Perhaps I’ve been watching too many animes, so much so when I first watched Kimi Ga Aruji De Shitsuji Ga Ore De (wow! What a mouthful. Feels like a tongue twister, huh?), it somewhat reminded me of Hayate No Gotoku. I’m sure when I mentioned that crazy over-parodied series, many anime viewers would instantly come to think of that poor boy becoming a butler for a very rich milady. Yeah, that’s what this series has too. But that is just where the similarities end.
 
Also known as They Are My Noble Masters (now, this title is much easier to pronounce, don’t you think?), this 13 episode anime series is another one of those romance-comedy genres and those who like ecchi and fanservice stuff, should enjoy this one too. Makes you think that there are lots of rich people in Japan, huh? Filthy stinking rich. It’s like they print money as their hobby. But that’s unrelated stuff.
 
Now as seen in the first episode, we are introduced to this teenager kid, Ren Uesugi, who is running away together with his elder sister, Mihato, from their abusive father. After all these years of being beaten up, Ren has managed to finally sum up his courage to leave that torture house once and for all. Of course arriving at the big city, the siblings have to fend for themselves now. Though their main goal is to live happily together, they need to find a job first. And if you’re thinking that this brother-sister relationship is the incest type, think again. You’ve seen too many of such shows if you’re really hoping to see their relationship like that. They share quite a good relationship and as always, the bigger sister always takes care and on the look out for her little brother. Though sometimes I feel that Mihato indirectly ‘controls’ him.
 
It seems luck isn’t on their side as the duo reunites at a spot after spending a day trying to get employment but to no avail. Ren notices a beautiful and popular orchestra conductor, Shinra Kuonji, performing through a television screen display of a store. Soon night falls and the siblings camp right in the middle of the park while eating instant noodles. Hey, they’re broke. They resume seeking any jobs the next day when Ren stumbles upon a girl admiring her reflection of a store’s window and she has a little egg-shaped robot. She soon faints due to the heat and Ren quickly catches her. When Mihato arrives, that girl introduces herself as Miyu and since the robot, De Niro (not sure if he has any relation to that Robert actor. Maybe not) is too small to carry her, Ren gives her a piggy-back ride to her home. Her big home. Her really huge mansion.
 
To show her gratitude, Miyu has one of the mansion’s maid cook them up a delicious meal. Must be their first time tasting something this good. The maid cook is Benisu and because she’s the hot-headed type, you’ll instantly know that she and Ren won’t be getting along well. To cool things down, the head butler of the mansion, Tajiri Yasushi, or better known as Colonel, uses his hand beam to blast Ren away when he’s going to get violent. What the? He lands outside the garden only to find himself at the feet of the well-known conductor, Shinra. When Colonel comes to greet Shinra, Ren attacks him but once again fails. Due to Ren’s persistency (unconscious while standing up after the attack?), Shinra seems to be quite interested in Ren. Soon, Shinra decides to hire both of them as the mansion’s servants but will be given a 1 week trial.
 
So let me introduce to you the other wacky residence of the mansion. As Shinra is the eldest daugther of the family, she takes on the role of taking care and looking out for the rest of the family. While watching this anime, there are other animes which this series reminded me off. Like Shinra has an uncanny resemblance to Hime of Kaibutsu Oujo. Their stoic and cold characters are almost similar only difference is that Shinra has shown her antics and comical side and fetish for cute things. Yeah, she likes sexually teasing people she finds cute. She really does! And Miyu is her number 1 ‘victim’. You may call her sick, but I guess rich people are no different than ordinary ones. Plus, Shinra’s conducting of an orchestra brings back fond memories of Nodame Cantibile.
 
Miyu is the middle child and is dubbed a child prodigy. She’s actually older than she looks and earns additional income for the family with her many patented inventions. Because of this, she’s always indoors and rarely goes out of the house. Thus, she’s in charge of taking care of the mansion. Whenever I look at Miyu, she kinda reminded me of a more mature version of Nagi from Hayate No Gotoku. Heck, any and every blonde twintail girls will remind me so. Miyu too has her own weird fetish. She likes little boys! Shotacon! Ugh! Then the youngest daugther, the high school going Yume. To cut things short, she’s always being ignored. Attempts to get her sister’s attention, especially Shinra’s, always end in vain. Poor girl. Yeah, Yume somehow reminds me of Yuuna of Kage Kara Mamoru. Are all the characters here being ripped off from somewhere?! I mean, Ren’s angst does make him sound so much like Kenichi from Shijou Saikyou Deshi No Kenichi, don’t you think? And Mihato, though she’s as busty as Sawawa of Kaibutsu Oujo, she isn’t blur headed and has a dark personality in the sense that when somebody else (other than the masters of the household) gets to close to her beloved little brother, you’ll hear her dark sinister voice of ‘advice’ (or threat perhaps) to stay clear.
 
Now let me introduce the servants. As we know Colonel is the head butler, he’s an ex-army officer and his body is filled with ugly scars. But unlike that old geezer Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku, Colonel is more cool headed and tactful. And yes, his hand beam is a real thing. But a weird thing about him is that, at times you can find him admiring himself in the mirror as he claims that he’s the most handsome man in the world. "It’s a sin to be beautiful". *Shivering*. Benisu is the maid in charge of cooking and when Ren and Mihato heard first her name, they misheard it to be… let’s just say to be some part of a male’s anatomy. They can’t stop snickering, can’t they? So I guess, they just decide to call her Beni or Beniko for safety reasons. This short-fused maid also knows how to kick ass and is Shinra’s personal assistant. So whenever Miyu isn’t around to satisfy Shinra’s fetish, poor Benisu…
 
Next is Natose, who wears an eye patch on her right eye. Later in the series, you’ll find out that she’s not wearing it just for fashion but she is indeed blind in that eye! As the head security of the mansion and Yume’s personal attendant, this tomboyish martial arts fighter has an equally incredible huge appetite! She eats anything in large proportions and preferably meat. Finally there’s Chiharu Kiyohara, who is Yume’s other personal attendant and in charge of cleaning duties. At first, Ren thought that out of all the weird non-human-powers servants of this mansion are just plain bizarre and thinks Chiharu has got to be the normal one. Until Colonel tells Ren that Chiharu is a boy! OMG! He sounds so girly, looks so girly, but that’s a boy?! One obvious point of Chiharu is that, he’s always being ignored (okay, maybe obvious wasn’t the right word). Yeah, Yume is only second to him. People just seem to not remember him and leave him out of whatever things they do most of the time. Poor girl. I mean boy.
 
Episode 2 has Ren assisting various of the maids around the mansion as he learns and adapt quickly. But he’s still got a long way to go. Since Miyu has no personal attendant, Mihato is assigned to be hers and as usual, we get to see more teasing of Shinra on Miyu while we learn that Yume and Natose are pretty close. Sleeping together not because of anything yuri but rather Yume seems to confide all her problems and talks with her. It’s tough being ignored, huh? This episode also introduces other characters, all Yume’s high school buddies, when Ren is assigned to escort Yume to school. Let’s briefly go over them, shall we?
 
Another very rich girl, is the crude and training-mania, Ageha Kuki, who has an ‘x’ scar on her forehead. He has a loyal personal butler named Kojuurou Takeda, who is always at the receiving end no matter what he does. Uh huh. Even if he did something good and Ageha is going to reward him, his reward is a powerful punch into the sky! Isn’t that more of a punishment? But what the heck, passionate Kojuurou loves them! Then there is Keiko Inamura AKA Kei, who is Yume’s classmate and friend, but there is nothing much I know of her because she doesn’t make many or obvious appearances in the series. But the most disturbing one has got to be Anastasia Mistina. How disturbing can she get? Why, this girl can get stimulated by just about anything! From just piercing stares to the ray of the sunlight, she can experience orgasms right in the middle of the road!!! And she’s enjoying it! Sick girl! Thank goodness she does not make that many appearance in the series, even if she does, it’ll be a short one. Phew. Also, Mistina seems to be some sort of a masochist and wants other people to… Okay, let’s leave this girl here for now.
 
Anyway, as the day draws to a close, Ren gets to find out that Yume and her friends have lost a ferret belonging to the school and Ren happen to spot it earlier on in the mansion. He goes to great lengths trying to retrieve it. Urm… isn’t he a little violent and too pushy there? I mean, he grabbed the ferret which would definitely make all ferret lovers and SPCA come breathing down his throat. But during that process, Ren broke a priceless vase of the Kuonji’s. Though Ren has regretted his action, it is ultimately Shinra who will still make the decision. In the end, Shinra decides to hire Ren as her personal attendant after taking into account that he has been a hard working lad and that one-off incident shouldn’t overshadow it all. Hooray! Now for the new life. Or is it?
 
Episode 3 has Ren accidentally seeing Benisu in her trademark red undies in the toilet. This didn’t happen just once, but several times throughout the episode. Then we get to see Colonel’s version of Initial D in a limo when he along with Ren are on the way to fetch Shinra from her orchestra practice session. Awesome! We also see that the other orchestra members have their own problems and are confiding to Shinra for some advice, which she gladly obliges. Sometimes you wonder if she’s putting on a facade, because on the outside she looks and feel like a different person altogether, despite her sexual innuendo teasing. When the gang comes home, Ren finds out that Miyu once again has been violated by Shinra. She’s not shy of walking around in her undies, is she? Well, it’s her home. Miyu is fed-up with this day-in day-out and proposes some Kuonji style capture the flag game. In short, all the sisters have to take part (with their personal attendants as part of their team) and the winner is the one who captures the other 2 flags, and will be the head of the household and have and do whatever she wants to the losers for the entire day.
 
Of course Yume is having tea and thinks because she’s always been ignored, but in a surprise attack, Shinra starts attacking her first! Well, take out the weak one first, won’t ‘cha? Ren gets Yume’s flag and puts it at their base. Now all that’s left is Miyu. Benisu tries to take on Mihato but in the end, Benisu got tied up as bait (cue for fanservice!). During that distraction, Ren manages to grab Miyu’s flag and is heading for a homerun when De Niro tries to stop Ren with his horrible singing (really! That robot sound waves are damaging to one’s ears). Ren is struggling to put the last flag in when Miyu comes in between. She tries to seduce him by showing her slip. "Fear the panty flashing!". When it doesn’t work, Miyu tries to hit him but whatever tricks Miyu comes up with, as Shinra mentions, it won’t work because Ren is a bad loser. Finally, Ren puts the flag into the pole and Shinra’s team win. Miyu, prepare to be lavished by Shinra’s love. Oh, Yume can only dream to get some of that love. Speaking of Chiharu, he’s lost somewhere in the gardens as everyone has forgotten about him. I’m not sure what the final scene’s about because when Ren decides to take a shower, he finds Colonel naked in there first so much so a mosaic censor field comes up as his automatic defence mechanism. Haha. Colonel strips Ren naked as he forcefully makes Ren take a shower with him. Hopefully nothing yaoi.
 
In episode 4, Ren makes a mistake by making tea too hot for Miyu. So this has Shinra coming up the idea of the gang going to some southern islands for some relaxation. You should’ve guessed that this is another excuse for fanservice to see the girls in their swimsuit. Shinra once again has desires to take out her lust on Miyu by hiding her swimsuit and make her wear a one piece. As for Ren, he’s being taken by Colonel to some secret hideout which turns out to be a hidden butler training facility. WTF?! Colonel even lets him sign some contract agreement which is written in English. Anyway, Ageha is there and as usual places the usual harsh treatment on Kojuurou. I know the training seems absurd and going through all that just to make the perfect tea? Anyway, Ren nearly died but that was included in the contract he signed. But he’s determined to be the best butler. Also, we see Shinra and Miyu getting drunk and when Ren thought a naked Shinra wanted something from him, he is relief to find out she just wanted a stuff toy. In the end, Ren manages to brew the best tea. He earns praises from Colonel and Ageha can’t even resist it. So when he brews it for Miyu, it’s no surprise she compliments him. Also, Benisu and Natose were at a nearby casino the night before and it seems Benisu can’t get enough of her gambling habit. She’s on a winning streak. But you know how all that will end, if you’re too greedy. Yup, they lost it all and even more. Since this is part of the casino owner’s ploy, he makes a deal with them that they either have to pay it all up or pay it back with their bodies.
 
Episode 5 continues where the previous left off. Benisu and Natose are working their debts off in bunny outfits. It seems Shinra and the rest knew the duo were in trouble and is already there and could’ve nearly catch them in their pole dancing acts. Shinra makes a bet with the casino owner that if she wins, she’ll get the duo back, or else she and the rest will work under him. Shinra leaves it to Colonel, who will show how to solve things elegantly. In some roulette game, the casino owner things he’s got things under his control when Colonel uses some super powers (his hair turning messy alright) of his to turn the tables back to their favour (I’m starting to doubt that he’s human). How’s that for elegance? So the gang heads back to the villa and the next day, the usual fun in the sun. Benisu notices a little girl watching them from behind a tree. Soon, Beni and Ren went out shopping for ingredients but spot 3 guys picking on a little girl, the one Benisu saw earlier on. Though they claim the girl pick-pocketed them, they seem to get violent easily. Benisu went over to teach them a lesson but since they threatened to hurt the girl, Benisu has no choice but to give up. In exchange, Benisu and Ren became their hostage and are whisked away in the baddies’ car.
 
As the duo are being tied up in some dark basement, Benisu tells Ren of her sad past, how she was found and saved by Colonel in the streets and soon after got a job working as a cook at Shinra’s mansion. Poor Benisu has been through hard times of being used and abandoned. It’s no wonder she didn’t trust anybody that time. So when she met Shinra, she felt different, like as though she’s part of a real family. Back in present time, Mihato’s brother-in-danger sense is tingling because the thugs did beat him up and at the same time, that pick-pocket girl ran back to the villa to inform Shinra of her kidnapped subordinates. So Shinra and co gets ready to retrieve their men back that night. We get to see them pulling off cool stealthy assassin moves like Colonel’s signature hand beams and Mihato’s needle work. They really make those punks look like helpless babies. Serves them right. Mihato seems to give Benisu ‘that look’ for getting too close to Ren. Rescue operation over as soon as it started. As they head back, Benisu apologizes to Shinra but as usual, she teases her. When they reach home, it seems Yume is just getting prepared to save Benisu. Too late, girl. Later they watch the fireworks and Ren has his own fireworks when Benisu gives him another punch for walking in while she’s changing.
 
Episode 6 focuses more on Yume. At least this shows Yume isn’t totally forgotten. However, we get to see her ‘other side’. After Yume has forgotten to bring her bento and even wore her undies to school, she gets embarrassed and ultimately fed up of being treated as a child. That night, Ren goes into Yume’s room to find her sleeping on her table. But what is more disturbing is that Ren finds a notebook belonging to hers and its contents are really, how should I put it… shocking. Yume’s Note seems to resemble a lot like Death Note but without all the people dying. To cut things short, her journal tells of Yume and her sisters being mahou shoujo (magical girl) heroines saving the town from a menacing bear monster. Uh huh. Typical mahou shoujo storyline with Yume hogging the limelight with her sisters and other people praising and admiring her heroic acts. Just like Ren said, it’s a self-centred delusion. When Yume wakes up, she finds Ren next to her who tells her that he’ll go talk with everyone else to help Yume find her true personality. The next day, everyone gathers in the living room and give their suggestions for Yume. Mihato starts by asking if she has any hobbies and Yume replied picking mushrooms (?!). Then Mihato suggests about Yume being a bad girl delinquent and so she has Shinra, Miyu, Natose and Benisu demonstrate what it’s like to be a bad ass girl. Convincing but definitely not the type for girly Yume. As Shinra suggests to be herself, the topic somewhat deviated and Yume once again has been left out. Uh huh, Mihato did some vanishing act for Benisu whereby the former tells the latter how her part and role will disappear in 5 seconds. Yeah, Benisu just disappeared into thin air. Of course, by that time Yume has run off in tears. In her room, Yume is depressed as Natose tries to comfort her but to no avail. Ren then comes in and his sincere and earnest explanations gave Yume some hope. Natose then reassures how she’ll always stay by Yume’s side. Just as Ren was about to leave, Yume gives him a peck on his cheek and Natose soon follows. Wow. Being flanked by 2 chics kissing him at the same time. Back in Shinra’s room, she tells Benisu how they’ll soon get a new household member.
 
That person is Ageha as she arrives with her military convoy in episode 7. What a way to make an entrance. Not only that, she’s making modifications to the mansion like as though it’s her house. Why? Because she’s staying here for a while. Colonel explains that during Ageha and Kojuurou’s training, that guy accidentally got some fanservice shot of Ageha, lost concentration and injured himself. Thus he’s hospitalized as they speak. So why Shinra’s place? Well her dad thinks it’s the best place for her to learn self-restraint. I see. Though some of them are against it, but it seems Ageha has come prepared with bribes. Like it is confirmed that Shinra really does have fetish for little panda cubs! Lots of meat for Natose, ice cream for Yume, baseball tickets for Benisu and even little boys in shorts for Miyu, who was initially against it and even said how she won’t fall for her bribes. Can’t resist, huh? Even Colonel got some gold out of it. Since Shinra is infatuated with her new panda cubs, Ren has to personally serve Ageha for the time being. Because Ageha is the daughter of a wealthy conglomerate, it’s no surprise to see assassins watching her and thinking that it’ll be easier for them to target her now. At the same time, Kojuurou is recuperating in hospital and is being surrounded and served by 3 gorgeous nurses! I can’t believe that lucky guy would prefer Ageha’s fist rather than those sexy nurses. I know lots of people who would gladly trade places with him. No, I’m not one of them, please.
 
As Ageha takes Ren on a daily routine of torture… I mean training, Mihato can’t help but worry for him but that guy is still determined as ever. Ren also gets to find out a little more about Ageha’s tough background. That night as the assassins move in, Ageha detects their presence and goes into gear. Of course by the time Natose and Ren finds out, Ageha has already disabled them. We learn that the assassins are being hired from a rival company to take her out. Just then, 1 of the assassins reached for his poison blow dart and aims for Ageha. Ren’s instincts kick in as he uses his body to shield her. However, Ageha is faster and grabs the dart with her bare hands and shoots it back at him. Ren is stunned by it all. Later when Ren has a chat with Ageha, he is upset that even though she is the same age with Yume, she’s been targeted by various parties. Ageha is touched and to show her gratitude, she swiftly kisses Ren on the lips! Unknown to them, Mihato is watching them and is very shocked by this. Ageha says to herself how this is her first kiss before (so is Ren’s) rushing away. Miyu spots Mihato crying in the dark and goes to console her. Looks like her little brother can never be hers forever.
 
Episode 8 sees Kojuurou being ‘harassed’ by the nurses and he still yearns for Ageha’s punishment! Well, pain is pleasure to him. Meanwhile, Miyu finds Shinra naked in bed with the panda cubs! Holy sh*t! Do pandas make better partners in bed? Other than that, as Ageha goes to school, she finds Kojuurou waiting at the school gates for her but it seems Ageha totally ignored him as she thanks Ren. This completely shocks Kojuurou. Back at home, we can see behind her smile, hides a deep vengeance which is obviously shown on her cooking. Dangerous. After school, Ren still finds Kojuurou waiting at the gates and comforts him by saying how Ageha has been training every day. When Ageha arrives, she tells Kojuurou to go home as she takes Ren away. More shock for Kojuurou as he wonders what is happening. Plus, she didn’t give him his usual punishment. Back at Shinra’s place, Ageha continues to give harsh training to Ren and later when Ren comes into Ageha’s room, he finds her in a seductive position. She is asking his proof of loyalty and nearly fell into her trap of being kissed but managed to escape in time. However, Kojuurou has witnessed it all outside the window. The next day, Ageha again asks Ren for his loyalty proof but since Ren is hesitant, she forces another kiss on him! Kojuurou can’t take it anymore as he goes berserk and attacks Ren. Ren tries to explain but Kojuurou isn’t listening. When Colonel takes them outside to cool their heads, Kojuurou thinks he’s going to get a deserved a punch from Ageha when she punches Ren instead. Ageha says that Kojuurou is not worth punishing. Shock! Kojuurou then wants a contest to see which of them is better, in which Shinra agrees. The best out of 3 matches include carrying heavy luggages to a spot (Ren won), serving one’s master with politeness (Kojuurou taking the win) and finally a quiz session. I’m not sure if this one is real or not because 1 of the questions was how did Ageha got her ‘x’ scar and the answer is from the Playstation 2 console… ?! Ren notices Kojuurou in pain and finds out he’s still recovering from his injuries but wanted to see Ageha badly. Ageha realizes Kojuurou’s determination and tells him that she’ll come home after he is healed, thus she wants him to go back to the hospital, in which Kojuurou gladly obliges. As we see Ageha by Kojuurou’s side in the hospital (she’s still not bent on giving up on Ren yet), everyone else is working Ren to the max after serving Ageha for too long and overlooking them.
 
Episode 9 has Ren being Miyu’s personal attendant as he learns more about her. There’s a scene whereby Miyu wanted to sleep naked with Ren by his side and Mihato on the other. I think Ren then got naughty thoughts and pressed her boobs. Of course Mihato was watching and goes into scary mode after giving him some sisterly advice. We also see De Niro’s perverted side (are robots capable of that?) as he’s trying to hook up with the rice cooker! Ren tries to subdue him but that ruckus has caused Miyu deciding to punish the duo (with some vegetable?!) as she chases them round the mansion. When De Niro’s battery runs out, Ren recharges it and in a way saves his life, in which De Niro is grateful after he is resurrected. Also, Ren finds out after watching a tv interview of Shinra, that her late dad, Banshou (sounds like banchou, meaning gang leader), is the most respected person in her life. When Shinra comes home, she isn’t pleased to see Yume and Miyu playing video games and proceeds to unplug it and tells them to think of their future. Miyu tells about hers that Shinra doesn’t need to tell her about it and throws a stack of money on the floor (must be from all those royalties) and leaves. Shinra thinks Miyu has turned into a delinquent. Benisu and Yume fantasizes a delinquent Miyu which includes being a hard rocker. Miyu sounds so convincing and like one here! Of course during dinner, Shinra and Miyu reconciled but it seems Yume once again feels left out and leaves the table while everyone is being happy among themselves. Natose notices this and tries to console Yume in her room. Yume bursts into tears as she hugs Natose and wonders why Shinra only looks at Miyu.
 
In episode 10, Natose suggests Yume to directly tell Shinra her feelings. When she enters Shinra’s room, she finds Shinra all over Ren! Anyway Yume asks her why she never embraced her like Miyu. Shinra apologizes that she never knew Yume felt this way and hugs her. Shinra is happy that Yume is seeking her love and thinks she must’ve over-reacted over the things she said in the past, during the night of their parent’s funeral. However, Yume doesn’t remember what she had said then which prompts Shinra to instantly get cold with her. Unless she remembers what it is, her apology won’t be accepted. So Ren tries to sooth things by saying everything will be alright if Yume just remembered what she had said then. During dinner, Yume is not present at the table and Natose doesn’t have her usual appetite. Natose goes to Yume’s room only to find her missing. She thinks Yume has ran away from home and reports this to the rest. As the others start searching for Yume, Shinra is acting stubborn. Ren is annoyed by her character and ‘advices’ her about the need to reconcile with her sister because they’re family. Even if this brought up painful memories of his own dad, but Ren too says that with such a jerk like him, he still hopes to get on good terms with him. Natose manages to find Yume in front of Chinese restaurant (run by Kei?). As they embraced, Kei tells them that there are better places to flirt. Ren soon catches up to them as the trio had a little chat at a park. Ren learns that Natose is from some Pacific island and a tsunami killed her entire family. That time she wasn’t able to protect her family and doesn’t want the same thing to happen to Yume and the rest. Yume’s encouragement and smile was the motivation which made her go on. As Yume thinks real hard, she finally remembers. It seems when Yume and Miyu were crying at the funeral, Yume notices how Shinra didn’t shed a tear and tells her off that is she some kind of robot before running away. Meanwhile Shinra tells Miyu that at that time she too wanted to cry but had to hold back her tears as she needs to be strong to look after her sisters. Miyu thinks Shinra was trying not to bring shame to the family. Soon Yume comes back but is greeted with a slap from Shinra. Though Yume apologizes in tears for being selfish, Shinra says such trivial matters doesn’t matter anymore and that slap was for making her worried. That night, Yume thanks Natose for everything as the latter thinks this family has become even warmer. From now on, Yume won’t be very much ignored but I still feel she doesn’t make an impact.
 
In episode 11, Chiharu has been saved by Benisu by a bunch of thugs. Ren seems to notice Chiharu’s good mood but couldn’t figure out. Until Mistina comes by in some dog outfit, that is. Oh no. It’s that girl. Her opening explaining lines went something like "My b*tch instincts tell me…". Uh huh. To sum things up, Mistina tells Ren that Chiharu may be in love. So Ren tells this to Yume and Natose who decide to be supportive of Chiharu. So when they gather Chiharu in Yume’s room, they wonder who the girl in question is. Yume thinks it’s her while Ren thinks it’s Mihato but it seems Chiharu is in love with Benisu! They didn’t believe him at first but Chiharu’s pretty serious about it. So they suggest for him to go out on a date with her and they ended up attending a baseball match. But as they’re talking, Chiharu notices how Benisu always mentions Ren and thinks she may like him as Benisu herself mentions how she’s a little attached to him. Heartbreak for Chiharu as he decides to give up pursuing Benisu. So back at the mansion, Chiharu tells Ren that he’s giving up on her and continues with his cleaning. That’s it. You won’t hear this topic again. So fast.
 
The rest of this episode sees the gang along with Ageha, Kei and Mistina heading to the park to watch the sakura bloom. We see each of them putting on some performance of their own like Natose’s American joke (didn’t get it), De Niro’s horrible singing, Shinra and Miyu’s cosplay act, and Ageha kicking a steel pillar into a head bust of Kojuurou (which made him happy) and a final kick to send it crumbling into pieces (which made him sad). While they’re at it, somebody is crying for help as 3 thieves have stolen a woman’s purse. The gang then proceeds to do some justice with the 1st thief being taken out by Miyu’s orders of De Niro’s rain of missiles. The 2nd thief was taken down by Ren and Kojuurou’s drop kick combo and the 3rd one was being taken by Colonel into a washroom to face his punishment. Ambiguous sounds… Soon everyone gathers to praise and take pictures of the heroes and heroines. When the gang walks home, Ren tells Mihato how he has found a place to call home and that he wants to stay like this forever. But that picture of the gang soon appears on the front page of a newspaper and it seems Ren’s dad is happy to know that he has finally found out where Ren and Mihato are. Oh no.
 
Episode 12 starts off with Shinra taking a dip near a stream. Ren finds out from Colonel that this whole mountain area was bought by Shinra. Wow. That proves how rich she is. Next she’ll own the moon. Back home, we see Colonel and Natose trading hand beams as part of their training. Ren almost got hit when he spaces out thinking he used to play catch with his dad. Later we see Shinra taking out her pervertness on Benisu, in which Shinra herself admits that she’s one. I guess if you’re the master of the house, you can say anything you want. Shinra soon leaves for her orchestra rehearsal. Shinra also hogs Ren for the coming few days as she has him read her busy schedule, much to Miyu and Yume’s dismay. During one of the rehearsals, Shinra’s mentor and ex-teacher, Michael Plushenko, was watching her performance but tells her that it was just okay. Though her performance wasn’t bad, it didn’t moved his heart like her earlier works. This statement causes Shinra to be deeply troubled. With Shinra a little down, Ren decides to cheer her up by going on a date with her, which she accepts. The duo had some fun as Colonel is watching them from a distance. Not because he’s a busybody but rather to protect any harm which comes to his master. Shinra nearly blew her cover when she got to loud playing an arcade game.
 
At the end of the day, Shinra is grateful to Ren for taking her out as Ren continues soothing Shinra with his true words of comfort. Until that is, he mentions how he understands her feelings. This causes Shinra to get upset because she thinks that there is no way she could understand them. She calls him a kid and feels that he has taken advantage of the situation by invading his master’s privacy. Shinra then calls for Colonel to take her to the rehearsal. Ren tries to explain things but Colonel tells him to go cool his head somewhere first before driving off. After all that, it’s like back down to zero. As Ren is walking home, he bumps into his dad, Iwao, who’s ‘glad’ to see him. Horrible memories start flowing back to Ren. We find out that Ren ‘killed’ his mother. How? She died while giving birth to him. That’s why I guess Iwao took out all his anger and frustrations on him and felt that due to Ren’s birth, he had to shoulder the burden of taking care of him. Ren throws the bottle of sake he bought for Shinra on the ground as he loses his cool. I remember Iwao also saying how Ren is no different than him, as he is a violent person. A short flashback of certain stuffs Ren handled ‘violently’, like that ferret’s case.
 
Episode 13 starts off with Ren back at the mansion as he enters Shinra’s room to serve her usual bottle coffee but finds her nowhere in sight. Because of his spacing out, he accidentally spills the drink on her musical scores. Shinra, who is also been pretty preoccupied and stressed out for her upcoming orchestra, comes in to see this mess. The next morning, Shinra calls everyone for a meeting and announces Ren is to be fired for interfering with his master’s work. Mihato too tells them she’ll quit if Ren is fired. Later when Mihato asks Ren if there’s anything that’s bothering him, he tells her that it’s nothing but in actual fact he’s thinking about the encounter he had with his dad the previous night. Iwao was telling him how he’s staying nearby at a hotel and even gives Ren his number and expected a call from him before walking away. Something about he wants to meet the new family Ren has settled in. Of course, Ren wants to protect Shinra and her family and wouldn’t allow him to come close. Back in present time, Miyu comes by to tell the siblings that there has to be something more to this because their family won’t just fire a family butler over trivial matters. After Shinra comes back from another tiring rehearsal (in which Michael still isn’t pleased), Yume tries to cheer her up but her intentions were seen through so she leaves. Then Miyu comes in and tries reverse psychology by saying how she’s not wearing any underwear and starts stripping! Of course this shocks Shinra who doesn’t like it because the fun is where Miyu is reluctant or by force. After Miyu advices Shinra to open up, Shinra remembers the time she had with Ren. The next day, she announces that Ren’s firing will be on hold. Everyone rejoices.
 
While Ren is sweeping outside the mansion one morning, his dad arrives. Iwao told him that he was awaiting his call last night and since he didn’t get it, he decides to come see for himself. In order to protect Shinra, Ren agrees to go over to the nearby park and talk things out with Iwao. Benisu and Shinra are watching from a distance. At the park, Ren begs for Iwao to go home but the latter knows Ren’s weakness and starts beating him up. Ren is paralyzed by this fear. Benisu comes to Ren’s rescue but finds him curling up in fear and his trembling voice saying how he’ll do whatever daddy wants. Iwao orders Ren to call Mihato and that the trio are all going home together. Ren is ready to obliged when Shinra tells him of his advice to her the other day, was it all lies? Iwao then tries to punch Shinra for interfering (that scum!) but Ren fights back this time as he believes a man should protect a woman. Before Ren could land the final punch, Shinra stops him and tells Ren he is part of their family. She also said something like Ren didn’t run away from home, but rather it’s his fate to come and serve her. Wow. That’s looking at it from a different perspective. Ren kisses Shinra’s hand and tells Iwao that he no longer needs him. The rest of the gang soon arrives as Shinra prepares to go to her concert. After Iwao gets beaten up by Benisu, he chats with Mihato by saying how Ren was the only person who was by his side and ever since they were gone, for the first time he felt lonely. Mihato agrees to let him see Ren on 1 condition that he changes for the better.
 
At the concert, Shinra tells her orchestra members to relax and have fun. Because of that, Michael is now pleased with her work and notes that this sound only belongs to nobody else but Shinra. After the performance, Shinra meets Ren backstage and to his surprise, Shinra swiftly kisses Ren! How many kisses does this guy get already? She tells him that this is his reward before going back onstage, leaving Ren in seventh heaven. Everything goes back to normal back at Shinra’s mansion but more livelier (Miyu forcing Ren to put on some boyish shorts?!). Ren must be one lucky guy in demand because the sisters are fighting over him. Just then, Ageha comes jumping down from her helicopter with a parachute and into Shinra’s living room (this girl sure knows how to make an extreme grand entrance). Kojuurou jumps down too but he is without parachute… Ageha’s purpose is because she heard that they’re having a competition to see who gets Ren and so she wants to join in too. Ah well, the more the merrier. During the final scenes, we see Ren, Mihato and a clean shaven Iwao, paying their respects at their late mom’s grave. Good thing Iwao has changed for the better. Also we see several pictures of the Kuonji household going on holiday trips with Ageha and Kojuurou tagging along doing extreme stunts (poor Chiharu always been left out from the photo shoot).
 
This series has been a fun ride and I enjoyed it from start to finish. Perhaps if they make a sequel out of this one, I’d gladly jump in straightaway and watch it. I have to admit that it is partly the fanservice parts which made the series funny and more ‘pleasant’ to watch. Hmm… Perhaps the DVD version will have uncut and uncensored scenes. You know, it’s part of the ‘motivational’ ploy to get viewers to buy the DVD if they want to ‘watch more’. With the drawing, art and animation catered to today’s Japanese animation standards and style, I’m sure most of us have no qualms or problems with it. At times, the drawing may give a rich and opulent atmosphere, like in the mid-intermission. But it’s not always as the mid-intermission sometimes become comical. I’m not sure about that sketch drawing at the end after the next episode preview showing De Niro and a cat. What does it mean?
 
The voice acting does fit the characters in the series nicely. Like Ren is voiced by Tomokazu Seki so that’s the main reason why his angst sounds so much like Kenichi from Shijou Saikyou No Deshi Kenichi, because he was the seiyuu for that character too. I was hoping Ayako Kawasumi to voice Shinra but instead it is Shizuka Itou, the one who did the voice of Hinagiku of Hayate No Gotoku and Wilhelmina of Shakugan No Shana. Can’t distinguish her voice. Likewise, Yuko Goto voices Miyu and as usual I can’t recognize her voice because she sounds different (or rather I forgot) from her previous roles like Asahina in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu, Kaede in Shuffle, and Abiru in Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei. Other casts include Rie Tanaka as Ageha (Bianchi in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, Maria in Hayate No Gotoku), Kumiko Yokote as Benisu (Sophia in Raimuiro Senkitan), hitomi as Mihato (Primula in Shuffle), Yuu Asakawa as Natose (Motoko of Love Hina, Sakaki of Azumanga Daioh), Kazuya Tatekabe as De Niro (Jayan in Doraemon), Noboyuki Hiyama as Kojuurou (Ikkaku of Bleach) and Yousuke Akimoto as Colonel. There are other first timer seiyuus like Shizuka Minamori as Yume, Yuu Amamiya as Chiharu, Mahiro Chiaki as Mistina and Natsuko Tauchi as Kei.
 
Speaking of the seiyuus, the parodies which happen in the series are usually based on that particular seiyuu’s previous roles, as they parody dialogue lines and actions from that other anime. The fansubbers did quite a good job in prompting this when the parody happens. Quite informative actually. Because of that, there are dozens of other trivia here but not so much or excessive like in Hayate No Gotoku. The opening theme, Hizamazuku Made 5 Byo Dake! by Miyuki Hashimoto is quite lively and upbeat whereas the ending theme, Butler Switch On! by Yuko Goto is equally lively as well (the chorus kinda sounds funny). There are 2 versions for the ending credits animation. The first one are like card pictures of the characters shown in a slot machine-like way. But this version only lasts for 2 episodes and it is replaced with a more ecchi and fanservice one whereby the female characters in the series have their clothes gradually ‘erased’ by the ‘tiny’ guys in a car to reveal their undies. Yeah, I guess lots of people would prefer this one.
 
As Ren goes about with his new life, I’m sure with his loyalty to Shinra, he’ll get by lots of things one step at a time. Just like Hayate in Hayate No Gotoku. So if you’re thinking that rich and powerful people are all that high and mighty, this series would at least make some reservations about them. They’re just like ordinary people with their own quirky habits. Only difference is that they have more ‘greens’ than any normal people would. Which might in turn magnify their quirkiness. So would you prefer to have a kinky master or a very strict one? Well, since if you’re a servant, you won’t have the luxury of choice, wouldn’t you? Just as long as they pay and treat you well, that’ll be okay, right?
 
Kimi Ga Aruji De Shitsuji Ga Ore De

Incl.

November 21, 2008

  Bokura wa mucha mo suru kedo,
  Nakitai toki ni wa naichatte alright,
  Konkyo no nai jishin demo,
  Toriaezu ‘coz I’m included in your life
 
If anyone who has seen the anime series, Girl’s High or also known as Joshi Kousei, I’m sure you will definitely and immediately identify with those opening lines. Well, if you’re a fan of that series of course and not just the kind that see-and-forget. This is the ending theme of the series entitled, Incl. (pronounced as, included).
 
  Sonna koto wo dare ka ni,
  Iwareta wake ja nai no ni,
  Jibun de katte ni,
  Dame ni shita
 
Sung by Meg Rock, just like in the singer name herself, this is another one of those lively and upbeat rock songs. The songs starts off with some muffled sound effect and soon the singer singing the opening chorus accompanied with only the drums before the whole song starts to come into play with the heavy funk-like bass.
 
  Atama de wakaru koto ga,
  Kokoro de wa dekitenai,
  Minna to onaji,
  Sokudo ja nai kara
 
Amazingly, somehow I manage to sing this song with great ease and confidence. Considering that the singer has a high-pitched voice which is so suitable for squeaky anime girly characters, I thought that this song would be one of the impossibles. After trying out a few times, I got addicted to it. The verses and bridge are simple enough and don’t require me to go to a much higher pitch. So much so I think I sound close to her! (Yeah right, there I go again dreaming).
 
  Shiawase no mihon to ka,
  Deteru to no imi ni,
  Madowasareteru uchi wa,
  Kitto surechigau
 
The only part which has me needing to go a higher pitch and is just a short little line in the chorus, namely the ‘toriaezu~’ part. At first it was tough, then slowly I started to notice that I can sing it without much difficulty. Albeit not perfect nor consistent, but hey, it’s better than most other songs. Plus, majority of the times when I sing this line, I don’t really face the problem of going off pitch. Not even the sustaining lines at the end of the bridge pose any ‘threat’ to me. Hehehe.
 
  Bokutachi wa ima datte,
  Mada yume no tochuu,
  Akirameta furi wo shite,
  Zutto sagashiteru
 
Other than that, the lyrics of this love song is quite easy to remember and that most of the lines of the repeating chorus are the same. On a trivial note, I saw the original Japanese kanji lyrics and was stumped when the 1st verse lyrics has a line which has ‘x’ in it. I wonder what it meant, so upon closer listening (after many many times), I feel what the word was and meant was ‘dame’. Sheesh. Why didn’t they just put that word in the first place. There isn’t much background vocals either but even so, it’s just a short one in the last lines of the chorus. Plus, if you like wild electric guitar playing, the solo part gives you some treat although it’s just a short one.
 
  Bokura wa mucha mo suru kedo,
  Nakitai toki ni wa naichatte alright,
  Konkyo no nai jishin demo,
  Toriaezu ‘coz you’re included in my life
 
Just for the record, the anime series’ ending animation shows the girl casts of the series doing a jiggling dance of their own. I once tried to copy them. Some are easy while some I still unable to get it right till today. But each time I see them do that, it never ceases to bring a smile to my face. However, I can’t seem to dance and sing this song at the same time. I’d go helter-skelter. Perhaps I should just enjoy singing this and nothing more. Now to go off with a bang, just like how the song ends with its trademark guitar strumming and drum beats, then finally over and out with the sliding of the funky bass line.
 
  Toriaezu ‘coz you’re included in my,
  I’m included in your life…
 
Girl's High

Kimikiss Pure Rouge

November 15, 2008

Ah, another one of those high school drama love romances. That’s right. That is how I would classify the anime series Kimikiss Pure Rouge. This series is also based on the dating simulation of the same name but there is one refreshing thing about that game. It is not ecchi nor hentai. Uh huh. Just your normal dating simulation game in which anybody could just hop in and play without having to worry if there are ecchi or hentai elements in it.
 
Having said that this is a high school drama love romance story, I could say that this really is purely one. Sure, the occasional comedy and light hearted moments to ease the tension but it is not much. So for drama romance lovers, you’d probably enjoy this one and for those who don’t, I suppose you can consider this as another yawn fest and move on to other genres which suits your taste.
 
This 24 episode anime series is produced by J.C. Staff, which is also responsible for previous animes like Nodame Cantabile, Honey And Clover, and Ai Yori Aoshi. One big motivator for me to watch this series is the pretty kawaii bishoujos. Yup, beautiful girls. Although there isn’t going to be like over 100 girls, but the small group of them are enough to captivate me and give some eye candy. Don’t they look gorgeous? Well, at least to me. Most of them.
 
Let’s see, our main heroine is Mao Misuzawa, who has been living abroad in France for 2 years. Whatever the reasons, as seen in episode 1, Mao makes a surprise comeback to her hometown of Kibina in Japan. Thing is, she went ahead back first instead of waiting to go back home together with her parents. Why? Don’t know. Not important. Besides, you won’t get to see Mao’s parents coming back throughout the series. But I have a theory why she came back. Because she wants to see 1 of her 2 childhood friends badly. He is Kouichi Sanada and his morning slumber and dream is rudely awaken when a pretty girl comes knocking on his door. This blur guy doesn’t remember that this hot chick is Mao and it’s like when Mao arrived at his doorstep, she’s like making herself home like as though it’s her own home. And Kouichi still haven’t the slightest clue who this sexy babe is. Sexy babe? Yeah, Mao decides to take a shower after walking in the heat and got a little sweaty (note the climate change in France and Japan).
 
Soon, Kouichi’s best friend, Kazuki Aihara comes by and the latter is surprised to hear a female’s voice coming from inside his home and thinks Kouichi has betrayed him or something like that. As Mao comes out in a towel to see what the ruckus is all about, Kazuki recognizes Mao and vice versa. It then hit Kouichi who this girl is. Took you long enough, buddy. Kazuki is the other childhood friend of Mao. When Kouichi’s mom comes back, she tells them about Mao’s case and that she is going to live at their place for the time being. Which means, Kouichi has to give up his room for her and sleep in the storeroom. Can’t be sleeping together, right? Okay, so 1 night Mao wasn’t really able to sleep and asks Kouichi to come to ‘her’ room. From behind the door, you can hear Mao saying "Ah… Ah… I can’t stand this position…". Actually they were just playing a racing simulation and Mao is way behind. Haha. What was I thinking. This prompts Kouichi to think that Mao didn’t change after all.
 
The rest of the episode introduces several characters and sets the tone and pace for the rest of the series. Like we find out Kazuki has a cute little moe 1st year high school freshie sister named Nana. She’s so petite that people would mistake her for a junior high student. Also, Kouichi and Kazuki are the members of their school’s 3-member Movie Research Club, led by Akira Hiiragi. Now I wouldn’t say this guy is imposing but he’s got a way to have things done his way or get people to do stuff for him (mostly Kouichi and Kazuki). Must be his persuasion or either that they can’t turn him down. Anyway Hiiragi is trying to recruit more members to expand his club by asking Mao to join but of course, she declines. As it is the start of the new school term, the gang finds out the classes that they’re going to be in. Other characters introduced are the tomboyish footballer Asuka Sakino and a shy soft-spoken girl Yuumi Hoshino.
 
As 3rd year student Mao introduces herself in class, she notices a very unsocial guy, Kai Eiji, sitting next to her. Mao being her usual lively and bubbly self decides to make friends with him but he shrugs her off, ignoring her. Attempts to be friendly with him backfired. He even told her that they can’t be friends. Jerk. Which guy would pass up a chance to make friends with a gorgeous girl? Unless, you’re gay. It can’t be… Final developments of this episode has Kazuki noticing a paper airplane coming out from the building’s window and tries to return it to its owner. This leads him to the science lab where he finds the school’s genius and prodigy, Eriko Futami. At first looks, Futami looks like a typical cold character and her words may something sting your heart. But she always had that lonely atmosphere with her. Since Futami doesn’t need that paper airplane (her test paper which she failed on purpose) and finds out Kazuki doesn’t have a girlfriend, Futami decides to conduct an experiment and proceeds to give Kazuki a kiss! Gasp! That was unexpected and mind-blowing.
 
So in most of the episodes you’ll see how the main group of characters bond and interact each other through the ups and downs of their love relationship. Doesn’t seem interesting? Well, I was hoping Mao would be some sort of like a love guru and maestro seeing her bubbly and lively exterior but as the series goes by, I kinda notice she starts to change when she realizes her own feelings. Though she has been childhood friends with Kouichi and Kazuki and to them Mao is like their elder sister, but in the game of love, I guess you’ll never know, huh?
 
So in episode 2, Kazuki is sorting out his feelings about that kiss while Futami on the other hand didn’t feel a thing. On the way to school, they spot a wealthy girl riding a limo to school, Mitsuki Shijou. Upon arrival at the school gates, Nana is being stopped by public morals committee member, Megumi Kuryuu (I kinda find her twintail hairstyle… messy), about that childish frog plushie. I’m amazed that Mao can actually fall asleep on the school grounds. Surprisingly, Hiiragi has some sort of data on the girls in his school so when Kazuki asks a little information about Futami. Though Hiiragi is surprised, he tells Kazuki that Futami is the untouchable type. Something way out of his league. But Kazuki isn’t going to give up as he searches for her but to no avail. Later, Nana introduces a new friend she made, Narumi Satonaka. These 2 are like inseparable pair and whenever they get shrieky, excited and all girly, let’s just say my hair stood on ends. Can’t stand them. Besides, Narumi too has that weird frog plushie and the duo won’t hesitate to act out some lovey-dovey romance act between the frog plushies whom they’ve even named Iwao and Juliet. Sheesh… Also, the duo decides to form an Udon Association to make the best udon in the world (thus a reason not to join the movie club). Meanwhile Mao hears somebody playing a beautiful melody on a saxophone and finds out it is Kai. She tries to be friendly with him and expresses how his music is good but Kai once again he gives her the cold shoulder. Since Mao is pretty persistent, Kai tells her that unlike the rest of the 3rd years, he isn’t taking any entrance exam this year so he is sick about his other peers talking about it. So Mao makes a deal with him that she won’t mention anything about the exams to him but in exchange would like to become his friend. Kai agrees. As Kazuki finally finds Eriko on the rooftop and tries to ascertain himself about that incident, in which Futami says it was just an incident. Lastly, Mao watches from a distance how Kouichi is speaking to Yuumi and later back at home is surprised to find out that even though Kouichi likes her, this is the first time they have talked to each other even if they were in the same class last year. Mao is determined to help Kouichi get closer to Yuumi.
 
In episode 3, Nana invites Mao to a group karaoke session but since they are short of people, Mao forces Kouichi and Kazuki to get more people, and preferably girls. *Wink wink*. While Kazuki has Eriko on her mind (didn’t manage to get her in the end), Kouichi is trying to summon up his courage to ask Yuumi, who is attending to her library duties. Mao is spying on them but gets irritated and frustrated about Kouichi’s hesitation. Mao has had about it and ticks Kouichi off and asks Yuumi on his behalf. This has got to be embarrassing. Anyway Yuumi agrees. Due to Kazuki’s failure to rope in a girl, he brings Hiiragi instead. As the gang had their fun belting out tune after tune, Mao had a little chat with Yuumi about how she views Kouichi as his little brother and that there isn’t anything to worry about and wish the best for the both of them. At the end of the session, Mao has Kouichi walk Yuumi back to the train station. As Mao walks home, he spots Kai putting out a store sign. She learns that Kai is working at this bar, Deby, part time and in exchange they let him play the saxophone. At the train station, before Yuumi gets on board, Kouichi sum up his courage to call out to her by saying how he wants to talk to her more often from now on. The other passer-bys must be thinking what is going on. Probably they’re thinking it’s another high school teenage romance. Ah, the wonders of being young. As Yuumi agrees, as the duo head home smiling with new found happiness in their hearts.
 
But even if Kouichi and Yuumi are getting along well, their slow pace in their relationship development doesn’t please Mao very well. So in episode 4, Kouichi in turn asks Mao back if she has a boyfriend. Well, her shoe locker is overflowing with love letters. Uh huh. Something about she can get a boyfriend anytime but doesn’t feel the need to do so now. Also, Mao learns that Kazuki is part of Sakino’s football team as the latter drags the reluctant kid for some football practice. Since Sakino is the only girl in the entire school who plays football, she is allowed to join the boys’ team. See, no discrimination. On the other hand, we also find out that Futami has a bad habit of ditching classes by staying at the infirmary. Just because you’re a genius, doesn’t mean you don’t have to attend classes, right? Even her friend Shijou is worried about her. But that morning as Mao was rushing late to school again, she bumps into Kai at the shoe locker area (more love letters flowing out), but Kai notices her dizzy condition and proceeds to carry her to the infirmary. There, Mao gets acquainted with Futami. Because Hiiragi has been handing down assignments for his movie project to Kazuki and Kouichi, Kazuki is having a hard time juggling between the movie club and his football practice sessions with Sakino while Kouichi enlists Yuumi’s help. Later, Kazuki gets to meet Futami at the stairways and asks her about the experiment like has she done it on others. Of course she gives the it’s none of your concern answer. Because of that, Kazuki can’t concentrate on his football practice and gets some lecturing from Sakino, who then takes out her frustration on her practice. As Mao leaves class, she finds Kai waiting for him and thanks him for what he did this morning. Just then, Kai asks her if she is free this weekend and wants to ask her out. Mao agrees. Wow, now this guy is really starting to like her. At first he was so unfriendly and look how this has changed him.
 
Episode 5 starts off with a flashback when Mao, Kouichi and Kazuki are little kids and we see Mao doing daring things by jumping off a moving swing. Back in present time, Mao is being taken by Kai to a live jazz performance on their date. Mao is quite impressed as the duo chat and share their common interest in the jazz music genre. In school, Hiiragi bugs Kouichi for the movie’s script, in which he is in charge of. With Yuumi’s help, the duo decided that the movie is going to based on a love story. At the canteen, Hiiragi spots Futami eating alone there and notes how rare it is for her to do so and cheekily tells Kazuki that this his chance but Kazuki says that this wasn’t what he had in mind and leaves. Mao finds a dejected Kazuki on the rooftop as she consoles him. Kazuki remembers the time whereby Mao was asking the guys to jump off from the swing in which Mao remembers Kazuki jumped the furthest. Later, Mao requests Eiji to let her listen to his performance as promised while Kouichi and Yuumi continue working together for their love story script. You know Yuumi, love stories does not necessarily need to have a tragic end. Also, Kazuki manages to confront Futami and tells her that he wants to continue with the experiment. Oh, now he wants more of it, does he? Which guy wouldn’t.
 
So the experiment continues in episode 6 as we see Kazuki and Futami in the science room having a good look by examining him (sorry, nothing steamy here) when Futami tells him that he is a failure. Soon Futami makes some experimental coffee and lets Kazuki drinks it. It doesn’t take a genius to tell that the coffee tastes horrible. Mao comes back home late because she was at Deby’s when Kouichi decides to ask her for help on his homework and upcoming tests. However, since Mao herself didn’t study for her upcoming test or back then when she studied but had a flu, she tells him that she can only help him if he has problems with love. I see she’s a real expert in this area. The next day, even Sakino approaches Kazuki and Kouichi to help her study for the upcoming test. They come up with a plan with Kouichi asking Mao to meet them at the library saying Kazuki has some problems with his love life. Of course Mao wouldn’t pass this chance up and goes there but is rather disappointed to find out that this is a ploy to get the gang to study together. As the gang starts studying, Kazuki spots Futami and requests her to join them but she refuses. This made Sakino stood up and tell her off that they are not smart people like she is. Futami just walk away. On the way home, Kouichi tells Yuumi about how Mao has always been like a big sister to him. Then at Deby, Kai’s statement of how it would be nice if they could study together surprised Mao because she thought he hated studying, when Mao was doing her studies at the workplace. Soon, the tests results are out and most of the gang are delighted with the results they got. Kazuki spots Futami’s name on top of the board as she scored perfect for all her tests. As for Nana and Narumi, they flopped…
 
The script for the club’s movie project is gaining ground in episode 7 but a teacher chases them out of the room that they’re occupying. But the gang gets to continue their work when Narumi allows them to do so at her udon shop run by her grandpa. Narumi’s grandpa have that cold look and don’t really have any lines in this series. So how does he communicate? With his face or hand gestures of course. While they hear Narumi’s dream of continuing her grandpa’s profession of udon making, this prompts Mao to remember back then Kouichi’s dream to be a novelist. Something about Kouichi was emotionally touched after reading a book called A Dog Of Flanders. Uh huh, he cried. Mao then made a promise back then that she will keep this book so that he could stop crying. Mao tells this embarrassing tale to everyone. Soon Hiiragi suggests that they need to find a heroine for this movie of theirs but since none of the girls here are willing to volunteer, they will have to scout for one. The next day, the scouting proves unfruitful. On the other hand, we see Kazuki and Futami standing next to each other holding hands in the science room. Kazuki thoughts must be racing to think what kind of move Futami will pull off. Though it didn’t amount to anything much, Futami soon gives Kazuki her usual horrible coffee brew and starts eating her weird meal. Chips with honey? To a normal person, that doesn’t seem appetizing. Well, Futami’s not normal. Because Kazuki thinks Futami has always been eating alone, he decides to conduct an experiment to see whether she has bad tastes or not, in which she agrees. Then everyone receives an SMS from Hiiragi telling them to meet at the udon shop as he has found their heroine. That person Hiiragi is talking about is no other than Shijou. Since she has no other club activities, she is happy and more willing to help them out. However, the group becomes disappointed when they found out that Shijou already has a fiancee and thus can’t play the part of a heroine. Not only that, there is a kiss scene too. Though Shijou can’t play that part, she decides to help out in any other ways she can. Back to square one. Meanwhile Mao is at Kai’s workplace and is on her way out when Kai tells her that he wants her to come by here everyday. With that, Kai then kisses Mao on her lips. Mao is taken aback and pushes him away before apologizing and running off. Can’t take the sudden development, can’t she? And I thought she was the expertise in this area.
 
Nana is suspicious of Kazuki in episode 8 as she thinks her brother has some sort of a date, in which he denies. Not only Kazuki is acting strange, so is Mao. Due to that sudden kiss, Mao obviously hasn’t been herself lately like being absent-minded. Because of that, Mao excuses herself to the infirmary where she meets Futami once more. After school, as Yuumi suggests to Kouichi to watch a movie to get some ideas, Kazuki takes Futami out to a ramen shop for his experiment. Futami orders the worst combination possibly the shop could offer called berry ramen (why was such an item on the menu anyway?) and this shocks all the other customers. Just then Sakino appears and spots the duo. She apologizes for her previous outburst. Futami has no qualms finishing her berry ramen and even enjoys it! Bad taste confirmed? With that, Kazuki decides to bring Futami to another store. Back at Satonaka’s udon shop, Hiiragi is surprised to find out that Shijou has not even seen the face of his fiancee nor does she know the meaning of love. How can she be so upbeat and positive about it? Shijou proceeds to ask Kouichi and Yuumi what it’s like to be in love, which puts them in an awkward situation. Soon Kazuki, Futami and Sakino arrive at the store and they order the best udon for her to try out. It is confirmed that Futami really does have bad taste when she just says it tastes normal, sending some heartbreaking news to gramps. Looks like he took that comment to seriously and starts remaking his noodles. Nana then takes this opportunity to introduce herself and asks what is Futami’s relationship with her brother. Futami denies anything about them nor even being friends and soon leaves. Earlier on during the day, Kai did apologize to Mao for suddenly kissing her and even admits that he liked her. Throughout the day, they went out on a date as Kai finds out how Mao is good with video games and learns that she and Kouichi get along well. As they leave, a speeding bike causes Eiji to pull Mao into his arms. When Kouichi and Yuumi left the udon shop, they bump into Mao and Kai just around the corner. They just stared each other in silence.
 
The school will be having a swimming event in episode 9. Because of this, Hiiragi thinks this would be their best chance to scout for a heroine. Mao is thinking when she bumped into Kouichi and Yuumi back then. She quickly stepped away from Kai when she spotted them. Mao leaves the bar early but her gloomy mood is lifted when Kouichi goes into her room to get some swimming gear. During the swimming event, it seems that part of Hiiragi’s plan is to have Kouichi and Kazuki take pictures of girls with their handphones. Not a good idea if you consider suspicious Kuryuu around. They might even be mistaken for perverts. After the morning rounds, the gang regroups for some lunch. Kazuki invites Futami to eat together. As the gang questions her about her swimming, Futami tells them that she has learned all of its techniques through reading but Sakino begs to differ as she states how reading and doing it are 2 different aspects. As the swimming event continues, Kouichi finds himself up against Kai and wonders if there is anything wrong between him and Mao. But just as Kouichi put on his goggles, he felt groggy and faints and is brought to the infirmary. Looks like Kouichi misplaced his and Mao’s powered goggles. Yuumi is left alone with Kouichi after their homeroom teacher Tomoka Kawada, leaves the room. As Yuumi further inspects Kouichi’s injuries, Kazuki comes in and at that angle, it’s as though Yuumi was kissing Kouichi. It seems Sakino is injured too as Kazuki brings her in. But Sakino is determined (some may say stubborn) and decides to continue with the event. In the end, she surprises everyone by winning the event. Even Futami thinks that was an amazing feat. Soon Hiiragi rounds up Kouichi and Kazuki about their report but of course the results were nil. Though Shijou had come up with someone, it wasn’t what the gang had expected. Later, Mao bumps into Kouichi as the former lost her contacts so Kouichi decides to help her find it.
 
That search-for-her-lost-contacts somehow turned into something strange in episode 10. Kouichi is suddenly playing a saxophone but he sounds horrible! What the?! Then it all turned out to be just a dream. What a weird dream that was. Anyway because of Mao’s little depression, Kouichi wonders if she and Kai got into a fight. As Kouichi goes out, he bumps into Kai. The 2 sat down and chat. Since Kouichi thinks that Kai is the only one who can bring happiness to Mao, he requests for his help to take care of her. Kouichi also wants Kai to keep this a secret from Mao before leaving. Meanwhile Mao gets a call from Kouichi’s mom saying how she and her husband won’t be back today when Kouichi comes back soaked from the rain. Kouichi then notices how Mao is her lively self again when she gets a phone call from Kai. The next day, Mao leaves on her date with Kai but Kouichi soon collapses due to his fever from yesterday’s rain. Kouichi tries to nurse himself but since he can’t call Yuumi for help, he calls Kazuki instead. It seems Kazuki too has come down with fever after his football practice with Sakino. And Narumi and Nana are irritating him with their frog plushie. I’m not sure if that would help him recover. Hiiragi comes by Kouichi’s place to tell about some princess role whom Shijou has accepted (don’t worry, that visual was Hiiragi’s imagination), he has put in and also made some amendments. Great, now Kouichi has more headache to deal with. During the date with Mao, she notices how Kai isn’t acting like himself as though he has something to hide. Kai has no choice but to reveal what had happened earlier on. This causes Mao to be a little upset when she gets home, she busts in calling out to Kouichi’s name. Mao’s anger turns to worry when she spots Kouichi is sick. After giving the necessary treatment, Kouichi figured out that Kai had ratted on him. As Kouichi tries to explain that Mao doesn’t look cheerful like she used to, Mao tells him about that weird dream she had but it seems he had already fallen asleep. With that, Mao leans forward and kisses his forehead. But to Mao’s horror, she saw Kouichi’s eyes opened as he looked at her.
 
The gang pays a visit to Shijou’s mansion as part of their movie project in episode 11. So how big is Shijou’s mansion? Why, she even offers them a limo ride from the gate entrance to the front door. Yeah, real big alright. Surprisingly, Futami tags along too. Shijou gives them a tour of the place but since it’s going to take forever, the gang split themselves into several groups. Just don’t get lost, okay? They soon get a taste of what it’s called sumptuous food that only rich people eat. This gives Narumi new ideas for her new udon. Of course, for Futami, it’s just okay. Even if Hiiragi has done gathering his resources on the scenario, the rest feel it’s too early to leave (yeah, got bitten by the rich bug, aren’t they?). So they decide to play hide and seek. Since the mansion is too big, they decide to draw lot and go in pairs. Mao trade her place with Yuumi so that she could be with Kouichi as Mao gets paired with Shijou. With Hiiragi and Sakino as a pair, this leaves Kazuki and Futami as one. Thus, Nana and Narumi are ‘it’. As Kazuki and Futami are hiding in a room, Kazuki is surprised to hear how Futami is enjoying time with everyone else. To show her gratitude, Futami kisses Kazuki. Another experiment, I suppose? Just then, Nana and Narumi barges in but luckily, the kiss was over. It would’ve been the most scandalous event if they ever saw it. After the gang leaves Shijou’s mansion, Kouichi is seeing off Yuumi at the train station when she suddenly shed a tear. Before Kouichi could find out why, Yuumi has already gone on board and leaves Kouichi confused.
 
Episode 12 has Mao lecturing Kouichi for watching love fortunes on tv and when Kouichi asks her the reasons girls cry, Mao thinks he had in some way made Yuumi cried. He changes his mind and rushes out. On the way to school, Mao and Kouichi notices Kazuki’s good mood (from that latest kiss lah). At school, Kazuki finds Sakino doing well in her recent tests and when he meets with Futami later, he learns that she is 2 points short of a perfect score. Futami acknowledges that it was her careless mistake and it was her first time (due to love, perhaps?). Mao spots Kouichi and Yuumi going home together as she spaces out and feels lonely. Kai comes by to comfort her. Kazuki is having his usual football practice with Sakino after school but a tackle from him causes him to injure her. Since no one is in the infirmary, Kazuki peddles with all his might to the nearest clinic with Sakino as his pillion. You can see the expression on Sakino’s face that she’s starting to have feelings for Kazuki. Even if she’s a tomboy, deep down she’s still a girl after all. Meanwhile Kouichi and Yuumi have just finished their lunch at a shop when it started raining. This causes an awkward situation when they both took out their umbrellas at the same time. But Yuumi decides to have Kouichi use his instead. From a distance, Mao spots the couple together and again she gets that worried look on her face. What’s her problem? Don’t tell me she has feelings for Kouichi. It can’t be… Elsewhere, Hiiragi gets a limo ride from Shijou and it seems Shijou’s Doberman dog has taken quite a liking for him (in the previous episode, they had quite a ‘fiery’ encounter). At the clinic, though Sakino’s injuries aren’t bad, she thanks him. Kazuki went on to tell her about his lucky point of his horoscope today but all Sakino can do is blush. As for Futami, she seems to be watching the rain fall from her apartment. A bad omen?
 
As Kouichi and Yuumi’s work progress on the movie script made some progress in episode 13, this episode continues with more drama particularly with Mao spacing out and her uncertain feelings because of that kiss she gave to Kouichi. Same case with Sakino. Most of the time when she bumps into Kazuki, she gets that blushing feeling and even come to think that Kazuki and Futami are getting along pretty well. Yeah, Sakino did meet Kazuki at the stairways when the latter even admits that he likes Futami when she asked. Gasp! Because of that, we see Kazuki making some progress with Futami as they exchange handphone numbers. Since Kai notices Mao’s unusual self, he takes her on her date and after viewing a beautiful sunset scenery, Mao realizes that Kai has been looking after her all this while and leans her head on his shoulder. This should at least confirm her feelings. But a shocking development comes at the end of this episode. After Kouichi and Yuumi had spent a wonderful day together, at the end of it, Yuumi reveals the reason why she shed tears at the train station during that time. Yuumi is going to be transferred to another school soon due to her parent’s work! Oh no! Yuumi tearfully tells Kouichi that during that time she panicked at the thought of not being able to see him anymore as she wished days like these would go on forever. However, Kouichi gives her a hug and promises her that he will continue to see her. It’s so disheartening to see Yuumi in tears like that.
 
In episode 14, Mao soon learns of Yuumi’s future departure from Kouichi when he tells her how he’s going to work part time during the summer holidays so that he can save some money and go see her every week. That’s so sweet and thoughtful of him. But Mao reminds him that if he spends his time working, he won’t have much time to spend with her and suggests taking her out to the beach as a simple way to enjoy themselves. As Kouichi continues his football practice with Sakino and is gradually improving, Eiji gives Mao tickets to his upcoming live jazz band performance. Mao is thrilled to see him performing. At Futami’s place, she gets a call from her dad working away as Futami assures that she is alright by herself. Soon after, she calls Kazuki and asks him if he’s free for another experiment tomorrow. Though Kazuki is surprised and would gladly accept, he remembers he has a football match on that day and has to decline. So Futami asks him which is more important, the experiment or his football. This guy’s got to make a tough choice. Since Kazuki says he wants to make a change, Futami then tells him she’ll conduct the experiment some other time and quickly hangs up. Not too happy, isn’t she? Her experiment subject has something else more important to do? On match day, Kazuki gets to play when a regular becomes injured during the match. Futami arrives to watch Kazuki in action and notices how well he gets along with Sakino, who is on the sidelines due to her recovering feet injury. So when Futami returns home, she is in a dilemma whether to call Kazuki or not, but soon decides not to. Later when the movie club members (and all its other non-members who only wish to help out) converge at the usual udon shop (must be their base for meetings now, huh?), Hiiragi announces that Kouichi and Yuumi will play the part of lovers. Though surprising, they agree to it. As they walk home, Kazuki mentions how close Kouichi and Yuumi has gotten to when Hiiragi fires the same question back at him about Futami. Then some advice reminder from Hiiragi about the need to get hold of her before he loses her as she lives in a different world. This prompts Kazuki to call Futami, but she didn’t pick up her phone. Can I consider her to be sulking or showing her displeasure?
 
The filming begins in episode 15 but it seems Yuumi is fumbling her lines quite often. It seems that almost the entire summer holiday has been scheduled for filming. Bummer. Later Yuumi apologizes to the gang that she’s unable to do it so her part is to be replaced by Mao, who is still reluctant about doing it. Kazuki is still trying to call Futami but the results are still the same. Maybe it’s a sign to say that she’s not going to talk to you for some time? Anyway, since this is Kouichi’s first time bringing Yuumi to his home, Kouichi’s mom is quite thrilled to see her son bringing back a girl. The usual mother-embarrassing-son moments before going out to leave the duo alone. They could have landed a kiss if not for Mao coming back home. So close. Yuumi is here to persuade Mao to take on he role in the movie, in which Mao reluctantly agrees to do it. Meanwhile Kazuki and Sakino are out buying football shoes when Nana calls her brother. Though Kazuki denies he’s on a date or something, it was enough to make Sakino blush. As Mao goes through the script for the movie, the kissing scene reminded her of the one she gave Kouichi. Just then, Kouichi came in to borrow Mao’s camera for his date at the beach. Kouichi and Yuumi manage to enjoy themselves at the beach and at the end of the day as Kouichi sees Yuumi off at the train station, they both kiss. At the same time, Mao is running late for Kai’s performance and she happen to see the duo kissing just before she got on board. It’s that feeling again.
 
Though Mao manages to catch Kai’s performance in episode 16, Kouichi’s kissing with Yuumi still pretty much occupies her mind. She even got all moody when she comes back, giving tired as an excuse. Even Kai notices her strange behaviour over the phone. When the movie shooting continues, Mao’s preoccupied mind causes the team problems as they had to do several retakes. Then Kazuki’s clumsiness causes some damage to the filming equipment, which pretty much has the gang take a much deserve break. Later as Kouichi continue his date with Yuumi, Sakino notices Kazuki has been obsessed with his handphone. I mean, he’s looking at it most of the time. Hoping something from Futami would show up. But when his handphone soon rings, to his disappointment, it’s from Hiiragi. Sakino then meets Futami coming in an opposite direction. She takes this chance to ask several stuff. Futami bluntly tells her that she and Kazuki are doing some kissing experiment to understand better about human’s feelings. Sakino is shocked (or perhaps Kazuki got his first kiss from another girl?) and ticks her off for playing with people’s feelings. Though Futami agrees, that’s so much about it as she walks away. Meanwhile Mao heads over to Deby and to Kai’s surprise, she falls into his arms and wants him to kiss her. Finally, Kazuki gets a much awaited call from Futami but she’s telling him that she’s ending the experiments.
 
So in episode 17, Kazuki is pretty worried about what Futami meant, which is also making Sakino pretty concern about him. She even comes over to his place and talks thing about Futami. It’s that time he knew that secret experiment of his is out. I’m not sure if Sakino’s advice of him staying out of such experiments is based on her friendship or her feelings of wanting to be with him. Though Kazuki thanks her for it, Sakino felt that she was the cause of this. But this episode focuses more on Mao’s deepening crisis. Though Kai notices it, but there is nothing much he can do for her. Then during the filming, Hiiragi thought Mao’s performance was splendid when in actual fact, she isn’t really acting. But it look darn convincing for that part. It’s as though the movie was somewhat similar to their lives. Well, at least it did bring back of such past memories. After a successful shoot, the gang celebrates with fireworks, but Mao excuses herself as she went to Deby. As Mao confronts Kai, she drops a bombshell. She tells him that she can’t see him again. Just great. Is that a break-up statement? I can’t believe she let go a cool guy for some childhood friend of his who already has a nice gal.
 
Of course Kai wants an answer as Mao explains in episode 18 that she feels pain whenever she sees Kouichi and Yuumi together. Is that a good reason? Because Mao rush out during the pouring rain, she develop a fever soon after. Also I think she’s love sick, so she’s double ill. Haha, just kidding. Kouichi is worried for her and wonders what has happened. Meanwhile Kazuki gets a call from Sakino to meet at the park. When he arrives, to his surprise, Futami is also there. It seems Sakino has personally made some arrangements for them to meet so that they could reconcile things. Sakino soon leaves them alone. Futami asks Kazuki to follow her back to her apartment and there Kazuki wants to know why she wanted to end the experiment. She mentions about change of people’s feeling which she thinks it’s better to be alone from the start if one gets involved and in the end becomes alone again. A short flashback which indicates that a young Futami has always been alone but it didn’t amount to anything much. Kazuki has his firm believe of his own but Futami isn’t pretty convinced. As the filming continues, Yuumi feels bad for Mao getting sick and thinks it’s her fault but Kouichi reassures her that Mao is fine. Even so, Kouichi can’t take her mind off Mao and is quite distracted. As for Kazuki, as his skills continue to improve, he even thanks Sakino for letting him meet Futami and even properly end their current relationship (no hard feelings, okay). Thus he wants to treat her over it. Kouichi is walking through the streets when he bumps into Kai. He wants to know what is wrong with Mao but Kai didn’t give him any answer except by the fact that they broke up before leaving for his work. So when Kouichi goes back, he tells Mao that he wants to help her out in anyway he can but an upset Mao tells right in his face that the person she loves is Kouichi and shoves him out of the room, leaving him very confused. So this pretty much confirms it.
 
But the next morning, Mao tells Kouichi to forget about what happened last night in episode 19. How can he? That confession will have such an impact on anybody even if it was a bad joke. Blaming on her illness and not thinking straight that time? So even if she’s feeling better now, is she really so? The school festival will soon be approaching and I just realized that Kuryuu is the class rep for Kouichi, Kazuki and Hiiragi’s class. It seems she picks out the movie club members for class duties and Hiiragi thinks there’s a conspiracy against his club. Yeah, even his efforts for his club to be registered seems to take a back seat (denied, that is). Kazuki then meets up with Futami in her usual spot at the science room and confess that he likes her. Futami still isn’t convinced with Kazuki’s answer about all the questions she had thrown to him and leaves. Because Kouichi was waiting in line to help get the movie club register and a best spot for the festival, the painting of the poster job has been entrusted to Yuumi and Shijou. Once it’s done, Yuumi and Shijou walk home together and meet Narumi and Nana. It is then that the trio find out Yuumi is going to transfer to another school the day after the festival ends. The girls are surprised but remains supportive of her. On the day of the final filming scene which involves kissing, it seems Mao still has her emotions unsorted out and just before the cue to kiss she sheds a tear. As everyone witnessed it, Hiiragi orders a cut on it and didn’t expect such scene to be wonderful and decides this scene should remain as it is. Though Mao runs away in tears, Yuumi can’t help feel concern that Mao may have some feelings for Kouichi. Body language does reveal a lot. Kai finds Mao running through the streets but manages to catch up with her and console her.
 
Nice guy Kai in episode 20 even called his job that he will be in late because he intends to be with Mao until she feels better. Are you regretting you broke up with this guy now? Mood swings apparently have become such a norm for this girl and even if Kouichi now is uncertain about his own feelings and wonders if he could ever face her, Mao manages to put on a cheery face the next day like as though nothing ever happened. Love is taking a toll on several of the other girls too like Sakino’s pals think she’s become more feminine when they think she’s interested in a female fashion magazine and studious Yuumi for the first time wasn’t really paying attention in class and was spacing out. During recess, Kazuki spots Futami eating alone and boldly approaches her for some answers while everyone is witnessing. Though Futami soon leaves, Hiiragi gives him credit for doing the impossible. Kazuki is still determined as we see him practicing some manly lines (okay, it might sound crappy but hey, you never know if you don’t try), which is being overheard by Nana, who thinks it’s pretty cool. Futami skips school the next day but as she’s looking out her balcony, she suddenly becomes flustered when she sees Kazuki with a bouquet of flowers in hand approaching her place. For the first time, I’ve seen such emotion on her face. She’s in a panic and wonders what to do. As Kazuki practices his lines on the monitor screen, unknown to him, Futami is watching his ‘convincing’ words. Kazuki soon is going to deliver to real deal when Futami pops out through the elevator and wondering what he is doing. Now he lost all his calm and coolness. Because he was fumbling with his lines, this made Futami laugh. However Futami is still pretty adamant about wanting Kazuki to forget about her but you know, he’s gone so far and with more sincere smooth talking like he isn’t a smart guy or he won’t forget his feelings for her, this touched Futami as she is brought to tears. Wow. No guy has ever did this. You finally got her, you lucky son of a gun. Though she’s crying, we all know she’s lying when she say she isn’t. She must have caught that Franky guy’s disease, huh? Franky who? That cyborg from One Piece who gets all emotional after hearing sob stories and even got the nerve to say he’s not crying when he’s bawling enough tears to fill a swimming pool. That’s what Futami’s going through right now. She’s tsundere alright. An emotional Futami fell into Kazuki’s arms. Is this the day you’ve been waiting for? The iron wall has fallen. Finally back at Kouichi’s place, Mao tells him and his mom that she intends of moving out.
 
Episode 21 has Kouichi wondering if Mao’s moving is his fault even if she’s just moving away a few blocks. As for Kazuki, he even waits for and accompanies Futami to school. At least this girls is slightly opened up now. But it’s Sakino’s turn to feel even more concern when she spots the happy duo going to school. She’s thinking was making them meet a bad move? In class, Kazuki even thanks Sakino further for letting them meet. Yeah, shouldn’t have done so. The rest of the gang gets prepared for the festival like Hiiragi burning the midnight oil to final edit the film (OMG! He looks like a zombie!), Shijou’s class doing a haunted house, Mao’s class doing a maid cafe, and Nana and Narumi doing an udon stall (they even have 2 new senior recruits as their club members). So when Futami says that the udon the girls made was delicious, it’s like the end of the world… No just kidding, a new revolution has begun, sending happiness to them all. As Kazuki finally finds out Mao’s moving, Yuumi feels even more concern. But when Yuumi accidentally meets Mao in the streets, Mao assures her that even though she’s moving, she will leave Yuumi all to Kouichi’s care. Meanwhile, the football coach announces that Sakino and Kazuki are to be in the starting line-up for a match during the festival. Kazuki is happy and relay this news to Futami. Futami notices Sakino’s worrying expression has Futami wondering what is her concern. Then Yuumi surprised Kouichi when she cancel their plans for the coming weekend when Kouichi tells about them. On the day Mao is moving, Kouichi helps her pack. Mao decides to keep the script for the movie and at the same time return the A Dog Of Flanders book to him. Kouichi wish he could turn back time when they were younger and spend time together but Mao says he now has Yuumi. On the other hand, Yuumi to starts her packing.
 
So I guess the ‘love tension’ for Sakino seems to be pretty obvious in episode 22 when she gets all flustered up to see Kazuki and Futami arriving at the school gates together. They don’t call Futami a genius for nothing. She does sense something amiss with her. As Hiiragi is busy completing his editing, Kuryuu comes in to tell him off for slacking class duties for the festival (she’s always picking on him, isn’t she?). Hiiragi has Kazuki ‘sent’ instead of his place. As the others make their final push, Mao felt a little dizzy and heads for the infirmary. By now, you should know who she sees there, right? Yeah, Futami and her usual idling there. Some chat about feelings which reminded each about their own personal ones. With the completion in sight, Hiiragi has Kouichi and Yuumi go buy drinks together and tells them to meet at the udon shop. When the duo return, they are surprised to find that the rest had organized a farewell party for Yuumi. Everyone is there except for Futami who’s back in her lonely apartment. Yeah, she declined an invitation from Kazuki. Although Yuumi had a great time, she can’t help but notice that Kouichi have a troubled face and even when they agree to make good memories of their remaining days together. When Kouichi returns to his real room, he sees A Dog Of Flanders book on the floor and emotional memories starts flowing back. Yeah, he cried. Again. Not because of the book but I think because of Mao.
 
The school festival starts in episode 23. As Kouichi and Yuumi spend the day together visiting other stalls, Hiiragi has finally finish his movie and just need to distribute flyers for people to come watch. Kuryuu drags Kazuki away for their class’s first shift. We see Shijou in some haunted costume but nice girls like her made her look more docile than scary. Also, Kawada gets into the action by helping her students with their maid cafe by dressing up as a maid waitress. Yeah, she’s the centre of attraction. It’s only in anime where teachers look young and cute in such outfit. Surprisingly, Narumi’s grandpa turns up at the festival and has a taste of her udon. A large crowd gathers as everyone anticipates his final verdict. He gives the thumbs up and everybody rejoices, giving new hope to Narumi. After Kazuki is done with his shift, he is replaced by Kouichi and Yuumi. Now this guy can gear up for his football match while Kuryuu goes round with her usual moral patrolling stint (later she helps Hiiragi distribute flyers for his movie. I think Kuryuu has a crush on Hiiragi). In the end, Kazuki’s team lost but it was a good match. Not only that, the coach of the opposing team is scouting for a football female talent and gives his recommendations to Sakino, which she gladly accepts. After the match, Sakino requests to speak to Kazuki alone. In short, she confessed her feelings to him, which of course surprises Kazuki. Though he thanks her for letting him know, Sakino then suddenly kisses him! This guy is lucky getting kisses from 2 different girls. Sakino cheerfully tells him to go to Futami and that she’ll grow up to be a beautiful woman and make him regret it before rushing off. Isn’t that ironic? Meanwhile the movie club is doing well with many people turning up. What’s this? Kuryuu crying and sobbing? Another tsundere character… Finally Kazuki tries to search for Futami because it’s the time where promised he’ll spend time with her for the festival. But she’s no where to be found. One reason is that Futami saw Kazuki’s match and how friendly he was with Sakino, so I think she got jealous there. Also, Yuumi’s is even more worried when she notices Kouichi staring and spacing out at Mao.
 
The festival is drawing to a close in episode 24. Kazuki is still trying to find Futami but to no avail. As Kouichi and Yuumi are walking together, Kouichi remembers his handphone he left behind when they patron Mao’s cafe and rushes back alone to get it. As Yuumi waits, she happen to meet Mao. Mao gives her assurance that it’s her turn now to take care of Kouichi and ‘passes the baton’ over to Yuumi before rushing off. Likewise, Kouichi bumped into Kai and they chat about lying to one own’s feelings and hurting the other party. Similarly, Sakino happen to spot Futami sitting alone on a swing at a playground and once again goes to talk some sense into her. Something about nothing will start if she runs away. It was good enough to make Futami realize things. Back at school, I now really think Kuryuu has a crush on Hiiragi because she did blushingly accepted his invitation for the campfire dance. Tsundere. During the campfire dance, Kouichi spots Mao from a distance and suddenly stood up. He then wants to have a word with Yuumi. To cut things short, this guy apologizes that he can’t keep his promise of seeing Yuumi every weekend because he confess he is in love with Mao! OMG! What a big jerk! But Yuumi isn’t mad, she thanks him for all the time he has spent with her as she properly says her goodbye to him. If this was in the real world, there would’ve been lots of b*tch slap and screaming of disbelief. Ah, only such gentleness could be found in animes.
 
On the other hand, Kazuki has finally found Futami sitting on top of the school rooftop. He’s still persistent after all this time. So is Futami. Kazuki mentions that everytime she runs away, he’ll chase after her. With that, Futami gets teary eyed and wonders if it’s okay to fall in love. Of course it is. They then both kissed. For the first time, a kiss not out of an experiment. See how perseverance pays off? Lastly we see Kouichi not sure whether he’s regretting what he’s done or what but he finally gets the courage to go look for Mao. He finds her on a overhead bridge and tells her how he and Yuumi broke up and that his true feelings are for Mao. Though Mao is hesitant at first, but soon after he promise not to hurt her ever again, did she change her mind as they both run up to each other and kiss while the fireworks display starts. As the other gang watches the beautifully lit night sky from their places, Kouichi and Mao says how they love each other.
 
Sadly, the shocking turn of events at the final episode was dissatisfying and left quite a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. It was an unbelievable thing that Kouichi and Mao could ditch their potential good soul mates (in my opinion) for each other. I mean, throughout the series, it was as though we’re going to see Kouichi ending up with Yuumi since they were getting along pretty well. That is, until Mao came along. So is she the villain here? Is she the cause of their break-up? Was all those advice and assurances she gave to Yuumi for nothing? But ultimately, watching this series isn’t a totally bad waste of time either. Hey, it’s a pure teenage high school drama romance as I’ve said.
 
I wouldn’t say the character development here is the best in the world but I guess is better than many other shows that I’ve watched. Though it’s a short series, we can see how some of the characters gradually changed. Like how Kazuki’s persistency paid off with Futami in the end, in turn made that girl more receptive of all those around her. Yeah, she’s no longer an island now. Kai is 1 cool character and is a good guy. After his break-up with Mao, he still maintain his friendship with her and even being supportive. Though I felt his presence had no significant impact after Mao’s decision. Narumi and Nana? What can I say. They still irritate me with their shrieky girliness. Also, I thought that there was going to be some chemistry between Hiiragi and Shijou but it turns out that guy’s 1st passion is his movie after all. Though Kuryuu didn’t make much appearance and even the most prominent ones were here and there towards the end of the series, it’s a shame it didn’t develop further than that. But that’s another story. Most notable one was Mao as mentioned. She has turned from a spunky, lively and cheerful girl to a well, love struck dilemma teenager. Well, earlier on when she returned from France, she did say she want to experience falling in love. So how does that feel now? But I still don’t really hate Mao. I guess it’s that time when teenagers go through such stuff. But I got to say that I really love her braided locks :).
 
The opening theme song is Aozora Loop by Marble, is quite upbeat and the sound effect synthesizers make it sounds cute. Though the opening credits animation changes slightly halfway albeit not much I just want to mention about the girls in the opening animation. You can count that there are 6 girls (namely Mao, Sakino, Futami, Narumi, Shijou and Yuumi), which are the main heroines of the series. But I’m thinking, if Narumi is there, how come not Nana? I mean, she has a short appearance like Kuryuu too, who isn’t part of the ‘main gang’ but has a little cameo appearance. The 1st ending theme is sung by Snow entitled Negai Boshi and sounds like a slow moderate pop piece while the 2nd ending song, Wasurenaide, by Suara is a slow ballad with a very sad tone in it. This piece is very fitting because most of the episodes end on a gloomy or sad suspense. Though I find the singer’s voice unsuitable as she sings it towards the end. Ironically, ‘suara’ means voice in Malay. You’ll know when the end of the episode is coming up since the music will start playing. Also, unlike the opening animation, both ending credits animation remain the same (some random changing photos on a board).
 
I find the voice acting quite suitable for the characters. What can I say. It gives the character their character. Haruna Ikezawa is the voice behind Mao as her previous roles include Momoka of Keroro Gunsou and Yoshino of Maria-sama Ga Miteru. Satoshi Hino does Kouichi who also voiced Koukin in Ikkitousen and Yuuji in Shakugan No Shana while Takahiro Mizushi does Kazuki who also did Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome and Romeo in Romeo X Juliet. Other star-studded casts include Ami Koshimizu as Yuumi (Tenma in School Rumble), Rie Tanaka as Futami (Suigin Tou in Rozen Maiden), Mamiko Noto as Shijou (Enma Ai of Jigoku Shoujo), Ryou Hirohashi as Sakino (Kyou in Clannad), Mai Nakahara as Kuryuu (Mai Tokiha in Mai-HiME), Ayako Kawasumi as Kawada (Hime in Kaibutsu Oujo), Jun Fukuyama as Hiiragi (Kei in Special A), Takahiro Sakurai as Kai (Kamiyama in Cromartie High School), Sakura Nogawa as Nana (Nemu in Da Capo), and Kaori Mizuhashi as Narumi (Akane in Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien).
 
The titles of each episode are in English and mostly comprise of one or two or at most three simple words. Sometimes I just wonder how some of them are related to a particular episode. If you notice the lack of fanservice (none, in fact!), that’s because remember that this is just an ordinary dating simulation. That’s right, the most you’ll get to see are those girls in their school swimsuits in a particular episode and even so, I don’t think I could classify it as fanservice. If you still insist, then the only fanservice shot you’ll get to see is of Mao. Just right after the opening credits, you’ll see the sponsor screen and Mao clad in a pink bikini. Yeow! As for the mid-intermission, you’ll see a chalk sketching of one of the 6 girls from the opening credit in their usual pose on the blackboard.
 
Later on, I found out that there is indeed some differences between the anime and the game. Like in the game Kouichi and Kazuki are actually one person. So that person is Kouichi Kazuki who has Kouichi’s looks and Kazuki’s football skills (source from Wikipedia). Hey, it won’t be a harem if there are 2 main guys, right? Because so, in the game, technically Nana is Kouichi’s little sister and from this point of view, I’m thinking that Narumi may be the lower-classman loli type in this game (probably this answers the question why Nana isn’t in the opening credits).
 
I know that most of the love trials which happen here are seemingly impossible in the real world. Like how Yuumi calmly lets got of Kouichi or how Sakino is so graceful to let go of the guy she loves so that he could be happy with the girl he loves. Surprisingly, no cat fight between Sakino and Futami. I suppose it’s better to let it happen all here in anime world. I wonder if I can experience such cases too. Well, life isn’t exactly a bed of roses. I know that though there are a few kissing scenes (perhaps in line with the series’ title?) but remember, kissing as an experiment may result in sexual harassment.
 
Kimikiss Pure Rouge

Magipoka OVA

November 14, 2008

When I first came to know that Renkin 3-kyuu Magical? Pokahn had a few more additional episodes, it brought back nostalgic memories when I first watched the series many years ago. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that long ago but it was enough to bring back some fond memories of the series. Well, at least parts of it which I could still remember.
 
Also known as it’s abbreviated name, Magipoka, the series’ additional episodes are more like specials. Meaning that there are 3 OVA specials for this one. Furthermore, they are half the usual running and screening time of the tv series as they only lasts about 14 minutes. Take away the opening and ending credits, you will only have around 10 minutes of show time. Hey, isn’t it the reason it’s called a special in the first place? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long-winded one.
 
But just like the tv series, I feel that the short episodes here can stand alone by itself without having viewers the need to follow the episodes in order or sequence. But it’s better if you do so or else you’ll lose track of which episodes you have watched. Those who have watched the tv series can still expect the same supernatural comedy in this OVA special from the 4 ‘princesses’ of the underworld who came to live in the human world to learn more about their ways. Humans are weird creatures to understand…
 
Episode 1
The scene starts with a group of military scientist loading up some failed experimental invention of theirs, which looks like and over-sized egg made of metal, on a truck. Due to the stormy weather, the transportation encountered a little hitch. The winding road caves in which causes the truck and its contents to fall into a fast flowing stream nearby. Luckily the personnel in the truck managed to get out safely before he falls into his watery grave.
 
It’s a bright sunny day when a pair of old couple spots this weird looking egg flowing outside their cottage. So when they took it in, they think it’s a gift from heaven. Uh huh. A giant peach. Don’t think they can eat it anyhow. So the old man tries to cut it open with his butcher knife and when it does, they’re greeted with bright shining rays streaming out and a female android (which is Aiko) inside it. They must have got the shock of their lives. When Aiko open her eyes, she starts downloading all the data and information of her surroundings. The old couple must have never seen such technology before, huh?
 
The old couple then thinks she is the legendary Momotarou and asks her if she is one. For those of you who don’t know that Japanese folklore, the Momotarou tale tells about a boy who is being born from a peach and raised by an old husband and wife couple, and soon leaves on a journey with his other friends to fight demons. Back to this story, Aiko tells them that she is a Military Covert Ops Mechanical Operative or codename MOMO9000. Since that name sounds too complicated, the couple thinks she’s the legendary Momotarou. Aiko on the other hand doesn’t know about it and proceeds to ask them for more information when they show her the storybook. Aiko really took her time reading (yeah, like it’s evening already). And I thought robots are supposed to process information fast.
 
Once Aiko is done reading, she tells them that she’ll go destroy the oni (demon) to get its treasure and that she needs some kibidango (a kind of Japanese snack) to recruit some henchmen. She also wonders where Onigashima, her supposed destination. Since the couple thinks Momotarou should know where it is, Aiko runs a search scan. Soon she is off on her way to recruit several buddies. She runs another internet search for a dog first. This leads her to Liru. But fans will know that this dog girl has quite an appetite so I think she agrees to join Aiko because of the kibidango she gave her. Next, she needs a monkey. I wouldn’t really have guessed it that Yuuma is the monkey, who decides to follow Aiko as she’s curious about the treasure after receiving a kibidango. The final henchman is a pheasant. Which means, it’s that vampire girl Pachira. Bats and pheasants… They’re not very similar to each other except they both fly.
 
After gathering her henchmen, Aiko runs another search to find where Onigashima is and search results indicate that there are 3 likely places. So the best way to find out is to raid each one. First place the gang arrives is at a playground. So where is the oni? They spot several kids playing tag. And in Japan if you are ‘it’, you are the ‘oni’. So the ‘oni’ boy bumps into Liru when he is searching for his pals. He admits that he is the oni when Liru asked him so Liru proceeds to give him a spank in his ass! The other kids are horrified to see what’s happening and ran to inform that ‘oni’ boy’s mom. Aiko then realizes that this isn’t the place so they decided to move to the next one. And Yuuma is playing in the sand…
 
The second place takes them to a sushi bar called Onigashima. As the gang enjoy their meal, Aiko asks the sushi master is there any oni and he gladly takes her order and gives them… an uni. Uh huh. It’s another one of those sushi dishes. With that, the gang decides to head to the last destination. At a beach, there seems to be an Oni Girl Contest being held. There are several girls dressed in an oni outfit being judged on a stage. Aiko and co spots them and also the treasure, which are actually prizes for the contest which includes 3 sacks of rice, bicycle, fridge, television and a set of golf clubs. As they go in for the kill, Aiko takes the microphone away from the emcee and assures the spectators that they are here to slay the oni girls. With that, the gang starts attacking by ripping and shredding the clothings off the girls. Fanservice time! In the end, the contestants are naked on stage and are in shock over what has just happened. Aiko tells everyone else that they have finished slaying the oni and will be taking their treasures. But to their surprise, an iron cage soon traps them. Haha, looks like they’ve been arrested. Meanwhile, back in some hidden lab, we see the old couple being interrogated by a weird looking scientist (he has opera-like make-up on his face?). He’s asking them where they’re hiding the contents. Though they told him it went to Onigashima, the scientist didn’t believe them and zaps them with some electrocution! Woah! Poor guys. "Momotarou! Help us!". Sorry guys, they’ve been busted in Onigashima.
 
Episode 2
Remember that busty villainess, Dr K-ko? Yeah, she’s back as she narrates how she has done some research on the creatures of the Netherworld. Uh huh, for the following scenes, you’ll see her presentation of work to be an ‘unfortunate’ one. You’ll see what I mean. Dr K-ko here, goes to visit one-by-one the 4 underworld ladies as some ill patient. I’m not sure why the quartet are playing doctor though…
 
If the doctor was a witch…
First up is Yuuma and Dr K-ko sees her for some stomach pains. Yuuma straight away tells her she has stomach ulcer without examining her. Dr K-ko says it’s wrong for her to do so and that it’s her job but Yuuma is just plain lazy. Yuuma then asks her to show her stomach in which Dr K-ko unzips her top (fanservice cue!). Yuuma then hits her stomach to find where the pain is! Dr K-ko tells her to use the stethoscope but Yuuma doesn’t know that thing around her neck is one. When she realizes and starts listening, Yuuma is then horrified and comes to a conclusion that Dr K-ko is dead because she can’t hear her heartbeat. She even proceeds to quickly write a death certificate! Dr K-ko is mad and claims that she’s still alive and even tells her how to use the stethoscope. Though Dr K-ko could hear her heartbeat, Yuuma still can’t and thinks she has hearing problems, which isn’t her specialty. After Dr K-ko chides her to examine her more seriously, Yuuma decides to use her magic but it made her feel worse. Yeah, now she’s down with fever. She apologizes but Dr K-ko is not happy at all. Yuuma then decides to try her magic again as Dr K-ko panics as she tries to dissuade her. "Don’t worry. It goes well once every few times". Hahaha. I wonder how many more sufferings Dr K-ko will have to endure. Here comes the pain. "HELP ME!!!". Hahaha. A magic experiment freak on the loose.
 
If the doctor was a vampire…
I’m not sure if this comes after Yuuma’s case because there’s no indication of any consequence from the previous one. Here, Dr K-ko seeks Pachira’s medical advice. Pachira wants to take a blood sample as she’s a blood expert (of course) as it tells the overall health condition of a person. After drinking her blood sample, Pachira concludes that her problem is her huge boobs. However Dr K-ko tells her that she came to see her about her insomnia problem. Pachira is stunned by her wrong answer and quickly points out that it’s like Dr K-ko has a butt on her chest! Haha! Pachira then looks at her own when Dr K-ko says she’s the one with the problem. Pachira now complete in shock and depression as Dr K-ko tries to console her. Pachira wants to know how to make her busts big and pesters her for an answer. She’s even got a nurse to restrain Dr K-ko from leaving. So now the roles are reversed as Dr K-ko is a psychiatrist and Pachira the patient. After some thinking, Dr K-ko says probably she heard that one needs to let their boyfriend to massage them. Since Pachira has no boyfriend, she wants Dr K-ko to introduce her to one. However Dr K-ko doesn’t want to get involve but Pachira says she’s serious and wants her to get one. Pachira starts crying when finally she blurts out "Forget boyfriends. Just give me your breasts!". "HELP ME!!!". Hahaha. A dejected psycho on the loose.
 
If the doctor was a werewolf…
Next, Dr K-ko visits Liru as the former has caught a cold. But Liru yells back at her saying how she shouldn’t rely on doctors for such petty things and that she is fine. Uh huh. She tells her to go home and sleep. But after taking a good look at her thighs, Liru thinks she is healthy and quite ‘meaty’. Liru also check out her boobs and thinks it must be pretty valuable. What does she mean by that? She’s talking about being a cow. Dr K-ko smacks Liru on the head. Liru then decides to give her some dried hay as medicine. Dr K-ko wonders if the previous patient had a cold too but Liru says it’s athlete’s foot. Dr K-ko yells back at her on what has a cold got to do with athlete’s foot as they’re not the same thing. Yeah, now the tables are turned as Dr K-ko is the one giving the lecture. "HELP ME!" (from Liru, of course). A mad patient on the loose.
 
If the doctor was an android…
Dr K-ko seeks Aiko’s treatment for her lower back pain but wonders if her clinic is a real clinic. I mean, it’s more like an experimental lab where Frankenstein was created. As Aiko lets Dr K-ko sit on a chair, named Beta, she rants about having the latest modern technology but Dr K-ko didn’t realize any of it, sending Aiko into a short depression. Soon she recovers and asks Dr K-ko about her health problems. We find out that her problem started a week ago and was probably from whipping and beating up her subordinate. Sadist. So to cure her, Aiko pulls a lever to send some electricity through Dr K-ko. Talk about getting shock treatment. Since it wasn’t powerful enough, she increases the voltage. So much so it overloads! Once it’s done, Aiko asks how she’s feeling when she realizes Dr K-ko is dead! Aiko is in a dilemma. Seeing that Dr K-ko’s body is a human one, she thinks it’s a good chance for her to turn into one. Just then Dr K-ko comes back alive and gives her a good knock on her head. She’s not dead yet. But it seems her back pain is gone. Aiko thinks it’s all thanks to her latest technology but Dr K-ko says it’s just coincidence and that she almost died from it. Aiko tries to shift the blame to her by saying that it’s her fault for coming here as a living creature and suggests to mechanize herself. "I will cherish the body that you no longer need". She’s pretty adamant about it. Before you know it, Dr K-ko is strapped on an operating table as Aiko prepares her operation… WARGH!!! "HELP ME!!!". Crazy surgeon on the loose.
 
Well, we don’t really know whether Dr K-ko lived through all that hell or not. But I’m pretty sure that Dr K-ko will try her best not to fall sick or ill again. Yeah, because of these 4 blokes, they gave the doctoring profession a really bad name. Really quack doctors. So remember, being a doctor and patient is a life and death situation. Don’t try these advices anywhere, anytime or on anybody.
 
Episode 3
Yuuma is reading a shoujo love manga when she overhears a tv programme about tomorrow being Valentine’s Day. She then goes to ask sleeping Liru what Valentine’s Day is all about. Liru says that this once a year event is where girls give something to the boys they love. Yuuma then is in shock. Later as Pachira just awakened from her slumber, finds Yuuma a little down. Yuuma proceeds to whisper to Pachira her new found knowledge to her. It must be something horny because Yuuma’s face is as red as a traffic light. This also shocks Pachira but she pretended she knew it all along. Uh huh. Inside Pachira’s mind, she never knew girls had to give that as she has thought it was only chocolates all along. Aiko comes out to see Yuuma depressed and the latter proceeds to tell her about Valentine’s Day too. It didn’t take long for Aiko’s face to turn into strawberry colour. In Yuuma’s room, she and Aiko discuss about it when Yuuma says how she herself isn’t in love with anyone so she wants to know what to do. Since Aiko doesn’t know, Yuuma went to ask Liru.
 
Liru gives out a heartily laughter when Yuuma asks what happens if she’s not in love and does she need to find a boyfriend before tomorrow. Liru tells her she doesn’t have to force it as it’s only Valentine’s Day. Yuuma is relieved at first but when Liru continues about good to give out of courtesy even if one doesn’t have a romantic relationship, Yuuma is surprised once more. She’s dreading it. Liru tells her that she is going to give hers to 3 shop owners in town out of courtesy. Yuuma in further shock and leaves. Pachira soon comes in and tells Liru about her new found knowledge that girls have to give their most important thing on that special day, which surprises Liru too as she has never heard that before. Liru is in a little panic now. Pachira then says how she’s not in love nor befriended any guys and feels sorry for Liru. But Liru says back what about Santa. Ugh. Can’t stand the thought of it, huh? Pachira shoots the same thing back at Liru. "Oh my God…". Damn right they are.
 
Yuuma reports what Liru had said to here back to Aiko and sends even more shockwaves to that android. Aiko can’t go on anymore as she doesn’t understand the human world and rules. "What kind of common sense do people have in the human world? How could they have such an annual event that requires you to go so far?" Well girl, there are many other more weird customs in the human world. Some you may not even want to know. Anyway Aiko is saddened because she has so many guys she know. You know, those who made her. She wants Yuuma to help her but since Yuuma realizes that she doesn’t have anyone she loves nor out of courtesy, she wishes Aiko good luck and it’s like she’s on her own as Yuuma continues reading her manga. Some kind of friend. But Aiko isn’t going to let her go that easily. She gets all cunning and asks Yuuma about Santa. Haha, now Yuuma can’t escape. But Yuuma says the same thing right back at Aiko. Two depressed girls… What to do? Better prepare themselves and make the best out of it.
 
The next day arrives and we see the girls with adorned with a ribbon each at the park. They are nervous and blushing as they approach some homeless beggar guy sitting on a bench to please take them and be gentle with them. But in the end, they walked away relieved when they found out that chocolates were just enough and wondered who spread those lies. Let’s see, 2 votes to Yuuma and 1 vote to Pachira. So it’s Yuuma… See how a little misunderstanding and knowledge can do? Next time, do your research first before jumping to unwanted conclusions. And don’t believe everything you see and hear on television. Luckily they meet up with some nice guy (who probably doesn’t understand what’s going on) who lets them go instead of pounding on them. It could be devastating if they’ve gone up to a pervert. Besides, is that what Santa looks like to them? Sheesh… They’ve got a long way to go.
 
Magipokawari…
Okay, that was just a combo pun of saying a need for more Magipoka episodes (a combination of Magipoka and okawari which means second helpings). But it’s not like I’m so hard up for it anyway. It’s a good thing though I’ve managed to catch this special OVA. Ah yes, it really does indeed bring back fond memories. Probably if they ever make a 2nd season or continue with more OVA episodes, there is a high probability that I will go watch them.
 
Let me see, other nostalgic memories brought back while watching this series too include that 2 black and white manjuu-looking things, Jun and Tan, who can only say nothing else but those "Usa usa" lines. The opening credits also reminded me of the fanservice and the little yuri thing between the girls while the ending theme had me recall that gibberish chorus line in which I don’t know whether they’re saying real words or just made-up. Has to be made-up. It doesn’t make sense.
 
So after going through all these, don’t you think it’s better for those princesses to go back to their own Netherworld? It’ll be much easier and safer there. Besides, which human would want to get all friendly with a witch, a vampire, a werewolf or an android. Unless they’re paranormal freaks. Call the X-files! Not to say anything bad about them, even I myself seem not to comprehend many things going on nor how they work in this world. Ah, wishing for the simple life… And I’m not talking about Paris Hilton lah!
 
Magipoka

Tenshi Na Konamaiki

November 8, 2008

Somehow when I first watched this anime, it brings back memories of another anime series, Ranma 1/2. Now, I’m not saying that Tenshi Na Konamaiki AKA A Cheeky Angel, is very similar to the said series but the thing which comes to mind that is that both series has that gender bender thing. Remember in Ranma 1/2 you have the main protagonist kid who fell into some tragic spring so much so that whenever he gets poured by cold water, he turns into a girl? And when he gets poured by hot water, he turns back into a guy. So though on the outside he is sometimes a female, deep down in his heart he’s a boy and he’s bloody adamant that he’s going to turn back into one.
 
Well, in this anime, our main protagonist, Megumi Amatsuka, starts off as a girl. But deep down in her heart she is a boy and is bloody adamant and insists she is one and that she’s going to turn back into one. But that’s just where the similarity ends. Megumi here doesn’t turn into a boy when cold water gets thrown at her. In fact, we’ll never see her in boy form. The reason how she turned from a boy into a girl too is different from the other said series. Back when she was a 9 year old boy, she and her best friend, Miki Hanakain, was strolling along the river bank when they saved an old hooded guy from several bullies. As gratitude, he gives Megumi a magic book, in which Megumi summons a little magician.
 
Unlike genies, the magician can only grant 1 wish so you better think real hard what wish you want to come true. But for Megumi, she has already decided what she had wanted and wants the magician to turn him (Megumi) into the manliest man among man. I don’t know why he wants to be a manly man when he’s a boy already at that time. Probably can’t wait to grow up, huh? The magician grants his wish but I’m not sure whether the magician didn’t clean his ears or was playing a cruel prank on Megumi as he turned Megumi into a woman! He even got the cheek to ask if he is satisfied being a woman among women. I’m sure Megumi is in shock and total disgust at first and even did a short naughty trick for this denial. Yeah, he put that toy sword between his legs and pretended that it was his erm… let’s just say a male anatomy. Of course, Megumi wants the magician to properly turn her back into a guy but the magician says he can do it but it will cost Megumi 10 years of his/her life. Frustrated, angry and the feeling of being cheated, Megumi tosses the book into the river. Oops. There goes Megumi’s chance of returning back into a boy. And when Megumi and Miki went home to tell the former’s mom, Tsubasa, about it, Tsubasa thinks Megumi is pulling a fast one because she tells Megumi that he has always been a boy all along. Looks like everybody now thinks Megumi is a girl and the only wants who know the fact that Megumi was a boy are Megumi herself and Miki.
 
So 6 years has past and Megumi has grown and learned to live life as a girl. Must be hard, huh? Not only that, she has grown into a very gorgeous, pretty, beautiful and all those nice words you can describe a stunning lady. That’s right. She can beat any Miss Universe anytime. Long blonde hair and fair snow white skin… Ah… Just like an angel. I can see why every guy around her is starting to fall for her. If looks could really kill. Literally. So the magician’s twisted spell did have quite a nice outcome and effect, though it’s more of eye candy for the others than Megumi herself. However, deep down in Megumi’s heart, she is still determined to find that magic book and turn back into a boy.
 
However, having said that she’s looking all beautiful is just on the outside. Though Megumi has learned the ways of being a girl, she is still acting like a boy at times. Meaning, she talks crudely, sometimes act unlady-like and even dare get into fights with others who challenges her (though this is as a last resort). Because of so, the way she talks and acts reminded me of the female version of Ranma in Ranma 1/2. Unlike dumb blondes or damsels in distress, Megumi is self sufficient and knows how to take care of herself. Yeah, she’s cool, smart, sharp, agile, and quick-witted. She even knows self defence and her reflexes are top-notched. It’s like she doesn’t need a man to protect her. Uh huh. To put it in another way, you guys aren’t good enough for her. Oh wait, let me rephrase that. She’s too good for you guys. Hehehe. So perverts, you can forget about targeting her as your prey. In addition, I’ll refer to Megumi as a she instead of a he. Speaking of which, I thought Megumi is a girl’s name… So if she was a boy and had this name, it doesn’t quite add up right, don’t you think?
 
But not every episode you’ll see Megumi trying to find ways to search for the book or other methods to break her curse and turn her back into a boy. I mean, that would be plain boring since this series lasts for 50 episodes. Aside from being a romance-comedy genre, if you’re into harem series, I could consider this as one but more of reverse harem or shoujo harem. Meaning that, instead of 1 guy being flanked by several love-and-attention-seeking-girls, we have 1 girl (Megumi) being flanked by several guys who intends to be by her side. Ah, the good days of being youthful, at that age where teenagers are starting to discover the magic of love and romance. It’s the season of loooooove.
 
So let’s meet the potential guys of Megumi’s reluctant harem. Sigh… It’s going to be tough to shake these guys off as fate always seem to compel and bring the gang together, whether she likes it or not. First up is Genzo Soga. At first looks, this stubborn white-haired pineapple head guy looks like a typical gangster. Well, he is. And he’s got a little scar under his right eye to prove it. He’s a bad ass delinquent so much so he has earned a devil-like nickname. So it’s either you’re afraid of him, if not, have a deep grudge against him. Genzo is your typical brawns over brains kinda guy and he first met Megumi when the latter gives him a kick where it hurt most for trying to pick on Miki. Ouch! Even if this dense guy fell head over heels for Megumi, that doesn’t stop him from trying to get closer to her or even try various weird stuff and tactics to make Megumi his girlfriend. But I guess Megumi becomes more receptive from him after learning that he goes around apologizing to those he had beaten up previously and even if those ‘victims’ aren’t ready to forgive him and beat him up as revenge, Genzo in a way gets some respect from Megumi when he didn’t fight back. See, love can really change a man.
 
Next is Ichiro Fujiki. To sum it up in one word to best describe him, normal. Yup, your typical average normal guy. Even he himself tries to be one. Nothing extraordinary nothing less. Just normal. Is there a need for me to go on? Then there is the bespectacled Tasuke Yasuda. This short guy has a past reputation for being a pervert and still is. Thus most of those erotic nosebleeds you’ll see are from him. Sick guy. Aside that, he has skills in collecting information which will prove useful sometimes to the rest. Oh, did I mention that this guy has pretty eyes if you see him without his glasses? Yeah, you may mistaken him for a girl. Lastly, there is Kimura. I don’t remember much about him. You’ll see why.
 
As these guys are stunned by Megumi’s beauty, Fujiki, Yasuda, and Kimura formed a group called Megu-chan Protection Club which well, protects Megumi from whatever they think is threatening her and admire her at the same time. Like that will work. Remember, Megumi knows how to take care of herself. Soon after, Genzo wants in and the trio reluctantly agrees after his intimidating persuasion. So the group now is a foursome but the original trio secretly forms a group to kick Genzo out. Not that you’ll see how that group will manage to kick Genzo out, since those trio are quite the ‘weaklings’ they are.
 
Though the quartet tries to get Megumi to date them, Megumi bluntly tells them that she is a guy. Or previously was one. But would the guys take that as an excuse? I mean, take the duck theory for example. If it looks like a duck, walks and talks like a duck, then it must be a duck. Case in point. Megumi is too pretty to be a guy. So could she be cross-dressing then? Don’t think so. So in order to find out, the quartet followed Megumi home and holy sh*t! They find out that Megumi is a rich girl. Very. Filthy rich, I tell you. Her house is like a mansion and has all the amenities you could think of. But still, this doesn’t really spoil Megumi at all. After seeing her unbelievable abode, Kimura then comes to a conclusion that he and Megumi are very much from a different world. The vast difference in their positions made Kimura opt out of the group and after that you’ll never hear from him again. Sort of. But the remaining trio wouldn’t want to give up that easily. Like they say, less men more share.
 
So the gang gets invited into Megumi’s mansion and has a first-hand look at the huge inside. We see Megumi’s over-protective but idiotic father (for convenience, I shall refer to him as Papa). He loves his daughter very much and is wary of the guys who are Megumi’s classmates. He thinks the only guy Megumi needs is her father. Another idiotic part of Papa is that he has built many secret paths which ultimately leads into Megumi’s room. Uh huh. This guy can pop out from anywhere and interrupt Megumi’s conversation with the guys. Did I mention that Papa is slightly perverted too? He secretly likes taking pictures of Megumi (and sometimes Miki) when she’s asleep. Because of that, Megumi doesn’t really like her annoying dad and you could certainly tell it’s a love-hate relationship. More towards hate, that is. Megumi too has a loyal personal maid named Yoriko. While Yoriko is quite supportive of what Megumi does and sometimes gives her advice, however Yoriko seems to have that ambition to turn Megumi into a girly girl and gets excited whenever such schemes are hatched.
 
But that ‘seat’ which Kimura has left vacant will soon be filled by another guy. He is Hitomonji Kobayashi. This guy has got that bishonen look. A look which many girls would die for to be his girlfriend. Kobayashi first encountered Megumi when the latter was giving Genzo her usual ticking off lecture. Kobayashi then commented how it was unlady-like of her to criticize Genzo. Of course Genzo is pissed off and wants to pound him but Megumi stops this monkey by saying "Returning fists, when someone fight with words, in a sense, it would be our loss". Initially Kobayashi didn’t really cared much about Megumi but several events like how Megumi helped him get back a little memento of his, made Kobayashi ‘attracted’ to Megumi and his perception towards her changed. And so once again the Megu-chan Protection Group is a whole now. Hey, mathematically 4 quarters equals a whole, right? Among the guys in the group, Kobayashi is the most decent and polite because of his bushido and samurai upbringing. He also posses superb martial art skills due to his training since young.
 
If you’re wondering why such a high class beautiful rich girl like Megumi is doing in such a normal school, there is a reason for her to attend this one. You see, in her eternal quest to find that magic book, some fortune teller guy tells her that she will have hopes of finding the book at this particular school. Since then Megumi has searched high and low and every inch of the place for the book but to no avail. Then Megumi and Miki made a visit to Genzo’s home and to their surprise, they discover that Genzo has been keeping that magic book all along! Yeah, it’s like fate bringing them together one way or another. So Megumi, Miki and the 4 guys gather around and try to summon the magician. When they successfully do, the magician seems to be playing and screwing around with them. Yeah, especially Genzo trying to get ahead of the rest by making a wish for himself by asking the magician to make Megumi love him more. Of course Megumi is pissed off and it seems like she hated him even more. Thus Genzo without thinking further wants the magician to reverse this curse and gladly exchanges 10 years of his life. Thing is, there isn’t any difference before or after the curse. So it’s like Genzo has been ripped off. Hahaha. In the end, after all that threatening, the magician then decides to put a curse of Megumi to show his displeasure. Oh no. Later on, we’ll find out that from the magician that his powers are weakening and Megumi will soon turn back into a boy. Gasp! Though Megumi is happy but I don’t think the rest is happy, especially Miki, who wants Megumi to remain a girl. By the way, Genzo has a wild sister, Setsuka, who seems to take a liking for Megumi. Probably too pretty and cute to resist.
 
Though we won’t get to see every subsequent episodes of bad luck befalling on Megumi. Even so, you can see how Megumi is quick on her feet to avoid all those mishaps. Looks like she is pretty well prepared for it. From time to time, you’ll see the magician watching the gang from somewhere and you’ll wonder what the significance of this is. Most of the adventures see how the gang bond closer to each other, though Megumi doesn’t really particularly care about it but I guess she just goes along with the flow. I mean, there are a bunch of devoted guys who would do almost anything for her, why not keep them around. I know she doesn’t have any bad intentions too so unlike rich pretty girls, Megumi isn’t the obnoxious kind.
 
Speaking of which, there is a new transfer girl to her school which Megumi seems to fear most. She is Keiko Tanaka and is your typical arrogant spoilt brat rich kid who sees Megumi as her eternal rival. In short, she has superiority complex and is always trying to outdo whatever Megumi does. Keiko has a loyal friend-cum-admirer-cum-follower, Yoshimi Shirasagi, who is always seem around her and supporting her. The reason why Megumi was so afraid of her was because Keiko had a hand in indirect bullying of Megumi during her junior years which made other students shun Megumi. Keiko even tries to bring havoc to the Megu-chan Protection Group by tearing them apart. Like how she calls Fujiki a pervert after bumping into him accidentally (yeah, that guy is going psycho by saying how he’s just a normal average guy) or Kobayashi a weirdo after that guy did some weird Mongolian facial expression joke to himself in the mirror (huh?). So as time goes by, I think Megumi learns to just ignore Keiko or not get worked up after all the challenges Keiko throws at her. Like how Keiko decides to pick a fight with Megumi but to her surprise Megumi acts all girly like a helpless girl getting bullied. Now that’s playing psychology with her. Speaking of the girly part, as the series progresses, I’m not sure if Megumi wants to remain a girl or a boy because sometimes her statements are ambiguous and contradicting. So is it a boy or a girl? Maybe she’s using this as part of her convenience to get out of whatever sticky situations or any schemes she’s planning.
 
Other ‘small’ adventures of the gang include Papa bringing Megumi and Miki on a trip to Osaka and the Megu-chan Protection Group seems to gather there by chance or in Genzo’s case, by force. There Megumi befriends a lady thief and even goes to great lengths to get her out of some sticky situation. An episode whereby the gang thought they spot the magician at school only to find out it was the principal wearing such an outfit. Also, there is an episode whereby Genzo brings Megumi out for fishing but Kobayashi’s presence spoils Genzo’s plan as the trio got drifted out to sea on a wooden plank. Another fishing episode is when Genzo and Megumi heads to a nearby pond to fish out a large crayfish to prove to some little kids that there exists one. Yasuda’s information about the old hooded guy whom Megumi met when she was a child prove to be true as the gang goes to meet him to seek some answers about the magician’s curse but I’m not sure whether he’s under the curse of the magician or just his plain fetish for wearing such hood as he can never take them off. Back to the drawing board guys. An episode which briefly features Genzo’s ex-girlfriend when she encounters Megumi and proceeds to tell her how useless and a parasite Genzo is (obviously jealous). She also went on to tell how Genzo got his eye scar but other than that at the end of the day she acknowledges Megumi to be the girl for Genzo. Then a match between Keiko and Megumi to see who can make a strong man out of a little kid who is being bullied by his peers. It’s obvious that the kid doesn’t want to do this but reluctantly agrees so that Megumi doesn’t have to suffer. I mean, Keiko’s ways are so harsh whereas Megumi’s are so gentle. It’s so contrasting. In the end, the kid manage to stand on his own 2 feet and Keiko… she forgot all about him.
 
Also a time when Tsubasa decides to have an interview with the members of Megu-chan Protection Group to see if any of them are suitable candidates for Megumi and in the end, she accepts them all. Then a cooking contest between Megumi and Genzo as we find out Megumi isn’t a great cook and even a delinquent like Genzo can cook better than her. There is an incident whereby Megumi is trying to get away from Genzo’s advance and got herself trapped in an elevator with several perverted guys. Of course Genzo shows up in time before they could do anything serious on Megumi. Megumi and the rest too go to great lengths to help a high school girl who has been molested by a guy on a train. Yeah, they really thought him a lesson and in the end he did some community work by cleaning up and picking out the trash. Also, another magic book has appeared but this time a different magician but in the form of a kappa. The kappa picks Fujiki to do a test for him in which he has to save a little girl from drowning. It’s going to be tough seeing that Fujiki himself can’t swim. But with the support of the rest, Fujiki manages to risk his life to do so and it’s revealed that the kappa was doing this because in the past he failed to do the same thing and by doing so through Fujiki, he could atone it all and finally rest in peace. Then an episode whereby Megumi and Miki stumbles upon a book written by Genzo whereby he listed down things a manly man should be and do.
 
The first main story arc came (though a short one) was when the gang finds out that Miki is going to quit school and is to be engaged to a guy named Takao Gakusan, who is from another rich and well known family. Thing is, Miki has never seen this guy before and that their marriage has been pre-arranged when Miki was still a little girl. Megumi then decides to stop this engagement. Uh huh. Megumi feels that Miki has always been by her side and can’t bear to think that she will be separated from her. I’m thinking at this point does Megumi really love Miki more than just friends? Though deep down inside Miki’s heart she doesn’t want to do this, but her strict grandpa won’t listen to any reasoning. Furthermore, this Takao guy is some sort of a perfectionist control-freak jerk. Initially he thought Megumi was Miki because of her beauty (later on to his disappointment finds out the real one) and went to great lengths to do some acting to show how he’s the caring kind and like a hero. However, Megumi is sharp and sees through all his dirty tactics. During the engagement party, Megumi enlists the help of her Megu-chan Protection Group as she attends the party as well as part of her plan to take Miki away. Takao seems to be prepared for it and had set up some ambush for them. Finally when the gang and everyone else concern reaches Miki’s room, Genzo comes up with an idea which I myself too didn’t see it coming. He says out loud how he is in love with Miki and wants to marry her! And his acting and voice is damn bloody convincing. Genzo and Takao then engages in a short fist fight in which Genzo defeated Takao in a single super punch. In the end after Megumi slaps some sense into Miki’s grandpa (yeah, she did that alright), he realized everything and the engagement is called off. Because of that, Miki is grateful but Megumi is confused because of the statement about her being a former man knowing a woman’s heart and a former man not knowing a man’s heart. Haha. So is Megumi totally a girl?
 
Due to the fact that Genzo did mention how he wants to marry Miki, later on, Miki’s personal attendant, Sakatsuki, thinks off testing Genzo to see whether he is true to his words or not or else Genzo has to cut his own stomach! So the gang tries to come up with something but in the end, what seems to be like Sakatsuki swiftly taking out his sword at Genzo, he was just slicing off the wings of a nearby bee. Phew. Close one. So better be careful of what you say next time. After Miki’s rescue, Megumi decides to hold a competition among themselves to see who would be the manliest man among them as they write their names down in a book. Even Miki wrote her name down. Something about if one does a manly act, he/she gets a point if not, points will be deducted. However, I don’t see how this proceeded throughout the rest of the series and I later feel that this is somewhat ‘forgotten’.
 
The next story arc is when Keiko decides to throw another big challenge to Megumi after spotting her and Genzo in a compromising positing between a narrow alley. The reason being Megumi did so was so that she could hide herself from Keiko but it didn’t work out. So the grand challenge is entitled Yamato Nadeshiko Cup and though I’m not sure about the rules and game play, what I understand is that the girls who are participating has to be paired with a guy and follow instructions given to them by doing several tasks before reaching their pitstop. It seems that Miki and Yoshimi are playing too in addition to Megumi and Keiko. Yoriko must be really looking forward to this. Keiko has brought 3 foreigner guys of her own so that in the draw there are higher chances of her being paired with one of them. As expected Megumi gets paired with Genzo while Miki gets Kobayashi. Since Yoshimi has Yasuda, the final one which Keiko will be paired is… Fujiki! So those 3 foreigners came for nothing. Keiko must be cursing her luck. Her chances of getting one of her familiars is 3/4 but she got the other one. Haih…
 
During the game, Megumi and Genzo encountered several thugs, led by an arrogant boxer named Yanagizawa who ambushed them. Not to mention, he’s playing dirty too. In the end, the Megumi-Genzo combo managed to teach Yanagizawa a lesson and let him have a taste of his own medicine. Though, it was quite funny to see Genzo going to land his final punch in his so called stellar performance punch when all those audiences (Yanagizawa’s underlings) are gone by the time he realized it. Then when the teams reached a pit stop and resided at a haunted inn, Megumi and Keiko (who are both already scared by the fact that their rooms may be haunted) took turns trying to out-scare each other but ended up scaring each other. Keiko’s got a room filled with scary dolls while Megumi has hers a scary looking samurai armour. I think Megumi ‘won’ when she dressed up in that armour to scare Keiko back to her room.
 
As Yanagizawa is recuperating from his defeat (and probably his crushed ego), he seems to have encountered Takao and the latter tells him all he knows of how to bring down the gang. Yanagizawa agrees to work with Takao after the former lost to the latter in a short bout. Looks like this jerk is back and his grudge runs deep. As the competition continues the next day, Yanagizawa and his henchmen goes in for the kill. They initially tried to kidnapped Miki and Kobayashi but it seems the duo can fight back although Kobayashi’s vision is temporarily ‘closed’ after being sprayed by some bug spray. So another group cornered Yoshimi and Yasuda team to use them as bait. Yasuda tries to be save her but got beaten up instead. Soon news of what is going on reached Megumi and Genzo as they hurried to save their pals. As Megumi heads for Yoshimi, Genzo tries to save Yasuda who is hanging precariously on a tree branch off a cliff after being brutally beaten up by those thugs. In exchange for Yoshimi’s life, Megumi would gladly trade places with her. After the thugs handcuffed Megumi, they went back on their word and chased after Yoshimi. Yoshimi must be really shaken to have experience all this but luckily Genzo appears in time to save her. Meanwhile Megumi has been taken to an abandoned building and Yanagizawa has several of his men trying to teach her a lesson. We see the vast difference between Megumi and those useless thugs. Even with Megumi being tied, she still can move about and avoid them. They can’t even lay a finger on her!
 
As Genzo, Miki and Kobayashi rushed to the abandoned building after disposing the others, Kobayashi comes up with a theory after Miki gets emotional by blurting how Megumi has been a girl all the while. Kobayashi thinks that the magician’s powers are limited, it is much easier to alter the minds of Megumi by making her think that she has been a boy all the while rather than actually turning her into a girl back then. Of course the gang manages to reach the place and with Genzo’s sheer brute force and determination, breaks down the iron door to the room that Megumi is being held. Though Yanagizawa escapes on his bike, Genzo throws a pot which directly hits him. The crash must be awfully painful but I don’t think Yanagizawa is going to give up on this yet, though he’ll back down for now. The gang regroups and get their injuries treated. Meanwhile, Keiko and Fujiki are in the city under the sweltering heat when Keiko bumps into another arrogant lady. After a little spat with that lady and realizing things (something to do with her boastful ego of course), Keiko decides to do a cruel thing by quitting the competition. However, her attendant tells her that Megumi and the others have already quit the game quite some time ago and she could’ve won if she had just reached the finish line. Haha, should’ve told her earlier. She went through all that for nothing. Thus, there is no winner in this cup competition.
 
Just before the final story arc, the school has a field trip and we see Yoshimi having a crush on Genzo for saving her that time, though Keiko very much disapproves of it. But soon, Yoshimi falls head over heals over Fujiki when he saves her from falling. That’s really fast. Also, because of that incident, Kobayashi thinks he’s having some feelings for Miki but would Megumi allow it? I don’t understand her, she wants to keep Miki all for herself? Yeah, even Genzo punched him after finding out about it. I thought if Kobayashi would like another girl, his chances of getting Megumi as his girlfriend would be brighter. Remember that Kimura guy? Yeah, he has a short appearance her when Fujiki spots him going steady with another girl. So Fujiki, still harbouring hopes that you’ll get closer to Megumi? Just keep trying, will you. And what’s this? Takao made his brief appearance in front of Miki to put some fear back into that girl! Looks like he has 1 final plan to get his revenge on them and at the same time inherit Miki’s family’s large inheritance.
 
The final arc begins when the gang are back from the field trip and Miki thinks that Takao was the one behind the ambush back then during the competition. A little flashback of how Miki met Megumi and became best of friends, and also a time when she overheard her parents talking about her being engaged to someone else, hence Miki has always felt that she has been caged. But Miki is snapped out when Megumi comes by as a prince! Not only that, Genzo is playing the part of a horse named Silver, Kobayashi a samurai, Fujiki a squire (not to be mistaken as a slave), and Yasuda a magician (not to be mistaken as a thief). Megumi had Yoriko and other attendants to gather more information on Takao and Yanagizawa. She too received a personal mail from him about to meet him somewhere for a challenge. Though it sounds like a trap, but I think they’re game for it and would like to put an end to it all.
 
They took a train there and on the way spot a couple of guys bullying a lady. As usual, they can’t let justice slide away and teach those guys a lesson. But after the lady gets off, the guys tailed her to get their revenge, Megumi and co too followed them. Since Megumi and friends outnumbered the duo, in such timing, the policeman came by and he thinks they’re ganging up to beat up those 2 helpless guys (yeah right). So the policeman took them in. The van ride seems long but when they reached their destination, it seems all this was a setup by Takao and Yanagizawa but Megumi and the rest knew it all along and starts kicking ass when the van door opens. Those guys are no match for them. Not even close. Even that lady is their accomplice. So when Takao’s face has been exposed, just like a cowardly dog with its tail between its legs, he pleads to them to let him go and he’ll stop pursuing Miki. But do you think this guy is honest to his words? As Megumi and co leaves on a train, courtesy of Takao, that guy sets his final plan in motion by using some control to shake the train like mad. Now he looks like a crazy idiot gone insane.
 
When Megumi and the rest wakes up, they find that Miki is missing. Through a tv screen, Takao tells them that he has Miki held captive at his base and if they want to rescue her, they have to play along his with his game. Though Megumi and the rest are adamant in saving her, it seems Miki has resigned to the fact that as long as this goes on, they’ll never be free, so Miki has to go with Takao. Like Megumi gives a sh*t about it. She’s going to rescue Miki whether she likes it or not. But it seems Fujiki has been strapped by several explosives and time is running out. They can’t take it off either unless they have the tools. Takao is planning to see how the gang will desert each other. Finally Fujiki decides to do something manly by jumping down into the waterfall in hopes of short-circuiting the fuse. As he is drowning, he thinks some angel is coming to save him but in fact it is Yoshimi! That girl rescues Fujiki by borrowing Keiko’s golden helicopter! Yeah, Keiko brought her 3 foreigner pals too. After pulling him up and dismantling the bomb, we find out that the bomb wasn’t diffused by the water and exploded seconds after they tossed it away. Phew. Really close shave. After reuniting Fujiki with the rest, Keiko says it’s on their own now since she doesn’t want to start a misunderstanding between her family and the Gakusan’s, and soon leaves with Yoshimi.
 
In their final push to save Miki, we see Megumi and the guys (yeah, she’s calling it Megumi Team now) going through all the traps that Takao had set. Some are really weird like springs which ejected them right back to the start or even a giant sticky paper which uses to catch cockroaches. Other than that, it’s more of those useless henchmen who seems to just have the numbers. Nothing more than that. As Miki and Takao watch their every move through a screen, Miki gets even more hope that Megumi will come rescue her while Takao gets frustrated with every of his plans being thwarted. The gang then reaches a rock in which Kobayashi uses his super inner energy to blast an opening, which weakened him a little. I don’t know how they knew the opening was there. Inside, Yasuda uses his sniffing skills to locate Miki. I didn’t know he had such a skill. Yanagizawa decides to go first and face-off with them but was quickly defeated. Once he’s down, Takao replaces him but since he’s wearing some body armour, the gang can’t land a scratch on him. Finally, Genzo summoned all his will and determination to defeat Takao in another single punch, also destroying his armour. Genzo soon collapsed. After freeing Miki, the gang are outside as Genzo lay unconscious by Megumi’s side. I’m not sure what Megumi’s thinking but she thinks that Genzo needs a kiss as gratitude. Though we don’t get to see it, Megumi pecks Genzo on his forehead as the rest looks on. Suddenly, the magician appears and tells Megumi that since she has decided to live life as woman, he will not take away to curse and thus not returning Megumi to be a boy. Megumi must be real surprised to hear that, huh? But I don’t understand the magician’s rational too. Back at school, Genzo is pestering an embarrassed Megumi to kiss him because he was out cold then. Keiko is suspicious about them while Yoshimi is getting real close to Fujiki. As for Takao, his family has reprimanded him and he’ll be serving as a monk to atone his sins. Though Megumi will continue living as a girl, she still claims that she’s a boy and will find a way to return being one.
 
When an anime ends, most of the storyline continues in the manga. But for this series, that’s where it ended too. Yup, it goes no further than that. The only difference is that in the manga it is revealed that Megumi has been a girl all along but a tomboyish one. So when she wished to be a man, the magician altered her memories instead. Unlike in the anime, Megumi in the end embraced womanhood after kissing Genzo (source from Wikipedia). But I guess it’s pretty much okay since the whole jinjang gang are back together once more. Yeah, a group of weirdos. A stubborn delinquent, a bushido samurai, a pervert, and a normal one. You can’t get odder than that. Oh, let’s not forget about Miki too, shall we?
 
At first, the drawing and art seems pretty old-school and not appealing to me. But as I gradually watched the series, I became used to the type of drawing. Besides, most of the time you’ll see the characters, especially Megumi and Genzo in chibi mode, whereby their facial expressions and body parts become simple lines. You know those comical moments or times when they are in disbelief. Even Kobayashi has his chibi and comical moments, albeit not many.
 
There may be some illogical moments which defies logic like Megumi jumping off the train and landing perfectly on her 2 feet (I know she’s agile but this?) or when Genzo was trying to get away from Kobayashi went the latter says how he might fall for him is he’s a girl by swimming all night long (doesn’t he get tired?). And there are some moments which are an eyebrow raiser whereby Miki was telling Kobayashi, Fujiki and Yasuda about Megumi’s case in a cafe when she shed a tear. Yasuda then quickly ‘collects’ her tear in a cup and runs away. It’s like something precious and a collectible to him. Don’t get it either.
 
Another thing I want to mention is that the delinquents or bad guys in the series. It seems that in this show, there are tons of them and somehow they have that ‘one kind’ look which viewers could easily tell and predict. Uh huh, these gangsters have no qualms about throwing their fists when they are a little annoyed or if things don’t go their way. It’s like they prefer to do their talking with their fists and take the violent way out. They even dare raise their fists on a girl! Is this the kind of society that we all live in today?
 
Some of the title of each episode sounded quite crude as if they were statements or comments from Megumi herself. Erm… I think they are. After the ending credits, there will be a few more seconds of screen time of that particular episode, whether or not it is related to the story in that episode. So for those who instantly turn off or away when the end credits start rolling, it’s advisable to stick around a little longer.
 
Of all the opening and ending themes in the series, my favourite one is still the 1st opening theme, Grand Blue, by Aiko Kitahara. It’s lively and catchy and has that Mediterranean-like feel. The 2nd opening theme, Sun Rise Train, is also sung by Aiko Kitahara but I find this one less appealing. On the other hand, all the ending themes are sung by U-Ka Saegusa in db (decibel) and most of them has an R&B flavour in it. The songs are Whenever I Think Of You (1st ending theme), It’s For You (2nd ending theme), Tears Go By (3rd ending theme) and Secret & Lies (4th ending theme). Though there are quite a few background music, even if they are not appealing to me, I need to mention that some of them sounds like a rip-off from other tv series. Like there’s one which sounds like from The Twilight Zone and another one from The Pink Panther series. Hmm…
 
If you’re still thinking that Megumi sounds somewhat similar to the female Ranma in Ranma 1/2, that’s because the seiyuu for Megumi is the same person, which is Megumi Hayashibara. So there’s another connection between this series and Ranma 1/2. I love her voice when she goes all crude or whenever she goes crazy by making funny noises. She’s so convincing and funny at the same time in that mode. Genzo is voiced by Wataru Takagi who was the voice in Komiyama in Ichigo 100% and Bellamy in One Piece. Though he sounds like a gangster at first, gradually he’ll sound more like an idiot whenever he gets his usual scolding from Megumi. Other casts include Makiki Oumoto as Miki, Nobuyuki Hiyama as Kobayashi (Harry McKenzie in School Rumble), Issei Tanaka as Fujiki, Yuji Ueda as Yasuda (Keitarou in Love Hina), Naoko Matsui as Keiko (Koyomi in Da Capo Second Season), Shoutaro Morikubo as Takao (Shikamaru in Naruto), Masayo Kurata as Yoshimi (Koyomi in Girls Bravo, Tomoe in Rozen Maiden), and Takeshi Kusao as the magician (Hanamichi in Slam Dunk).
 
Before the series reached its halfway mark, at the end of several episodes, there’s a Megumi-look-alike-contest showing several successful participants. In my opinion, they all don’t look like her! What’s more, Megumi still looks a thousand times better then them! Oops, sorry if I said too much, but yeah, that’s what I feel. Am I starting to fall for Megumi too? Can I be part of the Megu-chan Protection Club too? Reject!
 
While we learn that true friends stick together and help each other out in need, this series also explores a little on one’s sexuality. You know these days, there are many women who feel that they’re being born as a man and vice versa. While I don’t really hope for an angel to drop down from the sky and into my arms but I wonder if I could ever make a wish for one (or even a harem!) from that magician. Urm… Perhaps he’ll turn me into a gay with several men flanking around instead. Yikes! *Shivering*. Better stay how I am now. Yup, be happy with who you are, what you have and the friends around you.
 
Tenshi Na Konamaiki

Blood Queen

November 7, 2008

  Yume wo mita no ni naze ka wasurete shimatta n da,
  Tsumetai mama dokiri to takanaru can I do do
 
Ah… Thank goodness that this song is one of those few anime songs that I can sing with ease. Not to say that I’m perfect, but it’s better than most anime songs that I belt out. I also instantly took a liking for this song, Blood Queen, when I first watched the supernatural comedy series Kaibutsu Oujo.
 
  Watashi ga yonda toki wa kanarazu ite hoshii yo,
  Tooi you na chikaku de matteru na na na knight
 
The tune of this song fits the genre of the anime well. With the screeching-like electrical guitars (or was it sirens?) at the start of the song, I can say that this upbeat music piece has also a rock flavour in it. Perfect theme for halloween too, if I should say. Even during the solo part, the electric guitar is quite sharp and high-pitched. But as I said, the tone here is more rock than scary so listeners can enjoy this one too instead of being scared out of their wits.
 
  Kirei sugita bara ni koso,
  Toge no itami ga aru,
  Tsuyoku natte ima yori,
  Mamorubeki chikai wa kokoro ga shitteru hazu
 
Sung by Aki Misato, I do think that the pitch of her voice suits this song very well. Which brings me to point in case, no long sustaining high-pitched vocals which seems to be a problem that I’m still facing after all this years of singing anime songs. Because of that, this song became one of current favourites and I sang it several times over and over again. So much so I even thought that I sounded just like the singer herself when I sang the verses (yeah right!).
 
  Watashi wo shinjite kizutsuketakunai kedo,
  Kodoku wo aishita reizoku reishou no blood queen
 
Okay, maybe I still have trouble at a particular line of the chorus. The starting lines of the chorus, that is (the tune of the  line which goes ‘yami de’ and ‘omowazu’). I suppose this is the only line in the entire song that goes into a slightly higher pitch tone, though it’s just a short one. Initially, whenever I reached this part, I will go a little off tune. But with the correct breathing measures and mouth and throat position (yeah, I kinda noticed that I need to open my mouth in a certain position if I want to have a higher chance of hitting this part right), I’m able to overcome this problem.
 
  Anata ga nigetemo kanarazu kaeru hazu yo,
  Eien ni shibarare zetsubou no amai KISU shite
 
The only grouse I have about this song version is that there are no background vocals. Uh huh. It’s another instrumental version of the song. Although the background vocals are not obvious and are only present during certain lines of the chorus, but you know, I feel that even a little background vocals does help enhance one’s ‘happiness’ while singing the song. But I can’t really complain since it’s better than having no karaoke or instrumental version of it.
 
  Yami de aimashou anata ga matteru basho de,
  Kiken ni youterru zankoku raisan no dark queen
 
Lyrics wise, I think the words of the song also fits in nicely with the series’ genre. I’m sure with the title name like Blood Queen, you can pretty mch guess what the song is about. That’s right. No simple I-love-you words here. More like about a particular dark queen with typical dark characteristics and traits. In addition, the song also sings about how the singer herself can’t seem to get away from this dark queen. Perhaps this is a reference to the series’ main protagonist, Hime. Hmm… I find that the words of the last lines ‘kizutsuita yubisaki nameta’ to be a little naughty. It literally means ‘lick my wounded finger’.
 
  Omowazu te ni tooru GARASU no sword ga warete,
  Kakera ga hikaru no yo kizutsuita yubisaki nameta
 
I find that the arrangement of the song overall is simple. You know, the usual verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, chorus then end. Though the song doesn’t abruptly end, but just like the tv version of it, just after the last line and words of the chorus, you’ll hear a short single sustaining tune of the electric guitar before everyting goes silent. But it doesn’t end here for me. I hear an encore is in order… Let’s take it from the top once more!
 
Kaibutsu Oujo

Hayate No Gotoku

November 2, 2008

I’m sure all of us have dreams of living the rich and luxurious life. And that we have several personal butlers and maids to serve and tend to our whims and fancies. Alright, snap out of it and face reality already! You’re dreaming way too much. Hahaha. But still, no harm done in dreaming, right? Anyway, you’ll understand what I’m trying to say if you have watched Hayate No Gotoku or also known in its English equivalent, Hayate The Combat Butler.
 
This is another wacky comedy series. Only thing is, many of the hilarious jokes and lines have otaku parodies in it. That’s right. Too much of them in fact. It is so bad and overflowing with it, so much so I have even stumbled upon a website which has thoroughly listed down in detail the exact timing and moments of when an anime parody occurs! Really. No joke. So for an average anime lover like me, it kinda feels scary. But it’s a damn good source for referencing. So in the anime, you’ll notice that in each episode there will be lines and dialogues that are purposely being censored out with a beep when they make those references. Partly, they don’t want to get caught infringing some copyright laws, do they? So keep your eyes and ears sharply peeled and be on the look out for it all.
 
Therefore, you really have to be a real obsessed die-hard anime otaku geek to really understand all the jokes that comes in this anime. Or else, a quarter-baked (perhaps even less than that) person like me, you’ll be wondering what is going on and the meaning of it. Besides being filled with cultural and anime otaku jokes, the comedy here is also quite nonsensical and in-your-face. I guess that is what helps it contribute to the wackiness of the series. Some of the scenes are so wacky, graphic (on purpose), or even copyrighted, so much so from time to time you’ll see a little kid with a big cheeky smirk on his face carrying a sign which says "Can’t show" as a censor.
 
Initially, I thought the series was going to last like around 24-26 episodes but to my surprise it lasted a whole year’s worth of episodes. 52 anime parody filled episodes! Darn right. Uh huh. It’s like viewers will be laughing and their bones tickled with all the anime otaku parodies for the whole year. Nothing wrong with that actually. And remember to leave your logic and reasoning section on the doorstep.
 
So let’s meet our main protagonist of the series, Hayate Ayasaki. No, he’s not the rich teenage boy who lives in a super huge mansion with all the luxurious amenities right at his fingertips. He’s on the opposite polar instead. A very poor but hardworking boy. So how poor is he? He doesn’t even get a single present from Santa Claus. Even Hayate himself asked Santa personally why didn’t he get even one. Do you know what was Santa’s reply? "Because you are poor". WTF?! Since when did Santa learn to discriminate?! Life is tough for Hayate but that doesn’t deter him from working hard to earn little scraps of paper called money as a delivery boy. However, his good intentions didn’t go down too well. When the delivery company Hayate works for finds out he is still a high school going student, they fired him.
 
But that’s not the end of his misery. You see, Hayate has another problem which is the cause of his misery. His parents. To describe them in a short sentence. Useless bums. Why, they are the source of Hayate getting fired from his job. Not only that, they took his hard earned money and happily spend it away on gambling! What kind of parents are they?! The last straw came when Hayate comes back to his poor run-down apartment to find his envelope which is supposed to be his wages, to be debts accumulating to 150 million Yen! Courtesy of his stupid parents. Yeah, they’ve already ran away and left all this debt to him. As expected, loan sharks appear to retrieve the sum from him. In a desperate attempt, Hayate jumps out of his window and flees. Poor kid.
 
Hayate needs to think of a way to get out of this situation fast and all in good timing, the stumbling upon of a little rich girl brat, Nagi Sanzenin, at a vending machine in a park. Say, I wonder if this is a new trend of fated encounters because this case of a boy-meets-girl at a vending machine reminds me of the one in Sola. Remember Matsuri and Yorito’s case? Worst than Matsuri, Nagi doesn’t know how to even operate a vending machine! Rich kids… Back to the story. Hayate thinks of kidnapping this rich little girl to demand for ransom but he needs to say it in a way so that she doesn’t feel threatened. I’m not sure of what Hayate said, but it sounded something like wanting to go out on a date with him. Because of that, Nagi blushes and agrees as she gives him her phone number and reminds him not to be unfaithful. Uh huh. The narrator of the series is being sarcastic by saying "Due to the wrong choice of words, their relationship has become complicated". Darn right he is. And it’s going to be even more complicated. However, Hayate isn’t the only one being targeted by kidnappers. Nagi too has many kidnappers targeting her. Luckily, Hayate’s there to punch them away.
 
So after the duo disperses and Hayate takes out his coins to make a ransom phone call, he accidentally said his name and hangs up. Before he could make a second one, he dropped all his coins into the sewers. His day just couldn’t get worse than this. Soon he spots Nagi being forced into a car by a group of men. Hayate’s instinct to save her goes into action and we see his super strength skill in peddling a bicycle from a lady who passed by and gave him her scarf. So okay, he got hit by the car. However, the baddies saw his scary face and decides to give up Nagi and give themselves up to the police. Nagi feels indebted to him and Hayate collapses after telling her how he needs a job. The lady whom Hayate borrowed the bicycle from, Maria, soon arrives. Nagi then decides to help Hayate by making him her butler. So is this the start of Hayate’s new life or misery? Well, that depends on how you look at it. But it’s better than running away from loan sharks with a 150 million Yen bounty on his head.
 
Hayate soon finds himself in Nagi’s huge mansion. I know it’s mind boggling to see such a huge estate right smack in the middle of Tokyo. Of course Hayate would feel awkward in his newfound environment. He also finds out that Maria is a maid of this mansion. Also, the other head butler of the house, an old geezer named Klaus, isn’t too fond of Nagi choosing him as her butler and wants Hayate out. Another thing he finds out that Nagi is some sort of a manga artist wannabe but due to Hayate’s shallow knowledge of the manga world, he thinks it’s a picture diary, pissing that little brat off. Because of that, Nagi is upset and throws Hayate out of the house. What a way to make a bad start. While wandering outside the mansion, Hayate has been kidnapped by those loan shark baddies. Maria spots this and informs Nagi. Nagi feels guilty and can’t abandon the person who saved her so she decides to go save him in some cheap disguise. Well, the rational is, she can’t face him after kicking him out like that due to her whims. At the dock, Nagi arrives to save Hayate and calls herself Mask The Money. Seriously, anyone can see through that disguise. Nagi takes out her briefcase of 150 million Yen to pay off Hayate’s debt. With that, the loan sharks leave with their money. Hayate is grateful and thanks her. But since honesty isn’t the best policy here, Hayate’s words pisses off Nagi once more and they started arguing so much so Nagi wants Hayate to pay back the 150 million Yen! Ah well, that’s what being her butler is for. I’m not sure how long it will take but it’s better than being harassed by loan sharks anytime. Or is it?
 
So in each episode, we’ll get to see how Hayate tries his best to serve his Nagi oujo-sama (milady). At the same time, Nagi’s feelings for Hayate will grow and you know, viewers hope to see some chemistry between them. Don’t worry, it won’t turn out to be an explosive affair as the air-headed duo will still maintain their master-butler relationship with some bickering. Okay, maybe lots of bickering. Besides, another thing which makes this series hilarious are the bunch of wacky and zany characters. And by golly, this series sure has lots of them. Count them all if you will. So let me briefly go through most of them.
 
A little more on Nagi first. This little girl has a sharp tongue but even if she has a selfish exterior, deep down in her heart she still cares for the one she loves. As for Maria, this 17 year old maid (better believe it. She’s really 17 years old) plays a surrogate mother role to Nagi, whose parents are who-knows-where. She provides advice to her and Hayate at times and is very much afraid of cockroaches. There are moments which may hint that Maria does have feelings for Hayate (like when she got her face too close to his) but it’s nothing conclusive. as for Klaus, he’s just really a side character who tries to get more screen time. Better luck next time, gramps. Then there’s Nagi’s pet, a white tiger named Tama. At first, Hayate is shocked to see Tama speaking in human tongue and even standing on 2’s (who wouldn’t). How does he do it? Well, after living with humans for so long, I guess this tiger has learned something. Not only that, this perverted tiger at first only does this talking and walking manner in front of Hayate and later to other guys, but never to girls. Why? Because he doesn’t want to shatter their dream. What logic is that?
 
Oh yes, did I mention that Nagi doesn’t really attend school? Why doesn’t she? That’s because she doesn’t like it. Rich people… As long as they have money, they think they can do whatever they want. Speaking of which, it seems Nagi too has several pals from the prestigious Hakuou Academy. Yeah, it’s a school for the very rich, elite and super smart. In short, another bunch of weird people on the loose. Anyway, Sakuya Aizawa is a student of this school and besides being Nagi’s cousin, this arrogant brat is a stand-up comedian wannabe. She doesn’t hesitate to whack anyone with her paper fan if they made a bad joke or correct them about it. Hayate gets the end of it most of the time. Then there’s a slow and soft-spoken lady who is always wearing a kimono and a stole, Isumi Saginomiya, who’s also Nagi’s best buddy. Besides being able to perform powerful exorcisms, a signature trademark of this girl is that, she could easily get lost. She’s on equal par with Ryoga of Ranma 1/2 and Zoro in One Piece. You’ll even wonder in amazement how she gets astray from a simple location to well, a complicated far away one.
 
Other students of Hakuou Academy include Hinagiku Katsura, who is the student council president and also the kendo club president. Ironic thing about this girl is that she is afraid of heights but the student council room is located at the highest peak of the school’s clock tower. She’s another possible candidate for Hayate’s love interest but as usual, nothing really conclusive. Then there’s the school’s 3 cheeky girls of the student council whom I dubbed the 3 stooges because of their nonsensical and no-relation-in-whatsoever antics. Think of it as they’re just out to have some fun. They are Miki Hanabishi, Izumi Segawa and Risa Asakase. Since this is a prestigious school for rich people, some of the students here have their butlers accompany them to school. Like a kendo club member Koutarou Azumamiya. He has a crush on Hinagiku but other things points to him as a weak loser. That’s right. His butler Kaede Nonohara (looks like Gin of Bleach) seems to have more control over him. Nonohara doesn’t hesitate to brutally punish Koutarou when the latter’s asking for help or being weak. So who’s the master in this case? You figure it out. Then there’s a little kid called Taiga Ookouchi, but it is his butler, Himuro Saeki, who seems to steal the limelight. Yeah, Himuro seems to be like a charming person with always a rose in hand and petals flowing around him. Wait a minute. Isn’t that Taiga throwing all the petals to make that dramatic effect? Ah well, so who’s the master here again.
 
Then there’s this teaching staff of Hakuou Academy, Yukiji Katsura, who is Hinagiku’s elder sister. She doesn’t fit to be a teacher because she likes getting drunk and doing all sort of crazy, weird and funny stuffs you never see teacher do. Besides, she is so concern about her pay and is afraid of anything she does which will get her a pay deduction. Besides, Yukiji lives inside the school itself (another poor and sad case but more on the stingy side) so she doubles as a 24 hour security patrol woman. Now that really save costs. Also, there is a girl who is Hayate’s childhood friend named Ayumu Nishizawa. You could say that this girl likes Hayate a lot but secretly. She attends a different school (because she’s not rich, duh) and I remember there’s 1 point early in the series where she finally meets Hayate and confesses to him. But Hayate had done some thinking of his own (Nagi comes to mind, that is) and decides to tell her that he prefers 2D girls more (Haruhi Suzumiya comes to mind?). Oh the shock and heartbreak. But I guess this doesn’t stop Ayumu from trying. Umm… I don’t know if that’s true or not because in most episodes, you’ll see cameo appearances of her enjoying and munching some foodstuff she got in her hands somewhere. This girl really loves to eat. There are many more other characters, but I’ll briefly introduce them as I go by.
 
Since it’s impossible for me to blog each and every episode in detail (partly because I forgot most of them ;p), I’ll just blog on some of the more memorable ones (the ones which I remember lah ;p). For instance, like in episode 3 how Klaus decides to test Hayate’s butler’s skills against a machine named Eight. Of course, since Hayate is the hero, he has to win, right? Or episode 4 where Hayate tries to bring Nagi’s bento to school but got stopped by a suspicious Yukiji instead who thinks he’s an intruder instead. Then in episode 5 Sakuya decides to coach and train Hayate to be a comedian and in double episodes 6 and 7, Hayate has a daunting task to retrieve some tea wearing a very expensive cashmere coat (better be careful or else not only his debt is at stake, if you know what I mean) when he bumps into and saves Isumi from danger (I don’t know, how come these loan sharks are the same people). So you could say that this shy girl too has some feelings for Hayate. Again, nothing conclusive. It seems that there are lots of girls who likes this butler boy. So as Hayate barely comes home alive (not to mention the cashmere coat all torn up. Uh oh), he falls ill. But he wakes up to find a never-seen-before maid by his side. To cut things short, she is Saki Kijima, the personal maid of Wataru Tachibana. Who is this young brat? To cut another long story short (I’m feeling like I’m getting into the flow of this anime’s comedy), he is Nagi’s fiancee! Not that they both agree to it. It’s something that both their missing-in-action parents arranged.
 
So here’s the deal. The love triangle, that is. Wataru is actually more interested and has a crush on Isumi instead but you know, Isumi being saved by Hayate… So this jealous guy challenges Hayate to a duel in episode 7 over Isumi but Hayate loses on purpose so that Wataru and Nagi’s engagement could be called off. Unfortunately, this only hurt Wataru’s feelings even more as Hayate, Nagi and Isumi tries to go after him to apologize but got lost in an underground subway instead. We get to see first hand how Isumi uses her exorcism techniques to fend off those evil rats. By the way, over the series you’ll see Wataru running a video store and his store has a complete collection of whatever animes you can think of. Even unheard of. You’ll also notice Saki is torn of wanting to be Wataru’s master or lover but again, nothing really conclusive. Plus, you won’t see them making much appearances because this anime isn’t about him. Duh! Obviously it’s gotta be Hayate lah.
 
We’ll also get to know of Nagi and Maria’s sick fetish of putting girly clothes on Hayate like in episode 8 how they forcefully put a girl’s school uniform on him. Doesn’t he look cute? Yeah, they’ve even got the guts to put on a cat costume, which stimulates Tama’s pervertness as he tries to pound on Hayate. Can’t believe that sick tiger is actually ‘doing it’ (censored of course). OMG! Even Klaus! Are you wondering what a video game console is doing right out in the garden, besides a cue to be stepped on? Anyway, this episode also sees Hayate being challenged by Maria to a snooker game in which if Hayate loses, his debts will increase but it ended with Maria letting Hayate win because she thinks he’s a good kid but a jealous Nagi comes in to tell Hayate not to lay a finger on Maria as Maria did mention how she would allow him to do anything on her as a reward.
 
Episode 9 has Hayate trying to motivate Nagi to go to school and when she reluctantly does, she comes home only to realize she had forgotten her notebook and Hayate has to brave the night and retrieve it in some haunted section. In episode 11, Hayate, Nagi and Maria visits the head of the Sanzenin family, Mikado, who is also Nagi’s grandpa. Looks like a love-hate relationship between Nagi and Mikado as the former doesn’t hesitate to beat up that old guy if he’s being mischevious. Here, Mikado gives Hayate a pendant glowing with a dark aura but I’m not sure the significance of this as throughout the series it’s hardly ever being used or referred to. Mikado also tells Hayate about a condition for Nagi’s other relatives to claim his large inheritance if he ever kicks the bucket. Something like if they suceed in making Nagi cry and apologize, they’ll inherit all the wealth instead of Nagi alone. Huh? Also, Hayate meets a foreigner named Gilbert (later you’ll learn that he is somewhat related to Sakuya). Gilbert starts attacking them but after having deep thoughts about Nagi’s predicament, Hayate boldly claims that he will protect Nagi’s life and that if anybody wants to get her, they will have to go through him first. Hayate easily defeats Gilbert and Nagi is embarrassed about Hayate’s remarks but gladly accepts it. But for Hayate, he has found a new meaning and purpose in his life. Other than repaying his debt, of course.
 
After Hayate meets up with Ayumu in episode 12 and rejects her confession, Ayumu decides to follow Hayate back to Nagi’s mansion but got lost in the huge garden instead. Call it a woman’s instinct because soon after Hayate saves Ayumu from Tama’s advances (I don’t know how it feels like to lose one’s virginity to a tiger), Nagi appears and both girls have that fiery aura of asking who the other woman is. I smell cat fight. Yeah, Nagi has a dragon aura while Ayumu… WTF? A hamster aura? Anyway, Ayumu backs off for now. Because of this, Nagi will call Ayumu, Hamster Burglar, whenever they come into contact. Since Hayate is still young and can’t be denied education, in episode 13 Nagi and Maria has him enrolled in Hakuou Academy. With this, he could get some studies and as well be near Nagi. Hayate does his best to study for his entrance exams but the sample questions itself are one kind. How weird? "Why are manholes round…". Uh huh. Even Klaus long guest flashback story and Yukiji’s experimental teasing didn’t help much. So due to all that mental and physical exhaustion, Hayate manages to sit for the test. As everybody starts to celebrate Hayate’s entrance, Yukiji is being called by the school’s director. Why is Yukiji panicking? The director tells her that Hayate has failed by 1 point. So close. So what does this has to do with Yukiji? Yeah, she has to deliver this bad news to him. Meanwhile, the whole gang is partying heavily at Nagi’s mansion. See, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
 
So in episode 14, Yukiji is having a tough time trying to indirectly tell Hayate that he flopped. Because of that, Yukiji gets beaten up by Hinagiku. Eventually, Hayate finds out he failed by a single point and goes into depression and runs away from the crowded hall. Maria manages to find Hayate alone in the garden and comforts him with some word of advice. This manages to lift his spirits up as Hayate strives to continue to do his best for Nagi. Another close facial encounter between Hayate and Maria but nothing serious. And because of Maria’s earlier recommendation letter, Hayate has been admitted to Hakuou Academy. Congratulations, boy. Episode 15 sees Hayate going to school with Nagi for the first time. It must’ve been a long day because he got his butler necktie stolen by Himuro and Hayate tries to get Nagi join back her former kendo club which she quit a long time ago (she joined because of Hinagiku but quit after finding out how tough it was). Unfortunately Hayate is being challenged by Koutarou but after being informed by Himuro about Hayate’s strength, he decides to ask Nonohara to fight in place of him but gets punished instead. Eventually in episode 16, the battle turned out to be between Koutarou and Hinagiku (representing Nagi) while Hayate takes on Nonohara. Hayate wins the match by using Koutarou as a human shield. After the match, Nagi decides that Hayate should train and come up with his own special butler killer move technique, after witnessing Nonohara’s hand beams. Throughout the series, I don’t ever remember Hayate obtaining or showing off one though we see him undergoing some training. Like in episode 20 whereby Hayate searches the Sanzenin’s library for a book on ultimate attacks. With that, Nagi decides to train him using methods from the book but decides to scrap it when she finds out that a technique which would get the person she likes even more. Uh huh. Something about being naked. So Nagi rushes off somewhere and reads it alone. Later Nagi finds out that Hayate has been training for Hinagiku’s sake and has the book burned. Nagi is sure tsundere. Also, Nagi bumps into Ayumu and the latter proposes her to a challenge. Singing in a karaoke? Anyway Nagi beats her flat but it seems Maria seems to be enjoying herself with her marathon karaoke sessions and poor Hayate has to stay and listen…
 
After Nagi’s manga work has been rejected in episode 17, she tries to gain work experience that normal people do like cleaning the house and cooking. But we all know rich little brats cleaning means messing things up and cooking means a kind of poisoning. Than there’s this random what-the-hell-does-it-mean episodes include episode 18 whereby the girls of Hakuou Academy take a field trip to some island or some RPG-like episode 10 by the 3 stooges in an old video game. Saki seems depressed in episode 19 and Wataru thinks he forgot to buy her the furisode (a type of kimono) for her Coming Of Age Day ceremony. Since that guy has no money, he buys a yukata instead and Nagi thinks it’s for Isumi. But it’s revealed that Saki’s depression is her inability to decide which colour for her new handphone. That’s it? Then there’s episode 26 whereby Hayate faked amnesia to Ayumu because he’s still embarrassed about their last encounter so Ayumu takes this opportunity to say that he is her butler. And when Nagi reclaims Hayate, she tries to enact scenes Hayate went through in her mansion to get his memories back even though Hayate hasn’t really lost them.
 
Eight comes back for revenge against Hayate in episode 21 when Hayate and Nagi are at the Sanzenin’s amusement park right at their backyard. Gives you a bigger picture of how rich this kid is, huh? Anyway Eight is defeated and soon upgrades himself to 8.1 and does another attack inside Nagi’s mansion but still backs off after Tama tells his sob story of being abandoned. A story which is something similar to Eight’s case. We find out that Eight is created by a professor named Shiori Makimura and throughout the series they’re like an odd couple dating. A scientist dating an A.I. robot? Anyway Makimura becomes a teacher at Hakuou Academy in episode 23 and takes over Yukiji’s place as homeroom teacher (after being fired from her lab) for Hayate, Nagi and co. Jealous Yukiji has been demoted to sub-homeroom teacher and so in order to get her position back, she tries to blackmail Makimura by implicating innocent Hayate! By accident, Yukiji takes a picture of Hayate and Makimura in a compromising position. Thing is, Makimura believed that she has been violated by Hayate! And Yukiji even claims innocence! WTF?! An enraged Eight comes to Makimura’s rescue but I’m wondering why he has a self-destruct button there. I think it’s a cue for him to lose. Even after the explosion, Yukiji still blames Hayate for it and her emotional passionate speech about being a dutiful teacher moved Makimura and her students. In the end, Yukiji does another of her sly schemes by taking Makimura to a bar and making her pay for it because she’s senior. Sly. Nagi takes Hayate fishing in episode 22 at their mansion’s large lake. But their romantic outing has been ruined when a giant lake monster (sorry, not Nessie) overturns the boat. They return home to take a warm bath but naughty Tama seems to be breaking the heating system no matter how much Hayate fixes it.
 
In episode 24, Hayate and Wataru saves Isumi’s stole from a naughty Tama. Isumi decurses Hayate’s pendant. Unfortunately, Isumi fell into Hayate’s arms and made it looked like they’ve kissed, which causes a huge misunderstanding for Wataru and Nagi. Jealous Nagi even confronts Hayate and bluntly asks him if he likes Isumi, in which that guy even admits that he likes her! Though I’m thinking it’s not of the lovey-dovey kind of love. Nagi is hurt and in her outburst says that in that case, Isumi should buy him for 150 million Yen. Since Isumi has overheard their conversation, she has no qualms in accepting it. Oh no. Now Hayate is Isumi’s butler. Due to that, Nagi runs away from home and lives and work at Wataru’s video store. So in episode 25 while lots of them are still shock over the new developments, Gilbert comes by at Wataru’s store to suggest they stage a kidnap on Nagi to see how far Hayate’s love for his master. The plan begins and but Hayate hasn’t taken the bait yet. I don’t know why the location is underground Isumi’s house. But anyway, Gilbert is in a huge mecha but that robot suddenly goes crazy and has killing intent. You guessed it. It’s a robot developed by Makimura. Be afraid. Be very afraid. As the robot goes on a rampage, everyone wonders if Hayate will show up. Before the robot could smash Nagi, she screams Hayate’s name and in the speed of light, he arrives to save her. With his will and determination, he beats the crap out of both the robot and Gilbert. The duo had some reconciliation as Hayate thinks the condition of needing to defeat him to get Sanzenin’s inheritance has put Nagi in a more dangerous position. But Hayate also says that since he has neglected his duties as Isumi’s butler, he may be fired. Nagi then offers him to be her butler again, which he gladly accepts. With that, Isumi too accepts that he is Nagi’s butler and all is well. For now.
 
The second half of the series introduces a villainess named Kirika Kuzuha. Well, she’s actually the superintendent of Hakuou Academy and Hinagiku is wary of her because of her whatever evil schemes. Kuzuha has a giant white snake as her pet and a female butler named Shion Kuresato, whom she is somewhat romantically involved in. Uh huh. Something close to yuri. Kuzuha also has fetish for anything sweet and if she doesn’t take enough of them, she collapses. Instantly. So in episode 27 we see her appearance to create her own trouble of fun by organizing a Butler Battle Tournament to see which butler is the strongest. The winner gets the honour to challenge Shion for the main prize, which is 100 class credits. Something which class ditchers like Nagi would definitely want. Another reason for holding this is because Kuzuha has taken quite an interest in Hayate. As the battle starts, we won’t get to see lengthy battles and you’ll get to predict who gets to advance. In each match, the objective is to take away the butler’s tie in order to win the bout. Hinagiku enters the tournament as a butler to stop Kuzuha’s plans.
 
Episode 28 starts off with Hayate facing a mysterious butler (actually it’s Klaus and Tama, looking all fierce and powerful). The funny part is that because Klaus was getting into hyper ripping mode, his clothes were shredded into pieces and thus lost the match. So much so, Hayate advances without touching his opponents. The finals is between Hayate and Hinagiku. As expected, Hayate wins and gets the right to face Shion. During the match, it seems Shion has the upper hand. I don’t know why but Hinagiku and the 3 stooges noticed Shion’s weakness and tells Hayate to take off her shoes. With that, Shion turns into a chibi little childish girl, with her powers lost. Kuzuha takes the opportunity to escape with Shion as Hayate is declared the winner. Kuzuha is now even more interested in Hayate and decides to scrap this Butler Battle Tournament. What’s this? She’s the leader of some organization called The League Of Mysterious Dark Butlers? Over the next few episodes, there will be short moments whereby Hayate engages in parody butler battles (like Yugioh) with 1 of Kuzuha’s Dark Butlers. Of course Hayate wins all of them, but is still unsure of what that battle means. I feel that it doesn’t really leave an impact on the series and serves more as fillers.
 
Episode 29 takes a break from Kuzuha’s schemes as we see Saki’s mom arranging her for an omiai (a meeting for soon-to-be wedded couples and their parents to meet each other). Saki finds out that the person she’s arranged to be married is a teacher from Hakuou Academy, Kyonosuke Kaoru. Hayate, Nagi, Wataru and Sakuya spies on them. Though Saki and Kaoru had different love interest in mind, Hayate’s lips reading misinterprets the whole thing and sends shockwaves to the rest. They decide to crash the omiai by enlisting Tama’s help but to no avail. Then it’s revealed that Kaoru’s love is no other than that drunkard Yukiji as she drags him away while the rest head home. Episode 30 has Nagi playing a Detective Conan-like role to solve the ‘murder’ of Yukiji at a hotspring but the ending was confusing that I didn’t really get it. When Sakuya tells Nagi that she’s a brat because she has no siblings in episode 31, Nagi orders Hayate to bring her 2 lost kids so she could prove it to her. But the kids seem to be little thieves and are caught in the act by Hayate and Sakuya. In order not to break Nagi’s heart, they decide not to tell her and fakes a kidnap story instead. All hell breaks loose until the kids’ parents eventually showed up to pick them up. Another I-don’t-get-it episode 32 with Isumi getting lost as usual on her way to Nagi’s mansion. She meets some carp guy who requests her help to evacuate some phantom inhabiting his lake. Besides, remember that afro Nabeshin guy from Excel Saga? Yeah, he makes his cameo appearance here as well. Can’t have a parody without him, huh? Might as well. Since this whole anime has been over-parodied from the start.
 
Kuzuha starts her plan to get Hayate in episode 33. First she turns down requests from the Dark Butlers to attack him after several failed attempts. At Hakuou Academy, it is the cultural festival and it seems Yukiji has dragged Hayate into doing her work, which pisses off Nagi who searches for him but can’t seem to find him. Nagi’s wondering has made her encounter a mysterious fortune teller who hypnotizes her to bring Hayate. Hayate gets call from Maria about Nagi’s disappearance but that little girl appeared behind him. Nagi leads Hayate and Hinagiku to an abandoned part of school and that fortune teller is a masked butler in disguise starts attacking them. Though our heroes are triumphant in the end, but it seems Nagi went away with Kuzuha and her snake after telling them that she’ll show the true meaning of this festival. Nagi is still under Kuzuha’s spell in episode 34 as they arranged a manga sale competition. The one with the highest sales by the end of the festival wins. Hayate has to win or else he has to wear an embarrassing maid outfit. And so it begins. Since Hayate is running a cafe with recipes from the manga, the cakes are so delicious that their sales increased. In order to counter this, Kuzuha sets up a lucky draw with lavish prizes to attract sales. Buy a little book and win a very expensive prize? Hypnotized Nagi enters Hayate’s cafe and requests a cake. Looks like the tastiness of it manages to bring tears to her and even snaps her out of her hypnotism. At this point in time, Kuzuha is leading and time is running out. Kuzuha enters the cafe to have her last laugh and victory. But the tides are turned when Maria calls them to order 2000 cakes which comes with the manga for their bodyguards. In just the nick of time, Hayate’s class wins the competition. Haha, Kuzuha must be sulking. So close yet so far. In the aftermath, Hayate and Nagi reconciles as Nagi forces Hayate to cross-dress in an embarrassing outfit.
 
Since Nagi needs new material and inspiration for her manga work, she orders Hayate and Maria to go out to get some for her in episode 35 but it seems the duo are like on a date as seen in the eyes of Yukiji and the 3 stooges. They try to set them up and even make them kiss but I don’t think it went their way. In the end, they bought a camera for Nagi but she is so mad because she thinks they were having fun the whole day while she struggles with her work. Klaus has more screen time in episode 36 as he thinks of retiring and Nagi gives the green light. Klaus intends to retire in Brazil as Maria and Hayate tries to convince him to stay as Nagi’s butler. Of course they set up some comparing tasks in which all of them has Hayate doing better than that old geezer. Time to retire… I’m not even sure about that part whereby Hayate cross-dresses as an angel to give a voice of reasoning to Klaus to stay. Probably it’s that sick fetish of Maria and Nagi to see him in a girly outfit. Then Nagi says about the ironing of newspaper in which Hayate hasn’t mastered yet. This is enough a reason for Klaus to stay on. Later it seems, that all this was part of Tama’s scheme so that he could tag along with Klaus to Brazil as well because he wants to meet some female tigers there. Only thing is, like Hayate said, THERE ARE NO TIGERS IN BRAZIL!!! In episode 37, Nagi wonders what type of girls Hayate likes after reading her own zodiac love fortune. Of course his ambiguous answer once again upsets her as she runs away. Nagi then decides to be a ‘normal’ person and she happens to bump into Ayumu. So by following her around and even staying at Ayumu’s place, Nagi thinks she can be a ‘normal’ person. You’re going to hear lots of statements from this rich kid which makes you go "She’s so rich so much so she doesn’t even know how it really works". Though Ayumu calls Hayate about Nagi’s stay, Hayate has been following Nagi from the start and is assured of her safety and leaves. The last few scenes made no sense because Hayate tries to save Isumi stuck on top of a tower. Wataru and Saki are there to rescue her too. It ended with everyone falling off and landing on Hayate, including Sakuya and Isumi’s bodyguards. Huh?
 
Kuzuha once again tries to get Hayate in episode 38. As Mikado is organizing a Christmas party, Nagi escapes with Hayate to a park. But their romantic tryst is interrupted when Kuzuha and her Cyborg Butler attacks them. Hayate lost the match but could have been done for if not for Kuzuha being distracted by a crepe van. Nagi’s ex-butler, Himegami, who now goes by the name Princess God (actually that’s what his Japanese name also mean) saves him. But the next day, it seems Hayate has lost his butler skills and is unable to do chores properly. Himegami explains that during the fight last night, Kuzuha has drained all his butler powers and thus is unable to protect Nagi further. Maria and Klaus suggests Hayate to take some time off. But Hayate gets a shock of his life when he receives a letter asking him to meet somewhere. The next day, Hayate hands in his resignation. Oh dear. I guess he must be thinking this is the best way he could protect Nagi.
 
In episode 39, we find out that letter is from Kuzuha and is a blackmail telling him that Hayate has to join them or they’ll get Sanzenin’s estate. Plus, there’s an embarrassing photo of Hayate being beaten then. Hinagiku gets word of this and she isn’t pleased at all so she tells Nagi who then arrives at some stadium where Kuzuha and co are. Upon arrival, Kuzuha tells them how she and Shion went to the Amazon jungles to get some ingredients when they stumble upon an ancient butler civilization and an ancient butler robe being protected by a giant white snake. Hayate and Hinagiku then realized that Kuzuha has been under the control of that snake. So looks like the real puppet master was the one without limbs all the while. Kuzuha wants Hayate to wear that ancient butler robe, which has previously rejected other butlers. After chanting some spell, it seems Hayate is in a red maid outfit with cat ears! WTF! Himegami and several bodyguards enter to take on Kuzuha, Shion and the snake but it seems Nagi is enjoying herself by trying to strip Hayate! Sick girl. But Nagi did say how she’d give up everything for Hayate’s sake, which made him snap out and his robe turned into a golden armour. Hayate defeats the snake and also frees Kuzuha and Shion from their captive spell. From now on, the duo will be like so girly with each other and not that threatening anymore. It seems this is part of Himegami’s plan to get the armour as he’s planning to collect several more as he disappears. Later Hayate and Nagi are at the park’s vending machine where they first met and Nagi attempts to kiss Hayate but since that guy is dense and doesn’t understand what she’s doing, she smacks him. Mood spoiler.
 
The remaining episodes seemed like fillers but still hilarious nonetheless. Like episode 40 where Nagi pesters Hayate to watch the sunrise at some beach (Knight Rider parody!), the 3 stooges mistakenly thought Yukiji is going to resign after seeing her resignation letter and pleads to her to reverse her decision only to find out that the resignation letter belongs to Makimura and the latter is emotionally touched by their kindness and decides to stay put (episode 41), Nagi wanting to find out Hayate’s weakness but at the same time Nagi tutors Wataru while Maria does the same with Hayate only to make Nagi jealous when she spots 2 of them tutoring quite close to each other and thus Maria concludes that Hayate’s weakness is not understanding a girl’s heart (episode 42), Nagi acts cold to Hayate so that he could chase him and deepen their relationship with Sakuya providing help on her luxury liner cruise which is soon hijacked and on the verge of sinking as they face man-eating sharks (episode 43), Nagi’s manga work has been given approval to be made into an anime as the gang tours the anime workplace and gain insights of how animes are being done but the end production is disgusting because it’s filled with fanservice and the lead character Hayate is a muscular manly female version called Britney (episode 44… I know it sucks but it’s hilarious!), Maria gets to enjoy a day of relaxation at some health spa courtesy of Nagi but ends up doing work there like correcting those part timers of Hakuou working there (episode 45), Wataru in shock after seeing Isumi in a different school uniform and follows her along with Nagi to a school where he thinks she’s in love with a baseball captain but in fact Isumi’s there to exorcise and calm the dead spirit of a girl who has a crush on that captain (so that she could wipe the sweat off his eyebrow?) with Wataru’s accidental help (by losing of course) when he plays ball with him (episode 46), Klaus has a robot butler named Thirteen which looks like Hayate to fill in the latter’s shoes when he’s busy studying (episode 47). Thirteen does a much better job than the human one so this sends Hayate into depression. But Thirteen seems to notice about Hayate and Nagi’s relationship and tries to bring them close together. In the end, he sacrificed himself to destroy a meteor which is heading towards Earth.
 
Hinagiku and Hayate gets a love letter each to meet somewhere and they think it’s from the other but it’s just a ploy from Koutarou to have a rematch with Hayate whom he again lost to (episode 48). Fans of Hinagiku can expect her to get more screen time here and well, it seems she and Hayate are going out. Also, it’s Hinagiku’s birthday and Hayate unknowingly gives her a stuffed dog (or is it a rabbit) when Hinagiku tries to save a cat from a tree. Consider that as Hayate’s present to you. Of course the 3 stooges too have their fair share of screen time in episode 49 by inviting Hayate and Nagi to their movie club as they try to make lots of films (most of them embarrassing shots and voice-overs of Hayate. They love picking on this guy, do they?). The reason they’re doing this is to prevent the club from being shut down and after their success, the gang proceeds to have a normal story telling competition. I can’t believe it too that Wataru is the president of this lame club. And I don’t get it about their successful short film of Hayate jumping down from the tower. Then in episode 50, Nagi and Ayumu reluctantly teams up in some high school girls quiz competition, in which they won against brainy Hinagiku and Miki team. The prize… Ayumu gets an all-you-can-eat ticket while Nagi receives a trophy which looks like Hayate. Episode 51 has Nagi sending Hayate to retrieve a tiny box but on the way he gets roped in by some head-hunting butler-cum-escort service guy who wants to hire him for 150 million Yen. Though it’s tempting for Hayate, he losses the box but manages to retrieve it after chasing it all around the world. When he returns, he is surprised to find that Nagi and co has organized a party for him and that tiny box is actually a gift for him, which is a timepiece. Hayate is now very certain of his loyalty to Nagi and later calls that head-hunting guy to reject the offer. It’s then revealed that this was a plan set up by Mikado to test Hayate’s loyalty. He would’ve fired him anyway if he had taken up the offer but now knows where his true heart lies. Episode 52 has Nagi, Maria and Hayate enjoying a trip to a Mediterranean island. I don’t know how Ayumu and Hinagiku got paired together in their holiday and they’re soon joined by the 3 stooges. In this final episode, as Hayate tries to retrieve Nagi’s straw hat, he goes back in time but at the same place to rescue a young Nagi from kidnappers and terrorists. He manages to do so and earns her trust. So when he gets back to present time, Nagi remembers him as a liar who took her straw hat and disappeared. But he gives her back her straw hat as they watch the starry skies on the beach.
 
Well if you think it’s over, then think again because it really hasn’t yet. At the end of the last episode, there is a teaser statement which states how they are on to the production of the second season. This is even confirmed with a news leak from the series’ website and a weekly manga magazine just after the season ended. Wow. Too much parodies, rip-offs and trivias so much so they hadn’t had enough of pulling them all off in 1 season, huh? So how many of those trivias did you spot? I know for me it isn’t much but I wasn’t keeping the score line either. Those trivias and parodies, they also come in the form of cameo appearances of anime characters from other series, the head bust or statue, or using/borrowing some skills/techniques used in other animes. Each of them are quite neatly done.
 
Though I have to admit that when I first started watching this show, I was brimming with enthusiasm. As the series goes by, I kinda noticed that I didn’t have the same enthusiasm and felt it was less funny. The main reason being that since many of the jokes are from anime otaku and culture, I didn’t really get them, thus taking most of the fun out of me. But when the series was reaching its end, it got me excited again because I was interested to know how it will all end. However, I couldn’t really say it was much of an ending.
 
How popular is this series then, you ask? Besides the original manga which the anime is based on, there has been 2 video games of the series launched up to date. There is also a light novel released about a month after the anime started airing, and another one which is released just before the anime series ended. And if you want to count the soundtracks, oh boy, there are the usual opening and ending albums, as well as the original soundtrack. On top of that, you have several audio drama CDs, radio CDs and let’s not forget the character single albums. Now that’s a lot of things to listen too. And if you talk about those merchandises like figurines, mugs and posters… It’s a scary thing. So you’ve got to be real kiasu, erm… I mean a real die-hard fan to collect them all.
 
If you’re into current anime drawing and art, then I suppose the bishie-like drawing of this anime should appeal to you. Of course there are times when the drawing is exaggerated but it’s all in the name of comedy. The mid-intermission of each episode features a still picture of the characters in some outfit or pose as they say random lines. Some are funny while some doesn’t make sense. Probably it’s just to give the characters a little more dialogue lines. At the end of each episode, viewers are treated to Nagi and Hayate’s
Butler Network which lasts for a few seconds. Well, actually the animation here has the characters being drawn on a cardboard on a stick as though it’s like some puppet play as they rant on topics like their character image song. Viewers will sometimes get a little fanservice shot courtesy of our protagonists (and even Hayate in cross-dress mode!). Later on, the Butler Network will temporarily feature other characters as the main host like Wataru and Saki, and Ayumu as a guest.
 
The voice acting is excellent and each of them suit perfectly to the zany characters in the series. Rie Kugimiya is the voice behind Nagi as she does a splendid job making her sound selfish, childish, tsundere and at times caring. Viewers can easily recognize her as the voice of Shana in Shakugan No Shana and Louise of Zero No Tsukaima. Likewise, Hayate is voiced by Ryoko Shiraishi whose voice also fits the always-on-the-lookout-for-his-milady character and also one who bears the brunt of many unfortunate circumstances. Her other prominent voice role was as Kaede in Mahou Sensei Negima. Veteran seiyuu Rie Tanaka did Maria who also did roles like Suigin Tou in Rozen Maiden and Yomi in Azumanga Daioh. But the voice that I really got to love (and perhaps you too) is the narrator’s. Voiced by Norio Wakamoto, you can’t deny loving his low sexy voice (just like his role in 2×2=Shinobuden as Onsokumaru). His role as the narrator is quite sarcastic and his statements are really in-your-face type. Just like how he narrates at the start of each episode just before the opening credits about what a butler is, the super combat battle of boy who will risk his life for a girl, and later a much shorter intro of one who masters being a butler will rule the world and that the butler war has shaken up the world!
 
The other seiyuu cast are equally good as well. Some are so good that they did multiple voice roles in this series, which I can’t even distinguish from! Just wow. They include Shizuka Itou as Hinagiku (Wilhelmina in Shakugan No Shana), Miyu Matsuki as Isumi (Harumi in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), Kana Ueda as Sakuya (Mikan in Gakuen Alice), Juurouta Kosugi as Tama (King Of Gods in Shuffle, Arlong in One Piece), Marina Inoue doubles as Wataru and Shion (Kana in Minami-ke), Mikako Takahashi as Ayumu (Ayumi in Honey And Clover, Rushuna in Grenadier), Hitomi Nabatame as Yukiji (Mikoto of School Rumble, Yuuna of Maburaho), Rina Satou in multiple roles such as Makimura, Eight and Koutarou (Punie of Dai Mahou Touge), and Megumi Toyoguchi as Kuzuha (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist, Meg in Bakuretsu Tenshi). There are other star-studded casts who played minor extra roles here such as Ai Shimizu, Emiri Katou, Jun Fukuyama, Tomokazu Seki, and Yuko Goto. As for the background music, I’m not saying that they suck nor they appeal to me. But I want to mention that some of them has that carnival-like tune with all those horns playing in the background. So it’s kinda like an eyebrow raiser to me. Sometimes I feel it doesn’t suit the scene.
 
If you are familiar with songs sung by the singer KOTOKO, then you should be able to recognize their style of music here as they sing both the opening theme songs of the series with the 1st opening theme which is the same title as the name of this series and the 2nd opening theme entitled Shichiten Hakki Shijou Shugi. Both sound lively and upbeat which suits the series well. As for the ending themes, I’m not sure if they’re from KOTOKO or their members (not that I know of) because there are disparaging reports on who they credit the songs to. I feel the ending themes are slower than the opening counterparts and I kinda noticed that the animation for the end credits has some fanservice in it. Can’t do an anime without one these days, huh? Also, I happen to notice that at some point, each of the end credits has Nagi going to sleep or waking up. There are 4 ending themes which lasts for 13 episodes each, in which the in-series characters divide the 52 episode series into 4 seasons. And I thought this was the 1st season. Perhaps the season here refers more to the story arc (seriously, is there any major besides that Kuzuha one?). Anyway the ending themes are (in appearance order) Proof by MELL, Get My Way! by Mami Kawada, Chasse by Kaori Utatsuki, and Ki No Me Kaze by IKU.
 
I need to mention something about the episode title too. I’m not sure if the word ‘creative’ is the right one because I feel some of them are just plain weird. Some are so long that it doesn’t even make sense but hilarious nevertheless. Then some are short like "Hina Love" (my favourite), "Marriage Meeting" or "Spring" and some are just normal like "Normal Talk". So okay, there are some creative ones like "Goodbye Teacher Despair ~ Graduation Special", which is supposed to be a reference of that dark comedy Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. And remember don’t attempt to copy the stunts anywhere or anyhow. They are ridiculously absurd that’s why they can only be done in such animes. Also remember to heed their advice to watch this show at a safe distance and in good lighting as narrated by the characters at the start of each episode. Got it?
 
Somewhere in the 3rd quarter of the series, just after the next episode preview, there will be a short section of "Do you know…" as told by Nagi to viewers. Since my knowledge is shallow, I’m not sure how true those facts are or if they’re made up with some anime otaku references. Speaking of the next episode preview, there are 2 other student council members of Hakuou Academy who rarely make their appearances. Even so, I remember most of their short appearances are towards the end of the series and their most prominent (meaning memorable to me) ones are holding up the sign which says "Next episode preview". They are Aika Kasumi and Chiharu Harukaze. Sometimes I feel that their presence can be done without.
 
It’s nice to see how Hayate and Nagi’s relationship turned out in the end, though they’re still both air-heads (hey, that’s what the narrator described them, okay). See how a 150 million Yen debt could turn into? Maybe this is a blessing in disguise for Hayate. Say, don’t you think this series lack some serious love-comedy? I know about the comedy part but where’s all that love viewers want to see going on? I’m sure many viewers would like to see it between Hayate and Nagi, though some may prefer Hayate to go with the other girls. But well, perhaps the parodies come first. I was also hopping to catch Hayate to battle some butlers like Nonohara or Himuro (and any others) but it wasn’t much. Perhaps more of this in the next season?
 
So life of being a butler has never being easy as these days you will need to do more than just multi-tasking. Yeah, you need to be a superhuman in order to 100% loyally serve your master well. Plus, if you think Nagi is so rich, don’t you think she should hire more butlers and maids? Ah well, let’s just think of it as saving costs or if you want to look at it from another side of the coin, stingy poker. But hey, if one can do a job of a hundred men and even better, why not just hire 1, right? Uh huh. Today’s butler means you don’t just serve, but to be a bodyguard, confidante, you name it, it’s all in one. As for Hayate, I think he’ll be doing fine as he goes by. Though it won’t be a walk in the park, with all the support (which comes with all trouble of course) around him, I’m sure he’s here to stay. As for me, I don’t think I need to hire a butler anytime soon. I’m not that filthy rich, you know. And of course, not intending to be one either. No relevant skills… :'(
 
Hayate No Gotoku

Yugioh Soundtrack

November 1, 2008

I guess it’s about time that I blog on another anime series’ soundtrack. This time it will be Yugioh. Back during my hey-days when I was quite infatuated with the series, besides being awed with the card game play style (not that I really understood it well, but heck, it was enough to captivate me and watch the series as long as it lasted on television), another thing I kinda liked about the series was the background music.
 
I’m not saying that I love each and every one of them. Since there are quite a number of background music, not all of them are memorable nor to my liking. And some not even heard of. You may be wondering which Yugioh soundtrack I’m talking about. The background music that I am talking about is the second series of the Yugioh series, dubbed Yugioh! Duel Monsters, which is an alternate retelling of the first. I know the series has spawned several sequels and spin-offs but unfortunately for me, this second series is the only one that I’ve watched so far. My enthusiasm for the series has waned ever since but the series is so popular that currently they’re still making a new season out of it.
 
So I’m guessing that aside from this soundtrack of the second series, there has to be many more soundtrack albums from the other sequels and spin-offs in the series. But let’s not get that far and stick to this one. Now, in this Duel Monsters series, there are a total of 6 different original soundtracks from the said television series. Namely, Duel I, Duel II, Sound Duel 1, Sound Duel 2, Sound Duel 3, and Sound Duel 4. I wonder why they give such funny numbering. Couldn’t they just continue off from there? But I think it’s for them to sort the albums by story arc. Like Duel I and Duel II are background music from the Duelist Kingdom arc whereas Sound Duel 1 is from the Battle City story arc, and so forth.
 
If you think 6 albums worth of background music isn’t much, wait till you see the number of tracks each album has. Uh huh. On average, each of them has 35 songs! Wow. That’s really a lot of background music. Hear until you ‘xian’. Though I’m not sure if some are repeat or not but listed below are my all time favourites. In alphabetical order of course.
 
1) Bonds Of Friendship
2) Duel Of Friendship
3) God’s Anger
4) Gozaburo Kaiba
5) Melody Of Tears
6) Passionate Duelists
7) Past Of Sorrow
8) Seto’s Memories
9) That Wish Is Drawing Near
10) The Mind’s Prison
 
That’s it???!!! A mere 10 songs from a total of 213 tracks from the 6 albums?! That’s not even 5% of it!!! I know, I can’t believe it myself either. Most of the background music are from the Duel I and Sound Duel 2 albums. Okay, so I have to admit another thing. I didn’t really finish watching the second series of Yugioh and as far as I remember, the last arc that I was able to catch was that Battle Ship one. I think it isn’t a good excuse to blame the television station for deciding to stop airing the series then. But oh well, what’s done is done.
 
So let me just blog a little more on my favourite ones. Initially, I thought the names of the background music were in English. Then I later found out they were originally in Japanese and that their names were being translated. Out of the 10 songs, my most favourite track is of course Passionate Duelists. I guess most fans of the series would also agree with me that this song would at least occupy one of their top slots in the Yugioh background music list (if they ever had one). This song has a very dramatic effect. I remember it is played when our hero Yugi makes a comeback move or does some super cool card strategy to defeat the enemy. The strings in play are magnificent and give a feeling of grandeur to the song. Though it starts off a little slow, but it gets gradually loud and moving as it goes by. Not to mention the ‘thundering’ percussion at certain points to magnify its effect, helps make it sound even more majestic.
 
My next favourite one is The Mind’s Prison. It’s such a nice slow piano ballad accompanied with flute and strings. I think this song is quite fitting for reflecting moments. Another slow piano ballad is Melody Of Tears. This one is totally a piano solo and just like the previous one, I think it suits reflecting moments or solemn ones. On a trivial note, Melody Of Tears is the background music with the longest duration among the 10, lasting over 3 minutes.
 
Then there’s the loud and ‘intimidating’ one, God’s Anger. Yeah, the title really does fit the tune of the song well. The strings and percussion make the song sound like as though you’re going to earn the wrath of God. If I remember well, this song is played when one of the 3 God cards comes into play. Ah, it’s a sign which means not to mess with God… I think. Also another ‘intimidating’ sounding one is Gozaburo Kaiba. Okay, so it’s not sound as intimidating as God’s Anger but it starts off on a slow note before the music gets loud and the strings sharp around after 30 seconds into it. Sometimes I feel the Gozaburo Kaiba track has a somewhat similar tone and pace to those cowboy music you see in old western films…
 
Bonds Of Friendship and Duel Of Friendship may have the same tune but the former is a slower piece with strings while the latter has a more upbeat and lively tone in it (which I think suits a victory scene well). Seto’s Memories too has a similar tune to it but has a more dramatic effect (I think sound effect is the right word), the low background strings are quite echo-y and the piano play seems to be a little creative. Uh huh, Past Of Sorrow too does have that similar tune feel. Is it a way to save on creating new music piece by just changing the tempo and music instruments? Anyway Past Of Sorrow is another slow piano ballad with strings accompanying it in the background.
 
Last but not least is That Wish Is Drawing Near. Also another dramatic piece. The song criss-crosses between soft and loud moments, which makes it dramatic and full of suspense. It’s like watching a horror movie and you’re like going to anticipate something scary to happen. Or remember that Jaw’s signature soundtrack? That’s what I feel this song partly has. Then there’s a silent moment which lasts for a few seconds before the song goes into full blast to end it with a dramatic and loud finishing.
 
Of course there is an album called Yugioh Duel Monsters Duel Vocal Best, which is a collection of all the openings and ending themes in the series. As usual, not all the songs there are to my taste but that is a different story. So I guess if you’re an obsessed Yugioh addict, you may just want to collect more than just the cards, in which by the way, I lost count how many of them there are, either from the television series or not. Yeah, to borrow a line from Pokemon: "Gotta collect them all!". Or was it catch them all?
 
Anyway, I suppose there are many more other background music varieties for this series. But back then, I didn’t find them appealing and now I don’t think I have any plans to re-listen to the others. Just listening to this 10 favourite tracks of mine would be suffice and enough for me to think back all those nostalgic moments when I was watching the anime series. Ah, I think I will have another round of listening to them…
 
Yugioh