Kanokon

March 28, 2009

WARNING: If you cannot stand the tiniest bit of ecchi and fanservice, then do not, I repeat DO NOT watch Kanokon at any cost. Unless you are an ecchi fan lover, I feel that this series is somewhat walking on a tightrope and on a very thin line between ecchi and hentai. It’s like teasing viewers that it may go into hentai just about anytime. And this series has lots of ecchi and fanservice bits.
 
Me, I’m not an ecchi fan but I watched this 12 episode supernatural series just for the comedy and laugh out moments. No doubt that the fanservice and ecchi stuff is what make this anime funny, but sometimes like I have said, it may be too much and sometimes nearly stepping into the hentai boundary. So are you curious to know how ‘bad’ (meaning naughty) it can get?
 
Well, the main male protagonist of the series is the petite first year student of Kunpou High School, Kouta Oyamada. On a bright day when it is drizzling a light shower, he meets a very busty girl named Chizuru Minamoto, who takes an instant liking for him. This isn’t just your typical girl meets boy. Now this little boy isn’t really a pervert but it is the girl who is horny. And I mean real horny and kinky! Chizuru is so shameless to show her public display of affection and seduction to flirt with Kouta even in broad day light in front of any crowd! Need I say more? Uh huh, you can say she has X-rated problems. Yeah, her huge boobs somewhat defy science and gravity. I suppose shy Kouta is a normal kid and doesn’t mind getting smothered by Chizuru’s boobs unless when they’re in public or when she goes overboard, but at the same time, I think he is too good a character to tell her off or to stop. Yeah, indecisive. Because of that, most of his classmates have given him the nickname "The Great Erotic King". Yeah, he doesn’t really put any effort to dismiss it. Really that shy or partly true too?
 
Anyway after watching the series for awhile, it then hit me how Kouta and Chizuru resembles so closely to the main protagonist in the anime series Girls Bravo. In fact, I was bloody shocked to find that the seiyuus of Kouta and Chizuru are Mamiko Noto and Ayako Kawasumi respectively! That’s nearly like the same as they did for Girls Bravo as Yukinari and Miharu in Girls Bravo! Wow! Coincidence? So this is the second time that I have come to know that my all-time favourite seiyuu Mamiko Noto is voicing the role of a little boy. So as comparison of the lead characters of Girls Bravo and Kanokon, instead of having a boy who breaks out in hives when comes in contact with girls, we have one who can be ‘touched and overwhelmed’ anytime. Instead of having a blur naive alien, we have a seductive foxy lady who is hornier than ever.
 
Foxy lady? Yeah, I forgot to mention that despite Chizuru’s normal human looks, she is in fact a fox spirit. Ah, so why does this vixen likes a normal kid like Kouta? Well, love does works in mysterious ways. And something about Kouta’s scent. Don’t ask anymore. Not only that, she is 1 year Kouta’s senior (too bad she can’t be in the same class with him) and is actually 400 years old! Wow! Still looking good, huh? You’ll soon learn that some of the other characters in Kunpou High School are in fact other animal spirits taking human forms. The reason being, they can’t let normal humans know their identity. Why? Let’s not think any further and get back to the real storyline. Besides, leave your seriousness and brain at the door while watching this one. You need an ‘open mind’ to watch this. Yeah, what an ‘eye opener’ this series is. Hahaha.
 
Thus in episode 1, because Chizuru is continuing to ‘harass’ poor Kouta in the middle of the street while on their way to school, their public indecent behaviour is causing Kouta’s class president, Akane Asahina, to scorn them. Yeah, she’s somewhat a self-proclaimed moral police and despises anything indecent. But I don’t think Akane’s words are going to stop Chizuru for getting even hornier on Kouta. Besides, they have 2 other classmates, Yuuki Sasamori and Kiriko Takana, who seem to be like commentators in watching the interesting ‘show’ between Kouta and Chizuru. Then there’s Chizuru’s younger brother, Tayura, who is in the same class as Kouta but you know, big sister always bullies him in doing things for her or hits him away if she deems him in the way between her love. Poor guy.
 
In school, we are introduced to several more characters, whom are animal spirits in disguise. Like the scary gym teacher Takao Yatsuka who isn’t too fond of what Chizuru is doing especially to a human (and his other job is to oversee the other spirits in the school), Iku Sahara who is Kouta’s homeroom teacher (looks like a student more than a teacher), the big-sized Ryuusei Kumada (a bear spirit with a scar across his eye. Hey, he spends most of his time facing is PC playing share stocks?! Plus, he looks more like a gangster than a student), Omi Kiriyama (a weasel spirit), Mio Osakabe (a frog spirit), and a pair of ‘lethargic’ twins in Kouta’s class named Ren and Ai Nanao (interestingly, they seem to do things what poor people do like eating food made from wastes and finds it delicious!).
 
In order to curb Chizuru from her further lovey-dovey act, Kumada sends Kiriyama and Mio to do the job since he is too glued to his share market on his PC screen. I don’t know if it’s affective or not, but when Kouta is having trouble getting bread during recess even with Tayura’s help, Kiriyama comes by to unleash some wind power (hey, he’s a weasel spirit, so he can control the wind) to rip Kouta’s bread in half. Just that? After that, Kouta gets a love letter from Chizuru to meet him in the piano room alone. The surprising thing isn’t about Kouta getting kissed by Chizuru or she’s on top of him semi undressed, but the fact that she reveals her true fox form to him. Okay, long ears, blonde hair, bushy tail. Still have more humanoid features than anything. However, Kouta doesn’t hate her and notes that she is beautiful.
 
Tayura comes in and is horrified to know that Chizuru has revealed her true form, something which animal spirits shouldn’t do. Ah well, all for love? Chizuru insists that she is deeply in love with this little kid and because Tayura still thinks otherwise, he is going to put an end to this relationship. Chizuru then kisses Kouta once more and suddenly, the duo merges! Yeah, Kouta now has fox ears and whiskers. Chizuru is inside Kouta’s body and though it isn’t usually possible, Chizuru explains it is because of Kouta’s deep acceptance of love for her which allows this to happen. Even Tayura can’t believe in this merger. Tayura decides to test her by unleashing a little fireball over his palm. But he’ll be getting the biggest shock of his life because Kouta/Chizuru unleash an even bigger fireball, enough to blast a hole in a building! Oh sh*t! Now we’re really f*cked!!! You could say Tayura has been blown away. Not after leaving a big destructive hole in the building wall. When the duo demerges, Kouta is shocked to see Chizuru naked! I mean when she entered his body, she can’t bring her clothes with her, right? Chizuru explains that the size of their flame depended on their love for each other. As Kouta collapses due to exhaustion, Chizuru continues to seduce him.
 
So in each episode, you have to expect to see lots of fanservice, lots of panty shots, lots of panty flashing, lots of cleavage, lots of boobs in your face, even more ecchi teasing from the queen of seduction herself. I wonder how Kouta can tolerate all of this. Yeah, it’s somewhat become part of his daily life. Everytime Chizuru is going to ‘do it’ with Kouta, helpless Kouta will be praying to his grandpa like how he is going to ascend into manhood. No, he’s not a pervert. It’s just that I feel he’s too ‘weak’ to stand up for himself or stop her. Or perhaps he’s enjoying it? Well, his distressful facial expression doesn’t seem to indicate so. Oh yes, Chizuru isn’t going to monopoly over Kouta’s love. At the end of episode 1, we see a new girl arriving. She is Nozomu Ezomori, a wolf spirit, and things are going to be more interesting and heated up with competition. Kouta is a hell of a lucky guy isn’t he? Or not. So everytime Chizuru is making headway on her advances on Kouta, there’ll be like something to interrupt them. Yeah. Girl, interrupted.
 
In episode 2, Nozomu arrives in town after being drop of by her biker brother, Saku. After getting more teasing ritual from Chizuru, Kouta on his way home spots a girl (Nozomu) having a tremendous appetite at a store. She’s eating like nobody’s business. Kouta can sense that she’s another animal spirit but goes to help her pay for her food when the store owner wonders if she could pay after eating so much. But it seems, monotonous-sounding Nozomu paid all the food herself anyway. After they introduce themselves, Nozomu takes a good sniff at Kouta. Hey, she’s a wolf, isn’t she? Back at Kouta’s apartment the next morning, I suppose Chizuru must be getting real desperate because she shocks Kouta when he finds her sleeping on top of him in a sexy lingerie! Even on their way to school, Chizuru attempts to get horny and starts stripping in the middle of the street! Chizuru tells Kouta not to worry because she has put up a barrier so nobody can disturb them. Before anything can happen, Nozomu comes by and breaks the barrier just to pass by. Yeah, now everybody can see the indecent duo… And if Akane sees this, she’s going to blow her top. Oops. Too late.
 
In class, Kouta’s classmates are commenting on his erotic behaviour when Nozomu comes by to hug him. Not wanting to lose, Chizuru too starts hugging him. I think Kouta’s suffocating badly. With a new girl in Kouta’s life, I guess it must be a new interesting twist of events for Yuuki and Kiriko to comment on. Later, Kouta and his classmates get news that Nozomu will be a transfer student in their class. In an instant, Nozomu shoves off the boy sitting next to Kouta and puts her table close to his and wraps herself around his arms! Where is Chizuru? She’s all tied up in Yatsuka’s room in order to prevent her from doing anything horny. Yeah, and she says how Kouta’s chastity is in danger. But I guess ropes can’t hold down a girl in love forever as Chizuru breaks free and rushes to find Kouta. Well, Nozomu is still over him at the school park when Chizuru throws a can at Nozomu but she avoids it and the can hit Kouta. An argument ensues. Then later that night as Kouta thinks of having a peaceful bath, both Chizuru and Nozomu enters to continue fighting for his affection! Now, Nozomu isn’t as busty as Chizuru. She’s in fact a flat chest! Nozomu insists they’re not flat but compact as Chizuru insists that her busty boobs aren’t flabby excess. So Kouta, which do you prefer? Big is better or compact is more economical? But I guess since the duo are engaging in too much fanservice fight (breasts squeezing, to give an idea), this causes Kouta to pass out and his nosebleed tainting the bath water before they could ask what kind of attributes he like in a woman. The next day, Kouta seems to have slight fever and is resting peacefully in the infirmary. But his peace is cut short once more when the 2 sexy semi-naked ladies continue to flank him and seduce him. Ah, he can never escape the life of ecchiness. Better not let Akane see this. Oops. Too late again. So perverts out there, I think Kouta would very much like to trade places with you. No, I’m not one of them, mind you.
 
The battle for Kouta continues in episode 3 between foxy lady vixen and wolfy woman over a bento contest. Thing is, they both can’t cook well. Kouta nearly had a near-death experience with them trying to hug-cum-suffocate him and now his stomach too is facing the same problem. Also, Nozomu takes Tayura advice to act like as though she has never met Kouta before in order to win his affections. When Chizuru finds out that Tayura has been giving such advice to her (yeah, Chizuru was reading the same magazine Tayura told Nozomu his advice), she pounds him real good. It gets even worse when Chizuru and Nozomu are pressing Kouta to make their homemade lunch. Yeah, Yuuki, Kiriko and Akane have become somewhat a game show-like commentators. Oh which will he choose? Kouta decides to self-destruct by eating both bentos and this causes him to collapse! Even after Kouta has been released from the infirmary, the girls come back with even weirder food combination! Nobody in their right mind would eat such monstrosity! Deja vu? He collapses again. Man, and you think making big corporate decisions and deals are tough.
 
Later, sly Chizuru decides to improve on her bento and ties up Akane, Yuuki and Kiriko as guinea-pigs! Oh the horror! Their days are numbered. But surprisingly, Ren and Ai seems to take a liking after tasting that horrible grub. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Later as Tayura talks to Kouta on the school rooftop, Akane comes by to tell him to be a man and make a stand. Because of his indecisiveness, he has caused a lot of trouble. Yeah, we all know for who too. She wants him to honestly tell them his feelings even if it means hurting them. Later Kouta goes to talk to Chizuru but Kiriyama intercepts them with his wind power. Unfortunately, his aim was only Chizuru and when he finds out Kouta got hit (just a small tiny bruise on his cheek!), Kiriyama panics because he knows he’ll get into trouble if a human is wounded by an animal spirit. Chizuru takes advantage of this situation as Mio says she’ll do anything for them. In the store room, Chizuru wants that frog girl to squirt out some oil for them. Chizuru rubs the oil on herself and starts rubbing her body all over Kouta with an excuse heal him! Then Nozomu too comes by and starts doing the same thing, pissing off Chizuru. Kouta wakes up to find himself in yet another pinch situation. Is getting sandwiched between 2 hot girls a bad thing?
 
The next day, the bento war continues. Chizuru has had enough of Nozomu and gets rough with her by pushing her down. Kouta remembers Akane’s words and tells off Chizuru. But this causes her to feel hurt and runs away. He chases after her but I think it’s part of Chizuru’s ploy to get alone with him in an empty room. Though Chizuru is happy that Kouta still cares for her, she wants Kouta to punish her for being a bad naughty girl. Yeah, she gets into a sexy position and faces her butt at him. She wants him to spank her and takes off her undies! Yeah, she even said how pain must be felt in its raw form. I guess Chizuru is such a smooth talker so much so she manages to get Kouta to spank her more than once! Ouch! Is she loving it? Must be. Imaginations going wild here…
 
Sly Chizuru forces Tayura to think of a way to win Kouta’s affection in episode 4. Though Tayura suggests some medicine in a forbidden store room as a joke, Chizuru drags him along to the forbidden place. Hey, if anything goes wrong, it’s Tayura’s fault because he’s the one who suggested it, right? Slick. Chizuru finds a bunny suit and puts it on. However, she can’t take it off! It’s stuck to her body! Even Yatsuka and Sahara can’t do much so poor Chizuru has to wear the embarrassing bunny suit throughout the day. Oh those perverted eyes staring with those pierceful looks! She deserves it anyway. Chizuru decides to stay at Kouta’s place for the night but to her dismay not only finds Nozomu staying there but Akane, Yuuki, Kiriko and Tayura there as well! They can’t just leave them alone, can’t they? Too juicy to let go, huh? Ah, I guess Akane’s reason is to prevent them from doing anything indecent.
 
The next day, as Chizuru and Nozomu continue their usual spat, Chizuru suddenly feels tired and eventually collapses. In the infirmary, the teachers explain that this cursed suit was created by a lonely woman many years ago and it is absorbing Chizuru’s life force. If this continues, Chizuru may die. When Akane suggests to just cut the suit out, suddenly some magical force changes Akane’s attire into a nurse cosplay outfit and forces her into some ecchi position! Ironic to see a strict moral police in such. Soon, the bunny suit takes control of Chizuru and starts flying around school, changing everyone’s school uniform into some cosplay outfit. Outside, the bunny suit starts talking like how she’s doing this as revenge because she was a loser at love. Funny part was the bunny suit was forcing some girls over Kouta. Then Nozomu shoves off one of the girls and puts her butt on Kouta’s face instead! Tayura gets knocked out when he openly tells what kind of cosplay outfits attracted him. Kiriyama then uses his wind power but ends up shredding all the cosplay outfit for some fanservice moments. With that, the bunny suits decide to make all the girls naked! Nosebleed levels overflowing. In the school hall, the bunny suit transform into a wedding suit when Kouta comes by. He manages to get to Chizuru’s side and kisses her to merge their bodies. They unleash another giant fireball to destroy that cursed suit once and for all. Soon everything returns back to normal and we see Saku returning to town on his bike.
 
Chizuru once again tries to seduce Kouta on the school rooftop in episode 5 but once again got interrupted with Saku’s presence. At a cafe, Kouta learns that Saku is Nozomu’s elder brother and things indicate that Saku may be in love with Chizuru. Uh huh, Chizuru is still adamant that her boobs are only for Kouta. Because Saku notices how close Kouta is to Chizuru, he puts a bracelet on Kouta’s wrist. As Chizuru tries to take it off, it causes Kouta great pain. Saku explains that whenever one wears this bracelet, one cannot think of ecchi thoughts and doing so will cause the wearer great pain. So it proves what is on Kouta’s thoughts, huh? Saku continues that he wants Chizuru to be his before leaving. Because of that, Chizuru cannot get close to Kouta. We see Chizuru having some sort of withdrawal syndrome. Yeah, she’s going crazy because she can’t unleash her pervertness on Kouta! Watching from afar just doesn’t quite cut it. That night, Chizuru is bent on removing Kouta’s bracelet by going up against Saku but Tayura disagrees that she will die if she does so. Well, she did mention that she’s already dead like this. I see.
 
The next day, Tayura with the help of Kiriyama and Mio decides to face off with Saku at the shrine (Chizuru being tied up). However, Saku’s power is too big for them to handle. When Chizuru frees herself and rushes to the place, she finds Tayura beaten to a pulp. Chizuru transforms to her fox form and battles Saku. In class, Nozomu notices Kouta’s depression (does it mean he still prefers to be smothered by Chizuru’s horniness?) and tells him that a battle is taking place at the shrine after Nozomu hears Saku’s victory howl from a distance. The duo head there to find the place nearly destroyed and Chizuru beaten up. Kouta goes by her side and even Nozomu seems to be preventing Saku from finishing her. Seeing her pitiful state, the duo kiss to merge. With renewed determination, they easily overpower Saku. Later Saku admits defeat and breaks Kouta’s bracelet. Soon he decides to leave town not after telling Kouta that he’s leaving Nozomu in his hands too. As Saku rides out of town, he meets a young girl and her guardian and reports to them that Kouta’s power is the real thing. Looks like his love for Chizuru was just a ploy to test Kouta’s latent powers.
 
New Year’s Day arrive in episode 6 but it’s not the kind of New Year Kouta wants to start off with. Yeah, Chizuru comes to his place in a sexy kimono to give him her usual seducing. In this episode, it dawned to me that it seems Tayura has a secret crush on Akane! He’s seen trying to prepare what to say to her. And I thought, such relationships between animal spirits were forbidden. Ah well, if her sister can do so, why not him. Back at Kouta’s place, Chizuru takes off her kimono to reveal a swimsuit she is wearing under. Then they play a horny board game created by Chizuru. Whatever spot Kouta lands on, he has to do something perverted to Chizuru. So when poor Kouta decides to skip his turn, Chizuru plays her turn and does the perverted act instead. But they’re interrupted when Nozomu comes by in her kimono. She strips her kimono and she’s better than Chizuru because she’s wearing nothing underneath! Cheater!
 
So as they go visit the shrine, they meet up with their usual classmates too. The usual New Year’s Day rituals like praying (they’re causing a long queue), Nozomu sucking a lollipop so ‘stimulating’ and ‘dirty’, having their fortunes read (too bad Tayura and Kouta got a misfortune about them having trouble with women. How true). Then it also dawned to me that Kiriyama and Mio are a couple! Well, their body actions indicate so. Kouta brings some sweet sake to appease Akane who is wary about Chizuru and her indecentness. However, with that little amount of sake, Akane becomes drunk instantly! She’s talking to the tree! Too bad Tayura can’t get closer to her at this point. Even if he tries to impress her by trying his hands at a shooting stall at the festival run by Ren and Ai, he can never get the gift drunk Akane pointed out she wanted. That’s because sly Ren and Ai is holding it up at the back, making it unable to fall. As the day ends, everyone decides to go to Kouta’s place but Chizuru isn’t pleased because she won’t get to be alone with Kouta.
 
Episode 7 starts off with another one of Chizuru’s disturbing seduction. She has heart-shaped stickers just to cover her nipples! But they are interrupted by a gust of wind created by a ninja girl called Yukihana outside. As they are walking to school, once again Chizuru’s advances are interrupted by Yukihana who shows herself before them. It seems Chizuru knows her. In school, Chizuru has a chat with Yukihana and the latter too doesn’t seem to think well of a relationship between animal spirits and humans. But you know, Chizuru is pretty stubborn on it. Yukihana notes a similar case to Chizuru’s mom. With that, she decides to test Chizuru and creates a heavy storm blizzard at school. The entire school is covered with snow and ice. In no time, all normal humans will freeze to death. As for the other spirit animals like Kumada, they’re hibernating. While the other classmates are trying to warm themselves with a pitiful small stove (Ren and Ai came to show them the meaning of survival. Sometimes being poor has its merits), Kouta, Chizuru, Nozomu and Tayura decides to find Yukihana and put a stop to this. They encounter several snowmen army but Tayura got taken away. As the trio escape from the snowmen, in an empty room, the girls strip naked and decides to warm Kouta’s body up with theirs. How can they think of such things at this time even if Kouta is starting to freeze.
 
Because they have been fooling around so much, I guess Yukihana got tired of waiting for them and appears before them. Nozomu uses herself as a shield when Yukihana turns Nozomu’s body into like of a snowman, and tells the duo to run away. Kouta is starting to grow weak due to the intense cold so outside, Chizuru kisses him to merge their bodies. They unleash the biggest fireball ever towards Yukihana. She acknowledges the tremendous power and strong bond between the duo and concludes that Chizuru has passed the test, surprising her. Yukihana disappears and the snow over school starts melting. As the students look out their window to greet a bright warm day, to their shock, they spot Kouta and naked Chizuru outside! They must be thinking what on Earth were they doing during the blizzard.
 
Chizuru and her friends are invited to a hotspring inn in episode 8. But Chizuru isn’t particularly happy because this inn is run by her mom, Tamamo, and Yukihana is her assistant. Now we know where Chizuru gets her bustiness. It’s in their genes. Plus, I’m not sure if she has something to do with Naruto because Tamamo is a nine-tailed fox spirit. The reason she invited them to her inn is for compensation for the blizzard caused at their school. As Kouta is soaking in the hotspring, Tamamo comes by to flirt with Kouta. Yeah, now we also know where Chizuru inherited her horniness. Yeah, she tries to wash his back and Chizuru is quite pissed off seeing that her mom is trying to get ahead of her and do something perverted and tries to break through. However, Tamamo has placed quite a strong barrier. Kouta finds out that Tamamo isn’t Chizuru’s real mom but she took Chizuru and Tayura in hundreds of years ago and treated them as their children. Before Tamamo could do anything perverted, Chizuru’s jealousy manages to break through the barrier. Tamamo’s boobs are another case whereby it defies science but in comparison to Chizuru, of course the former wins much more. Because of the mother-daughter argument, Kouta passes out after seeing too much fanservice between them. Meanwhile Tayura is climbing to a higher place to peep at the other girls but when he finally reaches the top, the girls are done and are on their way back down.
 
During dinner, Tamamo has laced a drink with some horny potion. Though there won’t be any effect on the animal spirits, a little dose can have a great impact on humans. They will fall in love with the first person they see. Chizuru who was being tied up by Tamamo earlier on, breaks free and to her horror finds out that Kouta has become all lovey-dovey with Nozomu. Tayura tries to do the same to Akane, but that girl is in love with the sake bottle instead. So close. As for Yuuki and Kiriko, they may seem like wanting to do something yuri to each other, but it turns out that they just feed each other. Plus, there is no cure and they will need to wait for the effects to wear out. Chizuru tries desperately to get Kouta and tries her usual seductive tactics but it didn’t work. Yeah, Kouta saying how she’s in their way. Poor Chizuru falling into despair. Then at a private place just before Kouta could do anything perverted on Nozomu, the effects wear off and Kouta regains his senses. Later he finds Chizuru crying alone but upon finding out that he has returned to normal, she hugs him. The next day, the gang leaves and though Tamamo tells Kouta that he will leave Chizuru in his hands, she indicates that she may take a liking for Kouta. Yeah, looks like this was another test.
 
Remember that girl and her guardian we see Saku talking to several episodes back? In episode 9, that girl Minori Mitama and her guardian Nue (no dialogues from her in this series), is watching Chizuru flirting with Kouta as usual from afar. Things indicate that Minori may be Kouta’s little sister. Since she wants to save her brother from that seducing witch, she enlists the help of Ren and Ai. It is revealed that they are also ghost hunters. Though the twins are reluctant to take the job upon finding out their target is Chizuru, I guess money can buy over them easily. I mean, a suitcase worth of money is enough to buy them lots of good food, right? If you’re thinking that they are going to be some effective in their job, think again. Due to several blunders, they’re somewhat incompetent. Like as they’re hanging upside down on a tree watching Chizuru making her move on Kouta in a room, they decide to throw a bomb at her. When Chizuru notices somebody watching them, she throws a table. Though the twins manage to avoid it but banged their heads, causing them to fall and the bomb explode in their hands. Then in class, the twins distracted Chizuru to put some potion in her drink. After drinking it, Chizuru feels a little unwell. Then in the infirmary to her horror, her boobs are gone! You heard me right! Chizuru is a flat chest now! She’s so sad that she decided to hang herself because she can’t go on living without her boobs! Hahaha!
 
So that night, Chizuru enlists the help of her Kouta, Nozomu and Tayura to help get her boobs back. Chizuru sends Tayura off on a world trotting adventure to get several rare herbs or animal parts that will bring her boobs back. Nozomu then suggests that Kouta massage Chizuru’s chest in order to make it grow back. This is such an ecchi part. Uh huh. Since Chizuru has no more boobs, even Kouta finds it hard on where to start! So when he does a little poking, Nozomu takes a measurement and it seems it has grown by 0.1cm! Well, at least there’s progress. Then Chizuru came out with an idea that if a girl is stimulated or gets excited in a pervert way, there is a chance her boobs will grow. What kind of a sick theory is that? I think it’s part of Chizuru’s ploy to get intimate with Kouta. And why is Nozomu helping her? Well, if she wants to beat her, she prefers to do it on a fair and square manner and not when her enemy is down. How noble. The next few scenes are a little horny and ‘stimulating’ because Nozomu seems to be inviting Kouta to lick Chizuru’s butt! Too much butt-in-your-face moments! Finally I suppose Kouta gives in and starts licking and psycho himself that he is licking some sweet cake candy. Ren and Ai are watching from outside and are embarrassed to see what is happening (feeling itchy down there too?). With that, they drop the bomb and once again exploded it upon themselves. At the same time, Minori and Nue prepare to put their plan in motion.
 
Kouta continues massaging Chizuru’s chests in episode 10 as we see Tayura making his great escape from several dangerous places in the world. Ren and Ai continues with their bomb plan. This time using a TNT from a safe distance. Upon pushing down the lever, it didn’t blow up so they approach the bomb to check if there’s anything wrong with it. As expected, it blows up then. Tayura finally returns from his globe adventure but instead of getting a warm welcome from Akane, she reprimands him for missing class. Tayura’s misery continues when Chizuru forces Tayura to cook and boil all those stuff for her. After all that he has gone through? No heart at all. Meanwhile Ren and Ai reports back to Minori about their failure and wish to be given a second chance. After more massaging, Chizuru is horrified that there isn’t any progress at all. On their way home, the gang spots the twins (who are spying on them) and decides to treat them for a meal. Since they have never eaten such a good meal before or even been to such a cafe, they felt bad about making Chizuru drink the potion. That night, the twins confronted Minori and wish to be relieved of their duties. With that, Nue zaps them unconscious as Minori tells them that even though she knew they were incompetent, their mission was already over when they gave Chizuru drink the potion.
 
The next day, Minori summons several monsters to descend upon Kunpou High School. Sensing great danger, the animal spirits of the school put all humans to sleep as they prepare to protect the school. The barrier protecting the school soon breaks and the monsters start attacking. Yatsuka, Kumada, Kiriyama and the other animal spirits lead the defence. Soon Minori sends Nue to get Kouta. It seems Nue is a mix of several animal parts like raven wings and snake as her tail. She manages to easily do away with Kiriyama and even pound the strong Kumada. Of course Chizuru’s advances on Kouta once again have to stop after hearing all that ruckus. Nue manages to find Kouta but Tayura and Nozomu faces off with Nue to buy them some time even if they know they aren’t able to defeat her. Nue soon closes in on them. Because Chizuru is slightly weakened (I’m thinking does she draw her powers from her boobs?), they cannot merge as they did. But Kouta’s strong will to protect Chizuru, he starts glowing from his chest and he starts to transform and power up! He merges with Chizuru and his powers are equal to Nue’s. Kouta’s immense power destroys the other monsters below and Minori notes how she didn’t expect her brother’s power to awaken here and tells Nue to retreat and that she will come back for him another day. When Kouta awakens, he finds a naked Chizuru by his side and that her huge boobs and powers are back, though he doesn’t remember much that has happened. With that, Chizuru decides to flirt Kouta with her boobs and since Kouta thinks for once it’s okay to congratulate her for returning to her usual self, he shyly tells her to spoil him, in which she gladly obliges by putting his face in her boobs.
 
After all that little suspense, it’s back to more fanservice again in episode 11 and you can’t have an ecchi series complete without a beach episode. That’s right. Chizuru and her usual pals head to the sunny sands of the beach for some fun and relaxation. Another disturbing eye opener is when the girls changed into their swimming outfits. Now, Nozomu’s swimming outfit is just putting band aids covering the necessary areas! WTF?! Definitely a fashion crime! Is this what future swimsuits will evolve into?! When they are done, they smell something good to eat and following their noses leads them to a beach restaurant. To their surprise, it seems Tamamo and Yukihana are operating it! I guess for survival in business, they need to have a branch elsewhere too. Chizuru must be in dismay that her mom is here to ruin her plans. As Kouta suggest to have lunch there since they’re already here, the food somewhat doesn’t taste as delicious back at the hotspring inn. Tamamo teases Kouta to feed her, much to Chizuru’s jealousy. Yeah, she’s all over him too. Because Chizuru is acting like a spoilt brat, Tamamo then asks Kouta to feed her as well, making Chizuru quite happy.
 
Later Chizuru wants Kouta to apply sun lotion on her when Nozomu comes by to do the same. Yeah, it may look like a 3 person orgy at first, the way they scrub each other body to body. Tayura tries to do the same for Akane but gets whacked instead. Since Chizuru has got sun lotion over her, she decides to take a shower to wash it off. Then she bumps into Tamamo who asks her about her relationship with Kouta, causing her to fluster a little. Their conversation is cut short when the heard cries for help from Akane. It seems she is alone riding on a raft at sea and the waves got to violent. Unfortunately, Kouta can’t swim so he can’t go save her. Which means it’s all up to Tayura as he dives in without hesitation. Akane comes to on the beach with Yuuki and Kiriko telling her how Tayura saved her. She remembers how scared she was clinging on to Tayura. She then goes to thank him. Finally Tayura scores with her. That night, as Chizuru and Kouta walk alone on the beach, she asks him about his feelings for her, taking him by surprise.
 
Back to school in episode 12. On the way to class, Kouta is thinking of letting Chizuru meet his grandpa and Chizuru thinks she’s part of the family already. Of course a flashback on the previous episode whereby Kouta didn’t manage to give her an answer because Tayura called on them to watch the fireworks. Yeah, Chizuru wasn’t too happy about spoiling the mood and threw a giant rock on him. Though Chizuru knew Kouta’s answer, she still wanted him to say it out loud. Even so, Kouta still avoids answering that question as he rushes to school. In class, the gang are surprised to find that Akane is going out on a date with Tayura but that girl says it’s just her way of saying thank you :). I don’t know why but Ren and Ai have their hairstyles being made by Yuuki and Kiriko. At school, happy Chizuru tries to seduce Kouta in order to get him say those words. She is even unfazed when she passes by Yatsuka. In an empty room, seduction time begins when Nozomu comes in because she smelled some erotic aroma. Even the next day, Chizuru is interrupted when Ren and Ai comes hugging Chizuru and wants to call her mom! That grateful, huh? Upset Chizuru storms off but gets pissed off upon seeing Kiriyama and Mio being lovey-dovey with each other. None of your business! Back home, Chizuru could guess from Tayura’s body language that he is going to confess to Akane. Next day at school, Tayura seems to be embarrassing himself with some football goal victory dance because he was too happy daydreaming about his confession.
 
Because Kouta still couldn’t bring himself to say those words, it’s like an awkward atmosphere between them. But the next day, Chizuru becomes desperate for Kouta’s answer and forces herself on him. To her surprise, Kouta says how he doesn’t want to do it with her, which causes Chizuru to run away in tears. He couldn’t find Chizuru anywhere in school and in class he is spacing out and not paying attention. Sahara notices Kouta’s behaviour and makes up and excuse that he may be a little sick and excuses him from class. With that, Kouta goes to search for Chizuru and finds her on the bridge where they first met. Finally he confesses that he loves her, making Chizuru back to her happy self again. Just like the first time they met, it is drizzling a light shower on a sunny day and Chizuru says how such phenomenon is also called "A Fox’s Wedding". So are we going to see Kouta finally doing it with Chizuru? Well, alone in a classroom, Nozomu appears out of nowhere to hug Kouta. She says that since Chizuru is Kouta’s lover, Nozomu herself will be Kouta’s mistress! And since it turned out like that, I guess Chizuru is okay with it. I mean a lover and a mistress are 2 totally different levels and meaning even if they are after his affections. The ending credits show the characters as they go on with their lives. Like Saku who is still riding his bike, Kiriyama and Mio continue to be a couple, Kumada is in total despair because the share market tumbled (ironically, a bearish market means down, right?), Akane and Tayura going out together to an art exhibit but that poor guy got whacked when he tries to get closer to her.
 
After watching too many ecchi and fanservice moments, it kinda feels a little mind-numbing. Yeah, I won’t say that this would be one of my favourite animes as I felt at the end it was just okay, if not mediocre. I mean, though the show has its funny moments, I read that even with all the ecchi stuff, many people felt like this anime was a total bore and sucked big time right from the start. To be honest, I initially liked the earlier parts when Chizuru was all over flirting and seducing Kouta. Of course too much of anything is bad for health and I felt it went downhill in the middle. For those who still can’t get enough of the horniness, there is the visual novel which the series is based on, a videogame (yikes!), and a drama CD.
 
No doubt it got interesting with Minori and Nue’s presence but I felt that it wasn’t sufficient. Besides, Minori didn’t even come face to face with Kouta nor Chizuru. So if there is a second season, perhaps they will explain more of this mysterious little girl and her relationship with Kouta. It got me thinking is Kouta some sort of a spirit to? And what is this hidden super powers of his? Also, at first I thought it’s going to be a heated battle for Chizuru with Nozomu’s arrival but along the way, that fizzled out and Nozomu became somewhat a passive fighter for Kouta’s love. So it’s pretty much Chizuru and Kouta anyway. I kinda noticed that Chizuru always seem to get tied up and locked away in some place and then cut herself loose. It shows you can’t keep this girl down with just strings. It was nice too seeing that Tayura finally made some headway with Akane, though it’s going to be a long winding road. As for the other characters, their presence doesn’t seem to make an impact. Like Kumada who’s always facing his PC and even his most prominent battle against Nue was a very short one. What about Kiriyama and Mio? Nothing much about them too. Just like Yatsuka. Intimidating presence, but nothing much ado. And that Saku guy’s role just pretty much ended after testing Kouta and Chizuru. Feels like a one-episoder guy. Though Ren and Ai’s weird behaviour may be amusing, but that’s so much about them. So I could say that the character development here isn’t much and probably sucked. Besides, it’s like a trade-off. You can’t have every minute of fanservice and at the same time some character and story development.
 
Hmm… I think I have a theory how the name of this anime title came about. I think Kanokon is derived from the abbreviated words of kanojo complex (girlfriend complex). Erm… I don’t think Kouta’s character would suggest anything close to it. Yeah, Chizuru is the one who is having that obsessed boyfriend complex.
 
The drawing, art and animation seems to border between bishoujo and cute. I mean, most of the characters have a pink blush on their cheeks so much so it reminded me of the kind of art in the anime series Manabi Straight. In addition, sometimes in a different light, I could see the character’s face (especially Chizuru) giving off a faint reddish-kind of light. Is it my PC graphics card or what? Other than that, I could say that the sceneries are quite well done but it’s not as spectacular so much so as to take your breath away. The name of each episode’s title sounds like a horny question like episode 1’s "Doing It For The First Time?", episode 6’s "Can I Please Do It?", episode 11’s "I’m getting wet already?", and episode 12’s "Can We Finally Do it?".
 
At first, hearing Mamiko Noto voicing Kouta seems unsuitable at first because at times Kouta really does sound like a girl. But of course I got used to it. Ayako Kawasumi’s impression of horny Chizuru suits her just fine. The other casts include newbie seiyuu Miyuu Takeuchi as Nozomu, Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Tayura (Chikusa in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, Leo in Tsuyokiss), Chiwa Saito as Akane (Kirie in Girls Bravo – as opposed to her role in this series, her character is still a tough girl but not so violent as the one in Girls Bravo), Ui Miyazaki as Kiriko (Aisia in Da Capo Second Season), Takashi Kondo as Kiriyama (Hibari in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn) and Kumiko Nishihara as Minori (Iris in Sakura Taisen). The rest of the cast either didn’t have a long resume of character roles or either they voice anime characters which I didn’t watch ;P.
 
It’s a good thing that in real life there is no such over-sexed over-horny kind of girl (maybe there are, but I wouldn’t know about it). What more a fox spirit. Sometimes you’ve got to really admire Chizuru’s brazen and unshamed adult lines. Not for anyone’s ears. Love can sometimes be such a dirty word. I really don’t wish to have a girlfriend like that. So Kouta, good luck to you. It must be getting tough seeing that 1 babe is hard to handle, he has another one to deal with. Ah, just like Shungo’s case in Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun. But Kouta’s got it much worse since he can’t fight nor defend himself unless when in dire situations. But it’s better to be stuck in between 2 gorgeous loving ladies rather than in between a rock and a hard place. I wonder if this show will be the benchmark for future morally declining standards.
 

Kanokon

What a bloody fine gory mess. How many animes do we know could make a hilarious combination of blood and comedy? As far as I am concern, Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan does it in its own bloody way and they have came out with a sequel called Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan Second. Yeah. Which means more blood and more gore, all in the name of comedy and laughter.
 
Initially, I thought this year 2007 OVA sequel had 4 episodes just like its previous season. So I actually waited patiently for all the episodes to come out first before watching. Well, only half of it came out so I wonder if the production for the remaining episodes has been stopped. Then I found out that there were actually only 2 OVA episodes. Since each story is only about 15 minutes long, which means 2 stories per episode, that makes up to 4 episodes, right? Yeah, silly me.
 
So a short recap of what this story is about. It’s about this guy named Sakura who created eternal youth thingy which makes girls to stop aging once they reach a certain age in the future. So God didn’t like it very much and sends 1 of his angels, Dokuro, back to the past to kill him. However, Dokuro thinks that she can persuade Sakura to change his mind without killing him. The ironic part is that why God is sending his angel to a job which He could easily do. Ironic, isn’t it? Second thing is, the temperament Dokuro seems to kill Sakura each time over tiny little things but she is able to revive him with the same weapon she bludgeons him, the thorny club named Excaliborg. Very ironic, isn’t it?
 
Thus in the previous season, we see that Sakura has come to terms with living with his bloody hell life with Dokuro. Uh huh. I remember in each of the episodes, he at least would die once and we could see blood gushing out and sometimes his internal organs splattering out. Disgusting but hilarious. It leaves a one-kind feeling in your gut. Sometimes I’m not sure if it is that pain in the stomach for laughing too much or the feeling of wanting to hurl. So what is in store in this season for poor Sakura this season? Well, you can count on more bloody deaths, that’s for sure.
 
Episode 1
This episode starts off with Sakura getting his usual pain from Dokuro. She bumps into him. It seems that they have a sketch outing for today’s class. We also see Dokuro’s sister, Zakuro, now living with them and she no longer has that tough attitude. Uh huh. Looks like she has become a shy and gentle character. What happened to her? Did that Korean trip in the previous episode changed her? Anyway on their way to school, Dokuro misinterprets Sakura of having his sketching utensils as something ecchi and kills him in her fit. Ah, that’s death number one for you. With her trademark "Pipiru piru piru pipiru pi" revival line, Sakura returns to his good old self. Though Sakura continues to explain but it seems Dokuro still misinterprets it and throws her Excaliborg at him. What a bright sunny bloody day.
 
As the class meet at the woods, I’m not sure why but the teacher seems to be appointing Sakura for something which he is very reluctant to do so. Something to do with Thursday (hey, that monkey head class rep is still there! Remember Dokuro turned him into a real picture of a monkey head back in the 1st season). Because of that, Sakura is ruing his fate as he heads to his drawing spot with Dokuro. It seems Sakura has a ploy to draw together with the girl he has a crush on, Shizuki. Yeah, Sakura seems to have that perverted looks on his face. So that guy still harbours some love for her. Then as they watch the magnificent waterfalls called The Fall Of The White Crows, Sakura gets a nasty idea of pushing Dokuro over the waterfall to scare her and then make up. But when he does so, he passes through her body before realizing that this was just a hologram image and the real Dokuro is standing on a tree branch. It’s a long way doooooown.
 
After resurfacing and catching his breath on the river bank, he spots Shizuki and puts his plans into action. But it’s not going to be just 2 of them because Dokuro and their other classmate, Minami (looks and sound ominous), joins them. As they sketch the scenery, Dokuro is drawing a side profile of Sakura and well, her drawing seems to look like a real time celebrity. Then as they take a lunch break, Dokuro shows Sakura how she has made a meat stick in Sakura’s image and violently eats it. Sakura then realizes he lost his lunch when he fell down the waterfall. Though Shizuki offers him hers, Dokuro too offers him a Binkan Salary Man Sausage. Yeah, it comes with its own theme song! Now ‘binkan’ in Japanese means sensitive so when Sakura eats it, he experiences painful allergic reactions. Almost killing him. Here’s another way to die. The gang continues to sketch and Sakura is horrified to find out that Dokuro’s painting of the scenery has lots of people dying in a blood-filled river! So is this how the scenery looks like in the eyes of an angel?! Then they look at Sakura’s one. But since it wasn’t shown what he had drawn, Dokuro started crying. Must be that beautiful or sad.
 
Shizuki decides to go change the water in the pail and Sakura takes this opportunity to approach her to ask her out by giving her tickets to some exhibit this Sunday. Then it turned out that she’s actually Minami! How on Earth did she have the same hair style as Shizuki? Dokuro then comes by looking for him and spots the duo. Just then, Minami rush behind Dokuro and tells her this is what he told her: "I want to lick the plastic of that student cap you wore during 6th grade of your elementary years". She totally twisted everything! Why oh why! I think she loves seeing Dokuro kill Sakura. Yeah, that’s what that poor chap got. As Minami runs away, an upset Dokuro throws Excaliborg and sends Sakura flying through the woods and into the waterfall. Yeah, he re-coloured the waterfall into blood-soaked colour. Yeah, there are even 2 rainbows! Phenomenal. As we see Shizuki washing her pail at another area, we see Sakura’s lunch has drifted ashore to Sabato’s place. Remember that homeless angel who is living in a card box near a river bank. She looks so dirty and messy. She quickly eats the food but experiences allergic reactions (yeah, it’s that Binkan Salary Man Sausage) and wild hallucinations. Another poor sad soul destined to continue suffer.
 
Episode 2
Sakura tells Dokuro to go take a bath before his parents come home. Later Sakura goes to check on Dokuro and Zakuro in the bathroom only to find the place covered in ice! It’s like a dark frozen cave! He spots the angels hugging themselves in fear (and also cold) as Zakuro says it’s her fault that it ended up like this. It seems they were reading an encyclopaedia of Japanese demons and they became afraid to know of one called Waremehime. The kind of demon who lives in little hole gaps or cracks in the wall and if anyone stares through it, the demon will pull the victim inside which will ultimately lead to death! Scary. Ironic that the angels are scared of such demons. Sakura plays a naughty prank on them by saying that the Waremehime is behind them. The duo then took out their fear in a combo wrestling match and killed Sakura, before Dokuro revives him.
 
Dokuro and Zakuro are still scared to take a bath as Sakura suggests for them to take a bath together. Then Dokuro suggests that Sakura too has to bath with them, he tries to decline but I guess the temptation to bath with 2 busty angels is too great. And Sakura thinks he has no power of winning over angel’s persuasion but I think it is his inner pervertness which gave in. So the angels soon come in with their skimpy bikini and you can tell that Sakura is having an eyeful of them. Uh huh. It’s all written over his face. Hard to control himself, isn’t it? That bloody pervert. You can see a metaphor of his happiness as several chibi versions of him go wild and bravo. Well, I don’t know if Dokuro seems to want Sakura to get intimate with her because of her shy shy behaviour. She gets a little ‘stimulated’ (the shy way) when Sakura tightens her top bikini strap. Soon the 2 ladies give Sakura a wash with Dokuro handling the front and Zakuro the back. Let’s just say it’s too much for him and that it sucked the life force out of him. Yeah, when Dokuro accidentally slipped because it was slippery, she gave Sakura a ‘full body-to-body’ scrub. Must be the best thing which has ever happened to him.
 
Then when Sakura scrubs Dokuro’s hair and mentions about how he usually scratch the centre of an itchy point, Dokuro starts to blush. Sometimes I don’t know what that angel is thinking. Surprisingly, she didn’t kill him. Then when it’s Dokuro’s turn to scrub his head, she scrubbed too hard until it tear the skin of his head! A bloodbath, literally. Then the trio got into the tiny bathtub and as expected, they got stuck. Then the angels spot a crack in the wall and their fear of Waremehime comes rushing in. Yeah, the atmosphere suddenly gets cold. Then they heard something knocking on the window and Sakura fears it may be that pervert-flasher-exhibitionist punk angel Zansu. He splashes a pail of water out but only to find Sabato. The reason she is here is to return a racquet to Dokuro, which they played a game earlier on in the day and Dokuro forgot to take it back.
 
Because Sabato started sneezing, Sakura invites her to join them in a bath. Though she is reluctant, looks like her body action is otherwise. Uh huh. She climbs from the window and into the bathtub. If 3 people are already in a tight spot, imagine 4. Real tight spot. Can’t even move. As they struggle to get out, I don’t know if it’s true or not because the angels are saying how Sakura is touching their sensitive part and well it looks like Zakuro is going to… I’ll leave that to your imagination. Of course he denies doing anything. Then, Zakuro got an idea by saying how Dokuro should use her weapon and turn Sakura into little versions of him so that they could get out. Zakuro soon apologize for saying such things but you know, that twinkle in Dokuro’s eyes means it’s another painful moment for Sakura. Another bloodbath. Sabato returns to her card box home and is lying in cold covered with old newspapers still snotting. Yeah, she’s lamenting her fate and wonders when her mom will bring her back to her warm home. Too bad girl. Nobody is going to take pity on you.
 
Episode 3
Sakura is having a nice warm bath but his nice day is about to be ruined when Dokuro drags him out, banging from corridor to corridor, just to watch some postcard joke she sent, which is being read out on TV. Yeah, Sakura is only clad in a towel. By the time they reached the TV, it has already passed and Dokuro blames him for being slow. Dokuro then realizes that he is naked, gets embarrassed and kills him. After being revived, Sakura spots Zakuro watching afar and tries to tell her that this is a misunderstanding. He enters the room only to be instantly pinned down by another angel woman. She is Babel, Sabato’s mom and the chairwoman of the Assembly Of Divine Martial Law AKA Rultea. The reason she is here is to take Sabato back to the future. Thus she wants Sabato to say goodbye properly to them. During the discussion, Sakura requested that he put on some clothes but Babel says that it is unnecessary. Yeah, still naked.
 
However Sabato is reluctant because she still wants to stay here. And I thought she always wanted to go home because of her pitiful conditions. Her strict mother decides to imprison her in a Sealed Prison Sanctuary called Lurnelg because she refuses to listen to her. The dark ominous portal starts to suck Sabato inside when Sakura grabs onto her, followed by Dokuro and Zakuro, who then grabbed Babel into it. Oh great. Now they’re all sucked inside. The gang awakens inside a dark walled place inside Lurnelg and Babel mentions how she can only open it from the outside and not the inside. However she continues that there has been a legend which says of only 1 angel which managed to escape from Lurnelg, which means there must be a way out from the inside.
 
Then they spot several levers on the wall with symbols and common sense would tell that those symbols indicate what kind of trap it would unleash when it is pulled down. Dokuro seems to want to have her fun of pulling the levers down as Sakura tries to tell her to use caution. Because of that, Dokuro use her sexy charm by saying "Sakura, won’t you let me touch this erect, rigid, hard thing even though I want it so much" (note her finger caressing movements on the lever!). Yeah, remember Sakura is still only clad in a towel so I suppose he has to give in. So the traps unleash included the ceiling coming down and water filling the room. Sakura manages to restore things to normal by pushing the lever back up. Then there’s one symbol which resembles a sticky sea anemone and when Dokuro pulled the lever, yeah, it’s like some tentacles grab Sakura and you know, like what you see in all those hentai and ecchi shows. Sakura is wondering why he as a guy is getting it. "Don’t put that there!". As far as I’m concern, he’s the first guy who gets it! All the while it has been girls and only girls. Is he bad luck or what. Must be feeling very violated.
 
Finally a lever which may indicate a giant iron ball. A whole appears in the wall as the angels go into defensive mode. Surprisingly, just a tiny ball bearing dropped in. Nothing threatening, really. Then they heard the voice of Zansu and he is amused to see the Lurnelg. Sakura requests him to get them out and we see the side wall slowly opening with Zansu making his grand entrance. Oh the saviour has cometh. But the wall behind shuts instantly and now they’re all back to square one. All the angels take their frustration out by beating that punk angel up. Sakura then thinks if Zansu’s voice could reach them, there must be a connection to the outside world. Zakuro uses her Angel Eye to scan but the opening in the wall is too small. Then Zakuro once again blab about how Dokuro should smash Sakura into pieces and revive him outside before apologizing for saying such words. Yeah, Dokuro must be relishing this chance. Babel holds Sakura down as Dokuro prepares to smash him but Sabato tries to stop Dokuro when she accidentally hit Sabato’s halo, causing it to fly through the small gap. With that, it’s like Sabato is experiencing some super pain as she transforms into some undead (reminds me of that part in Total Recall). Now we know why angels have a halo on their heads. To make them look good and keep their sanity. Okay, maybe the last one isn’t so accurate since most of them here have a screw loose in their head.
 
Sakura then notices 1 more lever and pulls it down but a hole below appears as he and Dokuro fell through. Now that guy has lost his towel and is hanging on dearly for his naked life. Then the ambiguous part is when Dokuro climbs up face-to-face with Sakura and says how she’ll let him do anything on him. The camera focus is on Sakura’s butt while Dokuro has wrapped her legs around him and that movement is so ambiguous! Probably because of that ‘shock’, Sakura starts to lose his grip but luckily Zakuro uses her towel to catch and pull them back up. As Sabato is still in pain, Zansu wakes up and tells the gang that he has the keys to get out from Lurnelg. He receives another round of beating. After everyone gets out, Babel notes that Zansu was the legendary angel who escaped from Lurnelg. Sakura tells Babel how Sabato is an important friend and that he’ll somehow help with her training and pleads for her to let Sabato stay. Hey, Sakura is still naked. Anyway Babel agrees. So when Sabato returns to her card box home, she is in despair she has found out that she had earlier recycled it after she learned that she was returning to her future. Now she has to start making a new one. Poor girl. It could’ve been better if she had returned.
 
Episode 4
Sakura is seen rehearsing some lines for Valentine’s Day alone in the toilet cubicle in order what to say to Shizuki. Suddenly Excaliborg breaks through the door killing him. Okay, at least rip off his arm. His blood is still gushing out! The whole toilet will be covered in blood is she doesn’t Pipiru him. Soon after, Dokuro shyly asks Sakura what day it is today and the latter is thinking whether it’s her vaccination day. So after slapping him in a shy way, Dokuro presents him 1/10 scale of Sakura chocolates. He thinks eating it would be like cannibalism so Dokuro tries to force feed him. He dodges and the chocolate breaks. Just like in horror movies, the chocolate starts to reassemble itself and climbs its way into Sakura’s mouth!
 
The chocolates must taste real bad or they did something to his stomach because Sakura awakens to find himself lying in the infirmary. He gets more shocked to see Dokuro semi-naked sleeping next to him. However he is having a violent body allergic reaction (partly because I think it’s Dokuro’s sexy pose and well, ambiguous other ecchi stuff). He finds out that Dokuro has put Hard Core Binkan Salary Man Sausage into the chocolate. It’s that ooooh theme song again! Dokuro tries to warm him up seeing that he’s still in pain but the silhouettes on the curtains indicate that all of their classmates may be watching them! Sakura tries to cover up Dokuro but when the curtain is opened, his classmates find him in an awkward position and thinks he may be doing something ecchi. They all walk away pretending that they didn’t see anything although Sakura tries to explain the truth. Well, I guess they decide to leave him to what ever kinky stuff he’s doing. Sakura then spots Dokuro communicating with Zansu through some hologram thingy when Sakura conceals Dokuro with a blanket and snatches away that hologram thing. He wants Zansu to do him a favour.
 
Back home, Zansu is seen waiting for them and Sakura jabs his head with something sharp, causing lots of blood gushing out, when Zansu almost exposed to Zakuro that his body is over sensitive. It seems that part of Zansu’s plan to heal Sakura, he needs 2 angels, the reason why he wants them to tag along. I’m not sure of this Japanese folklore but Zansu has Sakura play a part of a man called Tarou Urashima. Then he blabs on the theory how angels will help him cure his sensitivity. Not that I understand. So part of this ritual is to perform this Tarou Urashima thing. Dokuro is seen in a penguin suit while Zakuro in a sexy mermaid outfit. So the loose story goes something like this. This Tarou guy is going to kill himself by jumping of a cliff when the penguin comes rescuing him. Anyway they both plunged down the cliff. he finds himself in some palace place which looks like a red light district and mermaid Zakuro wants to show her gratitude for saving the penguin. Zakuro is breathing so hard while Sakura is trying hard to control himself. Anyway, he has to open 2 chests (the box lah!), a big or small one. Since there’s something weird in the big one and a voice sounding so much like Dokuro, I guess it’s natural for Sakura to choose the smaller one. Yeah, she might screw things up.
 
Before he can open the small box, Zakuro stops him by saying that if he do that, they’ll be separated and she doesn’t want that to happen. But Sakura needs it badly and after opening the box, a smoke of powder fills the room. When Sakura open his eyes, he finds that he is back to normal and his over-sensitiveness is gone. As he thanks Zansu, he finds out that he has lots of sexy pics of an unsuspecting Zakuro in the mermaid outfit and realizes that this play is part of his ploy. Yeah, so this is the angelic view during that theoretical blabbing earlier on. Sakura is mad and is pulling Zansu’s hair. Suddenly it came off and Zansu is afraid that his soul has been taken away. Uh huh. He starts flying helter-skelter in the air like as though a balloon is loosing its air. The next morning, Sakura finds that Dokuro and Zakuro are making Valentine chocolates and is horrified to see Dokuro trying to put the Hard Core Binkan Sausage into it. As she throws the sausage into the pot, Sakura tries to intercept it but he swallowed the whole thing. Over-sensitiveness back again. Because Sakura is making such a noisy fuss about stopping his body outside his house, Dokuro whacks him with Excaliborg. Ouch. Pipiru piru piru pipiru pi! Yeah, Zansu is till flying around in the sky.
 
Death is such a vicious cycle
Ah, Sakura’s life has indeed turned out to be a bloody fine mess. Still experiencing the same bloody pain all over and over again. I think at this rate, he will never get to invent that so called anti-aging thingy. Not with Dokuro staying by his side. So technically, nothing seems to change since the first episode, right? How many characters do we know has died and then resurrected back to live many times, over and over again. Yeah, it’s like Sakura would seem to live forever. Now he wouldn’t need to invent the anti-aging device if it keeps on going this way, right?
 
Initially I thought the 4th episode was going to end something with Sabato since the initial 3 episodes did end that way. And I was hoping that there would be something more concrete between Sakura and Shizuki but I guess you can’t do much with only that little episodes and besides, the focus was more on Sakura and his numbered days (ironically) with Dokuro. As for Dokuro, she gives a whole new perspective to the word tsundere and I guess nobody in their right mind would want to have such an angel sent from the future or Heaven. Makes you think whether she’s a real angel or not. Why, she could actually be a devil in disguise! I know it’s hard to hate her when she’s looking so cute. As for Zakuro, I’m still wondering how she turned out into a shy girl. And man, Zansu is still the pervert he is. Is that allowed in Heaven? So really, are they really angels at all?
 
Though the second season maintains the same opening theme which is the same name as the title of this series, as the previous, however the chorus has added a few more new bloody lines for Dokuro to show her ‘eternal love’ to Sakura such as to accuse, to choke, to destroy and such. Love can be really such a pain. Yeah, Sakura now has become a skeleton at the end of the opening animation credits. Nevertheless, the song still maintains its overall naughty and upbeatness. Meanwhile the ending theme Bokusatsu Ondo De Dokuro-chan sounds more like a festival song with the characters walking and dancing in line. As usual in the end, Sakura gets a bloody bludgeon. It always ends this way.
 
Even if there is a sequel, we all know what to expect to Sakura. Another bloodshed for him. He should go for a blood donation drive seeing that he’s gushing them out on a frequent basis. I don’t mean to sound like a bloody sadist but I find it real funny everytime Sakura dies and sometimes even looking forward for Dokuro to creatively use her Excaliborg on him! Thankfully I didn’t turn into a bloodthirsty sadist. Is this the kind of nonsensical bloody entertainment that we want our kids to watch? Hey, I noticed I have been saying the word bloody several times. Well yeah, this is one hell of a bloody series alright.
 
Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan

ef ~A Tale Of Memories~

March 21, 2009

The main reason why I’m watching this 2007 anime series, ef ~A Tale Of Memories~ was because I read that there is a sequel of this series which has been released back in October 2008. So before going on to watching the sequel, I figure out that it would be best for me to watch the prequel first. Common sense, right? I mean, if the sequel does have any continuation from the prequel. So better play safe first.
 
Having say that, is the storyline exciting and interesting? At first it seems so to me. In this 12 episode series, there are 2 different but almost similar stories running concurrently. However, even after finish watching the series, I still couldn’t get the big picture. Is it that confusing? Well, let’s not blame anybody else and say that I’m not that intelligent of a guy. I mean, I could still understand what the story is about if I don’t do any further analytical thinking and just accept what it is.
 
The theme of this series, I believe is about memories (just as indicated in its title) and probably existence. Even though I was hoping for some something supernatural in the end, I’m left to conclude that it’s more of a psychological romance drama. Yes, there are some supernatural elements but it isn’t that obvious, just like the comedy aspect. It isn’t the main driving force of the series.
 
Based on the adult visual novel which is later adapted into an adult dating simulation PC game entitled ef ~ A Fairytale Of The Two~, I later found out that the game is split into 2 parts but I’m not going to divulge myself in the game since I have not played it. Only just watched the anime. The prologue which I watched prior before watching the series proper was intriguing enough and I particularly like the dramatic background music. So it’s set, I have got to watch and find out more about what this series is about.
 
I find the first episode a little hard to understand mainly because well, that’s where everything is introduced, right? The characters, the setting. A little confusing and it felt like this anime was playing mind games with my poor memory. Hey, that’s the theme of the series. Anyway, as mentioned that there are 2 stories running concurrently, the episode begins with a boy named Renji Asou who is wandering at an abandoned train station only to meet a girl with an eye patch, Chihiro Shindou, who is reading a little diary of hers. Is she waiting for a train that will never come? No she isn’t. Just bidding her time. We shift to the other story which involves a student who is a shoujo mangaka wannabe, Hiro Hirono, having trouble with his work. Writer’s block perhaps. He gets an SMS from his sister (not blood related, by the way), Kei Shindou, about spending Christmas together before leaving his room.
 
Meanwhile in town, Kyousuke Tsutsumi spots the prettiest girl zooming past him (Kei, that is) and starts whipping out his handycam to capture that beauty. Note, that he’s from his school’s movie club and not because he’s a big time pervert. But I guess even if he has a good reason, I’m sure his girlfriend (let’s just call her Girlfriend) isn’t too pleased about it. Kei meets her friend Mizuki Hayama and heads back to her place but is upset when she finds Hiro is not in. Hiro enters a church and has a chat with an angel-like girl named Yuko Amamiya before leaving. When he does, a girl named Miyako Miyamura (her name can be shortened to Miya Miya. But no reference to that one in Bamboo Blade) passes him as she is chasing down a thief who had just stolen her bag. In that instant, she ‘borrows’ Hiro’s bicycle to give chase and in return Hiro chases her for stealing his bike (he didn’t give his permission, didn’t he?). Hiro is interrupted by a call from Kei but soon finds Miyako collapsed in the middle of the street. Though he wanted to call an ambulance, Miyako refused and continued her chase. Too bad his bike has been trashed. Funny thing is, to Hiro’s dismay, he soon finds Miyako at the nearby park and has given up chasing the thief as she got tired! So they got acquainted and since Miyako finds Hiro interesting, she decides to tag along with him because she can’t go back to her house since her keys were in that bag.
 
Elsewhere, Renji meets a guy he knows, Yu Himura at that church asking for his opinion as he is unsure of what career choice to choose in his school’s survey form. But Himura isn’t really interested as he’s waiting for someone. After that Renji visits Chihiro again as they get further acquainted but Chihiro doesn’t exactly remember who he is and wonders if they have met before. Renji visits Chihiro at the abandoned train station every day and Chihiro’s words didn’t really make sense to me because she’s saying how she’s a different person. But when she gradually remembers who Renji is (with the words he said yesterday), Chihiro hugs him in her happiness. As evening comes and Renji has left, Chihiro writes in her diary about the day but becomes saddened to know that she shouldn’t indulge herself in something like this. It’s that point that I realized that she is the sister of Kei. Finally we see Kei spending time at her place with Mizuki, Hiro walking around in the snowy town with Miyako and Kyousuke works late into the night trying to edit his blur film to find out about the identity of that mysterious beauty.
 
So in each episode the progress of both stories will alternate between each other as the plot develops. I want to also mention about that Yuko girl and at the end I’m still wondering what her role is. I mean, all that I noticed is that she seems to pop out mysteriously to talk to the characters from time to time, sometimes giving them advice, sometimes questioning them.
 
Episode 2 has Chihiro talking to her guardian, Himura about her encounter with Renji. Himura says that it is up to her if he wants to get involve with him. Meanwhile, Hiro is rudely awakened by Kei who tells him that he has to go to school. Ah, your typical over-protective sister. Hiro is so engrossed with his shoujo manga that he slept on it. Uh huh. It’s prints are stuck on his cheek. We find out that Hiro doesn’t really like attending classes and usually finds his sanctuary on the school rooftop. As Yuko appears to talk to him (Hiro mentioning about the trouble of the right colour he’s looking for), the next thing Hiro knows is that Miyako is there with him. We also find out that Miyako is from Hiro’s same school but of a different class. Yeah, she’s the queen of ditching classes too. The reason why Hiro has never seen her before. Is this what kids are today? Is the education system that bad? Anyway Miyako finds out about Hiro’s work and is excited to know about it. Looks like Hiro too is publishing his manga works under his pen name Nagi Shindou. I guess that’s one reason why Hiro too doesn’t attend classes. But do 2 wrongs make a right? At the same time, Kyousuke is still having trouble figuring out who that mysterious beauty is. It’s closer than he think.
 
Renji arrives at the train station but Chihiro isn’t there. She soon arrives and apologizes because she was reading a book. However Chihiro soon tells him a secret that she has actually been writing instead of reading. Renji then mentions about his ambition to be a novelist but is rather having a hard time in achieving it. Likewise, Chihiro wants to write stories instead of being a novelist. So as Renji takes a stroll with Chihiro and even says how he’d prefer to skip school just to be with Chihiro (oh no. Not another case please), Chihiro is delighted when he mentions about school as she tells him that she has an elder sister attending one. Note that Chihiro isn’t attending one herself. Another case of ditching class and prefer to be alone at an abandoned train station? Why, Chihiro has a very special reason for that as we and Renji will soon find out. After they have parted, Himura approaches Renji and warns him that if he wants to get involve further with Chihiro, he has to prepare himself. No, he’s not an over-protective guardian, though he may sound like one. The next day as Renji and Chihiro take a stroll on the beach, Chihiro tells him a secret about her true self. Ever since an accident 4 years ago, not only has she lost her left eye, Chihiro has a memory defect in which her memories could only last for 13 hours! So as the hours pass by, her old memories will soon fade. Everytime she wakes up, she’ll be like a different person and not knowing what has happened the previous day. That’s right. Time has stood still for this poor soul and thus she has to read her diary of her daily jottings everytime she wakes up just to barely remember what has happened.
 
Now Chihiro’s premise of her memory defect is quite fascinating and this has been metaphorised in an interesting way as told by Chihiro. We see her being tied down to a long chain in a round circle. The length of the chain represents her age of 12 years old, which is the time that has stopped ever since her accident 4 years ago (she’s 16 now by the way) while her outstretching arms represents the 13 hours of memories she has. She can never reach and go further than the circle nor could she go out to see what is beyond her window. And just like a sheep being tied down, after eating all the grass around the circle, the sheep will eventually die. Very interesting. This is one serious amnesia condition you wouldn’t want to have.
 
All that is further explained in episode 3. Ironically if she has a memory defect, she could remember all this and her daily what-to-do ritual well. So if she reads her ever expanding diary everyday, wouldn’t take up most of her precious time and by the time she’s done, it would be bedtime? But Chihiro did mention how she could make herself remember important things like her meeting with Renji albeit it may last just a little longer. Renji goes home to find his young mom Sumire (honestly, I thought she was his sister) who tells him that their neighbour Shuuichi Kuze has returned and wants him to go over to bring some food to him. Renji decides to come back another time upon finding out that Kuze is with some other woman. Uh huh. Kuze doesn’t mind if Renji comes in. That is, "If you don’t mind the naked lady on the bed…". Renji goes to see Chihiro everyday and wonders if he should continue after finding out her condition. But Chihiro tells him that she isn’t afraid of dying, but rather afraid of being forgotten and losing her memories. One day when Renji skipped visiting her, the next rainy day he finds Himura sitting there in her place. It seems she has caught a cold from waiting for Renji to appear the previous day. Gosh. I mean, for a girl whose memories don’t last very long, a promise to meet the next day is very important. And that is what Renji had promised her before. Feeling guilty?
 
Hiro and Miyako are once again seen together on the school rooftop but Hiro won’t hand over the keys to this personal sanctuary of his so Miyako drags him out to a town cafe for lunch. Hey, don’t they know it’s illegal to do that during school hours? Oh wait. They’re season class ditchers. Also, Kyousuke’s movie club members are criticizing him for concentrating too long on that mysterious beauty (looks like Girlfriend is the president of the movie club). Because of that, he decides to leave the club. At the cafe, Hiro learns that Miyako ditches class not because she hates them but rather the boredom of it. If she’s so smart why isn’t she in a university now? Something about enjoying life to the max? Yeah well, to each his own. Mizuki then comes by to show Hiro her newly bought manga (another manga freak and a big fan of Nagi Shindou though she doesn’t know of his real identity). When Hiro forgets Miyako’s name while introducing her to Mizuki, Miyako got upset and storms off. Even Mizuki thinks that it’s Hiro’s fault and thinks Miyako is his girlfriend. Of course Hiro denies. Mizuki is disappointed because if Hiro and Miyako were a couple then Kei could’ve been hers. OMG! Is she thinking of something yuri with Kei?! At and abandoned site, Kyousuke has a chat with Girlfriend and decides to break up (don’t tell me he got too obsessed with that mysterious beauty) as he wishes to do thinks his way. He thinks that the movie club members emphasis too much of how other people evaluate their work. Later Yuko appears next to Kyousuke and he tells her that he wants to film dreams.
 
As Kei gets an SMS from Chihiro about how Himura won’t let her go out to see Renji, Chihiro soon calls Hiro to come practice basketball with her. But Hiro is still sleepy after pulling an all-nighter on his manga. Kei soon finds out that he’s spending more time with Miyako and continues to tell of Miyako’s famous legacy of ditching classes and it seems she has dragged Hiro into it too. It turned into a little argument as Hiro says not to badmouth Miyako and with a slip of his tongue, he mentions how he first met Miyako during Christmas. With that, Kei is devastated to know that he broke their promise to spend Christmas day together just to meet Miyako.
 
Episode 4 begins with a short flashback. It seems Hiro’s love for drawing started when he was young. Also, he also seems to be spending lots of time with Kei and Chihiro. Back in present time, Renji finally meets Chihiro and apologizes for not turning up that day. He then suggests for her to write a novel with him but Chihiro disagrees and even though it was her dream, that was a different Chihiro. She gets upset and runs away. As Kei buys some ingredients to cook, Kyousuke spots her and notes that she is that mysterious beauty. Kei reaches home to cook for Hiro (who by the way has been dragged off to somewhere by Miyako) and has Mizuki sample her cooking. In short, Kei CANNOT COOK! Don’t ever enter the kitchen again dear girl. Meanwhile Miyako has Hiro bring her to his room (note Hiro and Kei live in different houses) and Hiro is worried that Miyako is unfazed that she has no qualms entering a boy’s room so casually. After much pestering, Hiro gives in to let Miyako read his works. She is amazed by them and continues to read more. As gratitude, Miyako cooks for Hiro (yeah, she’s a better cook) and as she tries to feed Hiro, Kei comes in and is devastated to see them together and runs away.
 
At the same time, Renji manages to catch up to Chihiro at the beach. She’s still upset due to the fact somebody else knows her better than herself. Then as the waves hit the shore, it’s like Chihiro’s legs lose power and starts to fall. He catches Chihiro as she requests him to save her. After she calms down, Chihiro says that she really do want to write but is afraid if nothing works out, she will be left with nothing. At that point, I don’t know how Renji came out with this idea after seeing a tear in her eye, "Can I kiss you?". Kinda awkward and lame, don’t you think? Well of course Chihiro denies it but would’ve done so if it was her yesterday’s personality as written in her diary (too bad he missed it haha) as she hugs him. Chihiro soon agrees to write her story with him. So Chihiro tells him a brief synopsis of the story she has in mind. About a girl who is the only survivor in a world that has been destroyed. Hmm… Seems a little similar to the one in Nagisa’s of Clannad. Mizuki finds Kei crying on the steps outside of the church.
 
In episode 5, Kyousuke remembers his mom telling him to find his dream. And since he already found his dream in the form of Kei, he is filming Kei during basketball practice but she soon punches him in the stomach for that unauthorized shot. And that’s just a warning. Anymore unauthorized shot, Kei will use her powerful right hand. Beware. Meanwhile Renji brings Chihiro home to meet with Sumire and Kuze and the duo are pretty thrilled that Renji has brought a pretty girl home. Yeah, they’re excitedly ‘bombarding’ (more like teasing too) shy Chihiro with questions about their relationship while Renji is cooking in the kitchen so much so he can’t stand it anymore and tries to tell off his busybody grown-ups not to bother her. Kei is still upset over that Hiro-Miyako scene so she confronts Miyako about not dragging him into her class ditching activities for the sake of his future. Kei thinks she can outtalk Miyako but Miyako is pretty smooth firing back at Kei like saying only Hiro can decide what he wants to do, or if Kei could handle the responsibility that if he attends school, his future will be guaranteed. Smooth…
 
Back at Renji’s place, though Chihiro finds his cooking delicious, she herself can’t cook. Yeah, it runs in the family. Later Chihiro passes her notebook on her ideas for their novel but wishes for him to read it only after she’s gone. Then at the beach, after that heavy defeat from Miyako, Kei remembers her childhood time with Hiro and Chihiro. She recalls how Chihiro has spent more time with Hiro and in a way you could say she’s jealous to get his attention. So one day Kei dragged Hiro to the beach and left a note on their whereabouts. When Chihiro found out about it, she hurriedly ran to where they were but on her way she was met with an accident. Though Kei still blames herself for what has happened, she receives a call from Hiro who wants to meet her. In the meantime, Kuze walks Chihiro back to the church and he mentions how he’s a close friend of Himura when she asks if she has seen him before. Kei arrives at Hiro’s room to find out that Kyousuke is there as well and is shocked to find out that Kyousuke wants her to go out with him. Renji reads the notes Chihiro gave to him about a girl living alone in a castle on an island. She is reading many stories from the seemingly abundant books but even so she remains lonely.
 
In episode 6, Kyousuke forces his way into Hiro’s room and discovers that he’s a shoujo mangaka. Because Hiro wants this to be kept a secret, Kyousuke agrees on 1 condition, that is to meet Kei. So that’s the reason of how it came to be in the previous episode. Kei slaps them both upon learning this. After Kyousuke lets Kei watch several videos he filmed of her (can it be consider stalking?), he asks for her to participate in his filming. Yeah, the filming of her life. However Kei hasn’t agreed to be in it or not. As Hiro walks Kei home, she invites him to come to an upcoming basketball tournament of hers because she says she has something to tell him after that match. Meanwhile Renji meets Himura at the church and the latter tells the former about how writing is like survival to Chihiro as she’s trying to connect her past with her future. Chihiro on the other hand continues her story of that lonely girl who now paints numerous paintings. Since Chihiro experiences some writer’s block, Renji suggests bringing her to his school library to look up for some ideas and inspiration. So Renji asks Sumire if she has any school uniform suitable for Chihiro and she tells him that Kuze might have. Yeah, he does. Hey, why does he have them? Cosplay maniac? Yeah, Chihiro tried on a few outfits before putting on the school uniform. She is delighted because this is the same uniform her sister wears to school.
 
Elsewhere Kei confronts Miyako at the train crossing. I guess she doesn’t want to give up yet as she tells Miyako about how they came to meet Hiro. As Kei mentions that she has always had feelings for Hiro, Miyako counters that by saying even if she said that, it wouldn’t make any difference. With that, Kei is determined to erase Miyako from Hiro’s heart and memory. I guess something in that line pushes the worry button in Miyako because it seems she’s afraid of being vanished. Later as Miyako gives her bento to Hiro, she finds out that he’s really not interested in attending Kei’s basketball match so she has him go out on a date with her instead. During the basketball game, Kyousuke is filming Kei in action when she injures her leg. Kyousuke calls Hiro about Kei’s condition as he soon arrives. As Hiro carries Kei back, she finds out that Hiro stood up on his date with Miyako because he can’t leave her alone. He soon asks what is the thing she wanted to tell him but Kei says never mind. Also Chihiro is delighted when she arrives at school with Renji while Miyako left many messages on Hiro’s handphone because he forgot to bring it with him.
 
Chihiro’s co-written story continues in episode 7 as they work around the clock to complete it. At the school library, I’m not sure why but when Renji says the girl protagonist is cute, Chihiro objects and tells him she isn’t meant to be represented that way. So the progress of Chihiro’s story is now something like this as it’s near its conclusion. That girl had painted several paintings of a boy and wonders if he is real or just a person in a painting. As Renji takes a walk with Chihiro on the beach, he wonders what kind of ending Chihiro would put in and she thanks him for all that he has done for her. When Chihiro asks if he would like to kiss her, Renji starts to panic on why she had said that instead of confessing that she loves him. Something about how similar his case as with her story. Then this is the weird part. While Renji is thinking and confused about it, the animation shows his body going into violent convolutions and spasms before collapsing. Is it to be a metaphor of something? Renji then says that their relationship isn’t like that, causing Chihiro to misunderstand him as she runs away in tears. Regretting his actions, Renji hopes that she won’t write this down in her diary.
 
Over to Miyako, she explains of her past. In short, she comes from a broken family. She thought she had given up on everything in life until she has met Hiro. When she was living with her parents, their love for each other faded as time goes by. They hated each other so much so they didn’t talk to one another, what more called Miyako by her name, thus neglecting her. Slowly, one by one, every sound from the house starts to ‘vanish’ and her life was meaningless and the ‘colour’ of her world disappeared. So when her parents finally divorced, it was like she’s partly relieved. Back in present time, Miyako is waiting for Hiro on her date (but he was busy taking care of Kei). Now the last 10 minutes of this episode is like ‘frightening’ because Miyako tries to call Hiro on his handphone but he doesn’t pick up. Each time Miyako narrates a line, the kanji and hiragana will appear on the screen. It starts off with the usual playful and teasing Miyako until she gets impatient that this is a bad joke. Then when she remembers Kei’s words of erasing her from Hiro’s heart, she starts to panic and that turned into desperation. At first she wanted Hiro to just answer, then just to hear his voice, then even a text message reply would’ve been good, and finally anything and just anything to indicate that Hiro is still there and not ignoring her. Beep after beep, by now the screen is bloody cluttered with kanji and hiragana words! And the background music grows even more dramatic as each second ticks by. It’s so heartbreaking and pitiful to hear Miyako pleading and begging for some sort of assurance which will never be replied. It all ended with a piercing high-pitched beep (like the one you hear in hospitals’ life support machine whereby a person’s heart has stopped) as the screen starts to erase itself. Poor Miyako… Has she been erased? As Hiro goes out to buy some stuff, Kei spots Hiro’s handphone and notices several messages. Woah! A whole lot of them and all of them from Miyako! She’s like a stalker! Heartless Kei then erases all of them…
 
In episode 8, frustrated Miyako throws away her handphone into the fountain. Kei takes a shower and hears her doorbell ring. Thinking that it’s Hiro, to her surprise she finds Miyako. Kei denies Miyako to see Hiro (even if he’s not in) and shuts the door on her. Likewise Hiro couldn’t contact Miyako either. Miyako tries to go to the school rooftop but finds it locked. As Kei can’t participate in anymore basketball matches till her injuries are healed, Hiro too eases off from his manga work. Back to Chihiro’s story, the girl now wonders if she should marry the boy in the painting and even looked up on several books on the topic of weddings. When Renji mentions how being a novelist needs talents, Chihiro reminds him that he mustn’t give up and that he was the one who helped her through all this even though she has a disability. Meanwhile Miyako is sitting alone dejectedly when Yuko appears to talk to her. I’m not sure about a place where Yuko suggests she should go but Miyako soon falls into her arms in tears. Also when Renji goes to talk about Chihiro’s improving memory retention to Himura, the latter denies anything of it as it is impossible for her to regain her lost memories.
 
As Hiro and Kei are on their way home, he still wonders why he can’t contact Miyako when he gets a call to do a one-shot manga job and excitedly accepts. Kei then gets upset because Hiro’s wrist are a little injured from being overworked and even if his reason that such chances are once in a lifetime and would never come again, Kei gets up and walks back, ignoring her injury. Tit for tat? Hiro protests about what Kei is doing since aggravating her injury would permanently make her unable to play basketball for life. Kei tells him the same thing too about his wrists. In the end, Kei rides back home with Kyousuke. Chihiro wakes up and panics a little and wonders how long she has fallen asleep while writing her story. However, Renji says it’s just a few minutes. Well, time is quite important to her. Any second lost means a lost of precious memories that could be made. Back at her home, Chihiro thinks she can do the impossible by remembering as she starts reading her diary. Himura is against what she’s doing and snatches her diary away. But eventually Himura has no choice but to give it back to her seeing that it is what she wants to do.
 
The next day Renji and Chihiro meet but Chihiro soon collapses due to exhaustion. With all the prolonged stress and lack of sleep, Chihiro hopes that she can remember it all. A short continuation of Chihiro’s story whereby we see the girl marrying the boy in the painting. As Renji goes to visit Chihiro, Himura tells him that she has slept passed her limit. That is, she has slept more than 13 hours. Oh no. When Chihiro wakes up, she reverts to herself after the accident and all her memories spent with Renji are gone! She doesn’t remember who he is! NO! Chihiro is now like a scared kid just waking up from the aftermath of the accident which seemed like yesterday. She gets even horrified to see that her left eye is gone. We won’t get to see it, but I’m sure it’s pretty scary. Chihiro still remembers Himura as the latter tells Renji that this is the real Chihiro, living eternally for only 13 hours at a time. That’s why Himura warned him earlier. If Renji wants to turn back, this is his best chance to walk away from it all. Meanwhile Hiro gets a call from an unknown number and it seems it’s Miyako on the other line. She’s making a call from a public phone and is relieved to know that she hasn’t disappeared yet.
 
Episode 9 has Himura doing his usual ritual of restarting Chihiro’s memories and warns Renji that he will be the one who will suffer the greatest pain. He suggests that he disappear from her life before matters get worse but Renji is upset and doesn’t want to. Renji painfully stays by Chihiro side as she reads her diary. Chihiro is frustrated and throws her diary at him and yells what is the point of doing this. Kyousuke meets up with Kei at the park as they chat like he wonders about their relationship as siblings. Likewise, Hiro meets up with Miyako at the public phone as they chat while they walk. They talk about the different freedom they have. While Hiro’s freedom means the ability to do anything he wants, Miyako’s freedom leans more toward emptiness. Soon they both kissed and before you know it, those 2 head back to Hiro’s place and had sex! Is Miyako that desperate not to disappear from his heart? Renji goes to seek Himura’s advice at the church and he tells him to take her story seriously and the reason she’s writing this story. Renji continues to see Chihiro the next day as she regains her composure after reading what is written in her diary and learns that she’s been writing a story. Although Chihiro says that it would’ve been better if she had disappear after reading such depressing notes in her diary but notes how things cheered up a little after Renji appeared in her diary pages. Then at the graves, they discussed what are memories and do personalities change when memories change. Chihiro also thinks her former self that had spent time with Renji had already disappeared. But Renji disagrees that she has died or a different person as she has always been the Chihiro he knew. But on his way home, Renji becomes emotional and is in a dilemma on what he said, whether it can be true or not. Meanwhile Kei enters Hiro’s room and freaks out on what she sees and runs away (bad for her leg and now her heart). Deja vu?
 
The whole of episode 10 focuses on Kei-Hiro-Miyako storyline. The episode continues after Kei rushes out after witnessing their unholy act. Hiro tries to go after her but Miyako stops him and tells him to only look at her. However Hiro still went after her. As he tries to find her, he gets a call from Kyousuke to meet. Kyousuke starts beating up Hiro because of his half-hearted attitude in doing things and tries to beat some sense into him, especially his actions having an effect on Kei. When Hiro returns to his room, he finds Miyako gone and his place all tidy up. He then receives a call from her in which Miyako suggests for them to break-up and stop seeing each other. As Hiro shifts his focus on finding Miyako, he bumps into Mizuki and finds out that she’s a huge fan of Nagi Shindou’s works but she notes that his work has been dipping lately. At the school rooftop, Hiro speaks with Yuko and the latter tells him that he has to choose or end up losing it all. With that, he realizes and rushes to Kei’s place. She refuses to let him in when Hiro tells her how he has decided to quit school to be a full time mangaka. Kei then says how she doesn’t want him to leave and want to go back to those days where they spent time together. Hiro replies that they still can and that Kei is an important person in his life. With tears streaming down both their eyes, Kei finally opens the door as they embrace.
 
Meanwhile Miyako prepares to leave town and decides to call Hiro from a public phone one last time. Now the screen then starts with a countdown timer from 100 which I think represents the credit she has from her prepaid phone card. At first I didn’t think they’re going to show each and every number from 100 down to zero but surprisingly, they did! And it’s like they’re alternating between a scene of that public phone booth Miyako is in and a black screen which only shows that countdown number. Anyway, Miyako tries to say her goodbye but Hiro protests to whatever Miyako is thinking. He’s saying how her home is here now. Just before Hiro could confess to her, her credits are up and they’re being cut off. Hahaha. See lah. Waste time some more lah. And he had to say it right before the tensed cut off point. Like as though all this were precisely planned and timed so that he could say it when the timer hits zero. Too bad he didn’t make it. Miyako sheds a tear but is surprised to hear Hiro confessed from behind. I can’t believe that guy went from each public phone in town to find her. How did he do it so fast on his bicycle? Yeah, love made him fly. Hahaha. They kissed once again and Miyako is back to her bubbly cheeky self saying that now he has to take responsibility and not let go of her since he has caught her. And Hiro thought she didn’t want to be bound by anyone. So I guess he chose Miyako though he confessed that he loves Kei but I supposed that must be in sibling sense.
 
After being sidelined in the previous episode, episode 11 focuses totally on Renji and Chihiro. Chihiro has finished writing her story but only wants Renji to read it after she has gone. She asks what would he want in gratitude for what he has done and Renji suggests if they could go on a date. Isn’t that what lovers do? Yeah, he too suggests that they become one as she agrees. So looks like she’s going to have a trial date for a day. As Chihiro talks to Himura about it, Himura gives her a key which he wants her to give to Renji. The next day, the duo meet up and are wondering which kind of movie to watch. Though Renji suggests a comedy but the funny part was Chihiro came out in tears due to its bad ending. She’s so cute when she’s crying like that. Then at the plushie crane machine, Chihiro’s inability to get a chicken plushie left her in tears again. Renji does it and manages to get it, making her happy. Then they took some photos together and Chihiro placed a sticker on a page of her diary. Then at the beach, Chihiro mentions how such same thing should happen everyday, Renji says that it’s better that tomorrow never comes. But Chihiro doesn’t think so because she feels that he’s wrong to say that as tomorrow may be a better day than today. She then gives him the key and Renji notices that this is the key to the school rooftop and takes her there. They have a magnificent view of things and Renji suggests to kiss, in which they did. The second kiss, made Chihiro a little cautious as Renji apologizes for going a little too far. Then this part caught me by surprise because the duo soon had sex on the rooftop! Wow. Now they’re doing it.
 
Later that night as Renji thinks how all those memories they made in the day will soon fade as her 13 hour limit nears, Chihiro takes out her finished story and gives it to Renji to read alone. The continuing story of a girl who lived alone on an island who now witness the people in her paintings moving. However as she continues to paint, the painting becomes blurred as time goes by and the cycle repeats itself no matter how she repaints them. In the end, she burns them all. What a shocking ending. Renji goes to see Chihiro on the rooftop to tell of his opinion of her choice of ending but Chihiro says that girl is her and that the story is somewhat similar to her case. In short, she wants to break-up with Renji in order not to cause anymore unhappiness or pain. But Renji refuses. She thinks they should do so while being able to say "I love you" and mean it while thanking him for all that he has done. Just like in the story, because the girl found happiness, she came to know about loneliness as well. She also mentioned how she has planned all this from the start, that she would end this once the story has been completed. Though she wants him to be happy, but staying the way they are now would only bring him pain. Then in her last attempt to forever erase Renji from her memories, she tears all the pages from her diary which has his existence and scatters it through the air. Now she won’t remember who Renji is and that they have really broken up. Oh dear. Chihiro’s farewell speech was like heartbreaking but so true at the same time. This turn of event is really unexpected.
 
Renji is still reeling from this heartbreak in episode 12. He goes to talk to Himura who tells him that he didn’t tell Renji to forget about Chihiro but going on living while shouldering such burden is also a way to live. Back home Sumire talks to a depressed Renji and when he mentions it’s better for tomorrow to never come, Sumire’s answer of there’d be a better tomorrow than today shocks Renji because that is what Chihiro had said. He runs out of his room but bumps into Kuze, who gives him his own advice about dreams and miracles. Then as Renji goes to see Chihiro at the abandoned train station, she wonders if she they had met before. This causes Renji to run away to the school rooftop until he sees a paper airplane. He chases and manages to grab it and finds that it’s a page of Chihiro’s diary containing that sticker. He then recalls the time spent with her and decides to gather all the torn pages of her diary throughout town! It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack but hey, it’s worth a shot. Hopefully it wasn’t that sex part which motivated him to do so. Hahaha, just kidding. At the end of the day, seemingly tired and out-of-breath, he goes to Chihiro and tells her that even though this isn’t all the pages of her diary, he won’t give up on making her remember him. Then to his surprise (and mine), Chihiro says no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t forget about him for the past 13 hours. Oh yes! OH YES! Chihiro finally remembers! Then we see the metaphor chain which ties her down shatter as the duo embraced each other.
 
In the aftermath, we hear Yuko narrating how people at least prayed once to God in their lifetime and that dreams are created between everyone’s continued wishes and bonds. We also see Girlfriend working on a film project that Kyousuke left behind while the other movie club members tell her to give them some new motivation, Kyousuke continues to film Kei, and Miyako making breakfast (or dinner, depends on how you look at it) for Hiro. Looks like the 2 are living together and even so, they’re like waking up at different times. Since Hiro is a mangaka, he wakes up at night to work and goes to bed in the morning as opposed to Miyako who is attending classes now. Also, Mizuki is particularly annoyed to find out that Nagi Shindou is no other than Hiro. Yeah, right under her noses. This time, Renji is now certain of his future. He now wants to become a novelist. Kyousuke has found what he wants to film, Hiro has found the colour he has looking for and Renji has found his dream thanks to Chihiro. A movie producer, a manga artist and a novelist. Three cheers to the arts stream! Likewise, Miyako found her way of living though she hasn’t found her dream yet, Kei wants to run anywhere with all her heart and Chihiro already satisfied that her last dream came true. But it won’t be the last because it’s just the beginning. In the final scenes, we see Himura meeting Yuko face to face in the church. Himura apologizes for making her wait for a long time as she says it has been a long time. So she is the person that he’s waiting for? Ah well, good that they’ve met than never. So it ends with a reminder: Put your wishes into the memories you don’t want to forget…
 
I’m glad how everything turned out well in the end. Say, we have 4 happy couples now. Though I’m still wondering the implications of Himura and Yuko’s relationship (perhaps one can find out more while playing the game?), but I guess the overall development, twists and turns of the series is one of the most exciting and interesting that I have seen in recent times. I really did enjoy this series though sometimes their dialogues about memories and such are a little hard for me to understand at times. But if you listen to their dialogues, I’m sure we could learn a thing or two and get some ‘inspiration’ from it. One thing which still bothers me was that I was hoping that the 2 main stories would eventually meet and come as one in the end. But it didn’t. So you could say that the characters of both stories don’t even meet each other! Unless you want to count the fact that Chihiro’s SMS to Kei as the only form of connection between the 2 stories.
 
The character development is sufficient for a short series. But we get to see how Chihiro has been freed from her eternal prison after all that will and determination. It goes to show that if one puts all his/her mind and efforts into it and with the proper support and help, miracles do happen. Do you dig chics with eye patches? I don’t know but Chihiro makes them look moe. Renji’s persistence to stay by Chihiro’s side no matter what is something admirable. How many of us would be tempted to walk away from such troublesome situation at first thought. Speaking of which, doesn’t Chihiro and Renji’s case seem somewhat familiar to the Hollywood movie "50 First Dates" starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore?
 
I thought Kei and Miyako’s story was going to turn out into another typical love triangle affair but it seems that they too have their own set of problems to deal with. Kei may seem selfish to want Hiro all to herself but in the end she grew strong enough to walk/run on her 2 feet. She doesn’t need to be physically close in order to be with him. If their hearts beat as one then no matter how far they are, they’ll still be together. Miyako’s cheerful exterior hides a painful memory. I guess all she wants is to be accepted and I think she found that in Hiro. So you could call that snatch thief incident a blessing in disguise. I find Kuze and Sumire’s role were minimal and to provide a little comic relief and advice. The same with Himura and Yuko. But the latter 2 feels more serious and enigmatic.
 
One of the plus point which I find about this series is the breathtaking animation and art. If you pay attention to the background like the moving clouds in the sky, or the particles in to ocean to the reflection of the sun rays, each of the drawing are given a very detailed finishing in terms of hue, tone, lighting and shading. The animation too is fluid and smooth. They’re more than just eye candy and if they’re akin to real candies itself, I’m sure you’ll find them delicious, addicted and wanting for more. Sometimes I just can’t help staring in awe at those awesome sceneries. Super good high quality anime, I’d give them that. An amazing and splendid anime which I recommend for those who haven’t watch it yet.
 
Another unique thing about this show is the different viewpoints, angles, frames and colour tones that they used to show and present the scenes. Sometimes the art may be in full colour in 1 scene but changes to a monochrome one in the next. Or from a fully detailed drawing to a very simple and sketchy work. It may be a little confusing at first but after a while, you’ll get used to it. This is quite essential since it enhances the dramatic setting of the story as it progresses. Also the background music helps in increasing the atmosphere of the scene, be it dramatic or slow and easy. Everything fits nicely as they are quite nicely done.
 
I also like the voice acting and my favourite one is still Chihiro who is voiced by Natsumi Yanase (Akane in Da Capo II series). She did an excellent job in portraying her character as a shaky and vulnerable girl but yet a strong and powerful character underneath that exterior. Also, Miyako is my other favourite one and she is voiced by Hiroko Taguchi (Sakura in Lamune). I can’t help but love her teasing, bubbly and lively nature. Other casts include Hiro Shimono as Hiro (Ikuto in Nagasarete Airantou), Junko Okada as Kei (Nozomi of Wind: A Breath Of Heart), Motoki Takagi as Renji (Nozomu in Futakoi), Yuuki Tai as Kyousuke (Junichi of Da Capo series), Kouichi Toochika as Himura (Neji in Naruto, Hayato in Himawari!) and Yumiko Nakajima as Yuko.
 
The opening song is lively and dramatic pop rock and is entirely in English. Entitled Euphoric Field by Tenmon feat. ELISA. However in the final episode, this song is sung in its Japanese version. If you’re wondering why the opening credits animation is cluttered with lots of words seemingly like they’re taken out from a story book, that’s because those lines are actually the English translation of what Chihiro writes in her story. Even the mid-intermission shows a short excerpt from her story. So for those interested of reading it, you can pause and read while the opening credits are being played. I didn’t. For a short series, there has been 4 different ending themes alternating between each other after 1 or 2 episodes. My Each of them have a dramatic feel to it and my favourite one is still Kizamu Kisetsu by Junko Okada (the animation shows Kei endlessly running. To where may I ask?). Other ending themes include I’m Here by Hiroko Taguchi, Sora No Yume by Natsumi Yanase, and Yukyuu No Tsubasa 07mix by Yumiko Nakajima. Hey, aren’t all those who sang the ending themes the female protagonists of the series? Besides, some of the ending credits animation has the drawing in inverse colours. Just different.
 
On a trivial note, I noticed that during the episodes, I’m not sure if they work as a scene changer or a topic marker because the screen will turn totally black to project short kanji words. Then the meaning of the hiragana of the kanji words differs from the latter’s meaning as it could either mean something contradictory or totally unrelated. If not for the good prompting of the fansubbers, I wouldn’t even noticed it. Though I’m still thinking its significance. The titles of each episode are short and some are a real eyebrow raiser like episode 7’s "I…". Yup, that’s what it’s called. Then I also wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t read about this in Wikipedia. Each of the first alphabet of the title can be spelled out to Euphoric Field. Neat. Hey, that’s 13 words and this series has only 12 episodes, right? Well, the final episode has been split into 2 segments so 2 separate titles have been given to it. I’m starting to think that the producers have an obsession with the word ‘ef’ because not only the opening theme of this series stands for it but I learned that the opening themes for its PC game also have those letters as its connotations.
 
Over the series if you keep your eyes peeled, there are a few trivia that you can spot. For example, in Chihiro’s diary, you can see that Utamaru cat of Da Capo drawn over her pages, the prepaid phone card Miyako posses has a design which is similar to Nagisa of Clannad’s Big Dango Family, and a young Kei holding up a manga from Card Captor Sakura. Yeah, so if you have watched several animes before and if your memories serve you well, feast your eyes on them.
 
So what are memories, really? That depends on how you make and remember them. Just like in the end narration after the next episode’s preview, "Do you have any memories that you don’t want to forget?", I’m sure we all have many fond and good memories that we don’t want to forget. I know that bad ones we tend to think less of them but it’s good too to serve as a reminder. And those sitting for an important exam… Due to the nature of a human’s brain, it’s natural for our brain to filter and ‘erase’ memories that are not put in use. Now I can’t wait and will be going to watch the sequel of this show. Hey, wait a minute. I’ve been thinking of my poor memory all the while. Can’t it be that I have a memory defect too? I mean, I can’t even remember what animes I watched last week! OH NO! Thank goodness I have blogged all this down as my memories. Am I a real-life Chihiro in the making? Don’t know. Can’t remember.
 

ef ~A Tale Of Memories~

Hah! I knew it at one point that they had to make additional episodes of the series Kyo No Go No Ni, this time entitled Kyo No Go No Ni – Extracurricular Lesson. However this time this OVA has been classified as a special. Why? Because this episode lasts only over 5 minutes! In the previous OVA episodes, each story too lasts around that running time but they have a total of 5 stories in a single episode.
 
The title of this particular short title is mizukake (water chicken) and it opens with the gang after their swimming lessons in school. You know, after taking a swim with other students in the school pool, one has to wash oneself properly in order to clean oneself of the germs, virus and other chemicals like chlorine floating in the swimming pool. You’ll never know what kind of disease you can contract from such places. However, we see Ryota sort of reluctant to wash his face at the basin. So he’s like faking it by putting his face close to the water tap but without washing it.
 
So when he finally turns it off after making likes as though he has done so, Chika and Yuuki stops him because they know he hasn’t really properly done his washing yet. Chika goes on to lecture him that if he doesn’t wash his face, his eyes will get pain but Ryota scoffs her off by saying that it’s not her eyes and to leave him alone. But Chika isn’t going to have it his way because she doesn’t want some strange voice crying like a baby about how painful his eyes are behind her during class.
 
Then Yuuki says how she too dislike the idea of washing one’s face and thinks it is scary. Ryota quickly agrees with her so Yuuki takes the opportunity to tease him that he’s a chicken even though he’s a boy, pissing Ryota off. Chika then comes up with a non-scary solution and asks if Yuuki wants to try it out. Chika tells Yuuki to close her eyes while aligning them directly above the faucet. Before Chika could tell her what to do next, she says how there is a hole at the bottom of Yuuki’s swimsuit. Yuuki’s reaction is to open her eyes in disbelieve and that is when Chika suddenly turned on the tap as the water comes gushing out hitting her eyes directly. Ouch.
 
Yuuki starts crying due to that nasty surprise while Chika teases her that she fell for it. Chika is such a meanie. Then Yuuki stopped crying because she noticed that Ryota along with his males buddies, Kouji and Tsubasa are looking at her butt trying to spot where that hole is! Little perverts! Soon Ryota and Yuuki engaged in another argument calling each other a kid for falling for a prank like that or have no courage to wash his eyes.
 
Kouji and Tsubasa then decide to let those ‘children’ continue fighting while they the ‘adults’ go change. Yuuki decides to go change too but as Ryota thinks the same thing, Chika won’t allow him to escape. Not until he properly washes his eyes. Yeah, she’s going to properly watch over him till he does so.
 
Later on as Tsubasa, Kouji and Yuuki are done changing, they meet up with Kazami and tell her that they’re waiting for Chika and Ryota and wondering what is taking them so long as the next class will be starting soon. Then Kouji gets a naughty idea that if Ryota really dislikes that idea so much, he’s personally going to wash him with a water hose.
 
Yeah, Ryota still hasn’t got the courage to wash his eyes and is just putting his face over the faucet under the watchful eye of Chika. Is he going to take all day? Kouji then comes by and surprises him by blasting the water hose at him. This causes Ryota to slip and fall. Uh huh. Ryota fell on top of Chika and it looks as though they’re in quite a compromising situation. Kouji expresses his apologies when Ryota snatches the water hose away from him. You can see the devilish faces of Ryota and Chika who are going to get their revenge. Since Kouji and the gang are dry and have completely changed, you know what this means. Better run for your lives!
 
But Yuuki seems to be slow to react to what they mean so Ryota starts chasing her with the water hose although she hasn’t done anything wrong. Yeah, you could see Ryota’s full devil face as he chases her down! He’s laughing like one too. Cornered and nowhere to run, Yuuki then slips (the floor was wet) and fell into the swimming pool. I guess that splash was enough to ‘wash’ Ryota’s entire’s face but then again, that’s pool water, right? Yuuki starts crying once more.
 
In class, we see Ryota studying in his swimming trunks because he has to lend his clothes to Yuuki while hers is left to dry. Feeling a little guilty? Can’t say that it isn’t his fault, right? I mean, if he had just be like a man and washed his eyes then all this could have been averted. And I wonder why he picked on Yuuki instead of Kouji who originally sprayed the hose on him. Perhaps he thought since Chika managed to bully her, he could have his fill of fun. Well, he just went a little overboard.
 
I think this short special is just a little taste of things to come. That’s because a TV adaptation of the series has been released since the late quarter of 2008. I guess the OVA is quite popular in order for it to be given a regular weekly television schedule. It would be nice to see what little ecchi antics these little kids have in store.
 
For a one off special like this, I guess this episode is pretty okay since it brought back nostalgic memories when I was watching the series. Yeah, it also brought back nostalgic memories when I had my swimming lessons when I was young. Thank goodness and many thanks to mainly my dad that we took lots of precautionary measures to protect and maintain our hygiene. From goggles to applying shampoo and soap to proper scrubbing. Ah, those were the swimming days…
 
Kyou No Go No Ni

Suzuka

March 14, 2009

Finally after hearing and getting infatuated with the opening theme of the anime series Suzuka many years ago, I eventually managed to pick up and watch this series. Yeah, I myself even wonder why it took an awful long time to watch it and the real reason for not watching it when I heard the opening song the first time. Too many other animes to watch at that time? Yeah right.
 
I wouldn’t really say that this anime series is a sports-themed one but rather that the setting for the anime is so. The track and field in particular. Over the series, you are not going to see very exaggerated and flashy moves nor is the series going to divulge itself into explaining certain terms of the track and field area. So for those who don’t really know about athletic stuffs, I’m sure you can just hop in and watch this one or just feel a little disappointed because of so.
 
Instead, this 26 episode series focuses and is more of a drama-romance genre with lots of teen angst in it. Hey, there’s love in the sports lane too, you know. Well, I feel that the whole series is just about that. Couple in with some love triangles, uncertain moments, self-reflecting moments, and you’ve got yourself another one of those teenage love stories. So is this series that boring? I wouldn’t say so unless you are the kind that cringes at this sort of genre.
 
Meet our main guy in episode 1 named Yamato Akitsuki. He has come all the way from the Hiroshima prefecture to Tokyo in hoping something in his life would change for the better. Luckily, he’s got an aunt, Ayano Fujikawa, who runs a student dorm complete with a public bathhouse, so he doesn’t have to worry about any place to live or even pay rent. Heck, she even cooks his meals for him. Of course, Yamato has got a little cousin, Miho, who seems to be really anticipating his arrival. Does she have big brother fetish? I mean, she does call him onii-chan. Unless it’s a respect for elder guys like him.
 
On the way to Ayano’s place, Yamato spots a girl, Suzuka Asahina doing a high jump practice at school. You could say it’s love at first sight for him. Yeah, just like an angel jumping over gracefully over the pole. Upon reaching his destination, in order not for him to be a total freeloader, he has to help out by cleaning the bathhouse. Some female customers, Yuuka Saotome and Megumi Matsumoto, come in and as expected due to Yamamoto’s clumsiness (partly due to Yuuka’s teasing), he ends up slipping and on top of Megumi. To make things worse, Suzuka appears and spots his misdemeanour, even if it was just a misunderstanding. Later when he decides to retire to his room, he is surprised to see Suzuka in his room until he finds out that he entered the wrong room. Yeah, his room is just next to her. What a way to make a bad start and impression on the girl he likes. That night when Yamato goes to clean the bathhouse, Suzuka has been inside the sauna for too long so much so she collapsed. Luckily Yamato was there to save her. Unfortunately when she comes to in her room, Suzuka isn’t appreciative of his efforts. Because of that, she wants Yamato to help her with her high jump practice the next day. Yeah, she’s a high jumper athlete. She tells him to fix the bar while she prepares to make her jump. It seems that Suzuka is having a hard time jumping over this one and barely makes it, even though this jump was supposed to be a warm up jump. But she soon finds out that Yamato had actually placed the bar a little higher (he didn’t know how to set the height at 164cm and unknowingly set it as 169cm) and that she has unofficially made a personal best record! With that, Yamato gets to see her smile.
 
Well, in most episodes it will be something like this. Yamato tries to get closer to Suzuka but you know that girl is quite moody and somewhat a tsundere. And being the tough chic she is, she can’t really show her soft side to him and usually scolds or lashes out at him. Though as the series progresses, you’ll find that her actions may indicate that she harbours some feelings for him but she’s still the girl giving Yamato the cold shoulder. Yes, it’s like a roller coaster ride. Up and down, up and down. Hot and cold, hot and cold. Oh yes before I forget, I want to mention that university students Yuuka and Megumi loves to hang out in Yamato’s room getting drunk sometimes. Other’s people’s place is better, huh? Besides, Yuuka being the flirtatious one, the one thing amusing about the soft-spoken bespectacled Megumi is that whenever she gets drunk, she becomes real depressed and spills out how all the guys to her are only interested in her boobs and sometimes wanting to get a boyfriend of her own. Still waters run deep.
 
Episode 2 introduces more characters. Like Yamato’s old buddy, Yasunobu Hattori, the lady-killer and has a way with words about flirting with them. Ironic to see that he’s still not attached. Perhaps the thrill is still being one? Though Yamato finds him reading some magazines in his room (what’s with these people, entering his room as they please?), we find out through a short flashback how sneaky Yasunobu used Yamato so that the former could land in the bosoms of those female customers in the public bathhouse, making Yamato look like a perverted bad guy. Because Yamato knows of Yasunobu’s flirting ways, he tries to prevent him from getting close to Suzuka by saying that girl is an ugly 50 year old woman. Oh, in great timing Suzuka heard that. Relationship going downhill once more. Later that night as a celebration for Yamato’s entry to their school, Yasunobu and Yamato had to go out and buy some snacks when they ran into Suzuka who is doing night training. Yasunobu tries to hit out on her, which causes Yamato to volunteer to be the one who will accompany her back. Yasunobu then says how he is a late bloomer. Though Yasunobu’s a flirt, you’ll see that he has a mature side and cares about Yamato, sometimes offering some advice to him in later episodes. So the usual spat but when Yamato said how she looked cool when she jumped, Suzuka is all smiles again.
 
Yamato starts schooling in episode 3 but is approached by a pretty girl named Honoka Sakurai who claims to know him. However Yamato doesn’t. Of course he soon remembers and we see a flashback that they knew each other when they were kids. Honoka’s parents worked and lived in a nearby temple shrine and that time, Honoka broke the temple’s bell and was pretty scared about it because if her dad ever finds out… Yamato came along and helped her fixed it and even made a promise to her that this event will be kept a secret among themselves. Ever since then, Honoka had a crush on him. And she still does. In present time, because Yamato has been waiting for Suzuka to turn up so that he could help out with her chores, he comes down with a cold. Honoka and Yasunobu comes to visit him (yeah, and Yamato thought it would be Suzuka at his doorstep) but Yasunobu soon leaves the duo alone together. Suzuka’s thinking of visiting Yamato but when she spots Honoka coming out from his room, she changes her mind. Later when Yasunobu and Yuuka visit Yamato, Yuuka still had the cheek to play doctor with him (what’s with that nurse getup?). Yeah, she’s making things worse. Not only that, the duo ate Yamato’s dinner especially made by Honoka. Later when they have left, Suzuka comes by to make some honey and lemon drink with eggs. Is that supposed to cure his flu? After drinking that weird combination drink, Yamato had the eggs blown up in his face because Suzuka microwaved it. Thankfully, he didn’t die. ;p
 
The school that Yamato attends specializes in sports so in episode 4, the gang takes a physical test and measurement. They did a vertical jump and Yamato becomes disheartened to know that Suzuka and Yasunobu could jump higher than him. Well duh, Suzuka’s a high jumper, isn’t she? Then we find out how in the past Yamato was an anchor in a relay race and did very badly. Later at a sprint test, we see that Yamato is a rocket starter (in the sense that he has both his feet parallel to start off instead of the usual strong feet behind the weaker feet) and to everyone’s surprise, he beats the other competitor. Though Yamato is thrilled, Suzuka isn’t. The next day, Yamato wants to go home with Suzuka by sharing an umbrella with her but she got whisked away to her club activities. Honoka takes this opportunity too but Yasunobu whisks her away. Thus Yamato decides to wait till Suzuka finishes her club activities and go home together with her. Eventually he manages to do so but the atmosphere feels a little awkward as they walk home. On their way, a speeding car splashes a puddle of water on Suzuka. In Suzuka’s instant reflex action and surprise, she hugs Yamato. Well, it’s like she’s embracing for quite a while there. I wonder what’s on her mind. So when she realizes what she is doing, she walks away in the rain while leaving Yamato pretty much stunned.
 
In episode 5, Yamato gets suspicious (and jealous) when he spots Suzuka talking to her senpai, Souichi Miyamoto. Is he her boyfriend? Try not to be an obvious stalker, please. So to take out his frustrations, he invites Yasunobu to go karaoke with him as Honoka too tags along. But he still feels upset and leaves. Honoka wants to follow him but Yasunobu stops her and forces her to listen to him singing (what a horrible rendition of this series’ opening theme!). When Yamato comes back to his apartment, he finds out Miyamoto is on the school’s track team and the reason he’s talking to Suzuka is because he wants her to talk and persuade Yamato to join the track team after yesterday’s surprising performance. Phew, thank goodness he isn’t her boyfriend. But Yamato declines to join. That night as Yamato does some deep thinking in his room, a blackout occurs. Suzuka comes into his room because she is afraid of the thunder and gets close to him. She tells him how she goes back to her hometown every weekend when another round of thunder occurs, causing Suzuka to tightly hug Yamato. Before anything could happen, the power came back on. The next day after reading his horoscope luck on love (seriously?), Yamato even goes to consult from Yasunobu on some tips on how to confess his feelings to Suzuka. So of course when Honoka joins them and Yamato asks her about love and confessing, she gets flustered and puts too much salt in her meal. On the way home, Yamato spots Suzuka and decides to confess to her but I guess he still couldn’t find the courage to do so and just say how he’ll help her out with her chores instead.
 
A weird but adamant newspaper girl tries to persuade Yamato to subscribe to a newspaper in episode 6. But I guess Yamato is more interested in the free tickets to an amusement park he’ll get if he subscribes and without a second thought, he does so that he could ask Suzuka out on the next weekend. Unfortunately, his tickets were shredded by their cat, Gorou, when Yuuka comes teasing him on what he is planning to do with them. There goes his chance. But he soon finds out that Suzuka too has tickets there (see how persistent that newspaper girl is?) and because Yamato had a hard time saying he wants to go with her, Suzuka offers him to accompany her instead. At the amusement park, they tried several rides and Yamato notices how Suzuka is having fun even though earlier on she said how she wanted to go home after riding the first one. I mean, it’s raining and all the indoor rides are filled with people. Night falls and the duo manages to catch a light parade. Yamato manages to hold her hand and finally sums up the courage to confess that he loves her. Suzuka is surprised and thinks it’s a joke at first but when she realizes that Yamato is serious about it, she rejected his confession. Yamato comes back to his room dejected only to see Yasunobu freeloading there. He explains what happened and his rejection. Yasunobu decides to leave him alone and gives him a pack of tissues, in which Yamato cries uncontrollably after that.
 
It’s natural for someone who gets rejected to be all depressed. That’s how Yamato is feeling in episode 7. However, Yamato gets an unlikely advice from Yuuka herself. She tells of her own confession and rejection story back when she had a crush on a certain guy. Yeah, back then she was just a plain Jane. Even though she got rejected after confessing to him, Yuuka vowed never to give up until he accepts her love. With that, Yamato gets encouraged and his self confidence back. So Yuuka’s not a busty bimbo after all. So after consulting Yasunobu for more advice, Yamato decides to join the track team in order to be closer to Suzuka. But Yasunobu is against that idea and wants him to apologize to Suzuka instead. So when Yasunobu accompanies Yamato to go apologize to her, he gets surprised when Yamato tell Miyamoto on how he wishes to join the track team instead, delighting him very much but leaving Suzuka pretty much confused.
 
Now that Yamato’s officially part of the track team in episode 8, he finds that it isn’t a bed of roses. I mean, even though he’s joining as a 100m sprinter, he still needs to have endurance and stamina. Yeah, he gets tired after some warm up. We are introduced to the track captain and shot put athlete, Tetsuhito Kinugasa, and another sprinter, Miki Hashiba, who is Suzuka’s friend and looks up to her a lot. Initially Miki didn’t like Suzuka very much because of her cold expression but soon realizes her ideals and goals. At the end of the day, Yamato is too exhausted so much so Yasunobu and Honoka had to carry him back. Because Yasunobu notices how Honoka is watching Yamato practice everyday, he suggests her to join the track club but she declines, giving an excuse that she is slow. That night as Honoka and Yuuka are taking a bath together at the bathhouse, Honoka finds out about Yamato’s rejection from Yuuka. Must be feeling heartbreak, huh? Honoka decides to leave but because her mind has been clouded with this newfound knowledge, she opens the wrong door whereby Yamato is fixing the bathhouse heat. Yamato is in a panic and starts apologizing when he sees her naked but actually Honoka’s tears were more on the thought that Yamato had confessed to Suzuka. Later Yamato accompanies Honoka back and after eating some croquette snack, Honoka realizes that he still has Suzuka on his mind. But in order not to give up, the next day Honoka joins the track club as their manager to be close to Yamato. The boys must be thrilled to have a cute manager. So what does a manager do? All I can see is that she gives them hand towels, bottled drinks and does their laundry. Is this what managing is all about? As Miki is giving Yamato a massage, Suzuka thinks he is fooling around. Miki thinks Suzuka is too hard on him but Suzuka is pretty sure that with his attitude, he’ll give up and leave the track team. But Yamato is bent on working harder so that he could get closer to Suzuka. As Suzuka prepares to do another high jump, her mind is pre-occupied with Yamato so much so she doesn’t clear the minimum height.
 
Yamato gets used to the training in episode 9 and with the upcoming Metropolitan tournament, the track team needs to do a selection. Though Yamato isn’t confident about his skills, he manages to beat his other team mates and clocked a time of 10.98. Now that is considered quite an achievement because not many runners their level could run at a 10 second bracket. Kinugasa tells Miyamoto how Yamato resembles so much like that person. But when a ecstatic Yamato goes to tell Suzuka about his time record, she gets upset and tells him how she hates him instead. Over lunch with Yasunobu and Miki, Yamato is still upset about Suzuka’s indifferent attitude. Yamato can’t quit the club like that now as Miki tells him how Suzuka hates people who do things half-heartedly as joining and leaving the club is irresponsible. You’ll also notice that Yasunobu and Miki will have little squabbles among themselves but it won’t turn out into anything much. Meanwhile Miyamoto tells Suzuka how Yamato resembles a lot like Kazuki Tsuda, in which Suzuka denies. Then Yamato overhears Suzuka talking to Miyamoto about how she’s going back to her hometown to see Kazuki, which of course sends another jealous ring down Yamato’s mind. Because he has been thinking who this Kazuki guy is, he hadn’t had much sleep. He comes down and asks Ayano where is Suzuka, but she told him she had already left for her hometown. In his room, Yamato follows playful Gorou into Suzuka’s room through the balcony and spots a photo of Suzuka and a guy which resembles so much like him (that’s Kazuki alright). After receiving a note from Suzuka as given by Miho, Yamato without any hesitation decides to go after Suzuka.
 
He manages to arrive at Suzuka’s hometown in episode 10 and to his surprise finds that her house is bigger than the average home. Yamato bumps into Suzuka’s elder sister, Suzune, who upon finding out the reason he is here, brings him to see Suzuka. Yamato gets another surprise when he sees her praying at the grave of Kazuki. Suzune explains that 2 years ago, Kazuki died in a car accident on his way to a track meet. Kazuki was also dubbed the Rocket Starter and one of the fastest sprinters in this region. Upon knowing it all, Yamato decides to go back and wishes Suzune not to tell Suzuka about his presence. As Yamato heads back, he begins to think that Suzuka may be seeing him as a replacement of a dead guy. Likewise, Suzuka recalls the time when she and Kazuki didn’t like each other, quarrelling most of the time and his care-free attitude was somewhat like Yamato, only livelier. Even with his irresponsible attitude, Kazuki still managed to get into the Nationals while Suzuka herself failed to make the cut. Then when Suzuka was in her 2nd year of junior high, Kazuki gave her some words of encouragement and had Miyamoto take a photo of them together. Kazuki also confessed his feelings to her just a day before the meet. But Suzuka didn’t give him an answer and will never have another chance to do so because he died the next day. In present time, Yamato’s depression has made him skipped several training and practice and has the team members worried. That night, Suzuka comes to talk to Yamato in his room and soon it turned out into another argument. Yeah, he’s even thinking about quitting the track team. Suzuka then slaps him when he crosses the line by saying how she’s comparing him to a dead guy and that he is NOT Kazuki. As Suzuka rushes out and back to her room, Yamato wonders why he has done to deserve this slap and decides not to go to the meet.
 
The day of the track meet arrives in episode 11 and Yamato is not showing up. At the meet, the region’s current number 1 sprinter, Emerson Arima, is hogging the spotlight. Miyamoto was hoping that Yamato would be their best bet against him but Suzuka gets upset upon hearing Yamato’s name so much so she said out loud how Arima is not on level with Kazuki. Of course Arima has heard this and couldn’t let this slip by. Meanwhile Yasunobu has managed to drag Yamato to the meet and when they arrive, they spot Suzuka being confronted by Arima and his pals. They want Suzuka to apologize to Arima for insulting him. At that point, their overwhelming presence seems to make Suzuka shiver in fear, crying and unable to do anything. Yamato then steps in to stand up for her saying that he will personally beat Arima. After the commotion has settled down, Suzuka chides him for making such an irresponsible statement but Yamato says it will all eventually work out. For his sake, he’d better because the loser has to get down on his knees and apologize.
 
The first heat begins and Yamato finds that he is in the same heat as Arima. When the race starts, Yamato has a hard time catching up to Arima. Yamato’s pals are watching and think he’s not going to make it. And Yasunobu thought it would be interesting to see if he could pull something off. Then it’s like Yamato heard some ‘inspirational’ words from Suzuka when she yelled "NANI ITTE N DA YO, BAKA?! (What are you doing, idiot?!)", did Yamato got some power to finally catch up side by side with Arima. Imagine just the words of a girl could power up a guy like him. Honoka must be worried because Suzuka’s words manage to reach his heart. Now Arima is starting to sweat. But even with Yamato’s strong determination to beat him, suddenly his body stops moving as he collapses. He didn’t finish the race. Kinugasa says this is what happens when he skipped 3 days of training and practice. Later as Arima confronts Yamato, he tells the latter to get away from his face but Yamato says he’s not giving up yet and runs away. What was that all about? Arima must be a little pissed off for an unknown fry like him to make him work so hard during the early rounds. Suzuka finds Yamato under a tree and nurses his bruised knees (she put too many band aids on it!) and tells him to come to practice tomorrow. This lifts up his spirits because she didn’t get mad at him for failing to walk the talk.
 
That newspaper girl is back in episode 12 and this time working for some TV company and if Yamato subscribes to some channel he gets 2 free tickets to the pool. Since he knows her trick, he refuses. But she ends up giving the tickets free to him and tells him to go out with a girl. I mean, he needs a break seeing that he has been given a gruelling punishment of doing many dashes and laps for missing practice. While Yamato is seeking Yasunobu’s advice on inviting Suzuka to the pool, Honoka too had the same idea for Yamato (yeah, she got the idea from that newspaper woman) but she got Miki to come instead. Surprisingly, Suzuka too decides to join them. Get ready for a little fanservice shot with girls in their cute swimsuits. At the pool, both Yamato and Honoka try to impress their beloved ones but fails. As the gang heads back, it amazes me why nobody realizes Yamato fell down because of his shoe laces. So okay, Suzuka did. But as the fireworks begin to display, Yamato grabs her hand when she tries to get away. The rest of the gang catches up to them before anything could happen and Honoka is deeply saddened by what she had saw. The next day, Honoka wants to walk home with Suzuka. On their way, Honoka mentions how close Suzuka is to him but all Suzuka had to say about him were just complains. With that, Honoka asks if it’s okay that she confesses to Yamato since she has loved him way before Suzuka knows him. So why is she telling her this? Honoka feels that Suzuka likes him in which Suzuka strongly denies that she is in love with that idiot. You know what? Yamato has happened to pass by and heard it. Honoka starts to panic and runs away. Though Suzuka tries to apologize, Yamato didn’t get angry but says that he knew it all along and walks away. Suzuka feels bad about saying that.
 
The gang are taking a train to an Inter High Tournament in Hiroshima in episode 13. Kinugasa is all over Yamato saying how he has prepared some special training menu for him and wants him to improve further even after he retires. Hey, why is Yasunobu tagging along? He did mention how he had nothing better to do than to cheer them on. Perhaps hitting on chics too? Meanwhile Honoka is worried that is she doesn’t confess to Yamato soon, Suzuka may take him away from her. Thus Yasunobu suggests that Honoka do so. At Hiroshima, Yamato bumps into Arima but the latter ignores him totally. Also, Miki has a chat with Suzuka on Yamato. Speaking of which, he is doing some night training and notices his time isn’t improving. Honoka comes by to cheer him up. Honoka then spots Suzuka coming from behind and since she doesn’t want Yamato to see her, she quickly kisses him! Yamato is very surprised as Honoka rushes and runs pass Suzuka. She then comes by to sit next to him to give him some words of encouragement. Though Yamato still feels that he likes Suzuka, he can’t deny the face that Honoka’s lips were soft. The next day as Yamato watches Suzuka compete in her high jump event, Honoka comes by to apologize for last night’s event. And to celebrate Suzuka’s 3rd placing, the gang holds a celebration for her that night. Kinugasa notices Yamato isn’t around and wants Miki to fetch him. Yamato is outside trying to sort out his feelings when Honoka comes by. As they chat, the fish in the pond splashes a little water on Honoka, causing her to quickly go into Yamato’s arms. They stare at each other for a while before Yamato thinks that he likes Honoka and kisses her. At the same time, Miki spots the duo and is taken aback on what they are doing.
 
With that, Yamato and Honoka has become a couple in episode 14. Miki wanted to tell Suzuka about it but after seeing how happy Yamato is, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. So how happy is that guy? Well, he turns down Suzuka’s offer to go shopping with her. Yeah, he’s like, forget her already. After practice, Yamato receives a note from Honoka to meet her. There, she tells him of her feelings for him ever since the day they met. When Miki talks to Yasunobu about this new development, he is already aware of their relationship. Miki is upset that he didn’t do anything about it but Yasunobu replies that it isn’t his business. The next day, local boy Yamato tries to take Yasunobu, Honoka, Miyamoto and Kinugasa to a famous okonomiyaki store but got lost instead. Must be embarrassing. They ended up eating at a ramen shop instead. Honoka gives Yamato a matching handphone strap while Yasunobu rues why he himself doesn’t have a girlfriend. That night when the gang departs on a train back to Tokyo, Yamato is running late because he was buying juices for everyone. Since he’s carrying lots, he drops them just before boarding the train. Suzuka decides to help him pick up the pieces when the train door shuts. Miki is wondering where the duo are when to her surprise spots them outside her window trying to catch up with the train. Yamato, I know you’re a sprinter but that doesn’t mean you can beat the train, right? Now they’re left stranded. Honoka is worried about Yamato and tries to call him on his handphone but that guy left it on the train. Miki tells Kinugasa about it as he contacts Suzuka on her handphone. He tells them that they have to get back to Tokyo tonight no matter what. But they can’t because that was the last train for the day and there are no bus services at that time. Unless you plan to be on the waiting list. No choice, they have to find a place to stay for the night now. Honoka must be worried that Yamato and Suzuka are now alone together. Oh yeah, it could’ve been her and him.
 
In episode 15, the duo are thinking their next step but without much money, they can’t do much. Yeah, a drunk guy thinks they’re a couple and suggests for them to go to a love hotel. Yamato then gets an idea to call his dad to come pick him up while Suzuka stays at a hotel (borrow some money from his dad, that is). With that, Suzuka calls Kinugasa and tells him about their plans. Just then Honoka picks up the phone to talk to Yamato, in which he assures her everything will be okay since he won’t be spending the night together with Suzuka. After waiting for 30 minutes, Yamato’s dad finally arrives but gives his son a knock on the head as a warm welcome for being an idiot. Then he scoffs off the idea of Suzuka to stay in a hotel all by herself and invites her to stay with them too. The next morning, Suzuka joins Yamato and his weird family eating breakfast. Yeah, everyone literally teases him. Later Yamato asks Suzuka if he wanted to see the fireflies, which means they need to stay an additional night. She declines his offer and tells him that he should think about Honoka. Soon he calls Honoka and tells her what has happened and will be back in Tokyo by tonight. But that evening as they are about to leave, Suzuka changes her mind and decides to go see the fireflies. Yamato takes her to a dark spot near a bridge but to his disappointment couldn’t see a single firefly. He recalls another screw up like this when he was younger. After seeing how serious he was to show her the fireflies (initially she laughed at his corny story), Yamato then notices a firefly on a bellflower. It looks as though the flower is illuminating. Suzuka wants him to enact a love confession to her. He takes the illuminated bellflower, gives it to her and confesses he loves her. Even Suzuka is surprised because he was so darn convincing. Like a real confession. She takes the bellflower and accepts his confession. Now Yamato wonders if she’s serious or not because her words too was so convincing. As their eyes adjust to the darkness, they can now see the beautiful lights of the fireflies. Just then Suzuka tells him that she was joking about accepting his confession and laughs. Poor guy. And he thought she was doing it for real. How heartbreaking.
 
Honoka stops by at Ayano’s place to ask about Yamato in episode 16 but was told that he won’t be back till noon. Yamato and Suzuka manage to catch the morning train back to Tokyo and Yamato is still upset that he took Suzuka’s confession seriously. When they arrived, Yamato spots Honoka there waiting for him. As Suzuka leaves them alone, Yamato then realizes his love for Honoka as they both kiss in the crowded station. Unless you’re in love, many would find that public display of affection real embarrassing. Get a room! Next day at school, Yamato and Yasunobu are talking about the former’s direction in his new relationship when Yasunobu suggests that Yamato have sex with Honoka because it’s natural for couples in love to do so. That night, Yamato is thinking of a way to get Honoka over (can’t believe he listened to that playboy’s advice) when Honoka shows up at his doorstep to cook him dinner. As Honoka starts cooking, Yamato’s mind once again is in a dilemma about his feelings for Suzuka. So without further thinking, he pushes Honoka on top his bed and starts kissing her. Of course Honoka starts to panic and gets scared. She pushes him away before running out. What has this guy done now. Honoka passes by Suzuka when she leaves Yamato’s room and Suzuka gives him her usual lecture about his insensitivity when Yamato slams the door after saying it’s none of her business. A taste of her own medicine? Honoka didn’t turn up the next day for her track club duties so Yamato decides to go and apologize to her at her home. She accepts it and wonders if Yamato hates her. He doesn’t and says it was his fault to begin with for forcing on to her. Then Honoka made a weird statement how she doesn’t mind being forced upon if it’s Yamato. That sure is ambiguous.
 
In episode 17, Miki smacks Yasunobu when she learns about him trying to get Yamato to have sex with Honoka. Meanwhile Kinugasa has Yamato do some weights to increase his strength. After practice, Yamato is thinking of calling Miho to come fetch him with an umbrella since it’s raining and the fact that Honoka was busy with something else. Surprisingly Suzuka offers him one. Deja vu? Even if Miki asks her if she likes Yamato, Suzuka denies it. Later when Yamato goes out with Honoka, he spots an ad of a famous singer Nana Shirakawa. Then at the cafe, Yamato gets a surprise to see the singer herself in person coming up to their table. Yeah, Nana is Honoka’s friend too. A flashback of how they met and it didn’t start on a friendly note. Nana was even an idol when she was still schooling and when Honoka caught her smoking in her shrine compound, they got in an argument. Because Honoka treated her like a normal person, that’s when their friendship began. They soon have to go elsewhere as the other customers start to recognize her. Meanwhile Suzuka and Miki are having a karaoke session when they heard a familiar voice singing next door, which is Yamato along with Honoka and Nana. Since Suzuka doesn’t know who Nana is, she thinks Yamato is two-timing her and starts lecturing him. On the other hand, Nana thinks Yamato is three-timing Honoka because Suzuka sounded like his girlfriend. After clearing things up, they decide to have a karaoke competition among themselves. After Yamato and Nana walks Honoka back to her home, Nana questions him if he truly loves Honoka. Even though he’s a nice guy and doesn’t want to hurt her, Nana notes how Yamato’s actions are merely being influenced by Honoka’s feelings. Something like he’s not being himself and just acting to be a good boyfriend but without getting close to her. I’m not an expert on this area so I can’t really say much. Just like Yamato, I’m stumped too. But even so, Yamato doesn’t even know much about Honoka, not to mention her birthday. Nana tells him her birthday is just around the corner, September 16th to be precise and if he doesn’t want to break up with her, he has to look at her more.
 
Yamato is thinking what to get Honoka for her birthday in episode 18. When Honoka hints if he is free on her special day, Yamato lies to her by saying that he has something to do with Yasunobu. Yamato later asks Miho and Yuuka for their opinions on what to get as Honoka’s birthday present as they argue about what is ideal to them. Poor Megumi wishes she had a guy to give her presents. Well Yamato, looks like you have to eventually think about it yourself. Yamato goes to the store to get some hints from a magazine when Suzuka comes in and thinks he’s reading porn. He soon asks her opinion in which Suzuka replied a necklace. He also asks her to come with him to help pick out the necklace tomorrow, in which she agrees to meet at a faraway district. The reason being that it would be odd if familiar faces catches them shopping together. As Honoka is reading a magazine at a store, Yuuka and Megumi comes by and Yuuka’s slip of a tongue causes her to say that Yamato is buying Honoka a gift as a surprise. Honoka is happy that he didn’t forget about her birthday and decides to do something for him as well. Meanwhile Yamato and Suzuka go from one shop to another but couldn’t find the perfect necklace till they meet that newspaper lady now selling novelties at the roadside. Yamato has Suzuka try on the necklace and buys it after seeing how perfect it is. When Honoka finishes her shopping, she spots Yamato and Suzuka departing from the train station together. Looking like a happy couple, aren’t they? On Honoka’s birthday, Yamato shows up at her doorstep to present his gift. Honoka tells him that he already knew from Yuuka so Yamato also comes clean about his lie being with Yasunobu. Then he went on ranting his day in choosing the necklace with Suzuka. Honoka has had enough about it (because his conversations always seem to have Suzuka in it) and decides not to accept his present as she goes back into her house in tears. When Yamato returns to his room, Suzuka asks him how did it go and Yamato told her what happened. Gloominess descending on everyone again…
 
Yamato once again consults Yasunobu on his views in episode 19 but the latter thinks it’s his fault and wants him to go apologize. Even during the track club practice, Honoka avoids talking to him. Suzuka feels guilty for going shopping with Yamato and thinks she is the reason their relationship is strained and goes to apologize but Yamato admits that it’s his own fault at first. Meanwhile, Nana is seen comforting Honoka. Later Yamato decides to have a 2nd go at giving his present to Honoka at her house. She once again refuses saying that she can’t accept a present which he and Suzuka chose happily together. I mean, of all the people, why choose her to go select a present. Girls, can’t understand them ;p (I’m the one to say!). Honoka then suggests that they break-up, in which he agrees. It is that time in which she decides to accept his present as a token of remembrance as they once dated as a couple. She then gives him a goodbye kiss. Yamato returns to his room to find Yuuka and Megumi drunk. He isn’t in the mood and wants them to leave after telling them of his break-up. Suzuka happen to pass by and heard this unfortunate news. While Megumi pours out her own miserable boyfriend-less story, Megumi says it’s a good thing they broke-up because Yamato is being irresponsible. After the drunkards left, Suzuka comes in to apologize for all that has happened. But Yamato lies and says that he was the one who dumped Honoka, which made Suzuka very upset as she storms out of his room wondering why she cared so much about this idiot. Yeah, she’s starting to hate him again.
 
More depression in episode 20. Yasunobu and Miki tries to cheer up Yamato after learning of his break-up while Nana does the same for Honoka, who still thinks Suzuka pretty much occupies Yamato’s heart. Plus, Honoka hasn’t turn up for track practice ever since. When the club members found out about their break-up they get upset because there won’t be anymore cute girl to be their manager. Except for 1 member who isn’t angry about him (because he has been a long time secret admirer of Honoka so with this break-up he thinks he has a chance with her. Dream on…) and even goes to console Yamato. One day out of the blue moon, Honoka makes a surprising return to the team and gives those guys a much needed morale booster. I don’t know what she’s thinking but Honoka decides to win back Yamato’s heart. Hey, didn’t she wish for this break-up in the first place? Also, Kinugasa wants Yamato to be part of the relay team. Eventually Miki found out the real reason why he broke-up with Honoka and wonders why didn’t he just tell Suzuka the truth. His reply is that he doesn’t want to hurt her as she will feel that she’s the cause of their break-up. Later Miki has Yamato treat her to some okonomiyaki and on their way back, she advices him that he nothing would come if he does nothing and wants him to continue to be on the track team as other people’s have expectations of him.
 
Even with Yamato’s newfound determination in episode 21, he still can’t concentrate on his relay, dropping the baton each time and upsetting his senior team mates. Obviously he’s got Suzuka on his mind. Miki decides to help Yamato with his relay at a nearby park. Yamato decides to tell Suzuka the truth himself after reflecting that his actions were sort of irresponsible. After school Yamato tells Suzuka about it and his reasons for doing so but this causes her to get even more upset. Later as Yamato heads to the dhoby to do his laundry, he sees Suzuka there doing hers. He tries to make conversation or sharing his croquette but she isn’t in the mood for one. When Yamato decides to go to a convenience store (so that Suzuka could take out her laundry of underwear which she doesn’t want him to see), Suzuka mentions how she would like to have some croquette but wouldn’t want to eat it alone. When they return to their rooms, Yamato gets a call from Miki to see if he has already made-up with Suzuka. After that, Yamato gets a little annoyed when the phone rings a 2nd time but gets a little shock to hear it’s Suzuka who wishes him to do well in his races because she doesn’t want to be blamed for his failures (hint hint). With that, Yamato realizes that he still likes Suzuka after all.
 
Another track meet in episode 22 but before that Yamato tells Yasunobu that he still likes Suzuka. As Miyamoto shows up to tell Yamato to get ready for their race, Yasunobu finds out more about Kazuki. Even though he has an irresponsible attitude, he’s like a genius when it comes to those sprinting race, breaking the record for the junior high tournament. And even if Kazuki and Suzuka argued quite a lot, Suzuka still liked Kazuki and still does even after his death. Of course Yamato couldn’t stand anymore of this Kazuki talk and yells for them to shut up, attracting the attention of the other people nearby and embarrassing Suzuka. Yamato tells Yasunobu that he is going to be number 1 in Japan so that he could win Suzuka’s heart. During the heat, Yamato and Arima are in separate heats and even if Yamato won his semi-final bout, he qualifies for the next tournament without having to face off with Arima in the finals. Something which he isn’t happy about since he really wants to beat him. Furthermore, since he went all out during his semi-final run, some of his pals think that he’s using too much energy and by the time the finals come, he won’t have any energy left. But you know, Yamato will still do it his way. Later Suzuka finds Yamato a little dejected because Arima still beats him in terms of time, relegating him to 2nd place. He then starts to ask Suzuka technical questions about his running (hey, she’s a high jumper lah!) before rushing off. He’s dead serious on being number 1, is he? All for the love of Suzuka…
 
In episode 23, Miyamoto helps Yamato improve his time and technique by drawing up some graph and charting each run. We learn that Yamato reaches his top speed faster than Arima but is unable to maintain it. So part of the plan is to change his running style. But can he do it within 2 weeks before the next meet? As usual, Suzuka gives him the cold shoulder as she doesn’t care how he runs. And after Yamato chats with Miki about his goals, Miki feels that even if he becomes number 1, it doesn’t mean that Suzuka would fall for him. At the same time, Honoka is still finding solace in Nana’s advice. Since she’s still worried about Yamato and Suzuka (yeah, she feels she’s got no room between them anymore), Nana just tells her to forget about him and find a new boyfriend. Easier said than done. As Yamato continues with his practice, he made some improvement to his time but Suzuka still doesn’t care. So much so that Yamato blew his top and wants to know what is it about him that she hates so much. Yamato walks away when Suzuka tugs his shirt and apologizes before running away. And I thought she didn’t like him with his irresponsible attitude. Now that he is serious, she’s like getting all so bothered. Can’t understand her either.
 
The track meet begins in episode 24 with Suzuka easily qualifying for the Kantou Tournament. Likewise, Yamato gets ready to face-off with Arima. The race starts and Yamato and Arima are side by side. Then halfway through the race, Yamato loses speed as everyone else zooms past him and he ends up in last place. What a disappointment. Which means he did not qualify for the next round. Bummer. Back home, Yamato thinks he can’t face Suzuka after that dismal performance but to his surprise Suzuka comes by his doorstep. She gives him some advice of her personal experience to cheer him up and brought some eggs as well (hope she doesn’t microwave it like the last time). Yamato is grateful for cheering him up but Suzuka gives an excuse that she had bought too many eggs and wanted to give him some excess. Before Suzuka leaves, Yamato once again confesses to her that he likes her but she doesn’t have to give him an answer now and that he will practice and train even harder from now. So when he becomes number 1, only then she can tell him her answer. Suzuka doesn’t want to hear any of it and tells him to stop as she runs away because at that point Yamato reminded her so much of Kazuki. Rejected a second time? The next doorbell rings and Yamato finds it’s Miho looking for Suzuka to help her with her homework and since she can’t find her in her room, Yamato tells her that she may have gone out to do some errands. However several hours passed and Suzuka still hasn’t return. Yamato is worried and decides to go look for her with the help of Miki. Meanwhile Suzuka is seen crying on the steps of the shrine.
 
Episode 25 has Suzuka remembering of her time with Kazuki. Well, nothing different from her usual spat with Yamato. That cheeky guy got the cheek to write their names on a school desk to make her an accomplice after she found out that he’s doodling the desk that he wants to be the number 1 sprinter. The day before the tournament, Suzuka was quite nervous of how Kazuki would be faring when Suzune teases her that she likes him. However the next day, she gets a call from Miyamoto saying that Kazuki has died in an accident. At his funeral, Suzuka didn’t even shed a tear but in contrast, Miyamoto was devastated and inconsolable. After the funeral, Suzuka volunteered to get Kazuki’s stuff and spots the table with their names and drew a love umbrella. It is that time when Suzuka realized her feelings for Kazuki but was too late to let him know. In present time, Honoka decides to get some stuff from the convenient store when she spot Suzuka sitting alone on the steps. She chats with her as Honoka tries to bring some senses to her like how her attitude is causing everyone else around her to suffer and even calls her a liar for running away from important issues. Though Honoka doesn’t understand how it feels to have a loved one die, she definitely knows how it feel to have a loved one being stolen away. She wants Suzuka to tell her true feelings to Yamato but that girl just ran away (just proves what Honoka said, right?). After some thinking at the park, Suzuka decides to go home when Yamato spots her. She tries to run away but he grabbed her hand. Suzuka starts to break down and mentions how she doesn’t want to experience love again because she fears that the same thing might happen to him if she does. Yeah, I mean after building up so much hope for it and in the end, it all goes down wasted. Plus, since Yamato looked so much like Kazuki, it’s like as though God is playing a cruel prank of her by making history repeat itself. Of course Yamato thinks he’s not the same as Kazuki and before Suzuka knows it, Yamato forces a kiss on her! She didn’t slap him once but several times! SLAP! SLAP! SLAP! SLAP! Ouch! Getting run down by a car isn’t this painful. Okay, just kidding.
 
In the aftermath of that sudden kiss, in episode 26 Suzuka is still sorting out her feelings as she stares at the photo of Kazuki and herself. Yamato on the other hand tells Miki that he has found Suzuka and to call off the search. The next day, Suzuka ignores him on her way to school so Yamato confronts her and says that he will not lose to this Kazuki guy and refuses to apologize. Yeah, he won’t back down until she faces him. Their commotion attracted the attention of Ayano, Miho, Yuuka and Megumi. It seemed like a typical lovers quarrel until the ladies found out that Yamato did a forced kiss on Suzuka. Can’t blame them if they get upset. The next day after practice, Honoka convinces Suzuka to walk home with her. Honoka tells Suzuka that she plans on quitting the track club because since she still likes Yamato but he has only eyes for Suzuka, she feels she can’t cheer on for such a person with all her heart as at this rate she can’t move forward in life. Thus she wants Suzuka to make it clear to Yamato once and for all since Honoka notices how they both look like they’re in so much pain. And that’s not good for them both. Later Yamato learns from Miho that Suzuka is visiting Kazuki’s grave so he rushes to her room to stop her. Surprisingly, she wants him to accompany her there. As Suzuka prays at Kazuki’s grave, she apologizes to Kazuki that she can’t go out with him because there is someone else she likes even if that person is irresponsible and clumsy. Hmm… What an odd place to indirectly confess her feelings. When she’s done and Suzuka says to go home, Yamato notices at that point Suzuka’s cutest expression. The next day, Yuuka and Megumi spots Suzuka waiting for Yamato to go to school together. So when Yuuka asks if she’s waiting for him, she gets embarrassed and rushes off. Yamato then comes by and Yuuka tells him Suzuka has rushed off because he made her mad by waiting. Of course he chases after her. With that, Yuuka wishes him to do his best because the hard part starts now. Yamato finally catches up to her as they hold hands while walking to school. His life did changed for the better.
 
So finally he gets the girl. I guess many viewers would hope that it would turn out this way. I know that there are some which wanted to pair Yamato and Honoka together but since the anime title is named after a particular character, you can’t argue about that, could you? As mentioned, there isn’t much focus on the sports action and even so is just for a short moment. The main focus here is the character development of the characters. Especially Suzuka who has been clinging on her past for so long and it’s a good sign that in the end she managed to let go of it and move forward with Yamato. I mean, if a guy who looks and acts so similar like the one she loved, what are the chances that the same thing might happen to him? I guess that’s why Suzuka is so afraid to fall in love with Yamato and acts like the cold tsundere girl she is. Come to think of it, is Yamato a reincarnation of Kazuki? But it’s a good thing too that Yamato didn’t qualify for the Kantou Tournament because if he does, he might get into a car accident like Kazuki. Just kidding. Touch wood. And I can’t believe that in an earlier episode, Suzuka did say to herself how Yamato and Kazuki are definitely NOT alike. Must be in denial.
 
The other characters too play quite a role in the development between Yamato and Suzuka. We know that Honoka has longed harboured a deep crush on Yamato and when she got to be with him albeit a short spell, she realizes that she can’t possibly stand up to Suzuka in Yamato’s heart and admits defeat. Yasunobu and Yuuka too have their plus points in giving Yamato his confidence. It’s alright for a guy who got rejected once, having second thoughts about confessing again in fear of the same thing may happen. So don’t think that a playboy and a drunkard are totally useless. Though I was hoping that Miki would get into the love triangle but she’s just there to provide support for them both, just as in Nana’s role to Honoka.
 
Earlier on in my blog I did mention that the opening theme was the one which attracted me. It still does. Entitled Start Line by COACH, I’m not sure if this pop piece is suitable for a sports genre like this. But then again, this isn’t really a sports themed series. All the ending themes are also done by COACH and the 1st ending theme is another lively piece called Aoi Field while the 2nd ending theme is a slower ballad called Kimi No Koto. There is something which bugs me on the opening credits animation. The entire animation only features Suzuka alone! I know that she has the series named after herself, but no other characters appearing as well? The 1st ending credits animation isn’t so bad as it features other girls in the track attire though the art here is mainly silhouette drawing. Then the 2nd ending credits animation is another eyebrow raiser because it has those DNA double helix floating around onscreen! Is it a subtle message to say don’t do drugs in sports? Anyway, the 2nd ending animation too mainly features Suzuka herself, unless you want to count those half body parts feature from some character which my guess would be Yamato.
 
For a drama series like this, I can say that the voice acting is good (okay, maybe sometimes rather flat. This is a drama series, isn’t it?) especially Yamato and Suzuka who are giving out a lot of angst. Yamato is voiced by Daisuke Nakamura (Colonello in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn) while Suzuka is voiced by Kanako Mitsuhashi (Killhua in Hunter X Hunter). Other casts include Seika Hosokawa as Miki, Takanari Ouyama as Yasunobu, Masami Suzuki as Yuuka (Amelia in Slayers), Takeshi Maeda as Miyamoto and Yuki Kaida as Ayano (Fuji in Prince Of Tennis). I noticed most of them don’t have a long list of anime roles under their names. Surprisingly to me, I found out that 4 out of the 5 members of the all-girl group COACH do lend their voices in this series. They are Yumiko Hosono as Honoka, Satomi Akesaka as Miho, Hatsumi Miura as Megumi, and Michie Kitaura as Nana. There are several nice background music ranging from dramatic to those exciting sports tune. But the ones which I liked best are those piano pieces accompanied with strings.
 
If you listen closely to the lines of the next episode preview, you will notice that those lines will be said somewhere in the next episode although during the next episode preview, those lines and the onscreen animation doesn’t necessarily match. Sometimes, it may give off a misunderstanding. The titles of each episode are simple (in the sense that if translated into English, it would be one word) and mostly are related to feelings or actions. However the final episode’s title still had me in stitches. Though the hiragana puts it as ‘Ryoufu’ which means cool breeze, but the kanji writing is exactly the one as in Suzuka’s name. Can it be pronounced differently as well? Ah, the wonders of Japanese kanji. Besides, I first made a mistake of pronouncing her name as Suzukaze (suzu meaning cooling/refreshing and kaze meaning the wind) when I saw her kanji writing.
 
There are tiny bits of fanservice here unless you consider girls in those skimpy track suits to be a turn on. I know there’s the pool episode and the several times Yamato accidentally got his face onto Megumi’s boobs. That shouldn’t be a big problem if you’re thinking of watching this with your family or girlfriend. And no, there is no harem in this series too. Perhaps a love triangle should be a more accurate term.
 
I know I’ve said this many times before and after watching so many of such genres, I should by now myself know that love isn’t such an easy and smooth ride. But then again, life in the tube may differ significantly in the real world. Hopefully, Yamato and Suzuka would continue their romance as they should. Just try not to get slapped multiple times, okay? I think that’s very ‘suey’ no matter how you look at it.
 

Suzuka

Before I forget that such an OVA exists, I guess it’s best for me to blog it down straight away as soon as possible after watching it. I mean, although School Days OVA – Magical Heart Kokoro-chan has came out somewhere last year, due to the many anime series that I was watching at that moment (yeah right), I’ve always put this series on hold and at the back of my mind that I will one day watch it. Besides, it’s only 1 episode, right? Well, thankfully I didn’t forget about it and managed to watch it anyway.
 
Just as the title name suggests, this is from that gruesome shocking TV anime series School Days. But unlike in that TV series, this one is as light-hearted comedy as its other OVA episode called Valentine Days. Furthermore, you would also guess from the title that the main star stealing the limelight would be the cute little Kokoro girl. Loli fans rejoice! (No, I’m not one of them).
 
This particular OVA is a parody of the mahou shoujo (magical girl) and those sentai shows (think of Power Rangers or those Masked Rider series). Only thing is, they put in the characters from the School Days series. This OVA has no relation of whatsoever to the TV series so you can be rest assured that nothing that gruesome will happen here. Sort of. Just get ready to have some laughs in this no-brainer. Well, at least that’s what I think. Plus, there is a little bit of nudity here so you may want to take note of that while watching this, though not much.
 
The OVA begins with Makoto narrating how normal his life is while taking a train to school. Yeah, real normal. Since he won’t be the main star of this episode. But I guess it’s better than going around sleeping with many other girls like he did in the TV series. Furthermore, Makoto’s narration seems to make him like as though he’s a philosopher of life like how he is happy with the way things are and that life isn’t a game and since you’ve got only 1 life, there is no reset button. Ironic, huh? But the train comes to a sudden crashing halt and Makoto finds a tiny alien space craft is attacking them! WTF? But do not fear. Makoto spots the mahou shoujo Magical Heart (it’s Kokoro by the way) destroying the space craft. With that, Makoto says how his everyday quiet life has been shattered. Really?
 
In school, we see that Taisuke is a huge fan of Magical Heart and is trying to tell her heroic deeds which have been published in the magazine to an unenthusiastic and sceptical Makoto. So when Taisuke asks Sekai, she too seems to be on Makoto side. In need for someone to back him up, Taisuke soon asks Setsuna, in which she supports Taisuke’s views. Of course she explains that it is so because good exists because of evil vice versa with her trademark ominous sounding voice.
 
The scene changes to the cafe where Sekai works as a part time waitress. But it seems that Hikari, Nanami and Kokoro are also working there as waitresses as Kotonoha visits them. While everyone is praising Kokoro’s outstanding job, they heard and emergency sound and excuse themselves from Kotonoha. The quartet head into the locker area and we see that the locker is some sort of secret gateway to an underground base. Yeah, it’s like those you see in such sentai or mecha shows. Couldn’t they have a much normal gateway? That’s what they asked when they came crashing down. We see that the Commander is Sekai’s mom (who’s also the manager of the cafe) and the reason why they had to enter in such a way was because of the emphasis on coolness. Huh? I guess since this genre is of a mahou shoujo and sentai, might as well. In addition, Commander says that in this kind of job, appearance matters most. Yeah, and that is the basics!
 
Anyway, Commander proceeds to show them the emergency situation downtown. At the shopping district, everyone has been turned into zombies. Something like Resident Evil? But the worse part is that they are perverted zombies! I don’t know how but because the screen is situated beneath the girls’ feet, those zombies had a nice time when they look up viewing what is underneath the girls’ skirt. Commander also tells them that she has prepared an anti-science weapon before mobilizing her squad into action. Go! Radish Mobile Squad.
 
As the girls do their henshin (transformation) into their sentai-like outfits, the narrator narrates how this cafe is just a facade and its true identity is a civilian defense organization dedicated to fighting villains and monsters where the government is too slow to act upon. These girls are selected by a super computer, interviewed, and then hired with an hourly pay of 750 Yen plus hazard pay! Not a job for anyone. Erm… the sentai costume seems a little revealing like as though they’re going to a cosplay party. Better hurry because those zombies are terrifying the townspeople by unleashing their darkest desires. Being perverted, that is. And you thought a good pervert is a dead pervert. Wait a minute, being a pervert is never good. Anyway the zombies are taking out their perverted acts on Otome and her 3 stooges.
 
We see the mastermind behind all this is the sinister Doctor S (it’s Setsuna by the way. I’ll refer to Doctor S as the person herself since it’s much easier). She and her headless assistant Tanaka (actually his head is never shown) decides that this shopping district will be her stepping stone to plunge the world into chaos. At the same time, Makoto and Taisuke are trying to escape the hordes of zombies as Setsuna orders Tanaka to spread more gas to turn everyone into zombies. It seems if anyone inhales that erotic gas, they’ll turn into a perverted zombie. As Makoto and Taisuke are cornered, the Radish Mobile Squad arrives and Sekai dub themselves as the Anonymous Defense Service. Then the funny part was how the narrator said it is such a tragic that they don’t know each other’s identities. Yeah, right under their noses, sleeping with the enemy all these while. Not to say their outfits cover their entire face or what. While Makoto and Taisuke are relieved of the arrival of their saviour, Otome and her 3 stooges are semi-naked (probably had their modesty a little outraged by then to) by the time Nanami gets them to safety. A second too late?
 
Our heroines soon face off with Setsuna and they are bent on defeating her because they will get a pay rise. So it’s all about the money eventually. They put together their anti-science weapon and it resembles a vacuum cleaner. Uh huh. Sekai proceeds to use and suck all those erotic gas. Of course there is only so much a vacuum cleaner can suck and contain but Sekai continues to suck until it exploded. So it partially destroyed our heroines’ outfit, which means a little fanservice for us and pay cut for them! The gas spreads and unfortunately Taisuke inhales them. In an instant he becomes a perverted zombie and goes after the poor girls. Well, Makoto notes how he isn’t different from his usual self. Then I don’t know how, during the chase, Taisuke becomes totally naked. Must be a horrifying sight for the girls. The zombies got the girls cornered as they fear the worse. But some sonic waves disable the zombies. How come only Taisuke turned back to a normal human being? Yeah, that guy has got the cheek to say he’s naked when the girls whack him.
 
So who is this new saviour? Why it’s Magical Heart! Yeah, we get to see her lengthy henshin too. However Sekai isn’t too pleased because she thinks she is stealing their glory again. Yeah, so tragic that they can’t recognize her. Taisuke then steals Makoto’s handphone because his doesn’t have a camera function. That obsessed Magical Heart fan starts snapping away in his joy. Magical Heart asks Setsuna why is she doing all this and her reply is that she is just playing her role because they’re all actors (ironic, isn’t it?). As the road is laid out for them by destiny, Setsuna says she is the master of evil while Magical Heart is the hero of good. Of course Kokoro doesn’t get all that ranting. She starts her attack to dispose of those side evil characters who just made their 10 second appearance. Then Setsuna uses some inflator to turn Tanaka into a huge mecha Tanaka.
 
Giant Tanaka is wrecking havoc in the city as he tries to smash little Magical Heart and in true old sentai shows, the buildings get smashed up instead. Then the government’s Defense Force Of Justice arrives. It fired its Murder Beams (really!) but it has no effect on Tanaka as the latter retaliates with another beam to melt the vehicle. They lost. Useless. Magical Heart is doubting herself whether she could defeat Tanaka as she remembers Setsuna’s words (I thought she didn’t understand). The blast from Tanaka causes Magical Heart to fall from the building top. Makoto rushes to save her. He manages to catch her when blocks of the building comes crashing on him. Makoto then says he’ll do anything for a happy ending. Ironic part is that we see those gruesome clips back in the TV series, whereby he got stabbed. The blocks come crashing down on them.
 
But those heavy blocks are soon destroyed by magic with the appearance of another heroine. She is Magical Word (it’s Kotonoha by the way). My word, what a name for this witch outfit lady. She faces off with Setsuna who agrees to face her. Tanaka unleashes his beams only to be stopped by Magical Word’s single palm! Power! Magical Word thanks Makoto for saving Magical Heart and then wants her to combine together to power up. Possible? Anything is here. The mecha of Magical Word and Magical Heart seems to be that Potemayo-like mascot that they used during the cultural festival back in the TV series. Yeah, they even named it Magical Maya. The thing which bugged me was why are the 2 girls inside the mecha naked? Why do they have wires plugged to their boobs?! A short but huge battle ensues with Magical Maya finally summoning a Magical Chainsaw as her finale. The Super Special Move: Bloody Conclusion! Really. That’s what the move is called. They split Tanaka into half and fill the town with blood. Blood blood everywhere. Seems familiar?
 
Setsuna decides to retreat and says that the next time they meet, it will be their last, before vanishing. In the aftermath, Magical Heart reverts back to Kokoro and comes to fetch her pals on a raft. Why? Because the whole damn town is flooded in blood! Real bloody. So once again the day is saved from erotic gasses thanks to Magical Heart and the other mysterious magical warrior (who are we kidding. We all know who she is damn well). The next day at school, Makoto and Sekai are darn tired and the latter uses her tough part time job which zapped her energy. Yeah, she got a pay cut too. Taisuke comes by and in his hype shows them the front page newspaper of Magical Heart’s popularity soaring after yesterday’s event. Then at the cafe, Kokoro takes some orders from Makoto, Taisuke and Setsuna. Then at a certain angle, Makoto notices how similar Kokoro looked like to Magical Heart. Taisuke thinks Makoto has changed his taste to lolis when Kotonoha comes by to join them. Sekai seems to be a little jealous. Soon Otome and her 3 stooges patron the cafe as Kokoro serves her customers.
 
After watching this show, it made me feel ironic what in the world was all that for. I mean in the sense, friends fighting among each other but can still eat and drink with each other at the end. If you look at it that way. Even with the bloody ending and little fanservice, the good thing is that nobody really died here. Plus, Makoto isn’t a pervert like he used to be. Feels like he’s just a side character. Probably this series is to satisfy fans of Kokoro, who emitted a little moe cuteness of her own. Well, this OVA isn’t supposed to make sense anyway.
 
The opening theme is called Magical Heart Kokoro-chan Theme by Megu Ashiro (who is also the voice of Kokoro) and sounds like a typical mix between the mahou shoujo and sentai genre. The opening credits animation reminded me of the one in Ultraman because it shows the silhouettes of several monsters (not that they appear in the show anyway). Besides, there is no ending theme for this 25 minute OVA. Is there a need?
 
Perhaps the producers should make more of such comedy OVA for the School Days series if they have any intention of doing so. It’ll be nice. Yeah, maybe they should do a parody of other genres as well. Fancy a fantasy magical adventure with the characters of School Days? Or an action packed hack-and-slash genre? What about a sports genre, say football? A real life action version? Before I let my imaginations carry myself away, let me just summarize and say this OVA is quite okay and should satisfy hardcore fans of the series. Or else, as a mahou shoujo genre, there are many other series out there which would easily overshadow this one. Go forth! Magical Heart Kokoro-chan!
 

School Days OVA – Magical Heart Kokoro-chan

More ironies of life. More satirical views and hilarious perspectives of the political, cultural, media and how things work in the world. That’s right. Those who have watched the first season of this black comedy series would be glad to know and enjoy the swift continuation called Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.
 
Now at first when I saw the word ‘zoku’, I thought it meant continuation when I checked up the online Japanese dictionary. But upon closer inspection of the kanji, it actually means extreme in the vulgar sense. Wow. And extreme alright this season is. So I guess it’s a play on words seeing that two different words but with the same pronunciation. Nice, huh?
 
I know I did mention that this sequel is a continuation but somehow I feel that isn’t the right word to accurately describe it. Perhaps the continuity is just in the series which is running and not the storyline. We all know how crazy and random each of the episodes are back in the first episode and this sequel proves to be even more, poking fun at much of the aspects and ironies in human life.
 
This particular season has 13 episodes, which is one episode more than its previous season and each episode is divided into 2 or 3 parts. Extra random craziness to tell? For those who want to watch this season, it is best to watch the first season before hand because even though there is no particular storyline to follow, viewers need to know the characters and their personalities first. So if you jump in straight into this one, you might be scratching your head on certain issues.
 
Like how the main protagonist of this series is the world’s most negative teacher, Nozomu Itoshiki. Dubbed Zetsubou Sensei (Mr Despair) by his students for his negative outlook on just about anything in his life and also his peculiar combination of his kanji name when written closely and horizontally. Want to know what I mean? Go watch the first season. Because the first season mainly introduces Nozomu’s students, this particular season has done away with that so I suppose it has more time to focus on other ironic issues.
 
Obviously, there are some noticeable differences between the first and second season. Firstly, I thought the drawing has been given a little detailed look although it generally maintains its unique trademark art. Meaning, I thought that the shadowing and such has been boosted a little. Perhaps it’s because of the gap between when I watched both seasons. But the other thing concerning the art is the various types of drawing that the series illustrated in some of the episodes. Simply refreshing.
 
Secondly, the characters. I noticed how some of the characters have been reduced to minor roles, meaning they don’t have much part as they have in the previous season. For instance, Kaede. She has been reduced to a character whose role is of only a panty flasher. Uh huh. That’s all viewers can expect to see her. Plus, she doesn’t go round as often yelling her trademark "I’ll sue you!" line. Even that pretty school counsellor, Chie, doesn’t make much appearance too. Then there are those characters who didn’t make much appearance in the first season, having more of so in this one. Like Nami. That normal girl has more appearance this time round and so does that yaoi doujin girl Harumi or the storyteller Jun. There are a few more student characters added such as Manami Oukusa (literally means a married person) and Kuniya Kino (self proclaimed rival of Jun and named after that book retail store). But don’t despair. For those who have almost forgotten the meaning of the names of the characters, the fansubbers did another good job by putting a quick summary of it all at the end of the first episode. Yeah, its’ that Don’t Worry Be Happy tune again.
 
So without going into much detail, let me briefly just go through several points of each episode. Partly because there are still too many clutter of kanji words onscreen. I know, it was tiring for me to pause and stop to read every single line back then. So this season was no exception. Hats off to the fansubbers who dedicated their time, painfully translating each of the kanji words on the screen. Plus, it’s not like that I understand each of the examples that the characters argue or mention. My general knowledge isn’t that wide, you know :(.
 
Episode 1 starts off the randomness with Nozomu running away from a secret dark organization who seems bent on wanting him to join as a member. Yeah, some weird organization called HAMASHO. Because Nozomu doesn’t want to be part of it all, he runs away. Hey, I noticed that Nozomu isn’t in his trademark hakama dress but a black suit. He looks good, though. His journey takes him through various places until he ends up on an island whereby he ends up being an experiment subject. Yeah, something about making a monster out of him. He escapes by jumping down from a cliff, and when he is washed ashore, he is found by Fuura and the next thing he knows, he is in hospital and Chie tells Fuura that Nozomu is their new class teacher. This is so different from the first episode back in the first season on how Nozomu hanged himself on a sakura tree but was saved by Fuura. An alternate retelling of how Nozomu came to be a school teacher? Yeah, his students now give him a nickname called Left Wing Guerrilla instead of Pink Supervisor in the previous season. Because Nozomu is at his usual behaviour of wanting to die, I’m not sure why, Chiri proposes a marriage before he does so. But I’m not sure if that marriage went through or not. Perhaps not.
 
The second part sees Nami trying to gain more attention by trying to get herself into trouble, like playing truant from class. However her plans usually backfire because there are other students which are in a far worse predicament than her. Haha. Looks like she’s doomed to always be a normal girl. I mean, there’s nothing wrong about being a normal girl in a class filled with weirdos, right? Of course Nami isn’t satisfied with it all and tries to act tough so Nozomu shows Nami about how Komori has been living in school and locking herself within one. You know, staying back after school could be a scary thing. All those weird stories and haunting rumours. Enough to send multiple chills down your spine. Yeah, Nami starts thinking that the stalker girl Matoi who has been following Nozomu all along is a ghost since Nozomu can’t find her. Nami can’t take much more of this horror when she sees a ghostly sight of children and runs out of school. Nami, just stay a normal girl, would you?
 
More weirdness in episode 2. One thing which strikes viewers in the first part of this episode is that everyone is talking in a strange gibberish language! Don’t worry, there are subtitles to decipher what they are saying at the bottom. Nozomu and his students find a weird guy called Commodore Perry who has a penchant for ‘opening’ things. That’s right. That includes opening a girl’s leg… So when Perry decides to open Nozomu’s head, only to find full of despair, he decides to drop his idea of opening everything. Some things are meant to be kept closed. The second part has Nozomu chiding about over-embellishment or over decoration of things in life. For instance, we see one of the teachers, Jinroku, who may look like an old guy but when he takes off his top, we could see his body fully covered with tattoos! We also get to see Nozomu’s 2nd eldest brother, Kei, who finally makes his first appearance and works as some sort of a painter-cum-sculpturist when Nozomu accidentally knocks over his statue, making Kei to curse him. The third part has Nozomu in despair about how old things are being ignored in the new age. We are also introduced to a new character called Ikkyu, who is supposed to be Nozomu’s long time friend. So when Fuura says how Ikkyu doesn’t have a surname, Ikkyu decides to marry Rin (too bad she’s been tied to a pole against her will). But Ikkyu is in a dilemma because if he marries Rin, the change of his surname would mean he wouldn’t be able to maintain his current one. So in the end, Fuura reveals that Nozomu and Ikkyu are only ‘one day friends’ based on Ikkyu’s kanji name writing.
 
The first part of episode 3 sees Harumi listening to a radio programme skit of Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei while trying to find some inspiration to draw her yaoi doujin manga. It was kinda confusing for me to wonder what is going on because I don’t think there is any relation in what the radio programme is talking about with what Harumi is doing. In the second part, it dawned to me that Komori and Majiru are spending lots of time together. This is evident throughout the rest of the series. I mean, there isn’t any chemistry between the 2 but Komori seems to like teasing little Majiru. In this part, Nozomu tells his students about their obligations, responsibilities and duties when they point the same question back at him. The third part sees Rin as a transfer student in Nozomu’s class. This is part of the theme of some things are better off not revealed and when done so, it could bring about a negative atmosphere. So when everyone tries their hand at revealing something shocking, it just turns out to be something just trivial. But I guess the most shocking one was when Chiri said how she injected juice into her sister. Now, that isn’t something trivial but a real shocker, isn’t it?
 
Although the first part of episode 4’s topic is about how people are distracted and pay more attention to trivial things rather than the main stuff or what it’s meant to be presented, a group of aliens suddenly starts attacking the city with their mecha army. So the girls start digging in the city to find a weird mask and when Chiri puts it on, she transforms into a big super Chiri and kick those aliens butt! And the ironic part is that since the theme of this part was distraction to minor details, Nozomu and Ikkyu didn’t really remember all that hot super action Chiri did as they were being distracted by trivial details of the battle. The second part is about Jun who seems to be able to read people’s hearts. Yeah, Jun has got the knack of moving people to tears when they listen to his story. Nozomu is afraid that Jun might read his so Nozomu decides to become a heartless person. Doesn’t that mean to be cruel or just rip your heart out? So as a last ditch attempt to stop Jun from reading his heart (after Jun tells a sad story of a heartless king), Nozomu puts himself among penguins in a freezer. Huh? The third part sees Komori trying to tease Majiru with her new swimsuit. For a hikikomori girl, Komori does look hot in one. Oh, notice that battle with the aliens in the background screen? Is it supposed to be a distraction from the main flow of this section? Anyway due to her long hair which is able to hide her face, Komori suggests to Majiru to play a game with her by suggesting which side her face is facing. At 1 point, she may look like a ghost. Scary…
 
Episode 5 starts off with Nozomu receiving a curry dish from a pretty neighbour, which causes Matoi a lot of jealousy. Later Nozomu tells his class that everything can be classified into 3 categories: Science, arts or athletics. Then there’s this weird part whereby the athletes are seen flying at them with flying kisses. WTF? We also find out that Harumi is quite an athletic person herself. See, don’t always assume a stereotypic doujin girl. Yeah, she got all those much needed skills during anime and manga conventions. It’s such a tough world for survival. So Nozomu decides to end this part in a sporty way when Abiru pushes a button which causes an explosion! Now that’s what you call an explosive end. The second part has Nozomu furious about fukubukurou (lucky envelopes) because he thinks they are just leftovers after all the good stuff has been taken. But leave it to Fuura’s positivism to even make Nozomu agree with her on the good things of fukubukurou. Yeah, though there are some leftovers which aren’t good like when Nozomu and Majiru fell sick after eating leftover curry. The third part sees Ai meeting the ex-Sekiutsu, who is still living in that cardbox. So is this the ultimate freedom? Ai’s kindness got her thinking that she may be doing all this for a reward and feels guilty and runs away. So after Nozomu and the other students give various examples of such cases like face-saving culture, Ai has been classified as a tsundere as she denies of doing any favours for anybody. Because of that, I think Kuniya has a crush on her. Lastly, I’m not sure why but Kaede brings some notes to Usui who is lying sick in bed.
 
In episode 6, thinking that some things are better off without being notified or known, Nozomu decides not to reveal his student’s report card grades. Yeah, they are all blanko out! Something about people should have the right of not wanting to know unwanted info. He runs away but even so, nature seems to be trying to communicate and notify him. Since Chiri still wants to know her grades, Fuura takes her to see an apartment woman who seems to know everything and even the meaning of the universe! Wow! Yeah, the logic that since apartment women do lots of gossiping, they must know everything, right? Well, some things are better left not known. The second part has Nozomu and Majiru in a weird dream. Everyone’s personality has been reversed. Yeah, Fuura in despair! Never seen that to the world’s most super positive girl before. What about Meru? She’s talking through her own mouth! And Usui? He’s noticeably and popular! Soon the students realize that this is a dream and if Nozomu were to wake up, they will all vanish. They device a plot to make Nozomu sleep forever, and that is to kill him! Nozomu tries to escape but there seems to be no end. He try various lame ways to end but when he wakes up, he finds Chiri telling him that he is in a dream within a dream. There’s no escape… The third part is about hiding things that they don’t want their parents to find out (because of a pun made regarding to wisdom tooth). The unique and weird part is that, the voice acting for all the characters randomly changes! You can see their names at the bottom of the screen as they voice that particular character, albeit for a short while. Since Nozomu has things which he hasn’t told his parents, Chiri wants him to do it the proper way. Nozomu tries several ways to get his message to his parents but in the end, his feet of putting his large message on some building in order to make the front page headlines is wasted because it was blanko out when the newspaper reached his parent’s hands.
 
Episode 7 starts with a chibi mahou shoujo drawing with the girls transforming into 1 when they suspect that Nozomu isn’t their usual teacher as they do battle. Later Nozomu is tired to hear an office employee laughing at his kanji name when it’s being put together. Yeah, we’ve heard it a million times already! Nozomu gives many other examples and sympathizes with many other people who share the same fate. So when he gives his students his usual lecture of society, you know, his students have heard it a million times before already! Give it a rest, will ya! Meanwhile Harumi has been classified as a minority since nobody agrees with her views. But Fuura did mention that if something has been said over and over again for the millionth time, it can’t be wrong, right? The second part is like a short skit of variety shows called Zetsubou Channel, which involves that mahou shoujo battle, Kaede’s cooking and a sing-and-draw song from Chiri and Jun. The third part sees Nozomu taking advantage of being a student facing an upcoming exam. Because an examinee is facing so much stress, society usually treats them a little better. Thus, Nozomu takes various exams (some real ridiculous) until he has become a qualification acquisition addict! Yeah, looks like it turns out it’s the paper he is after. So after qualifying for and passing just about everything, is there anything more that he needs to get? Soon he realizes that he needs a requirement to live but hasn’t got the qualification to do so! Because of that, he tries to die but finds out that he hasn’t got the qualification to die also! Living and dying are so hard these days! Ah, he’s such a failure… One thing which strikes viewers about this episode is the various drawing styles which are used like silhouette drawing to clay-mation to pastel art. Neatly done.
 
Nozomu has been labelled a spy in episode 8 when he tries to take a photo of Majiru at the public pool but accidentally takes a picture of a woman. When Chiri notices Nozomu is being watched by several people, she tells him to run for it. Fuura gives him a secret mission but even so, Nozomu feels he is being watched everywhere he goes. Fuura then comes up with a plan called Positive Counter Intelligence whereby she leaks unreliable or fake information to spies. But you know, this leads to only more confusion in the end. Urban legends? Reminds me of The X-Files. The truth is out there… The second part is about Nozomu’s theory of everyone’s true side will be revealed in the month of May. Something to do with the pun of the word ‘satsukibare’ which means early fine summer weather, which can also mean as the month of May (satsuki) and expose or reveal (bare). So we see many of the other side of Nozomu’s students being revealed. Like many club members are trying to get athletic Harumi to join their club and Chiri being led away by 2 MIBs (OMG! Did she do something horrible?!). Some truth are not meant to be revealed. Thus Nozomu decides that it would be better they reveal their secrets before being discovered. Maybe it’s just Nozomu’s imagination. So when his students shoot him back about his own secrets, they accuse him for trying to cover up since there were nothing negative about it. And the ultimate truth revealed in the end… Komori tells Majiru that she isn’t his sister. Hey, everybody knows that, right?
 
The third part has Nozomu lamenting that everything isn’t done in perfect 50/50 order. Yeah, how can you do a half smile? Even so, it looks creepy! With that, Chiri decides to go round enforcing everyone to do things properly the 50/50 way. Big bully, isn’t she? How can anybody cry 50/50? OMG! Chiri can! Scary! And because she wants a proper 50/50 ending, she blows up the school! And soon the entire world! WTF?! Yeah, she used a little too much gunpowder. Fans of Abiru can catch her in some fanservice shot. Yeah, Abiru in a swimsuit with her trademark bandages. Sexy or what. Uh huh. Half naked, you can say. The last part shows Nozomu talking while taking a walk with his pretty neighbour (yeah Matoi, she can only watch and stalk). She says how she’ll cook and do anything to support him. Then it is revealed that she is actually Fuura! Not only that, in her kitchen, she holds up a knife with a scary grin on her face saying what she’ll cook for her teacher this time. OMG! Does Fuura has a hidden other personality? I don’t want to know.
 
Episode 9 is another weird episode. It’s like the girls are some prehistoric monsters battling out while the narrator comments and narrates the storyline. But this short skit, Zetsubou Fight, is usually before the main parts of the story. So Nozomu comes by to stop them but ends up getting killed and being their food. The real story begins with Maria giving everyone a whack because she thinks that everyone’s mind isn’t functioning well since it’s the start of a new year. Uh huh. Something she watched on TV and a pun on the tsukomi word. Everyone in school and town falls to her boke whack! I’ve never seen Maria as mischievous as this before. Then there is a pair of ugly chubby couples getting all lovey-dovey with each other. It’s so disgusting but hilarious! Finally Maria’s mission leads her to the courts and when Nozomu was watching this over TV with Rin, his short unknowing light-headedness causes Maria to come by… Be afraid. Be very afraid. In Zetsubou Fight, Nozomu tries to teach his prehistoric students when a bull appears and kills Nozomu. A fight occurs between Chiri and Harumi. But since Chiri has died, Nozomu takes her place and defeats her. Huh? Nozomu decides to do a surprise inspection on his students in the second part. So in order to help him out, Chiri and her appointed assistant Maria decides to take photographs of people in their embarrassing or least expected moment. Their embarrassing pics are posted up on the school notice board. When Maria tries to take picture of Jinroku, she is unable to get one due to his 24 hour vigilance. The third part has Fuura suggesting that clumsy people have a higher chance of being loved. So Chiri takes this opportunity to be a klutzy and ditzy girl. Yeah, there’s a book on how to be one. Because of that, Chiri accidentally stabs Nozomu! And when his doctor brother Mikoto operates on him and fails, Fuura comments on how he’s a clumsy person. Meanwhile in an unrelated matter, Meru goes to a store to buy a bra but is embarrassed. The final Zetsubou Fight has Nozomu and his students attacking a weird creature. In the end everyone dies and goes to Heaven. Then in the future, we see Nozomu’s soul being chained to his body as he is eating that weird creature. What on Earth does that mean?
 
Episode 10 has Nozomu thinking that the society is detuning. Meaning, people around are hiding their true selves by putting up a much ‘weaker’ front. Like Abiru who once had a height complex so she detuned herself by digging a whole and stepping inside it to make herself look shorter. Erm… That’s too deep, right? Enough for a grave… Chiri too has detuned by cutting some flesh… OMG! She looks even more psycho and scary! Since Harumi was passing by, Chiri forces her to do some cosplay photo shoot properly. Chiri is getting scarier with each episode. The second part has Nozomu thinking that people are saying "Ari ari ari" (maybe maybe maybe) in order to comfort their victims. But he soon notices that this is a mini propaganda which could mislead others. So when his students wonders all the other maybe stuff, Chiri finally wonders if a proper love could work out between them, Nozomu replies impossible. Shocked, she says "Could this shovel exact righteous punishment for those who hurt me?". Maybe maybe maybe. Yeah, she buried him. Maria then thinks with part of Chiri’s kanji name, it could mean bury as well! The third part sees Nozomu being rejected from a restaurant because of being a first timer. Seeing that it is hard on first timers, Nozomu and co decides to have a first timer friendly episode. Notice how there are too much info on the side screen telling voluminous amount of details about the characters, minor characters and even the art! Too detailed, too comprehensive. Meanwhile it seems that a first timer that the girls are serving is annoying them by making sarcastic fun of their names. Harumi is so annoyed that she wants to kill him! Because of the first timers annoying questions, Nozomu decides not to allow them in anymore and would only permit experienced ones like 100th timers! Since they have too much knowledge, they try to predict the outcome, which becomes annoying too. Yeah, they’re trying to predict an ending for this episode which ends up with Meru’s bra deflating! "Well, it’s not like it never ends properly anyway". Nozomu is fed-up and kicks them out and suggests the optimum number that would be easier to deal with is a 10th timer. Yeah, probably somebody who has started something and given up halfway.
 
Episode 11 is the most interesting one to me because it has Nozomu playing in a detective role and Matoi as his assistant in this detective murder mystery thriller. No gags here. Nozomu is being called to investigate a serial murder case in the countryside as requested by a local investigator Jinroku and his assistant Jun. As Nozomu takes a train ride there, he spots a group of girls cloaked in black (Nozomu’s female students) gathering at the beach. When he arrives at a mansion, he recognizes the girls as the inhabitants of this mansion. We find out that the recently departed artist, who shares the same surname as Nozomu and even has an uncanny resemblance to the detective, left his inheritance to be equally divided among the 12 mistresses-cum-lovers, which are the inhabitants of the mansion. There have been 2 murder cases so far and the first victims among the 12 are Meru and Maria. Both died in weird poses. So the interesting part is which among them is the killer. I mean since the estate is to be divided equally, the less (wo)men, the more share, right? Nozomu does various investigations and even though Ai confessed that she is the murderer, Nozomu doesn’t think so because of her compulsive guilty behaviour. Then Manami shows up dead and soon Kaede (after a heated argument with Chiri). Finally Nozomu pinpoints the real killer is Usui. Due to his lacking presence, nobody since to know him. Usui is the artist’s real son but as time goes by, his presence is forgotten and perhaps the main reason why Usui felt upset for being left out from the will. Though he has Usui taken away, he still denies that he is the killer. Soon, the girls lead Nozomu to the artist’s secret underground lair where Nozomu discovers various artworks of the deceased. Then when Nozomu mentions how the girls couldn’t be involved in this, they all suddenly took out knives. Looks like they are accomplices in the murder too! They go on explaining that the artist promised to marry them but was unable to decide which one. Furthermore, he only looked at them as models or pieces of art. So the girls were the one who also arranged the body of the murdered in weird poses as commemoration to him since he liked anime. Seeing that Nozomu looks very much alike like the artist, they decide to kill him. Nozomu escapes and before long the entire mansion catches fire and the girls perish. Nozomu laments the outcome of the case as he takes a train ride home. The twist and turns of this episode is so intriguing!
 
It’s back to the typical satirical comedy in the second part when Nozomu doubts about the Tanabata festival whereby people hang wishes on bamboo trees and pray that it will come true. Mr Despair thinks all this will never come true. Even though his students made several wishes (some are really weird), Nozomu is still adamant that they won’t come true. Then Fuura tells him that even if it doesn’t come true now, it will in the next life. I mean, Nozomu did wonder the reason why he is wearing glasses was it due to a wish he made in his previous life. With that, everybody starts believing in her words and wants Fuura to grant their wish. No matter how you look at it, they’re quite impossible no matter how many lifetimes they have. As for Nozomu, he decides to make a wish to hasten his death by hanging himself on the bamboo tree. But you know, he didn’t die (thus wish not granted). Meanwhile Komori makes a wish of her own, that is to become a shellfish in her next life. Huh?
 
With the upcoming summer holidays in episode 12, Nozomu decides to have a grace period to prepare for it even if it’s still a long way to go. The reason being with all the sudden turn of events in society, dubbed ‘hard landings’, Nozomu decides to teach his students ‘soft landings’ and proceeds to get a flight simulator as practice. Other soft landings include some swimsuit fanservice. Also as part of Nozomu’s soft landing for the summer holidays, he proposes to Chie to have more days off in which everybody rejoiced when she gives the approval. However, to cushion the effects of coming back to school, she too added more school days after that. Bummer. The second part has Nozomu reluctantly being drawn into somebody else’s dramatic situation. Starting from a taxi driver’s last day on the job to helping that pair of ugly chubby lovers get back together. And I wonder what he’s got to do with it all. Too bad he tries to escape but always ends up in someone else’s drama. So finally when he decides to kill himself, he gets involved in the drama of a suicide couple. The third part is about counter flow. What do I mean? For instance, manga has always been around earlier than the TV anime but it is the TV anime that the people watched first which gets them interested to make them go ‘backward’ and read the manga. Yeah, there are many other things in life in which we experience the later things first only to counter flow backwards to its original (Usui liking a girl starting from the legs?). Because of this, Chiri disagrees with it all and argues that things must be done in a proper order. So Nami became the victim when she wanted to buy a t-shirt with Che Guevara’s pic. She forces Nami to watch that revolutionary rebel’s lifelong struggle! Yeah, if she wants to buy anything from him, she has to know everything there is know about him! So Meru, thinking about buying a t-shirt of Mao Zedong? Not if Chiri is around. Uh oh.
 
Episode 13 has Nozomu wondering where to dismissed people go after watching a festival ritual whereby people dismiss the demon by throwing soybeans at them. More surprisingly, it seems Majiru is keeping a stray demon in his closet! And I thought it was Komori at first. Because Nozomu wonders about other dismissed people and strays, his students bring many dismissed and stray people to his house asking him to take care of them. Like he cares! Eventually, Nozomu got fired from his job and he becomes a stray himself. I don’t know why but Nozomu ends up teaching in an icy building in Antarctica. But he runs away and his students start searching for him. I also don’t know why, they finally find him and he’s acting like a stray dog. Happy reunion. And Majiru is seen putting up posters of his lost demon… The second part focuses on Meru. Her dad comes by to beat up Nozomu after thinking he might have said something to bully her. He goes on to explain the reason why Meru never spoke was because of the trauma she got bullied of having a strange voice when she was younger. That explains it. With her inferiority voice complex, they go on to find suitable voice actresses for Meru’s voice. Wow, the audition has a long line. As the auditioners talk, Meru has a small speaker tied to her neck so when they speak through the microphone, it would be as though she is speaking. Okay, all of them don’t sound suitable. Then Nozomu’s other students try to have their own fun by trying out as Meru’s voice. It’s so embarrassing that it causes her to run away. While doing so, Meru bumps into a shady guy who kidnaps her and plans to do something ecchi on her. Till he heard her voice (somebody was talking through the microphone at that time). He was so distraught that it didn’t fit a voice of a little girl, Meru manages to escape. Then she bumps into Majiru. Somebody on the other line said "I love you". So it’s like as though she confessed to him! Though Meru tries to deny through her body language, I don’t think Majiru got the idea. Yeah, he’s blushing when Meru runs away. So I guess this idea to cure Meru of her phobia of speaking created even more misunderstanding and harm than it did good. Why didn’t she take off the speaker in the first place?
 
The third part is about Nozomu’s grouse about society having the need for pre-requisites. That is, people tend to act under the assumptions. Like that fat chubby couple who is arguing under the assumption who would soon make up or a homeless guy living poorly in the streets under the assumption that the world would end in 1999 (but it didn’t, right?). Later he visits a tsundere cafe whereby Fuura is working as a part time waitress. Nozomu is soon faced with a samurai enemy, Nakano Lee, who wants to kill him because he thinks The Fist Of Despair don’t need 2 successors. All that build up and hype soon crumbles as they become friends. Yeah, Fuura mentions how this is a typical assumption of a shonen manga whereby enemies who appear under the assumption that they’ll be friends in the end. So what on Earth is this Fist Of Despair? OMG! It’s a hentai yaoi manga featuring Nozomu and that samurai guy in several hentai acts and poses! As they part, suddenly we see multiple frames of the characters doing the trademark despair line! "ZETSUBOU SHITA!". Why is everybody in despair? Because they realized the series has ended! Being in despair is such an infectious disease, isn’t it?
 
Wow. That’s it already? Well I suppose that’s enough for 1 crazy season. I can say that the second season is quite well done and even better than the first due to the many random and crazy stuff going on. Also, another plus point is that the producers uses various illustrations and presentations in terms of art and dialogue to surprise viewers and keep them guessing what is really going on.
 
The main characters still retain their wackiness and some are downright disturbing, like Chiri’s psychotic character to do everything properly. Even the minor characters too have a little impact even if their roles aren’t so obvious like that Stick Dog (remember Mayo love putting sticks into a dog’s butt? Yeah, the stick is still stuck there) and a stork which seems to be flying across the sky. Who can’t forget the fat chubby couples. Their public display of affection is so disgusting but at the same time hilarious. I suppose this season has more fanservice as compared to the rest and besides Kaede’s panty flashing, we have Rin, Komori and Abiru emitting lots of moe energy here. Surprisingly, Usui has more appearance here than in the previous season. Can’t really forget about that guy, eh? With the casts of the previous season retained, the voice acting sounds pretty good and even more convincing in this season.
 
The opening theme is called Kuso Rumba and sounds as a crazy rumba song. Plus, the opening animation is filled with typical writings and scriptures. There is a one episode opening theme for episode 7 entitled Lily Cure Go Go which is a parody for that mahou shoujo series Pretty Cure. This time around there are more ending themes albeit it is just a short series. The first ending theme is Koiji Romanesque and sounds like a rock pop song from the 70’s (correct me if I’m wrong). The animation here is different in the sense that the characters here are drawn with think eyebrows and lips, making them look like psychotic people in an asylum! The second ending theme is Marionette and the drawing reverts back to the series’ trademark drawing. This one reminds me like that 80’s pop song from Marc Bolan of T-Rex (correct me if I’m wrong too). The third ending theme lasts only for 1 episode and is featured in the final episode of the series. Yeah, they have the cheek to put a new song for the last episode. Entitled Omamori, the drawing here seems comic-like and the song sounds like Broadway for a horror theme. Something like that.
 
Another thing which I noticed is that at the end of the ending credits, there’ll be a narration (more like ranting) as the words appear while the characters read it and the helter-skelter piano piece which resembles like the one you see in chase scenes in a silent movie, is played in the background. Most of them are read in a fast manner but even so I don’t quite get it and I’m still thinking of its implication. Well, for a person like me who doesn’t read… At first I thought it was the next episode’s preview but later I figure out it isn’t so because the last episode also had one. Also, I’m not sure if this was evident in the previous episode, but I noticed the disclaimer at the end of each episode jokingly said how there is no intention of associating with a particular person, organization and such for the particular theme of that episode, whether dead or alive. Hehe. Then of course the illustrations from different people on the series about leaving you in more despair next week. But I know I’ll be leaving with more laughter, that’s for sure.
 
Still with all the weird customs and habits of society, I guess it’s enough to turn anyone into despair if you worry too much about it. Why not just go with the flow? Well, don’t want to have a herd mentality, don’t we? Amazingly, Nozomu has been able to keep himself alive as up until now. Well, if he’s dead, there won’t be anymore of this series, right? Oh no! I’ve just realized something! Zetsubou shita! This black comedy series has left me addicted and wanting for more of his hilarious and crazy random antics! Zetsubou Shita! Don’t we all need a little despair in our lives? Hey, I just sound like Mr Despair himself! ZETSUBOU SHITA!!!
 
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Hime-sama Goyoujin

March 6, 2009

Imagine if you had something which is so hot and precious that there are other parties which will stoop at nothing to get their hands on it. Sounds like a plot from an American cartoon, you say? Well, sort of. Not that I have been watching any American cartoons lately, but Hime-sama Goyoujin shares this somewhat a familiar plot.
 
Also known as Princess Be Careful, viewers can expect a lot of crazy and misunderstanding stuff in this 12 episode series. In other words, you can say that the hilariousness of this anime is somewhat a little nonsensical. Unfortunately, this series isn’t mainstream anime even though it is produced back in the year 2006. In other words, not that popular. At least from my perspective of trying to find more information on it on the internet.
 
It all began in episode 1 whereby a pair of thieves, Leslie and Karen, who seem to be dressed in some sort of 60’s fashion outfit, trying to steal a magic crown and replacing with a replica. Karen is so thrilled of making the switch but in her happiness, she forgot which of the crown is the real one. Uh huh. The replica is so good that it looks like the original. Both good news and bad news. Too late the alarm has sounded and the thieves have no choice but to flee with both crowns in their hand. Figure out which is the real one later, huh?
 
The scene changes to the next day. A high school student and tennis club member, Aoi Misuzu, is seen practicing her tennis. She is your typical filthy rich obnoxious girl with a princess-like attitude (not the good and gentle kind, that is). Aoi is seen flexing her muscles on her superiority and even the kid-like teacher, Mari Kode, who is always dressing in a jersey, reluctantly fulfilling her whims and fancies. I don’t know why but most students don’t tend to remember her name and even say, mispronounces it as Oda-sensei. Aoi has a penchant for replacing people with her trademark raccoon doll if that person did something not to her liking. So is this how rich people treat everyone else? Aoi steps and slips on a can, showing her slip to everyone. She gets pissed off on who’s supposed to be on cleaning duty today. But thankfully Aoi isn’t the main star and princess of this series. So who is it? She is Himeko Tsubaki. Another typical naive and slightly clumsy girl, who is running late for school. Her mom, Ebine, is your typical housewife while her dad Sanjuurou, your typical police officer who seems to have a habit of falling asleep in toilet. Plus, Himeko has a best friend named Sobana Kana. A bespectacled girl who always wears a little cat hand puppet and speaks through it most of the time. It’s like her 2nd personality. Plus, she ends her sentences with "~Nya".
 
Anyway Himeko is in a panic because it’s supposed to be her duty today to do some cleaning up at the tennis club. And boy, is Aoi real pissed. As Himeko rushes to school, she bumps into Leslie and Karen (still running away I guess). Since her bags and the thieves’ look the same, they switch hands. Leslie and Karen finally arrives to trade the bag to some mysterious evil cat leader called Chief X and his assistant Miss Yoko (which Chief X always say Ms Yoko. An insult or what?). Hey, he has henchmen dressed in skeleton-like cat suit and has lines which go only "Mii~". Reminds me of that cat in Itchy And Scratchy of The Simpsons. Of course Chief X realizes could tell this isn’t the real crown (how I wonder) and zaps Yoko with his Grim Reaper beam!
 
Himeko has missed her bus and has to start walking all the way to school when she comes across Leslie and Karen again, who have returned to complete their job. We learn that Himeko is xenophobic, meaning she has fear of foreigners. Thinking that Leslie is one, she runs away even if he could speak Japanese though with an accent. She runs into the forest mountains to shake them off and while resting near a pond, she opens her bag to find a crown and puts it on her head for size. Just then, we see a magic aura-like thing which changes the scenery a little. Then a little girl in castellan outfit named Nana (uncanny resemblance to Hina Ichigo of Rozen Maiden) appearing and trying to take the crown but Himeko is pretty blur about it. Oh yes, this Nana girl seems to speak in gibberish and nonsensical words. I thought there weren’t any translations on her speeches but upon closer listening, they actually made no sense! Wow. Easiest voice acting job? Yeah, it’s like nobody really understands what she says. It’s so hard to communicate with her. Besides, she has a cheeky mischievous pet monkey named Banana. Everytime you see him eat and throw a banana peel, it’s a cue for somebody to step and slip on it. So cliche.
 
Because Himeko thinks Nana is hungry, she gives her a banana but her pet monkey took it. So Nana is trying to get her crown and Himeko trying to get the banana. Yeah, she tried to do a distraction move by saying there’s a bear behind and wahlaa! There is actually a bear behind! Run away! By that time, Leslie and Karen have arrived and spots Himeko across the lake. Leslie strips naked down to his undies to swim across. When he reaches across, he tries to persuade Himeko to give the crown but he scared her away. Yeah, his underwear is now gone. So where did it go to? Notice how Banana is wearing them? How did it get there? Dunno. But he’ll be wearing it for the rest of the series. Himeko realizes she’s running late and rushes off to school. Leslie and Karen continue to chase her in their car along with Nana (who’s wearing the fake crown) and Banana. When Himeko finally arrives at school, she is surprised to see all the students lining up in a line and greeting her "Welcome, my princess". Wow. What’s happening? Is this a dream?
 
Instead of being happy with her newfound status, in episode 2, Himeko thinks that the "Hime-sama" everyone is referring to is anyone else but her. Yeah, how dumb can she get. Even with all those clues telling right in her face. Himeko even thinks that they are referring to Banana as their Hime-sama! And because Himeko thought Banana is male and being called Hime-sama means female, she went to check Banana under his boxer shorts! Himeko still can’t believe all this and thinks its some ruse for being late. Yeah, has Aoi been so nice to her before? Better be wary. Aoi tries to give her some apples since she thinks Himeko is hungry but she slipped and the apple landed in Nana’s throat as she arrives with Karen, almost suffocating her. Himeko is horrified and thinks it’s a trap to erase her! Because she’s being such a paranoid, Himeko starts crying when Aoi tries to console her. Kode takes this opportunity to get even with Aoi by saying that she bullied Her Royal Highness and it’s an unforgivable crime! Hey, speaking of Leslie, where is he? He’s in jail because he was running around naked. Yeah, like a flasher. But he somehow got out and disguises himself as a cop.
 
Aoi tries to sooth Himeko by bringing her a basket of apples to her hiding in the toilet (Nana still trying to get the crown with no luck). Luckily Sobana is with Himeko and conjures up a plan. Her puppet tells the crowd how the apples are poisonous. Everyone is aghast that Aoi is trying to poison the queen! So to prove that they aren’t Aoi uses Kode as a guinea pig and stuff it down her throat! Because of overeating, Kode doesn’t feel too good and is experiencing tummy ache. Another misunderstood situation of getting poisoned! Sobana thinks she’s dead but when Kode gets up knocking to use the toilet, she thinks she has turned into zombie and trying to attack them! Kode can’t hold much longer and breaks the door. Sobana mentions how she’s trying to enter when the queen is still inside. Now it’s Aoi’s turn to get back. She saw the toilet window open and thinks she has fled through it but Himeko is actually still hiding in the cubicle. As punishment, Aoi takes off Sobana’s hand puppet. After the commotion is down, Himeko gets out and finds Kode finished using the boy’s toilet and ‘advises’ her. Haha.
 
Leslie arrives to see Aoi ordering her maids to water and make soggy Sobana’s hand puppet. Then Himeko rushes to them and Aoi is glad to see her (wanting to prove her innocence?). Since Himeko’s stomach is growling, Aoi prepares some fishballs for her but Himeko starts crying again. She’s saying after all this time, she’s still trying to poison her! How dumb can she get! So Leslie tells her to apologize even if Aoi didn’t do anything wrong. Aoi bumps into Nana and notices the crown on her head and tries to say that this is the real queen. But Leslie is still adamant on her apologizing to Himeko. Since it’s like that, Aoi suggests solving this through a tennis match. Aoi and Nana are a team whereas Leslie and Himeko are her opponents but Himeko is running late. Good thing is, the referee is Banana and Karen, and they’re making the game in favour of Leslie’s side. Yeah all ridiculous rulings. WTF?! The score is now 10 quadrillion to nil?! Of course at this rate Leslie is the winner. Himeko then arrives and starts apologizing for everything. The crowd applause her for her honesty. Aoi runs away in tears because she can’t take it no more (yeah, she’s like the bad guy now) and takes out her frustrations on a passing and innocent Kode. Sobana then says how Himeko is the real queen, in which Himeko still thinks it’s Banana and some others. Not until Sobana points out that she is wearing a crown. Himeko then tries to take it off but it is stuck. Oh great. What fine mess they’ve gotten into.
 
Himeko wakes up in episode 3 and wonders if all those were just a dream. Nope. The crown is still stuck to her head and Nana and Banana are next to her. It seems Ebine is now the maid chief and Sanjuurou the head of the Royal Guards. Meanwhile Leslie reports back to Yoko and wants more time but she isn’t going to wait so she hires somebody else, an assassin ninja named Adron to do the job. Ironically, Adron is just answering the phone call next to the booth where Leslie is making his. But since he doesn’t want his name to be sullied, Leslie and Karen decides to beat stealing the crown. Anyway, Himeko find out from Ebine that she is getting married to some foreigner and she starts to panic and throw tantrum, thinking he is some shady character. Adron on the other hand tries to shoot some dart at Himeko but luckily Nana spots this and since she can’t communicate well she throws a comb of banana at her, the dart just missing her. Due to that attack, Leslie and Karen offer themselves to Ebine as Himeko’s bodyguards. But Adron appears and says how suspicious they are and well, it was enough to raise Ebine and Sanjuurou’s suspicions on them. With that, they are taken away and Adron is hired to be Himeko’s bodyguard.
 
While riding in a carriage, Himeko is reading a shoujo manga (I think it’s yuri!) and asks Adron if he has kissed anyone before. Of course he gets flustered up and after much pestering, Himeko wants him to teach her how to kiss! OMG! She’s trying to practice kiss with him! Lucky the carriage has arrived at school. Himeko finds out from Sobana that they are doing a Romeo-Juliet puppet play for her wedding and since Aoi is the main character, she has to reluctantly give up her lead role even if Himeko doesn’t want to do the play as suggested by Sobana. Adron gets to practice play and I think he’s trying to kiss Himeko now! Lucky he slipped and his daggers nearly hit Aoi (reduced to a minor role as a tree). After school, Himeko chides Adron for trying to act like a pervert and take away her first kiss, in which Adron vehemently disagrees. So the next day, Sobana tells Himeko how Adron and Nana are trying their best.
 
Leslie and Karen have once again escape from jail and are going to snatch Himeko’s crown in the dead heat of the night. But Adron is standing guard by her and tells them that Himeko is her prey but they tell him he’s an undedicated thief for having a sword. I don’t know what a banana skin is doing there but Adron slipped and fell onto a sleeping Himeko while trying to dismiss the undedicated word. She wakes up and is horrified to confirm her suspicions of him as a pervert! The thieves decide to retreat for now after the alarm is sound. So Sanjuurou takes away that undedicated bastard (along with Nana and Banana). The next day, Himeko is in her carriage to attend her wedding when Leslie and Karen show up in time. Due to circumstances, Himeko wants them to take her away. The carriage arrives and Sanjuurou finds it empty. It seems Himeko and Leslie are shopping at a mart for food and since they don’t have money, Himeko holds up the cashier with a shotgun! Woah! Hey, she’s queen right? Then she changed her story of how she’s being kidnapped by the duo. The royal guards then come in and Himeko gives them the slip with that UFO behind ploy. Yeah, they fell for it.
 
Trapped and surrounded in a building. Himeko devices a plan. She uses her Juliet hand puppet to act as a demand for ransom and a getaway helicopter. News of their queen is being broadcasted and Nana is watching it from jail. Though Adron doesn’t care, because he can’t stop thinking about Himeko, his brute strength causes him to break open the jail door. And off they go to rescue Himeko disguise as a giant mouse? So all of them board the helicopter and everyone is relieved. Well not everyone. Yoko is real pissed off because she’s yelling how they’re supposed to get the crown and not go along with this kidnapping drama. Back in Himeko’s room, Himeko is lamenting her fate to be married as Adron tries to slice off her head but he can’t do it. Yeah, you’ll notice how this guy is in love with her but doesn’t know about it. He’s turned from a cool assassin to a love-sick one. Their ruckus woke up a little kid in a turban and an Arabian outfit. So he takes out his flute and starts adding to that cacophony.
 
That kid claims himself to be Prince Rasse of the neighbouring country in episode 4. Wherever that place is. However, it seems nobody believes him and he always had a hard time trying to convince them. And they still don’t believe him. He’s supposed to be the one being married to Himeko and since Ebine doesn’t believe him, panics that the real prince hasn’t arrived yet. Not even the loud screeching speaker helped. Really fallen on deaf ears. Adron thinks he’s an assassin to take out the queen and so the royal guards arrested him. He’s being jailed next to Leslie and Karen’s cell. And once again, they managed to break free. Rasse tries to help them get him out by making up a sob story but eventually didn’t believe him when Rasse said he had 8 brothers and 9 sisters. In a desperate move, Rasse gives them a taiyaki ring (some bean paste food shaped as a fish) as exchange but they took it as an apology and left. A news broadcast saying how Prince Rasse hasn’t arrive for Himeko’s wedding yet and this gives Leslie an idea. Yeah, he pretends to be Prince Rasse and Karen as Atsuki, his attendant. Thing is, Ebine thinks he’s the real prince. What? No verification? Oh, Himeko is being caged to prevent her from running away! And she’s really crying reiterating how she doesn’t want to marry a foreigner. Leslie and Karen’s words may be contradicting and suspicious but after seeing the taiyaki ring, dubbed the Mythical Carp Necklace, Ebine and Sanjuurou apologize for their rudeness. Except for Nana who is suspicious, Leslie uses his newfound authority to send Nana and Banana back to jail. Again.
 
That night, since Rasse isn’t going to lose to those bunch of thieves, he uses some hidden bomb to explode out of his cell. Should’ve done that earlier. However the wedding ceremony is about to begin. Everyone is surprised to see the queen in a cage crying. Well Sanjuurou says it’s some defensive measure. Sobana is the emcee and wants Aoi to give her speech but that girl didn’t attend and is seen sunbathing at a beach. Yeah, she thinks nothing good will happen to her if she gets involved with Himeko. So better stay away. Then Rasse tries to throw a bomb onstage but a crow took it and flew away before dropping it exactly on Aoi! Haha. No matter where she is, she’ll always suffer the same fate. Next to give her speech is Kode but she is greedily taking all the food at the table. Rasse tries to throw another bomb but Nana stops him, causing the bomb to hit Kode’s head before exploding into a scroll which says that he is Rasse. Everyone thinks that is a splendid performance. Next is Sobana’s solo puppet play since everyone else on the crew is missing as Himeko and Leslie in disguise are soon wedded. Rasse goes up to the top and display a light show to tell everyone his name. Another magnificent fireworks display everyone thinks!
 
Rasse tries to onstage to stop the wedding but Sanjuurou prevents him. Leslie quickly exchanges the carp ring with Himeko’s lobster one to end the process. But Banana takes off their fake wig to reveal their true identity. Even if Leslie says he has the carp ring, Rasse tells them it’s fake. Upon closer examination by an expert, the ring has the words "Nisemono" on it, meaning fake. The thieves are arrested yet again. Rasse takes this chance to say that he is the real prince but the rest still don’t believe him and advices him not to impersonate as a prince. Just then, Rasse gets a call from Yoko, chiding his failed plan to impersonate as a prince to get the crown. Haha! So this guy is hired by Yoko too! Too bad it didn’t work out. Talk about a failed swindler! Yoko feels she’s been scammed by that failed scammer and wants to lodge a complain?! Just then, a fat pinkish-purple cat, Minister Yimo, says how he has found his Hime-nyama (uh… he ends his sentences with "~Nyama". If you know Cantonese…). Himeko is utterly surprised. Hey, what happened to the real prince anyway? We see Adron standing before an endless herd of sheep crossing. Since it’s going to take forever, he might as well return home. Same with that prince anyway. So the wedding is cancelled I suppose. Wow, the twist and turns of this series are getting interesting. From one problem to another. Besides, did you notice Himeko was crying 99% throughout this episode?
 
In episode 5, Yimo explains that he is from Dual Country and that he has been looking for his country’s princess who was being taken away by a mysterious person soon after her birth. 15 years later, he has found her, which is Himeko. Though Sanjuurou is suspicious, Yimo wants to know if he could show proof that Himeko belongs to them. They throw the same question back at him. Yimo says the proof is Himeko’s tail. Woah! He searches her butt for it! Then he remembers once she turns an adult, she will lose the tail. How convenient. More convenience when Yimo says royal families have a blue mole on their butt, in which Himeko in her surprise admits she has one. Yimo wants Himeko to return with them but she rushes off to find a photo album to prove that she doesn’t belong to them. At her home, Sanjuurou is sifting through the boxes when Himeko finds a note. To her horror, it states "Her name is Himeko, please take good care of her". A dejected Himeko resigns to her fate and agrees to leave with Yimo tomorrow morning. Everyone is dejected knowing that Himeko is leaving except for Aoi who rejoices the fact that she will be trouble free. Ebine and Sanjuurou notices how Himeko has been acting strange and even when she said she wasn’t their real daughter bothered them. Ebine looks through her old stuff and clothes and gets an idea.
 
That night, Yimo and his cute cat army parties in his galaxy railway train at an amusement park. Adron tries to assassinate them but since the train is moving, he can’t get a clean slice and misses. The next morning, Leslie and Karen impersonate themselves as some ambassadors of Royal Monkey and wants Himeko to fit into a glass slipper, which she does. Leslie says that whoever fits into it is their princess, shocking Yimo. Jealous Kode then wants to try it too and it fits! Soon every other girl gets the same idea and fights for the slipper, till it broke. They then realize the duo are fakes just like the slipper. No choice, retreat for now. As Yimo leaves with Himeko, Yimo spots Sobana’s cat hand puppet and suddenly realized she is the real princess! What a quick change in mind! Though Himeko is relieved but she realized her best pal has taken the fall in her place. Aoi, who is watching from afar won’t allow this so she sent her maids to take it off. Yeah, Yimo now thinks Himeko is the real princess again. WTF?!
 
As Himeko is sitting in the train with Nana and Banana, Yimo thinks the crowd is here to see off Himeko. Sanjuurou then orders his royal guard to stop the train from leaving but Yimo’s cat army fires back with… popcorn?! The train starts to leave when a mysterious lady in a Sailormoon spoof outfit dubbing herself the beautiful maiden warrior Cupid Mommy (It’s Ebine no matter how you look at it) appears to prevent Himeko being taken away. Why, she even has her own theme song in the background! She pokes Yimo’s butt with her sword and clings on to the train. Unfortunately, she fell off when it took off into the sky. Everyone spots a pensive look expect Aoi who is looking forward to re-establish her era. Then they heard a familiar sound coming from the amusement park toilet. Adron slashes it open and to everyone’s relief, it’s Himeko! We learn Himeko wanted to use the toilet before lifting off and Himeko finds out that she wasn’t an abandoned child. Himeko in the letter refers to a stray kitten whom her parents found and baby Himeko always played with it till the original owner decided to take it back again. And now the million dollar question. If Himeko is here, so who is up in the train with Yimo? Oh no! It’s Nana! Boo-hoo! Banana still waiting on the ground…
 
Though everyone is relieved that everything is over in episode 6, obviously Himeko isn’t. She feels that Nana is an important friend and wants to get her back at all cost. Meanwhile the train has landed on the planet of cats and I think since Yimo doesn’t understand Nana’s gibberish, he tends to put words in her mouth, thinking that is what Nana is trying to say, which obviously isn’t. Back on Earth, the gang seems to have got themselves a rocket scientist named Dr Shin Kouenji Hakase to help them. He’s really what his job means. He makes rockets. The plan is to send Himeko to space through this rocket so that she could get Nana back. Though he claims himself as a genius, but you’ll see he’s just another dumb guy. Oh yeah, another person hired by Yoko to get the crown. Chief X isn’t too please with Yoko hiring another guy and wonders what if he fails again. Leslie ties a rope to the crown hoping the blast off impact will rip it from Himeko’s head but the rocket went berserk and the rope was loose. Where did the rocket go? Aoi is relaxing on her bench chair when the rope of the rocket hooks it. She’s in for the ride of her life. Meanwhile Nana’s ‘return’ has been receiving hot reception and I don’t know, but don’t the dogs on that planet look just plain weird?
 
Hakase launches rocket number 2 and all seems to be going fine till Rasse in another desperate attempt pulls down a big scroll of his name from the rocket and wants everyone to look. Since the rocket is experiencing engine failure, nobody looked. Aoi is relaxing inside her mansion soaking in her bath, thinking she is safe from another rocket launch, but be careful. If you think it can happen, it WILL happen! The rocket comes crashing down on her. Back on the cat planet, Nana disguises herself in a hood to wander in the streets. She befriends a lady and later it seems Nana’s gibberish singing seems to attract the attention of all the dogs. They really love her nonsensical humming, though it doesn’t sound that bad. However, she soon finds that there is a notice from the palace saying how all dogs will be captured and released on an desert island. Meanwhile Hakase gets ready to launch rocket number 3 and Himeko doubts his capability. Adron has blindfolded himself so that he won’t get nervous if he is to slice Himeko’s head. Then he heard some ambiguous lines between Himeko and Hakase. Something about how Hakase is going to do something naughty to Himeko as she tells him not to rush it. Adron slices the machine and Himeko is furious. His blindfold is off now and he comes to know that since Hakase has got eyesight problem, she was just helping him push the right button! Why that sexy seductive tone then? Anyway the rocket is launching itself. Towards underground. Aoi has barricaded herself with raccoon dolls and dares whatever rocket to bring it on. Yeah, she shouldn’t have said that. The rocket did burst out from underneath Aoi.
 
On cat planet, everyone is saddened that their beloved pet dogs are being taken away. Yimo explains that when his princess was young, she was bitten by a dog and she hated them since then. Must be another one of his misunderstandings. Nana watches the dog catching process and some of the residents are beginning to hate her. Nana is saddened by what has happened so she starts singing that weird song of hers. All the dogs then got the strength to break out of their cages and run towards Nana. After seeing how Nana got along well with the dogs and she giving him that stare, Yimo starts sweating and reverses his order of dog catching and that dogs are their friends. Everyone rejoices. Then 1 of the dogs sneak into the castle and bumps into Nana, resulting her crown to fall on the dog’s head. Yimo then comes by and thinks that dog is the princess! Is he blind?! Or is he thinking whoever wears the crown is the princess. Because of that, he doesn’t recognize her and decides to send her back to Earth. Meanwhile, another rocket failure and poor Aoi bears the brunt of it again. At this time, everyone thinks he’s a fake but soon the train comes colliding with the rocket. It crashes onto the ground and when Himeko regains consciousness, to everyone’s horror, she has forgotten who she is! Oh great! Now she has amnesia. It couldn’t get any worse. Initially I thought Hakase would be part of the motley crew to steal the crown, but this is last time you’ll see him. Yeah, just a one-episoder character. I would be great if there’s another additional one to this great big mess.
 
In episode 7, everyone is in a panic on how to regain Himeko’s memories when Leslie takes her away. After Karen gets the rest fall into their hole trap, Himeko wonders who they are and Karen says that they are thieves. It seems Himeko thinks she is a thief too seeing that she’s running with them. No time to talk, everyone else is back on their feet chasing them. As they run through the streets, Rasse catches them in his net and starts blabbing about him being the real prince. Since Himeko believes him, this unprecedented move sends that kid into ecstasy as he daydreams of being married to her. I don’t know that dream turned out into Himeko still treating him like child like wetting his bed so back in reality, he’s clinging on to Karen’s leg instead while Leslie takes off with Himeko, leaving Karen in a lurch. Adron confronts the duo hiding on the rooftop. Himeko says she’ll defend her teacher and starts hitting him like a girl. This causes Adron to push her. With that, Himeko starts to cry and this attracted the royal guards. They are preparing a ladder to climb up when Karen just arrived. Leslie then pushes her to send the ladder tumbling. Sneaky guy. While making another escape, they bump into Yimo, who now thinks Himeko is the real princess. The 2 engage in a tug of war over Himeko. Karen is running away from that weird dog chasing her and when they collide, the crown fell on her head. Yimo stares at her and you guessed it. He drags Karen away thinking she’s the real princess! Karen thinks Leslie is a traitor for leaving her like this. Yimo takes Karen to some restaurant to overstuff her with food. Karen is fed-up and leaves but trips on a cat. The crown fell on the cat’s head and Yimo… You know lah.
 
Meanwhile Ebine is launching a full scale search operation over town for Himeko. Leslie and Himeko are hiding on a tree and Himeko is dreaming about plucking a banana for lunch but in reality she’s pulling Leslie’s leg. No, it means what it means and she’s not telling him a joke, okay. Of course they both fell out from the tree and Sanjuurou spots them. As they are being surrounded, a group of masked raccoon girls (it’s Aoi by the way) uses smoke screen to lead the duo away. At a cave hideout, Leslie thinks he has seen her face before but Aoi claims that she is just a masked raccoon girl. Aoi’s real intentions is to bring Himeko somewhere else out of trouble when the drilling machine encounters problems. Himeko decides to start digging but the cave crumbles and water starts gushing in. The underground river leads them both to the town’s river side, whereby they’re being cornered by Sanjuurou and his men. Now we see Aoi in a futuristic hi-tech outfit dubbing herself Tanuki Mask Girl, here to save the day. But the rocket propulsion experience some problems as it goes haywire. So you could say her blunders is what took out the entire troop. Is this an effective measure? Back at HQ, another mysterious masked girl (it’s Karen by the way and everyone else recognizes her) thinks of collaborating with them to catch the escapees.
 
In the middle of the woods, obviously there is a shoe cupboard which highly points that it’s a trap to any normal thinking person. But we know Himeko isn’t that, right? Though Leslie warns her of the trap, she finds a love letter addressed to Leslie, asking him to wait in the hut nearby. Himeko then says how this is like a trap but Leslie being the playboy he is has already entered the hut. Leslie must be in for the shock of his life because that ‘lover’ is actually Sanjuurou in a school girl outfit! Horrible make-up on Nana too! Oh the heartbreak. Leslie rushes out but slips and fell on Himeko. When Himeko comes to, she spots Leslie’s face between her thighs and freaks out. She slaps that pervert and wonders why her dad is in that awful outfit. Yay! Her memories have returned. Now Leslie is in court facing trial…
 
Leslie’s trial begins in episode 8 with Himeko as the judge. Everytime she brings order to the court by hitting the hammer, the mallet will fly off, hitting Leslie’s head. This will happen a few times. Leslie is faced with charges of kidnapping Himeko and manipulating her during her short spell of amnesia. The ultimate penalty is execution of capital punishment. Though it’s like an interrogation between Sanjuurou and Leslie, all Himeko is concern off his executing him or any other guilty parties for seeing her panties. WTF?! A messed up Aoi comes in to defend Leslie. She has to or else her real identity for destroying the troops will be jeopardised. Aoi tells Leslie to play along and tells the court that Leslie is the hero trying to save Himeko from the real perpetrator, which is Rasse. Of course that guy is so eager to introduce himself and with a photo of Rasse having Leslie and Himeko captured in his net, proves it. Because Rasse is so happy being recognized, he has been sentenced to execution, which caused him to panic, though he repeatedly admit that he is a prince from the neighbouring country. He hits a canon which rolls out a cannonball with a raccoon mark. Sanjuurou recognizes it is from Aoi and sends her away. Too bad her plan backfired. Leslie thinks he’s cleared but Ebine says that there is another witness to his crime, Karen. Looks like it’s Karen turn to get revenge on him. So the duo argued which goes back to their childhood days where they started stealing. Starting young, huh?
 
Then Karen reveals Leslie’s true intention of stealing the crown. But it seems Ebine and Sanjuurou misinterprets about her saying something about her ill mom. Haha! There’s a big difference between okkan (crown) and okaa-san (mom). They can never get it right. Then a flashback of Karen’s mom about how she wanted to have a look at the crown before she dies. With that, Leslie decided to help her out and they became partners in crime. But that teary story is interrupted when Yoko makes her appearance as a vagabond lawyer called Igi Ariyo (meaning, I have an objection) by knocking out Karen. I guess if you want a job done, do it yourself. Yoko is here to defend Leslie and argues that he did all those to restore Himeko’s memories because he is her best friend. Yoko goes on to rant all the embarrassing things Himeko definitely would do like picking up food on the floor and eat it, and putting on 3kg this month for eating too many banana rice cakes. Himeko is devastated for her to reveal a young girl’s secret and that it’s too cruel. Because of that, Himeko doesn’t want to declare him innocent. But Yoko counters that by denying it is a proof of friendship and that she is in love with him. I think Leslie got carried away and wants Himeko to fly into his arms. WTF?! He rips his top and starts chasing her?!
 
Karen then wakes up and says that there is a person Himeko likes. She points to Adron! I think she was just randomly picking someone. With his face all red, his mind goes wild and out of control and rushes to hug Himeko but hugs Yoko instead, breaking all her bones (I think) and taking her out. Later Leslie and Karen continue to have their spat when Nana comes by and brings Yimo along. Since Yimo has crashed landed on Earth, he has opened a curry ramen shop to save money so that he could go back to his planet. So to commemorate his opening business, he gives everyone a bowl of ramen. Everyone loves it. Karen then recalls how Leslie loves naruto and likewise Leslie remembers how Karen loves the bamboo shoots. They start reminiscing the good times together. For the first time, Nana spoke proper words. She said "Leslie and Karen are friends". It makes me wonder if she is capable of proper speeches, why didn’t she say so in the beginning to avoid all those miscommunication or even after this? Leslie and Karen decides to make up as they go on the run in their red sports car with the royal guards close on their heels. Too bad Himeko, you won’t bring the one who saw your panties to justice.
 
So is it all back to normal for Himeko in episode 9? Well, she’s still the queen and Adron is still shivering behind her trying to slice her! Give it up pal. You’re not up to it. Himeko notices how Sobana is looking at a large cat outfit called Haneko (a full size version of her hand puppet I guess) outside a shop’s window and thinks she wants it since her birthday is coming up soon. The price tag is 50,000 Yen and I’m surprised she doesn’t even have enough allowance to buy it. Aren’t queens supposed to be rich? Nana too spots Himeko at the window and thinks she wants that Haneko. Himeko thinks of asking her mom a raise but back home, Sanjuurou is leading a protest for a salary raise. Ebine counters it by saying how they’re sloppy on their job with the recent events of Himeko getting into all sorts of trouble. Plus, the pair of thieves have not been caught since. Now they can’t justify their raise. With that, Himeko decides to drop this idea and wish she was as rich as Aoi. Speaking of which, that girl has been sent to Siberia doing some mining in the cold blizzard! Poor girl. Himeko tries to do several part time jobs but since the people recognize her as the queen, it’ll be troublesome if they let her work. Himeko tans herself and wears a turban as a disguise and soon spots a poster on a wall whereby the hourly pay is 2,000 Yen!
 
This leads her to Chief X’s hideout and we see several of his cat henchmen carrying stuff. Chief X decides to interview her personality so Himeko decides to pass this scary job. But the henchmen brought her back. Then beneath the door opens and we see Chief X’s real identity for the first time. Look like a normal looking bespectacled guy in their usual grey skeleton uniform. Due to lack of manpower I guess he hires her right away (Yoko being demoted to some cleaning job? He zaps her when she said too much!). Chief X continues to tell her to never enter the room with a big door. That night, Himeko starts her part time job by laying traps in front of her school and using dried fish as a bait. When Himeko finds out that their target is a girl and not a cat, she suggests to use a cake. Chief X realizes his mistake and compliments his newbie for such brilliant ideas. He gives her an accomplishment badge whereby if she collects 10, her hourly pay will go up. Nice promo. You’ll realize that Chief X and co are trying to catch Himeko and Himeko is unaware that she is helping them to catch herself! The next morning when Himeko arrives to school, she spots Sobana wanting to eat the delicious cake and warns her not to. Just then Kode happened to pass by and decides to eat it. Yeah, she fell into the hole.
 
At class, Himeko is sleepy and tells Sobana it’s due to her part time job. Kode is cautious that her student, what more the queen is doing a part time job in which is against school regulations. She thinks Himeko is doing some illegal shady GRO job. She continues to think that this will lead to some scandal and that she will be fired because as a teacher she failed to guide Himeko properly. While we see Nana doing part time job at Yimo’s curry house (doing great business!), Kode decides to follow Himeko that night. She tries to get in to Chief X’s base through the backdoor but got zapped. Himeko continues to improvise the traps Chief X make, like a fully automatic trap instead of a manual one (a food trap whereby a lid is drop on the victim when he/she goes to pick the food under the lid), just outside the store Himeko frequents (she still doesn’t realize it). But the victim fell into that trap in an instant after just setting up! Why, it’s Kode! She never learns. Then as they are running away from cops after some money heist, Himeko suggests to drop the heavy bags and take the lighter stuff. Then poor Kode thinks she’s turned into an instant millionaire when she picks up all those money. The cops of course thinks she’s the criminal and arrests her. At this time, Himeko has already collected 10 badges and Chief X promotes her to Major Cadre. The next day, Nana has bought the Haneko suit.
 
As Himeko helps a little girl trapped in that food lid trap, she realizes that she is crying and starts thinking of her job. Yeah, took her long enough. That night they are drilling to their target’s home, they went off course and surfaced at Kode’s place instead. Pity her ramen meal, interrupted. So they decide not to leave empty handed and kidnap her. Chief X plans to use her as a bait to kidnap the queen seeing that she’s her teacher. Himeko finally put the pieces together when Kode wakes up and recognizes her. She says how Himeko is doing such an improper job in such a place. Then it hit Chief X that their newbie is indeed their target! They start chasing her as Himeko enters the forbidden room and locks the door (Chief X quoting how he should’ve kept a spare key). As Himeko is running through the dark corridors, her turban starts to unwrap because it’s stuck to the door as she runs deep. Then she stepped on a banana peel and slipped, causing her crown to come off. Finally. Just like that? A magic-like aura changes the scenery back to normal. Meaning, her mom and dad are normal people now. She sees a light at the end and thinks it must be the exit. We then see Nana packaging the Haneko suit when Himeko comes in and is surprised on why Nana is here.
 
In episode 10 we see that Himeko has entered a room full of Nana’s castellan outfit in the closet and Nana’s mugshot on the wall. Nana wants to give the Haneko present to Himeko but the latter is so suspicious that she might be related to Chief X’s evil organization, that she refused and ran away. While doing so, her crown fell off. She must’ve feel some attachment to it and puts it back on. She comes out through a manhole to find Leslie and Karen having not enough money to buy taiyaki (why don’t they just steal it?). Leslie wants to borrow 100 Yen but Himeko is suspicious. Since Himeko dropped her wallet, Karen went after her to return it. Upon doing so, Himeko’s crown slipped off and Karen saw it. Himeko tries to dismiss it. Then another assassin sent by Yoko, Higuma, a giant bear, is going to attack Himeko. The ladies pretend to play dead upon seeing a bear when Himeko’s crown roll off. Higuma happily takes the crown but got hit by a truck. Karen then confirms her suspicion. Then a pair of panda twins appear since Higuma has been disposed off. But since they’re so cute, Karen and Himeko are quite infatuated with them and don’t see them as a threat. So the panda pushes Himeko as she goes tumbling down along with her crown. Those crown-hungry people started chasing it but fell into the river. Since Karen can’t believe the crown did fall off, she went to sleep thinking she’s dreaming.
 
Nana then comes by to give her present to Himeko but she is still so suspicious and refuses. Leslie passes by and wants to know why Himeko doesn’t accept a present from her. Himeko still thinks that they’re both from the evil organization after her crown when Karen comes by to knock her out. Not wanting to break Nana’s heart, Karen uses Himeko as a puppet to gladly accept Nana’s gift. With that, Leslie takes the real crown off Himeko’s head. Several random baseballs are seen flying knocking them out. Yeah, Yimo and his cats are playing nearby. Himeko has escaped with Haneko suit when she bumps into an ecstatic Sobana. Himeko is in a pinch because she can’t reveal to Sobana about the evil organization as she notices Leslie and Karen are spying on her. When Sobana wanted to touch the Haneko suit, Himeko refuses. Ebine and Adron then appears and wonders why Himeko is bullying her friend and wants her to explain herself. Of course she is unable to. Then it hit Ebine that Himeko may have turned into a delinquent and a crisis is at hand as she drags her back home! At school, Kode is reflecting about Himeko’s illegal job when Ebine comes in and scolds her as she is responsible for Himeko. Kode’s fear come true as Ebine fires her after accidentally learning Himeko did some shady job! Not only her, due to Adron’s inability to protect Himeko, Ebine fires him too! That time Himeko has escaped and bumps into the thieves again. Getting even more paranoid she drops the Haneko suit, which Nana picks up. Then Chief X appears and tells his henchmen to look for Himeko for the sake of their newly appointed queen, which is Nana! Chief X seems to speak the same gibberish as language! I wonder if they understood each other. Looks like it. It’s evening and Himeko is still being chased by the thieves. Rasse is still going around telling his identity when Himeko bumps into him, dropping her crown onto a tree branch. Yoko happen to pass by and spots it. I guess the chase was too long for the thieves to realize that the crown isn’t on Himeko’s head anymore. Back at Chief X’s HQ, we see him giving the real crown to Nana sitting on a throne and saying about how the crown is proof of their royal family.
 
It seems it has been 6 months since Himeko is no longer queen in episode 11 and everything returns to normal for her. Well, she’s still xenophobic. Himeko seems to have visions of those who were after her crown. Feeling nostalgic? But it seems the new queen is Nana and Yoko on Nana’s behalf is enforcing stupid prohibiting laws on the citizens. Like any sticks longer than chopsticks are banned in order to assure Nana’s safety in fear of any assassins who may use them to assassinate queen Nana. Prevention better than cure? More like irrational dumb laws. Yeah, they can get real creative with it. Slowly everything gets banned and everybody is starting to hate queen Nana. Not until the latest ban which include hand puppets did Himeko realized how much depression did Sobana sink into. One night while worrying about her, Sobana comes by to show Himeko her newly made cat hand puppet and to assure her that she’s alright. But then a spotlight is cast upon them (like they’re criminals) and Yoko arrests Sobana for possessing illegal stuff. Himeko tries to go see Nana but is stopped at the front gates. Leslie and Karen then arrives in their car to bring Himeko somewhere. They say how they have fled the country for awhile ever since Nana took the throne and now they’re back because they feel unsatisfied for not stealing the crown.
 
They arrive at an Underground Ramen Club, secretly run by Yimo. Apparently curry ramen has been banned due to a perceived threat on Nana’s health. WTF?! However their secret hideout is being discovered by Yoko and she threatens that resistance is futile. She soon bombs the place but the thieves and Yimo are nowhere to be found. Himeko later emerges from the rubble and is determined to save Sobana by herself. That night she infiltrates Nana’s castle and at first she seems to have gotten away with that nonsensical language of only "Mii~". But those henchmen soon realize that she is an impostor and sounded the alarm. Better start running. Yoko comes in to warn Chief X and we see Chief X in a room making new laws. Heaps of them! Luckily Yimo in a newly built ship storms the castle as he can’t forgive the person who banned curry ramen. Cute little pink cats vs grey skeleton cats? Don’t worry. Those popcorn won’t kill. Several henchmen are going to attack Himeko when Adron comes down from the sky slash them. Adron is having problems trying to confess to Himeko since Himeko wonders if he has come to see her. And since he took too long, Himeko is long gone. Himeko is met with more resistance but good ol’ Leslie and Karen gladly took her place. Inside the castle, Himeko meets Rasse, who now claims he’s a swindler and the brother of that neighbour country prince (obviously a lie). Himeko wants him to take her to Nana’s room, which he obliges. The duo then come face-to-face. Hmm… I’m thinking that it may be Chief X and Yoko’s scheme all along since Nana has been ‘imprisoned’ in her room ever since she took the throne. It’s like they make the laws and let Nana take the blame.
 
The battle rages on in episode 12 but as Nana is happy to see Himeko and rushes to her, a hole appears from the ground and sends Himeko below the dungeons. Yoko and Chief X restrains Nana from going after her. In the dungeon, Himeko finds out that Sobana is doing well and that Higuma and the panda twins are treating her nicely. Plus, they decide to let the girls go seeing that they have done so with the other prisoners. Yeah, the overcrowding of the jail due to those incessant arrests for breaking the laws has made them do so on their own free will. While Nana is scaling down the ivory tower by using curtains, Himeko decides to go return the crown and rushes back upstairs but couldn’t find her. Chief X and his henchmen too are trying to find Nana but notices a strange never-seen-before door. They open to find a Koala leader and his kangaroo henchmen who is shocked to see that their secret organization has been discovered. Koala can’t let them go and starts chasing Chief X. Similarly, Yimo has found Chief X and starts attacking the enemy of curry ramen. Looks like Chief X has got his hands full from running away. Similarly as Himeko tries to search for Nana, Leslie and Karen try various tricks to steal the crown, but it didn’t work. Rasse then comes by and wants to elope with Himeko seeing that she is his marriage partner. Nana spots them and wants to approach her but has to hide behind a pillar after seeing this. Yeah, Himeko is fed-up of Rasse’s persistence and before she knows it, the crown unleashes a big fist pounding Rasse! One of the 7 secrets of the crown, which is Princess Punch! Rasse spots Nana and tries to tell the rest she is behind them but each time they look, Nana hides back. Since Himeko is suspicious of the thieves, the crown then spouts out another 1 of its secret powers, a mind reading flower! Now their true thoughts are revealed.
 
Then Adron comes by and has finally realized it all. After some dramatic speech he confesses that he likes Himeko. Yeah, it took him 10 long episodes to do so. However, Himeko and the thieves are gone and it seems he has confessed to the wrong person! It’s Yoko! She gladly accepts his passionate love and gets all lovey-dovey with him! Too bad. Even if he says it’s a mistake, she’s adamant that their love will nurture in time. Nana tries to rush to Himeko to give her some ramen (earlier she was hungry) but tripped and spilled the bowl. It’s evening, Ebine and Sanjuurou are searching for Himeko when they spot Nana sitting dejectedly by the riverside. It seems Himeko and the rest are finding Nana too and soon reunites. Nana rush to give her the Haneko suit. Though it’s torn, but Nana mended it back well. For the 2nd time, Nana spoke proper words and her sentence is much longer: "Look Himeko, this is Nana’s present. But Nana’s present is all dirty. Nana is no good. Sorry". But Himeko isn’t mad as she hugs her. Before Leslie could snatch the crown, Himeko remembers this crown belong to her and tries to take it off. Unfortunately, it’s stuck. Not again. So Karen puts on the fake crown on Nana and says how it suits her just fine. I guess Nana’s happy with it too.
 
Before we forget all about Aoi, she suddenly comes down in a raccoon mecha, wanting revenge on Himeko. Everyone starts running and Chief X joins them (still running away from Yimo). Before Aoi can fire, Banana calls upon several of his kind to take down the mecha. But Aoi and her mecha are sent flying into space when a driller machine bursts out from beneath her. It’s Koala and since his base is exposed, he’s going to take down Earth in 1 swoop! Oh another character to add to this ever growing mess. Koala starts letting loose his missiles and almost every character gets hit! Wondering where Kode is? She’s running off with some rich guy and we find out that she’s doing some swindling job to marry him to get his riches. Can’t live the honest way anymore, huh? Anyway, she and her fiancee gets hit by those missiles too. Finally when the missiles hit Himeko and Nana, Himeko is fed-up and wants all this to end because she’s still the queen of this country. Now she acknowledges she’s queen. The final scene shows Himeko and Sobana (in that Haneko suit) rushing to a pet shop run by Chief X and Nana. Since Himeko and Nana’s stomach are growling, Nana says that she is hungry and all the usual characters line up to viewers saying "See you".
 
It’s been one hell of a crazy ride and I totally enjoy each moment from start to end, laughing out most of the time. Though there are some questions which still bug me like the relationship between Chief X and Nana. Why do they want the crown so badly and even if they have got it, what is Chief X’s true intention? Also, the reason of why Nana speak such gibberish is never fully understood (in both sense). I still don’t understand the meaning of that magic scene changing aura when one puts on the crown. Is it the world changes according to one’s imagination? But even so, this didn’t dampen the entire series.
 
I love all the crazy and wacky characters. I can help love each one of them, even if they are just minor characters. So we’ve got a gibberish spouting girl with her pet monkey, a pair of failed thieves who can’t catch anything (but can they catch a cold? Just kidding), a love-struck assassin (should consider a change in profession), a swindler who has only a notion for people to acknowledge his fake status, a boss who seems intimidating and mysterious at first but turns out that he has no special powers whatsoever, and his assistant. How about those animal assassins which appeared late in the series? Also add a fat cat who sees anyone with a crown as his princess, a vengeful upper-classmen, and a teacher who doesn’t act like one (turned to that dark side in the end, huh?), and you’ve got yourself a whole bunch of colourful misunderstandings. Yeah, they could’ve add that rocket scientist too but perhaps the producers feel he can’t do much or add to the overall hilarious. Too many cooks spoil the broth? I wonder if life would be normal for the gang since now they’ve got a new menace to deal with.
 
The voice acting is excellent and it mostly suits the characters’ personality. Himeko is voiced by Ryoko Shintani (Milfeulle in Galaxy Angel, Nami in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei) while Nana by Ui Miyazaki (Iroha in Sumomomo Momomo, Aisia in Da Capo Second Season). But my favourite voice acting has to be Sobana which is voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro (Shinku in Rozen Maiden). Initially unrecognizable, I really love her dreamy voice which suddenly goes high pitched and squeaky sometimes. Though I love Norio Wakamoto’s voice as Chief X (Onsokumaru in 2×2=Shinobuden) but I kinda feel that his low sexy voice doesn’t really match with the Chief X guy. The other casts include Youhei Tadano as Leslie, Chiemi Chiba as Karen (Tamon in Happy Seven), Kousuke Toriumi as Adron (Kiba in Naruto, Gennosuke in Basilisk), Asami Sanada as Rasse (Dejiko in Di Gi Charat), Kozue Yoshimizu as Aoi (Renge in Ouran High School Host Club), Mika Kanai as Yimo (Nomad in Galaxy Angel), Yuri Shiratori as Kode (Mei in Love Hina), and Yuko Kaida as Yoko (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen).
 
The opening theme song is Hyappatsu Hyakuchuu Toraburun by Ryoko Shintani and Ui Miyazaki. Initially this song sounds like a cheerleading song as it is quite lively and upbeat with all the hype. You can see and expect the craziness from the opening credits animation. Yeah, feel like doing a little dance of your own? The ending theme is as lively and upbeat. Entitled Candy Pop Sweet Heart by Ryoko Shintani. The animation here seems to be manga-like drawing of Himeko and Nana.
 
On a trivial note, before the start and end of each episode, the sponsor screen in particular, you can hear Himeko in her heavily Japanese-accented ‘Engrish’ saying "This programme is supported by Bandai Visual and Lantis" and at the same time in the background we hear Nana saying repeatedly "WOWOW HIME HIME WOWOW HIME HIME". Oh the cacophony! But they sound so hilarious! The mid-intermission features the character in chibi form as they are being represented on a deck of cards. After the opening credits, each episode will be narrated by Sobana through her hand puppet about what has happened so far and what fate will be in store for them. Then just before the ending credits animation, the "To be continued" screen, they’ll put up random pictures of Yimo and his cats. What does that mean?
 
If I ever find myself in such situation, it’s best to give that precious item back to the relevant parties. Don’t want to go through all that hassle and trouble. This case reminds me of what Ringo Starr’s character faced in The Beatles’ debut movie A Hard Day’s Night. Yeah, poor chap got a precious ring stuck to his finger. Unless you’re a famous idol celebrity, then probably that’s a different case. Everybody wants a piece of you. So is it really that hard to steal a crown? Is it that elusive or just plain incompetent? Well, it’s just like trying to catch Osama, huh?
 

Hime-sama Goyoujin