Binbou Shimai Monogatari

October 25, 2008

If your Japanese vocabulary isn’t that good yet, perhaps I could forgive you if you first heard and thought that Binbou Shimai Monogatari has some adult material in it. I assure you, it is nothing of that sort or even close to it. The title of this show literally means ‘Poor Sisters Story’, and yes, ‘binbou’ in Japanese means poor. Uh huh. It might sound like a slutty word. Ah well, like they say, it’s a sin to be poor.
 
And even though I said that this is a story about poor sisters, don’t even expect to see any hot yuri sex between them. Instead, this series a heart warming and touching one which will leave viewers going "Aww…". That’s right. Though this series may be short, in the sense that it lasts only 10 episodes, how I wished that there are a little more episodes in this light-hearted slice of life comedy series. Why only 10 episodes instead of the usual 12 or 13 episodes. Not much to tell or is it the producers ran out of budget by that time? Hahaha. Just kidding.
 
The main pair of twins of this series is the Yamada sisters, Kyo and Asu. As narrated at the start of each episode, the sisters tell viewers how their dear mother has passed away soon after giving birth to her second child while their dad has been a useless bum by accumulating debts from his gambling habit. Due to that, he has abandoned his poor children and gone missing. I guess because of that, they really don’t know who he is and the family photo has his face blacked out. What kind of a father he is to abandon his children in their darkest hour.
 
But the Yamada sisters are strong-willed to leave on. As the narration continues, we see that they live in a run-down 40 year old single room apartment with no attached toilet. Even though they lack many modern amenities that are deemed necessities in today’s world, the most important thing that they have is each other. And that is enough for them to make them happy. All of us should emulate the duo and not put emphasize on material wealth. 15 year old Kyo (voiced by Maaya Sakamoto who did previous anime roles like Haruhi in Ouran High School Host Club, Amano in Kanon and Tomoyo in Tsubasa Chronicle) is the eldest one and helps supplement a little side income for them by doing newspaper deliveries after school. Yeah, she’s got it tough going unlike most of us who will be playing or occupied with our own hobbies and interests at that time. 9 year old Asu (voiced by Tomoko Kaneda who did previous anime roles like Chiyo of Azumanga Daioh, Lavie of Keroro Gunsou and Aoi of Myself; Yourself) on the other hand is the younger one and does the household chores like cooking and cleaning.
 
In every episode, you’ll get to see how the sisters bond closer to each other with their love. And no, no hot yuri sex kinda love relationship. Their love is purely sisterly love. Most of the time when they give and shower each other with their heart warming love, you’ll see sakura petals floating around them. I know some may find it gross, but hey, that’s because you’ve never been so lovey-dovey with your siblings before. Of course there are challenging times which tests the sisters bond and trust. Like they say, life isn’t a bed of roses. But at the end of each episode, they’ll come out fine and their love for each other grows even more. Aww…
 
Just like in episode 1 where the fireworks festival is soon about to begin. Asu has been saving money for that festival because she intends to enjoy all those treats and snacks at the festival with Kyo. Yeah, she even did some early reconnaissance to check the stalls they would be visiting later. However on the night of the festival, Asu is devastated to know that all the hard-earned money in the piggy bank is missing. Where did it go? Kyo comes back with a new yukata in hand. Kyo happily says how she has used that money to buy that new yukata for Asu. But Asu isn’t pleased to hear it and it’s understandable that she’s quite upset. She rushes out and tells Kyo how she doesn’t want it. Kyo tries to look for Asu but it started raining. Since Kyo is afraid of lightning, she has to brave it and find Asu. Meanwhile Asu takes shelter at a shop where Kyo bought the yukata. Asu remembers how Kyo always did things for her and likewise Kyo starts recalling how she brought an umbrella to school to fetch Asu while during a thunderstorm. Asu realizes her sister’s good intentions, feels guilty and decides to put on the yukata. She then goes searching for Kyo but couldn’t find her. Kyo is already at the festival and realizes how much effort Asu has put into this plan of hers. Feeling guilty, Kyo goes up to higher ground and calls out Asu’s name. Luckily, Asu heard it and the sisters are reunited as they watch the fireworks display. The next morning, everything is back at to normal at their humble home as they reassured each other how they will be by each other’s side. Meanwhile their departed mother (voiced by Aya Hisakawa who did Maya in Tenjou Tenge and Skuld in Aa! Megami-sama) who is watching them from the heavens narrates how she is keeping her promise of protecting them and their bonds as her spirits hugs them.
 
In episode 2, the sisters are dreading this time of moment. A dreadful thing which always happen at the same time every month. They call this dreadful thing the demon king as the sisters hug each other in fear in their tiny apartment room. The demon king is approaching as they can hear his footsteps. Kyo is shivering but asserts that she will protect Asu no matter what. But it turns out that demon king is the elderly landlord of this apartment, Genzou Hayashi. Yeah, they’ve got to pay up their rent or risk being evicted. So sad that they have to pay their rent even if they’re poor. No doubt this old guy may seem heartless and cold but he doesn’t discriminate anyone when it comes to paying their rent. So okay, maybe he should understand the circumstances the girls are in. But don’t hate him just yet. Anyway, this particular month, the sisters notice how Genzou didn’t turn up on time to collect payment and thinks he had a change of heart and that they don’t have to pay. Is this a dream come true? However, as another resident of the apartment, the ever sunglass-wearing lady, Ranko Saegusa, mentions that Genzou is being hospitalized after breaking his leg. The sisters realized and felt sympathy for him and decides to pay him a visit a hospital and buy some apples for him. However, upon their arrival, Genzou seems grumpy and doesn’t really appreciate what they’re doing. Uh huh, they made some tea and gave him a massage too! Though he didn’t say much, but I guess he’s indicating that they shouldn’t come visit him. But to his surprise, the sisters kept coming and they even brought their happy smiles. Then 1 night, they realized that their room doesn’t leak when it rains. That’s because Genzou was up on the roof fixing it. Probably that’s how he hurt his leg when he fell off. Even with a cold exterior, this guy actually does care for them. He just doesn’t show it upfront. Call it a man’s ego, if you will. But I suppose he has to let go a little of it when Kyo and Asu asks him to get well faster, Genzou thanks them. Once Genzou is out of hospital, he finds the sisters playing water outside the apartment in their swimsuits. Is he really going to properly thank them? Well… he asked them for this month’s rent straight in their faces. Ah well, it’s back to business as usual. But I’m sure the girls are glad to have him back. Yeah, they’ll have to work harder to pay their rent on time. But they won’t really mind that, won’t they?
 
If there are poor sisters, there must be rich sisters too, right? Yup, we’re introduced to a pair on the opposite polar in episode 3. It all began when Asu was trying to get some radish at a supermarket due to some super cheap sale. After pushing her way through all those fat aunties, since there is only one left, some other little brat, Ginko Echigoya (voiced by Etsuko Kozakura who voiced Yoriko in You’re Under Arrest and Tamama in Keroro Gunsou), took it before Asu could even get her hands on it. Remember, the early bird always catches the worm. But Asu isn’t going to let this stop her and looks forward to tomorrow’s cheap sale foodstuff. However in school, Asu notices Ginko and realizes she is from her same school. Obviously the duo had the same idea of going to the supermarket and get the cheap foodstuff. They both got their hands on it but Asu eventually lets go when Ginko started crying. However, it was just a ploy. Unfortunately, a lady takes it away and the girls are left with nothing. Ginko blames Asu and as compensation, Asu takes her back to her apartment. But the duo are surprised to find Kyo have already bought that item earlier on. Asu felt bad for Ginko and tells Kyo to give up that foodstuff for her, which she did. I’m sure Ginko doesn’t understand the way how poor people think and gets disgusted everytime Kyo and Asu gets all sisterly lovey-dovey with each other. Soon they escorted Ginko back to her home and to their surprise, it’s a bloody huge mansion! Not only that, Ginko proceeds to feed that foodstuff to her pet crocodile, John! Just then, Ginko’s elder sister, Kinko Echigoya (voiced by Naomi Shindou who voiced Shizuru in Mai-HiME), appears and Ginko tells her how she bought the foodstuff at the supermarket at dirt cheap price. But Kinko isn’t amused. She knows Ginko is lying because she was spying at her at the supermarket. She drags Ginko in and the Yamada sisters must be confused over what’s happening.
 
That night, Asu and Ginko browsed a brochure about another cheap sale for carrots and vows to get them. The next day, round 3 commences but in the end they both failed to get them. I’m thinking all those aunties are really kiasu. Ginko started crying and says how she’s useless and disappointed her sister and all that. On the other hand, Kinko is spying on Ginko again but bumps into Kyo who is also there. After hearing Ginko’s true feelings, she decides to leave and thinks Ginko hates her. While Asu chats with Ginko, the latter realizes that though Kinko is strict, she too has her nice side. With that, Ginko decides to be honest and tell the truth when she gets home. Kinko is happy when Ginko comes clean and treats her injured leg (she got it during that mad carrot tussle). Ginko tells Asu that it’ll be alright for them to be friends. Ah, all is well for the rich sisters too as the poor sisters walk home hand in hand with big smiles on their faces. You know, there is something about Kinko which bugs me. I’m wondering if she’s so rich, why does she need to send her little sister to buy all those cheap stuffs? I mean, don’t they have money? But I guess buying cheaper stuffs means they get to save more and get even richer. But later you’ll find that Kinko has a penchant for cheap sale bargains. Ah I see it’s not only a poor man or middle-income man’s disease. But why sent Kinko to do the job? Well, Kinko’s pretty busy with her school activities and stuff. But this clears my stereotypic perception of the rich sisters here as arrogant. There is still, but it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
 
In episode 4, Kyo and Asu finds a wallet on the ground. Must be real tempting to see all the money inside it. Can’t blame them for having thoughts of spending things that they yearn for, like eating cake or Kyo buying a dress to attend Asu’s Parent’s Day at school (so that she looks more mature and doesn’t embarrass Asu). But since this show has that feel targeted for younger audiences as well, the sisters didn’t turn to the dark side. As Kyo has to rush off to school first, it seems their neighbour Ranko has been watching them and soon approaches Asu and tells her that the wallet is hers. With that, Asu is brought back down to earth and gives the wallet back to her. See, Asu is still good at heart. But can it be the thought that counts too? This is further proven that the ID inside the wallet bears Ranko’s name. As gratitude, Ranko takes Asu for some ice cream at a restaurant but Asu is feeling uneasy. She feels guilty of enjoying all those treats without her sister. Aww… How thoughtful. Asu ends up bringing back some for Kyo. Kyo is quite happy and thanks Ranko for the treats but would like to ask her for 1 more favour. Since Kyo notices Ranko has several suits, she wants to know if she could borrow one. Ranko brings Kyo to her room and I kinda noticed it’s worse than a pig-sty. Even the Yamada sisters have better hygiene. We see Kyo given a complete makeover (well not really) as the pink suit gives her a more mature look. With that, Kyo attends Asu’s Parent’s Day class but she didn’t dress in the pink suit. Kyo came dressed in her normal usual school uniform. It doesn’t matter if she couldn’t be her mom on that day. As long she can make Asu feel safe and at ease, it’ll be okay and that she has kept her promise. After school, Asu relates how happy she is that Kyo came to see her and suggests that she would do the same when Kyo’s turn come. But Kyo isn’t so sure about it. Must be a different case (embarrassing, that is) when a little sister visits the bigger one.
 
In episode 5, the sisters find Genzou staring melancholy at a sole sakura petal blooming outside the apartment’s tree. When they go down to greet him, a gust of wind then blew past them and when he turn to look behind, he saw the sisters in a different light and this made Genzou blurt out a pair of names, Eriko and Mami. He then realizes that they’re the poor sisters and acted as though none of it happened, leaving the girls in stitches. Later when Kyo happily receives her pay, she was wondering where she and Asu should go but ends up deciding to go to the public bath. On their way out, they bump into Genzou. Why, he is asking the girls to leave the apartment! Oh no! Can it be true? Kyo and Asu pleads for him to reconsider and probably promise to pay their rent on time but Genzou is firm in his decision. He even says how he’ll use his eviction powers if they don’t get out. How cruel is he going get? Fate is indeed cruel. Oh no! The place where they’ve been staying all this while, and now this is goodbye? And what’s this, the place is going to be torn down as well?! As the duo packed their bags and starts searching for a place to live, they bump into several shopkeepers who seems pretty nice in offering the sisters to stay at their place. Yeah, they’re even arguing over it. Why now? Anyway, they are being told that Genzou told them to take them in after evacuating them.
 
The sisters are even shocked to find that though Genzou had never told them, he had always viewed them as his grandchildren. An even more shocking revelation is revealed. 40 years ago, his wife and daughter, Eriko and Mami were killed by an oncoming truck back at that apartment. Ever since then, he has spoken very much less and never smiled. Poor guy. So the sakura tree is always important to him and that’s why he was staring at it. The girls realized everything and rushes back to stop the tearing down. No doubt it’s a run-down apartment, but it’s a place where they love and can call home. By the time they reached back, the tearing down has begun. They then realized that it was the next door apartment that is being torn down. Genzou’s purpose of evicting them was for their safety. He didn’t want a repeat of history as a construction site has all those heavy machineries and trucks. This was also the reason why Genzou earlier wrapped the sakura petal as to protect them from the affects of the tearing down like being blown away in the wind. I know he’s caring but he should at least say it clear earlier on and not leave the girls in a big worry. The girls tell Genzou that they want to continue living here even if the construction is on going. But I guess Genzou wouldn’t mind them having it their own way. As the sisters say how Genzou protected them, Asu tells Kyo that this apartment is the place where she always want to be with her sister. They also say how even though they’re both without parents, they’re not really alone as there is somebody watching over them. Genzou looks up at the sakura petal and for once, we see him break into a smile. Another heart warming episode. The series is getting better and better.
 
The rich sisters are back in episode 6. Remember that torn down building next to the 40 year old run-down apartment? It looks like it has been rebuilt as an extravagant apartment which belongs to the rich sisters! Wow. Anyway, Ginko is still worried about her failure and uselessness to Kinko. She gets this disgusted feeling once more when she sees Kyo and Asu being so lovey-dovey. And it’s in the morning too. Ugh. I guess this shows Ginko has never gotten this type of love from Kinko. More like getting tough love. Because of this, Ginko is very curious about the duo as they’re always together. Not only that, Ginko also notices how Asu’s other classmates are quite friendly and getting along well with her. Anyway Ginko did inform them about their newly built apartment but what follows next is more disturbing. Since she can’t get that curiosity off her chest, she decides to get several spy equipment and spy on the Yamada sisters! Woah! Is this legal? She’s turning into a stalker at her age. After one of her maids help her set up the high-tech equipment on the rooftop, Ginko starts her spying, er… I mean observation. Well, it seems pretty normal to me. Eating, talking, sleeping. Seems pretty normal. Probably something little rich kids wouldn’t understand. Not happy with her findings, Ginko goes over late at night to invite them over. Thing is, Kyo fell asleep at their place. And I thought all this rich stuff should be an eye opener. Ah well, Kyo must be tired after all that newspaper delivery. Ginko then realizes how the poor sisters are working hard and then it hit her that Kinko too is working hard. But I guess this explains why Ginko’s feeling of being lonely lately as this translates into her being a little selfish and jealous. Something about having to live up to her expectations but always falls short. After Kyo and Asu left, Kinko returns home late. And for once, Ginko learned something from them (not sure if it’s through her snooping… oops, I mean observation). Ginko gives her big sister a big hug for always taking care of her. Aww… Who says rich sisters can’t give each other a hug too? Kinko thanks her and with that, Ginko’s feelings of her sister is assured. She loves her more than ever now.
 
Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner episode 7, viewers may start to think something yuri is going to happen between the poor sisters because Asu intends to bake some heart-shaped chocolate for Kyo. But remember, Asu loves her sister is because she is her sister. There is no way, I repeat, no way that love is going to turn into something yuri. Once done, Asu proceeds to Kyo’s school to present her home-made chocolates from the bottom of her heart. Unfortunately, to Asu’s horror, she spots Kyo nervously handing her chocolates to another guy before running away! Oh no. Asu must be thinking her sister has someone else in mind that she loves. But what is wrong with that? Asu fears that if Kyo has someone new in her life, Asu will be left all alone. Oh the horror! It can’t be just like what their dad did to them. But Asu isn’t about to give up and decides to stalk that guy by following him. Another stalker in the making? Asu is waiting for a chance for that guy to show his imperfect or dark side but finds out in the end that he’s really a good guy after all, and that her sister will be going away from her forever. Back home, Kyo notices the heart-shaped chocolate and wonders if she’s going to give it to her. Asu then spilled the beans about that incident and tells Kyo that she probably doesn’t need this chocolate. Asu gets emotionally upset because she thinks will leave her and rushes out. She’s got to stop doing this everytime they don’t agree on something. That’s because the night is cold and Asu forgot her coat. Too late to be thinking about that. Kyo goes out as usual in search of little Asu.
 
Meanwhile Asu is at the playground thinking about stuff when she spots Kyo’s future boyfriend. What’s this? He’s going out with another girl? What’s going on? Is he two-timing her? Asu is confused when Kyo finally found her. Asu gave a made-up statement about a bloody cheap nikuman sale to cover her running away prevent her from seeing the couple. And Kyo blindly but wholeheartedly believed her. Since Kyo insisted that they find the shop, while walking around, Asu spots the couple and tries several tricks not to let Kyo see them. Funny thing is, that cheap nikuman sale really did exist, much to Asu’s surprise. At even the right discounted price! As they head in, the couple too enters. Oh no. Will emotions run high and fists fly? Nope. The couple thanks Kyo for setting them up. So it looks like Kyo was giving the chocolates as a messenger for that girl. Yeah, why was she so nervous like as though she’s confessing to him? Never mind that. But just like that new happy couple, Asu’s misconception about that has been cleared. Duh. Didn’t that crossed her mind before jumping to conclusions (okay, it didn’t crossed mine too)? Kyo is glad that Asu felt jealous because in a way it showed that she cared for her. Lastly, as they’re walking home, Kyo asks Asu who she’s going to give that heart-shaped chocolate. Asu tells her to her favourite person. I can’t believe Kyo can get as dense as this. She still wonders who that favourite person is as Asu rushes ahead and makes Kyo chase after her. Aiyoh! Get it already lah! I guess Asu loves teasing her. Revenge? Ah well, I was hoping that there would be some love chemistry for Kyo. You know, she’s already at an age where most girls are talking about love and boyfriend. But I suppose Kyo’s first love is definitely Asu. And nothing yuri, okay!
 
In contrast in reports that musicians are rich and famous, those who made it big time are only a fraction of the total musicians in the world. Yeah, the rest are just struggling… and poor. So in episode 8, we see Asu having a vocal music test. Let’s just say she’s not American Idol material. Not only that, her pals thinks she’s got a hell of a good voice. Haven’t heard her sing before, haven’t ‘cha? Due to Asu’s number, her turn will come next week. Back at her apartment, Kyo seems to be frightened about hearing ghostly-like singing every night. Then we find out that music actually comes from their next door neighbour, a guitar playing struggling musician, Masao Ichinokura. Number 1, I wonder how Kyo finds it eerie since his guitar playing is quite okay. Number 2, because of his mediocre guitar play, that’s why he can’t hit big time. Hahaha. Just kidding. Anyway the sisters soon find Ichinokura’s music quite soothing. It’s like attending a free concert. Yeah, this guy has 3 fangirls come knocking on his door and giving him gifts. Okay, so his life isn’t that bad. But he’s still poor nonetheless. Asu mentions about her upcoming music test and Ichinokura gladly decides to coach her vocal skills. It may seem unfitting for Asu to do push-ups and other exercises but I suppose if one needs to have a good voice, it has to come from the stomach. As time passes, Asu improves. Not to say she has become the best, but it’s definitely better than mine anytime. And I can’t believe she did it all in 1 week! With that, Asu passes her music test with flying colours.
 
Soon, the sisters notice that Ichinokura hasn’t been back to his room for a week. So when they find out those 3 fangirls at Ichinokura’s doorstep and Asu told them how she saw Ichinokura putting up his precious guitar up for sale at a store the other day, the fangirls fears the worst. He may have given up singing. Asu felt guilty because even though Ichinokura was in a difficult position, he went through all that trouble to coach Asu music. Just then, they heard a familiar voice singing at the bottom of the stairs. Why, it’s Ichinokura! He’s back with his guitar. The fangirls rush to his side and felt relieved. Ichinokura tells them that he was away working hard to get back the guitar he put up for sale. He initially thought of quitting after failing auditions after auditions. He even thought it’s going to be impossible for him. But after seeing Asu’s will and determination, he decided that music is his life and because he made a promise to Asu that he will continue singing. With that, the sisters get to hear Ichinokura sing from their balcony every night. I have a theory why Ichinokura didn’t get pass the auditions. That’s because his voice isn’t that great either! Hahahaha! Oops. Sorry. Forgive me. I forgot mine is much worse :'(.
 
We should be thankful that in today’s world, we are blessed with many modern high-tech equipment. For instance, the ubiquitous and now can’t-live-without-it handphone. In episode 9, we see how the sister’s poor position has deprived them of such conveniences. In this era where every darn kid knows how to operate a handphone efficiently like the back of their hands, Kyo and Asu are like from the dinosaur age, not knowing how to even operate one. It all began when Asu wins a pair of handphone set at a lottery. When she brings it back, she and her sister are amazed with it. Due to the credit limit of 3000 Yen, the sisters decide to save and only call each other when necessary. At school, it seems Ginko is showing off her expertise and knowledge on how to operate a handphone to Asu. Even all that ranting, it seems that Ginko doesn’t have one herself and how she wished for her sis to get her 1. Then on her way home, Asu tries to call Kyo but she was busy helping a teacher and she left her handphone in her bag. Asu wonders why she can’t connect so Ginko took the opportunity and try. Ginko called her sister who is studying in the library. I wonder why Kinko didn’t tell her to call back. I mean, Ginko really took her own sweet time talking! The credit meter is ticking… Poor Asu, she’s worried that the credit may finish in no time. Ginko is so inconsiderate. So long guest. By the time Ginko is done and Kyo calls Asu, the handphone is out of battery and their conversation is cut off halfway. Because of that, they worry what has happened to each other. Asu worries Kyo may have fallen ill from overworking while Kyo fears that Asu may have been kidnapped! A lot of near misses as they try to search for each other. It is night time when the duo finally manages to reunite. Though they felt relieved, Asu then tells Kyo about her evening papers delivery. Kyo is in a frantic and rushes off. The next morning, Kyo uses the handphone to call Asu to thank her about the wonderful breakfast (previously she always forgot to tell her after leaving the house as Kyo was too tired from her delivery rounds). Well, a first decent conversation with the gadget as they think this is a present from their mom in heaven. But the end scene was ‘hilarious’. We see Kinko and Ginko at the lottery, trying her umpteenth time trying to win a pair of handphone set. Yeah, kiasu betul. Just like Ginko said, it would’ve been cheaper if they had just bought the handphone the normal way. Kinko has no luck with the lottery, huh? Yeah, she tells Ginko to go shop some more and bring back more lottery vouchers. Kiasu…
 
Episode 10 has Kyo falling sick because of overworking. Due to that, Asu nurses Kyo back to her usual strength. Once Kyo has recovered, she goes back to her usual try-her-best-all-for-Asu mode. But one evening after her delivery, Kyo comes back to find her room dark. To her horror, she finds Asu collapsed on the floor! In short, it’s Asu’s turn to fall ill. But hers is more serious. Kyo starts to panic but luckily Genzou is there and calls the ambulance. Asu will be hospitalized for a while and Kyo feels guilty and starts to think that she is useless. Kyo remembers a time when she was young and her late mom was pregnant with Asu. Her mom tells her to protect her soon-to-be sister. As Asu recuperates in hospital, Kyo starts to feel even more useless because she was kinda klutzy in breaking plates while trying to do housework in place of Asu. Oh Kyo, be strong, hang in there. Though the apples Kyo cut for Asu isn’t as tasty, Asu is still supportive of her sister’s efforts. We also see Genzou visiting Asu and would take Kyo’s place of accompanying Asu as he thinks she should be off to school and got it covered for her. See, he’s not as cold as you think he is. Even Ichinokura pays a visit and plays his guitar to cheer Asu up. Not to mention Ranko and Ginko too. Even if Asu is feeling better, inside Kyo’s heart she’s not. She’s still feeling guilty of not being able to keep her mom’s promise of protecting Asu.
 
If you’re wondering about the dandelions in the opening credits and title screen, here is how it’s related. On the way home, Kyo passes by a field of dandelions and remembers the time when her mom was hospitalized. She thought how her mom always smiled when she brought the flowers to her. Back in present time, Kyo felt herself being hugged by Asu and whispers from the latter that nobody could replace a sister like her (at that time, I’m thinking, Asu’s not dead, right?). Kyo then realized things and rushes back to the hospital. Since visiting hours are over, Kyo makes a light signal from outside the window to attract Asu’s attention. Kyo throws a dandelion at Asu and the latter sees several paper on the ground written "Goodnight Asu. Get well soon!". Both sisters felt very happy. The next day, Asu has been discharged. On the way home, the sisters passed by the dandelion field and Asu tells Kyo that before she was born she remembers hearing her mom’s voice to protect Kyo. Well, she didn’t exactly remember that but at that time felt something close to that. So I see that it’s both the sisters’ promise to protect each other which keeps them going strong. As they walk back hand in hand, they reassure their mom that they’re keeping their promises. So back in their lovely run-down apartment, the sisters are enjoying the sakura tree in full bloom and notes how happy they are together. But the next day, they are a little panicky because their entire room is now filled with sakura petals. Oh well, better start cleaning up.
 
Though it doesn’t feel much of an ending, but I guess I could say I’m satisfied with the series in overall. Most of the times it really did stir a heart warming emotion inside me. I think I’ve lost count the number of times going "Aww…". Though the drawing and animation isn’t one of the best, but I kinda noticed that the girls here have quite an obvious pink blush on their cheeks. Sometimes I can’t help but stare at it. I like the slow rock opening theme song, Shinkokyuu by Splash Candy, especially the tune of the electric guitar. If you notice, the opening credits animation also shows all the side characters in the series. However, there is one which still bugs me. The furry dog. If my memory serves me well, I don’t recall it ever appearing in the series. The ending theme, Soyokaze Life, by Kanako Sakai is more of a slow pop but it doesn’t sound appealing to me.
 
Another nice thing about this anime is the mid-intermission. With a short and cute background music playing and a chibi sketch of the poor sisters, the mid-intermission has short notes from the viewpoints of the poor sisters. Some are quite heart warming to read and some are quite comical. So I’ve took the liberty to list them down as below:
 
– The Yamada family’s slightly luxurious dandelion coffee.
– Bargain sale, such a gorgeous sight.
– If you put something in between the bread crusts, it’s a sandwich.
– If we pay the rent for this month, it’s going to be tight.
– Keeping an eye out for even a 1 Yen discount, Asu moves at full speed.
– Even raindrops leaking from the roof is a soothing orchestra.
– Adding up the items on the grocery lists, helps improve our maths.
– Gather together a lot of little soap shavings and wash a big back.
– Bean sprouts for breakfast, bean sprouts for lunch, bean sprouts for dinner.
– When you over-boil noodles and they stretch out, you get more servings of noodles.
– On a cold night, if you eat shichimi, it’ll warm you up.
– The flea market is like an enormous shopping mall to us.
– The next town over. If it’s for the sake of meat, it’s not far.
– Walk the 2 stations instead of taking the train, and buy meat with the money you save!
– A dictionary of plant life: Rotely memorized and organized food items.
– During a stroll, the keen-eyed can find edible grasses.
– There’s only one aim! Shop is on the verge of closing. Feast of sales!
– Today, magnificently, there are 3 side dishes.
– Hunger is the world’s best seasoning. If we’re a little more patient, it’ll be so much more delicious.
– Time! Return to us! Slipping past the expiration date into uncertainty.
 
Aren’t they so true in life too? Another thing I want to mention is the title of the episodes. Each of the episodes are named as and starts off with "A Day Of ~" and will have 3 topics or happenings in it. The topics or happenings give a general idea of what that particular episode is about. For instance episode 1’s "A Day Of Yukata, Fireworks And Candy Apples" or episode 7’s "A Day Of Jealousy, Chocolates And Valentine". So by just reading the title, you can recall what happened in that particular episode unlike some animes which have titles so long, short or so ridiculous that it seems the title is there just for fun with no relation to that episode or whatsoever. I guess part of the ‘poor’ theme is to keep things short and simple, huh?
 
Speaking of the characters, though I feel that the other side characters didn’t really play a prominent role in the sense that they have a major impact on the series, this is because the series focuses more on the poor sisters (duh!). It still amazes after all that they’ve gone through, they’re still strongly bonded together like glue and I hope that they will continue to live this way forever. How many of us could have such wonderful relationships with our siblings? Probably because they are deprived of many things, which allows them to do so, but I feel that is actually a blessing in disguise for them. Yeah, I like how Kyo and Asu sound so lively most of the time and look forward to most things in a positive way. We could all learn several important life lessons from them.
 
On a trivial note, I found out that Kyo and Asu’s name literally means today and tomorrow respectively. Perhaps it is to indicate to viewers to live today to the fullest and to look forward to tomorrow with hope. I’m wondering if their mom did live on and bore a third child, would she name him/her Kinou (yesterday)? Nah. Just kidding. Don’t live your life in the past. Likewise, Kinko and Ginko’s name means gold child and silver child respectively. So if they had a third sibling…
 
So are you still thinking that being poor is a sin? Not if you have what it takes to live your life happy. And it doesn’t necessary have to be complicated and complex things. Just the simple things in life would do. Hmm… But looking at the bigger picture in real life, I don’t think it’s working. Anyway, just like another hidden message in this series is to be nice, caring and good not only to those people you love or close to you, but others who are around you as well. And from that perspective, you are rich in terms of relationship, just like Kyo and Asu. So I guess it’s high time I do the same too with my own family.
 

Binbou Shimai Monogatari

Platonic Tsuranuite

October 24, 2008

  Dare mo inai umibe ni anata to futari,
  Hashagi sugita toki ga shizumaru
 
As usual, for an anime series like Ranma 1/2 to be long running, it must have several opening and ending themes as well. Most probably it is to renew or refresh viewers’ anticipation and hopes about the series. You know, some viewers literally sit through watching the entire series right up from the opening credits till the next episode preview. But for me, if I have the time to do so, then I would. Or else, I’d just skip to the episode proper.
 
  Mukuchi ni natta hitomi wa naze ka kowai ka,
  Sora mo umi mo nami mo too no ku no
 
Out of all the opening and ending songs of this series, Platonic Tsuranuite (Let’s Be Platonic) is my second favourite one, after Present. Because this series is an old one, this song too sounds old school. Like as though it was from that era when this anime was first shown. This is the first ending song of the series and is sung by Kaori Sakogami.
 
  Ah koyubi ga furete mo SHOUTO shisou yo,
  Ai ga sodatsu made sukoshi matte
 
Unfortunately, this song too doesn’t have any karaoke versions like many of the other songs in the series. But somehow, I didn’t have the crave to really go look for one. Not to say I didn’t like this song (hey, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have blog it), but unlike other more current animes, I didn’t went crazy or go ballistic searching for one. I’m just happy doing a duet with the singer herself. Besides, since she hasn’t got a high-pitched voice, this piece is like a piece of cake to me. Okay, that doesn’t mean I sound exactly like the singer. What I meant was, it’s easy to sing.
 
  PURATONIKKU wo tsuranuite ne,
  Ima wa mada,
  PURATONIKKU de tsuranuite ne,
  Itai kurai
 
But one thing that I liked about this song is the funky and fast playing bass lines. Just after the verses and before the start of the chorus, you can hear the bass sliding down the riff. Other than that, this pop piece has a moderate pace with some synthesizers and background vocals in an otherwise simple song. Even the lyrics doesn’t amount to much and the words are like your typical simple love song. Yeah, it does sound like old school songs from that era.
 
  PURATONIKKU wo tsuranuite ne,
  Yakusoku yo,
  PURATONIKKU de tsuranuite ne,
  Anata ga suki
 
By the way, the tv series animation of this ending theme has 2 versions. The first one being the characters drawn manga style, as it slowly scrolls up or down the screen. The second one has Ranma and his dad, Genma in panda form, relaxing and overlooking a beautiful beach. Only thing is, as the screen slowly zooms out, that was just a huge poster and they’re just in the middle of the city. Ah well, even if they can’t afford a trip there, it’s better to make use of their surroundings. Like they say, it’s all in one’s mind.
 
Ranma 1/2

Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~

October 18, 2008

Here is another one of those slow easy-going animes. Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~ may not be one of those mainstream animes nor would it be one of the best animes of the season. But with a calming pace smattered with a little slice of life comedy, this anime series did leave a little impact of me. Yup, by the end of it I had that little warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
 
Due to the pace of this anime, it brings back nostalgic memories of animes like Someday’s Dreamers and Aria The Animation. Most viewers who aren’t so keen on such animes may find it boring and dropping it instantly after just one sitting. I know I have caught myself yawning several times but I feel that isn’t a good reason for me to pull the plug on this series yet. Why, it is just 13 episodes long. It’s not like it has 3 digits worth of episodes and it is still ongoing or whatsoever. So for those who really intend to watch this, make sure to have a cup of coffee standby if you tend to fall asleep while watching such shows.
 
Based on a Japanese yonkoma (four strip comic panel), the main setting of this anime is art. Uh huh. You might have guessed it from the title itself. I’m not really an expert in this area since I never did well on my art subjects during school. But don’t expect the series to delve quite deeply into the art world. So for those blur cases like me can just jump in and watch without having to worry the unique jargons of the art industry.
 
So let’s meet the main protagonist of the series, Sora Kajiwara. She is a freshmen and a member of the school’s art club. She does most of the series narration through her thoughts. Being an art student, I guess observation for details has got to be one’s forte. So you’ll get to hear Sora narrate things from her perspective in a different manner, which partially makes it interesting. However, Sora herself has peculiar habits. Firstly, she is very shy of people, especially those she doesn’t know at first. So much so, she needs the help of her friends to introduce her. Tongue tied? Secondly, though she is always carrying her sketchbbok anywhere she goes, she has a weird taste of sketching things which are on the move. Uh huh. If it’s stagnant and still, it doesn’t interest her. So the funny thing is that, as she tries her best to sketch it, she will never manage to finish it because her target has already ‘moved’. Like how she tried to sketch a local stray cat whom she named Mike (pronounced, mee-keh). A girl with a camera named Minamo happens to notice Sora’s peculiar interests and goes to talk with her but you know, Sora is so shy that it makes conversation seem impossible.
 
The rest of the episode introduces the other members of the school’s art club. I know being an art club member is equivalent to being creative. But I think the right word to describe them in general is ‘weird’. Yeah, nearly the whole bunch of them are weird. So can we still call them creative? But that is what makes them unique and the series funny in the first place. So let me briefly introduce them first. One of Sora’s two closest buddies is Natsumi Aso. At first glance, this girl reminds me of Natsumi of Keroro Gunsou! Note the very uncanny resemblance. Heck, even their first name is the same. Only difference is this Natsumi lacks violence from the other Natsumi. My suspicions are even raised and got me thinking if she’s a rip-off from that series when this Natsumi too has something to do with frogs. Yup, this Natsumi has several frog hand puppets (ugly looking if you ask me), in which she does some puppet show enactments. Okay, so no "boke kaeru" (stupid frog) lines here. In contrast, Natsumi has quite a good relationship with her puppet frogs. Why not, since it’s hers and it’s only right to treat them nice.
 
Sora’s second closest friend is Hazuki Torikai. This gentle girl has a penchant for going for the best bargains and has a fetish for anything that is cute and adorable. Besides, she’s quite a big fan of some sausage-like cat (I think that is what it looks like). Other members of the art club include nature and insect maniac Nagisa Kurihara, a tall lady Juju Sasaki who loves playing her guitar or tell her tales with it, an enigmatic girl Kokage Kuga who has an infatuation with the darkness (yeah, her canvas painting was all just totally black), full-of-angst Daichi Negishi AKA Negi (don’t worry, though he gets mad with the slightest annoyance, he won’t get violent. He just needs to undergo anger management programmes, that’s all. Urm… Better get one fast because Sora is still afraid of meeting him), and an upbeat vice president of the club Asaka Kamiya (sometimes likes to play pranks. Especially on Negi). The most ‘normal’ one in the group is the president of the art club, Ujou Sugyou. I guess in every group, we have to have a normal person like him. Ujou acts like the big brother of the group and takes care of them and provides advice whenever possible.
 
But the most interesting group members and personally my favourite has got to be the inseparable duo whom I dubbed ‘Drama Queens’. They are Fuu Himuro and Ryou Tanabe. These 2 rarely show up for art class and in each episode you can see them randomly hanging around somewhere making nonsensical statements and side gags which have no relation whatsoever with the flow of the story. Though their appearance is short, whenever viewers catch a glimpse of these 2, they will never fail to break you into a smile. Makes you wonder why they don’t join a comedy or a drama club. Maybe they decide to show their ‘creativity’ here?
 
Another interesting character is the art club’s teacher, Hiyori Kasugano. Though I find her acting a little childish, she has a huge fetish for chickens and anything associated with it. So much so she has a beloved rooster named P-chan as her pet, which she brings to class or sit on top of her head whenever it’s not wandering around on its own. The most amusing part is when Kasugano claims who she would like to eat chicken meat. Everytime this happens, P-chan will feel a sharp cold shiver down its spine and worry in fear. Hahaha. Better be on your toes, P-chan. Who knows when your time is up. Feeling more like emergency food supply rather than a pet?
 
Before I forget, I want to mention that there is another peculiar character of Sora. Though she is a simple-minded person (I know you’re thinking that she’s dumb but she’s not, okay) she seems to enjoy or take pleasure in simple things, even if it seems weird and out of place. Like in this episode, we see her really on cloud nine while enjoying a bowl of ramen with Natsumi and Hazuki at a shop. Too bad her pals can’t handle the spicy-ness of the ramen. Then when Kasugano gives them a drawing assignment, Sora, Natsumi and Hazuki follows Nagisa and Juju (with the former chasing insects) to a beautiful open are through a small forest. They began drawing and it seems Sora is drawing a bowling building’s statue which resembles like that Aria President from Aria The Animation. Hey, wait a minute. It is that weird looking cat! While everyone does simple drawings for their project, Sora once again tries to sketch Mike and after that seems to enjoy basking herself in the mirror’s reflection of the evening sunrays. Really a weird girl.
 
Episode 2 sees Sora starting off by exiting her home with a different foot. I wonder what is the significant of this. Perhaps a change in routine or luck? Not that I myself really notice either. On her way to school, she notices Mike isn’t at its usual spot and wonders if it is missing. In class, Sora, Natsumi and Hazuki finds Kamiya eating her lunch in front of some exquisite meal painting she has drawn. Does it give an impression that the food will taste better? Then the girls did an experiment by dropping edible stuff into the tank to see whether the pet lobster eats it. Surprisingly it does. Oh oh, but it looks like Mike is there and has its eyes on that lobster. Later, Kasugano prevents her students from leaving the room when she claims she has some secret super weapon to boost themselves for some upcoming competition. Then Negi spots Mike in the classroom and angrily chases it out. Sora notices Mike is here and goes searching for it with the other girls. We then see extreme Negi putting up card boxes as barriers to defend the lobster. I don’t know what he is angrily shouting out for. Extreme. Cool it, brother. The search seems futile (poor Ujou. He accidentally opened a room filled with girls changing and got water splashed on his face as retribution) Kuga then spots Mike and attempts to talk with it but Mike scampers away when the other girls arrive. When the gang regroups back at the art room, Kasugano then suddenly comes in with her secret super weapon. Looks like a head bust. However, P-chan was just crossing right in front of her and Kasugano steps and trips on it. Thus the she went tumbling down and the bust smashes into pieces. Aww, too bad. There goes her hopes. And Negi, oh Negi. How long is he still going to guard that lobster. Sora is on her way home when she spots Mike at its usual place and goes over to pat it. She notes that since Mike has experienced its day differently, it should return to its normal way and likewise herself too as she soon returns home.
 
By now, you have just got to love this Sora girl. Why? In episode 3, she is seen playing a video game with her little brother, Ao. Ao seems to be struggling against her. Is she that good. Sora looks so calm and cool. Thing is, Ao tells her that he is just playing a single player mode. Haha! So she was just holding that console all along. Then when Sora decides to fix a meal, she just made a cup of tea. Ah, how disappointing. Now we all know she doesn’t know how to cook. But Ao should’ve known and seen this coming. Thus Ao has to take over and do the cooking. I think Sora is making things worse by helping out. Yeah, she cuts too much of some of some fish paste ingredient because she’s amazed by its ‘ability’ to do anything. But this episode is about the fireworks festival and the girls in their cute yukatas. Natsumi and Hazuki arrived at Sora’s place to help her put on a yukata. Funny thing is, Sora vomited because the meal she had earlier on was upsetting her stomach. The girls soon leave for the festival and had their share of fun like catching goldfish. Soon they meet up with other members of the art club and they all gather at a place somewhere a little further from the festival place to watch the fireworks. When the fireworks start, it’s a magnificent sight to behold as the gang tries to squint their eyes to watch it. Can’t say the same for Ujou and Juju because their eyes are always squint. What’s this? Sora trying to sketch the fireworks? Ah well, do your best. As the rest tries to guess the next shape of the fireworks, Ao notes how her sister hasn’t changed at all no matter where she is.
 
Episode 4 sees Sora preparing for her art field trip. Since it’s going to rain, Sora prepares an umbrella for her trip. Her straw hat reminded me of Rushuna from Grenadier, though she doesn’t look like it. Due to the weather forecast of impending rain, not many members turn up and other than Sora, Nagisa is the only other person (OMG! She lets an insect crawl over her face?! I don’t think I can do that). It seems Kasugano is waiting to drive them for their field trip. Wow. Now those who didn’t believe she’s an obsessed chicken freak would do so now because inside her car is full of chicken cushions. They soon arrive at an isolated park with lush greenery. While Kasugano decides to wait in the car till the duo finish sketching. Nagisa seems to be having fun with her insects and when a bird swoops down and Nagisa says how the insects are laying low, this prompts Sora to think that Nagisa may have wrongly identified the bird as an insect. But Nagisa continues that since the insects are present at that low area, this prompts some feeding time for the bird. Sora then realizes that she and Nagisa looks at things at a different light and perspective. I see. I should learn to look at things this way too. Meanwhile we see some of the other club members, particularly Natsumi and Hazuki, hanging out together in some cafe and feeling guilty wondering if skipping that field trip due to the rain would be a good reason. As for the Drama Queens, needless to say. No comment. Soon it starts to drizzle and it’s getting heavier. Sora insists on following Nagisa more rather than going back to Kasugano. Don’t want to wait with a chicken freak, huh? This drawing field trip has turned out more of a nature walk in the park more than anything else as Nagisa and Sora examines a little butterfly under a leaf. The duo soon returns to Kasugano and notices a beautiful rainbow after the rain. As Kasugano slowly drives back home (she’s got the parking brakes on all the time), Sora sketches the rainbow from the car and notes that she wouldn’t have seen such a scene if it was on a different day. But the thing which bugs me is (no, not the insect crawling over Nagisa’s face), since the title of this episode is "A Sketch Competition Between Three People", I’m wondering who is the third person and is there a competition in the first place?
 
If you’re a cat lover then this anime should suit you too. Episode 5 focuses more on the adventures of Mike and the other stray cats. For easy listening pleasure, cats here can talk albeit only to their own kind. Is this what cats are thinking? Maybe. Mike comes across a large yellow cat named Kuma. I don’t know but it seems the higher the cat’s position, the higher its ranking is. Poor Mike tries to get to a higher position but each time, Kuma always beat her. Looks like Mike has to resign to the fact that she is inferior than him. It seems Kuma is looking for food as he explains it to an amazed Mike. Later, Mike bumps into another stray cat he knows, Ha-san. A little chat about cat pride makes Mike remember Kuma’s case. And then a conversation about human feeding cats prompted Sora to sneeze. Looks like the cats are talking about her. Of all the random side gags, this has got to be the best one from the Drama Queens. That’s because they’re trying to extort some money from a cat! WTF?! Like that cat could be bothered. Meanwhile as Kamiya begs her sister to buy her a cat, Mike and Ha-san comes across another stray cat they know, Grey. This Grey kitty has now proper dialogue and only goes meow throughout the entire series. However, they noticed that he has a collar and now thinks he is no longer a stray cat so they ask him what it’s like being owned. Kuma then appears and inspects Grey’s collars and even tries it for size. Yeah, he looks funny alright. That collar is too tight for his broad neck. Like as though he’s been squeezed. After Kuma decides that a collar has to be of right size, the quartet goes around town looking until they stumble upon an empty card box. Since Kuma wants to be owned, the gang comes up with various ideas to write several notes on the box for adoption. Yeah, something like "Fated meeting". That sort of stuff. As Kuma sits in the box, Kamiya passes by and spots it. In short, Kamiya takes Kuma in and manages to get her sister’s approval. Meanwhile Mike and Ha-san notices Grey no longer has his collar and thinks he is back to being a stray cat. Once Grey leaves, Sora comes by to give them food. Expired food, that is. Haih… I know it’s good not to waste food but this? I wonder why they still go and eat it. That hungry, huh? Or rather they don’t want to waste her generosity.
 
The summer holidays are approaching in episode 6 but Kasugano is acting her childish ways again after unable to enjoy it. But I guess there’s no harm in fantasizing about it. Kasugano also announces a day trip for the art club members during the holidays. On that day, the gang gathers at the bus stop for the trip. Surprisingly the Drama Queens came. But upon riding the bus, the students are shocked to find that their school trip is… at their own school! What in the world?! Well, Kasugano did mentioned that she had some budget constraints so this is the best (not to mention cheapest) method she could afford. I think she’ll save more if she doesn’t organize it. Since it’s a hot summer day and not wanting for the students to do the same thing like they’ve always done (I mean, they’re back at the art club room and drawing. What else), Kasugano suggests for them to go explore the school grounds. Sora is alone in the classroom and notices how different the atmosphere is during the holidays. Sora also remembers the time when she first joined the art club. Yeah, at that time, she’s even wondering what kind of fierce teacher the other clubs has. So probably she decided to settle in this one. Likewise, Natsumi and Hazuki are also reminiscing the time when they first met Sora. Still as shy as ever. At that time, there weren’t anybody in Kasugano’s class yet so that teacher was real happy to have her first 2 students, Sora and Natsumi. Did I mention that Sora was real nervous too. Soon Hazuki came in as number 3. Back in present time and later that night, everyone cooks and enjoy a curry meal while watching the stars. Later, they played some sparklers and fireworks. Sora feels glad that she has joined this club. As the girls prepare to sleep, they find that their room is filled with cockroaches! Wargh! Now we know the school isn’t as clean as we see it. Because of that, the girls are having lack of sleep and are dead tired when the morning comes. Well, are those cockroaches perverts? That’s because the guy’s room don’t seem to be affected. As they prepare for some morning activity, a blonde girl in a hat approaches the school.
 
That girl is Kate, a foreigner from Canada and a transfer student to the school. This would-be art club member is another favourite character of mine because of her thick and heavy western accent when she speaks Japanese. Very obvious. Very thick. Even though she is quite lively and bubbly, I’m sure everytime she speaks, it’ll make viewers laugh because of the way she speaks, even if her lines weren’t meant to be funny (heck, she’s always trying to be funny most of the time). But before that, in episode 7, Sora happen to notice a new cat from the block. A grey and weird looking cat she has never seen around the area before. Funny thing is, Sora wants to touch it but is too shy. So she asks its permission in English! "One touch, okay", "Two touch, okay". Back in class, the gang are introduced to Kate and Kasugano assigns Natsumi the task of helping Kate familiarize with the Japanese customs. Why? Kasugano has that impression that Natsumi is Ms International due to her hand puppets, which has English names. Huh? Luckily Kate knows some Japanese and proceeds to cheekily write her name in kanji which sounded like ‘keito’ (yarn). Easy to remember, this way? Meanwhile, Mike spots that new grey cat but is having trouble communicating. Yeah, that grey cat speaks English! Looks like it is lost. Then Ha-san comes by and to Mike’s surprise, Ha-san can speak in English! That grey cat’s name is Bushi and the cats rant about travelling the world but obviously Mike realizes that it’s impossible for her to do so. Back at the classroom, everyone prepares a welcoming party for Kate as Natsumi becomes determined to guide her. However, the Drama Queens seem to want to have some fun on their own and gives Kate several wrong depictions of Japanese culture. Kate blindly agrees with them. This made Natsumi mad because she has to do extra work to correct her. Yeah, Natsumi falls into depression. Later Sora hands Kate a sketchbook from Natsumi of the correct Japanese culture. So when the party starts, Kate reintroduces herself and does some magic show. She pops out a flower and gives it to Natsumi as thanks for her guidance. This lifts her spirits and confidence once more. After the party, the gang heads home and Sora spots Bushi. They find out that Bushi is Kate’s pet cat. Sora wants to touch it again and of course the rest wonders her strange English lines.
 
Episode 8 has the Drama Queens more than their usual screen time. It all started when Hazuki’s audio player has problems. Of all the people in the art club, it is a wonder why she has to choose the Drama Queens. She should’ve known better. Uh huh. She even has her reservations about them and yet… Anyway, the following Sunday, Natsumi is at Hazuki’s place and everyone hail the arrival of the Drama Queens. As expected, they pull off some obvious odd comments like saying it’s broken without even plugging it in to test. I think they are the cause of problems more than anything else. After several failed attempts (I think they were just playing around with it), they decide to exorcise the player by dressing up as miko priestess and do some weird ritual. After they have done and left, to Natsumi and Hazuki’s surprise, the player is working once again! Is it them? Nah. The second half of this episode sees Sora going around town doing her usual sketch. Sora bumps into Minamo once again. Though Sora tries to escape due to her shyness, Minamo manages to stop her and gets her permission to look inside her sketchbook. Though amazed, Minamo decides to follow Sora around. Minamo notices how Sora is trying to sketch moving things but each time she fails to finish it. Minamo offers Sora to look at her camera of the pictures she snapped. With that, Sora’s disappointment is gone as she decides to borrow and draw from it. It is evening and it seems while Sora is sitting on a bench sketching, Minamo has fallen asleep next to her. Sora then decides to sketch her. Minamo soon awakens to see Sora offer her some tea. When Minamo browse through Sora’s sketches, she finds one which is herself sleeping. Sora says how she looked comfortable in that position and decided to draw her. Minamo then reminded Sora that they’ve met before (yeah, that Sora girl didn’t remember who she is) and is glad she was able to look at her sketches. Sora decides to give her that sketch of her sleeping self as a parting gift. Soon Sora meets Natsumi and Hazuki on the way home and joins them for dinner.
 
The exams are near in episode 9. Ao asks some help from Sora for his studies but it seems Sora herself isn’t good at them as Ao knows more stuff than her. With that, Sora goes and enjoy her tea. Ah, better not strain herself. In class, Natsumi notes how Kate has an advantage in English but Kate says she has problems with Japanese kanji. So the gang decides to ask their other members for advice for effective studying. Some of them are really odd (like Juju’s guitar singing method) while some have merits (like Negi’s use of tiny memory cards). Finally when they have done asking almost everyone, Kasugano appears and wonders why they haven’t come to her and that she was waiting the whole time. But soon we know her true colours because Kasugano couldn’t answer a simple basic question when the girls asked her. Since the classroom are filled with studious people (I guess it’s the only time everyone starts reading up. Brings back memories, huh?), they decide to go study at the library and sees Ujou there. They ask him for advice and his answers are frightening for those who don’t do their homework. It’s like they couldn’t believe he’s being studying all this while and behind their backs or something. Kiasu or what? I think everybody should emulate Ujou. Because Kate is having a hard time digesting her studies, her loudness is causing some easiness for the other library-goers. Meanwhile we see Kamiya trying to piss off Negi who is trying to study by putting a pencil lid in his rubber. I guess it’s her way of letting of some steam from studying. Or is she trying to study in the first place? Sora remembers she has left her container in the classroom and goes back to retrieve it only to see Nagisa there alone studying. Anyway, Nagisa’s words of what she wants to do by being a environmentalist and insect expert seems to baffle Sora so much, so much so Nagisa doesn’t mind explaining all over again. Me too, I don’t get it. Back home, everyone resumes their studying and something about Hazuki and her mechanical pencil lid… Sora asks Ao why he studies and the latter replies of now wanting to lose to somebody. Sora then notes how she isn’t see her aspirations yet, the reason why she is currently studying.
 
The exams are over in episode 10 and it’s time for another autumn field trip for the art club members. Don’t worry, the destination won’t be their school grounds again, although it’s just a nearby forest vicinity. Feeling ripped off once again? Of course, Negi isn’t too fond of Kasugano lazing around and just letting the students do what they want to do as she continues her outdoor nap. Sora notes the change in scenery and while the gang are taking a break having lunch, a stray puppy approaches them (I know, it looks weird. And I thought it was a cat). Kuga decides to play a prank on a sleeping Negi by putting food on him. So when the puppy jumps on him, he’s in for a rude awakening. Everybody loves to pick on this guy. Soon Kasugano calls for the gang for a drawing assignment and everyone who seems to take a liking for the puppy’s cuteness, decides to draw it. However, the puppy has grown fond and quite attached to Negi, much to his dismay. Not only that, the puppy is even following Negi home. The girls try to make him take some responsibility (hey, it could be worse like making your girlfriend pregnant. Just kidding). Just then, Minamo passes by and snaps a picture of them. The next day, the puppy seems to be the star attraction in the art club room when Minamo comes in calling the puppy Inuo. We find out Minamo is Negi’s little sister. What a small world after all. After a little chat, Minamo is happy that Sora called her her friend and borrows Sora her camera to take some pictures. I think Kasugano too takes a liking for Minamo because as the former was looking for P-chan, she comes across Minamo and her knowledge of potato chips astounded the teacher. While Minamo experiences some painting with the art club members, Sora is testing some shots with the camera when she spots P-chan. When Sora comes back, she finds that Minamo and the rest are having fun with painting with their palms. At the end of the day, Sora hands back Minamo’s camera but the latter requests a group photo. As everyone gathers to pose, Minamo takes a close-up picture of a leaf falling on Sora’s head.
 
It’s the cats turn to steal the limelight again in episode 11. After Sora had fun watching her breath on a cold morning, she catches a cold. Mike and Ha-san notices Sora being sick but it was still enough to send shivers down their spine when Sora spots them through her window room. Even though she is sick, Sora still goes to put some food for the stray cats. Expired food, that is. Mike and Ha-san are still in a dilemma whether to eat it or not. In order not to waste her efforts, they sum up their courage to eat it. But before they could do so, Grey appears and seems to be enjoying it. Meanwhile a bored Sora lying in bed seems to be giving names of things on her room ceiling. At school, everyone knows about Sora’s illness and I don’t know why Kuga is covering herself behind the dark curtains. Everytime Natsumi sucks from her drink, Kuga goes up, then down. Back to the cats. We see Ha-san giving voice over dubs to human conversations. Something like getting back for humans who give voice over dubs to animals. This prompts Kuma to come up with a plan because he thinks there is a communication problem between humans and cats. Kuma is trying to lecture on the topic of body language communication and did some weird stance and asks the rest to guess. But they end up guessing it wrongly and earning the wrath of Kuma. Who would have guessed that stance is supposed to compare weights of something? Bushi comes by to see the cats in some weird antics of theirs. Meanwhile as Sora is still stuck in her room, her other pals came by to pay her a visit. Ao made a funny comment of how he feels like the leader of an RPG group as he leads Natsumi, Hazuki and Kate to Sora’s room. Well, the gifts are really weird. From Kate’s drawing of a happy moustache man (which looks so much like the kanji writing of ‘valley’) to the Drama Queens’ Chinese cabbage. Sora feels happy and Ao notes how they are good people even though they are strange. So that night, the cats did some ritual according to Bushi’s instructions, hoping that Sora would stop feeding them expired food. Sora wakes up from a dream and heads to the kitchen to find the food she feed the cats have expired. The next morning, Sora brings out some food for the stray cats. Though Mike and Ha-san are reluctant at first, but after tasting it, they are in ecstasy after tasting such good food. Did that ritual work? Let’s hope Sora will keep this up and not just this once.
 
Episode 12 has Sora, Natsumi, Hazuki and Kate shopping together on their day off. Before that, Sora had a dream in a train ride when she and Ao was younger and were together at a park. The gang arrives at an art store and it seems Kate is trying to help a man buying a present for his sister. It feels like as though Kate is the salesperson of this store. Of course with her silly suggestions and thick accent, her conversation sounds hilarious as usual. Sora then suggests a sketchbook for him, which he agrees. Later as the girls are taking a break at a restaurant, they find that they themselves too had bought a sketchbook each. Natsumi and Hazuki wonders what to draw on the first page of their sketchbook when Kate suggests to always write her name like she usually does. Nearby, the Drama Queens as usual… Good thing the waitress is patient or rather blur on what antics they’re pulling off. The quartet soon leaves but spots Minamo taking pics of Negi and Inuo to send to their dad at a nearby park. Negi is embarrassed that the girls saw him and does some physical move to make Natsumi forget the whole incident. Why only her? But all that shaking definitely shook her up. Sora spots Ao and his friends in a distance and notes how different he has become. Also, Hazuki seems depressed after failing to get that sausage-like cat she wanted so much. On her way home, she see several kids playing in a park, which reminded her of her early days with Ao. Something about how Ao asked her to draw a monster and after she did, he violently ripped it as though he’s the defender of the universe. Woah. Must be shocking for a shy girl like her. Back at Kamiya’s place, it seems her small family is celebrating her birthday with her sister giving a collar for Kuma and her brother a sketchbook. So that guy is Kamiya’s brother. Really a small world after all. At Negi’s home, he reluctantly helps Minamo pick out a picture to send to their dad. And at Sora’s, she decided the first thing she should draw is that monster because thoughts of her family comes to mind. Next day in school, the rest shows Sora what they have drawn first. Can you guess? Natsumi drew her hand puppets while Hazuki an elaborated scheme to get that sausage-like cat she loves so much. So typical. Also, Negi notices Kamiya’s new sketchbook which she brought to class.
 
In episode 13, the art club members gather to watch the sakura bloom at their school compound. But to my surprise, the producers introduced a new character in this last episode. She is Tsukiyo Ooba and she has a far worse attendance record compared to the Drama Queens! I can’t believe this character is voiced by Mamiko Noto! How dare they cast her in such a short role! Just kidding. Anyway, Ooba claims that she has made several short cameo appearances throughout the series. Not that I notice or care. Since Ooba’s quite upset that Ujou introduced her to the other members (who are wondering who this newbie is, of course), she thinks he sees no confidence in her and decides to leave. Yeah, at least don’t take the pizza away with you. Another funny part is where Hazuki is all over Inuo. Kasugano got a little jealous and says how her P-chan is cute enough to be eaten. Hahaha! P-chan feeling the shivers again. There is a sakura tree not blooming with the rest so Kasugano suggests some tree hug to hasten its blooming process. Since it didn’t work, she tells Negi to climb on it and cheer for it out loud. After doing that, Kasugano concludes that it didn’t work, pissing Negi off. Soon the gang disperses but Sora decides to stay back in class for a while. Minamo shortly drops by to give Sora the group photo she took earlier on. She smiles after looking at it. Next day it seems Sora is the only one attending class as Natsumi visits the dentist and Hazuki her own important business. There alone in the room, she gives her thoughts on what she thinks of her art club members. Don’t worry, they’re all good points. For the first time when the Drama Queens decide to attend class, they find only Sora and comes up with a conclusion that hell may be freezing over and decide to make an excuse to stock up their canned foods and left. Hahaha! Sora also notices how that slow blooming sakura tree has bloomed beautifully today. I’m not sure Kuga’s intention to come to class, hide behind the curtain and tell Sora not to mind her. Then when Negi comes in to see only Sora and leaves, Kuga mentions that he has been tricked into thinking that there is only 1 member here, before leaving.
 
As Sora continue to comment on her other members, she paints the group photo on the canvas. She even added the cats, Ao and Minamo into her drawing. Though she is the only one in the room, Sora thinks that she has never felt lonely while being in this club. She also realizes that everyone is full of different colours. Just then, Kasugano arrives and takes a look at Sora’s work. Kasugano compliments her good job before leaving, leaving Sora’s face a little red. Okay, very red then. As Sora walks home, she decides to live her life at her own pace as she spots Natsumi and Hazuki across the street and calls out to them. The duo then rush to her as they began walking together. As the end credits roll, we see the other members doing their usual stuff like Ujou and Kate studying together in the library. Hmm… Any chemistry between the 2. Don’t think so but I realize that Kate doesn’t appear much in this episode. The final scene shows Sora, Natsumi and Hazuki eating together in a restaurant. As the friendly waitress introduces herself, Natsumi and Hazuki did likewise. But before Natsumi could introduce Sora, Sora in her own voice introduces herself, surprising her buddies. Finally she has the courage to speak up. Now that’s a big step forward.
 
Even if the ending wasn’t much, but I still find this series quite pleasant to watch. I know it won’t be one of my favourites but at least I’m glad to have watched such a relaxing and calming series. It must have been a long time since I’ve watched one of these kind of genres. Though the theme here is art, I won’t really say that the drawing and art of the series is exceptional. I mean, it just feels okay. Not like there are any breathtaking scenes or whatsoever. I like it when Sora’s face goes simple and chibi when she’s enjoying things or in a little pinch. She looks quite cute. Hmm… I’m wondering that last still picture whereby it showed Sora and Mike shaking hands with their counterparts from Aria The Animation, Akari and President Aria. I wonder if there’s a relation between those 2 animes besides the calm and soothing pace.
 
But instead of visual candy, like other calm relaxing anime series, the plus point here is the audio candy. This series is filled with lots and lots of nice background music (BGM). Ranging from the typical soothing piano solo to the fast and catchy ones. Each of them perfectly tailor-suited for the atmosphere and scenes of the series. Other than that, I find that the other BGM have that jazzy feel. Now this is music to my ears. The main opening Kaze Sagashi by Natsumi Kiyoura is so relaxing and soothing accompanied with nice acoustic guitar playing style, it makes you want to close your eyes and lie down on the grassy plains on a sunny day and enjoy the rest of the day. Yeah, feel like letting your mind wander and never come back. The main ending theme Sketchbook Wo Motta Mama by Yui Makino is equally soothing and slow too. Of course there are other slow ballads for the series, which are only one time, in the sense that Natsu Kioku by Natsumi Kiyoura was the opening for episode 12 while Tanpopo Suisha was the special ending theme for episode 13 and is sung by Yui Makino, Kana Hanazawa and Asuka Nakase.
 
As for the voice acting, it’s really nothing to shout about. At first I thought Yui Makino was the voice behind Sora because of her sleepy, dreamy and lazy (oops) voice. But to my surprise, Yui Makino was the voice behind Hazuki! Perhaps because of my perception of her voicing previous roles like Sakura from Tsubasa Chronicle and Misaki from NHK Ni Youkoso which made me think so. Surprisingly, the one who voiced Sora is Kana Hanazawa, who in contrast was the voice of that shrieky little blob Potemayo in the series of the same name! Woah! Very contrasting. It goes to show that these voice actresses here are quite flexible. Other casts include Asuka Nanase as Natsumi (Itsuki of I”s Pure), Yuko Goto as Kate (Asahina in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu), Yukari Tamura as Nagisa (Tenten in Naruto), Ami Koshimizu as Kamiya (Tenma in School Rumble), Momoko Saito as Kuga and P-chan (Tsuyuri in Doujin Work), Hiro Shimono as Negi (Ikuto in Nagasarete Airantou), Ryou Hirohashi as Kasugano (Alice in Aria The Animation, Kyou in Clannad, Koyuki in Keroro Gunsou, Sakino in Kimikiss Pure Rouge), Natsuko Fuwatani as Fuu (Suisei Seki in Rozen Maiden), Masumi Asano as Ryou (Hakufu in Ikkitousen), Tomoko Kaneda as Mike (Chiyo of Azumanga Daioh), Shizuka Itou as Ha-san (Wilhelmina in Shakugan No Shana), and Jouji Nakata as Kuma (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou). Lastly, as mentioned previously Mamiko Noto voices Ooba but I recently found out that she voiced another character in this series. Why, it’s Inuo! I couldn’t have guessed it. She’s so multi-talented.
 
The characters here are wacky in their own way and lovable for a short series. My favourite is still the pair of Drama Queens. Life is funny wherever they go even if it doesn’t make sense. Perhaps a spin-off sequel for them? Sometimes we should all just take life and approach things as a joke. Okay, maybe not always. My second favourite character is Kate because of the way she speaks. I’m always smiling everytime she says something. Kate’s seiyuu did quite a good job portraying her thick western accent and at first I thought a Caucasian actually voiced her. Even the cats here had their moments but even if you’re not a cat lover, I’m sure you’ll come to like them as well. But the main character development is on Sora. No doubt in the end, she is still that blur simple-minded girl, but she did underwent some changes herself, especially in the last scene. I know that I’m not good at communicating with people myself too but one day I hope to emulate her good points and her observations of looking things at a simple and different light. And not her dreamy part, okay. Then I remember at the beginning of the series, Sora was quite afraid of Negi’s anger and Kuga told Sora how Negi was some animal by putting 2 paintbrushes as his ears, in which Sora blindly believed so and was calmed. In the end, Sora didn’t fear Negi’s presence anymore, though that guy still has to take anger management classes.
 
Another thing about this anime is the mid-intermission. The unique thing about it is that in each episode, viewers will get to see the bio-data of the art club members from their class year to their height and weight to their likes and dislikes. Not that I can really remember them, but it really gives the characters some personality and life rather than they are just being created for the sake of creating. Even Ooba too has one at the last episode. See girl, even though you make few appearances, you’re not totally forgotten.
 
So perhaps I should just take Sora’s advice and live my life and do things at my own pace. Urm… Isn’t that what I have been doing all the while? One day in a hectic life, we should all take a break and just look around us. I’m sure we’ll see a different side to it. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, if you’re like Picasso or Van Gough, it’ll be worth several million of dollars! Haha. Just kidding. Now if only I could just sketch a little like her. Heck, I can’t even draw a decent anime character and still can’t. And remember, art is all about creativity, even if it looks weird. And no, this doesn’t mean art club people are weird.
 
Sketchbook ~Full Color's~

OMG! That bastard is still alive! That freaking two-timing idiotic jerk is still alive! Well, after that shocking finale in the anime series School Days, there has been a lot of hatred and cursing about a particular male character from that series. So when the producers came out with a one episode OVA of the series called School Days – Valentine Days, it came as a surprise to me. Even those characters who have died or gone away, are being ‘resurrected’ for this OVA.
 
After that gruesome ending, I’m not sure of the timeline of this single OVA episode. Heck, maybe it has got nothing to do with the storyline after all. I feel that this OVA episode can serve as a stand-alone episode. Why, it’s only 20 minutes long even after taking into account the opening and ending themes. Less than that actually. About 18 plus minutes.
 
Now, after watching this episode, this is what a love harem comedy is supposed to be all about. Yeah, that’s right. As you might have guessed it from the title, the theme is Valentine’s Day and the setting and tone of the series is much more different and light hearted than the tv series. Get ready to have some laughs. So those who have watched the original tv series and dread how everything turned out, rest assured, watch this one for the comedy and don’t let your biasness and prejudices spoil the fun of this OVA.
 
The episode starts off with the girls soaking in an outdoor hotspring inn high up in the snowy mountains. Courtesy of Kotonoha’s dad invitation and offer since this hotspring is associated with one of her dad’s companies so they got free passes to it. I knew that Kotonoha’s family is wealthy but I didn’t know she was this wealthy. Not only that, Kokoro then mentions that they have free passes to Dubai and Hawaii too! Wow. Hikari is really impressed (sarcastically) as Sekai notes that this is the difference between them. Otome then is staring at Kotonoha’s boobs and says she isn’t normal at all. Though Kotonoha is embarrassed, Otome then restrains her and suggests that they see what happens if they fondle them, with Nanami as her partner in crime. Unfortunately, you won’t get to see any yuri scenes furthermore. That’s because Setsuna swims by and says that it’s not the size that matters, but the satisfaction. "SATISFACTION?!". Yeah, enough to send the girls shouting out loud in disbelief. Except innocent little Kokoro of course. She doesn’t understand those adult lines.
 
Meanwhile Makoto is looking bored, sitting in his room with Taisuke, who is feeling impatient and restless because he thinks they have to go peek at the girls if they have the heart of a true hot-blooded man. Yeah, right. Just then, they heard the girls calling Makoto’s name and are tempting him to come join them in the mixed bath. I guess it’s normal for the duo to turn into perverts and in their surprise opens the door to confirm it. But as soon as they did that, the girls threw a wooden bucket at their head. Yeah, they were just kidding. Can’t be that easy, huh? As the duo are crying in frustration on the floor, Makoto narrates "And thus was the beginning of out happy days. Or so we thought… We were too young to know better". Got that right.
 
The next scene shows Sekai, Hikari, Otome and Nanami dining together at a cafe. Hikari talks about the upcoming Valentine’s Day and wonders what Sekai is planning on that day. Though Sekai says she doesn’t have anything in mind, Hikari tells her that she’s lying as she reminds her about Makoto. Though Sekai says she’s planning to give Makoto some obligation chocolates, Sekai shoots back at Hikari about Taisuke’s case. Otome seems to be on Sekai’s side like asking questions if Hikari has even confessed to Taisuke. Obviously that girl doesn’t want anybody else sticking their nose into this case. Nanami then says though it’s a waste to give chocolates but it’s an opportunity. This gives Sekai an idea but Otome isn’t pleased with her reaction. Setsuna then comes by and tells Sekai that all the other customers are looking at her. In her embarrassment, Sekai gets up and apologizes. Looks like she’s slacking on her part time job.
 
Kotonoha comes home to find Kokoro going through various recipe books about making chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Kokoro asks her sister if she has anyone in particular to give her Valentine chocolates. Back at Sekai’s home, Sekai finds her mom passionately making chocolates. Still making some at that age? "No matter how old a woman is, she’s always young at heart". Now that’s the positive way to look at things, Sekai’s mom. She then asks if Sekai has a boyfriend. Though Sekai didn’t give an answer, but I guess we can all tell by her body language. Sekai’s mom proceeds to teach her to make some chocolates. Yeah, you have to put one’s feelings into it and then wait for the impact. The impact of a taste that he’ll never forget when he first puts it in his mouth (no hentai thoughts here!) and he will instantly fall in love with you. Furthermore, Sekai’s mom is giving her lecture like as though she’s attacking the enemy. "Zero in and strike! Strike! Strike! Strike!". I know that Valentine’s Day can be a battle zone for some.
 
But the next disturbing scene is at Kotonoha’s home. I don’t know if it’s for real or not, but Kotonoha is dressed in a cape and making chocolates with unthinkable ingredients. Lizards. Ginseng. Squids. You get the idea. She’s like a witch trying to make some poison! Reminds you of that story in Snow White, huh? Not only that, she’s got Kokoro as her little assistant. I wonder if they’re really making chocolates. What’s this? Kotonoha taking out a chainsaw and starts slashing the air?! I think we’re in the wrong horror thriller show.
 
Valentine’s Day arrive and at class, Taisuke is reading his and Makoto’s love fortune for that special day. Taisuke must be really expecting something good out of it. "An unexpected girl will forcefully approach you", "And you will progress 1 step further into manhood". Don’t believe everything you read. Taisuke seems passionate about everything but Makoto doesn’t give a damn. Taisuke thinks of going to check his shoe locker again but Makoto tells him to check his desk first. When he does, Taisuke is sad to find nothing and thinks he’s been ignored this year. I think he’s been ignored all the time. Sekai is watching the duo from behind and thinks that they are idiots.
 
It’s evening and the day is coming to an end. Uh huh. Those 2 guys didn’t get anything and Taisuke is cursing his luck and youthful days of his. Just then, a blushing Otome then comes by and is asks Makoto to come with her for a while. She then takes Makoto’s hand and brings him along somewhere. It then hit Taisuke that Makoto is the one that is going into manhood alone. Feeling frustrated? Bye bye you loser. While Taisuke is branding Makoto a traitor, Hikari is getting ready to give her chocolates to Taisuke.
 
At the school garden, Otome is finding it hard to tell Makoto but eventually manages to sum up her courage and give him her chocolates. However, she tells him that it’s just obligation chocolates since they have known each other since young. Soon, they heard Sekai calling out Makoto’s name. She too has chocolates in hand. Yeah, the rivalry intensifies. Note the lion and tiger aura of Otome and Sekai respectively! Sekai too hands her obligation chocolates but Otome soon pulls Makoto away and says that he doesn’t have to accept them since they are obligation chocolates. Sekai says the same thing to Otome’s chocolates as they tug and pull Makoto. He’s going to break at this rate. He manages to break free and tells them to calm down. But the girls aren’t satisfied still because it took them quite a long time to make them and wants him to choose. He has no choice, even if they’re both obligation chocolates.
 
As Makoto steps back, he bumps into Kotonoha. Holy sh*t! So that weird stuff she was making is for real! What in the world is that evil purple aura coming out from that chocolate cake with tentacles! Hideous! Sekai and Otome notes another rival has appeared. Oh great. That’s what Makoto needs. If you think he has to choose between 2 is bad, it gets even worse with 3 now. Triple trouble. The girls are awaiting his choice and we can see their eyes glowing in evil red. Makoto realizes that this is not good at all and whatever choice he picks, his fate is sealed. He’s going to be killed! Haih… If he only realized that back in the tv series. Makoto tries to run away and escape but the girls are hot on his heels. At the same time, Hikari is disappointed that she didn’t manage to give her chocolates to Taisuke because that jerk was gone the moment she turned her eyes away for a moment. Makoto then ran pass by her and the chasing pack slams Hikari to the shoe locker. I don’t know why, but did you notice that Sekai and Kotonoha are carrying a knife in the other hand while chasing down Makoto?
 
I also don’t know how this happened but soon Sekai’s mom joins in the chase. Yeah, she’s in her bikini and wants Makoto to have some with her. "I’ll give you a taste of an adult’s pleasure". Not only that. Kokoro is in this too! She’s in a ribbon cat outfit and still has that onii-chan fetish. Holy cow! Thank goodness this isn’t the original tv series whereby Makoto went around doing in girls he comes across! No lolis, no other people’s wife! You know, this guy can break the world record in running across the globe in… Heck, I don’t know how long but it seems time didn’t pass at all. That’s because it’s still evening but Makoto has been cornered by the 5 ladies at the top of the school rooftop. Since he is indecisive, Kotonoha then suggests that he eat all their chocolates at once. I think their evil red eyes are more of being sadists rather than force love. Yeah, they’re being yandere, you know… They restrain him and stuff it all together down his throat! At least take off the wrappers lah. Wow. He does really have a big mouth. But I guess the taste must be really out-of-this-world. In a negative aspect, that is.
 
While barely alive, Makoto tells them that he will give his reply and impression some other time. Sekai thinks it’s White Day, which is only a month away. Relieved, the girls then walked away and look forward to it. Makoto, please note down that another D-Day in your diary. Makoto manages to crawl his way back to class when he sees Setsuna there. She gives him a chocolate which is smaller then her palm. Though Makoto thinks it’s another obligation chocolate, Setsuna tells him that it’s okay if he doesn’t want to accept it. But I suppose he doesn’t want to disappoint her and eats it. Surprisingly, he finds it delicious and feels much better. With that, Setsuna proceeds to give him a giant size chocolate! Wow! Where did she take that out from? Uh huh. That little chocolate was just a small sample, part of the rest of this. Setsuna then tells him that the chocolates are not from her but from a person who is too shy to give it to him personally and that she’s just being told to do so on her behalf.
 
Makoto then asks who is it from. Now this is the shocking part which I didn’t see coming nor guess. Sestuna’s answer… Taisuke! WTF???!!! THAT IS FROM TAISUKE???!!! Since when did that guy turned gay?! Another disturbing scene as Taisuke appears in make-up! He’s doing his lovey-dovey expression to Makoto! Holy *#&$#@!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe it turned out to be something yaoi! Something gay! NOOOO!!!! That’s right Makoto. Scream all you want. In an empty classroom, nobody can hear you scream. Okay, maybe not. Thus, Makoto’s final narration "Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. And thus was the beginning of our happy days. Or so we thought, young and foolish as we were. My springtime of youth stumbled into further confusion…". Before Makoto could finish his sentence, it seems that he has been cut off. Like somebody taking him away by his throat. Have fun.
 
OMG! That ending was totally unexpected! Of all the girls, I was thinking that he may ended up with one of them or none. But Taisuke?! Probably he’s been hanging around with him for so long, so much so that loneliness of not being able to find a suitable girl turned all that hope into gay love. Woah. If it’s true, then Makoto has really got to stay away from this guy. So where did his manhood he yearned so much go? More like turned into gayhood. Yeah, if you note the ending animation sequence, there will be a picture of Taisuke’s girly expression somewhere at the end as the handphone’s screensaver image.
 
This episode is the best one among the series. I really enjoyed it very much. Ah, if only the series had more episodes like this. But after watching this, it doesn’t feel like ‘dessert’ to wash away the awful ending of the tv series. My feelings and thoughts for the tv series still remains unchanged. Makoto is still a guy that viewers will love to hate even after watching this one. Though I’m glad nothing bad happened in the end, but I feel that this OVA episode is some sort a revenge for the girls. Yeah, Makoto getting a taste of his own medicine. It would’ve been more fun if Setsuna had been in that chase too but I guess the producers reserved her little role for that finale. Shocking but hilarious.
 
So it goes to show you that when you have a harem, it’s really hard to choose which one to give your full attention to. As I’ve said before, this is one aspect where sharing isn’t a good point to emphasize. And even if you fail to give your Valentine’s Day chocolates to your loved one, don’t stuff it down his/her throat forcefully. Of course, it is the thought that counts too. Now, I wonder if there are any girls out there who are willing to give me their chocolates too… NOO!!! Since I haven’t received one before, I’m thinking I’m turning into a loser like Taisuke!!! *Sinking into deep depression*.
 
School Days

Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations

October 11, 2008

When I first read that the anticipated third season was being scrapped, I was a little saddened. I thought Tsubasa Chronicle was quite a nice dimension hopping adventure series and perhaps a trilogy would make a better end for it. One reason why the third season was discontinued was because, as I read, the creators of the series wasn’t really happy of how the producers handled the second season, and thus decided to call off the project for the third season. Well, to me the second season seems fine although there are some parts which still confuses me.
 
In replacement of the third season, the producers decided to come up with a 3 episode OVA entitled Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations. One might think that there isn’t much since it’s only 3 episodes long and that there is only 1 world to visit. Well in the tv series, the amount of episodes for a normal story arc is around that number. In addition, this OVA reveals the true intentions of Fei Wong Reed, that villain who keeps watching our travelling heroes from the sanctuary of his unknown base. Plus, a shocking truth about the other Syaoran that we always see in his capsule…
 
Episode 1
The episode starts off with the usual gang of 5 entering a whole new world courtesy of Mokona’s powers. From their conversation, I think that they have just escaped from that library country with that Book Of Memories (the one where Sakura’s feather was on the book’s cover). Since it’s been over more than a year since I’ve watched the second season, I can’t really remember much, that’s why I’m really confused when this episode starts. You see, the gang barely manages to escape from an attack in that previous world through the use of Fye’s magic. Fans of the series would know that Fye will never use his magic but he notes how that time was different. I actually didn’t think they were attacked at the end of that library world’s story arc. Not that I could really remember. An important development that I remembered was that the other Syaoran in Fei Wong’s world temporarily took control of the real Syaoran and made him go wild and violent while retrieving Sakura’s feather.
 
In this new world that they have just arrived in, it is an alternate dimension of Tokyo, Japan. Only difference is that the whole city seems to be like an aftermath of a big war with destroyed buildings and monuments everywhere and the place seems void of the usual hustle and bustle of modern day Tokyo. In other words, it’s like a dead ghost town. In addition, the rain which falls on this place is acidic. Now this explains why there isn’t any life form. With the acid rain burning their skins and Sakura in unconscious mode (as always whenever she receives a feather), the gang quickly took shelter in a nearby large seemingly abandoned building. So there are skeletal corpses lying around. Lots of them. Mokona as usual sense a great power underground but isn’t sure whether it is Sakura’s feather or not.
 
As Syaoran and Mokona goes deeper into the building to investigate, they are being greeted (attacked actually) by several crossbow arrows. He tried his best to dodge them, but one of them hit his left thigh. Several hooded people appears and tells Syaoran of his impending doom because he has set foot on their territory as they suspect him to be a thief. Before they could finish off the injured Syaoran a rock is thrown to deflect the arrow. It’s Kurogane to the rescue. Kurogane tells Mokona to give him his sword (remember that little white manjuu can keep lots of things inside its mouth). So a cool short one-on-one battle ensues Kurogane and the leader of the gang, Kamui. After trading blows, Kamui decides not to go on and proceeds to go back underground and let the rest handle the newcomers.
 
The hooded group decided not to kill Syaoran and co because Kamui didn’t kill them so they think it’s unnecessary. They explain that underneath this building lies a great pool of fresh water when Kurogane asks. Ah, that explains why they are protecting it. Fye then reassures them that they are not thieves and that they are from another far away place. The gang are then taken upstairs and Syaoran treated for his wounds. They learn that this place has experienced acid rain for the last 15 years and any water on the surface is undrinkable nor usable and their only source to carry on living was the one underneath this building, the Tokyo Government Office. Unlike other structures, this one seems to not get affected by the acid rain and is the only 1 of the 2 structures standing firm, the other being the tower which is not far from here and has its own source of freshwater underneath. Thing is, with the scarcity of freshwater, the survivors has been divided into several factions and they fight among each other for the water. Thus there is another rival group based at the tower.
 
Night falls and Fye wishes Sakura would never wake up in this world. There is some little dramatic talk between Fye and Kurogane about the use of the former’s magic and running away from somebody. Also something on Fye doesn’t want to get anyone hurt or involved with his own personal problems. Not that Kurogane really cares but he is still sharp nevertheless and tells him to face reality. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that ever-smiling face magician had such a dejected expression before. Their conversation is interrupted when one of the hooded members, Kusunagi, enters. Meanwhile Sakura is having a weird dream of someone telling her that she shouldn’t be here and that she has to wake up before the dream catches her.
 
The next day, Syaoran, Fye and Mokona leaves with the hooded group to hunt for giant monstrous worms, while Kurogane stays by Sakura’s side. Something about this as their food source. The hooded group are amazed with Syaoran’s skill when he takes out a giant worm in a single strike. Soon, another group of people arrives from the other side of the bridge. They are the rival group from the tower. Their leader, Fuuma, still wants their water, so Kamui engages in another hand-to-hand combat with Fuuma. Since they are evenly matched, the battle shortly ends when Fuuma’s subordinates report to him about their tower soon to be attacked. Fuuma and his underlings then left. Back at the office, Syaoran and co finds out that Kamui appeared in this world 2 years ago and they thought he was a thief just life Syaoran. They didn’t kill him because he looked like a lost child. Then after seeing the underground water, Kamui then vowed to protect it. So when Syaoran and co arrived in this world, they thought he was somewhat similar to Kamui as they had something they were after.
 
Sakura’s weird dream continues and she is being swallowed by a ball of light. Kurogane notices Sakura’s tiny hands moving but soon realizes that she is no longer breathing and calls for help. At the same time, Mokona’s feather-sensing "Mekkyou~" activates and it tells Syaoran that there is a feather of Sakura’s right underneath the office building. Just then, Kamui points a crossbow at Syaoran to prevent him from going there. But Kamui backs down when Mokona pleads to him that Sakura’s feather is the precious thing Syaoran is looking for. Back in Fei Wong’s lair, the other Syaoran breaks free from his capsule. Xing Huo then decides to help him by using her one-time-only ability to send him to another dimension as she claims that the dream has to end. This Syaoran soon arrives in modern day Tokyo and it seems that dimensional witch, Yuuko, is waiting for him.
 
Episode 2
Continuing from the previous episode, the other Syaoran makes a wish to Yuuko that he wants to be where his right eye is. As fans should know, in order for this witch to grant a wish, something valuable to that person must be exchanged as a price. I’m not sure of the reasoning, but Yuuko mentioned that since he has sacrificed his relationship, time and freedom while being in that capsule, she grants his wish since she has already received that payment in advance. I’m confused. But this is just the first series of confusions yet to come for me.
 
Back at the acid Tokyo world, when Mokona detects the presence of a feather of Sakura, the hooded group tries to prevent them from going further, citing only authorized personnel can do so. Kamui is underground and the water soon starts to glow. As Kamui dives in, he spots an unconscious Sakura absorbing the feather. With that, the protective barrier over the office building vanishes. Wait a minute. How did Sakura ended up down there? I thought she wasn’t breathing and what happened to Kurogane who’s supposed to be by her side? Did he allow her to go there? But at least this proves that the office was being protected by the power of the feather. Soon Syaoran jumps into the water as he thinks Kamui is going to attack Sakura. Kamui retaliates and we see his fingernails growing longer and sharper as he cuts Syaoran. Wait a minute. This guy is a vampire? He’s saying that someone by the name of Subaru will awaken if he drinks Syaoran’s blood. Syaoran then remembers how he is similar to Seishirou. Wait a minute again. Seishirou is a vampire too? I didn’t know that. Since Kamui found out that he knows Seishirou, he is going to kill them both. The fight continues as Syaoran wouldn’t allow anyone to lay a finger on Sakura. Kamui notices the change in Syaoran’s character.
 
Because the duo are taking quite some time underwater (I wonder if they could really hold their breaths for a long time even after moving so much and being wounded), Fye dives in only to his surprise finds Syaoran holding up a wounded Kamui, but is soon healed by the blood in the water. Fye tries to convince Kamui that Syaoran is a good kid. Yuuko and Fei Wong then felt the seal of the right eye is broken. Now this is the confusing part. Fei Wong narrates that the Syaoran who has been travelling all the while is actually a clone of the real one, which is the one in the capsule! HUH?! The real Syaoran is a descendant of Clow Reed and the purpose of making this clone is to collect all the feathers. The real Syaoran gives his right eye and copies his heart to the clone. Since Fei Wong is unable to destroy the clone without removing the right eye, he sends Syaoran to Clow Kingdom anyway since the clone’s purpose is to collect all the feathers. Until Yuuko interfered, his plans has always gone accordingly. Also, the real Syaoran’s magic has been halved then and is waiting for a time in which he could break free from an imprisonment spell Fei Wong put on him. Due to Fei Wong’s tremendous powers, Yuuko wasn’t able to interfere directly and could only hope for the real Syaoran to awake. With the seal of the right eye broken, Yuuko knows the heart Syaoran gave the clone will return to him. Do you get all this? Now I’m really blur.
 
Back at the underground water, Kamui sense that someone from another dimension is coming. Fye knows of this real Syaoran but tries to use his magic to seal it as he feel that the clone’s heart was created from all those he loved and doesn’t want it to lose the heart. However, it didn’t work out. The clone kicks Fye and decides to take Fye’s eyes because he knows that it is the source of his magic. Meanwhile Kurogane is carrying Sakura in his arms down to the underground water when she starts to disappear (I thought she was underwater? Maybe this short moment is to show what happened before to her and how she got there). By the time Kurogane arrives, the water has completely disappeared.
 
Okay, this part was really disturbing because clone Syaoran extracts Fye’s left eye and eats it! Oh no! I don’t recall Fye in the second season to be one eye blind. He would have taken out the other eye too if not for a furious Kurogane who starts attacking the clone. He also notices this isn’t the real Syaoran he used to know. Nevertheless, the clone fights back and even uses his newly acquired magic. The real Syaoran soon appears. Sakura then suddenly wakes up and witness the heart from the clone fly into the real one. The real Syaoran says that with the seal broken, there is no way of returning the heart to the clone. Fye knew of this and yet he tried, which made Kurogane mad. The real Syaoran further explains that he has watched everything that has happened so far on their journey through the clone’s right eye and had always hoped that the clone’s heart would change and consider Sakura as important, rather than the real one’s heart. The clone seems unfazed by all this and continues attacking the real Syaoran. Kurogane orders Mokona to spit out a sword but the clone intercepts and takes it instead. The real Syaoran then said when he gave his heart to the clone back then, he also hoped that the clone’s heart will grow and change instead of being something like a mindless robot. And if ever that did not happen by the time the seal is broken, he will have to eliminate him. The real Syaoran creates his own flaming sword and sends the clone flying. Before he can land the killing blow, Sakura stops them and pleads not to kill him. The clone uses this distraction to stab him in the leg.
 
The clone then approaches some pod and cuts it open to reveal a feather of Sakura’s. He forcefully returns the feather to Sakura and vows how he will collect all her feathers. Sensing no more feathers in this world, the clone then decides to go to the next world alone. Sakura tries to stop him but he shakes her off and continues his journey through the portal. Sakura then goes into unconscious mode again when someone emerges from the pod and grabs her. He is Subaru, another vampire. He apologizes to her for waking her up at a painful time. Though Kamui is glad to see his twin brother alive and wants to leave for the next world, Subaru tells him to wait a little longer. Kurogane confronts the real Syaoran and asks him about the crest on his clothes. Syaoran confirms that this is the crest of the organization which killed his mother.
 
So okay, a lot of what-the and what-is-happening moments and I’m still trying to absorb and digest what is happening. A lot of new questions for me arise just because I don’t read the manga (not sure even if it’s explained there) like was Kamui waiting for the revival of Subaru to go to the next world and even so how did Subaru ended up in that pod, and why didn’t Kamui just sliced that pod open or whatsoever if he wanted to leave this world together. Other than that, I don’t really recall the clone Syaoran having appeared in the second season because the way they show it, it was like heck, it has always been the same Syaoran from day 1. Another thing is, if Fei Wong had kidnapped Syaoran when he was young, so which means back on the 1st episode of the 1st season meaning to say that Syaoran is a fake all along! Even when Sakura’s feathers started to scatter back then, it’s like all these were part of Fei Wong’s plan. That guy is really one heck of a good planner. Oh yeah, by the way, Xing Huo looks like she is dead because Fei Wong was narrating some lines by himself and he did quipped how she can’t react back.
 
Episode 3
Anybody would get mad if they have killed their mother. That’s what Kurogane felt and he’s going to take it out on Syaoran if not for Yuuko’s hologram communication advice not to do so through Mokona’s mouth. Besides being cute, that white little creature is sure useful. Yuuko tells Kurogane that his mother’s real killer was the same person who has imprisoned this Syaoran. But for now, they are focused on treating Fye. But Fye doesn’t want to be saved because he thinks that since the clone has got part of his magic source, letting him live will only let the clone to continue existing. Though Kurogane is mad on the way Fye answered, he asks Yuuko if there is a way to save him. Of course, there is a way but it comes at a very high price. Soon the hooded group comes in to tell them that the underground water has all vanished. Though Syaoran feels that everything that has happened is his fault, Subaru says otherwise and that he himself is to blame. To make things up, Subaru requests for Yuuko to refill the underground water. In exchange for this wish that is being requested by someone else, Subaru will use his blood to save Fye. Huh? It gets complicated when Yuuko says that since Kurogane was the one who doesn’t want Fye to die, he has to let Fye drink his blood the same time Fye drinks Subaru’s. Can there be a simpler way? Anyway this in turn will make Fye only able to drink Kurogane’s blood so this makes the latter responsible for both their lives. Healing can be such a complicated matter. Fye is against this so Kurogane shuts him up by saying that if he wants to die so much, he’ll kill him himself instead, but he needs to make sure that he’s alive and well till then. Fye has no choice but to oblige.
 
But it is Kamui who gives Fye his blood and the transformation is seemingly painful for Fye, after which he soon lose consciousness. After putting Fye to rest, Fuuma and his group arrives at the office building. Fuuma is holding a container which contains a Sakura feather. Due to the container’s power, this prevents Mokona or Syaoran clone from detecting its presence. Fuuma wants to make a deal. In exchange for the feather that Sakura absorbed earlier on, he wants Kamui to let his group from the tower to live together under the same office building. However Mokona says that feather is important as it is what they’ve been searching for throughout their journey. Sakura is now conscious and tells them that her feather is not important now. As everyone goes in to refill the underground water through some little pot with seemingly incessant flow of water that Yuuko sent through Mokona, Kamui notices Fuuma’s feather container is not of from this world. Fuuma says that he brought it from a different world and he is like a hunter just like his brother Seishirou, though they hunt for different things. Oh great. So this guy’s elder brother is Seishirou. It gives a whole new meaning to the term "It’s a small universe after all". This also means that Fuuma is from another world.
 
Now Yuuko is quite the businesswoman she is as she tells the gang about the price in return for refilling the water. Sakura says that she wants to do the job alone instead. After seeing Sakura off, Fuuma mentions how Seishirou wanted to see Subaru again but Kamui thinks otherwise and wouldn’t allow him to catch up with them, thus that’s why they’re dimension hopping. Meanwhile Mokona is having a chat with Syaoran and the former thinks how lonely it is for him to be cooked up in that capsule as it feels he wanted to travel and experience adventure with the gang even though Syaoran says that he has watched everything through his right eye. Fye then wakes up and says he can’t forgive Kurogane who chose to let him live. Yuuko reminds him that his pain is the same as what Syaoran and Sakura are going through.
 
Speaking of Sakura, she is hovering through the wastelands on some hover bike when several giant monsters start attacking her. Sakura is thrown off her bike and is forced to take out her gun to defend herself from the menacing threat. Well, she can’t always play the role of a damsel in distress or sleeping beauty. Yeah, Sakura kicks butt too! Okay, maybe not as skilful as the rest but it’s better than screaming and standing there helplessly waiting for help to arrive. The gun really does pack a punch as it took out the monsters after several shots. Though Sakura is wounded, her determination made her trudge all the way to her goal, no matter how painful it is. When she reaches some place, it seems the price Yuuko wanted was some glowing egg-like thingy. I wonder why if such thing is valuable to Yuuko. Or she just prefer to see the suffering of people going through while retrieving it. A two-headed giant snake is guarding it and smacks Sakura against the wall. Woah. Very bloody. Remember, this is to show that Sakura isn’t just a soft girl. She uses her gun to kill off the snake and finally manages to retrieve the egg. With her increasing injuries, Sakura struggles in pain back home. Unfortunately, she has lost her trail after trying to retrace her steps. I’m not sure if she’s seeing things. That’s because Sakura saw a little girl which looks exactly like Sakura of Card Captor Sakura! Now this is really a cross-over series. Sakura wonder who she is (in my mind, I’m snickering and saying, "Hey that’s you from a previous and different world. Haha"). That young girl beckons Sakura to follow her.
 
Back at the office building, Fye has realized that Sakura has went alone to retrieve the price for Yuuko. He doesn’t seem to like the idea and wants to go and get back Sakura but is stopped by Syaoran who tells him that by doing so, it will only hurt her even more. Mokona then spots Sakura approaching from a distance and the gang rushes to her side. Sakura apologizes to Fye saying that he’s suffering more than her but is glad that he is alive. Fye is overcome with emotions and hugs her. After Sakura gives the egg to Yuuko, Yuuko decides to tell them Fei Wong’s real intentions. Fei Wong’s goal is to scatter Sakura’s memories in order to get his wish. He needs 2 things. First, the ruins of Clow Kingdom and second, for Sakura to retrieve those memories while she visits those different worlds. But Sakura is unconscious most of time so how can she have all those memories if her eyes aren’t open? Well, Yuuko says that another way her memories would accumulate is through a vessel, in this case, her body. So even if she’s asleep, her body has visited that world and accumulated memories from there. Further to his plans to scatter Sakura’s memories, he creates another Syaoran to kill Kurogane’s mom. At first I was thinking why it take so long for him to kill Kurogane’s mom because Kurogane was a little kid back that time and when he was sent away by Tomoyo, he was already a grown adult. Then I thought, maybe in different dimensions, time differs. Thus, it was Fei Wong’s plan to gather the group of Syaoran, Fye and Kurogane as a protection for Sakura as she visited different worlds. Come to think of it, the 3 guys have always did so. Wow. That’s really thinking far and ahead. I’m sure lots of people wants to go head-hunting for this guy.
 
Even though the journey of the gang was planned by Fei Wong, Yuuko believes that everything else after that was based on their own free will. Even as of now. Sakura then says she wants to continue her journey to look for that clone Syaoran even if Yuuko warns her that this is what Fei Wong had planned. Fye then says he wishes to go with her because since the clone has his left eye, he might be of use to help find him. Sakura asks if that is his true feelings, Fye replied it is and kisses her hand. The rest too agrees to continue their journey with her because Syaoran believes there is something he wants to take back. Soon after Sakura’s wounds are healed, they decide to depart to the next world. But before that, Sakura shows her kind side by allowing to leave this single feather of hers in this world. As she drops the feather into the underground water, Mokona starts its usual dimension hopping process as everyone else sees them off. I’m wondering why Kamui, Subaru and Fuuma are staying. Didn’t they want to leave this place? Maybe later after they sort things out in this world. During the process, Sakura remembers that little girl who guided her back safely and wonders who she is. I have a theory. If Sakura had absorbed that feather, then probably she will have memories of herself during her days of Card Captor Sakura! Hahaha! She might scream in disbelief and say "OMG! I can’t believe my previous life was a mahou shoujo (magical girl)!". HAHAHAH!!! Just kidding. But I guess we’ll never know.
 
To the next world…
Okay, so this OVA does raise a lot of questions for me. Even after watching the final episode, I still can’t seem to put the pieces together. I’m as blur as always. Since this OVA happened during the middle of the second season, I’m wondering how the later half of the second season has been affected by this. If I can recall, nothing from this OVA seems to have. I mean as mentioned, Fye is now blinded in one eye but in the tv series, no affect from this at all. How about the real Syaoran and the clone? Don’t remember seeing them or even any indication which explains that there are 2 Syaorans actively hopping dimensions. Then in the end, I’m still wondering what is Fei Wong’s real wish. Perhaps its to rule the world or get rid of Yuuko once and for all as what that dimensional witch has explained so far was just his intentions and the process of doing so. But I’ve really got to hand it to that guy for being the best planner I’ve ever known in my life. No wonder he looks so calm while watching Syaoran and co adventuring, even if it doesn’t go according to his plans. See, always have a back-up plan.
 
Even with all that confusion, I still find this OVA to be quite enjoyable. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t watched this series for a long time and when I heard it was coming out, it brought back nostalgic memories of both the seasons. Though I find the animation quality to be quite good, I read that many viewers expressed that the OVA’s quality was way better than the tv series since a different company produced this one. Not that I can tell the difference anyway.
 
But mainly here, the drama are mainly focused between Fye and Kurogane. At first, I thought the other characters from this world would have some sort of impact but in the end, I felt it was back to the usual gang. Perhaps 3 episodes weren’t long enough to cover all the areas in the manga and maybe those characters like Fuuma, Kamui and Subaru would make future appearances in future chapters of the manga. Not that I’m so interested in this and would go rush and read the manga. But if there really is going to be another production, be it OVA or third season, I will definitely be putting this one on my priority to watch list.
 
The opening theme is sung by Yui Makino and is entitled Synchronicity. It sounds very dramatic with all those hymn-like voices at the beginning, which fits this OVA series very well. I was actually thinking that Kinya would do the opening theme for this one because in the past 2 seasons, he did the opening themes for this series. Likewise Maaya Sakamoto did sing all the ending themes, including this OVA one which is entitled Saigo No Kajitsu (The Last Fruit). Though this piece still sounds dramatic but it has a slower and sad tone to it. Not only that, it is over 2 minutes long as compared to the standard 1 and a half minutes in most animes. I kinda noticed that Mokona here doesn’t do its usual genki happy happy sound. It sounded more worrisome. Perhaps this is due to the dramatic and melancholy tone of the OVA. Uh huh. Don’t expect any comic relief here.
 
Hopefully with many viewers having favourable views of the OVA, a continuation should be timely to satisfy hardcore fans of the series. Though I won’t consider myself one, but I just love the fact of going on an adventure through different worlds and some of them really have breathtaking views. Okay, so maybe besides the increasingly baffling and perplexing twist and turns of the storyline, that’s a different matter. I hope that things will turn out well for Syaoran and Sakura in the end. Even if the journey will take forever. But as they say, love does transcend time and space. Now if there is another season or if it takes many years for it to come out, I’m thinking perhaps I should hop to another different dimension to watch it. Like that is possible. What would I trade in exchange for it? Watching animes? That’ll defeat the whole purpose alright.
 
Tsubasa Chronicle

The Fourth Avenue Cafe

October 10, 2008

  Kuuseki ni mitsumerareta,
  Taikutsu na kyuujitsu ni wa,
  Owaru koto naku ga anata,
  Nagaretsudzukete iru
 
One of my favourite songs from the anime series Rurouni Kenshin is The Fourth Avenue Cafe, and this song still remains one of my top favourites despite I’m listening to it lesser these days. Of all the ending themes in this series, this 4th ending song has the shortest span in terms of appearance as it is only shown for a meager 4 episodes! Hey, I kinda noticed that the number 4 here seems to have some sort of role. The name has that number, it makes its appearance after 3 different ending themes and it appears for less than 5 episodes. Coincidence?
 
  Wakatteite mo kidzukanai furishite,
  Oborete ita yo itsudemo,
  Dareka no koto omotteru,
  Yokogao demo suteki datta kara
 
I have got that feeling that all the anime songs sung by L’arc~en~Ciel will not have any karaoke or instrumental versions of it. Okay, so maybe I have not heard nor even know every anime songs that they sing but the ones that I have seems to lack those versions. Why why why don’t they do one? I suppose they have their reasons. Will the song sound much horrible without the lead singer’s voice? I doubt it.
 
  Kisetsu wa odayaka ni owari wo tsugeta ne,
  Irodorareta kioku ni yosete,
  Sayonara ai wo kureta ano hi wa,
  Kono hitomi ni yurameite ita
 
At that time I was really looking high and low for this song but I just couldn’t find it. One reason why I wanted to sing this song so badly was because my voice seems to fit this song quite nicely. Not to say that I sound exactly like the singer but it’s easy on my vocal chords. The pitch of this music suits me, especially the verses. So perhaps the chorus lines will be a little challenging since there is a line which has me needing to go to a slightly higher pitch, but even that is manageable. Most of the time, that is. But even with that small hurdle, it’s not a big thing.
 
  Ato? Dore gurai darou soba ni ite kureru no wa,
  Sou omoi nagara toki wo kizande ita yo
 
So far, this is the only anime song which I can play from start to finish on my guitar. Well, at least with the few simple chords in hand, I’m able to strum and sing by myself if I don’t feel like doing a duet. Of course by playing with only a guitar, it does feel and sound a little ’empty’. And I kinda noticed that when I’m in this mode, my tone goes a little off. Perhaps I really do need a karaoke version. Or is it the singer’s voice covered up my flaw?
 
  Yosete wa kaeshiteku oh nami no you ni,
  Kono kokoro wa sarawarete,
  Kyou no machi wa ai mo kawarazu omoimegurase,
  Sorezore ni egaite yuku oh
 
As for the original song itself, there are some cool acoustic guitar pluckings which I tried to follow (but failed miserably) other than the electrical guitar solo. As the song progresses, the tone of the music it gives you a feel that you’re in the Great Depression Era in the early 30’s. That’s because of that jazzy and steamy trumpet playing style (or was it some other horn instrument) and the other fanfares throughout the song, which projects such an image, especially during the bridge. Though there are some piano play but it’s not as obvious nor does it stand out. The only time it does is when the song is at the end, when once all that lively music reaches the end, the music comes to a near halt, leaving listeners with a slow piano solo and the singer’s seemingly breathy voice to end it all.
 

  Sayonara ai wo kureta ano hito wa,
  Tooi sora ni koikogarete,
  Kono hitomi ni yurameite ita
 
Besides, this whole song has that feel that you’re in during those olden times. Most probably it’s the way the song was sung and not the lyrics. Speaking of which, the lyrics does indicate something close to nostalgia and the boring uncertainty which makes the singer yearn for his lover. But as long as I’m singing this song, the only nostalgia for me is thinking back while I was watching this anime series and being awed by this awesome tune. Although, it was just for a short period of time.

 

  Utsuriyuku machi nami ni,
  Tameiki wa koboreta wo…
 
Rurouni Kenshin

Tactical Roar

October 4, 2008

You know, I have just got to stop picking up any so called seemingly harem animes at first sight. I’m starting to notice this worrying trend of mine. But what the heck, I’ll worry about that later. You see, when I read that Tactical Roar was that kind of anime genre, I quickly hopped on the bandwagon to watch it even though I did little reading up on what it’s about.
 
This is another one of those military themed animes but instead on land, this one is on water. Yes, a naval military anime set in the near future. In this time of era, there has been a great typhoon called Grand Roar which has altered the climate of the world. See, that is what happens if you people don’t wake up and do something about global warming now. But that has nothing to do with this anime. This Grand Roar is so great that this perpetual storm has flooded many countries around the globe. This has given rise to shipping and navigation as an important form of transportation for trade and such. However, due to this, there are many pirates on the rise. And you think at this age the only pirates around are those on the world wide web. If you have seen the One Piece anime series, don’t hope that the pirates here are similar to that. Besides, I don’t really see any of those cross-bones and skull flag. I feel they are like high-tech sophisticated water terrorists.
 
So how does this 13 episode sci-fi anime series have anything to do with the harem genre? Well, given the rise of these pirates, there has been an increasing need for escort battleships to protect merchant ships and the likes from vicious attacks. One of them being the Pascal Magi. A big difference from this ship than the rest is that all the crew on board are female. That’s right. No men allowed. I’m not sure (or rather not paying attention) but the Pascal Magi, led by captain Nanaha "Nana" Misaki has had some bad reputation in the past when it was known as Alice Brand then. Not that I care but due to this, most higher ups don’t really like them.
 
Alright, so how does the harem part come in already, you ask. As seen in episode 1, we have this guy named Hyousuke Nagimiya who is supposed to be on contract to upgrade the computer systems on board Pascal Magi. Ah, there you have it, one lucky son of a gun. If you think the whole men-deficient ladies are going to swoon head over heels over that single guy, then think again. Well okay, maybe most of them. But as for some (read: main female characters) do take some interest in him. In a teasing manner, of course. Fortunately, Hyousuke isn’t a pervert either and even though they don’t have the same surname, Nana is his elder sister. Must be one of those cases they became siblings when their parents died and will always be together bla bla bla. That sort of thing.
 
Thus Hyousuke is remembering the time when he parted ways with Nana who told him how they’ll meet again at sea but this guy is kinda lost trying to get to Pascal Magi on his first day. The first episode also introduces the main female characters on board the Pascal Magi. So let me take the opportunity to do so too. First up, we have popular Weapons Officer, Clio Aquanaut. She is so popular that there are several girls chasing after her! Yeah, notice all those kiss marks covered over her body. She doesn’t confine herself to just 1 particular gender, she swing both ways too, especially when Hyousuke comes on board. Then the ship’s physician, the flirtatious Mitori Shimabara. Others include man-hater and pilot, Tsubasa Watatsumi, and even young little girls like Damage Control Officer, Sango Fukami, a pair of naughty mischievous computer and communications specialist twins, Manatsu and Mashuu Akoya, another bespectacled shy introvert computer genius, Miharu Kairi, and of course the vice captain of the ship and a close loyal aid of Nana, Tanya Kojima.
 
Basically this episode sees how Hyousuke bumps into the girls he is going to work with. I like the one whereby he accidentally got into Sango’s car (is she too young to drive?) and Sango thought he was some robber who will hurt her and starts screaming hysterically although she is the one driving recklessly around in her panic. When the twins stopped the car with their paint guns, they dump Hyousuke on board the Pascal Magi while Tsubasa and Mitori are taking a bath. So what do you expect when Tsubasa who already doesn’t like men, has somebody like him sees her naked body, she’s not going to like it very much. Couldn’t say the same for Mitori, though. Tsubasa starts beating up poor Hyousuke until an official, Okamachi, tells him that he is Pascal Magi’s technician. I suppose this official guy is only on board for some reasons, not like he’s sailing with Nana and the rest. Hyousuke is glad to have finally meet Nana but to his surprise, she acts quite cold. Has she changed? Some of the crew members are glad to have Hyousuke on board, he is having trouble getting use to the place as he is finding his way to some room when he spots a room filled with women’s undergarments. And since Tsubasa passed by and spots what he is looking at, her views of him are becoming less and less favourable. In short, she hates him. But Pascal Magi soon comes under heavy fire as the crew rushes to their stations. Hyousuke then has a first hand view of how Nana and her crew counter attack the missile threats.
 
So in most episodes, we get to see some cool CG effects if there are any sea battles. Not to say it is one of the best but I guess during all that firepower and action, but I kinda feel that it’s quite good. Furthermore, there are lots of naval terms and jargons. Though some of them are explained in detailed by the fansubs, I didn’t really remember nor understood them. My bad. Besides, the naval battle strategy to outwit each other in order to get an advantage to take out the opponent seems interesting, but most of the time, I’m in the blur trying to make sense of their words and wondering what they’re talking about and all I can enjoy are the seemingly endless rain of missiles and its streaming vapour-like trails when they are launched. Speaking of which, I wonder how they have so many supply of ammunition. The way they fire seems like they have infinite amount of them. Like activating a cheat code, huh? Other than naval action, viewers can expect to see lots of fanservice and panty shots. That’s to be expected if the entire crew are females, right? Other than that, I tend to notice that in each episode, there will be a girl with a flower in a hair watching over the Pascal Magi crew. Most of the time, she has a sad expression on her face. Viewers may think she’s some sort of a ghost because she can appear in most unlikely of places and you’d go thinking "How’d she get there?". As far as I’m concerned, I think she has no dialogue lines as well.
 
Episode 2 continues off where the sea battle has started. Nana steers the Pascal Magi into a storm called Spiral Band to take cover from the enemy’s fire but soon decides to take them head on seeing that the enemy isn’t giving up. Some terrorist is using some experimental battleships to aid in their attack, giving them the upper hand. Also on board the Pascal Magi is a cowardly jerk/clown named Hamaguchi. He looks like one of those old American comedians, Laurel And Hardy. Not only that, he has his moustache cutting like Hitler! Though he is the head of some company, he is against Nana’s commands to go head on with the enemy. Why, he’s even thinking of surrendering and making some deals with them. His actions are very unruly as he even snatches a communication headgear away from one of the lady crew to convey his displeasure. Jerk jerk jerk. Idiot idiot idiot. Just sit your fat ass down and let the captain handle everything. If he has left his trust in Nana’s hands, he would’ve felt assured. Even though Pascal Magi emerge victorious, Hamaguchi still isn’t happy and is going to complain.
 
Due to that, Nana and the crew of Pascal Magi are going to face charges and their due punishment once they dock on land. As the crew can only wait on board the ship, Okamachi drives Nana to the marshal court building where she will face those charges. Upon arrival, they spot a goth loli maid outfit girl at the gates. Suddenly that girl hijacks Okamachi’s car and into the building. A series of explosion follows after. The building has taken quite a damage and we see that goth loli girl’s motive is to rescue her terrorist comrade, Flood, who has been held captive after her battle with Pascal Magi earlier on. First thing viewers will notice is how physically intimate these 2 girls are. Definitely yuri. Since I’m not sure of that goth loli girl’s name, I’ll just call her Yuri Sister. The explosion was loud enough for the crew on board Pascal Mage to hear. Soon Tsubasa pilots her way there to rescue Nana along with Hyousuke (after the latter keeps pestering her to let him come along). When Nana opens her eyes, she finds her crew beside her. With that, she gets emotional and cries. No matter how tough she is on the outside, she’s still a soft girl on the inside. So is Nana tsundere? By the way, during the chaos after the explosions, Flood and Yuri Sister got away.
 
I actually didn’t expect a beach episode to come up so fast in episode 3. As Nana is standing trial, the other crew went to the beach to have some fun. I guess, they all can’t make Nana worry by worrying themselves too. As expected, Hyousuke makes more blunders on Tsubasa, like getting his hands on her boobs though it is accidental. I don’t really understand what is going on during the trial. All I know is that those court marshals are trying to put some blame on Nana and are threatening to suspend her and her crew. That Hamaguchi jerk is really enjoying it all. But Nana said something back because it is pretty obvious that they are hiding something too and not wanting to be exposed or what, they decide to let Nana go and put the current case on hold for now. This episode also sees the ladies of Pascal Magi throwing a farewell party for Hyousuke, since he has finished upgrading the computer systems. Nana and Hyousuke had a private heart to heart talk and some catching up on the ship’s deck. Well, Nana doesn’t really sound that assertive and cold when Hyousuke first met her. Before anything could happen, the naughty twins pushes the duo off the ship and into the sea as a prank and throws them an inflatable raft. Can they do that to their captain?
 
If you think that will be the last time we’ll see Hyousuke, then you’re wrong. That’s because in episode 4, this guy makes a return to Pascal Magi and I think his contract on board the ship is extended. Hyousuke has a flashback when he and Nana were younger and the thing which bugs me was when Nana was helping Hyousuke study, that guy was more interested in her cleavage than his books because she was so close to him. He just kept staring at them. Anyway, nothing bad or perverted happened. Since Hyousuke is going to stay for some time on board the ship, he has own private quarters but I don’t know why the other crew members used his room as a dumping ground to store their stuffs. Due to that, the other girls offer their rooms so that Hyousuke could sleep with them. But ultimately, it is captain Nana who will decide whose room Hyousuke will sleep with. Hers. Don’t want her little brother to get ‘devoured’ by the other girls, huh? Anyway, Hyousuke’s section and Nana’s are separated by just a thin curtain. You know what this means. Soon, rumours spread like wildfire throughout the ship that their captain and Hyousuke are sleeping together. As usual another one of those Hyousuke-Tsubasa encounters but this time, Hyousuke grabs her arms when Tsubasa trips on a toolbox lying around (why is it lying around anyway?). Instead of whacking him, she runs away embarrassed. Oh oh. I think Tsubasa is starting to have feelings for this guy. Perhaps another tsundere character? Also another steamy when Hyousuke accidentally drops his spherical compass in Nana’s room. He tries to get it but gets more than he bargained for because he sees Nana changing. Nana then tries to return it for him but trips and ulala… their lips met. Some may call it incest… Of course they back off and say it’s just an accident. The next day, Pascal Magi has arrived at their destination to escort a 14 year old prodigy and vice president of the country of East Luz, Esterella Jardim-Mar. Woah. A little girl as a country’s second in command? What is the world coming to? A kid running a country. But there’s another shocking moment in store for Nana. I’m not sure if it’s her country’s custom. That’s because Jardim-Mar proceeds to kiss Nana on her lips once she gets to know she is the ship’s captain. Woah! So Nana got 2 kisses already. Her lips must taste damn sweet. So what next? First her brother, then a little girl. Perhaps a dog next? Haha, just kidding. I kinda feel that even though the crew looked on with surprise, the expression on their faces doesn’t really show that they’re that surprised. Just amazed.
 
The escort starts in episode 5 through a crowded sea area. The Pascal Mage has another ship called Colman, under the command of Isabushi, to help them out. Though he has his reservations on Pascal Magi, he’s not as bad as that Hamaguchi jerk as he still proceeds with his job. Jardim-Mar has a reluctant Hyousuke as her tour guide on board Pascal Magi. I suppose this kid isn’t ashamed about kissing in public because she did another one to Clio when she finds out how wonderful a Weapons Officer she is. I don’t know why Clio is surprised seeing that she got chased by many females before. Jardim-Mar is really amazed by the slightest thing on Pascal Magi and she seems to be enjoying her time. Meanwhile, Flood and Yuri Sister plans to ambush the ship Jardim-Mar is on. So that night as everyone prepares to sleep, the attack comes. Don’t worry, Nana and co aren’t sleeping on the job. Though they are under heavy bombardment, Isabushi decides to be the bait and decoy to let Nana escape. This is because, Jardim-Mar is supposed to be on board Colman so that’s the reason Flood and Yuri Sister started attacking it. It didn’t take long for them to realize that Colman was just a bait but they decide to finish them off first. I mean, why would Pascal Magi turn and run away since their duty was to protect the vice president on board Colman? So it must be it that the vice president isn’t on board. I wonder if Colman survived all that shelling. Pascal Magi has entered the waters of a destroyed area by the Grand Roar. It’s like a total wreckage. Nana wonders if they have been lured here and at the same time, several marine officers storm the ship supposedly navigated by Flood and Yuri Sister but they find it empty. Unfortunately, it’s a trap as the explosives on it goes off, killing everyone on board. We see them actually remote controlling things from a small yacht of their own in some harbour and are feeling pretty good about how things have turned in their favour. By the way, I kinda noticed that when they are typing or doing something with their laptops, they’ve got 1 hand on the keyboard and the other hand fondling each other! Absolutely yuri!
 
So the strategic battle between Pascal Magi and the sisters begins in episode 6. So Nana confirms that there is a connection with the terrorists and the anti-government of East Luz. Nana has a hard time tracking down the enemy because of some high-tech cloaking device that they’re using so much so Tsubasa’s aerial reconnaissance is having a tough time. So expect to see some firepower action in this episode as they try to outwit each other. Then when things get a little tensed for the yuri duo so much so Flood shoves Yuri Sister away in order to increase her attacks. See, if they weren’t busy fondling each other and concentrate, I’m sure they could have victory closer within their grasps. In the end, Pascal Magi triumphs and this leaves the sisters pretty sore about it. Don’t take your anger out by smashing that laptop of yours. Partly to blame is their over-confidence. Uh huh. The same escort ship beat them twice. Yeah, it’s not a joke, Flood. After this, you’ll wonder what happened to the duo as they don’t really make an appearance in the remaining episodes. After all that action, the remainder of this episodes sees the Pascal Magi docking and the crew doing some fanservice shot for some exhibition show organized by Haru-Nico. Need I say more about this part. I wonder why the naughty twins are dressed in weird seahorse outfit. Tsubasa on the other hand seems very shy to take off her dress but after some words from Nana, I guess she has no choice but to do it. At the same time, Mitori and Clio are having no qualms about flaunting their stuffs in front of those photo clicking crazy audience. It seems the purpose of this campaign is so that the company gets more money from their sponsors. We see Isabushi in bandages thanking Nana for protecting Jardim-Mar well while Hyousuke is making yakisoba. Jardim-Mar also gives her eloquent speech and her gratitude towards Pascal Magi seems to help improve the latter’s image.
 
Pascal Magi continues their journey after safely escorting Jardim-Mar. Thus in episode 7, some of the crew are surprised to find that sexy pictures of themselves during the exhibition are being published in a magazine. We also see Tsubasa now having strong feelings for Hyousuke, though she herself doesn’t know it’s love as she consults Mitori. Other than that, there is some chatting by several anonymous people about going ‘hunting’. But this episode is about how Pascal Magi’s entire system has been hacked by an unknown assailant, leaving the crew in a lurch. The twins had an argument with Miharu and launches a scathing verbal attack on the latter due to their different thinking and approach on how to handle the system, since it’s their area. As fate would have it, Tsubasa and Hyousuke are locked together in a compartment and the lights are out. Tsubasa can hear her heartbeat louder than anything else. Well, they got a little closer to each other… but before Tsubasa could confess she loves him, the lights went back up and the system is restored. Nice timing. Nana finds out that the submarine that they’re now in some joint military exercise area but soon discovers that everything on their radar screens are fake. With that, they resume back to their original course. Meanwhile, at some base, we see another computer genius kid, supposedly the one who hacked into the Pascal Magi’s system, Regen, talking to a purple haired lady, Koyomi (OMG! This is Mamiko Noto’s voice!!!) ,done with his ‘simulation’. It seems he was a childhood friend of Miharu and the latter in a way knew it was him who hacked the system because of the way he does it. Hyousuke and Tsubasa are reflecting that incident during the blackout.
 
Episode 8 starts off with some island native elder doing some chantings. Here, the Pascal Magi crew has been given a special leave and are relaxing on an island. Be prepared for more fanservice. Tsubasa now seems to be like a shy girl and went to ask Hyousuke if he has any free time to spend with her. Since that guy has no plans, he agrees, making Tsubasa quite happy. The gang also finds out from Mitori about some festival and legend on this island whereby if a couple watches the sunset at some beach, their love will be bound forever. I wonder why Mitori is really having so much skin contact with Hyousuke while telling them this. Probably, this seems pretty nostalgic when she did it with her husband. Wait. Mitori is married?! And she still goes around flirting with Hyousuke?! Well, I guess it’s just harmless teasing. Anyway this is a chance Tsubasa don’t want to miss. Nana and Tanya meet up with an old teacher of theirs. I’m not sure what the conversation is about, but it seems to indicate that Koyomi was part of their team and was responsible for some big blunder. Furthermore, Tanya thinks she has seen her on the island and thinks she is still alive. So during at the beach, Hyousuke and Tsubasa watches the sunset and before that guy knew what hit him, Tsubasa kissed him and confessed that she seriously loves him before running away. While Hyousuke is being stunned by the sudden events, Nana approaches him and from the way she said things, she’s kinda jealous. That’s what I feel. On another note, there is some old guy of some powerful rich corporation called Ridil who is trying to buy this island for some ulterior motives of his. Besides, Koyomi is working under him.
 
In episode 9, we see several figures supposedly from Ridil trying to put their plan into place. One of them being Rush Beyond. Erm… Is it me or does this guy besides having a weird name (yeah, his submarine is called Butterfly Rush), looks like Orochimaru from Naruto? Then in some dark secret headquarters, the other members of Ridil are discussing their world domination and monopolization plans (what would you expect anyway) and something about a theory called Neunte These (literally means 9-point Thesis) which is written by Koyomi (who is now known as Hakubi under Ridil), will come into play. Anyway, Pascal Magi has to participate in some campaign called "Stop The Jolly". I think it’s some anti-pirates campaign. While Hyousuke and Nana sort out their feelings on who the other likes, Tsubasa is feeling pretty good about herself. Of course Hyousuke didn’t really give a direct answer on who he likes more. Soon the Pascal Magi and the other fleets are entering the blockage area of the Lansuy Archipelago. One of the captains of the fleet is pretty confident about the enemy not attacking and even so will soon surrender. He really knows how to talk big. As expected, Rush Beyond starts attacking by launching sea missiles from his submarine and that arrogant captain is made to eat his words. It’s not a good time to cower in fear. Yeah, he’s thinking of retreating. But not Nana. She’s going to fight head on even if the enemy is a submarine and that there are many unknown ships appearing in the vicinity. She’ll put you guys to shame.
 
Rush Beyond’s surprise attack managed to heavily damage the fleet in episode 10. It’s kinda embarrassing for a huge fleet to be sunk by pirates, since this incident is being broadcasted live and worldwide. Because of last night’s incident, Nana’s mind has been clouded with uncertainty and her crew notices that she isn’t her usual self. Luckily, Tanya is there to keep her in check. Once again, another fantastic strategic battle between the escort battleship of Pascal Magi and the high-tech submarine Butterfly Rush. Rush Beyond seems to be making predictions of Pascal Magi’s move and is hitting on the right notes. No matter how Nana countermeasures them, Rush Beyond is always a step ahead. So the final blow came when he unleashes several high speed torpedoes. The impact on Pascal Magi’s stern was direct and so great that it caused substantial damage and so much so that area has been completely destroyed. Sango is devastated to know that the area is being quickly submerged in water because her close friend, Sakura, is in that area. Sango then remembers the time when she and Sakura were together on that island and how Sakura was looking forward to spend time with her boyfriend. She seems so cheerful then. Back in present time, Sango is paralyzed in shock, which partly clouds her judgement and decision. As Pascal Magi continues to receive heavy damage, the systems are all down and Nana has no choice but to request assistance from the Pacific Fleet. Nana sheds a tear while Rush Beyond relishes the moment.
 
In episode 11, the crew of Pascal Magi has been evacuated while the ship itself is totally damaged. Though there are quite a few fatalities, some of the crew are being treated for injuries. Nana makes a report of what happen to the Haru-Nico company as Okamachi remembers the time when Nana left the military to join the civilian escort ship. Something about a mistake made and has something to do with Koyomi. Uh huh, Nana did mention how she has to kill her and if she’s under the military, she can’t do so. But this episode sees how the crew of Pascal Magi recover from their shocking loss as they try to absorb reality. The most heartbreaking was Sango’s. She can’t believe that her best buddy Sakura is gone (so do I). She really cried her heart out and it nearly affected me. Of course with her crew members by her side, Sango manages to recover her strength and confidence to go on as they pay their respects to the recently departed ones. We also see short flashbacks of the twins and Miharu in some research facility while they were young and Koyomi was there too (that woman again. She does have a hand in almost everything). Lastly, when Nana tries to apologize to Hyousuke for making decisions that hurt everyone, Hyousuke suddenly hugs Nana and tells her not to shoulder all the burden herself as he’ll always be with her. With that, he confesses that he loves her. And he’s not meaning that because-we-are-siblings kind of love. Well remember, they’re not really blood related to begin with. On the other hand, Tsubasa is witnessing all this from afar. Must be a double depressing day for her. The episode ends with a report saying how the peace conference of the Alliance have failed and that Nachroma’s Republic Army has attacked East Luz’s embassy.
 
In episode 12, a reason why the country of Nachroma is attacking East Luz’s embassy is because they oppose East Luz from joining an organization called EATO (East Asian Treaty Organization). Must be like NATO of the east. Jardim-Mar is having her hands full of trying to evacuate her people and at the same time thinks that the Nachroma army is going to recreate a second but artificial Grand Roar. I suppose at this time the Pascal Magi has been fully repaired so Nana once again takes the helm of this ship and offers those who don’t want to get involve to leave. But the crew has been with her for so long, they’ll even follow her to the ends of the world. Nana is happy that she has her loyal comrades by her side. With no regrets, they depart as a mission to support the evacuation of East Luz (with Jardim-Mar also on board). Meanwhile the members of Ridil are discussing about Nachroma’s action as they were originally wanderers and intends to build artificial islands as their stronghold. Not that I understand, but all I know is that either way, there will be chaos and Ridil in the end will rule the interests of the countries according to Neunte These. Of course Nana and Tanya too discussed about Koyomi and what is it that she’s really after. Soon Pascal Magi and the other Alliance fleet enters Nachroma waters but it seems they have started to activate a device to create a second Grand Roar, which would destroy its neighbouring countries as part of their plan to unify the Asian sphere. Is destroying and than building up from scratch easier than just taking over? Meanwhile Hyousuke bumps into Tsubasa. Since she isn’t really about to give up on that incident yet, she tells him that she wants him to be her only special person and to tell her his answer after the mission, before rushing off.
 
Koyomi thoroughly explains all the 9 points of the Neunte These at the start of episode 13. Not that I really understood it all. To put it in simple words that I can understand, what the theory is all about tells how people will fight for land, this will lead to uneasy peace and then war and fighting, and as a result of this chaos, this will lead to all sides making some peace treaty hence bringing forth a whole new world government. At the same time, Pascal Magi is already engaged in a second round grudge match against Butterfly Rush. More cool tactical strategies and missile launching scenes. Though Rush Beyond is still confident and has the upperhand, the tables are eventually turned when Nana uses a daring do-or-die move by letting the enemy torpedoes hit the Pascal Magi. Due to the huge shockwave, the temporary interference causes Beyond Rush unable to detect anything from Pascal Magi nor do any counter measures in time. Since Pascal Magi isn’t heavily damaged yet, Nana uses this opportunity to fire back all they’ve got, thus destroying the illegal submarine and ending Beyond Rush’s life. Well, that guy admitted he had lost before sinking to the bottom of Davy Jone’s locker. Nana congratulates her crew for their hard work. Back at Ridil’s headquarters, the head isn’t please of the outcome but Koyomi reiterates that her thesis isn’t a guide to create a war. That guy soon agrees that they shouldn’t have meddled in it.
 
Six months later, at an abandoned research facility site, we see Koyomi talking to Regen. And if you’re still wondering where Flood and Yuri Sister are, this will answer your question. Though they only make a short appearance, the duo are spying on Koyomi and Regen and decides to do some cleaning up. Well, we heard a gunshot but I’m not sure if anyone of them got killed. And the purpose of them doing so? Don’t know. Back at the port, we see Tsubasa recalling the time after the mission whereby she confronted Hyousuke about his answer. In short, he rejected her. Okay, so it wasn’t direct but he did mention that there is someone he already likes. Oh, the heartbreak. So this guy prefers his sister over her. Well, I wonder if those initial beating up from Tsubasa had anything to do to influence his answer. Just kidding. Back in present time, we learn that Tsubasa was away attending some training so she’s really glad that’s over and she’s back with the rest on Pascal Magi, who teased her about her new-love coming back too. Why, it’s Hyousuke. Looks like he has resigned from his company and decides to come work on Pascal Magi. Did they lax the women-only rules? Or was there one to begin with.
 
As Nana narrates how the device to create a second Grand Roar has been destroyed soon after Pascal Magi’s victory, the rebel leader of Nachroma has been overthrown and peace restored to the islands. With that, Pascal Magi’s reputation has turned for the better with increase in funds and even that Hamaguchi guy has a more favourable view of them. Good grief. Lastly, Tanya notes how Nana has changed but Nana says the world really hasn’t yet. Since Koyomi is still out there, there is a possibility of her to cause chaos as she deems people as pieces. Looks like she’ll get her another day. Nana goes to greet and welcome back Hyousuke so Tanya asks what is him to her. Nana just replied that he is just her little brother. Well Tanya, it’s not as complicated as you said. Anyway with Hyousuke back, Mitori happily and passionately hugs him so much so that embarrassed guy tried to get away from her and slipped towards Tsubasa. From this point off view, you may think there’s going to be another accidental kiss but nope… they just bumped into each other’s head. He drops his spherical compass in which Nana picked up and says "Welcome home".
 
There is an additional episode if you buy the DVD entitled The Mercurius’ Holiday, albeit it is only 10 minutes long. Nothing much happens here on this episode except the fact it’s some drinking session between Nana, Tanya and Koyomi. Furthermore, the animation are still pictures. It’s like a comic book with audio and talking. Not only that, there are quite a lot of ‘recycled’ scenes. I’m not sure what the trio are talking about but Nana gets drunk very easily and sounds so cute and like a little girl when she’s intoxicated. Tanya is still sober while Koyomi is well… let’s just say she’s still as enigmatic as usual. Then I think Koyomi started to get drunk when she repeatedly said "Unfair, unfair, unfair…". Then she went splat face down on the table. Looks like Tanya has to pick up the pieces. So the next day back on the ship, I think Nana is a little embarrassed of what happened the previous night though she doesn’t really remember exactly what happened. When Koyomi passes by and gives her usual evasive answer of anything embarrassing happening to herself at the bar, Nana notes how one day she will definitely have to fight with her. How true. I’m thinking, perhaps that drinking session started it all?
 
So ends another okay series for me. Except for the cool CG battle sequences and the tactical strategies, everything else here seems just average. Uh huh. The ladies here aren’t as pretty as I hoped to be ;P. So much so at one point, I couldn’t differentiate between Nana and Tsubasa because they looked so close and the only way for me to tell them apart was their uniform. Though there has been no word of a 2nd season yet, but there are several developments towards the end of the series and some unanswered questions which may indicate that if the producers want to continue, they could carry on from there. I’m thinking that in this anime, you won’t really see a face-to-face encounter between the good side and the bad. Not even through contact nor communications. Like Regen, I’m not sure if he survived that assassination attempt because it’s a pity that he made such a short appearance without coming into contact with the other main characters.
 
Speaking of the characters, I could say they are average too. So after watching so many harem animes, I feel that with the bevy of ladies on board the ship, nothing really much happens between them and that single guy. They’re just like happy to have someone here so that they can tease and play. No serious love tussle here. Thinking of which, that Hyousuke guy doesn’t really play much of a role here, does he? Sometimes I feel that he’s just a side character. But I guess besides those little fanservice, perhaps the producers may want to concentrate on other things like the little storyline.
 
Though there are quite a number of seiyuus that I’m quite familiar of, the voice acting here is just okay. Nothing much to shout about. Besides my favourite Mamiko Noto, the other casts include Mai Nakahara as Nana (Mai Tokiha in Mai-HiME), Mikako Takahashi as Tsubasa (Rushuna of Grenadier), Junko Minagawa as Mitori and Regen (Ryoma in Prince Of Tennis), Kana Ueda as Sango (Mikan in Gakuen Alice), Yumiko Kobayashi as Miharu (Azuma in Yakitate! Japan), Rio Natsuki as Clio (Nanami of El Hazard), Mai Kadokawa as Jardim-Mar (Mayu of Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun), Rina Satou as Flood (Punie in Dai Mahou Touge) and Yoshinori Fujita as Rush Beyond (Masumi in Nodame Cantabile).
 
The opening theme song by Yozuca is entitled Tatta Hitotsu Dake and sounds quite fast paced and lively whereas the ending theme by Mai Nakahara is called Monochrome and is a slow and sad sounding ballad. However, I find that I don’t really like both themes at all. Speaking of the ending theme, the animation shows that mysterious flower girl standing while watching the Pascal Magi ship go by (except for the final episode where she’s no longer standing there). Till this day, I’m not sure what her role is, though I’m pretty sure that she and that island native chief are somewhat related.
 
Since a military themed anime isn’t really my cup of tea, maybe the next time if there are such animes, even if they are harem or comedy genre, I think it’s best that I pass it. Not to say that I really regret watching this one nor wasted my time, but it manages to satisfy my curiosity and be grateful that there are so much more better animes out there. I’m not saying that this is a B-grade anime as well. Just that, I’ve seen many better ones. Hence, after watching this show it’s not like I have any interest to join the naval army or whatsoever. Well, if I do say, then most of my time will be devoted to patrolling the seas, keeping stringent checks on borders for illegal entrants from dawn to dusk. Life will indeed be tough and I won’t have much time to watch my favourite animes, don’t you think, no?
 
Tactical Roar

Sumomomo Momomo OVA

October 3, 2008

Now I really understood why the anime tv series Sumomomo Momomo has 22 episodes. Actually, there should be 24 episodes in total but the remaining 2 episodes are not aired on tv so that they could be deemed as OVA episodes. Yup, so viewers who want to find out more about this wacky ecchi comedy series, you’ll have to buy the DVD to find out what further adventures are in store for the gang.
 
But I really didn’t expect this series to have OVA episodes initially because at the end of the 22nd episode seems to indicate to end it all. So just a short recap of what happened then. Tenka’s tiger clan brothers were taking action to destroy Koushi by giving him some poison. So if they want to cure him, Momoko and the rest of Koushi’s self-proclaimed weird friends have to travel to their hideout and beat them if they want to get the antidote. After some fight, all is well in the end.
 
At first, I was thinking of waiting for subs of both OVAs to come out. That was the reason why I didn’t blog this series as soon as I finished watching the series. And there has been a substantial time gap between the subbing of both OVA episodes. But I guess it’s worth the wait. By the way, I’ll be referring to these 2 OVA episodes as episode 23 and episode 24 as if it’s like a continuation from the tv series.
 
Anyway, after that main story arc, it’s back to those mindless and hilarious seeking-for-each-other’s-love comedy in episode 23. We see the usual gang of Koushi, Momoko, Iroha, Hanzou and Tenka going on a trip to some hotspring inn in the mountains but since their van broke down halfway, Tenka and Hanzou have to push it. Uphill. They don’t mind doing it because the driver is a short old frail looking man and they think it’s to show off their power to their respective loves. For those who don’t remember, Tenka is in love with Momoko as Hanzou is with her blood clan sister Iroha. Of course their advances have been snubbed as the girls’ heart are set on Koushi, who in turn doesn’t return their love because that lawyer-wanna-be hates having weird martial artists around him. But he can’t ditch them now because, they’re like family after all that they’ve been through previously. But the love-hate relationship is still there. Still there…
 
A flashback of how Iroha won the tickets to the hotspring was through a lottery draw. Iroha then had a plan to deepen the relationship between Koushi and Momoko into a passionate lovey-dovey one (that blot out censor was done on purpose). However, to her dismay, Koushi declines and asks the 2 girls to go instead. Just then, Hanzou and Tenka busts in to tell them the good news that they too have won tickets to the hotspring inn. Looks like now everyone can go. Back in present time, Momoko uses her super dragon power blast to speed up the vehicle. I think this is scarier than a roller coaster ride. Hold on tight to your seats!
 
They finally arrived and noted how this inn is so much spacious than their run-down apartment where they live. Note the BIG difference. Momoko thinks of getting lovey-dovey with Koushi but that guy kicks her out and tells her that her room is with Iroha’s. Some things never change. Later as Koushi decides to soak in the men’s hotspring section, to his surprise spot Momoko waiting to wash his back. As expected, he kicks her out. So Momoko is lamenting this fact with Iroha in the women’s section as the latter comforts her that she still has time. They then had an ambiguous talk about each other’s skin. About how silky smooth it is, about how her skin is like a jewel. Of course, Tenka and Hanzou are eavesdropping from the other side and are planning to peek but can’t see anything due to the thick mist. Hanzou has his wild imagination of the girls doing yuri things to each other. Thus the duo decides to sneak there underwater using bamboo sticks as their source of air.
 
As the arrive, Iroha is having trouble because her soap dropped into some unreachable place. Momoko conveniently takes both the bamboo sticks to leave those perverted guys in a lurch. Just when they can’t hold their breath any longer, they resurface for air but Tenka is knocked out. Furthermore, Iroha is coming back. She spots Tenka lying unconscious near the spring and rushes to pull him out while Hanzou is hiding behind some rocks. Because Tenka was too heavy, when Hanzou took a peek, he saw that tiger boy on top of her. He couldn’t believe it. Upon taking a second look, he finds Iroha now on top of him and the way she’s inhaling and exhaling, it’s like… Wow! Are they doing it for real?! And that ‘rhythmic movement’… It’s so bloody convincing! Hanzou is devastated that Iroha is so bold of doing it at such place but it is revealed that Iroha was punching Tenka’s stomach with her might to push the water out. You can blame the mist for partly covering part of the story. When Tenka comes to, Iroha and Momoko finds out that he’s peeping and slaps him. Hanzou confronts him when Tenka gets back.
 
Meanwhile Iroha and Momoko are talking over things while having drinks at the vending machine. Momoko feels sad about the way things turned out recently. Koushi who happened to walk by heard them and thinks they’re talking about him. So it’s no surprise that he misinterprets that conversation when he heard them say how he’s disillusioned and unworthy of being called a human being as Koushi remembers the part where he kicked out Momoko from his room. At the same time, Hanzou wants some answers from Tenka when did the relationship between him and Iroha started. But Tenka thinks it’s the slap he got from Momoko which he enjoyed. Tenka blushes which causes more shock for Hanzou as he ran away in tears. Koushi is relaxing on a massage chair and is thinking about Momoko’s words. He felt insulted. Just then he heard Sanae call his name is surprised to see her here. Sanae mentions her grandma won the lottery but in actual fact Sanae laments that she was brought here for further training. Iroha is searching for Koushi when she bumps into Sanae’s grandma. In her horror, she flees. Sanae’s grandma too chased her because Iroha did not apologize for bumping into her. The chase was cut short when grandma’s age caught up with her. Yeah, she’s catching her breath already instead of managing to catching Iroha.
 
Momoko is standing dejectedly on the bridge when Iroha comes rushing to hug her and says how scary it was that chase she got from grandma. Just then, Koushi was passing by opposite and spots Momoko and Iroha in some yuri hugging position. Double disgusting. It’s like they’re going to kiss. So Koushi later tells Momoko that he’s going to concentrate on studying and tells her to get all friendly with Iroha instead. Haha, shunned again. Poor Momoko. Iroha wonder what’s going on when she gets a call from Hanzou telling her to visit his room. Upon entering, she spots Tenka peeping through a binoculars at Momoko’s room. He deserves another good whack. We find out it was all Hanzou’s ploy to get Iroha and Tenka together since that fella has resigned to the fact Iroha likes him and reluctantly should feel happy if Iroha is happy. Iroha in her rage is walking back to her room but spots Hanzou and Momoko talking together. Hanzou then tries to cover up saying Koushi likes Iroha. This causes Iroha to fluster up. Later as Iroha sat alone outside on a bench, Koushi comes by. Iroha then takes this opportunity to ask what he thinks about her. Koushi, thinking of her yuri romance with Momoko, then says romance is free. Iroha then felt happy. Oh, so many misinterpreted situations. Everyone is talking about different things at the same time.
 
But that’s not the end of it. More misunderstood situations to come. We see grandma taking out her frustrations on Sanae’s training high up in the mountains. Sanae then spots Koushi and Iroha getting close and their face was so close that it looked like they actually kissed! Sanae falls into despair! Actually, Iroha was just tired from all that running so her balance wasn’t stable.
 
When everyone gathers at the table at meal time, there is an atmosphere of uneasiness as everyone is worried or in a dilemma about their new found misinterpreted relationship of the other. Grandma decides to go to the hotspring as Koushi goes to the toilet. Then an inn staff came by to tell the rest about the legendary Gentian Of Love in a cave near the inn. When a couple picks up a Gentian flower, they will definitely be together forever. Sounds like one of those too good to be true legends but what the heck, everyone is so desperate. Later, Iroha and Momoko went to tell Koushi about this but lied by saying that this Gentian flower will make him smarter. Since they’ve come all the way here, Koushi doesn’t mind following them. Everyone is happy and having their wild thoughts about who they should pick the flower with.
 
The 6 of them are at the cave mouth and Sanae contemplates of going back because it’s dangerous. Previously grandma told her that this is the cave where many of her horse clan trained and died. As Sanae tells the gang to go back, Iroha tells her to go back alone then as the rest moves forward. Not wanting to be left behind, Sanae reluctantly follows. Tenka then slips but it’s no big deal. Since the path back up is steep, going back may pose a problem. As Tenka gets up, his hand accidentally pushed a lever hidden as a stalagmite. A boulder is coming their way as Tenka uses his brute strength to hold it till everyone gets up safely to higher ground. Koushi lends Sanae a helping hand and the latter is rejoicing the fact that she get to feel his warm chest but feels a scary cold sharp glare from Iroha. As they continue to move forward, Tenka again slips as the ground collapses but is able to get back up quickly. Since Sanae knows of this place, she reluctantly tells them about the traps like this one whereby different coloured grounds are safe to step on. The gang are amazed by the insights of this normal person. Yeah, Sanae’s emphasizing that she’s a normal person…
 
Koushi then suggests to split into 3 groups of 2 through rock-scissors-paper. As fate would have it, Koushi gets paired with Momoko but that guy tells her not to get close to him within 1 metre radius. Momoko wonders what is wrong as Koushi tells her he doesn’t want to be with a person who insults him behind his back and that he knows everything. While Koushi thinks it’s that yuri moment, Momoko thinks Koushi may have found out that they lied to him about the Gentian flower making him smarter. As Iroha is paired with Tenka, which means Hanzou gets Sanae. Hanzou’s talking about Iroha’s love with Tenka but Sanae thinks it’s with Koushi. All 3 pairs suddenly feel water gushing from behind and ran for their lives but who can outrun water, right? They are being drained to the same spot when they spot the exit. Iroha then ties up Koushi and Momoko and threatens to kill anyone who gets in their way. Iroha is doing this so Koushi will hate her but of course with everyone’s different perception of the scenario, everyone is confused too.
 
Tenka isn’t happy that Iroha has Momoko in chains but Hanzou decides to obey Iroha no matter what. Before those 2 guys can clash, Sanae slaps Iroha and says that the one Koushi should be with isn’t Iroha. Everyone is surprised to learn this and soon everyone’s misunderstanding of each other’s love starts to clear up. The cave starts crumbling as everyone rushes out. However Momoko’s feet has been tied down by a vine. Koushi goes back to get Momoko as the others are already outside. Momoko tells Koushi to leave her but he tells her to use her dragon skill. Can they make it in time? Because the ceiling has finally caved in. Luckily in the nick of time, Momoko manages to unleash her dragon skill as the duo walk out safely unscathed. Momoko thanks him for the warning as Koushi says it would’ve been troublesome if she had died, making Momoko happy. As Tenka rushes to hug Momoko (but she avoided it), she chides Tenka and is disillusioned with him for peeking at her earlier on. Koushi realized that Momoko wasn’t talking bad about him back then and seeks Iroha for an explanation. But that girl just tell him it was just some sort of drill. Sanae then spots the Gentian flower on the edge of the cliff, overlooking the inn. But Momoko chose not to pick it as it would be a shame to pick something blooming so beautifully. Likewise, Koushi thinks not to rely on such legends either. However, Tenka and Hanzou aren’t bent on giving up yet as they both rushed over to pick the flower. Both their hands met as they touched the flower.
 
Back at the inn, it seems the hotspring is now a mixed bath area as the gang soaks in one. Momoko wonders if she could come closer to Koushi but the latter says it’s okay as long as there is a 15cm radius. Momoko is happy that the gap is now reduced. Well, keep trying. As Sanae and Iroha watches from a distance, she mentions that even without the flower, they’re just doing fine. But the next scene is very disturbing. We see Tenka and Hanzou in the hotspring, being lovey-dovey with each other! OMG! Yaoi! Gay! They’re touching each other’s chest and saying how silky smooth it is and that it’s like a jewel! *Laughing out loud and puking at the same time!*. Holy sh*t! They’re hugging each other! Silky silky, smooth smooth… Disgusting! Eww! But so funny lah. So the flower did have some legendary effect.
 
Episode 24 has the gang back to their lovely run-down apartment. Koushi is trying to study his law but since the other guys are too noisy playing their video game, Koushi has just about it and decides to go to the library to read. What do you expect as the walls between the rooms are so thin. I kinda noticed that even though that Gentian flower effects have worn off but Hanzou and Tenka are still playing video games together. Still inseparable? However as Koushi steps out from the place, he has been kidnapped by several maids into a long limousine car.
 
We see Koushi being whisked away to a luxurious high-tech mansion on an isolated island whereby he is being introduced to a little girl named Chizuru Yuuki (she sounds like Tamama from Keroro Gunsou). She apologizes for treating him this way and tells him that she is the head from the chicken clan (remember that part of the series’ storyline was that the 12 zodiac groups were fighting each other and in order to stop that fighting, Koushi of the dog clan and Momoko of the dragon clan had to be wedded). A little girl as the leader of the chicken clan? Anyway she says that the chicken clan is on his side and that this kidnapping is part of their plan to protect him as the other faction is planning to betray and assassinate him. So why this island? Chizuru mentions that with the latest high-tech weaponry and arsenal, it is very impregnable. Yeah, maids in big bulky guns and armour fortresses.
 
Chizuru and Koushi tours the garden and we see that when Chizuru throws up a rose flower, in an instant, a sniper shot it to bits! Scary. Now how can Koushi’s heart be at ease? Besides, there are cameras everywhere so much so Koushi thinks that it’s like an anime. Since when did this law studious kid ever watched anime? Soon Chizuru shows Koushi a room where he can study. Koushi is amazed with the spaciousness of this room filled with books and decides to continue his studies.
 
Back at Momoko and co’s place, they received a large tv from a delivery. They are then surprised to see Koushi on the screen being sexually and sadistically tortured! OMG! Chizuru proceeds to tell them that since Koushi has betrayed the clan, he will be tortured like this till he repents. But we see that image of Koushi is just a super-imposed picture of somebody else. Looks like Chizuru is trying to fool these people into coming to save him. Funny part was Iroha destroying the tv because of her anger, hence cutting all communications with Chizuru. Even she herself is surprised. So how will they know where Koushi is? Do not fear as Chizuru left them a card of their address. Of course even if it’s a trap, Momoko can’t leave Koushi and soon embarks on a journey with the rest to rescue him. Meanwhile, we see Koushi really enjoying himself studying. Why, he has maid servants who would gently rub away any wrong answers he made! Now, this is the life! I’m sure Koushi would really like to stay here forever and not go back to those rowdy weirdos.
 
Momoko and the rest are quickly approaching the island but are being taken out by a torpedo. Chizuru is really expecting them. But don’t you think it would be too easy for them to die at this stage? Yup, they all somehow landed safely on the beach. Well, maybe for Hanzou, he’s just a little injured, but that’s nothing for a tough guy. At the same time, Koushi is really enjoying the moment. Being scrumptiously fed by beautiful maids flanking by his side. A meal has never tasted so good before. Now he really does want to live here forever. Chizuru is at the dinning table with him when one of the maids report that Momoko and the rest managed to survive. Chizuru excuses herself and heads to the battle control room.
 
As Momoko and gang tread through the thick grass, they are being ambushed by several remote controlled tanks and helicopters. As expected, Momoko pulls off another of her amazing dragon skills but the tanks and helicopters just keep coming. Tenka then decides to handle this one (because he thinks it will look cool in front of Momoko) and tells the rest to go ahead first. Momoko, Iroha and Hanzou manages to infiltrate the mansion and changed their outfits in order to blend in with the crowd and avoid detection. Hanzou and Iroha ended up in a crowded area and it seems like a motor show party for celebrities is being held. Hanzou must be enjoying the good food rather than searching for Koushi. Just then, a group of sword wielding maids enters the room and is going to lure out the invaders. How? She drops a 500 Yen on the floor and it worked. Remember, Iroha is a poverty stricken girl and hearing any money on the ground is part of her specialty. Okay, maybe not. But it was enough to send her scurrying to pick up that coin. Iroha is annoyed that she has fallen for such cheap trick (but I guess that’s natural) and that the head of the maid unit knew about this because she had researched on her bio before. With that, she orders her other maids to take the duo out. If you’re thinking of watching some cool sword fights then you may be disappointed. But unless you’re an ecchi and fanservice fan, then yeah, you’ll love it. Uh huh. The camera angles in a way to show what is under those skirts of those maids. Like I said, fanservice darou ne? Can’t believe Hanzou taking photos like crazy.
 
Meanwhile Momoko is wandering through the maze-like corridors and thought up of an easier way to reach her goal. She unleashes another super powerful dragon blast move to make a straight path which eventually leads her to the control room where Chizuru is. The other maids attacks Momoko to protect Chizuru but were easily dispensed off (not even worth the sweat). Chizuru then quickly escapes. Koushi notices smoke arising from the other side of the hill and smells something is wrong when Chizuru rushes by his side and asking him to escape by telling him that the assassins are already here. She then whisks Koushi to another control room and Koushi finds out that the assassin is Momoko. Chizuru wants Koushi to watch which one of them is capable of protecting him.
 
Speaking through a loud speaker, Chizuru tells Momoko to come to the top of the clock tower if she wants to retrieve Koushi. At this time, Koushi thinks he wants to go home. Yeah, I think it’s better and safer to live with a scary bunch of weirdos than a dangerous bunch of seemingly fake and peaceful facade. Chizuru then makes her innocent puppy dog eyes face to persuade Koushi to stay by saying that she thought he wanted to stay here forever. Well, initial he did but since Momoko came to pick him up, I guess he knew it’s time to go before everything goes out of hand. Chizuru then decides to make Momoko disappear forever by activating some satellite in space. Of course Momoko dodges the beams and counters attack this with her Dragon Heaven Piercing Strike, easily taking out the satellite. Seriously, the names she gives to her moves are really grand. But it does pack a punch. Chizuru is in disbelief of Momoko’s superior skills so Koushi takes the opportunity to tell her that Momoko’s skills are absurd and that there is no way she could win with science or common sense. Damn right he is.
 
But Chizuru isn’t about to give up yet and unleashes her final trump card as they go out to the balcony to watch the upcoming one-on-one fight. When Momoko reaches the top, she is surprised to find Uma Kamen (it’s Sanae for those who can’t remember) waiting for her. Why is she on Chizuru’s side. Chizuru mentions that when she told her about the assassination attempts on Koushi’s life, Sanae agreed to do so, even if Momoko is her opponent. Momoko too is equally surprised to see that an ally of hers is standing in her way. But to both of them, protecting Koushi’s life comes first. They both trade powerful blows but Sanae realizes that she is still no match for Momoko’s power. So there is only one way for her to power up. Uh huh. Fanservice time! For those who don’t remember, Sanae powers up when she takes off more pieces of her already scantily clad uniform. It’s because from this extreme embarrassment of hers, that Sanae will get to concentrate all her power into her legs and give her opponents a hell of a good and powerful kick. So now she’s totally naked! I guess the others who are watching are equally embarrassed too. As the duo are going to give each other the final punch, the impact was so great that it causes a huge hole down into the building. Wow. Unfortunately, it knocked both of them out.
 
Chizuru is rejoicing the fact that Momoko is defeated and her true intentions are revealed. Since that Uma Kamen fell for her fake story and with Momoko out of the way, the peace pact between the zodiac factions are now destroyed so that they can continue to fight each other. Since the chicken clan are weapon dealers, it would be bad business for them if nobody goes to war. Yup, so the plot of kidnapping Koushi was just a ploy to bait Momoko. Chizuru takes out a gun and points it at Koushi. Before she could pull the trigger, a horse shoe came flying knocking off the gun. Well, a little closer and it could’ve hit Koushi’s head. Sanae is mad to hear that she has been fooled into this as she gathers her last ounce of strength but soon collapses. But Chizuru’s rejoice is just a short one when she says now nobody will protect Koushi. But Koushi points towards Momoko, who is walking towards them. Fear comes shivering down Chizuru’s spine as she rushes back into the control room to request for more help to stop Momoko. Too bad, looks like all her tanks and helicopters are totally obliterated by that crazy football tiger while her maid units are totally being knocked out cold by the snake clan duo. Hanzou is really enjoying the food here. Yeah, fanservice from those knocked out maids… Chizuru must be thinking how all this is possible as she claimed that her fortress is impregnable. Well, you’re not dealing with ordinary people, remember?
 
Chizuru makes another last ditch attempt by activating some giant rocket as the clock tower splits open. Momoko then unleashes another one of her super dragon moves to send that little kid screaming and flying into the air. Bye bye. Momoko then says how she has come to rescue him and Koushi tells her to let’s go home. Urm… Notice Momoko in a naked apron outfit? Yeah, another fanservice shot. Must be from that blast with Uma Kamen. Speaking of which, Uma Kamen, quietly goes away after knowing all is well. But back at the apartment, Koushi is trying to study but once again, the noisy neighbours once again disrupt his flow. Keep quiet! Ah, regretting it all now? But I guess he should be fine back in this familiar comfort zone.
 
So I finally managed to watch this wacky series till the end. I must say that the OVA episodes still proves to be enjoyable even after the main story arc has ended. Some viewers may call them as fillers but I think this couple of final episodes are quite fitting to end the series. Well of course, there isn’t anything conclusive to say that there will be a 2nd season nor was there any developments of the plot for the future. But if ever the need arises, I’m sure many fans will definitely look forward to it.
 
The OVA episodes contain the usual ecchi fanservice and was enough to make me laugh at times. Though, I somehow find that Momoko’s quest to be Koushi’s bride has toned down. I mean, if my memory serves me well, at the start of the series, she was like making moves which seems horny for a little kid like her. Perhaps she has learned to take things easier and a little step at a time.
 
The thing which still amuses me at the end was the name Momoko and those other so called martial artists name their special moves and techniques. For example, Black Dragon Morning Destroyer, Burst Dragon Space Blasting Fist, and Holy Staff Heaven Piercing Kick 120%. Wow. Don’t they just make you raise your eyebrows? Plus, I don’t really see any difference from each other either. But it’s really power packed as mentioned and with them saying it with all their might and passion, you know, it’s so crazy that it may as well work. Okay, maybe not in real life.
 
Perhaps because of the long gap times between the time I watched the tv series and the OVA, my interest in the series as in overall, has waned. Nevertheless, watching the OVA series did brought back a little of those memories at that time. Ah heck, it wasn’t that long either. And yes, that end-screen note of the final episode did say something like "Mata dokokade, SUMOMO FUAMIRII ichido yori" (See you again somewhere, from all of the Sumomo family). That is, if my own translation is correct. Do I really want to see this weirdo family again? Maybe for some laughs. But now I can say "Sumomomo Momomo" faster without twisting my own tongue. Okay, maybe not that perfect still.
 
Sumomomo Momomo