Top 10 Bishoujos

December 27, 2008

By now, those who have been faithful to my blog all these years (yeah, right. Like there are any of you out there but me who’d read my long-winded blogs) should know that this is the time of year where I list down the top 10 bishoujos of anime for the year 2008 as my last blog entry for the year. These pretty ladies don’t necessarily appear in animes which are released for the particular year, but for the animes that I have watched during that year. So they could be from new animes or series from previous years.
 
Now if you noticed the trend when I first started this topic, that I have cut down from 20 finalists to 10 the following year, and then half it to 5 this year, then you’re wrong because I’ve decided to maintain the list at 10. It would be too few to make this blog to have any point and too much if it exceeds that perfect number.
 
Thus as usual, since I’ve watched more animes, old and new this year, there are quite a few candidates for me to judge and decide which of them would make the list. It’s a tough choice but a decision had to be made. Who are the lucky 10? Scroll down below and you’ll find out as they are listed in alphabetical order. In addition, I’ve included short narratives to explain why they are my selected choice. Get ready…
 
1) Hiromi Yuasa (True Tears)
Hiromi Yuasa

The main motivation for me to see the series was this brunette girl. Even though I find the storyline at the end of the series to be rather okay and nothing that extraordinary. Though she seems uncheerful at first and a smile would fit her, at least she has the looks and it is enough to provide ‘eye candy’ to me.
 
2) Honoka Sakurai (Suzuka)
  Honoka Sakurai 

She may have a dreamy voice and has her little insecurities, but I really like her long black silky hair. Enough said.
 
3) Kotoko Aihara (Itazura Na Kiss)
  Kotoko Aihara

May not be the smartest girl in terms of academic sense. May not be the most dependable woman when it comes to doing things which include simple chores. But she is damn persistent and steadfast in chasing the guy of her dreams (who is said to be at the other end of the intelligence polar) so much so he even gave in to her and got married! Her cute looks and voice doubles as another reason why she deserves a spot in this list.
 
4) Kuon (Koharu Biyori) 
Kuon

The perfect and pretty maid robot created to serve but is still masterless as the store manager can’t let go of her simply just because…. she’s too perfect (but can’t say for her depressing attitude to yearn for a master at times). Another reason why she made it into this top 10 list is because of her gothic lolita dressing.
 
5) Mai Tokiha (Mai-HiME) 
Mai Tokiha

Oh yeah! This girl has been in the list for the 3rd year running! My ultimate number 1 sweetheart! After all this years, I’m still captivated and enchanted by her unrivalled beauty. Seems like she’ll be occupying this spot for the years to come. It’s like her permanent seat. So make a good guess if she’ll be here the next time round? You know the answer…
 
6) Mao Mizusawa (Kimikiss Pure Rouge)

Mao Misuzawa

Her locks! Her twin braided locks, baby! I’m somehow attracted to it when I first laid my eyes on her. Also, her energetic, bubbly, cheerful and lively exterior is what makes this cute girl even cuter.
 
7) Megumi Amatsuka (Tenshi Na Konamaiki) 
Megumi Amatsuka

Although she claims to be a boy previously and turned into a girl due to a twisted magic wish, heck, she turned into a damn pretty lady. Since she has a lady’s slender body, it’s enough for anyone to classify this lovely angel as a girl. Don’t mind her crude and boyish manners at times but her independent and self-reliant personality makes her truly a worthy bishoujo on this list. So you can consider her ‘unsuccessful’ wish as a blessing in disguise.
 
8) Miyako Miyazaki (Bamboo Blade)

Miyako Miyazaki

More affectionately known as Miya Miya, don’t let her pretty bimbo-like appearance fool you in the first place. That’s because she has a very dark and sadistic split personality. Bad girl personality, you can say. But her sinister side isn’t the reason why she made the cut. It’s her friendly and goody two shoes side that I love to see. She’s so lovable that way. Hey, if a short chubby ordinary kid can have her as his gal, this shows that it isn’t necessary that handsome hunks always get the girl.
 
9) Suigin Tou (Rozen Maiden) 
Suigin Tou

For the 2nd year in a row, another bishoujo has made it to this list. That’s right. The 1st doll of the Rozen Maiden still has what it takes to cast me under her spell. Her long white hair and gothic lolita dressing mainly contributes and adds to my liking. Can I forever be your medium, pretty please?
 
10) Yuuno Houzuki (Kurenai)

Yuuno Houzuki

An independent and skilful martial artist of the assassin type Houzuki technique. Even if she is a strong fighter, her soft and gentle manners hides it all. A reason enough to captivate me and put her on this list. Thankfully she isn’t a cold blooded killer and despite her family background of killers, she looks forward more to live the life of a normal high school girl. Who says you need to be ruthless in this line of business.
 
A very well done for you 10 ladies who made the list. And as for those who did not, don’t despair but take heart that you are at least being considered and caused yours truly some sleepless nights and headaches before coming up with his absolute decision. For those who are interested to know who are those ladies, they include Aoi Misuzu (Hime-sama Goyoujin), Noe Isurugi (True Tears), Tokine Yokimura (Kekkaishi), Tomoyo Sakagami (Clannad), Shinobu (Bamboo Blade), Saki Tenjouin and Yui Kotegawa (To Love-Ru), Eriko Futami (Kimikiss Pure Rouge), Nana Yamamoto (Bokura Ga Ita), Koyomi Hare Nanaka (Girls Bravo), Abiru Kobushi (Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), Sarasa Honda and Rinzu Kuroda (Raimuiro Senkitan), Haruka Minami (Minami-ke), Tamaki Saimon (Kakyuusei 2), Nanaka Yatsushiro (Myself; Yourself), Ayano Sonozaki (Chokotto Sister), Anri Hiiragi (Happiness!), Remi Suzuki (Moetan), Mihato Uesugi (Kimi Ga Aruji De Shitsuji Ga Ore De), all those smart pretty side character high school girls in Special A and all those lanky and beautiful side character ladies in One Piece.
 
And to end it all on a spectacular note, here is another great big picture as a tribute to my numero uno love of my life! The eternally beautiful and stunning, the dazzling and strking, the one and only Mai Tokiha!!! Stand up and give another round of applause for this girl (just do it even if you don’t wholeheartedly agree with me!).
Mai Tokiha 3
 
It will soon be the turn of another new year. And hopefully with another 365 days, there will be more and more pretty kawaii bishoujos for me to discover. I won’t be surprise if there will be abundant of them next year since there will be more animes coming out (seeing the increasing rate of animes the industry is producing yearly) and more animes that I anticipate to watch. Call me a loser or any sort but I find many of these 2D girls to be much more attractive in terms of appearance and personality. You can’t find them in the real world, can’t you? So scorn me if you will! But for now, three cheers and Long Live Anime Bishoujos!

Akatsuki Ni Saku Uta

December 26, 2008

  Shizukesa no naka fureta yubisaki sukoshi tsumetai,
  Tashika na mono wa doko ni mo kitto nai dakedo
 
Another nostalgic song… Brings me back to those days when I was watching Da Capo Second Season. There must be something enchanting about the series which still makes me feel that way after all this time. Not that I’m saying I would like to rewatch it a hundred more times, since watching the whole series once was more than enough.
 
  Yawaraka na hi ga toki ni maichiru utakata no you,
  Boku no kokoro ni ano hi saita mirai kimi ga iru
 
Of course, the other thing which I liked about this second instalment is the ending theme entitled Akatsuki Ni Saku Uta. Sung by CooRie, I think from my listening experiences of her songs (not many by the way), all her songs have some sort of a ‘trademark’ which listeners can easily identify with. Is it her voice and/or the tune of the songs she sing?
 
  Surechigau tabi hi kasaneta omoi wo,
  Sora ni kanadeyou akatsuki no kono uta wo
 
The overall pop song has a nice and smooth play of the strings throughout its duration and some bell chimes here and there. Probably one of the main reasons why I like the song a lot even till this day. Though the verses does not have the strings as I feel it’s to ‘bring out’ the singer’s voice and a dramatic build-up just before the chorus starts.
 
  Owari naki kono michi wo mayoi nagara mo,
  Togireru koto mo nai ai wo dakishimete
 
Although this song alphabetically would be the first few songs that I sing when I start my karaoke session, due to the nature that I need to sing some other ‘easier’ songs first as a warm up for my vocal chords, I usually pass this one in the beginning. So when I have completed my first round of A to Z songs on the list, I will start a second round for the other more challenging ones. And this song usually takes the lead and start for the second round of my several hours long session.
 
  Sakura kaze kara oborete shizuku,
  Nee zutto isshoni mitsumete itai
 
Because of that, I kinda noticed that I can pull off those slightly high-pitched alto lines, especially those lines right at the start of each chorus. Not to say that I’m 100% perfect but at least it sounds much better. Really. Even the last lines of the chorus which has her going to a higher alto tune, didn’t sound so bad for me either. So If I had started this song before warming up, it’s going to be more than just a disaster. A catastrophe. A tragedy. But I hope I can keep going on this way for this song.
 
  Negai wo tsugeru you ni kisetsu wo koete,
  Hontou mo uso mo nai ai wo shinjiteru
 
Though the only grouse I have for this karaoke version is that there are no background vocals, so it made me wonder why it was omitted because CooRie also did a karaoke version with background vocals of the ending song of the first season of this series. Due to that, I felt a little ‘hollow’ while singing this piece. But it’s better than no karaoke at all.
 
  Unmei no ne ga yume ni hibiku yo,
  Sou subete kimi ni tsunagatte yuku
 
I kinda noticed that when I sing the verses, my voice need to be all breathy in order to follow closely to the singer. Sometimes I think I sound close to her. Initially, as I progress throughout the song, I seem to find myself a little out of breath and tired by the time the song ends. Is it because of the way I sing, the higher pitched lines, or have I sung too many songs before this. I need to find a better way to sing this song effectively. But at least by putting some effort into this song, I don’t have to worry about screwing up somewhere while I’m in the middle of singing it. Ah, one of the few songs I can sing with confidence.
 
  Kokoro ni sakasou akatsuki no uta…
 
Da Capo Second Season

True Tears

December 20, 2008

After finishing watching the anime series True Tears, I still don’t really understand what is going on. At least in the bigger picture. Even when I first read the synopsis, I still didn’t get what it means. Perhaps that was the main reason why I decided to watch it. Because I didn’t understand things, so I was curious to find out more about it. Okay, maybe that wasn’t really the main reason but at least it made me decide to watch a series in which I could’ve easily passed.
 
One thing which I interestingly found about this anime series is that it has no relation to whatsoever with the PC dating simulation game of the same name. Very often, when such games are being adapted to a TV series, surely it either follows some concept entirely or partially. So it was a surprise to me when nothing was related to it. Heck, I haven’t even played the game before. So why name something after which it isn’t totally related to or adapted from? After a little thinking, I feel that the tears here is the theme setting of the series.
 
I was hoping that there would be some supernatural twist somewhere towards the end of this 13 episode series. But to my disappointment there isn’t. Perhaps that was one reason why I didn’t understand things right till the end. All I can say is that this is purely a drama romance genre. That’s right. Heavy drama with heavy intense characterization. What about the comedy part which I always look for when I watch an anime? Close to nil. Well erm, there are little bits at the first few episodes, but those are mainly spontaneous.
 
As seen in episode 1, we are introduced to the main protagonist of the story, Shinichiro Nakagami, who has quite a talent in drawing and is also the sole inherit of the Nakagami household. I’m not sure but he lives together with his dad and mum in an inn which they run (correct me if I’m wrong here). And there seems to be a bald helper boy who also work and live there. I’m not sure about his relation, though. About a year ago, they brought a girl named Hiromi Yuasa (okay, I admit that she is the main reason why I started watching this series. I know I’ve said it many times before, I’m a sucker for a pretty face) to live with them after her parent’s demise. Hiromi’s father and Shinichiro’s father were good friends so I suppose he decides to take her in and care for her.
 
Of course with such a pretty girl around the house, it’s no surprise that Shinichiro has a soft spot for her (or any other guy like yours truly). However, Hiromi puts up 2 faces. At school, she’s the cheery, friendly and athletic kind of person and is even a regular member of the Mugiha school’s basketball club. Back home, she puts on a gloomy and cold outlook. Because of so, Shinichiro has always wondered how he would wipe away her tears if she ever sheds a tear. If she ever sheds one, that is. And my guess that this picture book artist wannabe draws his story in his sketchbook on how to do so. I mean, previously when they were childhood friends, Hiromi used to smile a lot. So it’s no big deal that Shinichiro wants to bring back her smile. But how? Hiromi rarely talks to him and Shinichiro’s mom is always acting hostile and cold towards Hiromi. It’s like she’s protecting her son from that ‘evil girl’. Yeah, she doesn’t like her in short.
 
This episode also introduces Shinichiro’s classmate and best buddy, Miyokichi Nobuse, and his girlfriend, Aiko Andou, or more fondly known as Ai, who also runs some sort of waffle-like cake shop called Imagawayaki Ai-chan. I’m not saying that Ai is very short, but she’s short enough so much so that she needs to stand on Coke crates just to make her waffle-like cakes. Also, we learn that Shinichiro is also taking some traditional dance lessons for an upcoming Mugiha Dance Festival in which he is taking part in. At least this shows that he does have some sort of life rather than just going to school, bumming at Imagawayaki or having artist’s block, trying to come up with his next storyline in his room.
 
One day at school, Shinichiro notices a cute but strange girl, Noe Isurugi, stuck on top of a tree. Since she can’t climb down, there’s only 1 way. To jump. And jump she did onto Shinichiro. Nice landing. Ouch. When one meets Noe, first thing that comes to mind that she is a weird girl. She seems to be infatuated with the 2 chickens in the coop, whom she have named Raigomaru and Jibeta. Not only that, she seems to prefer Raigomaru over Jibeta because the latter show no interest in flying. If I can remember, all chickens are flightless birds, aren’t they? Because Shinichiro teased her about it, Noe puts a curse of misfortunes on him. Well, I did say Noe was a weird girl, right? Yeah, there are rumours going about that when she puts a curse on you, your life is over. And that is what Shinichiro experiences throughout the rest of the day. Mishaps after mishaps. So I think in order to put off the curse, Shinichiro makes a chicken out of a tissue box. Creative.
 
The next day when he decides to give her this artwork of his to Noe so that she could take back the curse, he finds her stuck on top of the same tree again. Like a cat, is she? But first she needs to come down, right? Try to catch her again. Ouch. Deja vu. Though Noe is amazed by Shinichiro’s handy work, she seems to have confidence that he can fly. I know, I’m as stumped as he is of what she meant. Noe decides to show this tissue box to Raigomaru but is devastated to find out that the coop is broken and that Raigomaru is nowhere to be found. Only Jibeta is there happily pecking the seeds on the wooden floor. Shinichiro thinks a raccoon may have got Raigomaru but Noe thinks Raigomaru has flown. I’m not sure why, Noe decides to put a curse on Jibeta because it will stuck 2 people together. Huh? As Shinichiro and Noe walk home, you’ll notice over the series how Noe loves humming some song whereby there is a cockroach on Shinichiro’s head, shoes, somewhere on him. Shinichiro finds out that though Noe is sad, she can’t cry because she gave away her tears.
 
So episode 2 starts off where the previous episode left off. Noe tells how this is the first time that she has told anybody about this and that she insists that Shinichiro should believe that she really did gave away her tears. It’s better to play along for now. Another I-don’t-get-what-that-means scene when Noe says that in order for her to get back her tears, she has chosen Shinichiro as someone who will give back her tears in return. Uh huh. Whatever that means. It has to be Shinichiro. Any other guys won’t do. Isn’t he lucky or what. And I thought the curse was uplifted.
 
Because Noe is so interested in Shinichiro and about the fact that she believes he can fly, rumours are quickly spreading that his petite girl may be trying to be Shinichiro’s girlfriend. I mean, anyone would get annoyed, irritated and then freak out when some little girl starts waving hello to you anywhere. Everywhere you go too. Even Hiromi notices this too and her best buddy, Tomoyo Kurobe, even teases her that she has a competition rival now. Of course Hiromi denies that they’re anything close to like that. To make things worse, Noe starts giving chicken seeds to Shinichiro as though he’s some sort of replacement for Raigomaru! She can’t be serious, can’t she? Later, Hiromi notices how Noe has made a makeshift grave of Raigomaru next to the broken coop. The 2 did have a little conversation, but it wasn’t friendly. They just didn’t click. At home, Shinichiro must be a little surprised that Hiromi goes over to talk to him. It seems she wants Shinichiro to introduce her to Noe as she wants to be friends with her.
 
Shinichiro did tell Noe about it but the next day while Hiromi is at her basketball practice, Noe comes to talk with her after Hiromi’s spacing out causes her to lose concentration and the team to take a short break. Noe gets straight to the point by saying that she knows her intentions were fake and even knows that she doesn’t like her. In short, they can’t be friends. So Noe just walks away. Then back at home as Shinichiro, who doesn’t know about what happened between the duo, goes to talk to Hiromi, who then apologizes for lying to him that she wanted to be friends with Noe. With that, Hiromi notes that Noe is an amazing person because she managed to see right through her.
 
Episode 3 has Shinichiro getting more undesirable ‘gifts’ from Noe. Yup, more chicken seeds from his shoe locker right up to his school’s desk. This has got to stop somehow. Miyokichi even thinks it’s that girl’s way of showing her love. Yeah, she really does see him as a chicken. Shinichiro has had enough of this and decides to confront Noe but soon finds out a young adult picking her up on his bike. So at Imagawayaki, Shinichiro tells Miyokichi that he can’t possibly be Noe’s girlfriend because he saw her clinging all lovey-dovey with some biker guy and concludes that he must be her boyfriend. Ai interrupts their conversation, reminding Shinichiro that they need to deliver food to the community centre. As Shinichiro and Ai walk along, we can see that Ai harbours some feelings for Shinichiro. It’s quite obvious but that dense guy doesn’t see it. Though the conversation was mostly about Ai-Hiromi encounter, due to Shinichiro’s density about unable to comprehend a girl’s feeling of wanting to be close to the one they love, causes Ai to kick Shinichiro in his shin. Shinichiro comes home to find his mom forcing Hiromi to do a late delivery and he isn’t pleased about it. Though his father is more calm and reasoning as he tries to tell mummy to treat Hiromi as one of their child. Unfortunately, she still refuses to accept Hiromi as their daughter and walks away furiously. Shinichiro decides to accompany Hiromi doing the deliver. While walking, Shinichiro remembers how when they were young, they used to walk together during the festival but Hiromi got lost and started crying. Shinichiro then was just playing a prank but when he noticed her crying, he stops and takes her hand as they walk home.
 
The next morning, it seems Noe’s doing has gone to far as there are chicken seeds trail leading from Shinichiro’s classroom right up to that tree. She’s stuck up there again. Yeah, I agree that this has got to stop. As Shinichiro yells for her to stop all this and not get involve with him anymore because he saw her with her boyfriend, Noe asks his help to get her down. Shinichiro doesn’t care anymore and walks away. This prompts Noe to jump down by herself. How does it feel without any soft landing? I guess Shinichiro must be feeling guilty since Noe has hurt her leg a little and gives her a piggy-back ride to the infirmary. Shinichiro must be wondering why Noe is giving him directions to the gym and not the infirmary. So when they arrive at the gym, Shinichiro finds out that a boy’s basketball match is ongoing and that Noe’s boyfriend is playing on the visiting team. Just then, Noe gets off his back and rushes to him. So that injury was fake, huh? But at least something is cleared up. That guy isn’t her boyfriend, but her elder brother, Jun. After the game, Shinichiro tries to find Hiromi so that he can explain that he has no feelings for Noe (well, Hiromi was there watching the game when they came in. So I guess she saw them in that misunderstood position). Around the corner, Shinichiro spots Hiromi talking to Tomoyo. Hiromi is saying how she doesn’t have any feelings for Shinichiro and that the person that she really is interested in is Jun. As Hiromi gets up and walks around the corner, she is surprised to come face to face with Shinichiro. Lesson learned is, be careful of what you say because the walls have ears…
 
Episode 4 sees Hiromi coming clean with Shinichiro as she explains how she got to know Jun and admire him from a distance. I’m sure such news must be heartbreaking for him. Which guy wouldn’t have that pain in his heart after hearing straight right out from the girl he admires that she likes another guy. Because Shinichiro has been spacing out since then, Ai coincidentally meets with him and she conjures up an idea for him to go shopping with her to cheer him up. Seems like Ai is trying to get closer to him but Shinichiro is still spacing out and all he could think is nothing but Hiromi. Ai tries to play the big sister by comforting him with words like in time he’ll forget about her. But Shinichiro says how he introduced her to Miyokichi in which made Ai’s face turn the opposite. When Shinichiro gets home, Hiromi even wonders if he’s avoiding her.
 
The next day, Noe comes to give Shinichiro his usual rations but he’s not in the mood. Shinichiro says he feels like crying and if she wants his tears. But since Noe says his tears are now worthless, she takes him to a public fountain and stuffs his face in it to clean it! Oh the hygiene! Sometimes I don’t understand the way she thinks. After that ‘cleansing’ experience, Noe tells Shinichiro that before her beloved grandma died, she was so sad and couldn’t stop crying. So in order for Noe to stop crying, grandma told her that she will be taking away her tears with her to Heaven. I see. Shinichiro feels a little relieved after hearing her story but it seems Ai and Miyokichi spots them from afar. Since this is first time Ai laid her eyes on Noe, she thinks she’s cute but Miyokichi says Ai is much cuter. Miyokichi then tries to do what lovers do by holding her hand but that startled Ai. She apologizes and soon hold his hand. It’s like she’s so uncomfortable with it. Later, Noe offers Shinichiro to get closer to Hiromi as long as he is happy. He tries to change the subject to get real food and insists that chicken seeds are inedible. Noe is still adamant that they are. So have you tried eating them? Noe puts some in her mouth and she puts up the cutest disgusting face. How’s that for a taste of your own medicine. Hahaha. The next morning, Shinichiro has got his mind preoccupied with last night and accidentally uses face wash as toothpaste. Another horrible combination. Hiromi saw this and gave out a heartily laughter. She even requests to take a picture of him like that. Well, I guess it’s okay if she can smile and laugh. When Shinichiro steps outside his house, he is greeted by Jun who arrives in his bike. He wants Shinichiro to do him a favour. To date Noe, that is. Well, earlier on Noe did talk nothing about Shinichiro to Jun so I guess her positive image of him gives an impression that she likes him.
 
In episode 5, though Shinichiro was initially looking for Noe, when she asks to have lunch together, he changes his mind and rejects the offer and gives some excuse saying that she should only eat lunch with her friends. The ironic thing was Noe went to have lunch with Hiromi on the steps near the school field. And I thought she said they couldn’t be friends. Of course when Tomoyo sees this, she is bloody confused. It’s like oil and water. At Imagawayaki, Miyokichi notices a sweater Ai bought (for Shinichiro actually) and wonders if Ai would knit one for him. Shinichiro bumps into Hiromi at the school gates and walked home together. When they reached home, Shinichiro’s mom isn’t too please to see them talking friendly with each other. The next day when Shinichiro is at his dance practice, Noe comes by to have a look. I guess there is no place safe for Shinichiro to be from Noe. As the duo chat, Noe is amazed by Shinichiro’s dance and thinks he can fly like Raigomaru. This prompts Shinichiro to ask how is he going to give his tears to her. She isn’t sure how and I’m not sure either, Noe soon licks Shinichiro’s face! Here, Shinichiro also starts his picture storybook on Raigomaru. Throughout the rest of the episodes, you’ll get to see the adventures of Raigomaru and Jibeta as they try to fly.
 
That night, Jun pays another visit to Shinichiro about dating Noe. Shinichiro tries to play reverse psychology by saying that if he does, then he too must date Hiromi. Surprisingly, Jun accepts. Oh oh. What has he gotten himself into. So Shinichiro goes to Hiromi’s room (first time he has entered ever since she moved in) and tries to tell her about dating Jun. Hiromi gets annoyed by the fact that he came all the way to her room just to tell her this. We also see a picture of Shinichiro and Hiromi’s parents but Hiromi’s mom’s face has been cut out. Something deep must be running here. The next day, Ai is quite happy to see Shinichiro arriving by himself. Inside, Shinichiro notices the sweater which prompts Ai to note how similar his shoulder is to Miyokichi’s as she takes some measurements. Speaking of the devil, Miyokichi soon shows up and Shinichiro is going to get the door but Ai pleads for him not to answer.
 
Episode 6 starts off with Ai trying to tell her feelings to Shinichiro but is unable to do so as Shinichiro gets the door to let Miyokichi in. Miyokichi spots the sweater and think Ai is knitting one for him but Ai isn’t amused by it. As the guys head back later, Miyokichi finds out to his surprise that Shinichiro had went out shopping with Ai. A short flashback on how Shinichiro introduced childhood friend Ai to Miyokichi, who at that time so wanted a girlfriend. And Miyokichi’s was really happy about it. At that time, Ai didn’t really wanted to have Miyokichi as her boyfriend but seeing Shinichiro supporting them, she can’t back out of it and reluctantly becomes Miyokichi’s girl. The next day after a basketball practice, Jun is seen waiting for Hiromi and tells her that he’ll be waiting for her after school. This led to rumours being spread that the duo are in some sort of relationship. When it reaches Shinichiro, he becomes depressed by it. Wasn’t it his idea in the first place? He meets Noe and pours out his woes. Something about feeling like a trap chicken. But Noe disagrees and thinks he is like Raigomaru and can still reach for the skies. I’m not sure why but Noe proceeds to pull and take off Shinichiro’s belt. No, I don’t think she’s thinking of anything ecchi.
 
At the snowy park, Hiromi and Jun meets. Jun tells straight to Hiromi’s face about how he knows of her crush on him and the deal that they made. Then some talk about snow. Jun dislikes it because he can’t ride his bike while Hiromi has mixed feelings because it was the time that she moved in to Shinichiro’s place. When Shinichiro comes home, he asks Hiromi about her date with Jun, in which she replies that they will have one this coming Sunday and calls him an idiot before going away. So Jun and Hiromi did went out on a date that Sunday but the atmosphere seemed awkward. When Jun sends Hiromi home, after telling her Shinichiro and Noe are going out together, he slowly caresses her face but Hiromi was able to snap out of it. Shinichiro’s mom notices this and well, she isn’t too please about it too. She thinks that there’s a slut in the house now. Meanwhile Ai and Miyokichi are out shopping and Miyokichi thinks of buying a sweater for her. Miyokichi then finds out that Ai bought the sweater for Shinichiro that day on her own free will. Though he wanted to brush it aside, he can’t because Ai hinted that she has feelings for Shinichiro. Back at Shinichiro’s place, Shinichiro overheard his mom and Hiromi in some argument of why she’s always picking on her. Shinichiro comes to defend Hiromi but she runs away. Shinichiro manages to catch up with her and has her explain things. Hiromi says how her birthday is later than his and that would make him her older brother. What does this mean? Hiromi says that his mom told him that her dad might be the same father as hers. Gasp! So the girl he loves could be his little sister?! Wouldn’t that amount to incest?
 
Due to that, Shinichiro has got a lot on his mind in episode 7. He must be thinking this is some sort of a bad joke or dream. At school. Noe is once again ‘bothering’ Shinichiro with her presence and food ration so he tells her not to bug him because he thinks she doesn’t understand the whole situation. Thinking that Hiromi might be the root of the problem, Noe goes to confront her while Hiromi is at her basketball practice. Noe starts blaming Hiromi and the reason why Shinichiro can’t fly. Soon it exploded into a catfight and I think the other guys must be thrilled to see 2 ‘popular’ ladies duking it out. Shinichiro comes by and happen to notice them and stops the fight. Hiromi rushes off while Shinichiro asks Noe what has happened. Noe did say that she wants to understand him better and also help him, which prompts Shinichiro to wonder if Noe likes him. This causes her to blush (or is that a mad face she’s putting on?) and rushes off. After the dance practice, Shinichiro is walking back with Ai as she asks him if he wants her to knit him a sweater but Jun appears and Shinichiro tells Ai to head along first. Jun gets straight to the point by saying that Shinichiro has to live up his end of the deal by dating Noe since he has already done his part. Back at Ai’s home, she gets a call from Miyokichi to meet at the shrine. There, he asks about if she has finished knitting the sweater. Unfortunately, Ai tells him that she can’t knit one for him. Before Ai could say that she loves Shinichiro, Miyokichi stops her and doesn’t want to hear anything further as he takes her hand. Looks like he still strongly believes that he loves her.
 
Back at Shinichiro’s home, he is still thinking about Hiromi and Noe. His feelings are confused between them. At the same time, Shinichiro’s mom continues her coldness towards Hiromi. Likewise, Noe tells Jun that she is in love and is quite embarrassed about it. Jun comforts her by saying that change is necessary. Next day at school, Miyokichi isn’t his usual cheerful self so Shinichiro goes look for Noe at the coop. Noe is still embarrassed about it and tries to escape but Shinichiro has her firmly in his grasp. After Shinichiro asks Noe to go out with him, Noe tells him to prove it by writing on the ground with stones that he loves her. Since there wasn’t enough stones, Noe lend her gloves to finish the words off. She felt happy that she could cry. But she couldn’t. At Imagawayaki, Ai lets in a freezing Shinichiro waiting outside. He tells her that due to strange circumstances, he is going out with Noe. I think Ai couldn’t take it anymore as she throws the towel in his face and then messes up his head and face underneath it. Before Shinichiro knows what is going on, Ai lands him a kiss on his lips. Then she tearfully pleads to him to also look at her too. So it’s going to be a 3-way fight, huh?
 
Though episode 8 starts off with Noe happily telling Jun how Shinichiro confessed to her, Shinichiro now has another thing preoccupying his mind. Yeah, he doesn’t need more trouble than he already has. Back then when Ai kissed him, Shinichiro was still in shock and since he can’t accept the fact his childhood friend kissed him, he told Ai that the kiss never took place. So when Miyokichi suggests for them to go to Imagawayaki, Shinichiro makes up an excuse that he has to go out with Noe. Once again at the chicken coop, Shinichiro tells his woes to her and explains the picture storybook about Raigomaru’s flight, which seems to excite Noe. She wants him to continue drawing. At the same time, Hiromi and Tomoyo spot them together so it confirms their suspicions that they are really dating. More woes back at Shinichiro’s place when Hiromi sarcastically teases him how he’s getting along with Noe. Though Shinichiro’s dad reminds Hiromi that she shouldn’t feel imposed but with mummy around, I guess that won’t help a bit. She’s even saying how Hiromi closely resembles her mother look. Erm… Aren’t all daughters supposed to have some resemblance to their parents? Soon Hiromi meets Jun on another date. Jun asks where she wants to go and Hiromi replies to a place where it doesn’t snow.
 
So the duo had a little basketball competition of their own in which a successful goal would allow he/she to ask a question which is to be answered truthfully. Hiromi gets the 1st goal and asks how many boys has Noe dated. Answer: Nil. Jun further explains that due to Noe’s nature of not trying to quash rumours, that’s the main reason why rumours about her curse got stuck with her and was misunderstood. Hiromi says he has sister complex as she lands the next goal. She asks why is he dating her and Jun tells about the deal he made with Shinichiro. So what happens if 1 of them broke up? Jun says he will not allow that. Thus, he won’t allow Hiromi to break up with him for Noe’s sake. As the duo head outside, they spot Noe and Shinichiro at the coop. Noe starts a friendly conversation with Hiromi but the latter got upset after seeing her smile and thinks she has what it takes to deceive Shinichiro’s heart. Back home, Hiromi finds that her old photo albums have been burnt away by Shinichiro’s mom. Since this is the last straw, she confronts her and apologizes for all the trouble she has caused while living under her care before running out. Hiromi heads to Jun’s place and asks him for a ride on his bike to a place which doesn’t snow. But since it’s snowing, it’ll be dangerous and impossible. Hiromi brings up the fact that he did mention how he’ll do anything for her. No choice, Jun obliges. Shinichiro and Noe are walking together on their date when they spot Jun’s bike passing them by.
 
Episode 9 has Jun and Hiromi crashing their bike when Jun tries to avoid a rabbit. Remember kids, do not speed. Thankfully, the duo are safe as the bike burst into flames (no, it did not explode like those in Hollywood). They can count their blessings tonight because a taxi soon passes them. Why, it’s from Shinichiro and Noe. Since he spot them, it was a good thing they decided to trail them. Noe hugs Jun after knowing that he is safe. Likewise, Shinichiro then hugs Hiromi for the same reason. When they reach home, Shinichiro’s mom is worried sick about them and drags Hiromi off somewhere to have a girl to girl chat. Shinichiro wanted to follow but his dad stops him. He clears all the confusion by saying that whatever his mom told her are lies. Which means, that Shinichiro and Hiromi being siblings is a lie all along! Phew. It’s just some story his mom made up. I don’t know why. Probably she really hates her. The next day at school, another set of rumours about the accident spread throughout school. And I’m not sure why, both Jun and Hiromi are suspended. Then there are some nasty people who are trying to get answers from them but luckily Miyokichi stood up for Shinichiro as Tomoyo did for Hiromi. Eventually, Shinichiro got into a fight with another classmate which was stopped when they spot Noe looking at them angrily before running away. Obviously, she’s confused when Shinichiro hugged Hiromi back then. Later Shinichiro and Noe had a little chat. After telling her his progress of his picture storybook, Noe tells him that Shinichiro can fly but this isn’t the right place. Also, after Shinichiro’s parents and Hiromi met up with the headmaster, it seems Shinichiro’s mom has become much nicer to Hiromi and even reconciles with her. They should’ve been like this in the first place. So where has all that anger and hatred went? Don’t know. Don’t care. Doesn’t matter. After telling that the story about her and Shinichiro are siblings was a lie, she doesn’t expect Hiromi to forgive her for the horrible things she did but she wants to get to know her better now. And Noe seems to be spacing out as she lay awake in her bed. Now she’s feeling it, huh? The pangs of love…
 
In episode 10, Hiromi helps around the household while Jun does part time job repairing bikes as they’re being temporarily suspended. At the same time, Ai has requested to Miyokichi that they break up but he can’t bring himself to accept it. So Miyokichi meets Noe and wants her to put a curse on him so that he won’t fall in love again, in which she does. Shinichiro hands Hiromi the notes he has taken down in class so that she won’t be left behind. Also, Hiromi indicates that she is moving out to live on her on, although it isn’t far away from the Nakagami household. Thus, she goes and meet Jun and wants them to end their fake relationship. However Jun isn’t keen on it because of the trouble it would cause Noe. After Shinichiro finds out that Miyokichi had broken up with Ai, he goes to find Noe at the coop and feels guilty that lately all the happenings was his fault. So he invites her to watch his dance practice. There, Ai and Noe met face to face and chat for the first time. Ai thanks Noe for putting on a curse on Miyokichi but Noe replies that there is no such thing as a curse. After the practice, Shinichiro walks home from Ai, who tells him that although she is to be blamed for what happened, she is also over with him and has ‘graduated’ from him. Dropping out from the race already? Shinichiro gets another bombshell when Hiromi tells him that she’s moving out in a week. Suddenly his harem is collapsing. Just kidding. Then Hiromi tells of that childhood flashback whereby she got lost during the festival. Shinichiro is surprised because he thought she had forgotten about it, but it was a lie that she had forgotten about it. Hmm.. There’re lots of lies in this show even is true is in its title. The day Hiromi moves out arrives as she pack her stuffs into the truck. I’m not sure why but after the truck is gone, Shinichiro suddenly got the urge to chase down Hiromi on his bicycle. Don’t ride recklessly like him. And the road is slippery and snowy too. Hiromi spots Shinichiro through the rear view mirror and well, of course that guy crashes. Hiromi requests the truck driver to stop as she hurriedly goes down to him. Yeah, she slipped too. And fell on him (probably FOR him too. Haha). Is it no difference when Noe fell on him from the tree? As the duo lay out of breath on the ground, Shinichiro tells her that he’ll do everything properly this time.
 
The Mugiha Festival is around the corner in episode 11. Shinichiro goes to visit Hiromi in her apartment and soon takes a stroll on the beach. I don’t remember what they were talking but all I remember was Hiromi kissed Shinichiro! Wow. This guy has been kissed by all the 3 main girls already (yes, I also counted Noe’s face lick as an indirect one). Meanwhile, Ai decides to start all over again with Miyokichi by being friends and I guess the latter is happy to oblige. So the curse from Noe didn’t work I suppose? Miyokichi says she owes him a hand made sweater in which Ai says she’ll improve on her knitting skills. At least it’s good to see 1 relationship working out. With the suspension over, Hiromi goes back to school and the basketball team is having a match with another team in which Jun is the coach. It seems the opposing team has been purposely making fouls on Hiromi, trying to hurt her. This causes Jun to step in the middle of the court and tell them off what is their problem for using such dirty tricks. The spectators must be loving his cool justice behaviour. Shinichiro saw this and leaves only to bump into Miyokichi who tells him that he and Ai are back on good terms again. Later, Hiromi gets a call from an apologizing Jun over that incident and wants to meet up at the park. On the way, Hiromi stops by Shinichiro’s house but he isn’t in but his mom was. In his room, Hiromi spots the picture storybook that Shinichiro drew and takes a peek at it. Shinichiro then comes in but Hiromi quickly puts the book back and leaves.
 
At the park, Hiromi once again wants to break up with Jun but the latter is still persistent. Hiromi says that if they continue, they might get other people involved and that the only person Jun loves is not her (I’m guessing it has to be Noe) and is a fool for not admitting it. Hiromi walks away and Shinichiro spots her from a distance. He wanted to call out to her but when he spot Jun, he decided not to. That night, Hiromi gets a call from Jun. What’s up with this pestering guy? Well, he’s not asking for a date, he’s asking her if she has seen Noe because she hasn’t return home yet. Hiromi soon contacts Shinichiro who instantly goes out looking for her. He starts with the school’s chicken coop (obviously) and though she isn’t there now but he knows she was because her coat is there and Jibeta is missing. Holy crap! Noe was sleeping in the chicken coop! Finally Shinichiro finds Noe with Jibeta in her hands, at the shoreline. Remember Noe’s humming about some cockroach on Shinichiro? Well, she’s still humming it but this time she added the lines "In Shinichiro’s heart is… Hiromi Yuasa". Is she going to kill herself so that she can go to Heaven and take back her tears? Hope not!
 
It seems in episode 12 that Noe is trying to make Jibeta fly against its will. She wasn’t successful. Shinichiro goes home and informs Hiromi about this that Noe is fine and would soon be home and wants her to pass this message to Jun. Soon Noe goes home and her brother is quite relief to see her okay. The day of the festival arrives as Hiromi is prettily dressed in a traditional outfit to help out the dancers. Hiromi speaks to Shinichiro before his dance about the best spot to watch his performance. Shinichiro remembers about telling Noe to come watch him at the best spot so he tells Hiromi not to strain herself doing so because it might be crowded. At Noe’s home, she is sitting dejectedly all alone with that chicken tissue box and is unsure of going to see Shinichiro’s dance. When the dance starts, Ai bumps into Hiromi and had a little chat before they spot Noe peeking around the corner. Ai quips how Noe as Shinichiro’s girlfriend is here to see him but Hiromi says that she is Shinichiro’s girlfriend (she wasn’t hesitating when she said that) and goes after Noe. Once Hiromi does, she tells her that she loves Shinichiro and also knows how much Noe too loves Shinichiro. Thus she is asking for her to stay away from them both as tears trickle down her eyes. Don’t hope for any catfight because Noe notices how pretty Hiromi’s tears are and rushes away without saying anything else. When Noe reaches home, she is greeted by a phone call. Soon she rushes over to where Jun is working part time and wants an explanation why did he get some job application in Tokyo. Jun confesses that he loves Noe more than just a brotherly sense (gasp!). When grandma died, he always wanted to protect Noe but that feeling has gradually changed into something else. Jun asks if he could kiss her and Noe agrees. He starts off by kissing her forehead, then her cheek before proceeding to the lips. But before he can make the third one, Noe backs off in surprise. Jun is glad that she understood as he tells her that it’s been hard for him to be by her side all the while.
 
Noe heads back to the shoreline now pretty much realized a lot of things by now. She is sad that she didn’t understand the feelings of the people close to her like Jun, Shinichiro and Hiromi. The long festival dance finally ends and Shinichiro puts the finishing touches to his picture storybook (I think he changed his previous tragic ending of the chicken died while trying to take flight from a cliff to a happier one). Shinichiro realizes that the reason why he was able to draw this picture was because of Noe’s believe that he could fly. Shinichiro tries to find Noe but bumps into Hiromi instead, who tells him that she had met Noe and told her to leave them alone. But Shinichiro just walk away leaving her behind. Hiromi softly said how not to leave her behind like back during those times as she took off 1 of her shoes. I suppose Shinichiro knows where to look for Noe now as he spots her on top of the tree near the chicken coop. Thing is, Noe jumped off the tree before Shinichiro could arrive to catch her. This girl sure has a dangerous compulsive habit to jump off a tree. But I’m sure her mind wasn’t clear when she pulled off that stunt.
 
Thank goodness that in episode 13, Noe has only fractured her leg. Shinichiro has a chat with Jun on the rooftop of the hospital. Jun says how beautiful the snow is, which partly breaks Noe’s fall. I’m not sure if Jun is serious or not but he did mention how he can’t forgive Shinichiro for causing harm to come to Noe before leaving. When Jun goes back to Noe’s room, she tells him that she was inspired to fly after witnessing Shinichiro’s magnificent dance. She goes on apologizing for not knowing his feelings and hurting him but Jun says otherwise. At school, Shinichiro has got lots of praises from his classmates who thinks his dance was superb. His popularity is on the rise. Even Hiromi asks him to visit her apartment and when he does, he notices how Hiromi has been acting strange before leaving shortly. Back home, Shinichiro goes to talk with his dad on what makes a person cry and his reply is when one’s heart wavers. Hiromi soon shows up and apologizes for not being herself earlier on and to cut things short, she confesses that she has always loved him but at the same time didn’t want to impose it on him. If you ask me, it’s a strange way to show one’s love by holding it back. Furthermore, Hiromi tells him to settle all of it, whether he chooses her or Noe, she’ll accept his decision. Shinichiro visits Noe in hospital and wants to show her his complete picture storybook but Noe refuses to read it. Playing stubborn, Shinichiro decides that if she doesn’t want to, then he has no choice but to throw it away. Noe agrees. Shinichiro tells her that he’ll throw it away at a place where Jibeta decided not to fly, surprising Noe.
 
On the shoreline, Shinichiro is making paper airplanes with his storybook and throwing them into the sea. He then spots Noe coming by on crutches, who takes up and view the paper he threw. Shinichiro rushes to her as they gather all the scattered paper to read at a bus stop. Looks like she wanted to read it in the end. She discover that the last page is missing but notes that she can imagine herself that Raigomaru is able to fly and what happens next. Shinichiro then tells her that he is in love with Hiromi but everytime he sees Noe, he feels like crying even though he likes her too. Noe says she always knew all along that he loves Hiromi and asks him to believe in himself that he can fly before walking back to the hospital while humming that cockroach song. It seems Shinichiro too is humming that song but he gets all emotional and cries out that Hiromi Yuasa is in his heart line. He sounds so pitiful. After Shinichiro’s mom pays a warm visit to Hiromi’s place, Shinichiro goes to her apartment but doesn’t find her there but manages to find her at the bamboo forest path where they used to walk when they were kids during the festival. Anyway Shinichiro wants Hiromi to go out with him but got rejected at first. Eventually, after that short persistence, Hiromi gives in when Shinichiro says he’ll always be by her side and able to wipe away her tears. The duo embraced each other. We also see Hiromi shedding a tear. Tears of joy perhaps?
 
The end scenes show Noe back to her cheerful self and Hiromi continue to play basketball for her team. Shinichiro on the other hand is busy secretly sketching in the middle of class and Jun boards a bus to take up a job in Tokyo. Shinichiro’s dad is seen teaching that bald helper boy things after thinking that Shinichiro is more interested in his picture book drawing ambition and Miyokichi and Ai continue their relationship at their own pace as they meet up. As Shinichiro narrates that tears can come naturally to a person when they think of someone dear and close to them, we see Noe at the chicken coop and all the snow has melted as the stones Shinichiro once wrote to declare his love for Noe, all messed up. She stands there looking up to the sky and for the first time since her grandma’s death, Noe sheds a tear of her own. Yay! She got them back.
 
Uh huh. That’s so much about it. Well I still don’t really understand the deeper meaning of it all. But even though the ending didn’t felt that satisfying but I feel it wasn’t a bad one either. It was expected that Shinichiro ended up with Hiromi at the end. I know that there are some Noe fans out there who detest how it all ended up like this. I’m starting to think that I can classify both Hiromi and Noe as tsundere, don’t you think?
 
With such an ending, there were a few plots in the series which I felt were just, how do I put it, "Just like that only ah?". Like for instance the part where Hiromi and Shinichiro may be siblings. It would’ve been an interesting twist if that rumour was actually true. And probably if that was indeed true, Shinichiro may have ended up with Noe. And I didn’t really understand Shinichiro’s mom’s initially hatred and b*tchiness towards Hiromi in the first place. There was no back story telling about how she came to hate Hiromi’s mom and then all of a sudden when Hiromi nearly lost her life with Jun during the bike accident, she realized how precious her life is even though if she isn’t her daughter and went on good terms with her. I’m sure many viewers would agree with me that she’s a character one would love to hate at first but towards the end, just like her, it’s best to let go that ill feelings for her.
 
As for Shinichiro’s dad, I mean, he doesn’t play much of a role here. Though we see him like a mediator and advisor but at times his presence is just there. Only there. I also can’t believe or understand Ai’s character. It would’ve been interesting if the love triangle becomes a 3 way fight but I was surprised she backed out so early and decide to go back to the guy she ditched and start all over again. Girls, can’t understand them (don’t hate me, please!). But it’s good to see the both of them back on good terms again. Better to move on than forever stuck in the same place, right? Noe on the other hand is another interesting girl. her lively exterior is also what contributes to her weirdness and because of so, she did fail to realize the feelings of others. I’m thinking if she was gloomy when she found out how she never knew the feelings of others or the fact that about dating and romantic feelings for Shinichiro, how come she could handle the situation well when Shinichiro told her that the person he loves was Hiromi? Maybe like she said, she knew but was in denial. Yeah, she was more obsessed about flying and getting back her tears. Speaking of which, there was really nothing supernatural to it which I was hoping for in the first place. So we can make a profile Noe. Favourite place: Chicken coop. Favourite hobby: Jumping down from a tree top. Favourite animal: Chickens. Favourite song: Shinichiro and cockroach song. Favourite person: Erm… depends on how you look at it.
 
One thing which I also liked about this series is that the drawing, art and animation are very detailed and crisped. If you pay a little attention to the visuals, it is indeed breathtaking like when the snow starts falling or when the characters breath during the cold winter, you can see the vapour trails coming out from their mouth. Smooth and fluid. Most of the objects are rendered to near perfection. So if you are looking for animes which provide nice quality animation as eye candy, you should add this one to your list. Of course the most prettiest one is still Hiromi. :)
 
Another thing I also notice is that the sound effects are quite real. For instance when the ocean waves hit the concrete barriers of the shoreline, it does evoke a sense of the real environment. Very nice. Most of the background music I too noticed have that dramatic suspense, if you know what I mean. This is quite suitable for the theme of the series. Likewise, when you hear the opening theme Reflectia by Eufonius, it may give you a sense of a rich and opulent atmosphere because of the way the orchestra strings are played. But I find the song upbeat and dramatic as well. The ending theme is by Aira Yuuki entitled Sekai No Namida, and is a slow pop. The ending credits animation is the only place where you get to see all the characters of the series in chibi form as the walk diagonally downwards across the screen. They didn’t forget the chickens too.
 
On a trivial note, if you keep your ears peeled, you will notice that somewhere in the second half of each of the episode, the characters will say the line of that episode’s title in their dialogue. At first I didn’t notice it but as the series progress and when the characters said that line, it made me go "Isn’t that line from the title?". In short, the episode title is derived from a speech from one of the characters of that particular episode. Though, sometimes it makes me feel how is that really related to that particular episode’s storyline. Yeah, only by that line.
 
I’m sure we humans shed tears for many reasons, be it happy or sad. It’s only natural. Yeah, sadly there are even some with crocodile tears. While I myself remember the last time I really cried my heart out was when my own grandpa’s passing many years ago, on occasion I still shed some tears. You know, when dust gets in your eyes or cutting onions. Hehe. Hey, that counts too, right?
 

True Tears

Suisei Seki VS Maki

December 19, 2008

Urm… Well… Yeah… What more can I say. I decided to do another character versus before I really forget. I happen to know that there is a striking similarity between the characters, Suisei Seki of Rozen Maiden and Maki of Seto No Hanayome. They’re both smaller than the average human size, short-fused and hot-headed, and the most important feature is that they are both voiced by the same seiyuu, Natsuko Kuwatani. You got to love this lady’s voice acting when she voices the high-pitched squeaky characters, especially when they show their goody-two-shoes side one second, and then their devilish side the next.
 
I remember when I first watched Rozen Maiden and when Suisei Seki made her appearance (not in an immediate sense) with her was totally amusing attitude, it was enough to make me wanting to see more of this side of hers. Couldn’t get enough of it. So when Maki came along, I thought she was some kind of rip-off or parody of Suisei Seki due to the familiar voice. Perhaps a reincarnation of the former? But even so, there are some differences between the 2. Here’s a brief look at them.
 
First appearance
Suisei Seki: Episode 4 in the 1st season of Rozen Maiden.
Maki: Episode 3 of Seto No Hanayome.
 
Meaning of name
Based on the Japanese kanji, this is what I figured out.
Suisei Seki: Jade star stone.
Maki: Roll or spiral.
 
Clan
How do I put it, it is their race.
Suisei Seki: A doll of the Rozen Maiden.
Maki: A mermaid of the Seto Group.
 
Most hated clan
The other race which they don’t like.
Suisei Seki: Humans.
Maki: Humans.
We’ve really carved a name in the wrong place, huh?
 
Nickname
Also known as…
Suisei Seki: Desu, because she frequently ends her sentences with that word. Talk about being overused.
Maki: Spiral Shell Maki, because of her powerful weapon.
 
Eye colour
Suisei Seki: Left eye is green while her right eye is red.
Maki: Both eyes are light green.
 
Hair colour and style
Suisei Seki: Very long brown/brunette hair colour. So much so I think it might actually sweep the floor.
Maki: Short purple hair just above the shoulders.
 
Clothing
Suisei Seki: Gothic lolita.
Maki: I’m not sure if I’m right, but her dressing is a mix between a yukata (top) and shorts.
 
Profession
Suisei Seki: I’m not sure if being a contender for the Alice Game is considered her job. I mean, it’s her life’s destiny and fate whether she likes it or not, right?
Maki: An assassin for the Seto Group.
 
Main weapon
Suisei Seki: A water can named Amethyst Dream which allows plants to grow from the ground and enables her to manipulate them.
Maki: A shell which shoots powerful water balls as fast and effective as a speeding bullet. Because of this, it seems to have unlimited amount of ‘ammunition’.
Notice how both weapons are water based?
 
Favourite person
The person that they love and always loyal to.
Suisei Seki: Sousei Seki, her younger twin sister.
Maki: San Seto, the daughter of her clan’s boss.
 
Most hated person
Likewise, they dislike such person very much because it may seem that they will take away the ones that they’ve always been together. Thus, they always subject these poor souls to torture, teasing, insults and bullying.
Suisei Seki: Jun Sakurada.
Maki: Nagasumi Michishio.
 
The other hated person
I kinda noticed that they too don’t really like such person too. Only second to the most hated person.
Suisei Seki: Hina Ichigo because of her naivety and probably Kanaria too.
Maki: Runa Edomae because she is their clan’s rival and Akeno Shiranui the mermaid examiner.
 
Residence
Currently where they are staying now.
Suisei Seki: At Jun’s house because she can’t stand her twin’s medium.
Maki: At Nagasumi’s house so that she can protect San.
It’s ironic that both of them are living under the roofs of the person they hate most.
 
Most memorable torment
This is what I feel, the funniest tormenting they try to do on their most hated person.
Suisei Seki: In the 1st season, because Shinku is unconscious, Suisei Seki comes up with a plan that she will be awaken when something dangerous happens to her medium. Thus, she purposely drops heavy life-threatening objects on Jun. Is she trying to kill him? Yeah, probably.
Maki: After moving into Nagasumi’s house along with San, Maki tries to drop a knife on to Nagasumi’s head while the latter is sleeping in his new room up in the attic. Thank goodness he woke up and missed it in time. Is she trying to kill him? Yeah, maybe.
Hmm… They both seem to drop things on the guys and even though it was a painful or heart pounding moment, you can say that they flopped.
 
Fear
Who says they don’t have any phobias. Sort of.
Suisei Seki: Losing her twin sister.
Maki: Cats. She thinks felines seem to think that they taste like fish (aren’t they?).
 
Character song
Want to get to know them better? Listen to what they have to sing…
Suisei Seki: A 6 track album called Rozen Maiden Traumend Character Drama Volume 3 – Suisei Seki, with the first song on the track entitled Suisei Seki To Medium.
Maki: A 4 track album called Seto No Hanayome Character Song 4 – Maki, with the first song on the track entitled Hitman!!
 
Conclusion
As the series progresses, you’ll find out that both these ladies don’t hate those guys that much anymore and in a way come to terms with them. Okay, maybe putting up a tsundere front is still a must or else what will happen to their ego. If I had to choose which of the 2 I like better, then it has to be Suisei Seki. That’s because I feel she has more screen time for character development as she is one of the main characters whereas Maki is more like a side character and doesn’t show up as often. Plus, Suisei Seki has played more devilish pranks than Maki and the former looks cuter garbed in those fabrics. But still, they’re really both amusing characters and it’s sometimes hard for me to hate them as they have their good points too. Desu.
 

Suisei Seki Maki

Clannad

December 13, 2008

Have you ever felt that your life is so boring and has no whatever sense of direction? Ever felt that your presence in this world don’t really mean much and whatever you do is just a waste of time? Now, I’m not really saying that is the theme of the tv anime series Clannad, but the main male protagonist of the series, Tomoya Okazaki, thinks and feels so. And no, I’m not referring to Clannad as that Irish musical group.
 
I mean let’s look from his point of view. His mother died in a car accident and because of this, his dad is an unemployed useless drunkard, whom he despises very much. His own house is in a mess and he thinks the school he attends is pretty boring, just like his life. Thus, he becomes some sort of a delinquent with a non-committal attitude towards almost everything and is apathic towards life. Though he isn’t the kind of delinquent which goes around looking for trouble but I find him a rather passive one. Hey, he even admits he is a lazy bum.
 
But soon, life for him would take a rather interesting turn when he meets a girl named Nagisa Furukawa. She is a little naive, soft-spoken and her over-politeness reminds me of Tohru of Fruits Basket. Though she is in the same grade as him, she is actually a year older. Due to an illness, she spent most of the whole of last year away from school and when she comes back to repeat her year, she finds her former friends have graduated and she’s wondering what to do. So I suppose Tomoya doesn’t have anything better to do when he spots this girl talking to herself and having no friends and decides to help her in establishing a non-existent theatre club in their school, which she yearns so much. I mean, what has he got to lose? His life sucks, right? Thus, their initial meeting is like a turning point for Tomoya. By the way, I find Tomoya to be a little bit like Kyon from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu because of his sharp tongue criticisms and jabbings. Plus, whenever he gets an opportunity to play a harmless prank, he won’t hesitate to do so.
 
There are 24 episodes in this tv series. However, the first 22 episodes are considered the tv version while the 23rd episode is considered to be an after story. Whatever that means. But from my point of view, it seemed like an extra episode once the main storyline has finished. So you might have guessed that the 24th episode is an OVA, then you’re absolutely right.
 
Based on the visual novel and a simulation game of the same name, though I have never read the novel nor play the game, I’m not sure how close the storyline follows it. But as usual, the main reason that motivates me to watch this drama-romance-harem anime is the comedy aspect. I find that most of the comical aspects are from the dialogues they say. It’s like a gag anime but more slapstick gags in it. I think. Hey, did I mention harem too? You can guess from the opening credits that there’s going to be 5 girls who will be somewhat connected to Tomoya. Though it won’t be any kind of ecchi harem because I noticed that this anime lacks fanservice. No, I’m not disappointed at all.
 
So in the 1st episode, we’re introduced to the main premise setting and some of the main characters. For instance, Ryou Fujibayashi, who is Tomoya’s class rep and card fortune teller kinda girl, who is seen trying to gently remind Tomoya of his lateness to school. Of course, Ryou has a twin sister, Kyou, who is a total opposite. Kyou is more aggressive and crude. She doesn’t hesitate to punish those who tease or bully her twin, whether on purpose or not or even the slightest thought if she thinks one is bullying Ryou, which sometimes isn’t. And that includes throwing a heavy dictionary at Tomoya as he barely avoids it. Be careful now. Hey, now that I remember, don’t Kyou and Ryou have some uncanny resemblance to Kagami and Tsukasa of Lucky Star? Hmm…
 
Then there is Tomoya’s other delinquent buddy, the loudmouth troublemaker Youhei Sunohara. To sum him up in 1 word, he’s a loser. Big time. If you want to know what I mean, just watch this guy think and act. Enough said. He lives in a nearby all-boys dorm, managed by Misae Sagara, in which Tomoya hangs out there most of the time. It’s better than his own home I guess. Also there is the school’s student council member, Tomoyo Sakagami. She has some reputation of being really strong for a girl. Though we see her giving multiple power kicks to teach a couple of delinquent bikers causing a ruckus at school but in our normal eyes, it all ended so fast. Because of that, Sunohara decides to proof that there is something suspicious about Tomoyo and goes through all sorts of stupid confrontations to make her admit something which is not. Good thing Tomoya decides to stay out of this because everytime Sunohara’s plan flops, he’ll receive Tomoyo’s trademark kicks (there’s even a counter to keep count! Each time the number increases rapidly and at a point crosses 1000!). Sunohara’s brain is so thick that you may think that he never feels the pain as he always come back for more. You’ll see this hilarious bit in the early episodes. Then when it died down, I really missed it and subsequent episodes will just show Tomoyo giving him 1 powerful kick to send him flying away.
 
Back to the main story. After Tomoya learns of Nagisa’s dream to restart the theatre club, Nagisa tells him to come by her parent’s bakery, a place where she also leaves. Now, I’m sure everyone would love to such parents. Nagisa’s dad, Akio, has a very flamboyant personality and his character is very outgoing. Okay, maybe not everyone would love to have him as a father as thoughts of embarrassment in public for his honest hyped-up behaviour may prop up. On the other hand, Nagisa’s mom, Sanae, is more gentle and ironically her bread baking skills suck. Everytime she comes up with a weird bread for sale and Akio gives some warning about it, make sure Sanae isn’t eavesdropping because it will really break her heart. And everytime this happens, she will cry and run out of the shop with Akio declaring out loud his I-love-you undying love for Sanae as he chases her back. You just got to love them. As Tomoya acknowledges how close Nagisa is with her parents, he can’t say the same about his own. When he comes back to his own home, he gets disgusted with his usual drunkard dad lying idly there, so he decides to take a night walk when he spots Nagisa reciting some lines about wanting to take him away.
 
In certain episodes, you’ll see some fairytale-like scene which shows a little girl living all alone in a world that has ended. She creates a robot from junk but since it is unable to talk, you’ll mostly hear his thoughts and his point of view. The plot progresses slowly as they carry on living and I was hoping that there’ll be some supernatural connection with the main storyline but in the end, there isn’t. More on this later on.
 
Episode 2 starts off where the previous left off. It seems Nagisa is just practicing her play lines outside because it won’t be noisy and bother her parents. Besides this episode of seeing Kyou dangerously riding her scooter to school (it’s illegal by the way and it was funny to see Tomoya making Kyou spilling it out loud in class when he says Kyou is a ‘bi’ so Kyou corrects him. And after she realized this, she gives him a good punishment) and Sunohara getting beaten up further by Tomoyo, we are introduced to another character called Kotomi Ichinose. She’s a genius girl who spends most of her time reading books in the library. I don’t know if all geniuses are weird because she talks slow and well, is one kind. I mean, she’s trying to cut out pages from a library book. Of course a delinquent like Tomoya knows it’s wrong and stops her. I’m still wondering if she’s a genius, why does she need to attend this school. And even so, taking independent classes of her own? Is that allowed? Even Tomoya admits that they’re both class ditching buddies. Only difference is that one is a genius and the other is a delinquent. Well said.
 
Finally, the other harem girl which Tomoya will meet is Fuko Ibuki. He meets her while she is alone carving a wooden star in an empty classroom. Fuko is another girl which viewers will love. She is dreamy and not the brightest girl but I find her cute when she’s being naive. Also, she tends to space out or go into some sort of daydreaming trance whenever she gets too close to Nagisa. Because of this, Tomoya tries to play several pranks on her to bring Fuko back to reality. Hello, Earth to Fuko, can you hear me? Anyway Tomoya notices she is dangerously using the pen knife and takes it away from her. Not only that, her hands are injured even though she doesn’t admit it. It was funny to see Tomoya doing some hi-5 test on her to proof that her hands are injured and each time naive Fuko falls for it (what’s with that basketball shooting getup?). In the end, Fuko just leaves.
 
Meanwhile, Sunohara notices how Tomoya is trying to help re-establish the theatre club in which something he has no interest in. We also find out Nagisa loves dango (some Japanese bun with paste) as she uses it as its main theme for her theatre club poster. Because Tomoya was helping out drawing the poster back home and his dad asks what he is doing, Tomoya gets enraged and tells him that this is none of his business before storming out. He spots Nagisa and the 2 chat. Nagisa finds out that Tomoya was once a basketball club member so she decides to have a little game with him at school the next day. Though Tomoya is bumming around at Sunohara’s place, at first he didn’t think Nagisa would be serious in waiting to play a game with him since it’s raining. But he went to make sure and to his surprise, Nagisa is waiting there all soaked in the rain. So I guess Okazaki has no choice but to make up as he starts playing. However, he soon drops the ball and he tells Nagisa that when he was young, he got into a fight with his dad and injured his shoulder. Thus, Tomoya can never raise his arms above his shoulders, putting an end to his basketball playing days.
 
The usual bread antics in episode 3 when Akio gives Tomoya bread leftovers, hurting Sanae’s feelings once more. A lady soon comes in to buy bread in which Tomoya gives his from Akio. Tomoya walks home to find an argument going on between a car owner and an power cable electrician. The car owner his heavy tools dented his car but Tomoya pointed out that it was caused by a cat (a fat cat to have caused that dent, if you ask me). The electrician, Yusuke Yoshino, is grateful and gives him his name card and asks him to call him sometime. Back at Sunohara’s place, Tomoya learns that Yusuke was once a famous musician but disappeared 1 day. In school, the usual beating Sunohara receives from Tomoyo after another failed ploy to reveal her as a guy (WTF?). Fuko also tries to get back her pen knife from Tomoya but another hi-5 incident leaves her reeling in pain as she retreats for now. We also get to know that Kyou has a little pet pig called Botan which she brings to school and later as Tomoya suggests to Nagisa for a practice speech for her theatre club, they go to the school’s archive room run by Yukine Miyazawa, for some materials. Of course Nagisa is still nervous and her practice speech was more fumble than anything. Later the duo notices that their dango-themed theatre poster has been taken down from the notice board and Yukine tells them that since it doesn’t have the approval of the student council, it has to be taken down. Just then, the PA system announces for Nagisa to come to the student council’s office.
 
In episode 4, it seems that the student council told Nagisa that since the theatre club is inactive, they can’t recruit members. Tomoya tells Nagisa not to give up. At Sunohara’s place, Sunohara wonders if Tomoya and Nagisa are dating but Tomoya mentions the deliciousness of Nagisa’s bread which makes him wants to hang out with her so he can get tons of free bread. A lie perhaps. But I guess it’s a way to get Sunohara into his schemes. At school, Fuko once again confronts Tomoya as she call him names like ‘weird person’. Soon Fuko asks Tomoya to attend her sister’s wedding in exchange of that wooden star of hers. All this while, Fuko has been going around giving them to students to attend her sister’s wedding. After more beatings of Sunohara from Tomoyo (that guy never learns), Sunohara decides to help Nagisa and Tomoya out to form the theatre club (partly that free bread must be the motivation). Thus, they decide to recruit more people. However Tomoya says he’s not really joining even though he’s just helping her out. Isn’t it ironic?
 
So the first person they ask is Ryou. The hilarious part is the ambiguous words Tomoya and Sunohara told Ryou about meeting Nagisa. She thinks it’s a girl confession! So at the rooftop, every action and dialogue seems to point like one, making Ryou flustered, until Nagisa says to join her club. Disappointed or relieve? Anyway Kyou was eavesdropping and since it didn’t turn out that way, she gave the guys a good beating as they spill the beans. However, Ryou mentions that to form a club, they need at least 3 members and a teacher advisor. Since Tomoya and Sunohara are just helping out, that doesn’t really count. Later, the guys confront Tomoyo (no prizes for guessing what happened to Sunohara) and in the end when Tomoya asks if she’s interested to join the theatre club, Tomoyo refuses by saying she is running for student council elections thus she has no time for that. Then Tomoya goes to ask Kotomi in the library. Funny thing is, if you want to talk to her, you have to call her Kotomi-chan to start off a conversation or else it’s like she didn’t hear a thing. Since Tomoya felt weird about that, he decides to ask her later. Then Tomoya and Nagisa went to see Fuko and finds out that she doesn’t go home. When Fuko explains how she was nearly hit by a car and realized she was in school the next moment, this prompts Nagisa to ask her surname. It seems that there was a teacher by the name of Kouko Ibuki, which is Fuko’s elder sister who has stopped teaching. Nagisa says how Kouko had a little sister who got into an accident and was in coma in hospital ever since. Tomoya realized that it was that lady whom he gave the leftover bread to earlier on. With that, Nagisa wonders if he has heard about a rumour of a ghost girl roaming the school grounds after she got into an accident… Oh oh. Feeling goose bumps.
 
In episode 5, Tomoya doesn’t think Fuko is a ghost. I mean, he could touch her, right? At the bakery, Kouko comes by as Nagisa and Tomoya congratulate her on her wedding. But she wonders how she knows it since she only has told Fuko. Later Nagisa invites Fuko to come stay at her place so she don’t have to sleep in school. Nagisa’s parents are happy and quickly accept their new ‘daughter’. Since Kouko comes here often to buy bread, Tomoya suggests for her to change her surname, in which she picks one from Furukawa’s neighbours. The next morning, Tomoya finds everyone carving the wooden star. What’s amazing is that it isn’t a wooden star but a starfish! Holy crap! No normal person would think so. But how does this look like a starfish? Anyway Fuko is one starfish-crazy girl. I like the hilarious part in school when Fuko gets into her daydreaming mode so Tomoya decides to play a prank on her by using Ryou to substitute as him. When Fuko comes to, she wonders what happened to Tomoya and Ryou says that she is Tomoya who has turned into a girl. Fuko is surprised and wonders how he turned into a one. Following Tomoya’s words, Ryou tells her that ‘it’ sometimes falls off! Fuko really believes it and wonders if she can turn into a boy the same way! Tomoya is trying his best to hold in his laughter but Nagisa tells him it’s enough so Tomoya has to go stop it. But it seems when Fuko sees the real Tomoya, she thinks there are 2 Tomoyas now! And when Kyou comes by to punish Tomoya for using Ryou, Fuko thinks there are 3 Tomoyas now! How dense can this girl get? Later when Fuko tries to give a starfish to an old friend, Mitsui, who is in 3rd year now, she rejects it and gives an excuse that she’s busy studying for her exams, making Fuko depressed. Tomoya finds out that since Fuko has always wanted to attend class, the next day at their empty theatre club room, they hold a mock class with Sanae as the teacher, since she was one before she became a baker. This made Fuko quite happy when everyone makes her the class rep.
 
In episode 6, the starfish craze seems to hit Sanae as she has starfish-shaped bread. But we all know it’s a failure. Tomoya does another prank on Fuko when she daydreams by sticking a straw of a juice drink in her nose to snap her out of it. With the school’s Founder Festival just around the corner, Tomoya and Nagisa helps Fuko to distribute her starfish to everyone. Since Tomoya and Nagisa wants Fuko to meet Kouko, the duo went to invite Kouko to attend the festival. They bump into Yusuke and find out that he is the one Kouko’s going to marry to. It’s a small world. Kouko agrees to go since she promised Fuko about it. We see Fuko’s obsession of starfish when she has a dream of playing on the beach with them. And what’s with Tomoya doing there too? During the festival, it seems Fuko has garnered several male fan members who would do anything for her, which includes spreading the word of her sister’s wedding. Also, Tomoyo is patrolling around in a bear outfit (?!) but even so, Sunohara is no match for her. As more and more students accept Fuko’s starfish, finally even Mitsui accepts them and tells Fuko that she may even come, making her happy. Tomoya, Nagisa and Fuko are at the school gates as Kouko arrives. However, it seems Kouko can only see Tomoya and Nagisa. OMG! Even if Fuko is standing there right in front of her, she can’t hear nor see her! Is she really a ghost?! But how come only Kouko?
 
Since it turned out like that, in episode 7, Nagisa feels guilty and sad about it. Though Kouko tells them about the school ghost rumour, she did ask if the 2 of them would be her friends. As the gang continue to carve more starfish and Fuko handing a starfish to Kotomi, Sunohara teases Fuko, which causes her to call upon her followers to bring him away in a stampede. Later, Tomoya and Nagisa finds out that Kouko is having a hard time trying to find a place for their wedding and wonders if their school is available. Kouko also tells them how Fuko was a shy girl and didn’t mix around. Kouko thought by acting busy give Fuko the initiative to make new friends at school. One day when she got that enthusiasm, as she head to school, she met with a car accident. At the theatre club room, a war of dango or starfish on which is cuter nearly erupted but both girls settled the situation amicably as they agree both are cute. We should all emulate them. After Tomoya and Nagisa went to seek a teacher’s permission to allow Kouko’s wedding here, they went to tell Kouko about it but they are greeted with bad news. Kouko says how Fuko’s condition in hospital is worsening. That night at Sunohara’s room, Sunohara tells Tomoya about how several boys ignored Fuko when she was giving them her starfish. What’s more, they claimed that they didn’t see any girl around. Then Sunohara mentions how people are starting to forget about Fuko and the starfish and asks Tomoya what is going on.
 
While Kouko gets the green light to hold her wedding at school in episode 8, it seems more and more people are really starting to forget Fuko and her starfish. Even those who had previously accepted are starting to forget. Even Tomoyo doesn’t remember at first but after being reminded, she apologizes and wonders why she forgot in the first place. Same thing to Mitsui. She doesn’t remember meeting Fuko at all. This prompts Tomoya to tell Sunohara that Fuko is being forgotten. With that, Sunohara decides to go see Fuko at hospital but Tomoya advises him not to, fearing that he might forget her (huh?). Sunohara eventually goes to see Fuko and Tomoya’s fears come true, he’s starting to forget Fuko. Worse still when Tomoya, Nagisa and Fuko invited Sunohara for lunch, he can’t even see Fuko. I’m not sure I understand this part because when Sunohara mentioned Fuko’s name in his rantings, it’s like he’s being in pain as he struggles to remember her. Fuko gives him a starfish and Tomoya tells him it’s enough for now as Sunohara walks away wondering what has happened. Back at the bakery, Nagisa’s parents also can’t see Fuko anymore (they went to see her at hospital when they found out about it) but Sanae seems to still remember about her as she cried her heart out. I really don’t understand why people are starting to forget her when they see her in hospital? Will Tomoya and Nagisa forget about her too?
 
Since Fuko can’t continue staying at Nagisa’s place, in episode 9, they accompanied her to school and have their own party for Fuko. Wow. Fuko pecking Tomoya on the cheek. The trio slept together but when morning arrives, Tomoya and Nagisa find only themselves sleeping in the classroom and wonders what they’re doing there in the first place. Yup, they’ve already forgotten her, even if Fuko’s standing there. Over the next few scenes, the duo have that feeling of missing something important. Until they meet the teacher who approved Kouko’s wedding at the school, painting Kouko’s wedding banner, who said it was them who asked them for Kouko’s younger sister, did they start to remember Fuko. And at that instant, Fuko instantly appeared before them. On the day of the wedding, it seems that everyone attended even if they don’t remember the starfish or Fuko. Soon Fuko starts to disappear leaving Nagisa in tears and probably Tomoya the same thing if he hadn’t held back. Kouko comes up to them and wonders what’s wrong when Tomoya tells her that a certain girl had helped them to make this come true. Kouko realizes that it must have been Fuko’s spirit and thanks them for being her friend. Just then, Fuko appears and congratulates Kouko before vanishing for good. In the end after the wedding, everyone forgets about Fuko but the rumour of the school roaming ghost goes on albeit they think it’s a cute girl. For the rest of the episodes, though Fuko won’t make much appearances, she’ll still appear from time to time to help out when a sticky situation arises for Tomoya and co, though she won’t be much of a help and they won’t remember who Fuko is and would be wondering what was that all about.
 
With Fuko’s story arc over, episode 10 starts off with Tomoya being run over by Kyou’s scooter. I wonder how she got a licence for it. Remembering to help recruit members for the theatre club, Tomoya goes to ask Kotomi once more. You know, for a genius girl like her, she isn’t people smart. I mean, even if she doesn’t make many friends as she’s people-shy, she’s pretty dense when it comes to communicating with others. For example, she seems to rely heavily on Tomoya and when he asks her to introduce herself, Kotomi does an introduction to Tomoya instead of the person she’s supposed to introduce herself! And she did the same thing several few times. That’s getting old. Plus, Kotomi’s pretty afraid of people picking on her. So she hides behind Tomoya’s back everytime she thinks someone is bullying her. Now are you thinking she’s a genius. Well okay, she does read heavy and deep books which people like me gets instant migraine at the very sight of it. Anyway, I suppose even an anti-social like her manages to loosen up as with the help of Tomoya, she soon gets along pretty well with the rests, even with Tomoyo (why is she still wearing that bear outfit?). After Kotomi has mastered the art of introducing herself, at another bakery, Tomoya learns that Kotomi is the daughter of a pair of well-known scientists. But it looks like Kotomi decides to give this theatre club thing a try as Kyou and Ryou too decides to help out. They took turns introducing themselves and Tomoya teaches Kotomi an example on how to do jabbings, which results Kyou giving him a powerful kick. Kotomi then hears the sound a violin and rushes there. The girl playing the violin, Rie Nishina, wonders if Kotomi wanted to try playing it and lends her the violin. However, Kotomi isn’t a good player so better cover your ears. It’s horrible enough to distort things. Literally.
 
Because the music club lend Kotomi her violin, in episode 11, Tomoya notes how Kotomi is continuing to fell people with that weapon of hers, even if Kotomi herself doesn’t think so. Looks like she’s the only one immune to her horrible playing. So in order to keep her from playing the violin, Kyou makes Kotomi do some "Nande are" (meaning, what the heck) jabs. Is funny to see her do it several times. Also, since Kotomi does want to play the violin badly, Kyou plans an upcoming violin recital for her and forbids her from practicing in the theatre club room. So where does she do it? In the library of course. Even on a Sunday, she’s there practicing. Tomoya goes visit her after recognizing that cacophony from outside school. Soon Kotomi reads a book to him (it was one of her initial wish) but since it was boring and he didn’t understand a thing, he falls asleep and has a weird dream. Really a weird one. Kotomi’s violin play, Nagisa’s dango, and the twin’s surgery operation on him… The day of Kotomi’s violin recital arrives and Tomoya notices that Kyou has gathered (blackmail rather) students with bad records to attend. Even Akio and Sanae are there. Tomoyo is glad to see Misae there and gets advice from her because Misae was also once the legendary school council president. When Kotomi recital starts, it wasn’t much different from her first time. Let’s just say it was hell on Earth and it gives a whole new meaning to pain in the ears. Further exposure can get you brain haemorrhage, you know. As the gang heads home, a guy in coat tries to grab Kotomi but the rest managed to protect her. He walks away but Kotomi is shivering in fear as she mumbles about him being the bad guy.
 
Kotomi returns the violin to Rie in episode 12 and it seems Kotomi starts attending classes. Also, Kyou gets and idea for the girls to go out shopping with Tomoya. He’s got to be a lucky guy, huh? Well, it’s part of Kyou’s plan to let him carry the bags. Fuko makes her first short appearance by helping the gang get a plushie at a crane game machine. But she got them a starfish. As Tomoya walks Kotomi home, the man in coat appears once more as they run away and successfully avoid falling into his hands. Then Tomoya had a strange dream about a rabbit, deer and him and then another one whereby a young Kotomi in a place engulfed in fire as that man in coat puts it out. The next day, as the gang heads to school, Nagisa comes rushing to them saying that the bus Ryou is on had an accident (why do the twins go to school differently?). As they rush to the scene, Kyou frantically searches for her sister but to her relieve finds her safe as she was running late for her usual bus and got on the next one. However, the gang spots Kotomi shivering in fear on the ground as she’s saying how she’ll be a good girl. Though Kotomi has been admitted to the school’s infirmary, she went home earlier. The teachers refuse to divulge any info on her but gives them her house address. The quartet visits Kotomi’s house only to find it in a dilapidated condition. Without going further, the girls decide to go home but Tomoya spots a black butterfly and follows it to the backyard. He spots the man in coat trying to peek in. As Tomoya chats with him, the man tells him that Kotomi’s late parents researched and discovered some alternate world. Not that I understand but he tells Tomoya to pass a message to Kotomi. He doesn’t expect her to forgive them as they still regret what has happened. Tomoya enters the house through the backyard and enters Kotomi’s room, only to find her sitting alone with lots of newspaper and picture cuttings on the wall and floor about her parent’s death in a plane crash. Tomoya then remembered he once met Kotomi before.
 
Episode 13 is Kotomi’s flashback and how she came to be. Though Kotomi recognized Tomoya when she first met him, she didn’t say anything because she was happy to see him and he allowed her to be friends with him. Back when Kotomi’s parents were around, a young Tomoya accidentally stumbled into her backyard while catching butterflies. They soon become friends. When Kotomi’s birthday was closing in, her parents had to break their promise of celebrating her birthday due to work overseas, which made her hate her parents. As compensation, they decide to get a teddy bear for her, as she had requested. But the next day, their colleague came by to tell how her parents has been killed in an air crash and asks her if they left an important paper. Kotomi was devastated and slammed the door on him. She started searching for her parents every inch of her house and even entered the room her dad forbade her to enter, which is his study. There she saw an envelope on the table and thought it’s the source of it all and decides to burn it. The house soon caught fire but luckily that old man was there to help put out the fire. Ever since then, Kotomi tried to follow her parent’s footsteps by studying so that others would see the beautiful world her parents discovered. At the same time, she hoped her parents would someday return. Back in real time, Tomoya relates this incident to the teacher but the latter says how Kotomi has taken up an offer from a university in USA. Tomoya then decides to help clean Kotomi’s backyard because he feels he wants to do something for her. He is soon joined by Nagisa and the twins. At the same time, Kotomi locks herself up in the house. The girls then decide to give Kotomi a violin for her upcoming present but it broke when a bike came zooming past by, causing them to drop it. They tried to fix it in the shortest time as possible but they’re told it’s better to get a new one (this violin is the one Rie lend to her) and if not they have to wait for months. So until her birthday comes, the gang continues to clean up her backyard.
 
The gang managed to clean the yard and paint the table and chairs in time before Kotomi’s birthday in episode 14. Now, if they could all do charity work for the others… Tomoya fell asleep and dreams how he tried to invite friends to Kotomi’s birthday but they turned him down as they didn’t want to be associated with a weirdo. Thus, he couldn’t face her after making a promise to bring more friends as he himself didn’t attend her birthday bash. So one night he decided to go apologize and that’s when he saw her house in flames. Since then, Tomoya has never seen Kotomi. When he wakes up, he sees Kotomi standing in front of him as she tells him he’s the only friend she’s got back then and was always waiting for his return. Soon Kotomi goes back to school, much to the delight of the rest. But it seems the man in coat is waiting for them in the classroom. The gang finds out that he is actually Kotomi’s guardian. Though Kotomi is still afraid of him (as she thinks he’s here to steal her parent’s work), he starts explaining by taking out the briefcase of her father’s, which she recognized. Kotomi gets encouraged by her friends to open the briefcase and inside it, there is a teddy bear and a note. He explains the briefcase must have been drifted ashore and passer-bys must have picked it up and exchanged several hands before it reached here. I’m amazed that the briefcase travelled across many countries and it was amazing to see several languages (even in writing on screen!) of the translated note to pass it to their daughter (there’s even a Malay one!). The man also says that the envelope Kotomi burnt that night was actually a catalogue of teddy bears and not her dad’s important work she had thought to be. Kotomi doesn’t fear him as she reads the note from her parents wishing her happy birthday. She hugs the teddy bear and ‘welcomes home’ her parents. Later the gang gives Kotomi the repaired violin as her birthday present. I’m glad Kotomi is freed from her past and has made peace with her late parents.
 
Nagisa’s theatre club formation continues in episode 15. After having the required numbers, they now need an advisor. Though they wanted Toshio Koumura as he is the only one not bound to a club, they found out that the choir club in which Rie is in, also wants him. Nagisa and Rie had a chat and since the school can’t have the same advisor for 2 clubs, after hearing Rie’s story, Nagisa decides to back down and allow the choir club to have Koumura as their advisor. Tomoya is hanging out at Sunohara’s room and answers a call from Sunohara’s sister, Mei, who tells him that she’ll be visiting him. I know Tomoya is playing a prank pretending to be Sunohara but I can’t believe Mei fell for it and even when Tomoya admitted it, she still thinks it’s her brother. But the next day at school, Nagisa, Tomoya and Sunohara received an anonymous threatening letter telling Nagisa to give up forming her club. Sunohara does an investigation and finds out that it was Rie’s friend and choir club member, Sugisaka who wrote it. Sunohara gets Sugisaka to meet up with them at school as she explains why she did it and takes full responsibility. Once again, Nagisa decides to give way but this pisses off Sunohara who thinks Nagisa is being deceived by others taking advantage on her sympathy. To cool him down, Tomoya brings him to the archive room and Yukine gives him some charm reading which makes him back to his usual self. Tomoya tells Nagisa that Sunohara was once a football club member but had to give way that’s why he’s so pissed with the same thing happening here. Tomoya then saves Tomoyo from being harassed by judo club members wanting her to join their club (Fuko appeared but couldn’t help much because she realized she gave the starfish to them). Later, Sunohara suggests playing basketball with the basketball club to make the choir club impress and let them have Koumura. Tomoya is reluctant but Sunohara keeps pestering him so he tries to run away from him. The funny part is that, Tomoya told Nagisa how Sunohara may have been in love with him because he’s chasing him, sending Nagisa wrong ideas about their relationship. So when Sunohara found Tomoya, Nagisa steps in to say how she’s Tomoya’s boyfriend, breaking that guy’s heart. As Sunohara runs away in despair, he passes by his sister.
 
Episode 16 has Mei cleaning Sunohara’s filthy room but since she can’t stay in the all-boy’s dorm, she has to live at Nagisa’s place. Soon, Sunohara and Tomoya gets Kyou to complete their team for a 3-on-3 basketball match. At first the basketball team fielded freshmen but as the competition gets intense (Tomoya’s team leading by an 11 point gap!), the seniors substituted them. They managed to close the gap and time is running out. In a last chance shot, Tomoya has the ball in his hands and needs to shoot. But he can’t raise his arms higher than his shoulders. Luck is on his side because he slipped, which means his arms can be in a shooting position. Tomoya shoots and scores, winning it for his team. That night, Mei goes home after having a fun filled day and says she will come visit them again.
 
After watching their basketball performance, in episode 17, the choir club decides to share their advisor but the student council rejects this proposal. At this time, Nagisa falls ill and has to rest back home. Also, Tomoyo decides to personally go wake up Tomoya and Sunohara so that they won’t be late for school. In this episode, it seems Ryou’s body language seems to indicate that she has feelings for Tomoya and Kyou tries to set them up together like making them eat lunch together. So whenever they bump into Tomoya and Tomoyo together, Kyou isn’t very pleased. Damn a catfight didn’t happened. Sunohara schemes to have Tomoyo as his bodyguard by asking her to follow him through a bad part of town in which Sunohara always gets beaten up. It seems the delinquents here fear Tomoyo and makes a run for it. Wow, she’s really (in)famous I must say. Later at the archives room, Tomoya gets Yukine to do some charm. Since he’s bored, he might as well play along and soon finds out the charm is about getting stuck with a girl in the gym storeroom. I don’t know why, the girl Tomoya thinks to be safe bet for is Kyou. Then a subsequent chain of events really did made them locked together in the storeroom. Tomoya realized it and quickly apologizes, causing Kyou to panic and wonders if this is his planning all along and what he’ll do to her. Of course there is a way to break the charm as Tomoya tries it (taking off his top? Misinterpreted situation here…). As luck would have it, somebody passed by and unlocks the storeroom. Close shave for Tomoya. He could’ve been caught with his shirt off if he wasn’t fast enough to hide. Coincidence or just real charm effect? When Tomoyo walks out of the school gates with Tomoya, they are being confronted by several delinquents who want to teach Tomoyo a lesson for showing up at their area. They soon get into a fight (poor Sunohara getting hit by Tomoyo). The school teachers arrive as the delinquents retreat. Knowing this would harm her chances of being student council president, Tomoya tells the teachers that he is responsible to save Tomoyo. With that, since the teachers know he has a delinquent record, Tomoya is being suspended. The reason he does this is because Tomoya needs Tomoyo to be the student council president so that she’ll make changes which will allow both the choir and theatre club to have Koumura as their advisor.
 
Since Tomoyo feels guilty about it, in episode 18, she voluntarily comes to Tomoya’s house and cooks him breakfast. Though Tomoya’s dad is there and appreciates Tomoyo’s cooking, Tomoya is still pissed off with him. Also Kyou decides to set up Tomoya and Ryou further. One Sunday as the twins arrive at Tomoya’s house with their handmade bento, they are surprised to find Tomoyo there cooking for him. Not only that, Kotomi too has arrived with her set of bento and furthermore, Fuko is there too! Starfish bread! Tomoya is having a hard time turning them down because they’ve all worked so hard on it and wants him to eat it! It must be one of those days. In order to satisfy all of them, he chows them all down. Poor guy. Back in school, there are nasty rumours spreading about Tomoyo being a gang leader. So to dispel the rumours, Tomoyo plays a game with all the sports club member and beats them at it. She’s really multi-talented. Later, Tomoya finds out that the reason why Tomoyo is trying to become student council is to save the sakura trees here which are planned to be cut down. She also mentions of her past whereby her parents kept fighting until her brother had enough of it and risk his life by jumping off a bridge. It was then that his great act brought the family closer. Once he got out of hospital, they went to see the sakura trees together as a family, something which Tomoyo feels it’s important to her. The net day, Nagisa is back to her usual self as the gang watches Tomoyo compete in a tennis match. A stray tennis ball is heading towards Nagisa and injures her leg. The other tennis player tries to help but Tomoya ‘protects’ her by bringing her to the infirmary himself. It then hit the twins that Nagisa is the one Tomoya always looked at as they both emotionally cry. Looks like they’ve admit their lost. Soon, Tomoyo wins the student council president.
 
With Tomoyo as the new student council president, in episode 19, she allows the re-establishment of the theatre club and Koumura to be both club’s advisor. It’s a win-win situation. Sometimes Tomoyo comes to visit the theatre club and sees how things are doing. Feeling indebted? With that over, the attention shifts to Tomoya. A teacher wants to discuss Tomoya’s future with his dad but Tomoya is pretty reluctant about it. So much so, Nagisa has to drag him to do so. But they heard how Tomoya’s dad said what ever his son did was none of his business because Tomoya is Tomoya. Realizing the strained relationship, Nagisa offers Tomoya to stay at her home for the time being. Can she do that? As usual the wacky Furukawa family never ceases to amaze (or annoy, depends how you look at it) him. While Nagisa tells him she can’t remember of the name of the play, she generally know how it goes. Tomoya also finds out that Sanae is running a cram school at their place with several naughty kids and wonders why Sanae quit being a teacher in the first place. That evening, Nagisa tells Tomoya that she felt like she did something bad to her parents and wants to apologize but can’t remember what it was but Akio says it’s just her imagination.
 
In episode 20, Nagisa still can’t remember the name of the play, although it’s that solitary girl and that garbage robot one. When Tomoya asks her parents about it, they don’t remember and Akio tells if Tomoya finds out something, he wants him to tell him first rather than Nagisa. At school, Tomoya and Sunohara are listening to one of Yukine’s charms again. Something about the first girl who speaks to them today will be the girl who likes them. As usual, no girl spoke to Sunohara. As for Tomoya, it could’ve been Fuko if he hadn’t silenced her. However, Tomoya hears Nagisa calling him. Ah well, that settles it. Nagisa tells more in detail about her story so Tomoya decides to find more of it as he thinks he has heard it before. They start by searching in Nagisa’s house shed. But their search has been cut short when Akio tells them they won’t find anything there. Later, Akio tells Tomoya that 10 years ago, while he and Sanae were pursuing their dreams, Nagisa fell ill. Since they had to work and couldn’t find anyone to care for her, they left her home alone while promising to get home as soon as possible. However, they found her barely breathing as she lay motionless in the snow outside their house. They nearly lost her. They felt that it was God’s punishment for putting their dreams ahead of Nagisa as they’re not the kind who can do both. So they decide to quit the dream jobs and open up a bakery so they can care for Nagisa at the same time. So all the memories of those years has been hidden in the shed. Though Tomoya feels Akio should tell Nagisa, he said he wanted to but is waiting for the right time. At Sunohara’s place, Sunohara is stating the fact how Tomoya is getting along well with Nagisa and something about how Nagisa is always relying on him. He wonders what will happen to her confidence if Tomoya is no longer around. The next day, the Furukawas and Tomoya had a picnic and played baseball with the local kids. I guess it was a spur of the moment when Tomoya hit the ball nicely and Akio took the chance to ask Nagisa if she’s fallen in love with him and without thinking she said yes, causing them to blush and Akio to curse his big mouth. Well, earlier on he said the same thing to Sanae.
 
Episode 21 has the gang do verbal exercises for the upcoming play but it seems Nagisa is the only one acting in the play while the rest are more behind-the-scenes with the effects and props. They also got the choir club to help them pick out the music for the play. Tomoya finds out that the theatre video they rent for Nagisa to get some ideas is actually the first time she’s actually seen one! Things just get more surprising, don’t they? Though Nagisa continues to practice, she still has the jitters so Sunohara comes up with a suggestion about how aliens will destroy their planet depending on how Nagisa’s play goes. Dumb idea. This causes her to worry even more. But even if she’s still nervous, the practice goes on well. The night before the play, Nagisa decides to get things she needs for her play, which leads her to the shed. She accidentally knocks over the boxes to discover several photo albums. Tomoya woke up that night to find there’s light downstairs. To his horror, Nagisa is now horrified that she is the cause of her parents giving up their dreams. Oh no. What’s this? Akio was once an actor. This explains his flamboyant personality.
 
Because of that, in episode 22, Nagisa becomes depressed, feels guilty and blames herself for her parent’s failure. The gang tries to cheer her but to no avail. Furthermore, Nagisa has wandered into Yukine’s archives and is watching Akio’s first play whereby he passionately say how he loves the theatre and that he’ll become a pro actor. Tomoya tries to snap her out of it but it’s of no use. When the play starts, the hall is filled and the rest wonders what is wrong with Nagisa as she has her mind preoccupied. She starts to break down and the audience wonders if this is part of the play. Akio then bursts into the hall yelling how Nagisa she didn’t ruin their dream because her dream is the same as theirs. So by continuing her dream, she too will make her parent’s dream come true. Not only hers, but the failed dreams of Tomoya and Sunohara too. Sanae and the rest soon supports and encourage Nagisa and in no time, Nagisa gets her self confidence back and starts her wonderful play. If you’re hopping that the fairytale will start from when it was first shown, then you’d be disappointed because the play continues after all those short clips. We see the garbage robot and the girl burying an unsuccessful pile of junk they made and how the duo will one day escape to another world. Well, we didn’t see how the play really ended but it was a hit. As usual, the gang celebrates their success at their clubroom and later when Tomoya and Nagisa are alone together in the room, he admits doesn’t hate school anymore and the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Tomoya confesses he loves Nagisa and wants to go out with her! She agrees while shedding tears of joy.
 
Though Tomoya and Nagisa are a couple in episode 23, their relationship isn’t really going anywhere. They could’ve made some progress by holding hands but Kyou interrupts them with her scooter. Damn. Even their pals know that they are dating. In this episode, Mei makes a return visit to the gang and Sunohara was damn excited to learn from Misae that a cute girl wants to see him. Oh the disappointment. Mei helps out at Nagisa’s bakery and when her parents are out, Mei devises a plan to bring more customers in. Yeah, she’s saying how there’s a cute girl in the store and in no time the whole store is jam packed! WTF?! Even Sanae’s bread is completely sold out. At Sunohara’s place, Mei decides to speak alone with Tomoya (poor Sunohara have to get out of his own room) and decides to play cupid between Tomoya and Nagisa. At first Tomoya thinks Mei is thinking of a forbidden hot steamy illicit relationship with her brother but when she says it isn’t, he thinks it’s with between the guys themselves. OMG! The yaoi part! Wearing the same boxer shorts. Anyway Nagisa comes by and you can tell her actions are very unnatural. Yeah, very odd. Like how she wants Tomoya to ask her to feed him bread but when he agrees, she says she can’t because it’s the only one she has as she wants to eat it. *Smack*. Anyway Tomoya catches Mei spying on them when this plan of hers didn’t work out too well. It was pretty obvious from the start. Well, it means Nagisa has a long way to go to become an actress. But Mei just cheekily ran away. As Nagisa explains Mei’s plans of getting them close together, the duo finally had time for themselves as they take a stroll and reassures that they’ll always be together. Such a sweet episode.
 
Episode 24 starts off differently and on a little surprising note. It seems that it has been a year Tomoya and Tomoyo have been dating each other! They’re so much in love together. Is this OVA to satisfy Tomoyo fans? Besides, Nagisa and the other girls did not make a single appearance! As Tomoyo wins the student council elections, her dream of preserving the sakura trees takes a step closer. However, there are many people especially supporters of Tomoyo who don’t like who she goes out with. I mean, they’re like at the different end of the polar and it’s ironic to see a model student going out with a delinquent. But Tomoyo doesn’t care about it. As Tomoyo is busy for the school festival, Tomoya feels a little lonely though his Sunohara buddy is still idiotic as ever. During the festival, Tomoyo takes a little break to meet up with Tomoya. They could’ve kissed if not for a student council member calling for her to resume her duties. Once she has left, this guy even tells Tomoya how he is dragging Tomoyo down as Tomoyo has elevated to a higher place. This causes Tomoya to stop and think for a while. Even Tomoya’s meeting with a teacher about how since the 2 are a couple, he notices Tomoyo has been slack in her duties and thinks Tomoya is the cause. Tomoya is now in a dilemma and after getting another round of lecture from that student council guy, he tells Tomoyo that they should break up. Though she disagrees but Tomoya says his feelings weren’t of love and tells her to work hard so that he could remember that he once dated a great girl. Tomoyo reluctant agrees and leave. But Tomoya is breaking up inside.
 
With that, Tomoya slowly picks up the pieces in his life like being a little more studious and waking up on his own. As time goes by, Tomoya and Sunohara notices how Tomoyo has gotten to great heights and achievement while thinking he’s still stuck in the same old place. Graduation is near and the guys try to seek job interviews and the funny part was how Sunohara now spots a black hair because he’s afraid to go to interviews with his blonde hair. One winter day as Tomoya is walking back, he spots Tomoyo waiting for him. She tells him how she manages to preserve the sakura trees but wished she could’ve done it with the person she loved. Even though she was busy, she has always watched him and confesses she loves him. Tomoya tells her to go to a higher place but it seems Tomoyo has another higher place of value in mind. She wants to go where Tomoya goes. He too says the same thing and for the first time, Tomoyo’s emotions has got the better of her and in their happiness, they embrace each other. Spring arrives and they are back together again. Well, in this OVA Tomoya doesn’t have his usual sarcasm or jabbing lines and portrays a more gloomy outlook. But I think it was quite a nice alternate story still.
 
So aside from that OVA and back to the tv series, in the end we pretty much have seen how Tomoya’s boring life took a turn for the better. I won’t really say he changed a lot but he a little as he is still the same person overall. I’m not sure if he made any amends with his dad or not. I felt that in the end, this whole series turn out to be quite okay in terms of storyline and as mentioned, I was hoping of something supernatural from Nagisa’s story but it turned out to be just that, a fantasy story. So the only supernatural part is Fuko. But that is more comical than scary. I love most of the jokes and jabbings from Tomoya. It never cease to make me laugh or at least smile. He’s kinda ‘creative’ in that sense, don’t you think?
 
When I first watched the series, I was thinking that this series somewhat looked similar to another series called Kanon in terms of character design. Then I found out that both shows were made by the same company, Key. No wonder they look familiar. Because of that, at first the characters resembles closely to each other and I had a hard time trying to tell them apart. Then certain story parts felt like there was a hint of Kanon too. Just like in Kanon, Tomoya helped out the most the girls with their problems. Fuko’s ghost-like case may resemble closely to Ayu’s case in Kanon while the meeting of Kotomi during his childhood sounds familiar to Mai’s case in the latter series.
 
But the thing which I find nice about this anime is the drawing and animation quality. Every hue, colour, shading and art has been given a detailed touch so it provides quite a nice eye candy. So much so I kinda a noticed that the character’s eyes have a different shine of radiance in it. It’s different than most animes that I’ve watched. And if I look a little closer, at times the character’s skin will also reflect and give out that pinkish or orange-ish radiance too.
 
Though I’m not saying that the background music (BGM) of the series suits me, but I noticed that most of the BGMs have that Chinese feel. Uh huh. Perhaps it’s the instrument and the tune they play it. Then there’s an upbeat and dramatic piece whereby it’s played during ambiguous moments like when Nagisa’s confession to Ryou and Tomoya’s yaoi confession to Nagisa about Sunohara. Then there are some which sounded like from a video game, especially when the screen prompts up some wordings. It really suits the scene well. I find the opening theme by Eufonius, Megumeru ~cuckool mix 2007~, somewhat unsuitable for the singer because the chorus sounded out-of-tune even if it’s intentionally sounded like that. The ending theme by Chata, Dango Daikazoku, sounds like a children song and the animation seems it’s like for children because it’s filled with dango. I guess this shows how much Nagisa loves this bun. The next episode preview has random scenes and lines from the next episode and sometimes it may give rise to misconception or just plain funny.
 
I also like the voice acting and my favourite one is Fuko who is voiced by Ai Nanoka who did Fuura in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Her voice does sound bubbly and enthusiastic filled with innocence and naivety. Other casts include Mai Nakahara as Nagisa (Miu in DearS), Mamiko Noto as Kotomi (Matsuri in Sola), Ryou Hirohashi as Kyou (Koyuki in Keroro Gunsou), Akemi Kanda as Ryou (Miharu in Da Capo), Houko Kuwashima as Tomoyo (Sango in Inu Yasha), Yuichi Nakamura as Tomoya (Outa in Muteki Kanban Musume), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Sunohara (Kazuki in Maburaho), Ryotaro Okiayu as Akio (Byakuya in Bleach), and Yukari Tamura as Mei (Nanoha in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha).
 
The characters here are memorable and wacky for this series. Who wouldn’t love Fuko’s starfish obsession, Kotomi’s slow dreamy voice, Kyou’s book throwing policy (by now the guys must be expert dodgers) and Tomoyo’s super high power kicking action. Then again, you can’t really put down Sunohara too because his loudmouth jump-before-you-look behaviour contributes to some of the jokes. Not to mention Akio too. So do we still wish for someone like him to be our father? Though the development has been expected to be between Tomoya and Nagisa, the producers did quite a good job balancing out the roles of the other characters.
 
Besides the tv series, there is also a movie adaptation which is also an alternate retelling which I didn’t watch. I read the synopsis which has the storyline stretching to when Tomoya and Nagisa are married and having a daughter of their own. However, the setting here is a little grim because Nagisa died just after giving birth! This sends Tomoya into depression and it turned him exactly like what his dad was. Like father like son. So all his friends do their best to help Tomoya get back on his feet again. So if you can’t get enough of Clannad, there are several more adaptations from mangas to book publications and even several soundtrack and drama CDs. For me, I think it’s enough that I’ve watched the tv series.
 
So life isn’t really that bad if you could make something out of it. For Tomoya, it really did. Though it won’t be a bed of roses, but at least it’s better than having negative thoughts like as though the world owes you a living. Hmm… Thinking about my own predicament, I can say it isn’t the most exciting life in the world but at least I’m happy with what I have now. Yeah, happily continuing to watch animes. And I’m keeping it that way.
 

Love Fate Love

December 12, 2008

  Sono toki wa totsuzen,
  Futte waita mitai ni,
  Me no mae ni otozurete,
  Subete wo kaete ita
 
Hmm… It’s been quite a while since I’ve heard this song, Love Fate Love, which is the ending theme for the anime series Final Approach. It sure does bring back memories of me watching that short series. As usual, when I first heard this tune, I was like going crazy over it. Somehow I just love this upbeat, buoyant and lively pop piece.
 
  Anata ni aeta koto,
  Unmei ja nai nara,
  Sekaijuu sagashite mo,
  Kiseki nante nai kara
 
When I was looking high and low for a karaoke version of this song, I was initially delighted to have found an instrumental version of it. However, to my disappointment, the instrumental version is actually a background music! Oh no! I felt ‘cheated’. I was really hoping that there is one but after searching for so long, I have come to a conclusion that such version does not exists. Boo hoo. :'(
 
  Ai wo dakishimete,
  Ai ni kuchidzukete,
  Ai ni egao shite,
  I miss you
 
As usual, I have to do a duet with the singer, Miyuki Hashimoto, each time I feel like singing this song back then. The song starts out loud with a heavy drum beat and fanfare-like trumpets blaring. Well, I guess that this is one of the reasons which makes the song nice and enjoyable. The guitar playing here sounds a little funky (obvious during the solo part) and there are bell chimes too (I think) at certain points of the song. When the song ends, it also ends on a loud note. As for the lyrics, it’s quite simple to remember since it’s a simple love song with the singer telling all her feelings and emotions of what love is and her ‘incidents’ of love.
 
  Ai wo tsukamaete,
  Ai ni tomadotte,
  Ai ni hanikande,
  I love you sasayaku
 
I don’t think I have any much problems singing this song, especially the verses. So much so I think I sound very close to the singer (note that it’s all in my mind only). The only problem I face is that during the chorus I can’t seem to sustain my voice for the lines "I miss you…" and "zutto…". My voice gets shaky and sometimes it just goes out of tune. Maybe it’s just a little pitch higher but ah well, maybe I need to sing this one a thousand more times before I can pull it off real close.
 
  Watashi dake wo mitsumete zutto…
 
Final Approach

Naruto

December 6, 2008

You know, I have never been a fan of the anime series Naruto. Not when it started several years ago and not even when I finished watching the first season of it. But somehow, the mysterious magic of that series managed to make me sit and watch through the episodes of the series. Yeah, I don’t know why I was so obliged to watch it either. Perhaps since it was shown on local television, I guess I made it a point to watch it. After all, there is only one way to really find out if I would be addicted to the series or not. Now I know.
 
I also suppose that since this is one of the most popular series in Japan, and probably the whole world by now, the series is still ongoing and there is no end in sight. Yup, for anime otakus, this is one of the must-see series in their list and those who don’t really watch it can’t call themselves anime fans. So okay, I made that one up myself but I feel that because Naruto has been so popular, I guess nearly everyone has watched the series, read the manga or at least heard of it. And I’m not talking about that fish paste you find in your ramen bowl. So if you haven’t heard of this name already, you must be living on planet Pluto for the past 10 years of your life, in which by the way, that last little planet in our solar system has been demoted to a dwarf planet.
 
Anyway if you really can’t remember what this show is about (I doubt anime fans would), then just let me briefly recap on it. You see, in some world where there are several countries and hidden ninja villages. You can guess which village a ninja comes from, from the logo they wear as a headband or armband. One of the hidden villages is called Konoha and basically this is where the story mainly sets. We have a little kid called Naruto Uzumaki, not your typical studious kind of boy as he is well, a little lazy, not that bright, a loudmouth, a simpleton and loves eating ramen. At first it was kind of irritating that he ends nearly all his sentences with ‘~datteba yo’ but I somehow got used to it. But you know, with these kind of characters as the main lead, surely they have a good sense of justice in them to balance off those ‘negative’ traits.
 
To cut short another long winded story, Naruto is an orphan and has a 9 tail demon fox sealed inside him. Something about that fox caused some havoc throughout the village before it was successfully sealed within him by the 4th Hokage, in which caused the latter’s life. Because of that, the other villagers shun him and treat him as though he’s like an alien. But that doesn’t stop this cheerful boy from trying to make friends and earn respect along the way (okay, maybe not total respect). Plus, he has a dream of becoming the next Hokage of his village, in which most peers laugh it off at first. With guys like him having such determined ambition, my guess is that there’s a high chance he’ll be one and make those non-believers eat their words. Erm… Okay, so I too have my own reservations. So that’s about what I need to blog on and if you’re really interested about knowing more on this kid (don’t think about asking for his phone number. Just kidding), there are lots more information about him, other characters and other stuff on the series in Wikipedia or dedicated Naruto-crazy fansites.
 
Of course in order for Naruto to become Hokage, he needs to hone his ninja skills. So he undergoes ninja training at the village’s ninja academy. I’m not sure about the rankings as in this academy, a Jounin rank ninja can undertake 3 Genin rank ninjas as their student. Under the guidance of a perverted easygoing Jounin, Kakashi Hatake, Naruto soon finds himself team-mates with Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno. Well, I got to know that Naruto has a crush on Sakura and even though Sakura’s a little more of a violent girl who doesn’t hesitate to punish Naruto for his stupidity. But this girl seems to have her sights more on the ”cool genius’ Sasuke. Speaking of which, this Sasuke guy must be really popular. Either girls just want his attention or bad guys want to get hold of him. He’s such an attraction magnet. Because of this, Naruto views him as his potential rival. However, Sasuke doesn’t bother much with all those and just does things at his own pace.
 
Then other main characters of the same rank as Naruto include Shikamaru Nara (a genius strategist and planner despite his lazy attitude because he view things troublesome if he needs to get up and do it), Ino Yamanaka (another love rival for Sakura over Sasuke), Chouji Akimichi (a fat kid who’s seen munching food most of the time), Rock Lee (a training mania who is so passionate about it and also likes Sakura), Neji Hyuga (a child prodigy of his clan), Tenten (a girl who can summon several weapons through a scroll), Kiba Inuzuka (posses dog-like features and abilities and has a little puppy named Akamaru), Shino Aburame (a bug master and always wear sunglasses), and Hinata Hyuga (Neji’s shy soft-spoken cousin who has a crush on Naruto). The other Jounin teachers include Asuma Sarutobi (also the son of the 3rd Hokage), Kurenai Yuhi (a skilled genjutsu user), and Maito Gai (another loudmouth passionate guy. At first I thought he was the father of Lee but later found out that Lee looks up so much to him, that he even dresses as close as his teacher). Then there are the siblings from the Sand Village, namely Gaara (always carrying a large sand pot on his back and dubbed the Sand Village’s ultimate weapon), Kankuro (doesn’t really have fighting skills as he is a puppet master as his puppets do all the fighting), and Temari (a girl who wields a large fan and could really kick up a storm. Literally).
 
Each of the ninjas here posses their own unique skill such as Naruto’s clone techniques, Shikamaru’s Shadow Imitation (controlling movements of another when one steps into his shadow), Neji and Hinata’s Byakugan (heightened vision to view hidden or faraway things), and Ino’s Mind Alteration (allowing her to control the mind and body of her ‘victim’). Furthermore, each of the ninjas has Chakura (some inner power or chi) which enables them to use such techniques. So if their Chakura runs out, it’s bye bye. Though at first I find the fighting techniques to be unique and amazing, as time goes by, I kinda noticed that these are so much that they could do and well, it does feel repetitious after awhile. Also, I noticed that whenever they want to do some kind of jutsu (technique) they will do some weird hand signals and movements. At first it looked cool, but then it felt kinda weird like as though they’re just making the hand movements up. I tried it myself by it was lame. Very.
 
Honestly, I didn’t really start watching Naruto right from the start as I only started somewhere during the Chuunin exams after the 2nd stage, The Forest Of Death part, the part whereby the surviving Chuunin examinees are supposed to bring some scroll safely to a spot if they want to advance to the next stage. This is a tough exam because they’re not going to let just anybody pass it. Uh huh. The examiners purpose here is to fail the examinees and those who deserves to pass will only get through. So a total of 7 teams (21 examinees) pass this stage. As far as I can remember, the examiner even mentions that there are too many examinees at this stage and even asks for volunteers to pull out! Who in their right mind would do so? Well, there is one. He is Kabuto Yakushi, and Naruto isn’t too happy that he did so.
 
Thus the 3rd round of the Chuunin preliminary exams sees the remaining 20 ninjas being randomly picked to face each other with the winners advancing to the next round. As usual, it seems lots of ninjas who entered this exam wants a piece of Sasuke, and this guy is injured during the previous stage. As luck would have it, Sasuke’s name comes out first. Can he make it? Below are the real short fight summary:
 
Fight 1: Sasuke Vs Yoroi
Though Yoroi used some absorption technique to suck his Chakura, Sasuke makes a comeback by inventing a new Lion Combo and wins the match.
Fight 2: Shino Vs Zaku
Shino wins the match by using his bugs to block Zaku’s block holes in his arm to make it unusable.
Fight 3: Kankuro Vs Tsurugi
Kankuro uses his puppet as a decoy to break all of Tsurugi’s bones.
Fight 4: Sakura Vs Ino
Looks like a match over Sasuke but in the end, both knocked each other out and is a draw. Thus, both failed to advance.
Fight 5: Tenten Vs Temari
Temari uses her big fan to blow Tenten’s weapons away as windfall comes to the former.
Fight 6: Shikamaru Vs Kin
Shikamaru uses his Shadow Imitation technique as both sides threw shurikens and dodge them at the same time. Only thing is, Kin hit the wall and became unconscious, thus handing the victory to Shikamaru.
Fight 7: Naruto Vs Kiba
As expected, Naruto copies some move he saw Sasuke did during the previous stage, combined with his clone technique to defeat Kiba.
Fight 8: Neji Vs Hinata
An intensely and closely fought match between the cousins as they trade power blows. Ultimately, Neji wins as Hinata is seriously wounded.
Fight 9: Lee Vs Gaara
Another intense match but in the end Gaara wins after using his sand powers to crush Lee’s hand and leg bones. It could have been fatal if Gai didn’t intervene and stop the match.
Fight 10: Chouji Vs Dozu
The fastest match of all. After Chouji gets all hyped up and transform into some large ‘rocket’, Dozu jumps away and gives a single punch to let Chouji smash himself in the wall.
 
With the preliminaries over, the remaining 9 examinees advances to the next round. Of course there are other developments too like we see Kabuto is actually an underling working for Orochimaru, the main villain of the series. They cook up a plot to kidnap Sasuke. Also, Dozu seems to be wanting to reveal Gaara’s true form so they had an unofficial fight, but Dozu lost not only the match, but his life as well. Due to Lee’s critical wounds, he is being hospitalized and his condition means he can’t continue to be a ninja anymore. Also, Naruto tries to get Kakashi to train him, but to his dismay finds Jiraiya as his teacher. Yeah, another perverted guy only difference is that his womanizing ways are more obvious. But having Jiraiya as his master is a blessing in disguise as he teaches Naruto how to summon a giant frog and later a super technique called Rasengan, which will send opponents flying away in a spiral if they’re being hit. Initially, you’ll see the explanations in detail of how this Rasengan is done but of course as time goes by, to save time (because by that time he’ll be doing it the umpteenth time), it’s like he’s doing it without much effort. It’s like a lot has been skipped.
 
The finals begin with a grudge match between Naruto and Neji. Naruto is determined to avenge Hinata’s defeat and put a sock in Neji’s blabbing about his better-than-you and destiny crap. As expected, Naruto uses his clone technique and even summoning his fox spirit to defeat him (after receiving some flashback and back story telling from Neji of course). Next round is supposed to be Sasuke against Gaara but since Sasuke is missing, the match is postponed. Which means, Kankuro’s match against Shino is to be brought forward. Because Kankuro is thinking that this will affect some plan that the Sand Village has been planning all along, he forfeits his match and lets Shino win by default. I’m sure the crowd are feeling ripped-off as after watching the splendid Naruto-Neji match, 2 subsequent matches are a no show. Luckily, the final match between Shikamaru and Temari gets on the way. That guy thinks it’s troublesome because he is always drawn to fight a girl but he has to. Even if he seems like the lazy daydreaming kind, Shikamaru manages to come up with a brilliant plan to trap Temari with his Shadow Imitation technique. Just when Shikamaru was about to deliver the final blow, he forfeits the match by saying he has no more Chakura, sending shock waves to everyone. Though Temari is declared the winner, we all know who is the real one, right?
 
The final match between Sasuke and Gaara finally starts when Sasuke appears in time (and even in a new outfit). Sasuke has a new ability called Chidori, which is some powerful lightning-based hand beam. Downside is that he can only use it twice in a short period of time. However, the superb match has been interrupted by Orochimaru, who is under the disguise of 1 of the Hokage and holds Konoha’s 3rd Hokage to a hostage. Orochimaru’s plan is to have Konoha village destroyed as the Sound and Sand Village ninja infiltrates Konoha. So everyone in Konoha who is still able to fight, fights back against the menacing threat. It’s like a big battle. Since Gaara is injured during the fight, Temari and Kankuro whisks him away but Sasuke isn’t about to let their unfinished business go and chases after them. Shikamaru, Naruto and Sakura soon follows. Also, Orochimaru engages in a fight with the 3rd Hokage.
 
Temari faces Shikamaru so that she could make time for Kankuro to let Gaara escape. But soon, Kankuro is faced with Shino who thinks they should properly settle their early match (match ended with a draw). Which means, Gaara has to face Sasuke who has already catch up to him. However, the curse that Orochimaru put on Sasuke during the exams has restricted and weakened him. Gaara also transformed into some large ugly sand beast. With Sasuke out of the picture, it’s Naruto’s turn to take charge. Sasuke can only watch in pain. Because I watched Naruto on a weekly basis, I find this part funny. When the 3rd Hokage did some summoning technique to seal Orochimaru (by trying to pull out Orochimaru’s soul), Orochimaru uses his sword to stab the 3rd Hokage. So while Naruto is fighting Gaara and as the episode progresses, each time they show the scene of the 3rd Hokage and Orochimaru in that position, I’d go "OMG! I can’t believe they’re still in that position! It’s been how many weeks already and they’re still like that! Hahaha!". Yeah, it was pretty hilarious to note that.
 
So after another round of flashbacks from Gaara as we learn why he wants to kill everyone, Naruto’s sense of justice and determined will to protect his friends of course changed Gaara’s mind as Naruto defeats him along with the giant toad he summoned. Hey, if he’s going to go up against a giant monster, might as well fight fire with fire, right? And after don’t know how many episodes, the match between Orochimaru and the 3rd Hokage ends with the latter sacrificing his life and at the same time managed to only ‘cut away’ Orochimaru’s soul of his arms. This leaves Orochimaru unable to use his both arms again. So he has his men retreat for the time being. But you can count on it that he’ll be back. In the aftermath, everyone finds out about Hokage’s demise and pays their last respect. As for the Chuunin finals, it has been postponed indefinitely.
 
Due the 3rd Hokage’s passing, the elders of Konoha decides to find a replacement and be the 5th Hokage for the village. Though Jiraiya himself declines for that position, he suggests that he’ll find the medical expert Tsunade for the position. Tsunade is 1 of the 3 great legends of Konoha with Jiraiya and Orochimaru being the other 2. So Jiraiya sets out his journey with Naruto to find Tsunade. At the same time, Sasuke’s renegade older brother, Itachi, along with some shark-looking guy, Kisame, both from an evil group called Akatsuki, arrives in Konoha to get Naruto. They are being confronted with Kakashi and soon they engaged in the battle of Sharingans. So that is what Kakashi’s other hidden eye is. Anyway this Sharingan, when someone looks into it, will experience life-threatening pains. That’s what I think. In the end, Itachi won. So Kakashi will be out of commissioned for some time. Also, because Sasuke really hates his older brother, he is determined to kill him. But since Sasuke is weak, Itachi defeats him easily and lets this weakling live after brutally wounding Sasuke. Since Itachi isn’t really interested in all that and is after Naruto, he focuses his attack on him. They had to back off when Jiraiya uses a powerful technique to fend them off. Itachi and Kisame decides to back off for now.
 
Meanwhile, Orochimaru and Kabuto approaches Tsunade and her attendant Shizune (always carrying a little pig named Tonton around) and makes a deal with her to heal his hands. At the same time, Tsunade too has met up with Jiraiya but declines the offer. Since Naruto is pretty much pissed off because he can’t believe the fact that somebody would turn down such a nice position (well, to him), they engaged in a short fight (of course Tsunade is in a far better league than him) and then made a bet. Of course Tsunade had no intention of helping Orochimaru so they decide to take her by force. A battle of the 3 Konoha legends soon starts. It’s kinda odd to see them summoning their own giant creatures to fight it out. While Jiraiya has his giant toad, Orochimaru’s is a giant double headed viper while it’s a giant slug for Tsunade. Also, Naruto gets to find out that Kabuto is on Orochimaru’s side and he can’t believe it. You can’t have a grand battle without involving Naruto as he takes on Orochimaru as revenge for destroying lovely Konoha. But Naruto was severely wounded by Kabuto’s attacks but after seeing his strong determination, Tsunade decides to accept the position of 5th Hokage and with that, did some move to defeat Orochimaru and send him retreating in defeat.
 
With Tsunade as the 5th Hokage, she also tries treating Lee and in time, Lee’s injuries will gradually heal and that kid will be back to his usual self. I’m not sure if it’s a Hokage’s main job but most of the time I see Tsunade stamping lots of paper work in her office. Is this necessary? In the mean time, with Kakashi out of the picture, Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke are being given a task to protect a young man, Idate, in some race between 2 rival clans, in which the winner will get control of the place for a year. Of course the other side too has hired a ninja to sabotage the race in their favour. Not if Naruto can help it. As usual we get to see Naruto’s sheer determination which brings Idate to his senses bla bla bla (flashbacks included). In the end, Idate wins it for his clan.
 
But back at Konoha, Sasuke isn’t particularly happy about Naruto because that boy has grown to be stronger than him. Uh huh, he’s been hogging all the glory and limelight ever since the Konoha attack. Jealous, isn’t he? I mean, even his own brother doesn’t think he is that strong too. So eventually the 2 guys even had a duel on the rooftop and it could be devastating if Sakura and Kakashi hadn’t stop them in time. So one night, Orochimaru sends his Sound Four subordinates to get Sasuke. I don’t remember their names but they include a big guy who looks like he has Down Syndrome, a flutist lady, a spider guy, and a 2 headed puppet guy. In short, Sasuke decides to turn to the dark side and seek Orochimaru’s powers to become stronger. When news that Sasuke has gone over to Orochimaru, Tsunade assembles a team to get him back. At this time, Shikamaru has been promoted to a Chuunin even though he lost but since he requested it and has a proven track record, I’m sure Tsunade has no doubts about him being one.
 
The team Shikamaru assembles include himself, Naruto, Chouji, Neji and Kiba as they go on a journey to take back Sasuke. Sakura emotionally pleads to Naruto to bring Sasuke back because she herself was unable to do so. But don’t worry, Naruto always keeps his promises. Well, most of them. The funny thing I kinda noticed is that the ninjas seem to hop tree to tree like as though they’re flying. And they’ll be doing it very often. With ease. Not only that, whenever they run, they have both their hands stretched back like as though it’s for wind resistance purposes. As Shikamaru’s team closes in on the Sound Four, in order to buy time slowly one by one engages in a melee combat. But even if the fight is intense and close, we all know how it will turn out in whose favour, right? First it’s that Down Syndrome guy against Chouji. Then the spider guy against Neji followed by Kiba taking on 2 headed puppet guy. Finally when it’s down to Shikamaru and flutist girl, Sasuke has broken out from his container and continues heading to Orochimaru himself. Of course Naruto is hot on his heels. Naruto then is stopped by another one of Orochimaru’s henchmen. I don’t remember his name too but I’ll call him bone guy because he can use any part of his bones as his weapon. Luckily for Naruto, Lee has been healed and comes to his rescue. While Lee takes on bone guy with his drunken fists, Naruto continues pursuing Sasuke. Then I’m not sure I remember why, the Sand siblings come to the aid of their Konoha counterparts. Though Chouji and Neji have defeated their opponents but blackout after the match, Kankuro helps Kiba, Temari assists Shikamaru, and Gaara teaming up with Lee to defeat their respective opponents. It’s like the Sand village is on Konoha’s side now.
 
Finally, Naruto meets up with Sasuke at some waterfall. Some talk here and there. Both are still stubborn. Sasuke wants to become stronger while Naruto is bent on bringing him back. So who’s going to give way? Let’s slug it out then. Another draggy part here. While Naruto engages in a fight with Sasuke, we get to see Sasuke’s sad and tragic past. At this point it’s like they show several seconds of the action and then the rest of the episode is to the flashback. I don’t want to go into all that flashback as all I know is that Itachi killed everyone in the Uchiha clan and left poor Sasuke the sole survivor. So I guess it’s in their genes for them to turn to the dark side, huh? This happens for don’t know how many episodes so much so I got really irritated when this happens. So after all that flashback, it’s finally Naruto’s Rasengan or Sasuke’s Chidori. In addition, Naruto has summoned his 9 tail fox spirit while Sasuke has turned into some ugly hand monster. That’s right, a hand monster. It’s such a fiery and explosive battle, literally. In the end, Sasuke is victorious and continues his journey to Orochimaru. At that time, Kakashi arrives and carries an unconscious Naruto back to Konoha. After Naruto comes to back in hospital, he apologizes to Sakura for not being able to bring back Sasuke but will continue to do so in the future. Sakura must be feeling bad for asking such requests and so she asks Naruto to drop it. But would that guy listen? Thus, Jiraiya offers Naruto to undergo some training under his guidance to become stronger and meanwhile as Sasuke arrives in Orochimaru’s hidden lair, Akatsuki assemble themselves to begin their plan that will commence in 3 years time. Wow, does it take that long to start?
 
For Naruto fans, most of them will know that the manga story ends there and the rest of the Naruto episodes are considered to be filler episodes. Meaning episodes which don’t really follow the manga’s storyline. And there’s quite a lot of them. Over a year’s worth of filler episodes as they are divided into short story arcs lasting over a few episodes. Mostly the filler episodes either has Naruto being paired up with the other main ninja characters (feels like they’re being rotated) on a mission to rescue Sasuke or go on missions that other countries hire them for a particular job. From this point on, Sasuke won’t be making anymore appearance except through flashbacks.
 
Missions which include to find clues of Sasuke’s whereabouts such as Jiraiya taking Naruto and Sakura to the Rice Field Land to investigate supposedly Orochimaru’s lair, befriended a girl named Sasame but got involve in the local clans bid to join Orochimaru’s side in order to revive their clan. They did meet Orochimaru and Kabuto, but Sasuke was nowhere to be found. Another mission whereby 3 prisoners escape from a prison with one of them named Mizuki, an ex-instructor of the academy who seems to want to settle a score with another instructor of Konoha’s ninja academy and childhood friend, Iruka, by wanting to become stronger. Anyway he was just one of Orochimaru’s many experimental failures in the end. Another mission involving Naruto, Shino, Hinata and Kiba about finding a rare beetle which would always find the owner’s scent but the quartet got into a sticky situation as they encounter a clan who wants the beetle all to themselves. But I like the end part whereby the gang successfully got the beetle and was about to let it sniff Sasuke’s headgear when Naruto farted! Haha, now the beetle will always be attracted to Naruto’s butt! Another mission has Naruto travelling with Neji, Tenten and Lee to find a man named Raiga who seems to be connected to Kisame, so they thought they can find some answers. But they didn’t manage to get anything from him.
 
I think due to the recent failures to locate Sasuke, I guess Tsunade would assign the young ones to other missions. I mean since people from other countries hire an pay them for their services, why not? Like Naruto and co needing to catch a killer crook with some bounty hunter, Naruto and friends heading to the Country Of Birds to investigate reports of a terrorizing ghost (can’t believe Naruto is afraid of ghosts) but finds out that there’s a conspiracy to topple the current feudal lord and that the current feudal lord is actually a girl disguised as her deceased brother, and Naruto heading to the land of Sea with a Jounin, Anko, to investigate Kaima monsters sinking ships in their waters. Since Anko was an ex-follower of Orochimaru, this place brought dreadful memories back to her. Yeah, another experiment victim. Here, they befriended a half-human half-monster girl Isabi, who has been ostracized by the other villagers for her looks. Though they found out Orochimaru’s hideout, he’s no longer at this abandoned lab even though one of his mad scientist assistant is still there carrying out this dangerous experiment. Then another mission to protect some star in the Star Village but it turned out as usual one of their own people with greedy ambitions to be stronger is the one behind all of it as the Konoha ninjas manage to put a stop to it. Then an escort mission whereby a group of assassins are targeting a royal princess disguised within a group of peddlers. Though Naruto finds her selfish, but you know, this guy’s determination can change anybody who witness and hears him long enough. Another escort mission which has them accompanying a gang member of a murderous group called Shinobazu. But one of the escort guards wants to kill him because he killed his little brother when he was young. Of course another twist in the story which reveals that all this was a setup and that he’s doing it to bring the group down as he is fed up with their murderous ways. And that little brother of his, he is still alive and well. A short arc which has Naruto befriending a guy who has lost his memories and names him after a bamboo shoot. He along with Tenten and Neji decides to bring him back to where he can recover his memories but stumbles upon a devastated village. It’s revealed that this guy was part of some murderous group and that he never lost his memories in the first place. In the end, he sacrificed his life to save the villagers from their impending doom. Also another short arc which involves Kurenai whereby an ex-genjutsu student Yakumo is seeking revenge on her for sealing her powers and suspects she and 3rd Hokage of killing her parents. But Kurenai did this to seal a dangerous beast within her and that it was her other monstrous self which led to her parent’s demise.
 
Then for the first time, when there is a hidden threat to the Konoha village, all the 11 Konoha ninjas are reunited to find out the perpetrator who seems to have planted explosive charms throughout the entire village. Furthermore, this guy is believed to be a very skilled architect and has faked his own death. What’s worse is that Naruto did befriended him earlier on and can’t believe that he would be the suspect. I mean, this guy was so nice to him and even gives Naruto his portion of his favourite ramen, he would be the least to be suspected, right? So the gang plays a detective cat-and-mouse game as they race against time before their village goes up in smoke. Naruto finally catches him hiding behind that Mount Rushmore-like mountain (that mountain which has faces of all Konoha’s past Hokage) but this old geezer isn’t willing to give up. It takes all 11 of them to bring him down but in the end it is revealed that his bomb threat was never real. Since Naruto reminded him of his late grandchild, he just wanted to relive the days when he played treasure hunting with him. All this for just that? Well, at least it shows Konoha is still on their toes.
 
There are one episode only fillers which in my opinion and are quite hilarious to watch. Probably after watching so many arcs, this one-off episode is quite refreshing as they appear in between main and filler arcs. My favourite one has got to be the one whereby Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura are determined to find out how Kakashi looks like beneath his mask, since they’ve never seen him without one. So the trio go to great lengths to get Kakashi take off his mask without him noticing but flops. In the end, Kakashi did mention if they wanted to see him unmasked, they should just say so. And as Kakashi prepares to take it off, he reveals it… to be another mask! Hahaha! They’ll never know what kind of mouth he has. My second favourite one is where Naruto and Shino are to be a representative at a funeral for a man inheriting a large fortune from his deceased father. That guy will inherit all the wealth provided that he does not laugh during the funeral. So we see all the other members trying to make him laugh. But the most funny part is whereby Shino is test drinking a tea which might be spiked with laughing gas. It was! So the hilarious part is to see Shino can’t stop laughing! Even throughout the night! In the end, it’s revealed that this was a plot by the deceased dad to make everyone reunite and laugh together just as they did before in those good old times. My third favourite one is whereby Naruto has to accompany Ino, who has to disguise herself as a bride who looks exactly like her. Thing is, this princess bride is fat! Not only that, the groom is a fat foreigner (what is with the Elvis getup?). So Ino is in a dilemma to accept his flamboyant advances or not. The funny part is that Naruto transformed himself into Ino’s bride and was caught by the real princess as he is peeing standing up! So as he runs away, it’s funny to see his pee non-stop! It’s like watering it everywhere! But in the end, that fat foreigner prefers fat woman so he has no qualms to see the real princess’s body size and loves her even more.
 
Other one episode fillers (okay, maybe some 2-3 episodes) include Lee opening a dojo to further practice his skills so when a ninja spy comes in disguised as Gai, he finds out the hard way that this village is weird. Another ninja spy infiltrating the village with them disguising as Lee and Gai but since Tsunade knows that they’re fakes, he has them do meaningless chores till they gave up on stealing their information. Another one whereby Naruto and Kiba escorting a selfish national treasure guy safely to his destination, a cooking episode whereby Naruto teams up with the ramen owner to cook up an ultimate ramen recipe in order to win back his daughter, Naruto along with Hinata and Kiba have to team up and find a treasure or else Tsunade will send them back to basics after she notices this team has contributed to many mission failures (note that the treasure in the end was a bill sent to Tsunade as services for part of this treasure hunt), Naruto needing to babysit a wealthy spoilt brat (this episode makes you think money can buy everything and that all his bodyguards are money hungry!), Jiraiya and Naruto trying to prevent the wrong delivery of some ecchi script to the wrong person (by the way, it did but because that person was a fan of the script, a war was averted), Naruto getting pretty attached to a sloth-like baby as he tries to return it to its mother, Kiba trying to find a cure for Akamaru as it is infected with a virus which makes him lose his senses and go dangerously wild, Naruto and co entering a haunted living castle to search for the lost wife of a feudal lord.
 
The final story arc has a group of people from the Waterfall village intending to revive Gaara as their ultimate weapon. So they kidnapped one of Gaara’s students, Matsuri (heck, she’s the only student) as a bid to force him to do so. Gaara has no choice but to pursue them along with Temari and Kankuro. Since the trio are in a pinch, it is Konoha’s turn to do some payback. Yeah, everyone excluding Tenten is on the team to repay their debts off to the Sand siblings. I don’t want to go into this in detail but in short, they won and managed to suppress and prevent the threat of the revival of Waterfall village’s founder who is also their ultimate weapon. When everything is settled down (maybe except for Tenten who is real mad that she got left out from the team and taking her frustrations out on Lee), Naruto goes on a 3 year training stint with Jiraiya. Likewise, Sakura is under the guidance of Tsunade. Looks like it’s going to be quiet in Konoha for awhile.
 
That’s it for me. Uh huh, after 220 episodes of the first season, the second season will finally start under the name of Naruto: Shipuuden. I’ve had my fair share of Naruto already and I don’t feel like I want to continue despite the second season staying true to its manga roots. All I know is that it has been 3 years passed. Naruto has grown up and looks a little more mature now. But his character really mature? Okay, maybe. So perhaps he has learned some new moves and become stronger under Jiraiya’s guidance (hope he didn’t turn out to be a pervert). As for Sasuke, he really did turn to the dark side and all the Akatsuki members put their world domination plan into motion. Whatever that is. But they’ll be the main antagonist of the series. With that, the series is still running in Japan and with something so popular there, end is definitely not in sight. Hell, I am already. If you want to mention about OVAs and movies, that’s another different story. Naruto has plenty of them too.
 
Speaking of which, the local television is still running the series by the time I finished the first season. I was initially surprised that a series with over 100 episodes didn’t get axed and even made it past the Sasuke chasing arc. Well, it finally happened when somewhere during the fillers, the station decided to repeat some random episode. That’s where I decided to go on my own and of course I finished it. Then many week’s later as I checked back the programme, it went running back to where it left off. Oh hello, I’m already done by the time they realize this mistake or glitch. Unless it was done on purpose.
 
I noticed that the drawing, art and animation was quite good during the series. Then as it progresses I kinda feel that there is a certain drop in quality as the character’s facial details become a little more simpler likewise with the action sequence. Some of it are rather obvious. But still, Naruto fans won’t complain about it. Maybe just the fillers itself. Hmm… I’m still wondering why Naruto has whiskers on his face. At least those lines on his cheeks look like it. Maybe he eats too many ramen?
 
Most of the opening and ending themes of the series have that heavy rock feel. It’s kinda suitable for an action pack series. However, only the 2nd opening theme, Haruka Kanata, sung by Asian Kung-fu Generation is my favourite one. I don’t remember which one of the opening songs, it sounded like the singer was singing it with a pretty much drunken and hoarse voice! Didn’t like that one very much. Each time that song comes on, I’ll switch off the volume or skip it. Other themes which sounded okay to me are Rocks by Hound Dog (1st opening), GO!!! by Flow (4th opening), Harmonia by RYTHEM (2nd ending), Hajimete Kimi To Shabetta by GagagaSP (8th ending), and Soba Ni Iru Kara by Amadori (11th ending). The rest wasn’t that appealing to me anyway. Of course such a series has its soundtracks too and the one I like is still Hokage’s Funeral (a slow piano ballad solo) and The Raising Fighting Spirit (a very fast paced and upbeat rock instrumental).
 
Naruto is so popular not only that there are video games and other merchandise of it, but there are even jokes by fans (or anti-Naruto people) going around about it. Yeah, they’re making a big joke out of Naruto’s catchphrase which includes "Believe it!" and there are plenty of gay and sexist jokes like how the reason Naruto is desperately going after Sasuke because the director threatened to cut gay scenes of them both. Some pretty hilarious to downright disgusting. Call these people creative if you will.
 
After watching such a long series with so many characters and so many plots and development, my mind feels a little numb. One reason why I still prefer watching short series. As I said, I didn’t really get addicted to this series and once I finished watching the first season, I felt that I was ‘freed’ from the ‘imprisonment’. No hard feelings Naruto fans, but I somehow just don’t quite like the series. Call me a fake anime fan if you will but I guess it all boils down to preference. And you better believe it, datteba yo!
 
Naruto

Koharu Biyori

December 5, 2008

For those who have fetish for maid lolicons, I’m sure Koharu Biyori would appease you, if not stimulate a bigger appetite for the maid genres of the anime world. That’s right. I’m not saying that this show is filled with maids to the brim from start to finish, but at least the main character is one. And you know, anime maids are definitely more cute and moe than those in the real world (that depends on your tastes). Wait a minute. Am I saying that I have maid fetish too? Now I don’t really have such fetish but I do find them cute. That’s all.
 
If you are planning to watch this 3 OVA episode of nearly 30 minutes each, then be warned that there are lots of ecchi and fanservice scenes. Uh huh, what maid genre would be complete without it. Some of the scenes even show females being topless. However, it’s all in the name of comedy. At least, that’s the way how I looked at it. Okay, maybe to satisfy hardcore ecchi lovers as well. Each of the episodes are split into 3 parts so there are a total of 9 little stories, if you want to look at it that way.
 
In the near distant future, leave it to the Japanese to come out with human-like robots. Not just maids but they can even range from all walks of life. They’re ready to do whatever whims and fancies their masters wished for. Are people in the future that deprived? Is having a real human worse off than a robotic one? Perhaps in serving and taking orders effectively ;p. But that’s not the case in point. So before we could really live out the real thing, there’s no harm of dreaming it and possibly making it into an anime, right?
 
Episode 1
In part 1, at a company called Maid Works which sells various forms of female robots, Takaya Murase, a young working adult is browsing through the store with the help of the store manager, which I shall refer to as Tenchou, who seems to be quite knowledgeable and passionate about the robot dolls in her store. She can be a good salesperson. Takaya spots a blonde doll and without a doubt, he wants that one.
 
Back at Takaya’s apartment, he receives the package from Maid Works and is pretty much looking forward to it. You can tell on the look of his face that he’s a little pervy. By the way, did you notice the various figurine dolls on his closet? Too many… Reminds you of that guy in NHK Ni Youkoso. Takaya is surprised to find the blonde girl naked and thinks it’s part of the company’s fanservice. When the blonde girl open her eyes and spots a doll, she thinks that doll is her master. Until Takaya corrects her. Thank goodness she won’t be serving something 1/10 her size. Hey, doesn’t this blonde girl look a bit like Nagi from Hayate No Gotoku?
 
Anyway she soon finds out that Takaya is a pervert and a dress-up doll freak! Unlike most obedient maids who quickly serve their master without question, I kinda find this one to be a little, how do you put it… have a little conscious. Uh huh. She can even tell what’s wrong or right and because of Takaya’s weird fetish, she becomes embarrassed and is reluctant to do his biddings. Most of the time, that is. But he’s still her master. So as Takaya is trying to force a maid dress on her, she punches him. I’m not sure if his nosebleed is as a result of her punch or the fanservice shot he got. He gave a thumbs up.
 
Once Takaya comes too, he finds himself in bed and that girl has put on the maid costume. But he is horrified to find that she has cleaned up his entire room by discarding away all his figurine collections! Any collector would certainly get upset. Her reason was so that she could create a pleasant working environment by throwing away all those ‘cursed dolls’. If you had a girlfriend, you’d definitely not want to display such items openly. Takaya tries to play reverse psychology by saying that those cursed dolls may have a restless spirit of their own and come back to haunt her, in which she really believes it. So this is another one of Takaya’s ploy to get her dressed up as a miko priestess to ‘purify’ her. She must be dreading every second of it. Since she can’t take it anymore (because she thinks she’s programmed as a maid), she decides to run away after calling Takaya a doll maniac and a dress-up doll pervert.
 
Outside Maid Works store, she is having a dilemma of wanting to go back or not because she remembers Tenchou’s words that if a robot maid is returned, the company has to pay a big compensation and dispose of the robot. I guess that’s a big no no. Takaya then comes by to get her and she remembers his words while she was a display at a store, "I need no one else but her". This made her change her mind as she wants to continue serving him. Takaya then decides to give her a name, Yui, which made her touched. If Yui thinks it’s over when she reaches home, then she’s got it all wrong because back in Takaya’s room, he is displaying his reserve figurines (I guess he has too much for not displaying them all in the first place) and what’s worse, he’s back to his crazy dress-up ways. Yui must be thinking, life would be better if she’s scrapped metal.
 
In part 2, Yui and Takaya are taking a walk in the streets and this is part of Yui’s plan to not let Takaya dress her up so frequently. Since they’re out, he has no chance to go to his wardrobe to put clothes on her. Meanwhile, a very busty girl, Minori Sumitomo, finds a lost child at a park, Ayumi Hagiwara and proceeds to do some dance to cheer her up. Yui and Takaya happen to pass by and Yui is horrified to see such bounciness (unless you’re like those perverted guys staring…) and thinks it’s a crime. As Takaya tries to talk to Ayumi, we see 2 ‘A-cup Idol Miko Sisters’ (okay, so that title wasn’t necessary), Ran and Sumire Midou summoning a giant octopus to wrap its tentacles around Minori. Fanservice time! You’ll notice that this will happen once in every episode, the miko sisters summoning a giant octopus to wrap Minori with its tentacles. I wonder how most people find this a turn on.
 
As Takaya chats with Ayumi, his soothing words seems to capture her heart. But Yui doesn’t believe it that Takaya seems like a good hearted person. And she always thought her master was a no good dress-up doll freak. Believe it now! As they are about to go find Ayumi’s parents, Minori comes back (dripping wet in some liquid…), she suggests going to her cafe. Back at Cafe Cowbeya, the gang finds that Minori’s dad, Tetsushi, also runs the cafe. But what’s worse is that he too has some sort of costume fetish as he takes out his ‘dream’ on Minori, who has no qualms about it. The 2 guys went about their discussion about the best fabric etc, and Yui can’t believe Minori is receptive to it. Even Ayumi wants Takaya to tailor her! Thus the guys initiates a Dress-up Battle. After several outfits (some embarrassing ones) and lots of battle-like comments, the duo ends up with a draw. But they both love it. So are those perverted spectators. At that time, Ayumi’s mom, Kanae, who thought there was a party here, comes in and is relieved to see her daughter. Yeah, another busty woman. Doesn’t she look too young to be Ayumi’s mom? Anyway, Tetsushi requests the help of Yui and Kanae to serve the hordes of customers coming in to the cafe. At the end of the day, they’re successful and Yui notes Takaya’s good side of helping others. All that mood is ruined when Minori and Ayumi hugs him as the former wants him to continue working here and the latter thinking of working here too.
 
In part 3, Yui is excited when Minori brought her relative’s baby to her place, since they’re moving. Though it isn’t her baby, Minori really wished this was hers and images of Takaya being her husband comes up. Soon Minori has to leave to help her dad out with the large number of customers and entrusts the little baby in Yui’s care. All is fine until the baby starts screaming. Yui wonders what does this mean. Erm… I thought maid robots have such cases programmed? She calls Takaya but he sounded so happy so she doesn’t want to ruin his fun and tells him that the loud noise is from the tv. Yui should have thought about this at the start, as she requests for a download programme for babysitting knowledge. Urm… Isn’t the beam from the satellite in outer space too excessive? Yui then takes off the baby’s diapers and he ‘shoots’ her with his pee (don’t mind the obvious viewing of his male anatomy). The pee must have a damaging effect because Yui detected an error and the function is now damaged. Haha, so high-tech robot but still not waterproof.
 
Yui imagines how Takaya will discard her since she’s a useless maid. She searches his closet to find lots of baby stuff in it and also an adult size clothes for babies, which she puts them on. She then decides to play mother and feed him with her breast milk but she doesn’t have so. But the baby is still sucking at her boobs. What is the sensation she is feeling now? When she finally manages to get him drink from the bottle, Yui thinks how cute he is, until he pooped, that is. While washing his diapers, the baby nearly fell off the apartment’s balcony. Yui manages to make it in time. She thinks she can’t really take her eyes off him and can’t help staring at his ‘little elephant’. Surprised at first, she soon finds it cute! The rest of the day sees Yui’s babysitting skills getting better as she adores the baby even more. When Takaya comes home, he is shocked to see the baby and even thinks it’s possible for a robot to get pregnant. Of course he gets even more surprise to see Yui in that baby costume. Same thing when Minori comes back to pick him up. Yui did mention how this is what babysitters have to wear. Something not right in the programme. But the baby does look happy.
 
Episode 2
In part 1, while Yui is helping Minori out at the cafe, a beautiful maid robot girl named Kuon comes in to pick up stuffs she earlier ordered. It seems Kuon knows Yui because she came from the same place, Maid Works. Kuon wonders why Yui is working here and concludes she has been abandoned by her master. Of course Yui introduces her perverted master while Kuon is ranting about being alone and all that. It seems that she is masterless and always get depressed whenever she thinks of it. Uh huh, she thinks she’s just a left over to be displayed for eternity.
 
At Maid Works store, Yui visits Kuon in her room. It’s such a depressing and gloomy atmosphere. She even reads her depressing diary which tells of how other obsolete models were sold but she’s still here. Kuon then mentions how Yui broke the record of being the fastest sold doll in the shop and herself who has top notch functions is left to rot. So to sort things out (more like jealous), Kuon proposes entering a Maid Robot Contest. Things start of with a cooking contest with Kuon making an exquisite French meal while Yui having trouble with the onions (crying too much). Then it’s the Ice Loli Test, whereby Kuon is licking and sucking a popsicle… It looks so convincing… and so turn on… Then a pantyhose putting on contest and finally a service test to see who can serve their master better. While Kuon puts up a great display of service, Yui feels she has no self-confidence until Takaya gives her some advice. This in turn made Yui feel better and when it’s her turn, she really does shine. Everyone is so absorbed with it, except for Kuon who doesn’t get it and heaves a loud unbelievable "Huh?!".
 
Though Kuon won the event, Yui tells her how since she isn’t good enough, she’ll use her way to please her master and tells Kuon to come visit her place sometime. Tenchou then arrives to congratulate her for beating their rival company, MP, and comforts her by saying that someday she’ll find a master of her own. But the actual fact is that Tenchou notes that Kuon is the best maid robot of her store and she can’t let her go because she is so well made. I see, wanting to keep her to yourself forever, huh? Yeah, can’t say the truth to her face either. The next morning, Yui is surprised to see Kuon watching tv at her place. Kuon mentions that she had invited her to come and she’s ranting how the best maid is waiting for her destined master to come. Oh, only if she’d knew. Kuon wants Yui to serve her tea and Yui notes another weird person has appeared.
 
In part 2, Takaya notes that Yui is still down over the recent contest. He even tried putting on several clothes on her to cheer her up. Erm… Isn’t that fetish only cheering himself? Tetsushi then suggests to take the gang to the beach. Yui couldn’t believe it at first but since Takaya says it’s a rare chance for her, it’s better that she enjoy herself. Minoru has Takaya to put sun lotion on her back and is enjoying every moment of it until she finds out it was her dad’s old filthy hands. Even Kanae and Ayumi are fighting over Takaya. This guy is sure lucky. When Takaya asks Yui if she can go into water, she tells him that she can even walk on water and proceeds to show him. But that method somehow burned her lower portion of her swimsuit ("My butt is on fire!!!"). Later Takaya teaches Yui how to swim and it seems Minori and her dad too has a cafe here.
 
Now this part I didn’t get it. We see a Power Rangers-like spoof with Yui, Minori, Kuon, Ayumi and Kanae as the good guys against the evil duo of Ran and Sumire and their giant octopus. After a short scene of a tentacle-wrapped Minori, our heroines defeat the menacing threat with a rugby ball…?! Later when Takaya asks Yui did she had a happy time, Yui isn’t pleased and thinks that he did it just make her happy only. Then as the girls take a bath (nakedness here very obvious. Be warned), they chat over thinks like Minori’s oversized boobs and Kanae giving Yui some advice. At night, Yui meets Murase again and apologizes for what she said earlier on. As they reconcile, they made a promise to do this more often.
 
Part 3 has Takaya at Cowbeya as Tetsushi mentions how Takaya has an interest in the MP new product announcement fair. Just then a sexy maid robot, Sakuya, comes running in and hugs Takaya. It seems Takaya knows who she is because she is his ultimate customized figurine. They have a chat over Takaya’s nice design and all the feelings he poured into it to make the ultimate life-size figurine. Back at Takaya’s place, Yui finds out that Sakuya is one of those dolls she discarded earlier on and thinks she is the cursed spirit. Then another cue from the miko sisters to have Minori wrapped in tentacles. And she’s not even one who is cursed. I know, it’s fanservice. But of course, Sakuya brushes it off that she’s one as it’s unscientific. After telling their tale of how Sakuya was being made into this world from a figurine to a life-size model, Yui wonders if he stills want to do those things with her. Sakuya then asks Takaya hasn’t done in on Yui yet, which made her blush as Yui replies he can’t treat everyone as he likes. Then more red face for Yui when Sakuya says how she’s seen it all on Takaya.
 
That night, Sakuya says how she can now help out with Takaya’s secret activities. But luckily that was just a bad dream from Yui. Since she can’t sleep, she went out to the balcony to find Takaya there. Yui asks if he wants to customize her body as well, but he replied that he prefers the way Yui is right now. The next day, Sakuya tells them she has to go back to MP because since she’s just a test model, she needs to get checked every day. Before she leaves, she tells Takaya to do his best on his secret activities, sending shock waves to him. Yui says a normal male can’t hold it in when Sakuya says how funny just thinking about it. It’s revealed that Takaya’s secret activity is to release his secret energy to awaken his powers to fight someone he can’t see. Yup, he’s shadow boxing. Since Yui is blushing, Sakuya teases her what could she be thinking his secret activity was. Hehehe. Naughty girl… After she leaves, Takaya says how he didn’t do his secret activity last night but will do so tonight. Yui gives a lethargic answer asking him to go do it please.
 
Episode 3
For those wondering something amiss for part 1 of this episode, which somehow has the characters attending school, just be advised to watch this part first. It starts off with Yui rushing late to school when she bumps into someone and in the process ‘dismantles’ herself. After putting herself together, that someone, a graceful polite lady whom we shall refer to as Onee-sama, helps her up. Her kindness seems to make Yui blush. Once Yui enters her class, we see Kuon sitting next to her and Minori, the class rep, ticking her off for her tardiness. Minori continues to sarcastically tease Yui about their difference in boobs size, which at the same time sends Ran and Sumire into depression.
 
Just then, Kanae, the homeroom teacher comes in and she has Ayumi as a talkative doll on her shoulder. Kanae loves whacking Ayumi whenever she talks too much. During class, Yui wonders if a robot like her is suited for school when she notices her short skirt. Minori happen to look back and is surprised to see what Yui is doing, playing with her skirt. Minori then gets an idea as she tells Kanae that Yui isn’t feeling well and would like to escort her to the infirmary. Another unnecessary comment from Ayumi "Don’t leak it", makes Kanae strangle her right to the blackboard.
 
But it seems Minori has taken Yui inside the toilet cubicle. Yeah, due to small space constraints, she’s confronting her with her boobs. Too close. Minori tells Yui not to play dumb as she saw her lifting her skirt to masturbate in class! Woah! Yui’s face instantly turns red as she tries to convince Minori that she’s not doing that. Minori continues to tease her saying that she’s so bold to do it in the middle of class when Onee-sama comes in. Minori decides to investigate this later and leaves. Yui greeted her before leaving.
 
As recess nears, Ran and Sumire made a plan to dash out of the class to the bread canteen. Determined not to lose, the other classmates soon follow. The duo use several tricks to stop the chasing pack, in which they ultimately summon the giant octopus. Surprisingly, the octopus caught Kuon and Yui. When Ran and Sumire arrives at the canteen and requests for the special noodle bread, it seems Kanae and Ayumi beat them to it. So close yet so far. Ayumi gets another mom’s-hand-in-her-face when she teases the duo about if they want the bread so badly. Unfortunately, the bread drops on the floor. When Minoru arrives to seek an explanation why the duo ditch class, the octopus grabs her. Ah well, I guess sooner or later it still has to be her.
 
At the infirmary, Yui and Kuon are there to find a male and female silhouette behind the curtain. It turned out that doctor Tetsushi is taking out his advances on nurse Sakuya. Yui knows it’s wrong to do it in school but Tetsushi thinks he’ll let them wear it too. Sakuya restrains Yui and as the doctor gets ready to do something perverted on her when Onee-sama coolly says how he’s not obeying rules, abusing privileges and harassing people. Minori is shocked to find her dad doing this and runs away calling him a pervert as Tetsushi chases after her. Sakuya too backs down and runs away after Onee-sama gives her ‘that look’. Yui thanks her as Onee-sama gets close to her. She then put both hands on Yui’s cheeks and says how she’s always been watching over her and is closing in for a kiss!
 
Actually, all that was just an online simulation game as Yui takes a heavy breather from that shocking development. Now it all makes sense. Takaya then comes in and Yui tells him off about such games, especially the plot, what is so good about it. Takaya then starts imagining what if Yui was in the same grade as him and Yui says such imaginations are only allowed in games. If that Takaya had Yui during his schooling years, she’ll leave him for a different master. This prompts Yui to ask him where he works. Takaya points at the screen and to Yui’s horror, Takaya is Onee-sama! Then we see all the other characters at their computer playing this simulation too. It’s the trend these days, everything is online now! So does Yui prefer Takaya to play dress-up with her? Not. Hey, doesn’t that game simulation has that Maria-sama Ga Miteru feel?
 
Part 2 has Kuon still bumming around in Takaya’s place. Did she overstayed her welcome? Kuon has that I-don’t-care attitude till Takaya shows up, in which she does an instant switch to a polite serving maid. Takaya then gets a phone call and tells Yui he has to go back to work now. Because of this, Yui becomes depressed. At Cowbeya, Kuon tells this to the rest and Tetsushi notes how Takaya hasn’t come in for some time. Kuon thinks Takaya has problems with women when Sakuya comes in to hug Takaya but hugged Kuon instead. Two rival robot companies, but Sakuya chose to ignore Kuon. Sakuya wonders why Takuya isn’t here, seeing that she saw him pass by with an unknown woman while advertising for MP. This shocks Yui and Minori. So the ladies decide to play detective and follow where Takaya has gone to. Obviously, their sleuth outfits stick out like a sore thumb. They soon discover Takaya is indeed with an unknown woman. Yui is saddened but Kuon and Sakuya says how if their master is happy, they have to respect his wishes. Yui has flashbacks of several important memories she spent with him, after which she soon collapses.
 
In part 3, Tenchou is doing a diagnosis on Yui in her workplace and thinks that some pressure has forced her to undergo an immediate shutdown. Takaya is waiting anxiously by her side as Kuon and Sakuya waits outside. At Cowbeya, the cafe experiences a slowdown in business with Kanae and Ayumi as the only customers so far. Ayumi then stood up and asks why did Takaya leave. Tetsushi replies that he wants to be by Yui’s side when she wakes up. Teary eyed Ayumi says that’s cheap because it’s always Yui. Minori understands how she feels and decides to go see Yui. Tetsushi gives some hot coffee flask, Kanae a bento, and Ayumi lending her rabbit doll. This prompts everyone to tease Ayumi that she is tsundere. As Sakuya is cleaning Takaya’s place, Kuon has a talk with Tenchou about master-servant relationship and about Takaya who seems to have good relationship with many other females. This causes Tenchou to spilt her drink out at her face. She decides to reveal something to Kuon because she still doesn’t know about it. It was enough to shock Kuon.
 
Takaya is at Yui’s side as he tells her how he has made many dresses for her as he tells her to wake up because everyone is waiting for her. Actually, Yui has already awaken but she’s pretending to be asleep as she doesn’t have the courage to face him. As Yui thinks deep, she hears a voice and that unknown woman comes calling to Takaya. Takaya goes to her but Yui’s inner voice wishes for him to stay. Until Yui finally grabs Takaya’s hand and asks him where is he going and that she’ll not allow such things. That sounded like an indirect confession and Yui soon realized things and blushed. Takaya reassures Yui that she is the only robot maid he needs. Yui soon asks who that unknown woman is and it is revealed that she is Tenchou. She really does look different without her specs and hair down. It’s revealed that they were discussing about the new maid robot’s abilities and looks and thanks to Takaya, Tenchou has got lots of ideas. So Yui has just being paranoid for nothing. Everyone then arrives and is relieved to see Yui awake as they toss her in the air. The final scenes show Takaya and Yui walking together hand-in-hand through the woods and the rest go about with their daily lives like Tenchou obsessed with her new project, Kanae buys Ayumi a new cat doll, Sakuya doing her advertising for MP and not forgetting that tentacles over Minori fanservice cue over at Cowbeya. Must be a new attraction. Finally we see Yui and Takaya enjoying tea together as they watch the scenery.
 
Always at your service, master…
Ah, that was such a nice end to it. Though Yui is glad that Takaya sees her as the only one, I guess it’s okay for her to put up with his dressing up fetish. Well, not everyone is perfect. Not even maid robots. It’s best to accept them for who they are. Hopefully, Kuon would find a master for herself in the future, but you know Tenchou’s hidden intentions, right? I can’t help feel that Ran and Sumire’s presence are just for the fanservice cue. It’s like the series can do without them as they don’t make that much appearances.
 
The drawing, art and animation are your usual bishie kind and there’s one thing I’d like to mention about the perverted side extra characters in the series. Obviously, they look like fish people! I mean, with those cod-lips and large black eyes, don’t you think they look like one? Probably it’s the producers way of depicting them. Don’t they remind me of those 3 fish bodyguards in Seto No Hanayome? The resemblance is there…
 
Another thing is that the opening theme song, Apron Dake Wa Toranaide! sung by Eri Kitamura (voice of Yui) sounds naughty. Not only that, the lyrics are a little naughty too. Something about don’t take off my apron… Viewers too can have lots of fanservice shots in the opening credits animation. The ending theme for the first 2 episodes, Love Song Kamoshirenai, is sung by Eri Kitamura and Satomi Akesaka (voice of Minori), and is slower and also have some fanservice shots. The final episode’s ending theme, Hora Atta Kanan Desu, also by Eri Kitamura is a slow lovely ballad, which suits how the way the series ends. There are other seiyuus which I recognized like Ami Koshimizu as Kuon and Ai Shimizu as Sakuya.
 
So remember real life maids and anime maids are 2 totally different aspects. Of course many otaku fans would prefer if there are some in the real world. Probably cosplay comes to mind and it’s just cosplay. What about robot maids then? Ah yes, anime is a place only where such impossible dreams could happen. So life-like, so human-like, so near perfection. Probably it mirrors of what we humans desire to be, huh? Okay, from this series’ aspect, perhaps from a perverted point of view. Remember maids are not toys for the perverted.