Kakyuusei 2

January 31, 2009

I didn’t watch the first season when I decided to hop in and watch the second instalment entitled Kakyuusei 2. When I finished watching the series, I then only went and do a little online research about it. It seems to my knowledge and understanding, this second season does not really bear any relation to the first season. Since this season’s TV series is based on a PC dating game of the same name, which is an unrelated sequel to its prequel PC game also of the same name, so I guess I won’t lose out much if I don’t watch the first season at all.
 
When watching this series, it somewhat reminded me of that OVA series called One. Yup, there is an air of mystery and enigma surrounding a particular character called Shun Kishida. Just like in One, at the end of the series, I still didn’t get the big picture of things. Yeah, it brought back horrifying memories of an unsatisfied ending. But this particular series wasn’t really that bad, albeit it still wasn’t satisfying. So who is this Kishida guy really? He seems to have a connection with many of the characters he meet in this series and most of his lines has something to do with time. Like talking in riddles. Not only that, he is everywhere! Though I have a clue about him in the end, but as I said, it wasn’t fulfilling.
 
In this TV series, there are 13 episodes and because it is based on a PC dating simulation game, expect to see several girls here. Ten of them if you are keeping count. But don’t expect to see them all to appear at the same time per episode. It’s like some of them, especially the main ones, will make more appearances than the rest, while the minor ones are just cameo and are concentrated only for that particular episode. So how do I know that these girls make up the 10? Yeah, you can tell from that sponsor picture at the end. I guess this is the only time when all of them appear together. Hehehe…
 
So the mystery starts in episode 1 at a desolated school area some time in the future. We see 2 grown up guys waiting for someone about some promise. But that’s all you’re going to see even if this scene keeps repeating in some of the future episodes. Then we head back to the past, which is the main setting for this series. From first looks, we see a high school student named Tamaki Saimon looking for her club member Rouma Oriya. Thing is, Tamaki is the manager of the kickboxing club and I couldn’t believe this cute girl is a member of such club. Of course the other member has to be Rouma, who has been ditching practice. Yeah, it’s like he is playing hide and seek. Of course Tamaki meets Rouma’s buddies, the fishing enthusiast Nozomu Sunafuki and Jin Amadou to ask about his whereabouts but they too aren’t sure. Viewers can guess that Tamaki and Rouma are a couple but they don’t show their affections like normal couples usually do. Let’s just say it’s a love-hate relationship.
 
Currently Rouma is taking refuge in the library and is talking to the school’s librarian, Fumi Yokomizo. With her lab coat, one can easily mistake her to be the school nurse. Rouma has some medical prescriptions (looks like his hip hurts) in which he made a paper airplane out of it and tosses it out the window. The airplane gets stuck on a basketball hoop and when Tamaki spots it, she was like so eager to get it down. As Tamaki grabs the tennis referee’s chair to grab the paper airplane she spots Kishida from a distance and has a short flashback of meeting him while she was young. But since she is still short, she suddenly slip and falls. Luckily Rouma was there and good thing is, he was fast enough to break her fall. As usual, he’s slightly a pervert and goes on to describe her panties. Expect some argument but luckily Rouma is saved from Tamaki’s firing when a classmate of theirs, Yuuri Shirai comes by. Since Rouma got all friendly with her, Tamaki isn’t too happy so she just left.
 
Later we see Jin is talking to Nozomu and tells him about a challenge letter from a guy named Sukekiyo Koudaiji giving Jin the letter as he wants to challenge Rouma to a duel after the latter beat up some of his guys (so I see that’s why he was injured). But they have to find him first, right? Then as Kishida passes by, they note how he is the new mysterious transfer student in their school. Mysterious alright. Even when Fumi spots Kishida, she remembers seeing this kid while she was a student. Looks like Fumi was a student in this school and had first seen Kishida on boat on the school’s lake. Hey, that guy looks the same in the past! So, who is Kishida, really?
 
Episode 2 introduces more girls. Like the student council president member, Nanase Takatou, who is telling how Tamaki’s club budget is being cut due to its inactiveness and even a threat to be disbanded. Also, Fumi meets with the school’s temporary arts teacher Misaki Wakai, and Rouma (now with a backache) bumping into a petite girl named Kazuki Sawamura. First thing a normal person would say is that Kazuki looks like a student but she is actually a teaching staff of the school! Oh my. For loli purposes? Furthermore, this swimming club instructor also has a tendency to bump and trip into people and is always in a hurry to somewhere. Jin then arrives but Rouma didn’t stay long and walks away to Nozomu’s usual fishing spot at the school’s lake. It seems Tamaki is there waiting for him. She looks angry. Though Rouma tries to come up with excuses, Tamaki didn’t smack him but just walked away.
 
Jin takes up a basketball and shoots a hoop and manages to get that paper airplane down and realizes that it is Rouma’s medical prescription. Later in the evening, Tamaki tells of her problems with another buddy of hers, Chiho Kotono, a swimming club member. Then I think Tamaki went searching for Rouma throughout the entire city till it’s night time. During her walk, 3 punks, thinking they can’t let such a cute girl walk peacefully pass by them, decide to do have some fun with her and corners her in a dark alley. Why, 1 of them even had the nerve to take out a knife! Kishida then walks by and spots what is happening. His eyes and Tamaki’s met but it seems Kishida doesn’t have that alert expression on his face. Just the usual expressionless one. Another round of flashback of a young Tamaki meeting Kishida before. By the time Tamaki opened her eyes, the thugs are lying in pain on the ground and Tamaki manage to catch a glimpse of Kishida just walking away from the same spot. Wow. It’s like as though he did some mysterious super move invisible to the eye and everything was like happened in a split second! I really want to know what happened and who this guy really is.
 
Episode 3 has Yuuri talking to Kishida at class if he is free this coming Sunday but he didn’t give a definite answer. We learn that Yuuri is a model wannabe and when she bumps into Tamaki later, Tamaki thinks Yuuri should introduce Kishida to her because she thinks Kishida should fit as a new member of the kickboxing club after last night’s incident. Meanwhile Nozomu is talking to Jin about how someone popped out from nowhere to save Tamaki. Yup, he was there that night at the dark alley and witnessed everything. As they also make some comments about Rouma and Tamaki’s relationship, they also note how this new guy is an unexpected enemy to Rouma. Speaking of the devil, Rouma soon comes by and Jin gives him the challenge letter, in which Sukekiyo too includes his handphone number! Desperate case. But Rouma isn’t going to go anyway and poor Sukekiyo is seen sitting on the temple steps waiting and waiting and waiting… Rouma didn’t turn up at all. Then we find out that Kishida wasn’t the person who saved Tamaki that night and it was Sukekiyo instead! Sukekiyo was buying a drink at a nearby vending machine when that incident occurs and proceeded to beat up those thugs. Kishida just happened to walk by. And away. Ah, mystery solved. Looks like Tamaki’s dream of recruiting Kishida as a kickboxer member has failed, but she isn’t bent on giving up yet.
 
Later in the evening, Rouma walks back with Chiho and talks about Tamaki. Because Sukekiyo is fed up of waiting, he decides to go look for Rouma. He’s mad. Very mad. Just that he doesn’t turn big and green :). Finally he finds Rouma with Chiho at the river bank and is pissed that he disregarded their holy duel (WTF?!). But before Sukekiyo could ready himself for a duel, he spots how pretty Chiho is and just like any other guys who fall in love, gets that nerve-wrecking feeling. Tsundere, isn’t he? You can tell that he has fallen in love with her. Sukekiyo even apologizes for interrupting Rouma’s date with his ‘girlfriend’, in which Chiho refutes. So how love makes a man do silly things? Sukekiyo runs away but ends up falling into the river. And he can’t swim! Swimming club Chiho strips (got her swimming suit underneath lah) and dives in to save him. Once she pulls him out, she’s like on top of him to push out water from his lungs! So sexy. How misunderstanding! Wow! Then this is another misunderstanding part. Chiho tells Rouma to give mouth-to-mouth CPR on him! So when Sukekiyo opened his eyes, the 2 guys stared at each other in disbelief! OMG! First kiss stolen away like this! Poor guy, now he looks more like a wimp as he runs away.
 
Episode 4 starts off with Rouma waiting for a bus to go to Yuuri’s movie rehearsal (she invited him back in episode 1). And Tamaki’s there just to keep an eye on him, though she didn’t get on the bus and tells him to enjoy his ‘date’, shocking Rouma. But I think Tamaki isn’t going to let Rouma be alone as she had earlier called on Chiho to give her a bicycle ride there. Meanwhile Yuuri is at the lighthouse (the place where the movie rehearsal is to take place) and recalls doing a research on an old film back at the school’s library with Fumi. What’s this? Kishida is in the background of that film too?! Anyway, Rouma has arrived and we see that the director is like so gay. Yeah, he’s all over Rouma. Even giving me the chills. As for Sukekiyo, he’s doing some training on the rocks at the same place. Can’t get his mind of that ‘kissing’ incident’, huh? Of course he spots Rouma there. Is this fate? At the same time, Kishida is also there because previously Yuuri gave him directions to the place on a sheet of paper. Likewise, Fumi and Misaki too has stopped by here.
 
I don’t know what kind of films the director have in mind but it seems Yuuri has to get into several sexy outfits and has no shame about it. Like a sexy revealing leather biker outfit and then in just a towel. Yeah, that gay director and the production crew seems to enjoy it too. "So beautiful…". Tears of joy? Then a stuntman double for Yuuri has stomach pains and left the set so much so Yuuri decides to do her own stunt. But Rouma won’t allow that and decides to volunteer. Sukekiyo then meets Kishida and watches Rouma pull off some acrobatic stunts and is impressed that such a person can do such moves without daily training. But when Sukekiyo asks what is Kishida is doing here, he replies "Sealing time". What is that supposed to mean? Then we see Rouma in a bridal outfit (haha!) standing on a bridge for the shoot. Everything goes well and the gay director is so pleased. Suddenly a gust of wind blows Rouma over the cliff. Oh no! Then this is the mysterious part. Kishida does some time stopping thing, pushes Sukekiyo down the cliff and when he resumes time, Rouma find himself being carried in the arms of Sukekiyo below the cliff. They look like 2 odd newly wed couples! Holy sh*t! And everybody saw it! From Fumi, Misaki to the just arrived Tamaki and Chiho. More misunderstandings. Tamaki must be thinking Rouma is gay.
 
Back in class in episode 5, Tamaki has made some special bento for Rouma’s recovery and the upcoming kickboxing tournament but that guy is nowhere to be seen as usual as her pals try to give her some encouragement. We find Rouma sleeping under some desk in the arts club. Kishida is coming by when Misaki spots him. Misaki tells him that she plans to go back to some town with Fumi to search for her memories there. Also, she shows him a painting which looks so much like Kishida, in which Misaki has only a vague impression of him. My bet is that guy is definitely Kishida. Rouma has awaken (not after bumping his head on the desk) and eavesdrop on their conversation. Not only that, everyone else too is eavesdropping. Probably they are interested to hear what Rouma is eavesdropping. Ah well, the whole gang soon tags along to the town and as usual Tamaki and Rouma are in their quarrelsome mode. Uh huh, Tamaki using that gay incidence as reference. So the usual stuff that people do in a hotspring inn. A wholesome meal and a dip in the spring itself but the rain dampens the fun. Misaki has another round of chat with Kishida and we see that in her flashback, she did meet him while he was young but can’t remember much. The next morning, it’s bright and sunny as Misaki takes a walk. She then heard some shocking news from an elderly villager and rushes to a scene which I think is the place whereby the town was, is now a huge crater. Something about the ruthless felling of trees caused landslides which in turn washed away the town and buried it in deep mud. All that’s left is the shrine and the sacred tree. How sad. Though Misaki is sad, she holds some charm close to her heart as she smiles. I wonder what is it that Misaki wants to remember.
 
Episode 6 sees Nanase talking to Jin about his basketball club (that guy has his own fangirls too!) and he hopes it isn’t a budget cut. Because Nanase is always strict and looks ‘scary’, Jin tells her to relax like going out with a guy or do things she like. Tamaki spots the 2 from afar and hatches a scheme. Meanwhile, Rouma is playing some ecchi game at the arcade when Tamaki catches him in the act. Oh oh. At the restaurant, she tells him that they are going to make Jin and Nanase together by setting them up at the beach so that they could get their club budget increased. Rouma has no choice but to do so. Chiho is sitting nearby and by the look from her face, she really wants to tag along with them to the beach. So your usual beach episode with girls in swimsuits. Meanwhile Sukekiyo is doing his usual training and once again he sees Rouma. Oh oh, it’s that feeling again. Is he turning gay? Better not. Then Nozomu comes by and Rouma wants to ditch his responsibilities by pushing it to him. However Tamaki’s plan didn’t turn out well because when the girls came out after dressing in their swimsuits, Jin tells Chiho if she wants to race him to that buoy. Then Rouma invites Nanase for a swim. So much for Tamaki’s plan. Tamaki is stuck on shore lamenting her plan to Kishida. Yeah, he’s there too.
 
I don’t know why Rouma left Nanase right in the middle of the ocean just to go back on shore to get some juice. Of course he comes face to face with Tamaki and before anything could happen, Sukekiyo comes by to challenge for another duel. Uh huh. He said something ambiguous. "Rouma, it seems that we are destined for each other". Of course he realized too late and hope that this isn’t the kind of destiny he is hoping for. So Rouma asks how long is he going to follow him. Sukekiyo replies "Until we’re done with each other". Rouma: "Sorry, I don’t swing that way". Hahaha! Because they’re being too noisy, Chiho comes by to see what the fuss is all about. As usual, Sukekiyo is ‘paralyzed’. To make things worse, Chiho scolds him for being a stubborn guy who never gives up, sending him into depression. Then a bunch of thugs (the one who ambushed Tamaki, has brought more friends of his) and surrounds them. These guys are really looking for trouble. Can Rouma and Jin handle them all? But the sky over the ocean suddenly turns dark and the waves turn volatile. Nanase is in a panic. See, why did Rouma leave her out in the open in the first place? Luckily Kishida spots her and rows a boat there to save her. Wait a minute? Why didn’t he just stop time like he did previously? Can he row faster than the change in weather? As Kishida arrives and extend his hand to Nanase, a huge wave threatens to swallow them.
 
Episode 7 continues off where the previous have left off. When Nanase opens her eyes, she finds herself with Kishida alone on a deserted island. The duo walk through the virgin jungle to find a way out and Nanase is quite relieved to have found a fresh water lake and dives in. She says how this place is left behind by time and that they were being forced out by the stream of time. But Kishida replies that no one can escape the stream of time as it ruthlessly flows by. Soon they continue their journey. It’s evening and they are relieved to find a fishing boat and a man onboard. He picks them up and is surprised to see other people on the island. The duo learned that this man is waiting for the return of his couple and their son but they got lost and never came back. Yeah, that was 10 years ago. He’s still hoping they’ll come back one day, a reason why he’s wearing that watch. Then some talk about love, death and memories and Nanase seems to be maintain her calm and positivism about it. She says "Endings always give way to new beginnings". The man brings the duo back to the beach where they’re from and tosses his watch into the sea. He mentions how those missing person are in his heart.
 
Kishida tells Nanase to go back to her friends as he thanks her and says farewell. When Nanase goes back to Rouma and co, I can’t believe that the guys don’t seem worried about where Nanase has been throughout the day! I guess they’re enjoying the fact that those thugs are serving them like slaves. Nanase learns that when the thugs started getting nasty, Sukekiyo came by and beat the crap out of them before they can do any harm to his beloved Chiho. When Chiho thanked him, he gets embarrassed and runs away. Yeah, that guy is wondering what is this pain in his heart and every time he thinks of Chiho, he gets nosebleeds. That night when the gang watches the fireworks on the beach, Tamaki spots Kishida and go talk to him. He asks if he has reconciled with Rouma as she tells him it’s more like he wasn’t aware of it. Then when Tamaki said that even if Kishida distance himself from them, it feels kinda nostalgic whenever he’s with them, this prompts him to remember the time when he met Tamaki when she was young as he says "Wearing white lacy summer dress, you were like a white sprite. I wanted to see that white sprite one more time". I’m sure Tamaki is as blur as me on what he is saying. Then upon closer examination, we see that at that time Kishida was the one who held Tamaki’s straw hat in his hands.
 
Episode 8 is the start of the series of one-minor-girl-per-episode-focus. This one begins with Nozomu bringing the whole gang to some fishing place rumoured to have some huge catch dubbed ‘The Lord’. But all they came across was a spooky infamous abandoned research lab. When weird lights start to randomly beam out of the building, it scared the living daylights out of them as they ran away except for Kishida who stood his ground. A bespectacled girl named Hiroko Hirasawa and her black cat Harumi comes out of the lab. Then the scene changes to one whereby Kishida is riding a snowmobile through the snow covered forest. He reaches the lighthouse area which is seemingly abandoned to look for tools to fix his machine when he spots Hiroko and Harumi, which is a kitten now. But I’m not sure of the time line whether it’s in the future or past. Because Hiroko and Harumi soon embarks on a journey with Kishida and Hiroko doesn’t seem to remember anything. But I think it’s in the future because Kishida did say how he remembers meeting her back at the lab and so if he takes her back there, she might remember something. Of course during the journey they stop by and had a little snowball fight and even discuss about the cruelty of capturing other life creatures.
 
During a blizzard, the snowmobile crashes into a ravine and we see that Hiroko is a robot! We hear Hiroko’s sad story about being a family maid robot and the reason why they abandoned her was because they felt jealous that she didn’t age along with them. What kind of reasoning is that?! Don’t they know robots don’t grow old?! Besides, it’s every guys dream to have an eternally beautiful maid… But that’s not the point. Anyway, I think Hiroko’s tears is partly causing her to malfunction. Haha. Hey, she’s a hi-tech robot, right? Before she shuts down, she asks where Kishida is going. In another abandoned lab, Kishida watches Hiroko’s past life on film and then he answers to himself on Hiroko’s question: "If they still remember me…". Then the opening scene in episode 1 whereby it occurred to me that the 2 guys are Jin and Nozomu, are seen waiting for a person because of a promise made. Then Kishida appears. End. Huh? But this episode left me thinking if Hiroko is a robot or not because the end narration seems to indicate that she is doing a research on building domestic security robots and is using Rouma as a sample for data collection.
 
Episode 9 begins with a young Kazuki playing games with her friends during the festivals but they decided to play a prank on her as after she finish counting and open her eyes, her friends are nowhere in sight as they left her standing all alone in the middle of the creepy woods. Some pals they are. Because of that, Kazuki develop some phobia whenever there are such festivals. Back in present time, Kazuki bumps into Kishida before rushing off to time Chiho in her swimming lessons. Then Fumi spots Kishida and remembers that time again. Looks like back then, she was secretly in love with him and stalked him. I mean, followed him. Fumi tried to follow Kishida through the crowded festivals but lost sight of him when her buddies called her. I guess she let go of him then. Meanwhile, Chiho is planning to setup Rouma and Tamaki together at the festival with the help of Jin and Nozomu. At the festival, Tamaki and Rouma are wondering why those trio are late when the fact that they have been waiting for hours for them to turn up but are just hiding somewhere. Thinking that they may have gone ahead first, Rouma tells Tamaki to go ahead instead, which she does. At the same time, Kazuki seems to be happy when she meets Kishida at the festival. Kazuki tells her about her phobia of the festival and Kishida went on ranting something on Buddhism which I don’t understand. Kishida notices Tamaki was watching them from afar when Tamaki’s handphone rings. Tamaki spots a pensive look. I’m not sure who Tamaki meant when she said she has fallen in love with another person. So is Tamaki in love with another person in the first place or she doesn’t love Rouma now? And why is Kazuki happily following Kishida around the festival? Is her phobia gone?
 
Episode 10 has Tamaki keeping a watch on Rouma doing push-ups. That perverted guy asks her to turn his way and open up her legs so that he could have a better view. But she kicks him instead and tells him to be serious about his training. As Rouma later takes out his frustration by playing another ecchi game at the arcade, Tamaki talks to Chiho about Rouma. Then Sukekiyo shows up but is still to shy to tell his feelings and runs away. Is he a man or what? At a street, a girl named Mika Horiide, is playing her guitar in a street performance, which catches the attention of Kishida passing by. He remembers when he said goodbye to her in a piano room as she shed a tear. Was he and Mika a couple before? Anyway Rouma was one of the many passer-bys who is awed by her street music. As Mika leaves, she thinks she spot Kishida across the train station and memories came flowing back but when the train passes, he’s gone. At school, Rouma plans of getting to know more about this Mika girl when he tells Jin and Nozomu about it. Jin isn’t happy that Rouma is ‘drifting’ away at such an important time. When Tamaki shows up and asks them where Rouma went, Jin just says he went over to the new prima donna he’s so infatuated with. Right thing to say?
 
Rouma arrives outside Mika’s school gates when he bumps into a short chubby girl Eiko Ooyama, who tells him that Mika hasn’t been coming to class for a few days and probably it’s because she’s always being compared to her mom who is a role model student. Eiko also wonders if Rouma is one of Mika’s street music fans. Then a few nasty girls teases how Eiko is being hit on by a guy (hey, better than you girls, a chubby girl being hit on by another guy seems ironically in-your-face, right?). Rouma gives Eiko some encouragement and tells her to go hear her music sometimes. So Rouma waited the whole day at the spot where Mika used to perform but she didn’t turn up. Yeah, Tamaki was watching him from a distance. When Rouma leaves, he bumps into Mika who thinks her music isn’t up to standard but Rouma disagrees and tries to give her some confidence. However, she just ran away teary eyed. Kishida is in that piano room reminiscing about those times while Mika starts singing alone in the park after thinking about Rouma’s words. Later as Chiho is teasing Tamaki about ‘being ready to face him’, Sukekiyo turns up. To cut things short, he starts doing push-ups while confessing to her. The reason? So that if he got rejected, it wouldn’t seem to others that he was confessing. Weird style. Must be his male ego. Chiho spot several people watching from afar and starts thinking that he might be serious. Looks like Chiho is blushing too. Meanwhile Rouma is listening to another of Mika’s street performance but the crowd seems less enthusiastic since Mika decided to play her own style. Except for Rouma who still loves her performance and even gives her more words of encouragement. As Mika leaves, Rouma heads back only to find Tamaki standing there as they both stare at each other. Oh oh.
 
Episode 11 opens with a girl jogging in the rain when she meets Kishida. He tells her how nice if her feelings reached him, making her blush. I don’t know what happened about last night’s encounter but back at school, Rouma is trying to ask Yuuri out with some ticket movies. But she refuses and tells him back about skipping kickboxing classes. Okay, so a short flashback what happened back then. Tamaki was saying how Rouma didn’t change at all and can’t he do anything about what other people telling him to. So much so she felt like an idiot always worrying about others. At the school’s lake, Tamaki is pondering about things when Kishida comes by to say it must be painful to believe in such a person. Why is he helping her? Because that frown face doesn’t suit her. Rouma is waiting for Mika to show up but didn’t so he went to her school to get some answers. The girl we see earlier on in the beginning tells him that Mika has dropped out of school after someone told her something. Rouma can’t believe it. As he treats that girl to some burgers, she thinks that person who told Mika something was him. Before she left, Rouma asks her name and she replies Okie Ibuse. But Rouma is left wondering if they have met before because she seems to know his name. Then Nozomu comes by and Rouma asks if he knows her. Nozomu says that she knows she was chubby before and had seen her doing rigorous training rain or shine. Nozomu thinks she must have fallen in love and wants to be beautiful for that said person and that’s why she’s doing this. And when Nozomu says her name is Eiko, it hit Rouma. Oh my. This girl is Eiko! Wow, she slimmed down so much in such a short time! She beat all those slimming programmes and diet hands down!
 
The next day, Jin and Nozomu are surprised to see Rouma seriously training for his upcoming kickboxing tournament. Are they dreaming? Or did he pick up something strange and eat? Rouma says: "We live for love and revolution". Now this guy can talk. Even Tamaki is surprised on the change of Rouma’s attitude. Later we see Okie is indeed Eiko as she talks to Kishida about how she used a fake name because she doesn’t want to reveal her real identity to Rouma as Kishida tells her to recall her feelings for him when she was jogging. During the kickboxing tournament day, Rouma is pretty pumped up to face whoever his opponent but it seems the first round match will pit him against the defending champion! Rouma defied all odds to knock him out in 1 kick! Wow! Rouma spots Eiko watching him and calls out to her to thank her for her help, making that girl happy. But in his 2nd round match, he flopped. He was going to give his opponent a punch, when he tripped and that guy took the opportunity to knock him out. When Rouma regained consciousness, Tamaki is beside him and he knows he has lost. We could’ve seen an intimate moment between them, and even probably a kiss, if not for those busybody buddies peeping on them! Rouma is mad and asks if they enjoy playing around with them. Their honest reply: "With utmost pleasure!". After all these time trying to set them up and we finally get to see them kiss… all ruined. Hey, why is Sukekiyo here? Another shocking development is that Chiho and Sukekiyo are a couple now! Woah! She’s getting all lovey-dovey with him and was the one who told him to come watch this tournament. Everyone is sure in disbelief.
 
Episode 12 starts off with a flashback of a young Tamaki and Rouma together. Back in present time, Rouma is seen talking with Fumi at the library. Later Fumi tells Jin and Nozomu Rouma is acting strange and the duo tells her that without any new members, the kickboxing club will soon be disbanded, and also indirectly his relationship with Tamaki. Fumi then says how Rouma came to talk to her about his childhood memories and left. Chiho then comes by and also tells of the same thing about Tamaki, who too rants about her childhood memories and left. (What’s this? Lots of fangirls admiring Chiho’s superb swimming?). But Chiho has to leave soon for her date with Sukekiyo. Yeah, she’s dreaming of all the fun stuff lovers do. Nothing ecchi, mind you. She’s really looking forward to it. And we see Sukekiyo in a white tuxedo suit and a bouquet of flowers in hand. Love does change a man. Chiho thinks he’s cool and fawning over him. Back to the conversation, Fumi finds out that Tamaki actually had a first love when she was a kid but can’t tell Rouma about it then and remained it in her heart. Gradually, Rouma has started to notice it. Meanwhile Tamaki is sitting alone on a bench when Kishida comes by. That talk during that festival night and the usual flashback. Then another shocking discover. This is what Kishida says "Time keeps moving. No one can stop it. You cannot hang around a ghost forever". OMG! So Kishida’s a ghost! That explains a lot of things like why he’s been around everywhere with his same appearance. Wow. The twist here reminds me just like that American movie, The Sixth Sense.
 
The next scene shows Tamaki and Fumi taking a train to the countryside to visit some abandoned school. At first I was confused of the time line here again and I thought it was in the future. Perhaps this was their elementary school days because Tamaki has a flashback while she was young and attending the school here. Back then, she spot Nozomu, Jin and Nozomu trying to do some loop over the iron bars but Rouma slipped and the next thing he knew that he had fallen on top of Tamaki. So I guess that’s when it started. Then they saw the beautiful sakura tree blossoming and were ecstatic. Back to grown up Tamaki and Fumi, when the duo spots a straw hat on the ground, they both put on a shocking facial expression like as though they can’t believe what they are seeing.
 
In episode 13, Tamaki follows the straw hat which reaches the hands of another person. Why, it’s Rouma. Tamaki is glad that he came as he puts the hat on her head and they watch the scenery together. Also, Yuuri tells the gang that she heard Kishida has transferred. Nozomu and Jin feels like he has left after accomplishing his goal, which I think was to bring Tamaki and Rouma together at that place. Nozomu then remembers seeing Kishida telling this to Rouma and then saying something weird like wondering if he could meet them all again. Of course Nozomu replied they could anytime. But Kishida said that if they still remember in 50 years, they’ll meet here, at the school’s lake. We see Kishida talking to Fumi, who wonders if it’s alright if it’s like this. He says yes because it’ll be a big mess if people finds him, as he makes a paper airplane out of the directions to the movie shoot place from Yuuri. Finally she asks his reason for coming to this school and he replied "To recall some things I’ve started to forget". Well, if you’re a ghost and live that long… He throws the paper airplane and leaves. Wait, vanishes! The paper airplane lands on top of the basketball hoop. Deja vu? Since this is the last episode, we see nearly all the characters of the series, especially the girls, coming together to help with the school’s festival, or at least just passing by.
 
Jin tries a shot again at his basketball shooting and takes the paper airplane. Yuuri then notices it’s her handwriting but there is a line at the bottom which reads "Goodbye", which isn’t hers. But the thing is, they can’t remember who wrote it. Oh no! Is everybody starting to forget Kishida? Jin went around to ask his pals of who wrote it but to no avail. He tells Nozomu like as though he has made a promise with someone but can’t seem to remember. It’s like something is telling him not to forget at the same time. Then it hit them when they remember Misaki. But Fumi tells them she has left for her hometown since the original teacher had came back. They went to the art room to see her painting of Kishida. I don’t know why, but they made a paper airplane and threw it out of the window. Then the flashback of Tamaki watching the 3 youngsters on the iron bar. After Rouma slipped and fell on her, Tamaki is upset to find that perverted kid enjoying the sight of her panties! Looks like his perverseness started from young. As Tamaki started chasing Rouma, Jin and Nozomu caught glimpse of a young Kishida underneath a sakura tree, smiling. What in the world does this mean? Even if the end scenes show various scenes of Kishida and speeches of other girls towards him, and his final line of "Goodbye", I still didn’t get it. However, I find that in this final episode, Tamaki and Rouma weren’t so prominent and it was Jin and Amadou who took the lead.
 
So, do I really understand what is going on still? Not really. Even though I understood that Kishida is a ghost, but there are still some questions which eluded me. Like his ‘sealing time’ comment. Didn’t see him doing that throughout the series. And does he really have some time stopping power? Perhaps he did that to make young Rouma and Tamaki fall on each other, though we didn’t see it. But there are other times which he could’ve used this power to make things easier. What about that meeting with Nozomu and Jin in the future? I guess that was settled during Hiroko’s episode and explained in the final episode, huh? So they did remember after all. And that part whereby he said he wanted to see that white sprite in a lacy dress again, he was referring to Tamaki, right? And so, what was it that Kishida was trying to recall something he forgot? Argh! So many questions…
 
I just can’t believe that after all they have been through, it was like the characters were conveniently made to forget about Kishida. Just like the fansubbers’ end comment on how this is a forgettable one. Haha. Yeah, perhaps I should try real hard about forgetting it. Don’t think so hard and hurt my brains with questions which will never be answered. But I’m glad that Tamaki and Rouma found each other in the end, so does Chiho and Sukekiyo. What an odd couple, those 2. Really. You see, we all should give love a chance. Perhaps since this is a short series, the rest of the other minor character girls weren’t given much attention too. So if you want, perhaps you could play the game and make your own destiny with that particular girl :).
 
Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Katyusha. The opening is entitled 18 (that’s right, that numerical number) and sounds like a pop beat from the 60’s. It was funny because it started off something like this: "Di di di di… di di di di… nya nya nya nya nya, hey!". The ending theme is Koi No Uta and sounds like a ballad from the 60’s. The opening lines reminded me of a tune from GTO’s ending theme, Last Piece. Except for the final episode whereby the opening and ending themes are switched. Hmm… I’m not saying the background music are memorable, but some of them do give that nostalgic and eerie feel. Then there’s a slow background music, a variation of the opening theme 18, which is being played over and over so many times (using wind chimes I think), so much so everytime I hear it, I would go "Oh God. It’s that song again…".
 
At the end of most episodes (the exception being the 1st and last episodes), viewers are treated with several statistics of the girls in focus of that particular episode. From their age to height to their hobbies and even their vital statistics. They also narrate on several other stuffs in relating to themselves like their future ambitions and such. So you have 10 girls there. Which means, even the guys have an episode dedicated to them but all four of them (Rouma, Jin, Nozomu and Sukekiyo in particular) are being cramped into one. Haha, not as important as the girls, huh? I was hoping to see one on Kishida, but there isn’t. He’s as mysterious as ever.
 
Other trivial things I notice is that the mid-intermission is like watching through an old colourless film projector, showing the straw hat and paper airplane flying through the air. Even the next episode preview is something like an old colourless sepia film back in those days. You can only hear music in the background and no speeches at all. Good ol’ silent movies with moving pictures only. The title of each episode too gives a mysterious feel like episode 1’s ‘A Stranger From The Past’ and episode 5’s ‘A Travelling Wanderer’. Due to the little amount of fanservice, I can see why it’s forgettable. Hell, were you expecting full blown fanservice all the way?
 
Have you ever had that feeling that you have met a certain someone before but can’t quite remember meeting him or her before? Yeah, I have my fair share of that. Hey, maybe it’s that Kishida guy. Just kidding. Or perhaps my own memory is the one that is failing me. I hope I won’t forget all those wonderful animes that I have been watching so far. That would be devastating. A scar that time cannot even heal. I can think of many time related idioms and advices, but will that be just wasting time? Just make the best use of time, that’s all.
 

Kakyuusei 2

Kagami No Naka

January 29, 2009

  Kanashii nara naite ii yo,
  Sono sekai ga aru yoru nara,
  Dakishimeta kanjou wo misete hanashite,
  Kagami no naka
 
Yay! I’m so glad that I still love singing this song, Kagami No Naka (Within The Mirror). Though it has been many years, from time to time I still find this opening theme song from the anime series, Ultra Maniac, to be still an entertaining affair. Sung by can/goo, at first I thought the name of the singer had something to do with that Australian marsupial but I assure you they are not related. It’s just plain weird. Or unique, if you want to look at it that way.
 
  Kagami no naka mitsumeatteta,
  Atashi ga hanashi hajimeru yoru,
  Kagami ni hisomu mou hitotsu no,
  Sekai ga ugoki hajimeru yo
 
The one thing which first strikes me, and the main reason why I like the song, is the way the piano is played. I love the fast frenzy piano finger drilling play which is accompanied by dramatic strings. Both the musical combination sounds like as though they are playing musical chairs. The piano, then the strings, then piano again and then the strings before they both finally come together. This line isn’t played throughout the song though, only at points like before the verses, after the chorus and the end solo.
 
  Aijou mo negai mo jikan sae mo,
  Subete jiyuu sa
 
Now, although this isn’t an easy song to sing but somehow most of the time I am even surprised by myself that I could handle the overall song well. There are lines in the chorus which requires one to sing aloud at the top of one’s lungs. And it’s not just screaming. You have to maintain that voice for around 2 seconds, which may seem short but for an apprentice like me, it pretty much seems like a long time. But other than this part, the other lines in this song are pretty ‘easy’. Yeah, I notice I have to sing those lines with passion in order for me to sound right. Hey, don’t I do that with the other songs too? Perhaps this is the more ‘successful’ ones, huh? But I wasn’t perfect initially because my timing to start of the chorus right after the verse was a little off. Sometimes a little too early and sometimes a little too late. But of course, now I’ve mastered it :).
 
  Itoshii kara furete hoshii,
  Sono sekai ga aru yoru nara,
  Nani hitotsu saegiru mono wa nai yo,
  Kagami no naka hiraku
 
The song starts off on a slow note before setting into its usual dramatic piece rhythm. Due to the nature of the orchestra strings, I find that this tune is mostly dramatic like the solo part and end solo. But contrary to the tune of the song, the lyrics seem somewhat sad and a little depressing. Something about sadness and pain and well, throwing it all away. Well, life is like that. What do you see when you look in a mirror? And perhaps anime reflects so much like real life itself.
 
  Kurushii nara sutete ii yo,
  Sono sekai ga aru yoru nara,
  Dakishimeta kanjou wo misete hanashite,
  Kagami no naka sakebu…
 
Ultra Maniac

Moetan

January 24, 2009

After such a long time, I finally managed to finish watching the anime series Moetan. Subbing problems? Well, partly but not entirely. Even though the series has only 12 episodes and an OVA, watching it over a span of 1 year does feel like a long time. For those who know about this series, the first thing which comes to mind is loli ecchi.
 
That’s right. I think that is why the main reason one of the episodes in the series got taken off the national air. Uh huh. That bad, huh? Now that I have watched it, I kinda felt that there was nothing real extreme about it either. Perhaps I’ve watched too many of this genre? But even so if the loli ecchi part was a little controversial, why didn’t they ban the whole series and not just 1 of the dozen episodes? Because of that, the fansubbers who were doing this series also probably waited for the DVD release so that they could sub that missing episode and not just jump in order to keep in line with the storyline.
 
As mentioned, the producers who created this anime must have loli fetish. Not 1, but 2 high school characters have some ‘growth defect’ which makes them look cute and moe. So much so you can’t blame everyone for mistaking them as kindergarten kids. Even I thought that they were one too, except the reason why they got into high school was that they were super geniuses and get to skip some grades. Didn’t turn out like that. Just plain loli looking girls. Probably the producers would have made the whole high school girls looking like one but that will take away the meaning of it all.
 
As you can expect lots of loli fanservice in this series, I later found out that Moetan was actually some sort of English study aid for Japanese otakus. Wow. I’m thinking, if those otaku geeks would like to learn English, might as well do it in a way which they are familiar or comfortable with. That’s right. Ecchi. It’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone. They get to learn some English and at the same time enjoy staring at some loli fanservice while they’re at it. Will their English improve this way? That depends on their will and determination.
 
But let’s put that aside and concentrate on the anime. So meet our little petite main protagonist of the series, Ink Nijihara. I know, nobody is going to believe her that she’s a high school student when they first look at her. Society and their typical stereotypic views. Well, she’s got the size of it. Plus, she even sometimes trip while walking. Just like a kid, huh? Anyway, Ink has a crush on her classmate, Nao Tezuka, but as usual she is too shy to confess. Hmm… It would misleading if they were a couple. I mean, he may look like a paedophile or have little sister fetish. But what prompts Ink to worry about Nao is not that he’s oblivious about her crush, but the fact that Nao is doing poorly in his English studies. Which means, if he flops his English tests, he won’t be able to enter university and Ink won’t be able to be with him. Simple. Plus, Ink’s English is super and with the stark contrasting difference in their levels, it’s going to be a hard time for Nao to catch up.
 
Before all that, at the start of episode 1, we are witnessing some sort of trial in the Magic Empire. A magician named Arks Sheldart Elbyass is attending some trial in which he claims he is being framed. So he makes his escape to our little blue planet. Back on Earth, we see Ink like a stalker outside Nao’s house. You know, it’s alright for little girls to have a little fantasy of being with the guy they like. Nao’s sister, Mio, seems to know this and throughout the series tries to get Ink closer to Nao without interfering too much. Good sister. Also, there are Ink’s ‘normal’ looking friends in the sense that they don’t look like cute little lolis but more high school student-like. They are the busty Remi Suzuki and the flat-chest tomboy Rina Tanaka. Okay, maybe for busty Remi doesn’t look like a normal high school student due to her over-sized proportions but it’s better than being a loli like Ink. Hey, this is an ecchi anime, right? They have to satisfy those who like ‘mature’ woman too! Not forgetting the other loli person, who is Ink’s classmate and self proclaimed rival, Sumi Kuroi. She’s also has a crush on Nao and always tries to outdo Ink in almost everything. Furthermore, if you notice that she has a strand of hair on the top of her head which works like an emotion indicator. Like when she’s puzzled, the tip of the strand will turn into a question mark or when she’s asleep, you’ll see Zzzs instead. There are many more of it, so keep your eyes peeled.
 
Also in every episode, you are going to notice that there is some beardy guy in a trenchcoat always being chased around by the local policeman. Is he some kind of flasher? Well, due to his dandyism, everyone just calls him Dandy. Whenever he bumps into Ink, you’ll get to hear an English sentence before he narrates what it means in Japanese or vice versa. Yeah, note the foreign accent too. So otaku geeks and non-Japanese speakers, take out your pen and paper and start taking down notes. It will be a good lesson while watching this show. Not. And after that short ‘lesson’, the policeman would’ve caught up with him and the chase will resume.
 
Back to the original story. As Ink goes to pray at a local temple shrine so that Nao’s English grade would improve, something comes falling out of the sky and knocking onto Ink’s head. Why, it’s a duck! Not only that, it is a perverted duck! Ink gives it a good whack when she finds out it’s staring at her undies. Back at Ink’s place, we soon find out that duck is Arks and he has been transformed into a duck as some sort of punishment. In addition, his magic is sealed and so the only way to get back to his human form is to make Ink into a magical girl and help those in need. All for his sake of course. Ink is reluctant at first but decides to go ahead after thinking that she’ll be able to help out Nao. So how does Ink turn into a magical girl? Such genres can’t be called one if they don’t have a transforming device, in this case, a handphone. Yeah, at least it’s better than a wand. And after saying the magical words to transform, which is "Magical change!", viewers are treated with the usual lengthy henshin (transformation) scene as Ink transforms from an ordinary school girl into a magical girl named Pastel Ink. No difference. Just another loli with different hair colour, a wand that looks like an over-sized lolipop and outrageous outfit to satisfy hardcore loli lovers (her left socks is always dropping). Yeah, even Arks is drooling at it. Each time this happens, you can see a river of saliva coming out from that perverted duck’s mouth. Enough to fill the Nile. Really. Prepare for some perverted jokes and lines from this duck in episodes to come ("My body’s loli energy is reaching the maximum stage now!" WTF?!). And because Ink has trouble remembering Arks’ long foreign name (so do I), and even mispronounces it as some vanilla sherbet (haha!), I guess for convenience, she just calls him Ah-kun. Saves lots of trouble.
 
So Ink flies to Nao’s home and tries to convince him that she is her new English tutor, Magical Teacher Pastel Ink, and will coach and improve his English. I guess it’s normal for anybody to throw a total stranger in a weird outfit out at first. But I suppose he eventually can’t turn down a poor cute loli girl no matter how absurd it sounds. So okay, the first lesson (the studying lah!) goes pretty well but since Ah-kun was bored, he rummaged through Nao’s Playboy magazines and you know this pervert… Innocent Ink doesn’t even know what it is! Too late Nao. Can’t hide all those magazines. Because Ink got embarrassed about it, Nao kicks them both out. Well, it could’ve been worse. But Ink isn’t bent of giving up yet. Not when Nao’s grades are on the line.
 
In most episodes, you’ll see some sort of pattern here. Besides of the one mentioned above about Dandy being chased by a policeman or Ink coming to Nao’s room to teach him English at night, you will also notice that Mio can some sort of sense some magical events (like Pastel Ink or Ah-kun nearby) but can’t quite put her finger on it. Then there’s that troublesome bearded old geezer who wears a waistband whom I shall refer to as Old Geezer who seems to be in some trouble which isn’t a trouble in the first place. Uh huh. Sometimes I don’t know whether he made the trouble himself or he’s an irritating guy who wants some sort of attention so much so he gets into these petty troublesome situations, in which Ink and Ah-kun has to waste their time saving him from. Also, Sumi’s falling asleep during her homework time never ceases to amaze me of what kind of action sleep talking dream she has and that ever patient Ruriko sure has fun whacking her out of it.
 
We find out in episode 2 that Sumi is some spoilt rich brat. Yeah, she sleeps in a weird animal pyjama. Contrary to most little rich girls who are elegant and lady-like, Sumi is quite the opposite. In short, she doesn’t like studying. She can even fall asleep without even starting her reading or doing her homework! I find it really funny at times when her personal maid, Ruriko, has to resort to ‘sadistic’ measures to wake up Sumi. Sometimes I feel she gets a kick out of it. Furthermore, you should sometimes listen to Ruriko’s words, the way she blasts Sumi on her laziness. Classic. Here, Sumi spots Ink ‘stalking’ outside Nao’s hose and because she is so ‘concern’, Sumi too ‘stalks’ on what Ink is doing. And with Ah-kun doing some perverted stuff on Ink, everything doesn’t turn out well. Later after school, Ink’s magical handphone gives off a somebody-is-in-danger signal. So another henshin and off the duo goes to help that unfortunate person stuck between a car and the wall. Unknown to them both, Sumi has witness the whole henshin thing.
 
After the rescue, suddenly the area turns into a different zone, like the one I see in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha. A cat named Karks starts attacking them. Don’t mess with this kitten, he whipped out 2 bazookas! In the end, the duck wins and we find out Karks is Arks friend-cum-rival back in the Magic Empire. So another person with a cursed punishment. Back in school, Sumi tells Ink that she has seen everything which makes Ink a little worried that her identity may be exposed. I mean, after all this time, Nao doesn’t see the connection between the 2 Inks that they’re the same person. On the way home, Sumi bumps into Karks and brings him home. After learning of their situation, they decide to team up to outdo their rivals. Jealous case? So Karks gives Sumi a magical handphone and whoosh, Sumi becomes Tempera Sumi. Yeah, Karks is another perverted loli. You can see his nosebleeds flowing like tap water. Unfortunately, Ruriko comes in to smack Sumi for being too noisy. Ink learns that she has earned magical points for saving someone and with enough points, Ah-kun can go back to Magic Empire.
 
Episode 3 has Ink cowering in fear after watching a scary B-grade horror movie so much so her buddies teases her in school for being afraid to go to the toilet alone and Sumi trying to take advantage of it. Also, Sumi tries to invite Nao to her villa but somehow everyone ends up tagging along. Blow to her plans to get closer to Nao. The hilarious part was that Sumi is such a heavy sleeper, I think Ruriko decides to have her sadistic fun by not waking her up while she and the rest are being driven to her villa. It’s real funny to see Sumi sleep talking! What kind of a dream/fantasy is she having?! So when Ruriko slaps Sumi with the slipper to finally wake her up, it’s really embarrassing to have your buddies seeing you in such a pyjamas. At the villa, expect lots of fanservice as the gang takes a swim in the villa’s swimming pool and then the usual massive dinner. Later that night, strange events occur like the lights flickering and Remi and Rina claims of seeing a ghost. As Ink and Sumi are taking a bath together, Ink finds out that Sumi is a magical girl just like her and Karks is her partner. Instead of thinking that Sumi is her rival, Ink is pretty excited about it when a blackout occurs. So the duo transform and follow a mysterious voice to the basement which leads to a treasure room. You wonder why Dandy and the policeman are even chasing here. Anyway the girls find out that the cause of the pranks earlier on was done by a cute ghost girl ward off by the Kuroi family a century ago, out of sheer boredom and loneliness. There was never any ill intentions to begin with. So everything back to normal and the weird part is, Ink and the ghost girl are watching that crappy B-grade horror movie back at Ink’s place and they’re both getting the shivers out of watching it. Shouldn’t she be afraid of the real ghost sitting next to her? Well, perhaps she’s cute and friendly. After this, you won’t really see that girl ghost anymore. What happen to her anyway?
 
Previously, there were short clips of another magical girl called Alice Shiratori shown here and there. I mean, she’s seen standing naked in some pond near her tree house (even in future episodes) and she has a pet rabbit (or is it a dog?) called Na-kun (always seen shivering?). In episode 4, she finally makes her appearance. It also seems that Alice is some loli idol on Earth and has many fans, including Ink. I’m not sure about Ah-kun’s reasoning about big boobs causes global warming because he tells Ink that she should appreciate her small non-existent boobs. Instant whack. Later Ink bumps into Sumi at a park as they’re to attend Alice’s concert but in the end that loli idol didn’t turn up. Then another trouble signal as the girls transform and head over to a kindergarten where several little girls are running out as they find that the Old Geezer is causing inconvenience once more. I don’t remember how, but a giant octopus appears and you know what tentacles wrapped around little girls mean (for those who have been watching too much ecchi shows, that is). Then Ah-kun went to negotiate with Old Geezer (Ah-kun acknowledging him as his master?!) and it’s like they clicked and before you know it, the octopus explodes. Then it’s revealed it was just all his daydreaming. Because it was so exciting and dramatic, the octopus explodes. I see. Alice seems to have witness all this from afar and soon goes away. That night as Ink is rushing to Nao’s house, Ah-kun is stopped by Alice who transforms into a magical girl. Looks like she has a grudge with Ah-kun. Something about paying for his crimes back at the Magic Empire. She attacks Ah-kun but that duck is good in ducking (I mean evading) but Alice has the upper hand. Even if Ink accidentally falls on Ah-kun and squashing him, Alice has no qualms about attacking her even if she’s not the enemy. But before she can land the final blow, Alice weakens and decides to retreat for now. Back home, Ah-kun wonders if Alice was the one who sent the octopus and if all this has got to do with the Magic Empire. No time to think about that because Ink’s mom just tell Ink about taking a bath and Ah-kun is back to his perverted thoughts. Hey, Ink’s mom look so young so much so you might even mistake her to be a high school student! Does loliness run in this family?
 
Episode 5 is about Ink and Ah-kun going back to her past. Literally. Before that, we see Nao improving quite well in his English class. After school, Ink and Ah-kun transform to rescue a drowning kid in a river but since Sumi and Karks butt in, now they have a few more people to rescue. After that kid thanks that Cosplay Onee-chan (Ink must be feeling an insult), Karks fell into the river and you know things are never good when Old Geezer shows up. He too dives into the river and Sumi has a hard time saving both of them. After Sumi and Karks goes home, Alice appears to get her revenge on Ah-kun. I don’t know why Ah-kun has got the nerve to admire both little girls’ flat chests. He deserves the punishment he gets from both of them. Alice opens some dimensional gate and throws them both into it. The duo are thrown back in time where Sumi was a little kid. Though she looks smaller and shorter, it makes you wonder… Yeah, even Dandy and that policeman were much younger. I see the chase started so long ago… While Ah-kun is reserving his magic so that they can return back to their normal time, here Ink tries to change the future by making a young Sumi reading some English books (in the future, Sumi never liked English classes). Better to start them young, huh? But because the books were a little heavy, this causes Sumi to have a little trauma. It doesn’t help when her school going Ruriko whisks her back for more English lessons. Then Ink bumps into a young Nao and gives him her video game, which he became addicted. Finally Ah-kun is ready as the duo head back to their own time. So we see that the reason why Sumi hates English and Nao spends his time playing video games rather than studying was because of what Ink did back then. And she doesn’t realize it all! Doesn’t that video game she gave him on his table bring back memories?
 
Episode 6 was the one which got banned from being aired. It has been replaced of what is known as episode 5.5 which I think is a recap episode, which I didn’t see. All this fuels viewer’s curiosity to even watch this episode. No doubt that this episode has lots of fanservice and loli girls nude scene, including Mio and Ink’s mom, but I noticed that the necessary parts has been strategically covered. Perhaps the TV station doesn’t want to give an impression that this show could cause future paedophiles? Too late. The story of this episode sees Mio winning a pair of tickets to some zoo. She decides to play matchmaking by making Nao and Ink go on a date by giving those tickets to them. Ah-kun is having perverted fantasies of what Ink should wear on her date while Sumi as usual once again falls asleep during one of her English lessons and needs another good whacking from Ruriko. Can’t believe Sumi can have all these outrageous mecha dreams. Anyway, Karks was spying on Ah-kun and goes back to report to Sumi about their date. So she schemes and plans to ruin their date. But since she’s too noisy… Ruriko… You know the rest. The next day, Ink is late because she’s been held up by that Old Geezer who just wanted a glass of water (WTF?! That was just the trouble?!). Ink and Nao manage to go on their outing at the zoo but Ink got separated. It didn’t take long before she was reunited with Nao (thanks to Dandy and that policeman who were passing by). Back home, Ink thanks Mio for the tickets and that she was able to enjoy a great day with Nao. As for Sumi, since she overslept, I guess there’s nothing she could do about it. See lah. Sleep some more lah.
 
But in this episode, of all the firing from Ruriko towards Sumi on her studies, this has got to be the best one. It goes something like this: "You are stupid enough as it is, but if you don’t learn to study, you’ll magnify your idiocy and turn into a mega, no giga, no more than that, a tera-class high capacity idiot! Yes it’s true. However if stupidity were a commodity, yours will fetch the highest price!". Wow oh wow! She said that line real smooth and even smiling. But since Sumi isn’t that bright, I guess she actually believed it. Even so, Sumi has to complete a ton of homework! Extreme. Good luck kid.
 
It’s the school cultural festival in episode 7 and Ink’s class is doing a ghost cafe. But we all know how Ink looks more cute than scary. What’s this? Remi loves putting (or suffocating, if you look at it this way) Ink in her boobs?! Ink also thinks of getting closer to Nao during the festival but it didn’t turn out well. Meanwhile Alice is holding a concert and it seems that Old Geezer is a hardcore fan too. However, Alice’s brand of music has some hypnotizing effect on everyone as they pass out. As another part of her plan to get revenge on Ah-kun and reveal his true nature (isn’t being a pervert one?), Alice turns the entire school into some sort of illusionary dream. She is going to test Ah-kun on several things and he has to pass them or else everyone in this school will disappear within 2 hours. They have to since Nao and even Ink’s parents are at the festival. We see that Ah-kun isn’t a total pervert as he is sharp too. I don’t remember what the tests are but it kinda felt like some detective mystery riddles. Ah-kun solves them all and in the end even knows that the Ink who has been with him throughout the whole illusion was fake. So when the real Ink and Sumi awakes, they team up to save the entire school and escape from Alice’s illusion. But Alice is still bent on her revenge and isn’t giving up yet.
 
Episode 8 starts off with the producers of the series wearing several animal masks deciding to up the fanservice of the series as they have ran out of ideas and to increase the show’s appeal. Why not. So expect no plot and more mindless fanservice here. Remi and Ink thinks Rina has got a boyfriend because that tomboy has been quite concern of her looks lately and is putting light make-up. Also, we see Ink’s teacher (let’s call her Sensei), lamenting the fact that no guys have an eye for her even if her skirt flips up by the wind. Then Sensei spots Dandy and she has a flashback. Yup, it seems back when Sensei was a school girl, she accidentally dropped her ice cream come on the Old Geezer’s crotch! It’s twitching! So disgusting. He wants her to ‘clean up and compensate’. Of course Dandy comes to save the day by blasting Old Geezer with something powerful and that’s when she developed a crush on him. But he has been elusive all these years. We all know why he can’t just settle down in 1 place. Back to Ink and Remi, they trail her to find out who her boyfriend is. To their horror, is that the Old Geezer?! After bashing him up, they found out Rina just wanted to buy some crepes. Phew. Even that Old Geezer had an encounter with Sumi but the latter transforms and uses her Magical Machine Gun to shoot him away when he looks up his skirt. Magic wasn’t enough, huh?
 
Old Geezer than lands on Sensei and doesn’t learn from his lesson and starts to terrorize her in a perverted way. Luckily Dandy was there to give another blast like from the past and gives Sensei his coat before walking away. Romance rekindled? Later the girls go take a dip at the public bath house and as usual Ah-kun tries to peek at the ladies but bumps into Sensei who thinks he is some rubber ducky. Until he starts drooling on her boobs in which a horrified Sensei throws him away. He ends up bouncing here and there and gets beaten up which he deserves so badly by the other girls. I wonder why do they feel violated by a duck? Perhaps it’s his perverted aura. Finally, we find out that Rina wasn’t having a boyfriend. The reason she put on make-up was to cover her pimple on her face. It could’ve ended nicely if not for Ah-kun’s entrance scaring the wits out of Remi and Rina (who did a Jigoku Shoujo parody of sending that duck to hell!), which gets him another beating. The end scene has got to be a classic one because we see Alice playing the role of Enma Ai of Jigoku Shoujo, ferrying Ah-kun on a boat to hell. Haha! He should’ve stayed there. Makes you think that if he’s really a magician after all. Perhaps his crimes was being a pervert in the Magic Empire. Oh yeah, beside the crazy bathing fanservice in this episode, I felt that this is the only episode in which Sensei is featured or given a more prominent role.
 
In episode 9, Ink falls ill after catching a cold. She was even hoping Nao was going to confess to her but it seems that dense guy was just thinking wouldn’t she get cold wearing such outfit. With Ink out of the picture, Sumi thinks it’s her opportunity to be closer to Nao. So she decides to check on Ink and visits her home but even though she shows that I-don’t-care-about-you attitude, Sumi still has a heart and is concern about Ink as she takes care of her in her Tempera Sumi outfit. Well, Ink’s parents are out and Ah-kun has gone to take care some business (probably trying to hit on chics) along with Karks. I get the feeling that Sumi may be a little yuri because while stripping Ink down to her undies, she notices how cute her panties was! Then Sumi spots a tiny cat memorabilia and remembers this was a gift that Ink gave her a long time ago when she visited her home when she was sick as company since Sumi’s parents was always busy away working. So their ‘friendship’ goes back a long way. When Sumi decides to leave, she bumps into Remi and Rina (actually into Remi’s boobs) who thinks Sumi is there to visit Ink and drags her into the house again. Can’t escape. Meanwhile at the park, Ah-kun and Karks stumbles upon Na-kun who is injured. Na-kun tells them that time is messed up and that the Magic Empire is about to collapsed. Plus, they have to save Alice (earlier on, she was being attacked by somebody during backstage of her performance). The next day, Ink has recovered but it seems Sumi has caught her cold. That’s what ‘friends’ are for, right? They share the good times and the bad times together. Hey, I remember a Japanese saying about idiots don’t catch a cold….
 
In episode 10, Ah-kun, Karks and Na-kun tells Ink and Sumi that they have to go rescue Alice since she controls the power of time. The only way to get to the Magic Empire is that both magical girls use up their power, even if it means losing them permanently. After some thinking, the girls decided to do it for 1 last time and does a double henshin, sending both Ah-kun and Karks into saliva drooling and nosebleeding ecstasy while Na-kun is looking at disbelief at both the perverted animals. They leap into a portal which leads them to the Magic Empire but upon arrival, the animals find out that the girls aren’t with them. Inside the castle, they find the royal guards defeated badly while the king is missing. Then a grown up and dark version of Alice appears and says she has been waiting for them. Dubbing herself as the Black Darkness, she intends to destroy both worlds. We also see the real Alice (also in grown up form and no more a loli) being tied up as a hostage. From the way Ah-kun says things, it looks like he has met Black Darkness before. It’s revealed that the Magic Empire once defeated her and imprisoned her in the depths of Alice’s heart and since her heart was wavering at that time, it weakened the spell of imprisonment which causes Black Darkness to escape. Furthermore, Ink and Sumi are trapped in their own dreams.
 
We see a flashback that good-looking Arks and Alice were once lovers in the Magic Empire. Because perverted Arks preferred small boobs to busty ones (stupid Arks even pointed this out to her!), this causes Alice to be pissed off. Which girl wouldn’t? I mean even if Arks was a loli, it still made him a pervert. Even so, I don’t think this guy would turn down any busty girl, just that he prefers small chests. Idiot. So I guess that’s why Alice wanted revenge on him. And even when she turned into a loli form, Arks is still ogling at other lolis. No wonder she hates him. Can’t blame her. Meanwhile Ink is having a hard time remembering in her dream but Dandy appears to help remember everything and escape their dream along with Sumi. Then it’s revealed that Dandy is the king of the Magic Empire! Holy Highness! Black Darkness tries to control Alice (something entering her mouth…) while Ah-kun manages to transform back to his human self and does battle with her. Black Darkness then transform into a giant monster and to counter it, king Dandy turns Ink into some giant superhero and with the combined new attack combo with Ah-kun the now giant duck to destroy the monster once and for all ala Godzilla style. In the aftermath, we see the animals turning back into their human form. Karks seems like a good-looking fighter while Na-kun a little girl. Though Arks and Alice made up, but because Arks saw Na-kun and is infatuated with her, it’s back to square one again. Stupid Arks. Really dumb jerk. Why don’t Alice just dump him and get over it? And since Moetan can’t end like that, from the plea of the characters, it’ll go on for just a little longer.
 
Episode 11 starts off with the girls before leaving the Magic Empire back to their world. Since there’s a little chemistry between Sumi and Karks, he’s indicating that he wants to be with her a little longer. Likewise, Arks wants to follow Ink back under the guise to help her with Nao but we know that perverted guy just want to feast his eyes on more lolis. Yeah, he didn’t learn his lesson and even tells Alice how her boobs are too big! Thus Alice sends them back to Earth but Arks and Karks remain in their animal form so as to keep them out of trouble. Back on Earth, it seems the girls have lost their henshin powers. Furthermore, Ink’s English grades has been slipping while Nao continues to improve. Sumi notices this and decides to help her out as the duo goes shopping to get some cosplay materials so that Ink can continue teaching Nao as Pastel Ink. Later, we see king Dandy knowing Alice wants to go to the human world and sends her there. When Ink arrives at Nao’s doorstep, Mio knows it’s Ink alright even though she’s standing out there freezing in the cold saying that she’s not a suspicious person. It’s funny to see her shivering! I guess Mio decides to play along and brings her in. Thing is, with that badly made outfit, Nao still believes she is Pastel Ink! While waiting for Nao to finish bathing, Ink is having her fantasies about him when Ah-kun stops her by saying she shouldn’t have dirty thoughts. And since this is Moetan, Ah-kun says they should have more visuals of naked women! We then see several clips of girls from the series naked in the bath with a hilarious systematic laughter! Back at Sumi’s place, since she’s worried about Ink, she cosplays in another badly made outfit as Tempera Sumi. Once again, Mio has that deja vu feeling of another magical girl shivering outside her doorstep assuring she isn’t anybody suspicious. Well I guess 3 is a crowd so Nao initially shuts her out but eventually lets her in to continue their lesson. The more the merrier.
 
Episode 12 sees the gang studying hard for the entrance exams while both Ah-kun and Karks bum around by reading Playboy magazines. Fast forward to next spring and it looks like the gang makes it to university and at the same time Alice has recorded her new album. Plus, Alice says how she doesn’t really hate the human world. Then this is the weird part. As Ah-kun walks around town, it seems everyone knows him and has some respect for him! Then when he enters a kindergarten, all the children are fond of him but the Old Geezer tells him to go away. Ah-kun goes away like a mature guy but leaves medicine for Old Geezer who now is feeling bad since it turned out like this. What in the world has this got to do with Moetan? Elsewhere, the policeman is a little sad ever since Dandy is missing (he misses him! Oh I guess there’s an invisible bond after chasing for so long), but do not fear, Dandy is back and to his joy, the chase resumes, albeit a short one. Then as he pass by Mio, we see Dandy is now in a form of a little puppy! Some magical girl named Shizuku appears to challenge Mio. Looks like Mio is the new magical girl replacement! Mio isn’t too enthusiastic with this whole magical thing but decides to play along as she transforms into one. We see perverted Dandy has both saliva drooling and nosebleeds while watching Mio. Shizuku unleashes her magical mascots, supposedly to be some pencil and eraser. But Mio disposes them off quickly. Funny thing was the pencil and eraser saying how they’re supposed to be lead characters before being ditched and replaced by Ah-kun and when they finally made their appearance, it was over so quickly. Oh, how cruel. Shizuku quickly retreats but vows to get back another time. In the end, even though Sumi manages to get into college and has trouble with her studies, Ruriko doesn’t really smack her anymore. Finally Ink gets her wish to be with Nao in university even though the latter still doesn’t know about her feelings but I guess Ink would rather stay like this for awhile.
 
Episode 13 AKA the OVA episode starts off with those animal masks producers brainstorming on how to improve the DVD version of this episode. In order not to be a run-of-the-mill Moetan episode, it starts off in a different universe. An apocalyptic dystopia whereby Nao is an evil person who has just killed Ink! Nao seems to be more perverted as he claims that all the women in the world is his. Yeah, stupid Ah-kun defected to Nao’s side soon after. Back on Earth, Mio kicks Dandy (as a puppy) into the sky after he spots him putting his panties on his head. Sighs… Then in school as Sensei is asking Mio to read from the book, we see Mio not paying attention fawning over a guy named Keiichi! Sensei has had enough of calling her name and throws a chalk. Then in an instant time stopping/bending moment, Mio dodges the attack and stood up to read her assigned passage flawlessly! Wow! On the way home, dumb easy-going rival-cum-friend Shizuku (her tripping reminds us so much like Ink, doesn’t she?) tells her about some girl named Himawari who gave her this mahou shoujo powers and to beat defeat her. Mio then receives an SOS signal from the deceased Ink of the other world and decides to help her. Dandy suggests to go see Alice to borrow her strength. Upon arrival, no guessing what’s Dandy’s reaction when he sees 2 naked lolis bathing. Alice agrees to help them and transforms. Why is Shizuku drooling over her henshin? After entering a portal to enter to the other dimension, we see Sumi and Ruriko as poor people. After Sumi receives a candy and a 1 Yen coin from Shizuku, she tells them Ink isn’t really dead but in some slumber at the enemy’s base and gives them directions there. Wonder why Shizuku stayed back with Sumi and Ruriko. Meanwhile, Ah-kun reports the coming of the magical girls and it seems evil emperor Nao likes them and plans to lure them in.
 
The duo are faced with Karks (in his human form) as they do battle but it seems Karks is more powerful. Dandy comes by and did some flasher thing to ‘blind’ him and put him out of commission. WTF? Inside the lair, the girls are faced with evil macho men but disposes of them easily when Ah-kun appears and lets them battle with a dark version of Ink. Just then Sumi and Shizuku come in to persuade Ink out of her hypnosis spell. Since it didn’t work, Sumi is upset that Ink is like a grade schooler. Ah well, Ink then reverted back to normal and refutes her statement and that she’s a college student. Just like that?! Alice is going to punish Ah-kun but he uses his fart as a decoy to make his escape and report to Nao. When the 5 mahou shoujos reached Nao’s room, they find out that his plan is to make every woman into a flat chest! Can’t believe he has loli fetish! Seeing that Nao has no chance against so many mahou shoujos, Ah-kun defects yet again but deservingly got zapped by Nao. Nao then transforms into a giant monster horse with tentacles and you know it’s fanservice time. Mio then summons several mecha and the girls sit in their machine and combine into a giant robot. What a combination. Mahou shoujo with mecha sentai. Can’t get much cliche than that. Because the show is going to end soon, we see a short fight with of course the girls winning in the end. With order restored in this world, Mio says goodbye to Ink before departing to her own world. As Mio is taking a bath, she remembers that she has forgotten to bring back Shizuku when she spots Dandy messing with her panties again. Another super sky kick. Yeah, Shizuku seems to be enjoying the poor life with Sumi and Ruriko in the other world. As for the producers… No comment at all… Perhaps it’s still run-of-the-mill, huh?
 
After watching this series laden with too much fanservice, ecchiness and corny/cheesy perverted lines (not to mention some anime and cultural parodies as well), I’m thinking that this has got to be the most ecchi magical girl series ever. Unless there are other more extreme ones which I have not heard of. So those who can’t stand such loli and ecchi put together, it’s best to avoid this series. But for me, I kinda find it funny and amusing. And no, I DID NOT turn into a pervert like that erotic duck.
 
I must say for a short series, the characters are wacky enough and even though many viewers would love to hate Arks for his perverted ways and his uncanny fetish for little boobs, it’s hard to put him down. At least that guy still has some good points. Okay, maybe not many nor do they stand out. Sumi has got to learn to catch up in her studies or else Ruriko’s tera-capacity idiot prediction will come true. But it’s nice to see that they’ve made a little head way in their relationship. And as for Ink, perhaps that she could teach Nao on a few other things in university since she did an unofficial licence to teach English. And please, no ecchi thoughts come to mind. What about that Old Geezer? Life could’ve been so much better without him. But it could’ve been so boring without his troublemaking presence.
 
At the end of each episode, there is a segment called Moetan Corner (except for the OVA episode in which there is a double dose of this segment) which is hosted by 1 of the magical girls as they take turns. They will give a short English sentence on the blackboard for viewers to translate and the answer will be shown and narrated shortly in Japanese. And they are all related to otaku and anime stuff! Unfortunately, I didn’t remember them all. So Ink, will I be a total flop since I can’t remember them for the ‘exam’? Will you be my tutor, Ink? Not.
 
Due to the drawing and art of the series has been drawn in a way to make the loli girls look cute and moe. But other than that, it’s your standard Japanese drawing affair. Yukari Tamura did an excellent job voicing Ink because her squeaky child-like voice fits that loli role. She also voiced Nanoha in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha in another magical girl series. Haruka Tomatsu voices Sumi and also did quite a nice job to make her sound bratty. If you think Ah-kun’s voice resembles so much like Vash of Trigun or Momoshiro of Prince Of Tennis, then it’s because he is voiced by the same person, Masaya Onosaka. Love his voice when he sounds perverted. Other casts include Yuji Ueda as Nao (Morita in Honey And Clover), Kaori Mazuka as Alice (Hiromi in True Tears, Nadeshiko in Inukami), Rika Morinaga as Ruriko (Makoto in Minami-ke, Sousei Seki in Rozen Maiden), Noboyuki Hiyama as Karks (Ikkaku in Bleach), Jouji Nakata as Dandy (Giroro of Keroro Gunsou), and Tomoko Kaneda as Na-kun (Asu in Binbou Shimai Monogatari).
 
The opening song, Mahou Shoujo Magical-tan, by the seiyuus of the 3 magical girls, initially reminded me of Batman’s theme, the way the song starts out. It’s another one of those wild and wacky upbeat songs and the lyrics included something like going ABC and XYZ. Also, I think the producers have the cheek to put a new opening theme for the OVA called Tough Girl by Isao. The ending theme is sung by Nomiko and is entitled Skip. It sounded so much like a video game song but the funny thing is that it is as though the singer is trying to sound like a little kid and sing the whole song! You should hear it to know what I mean. The ending credits animation randomly shows the residence of the 3 magical girls and their unique wand whereas the opening credits animation is your usual crazy anything-goes kinda animation (ecchi included like Sumi forgetting to wear her skirt to school!). Hmm… I noticed the animation in the OVA opening credits has a never seen before character. Could be that Himawari Shizuku’s talking about? The mid-intermission has a still pose of the characters as they say random lines (something like Hayate No Gotoku’s mid-intermission) and most of them are for fanservice purposes. And the DVD episode of course has the mid-intermissions appearing twice.
 
Long ago, maybe I could’ve wished for some magical girl to help me in my studies. It’s better than using my parent’s money to pay for some tuition fee and dreadfully go attend some extra night tuition class. Good thing that didn’t happen to me too. Perhaps the magical girl would be more of a distraction than anything else… So do we really learn anything after watching this anime? It feels like some sex education here, putting English lessons and ecchiness together. And no, I didn’t have any saliva drooling nor nosebleeds while watching this hilarious series. Just spouting out barrels of laughter. So translate this line for me please: "Watashi wa anime wo tottemo daisuki!". Simple enough, huh? Or do you need Ink’s help for that?
 

Moetan

Though this popular anime series, Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, is still currently running in Japan (for over 2 years already!), I thought I felt like blogging on the original soundtrack of this series first. I’m sure that for a long running series, there should be at least a soundtrack album as part and parcel of the series. I mean, you can’t have a series these days going popular with just the series alone, right? You need to have video games, novels, movies, toys, merchandise and any other stuff the producers and marketing staff can think off to make it a global phenomenon.
 
So far, there are only 2 original soundtrack albums released for this series. Namely, Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn! Target #1 which is released on December 2006 and Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn! Target #2 which is released several months later, that is, April 2007. The first soundtrack contains 28 tracks whereas the second album has a track more as it contains 29 tracks. Thus a total of 57 songs.
 
From what I can see (hear actually), and due to the released dates of both albums, the soundtracks are mainly from the family gathering story arc (the story arc whereby Tsuna reluctant ‘obtains’ his followers… erm… I mean ‘family’) and the Mukuro story arc. So it’s not surprising that they still continue to recycle… I mean re-use some of them in future story arcs or even filler episodes.
 
There are quite a variety of songs from both albums ranging from exciting battle themes to slower pieces. It’s really a good mix seeing that this is a long running anime. Like they say, variety is the spice of life. And for those who are still watching the show like yours truly, we all know that Tsuna needs it. Or perhaps he is better off without the, Well, you decide. In addition, most of the songs have a mafia-feel in it which suits the series well. As usual, listed below are my favourite soundtracks in alphabetical order:-
 
1) Fuuki Iinchou Hibari Kyouya
2) Seisen
3) Tachiagaru Nakamatachi
4) Tsuna Kakusei
 
Holy sh*t!!! That’s a far cry from the total number of tracks in the series!!! Not even 10% of it. 7.017543059% to be exact. Hahaha! Does this mean that the other tracks are not suitable to me?! Well, I won’t say they sound horrible but I did mention that those are my favourite tracks. Tracks which I can’t get enough of listening to.
 
Among the four, it’s tough to choose which is my favourite and after a long consideration I would say Tsuna Kakusei (Tsuna Awakens) would have the slight edge over the rest. This dramatic piece sounds like a comeback song for our heroes when they make a turn around to beat their opponents or when they unleash some super move of theirs to stun their opponents. At first, due to the beat and tune of the song, it somehow reminded me a little of that American boxing film, Rocky. Yeah, I really love the way the strings and horns are being played in this upbeat piece. The strings take the lead in the first verse then followed by horns while the cello accompanies it before the finale everything comes together for 1 big final dramatic bang. If this was during those Baroque times, I’m sure it will be a classical hit.
 
Next, or I would rather sometimes say a joint-first is Tachiagaru Nakamatachi (Comrades Stand Up And Oppose). Though this piece is slower than Tsuna Kakusei, it shares a somewhat same feeling and atmosphere as it. In the sense that it is another comeback song and the tune too somewhat reminds me of Rocky. Only this time that there is some piano play in the background music while the strings take centre stage. Though there are some low horns for the 2nd verse, but I still feel that the orchestral strings are the one which made this piece a dramatic impact. Should be another classical hit if it were to exist in those days.
 
Not forgetting Seisen (Holy War) which is the most dramatic sounding piece among the 4. Don’t get frightened when the song starts. That’s because it really starts off on a very loud note. With the way the strings are played here, this music is usually used during dramatic battle sequences. And note the marching percussions in the background. Last but not least, Fuuki Iinchou Hibari Kyouya (Public Morals Head Hibari Kyouya) is some sort of a character song in which sometimes when his character appear, you’ll hear this trademark background music of his. Some of the other characters too have their own but this is my favourite. The exciting thing about this one is the way the piano is played. It sounds so helter-skelter going up and down the piano keys. Up and down, up and down. Wow. This is really a finger drilling session. You must really have fast fingers to play this piece. Though there are strings in this piece but I felt that it’s more for accompaniment purpose.
 
But I’m not ending my blog here. I’ll blog on several notable tracks which are worth mentioning. On the first album, the first track on the album is REBORN! Vongola Mafia No Theme, which is a slow funky fanfare mafia song which gives an impression of the presence of Reborn or that little baby had just arrived. Gokigen sounds like a lively one with the flute as its core, usually played when Reborn does his pranks on Tsuna. Nichijou 1 at first sounds like a warm Christmas song due to the way the trumpet is played. Yeah, the atmosphere feels like as though a family gathering around the fire place for Christmas. But in contrary to that, this is 1 of the main themes of the series. Likewise Kore Nite Ikken Rakuchaku sounds very leisure-like as it gives a feel of a relaxing day or go on a little shopping stroll.
 
Moukougeki! Is another one of those upbeat pieces with blazing horns and a little bell. Jiken Sensei! sounds like a song suit for trouble scenes or when there is a little pinch. Note the mischievous play of the xylophones. Kessen Mae sounds like a death march song because of the way the whistling is done. Battle 1 and Battle 2 are typical battle scene music but it somewhat sounded it has a little mambo style in it due the fast playing xylophones, percussion and fanfare. Nakama To No Kizuna feels like one of those Mexican atmosphere riding into the sunset with its slow trumpets. Reborn! Shinu Ki Time is the typical upbeat theme whenever Reborn fires his Dying Will bullet into Tsuna’s forehead.
 
The balance quarter of the first album seems to have tracks which are character related as they suit the character’s personality. Like Hurricane Bomb Gokudera Hayato sounds like an Arabian tune only with a dramatic twist. Gakuen Idol Sasagawa Kyoko is your typical angelic kind of song with cherubic bells but the later part sounds like a very slow waltz. Tennen Shoujo Miura Haru reflects the upbeat and wackiness of that Haru girl while Dokusasori Bianchi sounds like a spooky spy theme the way the voices are hummed. The xylophones of Bovino Family Lambo sounds naughty which fits that brat Lambo very much but I kinda noticed this piece is usually played during those horoscope predictions after the end credits. Of course there is the Otona Lambo tune which has a much more mature and slower feel to it. I can’t help break into a smile each time I hear Bakuden Ningen I-pin because of the solo Chinese instrument played at first. Then when the song soon descends into a lively tune, it gives an impression which suits a chase scene or situations in a pinch.
 
Over to the second album, Heiwana Hibi sounds like another one of those usual trouble-free themes with the calming and soothing play of the flute. You will hear Cosplay Reborn usually when Reborn makes his appearance in some silly outfit of his. Don’t know why most of the characters can’t tell it’s him. Contrary to the track’s name Suspense, it didn’t feel like one as it is soft and slow. Dame Dame sounds like a comical tune while Shoubu Da! sounds like another battle theme but has an African beat in it. Jikan No Yokan 1 and Jikan No Yokan 2 has a mysterious and enigmatic feel in them while Dandyism is your typical upbeat fanfare which sounds… dandy.
 
Medetashi X 2 is a short piece which gives a relieved feeling as it is usually played when the episode ends that whatever issues in that particular episode has been settled. For now. The tracks Teki No Mukou, Ajito, Zettai Zetsumei!, Kyouteki Toujou and Semarikuru Teki has that orchestra dramatic and suspenseful feel like as though the enemy is going to make its move or something ominous is about to happen. Mukuro too sounds dramatic the way the strings are played and it does fit an enigmatic character like him. Tsuna Tachi No Yuusei sounds like a grand battle theme song fit for majestic battles but the song ends with a kind of happy note like as though the heroes have emerged victorious (sometimes it also makes me feel like leaping through a time portal…?!). Shouri No Yokan sounds like a variation of Tsuna Tachi No Yuusei but with more orchestra-like features and at first I thought it was a song summoning for the Valkyries! Senkyou‘s play of the flute makes it somewhat a typical recap theme usually done at the start of each episode after the opening credits.
 
So that raps it up for this series’ great soundtrack. Of course currently there are other albums like character albums and the opening and ending singles, but that’s another story. I’m sure that in the near future there will be more soundtracks released based on the story arcs that it has gone through. It will definitely by interesting to hear them if there should be future releases. Well then, I’ll be listening to my usual 4 favourite songs with my dying will!
 

Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn

Girls Bravo

January 17, 2009

Another ecchi comedy harem series. What more can I say about Girls Bravo. That was the main reason why I decided to go watch this year 2004 production. Seems like a little ‘old’ huh after the way new animes are being churned out year after year. Yeah, I still find myself attracted to such genres after all these years. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. Let’s just say it still boils down to one’s preferences.
 
Anyway as mentioned, such harem series must have that ecchi element in it. Yeah, it makes viewing more ‘pleasurable’. Let’s see. Lots of fanservice, check. Lots of panty shots, check. Girls with big boobs (though not all), check. And one shameless perverted guy, check. Ah, it’s all here. But be warned though, at times you may actually see the girls topless.
 
This series has a total of 24 episodes. Actually it is being split into 2 seasons. The first season spanned 11 episodes while the remainder 13 episodes belong to the second season. Why didn’t they make it even numbers? Don’t know. Probably it’s to surprise viewers at first because usually a short anime series has either 12 or 13 episodes. So when the series ends at number 11, it would probably send a sudden surprise to viewers. And yeah, to make up for that, the second season would slightly have more episodes. But that’s just my speculation.
 
Unlike most harem animes whereby the main male protagonist has a bevy of babes surrounding him as time goes by, this one starts off on a different note. Meet the petite high school student of Mizuno High School, Yukinari Sasaki. As seen in episode 1, he has been abused and used by girls so much so he develops a phobia of girls. How bad is it? Whenever girls come into contact with him, whether it’s just a mere touch, he’ll break out into hives. Meaning that, you can see chicken pox-like dots outbreak all over his skin, face and body. Extreme allergy reaction. Wow. I just hope I don’t turn into that state. Poor guy. But the girls still continue to harass and bully him. Hey, pick someone your own size.
 
As usual, kids like him have their parents working overseas so he’s always home alone. Not really. His childhood friend and neighbour, Kirie Kojima, is seen taking a bath in his place when Yukinari comes home. The reason she’s there? Her heater broke down. Oh, so it’s like she’s treating his home as hers. Come in here as you like and do whatever you want, will ya. Because Yukinari accidentally spots Kirie in a towel, she thinks he’s a pervert. But I assure you, throughout the rest of the season, Yukinari isn’t a pervert like many harem guys out there. Okay, so he is a bit but not the kind who shows it. In order to clear the misconception, Yukinari says a taboo sentence which should not be said in any harem anime, "Even if you are not naked, I’m not attracted to you at all!". Uh huh. It may send signals that he’s gay. However, even with that sentence, Kirie gets even upset because she thinks she doesn’t have a nice body. I mean, this girl is so busty, right?
 
Without thinking further and letting her emotions get the better of her, Kirie beats up Yukinari and her super punch sends Yukinari crashing into his bathtub and… disappears. His bathtub isn’t that big right? So where could he possibly have vanished to? Yukinari probably thinks he’s dead after such impact but when he comes too, he finds himself in a larger bathtub and a girl named Miharu Sena Kanaka (looks a bit like Yuuna of Maburaho) all over him. This girl seems to be fascinated with him and has a mark on her forehead which resembles like those 3 holes on a bowling ball. However, Yukinari is surprised too. It seems Miharu’s touch has no effect on him. He doesn’t break out into hives. Yukinari soon finds out that he is on another world called Seiren and well, the place is quite close to Earth. You can see our blue planet so big and close in the sky that sometimes you feel you can touch it. Besides, this Seiren place has lots of water canals which remind me of Aria The Animation.
 
Soon, Miharu’s elder sister, the busty Maharu, comes by and is delighted to see Yukinari. She wants to tease him, if not keep her all for her own. Of course Miharu won’t allow that as she takes Yukinari running through the streets of Seiren. Another thing about this place is that, the population here is 90% female! A pervert harem’s paradise! Because of the lack of males, we see the deprived instincts of those girls kicking into action. Yup, they started chasing Yukinari when they spot a guy. It’s like he’s such a rare commodity. Good thing it doesn’t happen here. What do you do when you’re being chased and cornered by a stampede of females? When Yukinari and Miharu are being surrounded, Miharu’s displeasure of how it all turned out seems to unleash some super explosive power from the mark of her forehead. Boom. Everyone gets knocked out. Wow. The duo soon gets back to Miharu’s home and through the bathtub reflection, Yukinari sees Kirie crying and worried for Yukinari to come back and is sorry about her brute actions. Should’ve thought about that before you move your fist. Yukinari decides to go back as he can’t stay here. Yukinari jumps into the bathtub and resurfaces back into his own bathtub. Kirie is relieved to see him. But then when she sees another girl (Miharu), all that sob feelings has been forgotten and it’s another painful moment for Yukinari. Poor guy.
 
I would like to mention that Kirie is somewhat a tsundere character. In time, you’ll notice her body language may indicate some feelings for Yukinari but you know brute violent girls like her has her own pride to protect. In nearly every episode, you’ll get to see Kirie pulling off some super wrestling or grappling moves on guys (usually perverts or poor Yukinari even if it’s not his fault) and her trademark line of sending that perpetrator to hell. She’s quite a fighter and could put many of the WWE wrestlers to shame. On the other hand, I kinda noticed Miharu has a big appetite and loves eating! Not only that, I feel that she’s a little air-headed and simple-minded in the sense that she doesn’t really understand the implication of things and seems to accept them quickly. Miharu also doesn’t hesitate to get all over Yukinari, although she herself doesn’t know that it’s love. Thus in episodes to come, you’ll get to see the antics of the gang on Earth. Too bad, it would’ve been even more havoc if it was on Seiren.
 
Like in episode 2, with Miharu staying at Yukinari’s place (getting all clingy on Yukinari and coming out from the toilet. Another classic misunderstanding case when Kirie comes by. You know what this translates into), Miharu seems to take a liking for bread and no matter how many buns of curry bread they bought, Miharu can’t get enough. Yukinari and Kirie have to attend school so they left Miharu home alone and hope to get back once class is over. Of course, Miharu gets impatient and goes to Mizuno High School. Along the way, you’ll find out that her number 1 food has to be banana. Yeah, the way she touches, licks and sucks them is so ‘stimulating’ if you know what I mean. The shop owner really must enjoy it. Thanks to Miharu, he experiences an increase in business.
 
But this episode introduces another character, Kazuharu Fukuyama. To cut things short, this loudmouth guy is a sexual harassment devil! Super hentai guy. Is this what being filthy rich allows him to be? Does it allow him to dress in a different white school uniform from the rest? I mean, he enters class and instantly put both his hands under Kirie’s shirt to caress her boobs and has the nerve to say he’ll make her his woman. Of course Kirie’s response is her usual painful punishment. Does this guy ever learn? I mean, Fukuyama will be the one who will be the receiving end of Kirie’s punches or bone breaking moves. He deserves it. Love hurts. Literally. So when Fukuyama spots Miharu (who has entered the school and met Yukinari), it’s no wonder this pervert decides to make her his. She should be perfect for his harem paradise. Not. Fukuyama doesn’t like Yukinari much and always calls him ‘chibinari’. Fukuyama tries to make Miharu his own while Kirie and Yukinari have a hard time trying to escape from the clutches of that big time pervert. In the end, Miharu unleashes another super explosive power to blow everyone away (not to mention damage to the school buildings) and we find out that Kirie knows of Fukuyama’s weakness. It seems Fukuyama has the opposite phobia of Yukinari. Fear of men. So whenever he comes into contact with them, he too breaks into hives. He got what he deserves in the end. But that’s not the last of him. He’ll be back. So beware.
 
Another new character in episode 3. She is Lisa and is Fukuyama’s younger sister. After watching the horoscope programme and bumping into Yukinari, Kirie and Miharu, Lisa instantly falls for Yukinari because the horoscope predictions of him being her destined one all came true. Weirdness does run in the family. But they have some powerful influence. Because of their wealth and status, Fukuyama has made the school’s principal approve of Miharu’s transfer to their class. Oh great. Though Yukinari and Kirie won’t have to worry about leaving her home alone, now they have to worry about this pervert. And you know Miharu’s naive attitude on this. After Kirie does another combo punishing move on Fukuyama (he’s trying to ask her who the girl they met this morning while he has both his hands caressing her boobs! Sicko!), in some military style fashion, a pair of bodyguards-cum-personal attendants to Lisa, Hayate and Kosame comes by to kidnap Yukinari. Kirie tries to fend off the menacing act as she takes on Kosame but because Kosame has felt Kirie’s powerful kick, she takes a liking for her but decides to retreat for now. The bodyguards take Yukinari to the gym where Lisa is waiting and we find out that Lisa is some black magic user. She tries to cure Yukinari’s disease but summons some giant hand monster instead. Poor Yukinari has to endure another round of pain. Luckily the gang comes by to stop it before it’s too late. I love the funny part whereby Fukuyama is trying to explain things so Lisa has him shut up by asking one of her bodyguards to shoot him using a fake gun.
 
Later as apology for all that has happened, Lisa cooks up a huge meal for Yukinari. He has to eat it because Kosame is pointing a gun at him. But it’s another part of Lisa’s ploy to get Yukinari’s love because she wants him to eat her! What’s this excuse of it’ll cure his disease? To cure his fear of woman, he has to touch more woman’s skin? It’s like fighting fire with fire. Anyway Fukuyama (coming out from the fridge. Haha) interrupts them and lucky for Yukinari doesn’t have to commit. For now. Over the series, you’ll notice something about Kosame. She really loves Kirie! Yuri desu! Can’t believe she has turned into a cool bodyguard into a love-stricken gal. Kosame yearns to be close to Kirie everytime but Kirie feels otherwise. Yeah, weirdness does run in the family even if she’s just a bodyguard. As for Hayate, he’s still cool and maintains his calmness throughout the series.
 
Episode 4 has Kirie noticing Yukinari being depressed because Miharu is missing and thinks she has gone back to Seiren. She says she saw Miharu being taken away in Fukuyama’s limo earlier on. The duo then go on a rescue mission and are surprised to see his humongous mansion. They meet Fukuyama’s head maid, Lilica Stacy, who is surprised that Fukuyama has friends but only allows Kirie to enter as her master only allowed girls in (so typical of that pervert). Kirie is shocked to find that this mansion is equipped with the latest technology all for the wrong reasons. Like air-cond blowers at the bottom to blow up one’s skirt and an elevator which scans one’s entire body. Naked. Anyway Kirie bumps into Fukuyama while searching for Miharu and I don’t know why Kirie’s obliged to nurse him even though he is ill (or probably faking it. But he’s sure sick in the head). Yeah, Fukuyama took out his fantasies by putting on several cosplay outfits on her. On the other hand, Yukinari tries to sneak into the mansion but gets chased around by Fukuyama’s hi-tec security robot and maids. Then when Kosame gets her hands on Kirie, she’s going to do it with her! Not until Lisa summon some ghosts and another wild stampede ensued. During the commotion, Kirie finds Miharu and learns that she is working part time here because she feels she needs to contribute something while freeloading at Yukinari’s place. So as the 2 girls head home, poor Yukinari is still lost in the maze.
 
Episode 5 and 6 has Yukinari and co finding an unconscious girl in their bathtub. She is Koyomi Hare Nanaka. She seems to be suffering from temporary amnesia and to make things worse, she has fear of men. Which means poor Yukinari gets another beating. Though over the series Koyomi gradually comes to open up with Yukinari, this doesn’t help when Fukuyama is around. Uh huh. You know what this means. I think he gets all hyped-up whenever he sees any young pretty girl. Poor Koyomi has a hard time running away from him. Furthermore, there are 2 siblings (I’ll refer to them as Delinquent Brothers) who seem to want to hit on Koyomi. One of them is a big guy who doesn’t have speeches while the other is the usual delinquent kind. Luckily we have Kirie, defender of girl’s modesty to protect scumbags like them. Gradually, Koyomi starts to remember her mission. She is from Seiren’s Space-Time Administration Bureau (STAB for short. Haha, made that one up myself) and is sent by her superior Nanae Kuu Haruka to retrieve Miharu back. Something about how people of Seiren can’t stay long on Earth as it’s illegal. Furthermore, Koyomi has to complete her mission within 36 hours and with all that time wasting memory-losing and Fukuyama-chasing antics, she has got 12 hours left! In the end, Miharu decides to go back so as not to give anyone more trouble. With Miharu gone, the gang are depressed but you can’t have this series without Miharu because she soon comes back. Why? It seems Maharu understood Miharu’s feelings and allows her to stay on Earth. In addition, Koyomi too gets to come back and stay with them because Maharu has requested Koyomi with a new mission. To find her a husband. I’m not sure if Maharu really wants a guy from Earth. But it seems, it isn’t Koyomi and Miharu who is coming back. Why, there is another little girl too.
 
She is Tomoka Lana Jude. And in episode 7, she is Koyomi’s partner to help Maharu find her a husband. Tomoka is your typical little brat as she ends her sentences with "~na no da". Just don’t call her a kid, even if she doesn’t want to admit that she’s one. Plus, she likes to call others with nicknames she comes up with rather than their own names. Tomoka unpacks her backpack with an equipment to help with her mission. Unfortunately what came out from it looks like a cute alien seal. The gang tries to give it some names and in the end Miharu decided it should be Ebi (prawn) because it looked deliciously like one. Hehe, see those sparkles in her eyes? Enough to send shivers down poor Ebi. She really likes to eat… The rest of this episode sees how the gang tries to find a suitable candidate for Maharu’s husband, like doing some bike show wearing revealing outfits. I wonder if Koyomi can really handle all the perverted males ogling at her. To make things worse, Lisa thinks Koyomi is another new rival for Yukinari’s love. Then those Delinquent Brothers spot a depressed Tomoka and she tells them and the other passing guys about her mission. Oh now everyone wants to go to Seiren. But they are being distracted by Hayate and Kosame to some other girl, who is Koyomi in a panda outfit (how did she end up in that?). Lisa soon learns that Koyomi isn’t finding Yukinari as her husband. In the end, Tomoka bumps into Fukuyama and decides to bring him to Seiren. They appeared when Maharu is taking a bath. As usual, Fukuyama starts pounding on her but Maharu isn’t the helpless damsel in distress and beats him up. Maharu isn’t pleased to have a pervert for her husband and sends them back to Earth to continue their search. Even Maharu knows what she wants but ironically earlier on she did mention how she’s going to use her busty boobs to get one, so why reject Fukuyama? Perhaps she likes to take the lead and tease innocent men, huh? Poor Koyomi, continued to be chased by Fukuyama. Hope this doesn’t scar her.
 
Episode 8 has Miharu accidentally drinking some chemical concoction during their science class. This results in multiple Miharu clones. They’re everywhere! So how do we find out which one is the real Miharu since their characters are the same? When come into contact with a fake one, she will explode, not before leaving a little painful sensation when it goes boom. By the time they do that, I think they’ll be seriously wounded. But I think it’s got to be heaven for Fukuyama. And since we’re talking about Miharu here, she’s rummaging anything edible, especially bananas. Oh the horror, invasion of the pink-haired Miharu. Keep all your foodstuffs locked away! Yukinari goes to find the real Miharu while Kirie and Fukuyama tries to stop the madness. The shopkeeper of the banana store which Miharu usually patrons, teams up with several shop owners and make their last stand at a supermarket. They just keep on coming. Finally, they summon Fukuyama to wear some oversized banana outfit as he jumps into the sea of Miharu while grabbing here and there while at the same time making them all vanished. What a noble act of sacrifice. Not. If he wasn’t that perverted-minded, he wouldn’t have gone through all this hell. Enjoy while you can. Like they say, no pain no gain. Once all the clones are gone, Yukinari finally finds the real Miharu sleeping at a park and the shop owners erect some statue of a banana outfit Fukuyama in honour of his sacrifice. No, he’s not dead yet. Damn.
 
We find that Tomoka loves watching some mahou shoujo (magical girl) series called Poyon-chan in episode 9. So when she gets into a dispute over what to watch on television (hey, it’s Yukinari’s TV by the way), Tomoka unleashes her magic and changes Ebi into a little girl. With that, everyone else pays more attention to their newfound cuteness rather than Tomoka. Soon, Lisa comes knocking on Yukinari’s door and before you know it, she engages in a magical battle with Tomoka. Black magic versus mahou shoujo magic. Who’ll win? This time, Lisa wins and I don’t know why, she took Ebi with her. Lisa remembers the time how she got into black magic when she used it to turn a doll, Eri, into life due to her inability to make friends. But her friendship was brief as Eri turned back lifeless. So I guess, Lisa worked hard just to revive Eri but to no avail. Of course in present time, Fukuyama spots Ebi and is thrilled to have her. Can’t believe any girl is fine with this guy. Not if Lisa could have it her way. Lisa uses magic to blast Fukuyama away. While Lisa and Ebi are at the park, Lisa faces a 2nd round match again with Tomoka. Even if Tomoka turned the animals in the vicinity into vicious ferocious armed creatures, they’re still no match for Lisa’s magic. Then idiot Fukuyama shows up to take Ebi away. Lisa is horrified as she doesn’t want to lose another friend but luckily Tomoka gives Fukuyama a good kick in the face. Tomoka also summons Eri for Lisa as she knows she wanted to see her (how did she know because the flashback wasn’t told to her?). Soon both girls became friends. I don’t know how but this is the only time we’ll see Ebi in her human girl form. How did they change her back anyway?
 
More fanservice in episode 10 as Yukinari and the girls head to the hotspring. They decide to go to another one after finding out the one they patron is out of hotspring water and is infested with crocodile and bananas. However they should’ve stayed there because the next one they visited is owned by Fukuyama! In fact this whole mountain area is owned by them. How rich can they get. The siblings strike up a deal so that Fukuyama can have the girls while Lisa takes Yukinari. It was funny to see Tomoka watching her Poyon-chan show and when the show intensifies, her speeches were as though directed at Fukuyama, who is making his move to peep on the girls taking a dip (he has cameras everywhere!). However their scheme didn’t go as planned as they find out a ghost is haunting the area. Ironic to see a tough girl like Kirie cowering in fear. However that ghost girl can’t seem to live in peace as she tells her back story how she died. Years ago while she was soaking in the hotspring, she noticed a peeping tom and chased him. But she slipped and knocked her head on the rocks. Sadly, she died. So she thinks in order to move on, she has to do something perverted. I don’t know how she got this logic. The plan is to possess 1 of the girls and to some perverted stuff on Yukinari. Why not on Fukuyama? Well, he slipped himself into the hotspring while trying to ‘punish’ the ghost by hugging her. Lisa thinks it’s her big chance but because she’s fantasizing about doing this and that, the ghost possessed Kirie. Against her will, Kirie just touched Yukinari here and there. Nothing serious. I wonder why Lisa didn’t do anything to stop it since she wants to do it so much herself. With that, the ghost found peace and moves on. What the?! Just like that? As she leaves, she tells Kirie that Yukinari is a wonderful boy. Yeah, very wonderful.
 
While the gang continues to have fun at Fukuyama’s hotspring inn in episode 11, Koyomi is still wary of him as she fears he’ll come after her. Better keep alert at all times. But the gang found out that the inn that they visited earlier on has been bought by Fukuyama and because he wants to turn the hotsprings into a co-ed one, Kirie decides to challenge him. Through ping pong? But you know, it’s part of their usual plan to get their desired ones. Due to Kirie’s ego, she can’t back out from any challenge thrown at her. So it’s Fukuyama versus the rest. They have to beat him or else they’ll have to do undesirable things. Like Kirie, has to give him a sponge bath with her boobs. You guys better win. However, with Lisa secretly using her black magic, it’s no wonder Kirie lost when she could’ve beaten him fair and square. Next is Yukinari but that kid got knocked out, so he’s out. Finally, everything rests on Koyomi. Unfortunately for him, Koyomi is a champion of this game back in Seiren, though they call it by a different name which I don’t remember. Fukuyama is on the losing end and tries to play dirty indecent mind teasing, which causes her to lose concentration. With Kirie’s encouragement to think the ball as Fukuyama, Koyomi gets back to her usual self (woah! the glass cracked when she counters with her fast super smash!). Fukuyama uses his final tactic by unleashing several balls but Koyomi manages to hit them all back at him, knocking him out and winning the game. As punishment, Fukuyama has been tied and left alone in some hot barrel while the girls including Lisa have their fun in the hotspring. Koyomi seems to be more open now.
 
The 2nd season continues in episode 12 with a promise of more fanservice. That wouldn’t be possible without Fukuyama, right? I mean, that guy is seen laughing like an idiot about his plans naked while Lilica looks on smirking at his… I’ll leave that to your imagination. This is a pool episode whereby we see students of Mizuno taking a splash at their school’s pool. But due to Fukuyama’s plan to get Miharu and Kirie into his harem, he turns the mini school pool into one that is a large-sized resort with just a push of a button. Wow. But the weird part isn’t about Fukuyama riding on a jet ski. It’s when Yukinari touches a weird staff and before he knows it, he switches body with Fukuyama! Yeah, partly thanks to Lisa’s magic. So with Yukinari in Fukuyama’s body, who is going to believe that he is the girl-phobia kid? Fukuyama is slick and with that he gets to be closer to Miharu and Kirie. Why didn’t they suspect anything wrong with their behaviour? But Kirie soon realizes that Yukinari isn’t who he is because he doesn’t break into hives. Wait a minute. Even those allergies got switched? So as expected she beats the fake Yukinari up and accidentally touched the staff. Uh huh. Soon everybody start switching bodies so much so I don’t know who is who. Haha! All I know is the guys are in the girl’s body and vice versa. Then some magic circle in the pool starts to go haywire as somehow a giant octopus is summoned. You know, tentacles covering girls has got to be a turn on… And I think Fukuyama is in Miharu’s body so he’s really letting the tentacles go everywhere! Lisa uses her magic to fry the octopus and put an end to this mindless chaos. Everybody goes back to their original bodies except for Fukuyama who has become stuck as some plank. He deserves it.
 
But Fukuyama doesn’t really know how to give up or learn. In episode 13, the gang gets invited to a baseball match but to their horror, they are being led to watch an underground all-female hand-to-hand combat in silly cosplay outfits. And this tournament is sponsored by Fukuyama and I don’t know why all the best female fighters would want to get their hands on the Fukuyama Rankings. Is it that prestigious? According to him, yes. Must be lah. Then why would they slug it out in front of thousands of perverted male spectators. As usual, Fukuyama tries to get Kirie to enter but the latter refuses. That is, until he whips out an embarrassing photo. Only if Kirie wins, he’ll destroy it, or else he’ll spread it like love. Kirie breezes through the first few round until the semi-finals where she meets Kosame. Oh oh. During the match, Kirie is horrified that the lesbian bodyguard is all over her. Yeah, she is. She’s so lovin’ it. You can’t call that a fight. But the crowd loves it. Kirie is seen going to lose when Miharu’s sneeze causes a big explosion to knock Kosame out. Phew. In the finals, Kirie goes up against the defending champion who is Lilica. Looks like Kirie is no match for a tough cookie like Lilica. So before Lilica can deal the final blow, Kosame jumps into the ring and uses her body to block Kirie from her attack. I guess she can’t stand to see her beloved Kirie getting hurt. With renewed determination, Kirie charges back at Lilica but blacks out. When Kirie comes to, she realizes that she has lost but is grateful for what Kosame had done, making her a little happy. Meanwhile Fukuyama is happy with everything that he rips the embarrassing photo, which is a young Kirie wetting her bed and creating a world map out of it. Yeah, he doesn’t need that anymore. I suppose it would better if he had an ecchi one.
 
Miharu goes on a date with Yukinari in episode 14. Is this true? Are they a couple now? Well, not really. As the duo go about on their so called date, we see Kirie and Fukuyama spying on them. Yeah, Kirie has Fukuyama on a dog leash. Should be like this all the time. But the places Miharu went are all ‘erotic’ stores like a lingerie shop and even an ecchi movie. Though Yukinari is embarrassed, but Miharu seems not to know the implications of it. I mean, she’s still an air-head but so shameless lah. It’s as though all this are nothing to her. So Kirie finds out why Miharu is acting so is because Miharu has read a book filled with dating tips written by Fukuyama. No wonder. Then at a park as they stop for lunch, Miharu starts to strip! She says it’s all part of the book she read. Really, this girl has no shame. Luckily Yukinari stops her but Fukuyama appears and took away their lunch. Yukinari tells Miharu to stay put while he goes retrieve their lunch. Though he corners Fukuyama, but the midget still can’t get the upper hand. Until Kirie shows up in a poorly-made disguise with hand puppets and beats the crap out of Fukuyama. While they’re doing that, Miharu wanders off her own and helps other citizens in need. Because of that, Yukinari and Miharu can’t find each other. So close yet so far. As Miharu goes back to the park, Fukuyama (again being tied up) borrows Kirie’s handphone (his was accidentally destroyed by Kirie earlier on) to inform Yukinari to go back to the park. When Yukinari does, he is relieved to see Miharu there. As they leave together, Kirie wonders what prompted Fukuyama’s change of heart to help them when his initial plans were to interrupt their date. Something about being in the spur of the moment. At least, this guy isn’t a total heartless pervert. At least till the next time.
 
While Miharu and gang are enjoying their crab-flavoured bread in class in episode 15, the accidental litter of the bread wrapper upsets a clean freak named Mamoru Machida. Yeah, he wears a weird wrestling mask and claims himself to be the justice and defender of cleanliness. Some sort of superhero wannabe? Mamo Ranger?! Litterbugs beware! While Mamoru is chiding Miharu, a strict teacher of Mizuno, Hijiri Kanata, takes him away. Miharu feels guilty for him and decides to help Mamoru by introducing him to Lilica. What a better way to learn about cleaning then from a maid of a huge mansion. There, he undergoes various tough training in order to be a superhero of cleanliness. So as Mamoru powers up and tries his hand to clean the school (by singing on the rooftop with multiple coloured Power Ranger-like dolls?), a bird poops on him and he gets so mad that he destroyed the school. Then when he tries to stop Lisa from doing her magical experiments, they accidentally summon a giant monster who starts wrecking havoc in school. Mamoru doesn’t know what to do but luckily Lilica is there to give him some encouragement by showing him her scar-ridden body. Woah! This lady has been through every tough war, tortured and returned alive! With renewed determination, Mamoru defeats the monster but the whole school has been decimated. Yay! School is out. I suppose this episode takes a little break from the previous usual ‘heavy’ fanservice and concentrates on this extra character (whom by the way won’t be making prominent appearances for the rest of the series) and Lilica, which I also feel that this is her only other prominent appearance besides the fight match a couple of episodes ago.
 
Tomoka is tired of being treated and called a kid by Kirie in episode 16 so much so Tomoka calls Kirie a boobs monster. Along the way, Tomoka bumps into Fukuyama who tells him of her mission to find Maharu a husband. Of course Fukuyama is still bent on being a candidate, in which Tomoka dismisses after the last time. The duo soon spots a guy who seems to indicate he has feelings for Kirie. As they follow her, there are a bunch of guys who like her! Wow, lots of guys to dig violent chics. Perhaps they haven’t felt her fist yet. Yeah, a group of them are surrounding Kirie! Tomoka uses a powerful beam from Ebi to send a billboard crashing down and disperse the crowd. Though Kirie doesn’t know what’s happening, Fukuyama devises a plan of his own seeing that he knows Tomoka wants to be acknowledged as an adult. Fukuyama plans on using Tomoka to get Kirie by making Kirie acknowledging Tomoka as a grown up so that Kirie could be his while Tomoka plans to use Fukuyama to make Kirie do the same and in return get some Poyon-chan outfit. They try various stuff to show Kirie like Fukuyama pushing a kid away from an incoming truck (to bad he got hit when Ebi ran out of laser beam to blast it away. Haha. Ouch), helping a girl get a balloon stuck on a tree, and throwing free money. In the evening, Kirie is being confronted by several thugs so Fukuyama jumps out to save her but gets beaten up badly. Kirie of course beats up the thugs. It’s revealed that those thugs were hired by Tomoka but she played out Fukuyama on that. With him out of the picture, Tomoka decides to go in for the kill. However, Tomoka got lost and it is nightfall. Yukinari, Miharu and Koyomi bumps into Kirie to tell her that Tomoka is missing as they search for her. It’s raining and Tomoka seeks refuge alone under a bridge and thinks nobody will come for her after doing all those bad stuff. But surprisingly, Fukuyama comes by to offer his short to keep him warm. Because of that and for the first time, Tomoka calls Fukuyama by his name. Fukuyama carries Tomoka back as he meets up with the rest. Another episode where we see his kind side.
 
Episode 17 has Miharu breaking the bathtub with Koyomi. So the next morning, Tomoka spots Miharu, Kirie and Koyomi going out secretly and thinks they’re going to have fun without them, and forces Yukinari to wake up and follow them. They arrive at an otaku convention filled with typical otakus and Tomoka was excited to see a real-life Poyon-chan. But it turned out to be some guy in cosplay so she beats him up. Yukinari tries to restrain Tomoka from creating more fuss when he bumps into a cloaked girl who breaks into hives upon touching him. She quickly shoves him away and leaves. What’s this? Hijiri is there too with her? Anyway Yukinari soon finds out Miharu and co are doing a part time job as an emcee to pay for the broken bathtub. However Kirie says they are short a member and drags Yukinari into doing the part time job with them. Uh huh. She forces Yukinari to wear a sexy girl outfit and even renames him Yukina-chan! On stage, Kirie is as lively as ever, much to the joy of all those otakus. Then Yukinari finds out that this event is organizes by Fukuyama’s family. Oh the horror! Kirie seems to have a sadistic plan of her own as she leaves Yukinari in a lurch. Yeah, she’s making a contest between Yukinari and Fukuyama. I mean, since Fukuyama is paying her in advance, might as well give this pervert a good time and at the same time a taste of his own medicine. The deal is, Fukuyama can do whatever with Yukina-chan if he wins the best-out-of-3 games. Yukinari has no choice but to play along. Fukuyama wins the first round through a racing simulation and then purposely loses the 2nd round in a twister game so that he could play a 3rd round match, which is a fighting game, in which Fukuyama won. Then this is the hilarious part. Fukuyama is caressing Yukina-chan here and there on stage when his hands seem to wonder into the crotch area! He felt something which shouldn’t be there. Kirie then instantly takes off Yukinari’s wig to reveal that he is a boy. As Kirie laughs out loud and so hard (oh, she’s having fun, is she), all the otakus and Fukuyama are devastated. Fukuyama soon breaks into hives (it goes to show that it’s all in one’s mind since his allergies only appear then) and collapses! He’s being screwed! Oh, dashed are all the dreams of the otakus! How could Kirie do this to us! But poor Yukinari, the one being violated the most… Well, he was often abused and used in the past, right? The real winner of it all… Kirie!
 
In episode 18, because Tomoka once again kicks up her childish fuss of wanting to play an adult game (real reason is she kept losing at a card game), Fukuyama makes his surprised unannounced appearance at Yukinari’s home and suggests to play mahjong. However this isn’t a typical mahjong game because the tiles have ecchi and erotic things on them. Why not? It’s Fukuyama we’re talking about. What I remember is that it also works somewhat like a strip poker. The loser has to strip off pieces of his/her clothing and put on some silly outfit. Kirie has to participate since Fukuyama knows her ego about being challenged as she even ups the ante of walking around town in embarrassing outfits. The 1st round match comprises of Fukuyama, Koyomi, Tomoka and Hayate. We see Ebi’s manly thoughts like as though he’s an expert in this area but because Tomoka isn’t really listening and is just playing, Ebi’s devastated and knows their fate is sealed (no pun intended for Ebi). So Fukuyama wins with the help of Lisa’s magic and the trio are made to wear embarrassing outfits (Hayate and Tomoka a robot suit while Koyomi wrapped only with a life python!). Next round pits Fukuyama with Yukinari, Kirie and Miharu. As usual, Fukuyama is on a winning streak. During the break, Yukinari is confronted by Kosame who points a gun at him as she wants him to team up with Fukuyama so that she could see Kirie in an embarrassing outfit. Sicko. I don’t know why but Fukuyama manages to convince Yukinari that he has this inner desire to see Miharu naked. Ah well, Yukinari is still a boy deep down. As Hayate and Tomoka duke it out themselves outside in their unrelated match, the main match continues with Fukuyama conspiring with Yukinari and Lisa by switching tiles. Then in the final round as Fukuyama needs a good dice roll to win it all, Tomoka comes swinging Ebi and accidentally hits him, making him roll a bad number. Thus the tables are turned. Soon Kirie learns that the guys are cheating and is disappointed that even Yukinari is in it. So she them punished by walking around town in embarrassing outfits. Even Lisa and Kosame too. They all deserve it.
 
Episode 19 starts in an unusual and different setting. This episode is like those detective mystery thriller based in England during Sherlock Holmes’ time. Uh huh. Kirie, Miharu and Koyomi are a group of thieves known as Phantom Rabbits by night while operating a cafe by day while Fukuyama is the head detective of Scotland Yard with Yukinari as his assistant. Ironically, Fukuyama is a frequent patron of that cafe and it’s like the perpetrators are right under his noses. What’s this? Kirie having a secret crush on Fukuyama? Also, a young member named Tomoka yearns to be part of the group but since she’s too young, the trio doesn’t allow her. The Phantom Rabbits decide to steal a golden Mamo Ranger Mask owned by millionaire Mamoru. Though they are successful, they had a hard time getting away from Fukuyama as a stray bullet wounds Kirie as she drops the mask into the river. Not only that, there is a new thief in town called Black Snow and he has kidnapped Lisa, Mamoru’s daughter in order to lure the Phantom Rabbits. No choice, the trio has to go even if it’s a trap. So even if they got jailed, busted out and stuck on some sticky tape, they find out that all this was a setup by Fukuyama. Uh huh. He’s dressed as Lisa while Black Snow is actually Yukinari. How will the girls get out of this sticky situation? Luckily Tomoka comes by to rescue them as they float away with Ebi who’s acting as a hot air balloon. Not determined to let them go, Fukuyama clings on dearly on to Ebi. But Ebi can’t hold much longer as it’ll crash. So Fukuyama makes a deal with them. He will let go in exchange that they turn themselves in. Furthermore, he has always known the identities of the girls. Their lies cancel each other’s wrongdoing (but remember, 2 wrongs still don’t make a right). It’s sad to see Fukuyama let go as he plunges below. Oh Kirie must be feeling real sad. But the next day, as the girls turn themselves in, the are relieved to see Fukuyama there (he was saved by a pole he was stuck to). So like in such movies, the guy gets the girl. All of them are fighting over him. Then it’s revealed that it’s some crappy movie Fukuyama created for the school festival! Now this explains everything. The gang are in horror after previewing it and the funny part is that Fukuyama’s name appeared almost everywhere from directing to editing! Haha! Self made movie. Of course as the end credits of that movie roll, we see the blunders and bloopers of the reluctant gang. It still amazes me how well and convincing it turned out in the end.
 
After being frustrated of being unable to contact Koyomi and Tomoka, Maharu accidentally comes to Earth clad in only a towel in episode 20. Yeah, really an eye-puller. Meanwhile, Mizuno is having a school festival and Yukinari’s class is doing a maid cafe. Because Miharu has ate all the bananas, Yukinari has to go buy them. On the way, he meets Maharu and has to spend money buying her clothes. Soon Maharu follows Yukinari to his school. Similarly, Tomoka and Koyomi are having fun at the festival. Though Koyomi is worried that they’re slacking on their job, Tomoka tells her to relax and even called Maharu some names. So when Koyomi follows suit, they are shocked to find Maharu standing behind them and has overheard everything! Be careful of what you say next time. Maharu decides to teach them a lesson as the fearful duo ran for their lives. During the chase (Maharu taking out many guys including Fukuyama and Mamoru with her brute force), Maharu passes by Hijiri and she somehow knows who she is. Also, Koyomi spots Aqua Lamps in Hijiri’s hands, a device which only exists on Seiren. At the end of the chase, Maharu finally caught them and they’re really repenting what they have said. Turns out that Maharu wasn’t going to hurt them and was just having fun. In the end, Maharu goes back to Seiren and tells Yukinari to take good care of Miharu. A good lesson for those 2 to keep on their toes.
 
In episode 21, we learn that the mark on Miharu’s forehead is called Seikon, which has the power to open the dimensional gate between Earth and Seiren. Even Koyomi has them. So for those who don’t, they use Aqua Lamps. This episode focuses on Koyomi who remembers the time when her late mom told her how her dad from Earth has went back there (read: currently missing). The reason she can’t go with him was because her Seikon has lost its powers. Because of that, Koyomi is kinda gloomy and spaces out. And because she spots a man who resembles so much like her lost dad on TV, she decides to go look for him. The gang soon learns of her issue and helps out but to no avail. Well, if they’re going to ask every person if they have seen this guy in the picture, of course cannot lah. Even Fukuyama helps out by doing a live telecast interview. I know some may find it heart moving but for Koyomi, it’s another terror ride. WTF?! A life sized model of sexy Koyomi?! Because of that, all those loser passer-bys starts claiming to be Koyomi’s father. Poor Koyomi being surrounded again. In the final scenes, we see Hijiri conspiring with that cloaked girl to carry out their plan. And looks like Koyomi’s dad is under Hijiri’s spell…
 
The turning point begins in episode 22 as Miharu goes out alone shopping to buy presents for everyone. We also see that cloaked girl having lots of Seikons over her body. But back at Yukinari’s place, it’s getting more lively as usual. Wild is the right word. The usual suspects. Fukuyama is chasing Koyomi while Lisa is setting her sights on Yukinari. Meanwhile Kirie is trying to get away from Kosame’s advances and Hayate and Tomoka have their unfinished battle. Nobody’s left out, really. Their house is like a playground. Probably war zone. At the end of the day, the gang discovers that Yukinari doesn’t break into hives when being touched by the girls. What happened? Beats me but everyone is sure happy and starts celebrating this breakthrough. When Miharu comes home late at night with a bundle of presents, Koyomi spots her and tells her what has happened. I don’t know why, Miharu starts to feel jealous. I mean, she doesn’t show it but her speeches indicate so. All this while, it has been an exclusive for only Miharu to touch Yukinari so I suppose with his hives gone, that exclusivity is under threat. Some may say that it’s love that she’s unaware of. Miharu solemnly goes to her room and starts thinking but at this point of weakness, Hijiri appears and hypnotizes Miharu as she brings her to the bathtub and back to Seiren. The gang parties on without knowing Miharu is gone.
 
When the gang realizes Miharu is gone in episode 23, they mounted a search for her. They also realized the presents that Miharu bought for them. Each of them has got a present even Hayate and Kosame. You don’t know value of something once it’s gone. Then Fukuyama uses his ultimate satellite surveillance to retrace the steps of Miharu. Now we know why Fukuyama knows how, where and what the gang does and always pop up at the right moment. Another beating from Kirie. So they found out Hijiri has taken Miharu but the problem now is that no one can go back to Seiren because Hijiri has took all the Aqua Lamps Koyomi and Tomoka has. Yukinari’s self confidence hits an all time low of what to do to save Miharu and even Fukuyama scolds him to bring him to his senses but the former just ran away. Even so, Fukuyama plans to go save Miharu without that midget’s help. Fukuyama then has his group of maids to find a way to Seiren. He must be all fired up and betting on his family’s history to do so after getting panties as a present form Miharu.
 
Yukinari is wandering through the streets and remembers the time he spent with Miharu. Even the big sized Delinquent Brother hammers his little teasing bro away and for the first time, we hear him talk to Yukinari. In no time Yukinari gets his self confidence back. He goes back to his house to find everyone gathering at his bathtub. Looks like the clue is here. I don’t know how but they manage to have temporary communication with Nanae and Maharu on the other side. Something about the Secret Service is starting to put their plan in motion. Before they’re being cut off (I think the Secret Service arrested them), Nanae tells of Koyomi’s Seikon which she inherited from her mom. Since she always deemed herself as a failure, that’s why it never worked. With that, Koyomi’s Seikon comes into power as she opens the gate to Seiren… Through their bathtub of course. Koyomi, Hayate, Kosame and Lilica stay behind to keep watch on the gate while the rest heads in for operation rescue Miharu. Miharu is seen trapped naked in a bubble.
 
The gang arrives in Seiren in episode 24 but ends up in a famous place where the ladies bath. The ladies are thrilled to see some guys and as usual tries to get a piece of them. Heaven for Fukuyama as he decides to ‘sacrifice’ themselves while making the rest go ahead. Yeah, how noble. The rest got lost along the way and are confronted with some cute killer bears in some woods. Lisa teams up with Tomoka and Ebi to buy some time for the rest to escape. Once Yukinari and Kirie reached the STAB headquarters, Hijiri greets them with lots of STAB employees under her mind control. At the same time, Koyomi’s dad under Hijiri’s spell tries to close the gate Koyomi is trying to hold open but is met with some resistance from the rest. Back in Seiren, Maharu arrives in time to help Kirie do some cleaning up as Yukinari heads deeper into the building. You know for an ecchi harem series, the fight between Kirie and Hijiri has got to be the best scene ever. The fight and camera angles are cleverly choreographed. It’s so cool! Every flip and turn, every somersault, every punch traded and every blow blocked are smoothly animated. Just wow. Yukinari finally enters the area where Miharu is kept imprisoned. We find out the cloak girl’s name is Yukina. Ah ha. How ironic. We find out the real reason why she’s doing this. Yukina is the most powerful person on Seiren due to her Seikons. But she has a flaw. She can’t touch men or else she’ll break out in hives. Because of that, she decides that there will be no more guys from Earth to Seiren and thus doesn’t have to suffer this way. What sick logic is this?! On the other hand, by bringing Miharu here and sealing the gate forever, Hijiri gets Miharu. What do I mean? Uh huh. Another yuri character! OMG! Hijiri has always loved Miharu ever since don’t know when. So Maharu thought when she joined the Secret Service, she was out of sight for good, until now. See, the lack of men on this planet has even caused girls to become like this. So that’s the deal between the 2.
 
Soon the entire gang comes into STAB building and wonderful Fukuyama has all those crazy ladies on his side as they take out the zombie staff. Kirie then decides to do and say her trademark hell line (previously she said how she’ll beat her) and with that, does a painful slam move to knock out Hijiri. With that, all those hypnotized by her are freed from her control, including Koyomi’s dad. All that’s left is Yukinari but words isn’t reaching Yukina as she attacks him. But remember, don’t resort to violence yet. More bla bla bla from Yukinari saying how they’re both the same and she’ll definitely find someone yada yada yada. With that, Miharu unleashes some power from her Seikon and the bubble bursts, freeing her from her imprisonment. In the end, everyone goes home but it’s not the same anymore (actually it is, but worse). Miharu wakes up Yukinari to find Yukina clinging on to him naked! Oh dear, so now Yukina loves Yukinari. Luckily Miharu isn’t jealous or anything. Hey, is her hives cured? And would Lisa allow that, seeing that there’s another rival? Another disturbing fact is that Hijiri now loves Kirie! She’s going after her now. But would Kosame allow that? I’m thinking that any girl who gets a taste of Kirie’s kick will fall in love with her. As for Fukuyama, it’s pretty obvious he needs Kirie for his harem paradise. While Tomoka and Hayate are having tea, we see Koyomi glad to have her dad back to normal and that snake looks like it’s going to be her pet. Well, she’ll be fine as long as she’s out of Fukuyama’s sight. Yukinari narrates the final lines about how he’s being abused by girls since young. However, he concludes that even so, he thinks girls are wonderful. Oh great. I hope that statement won’t turn him into a future pervert. But it proves that he isn’t afraid of them anymore.
 
This series has been quite enjoyable for me. I know that some may think it’s the ecchi scenes but it’s partly why the series is funny. By the way, for the 1st season, there are 2 versions of it. One is the censored version and the other of course, full blown uncut and uncensored one. I have watched both versions and have come to notice that the censored ones will have the necessary parts blocked by steam (like when the girls taking a bath) or some other objects ‘obstructing the view’, or even totally cut out. It’s necessary since the 1st season is telecast over TV. But as for the 2nd season, as far as I know, there is no censored version as you can ‘see everything’ here.
 
The first thing which surprised me was the voice of Yukinari sounded so much like Mamiko Noto. Indeed it is! OMG! I believe I have never heard her doing a little boy role. This has got to be the first time. Nevertheless, I got used to it and I think she did quite a good job in voicing Yukinari. Other casts include Ayako Kawasumi as Miharu (Nodame in Nodame Cantabile), Chiwa Saito as Kirie (Natsumi in Keroro Gunsou), Masayo Kurata as Koyomi (Shinobu of Love Hina), Ryotaru Okiyaku as Fukuyama (Tezuka in Prince Of Tennis, Scar in Fullmetal Alchemist), Yuki Matsuoka as Lisa (Osaka in Azumanga Daioh, Orihime in Bleach), Ayaka Saito as Tomoka (Honey in Ouran High School Host Club), Aya Hisakawa as Hijiri (Yuki of Fruits Basket), Natsuko Kuwatani as Lilica (Suisei Seki of Rozen Maiden), Sayaka Ohara as Maharu (Ayano in Chokotto Sister) and Sakura Nogawa As Yukina (Nemu in Da Capo). Tomoko Kaneda who voices Ebi (Chiyo in Azumanga Daioh) must have got the easiest lines because all that animal does is just go "Nyan nyan nyan…". Nothing else.
 
In both seasons, the opening themes are sung by Yozuca while Miyuki Hashimoto does the ending themes. The 1st opening theme is Going My Way whereas the 2nd opening theme is Ever After. Both sound lively and upbeat. Though the 1st ending theme Koko Ni Iru Kara sounds like a slow Broadway-like ballad, the 2nd ending theme entitled And Then (that’s right, that’s what it is called) is my favourite as it is more upbeat and pop-like. While the animation for the opening credits for the 1st season seems normal (showing all the characters, that is), the 2nd opening credits has the girls going topless. Pretty obvious. The 1st season ending credits animation shows Miharu enjoying her bath with Ebi in the bathtub whereas in the 2nd season ending credits animation has Miharu skipping throughout various sceneries before reaching Yukinari.
 
A monochrome manga drawing of a character complete with his/her name acts as the mid-intermission. Though I find the background music for the 1st season during the mid-intermission to be lively with all that fanfare, the 2nd season sounds like a comical countryside banjo-picking. At the end of each episode, you can see a very simple and chibi drawing of some comical situations the characters are in. Also, there is no next episode preview during the 1st season and only the 2nd season has this. Also, each of the title has the word ‘bravo’ in it. According to the Oxford English dictionary, it means a cry of approval. Do we really need such approval here? I’m sure ecchi lovers would approve of it.
 
You really got to love the wild and wacky characters in this series. Especially with Fukuyama around, he’s a character you’ll love to be disgusted with. Don’t ever try pulling off all those perverted stunts, no matter how desperate you are. Like in most harem animes, Yukinari didn’t really choose which girl he wanted to be with in the end but most viewers would agree that he should end up with Miharu. That girl’s air-headness still boggles me. Now that Kirie has several girls to fend off, I guess she won’t have time trying to ‘compete’ for Yukinari. That guy has got his hands full too with Lisa and recently Yukina around. I guess life is better this way. Plus, with all that abuse he has received, I’m sure Yukinari’s tolerance is quite high. Poor guy. Just like Ebi, always being used as a hitting tool by Tomoka.
 
Looking back, I’m glad I don’t have such allergic reactions. It would really be inconvenient. I’m sure that there are much worse allergic reactions out there but that’s another story. I wonder if Yukinari is really cured from it since there is no mention about why or how his allergies vanished. In addition, I still don’t know the reason why Yukinari isn’t affected by Miharu’s touch in the first place. Likewise, having a population dominated by a single gender isn’t good either. Unless you’re the kind who shares the same vision and ambition as Fukuyama. So do we want an encore of this series? Anybody who does, just stand up and say "Bravo!".
 

Girls Bravo

Odoru Ponpokorin

January 16, 2009

  Nan demo kan demo minna,
  Odori wo odotte iru yo,
  Onabe no naka kara BOWA tto,
  INCHIKI oji-san toujou
 
Now, even though there is no karaoke version of this ending theme of Chibi Maruko Chan, I wasn’t like going crazy over the absence of one for Odoru Ponpokorin. Not to say that this song isn’t nice to sing but I feel that for me it is better to listen to it. Besides, I’m not that crazy over it since this is quite an old song (yeah, few years old) and it is sung by B.B. Queens. B.B. who? Yeah, they may sound related to that blues king B.B. King but they are not so at first the group name sounded funny.
 
  Itsudatte wasurenai,
  EJISON wa erai hito,
  Sonna no joushiki,
  TATATARARIRA
 
As much as I would like to classify this as a children’s song because the anime series is targeted at little children and toddlers, however as I closely listen to it, I also find that in some ways this song is a little weird. You’ll know what I mean once you have heard it. Another thing which makes this lively children’s pop song nice is that in addition to the lead singer, there is a man with a burly voice doing background and back-up vocals. His voice sounds like as though he’s a drunkard and has too many of it. And sometimes he’s screaming. But somehow it really fits the song and complements with the lead singer!
 
  PIHYARA PIHYARA,
  PAPAPARAPA,
  PIHYARA PIHYARA,
  Oheso ga chirari
 
The song starts of with the anime character, Sakura Momoko, introducing herself, her grade and her nickname before the upbeat fanfare and bell chimes starts the song. Throughout the song there are other instruments as well like flute and erm… computerized background voice? Didn’t I say this song is weird? Like the solo part. Although it’s short, the solo has a brief play of banjo picking followed by a few male background voices going "Oooooh~" which will leave listeners with an impression that they sound like ghosts! Then more of those ghost-like voices when the song ends accompanied with orchestra-like timpani or kettle drums to make a grandeur exit. So can we still say that this is a children’s song? Yeah, sometimes due to the tune of the song, I also feel this could be a dance song (there’s a line just before the final chorus which repetitively goes "Tatatatatatararira" very fast like as though it’s some disco mix!).
 
  PIHYARA PIHYARA,
  PAPAPARAPA,
  PIHYARA PIHYARAPI,
  Odoru Ponpokorin
 
The lyrics are seemingly simple but I find it a little silly and nonsensical. Especially the chorus part whereby the words don’t really have meaning but it still sounds fun nevertheless. So what on Earth is Ponpokorin anyway? Is it some sort of popcorn? Is it some kind of flower? Or perhaps some chemical compound? Beats me. Whatever it is, I’ll still be happy listening and sing along this nostalgic but wild piece.
 
  PIHYARA PII,
  Onaka ga hetta yo…
 
Chibi Maruko Chan

Minami-ke: Okawari

January 9, 2009

BAKAYARO! That’s right, the trademark catchphrase is back. Those who have watched the first season of Minami-ke will definitely identify with Chiaki’s signature line. Fans would be pleased to know that even before the first season finished, a second season was announced entitled Minami-ke: Okawari. In Japanese, okawari means second helpings. Uh huh. For those who didn’t get enough of the Minami sisters, they have got their wish with more of their antics.
 
The first thing which hit viewers (I’m talking to those who have watched the previous season too) is that the drawing is slightly different from its predecessor. In comparison, the second season’s drawing and colouring seems to be more sharp and detailed. However, fans could still make out and identify the characters, albeit for me it took awhile for the supporting characters. Why? Because some of them had a change in their hair colour which baffles me a little at first. Like Yoshino’s hair now is purple. So it took me a while to recognize them.
 
In this sequel, Kana is still the dumb trouble maker and with her twisted thinking, you’ll wonder if she’ll ever learn her lesson. Haruka is still playing the big mother and sister role but in this season, viewers will get to see another side of her. You’ll know what I mean as we go along. Also, Chiaki is still thinking everyone else except her big sister is an idiot. No prize for guessing which person occupies her top list of idiot-ness. However, I kinda noticed that Chiaki in this season uses her bakayaro line less often and that she is a little more open up. So for those who want to watch this sequel, it is best adviced to watch the previous one first as there are several outcome or how things came to be being brought over from the previous.
 
Thus in episode 1 we get to see the Minami sisters bored in their apartment. Their elder cousin Takeru is also there. Makoto still has to cross-dress as Mako-chan whether he likes it or not and because if he doesn’t, Kana won’t let him in their apartment. Looks like he’ll always live a dual personality life as long as he wants to be close to Haruka. Since the girls want to go on a trip, Takeru decides to drive them to a hotspring for relaxation. Also tagging with the Minami sisters and Takeru are Fujioka, Touma and Mako-chan. Kana did call Uchida earlier on but I guess they couldn’t wait. Of course during the trip, Takeru’s bad sense of direction got them lost and one should never mention about him being single (I supposed he got recently dumped by his girlfriend again) because his driving will become reckless and life threatening.
 
Also, Takeru takes the opportunity to ask what is Fujioka’s relationship with Kana. Getting suspicious, is he? At the hotspring, the funny part is when Mako-chan and Touma are in a dilemma to which gender bath section to go in. Uh huh. Mako-chan doesn’t want his boy cover to be blown whereas Touma’s tomboyish-ness makes her hesitant so as not to shock the rest who doesn’t know that she is actually a girl. Decisions decisions decisions. While they’re at it, the Minami sisters take a good dip in the hotspring. Ah… Notice the fanservice here. Wow, they’re starting off this season with it already. Feast your eyes as long as you can, Haruka fans! When Mako-chan and Touma decide to go into baths according to their original gender, Fujioka comes in to spot Mako-chan and thinks he has wrongly entered the girl’s section. So Fujioka goes into the next section and he almost caught Touma stripping. Fujioka thinks it’s the right side and that the bath may be co-ed since he heard girl voices from the hotspring. Just when Kana had enough of soaking, she decides to get out before she gets even dizzier. At such great timing when she opened the door, she finds Fujioka standing there. Woah! Full blown close-up view of naked Kana! He must be dreaming! As they both turn back and return confused, Kana thinks of living in the hotspring forever while Fujioka wonders how he got screwed up from all this happening. But never mind that, Touma and Mako-chan are still unable to take a hot dip in the springs. Poor them. And it’s such a freezing cold season. Oh speaking of which, poor Uchida is left alone outside the Minami’s apartment door. Yeah, Kana totally forgot about her.
 
Haruka’s legend as the legendary banchou (gang leader) returns in episode 2. After returning from their hotspring trip, Haruka has been reluctantly made a replacement class rep through Maki and Atsuko’s collaboration since the original is sick. Meanwhile in Chiaki’s class, she has been given the responsibility to take care of the class’s hamster since she knows how to care for it (she compared how similar it was to bringing up a hamster with Kana!). That night, Kana and Chiaki overhears Haruka talking to somebody on the phone back at their home. The next day, Yuu and Hiroko confronts Kana about the return of the legendary banchou Haruka. They decide to celebrate Haruka’s return and form some banchou federation as they call Fujioka to the rooftop (he was reluctantly made a banchou when he ‘won’ a rock-scissors-paper in their antic to decide the next banchou in the previous season). I don’t know why but Kana instructs him to break school windows as part of his banchou job to follow Haruka’s footsteps. But the other girls think otherwise because Haruka cleaned them instead. So they Fujioka cleaned the windows spanking clean. Since that guy’s pretty much confused and the orders are from Kana, I guess he doesn’t mind doing it. Since it didn’t turn out too well (of course), Hiroko suggests Kana to be the next banchou.
 
At the same time, we see that top-stripping Hosaka eavesdropping and learning of Haruka’s revival. Yeah, something about wanting to be her follower. In this season, Hosaka doesn’t have his usual fantasy simulation and he is always seen eavesdropping behind some wall or near Haruka. When he learns of Haruka’s plan, he goes away and decides to make a plan of his own but in the end it didn’t turn up the way he wants. Loser. Sometimes whenever Hosaka says to himself about his plans, Maki will get that cold shiver of Hosaka and would shudder at the thought of it. Yeah, she’s trying her best not to let Haruka see Hosaka everytime. Anyway, as Kana wonders if Chiaki will turn into a banchou but of course she says Haruka won’t be one. The next day, Kana, Yuu and Hiroko tries to gather an army of banchou by having those recruits through an arm wrestling contest. The winner will get Fujioka. So it’s no surprise that Riko (she has a crush on Fujioka) is going all out and taking the challenge. But we’ll never see if she wins or not. So when Kana goes home to tell Haruka the good news of her return as a banchou, she tells her that she won’t be one since the original class rep is back and that night’s phone call was her declining that position. With that, everything returns back to normal.
 
Episode 3 introduces a new character. He is the bespectacled Fuyuki and has just moved in as the Minami’s new neighbours. I find that this Fuyuki kid is a little mysterious. Though he’s shy and soft-spoken, he seems to be humble and hardworking. Chiaki seems suspicious of him while Kana has no qualms of taking advantage from him like borrowing his manga collection. How shameless. Meanwhile, Chiaki’s classmates decide to come over to their place to do group study but we all know that that’s not their real intention. The warm and fuzzy kotatsu must be the real attraction puller. They even brought along their pyjamas! After Haruka cooks a nabe for the gang (even Fujioka is there as a guest), the doorbell rings and Haruka finds that it is Fuyuki. He properly introduces himself this time and when the girls invited him for dinner, he politely refuses. It seems Fuyuki has that lonely look as his single dad is always away working and he’s left alone. I wonder why he’s finding it hard to make friends with them. Shy, you say? Like I said, I feel that there is something about him… Anyway, while Fujioka is doing the dishes, he notices how Makoto resembles closely to Mako-chan but he could never figure out that they’re the same person. Then more fanservice as the girls take a bath and as usual Kana makes fun of Chiaki’s non-existent boobs which causes her to get a deserved sisterly beating. Yeah, Kana even thought about separating their sleeping beds based on their breast size! After all that hoo-ha, the next morning, they found out that they have not got any of their homework done. Duh! Are we having fun yet?
 
Haruka notices Fuyuki’s diligence in episode 4 when the latter volunteers to do trash collecting on a morning weekend. Haruka gets pissed off to find her lazy sisters sleeping in a filthy pig sty-like environment. So she forces them to emulate Fuyuki. But you know Kana, she’s so sly so much so she manages to get her pals to come help her for volunteer work. I mean when Kana asked Fujioka if he’s free this coming Saturday, of course that guy would definitely say yes, thinking it’s a date. Furthermore, Chiaki finds out that Fuyuki is a new transfer student in her class. On the day itself, everyone arrives and even Hosaka is there after finding out Haruka is going to turn up here. As they’re picking up trash, Chiaki notices Fuyuki being very helpful but dons a gloomy face. It’s as though he’s doing it against his will. As usual, Kana lazes around while her other pals help out. Chiaki tries to get her back to work but when Haruka sees them and mistaken for both of them to be lazing around, she threatens not to give them dinner. So when Haruka praises Fuyuki for his hard work and tells her sisters to be more like him, the latter becomes modest. Chiaki just tells him to accept the praise but Fuyuki remains the same. Because Kana’s dinner is under threat, she gathers to rest to help collect trash and beat Fuyuki. All for the sake of her dinner!
 
The gang continues to collect trash near the river bed and when Chiaki has trouble pulling out a huge trash, Fuyuki helps him. She questions why he likes to help people and can’t say no when somebody from opposite the river calls for him. Kana then finds a large heavy abandoned fridge and thinks there is some treasure in it as they try to pry it open. Their effort is all wasted when to their dismay they only found rocks in it. So to take out their frustration, everyone including Chiaki starts throwing them into the river. Haruka, who has been worried about them since it started snowing, goes to look for them. She then spots what they are doing and gets pissed off as she thinks they’re just fooling around. So it’s decided. No dinner! Horror! Poor Chiaki even though it’s not her fault but got somehow dragged into all this. Later Chiaki still notices how Fuyuki is volunteering alone as she tells him to just refuse jobs he doesn’t want to do. But I guess it’s hard for Fuyuki to do so. The next morning, Haruka wakes up to find Chiaki and Kana at the dining table. In their plea, they desperately want Haruka to feed them! Poor thing.
 
We get to see Haruka’s scary side in episode 5. It all started when Kana discovers a little box belonging to Haruka and thinks it may contain Chiaki’s nude picture. As the 2 tussle, they accidentally broke a glass rabbit which was inside the box. Kana fears what would happen if Haruka found out and has Chiaki her accomplice because she too was partly responsible in breaking it. Kana’s really good in playing mind games. They tried to fix it back but it was futile. Kana panics and calls her pals to go look for the rabbit, giving vague descriptions of it. Uh huh. Mako-chan, Yoshino, Uchida, Touma, Keiko and even Fujioka went on a wild goose chase to get what Kana wants. I wonder why they couldn’t refuse seeing they know this must be one of Kana’s antics. While Fujioka is searching for it in the city, he bumps into Haruka and Maki and tells her about it, which prompts Haruka to remember she just had one as she returns home. Oh oh. Kana then calls Fujioka but since the line is bad, Fujioka misheard her as wanting unagi (eel) instead of usagi (rabbit). Haruka comes home and Kana and Chiaki are surprised that she is looking for the glass rabbit. They try to stall Haruka but she continues to search the house, wondering about her sisters weird behaviours. Yeah, Chiaki doing some meditation thingy as an excuse. Because Kana thinks her pals are incompetent, she decides to go out and look for one herself. Then a phone call from Keiko as Haruka picks it up. She then discovers what is going on about the rabbit. Scary mode turning on… Chiaki, run for your life! Kana is a little bruised and out in the cold. She couldn’t find any replacement and decides to head back. When she returns, she finds Chiaki kneeling in fear at the doorstep in the dark while Haruka is telling her in such a calm voice that she could forgive her for breaking the rabbit but… I guess Kana is starting to feel the fear. Remember, when Haruka is speaking with that tone, it’s not a good thing. Then the rest of the gang comes back to bring back their interpretation of what Kana wanted but they’re all wrong anyway. Busted. Except for Touma who’s still running and Mako-chan who’s still continuing to win some stick lottery. Wow. This is a side we never get to see Haruka with. And I supposed Kana getting a little wounded was to get viewers feeling a little sympathy for her before her hell starts. Think not. She deserves it.
 
Kana borrows more manga from Fuyuki in episode 6 and since it’s heavily snowing, the Minami sisters had a little snowball fight just outside their apartment. After getting a hot bath (fanservice cue!) and lying in their kotatsu, a blackout occurs. See how dependent we are on electricity. I don’t know what Kana is thinking but she decides to go back into the hot bath. But of course by that it’s already cold lah! Furthermore, the window was left opened. It’s her own fault and she’s trying to blame someone else. *Sighs*. Then they remember Fuyuki as they go knock on his door but get no answer. After several knocks, Fuyuki opens the door and greets them. Haruka invites him over but as usual he declines. As Haruka and Kana head back, I’m not sure how Chiaki knows Fuyuki is still standing behind his door. So she opens the door and drags him to her place. Chiaki is annoyed with Fuyuki’s untrue behaviour but he doesn’t know what she means. The duo soon got into a snowball fight in the corridor and before you know it, Haruka and Kana joins them. Ironically, Chiaki is being paired with Fuyuki as a team. After that, they go back to their apartment and Chiaki is surprised to find Fuyuki accepting Haruka’s offer to stay over. The quartet cuddled warmly and closely to each other as they slept together. The next morning, when they wake up, power has been restored and Fuyuki is gone. They find him shovelling the snow outside their apartment. I guess Fuyuki will always be Fuyuki.
 
Valentine’s Day is approaching in episode 7 and Kana is more interested in receiving chocolates than giving. So Kana calls Touma, Uchida and Yoshino over to make some chocolates. I don’t think Kana is just test tasting the chocolates because she keeps finishing them all each time the girls made them so much so they’re running low on ingredients. Although Kana is at fault, she still manages to convince Touma to go buy chocolates on her behalf. Sly girl. Touma bumps into Fujioka and based on the conversation they had, he thinks Kana is making chocolates for him. Back home, Kana didn’t learn her lesson but luckily Chiaki spiked one of the chocolates she made and put in the fridge. Awful tasting, is it? The next day, we see Fujioka receiving many chocolates! This guy is popular! And he’s trying to hide it all from Kana. Kana is expecting some chocolates from him so since she is standing guard next to him, Riko and the other girls can’t possibly give her chocs to Fujioka. Meanwhile, Touma receives chocolates from several girls. Her reputation has reached this level, huh? Same case for Fuyuki. But we know his is due to his nice character. As for Mako-chan, he’s thinking of giving chocolates to… Makoto! Oh well, his split personality has reached this stage too. Fujioka then decides to get rid of all his accumulated chocs so when Riko asks Keiko why he’s doing so, Keiko replied that he may hate chocolates, Riko is devastated. Poor girl. Misunderstood. When Fujioka finally gets rid of all the chocolates, he still finds Kana hasn’t given him hers. Yeah, Kana has a mountain of chocolates now but seeing Fujioka has none, he gives him 1 out of pity. Fujioka is happy but he doesn’t know that the chocolate he received is borrowed from the most popular guy in school. Oh well, better he knows not. Back home, Chiaki and Kana to their surprise, receives hand-made chocolates from Haruka. Chiaki decides to cherish it by not eating it when Kana eats it on her behalf! That greedy monster! She deserves to get another abuse.
 
It’s the pools in episode 8. And you know what that means. More fanservice! Since Haruka won several tickets to a pool amusement park, might as well put it to good use. Kana as usual rounds up Uchida, Yoshino, Mako-chan and Touma. Chiaki is researching over the internet on how to swim when Kana teases her for surfing at porn sites! Hayami overhears Haruka’s plans and decides to go but of course Hosaka has eavesdropped about it and plans to go anyway. Fujioka on the other hand too has tickets to that park and asks Kana if she wants to come, in which she replies to meet her at her home. Don’t take it the wrong way buddy. The day arrives and Takeru once again plays chauffeur. He’s still suspicious of Fujioka’s relationship with Kana. Anyway Mako-chan has got his swimsuit old fashioned style so as not to give away his real identity. As usual, Takeru got lost so when they arrived, he’s ‘knocked out’. Hosaka is working part time as a life guard and he’s taking out his fantasy by doing his CPR on Haruka on an inflatable! Sick guy. Besides Kana teasing Chiaki about her princess title and getting her own medicine of it, Kana teaches Chiaki how to swim but it’s not without annoyance. Lots of them. However Chiaki seems to be struggling so Fujioka ‘saves’ her by holding Chiaki in his arms. Uchida says how nice it was to be hold like a princess which causes the duo to blush. Fujioka fears he may send Kana the wrong signal (like she cares) when Chiaki pushes him away as they both fell into the water. Back to struggling Chiaki.
 
After more weird training, Chiaki decides to take a break and lie on the ground. Just then, Kana comes up to her and does a mouth-to-mouth CPR! OMG! Second kiss stolen from her idiotic sister (remember the 1st one was back in the 1st season). As expected, she punches her away. Keiko and Riko are there too and as Fujioka shortly bumps into Riko, this made her happy of achieving her goal to bump into Fujioka. At the same time, Touma and Mako-chan are uncomfortable with themselves because their real gender may be exposed. When Chiaki decides to swim and achieve 25m, to her disappointment, it’s only 15m (because Kana caught her by then so she thought she has achieved it). She loses hope and faints. Kana quips how she’s suffering from heartbreak. After the rest hears about Chiaki’s goals, they too thought up with their own bizarre goals. Just keep dreaming you people. But the most heartfelt one was Haruka. Her goal is world peace. Erm… It’s going to take a while because as she is sleeping on the deck chair, Hayami and her pals toss her into the pool.
 
Kana isn’t her usual self in episode 9. Over dinner, she tells them about the strange dreams she has which turns out to be true. I know her dream is weird (which includes Makoto being a real girl) but Kana being afraid of her own dream powers? I thought she’d be so looking forward and scheming with it. At school, Haruka gets word from her teacher about travelling abroad to study as an exchange student. At the same time, Kana is having trouble interpreting her dreams so she bugs Keiko about it. As Chiaki’s pals head to Chiaki’s place to study, Uchida and Makoto had a discussion about his cross-dressing. Yoshino almost suspects that Makoto and Mako-chan is the same person. Looks like Makoto can never turn into a guy in this house. Kana will threaten to throw him out so he has to come back as Mako-chan. When everyone has left, Kana tells Chiaki about her dream seeing the former eating carrot sticks. But Chiaki says it’s ridiculous. Over dinner, Kana finds out that it isn’t carrot sticks but crab legs and decides not to reveal her dream mistake. Chiaki is pondering on the subject of change and wonders if Haruka has changed. Earlier on Chiaki did mention how she has changed as she’s better with people now. The next morning, Kana notices that Chiaki has 2 plum-like hairs on her head. At school, Hosaka decides to eat Haruka’s bento when he bumps into Hayami. Hayami plays some psychology thing on Hosaka by saying he has to make a choice between eating Haruka’s bento or cook for her. I don’t know why Hosaka is taking it all out on poor Maki. But in the end, he decides that either way, they’ll both be delicious. Huh?
 
In episode 10, Atsuko and Maki stop by the Minami’s apartment while they were buying groceries with Haruka. I don’t know but it seems they have been allowing stray cats to enter their apartment from time to time. During a conversation, Chiaki misheard and says hanami (sakura flower watching) as opposed to Kana’s desire to eat harami (some steak). This causes Chiaki to be embarrassed. Kana takes the opportunity to tease Chiaki because it’s always been the other way round. But since Chiaki has mentioned that, the gang decides to do a hanami of their own, even if it’s not the right season. They managed to invite Fuyuki to join them and also the rest of the jin-jang gang. They decide to delegate the jobs. Kana, Chiaki, Uchida and Yoshino will do some shopping for snacks while Haruka along with Atsuko and Maki cook some food for the hanami. Which means, Fujioka, Mako-chan, Touma and Fuyuki has to pick a spot. Well, in the midst of leafless trees next to a trashcan. Yeah sure, such a fine place to be. Because of the way Mako-chan acts, Fuyuki asks him if he’s really a girl. They both just laugh it off anyway.
 
When Kana and co gathers at the spot, she finds Haruka’s team missing and decides to go back and check on her. However it seems that Hayami was there and you know her juices really make you one kind. Uh huh, they’re all knocked out. Hayami gives Kana her juices to be brought back to the rest. I guess Kana didn’t want to return empty handed. Everyone starts drinking the juice except for Chiaki, who has left with Kana soon following and Fujioka who is looking for Kana (on the way he passed Hosaka with his unbuttoned top showing his abs!). Dangerous! Everyone going wild! Fuyuki must be scared to see everyone like this. Hope this doesn’t scar him. Later on a rainy day when Kana comes back drenched, Chiaki tells her to go take a bath or else she’ll catch a cold (ironically idiots don’t catch a cold as believed by Japanese). As Chiaki prepares the hot water for Kana’s bath, Kana notices her delicious cup noodles and you guessed it, she eats them. Chiaki is devastated to find and catch Kana in the act of slurping down her noodles. However, Chiaki didn’t attack her verbally or physically. Because of Chiaki’s sad teary expression, Kana goes and get another noodle cup. This made Chiaki happy once more. Aww… At least Kana isn’t as bad or selfish as she was. As the duo enjoy their noodles, Haruka comes home and decides to join them.
 
Kana is back to her lazy and scheming ways in episode 11. When Keiko reminds her about her class cleaning duties, Kana feigns illness. Fujioka goes to check on her back home but is surprised to see Touma there in a school uniform. Kana comes up with a crazy idea by saying that today guests have to cross-dress and decides to strip Fujioka and put on a girl uniform on him! She’s sick in the head, that’s for sure. The coming weekend when Haruka wants them to go help volunteer cleaning up the city, Kana uses the same excuse that she’s sick. Haruka has Chiaki look after Kana while she herself go do the volunteer work. Furthermore, Haruka gives Kana a bell so that she could ring if there is anything she wants. Chiaki suspects something amiss but continues to observe and let her be. Of course Kana misuses her new found privilege and eventually Chiaki tells her that she’s faking it and has had enough of it. The next morning when the sisters are to go shop for ingredients for tonight’s steak dinner, Kana finds herself sick for real. Haha, what goes around comes around. Because of that, she has Uchida and Mako-chan come over to help cure her sickness before Haruka and Chiaki comes back. Too bad it has only gotten worse. When the sisters come back, Chiaki then says how Kana is sick for real. A desperate Kana comes clean and begs to Chiaki for mercy that she’s in pain. Chiaki shows her compassionate side by not getting mad at her. Aww… Once Kana is well, in an unrelated incident, she confronts Fujioka on the reason she addresses the Minami sisters (Fujioka always call Kana by her surname). I think it’s a ploy to let his guard down because when Chiaki suggests Kana to ask Fujioka to call her by her first name, and when he’s distracted, she should go in and attack. After doing so, Kana is going to do some submission move but finds herself too weak to pull it off. Yeah, it seems like Kana is hugging Fujioka from the back. I’m sure Fujioka is the world’s happiest man right now.
 
Episode 12 begins with Chiaki visiting the infirmary and the school nurse seems interested in her (nothing yuri though). So when Makoto comes in, she quickly gives him candy to make him ‘go away’. On the way home, Touma wonders why Chiaki won’t walk with Fuyuki even though they walk the same path home. Another surprising revelation is that Fuyuki is going to move soon! He has just made his debut this season and now he’s leaving? But this episode is mainly about the school sports festival at Chiaki’s school. Though Kana and Haruka expresses their wish to come support Chiaki, Kana has Uchida and Yoshino in some weird training of hers as they are taking part in some run. But on the sports day itself, they flop. They tripped when the race starts! What was all that training for anyway? Then in a scavenger hunt race, Chiaki took Fujioka to the finish line and when Kana found out the reason for her doing so was that Chiaki thinks Fujioka fits the item’s description as father, Kana laughs out loud. Then Yoshino’s suspicion of Makoto cross-dressing as Mako-chan increased when she spots him doing some costume parade in a maid uniform but Uchida tries to dispel it. As the gang gathers for lunch during the break, Chiaki notices Fuyuki eating alone so he drags him to eat along with them. Since Haruka did say how she wish she could participate in the next event, a tree-legged race, with Chiaki, likewise Kana says she’s going to do so with Fuyuki. This causes Fujioka to question and be suspicious of Fuyuki’s relationship with her. Jealous, isn’t he? Just like Takeru’s case. Also, Hosaka was originally there to cook Haruka some food but his stall is quite a crowd puller as he is made busy making ramen for the many customers. No time to remember about Haruka, huh?
 
But when the event resumes, Fuyuki has left when his dad comes to pick him up. What a sad end. He left without saying anything. Chiaki must really cherish the moment she and Haruka has during the three-legged race. Fuyuki can only look on in disappointment. When the day is over, Touma helps Chiaki clean up and it is only then that Chiaki found out from Touma that Fuyuki had left. Even back home, it feels even emptier now that their neighbours have moved. I think Chiaki is still bitter over Fuyuki’s attitude of not expressing his true feelings properly. Another shocking revelation is that Maki discovers of Haruka’s offer to study abroad and goes to tell Atsuko and Kana at an ice cream parlour. Kana drops her spoon upon hearing this. Gasp! Can it be true?
 
Episode 13 has Kana returning home to tell Chiaki about it but the latter refuses to believe her beloved Haruka is leaving. Chiaki wants to ask Haruka directly but is stopped by Kana who says that it is ultimately Haruka’s decision and that all they could do is send her off with a smile. Soon everyone of their pals knows of Haruka’s plans. Even Hosaka is thinking he needs a passport to go where ever Haruka goes. When Kana tells Keiko about it, Keiko misinterprets that Kana is the one who’ll be studying abroad and tells her that they’ll still be friends. Until she realized that it was Haruka she’s talking about. Hahaha. Though not mentioned, I think Keiko is rather disappointed that it wasn’t her dumb friend who’s going away. Her life would’ve been trouble free. The gang gathers and discuss some ‘S’ words and thinks it’s some household chores. Thus, they decide to do household chores to prove that they are independent before Haruka leaves. Kana starts off with cooking and has Touma and Mako-chan as taste testers but you know Kana’s cooking sucks so much so the duo are unfortunately made permanent residence of their toilet. Fortunately, her cooking improves. But at the expense of Touma and Mako-chan’s stomach. That night, Chiaki and Kana remain sleepless of Haruka’s decision. I believe I have never seen both of them slept together so sisterly like this. At times like this I think it pulls them closer. They are determined not to let Haruka down.
 
The next morning, Haruka wakes up to some noise and finds her sisters cleaning the house. Haruka wants to help but the duo tells her that they can handle it. Well, maybe just a little clumsy. It must be uncomfortable for Haruka just to sit in her room while her sisters do the work. Once done, Chiaki and Kana prepares dinner and Haruka gives them the green light, making the duo happy. Kana then says she can fly off without any worries but Chiaki starts to cry. She can’t hold back her emotions anymore as she tearfully hugs Haruka and tells her that she doesn’t want her to go away. Kana soon starts following suit. I guess deep down in her heart, they don’t want her to leave. However, Haruka once realized things, she tells them that she’s not taking up the offer to study abroad because she couldn’t bear the fact of leaving them. The sisters rejoice. Thank goodness. In the final scenes, we see the characters continuing with their daily lives. I think Hayami was going to give Maki a volleyball slam after finding out that Haruka’s staying. Chiaki receives a letter which I think it’s from Fuyuki. But this last scene has got to be a classic one. We see Hosaka in a flight heading towards San Francisco and laughing how he’s coming for Haruka. Hahaha! Bye bye. Hope he stays there for good.
 
For this kind of series, I wouldn’t say it was much of an ending. But the last episode suspense did make me feel a little nervous because I too didn’t want Haruka to part with her sisters. Yeah, no matter how dumb or troublemaker Kana is, she is still HER little dumb troublemaker sister. I’m glad we get to see the strong bond of the sisters in the end. And that the Minami sisters too underwent a little change themselves. Like Kana isn’t totally a bakayaro for this entire season as she has shown her compassionate and sisterly side, albeit for short occasions only. Chiaki doesn’t really hate those around her anymore and because so, her character is less scathing towards others. While Haruka remains the graceful one but we get to see her other side. This goes to show that she can be nasty whenever necessary to put her foot down.
 
As for the other characters, I feel that Keiko and Riko aren’t too prominent in this season. I mean, they’re supposed to be side characters but their presence and role here seems lesser than in the previous season. Because of that, I think Uchida, Yoshino and Mako-chan appeared a lot more than them. I wonder why Kana loves to call Uchida and Yoshino over or for her schemes. Maybe she likes picking on people younger than her or Keiko and Riko don’t want to be part of her silliness. And if you notice, this season is completely void of the Minami brothers! There is not one single appearance from them. What happened to them? Well, I think viewers would care more about the Minami sisters. And what about Hosaka’s fantasy simulation of Haruka? I miss that one too. And Fuyuki’s short appearance is really a question-raiser. He’s like here today, gone tomorrow and there wasn’t much revealed about his character. Perhaps that’s all to it.
 
There are several differences which noticeably sets this season different from the previous. As mentioned earlier on, it’s the drawing. There is something about the character’s eyes which made the whole art different. Because of that, I still kinda prefer the drawing of the 1st season. I’m used to that one. Yeah, I kinda noticed that Chiaki’s eyes are not half opened as before. They’re fully opened! At least it doesn’t make her look sleepy. That way she could ‘see things better’ and have a ‘wider view of things’. Also there is no more initial on screen narration of telling viewers not to expect much from the ordinary lives of the Minami sisters. I think after watching the 1st season, viewers may find the stories extraordinary. Maybe with the few fanservice scenes, I guess it enhances it all :). Then, for all those ‘insignificant’ or ‘unimportant’ extra or background characters, this time they are all without facial details and their skin tone is completely black! Even their hands! What in the world is this?! It felt like the producers didn’t want to waste time giving them proper details. So they sometimes look like faceless Africans (no mockery intended. My apologies).
 
The mid-intermission has been replaced with several cats curling up and sleeping together. What’s that all about? Then there is the lack of those screen changers whereby the Minami-ke logo rolls by and the characters shout the series’ name out loud or some random lines. At least not in the initial episodes. Probably this is because since the story here is continuous and aren’t short random skits as in the previous season. Another noticeable thing is that, whenever the characters are surprised, shocked or baffled, you can see a white exclamation or question mark above their heads to indicate so. Remember those manly drawing the characters become when they are sorta thinking or scheming back in the previous season? Due to the nature of the drawing, it isn’t obvious in this season but there are and much lesser.
 
This time, the episode titles are said aloud and most of them has something to do with meals. Both the opening and ending themes are still sung by the seiyuus of the Minami sisters and they maintain their upbeat and liveliness. Kokoro No Tsubasa and Sono Koe Ga Kikitakute are the opening and ending themes for the 2nd season respectively. The opening animation credits still has that craziness whereas the ending animation credits show Kana taking a walk on a railway track through various sceneries before coming to a stop when the song ends. After every few episodes, the scenery changes. I wonder what is the significance of this. Furthermore, the animation seems to occupy approximately 1/4 of the screen only. Except for the final episode where it occupies the full screen. As for the background music, viewers can still identify some of the old ones from previous season and I’m not sure if there are any new ones. Surely there should be but I guess it wasn’t memorable to me.
 
Not to say that I have turned into a big fan of this series but if there is going to be a 3rd season, I’m sure I will not hesitate to go watch it. Yeah, asking for third helpings already. Wouldn’t that sound a little greedy? Not with Kana is around. One can never get enough of her. So people, don’t be shy and let’s ask for more helpings. Okawari onegai shimasu!
 

Minami-ke: Okawari

Bugs. You know those tiny creepy crawlers which send shivers down your spine whenever you just catch a glimpse of them? Except for bug lovers, I’m one of those many Homo Sapiens who fear the six-legged (the more the scarier!) insects. Of course there are some which I can stand, meaning I won’t go shrieking like a little girl at the sight of them, such as ants. And there are those intolerable ones which made me go otherwise, like cockroaches.
 
You may be asking what has this anime blog of mine got to do with bugs? That’s because I have recently watched the anime called Ichigeki Sacchu!! Hoi Hoi-san. It literally means, One-shot Bug Killer Hoi Hoi-san. Anyway I wouldn’t really consider this series to be a series because it’s just an OVA with 1 episode. Yes, one stinking episode. And if you think that is short, the running time is actually only 11 minutes. Oh wait a minute, since there are no opening credits and only end credits, the actual running time should be cut down to just 10 minutes. Hahaha.
 
This OVA was released back in September 2004, the same time a 1 volume manga was released too, though it has been serialized in a manga magazine called Dengeki Daioh. For a short OVA such as this, I’m sure it can’t cover many aspects of the manga and it would just focus on a small and short part of it. Unless they cram everything into that 10 minutes.
 
Now, as I also found out that there is some comedy and sci-fi element in it but after watching the OVA, I must say that I only found myself laughing on 2 occasions. Okay, so 10 minutes isn’t enough for me because I thought I would be expecting to laugh the whole way. Didn’t turn out that way. Also, I found out that the manga is more violent and gory as compared to the anime as the latter is more toned down. Plus, the manga has more witty and bizarre lines compared to the anime. And no, for your information, I have not read the manga. So how do I know all these stuff? Courtesy and thanks to good ol’ Wikipedia of course.
 
Having said that, you may be wondering what kind of anime is this. The main plot is that in the near future, the year 20XX (I supposed it’s a convenient date to put so it seems not too near and not too far from present time), bugs have become somewhat immune to all forms of pesticides. You know, insects especially cockroaches have a thing for survival so it’s no surprise that their evolution has turned them into something like this. Mankind beware. Attack of the killer cockroaches! Not.
 
Due to this, a Japanese pharmaceutical company has come out with a cute but expressionless doll-like exterminator nicknamed ID3 Hoi Hoi-san. That’s short for Interceptor Doll Version 3. I suppose those scientist who made this doll are otaku fans because the doll can double up as a bug exterminator and a dress-up doll whenever it’s not killing tiny invertebrates. These little dolls pack quite a fire power with miniature machine guns and even sharp swords of their own to seek and destroy, shoot and hack that many humans deemed as an inconvenient threat… like yours truly :).
 
At the start of the series, the onscreen display narrates how bugs are already immune to insecticides and that a Japanese corporation has started selling small-sized doll-like exterminators to fight against them. In the dead heat of the night in some house, Hoi Hoi-san starts to activate and leaves her charger when she detects some bugs. After trudging a few centimetres, she whips out her machine gun and locks on her target. With her infrared vision, she starts shooting all the cockroaches in an instant. I wonder if all that shooting has caused some damage to the furniture and wall. I mean, they’re real bullets, right? Can’t have toy ones to finish off those cockroaches.
 
At the same time, there is another doll-like exterminator called Combat-san, created by a rival company, who is more than just destroying cockroaches. Why, it seems Combat-san is trying to destroy Hoi Hoi-san! Probably it’s natural for the programme of the rival companies to outdo and take out each other. But as Combat-san points her gun at Hoi Hoi-san’s head, she experiences a malfunction. As Combat-san lay motionless on the floor due to some system error, Hoi Hoi-san, with her squeaky boots, walks back to her charger. And it amazes me that the owner of the house can still sleep through all that gunfire. Miniature guns doesn’t mean that the sound is miniaturized too, you know.
 
The next day, a pharmaceutical store employee named Kumiko Dewa narrates how she loves little dolls when she was a girl and thus fell in love at first sight when Hoi Hoi-san was released. So when she bought her the first time and brought her home, little did Kumiko know that it was the start of her nightmare. I thought it was going to be the noisy night which will freak Kumiko out but it’s actually this. The next morning, when she woke up, she is shocked to find Hoi Hoi-san has gathered lots of dead cockroaches before her eyes. Hilarious and laughing scene number 1. I suppose all Kumiko wants is just a doll for a pet rather than noisy rampaging little ones. Ever since that day, she tries to warn customers into not buying Hoi Hoi-san, like giving excuses the cash register is broken. But she wasn’t courageous enough to do so as that was just what she always hoped she would like to say to them. Perhaps she should just change her job. Can’t do that either, huh?
 
Thus, another sale of Hoi Hoi-san goes to a lonely otaku guy named Aburatsubo. After purchasing it, he soon comes back to buy Combat-san but finds himself short of cash. Nevertheless, he decides to use his credit card first. That crazy, huh? That night, another quiet and peaceful night has been shattered when Hoi Hoi-san once again detects another target. However, since it’s a spider, the programme considers it not to be a threat. Looks like this robot only targets cockroaches. Combat-san too goes into hunting mode as she targets Hoi Hoi-san. Hoi Hoi-san then swiftly points her gun backwards and starts shooting as Combat-san does the same thing with her laser beam rifle. After the dust has settled, it’s revealed that Hoi Hoi-san has targeted a cockroach. Wouldn’t that amount to overkill? Meanwhile Combat-san experiences another malfunction before she could even reload. As Combat-san overheats, we hear her computerized voice mocking that this isn’t original parts from the company which made her. Hahaha. Hoi Hoi-san approaches a motionless Combat-san and whips out her water gun to cool her down. Unfortunately, such hi-tech robot still isn’t waterproof as this causes another explosion.
 
The next day, a teary Aburatsubo takes back the damaged Combat-san to Kumiko and he’s pretty sad about it. Kumiko advices him to express his love for them better and take good care of his dolls, which gave some hope to him. Just then, Kumiko gets a visit from her pal, Mutsumi Fushikawa or better known as Muu. Kumiko takes a break to have a chat with Muu at the seaside. Muu enthusiastically shows Kumiko both a yukata-clad Hoi Hoi-san and Combat-san that she has. However Muu notices Kumiko is feeling gloomy because she just ‘lectured’ her customer. Muu manages to cheer her up by saying that there are lots of people who like Hoi Hoi-san and who are stupid.
 
Kumiko notices how the dolls are very well made and she remembers how someone bought her a doll a long time ago and her mom made a matching yukata for her and the doll. Kumiko then thinks of wearing one to the festival. As they both stare into the sky, Muu notices that both her dolls are missing. Then Kumiko hears that all too familiar gun firing sound as it sends a shiver up her spine. Muu takes a look at a nearby dustbin and are fascinated that the dolls are battling the bugs. She really digs them in action. Though we won’t get to see how gruesome it is as said by Muu, she wants Kumiko to come and watch it. But Kumiko isn’t too pleased as she’s trying to hold back her anger-cum-frustrations as she tells Muu, "You’re gonna get somebody killed with those one day!". Kumiko covering with some angry red aura was laughing scene number 2 for me. And thus, the battle between humanity and the bugs continue…
 
Alas, this short OVA was just okay for me. Nothing that spectacular. Perhaps if they had turned it into a longer OVA covering more chapters from the manga, then perhaps I would understand it a little more. So those who are unfamiliar with this anime nor have they heard or read about it before hand, may find this a little weird and wondering what is going on. My only grouse with this OVA is that the night scenes are sometimes a little too dark to see anything.
 
Initially I was hoping to see how Hoi Hoi-san rip apart cockroaches with her bare hands or slice them with her sword because I read in a review that is what she also does. But as mentioned earlier on, the violence and gore are toned down so the action sequences here are short. It isn’t enough to do Hoi Hoi-san or Combat-san in particular, any justice even though they’re loveable enough for their short appearance.
 
Though I wasn’t going to bother about the seiyuus, especially for a short OVA, to my surprise, I happen to noticed that there are several seiyuu stars which I know who lend their voices here. Such as Rie Kugimiya is the voice of Hoi Hoi-san (Shana in Shakugan No Shana). Wow. I couldn’t recognize her probably because of the slightly computerized voice. In addition, she didn’t say her "Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!" trademark line ;p. Also, Rie Tanaka is the voice behind Combat-san (Suigin Tou of Rozen Maiden). Once again, I couldn’t recognize her. Then there’s Mai Nakahara as Muu (Noi in Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge), Shoutaro Morikubo as Aburatsubo (Shikamaru of Naruto) and Megumi Nasu as Kumiko (Sae of Peach Girl). For a short series using such famous seiyuus, I must say I’m impressed. But then again, this is year 2004 when the series was released so the seiyuus may be nobodies at that time. Also, there is no music when the ending credits start rolling. It’s like a deafening silence. Hey, why spend more money for an ending theme for just a one-off show?
 
In addition to the OVA and manga, there has been a game prior to the release of this. I’m sure it’s going to be the kind to shoot cockroaches. What else would you expect from it? Yeah, maybe dressing up Hoi Hoi-san in a maid outfit while doing so. Plus, there is a spin-off manga released in 2007 entitled Ichigeki Sacchu!! Hoi Hoi-san Legacy. Guess what? I’m guessing more cockroaches killing. Hahaha.
 
So I’m thinking that perhaps we need to get one of those Hoi Hoi-san dolls to help exterminate bugs. Unless you don’t mind having holes in your furniture and walls. It still amazes me how much damage those cute little dolls can cause but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry… from bugs. The thought of bugs getting immune to pesticides in the future (may be sooner than you think!) still remains a possibility. Yeah, I know bugs are God’s creatures and we shouldn’t just kill them because we find them yucky and gross. If so, why couldn’t God make them like cute wide-eyed anime bishoujos?! I’m sure we’ll get along just fine…
 

Ichigeki Sacchu!! Hoi Hoi-san

Bamboo Blade

January 3, 2009

Though I’m not a kendo enthusiast, that didn’t stop me from watching another sports comedy genre, Bamboo Blade. I find that this anime series is suitable for viewers not only of all kinds of age, but those who are into kendo or those who know nuts about it. Throughout the series, there are some simple explanations of the traditional Japanese sword combat sport and though it’s not that detailed, it is enough to keep those unfamiliar with the sport well informed about the basics. Like the wooden sword is called a shinai while the armour is called bougu.
 
Unlike some sport genre animes, the battles in this 26 episode series are more down-to-earth. Meaning that, you won’t get to see the characters pull off really flashy and exaggerated moves with exaggerated names, which makes viewers aghast. Even so, the fights here end fast and do not take up several episodes. Thus, the concentration here is mainly on the characters and their development as they make their progress.
 
Basically, the premise of this series is starts off with a poor kendo teacher of Muroe High School, Toraji Ishida. I’m not sure how or why but he is often called Kojirou, which I will use as reference to him in this blog. How poor is this guy? He’s always worrying about his next meal. Yeah, sometimes if kind students of his offer him their lunch, he has no qualms about taking it. Furthermore, he’s low on cash. Which means, he’s got debts to pay.
 
As seen in episode 1, Kojirou is scrambling to assemble a 5 member girl kendo team. He has made a bet with his senpai, Kenzaburou Ishibashi, that if his kendo club girls can beat his, Kojirou can have a year’s supply of all-you-can-eat free sushi from Kenzaburou’s father’s sushi shop! Likewise, if Kenzaburou wins, Kojirou has to give him a kendo trophy which Kenzaburou wanted so much back then when Kojirou beat him during some kendo tournament. Now, that’s got to be a good deal, right?
 
Now the tough part is to assemble his team. And he’s only got 2 girl kendo members, only of which 1 seems to turn up often. She is Kirino Chiba, who is also the kendo club’s captain. Kirino has a happy-go-lucky and cheerful personality and viewers will find her to be quite a likeable character. With the start of the new school term, it seems 2 boys, Yuuji Nakata and Danjurou Eiga or Dan for short, decide to join the kendo club but Kojirou isn’t interested because the members he needs are girls. At first looks, Dan resembles like an acorn head and his facial features are simple and cartoonish. In addition, his speeches are kinda slow and dreamy. Dan is reluctant to join the club as he wants to join a ping pong club (Hmm… is he a rip-off of Takeda from the Ping Pong Club anime?). So Yuuji had no choice but to leave but the next day, both of them are back and Dan is crying. Why? There is no ping pong club in this school and he laments the fact Kojirou or Kirino should’ve told them earlier. So no choice, they decide to join this one.
 
Then this is a funny part, while Kojirou and the rest are trying to scout for some potential kendo members, suddenly several balls come flying their way. It includes a tennis ball, a rugby ball, and what’s this… the vice-superintendent is falling off the building in their direction?! Before any of them could hit the gang, a petite girl, Tamaki Kawazoe, takes a broom and professionally hits them all away (poor superintendent). Kojirou is amazed by her abilities and requests her to join but she refuses. It also seems that Tamaki is a childhood friend of Yuuji as the latter explains to Kojirou why even though she is a professional kendo fighter at a tender age, she doesn’t join any club. Back at Tamaki’s home, her dad seems to also question her reasons for not joining any club. Her reply is that she’s satisfied of just doing kendo at home. However, as the series progress, you’ll find that Tamaki isn’t just all kendo crazy. Why, this monotonous-sounding shorty seems to be a big fan of an anime series called Blade Braver! She’s so like a child when it comes to it. But still, she has problems of expressing herself. Another character you’ll find quite adorable.
 
The next day, Kojirou and Yuuji are awaiting Dan to bring his girlfriend to join the kendo club, so they are trying to imagine what kind of girlfriend Dan has. To their surprise (and mine), she is super pretty and hot! Wow! "You gotta be freakin’ kidding me!!!". I can’t believe it either. Miyako Miyazawa or more fondly known as Miya Miya, makes the couple look like a lovey-dovey odd pair. It’s like Beauty And The Beast. Uh huh. Who says ugly looking shorties can’t get a hot babe of their own.
 
Well, the kendo club has 2 male members. They are Toyama and Iwasa but they are being more delinquent than anything else. We see bad-ass Toyama beating the crap out of some poor classmate when he returns and apologizes for the handphone he mistakenly takes. Then when the duo head over to the dojo to find out the club has 2 new recruits, Toyama decides to let out some steam on the freshies. Poor Dan got beaten up and his hands injured. Furthermore, Toyama’s shinai is different than ordinary ones and is harder but legal under kendo rules. Miya Miya could only watch helplessly. Kirino who has been trying to persuade Tamaki to join the club, drags her to the dojo and uses some super hero psychological tactic to get Tamaki to join the club temporarily. Yeah, something about how she is the only person who can save Dan from this. With that, Tamaki joins the club and gears up to face Toyama.
 
Though episode 2 starts off with a young Tamaki and her infatuation with the long running Blade Braver series, in present time we see her getting into a loose bougu since there isn’t one her size. Tamaki shows Toyama the true meaning of kendo as she skilfully strikes Toyama, leaving him no chance. Kirino explains that Toyama and Iwasa are the reason why the boys are afraid to join the kendo club or left the club because of the duo’s bullying ways. Toyama is desperate and he thinks his ego is hurt because a little girl is gaining the upper hand. So Toyama goes all out like a mad person just trying to strike her. Uh huh. Toyama is more interested in hurting others rather than the match itself. Though Tamaki tripped on her oversized outfit, she manages to get back on her feet and use a move called tsuki (thrust) to send Toyama reeling in defeat. It’s a move she remembered her dad told her she can only use when she’s grown up. I don’t know why but it seems like this tsuki move thrusts at the opponent’s neck. Isn’t it dangerous? So when Yuuji finished explaining how Tamaki saved him from bullies back when they were young and her reasons that she will not join a kendo club, they are surprised to later find out that Tamaki had already done so. Due to Tamaki’s shy nature, looks like she has a hard time backing out and with persistent Kirino, the gang has lunch together. Wow, Tamaki really eats fast and because the rest find her so cute, they decide to feed her their grub. Later Kojirou requests a match with Tamaki and as expected, he lost badly. Though he is depressed, he can’t give up now and is motivated to do better. Not with a year’s worth of sushi is on the line.
 
I also kinda noticed that there seems to be a funny looking ever-smiling chubby white cat hanging around the dojo. At first I thought it was just a stray cat and later, I found out that it’s actually the kendo’s club mascot! Well, that is what I remembered Kirino said. Don’t know if it’s true or not but you can bet that this cat is sure to bring in a little smiles whenever it sometimes appear in comical situations.
 
Episode 3 has the kendo club members doing their regular training. I wonder if Dan and Miya Miya chasing each other like lovers, are serious about the training. Miya Miya notices Dan’s hands are still injured and she isn’t happy about it. What’s this? Miya Miya has a different ‘evil’ look in her eyes. Scary. This goes to show that she isn’t just a pretty bimbo. She has a dark side too. After that, Kojirou takes the gang to a kendo shop run by Sakaguchi, to purchase their own kendo equipment. It’s funny to see Sakaguchi unable to enjoy his snacks because Dan would quickly eat them. Happens most of the time. Later, Kojirou gets a call from Kenzaburou that their match is to be delayed so Kojirou remembers the time how he beat Kenzaburou and even though the latter was glad Kojirou won the cup, his body actions didn’t indicate so. Yeah, he was pestering him about the trophy day after day. Did he really want it so badly? Kojirou takes out the trophy he has in his closet and though he doesn’t feel attached to it, his reflex actions causes him to hit a bug with the trophy, denting it badly. Now Kojirou has no choice but to win.
 
At another apartment, we see Sayako ‘Saya’ Kuwahara, talking about her destiny crap being a novelist. In short, she sucks about being one. So she rushes out with her bicycle causing some ruckus. Saya is the other kendo member and is good friends with Kirino. She is her ‘partner-in-crime’ whenever they go about with their antics. Because she’s infatuated with her destiny thing, she rarely shows up at her club. Next day at the dojo, Kojirou gives the girl members some colour code like we all see in those sentai shows. Like Tamaki is Red while Miya Miya is Pink (though something about her being black is better), Kirino is Yellow and Saya as Blue. They even gave Green for the yet to be 5th member. As Kirino gets a long-winded message from Saya about her trying to kill herself because of her failed destiny (yeah, Kirino just ignored it), we see Saya furiously peddling her bicycle along the riverbank. At the same time, Miya Miya is preparing to beat up Toyama and Iwasa for hurting her beloved Dan but Saya bumps into her, ruining her plans. Though Saya is apologetic, in Miya Miya’s rage, she throws away her bike and walks away furiously! Really scary! Over the series, you’ll find that Miya Miya has a dual personality. A sweet and charming one, which she always show to Dan and otherwise a scary evil one. Most notably, her dark aura will appear and that evil stare.
 
The training continues with episode 4 and because of Tamaki’s higher skill, she trains on a different level from the rest. As usual, Saya wonders what her true destiny is after her failed writings. Should she go back to her kendo club? A flashback of how she stormed out because she couldn’t beat Kirino and blames it on her and Kojirou. To cut things short, Saya comes back to the join the club. I guess Kirino and Kojirou never considered her to have left in the first place. Funny part was when Kirino send a long-winded SMS to Kirino about her destiny crap again and Kirino just shuts it! Meanwhile, Kenzaburou selects his 5 girls to face Kojirou’s side. They are Kotatsu Harada (the shy team leader), Maya Yokou (looks like a bad ass delinquent girl), Yuuri Ando (a sadist), Akemi Asakawa (always preoccupied with her handphone awaiting calls from her boyfriend and doesn’t hesitate to rush out in the middle of her club activities just to meet him. Funny part is, she always gets dumped. Poor girl), and Karen Nishiyama (a very nervous lady). Ah well, nobody is perfect. Also, Miya Miya realizes that Saya is part of her kendo club and tries to hide her face when she comes up to meet Kojirou. I’m not sure if Miya Miya would be the new Toyama in the making because during a kendo practice with Kirino, she finds it fun hitting people and decides to stay in this club. After practice, Miya Miya tells Kojirou about her unexpected meeting with Saya and about her plans to beat up Toyama. Kojirou just tell her to apologize to Saya. Though she refuses, Kojirou gives that sentai righteous justice explanation. And after seeing Dan’s hands are healed, Miya Miya goes to apologize to Saya and befriends her.
 
Episode 5 is the day of the match between Kojirou’s girls and Kenzaburou’s Machido High kendo girls. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, Kenzaburou has a hard time gathering them (they have weird personalities, remember?) and got lost on their way to Muroe. Even so, Kojirou is 1 girl short so he decides to have Tamaki fight twice (which I think it’s illegal in kendo rules). So he has Tamaki disguised as Braver as her 2nd appearance. Huh? Yeah, this guy is good in making up good reasons like a 5th saviour who will come rescue the team whenever in dire need. Finally Kenzaburou arrives and their delayed match gets on the way. To make things simple, in kendo team matches such as this, it is best out of 5 and in each fighter needs to win twice in a best out of 3 bout. There’s a time limit and whenever the player goes out of bounds, the bout is restarted. The permissible areas to hit for a win includes men (hitting the head), dou (hitting the torso), and kote (hitting the hands). Each hit has to be hard as soft ones do not count. A bout is considered a draw when both sides are level on wins scored and when time is over. Pretty simple to remember, huh? So the first match gets on the way with Tamaki taking on Harada. Wow! The match is over in just seconds! Tamaki swiftly deals Harada 2 quick blows! She’s really on a different level.
 
Because Tamaki has to play 2 roles, in episode 6, after her match, she quickly leaves so as to come is at the 5th member who is late. The 2nd match pits Miya Miya and Asakawa. Though Asakawa can think nothing of meeting her boyfriend and Miya Miya’s killing intent is strong, Asakawa notches a win for Machido because the former gets a positive SMS message from her boyfriend and she’s all fired up. Wow. Miya Miya’s black aura is scary after her loss but you can count on Dan to cheer her up. Yeah, Asakawa rushed out to go to her boyfriend soon after. The 3rd match has Saya and Nishiyama but it ended in a draw. Next is Kirino against Ando. Though Ando tries to play dirty tricks (sticky soybeans?), but Kirino is in full control and wraps up the match. By that time, Tamaki has returned as Braver with just a pair of spectacles which she borrowed from the vice-superintendent as a disguise. Everyone can see through it that she’s the same girl! Finally it’s Tamaki… or Braver against Yokou. Although I was anticipating this match to be a little longer, it all ended as fast as the first one. Yokou has no chance to even react! With that, Kojirou’s side wins with 3 wins, a draw and a loss. However, Kenzaburou isn’t satisfied yet as he requests a match with Tamaki. He smells something about this girl.
 
Though Kojirou is reluctant and insists that Tamaki isn’t the same person as Braver in episode 7, the match between Kenzaburou and Tamaki goes ahead. Kenzaburou goes all out on the offensive mode as he notices Tamaki’s strong aura. The match goes into a tie breaker after each secured a win. When Kenzaburou goes into Ascension mode (putting both hands on the shinai and raising them above one’s head), this causes Tamaki to paralyze in fear because that pose reminds her of her late mom. Noticing this, Kenzaburou stops the match. As the Machido girls prepare to leave, Kirino offers them her family deli’s delicious croquettes. Friends or foes now? As reward, Kojirou gives Tamaki a rare VHD anime but you know that video type is from that era and is relatively unknown these days. So when Tamaki tries to play it by inserting the whole thing into the DVD player, she thinks it’s spoiled! Haha. Later Kojirou and Kenzaburou meets up at a sushi bar and finds out that the bet wasn’t what he had hoped for. Something about Kenzaburou’s dad handing over his business to somebody else, which means Kojirou can’t get his all-you-can-eat meal. But Kenzaburou also points out that Kojirou too is at fault for fielding the same fighter. So it’s even. Furthermore, part of the deal was Kojirou had to beat 2 schools which Kenzaburou teaches kendo. And he’s only halfway there. So is the bet still on? Don’t know. For the rest of the series, the main premise will shift to something else and we won’t see Kenzaburou’s other school.
 
Episode 8 takes a breather from all that kendo stuff. Here, Tamaki is interested to buy an anime DVD box set after watching an advertisement but after rummaging for every last penny she could find, it didn’t come close. Poor Tamaki. As Kojirou remembers Kenzaburou’s words about how Tamaki needs to lose once for her good, Miya Miya seems to have injured her foot from her previous bout. Because of that, she can’t go to her part time job so Tamaki gets an idea to help her with her part time job and earn some cash. There’s a hilarious moment whereby we see a sidecar attached to Miya Miya’s bicycle and Dan is riding in it! Yeah, his legs are too short to reach the peddle. Tamaki starts working as a cashier of some novelty store and now I know the reason why the store has not many customers. The lady store manager has a zombie-like face! Enough to scare the living daylights out of anybody. Tamaki seems nervous and her mind running with all sorts of thoughts when 2 girls came in to purchase some stuff. Looks like kendo is the only thing which she has confidence. Meanwhile her dad wonders why Tamaki needs to get a part time job and thinks he doesn’t give her enough allowance. After thinking for a while, he thinks Tamaki is secretly trying to save some money to buy him a present for his upcoming birthday! Perasan! Because of that, he is thinking real hard on what to say when Tamaki gives him his present. Lagi perasan! Tamaki goes home dead tired and the next day, she tries to infuse kendo into her part time job when thoughts of what if a robber comes robbing the store. Pretty creative for a kid like her but she is interrupted when the store manager lets her off for the day.
 
The soon-to-be 5th member of Muroe kendo club makes her appearance in episode 9 (actually she did appear before but it was so short that I didn’t count as 1). She is Satori Azuma who purchase some stuff at Tamaki’s part time job store. But this episode is focused mainly on Kojirou. After visiting his parents, his day can only get worse because he bumps into a rude fat elderly lady with thick lips. And I mean not once, many times. From getting his car park spot stolen by her to taking the only item left on the shelf right before his eyes (something about her comment of him being too slow). Then the climax of his troubles is when he is going out of the supermarket only to have his car bumped into hers. Really a bad day. As they argued, he tells him that he is a teacher from Muroe High. Because of that, the old hag knows what to do. It seems she is a close friend of the superintendent’s wife. Oh no. Which means, Kojirou’s job is on the line. Yup, he is going to get canned. Poor guy, even if it’s not his fault. The kendo members practice, not knowing Kojirou’s ‘transparent’ existence and lying like a dead zombie at the dojo. When they finally do realize his presence, they find out about his circumstances. But you know, it’s still his problem. With Kirino’s suggestion about the upcoming national tournament, Kojirou comes back to life again as he will prove his worth by sending the school’s kendo club to the nationals. Not to mention save his career. Meanwhile, Tamaki notices a suspicious customer entering the store where she works.
 
That girls is Reimi Odajima and is looking for Miya Miya in episode 10. Though Reimi has shoplifted a stuff but she throws it back at Tamaki after finding out Miya Miya isn’t here and wants her to deliver a message to Miya Miya. Meanwhile, Kojirou is helping out at his parent’s convenience store and decides to fight on when he remembers he was unable to stop a robbery when he took up this job and that he was always running away. When Tamaki tells Miya Miya about Reimi, Miya Miya instantly panics. So this girl too has her alarming side. I wonder what Reimi is to her. When Tamaki asks Miya Miya about her reasons for taking up a part time job, she replies that she wants to buy a present for Dan, which prompts Tamaki to remember her dad’s birthday. With the money she earned from her part time job, Tamaki buys a present for her dad in which he cried tears of joy. Aww, so nice of Tamaki to forgo her dream to get her dad a present. How many of us can do that? Then another startling discovery is that, Reimi is that old hag’s mother! It’s a small world after all. The nationals competition soon start with Muroe making good progress because of Tamaki. During the break, Miya Miya panics once more when she spots Reimi. So much so she can’t really concentrate on her matches. It’s revealed that Reimi is some sort of stalker who harassed Miya Miya during her middle school years. In the end, Kojirou discusses with Kirino about getting a 5th member, though Kirino can’t remember her name (during the break, Kirino had a chat with her old buddies and the name Satori being a good kendo fighter and is schooling at Muroe came up).
 
Episode 11 has Kirino thinking hard about Satori’s name so much so the teacher throws a chalk into her throat (!) when she isn’t concentrating. Soon Satori enlists Saya’s help to find this girl. Meanwhile, Miya Miya continues her training and she’s starting to have that frightening feeling again when she spots Reimi again. Miya Miya reveals that during middle school, Reimi liked a popular guy but that guy confessed his feelings to Miya Miya instead. So Miya Miya beat him up. I think Reimi’s stalking her for revenge. Yeah, it runs deep. On their way home, Reimi spots Miya Miya walking home with the gang and mistakes Yuuji to be her boyfriend. So Reimi arranges a couple of thugs to beat Yuuji up when he was walking home alone. But Yuuji used some psychological tactic about Triple Triad Law Of Kendo to bluff and scare them away. The next day as Kirino and Saya continue to find the 5th girl, Yuuji tells Kirino to just call her friend for the name. Why didn’t they think of that. Also, Miya Miya is devastated to find out that their next match opponent is Seimei High School, the school which Reimi attends. Like I said, it’s a small world. When Kirino and Saya finally got the name of the 5th girl, they decide to find Satori. As expected, they flop. Yeah, they mistaken a big girl but with a squeaky voice as Satori (which is Satori’s friend!). Meanwhile, Kojirou has a talk with Satori’s homeroom teacher, Yoshikawa, who seems to tell him that it’s impossible for Satori to join the kendo club as her parents forbid it. As Tamaki is studying in the library and Satori was just behind her as she got up and leave. Kirino and Saya enters it to find Tamaki studying but was thrown out for being too noisy.
 
Episode 12 starts off with why Satori can’t join a kendo club because her dad was a very good kendo practioner but was killed during a kendo fight. However it was just a story made up by Saya. Haha, they only gave her 3 points for it. This episode focuses more on the kendo club members of Seimei, a freshmen girl named Mei Ogawa in particular. Seimei’s kendo club instructor, Hayashi, is a very strict one. So much so those who can’t stand his harsh training quit. Just like many of Mei’s friends. Meanwhile Kirino and Saya has finally found the real Satori and stubbornly drags her for a kendo match. In short, Satori beats them both flat and she’s still reluctant to join. After she has left, Kojirou comes and tell the gang why Satori can’t join. From Yoshikawa words, Satori’s grade has been slipping and she has some sort of vision problem, like marking the answers for the wrong questions. Even though she is clumsy, her kendo is top notched. Because of this, her parents forbade her to join any clubs. Then Reimi spots Yuuji and gets close to him in order to make Miya Miya jealous. However, Yuuji tells her that Dan is Miya Miya’s boyfriend and Reimi can’t believe that acorn head is Miya Miya’s guy, so she slapped Yuuji! He must be wondering what that’s for. Also, Seimei kendo club is having a practice match with Muroe. Mei is having thoughts of quitting the club after this. But she gets a little confidence when she faces a cheerful Tamaki.
 
The practice match continues in episode 13 and seeing that Mei isn’t skilful, Tamaki offers her some advice, giving Mei some hope. Too bad Satori has been dragged into this as well. Does short of people count as a good reason? As usual, Reimi is obsessed taking pictures on Miya Miya which disrupts her concentration (I found out that she’s the school’s reporter). Later Kirino sets up a match between Tamaki and Satori and even though Satori is good, Tamaki is still the better one. Hayashi has a talk with Kojirou as the former notices how his students are having fun during the matches. Hayashi goes on explaining about his past about how he hated kendo and his dad forced him into it. Though he only took it up much later, the reason he did so was he saw the price tag of the kendo equipment as his family is poor. In order not to waste them, he began practising. Soon both sides have a final match and Kojirou’s team wins it. Hayashi is not disheartened with his team’s loss and tells to win the next time. It ends with Hayashi and Kojirou having a duel of their own. Of course, Hayashi won. What an embarrassment after his team did so well. As the girls part, Mei decides to stay on but for Miya Miya, Reimi’s presence has become really a pain. Yeah, it’s like taking the life out of her, literally.
 
In episode 14, I think the start of the episode indicates that Reimi is more in love with Miya Miya rather than hate! Oh no. Yuri… A life-size version of Miya Miya? That explains her obsession. Plus, when a guy classmate jokingly asks Reimi to introduce that cutie to him, Reimi gets pissed off. Back at school, though Satori tells Kirino and Saya that she’s not interested in joining, but I think those clowns aren’t listening. They’re just nodding their head and soon asks if she wants to get her own equipment, in which Satori unknowingly answers yes before realizing her mistake. What’s this? Kojirou playing a confiscated video game in the teacher’s room. Since he’s losing, Yoshikawa comes by and shows him how it’s done! Woah! Anyway when Kojirou tells Kirino and Saya that Satori can’t join (they even came out with various nicknames like Sacchin or Satorin for her!), the duo ran out in tears. Miya Miya notices this and decides to go confront Satori. We see Miya Miya’s dark and suave side to ‘persuade’ (more like coerce but with all the metaphors) to join the club. She’s damn good in making Satori feel guilty. Like making a connection how her grades were good when she was taking up kendo back then and then without it, her grades slipped. Miya Miya then fires the final salvo: "If you’re going to be an idiot, then be a kendo idiot!". It was enough to make Satori realize her mistake (was it really?) as she pleads to Miya Miya to join the kendo club. I think Miya Miya got a kick out of it. How sly, crafty and conniving. So it was a real surprise to the rest when Satori joined them. Satori has also convinced her parents to let her join the club and don’t worry, Kirino and Dan are top students in school who can help her with her studies. So that acorn head is good in his studies too. Don’t judge a book… Then Kojirou tells them that they will have a training camp for their nationals tournament. But to their disappointment, the place is their school. But Kojirou also mentions how Machido kendo girls will also be coming to help them out. Can’t forget about them, can’t we? As Yuuji rides with Tamaki back home, Tamaki’s dad finds out about the training camp. I noticed that he’s always suspicious whenever Tamaki mentions Yuuji’s name. Like as though it’s not a good thing. But we’ll never get to find out why he’s so towards Yuuji.
 
The training camp gets underway in episode 15 with Kenzaburou leaving his Machido girls at Muroe. But the Machido girls are surprised to find their Muroe counterparts cleaning the school’s pool. Courtesy of that old hag. So in order to start their kendo training, Machido girls too chip in and at the same time gets acquainted. Once it’s done, they proceed to the dojo. Dan notices how Yoshikawa and Kojirou are getting along well but since Yuuji didn’t get the whole picture, Dan says he doesn’t know a woman’s heart. Furthermore, Tamaki’s dad has come to spy on Tamaki and Yuuji. The usual kendo training before the gang heads to a public bath and had a wholesome curry rice dinner. That night, Asakawa tries to escape from camp to see her boyfriend but bumped into something. My guess it’s Tamaki’s dad. Yup, he’s going to have a headache alright. With his suspicions allayed that Yuuji isn’t doing anything funny on Tamaki, he heads home. Then Kirino faces off with Yokou to see who can put together the shinai the fastest and Kirino wins. Saya then composed a song with a long title but was unable to start because her guitar strings snapped. What training camp would be complete without a pillow fight? Yeah, it soon descended into 1. While the girls are having fun, the guys have no choice but to sleep in early. That night, Tamaki wakes up to find Kirino practising alone and the latter thanks Tamaki for joining, which made the club more enjoyable. The next morning, Tamaki wakes up early to catch her favourite anime show and gets all fired-up after finished watching. You know, Ando sleeps with her eyes open! Scary. Scarier when her dark aura clashes with Miya Miya’s. Soon Kenzaburou comes by to pick up his girls as they parted ways. But when Kirino reaches her home, she finds her mom collapsed on the floor.
 
Because of that, in episode 16, Kirino didn’t show up for kendo practice and this causes Saya to panic and jump to conclusions that something bad may have happened to her. Saya frantically goes round searching for Kirino but finds her happily helping out her family’s deli. The reason being, Kirino is temporarily helping her mom who is recuperating well in hospital. Soon Kirino comes back to practice and the gang is relieved. The tournament begins the next day and Muroe is doing quite well. Except for Miya Miya who hasn’t won a single match yet is pissed off and takes out her frustrations on Satori by ordering her to get some juice. Lucky Dan is there to comfort her. This guy is sensitive and knows how to sooth a girl’s heart. No wonder Miya Miya loves him. As the gang eat lunch together, Satori bumps into a kendo participant, Konishi, on her way back. This bad ass girl stepped and crushed the can! Konishi is from Toujou High School, a school which Muroe will face next and there are rumours those she faced ended up injured. Though Satori comes back with the crushed can, Miya Miya accepts it. Furthermore, Satori accidentally brought her Sega Saturn instead of her bento. What’s this? Saya force feeding Kirino! Before the next round starts, Tamaki finds some tacks in her shoes. Then Tamaki is being confronted by 3 underlings of Konishi. They drag and lock her up in a storeroom. And the match is going to start soon. Oh dear. They’re really playing dirty!
 
The Muroe girls wonder why Tamaki is taking so long in episode 17. Previously, she told them that her dad wanted to see her but it was just a ploy from those underlings. As Tamaki desperately tries to escape, suddenly somebody opens the door. Why, it’s Konishi herself. She helps Tamaki out as they head back into the hall. But this is also another ploy so that Konishi would seem to have no part in her underlings’ plan. On the way, Konishi leads Tamaki to a spot where there are several tennis balls on the ground. Tamaki slipped and sprained her ankle. When Tamaki gets back, she didn’t tell the gang of what happened but Yuuji suspects something amiss. The match starts and Tamaki is trying to conceal her pain while Konishi plays taunting mind games on her. Satori and Miya Miya lost their matches due to stomach ache problems and Reimi’s appearance respectively. But Saya and Kirino bounces back to give Muroe a lifeline and it’s down to the final match between Tamaki and Konishi. Though Konishi is confident, but seeing Tamaki’s determined aura made her sweat a little despite her handicap. Finally, Tamaki does a tsuki move to send Konishi flying. By that time, Yuuji realized that Tamaki is injured and tells Kojirou about it.
 
Due to Tamaki’s injuries, Kojirou has Tamaki withdrawn from the tournament in episode 18, much to her displeasure. But Konishi is the one feeling the heat. Not only she has her pride hurt but I think she’s going to have a really bad sore throat. But as of now, both team are level on points scored and wins. As such case, a representative match is called with each side fielding a fighter to break the deadlock. Kirino has been selected to face another Toujou side since Konishi is out of the question. At first looks, Kirino’s intense concentration seems to have secured a win for Muroe. But when she hears her little brother cheering on for her, it went downhill. Sad to say, Kirino lost. But that didn’t dampen their spirits as there are more tournaments coming up as they’ll be looking forward to it. Konishi is looking at them from a distance and wonders why they can be so happy after losing. She also tell her underlings not to follow her anymore. She deserve what she gets. Back at their own place, Saya receives an SMS from Kirino needing a theme song for their club. Saya interprets this as it’s her job to do so and spends the whole night composing. However to her disappointment the next day when the gang gathers, before Saya could reveal her hard efforts, Kirino says she already has a theme, which is the Braver theme. With that, Saya’s musical scores scatters and gone with the wind. Literally. Why, they even put a karaoke version on screen when that happens! Let’s sing along everybody! Soon everyone returns to training and Tamaki is made a coach for the day due to her injuries. Kojirou also thinks the dojo wall is empty and needs some scroll or certificate. Yuuji brings his calligraphy while Dan a pretty sketch of Miya Miya! This guy is good. Back at Tamaki’s home, she’s thinking of bringing her early certificate of success for the dojo but when she notices her dad’s actions, she decides not to and puts it in the frame her dad cherished so much. Aww… Another nice and considerate act from Tamaki.
 
In episode 19, if you’re wondering why Miya Miya likes an acorn head like Dan besides his sensitive character, there are rumours about how Dan resembles her dead pangolin pet! But we won’t be able to find out if that’s true or not. After Kojirou sends Tamaki to the hospital to check on her injuries, she bumps into Kenzaburou there. He offers her a ride home later and asks her how she feels about the recent match she lost. Tamaki denies having lost and says she could’ve won even if she did went on. Kenzaburou then says it’ll be good for her if she lost once which confused her. Meanwhile Dan and Miya Miya are patroning at Sakaguchi’s kendo store and Miya Miya finds a shinai she likes but a foreign woman, Carrie Anderson, intercepts her. The duo got into a heated argument as Dan tries to cool them down. Wow, this guy speaks English too! Just then, Carrie took an instant liking for Dan because he resembles her pet armadillo. Oh now it’s that creature. Jealous Miya Miya? Carrie then challenges her to a kendo match before walking out. And Dan’s love is the prize. Carrie arrives at Muroe early for her match. I’m not sure if it’s legal but Carrie uses 2 shinai in her match. Of course in the end Carrie beats her. However Dan rejects Carrie and tells her that he has only eyes for Miya Miya as he consoles a depressed Miya Miya. Now I respect this guy even more. Though Carrie won the match, she lost the battle for love but will be back another day for a rematch. As they part, Yuuji wonders if kendo allows the use of 2 shinai. Then it hit them, of course not. Duh. Took them so long to notice.
 
For those who still love those sentai shows, episode 20 has lots of them. Yuuji has an additional ticket to go see a live performance from Cosmo 13 featuring Blade Braver. Kirino and Saya decides to let those 2 go on a ‘date’ and makes up excuses that they aren’t able to come with him. Plus, Miya Miya has ‘forced’ Satori to train with her. So looks like the only 1 left is Tamaki. Yeah, thumbs up from Kirino and Saya. Due to Tamaki’s excited-ness, she finds it hard to sleep that night. So the next day as they head for the amusement park, where the show takes place, Yuuji finds out that majority of the audience are little kids. They’re like a sore thumb sticking out. I don’t want to bore you with details in what happens in this predictable good versus evil show but Tamaki notices another girl her age, Rin Suzuki, who seems to be a Schneider fan (Blade Braver’s enemy and ally. Whichever). She only gets interested when Schneider is involved. At the end of the show after the announcement of a new Blade Braver movie featuring Schneider, a quiz is held with lucky contestants able to win prizes from the series. Rin and Tamaki are passionately up to it and find themselves against each other. Since it’s a closely fought quiz session, it’s those other little kids are just like bidding their time. No chance to answer at all. When the scores are tie at the end, a tie breaker is held, which is to sing Schneider’s theme song. Oh oh. Tamaki got nervous and flops. Though Rin won, she gave her all the Braver prizes as she only wanted the Schneider one. When Tamaki reaches home, she gets the surprise of her life when Braver is seen at her home! Actually, her dad’s friend is a producer of the series and he and his crew are temporarily lodging at their place for their filming of the upcoming Braver movie. Tamaki must be over the moon. But it seems Rin is also part of the crew. However, when Tamaki greets Rin, she doesn’t remember who she is. Haha. Seriously?
 
More Braver in episode 21 as Rin and Tamaki watches the actors rehearse. I supposed Rin remembers Tamaki by then. The night before the filming, both girls had a debate on who is better, Braver or Schneider. Thank goodness it didn’t turn physical. But you can sense the tension in the air. They even rewatch certain scenes of the DVD to prove their point. So much so, it lasted the whole night. Without much sleep, the girls doze off during their journey towards the filming site. Though Rin is cast as an extra, the actor for Schneigirl (a new character for the movie I supposed) becomes injured during the filming, Rin offers to replace him. With that, Tamaki is to replace Rin as a school girl running away from the evil laboratory. Tamaki is nervous but when she is confronted with Schneigirl, they then fought each other through kendo. The directors must be confused because this wasn’t in the script. But their fight is interrupted when the actors for Braver and Schneider intercepted. As they take a break, Tamaki mentions how Braver never loses but Rin says even so, Braver has never beaten Schneider. Back at the dojo, Miya Miya once again comes face to face with Carrie while jogging (funny sight to see Satori peddling that sidecar bicycle with Dan in it). Another challenge from her but not today. When the production crew has finished filming for the day, Tamaki finds out that Rin is also a kendo club member and Rin states how they will meet each other in competitions. Couldn’t agree more with her.
 
In episode 22, as the gang prepares for another tournament, Kirino made some tiny good luck doll mascots for each team member. Cute. We have the 5 girls as some Power Rangers-like outfit, Kojirou like some scientist whereas the boys in a super hero outfit. Remember Toyama and Iwasa? Looks like they’re not forgotten yet. Yuuji and Dan bumps into them at the hallway as Yuuji tells them of the club’s participation in an upcoming tournament. Does Toyama look interested? Bet not. Plus, Toyama tells them that they’ve already quit the club. At the tournament, the gang finds Kenzaburou’s Machido girls participating in this one too. As Tamaki wonders if Rin is participating in this one, Miya Miya and Carrie meet again. They have to stop meeting like this. It seem, the opponent Muroe will face first is the one Carrie is in. It’s like God is playing a cruel trick on Miya Miya. Though Satori wins her 1st match, the next match is like a grudge match between Carrie and Miya Miya. Only thing is, Carrie has to use 1 shinai now. In the end, Miya Miya lost. She was overwhelmed in tears as she hugs Dan over her loss while he comforts her. It’s heart wrenching to see them like this. Even Carrie isn’t too pleased about her victory after seeing them like this. But Muroe beats Carrie’s team to advance to the next round. During the break, Tamaki meets Rin and the latter reminds her about why Braver can never beat Schneider. Elsewhere, Toyama and Iwasa got into a fight with another school at the video game arcade. When Muroe reaches the 3rd round, they face off with the school Rin is in. As expected Tamaki will take on the match decider. However, when Rin does the Ascension stance, Tamaki once again is paralyzed in fear as memories of her late mom comes flowing back. The gang tries to snap her out of it but to no avail. Tamaki becomes desperate but in the end Rin struck her head. OMG. Can it be true that Tamaki lost?
 
In episode 23, indeed Muroe lost and are out as we see Tamaki praying beside her mom’s grave. Kojirou is depressed because he is closer to being fired while Miya Miya has hallucinations of seeing Carrie’s face everywhere. Yeah, previously Reimi did mention how she enjoys watching Miya Miya trying to kill another person and with her recent drop in that, Reimi seems ‘disappointed’. But this episode has the Muroe kendo club in a pinch. Because of Toyama and Iwasa’s involvement in a fight, they have been linked to the kendo club. In short, due to their actions, the kendo club may be disbanded. Gasp! They’re still causing trouble even if they’re no longer in the club anymore. As Kojirou tells Kirino and Satori about this, there is only 1 way out. To get them to hand in their resignation letters back dated to spring. And since Kirino is the club leader, she has to shoulder this burden by coming up with the decision. Even though Toyama and Iwasa aren’t in the club anymore, Kirino still feels they’re part of the club and is in a dilemma. I know most people wouldn’t have give a damn about them but Kirino is so nice to have even thought about them. But either way, Toyama and Iwasa will get suspended. So the only question is the kendo club. Meanwhile Tamaki is still having fears of the Ascension stance when Yuuji made one during their practice. Back home, Tamaki is furiously taking out her kendo match on several guys, exhausting them. Her dad notices her rush to win and advises her to stop kendo for awhile. Likewise, Dan finds it real hard to console Miya Miya. His words of comfort doesn’t work anymore. I guess this is what happens when you lose too much… I mean, always. Though Satori and Kirino are discussing about Toyama and Iwasa, the next day Kirino gets another shock. She spots Tamaki’s resignation letter from the club. The club is going through troubled times.
 
Kirino confronts Tamaki in episode 24 and the latter confirms her resignation as she still blames herself for the team’s loss. Kirino even confronts Kojirou on why he’s running away on the matter since he’s the club’s advisor. Due to Miya Miya’s depression, Dan too becomes depressed as he feels he has failed to cheer his girlfriend. Tamaki and Yuuji had a chat and the former now knows what it feels like to lose. After Yuuji gave her some words of encouragement, Tamaki decides to borrow his bicycle and go see Kenzaburou. She wants him to teach her to overcome the Ascension stance. But he says somebody in her team knows how to use it. That person is Kojirou, who defeated him once using that stance. Meanwhile Satori catches up with Miya Miya on the streets and queries about her depression. Now the roles are reversed because it’s Satori’s turn to give a stinging attack on her. Wow. Must’ve learned it from her. Uh huh. "If you want to quit, then win first before quitting!". This was enough to turn Miya Miya back to her usual self. So she drags Satori to have intense training (or rather death wish) with her. Saya visits Kirino at her home and is shocked to see her resignation letter! Saya pushes Kirino on the bed (nothing yuri, mind you) to talk some sense into her. One day as Yuuji and Dan arrives early at the dojo. They got an unexpected visit from Toyama and Iwasa. They’re actually here to hand in their resignation letter but before that Dan has a rematch with Toyama and beats him. Toyama notes how he has grown while Iwasa tells Yuuji how they don’t really hate kendo. They hand their letters even back dating to spring to them before they leave. At least these guys still have a heart. Yuuji present to them those dolls Kirino made. Aww… She’s so thoughtful about them still after all this time. Kirino comes in as Yuuji hand in the Toyama and Iwasa’s resignation letter. Then Kojirou and Tamaki comes in and the gang welcomes them back. Looks like Tamaki’s staying and all is well for the kendo club.
 
With that over, the gang continues to participate in kendo tournaments like in episode 25, the one they’re participating in is the one whereby Kojirou beat Kenzaburou for the trophy many years ago. However this tournament isn’t team based and is fighters participate as individuals. As expected, Carrie and Rin are participating too. Surprisingly, Satori’s first match is against Tamaki! How cruel fate is. Anyway Satori lost. Another 1st round match pits Miya Miya against Carrie. I’m beginning to think that they’re fated to meet each other like this. But in the end, Miya Miya won! Finally she got her 1st win! But Carrie isn’t satisfied yet because she didn’t get to use 2 shinais. So the duo had an unofficial match outside as Reimi watches from a distance. In short, Miya Miya beats her too! All her hard work has paid off. Earlier on, Miya Miya and Satori went to Reimi’s place to watch videos of herself for self improvement. I guess she’s not even distracted by Reimi (probably loving her more after seeing such cool display and snapping pics like crazy). Carrie reveals her reason to use 2 shinais due to her inspirations of a dual sword wielding samurai she watched on tv back she was young. As Yuuji squares off win Dan (with the former winning), Tamaki faces off with Rin in a later round (not sure if it was the final one). Another one of those destined, meetings, huh? As they’re both equally matched, Rin then does the Ascension stance. Tamaki remembers what Kojirou told her about what would she do if she faced her mom. Tamaki replied that she still wanted to win as she loves kendo. Thus, Tamaki does a tsuki on Rin and wins her match. Kirino saying something about that move, Atomic Fire Blade. Huh? Rin admits defeat but vows to fight her again since their personal score is tied 1-1. Though Tamaki won, Kenzaburou says how Kojirou won’t get fired but the latter says he’ll have to leave sooner or later since no one has taken responsibility yet. Kojirou gets up and leaves. Things indicate that he may have quit his job as he rides with a friend of his to somewhere.
 
Some time has passed in episode 26 and it’s a new school term. It starts off with Rin and Tamaki watching the new Blade Braver movie together at a cinema. They’re such good friends now. They really love the show and both admitted how Braver and Schneider are cool. At school, 2 new freshmen, Makoto and Shinobu, decides to have a look at the kendo club. Though Makoto wants to join, Shinobu isn’t interested as she’s more interested in joining a ping pong club or even a sepak takraw club. Well, too bad they’re non-existent in this school. As they wait inside the dojo, only Tamaki and Satori is there. So in order to wait for the club captain to arrive, the duo tried entertaining the duo which isn’t related to kendo. Miya Miya soon arrives and joins the entertaining crew. Woah. Shinobu’s b*tchiness can match Miya Miya’s! And she’s not afraid of her! When Yuuji and Dan arrive, we find out that Dan is the club captain! What happened to Kirino? But she’s still around, isn’t she? Shinobu is tired of waiting and decides to leave as she says how she hates kendo. Tamaki tells her otherwise as kendo is fun. Saya and Kirino soon arrive and heard the whole thing and decides to do a demonstration. As the freshies are being awed by their magnificent display, Dan tells Makoto how his character reminded him of himself in the early days. Deja vu? We also find out that the current advisor for the kendo club is Yoshikawa, as she enters the dojo. She tells them that she’s pregnant and that she’ll pass the advisor role to somebody they know. Hey, the cat has given birth to multiple kittens too! When Kenzaburou comes in, they thought it was him but dismisses it. Looks like this guy is Yoshikawa’s husband. Kenzaburou then introduces their advisor. Erm… Isn’t that Kojirou behind a Braver mask? Though he tries to act like as though he doesn’t know anything, Kirino is overwhelmed with emotion as she hugs him. The rest of them are glad as he’s back.
 
It’s revealed that Kojirou was doing some part time job somewhere else and since that old hag has moved some place else, her influence over this school has diminished, so it’s safe for him to return. Kojirou learns of the 2 new freshies but what is more shocking is that Makoto and Shinobu are the younger siblings of Iwasa and Toyama respectively! Somehow things just come back like this, huh? Anyway the duo will think about joining the club and the rest continue with their usual training. As Tamaki takes on her dad in a practice match back home, he notes how strong Tamaki has become. On the way to school, Tamaki reminisces her times when she joined the kendo club and says how she loves kendo. The end scenes show many of the characters going on with their ordinary lives (including Konishi reprimanding her underlings). But the final scene shows a girl whom Rin has finished talking to, passes by Tamaki on the way. The 2 look over their shoulders and stare at each other and we can sense that it would be another fated meeting between them in time.
 
So my guess is that for those who have read the manga, she’ll be the next opponent that Tamaki will face. Though, I may be wrong. I’m sure as Tamaki grows stronger, she’ll face even stronger opponents along the way. Although the ending isn’t really much of an ending because the way it ended seems to highly indicate that a 2nd season is probable, I wasn’t that disappointed at all. At least for this season, most of the plots are tied up neatly and I don’t feel annoyed that there are any which are left hanging.
 
Though the art, drawing and animation are drawn to today’s standard of Japanese bishies, the thing which fascinates me most here are the character developments. The characters here have their own quirky personality and its hard for me to not love them. Like Kirino, as she’s a happy airhead at times, but she is the one who keeps the club members stick together like glue. And even her ‘partner-in-crime’ Saya do have her serious side. Those 2 should’ve been nicknamed Boke Bamboo Pair. Haha. What about Tamaki’s intense knowledge of anime? That’s surprising for a kendo enthusiast as it’s such a rare combination. Miya Miya’s dual personality reminds us that there are 2 sides of a coin and never to judge a book by its cover. This is what happens if tsundere had a split personality. Even though Satori’s recruit was a bit late (yeah, she joined just before halfway of the series) but she completes the team as a whole. Let’s not forget Dan’s sensitive and caring side as well as Yuuji’s supportive role. As for Kojirou, he’s still a poor guy but deep down I think he cares for his students. Ultimately, we see each of them growing mature and stronger as the series progresses and the deepening bonds between them.
 
As such the voice acting gives the characters their unique personality. Ryou Hirohashi does Tamaki (Kyou in Clannad), Megumi Toyoguchi as Kirino (Winry in Full Metal Alchemist), Houko Kuwashima as Miya Miya (Sango in Inu Yasha), Sachiko Kojima as Saya (Yumi in Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi), Rina Satou as Satori (Punie in Dai Mahou Touge), Katsuyuki Konishi as Kojirou (Amidamaru in Shaman King), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Yuuji (Yamazaki in NHK Ni Youkoso), Akira Ishida as Dan (Shin of NANA, Gaara of Naruto), Maaya Sakamoto as Rin (Haruhi in Ouran High School Host Club), and Mai Nakahara as Reimi (Mai in Mai-HiME). Both the opening and ending themes are sung by the 5 kendo girls of Muroe. The opening song, Bamboo Beat, may sound a little oriental mix with pop. I feel it isn’t suitable because it almost sounded like a girl group song. The ending theme sounds nicer because it sounds like a disco dance song. Entitled Star Rise, at least the main tune made me shuffle my feet a little.
 
Still on the topic of the voice acting, one thing I kinda noticed is that whenever the characters are in a kendo bout, they will scream and shout from the top of their voice. "MEN! MEN! MEN!". It’s so darn convincing that they’re into it. So at first it gave me a little scare as I thought it sounded like a psycho murderer on the loose brutally killing its victim. Of course I got used to it. Hey, I just thought up a joke. If they say "Kote, men, dou" fast, wouldn’t it sound something like "Kore tte mendou" (this is troublesome)? Haha. Another thing I noticed is that since the characters don the bougu, you can hardly see their faces, right? At times, the helmet covering the face will become transparent so viewers can look at their face and not mistaken them for somebody else. Hey, they’re all wearing the same gear, right?
 
On a trivial note, the mid-intermissions show a still picture of a particular character as they say random lines. Some has nothing to do with kendo and some are just plain funny. Another aspect is the chibi mode. You can guess something funny is going to happen when the characters go into one. Even Tamaki goes into that form! The next episode review narration has the characters in chibi mode as they rant on things not necessarily related to the next episode. But it’s hilarious. Even minor characters get a fair share of the spotlight. And after that, at the end of it all, the sponsor screen will show manga drawings of the characters. My personal opinion is that the anime drawing looks better but I guess some of the poses drawn there are pretty cool.
 
After watching this series, it’s not that I have any interest to take up kendo now or in the near future. But at least I have a little idea on what the sport is about. Still, if they made a 2nd season out of it, I’ll sure be putting it on my must-see list. I want to know how the characters develop from there and what more antics will await the gang. In terms of fanservice, literally there isn’t any (unless you count that pre-training warming up and stretching as one, if you know what I mean) but it’s better in terms of storyline as compared to sports-themed animes like Ping Pong Club and Kenkou Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho. I wonder if I could apply some kendo stuff in real life application just like how Tamaki did for her Blade Braver and kendo. Perhaps not.
 

Bamboo Blade

The Sakuras

January 2, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR! So okay, I was a day late but nevertheless still wishing everyone a happy year ahead. Another eventful year of animes have come and go. As usual, my new year resolution is to watch more animes! Hahaha! And what a way to start of the new year with a blog entry with something related to the new year. Well, close enough, I think.
 
Sakura. For those who know, that word brings to mind those beautiful and pretty pink cherry blossom trees that blossom during the spring season. They are such a magnificent and breathtaking sight to behold. So much so that to some it is like an annual ritual to go book a spot just to watch those petals flutter and float down like it’s some sort of trance with their friends and family. Hanami, that is. Which literally means flower viewing.
 
Thus it is most befitting for girls to be named after such a beautiful flower. A symbol of feminine beauty and personality, I must say. So it is no surprise that there are some anime characters which have taken after this lovely name. Without wasting any more time, listed below are the 15 characters of anime named Sakura that I know of.
 
1) Sakura Kinomoto (Card Captor Sakura)
Sakura Kinomoto

The first Sakura that I know for the many more other Sakuras yet to come. Being from a mahou shoujo genre, this Sakura is your usual cheerful and energetic 10 year old. Her task in the anime as a Card Captor is to collect and gather all the missing magical cards dubbed the Clow Cards after mistakenly awakening a guardian of the Clow Cards, Cerebus, whom she fondly calls Kero-chan.
 
2) Sakura Haruno (Naruto)
Sakura Haruno

Probably the most famous Sakura ever known due to the popularity of the anime and manga. In my opinion, by just saying her first name, many of us would conjure this Sakura of that ninja related series. This medical ninja wannabe student has a crush on her team mate Sasuke but it’s a one way love relationship. In addition, her other annoying team mate Naruto likes her a lot but the feeling isn’t mutual, though she gets to appreciate him more as time goes by. Because of that, she tends to be a little brutish and violent ways and sometimes nicknamed by others as forehead girl due to her, well, large exposure of her forehead area.
 
3) Mikan Sakura (Gakuen Alice)
Mikan Sakura
Though she may be a cry-baby and scatterbrained at times, she is really a cute and good natured girl who is willing to go out of her way and help her friends who are in need. This is an admirable trait of hers and coupled in with her friendly behaviour and ever smiling face, friends and foes respect her alike. Though she considers her Alice powers to be useless at first, her Nullification Alice prove to be useful at times, nullifying and cancelling out dangerous and harmful Alices.
 
4) Sakura Sugai (Amaenaideyo)
Sakura Sugai

The bespectacled girl is part of a group of high school students who also do part time job exorcising and spiritual procedures of the town’s local temple. Seeing that his series is an ecchi harem, however she is the character which gets the least ‘ecchi treatment backlash’ most probably she is seen as more serious than the rest. Also, she runs an online love problem and solution portal under the name of Dr Sakura that she enjoys berating those hopeless souls and mocking those grievances (perhaps she is indirectly indicating that she is one?). Yeah, a sadistic girl but even so she still cares for those around her, especially her little sister Hinata.
 
5) Sakura Sae (Sola)
Sakura Sae

This wavy long-haired girl has a dreamy voice but the thing which is more surprising about her is that she likes cooking up her own weird fantasies pertaining love relationships. As she works part time as a waitress in a cafe, she has a crush on a particular patron, Takeshi who frequents the cafe and calls him Hige (beardy). But you know, her case is one of those unrequited love.
 
6) Sakura Murakami (Momoiro Sisters)
Sakura Murakami

She may be an ordinary office worker but her knowledge on sexual stuff is damn sky-high. You can say she’s bloody experienced in this stuff and the miss-know-it-all when it comes to this stuff. Always envying her co-worker Yukari’s bigger busts, it is ironic to know that this woman is still single. Maybe that’s the scary part and that’s why lots of men don’t want her. Yeah, too horny. She’s approaching middle age soon, you know… I guess she has to settle for her office colleague, Rin.
 
7) Sakura Shinguji (Sakura Taisen)
Sakura Shinguji

Part of the Imperial Assault Force’s Flower Division to protect an alternate Tokyo from the threats of spiritual demons. Like her other female comrades-in-arms, she possesses the much needed spiritual powers to power and control robotic armours called Oobu. She is the daughter of the hero of the previous demon war and wields a samurai sword. Coming from the countryside, she may have a little trouble adapting to the urban life. But as time passes, the others come to accept her with her open and friendly personality as well as her increased skills.
 
8) Sakura Mizunosaki (Oku-sama Wa Joshi Kousei)
 Sakura Mizunosaki

Looks young enough to be somebody’s sister but in fact she’s a single mom with a cheeky son named Sasuke (I wonder if their names are taken from that ninja series as well). Works as a nightclub and likes to drink beer a lot. Initially she tries to flirt and gets closer with Asami’s beloved husband, Ichimaru, since she is their newly moved-in next door neighbours. But backs down once she gets to know how Asami loves her husband very much. Don’t worry, she’s a good girl and won’t burst their secret married relationship.
 
9) Momoko Sakura (Chibi Maruko Chan)
Momoko Sakura

Many wouldn’t know the real name of this 9 year old girl if not for the anime title, whom she is more popularly known as. Of all the Sakuras here, she is the laziest and disorganized kid ever. Shouldn’t all little kids from poor family be hardworking and such? Hates doing homework and other chores unlike her sister and friends, a selfish little kid who throws tantrums whenever she doesn’t get what she wants. But at the end, she deservingly reaps what she sows. But after all those lessons, will she still learn?
 
10) Sakura Yoshino (Da Capo)
Sakura Yoshino

The little blonde petite girl who is Junichi’s cousin and has a crush on him. She has recently returned from America back to her hometown of Hatsunejima. She made a wish upon the never-withering sakura tree to not grow up, which explains her child-like appearance (so that Junichi could still recognize her). Initially a love rival with Nemu over Junichi but later admits defeat after realizing their love for each other. Most of the time she is seen with Utamaru, a little white pet cat of hers. In the sequel, she plays a more supporting role towards Junichi and Nemu and in the direct sequel of the series, becomes the headmistress of Kazami Academy.
 
11) Sakura Tsubaki (Kare Kano)
 Sakura Tsubaki

Yukino’s friend and classmate in the series. While she is quite athletic (she’s on the school’s basketball and volleyball team), she is also sort of tomboyish in nature. When a new student, Tonami appears in her life, she realizes that this tall handsome guy was the short fat little kid she used to pick on back during their elementary school days. He seeks revenge on her for the torment she has caused him since she initially didn’t recognize his unbelievable ‘transformation’. But he falls for her instead after getting to know her never-say-die attitude.
 
12) Princess Sakura (Tsubasa Chronicle)
Princess Sakura

The grown up version of Card Captor Sakura’s main protagonist. In this alternate reality, she is the princess of the Clow Kingdom who lost her memories as they are scattered throughout the dimensions of time and space in the form of feathers as part of Fei Wong’s evil scheme. Her childhood friend Syaoran goes on a dimension hopping adventure along with her and 2 others to retrieve all her feathers even though the price he has to pay is that she won’t be able to know him even if he completes his mission. A soft-spoken and kind-hearted girl but initially ‘weak’ and gets exhausted after absorbing every feather, she grows into someone stronger and independent as she goes by.
 
13) Nina Sakura (Ultra Maniac)
Nina Sakura

A witch from the Magic Kingdom and a candidate to be the next queen. She is on Earth to find 5 Holy Stones and the first candidate to do so will qualify to marry the prince back in the Magic Kingdom and faces strong rivalry from her childhood friend, Maya who too is pursuing the stones. She befriends an Earthling Ayu who initially doesn’t believe that she’s a witch until she displays several of her magical mishaps. This candy-loving girl too has a lively personality and often tries to help Ayu in her love live.
 
14) Sakura Ushikubo (Special A)
Sakura Ushikubo

The daughter of a wealthy family running in a medical line. She hates dishonest people and does not hesitate to use her fists to punish those dishonest ones. Initially was engaged to Kei but subsequently it is revealed that he is not her type as she mainly sees their future union as an advantage position for her family’s business. Instead, she fell head over heels for shy elusive Jun and is always chasing after her ‘ideal’ man even if she knows he has a split flirtatious personality.
 
15) Sakura Kusakabe (Bokusatsu Tenshi Doukro-chan)
Sakura Kusakabe

Oddly, the only Sakura I know who is a boy! At first I thought it was his surname but nope, it’s his first name. This is the only Sakura I know to have died and revived many times. How? Because in the future he has created some anti-aging device for woman, God didn’t like it and sends a death angel, Dokuro to assassinate him. However, Dokuro feels the need to persuade him rather than kill him. Ironically, because of her temperament nature, she ends up killing up only to revive him back after realizing her mistake. Other than that, Sakura has to endure her teasing and torture. Like being mistaken for a pervert when he isn’t. Though he has a crush on his classmate, Shizuki, as time progresses, he shows more feelings towards that tormenting angel. He likes the pain, does he?
 
There you have it, the list of 15 Sakura anime characters. However, this list is not meant to be definitive as there are many more other Sakura-named characters out there. Some still unknown to me of course. They can also range from main characters to minor supporting characters and to insignificant extras! Let me list down the few of the other Sakuras such as Sakura Saku (Nodame Cantabile), Sakura Nankyoku (Penguin Musume Heart), Sakura Rokujou (Tokko), Sakura Matou (Fate/Stay Night), Sakura Hanako (Wedding Peach), Yun Sakura (Saishuu Shiken Kujira), Miyuki Sakura (Mahoromatic), Hiromi Sakura (Lamune), Sakura Koukushou (Please Save My Earth), Sakura Shinjou (Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~) and Sakura Saginomiya (801 TTS Airbats).
 
Of course there are some Sakuras just without a surname and are just known as that. Full stop. Then there are other characters with Sakura hidden in their names such as Asakura, Sakuragi, Sakurai, Sakurazuka, Sakurano, Sakuraba and Sakurada which serves more as a surname. Looks like I better end it here for now since I’ve been blogging too much on this topic and before we get Sakura overload and end up getting Sakura fever. Hmm… I wonder if there are any medicinal qualities in those sakura plants.
 
So which Sakura do I like best, you ask? Well, it’s a tough choice. Not that I can pinpoint exactly which one I like because for instance, it could be Nina Sakura of Ultra Maniac because she did ended up on my top bishoujo list for 2006. Then again it could be Sakura Yoshino from Da Capo or Sakura Sae from Sola because I really like the series (but that doesn’t necessarily mean I like the character). Or maybe it could be Princess Sakura of Tsubasa Chronicle or Mikan Sakura of Gakuen Alice because of their likeable qualities. And Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan’s Sakura Kusakabe? Well he’s funny because he gets killed everytime. But whichever Sakura it is, I’m sure they’ll continue to uphold the beauty of their name. I think. I hope. Let’s celebrate a sakura for the future!