Chokotto Sister

February 28, 2009

I’m sure we all have out own wish and desires for what we want for Christmas presents. Most of them are material stuffs, right? So what happens if you really wished for a Christmas gift which is, well, let’s just say it isn’t one of those whereby you can go to any store and easily pick and choose something which you like. In the case of Chokotto Sister, how about always having a wish for a little sister as a Christmas present? Sounds like an ecchi anime series, don’t you think?
 
It isn’t totally an ecchi series but it has a little fanservice for those who love cute loli girls. So is it still considered to be an ecchi show? Well erm… more like drama-romance-comedy with slice of life and a little fanservice. Okay, okay. So there are both elements. So those with loli fetish may look forward to this series.
 
Anyway let’s get back to the main story. In this 24 episode anime series, our main protagonist, a university student named Haruma Kawagoe, who is living by all himself in a manor called Tsubaki Manor in Tokyo. Seems like a pretty normal guy to me. You see, when he was a little kid, he was so looking forward to have a little sister when his mom was pregnant with one. As a kid, it’s understandable that he is portraying such eagerness as he can’t wait for the day to play and look after their family’s new addition. However, his innocence and world came crumbling down when his mom suffered a miscarriage. Furthermore, since his mom underwent some operation, this made her unable to conceive anymore children, making Haruma the only child. So he prayed real hard to God for one. Very hard. If only all of us could pray like that from the bottom of our hearts.
 
As seen in episode 1, Haruma wakes up one Christmas morning to find a Santarina delivering him a present. Yikes! This is no ordinary Santarina! She’s wearing sunglasses and riding on a hovering motorbike just outside his window! Has Santa Claus turn hi-tech? Probably Haruma is still blur from his slumber as the Santarina tosses his Christmas present. What is it? A little sister, that is! All nicely wrapped in a big bag. Apparently Santarina too has take after some commercial procedures like a courier because Santarina makes Haruma sign some documents to say he has received the gift. So why did it take many years for his gift to come true? Something about making a sister takes a longer time than most presents. So is she factory made? I mean, a child can’t grow up in size in an instant, right? Before Haruma realizes it, Santarina rides off into the sky. I wonder what happened to good old reindeer pulling sleigh. Got to keep up with modern times I suppose.
 
Haruma opens his present as she starts to come to life. Uh huh. She instantly calls him ‘onii-chan’ (big brother). Not wanting to break the heart of this cute little girl, Haruma decides to agree with her that she is his little sister, delighting her. She tries to do some cooking for breakfast but makes a mess out of it. Haruma then decides to name her Choco because she is always looking at her anchoko (little notebook). That’s right. It’s like everytime Choco isn’t sure what to do or need some reference, she’ll refer to that anchoko of hers. Is everything of what a little sister should do written down in that tiny book? Well obviously not. Sometimes Choco can’t seem to find the answer. Ah yes, in life a lot of things can’t be found in books. Although Choco is the naive moe little girl that viewers can hope to be, it’s hard to not hate her bubbly and innocent character.
 
Because Choco arrive naked (reminds us that we are born so), she can’t possibly be wearing Haruma’s clothes all the time. So it’s time for them to do a little shopping. As they head out of Tsubaki Manor, Haruma passes by a flower shop called Ciel Blue De Fleur, run by a pretty young lady, Ayano Sonozaki. Of course in this neighbourhood, everyone who knows Haruma knows that he is the only child and so it’s no surprise that Ayano is a little surprised when she learns that Haruma has a little sister. Haruma has to cover up by giving some excuse that she is his sister from the countryside coming to stay with him. Also, you’ll notice how Haruma has a crush on Ayano from his body language, though Ayano herself is oblivious to this. But it’s unrequited love. I also want to mention that everytime when somebody asks who Choco is, Choco will reply "Atashi wa Choco. Onii-chan no Imouto" (I am Choco, Big brother’s little sister). I mean for those who know Haruma that would be okay, but to strangers, who the heck is this onii-chan guy. Get what I’m saying? And did the little notebook ever told her not to talk to strangers? Can’t help it since it’s her friendly personality to be nice to everyone.
 
At the shopping mall, Choco is thrilled because this is her first time. Yeah, what do you expect if you’re not even a day old in the real world. She tried several clothes and eventually Haruma bought them all. He’s got to watch his pocket or he’ll go bust at this rate. Then Haruma thinks of buying a Christmas present for Ayano and while he is chatting with the sales lady, a bored Choco wandered off herself (can’t blame her for finding riding an escalator to be fun). Haruma then realizes Choco is missing and goes in a frenzy to search for her. Likewise, Choco too noticed Haruma is missing and panics. Eventually they are reunited when the lost child department announces for Choco’s brother. It must be a horrifying experience for a little girl to get lost but Haruma is doing pretty well himself consoling Choco, seeing that he doesn’t have a little sister before. Must be natural. On the way back, Haruma gives the present he initially bought for Ayano to Choco. She is happy and gives him a peck on his cheek.
 
Episode 2 begins with Santarina returning to take back Choco because of something about Haruma not wanting her anymore. They have a returned goods policy? But thankfully, it was just a dream. Since the New Year has arrived, this episode sees the ‘siblings’ going to the shrine to do their usual New Year prayers and other rituals. I guess it’s natural for a poor guy like Haruma not to have enough money to buy New Year snacks which Choco wanted to eat so badly on this special day. When they return, we are introduced to the other inhabitants of Tsubaki manor. An elderly widower Yasuoka who is currently unemployed and struggling to find a job, and a young woman named Makoto Ashirai. Now this girl isn’t one anyone would like to have for company. Besides liking to get drunk and eat other people’s food, she really has a horny thinking! I don’t know what this model thinks as adult jokes but she’s so shameless about it. Howzabout getting the mail outside in her undies… I don’t know why too but she likes to hang out in Makoto’s room and drink. It’s like her second home. Because the landlady comes in to join them drinking, Haruma has a hangover the next day so Choco goes out by herself. She befriends 2 boys playing traditional Japanese badminton and decides to buy some Pocky sticks for them but ends up accidentally buying crayons. The boys didn’t like it and scolds her. So when Choco goes back to the manor dejected, the landlady comes by to cheer her up. The landlady says that she’ll be retiring and going back to her hometown and that her granddaughter will soon arrive to replace her. The landlady also suggests that Choco keep a daily picture diary of the happenings in her daily life so as not to put those crayons to waste. She gives Choco some New Year’s money so that she could get herself a little diary. And so every night, Choco will draw and write what she did for that day. You can expect to see this at the end of nearly each episode. Just like doing a blog entry of the past, huh?
 
Episode 3 has Haruma going to university via train. At the same time, a busty lady named Chitose Serikawa is getting onboard the train as Haruma alights. Since it’s a little crowded, this slightly klutzy lady lost her contact lens and Haruma helped her in finding them before leaving (it was on her boobs by the way). However, her clumsiness causes her to drop it again but breaks them. No choice, she has to put on her glasses. Due to her bad sense of direction, Chitose got lost trying to reach her destination. Another hopeless case. Then we find out through her flashback that she had some insecurity of wearing glasses because back when she was a student, she overheard how the guy she had a crush on said how he didn’t like girls with glasses. How heartbreaking. Eventually Chitose manages to arrive at Tsubaki Manor and meets Choco. The latter learns that Chitose is the new landlady of this manor but it seems they have a new set of problems. Chitose lost her keys to the manor. So she and Choco backtrack their steps of where she may have dropped it and Chitose finally remembers that she dropped them at the park’s vending machine when the duo went to get some juice. Then I don’t know why, a crow suddenly swoops down and grabs the key from her hands. As they chase it, Choco throws her notebook at it, which manages to cause it to drop the key. Note: No crows were hurt or killed during that stunt. Was that written in the notebook anyway on how to get back a stolen item from a fleeing crow? When Haruma comes back that day, he learns of Chitose as the new landlady but he tells her that she doesn’t look that bad in glasses. With that, Chitose gets her self confidence to wear them and yes, she starts to develop a crush on him. Another unrequited love.
 
So in most episodes, the main flow of the story will see how Choco and the rest of the other characters go about in some little adventure of theirs as they bond a little closer. Well, don’t expect anything extraordinary here. Like in episode 4, we are introduced to Haruma’s upper-classman, Tamami Marumo. She is always persuading Haruma to do some part time job, in which Haruma always dreads. So I don’t know if Tamami is a real smooth talker or Haruma a desperate case to earn some cash, in which sometimes the pay isn’t what he expected. Since it is Valentine’s Day, Haruma gets into of Tamami’s scheme to sell Valentine Chocolates at half price to young desperate ladies (who don’t look that young by the way). It’s a war! It’s a stampede I tell you! Haruma will be glad if he comes back home in 1 piece. Also, Chitose tries to make some chocolates for Haruma but you know with all the obstacles, she’ll never do so. Yeah, in the end, she sat and broke the chocolates. So I suppose that daydreaming in the supermarket about her being lovey-dovey with Haruma and all the other shoppers snickering at her, ah well, just let her dream. Another thing is that we see Makoto’s perverted side as she loves squeezing Chitose’s humongous boobs. Enough to scare the wits out of that poor girl. She’ll be doing it so much so as the series progresses, she’s like ‘immune’ to it and could expect it from that perverted gal. Also Makoto teaches Choco the meaning of Valentine’s Day (ironically Choco’s name has so but she doesn’t know of it). You know something is not right with her head and since Choco is so naive, she’ll do anything. Yeah, something about herself naked and being wrapped in a ribbon inside a box. Sick idea. Not only that, after Haruma gets some chocolates from Ayano (must be obligation chocolate), he goes home to see a box in his room. But he isn’t surprise because previously he had this same dream whereby a naked Choco comes bursting out! Can he see the future through dreams?! Donno. But since he knows what to expect, he tapes and seals the box without opening it! Oh poor Choco. Stuck inside it.
 
Episode 5 has Choco interested in something unusual. Chitose’s bra. I guess girls at that age… Yeah, Choco wants Chitose to show her bra and she’s staring at it. I don’t know why Choco is so infatuated about it so much so she pesters Haruma to go buy one for her. So when they go out shopping, Choco shamelessly tell all those who asks that she’s going bra shopping with her brother. Must be real embarrassing, Haruma? To make things worse, at the bra shop, Ayano comes in to deliver flowers and well, let’s just say Haruma’s face is redder than a traffic light. Good thing Ayano didn’t jump the gun and just smiled. That night, Chitose heard some weird noise upstairs and goes to investigate only to find a drunk Makoto, who then fondles her breasts! Somebody arrest that pervert! It’s C.S.I. (Committing Sexual Indecency. Can’t believe I came out with that term!). This is worse than a horror movie. Luckily Haruma is there to stop them but Chitose got a little embarrassed since she isn’t properly dressed. The next day, Makoto and Choco are in Chitose’s room for lunch and I don’t know why (perhaps still drunk from last night?) Makoto decides to show them that she’s not wearing any bra and bares it all! Then I’m not sure if Choco would follow in Makoto’s footsteps because she is showing a much contradicting reaction as she is impressed! Yeah, Choco even says how she isn’t wearing one because she’ll wear her game underwear only on special occasions. Chitose and Makoto are shocked to hear it and wonders what kind of games she is playing. Just a card game with Haruma, that’s all. I wonder if she knows what all this really means. By the way, a game underwear is one when a girl wears so that she could win the heart of the one she loves. Yeah, may lead to that ‘S’ word.
 
Due to Haruma’s part time job in episode 6, Haruma calls Choco saying that he will be coming home late. Seriously, I don’t know why he still has to oblige Tamami’s request. A dejected Choco goes out by herself to find that 2 boys playing the traditional badminton game. The shuttlecock got stuck in the tree so Choco went to retrieve it. Thing is, why did they leave her stuck up there after she got it down? Jerks. The tree branch snaps and sends Choco falling down. Luckily, a boy named Kakeru Ishida happened to pass by and she falls on him. You could say in a way he too fell for her at first sight. Choco buys an ice cream for him as a reward as they share it. Yeah, I think he must’ve some ecchi thinking to see Choco licking the ice cream and thinks it’s an indirect kiss. When Haruma finishes his job, he is disappointed to find out he is being paid with 2 rare tickets to a movie. The next day, Haruma is at the bar and the bar master (let’s just call him Master) seems to be playing match making for him. It’s like everything is falling into place when Ayano comes in and says how she would like to go see a movie but finds it hard to get tickets. Well, Haruma is in luck because he just had those tickets. Blessing in disguise? So when Haruma decides to ask Ayano out to the movie instead of Choco, it’s understandable that the little sister is somewhat disappointed. Can’t blame that guy either for the chance of a lifetime.
 
When Haruma comes back, he finds out that there is no water so he and Choco went to the public bath. Surprisingly, it seems Kakeru works there. Kakeru is in a dilemma to peek at Choco unshamelessly changing at the locker. Hey, how come the clothes locker is so close to the registration counter? Though Choco is thrilled that this is her first time in a public bath, she gets some lecture by a lady named Midori who teaches her the right way of behaving and doing things in a public bath. Choco sure learns pretty fast.
 
Because Haruma hasn’t been paying attention to Choco lately in episode 7 as he is busy going out on a ‘date’ with Ayano, Choco isn’t too pleased. I mean Choco wanted to tag along but you know that’s not possible, right? So a dejected Choco goes to hang out with Kakeru but even so if Kakeru is trying to cheer her up, Choco still protects her brother by telling Kakeru not to talk bad about him. Haruma and Ayano’s outing includes attending some promo event of that movie they saw in which Ayano is a big fan (I think the director has a resemblance to Quentin Tarantino. I could be wrong). As Chitose is out shopping, she spots Haruma and Ayano in a restaurant and Chitose becomes worried so she turns into a stalker, spying on them. Then a table behind Chitose, a man named Kazuya Sawamori talking to his manager about quitting his job as the magazine’s illustrator and going back to his village to take over his family business. When Ayano spots this guy, she leaves the restaurant in a hurry with Haruma and gets all lovey-dovey with Haruma. Though Haruma wonders what is going on (oh heck, just enjoy the moment, will ya), Chitose gets depressed to see them so. Makoto bumps into her but she is unable to say any adult lines because she notices Chitose’s depression. Choco takes out her frustration on Haruma by cooking some mean looking breakfast. Since Haruma has another busy part time job, he won’t be back early too. Chitose consoles Choco over lunch and when Haruma gets back, he makes up by buying a cake for Choco and a little gift for Chitose. See, it’s so easy to reconcile.
 
In episode 8, as Haruma does a part time job from Tamami at some guy’s wedding, Ayano happens to come by and is surprised to see Haruma there. Woah! Ayano chugs down a jug of beer! Must be real depressed, huh? Because of that, she gets drunk and you know when a person is sad and drunk, it isn’t a good combination. Haruma tries to control himself by not taking advantage of the situation as he struggles to get Ayano back to her home. She collapses just at the front of her door and when Haruma manages to tug her in bed, she takes off her top shirt and falls back to sleep. Don’t worry, Haruma is a good boy and didn’t do anything funny on her. He notices how Ayano is crying in her sleep and mentioning the name Kazuya. Ayano dreams about Kazuya that night and we find out the she and him were supposed to be married but since Kazuya had to go back and take care of his family business, Ayano wanted to follow him. Kazuya didn’t want Ayano to give up on her dream of being a florist and told her not to do so and he broke up their engagement. Must be hard for a girl to swallow all this. She wakes up in the middle of the night sweating. The next day, Haruma is in a panic when Choco falls sick but luckily Chitose knows what to do. While Choco is resting, she dreams of being separated from Haruma and he didn’t respond when she called him. Choco wakes up to find Haruma sleeping next to her while holding her hand. She is grateful and gives him another kiss.
 
Because of that previous incident, in episode 9, Haruma avoids coming into contact with Ayano. Also, Chitose is wondering and suspicious what kind of relationship Haruma and Ayano has. Kazuya goes to Ayano’s shop to ask her to return the engagement ring but Ayano is still refusing to give it back. Their heated argument could’ve turned for the worst when Haruma shows up. Kazuya backs down for now. So Haruma learns of Ayano’s story and as a gift, Ayano gives him a flowerpot. Then as Haruma and Choco go shopping for a watering can, I don’t know why Chitose has this weird dream of Haruma watering her as a naked fairy. Must be her deepest darkest desires, huh?
 
In episode 10, Choco wins a prize for a vacation to a hotspring inn for 4. Earlier we see Ayano getting a phone call from Kazuya but she isn’t too happy with his persistence. Anyway, since Makoto heard that they had an extra ticket to the hotspring, Makoto invites herself to tag along. We also see Choco teaching Makoto what she had learned from Midori about proper public bath procedures (rehearsal for the hotspring trip?) and Chitose wondering if she’ll have a chance to be with Haruma. Not if Makoto and Choco are in the way. But on the day to the hotspring, Makoto has been suddenly called for work so she can’t tag along. Too bad. One down for Chitose. Upon arrival and after checking in (Chitose feeling like she and Haruma are like newly-weds when registering their name), Haruma has to tell Choco to not follow him into the men’s section. That desperate of wanting to go anywhere with him? However even with the separation, there is no barrier! Just like a mixed bath. When it’s too hot, Haruma decides to get out but accidentally gave Chitose a ‘full view’. That night, Haruma couldn’t sleep and wonders if the person he saw earlier on was Ayano as he also noticed her shop was closed when they passed by on their trip. So Choco held his hands as they dozed off.
 
The hotspring vacation continues in episode 11. The trio go sightseeing at the mountains and Chitose and Haruma are a little embarrassed to get close to each other when an elderly couple takes a photo of them. Then as Haruma is taking a breather, he spots Ayano from a distance and thinks she is going to jump down the cliff! He stops her but learns that he is mistaken. Apparently, this is the place where Kazuya gave her the engagement ring and she was thinking of throwing it away here (is it much easier this way than giving it back to him?). And that note she dropped isn’t a suicide note but a travel brochure. Then a monkey snatches the ring away (what’s with these animals trying to grab things. First a crow, now a monkey, what next? A cat?). Haruma chases after it and when the monkey drops it, Ayano catches it, which shows that she isn’t ready to get rid of it. Haruma then lectures her on some lessons of love. With that, Ayano gets the courage to go talk things over with Kazuya and thanks Haruma. But deep down inside Haruma’s heart, it’s hurting like hell and he wonders why he did such a stupid noble thing. Well, it’s all for the sake of her happiness, right? When Choco finds Haruma, he immediately hugs her. At the end of their trip, they’re buying some souvenirs and Chitose panics when Choco picks up some sex toy which resembles a penis. Are they selling such things in open and at a place like this?! When they returned to Tsubaki Manor, Choco’s ranting of how much fun they had, left Makoto in tears and heartbreak. It could’ve been worst if she was around.
 
Haruma’s chances of winning over Ayano takes a further dip in episode 12 when Ayano calls him to tell him that she’s going to move back with Kazuya to the countryside. Looks like their engagement is on seeing that Ayano is proudly wearing the ring on her finger. Due to this, Haruma is as depressed as ever and Choco confides in Chitose of her worries. Then Choco learns from Makoto how Haruma has a crush on Ayano and the reason for his depression is that she loves another guy. Then after watching a TV series, Choco gets an idea of writing a letter to cheer up Haruma. However, she gives that love letter to Ayano in hopes that she will give to Haruma, just like in that TV series. So when Haruma finds out from Ayano (who too doesn’t understand what is going on), he gets very embarrassed and rushes back to his apartment. Apparently, almost everyone in town secretly knows about Haruma’s crush on Ayano but they’re just keeping quiet on it. When Haruma returns, he scolds Choco in a very upset manner. Choco is hurt and runs away. Haruma then realizes his mistake and chases after her. He finds her sitting alone at the playground. He apologizes to her and says that he doesn’t hate her. As the duo made up and head back, Haruma is touched to read Choco’s diary of how she has been worried of him all along as he sheds a tear. The next morning, Choco finds a stain of his tear in her page and a message of how he’s alright now and thanks for taking care of him. She says how she loves him when Haruma leaves for his classes. After this, you won’t get to see Ayano anymore till the last episode whereby she makes only a short appearance. Damn. And I was hoping at least she would stay even if she’s a side character but I think the producers wanted to kill off her character.
 
Episode 13 introduces a new character named Yurika Yamahanada (OMG! It’s the voice of Rie Kugimiya!). Your typical rich young girl who seems to be fed-up with the usual routine that little girls do. Study, ballet lessons, piano lessons, English lessons, more study. Where has her childhood gone to? So while her driver is driving her to another lesson of hers, Yurika gets an idea to run away when she tells him to stop as she wants to go to toilet. I don’t know why she has to creep through the little toilet window at the public park. Of course she got stuck lah! Choco is passing by and tries to pull her out. Once the driver realized he has been duped, he goes after her. He left the car like that and goes searching for her on foot?! Yurika bluffs Choco by saying she is a witness to some murder and tells her not to get involve after ditching her driver. Can’t believe Choco actually believed her story. While Yurika is having her own fun in town, the driver spots her and grabs her. Yurika yells and struggles. Since Choco happens to be there too, she hits the driver and make their 2nd escape. Yurika decides to tell Choco the truth but instead of getting mad, Choco is glad that Yurika is safe. The next day, Yurika sneaks out of her mansion to go to Choco’s place. Choco accidentally spills a drink on her dress so Yurika has to go bath (loli bathing fetish alert!). Then Choco lets Yurika try her bra when Haruma walks in. Though Yurika is very embarrassed, I’m glad she doesn’t have the thinking whereby a guy has to marry her if he sees his naked body. And so another friend Choco has made, which she calls her Yuri-pyon. I’m not sure of her rationale of calling her so except it sounds cute but I’ll stick to her real name. Plus, Yurika has a maid which has that suspicious glare. Rest assured, she’s always on the lookout for Yurika.
 
If you’re wondering about that infectious ending theme called Neko Nyan Dance, then the craze begins in episode 14. Choco is surprised that Haruma doesn’t know the recent craze of this dance as she demonstrates it to him. I know the dance looks cute but I still prefer Hare Hare Yukai from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Then Choco spots a group of kindergarten children doing the dance outside with their teacher, so she gets the opportunity to strut her stuff, impressing those little kids. Choco’s such a hit with the kids that she’s allowed to stay with them during the duration of their kindergarten hours playing with them. Yeah, all the kids are fighting over her attention. Then when all the parents have come to pick up their kids, Choco notices a boy named Takeshi is still waiting. She learns that his mom usually works late and that he is used to it. Choco also relates her same case to him but assures him that he isn’t alone. Eventually Takeshi’s mom comes to pick him up, to find Choco and Takeshi napping together. The next day, Choco is rushing to see Yurika, who wants to show her her bra. What the? Since Yurika didn’t want to do it in public, she suggests showing her at Choco’s place. Of course Makoto comes in and we see that Yurika has some sort of small boobs inferiority complex. Yeah, she admits defeat after seeing Makoto’s. Makoto pesters Yurika to show hers since she herself has already strip her top! Since Yurika refused, Makoto pins her down and tells Choco to undress her top! Sicko! Sicko! Sicko! So lolis are fine with her too, huh? Since Yurika mentions of trying to help her instead of Makoto, Choco refers to her notebook on what to do. Seriously, is it written in there too? Not. Then Haruma comes in and it’s like deja vu. Not again! But when Makoto is having lunch with Chitose who wonders what all the ruckus was about, Makoto decides to satisfy her insatiable horniness by going after Chitose’s bra. This girl is in need of help. Big help.
 
Since Haruma got another part time job as a lifeguard at a pool in episode 15, he decides to bring Choco and Chitose along. Since Makoto can’t tag along she accompanies Chitose to shop and choose a swimming outfit. Makoto chooses a very sexy, revealing, eye-catching, crowd-pulling one. Anymore of this would be a crime. When the gang has left, Yurika comes by to play with Choco but is having second thoughts and fears it could be that crazy perverted woman, when Yasuoka tells them they have gone to the pool. Feeling left out? At the pool, the gang had their fun and then when a chubby brat bumps into Chitose, Choco tells him off to apologize for her. I can’t believe he dares raise threaten Choco! Though Haruma tries to calm things down, it seems that brat’s father, who has scary eyes and tattoo all over his body comes by. Careful, he might be a yakuza. Though Haruma is shivering in fear, Choco isn’t and tells what has happened. She’s so unafraid of him. If only all of us can be like her when it comes to this sort of simple justice. Of course that chubby brat got scared and his dad reprimands his idiotic son and apologizes on his behalf. See, don’t judge a person by his look. As the trio go watch a Neko Nyan Dance performance nearby, Yurika is sulking at the park for being left out by her best pal and kicks a can, which hits a dog. The angry dog attacks her and rips part of her skirt. Luckily Kakeru was nearby and comes to her rescue. You can tell that Yurika instantly has a crush on him. Another case of unrequited love. But she gets embarrassed when Kakeru points out her slip is showing. As Chitose and Haruma, who is giving a tired and sleeping Choco a piggy-back ride to Tsubaki Manor, Chitose is about to confess that she likes Haruma but Choco is talking in her sleep saying how she loves her onii-chan. So Chitose just confess it in her own mind. If she’d only said it sooner…
 
It’s the festivals in episode 16 and as usual Choco doesn’t know a thing about it. After Chitose explains to her about it, Choco wants to invite Yurika to come but she declines. Choco seems to be very enthusiastic about the festival (what do you expect. It’s her first time) and we see Tamami selling yakisoba in a swimsuit. To attract customers? As the gang continues to have fun at the festival, Yurika is completing her tons of homework. Her ever caring maid comes in to forcefully put on a yukata on her and drags her to the festival. Well, her body language did indicate how much she wanted to go to the festival. Also at the festival, Choco gets lost once again and Haruma has to go search for her and finds an intoxicated Makoto. Lost Choco bumps into Kakeru and once again they share another ice cream. Yeah, another ‘stimulating’ scene for that guy. After that the duo tries to find Haruma but bumps into a couple of thugs. I can’t believe these guys would raise their fists against children, what more a girl! Thankfully, Midori was there to teach them a painful lesson they’ll never forget. Midori thinks Kakeru is Choco’s boyfriend, making that guy blush. Soon Yurika and her maid arrives and Yurika isn’t too pleased to see Kakeru and Choco together. Meanwhile Makoto is engaged in a drinking competition with Midori and it seems they’re both going strong. As Haruma and Chitose continue to look for Choco, the crowd accidentally pushes Chitose into Haruma’s arms. Chitose was about to confess her feelings when Choco and the rest call out to them. Another yet so close yet so far. In the end, everyone watches the magnificent fireworks display and Yurika’s maid notice how happy she is.
 
Episode 17 has Yurika dreaming that she is a princess and Choco her ally witch being attacked by perverted Makoto and her henchmen. Then Kakeru the prince charming knight comes to her rescue. But her dream then takes a turn for the worst because it somehow screwed up with Yurika and Choco switching roles and that Kakeru is about to kiss Choco the princess. In reality, Yurika is depressed because of that nightmare and soon gets an idea of hosting a tea party. Her fantasizing of being lovey-dovey with Kakeru causes her to crash into the barriers of her gym class instead of jumping over. Later Yurika tries to invite naive Choco to her English tea party at her mansion (Choco thinks she has to go to England?!), Yurika tries to give subtle hints to bring along a friend (read: Kakeru). On that day, Yurika is still trying to choose an outfit for her tea party when Choco arrives. Yurika thought Choco had brought Kakeru along but to her dismay, she brought the whole kindergarten pals! Disappointed? She should’ve told her straight then. While the kids are enjoying the tea party, obviously Yurika isn’t since her beloved Kakeru isn’t here. They then decide to play hide and seek and made a reluctant Yurika ‘it’. Yeah, it nearly took the whole day to find everyone hiding in the mansion (some kids collaborated with the mansion workers to hide) and when finally Yurika is tired and lamenting her fate, she spots Choco hiding behind the curtains but to her dismay, that girl has fallen asleep! This whole day must be really frustrating. That night, Yurika has another dream where by she is sleeping beauty and the kindergarten kids as the 7 dwarves. Prince Kakeru comes by and is being convinced by the kids to kiss Yurika to wake her up from the curse that Makoto witch put on her. Of course Yurika is only pretending to sleep and is anticipating that kiss. But to her horror, the person who kissed her is Choco! How in the world did that happen?! Yurika screams in frustration and wonders why such screwing up always happen to her. Then a cheeky note from the fansubs: To fulfil our deepest darkest desire. Yeah, must be it.
 
The Neko Nyan Dance craze is still on in episode 18 and Choco wants to submit a video of her dance for a contest but hasn’t got a video cam in the first place. She tries Chitose, who doesn’t have one too. So during bath, sick Makoto starts filming Chitose and after giving her a good whack, Chitose has found what Choco is looking for. Makoto starts to film Choco in her dance move but that perverted girl suggests Choco to do some ecchi pose, in which Haruma stops her. However upon reading further the contest rules, a minimum number people of 5 is required. Since there are 4 of them, Choco goes to seek help from Yurika. It’s really funny to hear Yurika giving that "Mmm!!" expression while standing on top of the playground looking Choco with that intimidating look. In short, she refuses. Not until Kakeru says how he loves seeing Choco in a cat outfit, did tsundere Yurika changed her mind. At her place, while Choco goes get the video cam, this leaves Yurika and Kakeru alone. She tries to get close to him but Choco came back. After Kakeru films their dance, they rewatched it and Yurika seems to notice how the camera is focused on Choco. I think it is then Yurika suspects that Kakeru has eyes only for Choco. Sinking into depression… Later Choco teaches Haruma how to properly to the Neko Nyan Dance moves (a strict teacher she is) while Yurika’s maid caught her practicing the dance. Another embarrassing moment. Because Kakeru has been entrusted to video tape the dance, he sends the wrong message that he may be a pervert at the public bath house as Midori beats him up. After filming the group Neko Nyan Dance the next day, everyone has cake. If not for Kakeru, I think Yurika wouldn’t have want one either. When everyone else goes home, Haruma helps Chitose to wash the plates.
 
Though the gang only got a consolation prize for their video, no matter how famous that Neko Nyan Dance is, the star idol actress of that dance, Eriko Odawara or Odaeri for short, seems to be fed-up with all the publicity of the glamorous life. So in episode 19, she tries to run away from it all but many people could still recognize her even if she wore different normal outfits. On a day she’s supposed to shoot a live Neko Nyan Dance with the kindergarten kids, she goes missing. Choco and the rest are watching TV and that programme looks like it’s going to be cancelled when Makoto says how stars these days have no sense of responsibility. Then Makoto told Chitose a method to see if she had gained weight but it was just a ploy to get her do some ecchi pose. Then later Odaeri on her newfound freedom bumps into Choco and Yurika. The funny part was she was trying to give an excuse that she’s a witness to some murder and is being kidnapped to break free from the brats. All too familiar to Yurika, huh? Yeah, same ploy. But Choco actually believes her story! So Odaeri uses the oldest trick in the book to get away from them. She tells them to look behind because there is a Harenchi Punch! (Initially the subbers put it is Orange Punch). What on Earth is that? Well I later found out it’s the name of the group who actually sang the song for the Neko Nyan Dance. Haha. Slick. Then she meets Makoto but for once she isn’t showing her horny side. She brings Odaeri back to her apartment and the latter is surprise to have rare collections of another actress called Arisa, whom she looked up very much. Then I’m not sure, Makoto proceeds to tell some sad story about Arisa becoming a model and when she was young, she had nobody but her doll to play with. So when she grows up she wants to live a happy life like her fantasies. Something tells me is Makoto referring it to herself as well? Don’t know. But it was enough to make Odaeri realized things and before you know it, she’s back on the show doing her usual stint with enthusiasm. So don’t always think Makoto is a horny girl, she has another side too.
 
In episode 20, Choco wants Haruma to buy a cat after watching a TV show. She throws a tantrum when Haruma refuses, saying it’s the manor’s rules not to allow pets. Meanwhile, a couple of guys are doing an illegal transport when their lorry crashes and a puma has escaped from its cage due to it. The next day, Choco chases a stray cat to an abandoned building and finds a puma there. Choco isn’t scared because she thinks it’s just a big pussy cat. It’s a wonder that hungry cat didn’t devour Choco. It also amazes me that Choco and the puma, whom she names Kuro, clicked so easily. What a tame beast. Perhaps. Choco comes by often to feed it so much so it’s taking a toll on their food supply. So to make more money, Haruma gets another part time job from Tamami to cosplay and sell Odaeri’s Neko Nyan Dance album. With Kuro’s huge appetite, Choco convinces Kakeru to get more food (that guy would do anything for her) and gets the shock of his life when he finds out Kuro isn’t a mere pussy cat. Same case with Yurika (who obviously wants to come because she can’t stand seeing Choco and Kakeru going about doing things by themselves). Eventually the kids come to like Kuro because it is friendly and they come visit it everyday. One night Kuro follows Choco’s scent back to Tsubaki Manor and since Makoto is pretty drunk, she thinks she must be seeing things. Choco is surprised to see Kuro waiting outside and tries to hide it from Haruma. She rushes out to tell Kuro to go back. Amazingly, it understood what Choco says and obliges. However Choco is watching the next morning news and is devastated to learn that Kuro had become roadkill. In other words, it really died in an accident. Choco is devastated and rushes to the abandon building. She starts apologizing for last night and asks Kuro to come out but it never did. Kakeru and Yurika arrive and know what has happened as Choco starts crying uncontrollably. Kakeru rushes off to get Haruma. He soon comes by to comfort her. That night they slept holding each other’s hands as Choco is still saddened by Kuro’s departure. What a sad episode.
 
Choco is still visibly depressed in episode 21. Chitose suggests Haruma to take Choco to the amusement park to cheer her up. Kakeru and Yurika likewise gives Choco a Neko Nyan Dance CD but Choco is still gloomy. Then Yasuoka words about how Choco should remember all the fun times she had with Kuro, lifted her spirits a little. While Haruma, Choco, Chitose and Makoto visits the amusement park (Makoto played guilty mind games to tag along seeing that she’s been left out during their hotspring and pool trip), Yasuoka goes to have a drink with Master and we find out that Yasuoka’s wife and daughter had been killed in some accident and today is the anniversary of their death. At the amusement park, Chitose seems to be not to fond of the rides and while they are resting, Choco decides to go to the toilet but meets a lost girl named Yuki. She helps her to find her mom and since this is the umpteenth time Choco has gone missing by herself, Haruma and the rest starts looking for her. At the same time, Yasuoka is visiting the graves of his dearly departed ones. Eventually Yuki is reunited with her mom. She tells Choco how her dad ‘died’ and even though they are lonely they have memories to keep them happy so on this special day, they get to see him. Choco then hears Haruma calling her but when she looks back, Yuki and her mom are missing. Then it hit me that Yuki and her mom may be Yasuoka’s daughter and wife! Because the scarf that Choco gave to Yuki earlier is seen on their tombstone! So was Choco talking to ghosts? I see dead people… Just kidding. Choco fell asleep on their way back and the rest notice how she is a little happier. That night Choco dreams of riding on Kuro’s back having fun.
 
Episode 22 starts off with Haruma having that flashback of his mom suffering a miscarriage. Back in reality, he realizes he has forgot to bring his back and has Choco bring it to him. It’s a wonder as though it’s like a big thing when the neighbourhood learns Choco is doing an errand on her own. Never had confidence in her? When she finally does, Tamami’s cosplay friend, Kosomi, seems to be giving Choco a stare. Then it turns out that she is thrilled to see Choco’s cuteness and wants her to work and wear a maid uniform to satisfy her weird fetish. Though Haruma is against it, but it can’t be helped when Choco already agrees. Yeah, their cultural festival is coming up soon. When Choco tells this to Kakeru and Yurika, Kakeru seems to like the idea of seeing Choco in a maid outfit. Yeah, even Yurika wonders what’s so good about that and tries practicing the "Welcome, my master" lines in a maid outfit back at her home only to find out her maid was watching. How embarrassing.
 
So at home as practice, we see Choco in a naked apron (courtesy from Makoto) trying to serve Haruma. After a change of clothes, they continue with their mock practice and that menu only had 1 item on it. Sheesh. At the cultural festival, Chitose and Makoto are there to see Odaeri who is also there to perform her Neko Nyan Dance due to popular demand. The duo then visits Choco at her maid cafe. Since Kosomi is thrilled with their big boobs, she wants them to cosplay as maids and work for them. So we have the sexy seductive Makoto to the klutzy and clumsy Chitose. Wow. Fanservice. What more could a guy ask for. It seems Yurika’s maid is there too and when 1 of the guys starts harassing Chitose, she gives him a lesson or two about how a master should take care of his subordinates in order for them to serve him. With that, the other patrons are thrilled to find a real maid working in the midst. Meanwhile, Haruma’s elder cousin, Aki, comes by to visit the festival after work and Haruma isn’t pleased to have a former student of this university hanging out with him. Choco gets a break and decides to go look for Haruma. When she comes calling him, Haruma doesn’t want Aki to find out about Choco so he pretends he doesn’t know her. Choco is in shock. Meanwhile, Yurika is having a hard time being scared by the haunted house when she sees Choco walking dejectedly. Then just right in front of her eyes, Choco disappeared! Leaving behind just her maid uniform! Yurika is horrified! What’s going on?!
 
It seems Choco did vanish in episode 23. And it’s like everyone is starting to forget who Choco is but they feel that there’s something missing in their lives. Uh huh, a case of Choco being erased from their memories like as though she has never existed before. We see Kakeru having 3 sisters who are teasing him for taking a long time making his hair, in which Kakeru wonders why he is doing so. Even all the photos and videos that has Choco in it, are empty without her. Then as Haruma looks through Choco’s diary (all the entries are empty), he spots his tear drop and his scribbled notes in it and memories came rushing back. He remembers he did have a little sister named Choco as he panics and rushes out to find her. When Haruma asks if they have seen Choco, their usual reply is it something to do with chocolates. To other people, he seems like a desperate psycho looking for someone. Yeah, he even screams through the shopping complex’s microphone asking for Choco. His search is futile as Haruma sits at the playground praying real hard and repents on what he did earlier on. So be careful of what you said next time. Then Chitose shows up to tell him that Choco has been in her room all along. Haruma rushes back to see Choco cooking. In his joy and relief, he hugs her. Looks like everyone now remembers who Choco is and as though Choco’s disappearance never took place at all. That night, Haruma slept close to Choco. I think that was a good wake up call and lesson for him. See, you won’t value something precious till you lose it.
 
Episode 24 has Choco inviting Kakeru and Yurika to her Christmas party but Yurika declines by saying that she always spend her those days with her dad. Of course, Yurika’s plans for that is dashed when her dad calls her to say he can’t be home to have dinner with her. Poor girl. At the same time, we see Santarina (in a normal outfit, so it was hard to tell her at first) being rudely awakened in the middle of the night to do some delivery. The next day, Choco prepares chocolate gifts to be given to everyone she knows in town. With the red gloves, hat and jacket, she looks like Santa’s little helper. Choco even went to Yurika’s mansion to hand her the gift. Yurika must be feeling bad for rejecting her offer. Even Kuro is not forgotten as she leaves one at the abandoned building. By the time Choco meets up with Haruma, she has no gifts left to give him. But Haruma doesn’t mind because being with Choco is the best gift. Kakeru is seen rushing to Choco’s place (yeah, he spent an awful amount on time on his hair, which by the way looks the same. And his sisters were like expert love critics saying how his love is futile and such). He spots Yurika sitting alone on a swing but he drags her to Choco’s place by saying Choco doesn’t really care for all that stuff about rejecting her invitation. Then as they arrive, Odaeri too shows up (Makoto called her earlier on to turn up) and she tells everyone to get up and starts Nyan-cing away. I don’t know Yasuoka too knows the dance moves. The rest of the scene shows every other characters on what they are doing. Ayano and Kazuya happily together running the latter’s family business, Tamami enjoying her part time job selling cakes, Kakeru’s 3 sisters going to the hotspring only to be thought the proper way of behaving in one by Midori, Master fine dining with some lady, the old landlady enjoying her meal with her grandkids back at her home, and Yurika’s maid fixing a bike when she receives a note from Yurika left there thanking her for everything. We even see Yuki playing with Kuro in Heaven as Yuki’s mom watches them! Finally we see Santarina after having her meal, transforms into her red and white outfit to go deliver her presents. Merry Christmas!
 
I think this entire series is just fairy average. There isn’t anything spectacular in the end. I mean, just a bunch of characters going about on their daily lives. The final episode didn’t even do much justice even if they tried to show where most of the other characters ended up. I was really disappointed with the way how Ayano was killed off and it could’ve been something if she stayed on. Likewise, Chitose didn’t manage to confess her feelings to Haruma. Nor did Kakeru to Choco or Yurika to Kakeru. But I think that the main focus of this series is between Haruma and Choco, even though there are side distractions of the other characters. Especially Makoto. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a horny and kinky lady. Though most of the time you’d see her infatuated with the female side, given the chance, she’d take out her perverted thoughts on the guys too. Don’t be like her. Ever. Lots of these characters and some others hold a potential for a little character development but it seemed it fizzled out. As I’ve said, it’s mainly about Haruma and Choco.
 
Both the opening and ending theme are sung by Harenchi Punch. The opening song is entitled Doki! Doki! My Sister Soul and is a lively rock pop with a little hint of rap in it, something which fits the theme of the series. The ending theme is the infectious dance song Neko Nyan Dance. For those who can’t get enough of the loli goodness which is Choco, you can see her doing that dance during the end credits animation and in different outfits too. Hey, doesn’t the opening animation have the inhabitants of Tsubaki Manor doing a short Neko Nyan Dance too? And why is Ayano there seeing that she doesn’t live in that manor? And I too thought because of that she’s going to be a regular and not just halfway through the series. Some of the background music are lively especially with the way the violin is played. It reminded me of the one in Kodomo No Jikan.
 
Though the drawing, art and animation is your typical Japanese anime with wide-eyed characters and spiky hair, somehow I find that most of the characters have that one-kind look. Something about their jawbone which is drawn a little too wide. I think. On a trivial note, I noticed that in most episodes after the opening credits, Choco will introduce herself and that she is onii-chan’s little sister (yeah, we get it for the umpteenth time already) and continues narrating what has happened in the previous episode. A good recap? Also, the mid-intermission changes after a few episodes as it features Choco in different costumes and pose. We sure can’t get enough of this gal. Right. I wonder if she still needs to refer to that little notebook of hers. Maybe we all should have 1 too. Also, I kinda noticed that during the 1st half of the show, there would be yellow lines with the words "Keep Out" to censor those necessary parts. Yeah, it’s as though like it’s a crime scene or something. Then later, I think the episodes that I watched were from DVD ripped and you’ll have a full blown view of it. At this point, I think I can consider it to be ecchi ;P.
 
So sometimes Christmas may come early for us and to some doesn’t come at all. The best Christmas gift is always to be happy with what you have. You don’t necessarily have to wait for that special day just to give a present. Any day would do. So for those wishing to have a little sister or brother as a Christmas gift, perhaps it would be possible in the near future. No, I’m not saying some Santarina would drop a gift on your doorstep on a hovering bike. With the development and advancement in the robot technology, it’s possible to have a life-like robot complete with emotions and artificial intelligence just like a real human being. Just like all those stories you see in anime and read in manga. Life-like robots. Fiction come true? Well, good thing Choco here isn’t one.
 

Chokotto Sister

Yokan

February 27, 2009

  Todoke! Tsuyoku setsunaku,
  Kokoro ga sakenderu,
  Mou sukoshi ato sukoshi,
  Kono te wo nobashite
 
I remember vividly when I first tried singing the karaoke version (instrumental version rather) of Yokan. Yeah, you could say I was struggling. Struggling in every way just to get the right tone and pitch. Is it that tough? Yes siree, it is. So if anybody had listened to how I sang this song during those early days, you’ll definitely give me the instant rejection and at the same time earning the most sarcastic, the most derisive and horrible verbal abuse-cum-wrath from American Idol’s master-of-mockery (oops!) Simon Cowell, even if anime songs are probably not his thing.
 
  Zutto kakushiteru,
  Tokubetsu na kanjou,
  Ganbatte osaeteta
 
This is the opening theme song of the anime series Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~ and is sung by Yuki Makishima, who also did the vocals of one of the main female characters in the series. I feel that this lively pop piece suits the theme of the series well as it gives viewers and idea of what the series will be like.
 
  Kitto kidzukanai,
  Anata wa itsumo touri,
  Hohoende kotaeteta
 
As mentioned that I did quite horribly during my initial singing sessions mainly because of the difference in tone of the singer’s voice and mine. I’m not saying that she has quite a high pitched voice, but probably this song needs to be sung in a little higher octane, which causes some difficulty for me. And since I like this song, I’m not going to give up just like that. Thankfully in time, I noticed that I did improve a little albeit I won’t sound perfect. At least I could control my voice pitch and not go out of tune, especially the bridge lines just before the chorus and those short high pitched lines during the chorus.
 
  Kaze ni yureru kono ha no you ni,
  Zawa zawa zawa mune ga hajikesoude
 
Even though the verses are manageable, as I continue singing, I kinda noticed that as the song reaches the end, I’m like nearly out of breath and tired. Yeah, I sure do need lots of energy to sing the bridge and chorus. All just to sound close and control my voice. But it’s worth it. Even so of my gradual improvement of this song, sometimes I too noticed that I’m somewhat inconsistent nowadays. Sometimes I’m able to sing it fine and sometimes it’s just like those bad ol’ days.
 
  Todoke! Tsuyoku setsunaku,
  Kokoro no sakenderu,
  Mou sukoshi ato sukoshi,
  Kono te wo nobashite
 
Also as mentioned that this is an instrumental version due to the lack of background vocals. But good thing too that the original song itself lacks it. Initially it sounded like it was just Yuki Makishima herself singing the entire song but upon closer listening, I noticed that there are short background vocals just during the 1st and 3rd lines of the chorus. Yeah, that’s just about it. Not obvious anyway.
 
  Itsuka kitto sunao ni,
  Kotoba ni dekiru hazu,
  Daijoubu doko made mo,
  Tokimeki owaranai
 
Before I end, I just want to note that the way the electrical guitars are played, especially during the solo, is one main reason why I liked the song. Maybe it just sounds ordinary (you know, those semi-shrieky sustaining electric guitar sound) but to me, I just can’t get enough of it. Perhaps it’s the tune. And to think that I initially thought those electric guitars were horns. Sheesh. Well speaking of which, there are some horns to compliment the song as well. And I hope my voice would one day compliment this song…
 
  Tokimeki tomaranai…
 
Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~

Da Capo II Second Season

February 21, 2009

I must really love the Da Capo series seeing that I have already watched the fourth season of the season called Da Capo II Second Season. That’s right. Despite its name, it is actually the fourth season and not the second. So first timers of this series may get a little confuse about the title but nevertheless it is just a sequel of the third season and doesn’t really bear any direct sequel to the first and second. Confuse? Well, watch the entire series if you want to know what I mean.
 
This instalment has another additional 13 episodes and among all the Da Capo instalments, I feel that this season is the most dramatic and emotion-filled one. Get ready for a box of tissue papers. The storyline of this season goes back to the original story, which is to either save Hatsunejima or Yoshiyuki. Tough choice, isn’t it?
 
Having said so, there is one obvious thing in this season. Because in the previous season, Yoshiyuki’s pals were the main focus, but in here, Yume and Otome now take the spotlight. Uh huh. It’s like giving them their due and fair share of appearance after being sidelined in the previous season. Because of that, Yoshiyuki’s pals like Koko, Anzu, Akane, Maya (can I consider her to be their friends?), Wataru and Suginami are now playing side character roles and not making enough appearances to justify their presence. Like playing musical chairs, huh?
 
Obviously due to the last events in the previous season, that robot girl Minatsu is totally absent from this season and hopefully she didn’t end up in some metal scrap yard. I wonder where she is. But viewers will be pre-occupied with this season’s events to notice that. This leads me to another point. The main motivation to watch this season too did not make much of an appearance. Who am I talking about? Why, it’s Nanaka! I can’t believe that she has even made lesser appearances than Yoshiyuki’s pals as mentioned above (besides Maya of course). I can’t believe the producers would sideline such a cutie pie! Why oh why.
 
So if you think that the opening in episode 1 whereby Otome and Yume are trying to wake up Yoshiyuki in a sexy and seducing way by giving him a punishment kiss is going to set the tone of this season, then think again because that is all the fanservice you’ll ever get. Besides, that was just Yoshiyuki’s dream as he is being awakened by Sakura. Now that I have mentioned her, I thought that petite girl and her furry little pet dog, Harimao, would stamp their presence more here, but unfortunately, even if they did, it was mostly indirect.
 
At school, Maya plans for her class to do something for the upcoming school’s Christmas party but her classmates don’t seem interested. Until Anzu comes up with a puppet play. But Suginami suggests a haunted house instead. While the girls are in favour of Anzu’s idea, the guys sided Suginami (something about able to get into some lovey-dovey position while being scarred in the haunted house. You know those kind of things). So they put it to a vote and it all goes down to Yoshiyuki to break the tie. Yeah, it had to be him. He can’t say he doesn’t want to get involved and either way he chooses, it might not go down to well with the other. In the end, he decides on the puppet play. With that, the class gets ready their preparations for it and Yoshiyuki and Koko are being cast as the main players, who are lovers. If you feel that this is an attempt to make them go back together again (they broke up and remained friends in the previous season), then you’d be pretty much disappointed. Like yours truly. Furthermore, Yoshiyuki has to put his effort into this play and be serious since Maya said he voted for it. Yeah, in a pinch, right?
 
That night when Yoshiyuki tells his sisters about his class’s puppet play, Otome decides to help Yoshiyuki practice his lines. So right after dinner, Otome gets into practice with Yoshiyuki and the former seems impressed with the way Anzu writes the story. Then when Otome accidentally says how she wrote this kind of stuff before but never pursue it due to her lack in talent, Yoshiyuki wants to see what she had written but a blushing Otome tries to hide it from him. It’s obviously all written over her face. He can tell that the so called writing that she mentioned she had disposed off, is actually still in her room. With that, Otome forbids her little brother from entering her room. After the practicing is done, Otome leaves for her home. Then it dawned to me that if they are siblings (though not blood related), how come they are living in different houses? Yeah, a mind boggling thing. But Otome notices something amiss when a sakura petal floats down into her palms. At the same time, Sakura is at the big never-withering sakura tree as she puts her palms on it and that serious expression on her face means business. Something is not right.
 
I know that I have previously said that Yoshiyuki’s pals didn’t make much of an appearance but episode 2 focuses a little more on Anzu. However, I feel that this is just a slight distraction from what more is going to come. Here, Anzu has a writer’s block on how to end the puppet show so as not to give it a run-of-the-mill ending but Yoshiyuki says how she should just write it how she wants to. Back at Yoshiyuki’s place, he and his sisters are watching TV and are startled to find several mysterious happenings around Hatsunejima. They are like bad or misfortune events but nobody gets killed. This is a baffling mystery.
 
Next day at school, because Anzu has been staying up late to finish her script, she collapses in class. In the infirmary, Mizukoshi says that Anzu has fever and has Yoshiyuki accompany her home while Mizukoshi drives them to Anzu’s abode. There, Yoshiyuki is surprised to find her huge mansion but is quite empty. He also finds out Anzu lives alone all by herself after her parents abandoned her while she was young. Her late grandma took her in and cared for her until her death 3 years ago. She never told anyone as she deemed it unnecessary to make them worry. Yoshiyuki also remembers his own case whereby Sakura took him in and introduced him to Otome and Yume.
 
Back home, Yoshiyuki tells of his class’s Christmas party puppet play to Yume and we see that tsundere girl hoping that Yoshiyuki will give her tickets to the play. To her delight, he did but gets disappointed when he gives her an additional ticket so that she could invite whoever she wants to the play. Why can’t she just say it honestly what she wants and why can’t he read the mood? Ah, both are at fault anyway. When Anzu recovers, Yoshiyuki manages to convince her to let them come to her mansion to practice their puppet play. Of course the initial reaction of wow-ness when they see her mansion. Yeah, even though they’ve been pals for a long time, they’ve never been to her place. On another surprising note, they noticed how her place is void of books since they know Anzu is a smart girl. Anzu says she doesn’t need them as she has quite a good memory. So as expected, the gang had more fun time horsing around rather than practicing. But Anzu thanks Yoshiyuki that she is able to move on about her grandma’s death as she feels that he gave her a push forward.
 
The gang leaves in the evening and on the way home, Yoshiyuki bumps into Yume and still wonders who she will be asking to go with for the play. Of course, she just storms away. As Otome is walking through the park, she notices something bad has happened when she heard sounds of the sirens. She remembers that when she was young, she and Yoshiyuki told each other that they both could use magic. Otome still claims that she is the magician of justice and proceeds to head to where the sirens are sounded.
 
Yoshiyuki continues to practice hard with his lines in episode 3. That night, Yoshiyuki heads over toe Otome and Yume’s house and something about the way Yoshiyuki says when entering the house (like when he did when they were younger), causing Yume to blush a little. Then we finally get to see the Junichi of the original Da Capo series. Man, he’s a grandpa now! Then it occurred to me that since it is 50 years from the original series, Otome and Yume are his granddaughters. He’s the only other recurring character other than Sakura from the original Da Capo series to make a return. I wonder what happened to the rest. Dead? Hehe, just kidding. During dinner, they hear another bad incident, which causes Otome to worry.
 
After dinner, Yoshiyuki and Otome continue their practice and when Yoshiyuki says how Otome should also be part of the play, she gets embarrassed and refused. Then as they go through their childhood photo album, yet another sound of the sirens. Otome then asks Yoshiyuki if he remembers the promise he made to her but obviously that guy doesn’t, so Otome is a little disappointed but tries to brush it off. The next day at the school rooftop, Yoshiyuki is taking a break seeing that Koko is out sick. He dreams about the time he first met Otome. Back then, Otome wasn’t too open and was quite an introvert. Yeah, she doesn’t like to mix around or make friends. Not until Yoshiyuki cheers her up and shows her that he could make some sweets with his palm, in which he learned from Junichi (because he wants to make her smile. Aww…). So when Yoshiyuki made the sweet from his palms, Otome gladly accepted it and the 2 became acquainted. At that point, Otome too revealed that she too can create sweets from her palms (well, must be inherited from Junichi) and calls herself a magician of justice. The 2 then decide to keep and share this secret only among themselves. With that, they made a yubikiri and would come to each other’s aid if they are in trouble. Yoshiyuki woke up from his slumber and remembered this promise. Yeah, it took him a dream to recall it. So he later invited Otome to the spot where they made the promise and tells her that he remembers their promise. Her happiness is cut short when sounds of the sirens are heard ringing again, causing Otome to be a little distressed. Though she says it is her duty to solve these mysteries as a magician of justice, Yoshiyuki vows to help her in anyway he can.
 
The Christmas party gets underway in episode 4. Yoshiyuki bumps into Yume at school and wonders if he should accompany her for the day. Of course, Yume has her own ego and being a tsundere gal means that she gave some excuses that it’ll affect his play although deep down in her heart she wants to. Yoshiyuki misinterprets that she has someone else already but of course Yume says she will because she is his sister. Uh huh. That. And so since Yoshiyuki is free after the preparations are done, he accompanies Yume on their outing. When he goes back to his class so that the puppet play can start, he finds that Koko has fallen ill. They are left in a pinch of who to replace her. Worse come to worst, they’ll have to cancel the play. Yoshiyuki then thinks of getting Otome to replace Koko since she has rehearsed the lines with him and should know her part more than anybody else. Speaking of the devil, Otome and Mayuki comes crashing in while they’re eavesdropping on the class. Though Otome is very reluctant and nervous, leave it to Yoshiyuki to calm her down and restore her confidence, albeit just a little.
 
The play is about a blind boy named Eto who lives with a family who has a daughter named Sheruru. You know these kind of stories when the girl secretly has a crush on the boy. Though they grew up together, unknown to Eto, Sheruru is actually from the Santa Claus clan and before Christmas, she asked what Eto wanted for his present. Soon, some rich noble guy came to propose to Sheruru but she rejected his proposal saying that she needed to take care of Eto but stopped short of saying she loves her. Unknown to them both, Eto has overheard their conversation and blames himself that he is the reason why Sheruru couldn’t move on in life. On Christmas night when Sheruru disguised as Santa, comes into Eto’s room to give his present, Sheruru is surprised that he is awake but luckily since he is blind, her identity is safe. So Eto tells her that the present he want most is to disappear from the face of this world. The audience are surprised. Eto says that he is a burden to Sheruru and all he wants is her to be happy. Sheruru is saddened and doesn’t want to grant this wish so when she blurts out the true reason why she rejected the proposal and hugs him, some miracle causes Eto to regain his eyesight. With that, he realizes who she is and in the end the 2 confess their love for each other and lived happily ever after.
 
Surprisingly, the puppet play was a hit! During the play, Yoshiyuki notices how Otome wasn’t really acting and that her emotions were real! Yeah, she was crying during those sad parts and her tears were really streaming! It’s like she’s playing her real life out in this show too. So pitiful. As for Yume, she managed to catch a glimpse of the play but left when the class was receiving a standing ovation. Back home, Yoshiyuki thanks Otome for the play’s success but changes the subject. As Sakura comes home, she feels a little depress seeing how the siblings are getting along fine and wishes how this would last forever.
 
Episode 5 sees the gang take a snowy ski trip to the mountains. Since Yume has some weird dreams of Yoshiyuki being in an accident, she buys lots of medical first aids and is feeling a little depressed. It’s so obvious even that oblivious guy like Yoshiyuki can notice it. So after purchasing all the stuff they need for the trip and upon reaching their destination, Yume decides not to go ski with the gang on the excuse that she’s feeling tired. So we see the rest of the gang having fun in the snow. Wataru’s making as though he’s speeding fast through the snow but he’s actually going real slow while Koko and Akane, well let’s just say they made more than just their footprints in the snow. So when the gang goes back to the inn, Yoshiyuki is concern about Yume and tries to suggest her to go night skiing but since she remembers that dream, she declines. This prompts Yoshiyuki to remember back while they were younger, Yume used to be quite a bubbly character and smiled a lot. Then she just stopped smiling. Talking about how his sisters switched personalities.
 
That night when everyone gathers in a room to have their usual fun (nothing sneaky, mind you), Yume sneaks out to go night skiing alone. While skiing, 2 guys tried to hit on her and though she tried to resist, those guys are real annoying. Luckily Yoshiyuki had followed her after knowing she wasn’t with the rest. Good thing those guys are amateur skiers and Yoshiyuki gives them a little push to send them crashing off course. Though Yume is happy that Yoshiyuki is skiing with her, she then remembers the dream and lost a little concentration. Yume skis off the cliff! Yoshiyuki immediately goes down to find her and Yume’s dreams are starting to come true. Yeah, this is what she saw. Her brother calling and coming to her. She tries to get away from him because she doesn’t want him to end up in an accident but since she hurt her leg, she can’t pretty much move. When Yoshiyuki finally arrives and questions her, she tells him about the dream. But he doesn’t care about that and gives her a piggy-back ride back to the inn. After bandaging her feet, Yoshiyuki and Yume goes to soak in the hotspring. He tells her not to let her bandaged feet get wet as she thanks him. So when Yoshiyuki mentions how she’s avoiding him the whole day, Yume denies and cheekily says she’ll come over to his side, you can hear Yoshiyuki starting to panic. But of course, it was just a joke.
 
Things get a little more serious in episode 6 as Otome tries to research more about the mysterious happenings on Hatsunejima soon after they come back from their ski trip. Yoshiyuki upon seeing Otome, helps her out as they go to the library and their own little investigations downtown. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get anything concrete. Then the duo passes by Mayuki who tells them that a gas leak explosion had occurred nearby but no one was seriously injured. With that, Yoshiyuki decides to ask Suginami for help and in turn that guy gives him several books which contains rumours on several magical mysteries that has happened on Hatsunejima, like that never-withering sakura tree which grants wishes. Since all this happened 50 years ago, the duo then realized that they should ask Junichi since he was around during that time.
 
Though Junichi confirms of all those magical mysteries that had happened during his time, the young ones aren’t too sure about it either. Junichi then points out that wouldn’t it be strange for a sakura tree to not wither. They realized that because they are so accustomed to it, that thought has never crossed their mind. The duo goes to the never-withering sakura tree and spots a little girl making a wish there. So off they go back to the library to do more research. Yoshiyuki meets Anzu there and when she hears what he is doing, she tells him that there was once a girl who made a wish upon that tree to have a good memory because due to an illness, she was losing her memorizing ability and at the same time her family. Ever since that day, she never forgot anything. Yoshiyuki thinks Anzu is talking about herself (obviously) but Anzu denies. So later he and Otome visit the tree once again and makes a wish that Sakura comes home early. Say, I know Sakura hasn’t been home lately due to her busy work. I mean, what kind of work does she do? I thought she was the principal of their school? But as the duo made their wish, it hit them that they forgot all about Yume, who is probably starving back at her home. Poor girl. Just hang on a little more.
 
Episode 7 has Sakura joining Otome, Yume and Yoshiyuki for a year end party. It’s pretty hilarious to see Otome getting very drunk after drinking a little sweet sake (yeah, she’s talking to the TV!) and Yume too soon follow suit. It’s a good thing they don’t drink. The next day as they go to the shrine for prayers, Yume is reluctant to draw her fortune because of her dream which says it will be a misfortune. So Yoshiyuki draws for her instead and true enough, it reads misfortune. Later as they stroll by town, Yume is thinking how Yoshiyuki and Otome are getting along well and since Yoshiyuki caught her spacing out and thinks she’s staring at a pair of pyjamas, he thinks she wants it. Of course Yume then remembers another bad dream whereby she’s waiting all alone in a dark room. However when Yume asks if he is free tomorrow, Yoshiyuki says that he has something to do with Otome.
 
The next day, Yoshiyuki wakes up to find Yume trying to cook in the kitchen. Is he still dreaming or is the world coming to an end? Just joking. Anyway, Yume accidentally cuts her finger so Yoshiyuki’s instant reaction is to suck it to stop to bleeding. This causes Yume to panic and incessantly stammer on what he is doing before Yoshiyuki realized what is happening. Otome comes by and overhears how Yume wants Yoshiyuki to be back by 6pm. As Yoshiyuki and Otome continue their investigation, they seem to get clues from people about seeing some blonde-haired girl involved in it each time a mystery incident happens. Doesn’t that sound like Sakura? As time nears 6pm, Otome tells Yoshiyuki to go home since Yume is waiting for him and that it’s her birthday. Yeah, that guy forgot about it. It’s something special Yume wants to spend time with Yoshiyuki so that’s why Otome didn’t want to tag along. Yoshiyuki rushes back but on the way decides to get that pyjamas that Yume was previously staring at. He manages to buy it before the shop closes but due to some strange events, the mall automatically shut its doors down, trapping all the shoppers including Yoshiyuki inside. Time is running out. Yume is seen waiting and all the food is prepared. She got a little excited when she hears someone at the door but it was just some courier guy. Damn. Though the maintenance crew managed to open the door, it is several hours late already. Yoshiyuki gets back only to find a dark room and leftovers on the table. So looks like her unfortunate dream came true. Meanwhile Otome is on her way back and is thinking what a splendid time the duo had when she hears the siren ringing. She rushes to the scene and in the midst of the crowd, is surprised to see Sakura there. Gasp! Is she the cause of the mysterious accidents?
 
In episode 8, it seems that Sakura is trying real hard to filter bad wishes at the never-withering sakura tree. Yoshiyuki wakes up from a dream about Yume saying goodbye to him but to his surprise, Yume acts as though nothing has ever happened last night. Yoshiyuki till feels bad about breaking his promise and gives her the pyjamas as her belated birthday present and invites her out. As they are taking a bus, a boulder from a cliff had fallen just right around the corner bend. Luckily Sakura sensed this to be happening and wow! She jumped in front of the bus to stop the driver! Of course he hit the brakes and when he comes down, he is relieved because they might have crashed into it. Sakura then notices that Yoshiyuki and Yume or on the bus. Thank God. Sakura thinks this must have been another bad wish from the sakura tree and goes there once more, only to her surprise finds Otome waiting there.
 
Sakura reveals to Otome that this tree has magical powers to grant wishes. However, it cannot differentiate between good and bad wishes and just grants them. So that’s why recently there has been so many mysterious unfortunate incidents. Are people on this island really having such grudges? Because of that, Sakura has been using her powers to control and filter the wishes but is at her limits. Another reason why the accidents occur. So what about nipping the problem at the bud by wishing for the tree to wither? You see, that’s the problem. If this sakura tree withers, Yoshiyuki will disappear! Oh no! How can it be?! Yoshiyuki was created due to Sakura’s wish back then when she was feeling lonely. Yeah, I remember she lost out to Nemu over Junichi. Otome can’t believe it either but she has to come to terms with it. However Sakura says that there is 1 more way. All these while, she has been filtering from the outside. So she might be able to control better is she’s doing it from the inside. Oh no. She’s going to be an internal filter and fuse with the tree! That night, as the gang had dinner, Yoshiyuki spots Sakura leaving so that girl gives him a big hug and bids him goodbye. Sakura stops by Junichi’s place to cut her hair short. Seriously, I’m so used to her twintail and prefer it much that way. After they both reminisce about things (it’s been a long time since I’ve heard Junichi called her Sakuranbo), Sakura goes to the never-withering sakura tree and thanks it for making her wish come true before fusing with the tree. NOO!!! Sakura don’t go!!!
 
Though Yoshiyuki finds a goodbye letter from Sakura in episode 9 and wonders what it means, only Otome knows what is going on and is feeling somewhat depressed. On the way to school, Yoshiyuki spots Koko and is going to cross the road to see her when the light suddenly turns red and a speeding car is heading his way. Luckily the car crashes into the pole instead and the driver is Mizukoshi! Why was she speeding in the first place? Though shaken up, good thing nothing bad has happened. However, Otome realized that the bad wishes haven’t stopped yet so she visits the sakura tree to tell it how it isn’t working. Otome knows she has to stop this but is in a dilemma. So much so, Otome avoids coming into contact with Yoshiyuki, stumping him. Even Mayuki notices how Otome is acting very differently. When Yoshiyuki comes by the student council office to look for her, Otome tells him to leave her alone and that she is busy. Yoshiyuki reiterates that if she is in some sort of trouble, he’ll gladly help her based on his promise. But Otome just tells him off to leave her alone. Okay. Fine. If that what she wants, Yoshiyuki walks away and Otome realized that she had said something she didn’t want to. She tries to chase after Yoshiyuki to come back but he is gone. Now she’s saying how she doesn’t want to be without him. Make up your mind girl.
 
Otome’s confused heart has clouded her thinking as she wanders through the streets. Junichi and Yume are about to set off to find her but Otome soon comes back walking under the pouring rain. Later she confides her dilemma and troubles to Junichi. Seeing her pitiful state, Junichi tells her to leave this responsibility to an adult and that he will solve this. Oh no. It can’t be what I’m thinking. Darn it. Junichi later that night decides to fuse together with the sakura tree and help Sakura filter the bad wishes. The next morning, Otome wakes up to find bad aura surrounding the sakura tree. Which means, all their efforts have been in vain so far! The bad wishes are not stopping! Poor thing, only Junichi’s glasses are the only thing left at the root of the tree. Otome is horrified and has no choice but to make it wither. But can she do it?
 
Because of that, in episode 10, Otome bids goodbye to Yoshiyuki while he’s sleeping. Oh no. Don’t tell me she’s going to fuse with the tree too?! Yoshiyuki is still troubled by Otome’s character and even takes leave from school to go look for her. He returns home to find Yume in the kitchen and wonders if Otome has got anything to do with Junichi and Sakura’s disappearance. Yume then notes and rants how he’s always talking about Otome and in her slip of her tongue, she mentions how she likes him. Not in a sisterly way, if you know what I mean. Good thing (or bad, depends on how you look at it), Yoshiyuki has fallen asleep due to his exhaustion. Yoshiyuki dreams of meeting Sakura at that never-withering sakura tree. She tells him how all this was her fault when she was studying in America, she brought back a seed of the magical sakura tree. Based on the events at the end of the second instalment of the Da Capo series, those who have watched it knows the original one has been withered since. And since Sakura was lonely (she can’t age due to her wish made back in the original Da Capo series) and wanted a family, that is how Yoshiyuki was born. Yeah, right in front of her eyes like that. Sakura continues to explain to him about the bad wishes and how her filtering doesn’t help anymore. So the only way is to make it wither but this will in turn cause Yoshiyuki to disappear. He then realized the reason why Otome is acting strange. Sakura is teary and emotional but Yoshiyuki hugs her and thanks her for his existence. Yeah, he calls Sakura his mom for the first time. Well, isn’t it true? Yoshiyuki is happy to have such a great family and accepts his fate. He then tells Sakura that he has to go tell Otome because he knows she can’t do it on his own.
 
After waking up, he goes to the never-withering sakura tree to find Otome there. Now this is the most tear-jerking part. Upon realizing that Yoshiyuki has known what is going on, Otome breaks down and tells of her true feelings. I find her very pitiful in that crying state. It’s like she’s being swallowed and choking on her own tears! Oh Otome dear. I nearly cried myself :'(. She’s saying how she wants to save both Hatsunejima and Yoshiyuki and doesn’t want an either or situation. Poor girl. Why must innocent good-hearted people like them suffer so much pain :'(. Yoshiyuki explains how he loves everyone on this island but right now only Otome can save things and since he has led a happy life, he doesn’t wish for anything else. He tells her to make the sakura tree wither because he doesn’t want to make everyone sad. Since Otome can’t refuse her little brother’s wish, she has no choice but to do so. As Otome starts to wither the sakura tree, Yume is watching them both in much surprise over what is happening.
 
So was it for real? Otome using her powers to wither that sakura tree? Well, Yoshiyuki wakes up the next morning to find himself still existing in episode 11. A dream? Don’t think so. So what happened then? The withered sakura tree has been the hot topic lately and everybody in Hatsunejima seems to be talking about it. However, Yoshiyuki finally realizes its effect when Anzu forgot a math test which is supposed to be held today. Yeah, Wataru is real happy that he’s got a studying partner now though Anzu dismisses it and feels odd of this careless mistake of hers. Looks like those who have made their wish from the sakura tree, are starting to show signs of losing their ability. And then another surprising after effect. While Yoshiyuki is walking down the hallway, he passes Otome and Mayuki. However, Mayuki doesn’t seem to recognize who Yoshiyuki is! Oh no. So this is the effect of him disappearing, huh? Yoshiyuki will soon be forgotten from everyone’s memories. For now, only his closest friends still remembers him. Then as he and Yume are having lunch together, Yume indicates that she knows his time is running out.
 
Running out fast indeed. Why, the next day when Yoshiyuki passes by Nanaka, she doesn’t even know who he is at first! But after a while, she soon does. As Otome is researching on a way to stop Yoshiyuki from disappearing, Yume comes by and invites her to have a nabe meal with their brother but Otome refuses. Yume replies by saying that she will regret it. When the day ends, the effects are starting to take a more serious effect. Even Maya now doesn’t know who he is and rudely asks who that stranger is in her class. And on the way home, Yoshiyuki’s worst fears are confirmed when Anzu and Akane don’t even recognize him and thinks he is some lonely guy trying to hit on them! Luckily, Yume is still by his side as they walk home together. That night, Yume and Yoshiyuki have their own nabe meal but Yoshiyuki says how she’ll come to regret it if she stays by his side. So the next day, all of Yoshiyuki’s friends have totally forgotten about him. Everyone wonders who this new never-seen-before transfer student is. With that, Yoshiyuki says goodbye and leaves school. Where is he going? So looks like the only ones left who remember him are his sisters.
 
In episode 12, Otome burns the midnight oil in order to find a way to save Yoshiyuki. Meanwhile Yume takes this opportunity to ask Yoshiyuki out on a date. Yoshiyuki dreams of Yume bidding him farewell on the school rooftop. Chances of it coming true? So the duo go on their own date like as though they are spending their last times together. Hey, since it’s come down to this, why not make good memories out of this and they’ve got all the time in the world, right? Just kidding. Though the places they went aren’t much, but Yume is happy to be where ever Yoshiyuki is. It is evening and Yoshiyuki is being brought by Yume up to the school rooftop. Yume then admits how she too have special powers. She can see the future through her dreams. Yeah, how apt her name. Now we know why she is named so. When they were young she dreamt of this inevitable incident and that’s why she stopped smiling for him. I’m thinking this may be the reason why she’s been tsundere all along. In the end, Yume confesses that she loves him. And I’m not talking about the sisterly kind of love. Emotional wreck Yume hugs him and tells him to go talk to Otome while he still can. Yoshiyuki understood and rushes off.
 
Yoshiyuki arrives at the withered sakura tree to see Otome there. The way she said things may have indicated that Otome is on the verge of forgetting Yoshiyuki. She’s referring to him from a 3rd person perspective. She’s saying how as a magician of justice, she can’t use her magic to save the ones she loved. Otome too confess her love for that person she holds dearly in her heart. Again, it isn’t that big sisterly type of love. When Yoshiyuki goes over to comfort her, his body starts to glow in a mysterious light. OMG! He’s starting to disappear! Otome can’t believe that this is happening and tries to rush over to him but he has completely vanished by then. Otome turns into another emotional wreck and screams at the sakura tree what kind of magic is this and the sort that she doesn’t need because all she wants is Yoshiyuki to come back. Well, the tree isn’t listening.
 
It has been 2 months since that event in episode 13. Spring arrives with the other sakura trees blooming according to its season and everyone has moved on in life. We see Otome waking up Yume because the latter is already a senior in her grade and needs to set a good example for freshies. Suginami, Wataru, Koko, Anzu and Akane are in their new school uniforms while Otome as the student council president has to give a speech during the opening ceremony (her notebook has words written ‘Yoshiyuki’ repeatedly several times?). Back at home, Otome sheds a tear when she sees the puppet doll of Eto and Sheruru as it reminded her of Yoshiyuki because she still loves and misses him dearly. It seems only Otome and Yume still remembers who Yoshiyuki is even though he is gone. We then see the spirit of Sakura watching over everyone and noting how this is what the world would’ve been without Yoshiyuki. But she notices how everybody is sad and it’s like though they feel like as though something is missing from their lives but can’t quite put their finger on what it is. Sakura also observes how Otome visits the sakura tree every day ever since Yoshiyuki’s disappearance as she tells the tree how she won’t forget him.
 
Because Sakura can’t bear anymore to see everyone in such depressed state, she makes a last effort plea to the sakura tree by saying how feelings can’t be destroyed by magic and when people think about each other, it creates power allowing desires to be granted, wishes will come true, if those feelings are strong enough. With that, Sakura’s words and feelings managed to reach the tree and made it bloom again. At this instant, everyone starts to remember who Yoshiyuki is. Yoshiyuki then appears before Yume but wait… That’s just her dream. Wait a minute again, if she can see her future through her dreams, which means… That’s right! Otome is crying by herself at the park when some guy shows up to comfort her. Why, it’s Yoshiyuki! Otome is relieved and soon Yume comes rushing by to be reunited with them. In the end, the lives for the trio return to normal and soon that sakura tree withers back.
 
Although I am happy that this season ended on a happy note after all that climatic drama, but nevertheless I felt that it could have been better. I mean, the part whereby Yoshiyuki just comes back to life and everyone suddenly remembering him was a little too sudden and felt like it was done in a hurry. Then the part which bugged me was after all this time that Sakura and Otome pleaded to the never-withering sakura tree, how come only in that final episode did it listen to their pleas? I mean, weren’t their previous pleas equally true too? Maybe you won’t wish for something that hard until it is missing. So at least fans like me could feel at ease knowing that both Yoshiyuki and the inhabitants of Hatsunejima get to exist together.
 
As mentioned that in this instalment, Yume and Otome are more prominently featured as compared to Yoshiyuki’s friends. Here we get to see the 2 sisters with contrasting stand on Yoshiyuki’s vanishing. While Yume accepts all this as her fate, Otome cannot as she mentioned how she can’t live without her little brother. It was really heartbreaking during the moment Otome cried and bawled those tears. It was so damn convincing and I guess it is enough to even move the manliest man on Earth. And yeah, Harimao did make a short appearance in the final episode, sitting right next to that sakura tree but that’s about it. It has less appearance than its predecessor, Utamaru, and it made me think what its role is for. To accompany Sakura?
 
Once again, Yozuca does the opening theme for this instalment entitled Sakura Amaneku Sekai and just like the previous seasons of the Da Capo series, it also sounds as lively as its prequels. CooRie is also maintained for the ending theme of the series called Bokutachi No Yukue. This one is another slow ballad and it sounds like it has a hint of sadness in it, which I think fits the theme of the series. And I again noticed that the lyrics to both the themes have the words ‘sakura’ in them. Furthermore, if you listen closely to the other insert songs, there is the word ‘sakura’ somewhere in the lyrics. Yeah, confirmed that this is truly a sakura-themed show.
 
Unlike in the previous Da Capo series, most of the episode’s opening narration is narrated by Sakura and what she narrates sounds rather gloomy and sad. Even the next episode preview too has a sombre narration. The picture of mid-intermission of the first few episodes show the puppet dolls of Eto and Sheruru. Once that puppet play is over, it is reverted back to that silhouette drawing of the sakura tree which was also used during the 3rd instalment. Recycled scene perhaps?
 
With the heavy drama in this season, the comedy factor has been literally thrown out the window. I’m not saying that there isn’t any funny moments, but they are so minimal that it’s hard for me to remember them. And yeah. WHERE’S THE LOVE AND HAREM?! WHERE IS THE CHEMISTRY AND ROMANCE?! This season is completely devoid of that in which its prequels had. So Yoshiyuki and Koko do remain best of friends, huh? Even Nanaka! Oh I still can’t believe she has been sidelined so badly. I know I know. I’ve probably have reminded myself dozens of time that this season is more on Yoshiyuki and his half-sisters. Yeah, we’re so into that until we forgot what the real Da Capo was actually about till it hit me when the series ended. Okay, so the magic of the sakura tree is still there. So do magic and love go together? You decide.
 
Will there be another instalment of Da Capo? Well, my thoughts is that you can’t have a Da Capo series without sakura. Both that blonde petite girl and the tree. Uh huh, since this season seems to have ‘gotten rid’ of that, the chances are pretty slim. But you never know. It may be set on a different island with a whole new bunch of characters but the same kind of storyline. Yeah, since I’m quite a fan of this series, I’d probably be a sucker and go watch it. Oh let me make a wish upon that sakura tree that if there is going to be another sequel of Da Capo, let it have pretty bishoujos, romantic harems and interesting storylines. Yeah, just keep dreaming.
 
Da Capo II

Lamune

February 20, 2009

I’m sure we have seen lots of TV shows and movies about love in the big city. So how about some romance in the countryside then? Then you should try watching the drama-cum-romance-slice-of-life anime series Lamune. Though it is based on the hentai PC game of the same name, the anime series does have some fanservice moments but the hentai part is totally nil.
 
If the anime title does sound like a bottle drink, then you are probably right because Lamune does sound like Lemonade in English. I did a little research and found out that such a bottle drink really does exist in Japan, but I’m not sure how popular it is. The amusing thing about his drink is that there is some kind of stopper in it so when you totally turn it upside down, the stopper will automatically block the liquid from flowing out. So you can’t really have bottoms up for this drink, huh? It feels like you need a little ‘special skill’ to drink this one.
 
Back to the anime. This short series has only 12 episodes and according to Anime News Network, the story revolves around 2 high school students, Kenji "Ken" Tomosaka and Nanami Konoe. They have been childhood friends for so long and for those ‘season’ people who have watched this sort of genre for a long time, should know and expect that their close relationship would turn into something more intimate. So in this sleepy boring (oops!) old countryside, everyone seems to know of this relationship between the 2, though the duo don’t really admit it out loud but you can see it from their body language. Why, they are even dubbed a husband and wife by some of their friends, sending blushing signals to those lovebirds. The synopsis continues about telling their story through flashbacks, explaining why they are such close friends and any action doesn’t seem to push them apart, but draw them closer. If it sounds like a mystery thriller at first, you are sadly mistaken but I can forgive you because I too thought so. In short, if you’re not up to this yawn fest (double oops!), then stay clear of this one. Too late for me, but I think it’s overall kinda nice too.
 
As we know that our main guy Ken is your usual naughty boy in the sense that whenever the opportunity arises, he’d play harmless pranks on Nanami. But he’s not a bad boy. He still has a good natured heart and cares about her and those around him. Hey, when a guy does a prank on a girl, isn’t it a way to show his love? As for Nanami, she is your typical girly girl. Sometimes naive, you can’t help but love her slow dreamy high pitched voice whenever she talks. Yeah, very girly indeed. But the surprising thing I found out about her is that she is voiced by the multi-talented Yuko Goto! I can’t believe it. I couldn’t recognize her voice (like I could…). It amazes me that she has voiced numerous anime character roles and some of them sound so different. I know I recognize her in other anime roles like Abiru in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Miyu in Kimi Ga Aruji De Shitsuji Ga Ore De, Kate in Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~, and Hikari in Special A, but this Nanami role is totally mind-blowing. Okay, maybe she does sound a little bit like Asahina from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. I saw that series quite a long time ago and I can barely remember what Asahina sounded like. Something like that I think…
 
So most of the episodes follow in this particular matter. Usually it starts off showing a scene of a young Ken and Nanami doing something together during their childhood. Then after the title screen, the scene is fast forward to the grown up and high school teenagers they are. And what they do in that particular episode has something to do with that childhood thing which they did and sometimes during the show we have further flashbacks of those childhood days to explain further things. Then we see how they bond and get along with everyone in this countryside village (hey, what else is there to see and do?) and in the end, all is well, ends well. Something like that. Okay, maybe some of the episodes end with a little suspense but it isn’t much to make your adrenaline go racing.
 
Just like in episode 1 whereby we see how a young Ken has moved in to the countryside with his gentle and active sister, Suzuka, and his single parent dad, Kenryou, and befriends a girl named Nanami. He likes hermit crabs, she doesn’t. So what happens when he mischievously puts it on her head? Your guess is as good as mine. Then Ken finds out that they live just next door to each other and that their rooms are facing each other. Not only that, their balcony is so close that you can actually jump over! Remember, not to be attempted anyhow. So in present time, we see Ken loves playing a weird video game. Samurai and aliens destroying the world? Yeah, those feudal sword wielding warriors and little grey men. Really weird mix. Anyway, it seems it is Ken’s turn to wake up Nanami for school as he jumps into her room. But Nanami is nowhere to be found. Urm… We can hear her voice but we can’t see her. Ken then finds Nanami stuck between the bed and the wall. How did she end up there. Yeah, her pyjama longs are showing her slip…
 
Of course on the way to school, Ken does another mischievous prank by tickling Nanami when she got stuck while taking off her top school uniform (she’s wearing another one below, mind you). She’s such a klutz. We are introduced to their school buddies. The ‘other guy’ (just kidding, comic relief guy may be the right word) Hatano, the student council president Tae Isawa, and the shy lower-classman Hiromi Sakura who seems to have a secret crush on Ken. Smell a harem coming up? After taking their term exams, Ken and Nanami walk home together and we learn that Nanami’s mom, Kagami, runs a tea shop and Nanami herself has her own little vegetable farm next to it. I know Nanami is a little klutz, but with the help of Ken, she does a good job in keeping and maintaining the farm. The yield of course is harvested and brought to Kagami’s tea shop. The rest of the episode sees them tending this little farm and since Ken got a little tired and hot after working under the sun, he decides to eat a watermelon. But this one is no ordinary watermelon. So called. This one has been labelled "Nanami Special" by that ditzy girl and has a warning written on it not to eat it. So typical of Ken to defy it as he starts chowing down the juicy gourd. Of course when Nanami finds out, she’s a little mad. But I guess she can’t stay mad at him as what’s done is done as she too enjoys some of her specially grown melon. When the day ends, they go home and we see Nanami has several hermit crab plushies in her home. Maybe this one looks more cute rather than a live one, which looks scarier and feels gross.
 
Episode 2 starts off with a young Ken and Nanami bathing together in the bathtub. Ah, those innocent days… In present time, it is Nanami’s turn to go wake up Ken but he is nowhere in sight. She can hear him but not see him. Even Ken himself doesn’t know where he is, this mysterious dark space. Then it is revealed that it’s Ken’s turn to be stuck between his bed and the wall with his blanket over him. Yeah, how did he end up there too? His morning even starts off on a little bad note when Ken got his hand scorched by the pouring hot tea. At school, Hatano pesters Ken as he wants to know if the latter’s cousin, Hikari Nakazato, will be visiting them like she did last year. Yeah, that Hatano guy likes her. After school, Sakura approaches Ken and Nanami at the shoe box locker area. She nervously greets him and wonders if he will be coming for the upcoming school field trip before rushing off. We all know that she wants to confess but with Nanami there, I don’t think she even dare. Even if Nanami wasn’t around, I bet she still can’t say it. So when Nanami asks Ken what was that all about, he jokingly said that Sakura probably was trying to confess to him. Remember this rule, never even say this joke to your girlfriend. Because of that, Nanami becomes a little upset and ignores Ken for the rest of the day. Nanami did have a cute face even if she is sulking. Back at Kagami’s tea shop, Nanami’s actions of jealousy of treating Ken are so obvious. So after Kagami notes how the duo are inseparable, they got to the farm and remembers the time when they took care of each other when they are sick. With that, they reconcile and are back on good terms again. That night we see Ken fixing his motorbike. You’ll notice how he is always fixing it because it always breaks down. Not sure if his mechanic skills suck or the bike is really old. Kenryou comes by to tell him to clean up the guest room because Hikari will be coming and staying with them.
 
In episode 3, Ken is dreading the fact that he needs to clean up the messy room Hikari will be staying in. Better do it or else he’ll get one from his dad. On the way to school, Ken picks up a hermit crab probably with the thoughts of playing another prank on Nanami. In class, well he did and freaks the daylights out of Nanami. While they are in school, Hikari has arrived but I think she got bored staying home playing video games so she decide to make an interesting visit and stop by the school. Previously, since Hatano knows that Hikari will arrive today, he eagerly waits for her arrival at the bus stop, He waits and waits and waits… the whole day… Yeah, Hikari changed her mind and decided to walk. Of course when Hikari arrives at the school gates, Ken and Nanami are surprised to see her. Ken tries to pull off his hermit crab prank on Hikari but it didn’t work for that tomboyish girl and hits him. Soon Hikari suggests Ken and Nanami to come play fireworks at the beach and that she has invited Suzuka as well. I’m sure Hatano would gladly come. Uh huh. That guy doesn’t mind being her slave, doing everything she tells him to. But it seems that it is part of Hikari’s plan to draw Ken and Nanami closer together. There is a firework which shoots out a tiny palm-sized teddy bear with a parachute and she suggests the guys to race and grab it to give it to their loved ones. Though Hatano catches the first round and presents it to Hikari, she hits him and calls him and idiot because it isn’t supposed to turn out like that. So another round as Ken gets serious this time and manages to grab and give it to Nanami, who cherishes it very much.
 
Episode 4 starts off with a flashback on Tae. Because her parents were always busy working, she has the responsibility to take care of her 3 younger siblings. It’s like she is their substitute mom. In present time, Tae gets Ken and his pals to go do some volunteering clean up work in school and around town. The guys have to in order to ‘get out of school’. I think they flopped their exams. What is Hatano thinking when he painted a naked lady on the school’s wall. So over to the beach, the gang starts picking up litter and well since Hikari is bumming around (she’s not a student of the school), but Ken got her to help as well. Funny to see Ken pulling several huge garbage piles hidden underneath the sand (like the tip of the iceberg) and picking up a trail of trash from Nanami (that girl drops them each time she picks them up). Later Ken goes to talk to Tae when she finds she is working alone without seeking any reward and praises her good job. Tae has a flashback when her dad petted her other siblings’ head for their good work but she herself only got a candy (which she gave to Ken earlier on). She is brought back to reality when Ken pets her head. Tae is almost brought to tears and is happy and at the same time to continue what he just did. When the day draws to a close, Ken wonders where Hatano has been and thinks he has sneak away. But in fact, that guy has been tied in a giant plastic bag at the garbage section by Hikari because of his incessant annoying pestering throughout the day. Poor guy.
 
Episode 5 focuses a little more on Suzuka. During her younger days, Kenryou bought his kids a telescope so that they could watch a rare meteor shower. Ken and Suzuka were looking forward with much excitement. Of course in the big city, you can’t even see the stars because of the pollution and they will have a better chance when they moved to the countryside as Ken promised to Suzuka that they will watch it then. Of course as kids, the starry night sky is a sight to behold. They think they are some astrological experts and even named the constellations after food! One night of before the rare meteor shower, Suzuka enthusiastically took the telescope up to the balcony to watch it but she eavesdropped how Ken told Nanami not to tell Suzuka about the meteor shower and keep this a secret from her. Suzuka felt hurt that he broke his promise. She ran away in tears not before taking a screw from the telescope’s legs. Without it, I guess the telescope can’t really stand properly. After all these years, even though those bitter feelings have subsided, Suzuka is still keeping the screw but hasn’t been able to give it back or apologize properly. That is, until that rare meteor shower is once again about to happen. On a trivial note, I now know that Kenryou is a judo instructor at Ken’s school and Suzuka is a judo club member. Strange to have a father-daughter in the club. Because Suzuka has been thinking about that incident, she couldn’t really focus on her judo practice. Of course in the end Suzuka can’t stay mad at Ken forever. After talking to Hikari, the latter brings Ken to the beach whereby Suzuka admits her mistake, made up and gives back the screw. They fix it back and watch the beautiful meteor shower.
 
Episode 6 has a young Hikari finding 2 pearls but since there weren’t enough to split equally among herself, Ken and Nanami, she keeps both of it. Back in present time, probably Hikari got real bored of bumming around at the beach and since there is really nothing much to do, she decides to borrow Nanami’s school uniform and infiltrate the school and pretend to be a student. Due to the low security (and probably the mentality of the locals), she manages to sneak in. Though Ken isn’t too fond about it, Hikari being a pretend transfer student, it seems that their teacher even allows it! Ken sighs how this is really a countryside school. Needless to say, Hatano must be over the moon. Then when Hikari is doing some research in the library, the gang comes by and is surprised to see her doing so. Hikari reading? Anyway Hikari played a shiratori game with Hatano and the former always ends her game with ‘ru’, making it tough for Hatano. Sakura too is surprised to see Ken entering the library. Looks like he has a reputation of being a non-studious student. Because Hikari has been doing lots of diving recently, she catches a cold and Ken is worried. Stubborn Hikari still continue to dive and during 1 of her outing, her cold caught up to her as she nearly drowns due to exhaustion. Luckily Ken and the rest were passing by so he manages to dive in and save her. They then realize that Hikari was looking for pearls (she was doing her research at the school library) so that she could give Ken and Nanami their own pearls. Ken and Hatano then decides to help her as they dive to look for oysters (haha, Hatano got an octopus stuck to his head). But the thing which bugged me was, after diving and getting so many oysters, all they got is just 1 lousy pearl. That’s right. Just one. So how did Hikari split it among Ken and Nanami? Remember she had 2 right? So she gives them hers and this settles it. Boy, perhaps Hatano should get 1 too. Nah.
 
Episode 7 sees how a young Ken really loved his dad’s bike so the latter decides to entrust it to him provided that he takes care of it. While Ken is cleaning the bike, Nanami comes by with some watermelons and told him to rest. So while he is enjoying dessert as Nanami continues to clean for him, Kenryou comes back and hits him on the head because he thinks he is taking the easy way out by forcing Nanami to do his job. Of course it was just a misunderstanding. In present time, a biker girl named Misora Ayukawa stops by in this town when her bike starts to break down. At Nanami’s farm, Misora asks Nanami for water to wash her hands but Nanami misheard her and gave her an earthworm, freaking poor Misora out (something about ‘mimizu’ instead of ‘mizu’). Good ol’ helpful Ken then decides to help Misora fix her bike but makes it worse instead. Now we know that’s the main reason why he’s always repairing his bike. Luckily Kenryou is there to lessen the damage but there are some parts that they still need to order and will take several days. So to kill time, Misora stays at Ken’s place and I feel that it is part of Hikari’s plan to make the loser (Ken) give up his room to Misora. The next morning, Ken decides to wake Misora up when he spot her slip showing (what is it with girls sleeping that way). He tries to cover it back but in all good timing, Nanami just happen to pass by. Another misunderstanding. Of course that is soon cleared up after another harvest at her farm. Ken then tries to help Misora find a job because she wants to pay for the motorbike parts. I’m sure bringing her around would cause another few misunderstandings. Like Hatano (he’s working as a petrol pump attendant?), he wonders who that beautiful girl is with Ken (I thought all he needs was Hikari) and Sakura… Well, Ken did stop by her parent’s convenience shop to ask for any vacancy but nil. So it’s natural for Sakura to wonder who that new girl is (yeah, new rival I suppose). In the end, Misora opt to work as a part time waitress at Kagami’s tea shop. Since Misora noticed how close Ken and Nanami are, she wonders if they are lovers. But after seeing them blush and lost for words, she drops the subject. Looks like another girl is here to stay.
 
The school field trip takes off in episode 8 but before that we see Tae asking to meet her alone at a classroom after school but to Ken’s surprise, he finds Sakura there. Has she finally find the courage to confess? Maybe. But Ken is sure acting strange after that and didn’t answer Nanami directly when she asks. On the day of the school field trip, it seems Misora too has been giving the green light to join the gang! Really a countryside school. In the bus, Nanami is feeling a little suspicious-cum-jealous because Ken is being made to sit next to Sakura as Suzuka wants to sit with her. When they reached their destination, the gang get into their swimsuits to have fun in the lake. They also played some volleyball and later Hikari and Misora cook up some curry meal which proves to be too spicy. I wonder if she really knows how to cook or just playing around. Nanami has been watching Ken and Sakura most of the time and is feeling depressed. At night as they gather around the bonfire for a dance, once again Suzuka takes Nanami away to be her dance partner, which pretty much leaves Ken and Sakura a pair. Poor Hatano again. He wanted to ask Hikari for the dance but got rejected because that girl choose Misora instead. During the dance, Sakura tells Ken goodbye. After the dance is over, Ken and Nanami had trouble sleeping that night so Nanami finds Ken outside staring at the lake. Nanami takes the opportunity to ask about Ken’s strange behaviour. Ken tells her the whole truth that Sakura did confess to him back then and that when he was called by Tae, he was told by her to make some memories for Sakura because she is moving away soon! Gasp! Sakura even did mention how she can never win over Ken who will always have feelings for Nanami. So Ken didn’t tell Nanami in the first place was because he didn’t want to worry her. But Nanami is relieved (is it because another love rival is going away? Haha. Just joking) and understood as they both watch the scenery.
 
After the gang gets back from their trip, the day for Sakura and her family moves approaches in episode 9. We see a flashback that Sakura had a crush on Ken way back when they were young. Ken traded his lamune bottle he bought from her shop for the blue fish hairpin (to give to Nanami). Due to his kind nature, Sakura had an ‘indirect’ kiss through the bottle and ever since then, she had kept the bottle with her. While Sakura starts packing, Ken and the rest comes by to help. As Hatano and Ken were moving her table, I don’t know why Sakura was standing right at the back. Of course this causes them to bump into her, which causes her to drop and break her precious bottle. That night, the gang has a farewell party for Sakura at Kagami’s tea shop and later Suzuka takes Sakura to her room to give her a present. When Ken calls Suzuka, she leaves Sakura alone for a while as she takes the opportunity to look at Ken’s room and realizes how close it is to Nanami’s, causing her to be a little depressed. I think Ken was fixing his bike the whole night and miraculously it worked the next morning. Where is he going? Ken takes Nanami on a ride to the train station as Sakura and family are soon departing. They manage to arrive in time and Ken gives her another lamune bottle as a parting gift. Sakura says her last goodbyes to them (which includes how she would like to be reborn as his neighbour?) and says that Ken and Nanami are suited for each other. However before the train door closes, Sakura says that even so, they should not keep thinking that it’s okay like this as things don’t last. Warning or advice? As the train pulls away, Ken and Nanami hold each other’s hands tightly and soon Nanami hugs Ken’s arms. Sakura spots a forlorn look. Though it won’t be the last you’ll see of her, but she won’t really be ‘involved’ with the gang anymore (anti-Sakura fans rejoice! No I’m not one of them, mind you). But with Sakura’s departure, Ken and Nanami has gotten a little more closer to each other.
 
Episode 10 begins with a young Nanami crying because a recent storm had destroyed her farm. Ken decides to cheer her up by hitting her yellow fish hairpin so that when it reaches 100 favours, she can ask him to do anything she wants. Back in present time, Ken and Nanami are spending more time together and going out on their date in town. Must be taking Sakura’s advice seriously, huh? Then during a bike ride, Nanami gets an idea of using it to pull a cart of vegetables. Nice idea but at that slow speed I think it’s pretty dangerous. Furthermore, may be a little embarrassing to put such a bike to such use. Then when Ken said how he didn’t get to dance with Nanami during night of the school field trip, he decides to give her a longer ride on his bike as times like this are hard to come by. In addition, Misora is handling the store, so I guess they are covered. Speaking of which, Misora seems to be ‘interviewing’ the miss-know-it-all master-of-love Hikari on her astrological love predictions. On their way, Nanami learns the ‘V’ peace sign bikers use to signal each other and she dangerously used it herself which nearly causes an accident for the motorcyclist in the opposite direction. Thank goodness, everything is okay. As expected, the bike breaks down halfway and the duo has to stay at a nearby inn for the night. At the inn, Ken calls Suzuka and informs her of their situation and tells her not to tell dad but it seems that Kenryou was on the other line of the phone. Busted. He got scolded. To make matters a little complicated, the duo will be sharing the same bedroom so an awkward situation here… Later that night outside the inn, the duo finally got the chance to dance together and Nanami takes the opportunity to confess that she loves Ken. Unfortunately, Ken’s reaction was just to give her a hug. How disappointing for viewers who were expecting them to kiss.
 
A flashback at the start of episode 11 sees a power outage causing a young Nanami to be afraid. Ken jumps over to comfort her. We find out that Nanami’s yellow fish hairpin glows in the dark. Wow. In present time, another storm is coming and Ken and Nanami has just came back from attending the field when Nanami’s tummy begins to feel pain. No, it’s not that she’s pregnant, mind you. Though Ken is worried, Nanami assures that she is alright. Then during a rainy spell, Ken hears Nanami calling him from outside his window. When he opens his sliding glass door, he is surprised to see Nanami boldly jumping over! Is she thinking she’s Superwoman?! Another reminder not to attempt this stunt anywhere or anyhow. Suddenly a power outage causes a frightened Nanami to jump on top of Ken. We still see that her yellow fish hairpin is still glowing after all these years. Then Nanami’s stomach starts to feel pain but this time it’s much worse. Ken is in a panic as the telephone lines are out. Hikari tries to calm him down but Ken is still in panic mode. In a desperate move, Ken decides to send Nanami to the hospital on that vegetable cart as he pulls it (impossible to ride his bike in the pouring rain). I know it’s crazy, but it’s better than doing nothing. With lots of determination, Ken manages to reach the hospital. The next morning, he is awaken by Kagami at the hospital’s lobby and finds that that Nanami just had appendicitis and is now okay. The first thing Ken did when he entered Nanami’s room was to hug her. Aww… As Nanami recuperates in hospital, Ken tends to her farm by himself. On the day of Nanami’s release, the other girls have come by for her discharge except for Ken who is doing some last minute thing at the farm. Putting that blue fish hairpin on the Nanami Special watermelon? Ken then decides to go see Nanami being discharged but along the way, a road curve has crumbled due to last night’s storm. Ken saw it too late and crashes. OMG! Say this can’t be true! Later Nanami arrives at the farm and spots the Nanami Special watermelon and goes put the blue fish hairpin on, feeling quite happy and calling out for Ken. But he is nowhere in sight…
 
Episode 12 starts off with Ken lying in a hospital bed and in coma! Nanami has since skipped school just to be by his side until he wakes up. It’s so sad to see Nanami trying to talk to an unresponsive Ken and it’s like she’s talking to herself. Time passes by as everyone has moved on with their lives. Like Sakura, who didn’t have many friends when she moved now has new ones, Misora tending to her flower garden, Tae doing some job at an inn, and Hikari who thinks she is an adult (a college student, that is), thinks she can sneak in to the cherry blossom viewing park dressed as a grown up but was caught and thrown out by a sharp-eyed policeman. Also, I think Kenryou’s body language seems to indicate that he likes Kagami. Another love couple in the making? But Nanami still stays loyal by Ken’s side. Each time she does or say something which increases Ken’s favour till it reach a hundred. So when it did reach a century during winter, Nanami’s wish is for Ken to wake up. But he never did. Because of that, Nanami burst into tears and it’s so disheartening to see her cry like that, telling Ken to wake up.
 
Spring arrives and it has been a year since Ken fell into a comatose state. Nanami, who missed school just to nurse Ken starts her new school term in the same class as Suzuka. Not only that, Nanami has cut her hair short. During one of her visits to Ken, she remembers a time whereby they made that 100 debt/favours thingy, Ken did confessed to Nanami how he liked her but due to their shy behaviour, he took back his words. In present time, when Nanami says how she really loves Ken now and how the wind blows the wind chime with the blue and yellow fish hairpin, she hears a familiar voice which says how good it sounded. Why, it’s Ken! He’s awake! He opened his eyes after 1 whole year! It’s better than never. In her happiness, she couldn’t contain her happiness as she rushes over to hug him. Soon news of Ken’s awakening reached their friends and everyone comes to see him including Misora who gives Sakura a lift on her bike. Once Ken is discharged, we see him and Nanami spending some quality time together at the beach. Ken accidentally opens the lamune bottle, causing the drink to squirt out on Nanami’s face, though she isn’t mad, she adds it to his list of favours. They get close to each other as they watch the scenery. So they’re a year behind then their pals. But I don’t think that matters as long as they have each other. That’ll last forever.
 
If you have bought the DVD of the series there are additional 6 short episodes which lasts around 2 to 3 minutes, usually after the normal episodes have ended. The extra episodes are nothing much as some are for fanservice purpose, some for comical relief and some just make you go "Huh? What in the world is that for?". Like DVD Extra 1 has Ken accidentally looking at Nanami’s unkempt pyjamas and even Kagami! How in the world did they sleep which causes them to show their slip? Then later Ken is playing some hostage negotiation game with Nanami at the farm, in which Nanami wants to surrender peacefully but Ken doesn’t allow it. So he shoots her with the water hose and she ends up getting all wet. Yeah, fanservice. Then later Ken has a weird dream about that samurai-alien game.
 
DVD Extra 2 sees Hikari still using Hatano as her personal slave but all because the latter still loves serving her. Then Hikari did a nasty thing by giving him the cola that he just bought her by spraying it at his face! The later part is more fanservice because it shows Tae changing from her school uniform into her usual jersey and says how she’ll do her best. Huh? DVD Extra 3 sees Suzuka acting in some film (Nanami here sounds different!) while Hikari forces Hatano to eat a spicy curry of hers. DVD Extra 4 has Misora in a cute maid outfit serving customers as Suzuka feels jealous after seeing how Nanami and Misora are getting along so well. And later a hotspring fanservice when the girls made a comparison on who’s boobs is the biggest only to unanimously agree (by saying that they lost) that Suzuka’s one is the biggest when she comes in. But I’m not sure why Nanami is looking gloomy here (nothing to do with her boob size, I hope). DVD Extra 5 raises more question marks than anything because the first part shows Sakura’s flashback of being with Ken and in the present time, she eagerly cycles her bicycle coming to his place and Ken told her not to do so anxiously as she may get into an accident. The second half sees Ken and Nanami being shy shy with each other on a tatami in their sleeping attire. Nothing much happens here. Finally DVD Extra 6 has clips of Nanami being nice to Ken throughout the series and Ken is so engrossed in playing with his samurai-alien game, Nanami unplugs the video game. Of course Ken is mad because he insists that he is learning history by playing that game. What history? How is destroying Japan learning history? The last scene shows, Suzuka watching and supporting Kenryou who is trying to confess to Kagami. Yeah, it’s ironic that even if his son has a girlfriend, Kenryou is still an ‘amateur’ here.
 
It’s a good thing to see that the series ended on a happy note. That little suspense whereby Ken got into an accident and then into a coma was timely because I have to admit that I thought the series was going on the road of boringness. You could say that incident, literally ‘shook and woke me up’ a little. And after all that they have been through, thick and thin, their love for each other grew even stronger. How this could happen more often in real life. But the 1 thing which bugged me (and many other viewers as well) is that after so long, Ken and Nanami didn’t kiss in the end! The closest they’ve got was just a warm hug. Yeah, you could say how I expected that, but it didn’t materialize. Maybe they just want to take things a step at a time and not rush.
 
I don’t know why, but I kinda feel that both the opening song (Ramune Iro No Melody, performed by Mayu) and the ending song (Summer Vacation, performed by Ayumi Murata) gave me a feel that they are commercial songs. Perhaps with the lamune bottle in mind, maybe that’s why. Unfortunately, they both don’t appeal to me though they fit the theme of the series. Of course the insert song for the final episode to end it all on a good note, doesn’t sound like a commercial song and is entitled Nante Ne 76’s by Hiromi Satou. If you open your ears, you will notice that there are several other insert songs throughout the series as well. Not that I could remember them because to me, they don’t sound appealing.
 
On a trivial note, I kinda noticed that the episode titles come in pairs. For instance, episode 1’s "The Hermit Crab And The Straw Hat", episode 5’s "The Starry Sky And The Telescope", and episode 12’s "100 Loans And 100 Debts". Well, at least with such a title, I can simply recall what happened in that episode rather than some animes which has title so long or so short and some has even nothing to do in what happened whatsoever in it. Because lamune is also the name of this series, I feel like as though the bottle drink is like a ‘sponsor’. It’s almost everywhere in the series. Even in the mid-intermission and the ending credits animation. Marketing strategy to buy the drink? And whenever Hikari or Suzuka goes saying "Nee~" in a girly way, somehow it send shivers up my spine. Perhaps too girly the way they say it.
 
I guess for a short series, the other side characters are quite likeable, though the main focus is on Ken and Nanami. I can never get enough of Hatano’s polishing up to Hikari. Perhaps they could have shown this more often. I’d be smiling and laughing. Sakura was a potential ‘rival’ for Ken but it fizzled out in the end. Nanami’s love is always ‘stronger’, huh? Even if a town or place seems pretty boring on the outlook, but sometimes there may be a more exciting adventure going underneath its seemingly calm facade. And yeah, love blooms anywhere even if it’s a sleepy town such as this one. Hmm… Perhaps I should try one of those lamune drinks.
 

Lamune

H2O ~Footprints In The Sand~

February 14, 2009

Another one of those adult visual novel and PC simulation game that has been adapted into an anime series. I know that the title H2O ~Footprints In The Sand~ may sound intriguing at first, like as though it is some scientific adventure, but it’s nothing of that sort. So why is it named H2O, as in the atom compound for water? Well, I guess the creators were just playing with the words because it stands for the 3 main female characters of the series. Two H and an O. Just guess which of the names fit that acronym, it’s up to you.
 
This is a 12 episode series and I think I can classify it as a comedy drama supernatural mystery thriller. Erm… Seems like a lot of genres. But I guess a little bit of everything (if not most things) should add up to something good. Oh, did I forget to mention that this is somewhat a harem series too? Yup, there are a little fanservice here for you ecchi harem lovers.
 
But unlike in most harem animes, the main male protagonist of this series, Takuma Hirose, is a little bit ‘special’. How special is he from other male harem guys? Is it his ‘hardware’? Hahaha! Just kidding. Most prominently, Takuma is blind. That’s right. Visually challenged. Not a trait in which something a harem series should have its main guy. How is he going to see all the beautiful bishoujos waiting for him? But never mind that. Due to his blindness of some unknown illness and the sudden death of his mom, Takuma has been sent from his suburban Tokyo to live with his uncle Hozumi at the countryside to recuperate from his blindness. I’m not sure how that will work but probably with the serene and natural surroundings, it makes healing much better.
 
Episode 1 starts off with some narration from a man in suffering of why God had abandoned him during his time of need. We also see 2 boys beating up a girl named Hayami Kohinata in the paddy fields during a rainy spell. I know that even if this is the countryside, I can’t believe those boys would land a fist on a girl! The scene changes to a bright sunny day and we see this Hayami girl walking to school when she heard a commotion. We see blind Takuma being taken by the hand by a bubbly girl named Otoha, running through the woods, being chased by a wild boar. Hayami pushes Takuma out of harms way and the next thing you know, she’s on top of him. Being the blind boy he is and wondering where Otoha has gone, he starts feeling Hayami’s… erm… chest, to make sure she is Otoha, even if his intentions were good. Of course, any girl would feel violated and instantly gives him a slap. No excuse even if he’s blind.
 
Next scene shows what I believe is the only school in this countryside, as we are introduced to several main and side characters of this series. We have Hinata Kagura who is the daughter of the village head (whom I shall refer to as Elder. By the way, he looks like a typical evil old man), Yui Tabata (one word summarizes this obnoxious self-aggrandizing girl. Annoying brat. So okay, that’s 2 words), Hamaji Yakumo (gotta love her dreamy ‘muffled’ voice and positive outlook), and Maki Kumon (poor girl has been labelled as a side character). Plus, we see that Yui has 2 male followers her age, conveniently named Follower A and B, and they are the ones who beat up Hayami in the opening sequence and would gladly do anything Yui asks them too. Anyway, the girls are all abuzz about a new transfer student to their school. Hinata meets Takuma for the first time on the wrong note. I mean, she was carrying a bunch of papers and expectedly fell. Takuma happen to come by and pokes around with his walking stick and accidentally pokes Hinata’s butt. Yeow!
 
After Takuma has been introduced to class, he is made to sit next to Hayami at the back of the classroom. She recognizes him from earlier this morning. However, there seems to be something going on between Hayami and the rest of the class. In fact, the rest of the village. It’s a feeling like the whole village against Hayami. Everybody in a way hates her and ostracizes her! From students to teachers to adults. So why is she in class? Somebody to pick on? Because so, Hayami too puts on a cold attitude and doesn’t care about everyone else. Newcomer Takuma of course doesn’t understand what’s going on and all that he is concern is making friends with her. Something which everyone else doesn’t seem to be quite fond of. Later on, the other girls try to get more acquainted with Takuma and another round of fanservice from Hinata. Yeah, Yui tries to enter with her typical grandiose style and would even consider Takuma to be her follower, when Hinata collides with Takuma. I don’t know how it happen but Hinata is sitting on top of Takuma’s face! Don’t breathe… Hold your breath… ‘Stimulating’, isn’t it? Imagine if Takuma wasn’t blind…
 
While Takuma recuperates in the infirmary, cheerful Otoha comes out of nowhere to hug him. You’ll notice that there is an air of mystery and supernatural surrounding Otoha. Even if she says straight in his face that she is the Spirit Of The Sounds Of Time, you can’t help feel that there is something more to that. Furthermore, she claims that Takuma is the Promised One and it seems only Takuma can see her. Everytime when Takuma tries to introduce Otoha to the rest, she’ll be gone. Other than that, she loves come rushing to hug or cling to Takuma and as the series progresses, you’ll learn that Takuma has become familiar with her ‘arrival’ and even evades her in his reflex!
 
Back in class, Yui seems to be in charge of lunch when she notices that some foodstuff is missing. She has calculated that everyone gets the exact portion and is real upset when it is short. WTF? Anyway she suspects Hayami to be the culprit and has her followers pin her down on her desk to spill the beans. Though Takuma doesn’t really know what is going on, he doesn’t agree violence being used against her. Of course Hayami says that this isn’t his problem and tells him to stay out. Hayami leaves and Takuma tries to follow her to some little room whereby she makes some cup ramen and compliments how delicious it is. Though Hayami is surprised, Follower A and B soon comes in to settle their score. Again, Hayami tells Takuma not to butt in as they settle their fight outside the building. Even so, Takuma tries to help but feels helpless. I mean, what can a blind person do, right? That night, Takuma has a dream whereby he is on a beach facing the ocean when Otoha comes by to talk to him. In short, she grants him the power of vision, albeit is just a temporary one. So the next day as Hayami walks to school and is overlooking the village on the hilltop, she is surprised to see Takuma there as he invites her to go to school together. Thing is, Takuma’s eyes are open and he can see! Wow! Must be the best gift ever.
 
Episode 2 begins with a scene showing Hayami with a pinwheel in hand on the hilltop. You’ll notice how this girl likes them. Takuma wakes up early (Hozumi is one uncle everyone love to have. Or not. Yeah, he’s so bent on waking up Takuma but to his dismay finds him gone) to ask Hayami to spend the day with him but she refuses and leaves. Not before Hayami remembers a little flashback of her being with a girl which looks so much like Hinata, giving her a sweet. Takuma is shown around the village courtesy of Hinata, Hamaji and Maki. The gang tells Takuma of Yui’s rice field, which is run by her family. Yeah, she’s really working it with Follower A and B. When Yui brags about how big her rice field area is, Hamaji points out how Hinata’s family has a much more bigger plot on the other side of the hill. In your face girl.
 
Part of the tour includes taking a stop at a convenient store from Hamaji’s family called Yakumo. Hamaji sure loves to dress in that maid outfit everytime she comes by here. Yeah, Hamaji’s giving them expired food… The tour resumes when they come across a wooden suspension bridge. Takuma is curious to know what lies beyond that but Hinata quickly tells him that he should never set foot there because a monster lives there. Uh huh. Like he is going to really believe that? Just like any curious cat, Takuma decides to find out himself what that monster is, or if there really is one, as he crosses the bridge later that day. To his surprise, he finds Hayami bathing naked at a waterfall! So since Takuma isn’t blind anymore, there really isn’t any excuse this time. Next thing he know, he is tied upside down and Hayami holding a knife in hand. Promise not to do it again, Takuma? Good thing, she uses it to cut him down and loose. Takuma soon finds out that Hayami lives here all alone by herself in 2 dilapidated tram-like houses. The duo chat over another cup of ramen as Takuma tells Hayami of his reason here while Hayami warns not to be friends with her as nothing good will come out of it. Like Takuma will listen, right? We all know he just wants to get along well with her and with the rest of the school going gang. So when Takuma goes back late that night, he bumps into Hinata who tells him not to cross the bridge again because Elder had earlier suspected that Takuma had already done so and warns his granddaughter.
 
The next day because Takuma is so eager to go see Hayami, he enters the tram house like as though it’s his own when Hayami was just waking up. No, she wasn’t in her undies or naked, but because she just woke up and wasn’t properly dressed, she slaps him. Slap number 2. Then at school, Takuma tries to get friendly with Hayami but the class as usual doesn’t like it. Once again, Yui and her followers decide to settle another score with her and tells Hayami to come out with them. Takuma pleads to the teacher to stop them, but she is feigning ignorance. So outside, Yui tells her henchboys to beat her up while continue to taunt her a cockroach. I’m thinking that Hayami just looks tough. Why didn’t she fight back? It’s like she’s just there to get hit. Hayami remembers a quick flashback when she was young, her home has been burnt down and indeed she was friends with Hinata. Something about how Hinata gave a sweet to lonely Hayami to cheer her up. Ah, the age of innocence. Not anymore. So what happened then? That’s the intriguing part. Takuma comes to protect Hayami and even dares to be labelled a cockroach by Yui. Just when Yui was about to classify Takuma the same level as Hayami, Hinata arrives and says that she will save Takuma from Hayami and swears it on her family’s name. Later that night, Takuma goes to Hayami’s place as the duo make some pinwheels despite her pleas not to associate with her anymore.
 
In episode 3, because Elder tells Hinata not to tarnish their family name and be a good girl, Hinata goes all out to woo Takuma, like as though she is his girlfriend. Attempts by Takuma to get close to Hayami are thwarted each time as Hinata intercepts to bring him away and change the topic. Like the girls are in some tug of war trying to get Takuma to go to school with them exclusively and it ended up all 3 of them reaching school together. At school, we see the class having an outdoor art assignment and that Yui’s drawing is totally hopeless. I mean, Picasso is so much better. And she even got the guts to say how damn good it was! Is she blind?! Later during lunch break, Hinata tries to feed Takuma like as though they’re a couple. I guess Takuma has no choice but to oblige. So when Takuma asks why is she being so nice to him, she tells him that he is the Destined One. Okay, first the Promised One, now this. What next? Fated One? Perhaps.
 
Takuma then notices Hayami is drawing alone away from the rest on a hill and goes to cheer her up. Takuma goes on to tell her about how he didn’t have much friends when he was blind. This made Hayami remember her past with Hinata. When Hinata gave her a sweet, she told her that a sweet carries the taste of happiness. When you suck it, a flower will blossom in your mouth. Nice way of putting it. Just then, Hinata spots Takuma with Hayami and once again intercepts and gives him a sweet and says the exact sweet line that Hayami just said earlier on. After school, Takuma manages to evade another one of Otoha’s tackles. Because he’s feeling down, Otoha decides to do something to cheer him up, which is to tickle him! Weird but it works. Just when the other girls arrive and Takuma decides to introduce Otoha, once again she is nowhere to be seen. Though Takuma tries to ask Hinata about Otoha, the latter says she has never heard of her name before. Hinata walks back to her home with Takuma hand-in-hand. After a brief greeting with Elder, Hinata shows Takuma around her house. Then there is a room whereby Hinata’s younger sister, Hotaru, once lived. Sadly, she passed away. Wait a minute? Doesn’t she resemble so much like Otoha?
 
Takuma finds out that Hinata and Hayami were once close friends and wonders how they drifted apart. Hinata couldn’t give a direct answer but even after much pestering from Takuma, she says something which he doesn’t understand (so do I). So once more that flashback of burning down Hayami’s home. It seems Hinata didn’t want it to happen when the villagers burned down Hayami’s home and all she could do was run away when that happened. Something about their family are of different class and that they should not mix. Takuma knows that Hinata is in pain deep down inside even though she is denying. Though she went on to rant that good girls like herself mustn’t be friends with bad girls like Hayami, but I don’t think Takuma cares about all that because still thinks Hinata is a kind girl and drags Hinata to Hayami’s place so that they could make up. At the suspension bridge and just before crossing, Hinata is in a panic and after thoughts of her grandpa’s words haunting her head, in her haste, she pulls Takuma close to her and kisses him! If that surprise wasn’t enough, Hayami was just looking at them from the other end. Surprise?
 
Well, whatever happened at the end of the previous episode didn’t really matter in episode 4 because this is a beach episode. Yay. Swimsuits. Fanservice. All the girls with the exception of Hayami takes Takuma to a beach sponsored by Yui. Yeah, we could all thank her. But this trip has an additional member. She is Yukiji and is Hamaji’s little sister. Since Yukiji doesn’t like Takuma much because she thinks he is going to steal her beloved sister which belongs to her and only her, she devices various schemes to bring pain to him (or even kill him! Gasp!). But each time, Yui ends up at the receiving end. Poor girl. Why that little scheming loli devil. Finally Yukiji bluffs Takuma to wait at a faraway rock for somebody. Being the good boy he is, he goes but the other girls soon suspect that Takuma is missing and confronts Yukiji because they earlier saw her with him just before he disappeared. Yukiji panics and runs away. Meanwhile Takuma is still waiting when Otoha shows up (WTF?! Flashing her panties at him?!). But he had better know how to swim because it is high tide and the rock is now an isolated island. To make things worse, Yukiji went for a swim alone to cool herself down but got a leg cramp. Luckily Takuma spots her and dives in to save her, even though he nearly drowned himself. If not for Otoha, I think they’re goners. Back on the beach, Hamaji gives Takuma a mouth-to-mouth CPR. Oh how Hinata wish it could be her.
 
Now this is the shocking part. After Yukiji thanks Takuma for saving her and they go enjoy soaking themselves in the hotspring, Hamaji comes by to thank Takuma for saving her little sis. Just when Takuma realize that Hamaji is in the wrong section or is just in here purposely to give some fanservice and screw with him, it is revealed that HAMAJI IS A BOY!!!!!! OMG!!! She is a he!!! The duck theory doesn’t work here anymore. If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, acts like a duck, it must be a duck, right? Not here anymore. Holy sh*t! This is so mind blowing! No wonder the girls were so ‘one kind’ when Hamaji gave Takuma the CPR! Even so, it still boggles my mind that she/he has a feminine body when she put on her swimsuit. Even if Hamaji is a boy, I’d still refer to him as a her. I feel much better that way. Ugh. Anyway I think Takuma is just barely alive after that shocking discovery and we learn that probably why Yukiji is so protective over Hayami was probably because since they lost their mom, she may view her as one and Takuma in the equation means leaving her all alone (probably the reason why Hamaji cross-dresses). Don’t worry girl, Takuma isn’t a bad kid. Besides, you won’t see her anymore till the final episode, whereby she just make a 1 second appearance. The final scene shows Hayami taking a night swim at that same beach when Takuma happen to spot her. She asks him about his true feelings but you know, they got interrupted when Hinata comes by. So cliche, stepping on the twig to make that someone-has-arrived atmosphere.
 
Back to the drama in episode 5. Due to the previous night incident at the beach, Hinata seems more desperate in winning over Takuma by confessing that she loves him. Doesn’t that seem a little rash? Due to that too, Hayami seems to be ignoring Takuma. Back to those good ol’ days in the beginning, huh? And yeah, there’s a drawing of that love umbrella between Takuma and Hinata being married. After school, as they are leaving, Elder comes by in his car and insists that Takuma comes by for dinner at their place. As usual, Elder is imposing some sort of scary must-do and be-a-good-girl brain-washing reminder on Hinata about how Takuma comes from a good breed and that she has to make him her husband. Because Takuma still wants to find out what happened between Hayami and Hinata back then, he goes to talk with Hamaji at Yakumo.
 
I guess Hamaji has no obligation not to hold a secret so she confirms that Hinata and Hayami were best of friends back then. However, there was an uprising against the Kohinata family who were abusing their powers (ruling the village with an iron fist, that is) and the revolt was led by Elder. After burning down the house, Elder plays guilty mind games on a young Hinata’s mind to sever ties with her. Poor kid. Takuma is bent on resolving this once and for all as he once again drags Hinata against her will over to Hayami’s place. Yeah, she’s still saying about that monster who lives across but Takuma firmly believes that there is no monster. When they finally cross the bridge, Hinata has a first hand look at Hayami’s living conditions. It then hit her how she had mistreated her all the time. After she spots the pinwheel and Hayami made her appearance, Hinata finally manages to sum up her courage to emotionally apologize for all that she has done. Though I feel it is not her fault to being with, but I’m glad Hayami holds no grudge and accepts her apology. With that, both girls are back to being good friends now. Now, the problem is, how is this development of events are going to affect them, especially Elder and the rest of the villagers.
 
Yeah, everyone is sure confuse on why Hinata and Hayami are back to being pals in episode 6. Because of that, Yui isn’t too pleased that the cockroach influence has spread. What about Hinata’s earlier vow on her family’s name to save Takuma from Hayami? Didn’t matter anymore. Yui gets even more pissed when Hinata now defends Hayami. Though Takuma as usual wants Yui to get along with them, Hayami explains that her family was responsible for Yui’s grandpa’s death due to their power abusing ways. In order to let off some steam, Yui goes to town with Hamaji and Maki (why didn’t her followers follow her? Perhaps an all-girls outing?) but ends up going out together with Takuma, Hinata and Hayami, since she bumps into them along the way. So we can see that Yui and Hayami spend nearly the whole afternoon trying to outdo each other like eating a big bowl of ice cream the fastest (oh, brain freeze!) and playing a test of strength punching game in which Hayami sets a new record with her raw strength. Finally when the gang went shopping for clothes, because the others were paying more attention to Hayami than Yui, the latter gets frustrated and runs away.
 
Yui notices that she has dropped her wallet and decides to turn back to town by taking the shortest route, which is through the forest mountains. The gang notices Yui is missing but since it is already late and that they have to take the last bus service back or risk spending the night in town, Hayami tells the rest to go ahead first while she herself goes through the forest path to track Yui since she is familiar with the area. It is night time and the duo find each other at a burnt down ruin, which once belonged to the Kohinata’s family. Of course of all the people she could meet in the forest, Yui is still upset to find Hayami and goes on an emotional rage. We find out that back then, the Kohinatas had a stranglehold on the village on just about anything. Yui’s grandpa was dying and because they had no money to pay for medicine, he died, leaving Yui all heartbroken and filled with hatred. A tearful Yui demands Hayami bring back her dead grandpa and will not forgive her still. Though Hayami says that even if her home and family is gone, she has nothing left to give her and so the only thing she could do is accept Yui’s hatred towards her. Though Yui is still frustrated, but it made her realize that Hayami too has gone through torrid times. Not wanting Hayami to see that she’s a soft girl, she tells her to get out of her sight while taking out her frustrations on the ruins. We see Otoha eavesdropping behind a tree. The next day, Yui shows a more compassionate side to Hayami even if she still sounds arrogant by giving her a piece of tamagoyaki. Her followers must be real confused of her change in heart. After this, I kinda noticed Yui’s followers won’t be following everywhere she goes.
 
Episode 7 has another shocking discovery. No, not another girl is a boy. But rather someone is of a different person. What do I mean? Remember Hinata’s late sister, Hotaru? Now to get this. To cut things short, the Hinata that we know up till now is actually Hotaru and the dead Hotaru is actually the real Hinata. Confuse? So was I. So this is how it all started. Without reversing the names and maintaining them as we know up till now, you see, Hotaru has been looked up by lots of people at a very young age due to her politeness and such while Hinata was at the other end of the polar, a no good for nothing girl. So when Hotaru unexpectedly died during a drowning incident, Elder decides to cover this up and make Hinata replace her so that no one would be shock that the nice girl but the useless one had died instead. So of course when Hinata can’t take anymore of all this and tries to go back to her original self, she is met with much resistance from her grandpa who is against of her reverting back to Hotaru after all these years. I can’t believe he got rough on her by pulling her hand while that poor girl screams in defiance. I guess this explains why Elder is always trying to tell her to be a good girl and such. Thus, Elder locks Hinata up in her room to cool of her head and even forbids her to go to school.
 
So this flashback sees how Hotaru before her demise tries to cheer up Hinata and that the latter had drawn a sketchbook about a story of a spirit named Otoha and making the Promised One, blend into the village and make peace among the villagers. Sounds familiar? Yeah, this story feels like as though that Hotaru girl is playing as that Otoha spirit and reliving this unfinished story. There are even lines which Otoha said to Takuma being taken from here. All too familiar. Anyway Hotaru was being supportive of Hinata’s sketchbook. In the end after much thinking about her beloved little sister, for once Hinata decides to stand up on her own 2 feet and defy her grandpa’s words when she realizes how her friends still care for her after receiving class notes from them for all those missed classes. She’s going to tell everyone who she is. On her way to school, Hinata doesn’t respond when Takuma and Hayami they call her name. That’s because back in class, not only we see the classmates getting along pretty well with Hayami, when Hinata says how her real name is Hotaru, it’s like everyone instantly accepted it and starts calling her so. So I think to be on the safe side, I will refer to Hinata as Hotaru for the remainder of this blog. So it seems like everything is going right on track. Happy days to come. Or is it? I think Elder has something up his sleeves.
 
But all that drama suddenly turns into comedy mahou shoujo (magical girl) style in episode 8. Not only that, Takuma wakes up 1 morning to find that he’s got Hotaru and Hayami as his lovey-dovey fanservice sisters! To make things worse, Hozumi is his mom in an awfully hideous make-up! I guess anybody won’t hesitate to punch that weird uncle. Then on the way to school, he bumps into Otoha and gets another panties-in-his-face fanservice like the one he got with Hotaru in the 1st episode. It seems Otoha is a new transfer student in their school and initially Yui tries to make a grand entrance but got hit away when Otoha arrives. Furthermore, the teacher says that Otoha is Takuma’s fiancee! With that, Otoha instantly gets all lovey-dovey with Takuma, sending jealousy waves to Hotaru and Hayami. Things get even more crazy when Yui turns the whole school into some farm the next day. I don’t know why Yui is in a mahou shoujo getup, but I guess it’s a cue for Otoha to turn into one as well (complete with her own theme song!) to send Yui flying away. This will happen a few times. Then more fanservice and even more fanservice. You’ll know when Takuma gets a nosebleed when Otoha comes into the bathroom to bath with him.
 
In order to prevent the world from going even more crazy, Otoha tells Takuma that he has to take charge by correcting everyone’s strange behaviour. It’s going to be a long tiresome day, though. Then 1 night, Otoha decides to end her fun as she sends Takuma into some kind of dream world. Then Takuma finds magical girl Otoha has been beaten to a pulp and some evil lord claims he has take over the Spirit World. Otoha transfers her powers to Takuma so that he could defeat the evil lord. Then we find out that inside the evil lord is… Otoha?! Then they are transported to that beach scene whereby Takuma and Otoha had a chat about stuff. But Takuma knew it was Otoha all along because of that sketchbook story of staying by the Promised One till the end. Though Takuma says that Otoha is Hinata, she didn’t give a definitive answer as she says someone who has gone over to the other world mustn’t be bound by this world forever. Otoha thanks him for finding her and is happy that she was able to see what she wanted to see. She kisses Takuma and disappears after saying that Takuma can do anything. With that, the world returns to normal as Takuma heads to school with Hayami and Hotaru. Too bad, Otoha won’t be making frequent appearances after this. Hey, isn’t her appearance just random and brief in each episode anyway?
 
The festival is just around the corner in episode 9 and when Takuma finds a bell with red beads in his uncle’s house, this prompts him to remember a similar one of his late mom. Of course Hozumi knows the implication of bringing that bell around town so he wishes Takuma good luck. So at school, the girls are pretty surprised to see Takuma with that bell. To cut things short, it is this village’s tradition that when a guy gives a girl this bell, it is to signify that he likes her (something like a confession) and probably marry her. Oh Takuma, you don’t know the misunderstandings you’re going to cause. Yeah, Yui is so perasan and thinks Takuma is going to give it to her subtly. Tsundere, isn’t she? She even hinted of waiting somewhere after school just to receive it but she waited all day and Takuma didn’t turn up. Poor girl. Oh the heartbreak. Anyway Hayami got the bell because she thinks it’s her fault for accidentally breaking it earlier on. Meanwhile, some of the adults in the village are still not too fond of Hayami so that night several of them cross the bridge to burn down Hayami’s tram house while she and Hotaru were bathing together at the waterfall (nothing yuri). With her home gone, Takuma invites Hayami to come live at Hozumi’s place. I think Hozumi is glad to have a girl like her living under his roof, regardless of her background. Then at the town meeting, some of those villagers are talking about banishing Hayami forever but it seems the Elder shrugs it off and focuses on the upcoming festival. It seems that Elder has an ulterior motive even if his initial answer of not taking any action against Hayami itself is suspicious.
 
That night, Hayami seems to notice that at times Takuma is depressed and pesters him for an answer. Finally Takuma gives in and tells that his mother committed suicide and left him behind. Regret asking? On the day of the festival, Hayami talks to Hotaru about how she has hurt him by forcing him to say something which he doesn’t want to. But Hotaru tells her that because so, she managed to touch his heart and wants Hayami to go to him who is waiting on the hilltop for her. Hayami realized things and rushes there to see him waiting. So as expected, it turns out that it is going to be Takuma-Hayami when the boy confesses to the girl to stay by his side and get to know her better. Hayami gives him back the repaired bell as they hug and kiss under the moonlit night. Wow, what a turn of events. So is Hotaru accepting the fact that Hayami is more suitable for Takuma? Looks like it. Best friends should know better.
 
Officially a couple in episode 10, but it’s not like they’re going to live happily ever after yet. While their pals pester them about juicy details about what happened during the festival (Hamaji and Maki saying how they won’t allow them to go ahead with their happiness and leaving them behind), Elder starts his final plan in motion. Elder confronts Takuma and Hayami and tells the boy that it was Hayami’s family which drove his mom to suicide. Thinking that it was just a ploy, however Hozumi confirms that it is true. Gasp! So can he live with a girl whose family has killed her mom? So it’s something like this. Takuma’s mom was supposed to be married with a guy from the Kohinata’s side but instead fell in love with Hozumi’s mom. By that time, she was pregnant with Takuma. However the Kohinatas never stopped pressuring her when she eloped and since she can’t take this anymore, this drove her to insanity and ultimately suicide. Also, a storm is coming the village’s way so the villagers quickly put up sand barriers to protect the village.
 
Even though Takuma tries to act calm and says that Hayami is not at fault, his actions seems to indicate otherwise. Takuma is having hallucinations of his mom and Hayami is taking her away from him. So much so, Takuma unknowingly takes out his frustrations on her. I understand Hayami is having a hard time trying to calm Takuma down and has been patient all the while. There is only so much a girl can take. So I guess this just proves that Takuma isn’t ready to be with the daughter of a killer family. To make things worse, Takuma’s vision is starting to blur and he may be reverting to his blind self. Hotaru confronts her grandpa and suspects that it is his doing but he didn’t say anything. The storm is approaching as Hayami leaves the home and arrives at the bridge where the sand barriers are placed. Hayami too is frustrated and starts ripping and tearing the barriers. Follower A and B spots what Hayami is doing and thinks she is going to destroy the town and that being friendly with them all the while was just a facade and have been deceiving them. Hayami affirms it so the duo beats her up in their rage (the opening scene in episode 1). Real stormy weather ahead.
 
At the start of episode 11, Hayami is being rescued by an unlikely source, Yui. Her underlings must be confused of why she’s doing this but I think Yui is more level-headed at this point. But Hayami gets up and leave, saying that she didn’t request for her help. Takuma goes in search of Hayami and when he finds her, she tells him to vent his anger and frustrations on her. I guess Takuma has been ‘blinded’ by his past and even obliges Hayami by beating her up! Oh no. After Hayami passes out, Takuma follows suit. Takuma is in a dream world whereby he is chasing down his mother but it always come to a horrified end, his mom being knock over by a crossing train. And the dream keeps repeating itself. Otoha narrates how he has to accept everything. If he cannot forgive and forget, he will lose his vision. So when Takuma wakes up in his home, he is totally blind. Furthermore, the doctor tells Hozumi and the rest that Takuma has never regained sight before and because he was so desperate to see, all those visions may have been created in his mind. Takuma tries to convince Hozumi that he has his vision restored before by showing the group photo at the beach (his eyes were closed), the notes he had written at school (all scribbles and doodles) and even the art that he drew (you can’t call that messy water colour spilling an art. It’s an abomination!). Hozumi didn’t say anything so as not to upset him. But Takuma feels not like seeing anybody that day. So poor Yui who has brought a heavy fresh pumpkins for him, tells Hamaji and Maki to bring it back so as not to waste it.
 
Later Elder goes to chat with Hozumi and tries to blame it all on Hayami as he had informed Takuma’s dad. Uh huh, he’s trying to say how many more people she’s going to devour until she is satisfied. So now he thinks he is all so high and mighty. That night, Hayami decides to leave the village for good. Takuma tries to go after her but Hozumi stops him. While Hozumi goes to find Hayami, Hotaru comes by to tell Takuma that he is the only one who can stop her. Due to his pessimism, Hotaru slaps some sense into him. As Hayami is walking out of the village, she is being confronted with 2 villagers and Elder. They are going to make sure that Hayami won’t return because one of them is holding a rifle in hand. Now my question is, why only now did they decide to silence her once and for all and not back then when they wipe out the whole Kohinata family? Probably need someone to step on? But when Elder orders that guy to shoot her, he is shivering and can’t do it. Yeah, this shows even though how much they hate her, they aren’t killers. If you want a job done, then do it yourself. Elder decides to finish it himself as he takes the rifle and fires at Hayami. But when Hayami opens her eyes, she is surprise to see Takuma deflecting the rifle away into the air. Takuma then says that he is the one who is going to protect his mother.
 
Episode 12 continues off with Hotaru and Hozumi arriving in time before anything nasty happens. Hotaru says she has called the police and plans to reveal everything and tells him straight in the face that he doesn’t own the village. Deja vu, huh? Soon the police arrive and arrests him for attempted murder. Good riddens. That’s the last you’ll see of him. However, it seems Takuma has reverted back to a child-like state and thinks Hayami is his mom. No choice and under the doctor’s orders, Hayami has to play along. In order to cushion the effects, Takuma and Hayami are sent to live back at their Tokyo apartment, the place where Takuma lived with his late mom before moving here. Why not Takuma’s other family member’s place? Well, they did mention how they did not want to get involve. Some family members they are. So as the duo leaves for the trip, we see Follower A and B apologizing to Hayami but that girl holds no grudge against them. And the previous night we see Hayami and Hotaru talking real close like as though parting is very painful. Life seems to go on normal for the ‘mother and son’ as Hayami writes back to keep the country folks updated about their progress. Well, Takuma is still the little kid he is. Hayami takes up a part time job delivering newspapers to supplement income. Hayami learns that Takuma has a strange dream about a girl named Hayami and is glad that she is not ‘forgotten’.
 
Then 1 day Hayami decides to make Takuma realize the truth of how his mother really died. As they are walking back from shopping one day, Hayami rushes to save a boy who has wandered into the rail tracks. As she lets go of his hand, those fearful memories came rushing back and Takuma tries hard to see this time so much so he finally regains his vision. We learn that Takuma’s mom didn’t commit suicide, but she tried to save a boy from an oncoming train. Same thing is going to happen here. It did! OMG! Did Hayami perish? It can’t be?! NOOO!!! Why did Hayami have to go?! I can’t believe it ended this way even though it was her last ditch attempt to ‘open’ Takuma’s eyes once more.
 
Some time has passed and before Hayami’s passing, we see that she has left a note back in her burned down tram house in which the girls went to collect. It’s like a poetic note which states how Takuma had thought her everything and ‘opened’ her eyes when she had given up and abandoned it, how he was always there pulling her hand tightly, never giving up. So she wrote down her true feelings here and thanks Takuma for the world. Then that narration about a man asking why God had abandoned him during his time of need but God replied that He was always there carrying him on His back while walking. He is grateful and thanks Him. The next scene shows a grown up Yui arguing with Hotaru about some water supply. Looks like Hotaru is the new village head and Yui is running a farm of her own. Then Maki comes by with a baby in hand. She quips how she looks like her dad, which is Hamaji! Oh dear! So those 2 got hitched, huh? Yeah, he’s still dressing in a maid outfit as she is being reprimanded by a grown up Yukiji for dressing like that still. Some things never change. Hope the baby won’t become like the father, if you know what I mean. Finally, a more mature Takuma (with his vision fully restored) and Hozumi building a large wooden pinwheel over the hill as a tribute to Hayami because Takuma thinks she loves them.
 
Then Takuma hears a familiar voice coming his way. Hey, isn’t that a little Otoha being chased by a wild boar?! Is she reincarnated? She bumps into Takuma and looks like she still maintains her cheekiness. Yeah, pulling Takuma’s cheek. She tells him that it was hard to convince the Spirit Council about this and tells him to better look after her from now before leaving. What does she mean? OMG! It’s… It’s… It’s HAYAMI!!! She’s back!!! I don’t know how and I don’t care why! But I’m so glad that she is back alive as she comes by to say how beautiful the wind is. Erm… What about that poor boy Hayami saved backed then? What happened to him? I don’t know. I don’t care either. All I’m concerned is that Hayami has returned.
 
All I can say is because of how the way everything has ended, I really loved this series. If Hayami had really died that unjustified death, it would’ve left a bad aftertaste in my mouth and I would be cursing and swearing. I’m so happy that Hayami and Takuma are back together again and that everything in the village has returned back to normal. The twists and turns in the plot was interesting enough and the last episode did move my heart. Yeah, I nearly cried.
 
So we see how a village with a tragic past has been ‘saved’ by an outsider but Takuma himself too has his own set of problems, trying to cope with the death of his beloved mom. And with the strength and bond of his friends, they all manage to pull through. So Takuma is really the Promised One and the Destined One, huh? But he did leave footprints in everyone’s heart. It is a good thing to see how Hayami has changed from a cold unreceptive person to a more opened one. Yui has turned from an annoying brat to well, let’s say she’s less irritable now. Yeah, we have 2 tsundere girls in this series. Hotaru on the other hand, decides to live her own destiny and be her own girl rather than living and be in the dead shadows of her sister. And Hamaji? She’s still as bubbly as ever. Can’t get that scene out of my head still. As for Otoha, so she’s just as she said she was, a spirit. Haih… I was hoping that there was something more to that but I guess hoping for it partly makes up for the suspense. Elder is a character in which viewers will love to hate. His hatred towards the Kohinatas doesn’t make him different from them.
 
Initially, I couldn’t really recognize the voice behind Takuma as he is being voiced by Ami Koshimizu (Tenma in School Rumble, Yuumi in Kimikiss Pure Rouge). She really did quite a splendid job voicing a young boy. My favourite voice is still Hamaji who is voiced by Yui Sakikabara (Haruhi of Happiness!) because of her dreamy ‘muffled’ voice. The other casts include Harumi Sakurai as Hayami, Ryoko Tanaka as Hinata/Hotaru, Mia Naruse as Otoha, Mio Yasuda as Yui, and Youko Honda as Maki, all of which doesn’t seem to have a long list of voice acting to their resume. Katsumi Chou who does Elder too doesn’t have any other prominent roles in other animes as I researched they are mainly minor roles, likewise with Yasuhiko Kawazu who voices Hozumi. Emiri Katou is the voice behind Yukiji and you can recognize her as the voice of Kagami in Lucky Star.
 
The opening theme by Yui Sakikabara is called Katayoku No Icarus and is quite upbeat whereas the ending theme is Kazahana by Haruka Shimotsuki and is a slower piece. I just want to note that though the ending animation is just between Otoha, Hayami and Hotaru, the thing which amazes me is that the beautiful starry night sky of the Milky Way in the background. Just wow. However, I kinda find that both themes have that ‘England medieval’ feel in it. Is it the way the flute and the strings are played? Perhaps. Even the mid-intermission screen has that feel, although the instrument is a harpsichord. But the final theme for the final episode doesn’t have that feel. Just a feel good ending song. Entitled Footprints In The Sand and is performed by Monet.
 
Though the drawing is catered to bishoujo standards in the sense that the characters are wide-eyed (sometimes I get the feeling that their hair may be a little too ‘high’ than normal), I like the parts which made the characters go chibi. This is usually done at the next episode preview. It’s like they are ranting about things which doesn’t relate to the next episode and most of them are comical. My favourite ones are the one where Hayami plays the ‘bad girl’ by asking viewers to go *censored* themselves and the part whereby she ate all of Yui’s fish (note the protruding belly!). Except for the last 2 next episode previews, which has a more gloomy and depressing tone, the chibiness is still maintained. The mid-intermission drawing is also in chibi form and it’s darn hilarious as well. It really makes you want to laugh and forget the thickening drama of the series.
 
There is another trivial thing which I noticed. Each of the titles are named after the main characters of the series, be it their first names or surnames. By naming so, you can guess that the particular episode focuses more on that character. Except for Maki of course. Haha, she’s only a side character. Another amusing thing is the sponsor screen after the opening credits and after the next episode preview. In the first half of the episode, you can see several people in horse head masks in some asylum doing some weird dance of their own, jumping up and down! I really love this part and can’t enough of it and watched it several times, although it’s just a short one. Then the second half of the episode, they replaced it with some traditional Japanese art. Hey, I want those dancing horse people back!
 
So the point to ponder is that even though many of us have eyesight and vision, but we often to not ‘open and see’ the true picture as we are shrouded and ‘blinded’ by our own stereotypical views and perceptions. You won’t know how to appreciate things until you have lost them. We can also learn that by just saying a simple sorry, a lot of things can be resolved. Words are like a double edged sword. They can hurt as they can also heal. There is a great deal to learn and enjoy from this excellent series. So I really do recommend not only anime buffs to watch this. It’s something for everyone. Okay, so do mind a few fanservice. The next time you see a blind person (or those less than perfect), do have a heart… It could be you. And there is no Spirit Council to lend you a hand, okay.
 

H2O ~Footprints In The Sand~

Colorless Wind

February 13, 2009

  Hane ga shiroku hikari mabushiku tonde yuku,
  Kokoro dake nosete hoshii no ni,
  Tsumetai te wo nobasu todokanai shitteru,
  Dakedo ima furetai kimi ni
 
Colorless Wind is another one of those opening anime theme songs which I didn’t like a first. Not to say that I hate it, but in the sense that when I first heard the song, it wasn’t appealing to me and thus it didn’t really matter that time if I had the song or not. Ironically, after some time finished watching the series Sola, I then started to have an urge about wanting to hear the song. Thankfully, now that I have got and heard the song, I think it’s such a wonderful piece. It’s a shame that I didn’t notice his earlier on. I wonder what made me change and want to hear the song. Was it because I felt nostalgic that a great series had ended?
 
  Natsukashii kaze ni wa ano koro no fune,
  Maboroshi ga omoide wo miseta
 
This piece is sung by Aira Yuuki and is quite an upbeat and dramatic song, which fits the mood and tone of the series. The way the strings of this music is the main reason of why this song sounds so. I really love how it greets listeners in an exciting and thrilling way when the song opens. So if you keep your ears peeled and closely on the strings, they are apparent throughout the song, but not all the time though. I can’t imagine this song without them. Perhaps also one of the reasons why I liked the song.
 
  Wasurenai dareka no koe ga setsunaku hibiku,
  Hajimaru yokan ni furete
  Wasuretai negau no jibun ga wakaranai,
  Matte iru yurarenagara yume hitotsu wo
 
Also even though I mentioned the buoyant dramatic-ness of the song, it’s not like it is all the way. All that hype dramatically slows down during the solo and gives an impression of calmness and serenity before it goes back to its usually dramatic build-up once more. Quite nicely done actually. And to end it all, yet another dramatic play on the strings but lesser on the beat and percussions. Isn’t it such a dramatic song?
 
  Wasurenai dareka no koe ga setsunaku hibiku,

  Hajimaru yokan ni furete
  Wasuretai negau no jibun ga wakaranai,
  Matte iru kodoku no naka
 
I’m glad there is a karaoke version of it. Thankfully, I don’t sound horrible much while singing it. There aren’t lines which need me to go to a higher pitch or a higher octave. Even if there are, it doesn’t pose much of a big problem. So much so, I think I sound quite close (though not perfect) to the singer herself, especially during the verses.
 
  Aimashou itoshiki hibi no tsudzuki ga kowai,
  Memai ni tomadou futari ga,
  Aeru deshou hikareau no wa tsumi desu ka,
  Tomadoi no keshite shimau
 
However, whenever I sing this song, I noticed that I need to sing it with full passion in order to get it right. Yeah, I caught myself movin’ my body with the flow of the song at times. Also due to that, I need to sing at the top of my voice during the chorus just to sound right. Though by the end of the song I felt a little ‘drained’, but it overall made me feel good about the whole song. But my only little complain is that the karaoke version doesn’t have any background vocals. I know that part is just minor and not that obvious, but I feel that background vocals help too, no matter how insignificant. Hopefully, I should enjoy this song for a long time now that I know what good thing I had missed previously.
 
  Yume hitotsu de…
 
Sola

Hatenkou Yuugi

February 7, 2009

Have you harbour any dreams of travelling and seeing the world? Are you the adventurous type seeking to explore places where no man has ever gone before or at least daring to go to the extreme, places which are outside your comfort zone? Now, before anybody starts thinking that this is some sort of travel guide blog, please bear in mind that this is still very much an anime blog. Avid anime fans who have read the first line of this blog will definitely know that I’m referring to the anime series Hatenkou Yuugi.
 
And no, that show isn’t about travelling the world. Okay, so maybe travelling is part and parcel of this show but it isn’t the main point. This series is one of the many manga titles to be given the anime treatment but one of the very few which has retained its manga name. Yup, those who have read the manga should know that it goes by its other name, Dazzle.
 
Surprisingly, this adventure-cum-comedy with a dash of magic TV series is shorter than most short season TV series in the sense that this anime has only 10 episodes instead of the usual 12 or 13. Probably it is to surprise viewers that the end had come too soon than expected. But after watching the series, you’ll find out that the end isn’t much an ending. More on that later on.
 
So let’s meet our reluctant traveller, the spunky girl named Rahzel. As seen at the very beginning of episode 1, for some reasons unknown, Rahzel has been booted out from the comfort of her home by her father who tells her to go see the world. Yeah, what a sudden and rude turn of events for a cute girl like her. How is she going to face the cruel world filled with injustice and other horrible stuff? What is a lonely girl got to do all by herself in this great big world? Well, whether she likes it or not, she has to. Furthermore, she’s only got a blindfolded teddy bear as her luggage. Or is it a travel companion? Is that all she needs for her long indefinite travel? But it’s better than being a damsel in distress, right? Rahzel is quite the independent girl she is.
 
As she is wandering around (okay, some may say travel), she spots an expressionless looking (but moody at times) white haired guy with red eyes named Alzeid trying to extort from a poor hapless guy with his gun. I don’t know how but I guess Rahzel has to look things at things the positive way if she is going to survive. Thus she proclaims how she is going to make her travels and Alzeid’s life filled with excitement and happiness. I’m not sure why either but ever since then, Alzeid becomes a travelling companion to Rahzel. And off they go to see the world. Well, that’s for Rahzel. As for Alzeid, the reason why he’s travelling is that he’s seeking out his father’s murderer.
 
Because they are low on cash, Alzeid does another quick extortion. In order not for their names to become famous outlaws, I guess Rahzel tells him that instead of resorting to such things, might as well take out a temporary job. Yeah, Alzeid extorts that poor guy on where to get a lucrative job. So the duo ends up taking up a job by some wealthy guy named Noma and their job is to exorcise a spirit in the woods nearby his mansion. The spirit is a lady who seems to have died while waiting for her love. Against the duo’s will, she begins telling her flashback story. Uh huh, Alzeid thinks she’s an idiot because she’s waiting for a man who doesn’t bother about keeping his promise even 20 years after her death. Of course this upsets the spirit as she chases them out of the woods.
 
So Rahzel did some investigation and found out that Noma was the once the spirit’s lover. We find out that the reason Noma hired them was to eliminate his guilt in his heart by asking some outsiders to do so. In addition, Noma places his family’s wealth above that poor lady’s love, that’s why he never showed up 20 years ago. When the duo left, Noma orders his men to take them out in order to silence them. The duo head back to the forest and had another round of chat with the spirit. Rahzel also remembers a similar incident of herself being abandoned alone in the forest while she was young. That night, Rahzel is seen talking to a guy called Baroqueheat or Heat for short, to get some explosive stuff for her. The duo once again visit the forest spirit but she attacks them. We find out that Rahzel is a magician and is able to use some magic to defend herself but the spirit has got a hold of Alzeid. She mentions about Rahzel breaking a promise with him so it’s better for to die now.
 
I don’t remember what happened next but Noma woke up that night to find the spirit coming to his house. Looks like after all those talking, Rahzel manages to convince the spirit to realize things. The spirit mentions how she has placed explosives around his mansion and will be waiting for him in the afterlife. Noma panics and tries to escape but is locked in. Time is ticking. Outside the mansion, the spirit tells Rahzel how she’ll reincarnate into someone who will fall in love again before disappearing. We find out that the ‘explosion’ is actually a beautifully displayed fireworks. Good enough to scare the wits out of that selfish Noma guy and teach him a lesson. As they leave, Alzeid asks if Rahzel wanted a promise and her reply is to spend the rest of their days having fun.
 
So in most of the episodes, it will follow this sort of random pattern. There is no real storyline plot like you see in most animes as the gang goes from one town to another town helping people in need or getting involve in some other people’s affair which they shouldn’t be. Speaking of which I don’t know how Heat came to join the gang, but he follows them on their journey. So we have a spunky and sharp tongue girl (listen to her witty lines and remarks. They’re ‘inspiring’), an emotionless gun-wielding guy looking for his dad’s killer, and a playboy who has a butterfly mark on the back of his right hand and sometimes provide some punch lines. What an odd travelling group. Well, opposites do attract. Plus, Alzeid and Heat seems to be like water and oil. Always in some petty argument and Alzeid hates him.
 
Episode 2 starts off with the gang in jail. How did they end up there? It seems Rahzel and Alzeid was looking for Heat when they spot a boy, Elmer, in trouble with the local police. Rahzel went to help him and before they know it, they got locked up. Oh yeah, we also find out that Rahzel has a bad sense of direction as she gets lost in the city. Alzeid even wonders why such a person is taking the lead. Her famous line: "You should blame the destination for not being where I’m heading". What a good excuse for people who get lost often. Anyway they find out that Elmer is trying to gain revenge for his father, just like Alzeid. We also find out that the person who killed Alzeid’s father was a woman. This gives a whole new meaning to lady killer. Elmer tells his story how his dad was locked up in this prison and he was waiting the day of his release. But when the day arrives, to Elmer’s horror, the prison warden boastfully tells him that he has been executed. Devastated, Elmer threw a rock at the warden’s carriage. Because of that little irritation, that stupid warden orders Elmer’s arrest.
 
Rahzel and Alzeid soon find Heat in the next jail cell. Though Alzeid thinks he got into some trouble, Heat says in jail he can enjoy free meals. Do prison meals taste good? Heat explains to them that with the other cities refusing to build more prisons, prisoners are sent here and this has led to overcrowding. So the prison warden has to execute some of them to make space. Alzeid promise that he’ll let Elmer get his revenge as he breaks out of jail using his brute force (handcuffs don’t work on him). Rahzel frees herself with her magic while Heat who is enjoying his prison meal has to hasten it and use his picking skills to free himself.
 
The gang went through various obstacles in the prison to reach the warden head’s office, including being chased by a pack of dogs (they ran away with their tails between their legs when Alzeid stared back at them!). They arrive at a room where all executed prisoners are taken to. Elmer spots his father’s belongings on the floor and fears the worse. The warden appears in a room above them and sends in more guards to take them out but Rahzel and co easily dispatches them. The warden is impressed with their skills and makes a deal with them that he’ll let the trio go scot free if they kill the boy. Don’t think they’ll accept it. Furthermore, the made fun of his baldness. Rahzel and Heat team up to bring the warden down to the ground. Elmer is pointing a gun at the warden but his hands are shaky. In addition, Heat and Alzeid are surrounded by the guards.
 
Now Rahzel is playing psychology on Elmer, who is still bent on pursuing his revenge. She puts the gun in the warden’s mouth because she thinks revenge the old fashion way is boring. She says to imagine what will happen once she blows his brains out. She continues to say once doing so, her pals will die and that she will have to kill Elmer because he is partly responsible for it as she can’t forgive anyone who takes away her friends. Soon she too will be hunted down and killed in this never ending spiral of violence. So she finally asks him does he have what it takes to pass the misery to others. Smooth. Lesson learn: Violence begets violence. This was enough to make Elmer realize as he cries in frustration while Rahzel hugs him. But the warden isn’t giving up yet as he tries to reach the gun on the ground. We see that Alzeid and Heat are pretending to be helpless when surrounded as they instantly took out the guards and stop the warden from taking the gun. After making another explosion in the prison, the trio moves to another town as Rahzel says how she just wants to be happy and be a cute grandma. Cute grandma? That can only happen in anime.
 
Episode 3 starts off with Rahzel remembering the time when her father played a little game with her in the woods. He tells her to stand in the circle and not move out of it till he comes pick her up. But in the end, he never did. Back in present time, Rahzel and Alzeid are in a city where the circus is in town. They find a lost boy named Romario and help him get back to his mom. During the circus performance, one of the clowns seems to be throwing daggers at Rahzel’s way but they turned into flowers in the end. It’s revealed that the clown is Heat. What is he doing there working part time as a clown? Well, he did mention how he did such a stuff before and the reason he stopped because he made more money doing strip dancing performances…?! Then the female Ringmaster decides to use a volunteer for her next performance and chooses Romario. She notes how beautiful and smooth hands he has. So into the cage Romario goes for her disappearing act. The crowd is amazed.
 
But by the end of the show, it seems Romario is nowhere to be found. Rahzel is worried and go asks Ringmaster but she says she personally escorted him out through the backdoor. Plus, Rahzel notices some weird tubes inside the circus. Romario’s mom is worried and goes looking for her son. Rahzel smells something fishy and can’t sleep that night so she alone sneaks back into the circus but are being attacked by several clowns. Ringmaster then appears and indicates that she has killed Romario for his hands! OMG! She’s trying to create the perfect child with perfect features! It looks like a Frankenstein monster if you ask me. Ringmaster decides to name it Viola and gets more of her clown to attack Rahzel, in which she easily disposes them off. Luckily Heat and Alzeid arrived just in time so Rahzel couldn’t have all the fun by herself. Why did they come anyway? They’re pals, right? Some magic soon prevents the gang from moving so Ringmaster tells Viola to kill them. Just then, Rahzel told to stop and Viola stopped his actions. Ringmaster wonders why he stopped and furiously tells him to kill them. Unfortunately, Viola grabbed Ringmaster and killed her instead! Alzeid says how Viola is just a mindless monster listening to orders without thinking. So when Ringmaster says to kill, Viola grabbed the nearest thing, which is her, and killed her instead. Alzeid then decides to dispose of Viola but Rahzel is against it. Although Viola is a mindless creature, Rahzel still feels it’s wrong to kill it. Heat takes her away as Alzeid shoots it to death. Though Rahzel remains depressed, she decides to cheer up the next day when the guys suggest they go out and have fun. Poor Romario’s mom is still waiting for him… What a gruesome and sad episode.
 
Episode 4 starts off with a flashback of a young girl named Madeira about how her grandpa told her and her sister of some treasure at some place. In present time, Rahzel is lost and alone in the woods thinking that her pals have gotten into some trouble of their own. She then reaches a house and seeks permission to stay but the house owner, a grown up Madeira refuses and shuts the door on her till her younger sister apologizes for Madeira’s actions and lets her in. Such contrasting difference in character. To Rahzel’s surprise, she finds Heat and Alzeid there. All cosy next to the fire place. While Rahzel is taking a bath, Madeira comes in and wants to hire her. Madeira tells her story of how she wants to go to university but her parents objected to it. Since they have no money, Madeira remembers the treasure her late grandpa told her. Rahzel accepts the offer even though she isn’t too pleased with her snobbish attitude. What is Heat doing in the bathroom too?!
 
Deep into the night, Rahzel enters Madeira’s room to wake her up to go treasure hunting. Yeah, it’s like Rahzel is giving her a taste of her own medicine by acting cold too. So Madeira and the trio goes adventuring into a cave filled with cliche traps. Then when they approached a little bridge over a stream, Madeira recalls how while she and her sis were drowning, her dad jumped in to save the weaker one. Probably, that’s why she’s so sour. So Madeira asks Rahzel if 1 of the guys are drowning, which of them would she choose to save first. Rahzel couldn’t answer back. After crossing, the ground gives way and the next thing Madeira knows is that she’s in some underground lake with Rahzel by her side and the guys trying to search a way out. Rahzel mentions about how she could use her magic to save herself but wouldn’t save anyone she doesn’t know but because of Madeira’s pessimistic attitude, Rahzel slaps her. I guess it’s a good way to make her realize things.
 
Madeira then notices a leaf floating in the lake and thinks that there must be a connection through the lake as the leaf must’ve floated from somewhere. Rahzel then creates a thin oxygen shield for the gang as they dive in. A funny quip by Madeira when Heat says how he’ll hold her hand and guide her through. Yeah, she says how that would be the scariest thing. Haha. When the guys and Madeira resurfaces at the other end, they notice that Rahzel hasn’t arrived yet. Earlier on, she’s seen struggling and Madeira says how Rahzel can’t swim. Oh so she was just trying to act cool, huh? But of course Rahzel soon emerges. Rahzel tells Madeira that she can answer her who-to-save-first drowning question. She says, she’ll save neither and let them both die since the one being saved will complain. Feeling insulted, Heat kicked Rahzel into the pool. Of course she changes her answer and say that she’ll save them both. Change of heart?
 
Madeira soon spots a light shining down on a fossil of a prehistoric bird. So this was the treasure that Madeira’s grandpa was talking about. The light that brightens her life. Something about how even though the fossil is trapped but it still seems as though it could fly. With that, Madeira realized everything and thanks her grandpa. The guys revealed that it was Madeira’s younger sister who told them to come and help them. When they get out of the cave, Madeira’s attitude takes a turn for the better. She tells them how she decides to run away from home and after cooling her head, will talk to her parents again to go to university. Madeira also says if they ever need her help, she’ll gladly return the favour before parting.
 
Episode 5 sees the gang entering into a town who has a weird burial custom of the deceased called Sky Burial. It’s like being hung and crucified out in the open on a stick and being left for vultures to pick on the remains. They stumbled upon such grave while chasing a little girl named Lalawel. They find out that she is the daughter of an innkeeper named Jean Foup as he tells them that Lalawel’s strange behaviour may be due to the trauma of losing her mom who died while giving birth to her. To make things worse, the townspeople doesn’t like them and Lalawel blames herself for the death of her mom, which partly contributes to her shy and fearful behaviour. Therefore, he wants to do all he can to protect her. Later, the townspeople including the mayor approaches the trio and tells them not to stay at Jean Foup’s inn because all those who stayed there, ill consequences befell on them. Instead, the trio mocked his slipping wig. Then as they discuss of heading to a village in the southwest (Jean Foup did mention that maybe Alzeid’s killer would be there due to the descriptions Alzeid said), Rahzel refuses to go because if she does, she won’t gain attention by being unique or standing out. Huh? That’s got to be a joke, right?
 
Rahzel finds Lalawel at the Sky Burial cemetery as the latter explains how criminals and those with diseases are brought here so that the birds could take their diseases away. The mayor is seen pointing his rifle at them from a distance but is being stopped by Alzeid. Earlier on, several nasty boys threw rocks at Lalawel, so it’s no surprise that Jean Foup got all worried to see her a little bruised. Funny part was when Heat found the boys, he decided to play football with them and the boys are the ball! But Rahzel stops them by showing him a red card! Though Rahzel disagrees with Heat’s idea of using violence against violence, when 1 of the boys called Rahzel an old hag, she too is trying her best to control her change in mind of using violence against him.
 
Of course the trio soon finds out that the townspeople has branded Lalawel as some sort of monster because when Lalawel’s mom was pregnant, she was killed during a burglary one night. Jean Foup who was devastated and it was obviously strange to see that the mother died while the child survive. So the townspeople concluded that Jean Foup must have used black magic to revive the child and keep it alive. And to do that, he needs sacrifices, which are rumoured to be customers of the inn. Later that night as Rahzel goes to sleep with Lalawel in her room (nothing yuri, mind you), Lalawel asks Rahzel if she despises her for being a killer. I’m not sure what was Rahzel’s assignment to Lalawel, something about why people could stand strong and go on living, but I guess they decide to sleep on it and compare their answers tomorrow. But we soon see Jean Foup in a small dark room with photos covering the walls chanting some weird lines…
 
Episode 6 continues with Rahzel and co having breakfast but Rahzel feels something is not quite right with it all. Alzeid tells her not to butt into other people’s problem and play detective because the police should’ve been involve if customers of the inn really died. Then some funny quip about if the people here died, it wasn’t due to murders but to horrible food. Yeah, Alzeid got a taste of it and collapses. Meanwhile one of Lalawel’s bullies who is also the mayor’s child, being chased before being shot by the unknown assailant which he recognized. At the same time, Rahzel and Heat decides to play some weird poker game but the numbers have been replaced with surnames. To kill time? But it was funny to see them play the game with weird rules even if I didn’t know what’s going on. Then I don’t know why or how but Alzeid revives and lands the winning hand. Wow. But they have to cut short their game when they heard a scream. They find the body of the mayor’s child and the townspeople looking in horror. The townspeople have had enough and decides to end this once and for all.
 
At the doorstep of the inn, Rahzel and co tries to protect Lalawel from being hounded by the unruly mob. They started attacking by throwing stones but Rahzel stops it with her magic and tells them off that they’re the real monster. The mayor then thinks that they are Jean Foup’s accomplices and that they don’t really know what is going on. The mob starts a fire to get Jean Foup out and when he finally does, he tells them that all this are his fault. He explains that he was the real killer of his wife and that the child in her womb wasn’t his. She even tried to ask for divorce to be with her lover and since Jean Foup couldn’t take it anymore, he killed her. Lalawel was just a child he found at the Sky Burial grounds and took her in as his own. He leads them to the dark small room and says he will not forgive those who hurt Lalawel but ended up hurting her the most. With that, Jean Foup slit himself with a knife! OMG! His body is given a the traditional Sky Burial but Rahzel suspects something amiss and thinks all this elaborated cover up to appease the townspeople. She thinks Jean Foup is willing to go this far to protect the identity of the real killer.
 
As the trio head back to the inn, they heard a gunshot and to their surprise, Lalawel holding a rifle and has killed the mayor! The reason was the mayor was here to get revenge for his son and so Lalawel took care of him. Then Lalawel reiterates that didn’t she despise her for being a killer? Oh no! So Lalawel is the killer! How could such a cute girl do such a horrible thing at such a tender young age?! And she doesn’t show any remorse! Lalawel tells how it all began many years ago when a customer of an inn accidentally stabbed her forehead with his cigarette butt. She was so furious that she killed him! It took only that! Ever since then, it has become an addiction. When Jean Foup found out, he became an accomplice by covering up her killing habit. Rahzel tries to get closer to Lalawel but she prevents her by firing a shot, which causes the candle to fall and start a fire. Rahzel remembers the time when her late mom has gone insane due to a mental illness. Her dad can’t handle it so he left and when her mom threatens to harm her, Rahzel kills her. After that, her dad returned and brought her to the woods where she was abandoned. Teary Lalawel says how she won’t be forgiven as she points the gun at her head. She also knows the answer to Rahzel’s assignment and says how her hands are warm like the sun. But before she could pull the trigger, an explosion occurs. Rahzel tries to save her but is being pulled away by Alzeid and Heat. Rahzel is devastated as she laments she couldn’t save people she wanted. The next day as they continue their journey, Alzeid and Heat extend their hands to Rahzel as she appreciates their thoughtful gesture. Oh my, what another sad episode.
 
In episode 7, Rahzel and the guys are trekking through the snowy mountains when an avalanche occurs. Rahzel and Alzeid use their magic to float above the avalanche and they left poor Heat being swallowed by the snow. They even offered their condolences! Haha. Don’t worry, he ain’t dead yet. They then met an albino girl named Rudovika who is awed by Rahzel’s blue eyes and thinks it’s like the colour of the sky that she has never seen before. A group of villagers are looking for Rudovika and initially mistaken the trio as her attackers. When it is settled down, they tell them that Rudovika can’t be exposed to sunlight. Due to this, it is only natural for a little girl to defy her elder’s advice and escape to go see the sun. When Rahzel mentions about Alzeid being able to walk under the sun, he says it’s nothing when one puts on sun tan lotion and sunglasses. Then there’s a part whereby Heat teases Rahzel about her shortness (Probably in sight and stature), Rahzel takes out a sword from her bear and tries to slice him! Holy sh*t! How did she keep a sword in her little teddy bear? I think she keeps her clothes in there too! It’s better than Doraemon’s pocket! At the same time, Alzeid remembers a woman who promised to bring him out when his dad didn’t. Probably this woman was the one who killed his dad.
 
That night, we see Heat unable to stand the cold (of course, it’s in his name!) while Rahzel suggests to sneak Rudovika out. But Heat mentions how he has that feeling that they’re being watched ever since they enter town and the odd part is that, this town wasn’t on the map (don’t tell that to the directionally challenged Rahzel, she’ll probably won’t understand). Then we see the villagers conspiring about saving Rudovika and to kill those 3 and use their bodies as fertilizers. That night as the trio escapes from the village, Alzeid notices the trees moving and Heat thinks they’re walking in circles. Then Rudovika appears. It’s rare to see Alzeid going up to Rudovika and talking things to make her understand the implications of her actions like her condition and the people around her who cares for her, even though it is still ultimately her decision. And when Rahzel gives her own speech to her, Rudovika asks Rahzel if she can do it, in which she says she can if she has the support of her friends.
 
Several tree branches starts to move and attacks them. Heat mistaken the branches to be some sort of tentacles and starts quipping some erotic lines like since things are going to be ecchi, he asks the ‘tentacles’ to rip off Rahzel’s skirt! WTF?! Yeah, also something about the village head being the last boss of the final stage, as he makes his appearance. The village head says how since the village is void of sunlight, their only wish is to protect Rudovika. Since there are quite a number of tree branches, all their effort seems futile and not going anywhere. Then as 1 of the branches is going to strike Alzeid, Rudovika uses her body as a shield! As the village head disappears into the background, the sun rises and in Alzeid’s arms, Rudovika could finally see the sunlight before she disappears as petals. Then it hit Alzeid that all the inhabitants of this non-existent village were just trees and that Rudovika was an albino plant in need of nutrients, which is Rahzel and co’s flesh and blood. Alzeid remembers the first time he went out and saw the clear blue sky and went on to rant on stuff which sounds so poetic. As the gang leaves, a white stalk with 2 leaves appears to be growing out from the snow, which I think could be Rudovika. For a non-talkative guy like Alzeid, he sure says quite a number of lines here.
 
Episode 8 starts off with a flashback and we see that Heat and Alzeid were in the army together, betting and watching a fight in which between a young man named Soresta was a contender. Heat was shouting out to Soresta that someone is beating his life on his victory. In present time, Rahzel saves a young boy named Vincent from a bunch of thugs by using her magic to bend their weapons. On the bridge, Soresta comes by to rudely interrupt Rahzel and Vincent and tells the latter the trouble he has caused for running away. Because Soresta is roughly handling Vincent, Rahzel defends Vincent by kicking him and saying he’s a bad guardian but Soresta knows that she’s a magician and he uses his levitation magic on her. Then Heat, in a badly designed afro disguise, comes by to stop them. Yeah, anyone can see through it.
 
At the cafe, Rahzel and co regroups as she finds out that Soresta is an old friend of Alzeid and Heat back during those army days. The trio were quite the group they were, doing missions like saving royals and blowing up castles (?!). Then they did funny things like Alzeid dressing up as a maid because he lost badly in poker. Soresta explains that Vincent is an illegitimate child of a royal family and is sent here under his protection due to a family feud. Just then, Heat says goodbye to Rahzel and kisses her lips! Of course her reply was a slap across his face as he apologizes. Back in Rahzel’s room, Alzeid tells Rahzel that she is prohibited to use magic for 3 days like how she did so freely and that the fight with Soresta she could’ve lost but Rahzel’s confident and says otherwise. Alzeid reveals Soresta’s technique of using strings against his opponents but because of Rahzel’s over confident nature, he pushes on to the bed. He reiterates her prohibition to use magic and if she breaks her promise, he will leave travelling with her. Rahzel ups the challenge herself by saying she won’t use it for a week.
 
The next few days see Rahzel taking Vincent out and having their own fun. Vincent wants Rahzel to teach him magic but when she says she can’t use magic for 1 week, he wants her to teach him fighting instead. Though Rahzel suggests Soresta, that kid doesn’t seem to like it because of his ‘scary face’. We then see Alzeid and Heat chatting together. Heat reveals that he left Rahzel to take up a job to protect Vincent along with Soresta while Alzeid says that Rahzel’s magic ban was to let her re-evaluate herself since she got too cocky over her magic powers. Soon Rahzel and Vincent are being surrounded by several thugs, supposedly sent by Soresta. They use a pepper spray to escape but ends up in a dead end. They enter a warehouse and Rahzel devises a plan using science since she can’t use magic. Necessity is the mother of invention. When the thugs arrive and opens the warehouse door, they find it a little dark so they lit their lighter, which causes a little explosion, taking them out. We see Rahzel and Vincent was hiding underneath the store’s hidden chamber when the explosion happen. Prior to that, they release some gas and use cocoa powder which acts as inflammable particles floating in the air. You know the rest once the slightest flame is ignited, causing a huge chain reaction. Smart. Soresta watches from afar the smoke from the explosion and knows it’s Rahzel’s doing as he talks to Alzeid. When the duo got out of the wreckage, Vincent says it’s because they are friends, the reason why he believes in her and Rahzel also says how an important friend will come to her aid whenever in trouble, which is Alzeid. He comes by to extend his hand though he blames her for recklessly destroying property. Meanwhile, Heat is talking with an unknown person that Soresta is going out of control.
 
The story continues in episode 9 with Soresta further explaining Vincent is the child of the noble and the maid and that the ring Vincent has is proof of his heritage. Rahzel again remembers the time her dad abandoned her in the forest and though she tried to find her way back (with only a knife in hand), she was crying. But she notices even so, her dad was still concern and watching her from afar her every move. Because Alzeid refuses to rejoin Soresta like when they were back in the good old days, that night Soresta plans to kidnap Vincent by starting a fire at the place where Rahzel is staying. While Alzeid is able to fend off the attackers, Heat comes by and knocks Rahzel out and kidnaps her. When Vincent wakes up, he finds himself in a room but Rahzel is nowhere in sight. Meanwhile Rahzel is being tied to a chair as Heat talks to her. Because of Rahzel’s sharp tongue and mockery of Soresta (about sexiness?), he slaps in his rage. Before Heat leaves, he tells her to wait patiently for Alzeid to come rescue her.
 
But Rahzel isn’t the kind to sit around and do nothing as she got out from her handcuffs by ‘loosening some bones’. As Rahzel goes in search for Vincent, Soresta confronts Alzeid who has just arrived. They soon engage in a fight-to-the-death match. Rahzel finds Vincent outside but is being surrounded by Heat and several guards. She jumps down from the window (?!) and into Heat’s arms. Well, she points a knife at him. Hehe. I’m not sure about Rahzel’s explanation of the Chinese word ‘man’ about supporting each other and will gladly die with a smile, but it was enough to prompt Heat to switch sides. Yay. He’s back on Rahzel’s side after kissing her hand. The guards are annoyed with Heat’s betrayal but Heat disposes them off when his butterfly mark suddenly changes into some magical angelic sword. Back to Alzeid and Soresta’s battle, we learn that Soresta’s intention of doing so was because he missed those war times. Uh huh. He’s trying to restart a war since it got all peaceful again. So he felt ‘lonely’ when Alzeid left and decided to use Vincent as for his revolution. In the end, Alzeid wins the match and tells him that he has no interest in war and has no feeling of those he has killed. Before Alzeid could kill Soresta, Rahzel jumps in front of him to block his attack. Though Soresta is surprised of her actions, he still isn’t satisfied with the way things turned out. In his last ditch attempt, Soresta tries to attack Rahzel but Alzeid uses his magic and blows him up. Woah! Later as Rahzel goes talk to Alzeid in the rain (after seeing Vincent off), she isn’t sure if he’s crying or not. But Rahzel realizes things and says she is more responsible and mature now. Just then, she spots her dad, who is here to pick her up.
 
Episode 10 starts off with the gang and Rahzel’s dad, Seratiido, celebrating Rahzel’s birthday (except of Alzeid who’s not too fond of this sudden weird custom). Not only that, Seratiido is the older brother of Heat! It’s really a small world. Yeah, even Seratiido won’t forgive Heat if he does anything funny on his cute Rahzel even if he is his brother. Also, Rahzel wonders why her dad is coming to take her home and of all times now, since he was the one who kicked her out. His reply was that even though he was rash in kicking her out, he believes that she will listen to him when he asks her to come home. With that, Rahzel decides to go on 1 last outing with Alzeid and Heat. We also find out that the mysterious man that Heat was talking to a few episodes back was indeed Seratiido, in which his real intention was to keep Alzeid away from Rahzel and that the Soresta-Vincent’s case was just a side distraction.
 
Rahzel brings Heat and Alzeid to the forest where she was abandoned, which is near her village where people are born with blue eyes and black hair. She reveals that her real name was Lazensha Rose and her real father goes by the name of Fabien Rose, was the one who abandoned her in the woods, then another guy named Seratiido came pick her up. So at that moment, Lazensha died and Rahzel was being born and assumed Seratiido as her new dad. This is getting a little complicating. So when Seratiido tells her to come back, Rahzel has no choice to oblige because in a way she feels grateful for ‘saving’ her that day. Thus, Rahzel tells the duo that their journey together ends here. The next day, Alzeid goes to a gift store to buy a present for Rahzel but since he can’t understand what the shop owner is trying to say, he quickly interrogates a poor guy who just happen to walk into the store! The way this guy said things indicate that he is the real father of Rahzel because he tells Alzeid that he is here to buy a present for a daughter he abandoned in the woods many years ago. This is really a small world after all. As that guy leaves, the shop owner tells Alzeid that spending time with a person is perhaps the best gift. In a coach, it’s confirmed that guy is indeed Fabien Rose as he recalls how was stuck and feeling helpless between his mentally instable with and his smart little daughter. So when his wife went out of control, he leaves the family but soon came back and that’s when he left his daughter in the woods. Though he made a u-turn to retrieve her, by that time, she was gone.
 
Heat is seeing off Rahzel and Seratiido at the train station. The train has departed when Alzeid finally arrives. Since he can’t allow Rahzel to go just like that, he chases the train. I guess Heat has no choice but to follow. Rahzel goes to the back of the train to see them in chase. We see Alzeid being the tsundere character he is as he says how he’ll not write letters or even think about her. But if she thinks that he is still her friend, then she shouldn’t have leave at all. He even wonders that even if they are apart, not knowing what they’ll be doing, will they still be friends. Rahzel still says that they will be. Because Rahzel has been infuriated by Alzeid’s ‘scathing’ remarks (ironic for a taciturn guy), Rahzel jumps down from the train and onto the Alzeid (don’t attempt this stunt anywhere kids). She is in tears since she is torn between following them and going home with her dad. So Alzeid tells her dad she still wants to go with them since she is crying so bad and that his birthday gift to her is the chance to stand up against her dad so that she could convince him and let her continue her journey with them. It seems Seratiido too has gotten off the train and catches up with the gang. After Rahzel and Alzeid traded some hard-talking, she decides to accept his challenge to make his boring life more exciting and mysterious. The final scenes show a mysterious guy coming up to Fabien Rose and killing him as he says how the real game for Rahzel begins now.
 
You know, that final episode wasn’t so much of an ending. It was like hanging with that little suspense at the end. In fact, it felt so much like a beginning of a new story arc. So why did it just end there like that? I have a theory. Test market. Yup, if there has been hot reception of this series, I bet that the producers will no doubt create a second season and continue off from there. So this particular season was more like the interaction between the trio and how they bum around going from places to places getting into some sort of adventure of their own. Feels a bit like Samurai Champloo, huh? But I’m glad in the end, Rahzel in a way decides to follow the guys. Since I didn’t read the manga, I’m not sure if Seratiido would be joining the group to make a foursome.
 
Rahzel is my favourite character because of her lively character and as mentioned before her sharp tongue and independent attitude makes her an admirable character. Say, I kinda noticed that Rahzel dresses up in different clothing or fashion styles each time they head into a new town or village. I’m not a fashion enthusiast but I feel some doesn’t really suit her. Talking about her bad sense of direction, I guess it doesn’t really matter to her since she has really no particular place to go or goal of direction, if you know what I mean. As for Alzeid, it goes to show that even expressionless guys like him do have a heart when it comes to friends. Would he probably end up as Rahzel’s love interest? You’ll never know. And it won’t be real funny without Heat and his antics too. Yeah, at times it feels like the trio are like travelling clowns.
 
The drawing, art and animation are nicely animated to your typical standard Japanese animes of bishonen and bishoujo feel. But one thing I would like to note is that the series sometimes has a little gruesome feel in it. I mean, in almost every episode, I tend to notice that at least 1 character would die in the end or being killed. Sometimes it leaves a bad aftertaste in the mouth. But I guess it’s better than to have all the episodes end on a feel good note. Life isn’t perfect like in the fairytale, you know. Another trivia matter is that, since the series takes place in a fantasy-like world which resembles somewhat like old Eastern Europe, the characters have names which are like… erm… fantasy-like. Not your usual Japanese names, huh? Just unique. Most of them have only single names and don’t even have surnames.
 
Rahzel is voiced by Sanae Kobayashi who did other anime roles such as Hitomi Kashiwa in NHK Ni Youkoso, Lucy in Elfen Lied and Carrie in Bamboo Blade. Takahiro Sakurai does Alzeid and you can recognize him in previous roles like Guiche in Zero No Tsukaima and Suzaku in Code Geass. Shinichiro Miki does Heat who also did voices such as Urahara in Bleach, Takumi in Initial D and Kyuzo in Samurai 7. Because each episode there are like new characters, so the list of seiyuus are a little longer than those in a normal short series anime. There are some seiyuus which I noticed who lend their voices such as Ai Shimizu as Lalawel. There are even seiyuus which I know being cast in minor roles like Mai Nakahara, Emiri Katou and Tomoko Kaneda.
 
The opening theme song is Heartbreaking Romance by Kanako Itou and sounds like a dramatic pop song while the ending theme is called Te No Naka No Eien by Kaori Hikita, which is a slow pop. I don’t know why but every time I hear the ending piece, it always evoke a sense of nostalgic feeling within me. Is it the way the opening tune is played (sounds like a slow country song with that sustaining electrical guitar play. I could be wrong) or perhaps how that particular episode ended?
 
I know that by travelling and seeing the world, one can learn and gain experiences, not to mention much needed exposure from different cultures of the world. But for me, I’m glad I don’t have to go through what Rahzel did nor did my own father kick me out for that reason. I don’t know, but travelling isn’t my stuff and I’d probably say the whole world is generally the same. If you have seen them once, you’ve seen them all (in the sense that in today’s modern society, you can see the same typical highrise and complex everywhere). I’m just happy to be watching animes back in the comfort of my seat. Yeah, probably I’ll be able to see the entire world that way. Yeah right, anime world, that is. Maybe I should have my own adventure there.
 

Hatenkou Yuugi

Elf Ban Kakyuusei

February 6, 2009

Hehehe. I decided to go watch Elf Ban Kakyuusei after my previous blog on Kakyuusei 2. Going backwards in time? This is a 4 episode OVA with around 30 minutes running time and is actually the first of the many Kakyuusei series to follow. This anime as usual is one of those which have been adapted from the PC dating simulation game but I think the game was called a different name. Not to sure about that.
 
Also, this is quite an old production as I discovered that it was released way back in the year 1997. Wow. That seems to be a pretty long time ago. Yeah, I was still schooling then. So as I have said in my previous blog on this series, there is no relation in the storyline or the characters of the two Kakyuusei series that I have watched. Unlike in Kakyuusei 2, there is no air of mystery here as it focuses more on the drama romance and perhaps the little harem in this short OVA series.
 
Episode 1
One of the main girl characters of the series, Mizuho Yuuki, is seen walking home after her tennis club activities and you’d expect to see some fanservice over the series when she jumps over a dog who spots her panties and goes wild. Uh huh. I can’t believe that dog is a pervert. Mizuho cheekily says to the dog that it was looking at her panties and quips how ecchi it is. I wonder if it understood what she said.
 
Mizuho arrives home and decides to take a shower. So she has no qualms about her little naked brother, Tatsuya, coming out of the shower. But Mizuho has something to worry about when she suddenly spots her classmate, Tohru Nagase, soon coming out from the bathroom after Tatsuya. Naked. Luckily, there is no myth that if a girl sees a guy totally naked, she has to marry him.
 
So we find out that Tohru will be living temporarily at their place because his home is under some renovation, his dad is working overseas and well, you could say Mizuho’s mom likes that guy. So is little Tatsuya. He’s so happy having a ‘big brother’ staying with them. However, Mizuho isn’t too pleased and wonders why her family is trying to screw up her life while looking at a penguin keychain in her room.
 
The next day, Tohru wanted to walk to school with Mizuho but the latter doesn’t want to because it might send wrong signals if other people see them coming out from the same house together. Too late. Some girls already did. Soon, the talk of Tohru and Mizuho became a hot topic in school as it spreads like wildfire. When Tohru enters his class, he spots a love umbrella of his name and Mizuho’s on the blackboard. He’s furious to know who did it and it seems, his best pal, Minoru Goto, was the one. So Tohru drags him out of the class and to the announcement room. Over the P.A. speaker, he boldly tells the entire school that there is nothing going on between him and Mizuho and the reason why he’s staying at her place. Minoru takes this opportunity to do an interview session asking several other questions but a teacher, Shizuka Mitsuki, comes in to stop whatever they’re doing and reprimands them. Mizuho is glad that Tohru had cleared up a misunderstanding while her best friend, Miko Kamiyama, totally believes in Tohru’s words.
 
Because Miko’s mind has been pretty much pre-occupied and not concentrating, she drops her eraser during class and when she goes pick it up, all the perverted guys were like having a nice view of her butt. WTF?! During recess, Mizuho and Miko are having a chat on the rooftop and since Mizuho denied anything going on between her and Tohru, Miko says that she has feelings for Tohru, shocking Mizuho. Miko also wants Mizuho to tell Tohru that she’ll bring lunch for Tohru tomorrow. Well, from Mizuho’s body language, we can see that she harbours some feelings for Tohru. I mean, she can’t even concentrate on her tennis. So obvious.
 
We find out that Tohru is working part time in his uncle’s cafe called Dogeza and his uncle somewhat reminds me of Charlie Chaplin! Then a girl named Ai Minamizato and her friend Miyuki Ijima comes by. I can’t believe that shy girl Ai came all the way to the cafe just to tell Tohru that she believed in what he said through the P.A. speaker before rushing out. That’s it? Oh yeah. It’s like some big accomplishment. Congrats girl. On another note, now I know why Miko is named so. Because she’s also working as a miko priestess at a shrine temple run by her dad. Can a miko priestess fall in love? Ah well, she’s a girl of that age, so it’s natural.
 
That night, Mizuho can’t sleep and goes down to get some drink when Tohru did the same thing. Mizuho caught Tohru staring at her. It’s so dark, can he see anything with that dim fridge light? Before Tohru returns to bed, Mizuho tells him that Miko will come by tomorrow. The next day, Miko comes by and has Tohru eat her delicious lunch. He says how she’ll make a good wife, sending heartbeats of excitement to her. So when Tohru invites Miko to the pool tomorrow, Miko accepts. As Mizuho is walking Miko back to the temple, Miko wonders if Mizuho would like to come with them to the pool. Mizuho couldn’t giver her answer in time as Miko had already gone in. Mizuho walks back when it starts to rain. Obviously, she has a lot on her mind as she takes shelter nearby and spacing out.
 
Episode 2
Miko is seen trying on various swimsuits in a store and fanservice cue when she trips while taking off her undies. At the pool, Miko finally arrives to see Mizuho and Tohru waiting for her. But Mizuho soon decides to leave the duo alone as she leaves by saying something urgent has come up. We then see Mizuho taking a train with Tatsuya to see a movie and Tatsuya is lamenting that he wants to go to the pool with Tohru but soon takes back his words when Mizuho threatens she’ll not take him to the movies.
 
At the pool’s dressing room, Ai and Miyuki spot Miko there in her swimsuit and wonders what kind of guy she’s with. At the same time, since Ai and Miyuki are changing and having ‘fun’ fondling with each other, the other ladies watching them think that they must be in some kind of yuri relationship. At the movies, there is a long line but a classmate of Mizuho, the rich and influential Haruhiko Satake, seems to spot Mizuho and decides to use his authority to jump the line and reserve special seats for them. Though Tatsuya is suspicious but all this first class service experience made him happy. He’s still a kid alright. You can tell that Satake is trying to hit on Mizuho but Tatsuya always get in the way unknowingly. Mizuho can’t concentrate on the movie as all she could think is Tohru and Miko.
 
Speaking of which, Miko tells Tohru how strict her dad is and that her curfew is 4pm. Wow. So early. Then Miyuki spots Tohru with Miko and gets upset and throws a beach ball at him. This causes him to lunge forward and accidentally grab Miko’s boobs. Of course he quickly backs away and both felt embarrassed. Tohru wonders who threw the ball as Miyuki is gone by then. After finish watching the movies, Satake treats Mizuho and her little bro for some cakes. He asks her if she has any boyfriend, in which she says no. He could’ve started flirting with Mizuho if not for Tatsuya who got in the way.
 
Tohru is on the way back with Minoru who was passing by, when he is being confronted by Ai and Miyuki. Miyuki wants to know if Miko is his girlfriend, in which he denies. Then Miyuki pushes Ai in front of Tohru and the latter got a little frightened on what to say. Anyway she says of wanting to date him by meeting her tomorrow at the park but runs away soon after. What was that all about? Minoru proceeds to tease him. When Tohru reaches home, he spots Mizuho coming out of Satake’s limo. Tohru’s expression seems to indicate that he isn’t pleased with it and thinks that the important thing was a date with Satake. But then Tatsuya comes out and spots Tohru as he calls his name. Mizuho realizes that Tohru is there and has that worried look on her face while Satake decides to take his leave. Later when Tohru asks if there is anything going on between her and Satake, she didn’t give any answer, fuelling his suspicions even further.
 
The next day, as Tohru decides to go out, Mizuho gets a call from Satake. Tatsuya wonders if Tohru is going out on a date and pesters him to take him to the pool. But Tohru tells him to go ask his sister instead, which that little kid doesn’t want to. Once Tohru leaves, Miko arrives with her lunch for Tohru but Mizuho tells her that he isn’t in. At the park, we see Tohru and Ai sitting together (with a distance) on a bench. Ai is so shy it feels so irritating. Miyuki and Minoru are spying on them from a distance. Everytime Tohru tries to sit nearer, Ai moves away. *Sigh*. Want to date or not? Miko on the other hand is having her lunch alone in the park and spots other lovey-dovey couples.
 
In the evening, Mizuho is returning after shopping for groceries and spots Tohru with Ai and Miyuki. When they part, Mizuho confronts him and tells him that he has betrayed Miko. She also tells him how Miko has come by to have lunch with him. But Tohru’s attitude seems like as though he doesn’t mind and even tells her this isn’t her business and should stay out of it like he did with her date with Satake. This upsets Mizuho very much as she runs away in tears. Tohru grabs her hand but she slaps it away and tells him to leave her house and not set foot in it again. That night while Mizuho is sleeping on her bed, thinking of what has recently happened, looks like Tohru is staying at the park (having an outdoor view for a change, huh?) and Miko seems pretty happy herself.
 
Episode 3
Mizuho is thinking about last night’s events and wonders why she said those weird stuff and would go apologize to Tohru. But Tatsuya barges in and tells her that Tohru has left, shocking Mizuho. Wait a minute, didn’t she tell him to leave? Now it’s like she can’t believe that he took her words seriously. Geez… Later Mizuho is dejectedly walking by a flower shop when the florist lady wonders if she’s looking for Tohru. To Mizuho’s surprise, Tohru is seen coming out from a place where he is staying temporarily nearby Dogeza. Miko then comes up to him as they walk together. Mizuho decides to hide herself from being seen by pretending to look at the flowers in the shop.
 
Miko and Tohru are going out on a date as they start off at the bowling alley with Tohru teaching her how to bowl but she accidentally threw the bowling ball at his face. Ouch. Gotta hurt. Later, they visited the aquarium. Next morning at school, Mizuho and Miko watches how Ai and Miyuki greets Tohru coming into school and Miko quips how Tohru is popular with the girls. Later in class, Satake tells Mizuho how he is organizing a party for tennis club members at Dogeza and Mizuho accepts his invitation. However, Mizuno and Tohru happen to pass by and heard their conversation and Tohru doesn’t seem too happy as they leave.
 
As Tohru is working at Dogeza, Ai comes up to him and says how she’s not going to give up and lose to Miko. Another date for Tohru and Miko the next day at the amusement park. Then as they’re taking a ride in the ferris wheel, a short earthquake causes them to be thrown together. As they look into each other’s eyes, they kissed. It’s already late at night as Tohru and Miko are rushing back because it’s way past her curfew. But Miko didn’t mind since she’s happy being with him. Mizuho on the other hand spots the duo happily running hand in hand. Spacing out again…
 
Indeed Miko gets a scolding from her dad but soon develops a cold. Mizuho went to visit her and Miko tells her about her kiss with Tohru. More spacing out. That night, Mizuho gets another call from Satake wanting to come to his house an hour earlier before the party because he wants to play a tennis match with her. Meanwhile Tohru is walking home when Ai calls to him. Now she is bolder and tells him that she wants to date him but Tohru says he doesn’t know her well. So Ai asks she would do anything to make him know her better. Tohru then looks around and gets an idea. Oh dear, he brings her to a love hotel! In the room, Tohru tells her to strip and we see Ai reluctantly and embarrassingly doing so. Ai can’t take it anymore as she breaks down and apologizes. Luckily Tohru didn’t take advantage of her and says how she’ll meet the right person in time. He kisses Ai on the forehead.
 
The next day as Mizuho and Satake are playing a game, she sprains her ankle. Satake takes her inside the house for treatment. Tohru has just arrived at Dogeza to find it crowded with tennis club members. Then one of the members says how Mizuho and Satake aren’t here and are probably having some sort of relationship, which prompts Tohru to get a little upset. He soon rushes to Satake’s place. I don’t know why but I kinda feel that since there’s some other guy ‘threatening’ his harem so he goes into action although he has a few other girls who admire him already. Must be lah. After Satake treats Mizuho’s ankle, he suddenly let his perverted side get the better of him. Uh huh. I guess all this was just a ploy so that he could do something funny on Mizuho. Mizuho realized too late as that jerk starts caressing her feet and fondles her breasts. Mizuho struggles but her injury prevented her from running away. She begs for him to stop but Satake says that nobody is coming and his parents are away. So they’re home alone. Their own private party, says he.
 
Just when he least expected it, Tohru comes by shouting if Mizuho is in. Yeah, he climbs over the gate (why aren’t there any security? I guess what Satake said was true seeing that there is really NOBODY in his house). Satake is distracted and Mizuho takes this opportunity to kick his crotch. OUCH! Tohru is at the front door when Mizuho comes out and falls into his arms.
 
Tohru gives Mizuho a piggyback ride and at the park, he bandages her ankle. Mizuho asks if he likes Miko and he reply yes. So when she asks why is he dating other girls, he says he is doing so to understand girls better. Yeah, even if his intentions are genuine, if that only works in the real world. While Mizuho says he may hurt the girl’s feelings, Tohru says she might be jealous and asks her about Satake. This causes Mizuho to be a little upset as she shed a tear. Tohru quickly apologizes but Mizuho turns around and gives him a short kiss on his lips before running away (hey is her ankle okay already?). Tohru is in shock over what has happened as he is left standing there.
 
Episode 4
Of course that sudden course of action has caused Mizuho to constantly think why she did that. So much so when her mom wakes her up for school the next day, she gives an excuse that she wants to skip school due to her injury. But her mom wouldn’t allow that little injury as she forces her up still. Also. due to Mizuho’s injury, Tohru decides to give Mizuho a ride to school everyday. Though Tohru felt sympathy for Miko she did mention how she enjoys being given a ride by Tohru. When Miyuki spots Tohru and Mizuho on a bicycle together, she gets upset but Ai is happy to be a spectator and watch it all from a distance. Is she implying that she’s dropping out of the ‘race’? Woah, Tohru riding his bicycle into the shoe box area?! And in class, when Satake spots Mizuho looking his way, he gets a little panic and tries to get away but trips, making everyone laugh at him. Serves him right.
 
On an evening on the school’s rooftop, Tohru tells Miko that she has feelings for Tohru and would she mind dating him. Miko suddenly gets furious and says that Tohru is hers and only hers forever. Of course lah, if you ask someone so bluntly like that. But all that is just a nightmare as Mizuho wakes up in sweat. So when Tohru is waiting to pick up Mizuho, she tells him there is no further need as her ankle is healed. But Mizuho is been feeling down since and hasn’t show up on her tennis club activities causing some of her pals to wonder what is wrong with her.
 
At the park, Mizuho decides to throw away that penguin keychain when Tohru comes by. They chat on several things like the upcoming school festival and when Mizuho accidentally swing the penguin keychain with her fingers, it slips and drop right next to Tohru. He picks it up and remembers that he gave this to her as a good luck charm during one of her tennis tournaments. Mizuho then runs away. Meanwhile Miko is sweeping at her temple when Tohru comes by. As they’re about to kiss, the sky suddenly turn dark and flooded the whole area. Yeah, another dream from Miko as she nearly drowned in her own bathtub. She even quips what a dirty dream she had.
 
Next day as Miko and Tohru have another outing, Tohru tells Miko that he loves Mizuho. At first, Miko didn’t realize what he meant as she too says that she likes Mizuho. Until Tohru pointed out it wasn’t that kind of love he was talking about. But Miko didn’t get mad nor sad. She asks if he hates her now which he didn’t. With that, they play some little cops-and-robbers game of their own and when Tohru catches up with her, she tells him to kiss her, which he did.
 
At school, Mizuho bumps into Miko who decides to invite her to a concert. On the day of the concert, Mizuho wonders why Miko is late when it’s about to start. Mizuho is then surprised that Tohru comes by and asks if this seat is available. He too is surprised to see Mizuho. He says that he was being given the concert tickets by Miko. They realized it was Miko’s plan to set them up together. How noble and nice of Miko to do so. I know in the real world, there’ll be lots of hatred and fighting if that ever happen. After the concert ends, the duo rushes back to Dogeza as it starts pouring. Since the cafe is closed, Tohru searches for the hidden spare key nearby. I don’t know why but isn’t it dangerous to leave one especially for a business premise? As the duo go upstairs, Mizuho kisses Tohru and says she has been suppressing her feelings for him all this while for Miko’s sake. But ironically, it was Miko who brought them together after realizing things. They confessed their feelings for each other.
 
Before you know it, the 2 made love. Don’t expect to see anything flashy or hentai here. Mizuho wakes up the next morning to find Tohru looking at her while she sleep. She then says how she loves him 100% but Tohru says he only loves her 75%. So what about the balance? He wants to reserve the 25% balance so that he can continue to love her more. Isn’t that the same? As they kiss, Tohru puts the penguin keychain back on her finger.
 
Just another teenage love story…
Yeah, that is what it is. But because this is an old production, so I guess the storyline reflects the anime during that era. Even the drawing, art and animation too. As I expected, Tohru and Mizuho ended up together to end the OVA on a feel good note. I guess due to the popularity of the OVA, the producers then began producing the TV series entitled Kakyuusei, which has more episodes. Furthermore, I found out that there is supposed to be more female characters but since this is a short OVA, I suppose they can only focus on a handful as the rest made only cameo appearances. So my guess is that they will be given more prominence in the TV series. But the TV series as I also read has a different male character lead.
 
Also, there are quite a few spin-off sequels and alternate retelling of the series. Some have more adult content in it. Speaking of the fanservice, I wouldn’t say that the series is filled with them. Just here and there. I mean, after the one at the beginning of the 1st episode and the opening credits animation, you’d think that there will be some ‘eye candy’ throughout the series. No, I’m not disappointed, mind you. I’m not sure about the final part in the last episode which has Mizuho talking to viewers (as the eyes from the camera’s point of view) about making a change in their life in the school’s storeroom.
 
The opening theme is sung by Mari Adachi and is entitled Tokimeki No Yukue. It sounds quite a lively pop song from that era. But I find the ending theme, Suki To Ietara, sung by Riko Sayama (also the voice of Mizuho in the series) to be unsuitable. I know it’s a slow ballad but somehow I find her voice a little out of tune. Unless it’s on purpose. The ending theme for the final episode is Hane No Nai Tenshi, also sung by Riko Sayama and is a little upbeat.
 
While there are many better other teenage love stories (and harem series too!) out there, I’m not saying that this OVA is totally a waste of time. Back in those days, I guess the storyline was uncomplicated and simple. I’m still wondering if I’ll be able to get a harem of my own… Well, a man can only dream… Yeah, keep dreaming. But also continue watching more of such animes ;P.
 

Elf Ban Kakyuusei