed to be mushrooms?! Punie goes into action as she jumps and ride on 1 of the unicorns. The unicorn recognizes Punie from last time and tries to shake her off. But Punie manages to grab its horn and we see it spewing so much blood that it causes a rainbow phenomena. As the unicorn curses Punie, Tetsuko is freaking out and saying to herself how she can’t eat that mushroom over and over again. But soon we see her eating it with Punie as Tetsuko wonders why her chopsticks are drawn to take it. Looks like even though Tetsuko’s heart is against it, her body still can’t resist that tasty treat.
 
Episode 12 is Esmeralda Chapter as Tetsuko finally gets to meet Punie’s mom. While they’re chatting over tea, a large explosion occurs and it seems there is an uprising by an army of magical girls! It’s a revolution! Esmeralda decides to take care of things. This is Esmeralda’s magical line, "Lyrical Tokarev, Nobody No Cry!". Hahaha. As the rebels edge closer, Esmeralda unleashes some electrical projection which defeats all the tanks, stealth bombers, F-15 jets in 1 shot. Though the place is wrecked and damaged, Esmeralda soon continues her chat and tea with Tetsuko. Unfortunately, Tetsuko is pretty shaken up as you could see her shivering and trembling. So Tetsuko, do you think Magical Land is a peaceful place now?
 
Overall, I kinda enjoyed all the silly and violent bloody bone breaking moments. It never ceases to make me laugh like an idiot. Punie is a character you’ll torn to love and hate. At one moment she’s so cute, innocent and loveable, the next moment she’s sly and cunning. Though some of her words like needing power to overthrow the weak may seem harsh, but if your reflect it in a way, it seems true. As for Tetsuko, poor girl. She has experienced lots of ‘indirect torment’ ever since Punie came into her life. Will she be a psycho when she grows up or can she still maintain that kind personality of hers.
 
The voice acting are superb to me as they fit the characters nicely. Rina Satou who voices Punie does an amazing job for her character. She also does the voice for Negi in Mahou Sensei Negima and February in Coyote Ragtime Show. Noriko Shitaya voices Tetsuko who also does Chelsea in Coyote Ragtime Show and Ururu in Bleach. I couldn’t recognize Ayako Kawasumi who does Anego because she usually does girly voice roles for famous characters like Natsuki of Initial D, Yoshida in Shakugan No Shana, Fuu of Samurai Champloo, Kaede in 2×2=Shinobuden, Osaka of Azumanga Daioh, Aoi of Ai Yori Aoshi, Tazusa of Ginban Kaleidoscope, Matsuri of Ichigo Mashimaro, Nodame of Nodame Megumi and Ruriko of Gatekeepers. To my surprise, Mamiko Noto too has a part in this as Eliz.
 
Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Rina Satou and the lyrics are pretty funny to know. With the innocent squeaky voice for the opening theme, which is the same name as the anime’s title, the lyrics has lines like sending one to heaven, there is only 1 way to supremacy which is submission, and I let my fists do the talking. Hahaha. Word. And while Punie is dancing with Paya in the opening credits, you could see several landmarks in Japan getting burned. People, beware. The ending theme, Hone Aru Kagiri Sakae Are, sounds like a death march song and has Rina Satou singing using her darker and cunning side voice. The lyrics has lines about bones and joints, knees bending backwards, and honour in breaking bones to their limit! I’m not sure whether to laugh or feel the pain. I’d prefer the former of course.
 
I kinda notice that the episode titles are pretty long, which of course is to partly serve as a joke. It’s feels like a long statement or a question and it always ends with ‘~ no maki’, meaning the volume/episode of~. Seeing that this is a mahou shoujo genre, the animation and drawing are quite colourful and bright, if you don’t mind the bloody scenes and all those bone breaking sounds.
 
There are many things that you can learn just by watching this anime. For instance, violence begets violence, still waters run deep as people may not be what they seem upfront, once bitten twice shy. I could go on and on but you get the point. One also don’t need to have flashy moves for self defence but enough to let one’s opponents know who’s in charge. I’m sure we all don’t want a person like Punie to become a leader in our world. Yup, it’s a sign that it’s the end of the world! Cute and ruling with an iron fist don’t seem to go hand in hand but after watching Punie, my perception changed.
 
All in all, I could safely say that Punie is definitely the best mahou shoujo girl out there. Though this series doesn’t make me want to go watch more mahou shoujo genres, but I’d be interested if there would be a battle royale match to see which is the best magical girl. I know where to put money on. I wonder if Nanoha can tolerate Punie’s submission moves or if Sakura could stand Punie’s harsh lines. Would Pastel Ink want to give Punie some English lessons? She’ll definitely pass. Yucie, you can’t be queen through that ‘soft’ way. Yeah, I’d like to see Punie doing her submission moves on them all. Well, like they say, no pain no gain.
 
Dai Mahou Touge

Ichigo Mashimaro OVA

January 4, 2008

Happy New Year! Well, 2007 was another eventful year for animes with lots of anime shows coming out. Hopefully the year 2008 will usher even more interesting animes for me to watch (especially comedies and high school ones). So let me begin with my usual anime blog.
 
Yay! It’s been a long time since I’ve heard from those cute girls who do cute things the cute way. Sounds familiar? Yup, they’ve finally come out with an OVA, which is Ichigo Mashimaro OVA. Not that I have a lolita fetish, but because of the tv series, I’m compelled to continue watching this OVA to see what more cute adventures the quintet will have.
 
The other main reason why I wanted to watch this 3 episode OVA is because of Miu. Yes, she is that troublesome and mischevious little brat who likes to annoy those around her, which is the main reason why the series was so darn funny in the first place. I’m interested to know what sort of trouble she’ll be getting into. *Evil grin*. I’m such a sadist. It’s really hard to forgive her but at the same time you really have to love this girl.
 
Also let’s not forget Miu’s typical face down arms spread out punishment whenever she says or does something wrong. It still amuses me and never ceases to break me into laughter. Those who have been following this punishment would well say Miu definitely deserves it as she brought it upon herself. Interested to see what’s in store for our gals? Read on…
 
Episode 1
The episode starts off with Nobue waking up from her morning slumber. She’s such a cigarette addict that she reaches to her pack once she awakes. Kids, remember smoking is bad for your health. Later, Miu barges into Nobue’s room like as though it’s her house, to ask how Nobue’s been. I think Nobue would be better off without her. We see Nobue talking on her handphone about some job interview and before she ends her call, Miu mischeviously yells "FUNGAAAAAAAAH!!!" at her handphone. Of course Nobue gets pissed off but decides to pull her cheeks rather than give Miu her usual punishment. Miu in return says that she’s just trying to make a good impression. Note, Miu will never have a good impression. Soon Chika comes in to remind Nobue that she’ll be late. Erm… Is that a bullseye with the words ‘launch’ on Chika’s forehead? I have a good idea who drew that.
 
Later Ana and Matsuri meets Chika at her home to go to school together. Chika runs off first but as usual, Miu stirs up trouble by saying that the countdown begins. Ana and Matsuri thinks Chika is gonna explode or launch into space as they cover their heads in fear while Miu counts down from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Nothing happens. Chika comes back and wonders why the rest are taking so long. Well, the writing is still on her forehead.
 
At school, I suppose Chika has realized Miu has played another prank on her as we see the same graffiti on Miu’s forehead this time whereas Chika has cleaned up hers. Yes, oil pens don’t come off easily. Later when the teacher asks Miu to solve a question on the board, Miu tells her to press her forehead, which she did. Miu then answered hesitatingly "Four… Pretty much four… Five?" before she yells back "What’s 1/3 of an hour supposed to mean anyway?!". This got Miu to stand outside the classroom as her punishment. Even so, that brat can still cause some annoyance when she SMS Chika that she wants to sneeze but is unable to do so. Hey, is that the black devil at the bottom of the handphone screen? Eventually Miu does sneeze which attracted the attention of the whole class.
 
As Nobue’s filling up her scooter at a gas station, Ana seems to be taking a nap right in the middle of class! Matsuri notices that Ana’s elbow is gonna push over her crayon case and puts it away before Ana drops it. The teacher then notices Ana sleeping but Matsuri tells him not wake her up. The teacher has a deep thought before he says something to that Sasazuka kid he usually picks on. But it seems the teacher continues his lesson rather than asking Sasazuka to stand outside the classroom. Remember that kid refused in the last episode of the tv series and the teacher himself went to stand outside? He doesn’t want to happen again, doesn’t he? And though Miu is back in her seat, Miu has the guts to take a nap while her teacher teaches. Tired of standing?
 
Meanwhile Nobue is at an interview at some convenience store as the interviewer is going over her resume. What’s this? Special skills: Soccer, straight right? What is that? Then this part… Your motivation: I want to study sociology… FUNGAAAAAAH!!!. The interviewer than says "Umm… I heard you said this on the phone too. Is this … your catchphrase?". Hahaha. Nobue is bloody pissed off when she say her resume with Miu’s writing on it. In her rage she quickly rides off in her scooter. Oh oh. Somebody’s gonna be in big trouble. Kids, remember don’t ride recklessly like her. She’s doing a wheelie! Yeah, that old man’s still there, on the overhead bridge.
 
Back in school, Matsuri and Ana are having a discussion over some meal thing but since Ana is too loud, she has attracted the attention of her fellow classmates. Remember Ana can’t speak Japanese in the eyes of her other classmates. But they all conclude that since Ana has been in Japan for awhile, it’s right that she could speak some Japanese. I guess Ana got it to her head as she gloats to the rest not to lump her with heteroclitical foreigners who’re good in Japanese because she’s a purebred Brit. Before Ana realizes her flawless (or flaw in this sense) speech, the rest of the class gives a sounding clap. So can her secret be considered safe?
 
At the same time, Miu and Chika are fighting over their meal when Miu receives an SMS without a title saying that the thing she forgot is out on the street (I notice her other inbox mail is something like ‘Give back my CD’, ‘Give back my book’ and ‘Don’t just take my hw’. What the?). Miu rushes out of the school gates and picks up Nobue’s resume lying on the ground. Then she heard "Fungaaaaaah!" from a distance and saw Nobue leaning on her scooter. Hehehe. It’s payback time. Yay! First appearance of Miu’s typical punishment! I was expecting this. With that, Nobue rides back (now adhering to the speed limit) and that old man is still on the overhead bridge.
 
Later the quartet are walking home from school with Matsuri telling Ana how she could freely speak Japanese in class from now on. Miu than starts to feign starvation (must be lah) and wants to go get some grub at the store and pesters Chika. Of course, Chika knows all of Miu’s tricks and won’t bow to her pressure like Miu threatening not to let Chika copy her homework (like real) or calling her a cheapskate. Miu then turns to Ana because she detects a ‘rich person’ and soon takes Ana’s wallet (no manners!) and searches through. Miu is shocked to find 3000 Yen and wants Ana to make her her servant, which of course Ana says she’ll do. In the shop, the gang are taking some stuffs and we see that old man behind the counter. He wants to press that mark on Miu’s forehead but since they left the money and rushed out, he didn’t get to do so. Too slow.
 
Back home, Nobue is going through some sketch comic as she lights up. Later, Nobue takes a break outside smoking and drinking a can of coffee. I’m not sure what she saw because Nobue got freaked out when she take a look at the can. As usual, Miu is causing some annoyance with her whatever quiz. You know that bus question if so much people got on and so much people get down, how many passengers are left. Since it’s Miu asking the question, there’s gotta be some trick in it. Uh huh. The answer’s something less than expected because 1 of the passengers was a failure as a human being. Miu herself is a failure as a human being. Then as Chika is studying, the trio are trying to find the meaning of Shangri-La. Afterwards, Chika joins in to find the meaning of her name and as usual Miu comes up with her own theory with Matsuri’s by saying it’s some grasshopper species and such. Remember Ana’s? Yeah, that hole cave thing that Miu gave her which pissed her off. Miu’s still at it. This time she’s reading the meaning of it as ‘A sunken place, an incomplete place, a fault, a point of loss’. Twice!
 
In the evening as Matsuri and Ana prepares to leave, Miu says goodbye to ‘sunken place’, pissing off Ana. But I suppose that girl has learned to be more patient and cope with Miu’s irritating character. Then Miu comes in to the bathroom while Nobue is soaking herself in the bathtub. I think the way Miu is looking at her is trying to send signals to press her bullseye mark. Nobue does and Miu scorns her for being a coward and not a man. Nobue’s a girl lah. That bullseye mark finally comes of Miu’s forehead but it’s kinda sore. Looks like Nobue used some force to get it off. As Nobue enjoys her beer can while soaking, Chika comes in and Nobue mentions something about happiness and utopia. Matsuri is seen with a box of Jasmine tea (earlier on Chika tells Matsuri that this the meaning of her name) but as usual, Matsuri is still that klutzy girl. While Ana is having dinner with her family, later that night Nobue comes downstairs to get some milk and Chika to get her pudding. Only thing is, the pudding in which Chika has put her name on it, has been crossed out and written ‘Pudding’ instead. Chika could only sigh.
 
Episode 2
Chika and Nobue are arguing about the latter wanting to have some pudding but Chika is thinking about saving it as a treat after lunch. Cheapskate. That’s what Nobue tells her little sis as she walks away fuming. Back in Chika’s room, her other pals are there and they proceed to talk about pudding like how to make it and such. Miu suddenly announces to play hide and seek and asks for everyone to hide. Chika is very suspicious. We see Chika hiding under a table near the fridge as she’s saying to herself that she has faith in Miu and this is just a precautionary measure. Miu then comes down and opens the fridge as she takes the pudding. Chika’s fear comes true. Looks like Miu’s intention is to eat the pudding while everyone’s hiding. Chika confronts Miu and ticks her off. Miu then laughs like an idiot (I purposely say that) as she tells Chika that she has underestimated her because Miu takes another pudding out from the fridge and says she bought an identical looking one. Well then, Miu should just took out hers, right? I think she purposely did this to piss Chika off.
 
Nobue is outside washing her scooter when Miu says something about her lighting up. Nobue says gotcha and that she hasn’t lighted up yet when Miu turns the hose bigger, causing Nobue to get wet. Back in her room, Nobue is surprised to see Matsuri in her cat ears cosplay outfit again. That girl still has that fetish for Matsuri and Ana. And it’ll be even better if Matsuri is in some cute outfit. While Nobue is swooning over it and even asking Matsuri to say ‘Nya~", Miu feels left out and jealous. Miu opens the window and leaves through it. Shortly, she returns wearing a rabbit ears cosplay outfit. Nobue wonders if those rabbit ears would look good on Ana and asks her to try them on. She does. Nobue digs them but Miu again feels jealous and tries to take it back and says "If a rabbit is alone, it will die". Miu gets her usual punishment. Soon Miu toss away her rabbit ears and leaves through the window again. As Nobue puts back those rabbit ears on Ana, Miu comes back in a full tiger suit as she hits Matsuri and Ana. Roar! "The strong shall win in the end!", that’s what Miu proclaimed. Unfortunately, she got her usual punishment outside the rooftop.
 
Miu comes back in a dracula suit and decides to suck Matsuri’s blood. I don’t know but Chika is just putting her mouth on Matsuri’s neck but the latter is acting as though she’s really being bitten. As Ana quoted, there’s something wrong with this person’s head. Miu turns to Nobue but later decides not to because Nobue’s blood if of an old woman’s. Nobue scoffs at her and says that she’s just in junior college. Chika is annoyed by the ruckus and draws a cross before showing it to Miu. However, Miu just laughs it off. Chika rushes down to get some garlic but by the time she returns, Miu has already discarded her dracula costume and is playing some video game. Short attention span? Later Nobue is seen drying a pair of sneakers and is saying something about washing certain stuffs in a washing machine and how she found bread crumbs in all of Chika’s favourite clothes. Of course Chika said that it was Miu who put the bread in her pocket in the first place.
 
Matsuri is seen squirming in pain because she smashed her little toe on the table. Miu decides to alleviate her pain by slapping her back…?! Yeah, she’s saying focus the pain to somewhere else. Then she did some CPR thingy but of course it didn’t work. I think it’s best if she just go away, just like Chika suggests. After the pain is gone, Matsuri shows the gang about some maths book for 7th grade which she accidentally bought. Miu snatches it and shows it to Nobue, who tells Miu that she’s in junior college. Miu then teases her that her ability would be on that level. Usual punishment. However, Nobue mentions that she didn’t even do anything yet. Uh huh. It seems Miu actually anticipated that and does that in advance! Does Miu really enjoy that position? Anyway, as soon as Miu gets up, we see her lying in her usual punishment position. This time is for real. Haha. While Nobue browses over the book, Matsuri takes out another children storybook. Soon, Nobue is really enjoying it when Matsuri reads the book to her. Miu wonders if Matsuri will be able to make it through life and asks Ana about on how is Matsuri today. Ana replies the usual. Being the klutzy girl she is from tripping down the stairs, falling asleep in the infirmary, hitting her head on her own table after picking up a pencil, to falling down after taking her shoes, and getting stuck while changing clothes. All in a day’s work. I suppose Ana is like her guardian, looking after her clumsiness.
 
With that, Miu decides to rehabilitate Miu by holding her black hair (brown actually) while they still can. I don’t think it’ll work. Soon Miu asks Nobue to help them but Nobue’s busy admiring Matsuri’s happy face and how comforting it is. Miu does some weird comforting pose by throwing her head back and upside down with her hands halfway in the air. Yeah, there’s not comforting at all. Plus, Nobue mentions she can’t become a bride now. I think every guy who sees Miu will think twice. However, Chika is trying to hold back her laughter when Miu does that pose again making Chika laugh.
 
They decided to go return the book by taking a ride there. The whold gang stared at Matsuri with her lovely pink bicycle. Too moe, huh? They managed to exchange the book for another one. As the girls chat, we see that old man sitting alone on some bench. The girls then head home. Back home, Miu fires a rubber band at Matsuri while she’s reading a book. Nobue is mad and tells Matsuri to fire back at her. Since Matsuri is that weak girl, she’s hesitating to shoot back. Miu even mocks her for not having the courage to hurt somebody when Matsuri manages to fire it, sending Miu flying back and her face hitting the wall. At the same time, making Ana spill her drink on her dress. Is her shot that powerful? I wonder if Matsuri let loose the rubber band was because she was too weak to keep it in place. Is it real that Miu has hurt her nose? Matsuri is apologetic but Nobue being the sadist she is tells Miu to keep on going. Even Ana stood up and tells Matsuri that this is payback time after all those years of torment. Miu isn’t done with it yet as she rushes over to Matsuri to give her a flying kick but Matsuri using her instincts blocks it with her knee. Ouch!
 
Chika returns with a towel to dry Ana’s dress but to find Matsuri being chased by Miu with her donno what weird moves. Chika tells Miu to jump into her arms as she spread her arms open. Miu thinks that she’s been in love with her all along and rushes to her, only to crash somewhere else. Later Miu is saying something about hp (hitpoints) and that Matsuri’s act took away 127 hps from Miu. Then something about the need to increase Matsuri’s hp of 2 only, like going to a garden and eating a seed that fell from a tree. She’s been playing to many games. Miu then suggests push-ups. Um… Matsuri’s really having a hard time too. Then Miu notices Matsuri’s voice is too soft and weak and tells her to shout "ORAAAAAAA!!!". Matsuri still sounds weak… but cute. Whereas Miu sounds more brutal. What do you expect? Then Miu said some gibberish "Ojape! Kyojabanyubyoradapike!". I’m not making this up. This is what she actually said. And I had to pause a few times to catch and even write down that non-existant word. Though they tell Matsturi not to continue, Matsuri gets teary because she thinks what would happen if everyone went away. After a short chat, Miu concludes that they need to find and look for her that’ll overwhelm her surroundings.
 
Erm… I wonder why they put some oversized horse head mask on Matsuri and the rest standing in a row? Miu says that they need to hear a few words from their leader. Usual punishment for Miu. Finally a shy Matsuri manages to say "Yo!" which surprises everyone else. Miu gets up and gives Matsuri a thumbs up and says "All okay!". What’s all okay? Well, at least I know that her brain is something which isn’t okay.
 
Episode 3
Nobue is seen lazing around at some lake while she closes her eyes and enjoy the moment… with a cigarette in her mouth of course. Back home, Nobue and Chika are talking about the upcming long holidays and being trapped in their home during it. Later Ana and Matsuri comes over to their place and Ana tells them that this coming holidays, she and her family are staying home. Then something about Ana thinking to herself about how she scorn her British cousins when she visited Britain last time because she couldn’t understand a thing they said and it tire her out so much so she would like to get her revenge by leaving them alone if they ever come here.
 
Meanwhile Matsuri says she’s going to her grandparent’s place and that’s why she has to store her physical strength now. What physical strength is that? Anyway after hearing all that, we can’t blame Chika for sulking and wanting to go somewhere for the holidays. Nobue said some remarks which causes Chika to throw a pillow at her face. Miu is watching from outside the window. Miu decides to cheer Chika up with some words and asks if she wants some cake that she took out from her fridge. But Miu purposely scoops a piece of the cake and shoves it on Chika’s forehead. Chika’s instant reaction? A slap right across Miu’s face.
 
Miu is then seen searching for something in Nobue’s room with the latter watching irritatingly. After Miu finds whatever she wants to, she gets her usual punishment. It seems it’s a coupon to stay at some inn, which Nobue won as a lottery prize during New Year’s day. Chika is all excited and wants to go but Nobue refuses, causing Chika to throw a tantrum once more. Ana and Matsuri says how there aren’t things planned for Chika always. Nobue quips that she’s being pitied on. I suppose Nobue is being sympathetic because she says it will be boring if only she and Chika went along (hint hint). Miu instantly gets up and says she’ll join them but Nobue rejects her. With that, Miu joins Chika throwing a tantrum on her bed. Ana tries to make it sound like they want to tag along too (she even gives Matsuri that elbow cue). With that, Nobue decides to go. Yay! Everyone is happy. They’re thinking how the place, Izu, is like when Miu starts her usual exaggerated ranting, which lands her in her usual punishment position.
 
The scene changes to some old movie being played on tv when it is being interrupted by a news saying that the movie will be cancelled. This causes that old man who is watching it to drop the remote control as he is in shock. Even though there isn’t much emotion displayed, but at least his expression changed a little. That night, Nobue hears that the weather tomorrow will be fine for going out and heads back to sleep. Must be those wish dolls. Four of them. Looks like the young quartet. As expected, Miu’s one look ferocious.
 
The next morning, the gang prepares to leave. I didn’t know Nobue has a car driving licence. First time seeing her driving. While Nobue reverses her MPV with Chika, Ana and Matsuri inside, Miu directs Nobue. Nobue then asks the girls that did they bring everything along. Everyone answered yes. With that, Nobue drives off. Yeah, they left Miu standing there. Miu chases after them and says that they forgot something. Haha. If it was just a prank, it was a good one, especially on Miu. As Nobue drives along the highway near the seaside, Chika is tired of hearing the some travelling CD songs. Nobue suggests to play some song when Matsuri requests for some children song.
 
Eight hours later, the gang stops to take a break. We see Miu coming out from the boot. Wow. Can she stay in there for so long? Won’t she have DVT (deep vein thrombosis)? More importantly, how did Miu get in there if Nobue herself asks how she got there. Miu must’ve snuck in somehow. Remember, Miu isn’t just an ordinary girl. It looks like Nobue did get lost after all since she herself admitted that this trip should only take 2 hours. Kids these days rely to much on technology because Nobue is blaming that this car has no GPRS. Bad sense of direction if you ask me.
 
Anyway they managed to get to the inn and check in. Hey, something here seems real familiar. Yeah, even Chika notices it. Why is the mood and atmosphere the same like as though it’s back at their place? Uh huh. That’s what Nobue tried to tell Chika all along. No difference wherever they are. Something on the tv programme caught the eye of Nobue of Miu… The Over-mature Young Wife. Ooooh. Let’s have a look shall we? Dang. A display message saying that this programme has a fee if one wants to watch it. Chika then asks Ana and Matsuri to go have a look at the hot bath. Matsuri still has problems trying to keep her balance while taking off her socks. However this bath is different from the ones they’ve always been. Why, there is a huge window which makes outside viewable. Chika says she can’t go in or else she will be exposed. Though Chika eventually takes a dip, she still doesn’t feel comfortable. Even Ana and Matsuri agrees. But Nobue tells them not to worry because she’ll be watching over her. Such ambiguous meaning. Yeah, Nobue really does hidden intentions. Soon she tells Ana and Matsuri to embrace themselves and take off their towels! Luckily those 2 didn’t get what she mean.
 
Miu reads a sign on the bath which says how this will improve one’s sterilization. She then says Miu is gonna be a mother tomorrow. Of course Nobue says that it would be disastrous if it were to happen. With that, Matsuri asks how does one get pregnant. Well, Nobue seems tongue tied. She gives that stork answer but Chika teases her because she’s blushing. With that, they splash water at each other. Hehe, Miu farted in the bath again. Yeah, she did that back in the tv series.
 
After bath, Miu feels hungry and wonders what is for dinner. Nobue says that since there’s a kitchen, they’re cooking themselves. However, Nobue forgot to buy the ingredients. So how are they gonna manage? Diet, Nobue says? Didn’t think so. Nobue has no choice but to go buy some. Yeah, some Initial D parody here as Nobue rushes to the convenient store just in time before it closes. Kids, don’t drive like her. Back at the inn, we see them making a nabe for dinner. After dinner, we see Nobue and Miu getting up, satisfied with their meal, walks away and says how the food was okay and that every human has 1 merit at least. Chika doesn’t seem pleased and says what about cleaning up. Miu talks back by saying that since Chika is good at cooking, she should be good at cleaning up as well. Eventually Miu and Nobue ends up doing the dishes.
 
As Matsuri and Ana practice their English, Miu comes in and suggest to tell some scary ghost story with the lights off. Miu starts off by saying "I was sleeping at my house. I woke up, there was…" before passing the torchlight to Ana. Ana then says "Meibundo’s… old man… haiku… He’s standing there reading haiku". Since it wasn’t that scary and no climax, Miu passes the torchlight to Chika. Chika responds something about the haiku being hypermetric that it wound up being a sutra chant. I don’t know, but they find it quite scary. Even Chika herself is having goosebumps. Next is Nobue but she just said he was surprised and woke up. Miu feels that Nobue is scamping and to round it all up, Miu asks Matsuri to make it real scary. This one is really scary and unexpected. That’s because Matsuri concluded that when he woke up… he wet his bed! WARGH! Yeah, it’s real scary alright. Just kidding. Didn’t work. Miu switches on the lights and they ask her what happened in the end. Miu’s reply is that she doesn’t know because they’re so boring. This lands Miu her usual punishment outside the inn.
 
It’s bedtime and Miu starts things by throwing pillows at Ana. Furthermore, she’s instructing who should sleep where. I wonder why everyone wants to sleep with Nobue. Chika suggests through rock, scissors and paper but Miu says that Nobue is all hers. They have to decide fast or else they won’t get to sleep. With that, Ana and Chika teams up and throws their pillow at Miu’s face. Later that night when everyone is sleeping, Nobue notices that Matsuri is still awake and talks to her. Nobue promises to stay awake till Matsuri falls asleep. Matsuri then asks what if a burglar comes in. Nobue replies that she’ll knock him out cold. Matsuri also wants Nobue to hold her hand till she falls asleep. It seems Miu is listening to it all.
 
In the dead of the night, Miu suddenly screams "A night attack!". Nobue instantly gets up and wants to know where that person is so that she could feed it to their dog. Miu then on the lights and says who is the one going to be fed to their dog. We see Nobue holding Matsuri in her arms. Chika is in shock and wonders if Nobue has already made an advance on Matsuri. Though Ana says that it isn’t Nobue’s intention, Miu interrupts and tells Nobue not to say she’s cute again. Nobue tries to say that this is just a misunderstanding but Miu jumps to conclusions by saying that if she doesn’t let go of Matsuri she’s gonna… she jumps on top of Chika… Holy cow! Miu kissed Chika! That pervert! Oh the horror! Chika’s first kiss stolen by an annoying brat. Miu is gonna target Ana as well but Nobue trips her to make Miu land in her usual punishment position and tells her not to get carried away.
 
Since everyone’s up, might as well go for a night walk. Though Chika tries to apologize about the misunderstanding, Miu once again cuts in and says what misunderstanding. Another usual punishment down the grassy slope. As they sit down and enjoy the cooling night breeze, Ana mentions about a transparent wind. She goes on saying sometimes when the wind blows, the usual scenery seems to change into a different colour. Chika mentions that even though it’s the same place, she feels that the colour today is different from usual. Ana then says because the wind has no colour, that’s why one feels different depending on your mood. As everyone smiles, Nobue adds "There may be lots of happy moments hiding in the scenery that we take as natural. Even though we usually don’t notice them, I’m sure when the wind blows, we will notice". Chika soon laughs and says that line was so cheesy. Uh huh. It seems Nobue said saomething which doesn’t fit her. Nobue mentions she said nothing and gets up to head back to sleep. The next morning as Nobue drives back, the rest are sleeping in the car but the way they show things seems to indicate that Nobue got lost again. It’s gonna be a long drive home.
 
Berry Cute Till The Berry End
Overall, I guess the misadventures of the quintet still pretty much meet my expectations. There isn’t any major changes nor differences from the OVA and the tv series so much so you could say that this OVA is somewhat like an extension to satisfy hardcore fans of the series. Even the characters themselves don’t pretty change much as you can tell their quirky personalities right from the start. If you’ve been watching the tv series that is. Maybe somethings are better off the way they are. Matsuri is still klutzy and innocent while Miu is still annoying as ever. Yeah, that old man is still around.
 
The opening and ending theme still doesn’t appeal to me and even follows the same format as the tv series in the sense that the opening theme, Akkan Berry Berry, is sung by the voice actresses of the 4 young ladies, whereas the ending theme, Yuumachi No Kaze, is sung by the voice actress of Miu. Uh huh. A case of deja vu? Well, just like the tv series too, the opening theme is as upbeat and cute while the ending theme is also a slower ballad. Yeah, they still sound kiddie and girly as ever.
 
Though not much (what do you expect? There are only 3 episodes), there are some little ecchi scenes as well, that is, when the girls are taking a bath. It won’t amount so much to hentai. You’ll just get to see their naked backs. Perhaps the lesson to learn here is to take life as it is. Everyday is a beautiful day if you could just stop for 1 moment and take a closer look of your surroundings. Okay, maybe it won’t happen in today’s time. But I suppose it’s important for us to have a happy and fun-filled childhood. But then again, kids like Miu are an exception. Good thing the girls also learn how to tolerate and live with a weirdo like her. Something we all need to also, right? FUNGAAAAAAAH!!!