Sekirei

May 30, 2009

Although I’m still not familiar nor really understand what is going on, that still didn’t prevent me from enjoying and looking forward to each episode of Sekirei. I’m not saying that the terms and jargons of this series can cause non-hardcore fans like me to have tremendous headache, but it’s enough to get by. This is one of those action comedy harem animes with lots of fanservice in it. How many animes out there can mix action and harem together?
 
So what on Earth is a Sekirei? Literally in Japanese it means wagtail, which is a kind of bird. No, you’re not going to see characters in this series which resembles our feathered friends. Instead, as far as I can understand, Sekireis are super-powered beings with enhanced powers or abilities created by a mysterious but large and powerful conglomerate, MBI. Thus Sekireis are mainly made up of busty babes, little lolis and androgynous characters which even experienced ol’ me have a hard time of telling whether they are male or female. How many are there? 108 of them. Possibly more. Woah! Over a hundred Sekireis?! Don’t jump the gun just yet. You’re not going to see all of them appearing here. Just the main ones. Why are they named Sekireis? My theory is that since kirei means pretty or beautiful in Japanese, I guess it’s just right to name these bishoujos so, right? Right.
 
So what are the roles of the Sekireis, you ask? Okay, I’ll try to simplify this as simple as possible. You see, the MBI is led by some crazy chairman named Minaka Hiroto. He’s planning to unleash a battle royale style competition through his Sekirei Plan and has considered himself the Game Master. Well, at least he’s not one of those world domination maniacs. Probably he gets his kicks from seeing beautiful ladies kick each other’s butt. The setting? The entire capital city of Shintou. And the time frame is the year 2020 by the way. Thus it is the destiny of a Sekirei to battle each one of their kind till she is the last one left standing. The winner of this tournament is then able to ascend to Heaven with their Ashikabi. Ashika what? It’s a term in this series to indicate a Sekirei’s master. So before a Sekirei can really engage in a battle royale, she has to find an Ashikabi of her own and be ‘winged’, that is enter into a contract. How? Simple. Just kiss. So be careful next time when you kiss a girl… Just kidding. You can easily identify that one is a Sekirei with a bird-like crest behind the neck.
 
And how does this entire harem thing comes in? Who is the lucky guy that we are all eagerly waiting to know (yeah, right)? Meet Minato Sahashi. Erm, looks like your ordinary guy. Not the kind of perverted losers who want a bevy of beauties by his side to satisfy his sex crazy fantasies. Anyway, Minato’s experiencing a streak of bad luck. He does what Keitarou of Love Hina does. Yep, he fails his university entrance exams not once but twice. That makes him a 3rd year ronin if he ever decides to try again. Thus he is unemployed and unattached (read: no girlfriend). Really down on his luck.
 
Although episode 1 starts off with a confusing flashback (at least to me), about a Sekirei babe in some conflicting fight with another of her kind and the massacre of several MBI army, Minato is contemplating of returning back home after another year of flop when a busty lady comes dropping down on him from the sky. She is Musubi, a Sekirei and is trying to escape from several lightning attacks from twin Sekireis, Hikari and Hibiki. Before Minato knows it, he is dragged by Musubi as they run away from the relentless lightning attack and successfully gives the twins the ditch. Next thing Minato knows is that he opens his eyes to find himself sleeping back in his rented apartment and Musubi is sleeping next to him! I guess it’s natural for a guy to take a liking on such a bootylicious lady but of course this innocent guy gets a nosebleed to find Musubi semi-naked sleeping next to him! One thing viewers tend to notice about Musubi is that she’s an airhead, a little slow at times and isn’t shy walking naked in public (if that ever happens). With no place to go and hungry, I guess nice guy Minato has no choice but to let her stay here but the only catch is that they better not let his landlord find out or else he’ll kick Minato out due to his strict no gender mixing policy. Because of that, Musubi is very grateful and thinks he is her Ashikabi.
 
We also see that Musubi is a big eater, emptying fast Minato’s wallet and he may be forgiven if he starts thinking that she’s some kind of parasite who sticks with a guy just because of his money or food (thankfully, Minato isn’t the kind to have that thinking). As the duo takes a walk, they’re being spotted by Hikari and Hibiki doing some part time job. Hey, even Sekireis have to earn a living. Another round of chase. I wonder how much the repair bill is going to cost seeing they’re blasting away like as though they own the city. The duo are trapped in an alley when Musubi feels hot (not that kind of ‘hot’ lah!) as she starts to kiss him. A pair of illusion wings sprout from Musubi’s back as her crest lights up and it seems Musubi’s attacks has powered up. Hibiki and Hikari decides to flee seeing that Musubi has been winged (it seems they’re targeting unwinged Sekireis). The twins are confronted with a masked Sekirei, Homura who give them some advice in which they scoff off, but yet again escapes when Homura displays his fearsome power.
 
Minato and Musubi arrive back at their apartment and the former is surprised to see his TV turning on by himself. On it is Minaka who congratulates him for partnering Sekirei #88 Musubi and explains to him about the Sekirei Plan since he is now a player. Plus, he has to keep this Sekirei Plan a secret from the general public, or else. Better listen. Before things can settle down for Minato, an MBI men comes knocking on his door and Minato panics because he thinks he’s toast. But he’s just here to hand some clothes to Musubi. After he leaves, the landlord catches Minato living with a girl so he instantly kicks him out. Heartless. Didn’t even hear his explanation. But with Musubi’s positivism to support him, the duo try various places to find a place to live but to no avail. At the park, Minato gets depressed but Musubi cheers him up as she kisses him once more and says she’ll do anything for him. She then flies and takes him up to the clouds to have a beautiful look of the night sky and the city below. Meanwhile Minaka is standing atop his MBI tower and is excited that some legend is soon about to begin.
 
Remember Musubi being an airhead? After taking Minato up so high, she has no idea how to land. Yeah, they’re dropping like a brick in episode 2. Free fall! So I guess the flight thingy was just temporary, huh? Thankfully, a tree in the compound of Izumo Inn broke their fall (there’s a reason later on how a little tree can make them a safe landing). There they meet the landlady, Miya Asama, who invites them in for a change of clothes and dinner. We find out her late husband, Takehito, previously worked in the MBI (there are hints that the corporation may have something to do with his death) and because of his policy of never refusing help, Miya takes them into her guest house. Looks like the pair will be living here from now on. They also meet other tenants which include the equally busty Uzume and the mysterious Kagari (common sense tells us that he is that Homura guy. So to avoid confusion, I’ll refer to Homura when he is masked and Kagari when he isn’t).
 
The next day, Minato and Musubi goes back to their previous apartment to gather their belongings to the new place. Since Musubi is a fist type Sekirei, looks like she has the strength to carry the heavy load. Minato also meets his little sister Yukari who is to study in a college in the area. She is here to give Minato some girl clothes as previously requested by him. After they parted and the duo walk back to Izumo Inn, Minato finds out a little more from Musubi about the different Sekireis and their abilities. Meanwhile, we see a Sekirei named Akitsu sitting like though she is abandoned when a guy Hayato Mikogami comes up to her and is interested in making her part of his collection. However, one day noticeable about Akitsu is that her Sekirei crest is on her forehead. Sekirei’s with such markings are considered ‘discarded’ Sekireis and without a number, and thus cannot be winged. Though Akitsu cannot be winged, she sticks by Hayato as gratitude for saving her from being abandoned.
 
Back at Izumo Inn, while Uzume and Musubi get acquainted in a hot bath together (nothing steamy here, mind you). Minato is at the compound and wonders how that tree could break their fall when he envisions a little girl asking for help. Musubi then finds out that Uzume is also a Sekirei and starts to enthusiastically fight her. Though Uzume isn’t interested, however Musubi is too excited to stop until Miya comes by to stop them and lectures her that no fighting allowed is one of the rules of this house. Though Miya has that eternal smiling face, whenever we see a dark aura and the appearance of a Hannya mask (a devil-like mask used in theatres), it means you’d better listen to her or else. Enough to even scare the toughest gangster and make the most stubborn ruffian listen. Meanwhile, Homura is confronted by another Sekirei, Tsukiumi, who challenges him to see who is the strongest. But Homura tells her to find an Ashikabi instead. However Tsukiumi is reluctant because she is known to be an Ashikabi hater (because she fears them doing this and that on her?). Also, Minato continues to have that weird dream whereby that little girl, Kusano or Kuu for short, is pleading for his help.
 
Episode 3 begins with Kuu’s flashback about an MBI researcher, Takami (I think she’s Minato’s mom) telling her about finding her onii-chan and subsequently being attacked by Hayato and his Sekirei #43 Yomi which forces her to unleash her great plant-like powers. In the morning, Musubi spars with Miya but the latter proves why she is the master of the house with her awesome powers. But this doesn’t put Musubi down as she gets even more encouraged by it. Minato goes off to work part time in some construction site and befriends another colleague named Seo Kaoru. Seo is quite interested in Minato’s lunch but Hikari and Hibiki appears to beat him up for causing trouble to others as they apologize to Minato before realizing he was the guy with that Musubi girl. It seems Seo is the Ashikabi of Hikari and Hibiki. Meanwhile, Kagari gets a call from another MBI staff, Tamaki, about how that madman Minaka has sent SMS to all Ashikabis about the location of the Green Girl Sekirei #108. First come first serve. Kagari/Homura then says how he is the protector of unwinged Sekireis.
 
Since Seo got that SMS, he and his Sekireis drags Minato to the botanical garden to find the Green Girl. Homura is at the garden’s gates when he is being confronted by Yomi and Akitsu. Yomi’s job is to get the Green Girl for her Ashikabi as she heads in first while Akitsu uses her ice power to stall Homura. Musubi decides to go give Minato his handphone seeing that he has forgotten to take them and as she arrives at the botanical garden, she mistaken Homura for Kagari but dismisses it because she thinks Kagari doesn’t wear a mask though he looks similar. Airhead. Well, at least his identity isn’t busted. Musubi heads in then. Inside the garden, Minato is being led by visions of a crying Kuu and Seo seems to know that she has already chosen Minato as his Ashikabi and decides follow him and see for himself. Though Minato manages to find Kuu, scythe wielding Yomi arrives and starts attacking. Luckily Musubi appears in time to defend Minato. Musubi snaps Yomi’s precious scythe easily which pisses her off as she unleashes her fury so much so Musubi’s clothes get blown away, leaving her only in her undies (like Ikkitousen series, remember anyone?). In the end, Musubi rips Yomi’s clothes and presses upon her Sekirei crest. A light glows from it as Yomi collapses and her crest disappears. I found out that this is a way to defeat a Sekirei. Musubi proclaims how she protected Minato and her modesty. Seriously, how can she fight with one hand while the other is covering her boobs? I don’t know, but she did it. With Yomi’s loss, Hayato couldn’t feel her presence anymore and tells Akitsu to return. The rest then escapes as the garden is soon surrounded by MBI helicopters. Back at Izumo Inn, Miya finds out that Minato has brought back Kuu. Another tenant for her inn. Later that night, Kuu tells Minato how she was the one who cushioned his free fall. He thanks her and Kuu wants to him to be her Ashikabi. Yeah, she kisses him as her wings sprout. That’s 2 Sekireis Minato has now. And it’s going to grow…
 
In episode 4, as Minato leaves for work, he is being closely watched by a mysterious bespectacled girl in a room filled with monitors. Yeah, she’s interested in him. Minato notices Kuu crying on his way out as she mentions something about her brother Shiina whom she is quite close to and has opposite abilities of hers. Minato then comforts her. As Minato finds out Seo has quit his job, Musubi continues her morning spar with Miya. Minato comes home from work and to his surprise finds Seo there. He finds out Seo was Takehito’s best friend and his visits at Izumo Inn are mainly for free meals (remember of Miya’s policy not to refuse help?), though Miya personally thinks he’s trash. Seo’s a freelancer problem solver now? Hikari and Hibiki then come in to apologize and retrieve their useless Ashikabi for causing inconvenience. That’s one problem he can’t solve.
 
That night as Kuu heads to the toilet, she got the scare of her life when she thinks she has saw a ghost. She runs to Minato who then checks around the inn with Musubi but finds nothing. The next morning as Miya visits the grave of her late husband, Musubi and Kuu help out to make lunch. You know, Kuu looks cute and weird in that wagtail outfit. Uzume sure has lots of those weird outfits. Meanwhile Yukari bumps into Shiina in the streets and I’m not sure if she has shotacon because she’s totally taken in by his looks and trying hard to control herself. Then Sekirei #38, Mitsuha, a Sekirei under Hayato finds Shiina and is under her Ashikabi’s orders to bring in unwinged Sekireis. Yukari, who doesn’t know what’s going on, takes Shiina’s hand and flee. Back at Izumo Inn, Minato wonders the fate of defeated Sekireis as Musubi explains who they are being taken away by the MBI. Though Minato isn’t too fond of the idea of a Sekirei being separated by her Ashikabi, Musubi says how being with the person they love is a reward for the last standing Sekirei and vows not to lose. Because that bespectacled girl, Matsu, notices how close Minato and Musubi is, she declares that airhead her enemy. On a day whereby Musubi is running some errands, she unleashes several satellite lasers to blast her. Hey, can she do that? I mean, putting holes in buildings just like that just to keep her busy. That’s because Matsu comes in the bath surprising Minato who the heck is this never-seen-before woman. Meanwhile Yukari takes Shiina back to her place and wonders what to do next (hopefully nothing ecchi) while Musubi continues to evade all those lasers like a pro.
 
Musubi comes home with her clothes in tatters in episode 5 while Matsu continues to seduce Minato. Matsu gets irritated when Musubi comes back a little earlier than expected but she has to cut short her seducing because Miya says how illicit sexual relationships are forbidden (that Hannya mask again…). As Matsu introduces herself to the rest (she was the one Kuu thought saw as a ghost), she reveals her secret room filled with monitors. It seems she is hiding from the MBI. Meanwhile Mitsuha and Akitsu continue to find elusive Shiina when Homura appears before them. They attacked him but have to retreat after realizing they’re not up to match with his superior fire power. He could’ve nearly burnt himself (couldn’t say the same for his handphone when he tried to call Tamaki) if not for Tsukiumi using her water powers to cool him down. She’s still ranting about not wanting an Ashikabi and would kill him if she had one. In Yukari’s room, she’s still thinking of what to do with Shiina when he tells her that she is his Ashikabi. At this point, I’m still wondering if Shiina is a boy or a girl. Experience tells me Shiina’s a boy but because I thought all Sekirei are females, that’s why I’m in doubt. Later I found out that there are a handful of male Sekireis. So Shiina’s a boy…
 
While Minato is sleeping, Matsu sneaks into his room and kisses him because she’s interested in him (in experimenting terms, that is). Yeah, she’s his Sekirei now. Sekirei #02 at your service. However they both get their punishment of no breakfast when Miya barges in to catch them in the act. The next morning, Matsu thinks of getting a morning kiss from Minato but met with Musubi’s lips instead. Ugh! Thankfully, there is no effect when 2 Sekireis kiss. Minato sees Kagari in bandages as Miya feeds him before her usual sparring with Musubi. Then Minato gets another dream whereby he dreams of Tsukiumi saying how she’ll kill him. Scary. So Minato goes to ask information specialist Matsu more on this particular Sekirei and finds out more about the Sekirei Plan. It seems that 90% of the Sekireis in the city has been winged and that the next phase will soon to begin. Also Matsu mentions how it isn’t unusual for other unwinged Sekireis to be attracted or react to an Ashikabi that has multiple Sekireis. Matsu then finds out the Sekirei in Minato’s dream and suggests he go find and befriend her. Minato and Kuu are searching through the city (Minato being the bait actually) and at the same time, Hikari and Hibiki are attacking Tsukiumi but the tables are turned on them. Minato also meets Seo and the latter seems to know Minato has got more Sekireis and Matsu in particular. How does he know? Well, he made that secret room door for her. When the twins arrive with Tsukiumi hot on their tail, Tsukiumi starts to react to Minato’s powers as she feels hot and her knees feeling weak. Because of that, she declares that she will kill him. A dream come true, eh? More like nightmare.
 
Tsukiumi starts attacking in episode 6. Kuu tries to attack back but Minato stops her saying that his purpose is to befriend her. Hikari and Hibiki continue to unleash their lightning attacks and power up with Seo. A disadvantage of being an unwinged Sekirei is that her powers are weak. Seo has Tsukiumi in his grasp and wonders if she could be his Sekirei when Minato declares how Tsukiumi is his. Seo has to let go because he got zapped by the twins who are furious as they mentioned they are to be his only Sekireis. Tsukiumi is touched by Minato’s words and wants him to take responsibility as she kisses him. Yehaa! He has now got Sekirei #09 under his harem. Musubi just then arrives at the scene and seeing that Minato has more than 1 Sekirei, Tsukiumi declares herself as his legal wife. Yeah, Musubi too wants to be Minato’s legal wife. Wonder if she know what that means. So Minato returns to Izumo Inn with yet another Sekirei. With a new Sekirei under Minato, competition is getting tough as Kuu now clings on harder to her onii-chan while Matsu loves watching the bickering drama between Tsukiumi and Musubi. Even if Tsukiumi is a tough lady, she still can’t beat Miya. Don’t mess with the landlady. Kagari himself is surprised that Ashikabi hater has got herself one but Tsukiumi can’t seem to put her finger that Kagari and Homura are the same person and keeps wondering if they’ve met somewhere before.
 
Elsewhere, Yukari remembers how Shiina told her about the Sekirei Plan and even suggests to kiss. Woah. Control yourself Yukari. Back at Izumo Inn, the usual fight over Minato like we usually see in harem animes. Tsukiumi is relieved to find out that Uzume isn’t Minato’s Sekirei. Tsukiumi and Musubi takes a bath together while Kuu has a chat with Minato about which one he likes best. Well, he has to like everyone, right? That’s what being in a harem is about. Thankfully, Minato is a humble guy as he says how he’s grateful for them choosing a loser guy like him. With that, Kuu pecks his cheek and this sends an uneasy shiver down Tsukiumi and Musubi in the bath. Yeah, the harem battle starts now! Poor Minato has got his hands full. He’s got to worry about the battle with other Sekireis and their Ashikabi, what more a battle among his own Sekireis. But we love it lah! So Minato’s got a naive airhead, a loli with onii-chan complex, a secretive bespectacled hacker, and a crude aggressive and possessive short tempered woman in his harem. It sure is getting rowdier by the day. Ah, variety is the spice of life. Meanwhile Minaka is glad that another Sekirei has been winged and that the 2nd phase is going into motion soon.
 
Episode 7 starts with a flashback of Minaka and Takami back in 1999 when they were students and doing some excursion on some unknown island whereby the found several tubes with bodies in it (Sekireis, I presume) and that’s when Minaka started his crazy idea of playing God and becoming the Game Master. At Izumo Inn, Minato’s Sekireis are fighting for their right to sleep next to Minato. Because they can’t resolve it peacefully and all ended up sleeping with him, Miya intervenes and draws up their sleeping rooms. Nobody gets to sleep with him. There, solves it. As Miya goes out shopping, Musubi is watering the lawn with Kuu when Sekirei #04 Karasuba, also known as the Black Sekirei, unexpectedly drops by at Izumo Inn for a visit. It seems she and Musubi know each other well. However Matsu dreads the fact that she is here and quickly goes into hiding. Something about she’s like a dog for the MBI and will obediently do anything under the corporation’s orders. Karasuba is here to ascertain that Musubi was the one who defeated Yomi and soon leaves after Musubi still remembers her promise with her. The TV then has a sudden announcement from Minaka who says MBI have bought over the city and is sealed. Normal inhabitants need not worry and those leaving will be thoroughly inspected at exit points.
 
Karasuba meets Miya on her way and there is a standoff between the 2. They engage in a short display of power battle and we learn that Miya is Sekirei #01! Karasuba goes back to her Ashikabi in his Ferrari and along the way she spots Mitsuha and Akitsu and decides to let go some steam. Akitsu suggests to run away upon realizing the Black Sekirei but Mitsuha doesn’t know anything so she starts attacking Karasuba. That’s why we shouldn’t be so cocky in the first place. Blood thirsty Karasuba slices Mitsuha in a single strike (not sure if she’s dead or not) while Akitsu runs away. At Izumo Inn, Musubi reveals to Minato about her promise she made to Karasuba. Something about the necessity of humans. If Musubi wins, then her theory of falling in love will come true. Otherwise, Karasuba’s view of not needing those useless humans stand. Thus they promised to be the last 2 Sekireis so that they could battle each other. Musubi also wants all Sekireis to be free and to fly with their own wings. Meanwhile Yukari is walking through the streets with Shiina dressed in a girl’s dress (unsuitable if you ask me) as a disguise. Hayato watches them from his car and notices Shiina isn’t winged yet and decides to move on his own seeing that his previous Sekireis failed to do so. At the same time, Tsukiumi and Musubi continue their rivalry over household chores but Miya ups the ante by saying the first person who comes back from shopping gets to sit next to Minato for dinner. And off Musubi and Tsukiumi go. Nice method of getting things done in a way. That night, a Sekirei draped only in white cloth defeats another Sekirei while another drunken busty Sekirei, Kazehana watches the city from a building while commenting on the blowing unpleasant wind.
 
The capital is tightly sealed in episode 8 but an Ashikabi Haruka Shigi (yes, a guy with a girl’s name) and his Sekirei #95 Kuno decides to flee but is spotted by a disciplinary squad Sekirei #104, Haihane. She looks like a zombie version of Freddy Krueger. No choice they have to U-turn back into the city. After Minato does his chores with his Sekireis, Minato goes to visit Matsu in her room whereby she tells him several information about defeated Sekireis. It seems that during a fight when a Sekirei is defeated, there is a rule which must have the victor wait next to the body of the vanquished as respect till the MBI comes to pick up and verify. Recently there has been several defeated Sekireis but the winner is not in sight. Speaking of which, didn’t Musubi too broke that rule during her fight against Yomi? For the record, Musubi beats Tsukiumi for the 3rd time in a row, reaching back home from her errands first. Now we see Kuu in a cute mouse costume so this prompts Minato to asks Miya more about Uzume since she’s always out. She says that Uzume has these weird costumes to cheer up a precious person who is in hospital. That person is Chiho and is Uzume’s Ashikabi. Speaking of which, she is there visiting her now. Uzume comes home late to find Tsukiumi and Musubi once again arguing about being Minato’s legal wife. Matsu then notices a stain of blood on Uzume’s pants. Elsewhere, looks like Hayato confirms losing Mitsuha as his Sekirei so he decides to move in and make Shiina fill in that gap as Akitsu monitors the unsuspecting duo. Yukari learns that Shiina is looking for his sister Kuu and she agrees to help him find her after she tells her own story of how Minato used to look out for her when they were younger.
 
Uzume makes another visit to Chiho but when she leaves the room, she is being confronted by an Ashikabi who seems to be blackmailing her into doing jobs against her will in order to save Chiho. He shows the picture of Uzume’s next target, Kuno. Tsukiumi learns about a Sekirei breaking the rule of not being next to the body of the defeated and decides to go find the culprit along with Musubi. Haruka and Kuno are trying to find a way to escape when they are being confronted by that white cloth Sekirei. By now, viewers should know that she is Uzume with all the things falling into place. Kuno’s high pitch screaming ability only manages to restrain Uzume for a while before she comes pursuing them again. Luckily Musubi and Tsukiumi arrive in time to save them and the latter concludes she is the culprit. They are still unaware of Uzume’s identity and Uzume feels uneasy because she doesn’t want to fight them yet. Drunk Kazehana reeking with alcohol smell then casually walks by and says how she doesn’t like all this.
 
So in episode 9, Kazehana’s interference is because she doesn’t like an unfair fight. Meaning, 2 Sekireis against 1. So Tsukiumi tells Musubi to go play with Kuno. Though Musubi enthusiastically introduces herself, Kuno feels ‘defeated’ in all aspects. Kazehana then whisks Uzume away after introducing herself as Sekirei #03 to panty flasher Tsukiumi (haha). Tsukiumi turns around to find Musubi is missing along with Haruka and Kuno. Somewhere, Uzume and Kazehana has a little chat and the former challenges the latter to a duel. Back at Izumo Inn, Matsu decides to do some seducing experiment on Minato when Kagari interrupts. Since Minato flees, Matsu turns her attention to Kagari, so he burns her a little as a warning. Kagari then experiences some chest pains and asks Matsu for some medicine. Wait a minute? Is he a she? Nothing conclusive yet. Meanwhile Musubi drops onto Minato (deja vu?) and drags him to his old apartment so that she could let him hear Haruka and Kuno’s story. Minato and Haruka instantly click because the latter too failed his entrance exam twice. Haruka explains that he doesn’t care for the Sekirei Plan and wants to leave the capital but the tight security of the MBI and disciplinary squad makes it impossible to do so. Furthermore, Kuno is a weak Sekirei and doesn’t have any other abilities. Even her voice ability is her only one, she’s still weak nevertheless. Funny to see Kuno sinking into depression and apologizing to Haruka everytime certain comparisons are made between her and Musubi. Before they leave, they want Minato to keep this a secret.
 
When Minato and Musubi come home, Tsukiumi and Kuu are seen waiting for them and they are suspicious that the duo might be doing something secretive behind their backs. This doesn’t help at all when Musubi says how all this is a ‘secret’. Tsukiumi takes out on poor Minato and I guess Kuu too joins in. That night Uzume and Kazehana comes home all drunk and drops like a log sleeping next to Minato. Of course that guy has another shock of his live when he finds 2 naked babes by him. Not as shock as his Sekireis (especially Tsukiumi) will soon find out. To make matters worse, Kazehana is also interested in Minato and starts flirting with him. Before another fight could occur, Miya steps in. She tells the gang how Kazehana was a former residence of Izumo Inn. Uzume recalls the duel she had with Kazehana and could’ve lost if the latter decided to press her Sekirei crest. So to make things up, Kazehana wants Uzume to take her drinking. So that’s why they got all drunk. Next morning, Minato discuss on how to let Haruka and Kuno escape but Tsukiumi isn’t too fond of that idea. Matsu then tells Minato the origins of the Sekirei Plan and the history of how Minaka became its chairman. Since MBI’s sole purpose is the execution of this plan, anyone participating and then withdrawing would become instant enemies of the MBI. They may even resort to killing and not even the Ashikabi will be spared. While Minato is having second thoughts about the escape plan, Musubi comes to reassure and support him as usual. Meanwhile Karasuba is soaking herself and notes how things will get more interesting after learning Haihane has let an Ashikabi and his Sekirei go.
 
Episode 10 starts off with a short touching and romantic flashback on how Kuno met Haruka (at least that’s how Kazehana viewed it). The gang are at Seo’s place and he agrees to help Minato and Haruka out. Initially he wanted to charge a fee but when he gets a call from Miya… You know the rest. Seo shows the map of the capital which is the supposed battlefield and that it’s being divided into 4 areas. The south, east and west areas are controlled by powerful Ashikabis so their only chance of escape is through the north. Why isn’t there a powerful Ashikabi controlling that area? Seo hints of a Hannya devil which lives there. Uh huh. I guess Miya’s reputation is so fearful that nobody dares challenge her. They’re supposed to dash across the bridge in the north because even though there are guards, they won’t be inspected. But there will be 2 problems. Firstly, the MBI satellite surveillance and secondly, the disciplinary squad. Minato says how he’ll inform Matsu to hack it while Musubi mentions how she’ll take on the squad. With that all settled, the plan starts tomorrow night. In the meantime, Tsukiumi and Matsu are discussing about Sekireis running away without the fight. Tsukiumi doesn’t like it because she thinks it’s a Sekirei’s destiny to battle each other and that she thinks Matsu who has never stepped out of Izumo Inn, to be akin like Kuno’s case of running away. So Miya offers to test Tsukiumi powers and in a single blow, her powerful blast not only causes a ripple in the ground but also rips off Tsukiumi’s entire clothes (only leaving her undies. See, how Ikkitousen this is? How come the panties are the only one remains unscathed?). Tsukiumi then wonders who Miya is exactly.
 
The night before the escape, everyone gathers at Izumo Inn for a farewell party. Haruka questions why don’t Minato escape the capital too since he too wishes to live peacefully with his Sekireis. Minato spots Tsukiumi outside and excuses himself. Though Tsukiumi still doesn’t want to get involved in the escape plan, Minato says how Musubi will be the only one capable of fighting the disciplinary squad. This prompts Tsukiumi to ask him if he’s worried about the contract or Musubi. She then places his hands on her boobs and asks if he really wants her too. Matsu interrupts so Tsukiumi takes the chance to go off. Meanwhile Uzume has returned home and Kazehana knows she’s been doing some jobs against her will. The next morning, Yukari and Shiina continue to find Kuu while Hayato follows them and plans to make his move tonight. Miya also meets Kagari and believes his transformation has begun though he says it isn’t definite yet. Musubi is excited by that ripple left by Miya in the ground and feels encouraged to do her best during her morning practice while Kuu confronts Tsukiumi and boldly tells her that she isn’t Minato’s wife because she doesn’t want to help Minato. That little kid’s words at least made her do some serious thinking. Must be the ‘wife’ word. Nightfall comes as Minato, Musubi, Kuu, Haruka and Kuno prepares to leave according to plan.
 
Episode 11 starts off with Karasuba telling her Ashikabi about that flashback we’ve seen in the first episode. How Karasuba fought with Sekirei #08 AKA the Sekirei of Fate, but the latter died after rescuing a young Musubi. Karasuba feels her death is a shame and that she should’ve died at her hands instead. At the same time, Minato and co dashes across the bridge when Seo and his Sekireis blast a transformer station as a diversion. While Homura and Kazehana watches from a distance, Takami is upset that Minaka knows all this would happen as well as he watches on. Well, he didn’t call himself the Game Master for nothing. Kuu on the other hand, distracts the bridge guards with her plant powers. However reinforcements arrive a little early so Matsu tells the gang to abort their plan. But Minato is bent on saving Kuu since she’s in a pinch (and remembering the promise he made to her). Seeing Minato’s determination, Matsu volunteers herself to go save Kuu as she tells Minato to carry on across the bridge. For once, Matsu leaves the Izumo Inn riding on a motorcycle. Biker babe looks hot! Even Tsukiumi is surprised on what Matsu is doing. Are you still unconvinced to go? Matsu arrives in time to rescue Kuu as she gives her a bazooka that shoots little plant capsules which sprout giant plants whenever she fires. Shiina notices the plants and that Kuu is here as he rushes to find her along with Yukari. Unknown to them, Hayato is following them.
 
As Minato and the rest run across the bridge, as expected they are met with Haihane and another disciplinary squad member, Sekirei #105 Benitsubasa. Musubi eagerly takes on Benitsubasa (also a fist type like Musubi) as they exchange several magnificent blows. Because Musubi is being an airhead, Benitsubasa unleashes a combo of hers to send Musubi crashing to the ground and causing the bridge some damage. Minato hangs on for dear life because he can’t swim if he ever falls off. On the other hand, Haihane corners Haruka and Kuno. Back at Izumo Inn, Miya talks to Tsukiumi on how Matsu and Kuu are doing their best for Minato because their feelings for him are the same as hers. So after all that talking finally reached to her head, eh? Tsukiumi decides to go help Minato because she doesn’t want to become a widow. It has got to be that wife thing in the end. Benitsubasa continues to pound Musubi with her combos (speaking of which, Musubi’s now totally naked except in her undies). Musubi is knocked unconscious when she tries to reach for Minato. As Minato gets the strength to pull himself up from the bridge edge and is shocked to see Musubi’s Sekirei crest disappearing. Oh no! It can’t be happening that Musubi has been defeated!
 
While Minato is saddened by the loss of Musubi in episode 12, Haruka uses his body to shield Kuno from Haihane’s claws. Kuno then uses her ultimate move (after kissing Haruka) and unleashes a very gentle and melodic voice which causes Haihane and Benitsubasa to lose their fighting will. But after she finishes singing, Kuno’s body couldn’t handle it as she coughs out blood. The effects of Kuno’s power then disappears as Benitsubasa prepares to attack Minato. Luckily Tsukiumi arrives in time to do battle with both the disciplinary squad members. Tsukiumi is pissed because her (shopping) rival has been defeated. However Tsukiumi gets pinned down under a beam during the duel. Meanwhile Matsu and Kuu thinks something is wrong with Minato and decides to go to where he is. Kuu could’ve been reunited with Shiina if Matsu didn’t sped off. Unfortunately, Yukari and Shiina are being surrounded by Hayato along with Akitsu and his other male Sekirei, Mutsu. Sword slashing Mutsu is going to get rid of Yukari by slicing her with his sword when Shiina dives to save her. It is then when they both confessed that they love each other and kissed. Too late Hayato. He’s being winged. See lah. Wait some more lah. With that, Shiina unleashes her destructive decaying powers which sends Hayato and the rest retreating.
 
On the other hand, a strange light starts to glow from Musubi’s body and a voice telling Minato to teach those little birds love. Yume possesses Musubi’s body and easily throws away Haihane and Benitsubasa just like that. Yume then says how Minato’s gentle and warm heart which woke her up and proceeds to put his face in her boobs (remember Musubi’s naked…), pissing off Tsukiumi and Kuu, who thinks this must be some underhanded tactic to catch them off guard. Karasuba then arrives and is happy to see Yume again and starts attacking her. As Yume evades her slashes, she hints that the one who will fight her is Musubi. Before Karasuba could strike her, Yume disappears and Musubi is back to her old airhead self again. Karasuba stops attacking and walks away after a short friendly talk with Musubi as though her fight with Yume didn’t happen at all. Minato is overcome with emotion and rushes to hug Musubi. Yay! Musubi’s back. Is that legal? Heck, who cares. However, time is up and the satellite starts to fire its beam as it splits the bridge into half. Haruka and Kuno are thrown into the air but a mysterious white cloth grabs hold of them before the duo are being blown across the bridge by a mysterious gust of wind (we all know who, right?). Haruka and Kuno are safely across the bridge as he shouts to Minato to come with them but that guy says he has to stay back because he has things to do even though he isn’t pretty sure what it is. Haruka and Kuno continue their escape, promising that they’ll meet somewhere else. Elsewhere, Kazehana confirms Minato’s manliness while Karasuba hopes Musubi will grow stronger.
 
Minato is getting emotional about how he’s a useless bum depending on the girls. Musubi once again cheers him up by saying that everyone’s doing their best because of him and that Minato should be himself. The other girls think Musubi is going to steal the limelight once more and decides not to lose out as they hug him. Better escape before the MBI arrives. In the aftermath, we see Hikari and Hibiki profusely apologizing to Miya for Seo’s intrusion of free meals for 3 days. She doesn’t mind, unless Seo minds that Hannya aura… Also, Minato’s Sekireis continue to fight over him, Tamaki couldn’t believe the revival of Sekirei #88 and wants to investigate, Hayato rues his lost of winging another Sekirei though Mutsu notes he has many of them back home, Haihane and Benitsubasa lamenting their loss to that big breasted woman (Haihane making a cheeky remark how Benitsubasa’s will be only a B-cup if hers ever get that big), Karasuba feeling happy because things are getting interesting, the Ashikabi who blackmailed Uzume decides to let her off the hook for her betrayal seeing that she’s still useful to him, Shiina and Yukari continue to kick ass beating other lowly Ashikabis and their Sekireis, Kagari’s chest continues to experience pain and his boobs are now obvious as Kazehana hints how a Sekirei forcefully reacts to a destined person and finally Minaka noting how the story hasn’t really ended yet and is just the beginning.
 
That’s right, 12 episodes isn’t enough to satisfy my insatiable need for a second season. A second season is highly probably because at the end of the last episode, a large "To be continued" sign lets viewers wanting for more. Perhaps the sequel will take some time since the manga is currently ongoing and depending on how popular this anime is, the producers may just make the sequel when the time comes. They’d better! Thus I felt that all these dozen episodes were just to serve as an introduction and build-up suspense before the next stage of the Sekirei Plan. It’s going to get deliciously exciting from now on. More characters and more awesome fights. Really looking forward to it.
 
There is an OVA filler episode which lasts only 10 minutes, though. It’s about Kuu who decides to join Musubi and Tsukiumi’s shopping race to be Minato’s legal wife. However noting that she is still small and susceptible to danger, everyone decides to help her from the shadows and let her win. Unfortunately Kuu gets lost and distracted by a cat so much so Musubi and Tsukiumi had a hard time bringing her back to the right path without blowing their cover. At that expense, they caused some damage to the streets. Even when Kuu finally arrives at the mart, she is unsure what to buy and it’s up to the duo to ‘remind’ her in some trench coat disguise. After Kuu safely returns home, Musubi and Tsukiumi start their real race. They come home and notice Kuu coming in from the gates. Kuu knows that everyone has helped her from the shadows and proceeds to thank them and admits her defeat. But Tsukiumi decides to let Kuu be with Minato anyway since she did her best on her first outing. As the ladies take a bath and reflect the day’s events, Kuu wakes up on Minato’s lap. Minato express his wish for everyone to go shopping together without racing and this has Kuu saying how she loves everyone.
 
Though the drawing and art is the contemporary kind with gorgeous looking babes, I can’t help feel that some of the characters look the same in terms of facial details. For instance, to me Homura/Kagari looks like a serious version of Shiina, who in turn looks like a less menacing version of Haihane. Then sometimes at a certain angle, I couldn’t differentiate between Minato, Seo and Haruka. Though I think the producers tried their best to give variety and uniqueness to each of the Sekireis in terms of their design and abilities. Of course, you can’t have a bevy of beauties without fanservice. So if you’re a little ecchi lover, all those fanservice shots may provide some much needed eye candy. Sometimes I get the feeling and wonder why some of those busty babes have such huge boobs. Besides the fanservice reason, wouldn’t it be a liability during battles? Some of them are dressed in a way which are quite revealing like Tsukiumi which made me go, "Why in the world does she need to wear a skirt that’s so short and revealing because it makes no difference if she doesn’t wear one either". At comical times, the characters would go into chibi mode and they certainly look cute especially Kuu.
 
New seiyuu Saori Hayami did a nice job making Musubi a ditzy girl. Likewise Kana Hanazawa makes Kuu sound cute whenever she goes squealing "Hmmph Hmmph". She was also the voice of Potemayo of the anime of the same name and Yuuka in Kyouran Kazoku Miki. Marina Inoue’s assertive voice fits Tsukiumi nicely as she has with previous roles like Kana in Minami-ke series and Chiri in Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei series. Among the many other casts include Shinnosuke Tachibana as Minato (Sana of Myself; Yourself), Aya Endo as Matsu (Miyuki of Lucky Star), Romi Paku as Karasuba (Nana O in NANA), Shizuka Itou as Benitsubasa (Wilhelmina of Shakugan No Shana), Sayaka Ohara as Miya (Alicia of the Aria series) Yuki Kaida as Homura/Kagari (Fuji in Prince Of Tennis), Hitomi Nabatame as Uzume (Miki in Muteki Kanban Musume), Jun Fukuyama as Hayato (Kei in Special A) and Toshihiko Seki as Minaka (Mousse in Ranma 1/2).
 
The opening theme is named as the same as the series and is sung by the seiyuus of Minato’s 4 Sekireis. I don’t know but the song starts off on a nice note and when it gets to the chorus, I feel the tune isn’t suitable. The same quartet also sang the main ending theme, Dear Sweet Heart which feels like an all-girl R&B group. Then there’s a special ending for episode 11 by Saori Hayami entitled Kimi Wo Omou Toki which is a slow piece and has a feel of sadness in it. Some of the background music especially those for battle and action scenes are quite fitting and gets viewers in the mood of the suspense.
 
Having taking a liking for this series, I too feel like being an Ashikabi and having a Sekirei harem of my own! I wonder what kind of ladies I should wish for. Should I go for the tsundere class or the maid type. Ah heck, all of them would be fine. Just keep the love comin’! Erm, sounds like one of those perverted ubiquitous harem… Till the next season comes up, I’ll be dreaming of it. So hurry up with the next stage already! "You are my destined one, my Ashikabi…".
 

Sekirei

Hospitals. That very word brings gruesome and depressing memories for some. A place some may think is the last destination before one crosses the River Styx or to the other world. Of course there are some shows which try to portray that hospitals aren’t such a gloomy and fearful place. For instance all those Hollywood drama series such as ER and Grey’s Anatomy to the more comical ones like Scrubs or House. But then again, these focus more on the personalities of the doctors and staff.
 
Hanbun No Tsuki Ga Noboru Sora too is a hospital setting anime. A short OVA only lasting 6 episodes and is based on a light novel of the same name. So even if one is hospitalized, would you expect to find friendship and ultimately love amidst all those gloomy setting? Well, you can’t let death and sickness prevent the magic of love from working, could you?
 
Our main protagonist Yuuichi Ezaki is a 17 year old high school student who has been hospitalized in his countryside hospital with some hepatitis disease but is on the road to recovery. During his stay at the hospital, he meets a girl his age named Rika Akiba who has been hospitalized ever since a very young age due to her weak heart valve. It’s more than just your average boy-meets-girl drama romance as we’ll see how the duo form a bond and hope as impending death comes knocking on Rika’s door…
 
Episode 1
Yuuichi tries to sneak back into the hospital after taking an illegal after hours walk but gets caught by his nurse Akiko Tanizaki. First thing viewers will notice is Akiko’s violence. How can she be a nurse if she abuses Yuuichi?! Furthermore, she smokes! Is it because she tries to drill into that poor kid’s head about the rules of this hospital with her tough love or is it she enjoys bullying the weak? Yeah, she even rubs his head with her slipper! Scary. Patient abuse! As Akiko continues to lecture Yuuichi, an old man, Tada, who is also a patient in this hospital, slips his hands across Akiko’s butt. Now if he’s 50 years younger, I’m sure she wouldn’t hesitate to beat him up. Probably if he is, he’d deserve it because Tada is a dirty old man. Yeah, sexual harassment.
 
One day Yuuichi spots a girl, Rika at the far end of the hospital wing and Akiko proceeds to tell him that she is the new transfer patient. Because being locked in hospital is boring (Akiko did try several methods to lock Yuuichi in his room to prevent unregulated late night sneaking outs), Yuuichi decides to go see this pretty girl but hasn’t got the guts to enter her room. On the rooftop, Akiko makes a deal with Yuuichi by saying that if he befriends Rika, she’ll remove the bench blocking his room. That guy will do anything for his freedom. Akiko also gives Yuuichi a book in which Rika is a big fan of so that he could give it to her.
 
So okay, he goes to her room, gives her the book, has a little chat. Well it’s not like they click right away. Yeah, he’s trying to fake that he knows a lot about the author and the book but he doesn’t. Experienced bookworm Rika can tell. Yuuichi then tries to break the ice by saying how his house is just behind the mountains of Mt Houdai which seems to catch her attention. Yuuichi apologizes for lying about knowing about the book and Rika forgives him on 1 condition. That condition is to borrow a certain book from the local library. However Yuuichi messes it up and brings back the wrong book and has to go borrow the right one before the library closes. Actually her condition is more like making Yuuichi her personal slave, erm, I mean attendant, doing anything she asks. Probably that girl gets a little kick out of it and that guy felt guilty for the little wrong bust up and decides to atone it more than he should.
 
One day, Rika has Yuuichi accompany her to the surgery room and she decides to play doctor by doing an open surgery on him! Even if it was a joke, holding a scalpel in hand like that is dangerous. Of course if Akiko finds out, they’re going to get another round of hard lecture, so they hid underneath the table when they heard her coming. Rika seems amused by it all. On the rooftop, she tells Yuuichi of her condition and that she needs a heart transplant. Her dad too had the same condition but died during surgery and that she would meet the same fate too. She goes on to mention how when she was smaller, her dad used to take her up Mt Houdai and she wants to go back there again. That night, Yuuichi learns from Akiko that Tada has passed away, and that Tada has left his entire playboy magazine collection to Yuuichi. Wow! There are heaps of them! He’s sure a perverted guy right till his death. Because of that, Yuuichi decides to sneak Rika out and bring her to Mt Houdai. Akiko as usual predicts his act and tries to stop him. Luckily, Yuuichi has an ally to stop Akiko. He is Tsukasa Sekoguchi, and a wrestling fan as he pins Akiko down in his Zebra Mask to let the duo escape. Why is he doing this? You know, Tada’s collection can be a handy bribe mechanism sometimes…
 
Yuuichi rides his bike there as they trek up the mountain to see a breathtaking view of the little town. Rika then says how she is ready to die and wonders if her dad felt the same way like this. What the?! Yuuichi is shocked by her words but Rika soon breaks down as he hugs her. As they both talk about their dads like how Yuuichi’s dad was a useless bum and died of alcohol related issues, when Rika says the reason why he helped her because he sympathized with her condition as they are in the same boat as they both had no fathers, Yuuichi denies it. As he stood up, Yuuichi’s breathing became harder and he soon collapses. Rika seems to be in shock because of some inaudible words Yuuichi said while semi-unconscious.
 
Episode 2
Yuuichi is rushed back to hospital but thankfully his condition isn’t life-threatening although it would mean that he will be staying in hospital a little longer. He then has a dream whereby Tada told him never to give up on the one he loves or else he’ll end up regretting it for the rest of his life. Just like himself. So now we know why he read dirty mags, eh? Later when Rika visits Yuuichi in his bed, he can’t seem to remember the words he uttered to her that night. But it seems to make her blush. Was it "I love you"? Big possibility. The days go by as the duo continue to visit each other and one day Rika tells him how she isn’t sure how long more she has to live and thinks she’s a burden to him. However Yuuichi doesn’t care for all that so she tells him how she may undergo surgery to extend her life, though it may be risky.
 
One day, another of Yuuichi’s classmates, Tamotsu Yamanishi, visits Yuuichi in his bed and to his delight finds a heap of those porn mags Yuuichi inherited. As the duo browse through some pretty interesting pages, Rika comes in. Oh oh. Busted. Well, she doesn’t seem upset initially but that doesn’t mean everything is going to be smooth sailing from now. Yeah, because of that, when Yuuichi comes to explain it all, she doesn’t answer him. And when he tries to enter her room, she has placed booby-traps to keep that idiot out. She’s so pissed off. Then on the rooftop as Yuuichi patiently waits so that he could instantly apologize to her when she shows up, the moment he does so, he realizes he’s just got down apologizing on his knees to nobody. Was Rika there? Well she was. Oh no. She has locked the door to the rooftop! Wicked! Poor Yuuichi stays out in the cold till nightfall and if not for the passing security, he could’ve freeze to death. Due to that he has caught a little flu.
 
Yuuichi is being treated by a bearded doctor who has returned. The next day, that doctor is clean shaven and Yuuichi didn’t recognize him at first. He is Gorou Natsume and has just returned from a tough 2 months in the mountains to be posted here. We find out Natsume knows a lot about Rika because he has been her doctor ever since young. Yeah, he knows her nasty personality too. Natsume notices something about Yuuichi because since Rika has no friends, it was weird of her to personally tell him about her condition as she rarely talks to others. Later Akiko has a talk with Yuuichi, telling him how Rika is feeling down and that she has called for Rika to come to the rooftop so that Yuuichi could properly apologize to her. So Yuuichi waits and once again when he hears footsteps that might be of Rika’s, he immediately gets down and starts apologizing. However, it’s false alarm because it’s Natsume. He gives Yuuichi a playboy magazine. Well, I guess it’s normal for a kid like him to be engrossed. But while he’s doing so, Rika opens the door to see him… Damn. Busted once more. Locked out again. Maybe they should just shift his room up there, huh?
 
But as Rika walks away upset, we see Natsume at the stairways, laughing like as though he gets his kick from seeing poor Yuuichi being dumped. That guy is playing a prank on him?! Akiko then meets Natsume at the rooftop and doesn’t approve of what he has just done. Because he’s still kidding around, Akiko kicks his legs. He deserves it. Natsume then agrees to mend their relationship back. Later Yuuichi finally gets to meet Rika on the rooftop and apologizes. No interruptions this time. However, Yuuichi gets upset when he finds out the reason Rika forgave him was because Natsume told her to. She mentions how when he transferred to this hospital, she too transferred here, and cheekily says she would never ever forgive him if Natsume hadn’t told her to. Yuuichi’s anger causes them to get into another argument, in which Rika angrily threw her precious dad’s book at him. The book then falls off the roof and is left hanging precariously on the window ledge below.
 
Episode 3
Yuuichi sneaks out to Tsukasa’s home to play some video games but he soon requests his help in retrieving Rika’s book. So the plan is Zebra Mask will use his brute strength to hold the string which Yuuichi is tied to so that he’ll lower him and get the book. Seems pretty reckless and dangerous don’t you think? Better hurry because a storm is coming. To add to the little tension, as Yuuichi is within gripping distance of the book, the wind blows the book off but luckily Yuuichi manages to grab it. Phew. Yuuichi returns the book at Rika’s side while she’s sleeping. Yuuichi then has a weird dream about himself winning a race while Tsukasa and Tada cheers him on before Rika forgives and makes up with him.
 
Back in reality, Rika calls Yuuichi to her room and gives him some tasty oranges as gratitude for returning her book. Later Yuuichi is seen burning his entire inherited collection at the incinerator. Natsume happen to notice what he is doing and says how he must have done something good because it’s rare for Rika to forgive someone. So Yuuichi decides to start reading books that Rika recommends. Well their relationship seems to be back on track and getting along fine as they both read lines from the books they read, which in a way are related to their lives. Meanwhile, we see Natsume being advised by a nurse not to smoke (another one. Ironic for a person who saves lives doing something which threatens his own) but he gives an excuse that it’s a chocolate shaped cigarette. Lame. Natsume is visited by Rika’s mother and from her weeping reaction, you can tell that Rika’s future is sort of bleak. Bad news.
 
That night as Yuuichi once again tries to sneak out, he finds Natsume in a drunken state (oh dear. Not another undesirable trait). On the rooftop, the duo had a chat and the way Natsume said things seem to indicate that he’s jealous of Yuuichi and Rika’s relationship. Not only that. Natsume starts beating up Yuuichi! Holy sh*t! He’s taking it out on poor defenceless Yuuichi! He’s pissed about Yuuichi’s optimism because with Rika’s condition, he thinks all that hope crap won’t cure anything. After finishing his lecture in tears, Natsume leaves. Yuuichi picks himself up as he reads a book of Rika’s. As Natsume sits idly in his chair thinking back when he told Rika’s mom about the low success rate of the surgery, it started to hit Yuuichi as he continues reading the lines from the book whereby the character drowns and that there is no hope, he recalls the conversation he had with Rika using those lines and realizes how similar it is to Rika’s case. Yuuichi starts to cry and break down.
 
Episode 4
It’s a bright sunny day as Natsume approaches Yuuichi to apologize for last night even though he doesn’t remember much of it. As Natsume leaves, he tells Yuuichi to cherish Rika as much as he can while letting loose a scream of frustration. Back in Yuuichi’s room, he’s waiting for Rika to show up and when she does, he playfully throws an orange at her but she isn’t amused so he starts apologizing. She then notices the bruises on his face so he makes an excuse saying how he was beaten up by some gangsters. Rika then requests him to take a picture. Since he doesn’t have a camera, he thinks of sneaking out to his home to get it. Of course, he’s being caught by Akiko but since he’s pleading to her, I guess she has no choice but to help him out once.
 
In addition to Akiko’s crude attitude, this confirms what she’s really like. Yeah, she likes fast cars and her car is one. Buckle up Yuuichi because it’s going to be a hell ride to your house. Speed demon on the loose! Uh huh. She’s got the nerve to challenge some punks in some street racing while on their way and beats them flat. Yuuichi nearly had a heart attack and he’s already a hospital patient, you know. Anyway they manage to reach his home safely in one piece. As Yuuichi takes out a camera hidden in a box in his closet, Akiko is having the time of her life as she goes through the embarrassing photo album of young Yuuichi. On the way back to the hospital, Akiko picks up a friend of hers, Misako Yosano.
 
The next day, Yuuichi seems to notice Rika is a little happy and snickering but declines to tell him what it is. He then takes out his camera (the one where you have to put in those negative films. Ah, those days…) and starts snapping several shots on Rika. Rika then notices several kids in their school uniforms and mentions how she has never been to school before. Thus Yuuichi requests from his childhood friend Miyuki Mizutani to bring him a pair of school girl uniform. It seems she already knows who Rika is because Yamanishi had been bragging how Yuuichi was so happy that he got a girlfriend. Haha. So the next day, Rika puts on the school uniform as Yuuichi pushes her on her wheelchair to school. Only thing is, they’re being escorted by Miyuki, Tsukasa and Yamanishi. Can they just enter school like that? Heck, don’t mind the minor details. In school, the gang are being spotted by the disciplinary teacher and had to run for their lives. Yuuichi trips and tells the rest of them to go ahead. Zebra Mask then appears to wrestle him. It was pretty lame of him trying to change his voice into a girly squeaky one so that the teacher wouldn’t recognize him.
 
Miyuki and Rika has gotten away and Rika says that she intend to go see that teacher because she thinks this isn’t Yuuichi’s fault and doesn’t want him to get blamed. As the duo move along, Rika tells Miyuki of her condition and Miyuki tells more about Yuuichi’s past like how he’s quite attached to his dad. Then Rika requests to enter a nearby empty classroom. Miyuki asks if she’s afraid to die and Rika’s reply was initially she wasn’t but now she feels a little so as she quoted some lines from the books she has read. The guys then found them and are glad they’re okay. As for the disciplinary teacher, he’s been knocked out after Zebra Mask did some super submission move on him.
 
Back at the hospital, Akiko punishes Yuuichi for bringing Rika out, which caused a little commotion at the hospital. Yeah, she thinks Yuuichi has eloped with her. Say, that wasn’t such a bad idea, now is it? Rika too feels that she’s responsible as she joins Yuuichi in his punishment. An elderly patient then takes a photo of them at their request. Later on the rooftop, Rika gives Yuuichi another book to read but tells him not read it until she tells him to. Rika then wanted to tell Yuuichi something but before she could speak a word, she suddenly collapses, leaving Yuuichi in shock.
 
Episode 5
Rika is being rushed into the emergency room and though her relapse was a little more serious, at least she is safe for now. Although Rika is to have no visitors while she recuperates in her room, Akiko allows Yuuichi to have a quick visit. It’s against the hospital rules and Akiko is sticking her neck out for it, so he’d better make good use of this 1 minute. Meanwhile Natsume is having a flashback of his own as he looks at his lighter with a crescent moon and cat silhouette etched on it. He remembers how his late wife Sayoko had the same condition. She collapsed while talking to him on the phone and had undergone some surgery. However, she died from it.
 
That night, Yuuichi again sneaks out from hospital but Misako spots him and picks him up back to her apartment. At the same time, Akiko and Natsume are having an argument and could’ve turned ugly if not for a colleague nurse of theirs who showed up. She then informs how she may have mistakenly spot Yuuichi being picked up by a female driver in a foreign car. Akiko suspects something amiss. Back at Misako’s place, as she tells Yuuichi how she was doing a modelling job in Tokyo but returned to care for her sick dad, but it seems she was just seducing him. Yeah, another lonely soul. Yeow! She’s so hot, stripping herself down to her undies! I’m not sure if Yuuichi is mesmerized and ‘paralyzed’ by her super sexiness because she’s on top of him caressing him or rather he’s got too much on his mind, confused and thinking about Rika to know what’s really going on. I think I’ll stick with the former. Which guy could resist such tasty opportunity. Oops. Sorry. However before things could get any hotter, Akiko is ringing the doorbell like crazy. Why oh why didn’t just Yuuichi ignore the doorbell and continue this blissful experience as Misako suggested? Once he opens the door, he gets beaten up by Akiko (Natsume’s there too). He prefers familiar pain to uncharted pleasure? But Akiko too gives Misako a punch in her face. While Akiko furiously drives Yuuichi back with Natsume, Misako is seen laughing-cum-crying like a mad woman, sitting alone in her room. Natsume remembers he too has an affair while he was married.
 
The next day, Yuuichi goes to talk with Natsume and finds him doing some stitching work as his finger practice for his surgery on Rika, who decides to live. Natsume then notices Yuuichi’s camera in which he has put the negative films in wrongly. Which means all those photo shots he took of Rika were naught. Later Miyuki comes by to give Yuuichi her school uniform for Rika. Yuuichi gives the uniform to Rika, delighting her as she asks for the photos that he has taken. However he tells her that he hasn’t developed them yet so she says she’ll see them after the surgery. Rika also gives Yuuichi her permission to read the book.
 
Rika’s operation starts as her mom and Yuuichi anxiously wait outside the operating room. As Yuuichi sat by the corner, Akiko comes to sit with him and apologizes for stealing a picture from his photo album while they were at his home. It was a picture of young Yuuichi clinging on to his dad’s leg. A picture which Rika found quite funny and amusing (the reason why Rika was happy and snickering in the previous episode) so she puts the photo on her leg as a lucky charm. After Akiko leaves, Yuuichi starts reading the book and realizes the last line "At the risk of my life, I will be yours" and that author’s name initial has been crossed out and written with R. He breaks into tears again. Once the surgery is over, Natsume emerges from the room as Yuuichi wants to know the outcome. From the way he said things, it looks pretty grim. Rika’s in a fragile state now as her body is too weak in the first place. A surgeon’s nightmare, it’s like trying to thread a tofu, just to quote him. He then says how this will probably be the worst ending for him. Gasp!
 
Episode 6
Well, apparently that cliff-hanger was just what Natsume would fear happen if she goes into another operation the next time. For now, Rika’s operation was a success and though in stable condition, she may not be so when the next operation comes around. Phew. Is he trying to scare that kid? When Yuuichi asks by what he meant by the worst ending, Natsume says he’ll soon find out. As Yuuichi walks away, he meets with Akiko who tells him that he has to do his best on his redo test as Rika too is doing her best. When Akiko mentions if he knows about it yet, Yuuichi is at a lost, so she just tells him to go back to his room instead. At the rooftop, Yuuichi once again asks Natsume what did he meant about the worst ending and this time his reply is that he will always be here. Furthermore, Natsume can’t go into details of how Rika’s operation went because since Yuuichi’s not her family member, Natsume has to strictly keep with the confidentiality issues.
 
Later Akiko confronts Natsume and chides him for not telling Yuuichi the truth and even threatens to expose his drinking ways or patient beating time which will eventually get him fired. But Natsume is unfazed and tells her to do what she wants. Akiko blows her top and wonders why he can’t think from their perspeective when he replies how the situation is different now as Rika’s mom has made a request. Later Natsume talks to Yuuichi about this saying how even though Rika’s condition is stable and will be observed from her room, Yuuichi is prohibited from going near the East Wing to see her because her mom is angry about him bringing a patient who could relapse at any moment out of the hospital. If he ever do so, Yuuichi will be forced out of hospital. Yuuichi has no choice but to agree. Later when Miyuki helps Yuuichi to study in his room and pesters him about details about Rika’s operation, he just tells her to shut up.
 
That night Akiko once again comes to talk to Natsume and the latter says how he had lied. He then proceeds to tell her a long boring story of his old friend. Actually he is just telling about himself and his late wife’s case. He’s relating how Rika’s case is pretty much similar to his late wife. Natsume is implying how he threw away all the things in life like his career and promotion just to be with a girl who just has a short time to live even if he honestly chose her. And that is what Natsume meant by the worst ending. Unknown to them, Yuuichi has eavesdropped on their conversation. Back in his room, Yuuichi feels devastated but soon has his eyes opened when he saw the recent book Rika gave him to read and is determined. That night, with the help of Miyuki, Yamanishi and Tsukasa, Yuuichi is going to do a dangerous mission impossible. I guess since he can’t enter through the door, he’s going to try the window. With a string tied to his waist, Yuuichi uses his momentum to try and swing himself to the East Wing’s ledge. He looks like a human pendulum. Unfortunately the screw on the wall loose and it could’ve been another deja vu if not for Zebra Mask (now we know why he wears a mask because he has a relative working here and it would be bad if she ever found out). Zebra Mask tells Yamanishi to reach for his handphone in his pocket to make an important call.
 
While Yuuichi’s life (in both sense) is hanging in the balance, he gets visions and encouragements from Tada, his dad and the recent conversation with Natsume about enduring the harsh realities of life. Yuuichi gets his confidence once more and herald the appearance of Zebra Mask the Second?! Well, he’s Tsukasa’s elder brother and after hearing his story, he decides to help him out. Yuuichi manages to get over to the ledge and tiptoe just outside Rika’s window. However Rika’s mom isn’t amused of what he is doing and tells him to go away even if Yuuichi still persists on seeing Rika. Rika then allows Yuuichi to come in. As the duo had a heart to heart talk, Yuuichi asks if he could be by her side even if he understands that her time is short and he has to throw everything away for her sake. Yuuichi says how they’ll always be together forever. I guess Rika’s mom has a change of heart after seeing his determination.
 
Meanwhile Natsume continues his story with Akiko. He’s saying how he gave up his promotion just to be with his wife and now he has nothing and that Yuuichi is facing a similar road. Though Natsume’s speech seems pessimistic and gloomy, Akiko scoffs him off by saying that before Yuuichi appeared, Rika has never smiled and now she is happy. In short, make the most out of the short time one has. She finally tells him, is it the happiness of oneself or the happiness of the one you love which is more important, before going out for a smoke. Yuuichi’s narration, "At the moment, a half silver moon is hanging up in the sky. Even though it’s not as bright as a full moon, the world has dissolved into the colour of light. But it still uses its own light to brighten the world". As the credits roll, we see how Natsume possibly had lied about Yuuichi putting the camera film in the wrong way, Rika’s mom apologizing to Yuuichi and Akiko smoking in her car. Finally as Yuuichi and Rika overlook the town on Mt Houdai, he tells her how he’ll definitely be with her, she says how this is the second time he said this to her. The first one was when they were last time here. After they both share a laughter, it’s followed by a kiss.
 
Looking up the sunny sky
What a happy ending to a seemingly gloomy setting and all. So you see, even in hospitals, ICUs and emergency wards, love can really blossom. Even though Rika’s future isn’t a bright one and all results have indicated she would ever live longer than expected, the most important thing here is to live your life to the fullest. I mean, her life is so short and she can’t spend her remaining time worrying about it, right? She found that in Yuuichi. Good that he’s willing to be by her side. It gives her a whole new meaning to the phrase "Till death do us part".
 
At the end of the series, we see Akiko not abusing Yuuichi anymore and acting like a real nurse. Perhaps she has seen how that kid has matured and decided to stop giving him a hard time. As for Natsume, being Rika’s doctor for nearly her entire life, I’m sure there’s some sort of attachment. But just like Akiko said, old buggers like them can only watch those young ones from afar. I feel some of the other characters didn’t have a major impact in this short series like Misako’s. After she got slapped by Akiko, what happened to her? Was her role just to provide a little fanservice to viewers? After all, it’s mainly between Yuuichi and Rika.
 
Mikako Takahashi’s voice fits Rika as she does make her character sound like an ailing one. Her other previous roles include Machi in Nagasarete Airantou and Rushuna in Grenedier. Other seiyuus include Kenichi Suzumura as Yuuichi (Sougo in Gintama, Junpei in Ichigo 100%), Hiroaki Hirata as Natsume (Sanji in One Piece, Xavi of DearS), and Yuki Kodaira as Akiko. The opening theme, Aoi Kofuko sounds like a country pop song as it reminded me of that ending theme of You’re Under Arrest 2, Blooming Days. The ending theme, Kioku No Kakera is a much slower ballad. Both themes are sung by Nobuko. I’m wondering about that final picture in the ending credits animation, whereby Yuuichi and Rika are in their wedding clothes with their buddies. Hopefully Rika will live long for that to be realized.
 
If you’re a fan of classic novels, I’m sure you can spot a few which Rika reads such as Night Of The Galactic Railroad and Les Thibault. But you know me, since I’m not a bookworm, I don’t really know them at all. Heck, I don’t even read manga. There is also a live drama adaptation of the series containing 13 episodes but I’m not so interested because I only watch animes ;p. So it only makes us realize and open our eyes with life-threatening situations or near-death experiences. Besides, we’re all just temporary tenants on this planet. Why do I sound so gloomy? Get out there, take a deep breath and feel the sun in your face!
 

Hanbun No Tsuki Ga Noboru Sora

THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR! EXTINCTION IS LOOMING! IT’S APOCALYPSE NOW! Well, that was my first impression when I watched Kono Minikuku Mo Utsukushii Sekai or also known as its equivalent This Ugly Yet Beautiful World. Actually I’m not a fan of sci-fi series but I decided to give it a try upon finding out that there is some comedy-cum-harem-cum-romance elements in it amidst a little action. Can we still have time for that seeing that the there is impending doom for the world?
 
But seriously you’re not going to see the kind of world destruction in the sense we humans take out on each on a global world war scale or some alien travelling a billion light years arriving in our puny Milky Way just to obliterate us. Instead, most of what we’ll see in this series is the daily lives of a group of teenagers in Japan as they will soon learn about the plight of their beloved planet. Sounds simple? Will the Earth be destroyed at the end of 12 episodes? Let’s find out…
 
To begin my blog, let me introduce the characters first as seen in the first episode. Meet our normal guy, the main man for this harem series, Takeru Takemoto. Typical spiky hair with typical lazy and unmotivated attitude. What’s there to like about him. I guess that’s why his female classmates Sakurako Urushima and Amika Kurebayashi seem to lecture and pick on him. How they’d wish he’d be as cool and gentle as their other guy pal, Ryou Ninomiya. Wait a minute? There’s another guy in this harem series? Oh what the heck, so as long as there are more girls than boys in this series. Though at first it may seem there are more guys, but I’m sure the number of girls would increase as we go along. However being a harem series and a motivation for me to watch the show, I find that the girls here aren’t as pretty as I hoped they would be. ;p
 
Then there is Mari Nishino, who is Takeru’s cousin. She is your typical tsundere character. Although Takeru lives with Mari and her family under the same roof (the former’s parents have abandoned him), you can’t help feel that this girl sure has that secret crush on him even if she lectures and nags Takeru for whatever reasons and is harsh on him. So typical tsundere. Sometimes you can also feel that Sakurako and Amika try to play matchmaking and make her and Takeru a little closer.
 
If you’re asking what on Earth do you need side character guys like Shinichi Asakura and Daijirou Matsumura in the gang? To make Takeru and Ryou look cool and the lead characters of course! I mean, if you don’t put lesser loser characters in comparison, then you can’t really tell, right? To sum these guys up, they are your typical perverted losers who seem to daydream about perverted stuff. Uh huh. I’m wondering how they are such a close buddies with the rest. Perhaps it’s because they don’t unleash their lust physically and just confined them to their minds.
 
An important development in this episode include since Takeru is living with Mari and her parents, Icchou and Sumie, he helps them out by doing delivery with Icchou’s motorbike. Yup, the parents not only run a delivery business but a boarding inn as well. I guess this quells for any rumours that a pair of young couple living under the same roof. Sort of. Just made that one up. Takeru is doing another one of his delivery rounds after school with Ryou as his pillion. On the way, they notice some light following them, in which it crashes into the nearby forest giving off a magnificent radiance as it finally splits into 2. The curious duo went to check it out and Takeru spots something glowing on a tree. It’s a girl. And she’s naked! She looks like the girl in the sketch Ryou drew earlier on and Takeru decides to call her Hikari (meaning light. How convenient) as she falls out from the tree and into Takeru’s arms.
 
Suddenly a giant insect-like monster appears and starts attacking them. Common sense is that you can’t take it on so better run for your lives. Ryou got separated from them when he uses the bike to crash into the monster to buy time for Takeru and Hikari to escape. Hikari seems to be afraid of the huge menace but Takeru assures her that he’ll protect her. However Takeru experiences pain and undergoes a transformation. No, he didn’t turn into a magical girl, mind you. Okay, so I don’t know what he transformed into either. Looks like another monster with super strength, speed and can spout sharp weapons from his body. Anyway he looks like a jester to me at first. I’m sure Takeru is as confused but what the heck, monster bashing comes first. Takeru easily beats the monster easily but decides not to kill it after seeing tears in its eyes and realizing the destruction he has caused. See, even such creatures have feelings too. With the injured monster escaping like a dog with its tail between its legs, it stumbles upon Hikari, who was separated during Takeru’s super fight. Then we see Hikari snigger an evil grin as she starts killing it. Takeru (back in normal form) and Ryou soon find Hikari unconscious but when she comes to, she shed tears of joy and fear as she hugs Takeru. But the guys are dumbfounded to see the remains of that monster scattered over the place.
 
Episode 2 begins with Mari wondering why is Takeru sleeping outside his room. A ha! He’s brought back a woman or his room is filled to the brim with Playboy magazines, right? It seems Takeru has brought back Hikari and let her sleep in his room and he’s trying not to let that tsundere cousin of his find out but unfortunately, he’s busted. Don’t worry, Hikari is quite friendly when she first meets Mari. But you know, the same can’t be said for her. Meanwhile, a group of investigators are investigating the site of the recently departed monster. One of them is an American scientist named Jennifer Portman. Later Takeru’s pals converge at his home to learn of the presence of Hikari. I guess since this is a sci-fi movie, nobody is freaking out if she’s an alien. Well, it seems Hikari has a little amnesia and doesn’t remember much of her past nor her reasons for being on Earth. That doesn’t stop them from getting to know her better.
 
Since Hikari can’t forever wear Takeru’s clothes, the girls are taking measurements to tailor new clothes for Hikari. Yeah, she seems to have the physical assets, much to flat-chest Mari’s jealousy. And as for Shinichi and Daijirou who are eagerly eavesdropping outside the room, "Inside there is the mystery of the universe!". So they manage to make her some sort of cosplay outfit. I think. But nevertheless Hikari looks cute in them. And since the guys are staring too much at her, she reminds them about school as they all rush there leaving Hikari home alone. Soon Jennifer, the supposedly new mysterious guest arrives and meets Hikari. Later when the gang returns from school only to be greeted by busty Jennifer who is so unashamed of flaunting her assets clad in just a towel and guzzling down a can of beer (you’ll get some sort of feeling that she’s an exhibitionist too). When Takeru finds out that Hikari has left, he instantly rushes out to find her and has a flashback of how his mom left him when he was young. While he’s doing so, Jennifer has a chat with Mari and she can tell that Mari has a crush on Takeru but not doing anything about it and even confronts her about it. Yeah, Jessica can sense a love triangle brewing. Too bad Mari is confessing her feelings and sorts to Jennifer and not to the guy that matters most. Let me say it again, she’s so tsundere. Meanwhile Takeru manages to find Hikari walking alone down the quiet street. She thought of leaving because she thinks she’s a bother. But would a guy like Takeru think otherwise? After scolding her, it’s enough to change her mind. But I suppose because of that, you can’t just dump a cute alien girl out on the streets either. So Takeru asks Icchou and Sumie to let her stay and they give their permission. Though they live in separate rooms, their lives will be a lot noisier now seeing that Jessica occupies the room between them. And she’s so drunk and going wild…
 
So mostly you’ll see the chemistry between Takeru, Hikari and Mari. However Hikari doesn’t really know what the feelings of the heart is while Mari still can’t say it and prefers to jealously watch while the duo form some bond together. Haih… But it seems that if Takeru is going to get a little harem of his own, Ryou isn’t going to be left out either. Yup, in episode 3 while Hikari wonders about school life and rumours of a mysterious creature ‘terrorizing’ the town like stealing stuff, Ryou looks kinda gloomy and spacing out. Is he in love? Sakurako and Amika would really hope not. It seems Ryou has been visiting a little girl who is living alone near the forest lake with her tiny weird extra-terrestrial creature named Kuon (the creature who’s been stealing food in town for her). Ryou asks her for her name but she says she doesn’t have one until she has short flashbacks that she remembers her name as Akari (also means light. Should’ve seen this one coming). Also just like Hikari, she doesn’t remember much about her past and her reasons being on Earth. Ryou continues to visit Akari after school and chats with her about life and loneliness. One day Akari sensed Kuon in danger and decides to go find him and with Ryou’s help they head towards town. Since Akari isn’t wearing any shoes (note she’s just wearing a camisole all these while and nothing underneath) she hurt her feet so Ryou has to piggy-back ride her to town, though he doesn’t mind it. They find Kuon being ‘held’ by a cat who is treating him as one of its child. I’m not sure if Akari could speak cat language but she did plead to it to release Kuon as she deems it irreplaceable. The cat does so and Akari is happily reunited with Kuon. She soon collapses due to exhaustion in Ryou’s arms.
 
Ryou brings Akari home in episode 4 and we are introduced to his little brother-loving sister Kimi. She must be wondering why her brother has brought back another woman what more a loli. Is she not enough? Is he tired of her? Has he developed some kind of loli fetish? Just kidding. Though Kimi may feel that 3 is a crowd but eventually grows to like Akari due to her sincerity. The funny part is that whenever she gets up close to Akari, Ryou seems to interrupt them, making it look like some yuri moment. We see that Ryou too has some sort of circular pattern on his hand. Hmm… The rest of the episode sees how Kimi and Akari bond as they sleep together, thought the latter would pretty much like to sleep with Ryou. Akari learns about Ryou and Akari being orphans. The next morning since Kimi mentioned that she can’t afford to maintain another occupant (Akari has a big appetite for a petite girl) with Ryou’s meagre part time job pay, the gang trot over to Takeru’s place. Even if Akari comes face to face with Hikari, they don’t recognize each other so Jennifer comes up with a theory that they were once an entity but somehow split into 2 when they came to Earth. I guess they got along pretty well so the other girls decide to take Akari’s measurements to make her new clothes as well. Seeing now that Ryou has got a little girl of his own, losers Shinichi and Daijirou decides to go hunt for a third one. Too bad guys. In this series, these are the only 2 pretty girls that will appear.
 
When Kimi and Ryou decides to go home, Akari felt a little panic as she doesn’t want to be left behind and rushes out to them and requests that if she could stay with Ryou because she likes them both. Because it’s not good to kick out cute lolis, they accepted. Well, it’s better than everyone hording at Takeru’s side and place, right? Even out the joy! Haha. As Ryou and his girls go home, Hikari becomes somewhat a little gloomy after seeing Ryou’s closeness with Akari. Hikari acts strange by throwing herself at Takeru. Perhaps she wants to be as close to him like them as well. Just like Jennifer noted, they should’ve been more honest like Ryou and Akari. Back at Ryou’s home, he gives Hikari the attic as her room and she is delighted to see a magnificent view of the forest lake where she once lived.
 
Since it’s not good for Hikari to be home alone, she gets to attend school and Takeru’s class in episode 5 thanks to Jennifer’s part in doing the paper work. Though she gets her wish, Hikari notices how everyone seems unenthusiastic in class, which is entirely different from her perception that school is a fun place. Obviously enough to confuse her because why attend to something which doesn’t interest you. Of course Takeru gave that ‘on-the-fence’ answer like how sometimes it may be interesting. Hikari quickly made friends with their class rep, Mayu. During P.E. class, an earthquake evacuation drill took place. As everyone lethargically gathers at the school yard, Hikari gets vision of her dark self and is like she’s being in a trance. Mayu spots her and follows Hikari to a school pillar. Hikari asks Mayu’s opinion about school and due to her low self-esteem she says how she sometimes hate it. Hikari smirks and says how school must be destroyed then. Hikari places her palm on the pillar and in a flash a blue crystal glows inside the pillar starts to destroy the pillar and the entire school. Everyone must be thinking a real earthquake is happening but it seems that their school is the only building which crumbles. For those who hate school, they must be jumping in joy because school is out. Takeru searches for Hikari but finds her unscathed and being protected by a weird robot, Ioneous. Furthermore, Hikari doesn’t remember what happened.
 
Back at Takeru’s place, the gang interrogates Ioneous and finds out that this robot with an attitude was in some sort of hibernation and the reason he woke up was that he heard his master’s calling, which is Hikari. So I guess Ioneous is something like what Kuon is to Akira. Everyone goes back to school the next day to help clean it up even if summer vacation starts early. Hikari finds Mayu searching for her precious diary of her experiences in school. With that, Hikari realizes the good side of being in school and notices how the school has more ‘colour’ now. Everyone starts chipping in to clean up the rubble, even Ioneous. That robot will listen to whatever Hikari tells him to. Because school has been closed indefinitely, Hikari gets a little disappointed because she feels things were just getting interesting. As the gang celebrates around the bonfire from the debris of the cleaning up, Hikari hears her inner voice telling her how everything will be dark and gloomy as before. Hmm… Does Hikari have a dual personality?
 
The gang decides to take a trip to the mountains in episode 6 as part of their holiday. Plus, I guess Shinichi and Daijirou are still enthusiastic about finding a third alien girl of their own. Dream on. Sumie and Jennifer drove the kids there in 2 separate cars and since naive Hikari is putting half her body outside the car to feel the air, she nearly puts everyone in danger. If not for Ioneous, Hikari could’ve been split into 2 and we could have another sister. Haha, just kidding. Hey, it seems Ioneous can go through and merge with solid objects. This episode offers more fanservice and feels like a filler episode because not much development in the plot as the only thing you can feast on is your eyes on the girls in their swimsuit. Or most of them in one because Akari is swimming naked and Ryou is thinking of sketching her (he’s sketching the scenery initially, mind you) much to Kimi’s chagrin. Also, Hikari creates a giant onigiri for Takeru, and since that guy isn’t honest, he now has to finish a whole lot of giant onigiris she made. Stuff it in boy! At the same time, drunk Jennifer is forcing several bottles of liquor down Ioneous mouth. Not sure if his system can take it but he seems to get drunk and well, this won’t be the first time. Jennifer also calls Ioneous ‘Oniita’ because his name is hard to pronounce (same case with me when I first heard his name).
 
That night as everyone gears up to play the ‘test of courage’ game, Mari is thrilled that she is being paired with Takeru but decides to give up her spot to Hikari when she notices her being depressed. Has this tsundere girl changed? During their trek through the forest, Takeru and Hikari has a chat as he finds out she came from outer space which has nothing and she finds Earth interesting because of the various differences in terms of feelings. As Hikari puts her head on Takeru’s chest to hear his heartbeat, he slipped. And you know, this whole ‘test of courage’ was just a set up to see if there’s any serious development between Takeru and Hikari (if not, I guess make some of their own). They sure get a kick out of this. I wonder how Mari feels about this. Since it’s so dark, they can’t see clearly. Suddenly a monster appears behind the busybodies scaring the wits out of them and seemingly charging at them. Takeru and Hikari escape to the shrine and it’s revealed that the monster is actually Ioneous, who is on a rampage because he is drunk. I guess this proves that drinking can make robot’s circuits go haywire too. After Hikari gives Ioneous a good scolding and lecture, it seems that during one of Ioneous attack in which he missed and punched some wall, he accidentally discovered a hotspring. Thus the girls take the opportunity to soak themselves in it and as punishment, Ioneous becomes the barrier to separate the girls and the boys. Only thing is, the boys section is so small that they can hardly have space for themselves to properly dip in. It’s discrimination! Later as Takeru has a chat with Hikari alone, Hikari starts crying because she feels lonely and sad for some unknown reason even if her heart is filled with love from everyone around her. But Takeru assures her that they will do all they can so that Hikari won’t feel lonely since summer break has just started.
 
How can the world be such an ugly place because episode 7 is your mandatory beach episode with the girls in their swimsuits! Yeehaa! Fanservice abound! But it’s not all fun and games since Icchou is running a stall there so the kids will have to help out as well. There are some light-hearted moments like Hikari’s cooking disaster, Jennifer giving perverted customers a large serving of her boobs. Ryou licking Akari’s face because there was some ingredients stuck to it (incurring the shock and wrath and Kimi), Mari trying to prevent Hikari from kissing Takeru (the duo nearly did during some bottle accident but Mari was held back by Sakurako and Amika because they want to see what happens next but luckily Takeru remembered something, got up and left) and Sakurako and Amika trying to spice things up by ‘fanning the fire’ making some sort of mock near-kissing scene among themselves. Unfortunately for Sakurako and Amika, during one of their mock near-kissing, their lips met when Kimi accidentally pushes them in her hurry. Haha! Their first kiss went to each other. While Hikari ponders what she is to Takeru, we see Hikari’s dark side emerging again and this confuses Takeru. Frustrated Mari hurriedly swims to them to prevent another kissing scene when a huge storm occurs. Actually, it’s not a storm.
 
Before we forget that there was those vicious giant monsters back in episode 1, so yeah, some monster shark appears and its target is Hikari once more. Of course due to the heavy storm, everyone else on shore thinks it’s some whirlpool. Too bad Icchou’s shop has been destroyed. During their escape, Hikari collapses and falls into the sea. Takeru is bewildered why he can’t transform at this time as he dives in to save her. The monster shark is making big waves and flings both Takeru and Hikari in mid-air. By that time Hikari has regained consciousness and the duo kissed. Much to Mari’s horror. She saw that instead of the monster? Hope she doesn’t get traumatized… As the monster shark grabs Hikari, Takeru is thrown into the sea and that’s when he finally transformed. Expect lots of smashing action frenzy. I don’t remember how but Akari ended up in the grasp of the monster shark and since Takeru isn’t quick enough to save her, it’s Ryou’s cue to unleash some super wind blowing power of his to blow Takeru and Hikari over to Akari and save her while finishing the monster soon after. When Takeru comes to, he is alone with Akari floating on Ioneous in a form of a plank as surprisingly it’s snowing. They nearly kissed but Jennifer cheekily interrupted them by saying "It’s so hot even if it’s snowing". Obviously Mari and the other 2 loser guys aren’t too happy while on the other side of the raft, Kimi too feels the same way when Akari is all clingy on Ryou. Back on shore as the gang discuss what has happened over the day, everyone is shocked to hear how Hikari mentions Takeru’s lips taste like the ocean. Takeru is embarrassed and tries to do something else like drinking his can juice but notices it’s half gone and blames it on Shinichi and Daijirou, who are so depressed that they couldn’t care. However it wasn’t them who drank Takeru’s juice. But rather Mari who quietly says to herself the score is now even. Uh huh. An indirect kiss, I presume. I noticed that the animation for most of this episode has the characters drawn partly in their chibi form.
 
Back to the normal life in episode 8. Takeru ponders his inability to protect Hikari while the latter is enthralled by the sweet chirping of the cricket so she has Takeru to catch one for her (as her pet?). Jennifer seems to be away on some trip while Takeru and Ryou continue their delivery job. With that, Mari along with Hikari, Akari and Ioneous went shopping together. Mari takes this chance to say how she likes Takeru (and probably hint for Hikari to stay away from him) but surprisingly Hikari isn’t surprised because her perception on love is somewhat different. Yeah, she too says how she likes Takeru as how she likes Mari, the rest of the gang and everything else on this planet. Yeah, Hikari even thinks if Mari likes Takeru like she does, they’ll get along pretty well. She’s never seen harem animes like this, eh? Meanwhile we see Jennifer at a museum talking to her colleague about some fossil and wonders how creatures can exist in 2 different time periods. Jennifer says it must be ED and Takeru is one. No, not erectile dysfunction lah! It’s Extended Definition. Huh, what’s that? As far as I can understand, it’s about some extinction programme and the awakening of an object. A kind of monster solely specializing in high offense but they never thought that it could awaken in a human and that it has protected its ‘enemy’ instead of fighting it while maintaining self-awareness.
 
While the girls are preparing for tonight’s festival, Hikari gets even confused when she hears Sakurako and Amika’s comments about life and death. That night as everyone gathers at the festival, Ryou gives some advice to Takeru: "Like melting ice cream, human emotions move on their own. Even if you try to force it back, nothing good would come of it". So the usual fun at the festival as we get to see the girls in their yukata. Mari tries to confess to Takeru but still can’t do it. When Hikari comes back home to feed her cricket, she finds it not making its usual sound. She gets devastated when Takeru tells her that it has died. Hikari is reeling from this shock while crying in her room when she hears her dark inner voice which then appears before her. Hikari asks who is she and her reply is that she is "I am you and you are me". Dark Hikari reminds her about her duty to bring an end to this dull ugly world which she has forgotten while assuming human form as she crushes the cricket cage. Hey, isn’t that the normal Hikari’s own hands who crushed it? Yeah, they’re both the same person/thing just that with different personalities. Anyway Hikari envisions herself on a desolated planet red Earth. Then Ioneous appears from a corner to say how Hikari has finally awakened.
 
Because of that, Hikari sinks into a little depression in episode 9. Even Akari confronts Hikari and tells her that she already knows the answer to it all and that they were once a single entity. Has both sisters start to awaken as well? Well yeah, looks like pieces of their memories are coming together albeit slowly. Icchou takes Takeru to a junkyard and gets him a second hand bike even though Mari feels it’s just a rip-off. But Takeru doesn’t mind as he always wanted a bike of his own and starts fixing it. Takeru also has a chat with Ryou about their struggling growing up life as orphans and finds out that he too has some powers. The power to make things come true the way it is. I’m not sure if Ryou is just making up and playing a fool when he demonstrated this little power of his. I mean, if anybody tells you to like in this direction and that direction, naturally one’s reaction is to follow, right? Plus, all his wishes seems trivial. Anyway while Takeru fixes his bike, the rest decides to help him by finding more spare parts at a junkyard. There, Mari notices Hikari spacing out and feels that Hikari and Takeru has been a little distant lately (should she be happy about it?).
 
Meanwhile Jennifer is typing her report how the human body loves to react to the sign of extinction (huh?) and wonders if Ryou has awakened too. I don’t really understand Jennifer’s hypothesis about the extinction programme which may lead to evolution. Something about destroying everything and starting on a clean slate? Also, something about how the extinction programme (which is supposedly the sisters) split into 2 upon reaching Earth and assuming the personality of the person they encountered because humans have hearts. Huh? So is she saying that if they met some bad-ass people, they’d turn out rotten and destroy the world straight away? The gang return with some spare parts but Takeru finds most of them useless. Well, I guess it’s the effort that counts. Hikari is thinking deep while taking a bath about her meeting with Akari. Akari told her then the reason she woke up was probably the reaction to Ryou’s heart and wonders if it’s the same for Hikari. Later as Hikari walks back with Akari and Ioneous, Akari tells her how they’ve been to this place a long time ago and they totally decimated the place. So it seems the duty to destroy has been manifested in Hikari while the part to protect in Akari. Akari doesn’t want her sister to destroy the planet after seeing so much goodness (well, in a way she’s never seen the real world, huh?). Hikari breaks down and says how she too doesn’t want to destroy the planet and all she wants is to trust Takeru’s heart. But can she go against her instinct, I wonder?
 
In episode 10, we see Ryou and Akari chatting at the forest lake when the asks about summer ending soon and why can’t the seasons co-exist together (well, duh?!). Ryou’s answer is that something has to end in order for another to begin. Mari is out shopping with Sakurako and Amika and buys some jewellery and affirms herself that this will be the day she’ll confess to Takeru (sure sure). Hikari is with Takeru who is still fixing his bike (hope he doesn’t take forever). Since there’s lots of things going on in Hikari’s mind, she starts crying so Takeru who doesn’t know what’s going on comforts her but Hikari continues to weep. Thinking of Ryou’s words, Takeru decides to kiss her but stop short when they notice Mari staring at them in shock. Upset Mari runs away in tears as Hikari chases after her. Naive Hikari still doesn’t know what it means to be in a harem and because of that Mari slaps her and tells her she doesn’t need her pity and that she’s a coward-cum-liar who betrays everyone. Tsk tsk. Hikari goes back to Takeru and she starts thinking what Mari said may have some truth in it when another monster appears to attack her. Takeru is unable to save her in time as the monster devours Hikari. However the monster then explodes from within and Hikari is seen unscathed. Takeru who is bewildered from everything he has just seen gets some explanation from Ioneous and Jennifer about that ED thing. That process is further explained about how species become extinct with newer and younger ones and when that species grow old and weak, the process restarts again. Thus ED is some natural form of defence to reject that extinction process. I think something like that.
 
Takeru still doesn’t believe what they have said and asks Hikari for assurance but she seems not to mind all of it anymore. Plus, she even says how there’s a strong urge from her dark side to take over and destroy the world. Takeru tries to say it isn’t so because he loves her but that was just a short-lived cure. Dark Hikari takes over as she calls Takeru as he doesn’t really love her. He hugs her but when she touches his forehead, Takeru relives those painful moments when he was being abandoned by his mom. Hikari then adds salt to his wounds by saying that someone like him who has never been loved can never truly protect others and love anyone else. Takeru is trying to control his anger and tells her to stop it when he starts transforming. He is trying hard to restrain himself from crushing Hikari’s shoulders while she continues to taunt him. Meanwhile Mari, Sakurako and Amika spot several red butterflies flooding the sky and for some reason everyone just gathered and helplessly watch in shock and horror of Takeru’s transformation. Is this the Takeru they knew? My best friend is an alien?! Just kidding. By now the sky is filled with so many red butterflies it’s like as though it’s crying blood.
 
Takeru and Hikari’s confrontation continues in episode 11 with Hikari entering Takeru’s head to make him relieve his painful past of his mom leaving him. Hikari continues to mock and play mind games with Takeru. Something like how he’s afraid to love because he’ll get dumped again bla bla bla. Hikari tells him not to resist his urge to kill her. After all, they’re both the same. Monsters. But Takeru begs to differ. After all that angst, Takeru somehow reverts back to his normal self but is feeling exhausted. Mari confronts Hikari and blames her for everything that has happened. Easier than to put the blame on others, huh? I mean, in my opinion if she was much nicer to Takeru then probably that guy would’ve at least looked at her, right? Akari decides to stop her sister as her arm transforms into some light sabre weapon. However Ryou calms her down because he feels that this isn’t the right way to settle things. See, violence begets violence. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Ryou then tells Takeru that he is the only one who can stop Hikari but Takeru is still wallowing in self-pity and thinking he’s not good enough to do anything for her. Ryou continues to tell him how he too experienced the same thing like Takeru. It seems Ryou’s parents too abandoned him but he had to grow up and be mature as he told Kimi their parents died instead. Takeru then realized how strong Ryou is. Ryou finally tells him not to abandon Hikari. Takeru gets his confidence back and semi-transforms as he flies through the sky to chase after Hikari. Ioneous wonders why Hikari is hesitating to do her duty and wonders if she has been poisoned by the human heart and decides to complete it himself. It’s so ironic to see him wish goodbye to Icchou and Sumie for taking care of him. Uh huh. A proper goodbye before destroying the world?
 
Takeru continues to chase Hikari and the latter unleashes some projectile to send Takeru crashing to the ground. I don’t know if this is necessary because Jennifer appears to tell him about how 1 of her theories may be wrong and wishes him goodbye. Then Mari comes along and gives him another earful by telling him not to go after Hikari who isn’t human to begin with (yeah like she herself is so human in the first place). Well Mari’s trying to indirectly confess by saying that if he needs love, she’ll be glad to provide him. Yeah, just like that? I’m not sure if her tears help as well because Takeru decides to continue chasing Hikari. Can you say that Mari has been dumped? Well they’re not like a couple in the first place. Takeru once again catches up to Hikari and another round of angst-filled talking till Takeru pulls Hikari close to him. Because of Hikari’s hesitation to kill him, Takeru says if she can’t do that then might as well love him. Woah! Not only that, he kissed her! Is this what we’re supposed to do if we ever encounter a creature of mass destruction-cum-extinction?! Meanwhile Ryou and Akari are running along the road when they spot the nearby forest being decimated by the red butterflies and Ioneous emerging from the ground and creating some big monster emerging from the forest’s chasm.
 
I hope that kiss didn’t made Hikari soft and change her mind not to destroy the planet in episode 12. But even so, it’s a good sign. However Akari and Ryou tries to stop Ioneous but that robot tells her he is merely carrying out his duty as the monster takes Ioneous in his grasp. I’m wondering if Jennifer has some sort of death wish because she insanely hopped onto Ioneous just like that. Does she want to get up close with the action? Anyway Hikari and Takeru continue to talk about things like how Takeru and Ryou made impossible things exist in this world, it was their heart and not their powers which made so, how Takeru wished for change and Ryou wished for stability. Akari bids farewell to Ryou as the time has come for her to perform her duty. Obviously Akari knows it won’t be right for Ryou to choose her over his planet even if he loves them both. Ryou pecks Akari’s forehead before she flies toward her sister. Meanwhile the monster has merged itself with Ioneous and Jennifer is like sitting on its head. WTF?! Hikari explains this creature is called Anastatious, trying to give birth to shards of life that will create a next world. Akari then arrives and we get to see Kuon’s role, which is a key to closing the doors of destruction. Hikari and Takeru lend her their powers as they seal the monster. So easy? Just like that? A giant bright light engulfs the sky.
 
Back on the ground, Mari sees a vision of Hikari who tells her to follow her and make a wish. Mari follows her to a crater but only finds Ryou standing there. As everyone else gathers, Takeru is nowhere to be found. It seems he is with the sisters up in the stars. No, he’s not dead yet. It’s like he’s in some suspended animation as Hikari gives her final farewell speech (at least that’s how I felt it was). They go through several scenarios like one whereby a grown up Takeru and Hikari as a family and having a child of their own. But it’s just a possibility only, right? To cut things short, Hikari and Akari decides to go on some travel but will soon return one day. When? Dunno. Why travel? Dunno too. Perhaps to give some time to humans to mess up the planet so that when they return the next time, they could really proceed with their extinction programme. Just kidding. Since Takeru can’t possibly follow them Hikari beams him down back and when he opened his eyes, he sees his friends and family relieved that he is alright (why is he naked?!). Probably that’s what Mari wished for. Ryou takes the opportunity to tell Kimi that their parents are still alive. She is surprised over the news and breaks down. At the same time, Jennifer (also naked?) comes to in the arms of Ioneous with Kuon. Well Ioneous thinks it’s the start of a new era so I guess he and Kuon goes back into their hibernation mode (turning back into the blue crystals they were) until their next awakening.
 
In the aftermath, Ryou and Kimi goes on a search for their parents and Mari is still as naggy as ever. Yeah, now she spots a new hairstyle too. She cut them, that is (PS: I still prefer her in her twin braided pig-tail style). At school (which is nearly completed), Mayu wonders where Hikari is as she hands an envelope of pictures of her and the gang together to Takeru. She asks if Hikari will come back and Takeru assures her she will one day. He also notices how the sky has a new bright shining star and as long as it shines, he won’t forget Hikari. Finally life goes on normally for the gang. What’s this? Shinichi and Daijirou thinking of borrowing Takeru’s bike so that they can take Sakurako and Amika out on a spin? Are they tired of finding a third one and settle for them? Plus, Jennifer holds both the blue crystals in her hands while looking out her window and both Hikari and Akari happily travel together through space. Will it be a long lonely journey? Don’t think so since the sisters have each other. Though I feel that it’s like having a split personality as a company since it was mentioned that they were once a single entity.
 
So the world didn’t really end at all. Thank goodness. If it does, it would definitely leave a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Though there are a few questions which still bug me. I’m wondering why do Hikari and Akari need to travel. I mean, they’ve sealed the monster, right? And if they return, will they still remember not to destroy the planet even if it’s a million years in the future and when Takeru and co are no longer around. Perhaps it was explained in the final episode and I wasn’t paying attention because the conversation between Hikari and Takeru was a little long and like I said, it was akin to some farewell speech.
 
Can you say that a normal guy like Takeru and Ryou saved the world? I mean, there is no further explanation about his ED powers in the sense of how he got them and will he still have them. As for Ryou, I’m still not exactly sure of his powers in the end. I noticed that most viewers tend to hate Mari because she nags too much and the way she treats Takeru. I agree. Sometimes you just want to strangle her and tell her to shut the f*ck up. Even right till the end, she didn’t change much. But I guess that’s what being a tsundere girl is all about. Not sure if she’s given up on Takeru since Hikari isn’t around anymore. Then there’s something about Jennifer which bugs me too. She’s like she knows and expect things of how they’ll turn out the way she explains them. She’s like having fun even though it’s supposed to be serious. So what is her presence in this series for anyway? Just to explain things to the gang (and viewers)?
 
The voice acting is rather okay though there are star-studded casts in this year 2004 anime series such as Ayako Kawasumi as Hikari (Nodame in Nodame Cantabile, Aoi in Ai Yori Aoshi), Ai Shimizu as Akari (Karen in Onegai Twins, Ren in DearS), Takahiro Mizushima as Takeru (Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome), Fujiko Takimoto as Ryou (Seiko of Lovely Complex), Asami Sanada as Mari (Dejiko of Di Gi Charat), and Yumi Takada as Jennifer (Ruuan in Mamotte Shugogetten). On a trivial note, even there are some fanservice shots, be warned that there are some nudity scenes. In most episodes before the start of the show, Jennifer cheekily narrates what has happened so far hopes for something ‘exciting’ will happen. She just love watching the kids and their love affairs, eh?
 
Well after watching this series, I don’t think it’s supposed to give some pretext excuse that we humans can save the world. But probably what it’s trying to say is to at least give us some hope. If the world is to end tomorrow, what would you do? So it’s important to live everyday to the fullest, like each day as your last. This world may be generally ugly and rotten but sometimes it’s better to look at the beautiful and positive aspects of it. It makes living easier and less bitter. Recently, there’s another anime series on world destruction called, yup you guessed it – World Destruction: Sekai Bokumetsu No Rokunin. Perhaps there are other animes with such a theme out there. Not that I can remember. But since end of the world themes aren’t my cup of tea, I didn’t really watch that one.
 
I’m sure we don’t need any extinction programme to wipe us human race of the planet as we ourselves are in the process of self destruction. I know this may sound ominous and bleak but hey, conflicts everywhere with people killing each other and not to mention the over-usage of mother Earth’s resources which is really taking its toll. We’re digging our own graves. But hopefully the world won’t end soon because if it happens, I won’t get to watch my favourite animes. Oh heck, the world can go bust as long as I have my animes. HAHAHA!!! My apathy contributes to the world’s end!
 

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World

Lucky Star OVA

May 22, 2009

I didn’t really expect there would be an OVA episode for Lucky Star. Even so, I thought there would be second season or a spin-off so when this OVA came out at the end of last year 2008, it was a little surprised to me. Nevertheless, it is still good to watch this series since I did enjoy the TV series although this gag anime was heavily laden with otaku and cultural references and half of the time it didn’t make sense to me since I’m not a very hardcore otaku.
 
However, this OVA is only 1 episode long but unlike conventional animes, the running time is slightly longer as it lasts approximately 42 minutes. You could say that this is one massive but short OVA. Just like in the TV series, the OVA will be divided into several skits and you can expect the same wackiness and comedy if you have seen the TV series. So here we go…
 
It’s a dog’s life
The opening skit starts with soft-spoken Minami waking up her pet dog Cherry. She’s telling her to be a good dog since her pals are coming to visit her home today. Some of the view angles in this skit are through the eyes of Cherry. So it’s like a first person (or dog, rather) view through things. Miyuki is first to arrive and has brought some cookies for Cherry. As Cherry approaches her, it’s like she starts ‘fondling’ between Miyuki’s legs. No, that dog isn’t a pervert. Miyuki gives Cherry a piece of cookie, in which she takes it and buries it out in the lawn. While doing so, Tsukasa and Kagami passes by and notices how dirty Cherry’s face is. But Tsukasa realizes she has misplaced her handphone so the twins have to go back looking for it. Kagami then notes how she wish she was as peaceful as Cherry.
 
As Cherry is napping in the house, noisy Patricia is all excited and goes play with her. She starts pressing her paws but soon gets disappointed how hard it is and not like what she had hoped to be as she read in manga, soft and nice. Because Cherry isn’t giving any reaction, Patricia starts teasing it ‘stupid dog’ among other name callings. Minami then tells her no matter how she shouts, Cherry won’t wake up till its time. After Patricia continues with her teasing, to Minami’s surprise, Cherry opened her eyes. Next is Yutaka. She comes up to Cherry and held both her paws in her hands and starts singing a song for cute Cherry. Tamura passes by and wonders what she is doing, which startled Yutaka a little. When Yutaka left to the toilet, Tamura wonders if Cherry recognizes her. Tamura gets a little surprise when Cherry reacts a little. Tamura gets close to her for a handshake but Cherry just stared at her. When she took out a piece of cookie, Cherry glomps on her a little but luckily smart Cherry sits when Tamura tells her to. Tamura then tells her to shake hands and Cherry starts hitting Tamura with her paws in a frenzy! Tamura then gives her the cookie in which Cherry picks it up and spits it out soon after. Yeah, even Tamura can’t understand her.
 
During dinner time, Minami notices how Cherry is sleeping and not touching her food. Even after Minami takes a bath and gets ready for bed, Cherry is still napping. So she comes to pet and her and wishes for her to get better since everyone is worried. Minami notices her face all dirty again and thinks she’s been burying food again but doesn’t mind so long as she gets well. After Minami leaves, Cherry then closes her eyes. It’s a really touching episode and it makes you wonder if there is anything wrong with her. Though we won’t get to know for the remainder of this OVA but keep your fingers crossed.
 
MMORPG
As we know Konata and Kuroi are fans of the online RPG game but this time they are joined by Kagami and Tsukasa too. Note that their avatars in the RPG game are a chibi version of them. Also, the visuals are a combination of CG (the online gameplay scene) and 2D animation (faces of the characters in frames when they speak). Kuroi wonders why the twins had decided to join them playing this game when Konata says this game’s anime was scripted by a novelist who has a certain fan. Kagami is obviously embarrassed about it but anyway welcome to their world! So the usual monster slaying and job seeking missions like what most MMORPG veterans would know.
 
While Konata and Kuroi are talking about the online gaming, Konata notices Tsukasa’s grimacing face and tells her to press ‘enter’. With that, Tsukasa can now finally chat. And we were wondering why she didn’t say anything all this time. Yeah, she’s still a klutz. The gang continue to chat on RPG topics like having friends in a party and levelling up. After another successful round of slaying monsters, the gang wonders why Tsukasa’s magic won’t get stronger since she’s a magician. When Konata asks her what she’d do with her points, Tsukasa seems lost… She thinks spells will be given automatically when one levels up. Looks like she’s not cut out for this kind of game. Later, the gang did a weird and lame decisive victory pose. Then something on online game promotional items but since I’m not into RPG, I can’t really elaborate nor understand what they mean. Finally Kagami and Tsukasa say how their family is going to a hotspring during the Golden Week holidays and won’t be online for a while. Likewise Konata will be spending some time with Yutaka. Just when the Golden Week ends, we see Kuroi beating and slaying monsters with ease and the girls are astounded that she has levelled up so much! I guess she has nowhere to go but to play her online game. Is this what people with no love life do? ;p
 
Kagami-rella
Kagami is left alone all by herself at home when her mom, Tsukasa and her other sisters decide to go out shopping. After they have left, Konata comes in a witch outfit (like the one you see in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu worn by Nagato) and of course Kagami is surprised to see that self-proclaimed magician. Uh huh. Konata thinks Kagami was hurt by her mom and sisters and wants to go to the dance but Kagami replies that she never said anything like that.
 
If you know how the Cinderella story works, this is the wacky Lucky Star version of it. Konata says that is what Kagami is, Cinderella who needs to attend the dance in a horse carriage. Konata then uses her magic wand to change the altar to a weird looking cart. You call that a horse carriage? Well, don’t be picky says Konata. Kagami refuses to get on because she doesn’t want to go to any dance. Disappointed Kagami leaves but that isn’t the end of her troubles. Kagami felt the house shake and thinks it’s an earthquake. As she rushes outside, she gets the shock of her life when she sees her whole house on wheels and moving! Yeah, if Kagami won’t leave the house, then I guess Konata will just have to go there directly. Kagami has no choice but to oblige.
 
So as the duo trot along in their lame cart, Konata decides to use her magic to dress up Kagami. Of course it screws up and we see her in several cosplay outfits from a maid one to a shrine priestess and finally some sophisticated space outfit (I think). Pissed off Kagami wants her to switch her back but it seems the star on her wand has fallen off so looks like she’s stuck in that outfit. They finally arrive at the ‘dance’ which turns out to be some wrestling match and currently Kuroi, a contender, has just won her semi-final match. Then we find out that this is some contest whereby the winner will get to be Misao’s bride (can’t believe she’s the prince). Misao is so happy to know that Kagami has come for her but Kagami isn’t enthusiastic about this. Kagami thinks of going home because she can change back before 12 o’clock. Konata thinks she has been seen through…
 
As the duo ride back on their cart, Kagami realized that her house has been left in the middle of the road and wants Konata to put it back. I don’t know if she could trust her magic now since Konata glued back the star to her wand but it’s hanging precariously. Just then everything poofs back to normal and Konata says that time is up. Kagami is a little panic about her house but laid back Konata just tell her to leave it like that. Plus, Konata can’t use her magic anymore because she’s just a human bestowed with magic and will lose her powers once it’s 12 o’clock. Then she remembers an incantation to reset anything and Kagami is all ears. Since Konata can’t cast the spell, it has to be Kagami and the latter would do anything. She whispers something embarrassing and tells her she has to shout it out loud. Though reluctant, Kagami has no choice so she blurts out, "I want us to join our bodies…". Kagami then wakes up from her sleep and to her horror and embarrassment realized Tsukasa has heard what she said. Yeah, you can see how ‘shocked’ Tsukasa’s ‘robot’ facial expression is so she gets up and leave while saying how she has something to email to Konata. Embarrassed Kagami tries to dismiss everything… So was it all a dream? Well, it beats having her losing her glass slipper and the prince mounting a search for her, right?
 
Volleyball folly
Clumsy Tsukasa is having a hard time playing volleyball and because of so her self-confidence is low. Misao, who is on her team, tells her that she needs to buck up because this is the day that they will defeat her older sister, who is on the other team with Miyuki and Ayano. With that, the duo are fired up to play and it seems to work a little. Konata (on Tsukasa’s team) uses her Super Mega Special Mega Awesome Chocolate-dipped Shining Flaming Glowing Incredible Serve to send the ball nearly touching the ceiling. I wonder if she made that up from some manga or anime. But Miyuki manages to receive it well. Konata then decides to unleash some Jet Stream Attack and gets into formation but even so Misao doesn’t know what the heck is that.
 
The match continues and it is a closely fought one. As both teams are tied and Kagami starts the next game with her serve. The ball is heading Tsukasa’s way and since she couldn’t do anything about it, the ball slams directly into her face. Ouch. She starts to cry and thinks how impossible it is to receive that ball. I know it’s heartbreaking to see Tsukasa shed tears but sometimes I can’t help feel she’s too f&^$%* moe too! Misao gives her some words of encouragement and Tsukasa decides to try again. Kagami’s team is only a point away from winning when Tsukasa’s team mate nicely sets up the ball for Tsukasa to smash back and finish it. As Tsukasa runs and leaps, getting ready to smash back, we see how cool and confident she is like as though she’s going to make it this time but all that fizzled out when she missed the ball and slams directly into the net. Ouch. Though Tsukasa’s team lost, she isn’t disheartened and even though she thinks she can’t beat Kagami now, but one day for sure she will.
 
Lost
"The Heavens have abandoned us!". Konata must have been reading too many manga or watching too many anime to say that as she drops on her back yelling that line amidst the forest. Where is she? It seems that she, Kagami, Tsukasa and Miyuki are lost while taking a short cut to a camp on their school’s hiking contest. Well, not really a short cut. Konata felt like walking a trail which leads to climbing a mountain. They can’t call for help too since their handphones has no signal and coverage. In addition, Konata left her compass back on the bus. Now they’re really lost.
 
As they continue hiking, the sky is darkening when Kagami’s stomach starts to growl. Luckily Konata has some biscuits but has only 3 packs of them. So they start rationing and dividing among themselves. But how can you equally split 3 for 4? Miyuki demonstrates her intelligence by splitting each biscuit into 2 so that there will be 6 portions. Each of them will get a portion and the remaining 2 balance will be split equally into half so that there will be 4 smaller pieces.
 
Nightfall and the quartet are still lost. Tsukasa then looks up at the sky and manages to identify which direction they are in. Though she isn’t quite knowledgeable on astronomy, she knows a little about it since she was born on Tanabata Day and the certain stars which shines brightly on that day. But Miyuki points out that even if they know which direction to go, they still can’t find their way back to camp. So Konata takes another opportunity to shout, "The Heavens have abandoned us!".
 
They continue trekking and I think Konata is starting to lose it when she starts impersonating some ghost story thingy with her flashlight. Yeah, that is even enough to scare the wits out of Tsukasa (touching her with a stick?). Not once, but twice! Konata says how ghost stories are necessary during camp when Miyuki mentions about chatting on love too. The gang goes blank and Miyuki wonders if she has said anything wrong. Konata continues to fool around with her ghost stories impersonation when her handphone starts ringing. It’s Kuroi on the other end and she sounds very upset for being missing. Once they arrive at camp, Kuroi gives them a good lecture and they regret their actions. But she can’t stay mad at them as she treats them to a delicious curry rice meal at the campfire underneath the open night sky. Miyuki is seen relating this tough ordeal to her mom but when she says how she sounded like having fun while talking about it, Miyuki too smiles and agree.
 
Pet shop of horrors
Note how the visual and atmosphere or this skit resembles a little like you see in horror movies. Konata is pestering Kagami to come with her, Miyuki and Tsukasa to a newly opened pet shop. As the gang browse through the pets behind the glasses, the store owner comes by and say "I am Zero. I have returned". I’m not sure what is the meaning of this but I guess it has something to do with the parody of the Code Geass series. He then show the girls Pekopon’s most famous frog. OMG! It’s Keroro and Tamama! As they stare at the frogs while they continue to resonate their trademark "Kero Kero" and "Tama Tama" lines, the see the frogs start to slowly change into some horror-like appearance.
 
The next thing Konata knows when she opened her eyes is that she is now a chibi version and a black-spotted pond frog. Not only that, the other girls too have turned into chibi frog versions. As they are happily frolicking in the aquarium water, Konata wonders what has happened to them. Did the Keron invaders turned them like this? Then I don’t know what it means too, as we see the pet shop owner saying "Wawawa forgotten items". I guess we’ll never know the mystery to this…
 
I still ain’t buying what you’re selling
We are brought back to the MMORPG world and visual again. But hey, do you still remember that passionate loudmouth otaku merchandise store keeper, Meito? Yeah, he’s back here. As Meito is trudging in the online world, he spots the Legendary Girl A (Konata, for those who can’t remember). He gets hyped up and definitely thinks is going to get her to buy some stuff from him this time. So he lists down all the powerful items he has in his collection. Powerful items that even a legendary girl like her cannot resist buying. However as time passes through night and day, she’s still standing there with her back facing him and no particular reaction whatsoever. Meito gets disheartened that his plan has failed again and screams before his avatar falling face flat to the ground. Yeah, she’s probably ‘sleeping’. Poor guy. Maybe it’s time he looked for another set of customers.
 
Lucky Channel
One thing different about this episode ender of Lucky Channel is that it is being shot in real live action outside on a rooftop! That’s right. You can see the real characters who voiced that spoilt brat Akira (who is Hiromi Konno) and Minoru Shiraishi in person. It seems, they try to make Hiromi Konno look as close as the anime version of Akira with that white sailor uniform and long oversized sleeves. Minoru here appears in some perm hairstyle in addition to his white suit with black stripes while making his usual dramatic entrance and comical performances. Also this version of Lucky Channel is longer than its usual one as it lasts a good 10 minutes. So you can expect the usual ranting from the duo and as usual I didn’t really pay attention to their bickering because whatever they’re talking, it sure seems funny. Uh huh, expect Akira to act all spoilt and childish like she usually would. Uh huh. She still thinks highly of herself that she’s some sort of super idol. But in the end, Minoru has his face sprayed with water for around 40 seconds! Yeah, he’s nearly all wet. What a way to make an exit to end it all…
 
Bye-bee
Ah well, and I suppose with this OVA there won’t be any more Lucky Star, huh? But good thing too that I manage to catch it because watching OVAs after some time finishing the TV series do bring back nostalgic memories of the show. Even for those who have never watched the Lucky Star TV series, I guess one can just hop in and watch this without being confused because like all the skits, they are mostly independent and random from each other. But of course, it’s best to still watch the TV series if you truly want to enjoy this one.
 
There are still some otaku references here and I managed to spot a few. Some pretty obvious (like Keroro Gunsou) and some not so (like the costume Konata finally changed Kagami into was Hatsune Miku, a famous subculture moe character, as I later found out). So did you spot any? But since this OVA is quite short, not every character from the TV series appeared here. For instance, Konata’s dad, Soujirou, and her zany cousin, Yui. It would’ve been even wilder if Yui has a part in this OVA. Sigh… But I guess most of the skits here concentrate on the main 4.
 
I also noticed that the drawing and animation is of a little higher quality in the sense that there is some shading here and there. But fans can still identify with the simple trademark drawing of this series. Even if Lucky Star is over, I’m sure there are many more otaku and cultural parody animes out there. You just need to keep your eyes peeled and notice the similarities of real life itself which has been embodied into anime and manga. And while I still continue to watch more anime, hopefully my ‘otaku knowledge’ in this area would also grow. Hey, that isn’t such a bad thing, right?
 
Lucky Star

Good news: Finished watching the third season of Zero No Tsukaima called Zero No Tsukaima: Princesses No Rondo. Bad news: It isn’t as good as or better than its prequels as I really hoped it to be. Sighs… Well I thought it would be a great end to the trilogy but sad to say it isn’t so. Perhaps one reason why it didn’t lived up to my expectations was that I read somewhere that ever since the 2nd season, the storyline ‘detracted’ itself from the novel, which the 1st season anime was based on. So for old time’s sake, that’s probably the reason why I continued watching this.
 
In this 12 episode anime, first thing I noticed is that the characters from the 1st season such as Kirche, Tabitha, Guiche and Montmorency have more appearance and role since I found them being sidelined in the 2nd season. Not only that, those new characters in the 2nd season like Cattleya, Eleanor and Giulio have been sidelined. Are they playing musical chairs or what?! Take for instance that Giulio guy. As far as I remember, he only appeared for a short appearance in 1 of the early episodes before vanishing to who knows where before a real short one in the final episode. Since the war against Albion has been won, are they implying that his presence is unnecessary? Plus, that busty maid Siesta although she is still an annoying gal, I find that she is less so in this season. Which is a good thing.
 
At first the word ‘rondo’ in the title may indicate something to do with the musical term which refers to a movement. But later I found out that the kanji writing is pronounced and read as ‘rinbu’ which means a round dance or dancing in circles. I’m still trying to figure out how the title is related to the storyline. Maybe the storyline is going around in circles and doesn’t really have any major development. Just kidding.
 
This season still maintains its usual comedy, romance and adventure. Especially the one between tsundere Louise and perverted Saito. Now these 2 are the main reason why the series has garnered so many fans. It’s so funny to see them bickering. Plus, you’ll notice how Louise gives Saito a kick in his crotch (ouch!) more often and she still has that small boobs inferior complex. Some things never change. But we like it lah…
 
So from the previous season, we know that Saito took on the entire Albion army by himself and nearly died. See, that is what you get for trying to be a hero. I’m not going to bore you with the details of the previous season and if you’re interested to know what happened then, read my blog on it! Anyway in episode 1 we see the happy reunion of Louise and her familiar Saito back at Tristain Academy. Yeah, the episode starts off with the duo doing something steamy. After 3 seasons, Saito is still going strong. Woot! However they got interrupted when Siesta busts in. It is that time that Louise notices the rune encryptions of Saito’s hands are missing. Gasp! Without it, Saito won’t have his super powers during battles. Soon everyone gets to know about it when Louise tells Kirche but the latter spews it out loud in her surprise. Agnes then tells Louise that she is to bring her and Saito to meet Henrietta.
 
During the journey, the usual squabbling and since Saito doesn’t have his runes, he is no longer Louise’s familiar and just an ordinary person (so she thinks). During a break in the woods, Louise wonders off herself in her usual anger towards Saito but meets a strange creature which suddenly threatens her. A mysterious voice introduces herself as Sheffield (that villainess from the previous season) and she wants to bring Louise back to her master, Joseph. Louise lets loose a random blast in hopes Saito will notice and come rescue her. Sheffield then says how she too is a Void user just like her and unleashes several demons to capture Louise. Saito arrives in time to save Louise but without his runes, he’s having a hard time fending them off, till Agnes appears that is. Sheffield decides to back off after receiving orders from Joseph to do so. Soon the trio continue their journey and arrives at Henrietta’s castle, which looks so empty. Henrietta has sold the furniture in order to help her people rebuild the country after the war with Albion has ended. Henrietta wants to bestow the title of Chevalier title on Saito which makes him a noble after his heroic deeds. But he turns her offer down citing his powerless state now. Derflinger then comes up with a theory on how the contract between Saito and Louise was nullified because during his battle with the Albion army, he temporarily died and his heart ceased. As we know he was revived by the magic of a very busty elf lady named Tiffania. With that, Henrietta decides to send the trio on a mission to find this lady.
 
That night, after Louise has a nightmare of Saito leaving her, she wakes up and finds Saito out on the rooftop. Louise breaks down and is so afraid that Saito would leave her, she tells him that she doesn’t care if he isn’t a Gandalfr anymore, just as long as he stays by her side. Saito promises to stay by her side by doubts if he could protect her without his usual powers. He then suggests redoing that summoning ritual again but Louise is reluctant because she is afraid of the different outcome that Saito won’t be her familiar anymore. Saito tries to comfort her and I don’t know what he’s thinking but he’s saying about continuing what they’re doing this morning (that steamy affair…). But Louise gets real embarrassed since Saito is rushing it as she unleashes her explosion blast on him. The next morning as they prepare to leave, Louise is still not over last night’s incident and decides to make him walk instead of letting him sit with her in the carriage. Not only that. Louise degrades Saito from a dog to a water flea. Ah well, back to normal.
 
In episode 2, Siesta decides to join the gang since getting to know Saito is no longer Louise’s familiar. Yeah, looks like she thinks she has the chance to make Saito hers now. Well I guess they could use a cook on their journey too. But you know Siesta is awfully clingy onto Saito. And her boobs pushing onto his arms… Can’t blame Louise if she takes out her frustration on him. That night when the gang stops for the night, Agnes decides to spar with Saito to see how much his skills have diminished but Saito still manages to get by. As they continue their search the next morning, Saito spots a familiar girl and recognizes her as Tiffania and rushes to her. When Tiffania sees Saito, in her delight she jumps on him. Now Tiffania’s boobs rely defy odds because they are so huge and bouncy… No wonder Saito could recognize her… Yeah, just like Saito says "It’s a bust revolution!". By the way, I’m glad that they decided to retain Mamiko Noto as the voice of Tiffania since she made a short cameo one back in the previous season. Anyway Louise and Siesta are quite pissed to see Tiffania due to her enormous boobs (uh huh. Even larger than Siesta’s) but Saito explains to them to clear up the misconception back in her cottage. Well looks like the girls have another ‘competition’ in their hands. But Louise continues to pick on Tiffania and since baka Saito stood up for her, Louise storms out. Siesta manages to catch up to her and the duo form and unlikely alliance against Tiffania. Hey, less competition the better, right?
 
However they are soon being surrounded by several wolves that are being controlled by Sheffield. She wants Louise to call out the other Void user but she doesn’t know what she is talking about. Louise tries to use her magic but it isn’t effective (Siesta has fainted by the way). In her desperate attempt, she decides to cast a familiar summoning spell attempt in hopes Saito will be summoned. The risk and uncertainty is there since nobody has ever done it before. With that, Saito then appears out from a green bubble (Louise must be so relieved) as surprised Sheffield decides to withdraw once again. Later they recontracted again by kissing and Saito has his runes return to his backhand. Hooray! Looks like Saito too is happy being Louise’s familiar, even if it means more torture and pain. But Siesta soon shoves Louise away and hugs Saito, thinking that he’s here to save her. Yeah, how Louise wish that stupid maid would continue sleeping. Is the alliance off? As Sheffield apologizes for her failure to Joseph, she confirms the return of Gandalfr but Joseph isn’t disappointed and tells her not to rush it. Back at Tiffania’s cottage, everyone is happy that Saito is alright and when Louise calls him a dog, Saito barks like one in his happiness.
 
Tiffania agrees to follow Saito and co back to Tristain in episode 3. She reveals how she has been living alone ever since her mom died. The gang arrives at Henrietta’s castle and everyone gets to know she’s a half-elf (her mom is an elf while her dad is a human from Albion) after she removes her hat and revealing her pointy ears. Henrietta assures her that she will not hate her. Is there some sort of discrimination and hatred towards elves? Tiffania also explains the ring on her finger which she used to save Saito. Also we find out that Derflinger was the one who transported Saito away from the Albion army and into the nearby forest. I didn’t know that talking sword could do that. Why didn’t he do it earlier? Henrietta thinks Tiffania could use her magic for greater good but Tiffania remembers some violent and tragic memories of her own (something about elves didn’t want to get in some conflict but were slain anyway) and declines and run away. That night, Saito is awakened by Tiffania’s strange but beautiful song. Hmm… Gandalfr, God’s left hand, the valiant shield of God. Windalfr, God’s right hand, God’s gentle flute. Interesting. Perhaps in later episodes it will shed some more light and info about this. Saito and Tiffania chat about the latter wanting to see the world, how she lost her mom to the military and her ability to use magic even if she doesn’t know whether it’s good or bad. Saito understand her since he too comes from another world and offers an ear to listen to any problems if she has any. Tiffania is grateful but Saito decides to go back after getting that feeling that Louise may unleash some painful punishment for straying.
 
The next day, Saito decides to accept the Chevalier title from Henrietta. With that, he gets a cool cape of his own. Furthermore, Siesta has got permission to be Saito’s personal maid. Oh great. Just what Louise needs. Tiffania decides to stay at Henrietta’s castle for the time being and I don’t know how, she and Henrietta are distant cousins. Must be some royalty connection thingy. Saito, Louise and Siesta take a ride back to Tristain Academy and to their surprise a large crowd gathers to welcome them. It seems that with Saito’s new title, he is made the vice-captain of the Order of Undine Knights in which is headed by Guiche. Other members in this order include the bespectacled Reinard, chubby Maricorn and Gimli (no, he isn’t a big sized bearded dwarf). Well I guess with his elevated status, Kirche and Montmorency has to look at him in a different light and respect. Get my drift? Add more to the harem! (Sadly it won’t happen…). Here’s another fine mess he’s gotten into.
 
Tiffania decides to come stay with Saito and Louise in episode 4. However with such big busts, Tiffania seems to be attracting the male students. In addition, she doesn’t want to let others know that she’s a half-elf. This is going to be tough with that kind of unwanted attraction, eh? To make things worse, a snobbish royalty brat Beatrice Yvonne Von Guldenhorf and her underlings doesn’t like her and constantly bullies Tiffania. As usual Saito stands up for Tiffania but Guiche pulls him away as he warns him about messing with Beatrice because she commands some army of hers called Dragon Knights. But does Saito give a damn about all that? Meanwhile Louise is having fantasies of spending time with Saito but since that guy is more interested in helping Tiffania and her problems, don’t you think this pisses off Louise? And since Tiffania doesn’t want to cause anymore trouble, she reveals her true identity in class. I don’t know if being an elf is a crime or not because everybody is reacting like as though it’s the end of the world. Even the teacher! Beatrice decides to hold an inquisition against Tiffania. I wonder if she has some grudge against elves too. Anyway part of this inquisition has Beatrice asking Tiffania to step into some boiling water to prove her faith. What old outdated method is this?! She can hold such an inquisition because she’s some powerful brat. If Tiffania won’t do it, she is to be exiled and returned home. Tiffania’s words on how pitiful Beatrice is and that she’s akin to a child upsets the latter further so she orders her knights to just throw her into the cauldron. Saito steps in and decides to take all this responsibility on Tiffania’s behalf in exchange for letting her free. Since she doesn’t agree, Saito decides to use force. Guiche and the rest of the Undine Knights have no choice but to get involve and back Saito up.
 
The fight between the Dragon Knights and Undine Knights is so noisy that it woke Louise up from her perverted dream (even Siesta is embarrassed on what kind of dream she’s having). Yeah, that tsundere girl is having the nicest dream of her lifetime on Saito when the noise ruins it all. She is so pissed! She storms out to stop everyone. Beatrice tries to use her authority but it seems Louise knows about the proper process about holding an inquisition and questions back Beatrice. In a way, you could say Beatrice didn’t follow proper procedures so that brat is back up against the wall. Even her underlings decide not to get involve further with her. Be afraid. Be very afraid of Louise. Tiffania comes up to Beatrice and wants to be her friend, not holding any grudge for what she has just did. Beatrice then breaks down in tears. Looks like she has reflected and repented on what she’s done. Later Saito is in the infirmary with Tiffania alone. Tiffania says her boobs are somewhat a problem and wants Saito to touch them to see if there’s anything wrong. Would a guy like this miss this opportunity? Okay so he’s trying to control himself and do some cost-benefit analysis but hey, he’s going to do it since he’s helping Tiffania, right? Just when he touches her boobs, Louise and Siesta comes in. Oh the shocking horror! So great timing. Yeah, even Siesta doesn’t mind Louise whipping Saito this time.
 
Because of that, in episode 5 Louise makes Saito sign a pledge like how he loves small boobs, among other things. How embarrassing. Saito tries to tell Louise that it was Tiffania who is the one who told him to touch her breasts but Louise isn’t convinced. So he walks out citing that it’s no use of him staying around if his master can’t trust her own familiar. Saito goes to join the rest of the Undine Knights who seems to have garnered a little popularity of their own after taking on the Dragon Knights. Everyone in the Undine Knights becomes a hit with the ladies except for Saito and since they noticed this, they decide to cheer him up. Their idea of that seems to be digging an underground path which leads to the girl’s bath. Yeah, now they’re peeping toms. Where’s the honour in that? Since there is only 1 small tiny hole, each of them has to fight to have a peep. Louise has a chat with Tiffania at the bath and even though she’s still disgusted with her oversized boobs, she finds out that Saito was telling the truth about touching Tiffania’s boobs and feels a little guilty. Hey, even Tiffania asks Louise if she wants to touch them! When the guys finally spot Louise and Tiffania, Saito tries to stop them but their ruckus causes the girls to notice a tiny hole in the wall. With their presence busted, all of them decide to escape back up but Saito gets knocked out in the process. Unfortunately each of them got what they deserved as the girls unleash their wrath of them.
 
Saito comes to and is about to get one too but a gust of wind brings him away into the main hall. It seems that this is the work of Tabitha but since she was in the bath too, yup you’ve guessed it, she’s totally naked! She proceeds to hide Saito when the girls come in to look for the final perpetrator but leaves after they are unable to locate him. But Tabitha is clinging on to Saito and just then they heard some ghost-like sounds. Tabitha faints from fear and Saito spots several little dolls dancing on their own in the hallway. He remembers how he danced with Louise before but is snapped out of his flashback when Louise appears to tell him about it. Saito tries to explain how he was dragged into this peeping tom mess and to his surprise, Louise believes him. She also apologizes for not trusting him on Tiffania’s case but mentions not to touch other girl’s boobs other than hers (hey girl, remember you don’t have any. Haha!). Saito hugs her from behind and they could’ve nearly kissed if not for Tabitha waking up and murmurs "Ghosts…" before collapsing shortly. Haha! Another misinterpretation. After making up and this… Louise thinks Saito has a fetish for little boobs now. Which is good news and bad news. She gets even pissed off to know Tabitha is naked. All that convincing down the drain. So the next day, Saito is semi-naked and is forced to sign a pledge that he will like no other girl’s breasts smaller than hers. Haha! This also includes not to touch other girl’s boobs. But Siesta suddenly puts Saito’s hand on her boobs and says how she still allows Saito to touch hers. Louise is super upset and you know the consequences if Saito breaks his pledge even if this one isn’t directly his doing, right? Here comes the pain.
 
Scarron and Jessica make their returning appearances in episode 6. This time they are trying to match-make Siesta with Saito by giving the former some love potion as they even sneak into the Tristain Academy grounds to help her. The person who takes this potion will fall in love with the 1st person he/she sees. Even if Siesta has her usual fantasies on Saito, she just can’t bring herself to use it because she feels it’s best not to rely on magic when it comes to feelings of the heart. I don’t remember how but Siesta manages to persuade Louise to ‘lend’ Saito to her for an hour. Probably Louise has had enough of letting go her frustrations over Saito. So Siesta tries to play newlyweds with Saito and even dresses in a naked apron but you know, Louise’s threatening look has Saito have second thoughts as he excuses himself to the toilet. Poor Siesta wonders if she should use the love potion and starts fantasizing.
 
When Saito returns, she is startled and accidentally drops it outside her window, which lands on Montmorency’s head. Oh oh. Guess who is the first person Montmorency sees? Why, it’s Louise! She’s deeply in love with her! Not only that, she kissed her! The potion then spreads to Louise as she too turns lovey-dovey. Soon the hilarious love scene spreads to Beatrice and even Jessica and Scarron themselves! Tabitha could’ve been a victim but she blows them away when they touched her boobs and flies off in her Sylphid. Holy sh*t! Lots of girl kissing girl scenes! Jessica gets one from Louise, Montmorency locked lips with Beatrice and Scarron has Saito in his grasps trying to smooch him but the latter kicks his crotch to escape! Hahaha! They’re like desperate little girls deprived of love. Hopefully this series doesn’t turn into a yuri show. With the affected girls now trying to go after Tiffania, she uses her elven magic to erase it all away. Siesta who probably after witnessing the horrifying effects of the potion, she doesn’t want to end up yuri like them, then apologizes for the trouble caused while Jessica and Scarron takes this opportunity to escape the school grounds. Later Tiffania tells Saito and Louise that the memory erasing magic is the only spell which she can cast. Finally Tabitha rides out on her Sylphid at night after receiving a letter from Sheffield to complete a mission in exchange for her mentally instable mom’s recovery.
 
The fight over Saito continues between Louise and Siesta in episode 7. Siesta throws down a challenge to Louise that if Saito can find Louise during tonight’s Sleipnir Ball, Siesta will give up on Saito. So what is this Sleipnir Ball anyway? As far as I’m concerned, it’s some sort of masquerade party whereby students of Tristain Academy uses some magic mirror to portray themselves as the most beautiful and ideal person they think. Not only that, Henrietta will also be at the ball too. So Louise tells Saito to find her during the ball and as a reward, he can continue that steamy affair with her. Some motivation. Later Saito overhears several students about a recent mysterious sighting of a large object. Saito thinks it is Sheffield’s plot to kidnap Louise so he tries to find her but ends up meeting Siesta who teasingly lifts up her skirt to reveal her thigh. Yeah, Saito gets another kick in the crotch from his master. Always such good timing, huh? That night during the ball, Louise masquerades herself as Cattleya. Other hilarious masquerades include Guiche who disguises as himself because he thinks he’s the most beautiful person in the world. Beatrice and her underlings masquerade as Tiffania so there are several big boobs elves now. Then some hot sexy looking lady which turns out to be headmaster Osmond! Too bad Guiche was trying to hit on him. Meanwhile Saito tries to warn Louise about Sheffield’s plan but can’t seem to find her as Louise nervously waits and hopes Saito will find her real quick. However Saito finds Louise outside the balcony and acting different than usual. Soon they both kiss. Sheffield then interrupts the party by breaking the magic mirror which causes all the students to return to their normal selves. Saito then discovers that the one he kissed was Henrietta! They could have had round 2 but to make things worse (as predicted), Louise caught them both in the act! Now she can’t raise her fist against her majesty but I can’t help pity her since she gets to know that even her close childhood friend is on to Saito, though it’s a misunderstanding. Is Saito really that hot? Jokes aside, Louise runs away in tears. Henrietta meanwhile must be feeling guilty for betraying Louise like that.
 
Saito chases after Louise who has run out from the school grounds. However Saito is being confronted by Tabitha who attacks him. Saito is confused why Tabitha is doing so. While he evades Tabitha’s ice attack, it seems Sheffield has got Louise in her grasps (kidnapped once more?) and hypnotised. Saito’s determination manages to overpower Tabitha but he still doesn’t kill her because he views her as his friend. Because of that, Tabitha is unable to complete her mission and decides not to follow Sheffield’s orders anymore as she flees. Saito’s voice manages to snap Louise out of her hypnotism spell as he tells her to come back. However, Louise is still upset with him and like a little girl, refuses to go back with him, even surprising Sheffield herself. Louise and Sheffield struggle so much so Louise falls off her craft but luckily into the arms of Saito. She still continues to throw her tantrum but Saito kisses her to calm her down. Seriously, is that all it takes? Louise even gets her trust in Saito back after he says how she’s the most important person in the world. Ah, those magical words girls want to hear. Sheffield then summons an army of demons to take Louise back by force but a mysterious force vanquishes them all. A very large plane-like craft hovers over Tristain Academy and Sheffield once again retreats. Then to Saito and Louise’s surprise, they spot Colbert and Kirche onboard! OMG! That guy is still alive! I thought he had died in the previous season. It goes to show that you just can’t kill some characters in some animes.
 
I’m just as surprised as the rest of the gang who finds Colbert alive. So in episode 8, onboard the giant ship in which he has named Ostland, Colbert reveals back in the previous season’s fight with Benibiru, he didn’t really die. Tabitha cast a spell which made his heart stopped temporarily, making looked like he died. Kirche then took him back to her home in Germania and nursed him back to health but never got the chance to told the gang about this. While recuperating, Colbert was able to spend his time researching and building Ostland, courtesy of Kirche’s rich family funding. By the way, why is Kirche so lovey-dovey with Colbert?! Perhaps she has given some thought that she will never be able to win Saito over and that it’s better to go for intellect older men? I’m wondering why the heck do they need to fake his death for anyway. While Saito is glad of Colbert’s return, Louise is still disturbed about Saito’s relationship with Henrietta. Siesta and Tiffania learns about it so the latter gives Louise a magic crystal which allows one to see what happened last night. Good for only one use, especially popular with wives who want to know if their husband is straying… I guess Louise is desperate to know… She tries to aim the crystal at Saito but Derflinger realizes what’s happening and tells his partner to run. The 3 ladies chase him down all over Ostland.
 
Saito then runs into the cockpit only to find Kirche on top of Colbert! Saito’s surprise costs him several seconds as the girls managed to pin him down and Louise points the crystal at his forehead. However, Louise is stumped to see Saito fighting with Tabitha instead. Kirche then explains about Tabitha’s case (if you can, recall that Tabitha focused episode back in the first season). In short, Gallia is now currently ruled by a cold-blooded tyrant Joseph who is Tabitha’s late father’s younger brother. Tabitha’s mom took her place by consuming a drug which made her mentally insane. Since then Tabitha has been bestowed the Chevalier title and forced to go on many life threatening dangerous missions. Thus Kirche suspects last night’s short duel was an order from Joseph. But since Tabitha has failed to accomplish it, she doesn’t know what will happen to her.
 
Meanwhile Tabitha has gone back to her hometown to see her bed-ridden mom but finds her missing except for a mysterious elf named Vidalshal waiting for her. He admits that the Gallia army took her but not sure of its destination. Tabitha attacks Vidalshal with her magic but finds his magic more powerful and overwhelming. He is here to take Tabitha back to Joseph. She tries to resist once more but he is just too much for her to handle. Even Sylphid is no match for him. Back at Tristain Academy, Saito and Louise go see Henrietta and requests for her to go on a rescue mission to save Tabitha. However Henrietta forbids them to do something that dangerous and wants them to leave this matter to her as she needs to gather evidence. She wants Saito to promise her not to do something rash. Louise sense something when Henrietta puts her hands over Saito’s while saying that but regains her composure after realizing what she has done. As Henrietta leaves the school grounds, Louise says how she believes in Saito after Siesta and Tiffania said how they won’t really get to find out what Saito really did last night.
 
In episode 9, everyone searches the school grounds for any clues relating to Tabitha (not sure why Maricorn smothers Saito in his manly breasts… disgustingly hilarious). Suddenly a cute girl named Irukuku drops down from the sky onto Maricorn. And she’s naked! Now if you’re thinking you’re watching the wrong anime series then don’t switch to another channel just yet. Because Irukuku looks very similar to Lucky Star’s Konata Izumi! Only bustier. Anyway she hugs Saito (much to Louise’s dismay) and tells him to save her sister Tabitha. I didn’t know she had a little sister. Even the gang has doubts because you know, she’s taller than her older sis and is bustier unlike flat chest Tabitha… Irukuku explains how her sister was stripped off her Chevalier title and has been captured along with their mother. Saito and the rest decides to go rescue her but Guiche says they need to seek permission from Henrietta first as the Undine Knights are under direct orders of the queen, they can’t simply just act and must have her orders to do so. Thus Saito, Guiche and Maricorn decide to go persuade her.
 
Meanwhile Vidalshal is seen talking to Joseph. It seems the reason he is in cohorts with Joseph is that he wants Joseph to use his powers to prevent people from going through some evil gate which has been active lately to prevent the awaken of some powerful devil which may threaten his people. That evil power is what everyone else knows as the Void magic. Even if Joseph agrees, Vidalshal’s requirements are still too much and wants Vidalshal to serve under him. He has no choice but to agree. As Joseph says how his precious niece Charlotte (Tabitha’s real name) will share the same fate as her mom soon, Vidalshal goes to see Tabitha sitting next to her mom’s bed in a room. He tells her how he’s doing some drug that will make her go insane as well and even though she has not much time left, he gives her a storybook to read and pass the time. Back at Henrietta’s castle, she turns down the trio’s idea to rescue Tabitha as she doesn’t want to have a war with Gallia (the Albion one was too much already). Saito in protest, gives back his cape and Chevalier title and the other 2 follow suit. Since it turned out like that, Henrietta has no choice but to arrest them and have them thrown into the dungeons. Luckily they have Plan B, which is Louise. She then comes to Henrietta’s room and tries to persuade her. Some chat about how Louise is asking her about her majesty feelings on Saito as a friend and woman instead of a position as queen. Seeing how Louise cares about Saito and his importance to her, Henrietta thinks how she never had someone like that. But since Louise isn’t going to give up on her Gallia rescue plan, Henrietta throws her into the dungeons with her buddies after Louise returns her cape and declares she is no longer a noble (meaning, she’s a commoner now). Too bad they don’t have Plan C. Now how are they going to get out. Digging with their spoons will take forever! Sylphid is seen outside the prison window as it flies away.
 
Irukuku later tells the rest what has happened so they decide to bust them out. While the guards are being distracted with the hovering of Ostland, Colbert and Kirche break out Saito and the rest. Isn’t this illegal? Now they’re all like accomplices and committing treason against the queen. When everyone gathers later, Derflinger tells Irukuku to reveal her true identity or else he will. We find out that Irukuku is Sylphid and that she is some sort of legendary rhyme dragon with high intelligence among others. Wait a minute. Is Tabitha related to a dragon too? Or was Irukuku just making that up? Don’t know, since she still refers to Tabitha as her onee-sama.
 
The gang takes refuge at Scarron and Jessica’s bar in episode 10 with Henrietta’s army on patrol around the kingdom. There, they discuss their plan to rescue Tabitha. Colbert will use his Ostland as a distraction to head to Gallia via Germania so that Saito and the rest can directly head to Gallia through the south (both Tristain and Gallia are neighbouring countries). Scarron and Jessica give the group some travelling (and quite revealing) outfits so they would look like travelling entertainers and raise less suspicion. The reason why Colbert is helping them is because he feels indebted to Tabitha for saving her life. Reinard, Gimli and Siesta decides to go along with Colbert while the rest follow Saito. Meanwhile Sheffield and Joseph are in some hidden lair filled with hot molten lava. Something about Joseph nearly completing a giant creature named Jormungant. That night, Colbert finds Ostland heavily guarded. Lucky thing Siesta tagged along so he requests her to do a little flirting. I can’t believe those guards were so amazed in seeing her lift her skirt and suspicion of a maid approaching them at night didn’t come to mind. Some guards. Because of that, the rest knocked them out and manages to get onboard and start Ostland. Reinforcements came but it was too late because Ostland is already flying. Agnes leads her troops to follow Ostland and it seems their plan is working well. However Ostland is taking lots of damage from the Dragon Knights so Colbert decides to surrender before anything serious happens. It doesn’t matter if they get to Germania or not because their main role is to provide enough distraction so that Saito and co can cross into Gallia’s borders. When Agnes spots Colbert, she immediately turned furious and nearly killed him. You could say she has been fooled thrice. But she decides not to kill him and bring him to Henrietta as proof. On the other hand, Saito and co are passing through the south border and nearly got caught at the checkpoint. Phew. After lots of trudging through the forest and Louise’s personal thoughts on Saito’s courage and how he’s always been lonely, they finally reached the main city of Gallia.
 
Thanks to Kirche’s flirtatious ways, they managed to get info that Tabitha is held in Al-Hambra from a drunken solider in episode 11. However that place is heavily guarded. Thus they plan to make all the guards drunk in order to save her. How? The guys will serve them drinks laced with drugs while being distracted by the girls dancing on stage. That’s right. You’ll get to see the girls in very skimpy outfits. Also, Kirche seems to now have respect for Louise and her Void powers. Later when Louise is in her room trying out a skimpy outfit, Saito walks in. Though embarrassed but Louise somehow likes it when Saito stares at her so it’s no surprise that Saito can’t control himself and forces her onto the bed. Could’ve had another steamy moment but Guiche walked in. Once again, intimacy, interrupted. To hide it all, poor Saito gets another kick in the crotch. He must be impotent by now. Back at Tristain, Agnes frees Colbert and those on Ostland because she feels she has the opportunity to stop the hate chain. I mean even if she still hates him for burning down her village, he was also her saviour. If Agnes kills him, then his students will hate her and would do the same to her. Thus the cycle never ends. Plus, she tells him how Henrietta is to give them all a pardon. Tabitha is seen reading the storybook to her mother but this time she breaks down after thinking nobody would come rescue her as this is the price to pay for betraying her friends.
 
Back in Al-Hambra, the Baron gives Kirche’s travelling entertainers to perform but with 1 condition. All the soldiers are definitely going gaga over the busty babes. But the most hilarious one is Louise, who is trying hard to gyrate her hips and non-existent boobs! She’s like struggling so much so the soldiers are laughing! Then it’s time for Kirche to honour her part of the deal. She sends Louise to Baron’s room and we find out that perverted guy has a fetish for small boobs! Can’t believe that there are such people in this world! Louise’s role here is to put the sleeping drug into Baron’s drink but realizes she doesn’t have it anymore (she must’ve dropped it when she put it in her bra. Uh huh. Was she thinking her boobs was able to hold it in?). Saito spots the sleeping drug on the ground and when Tiffania tells him what she had saw, he busts into Baron’s room. Baron threatens Louise life when he realizes they are no ordinary performers but Tiffania uses her magic to erase his memories. Their plan has worked as every guard is snoozing under the drug. As they go rescue Tabitha, Saito is met with Vidalshal, who then engages in battle. Irukuku recognizes this man who is the one who kidnapped Tabitha. Though Vidalshal may prove a little too much for Saito, with the help of Louise’s Dispel chant on Derflinger (surprisingly it didn’t go awry), Saito manages to break through Vidalshal’s magic barrier and much to the latter’s surprise. Tiffania urges Saito not to kill him because she knows the elf race isn’t the kind to go to war for any reason and thinks there must be an explanation for him doing so. Vidalshal tells them where Tabitha is but warns them of Joseph’s cruelty and that it won’t be over yet. Soon the gang goes to rescue Tabitha and upon meeting her, Tabitha breaks down in tears. She’d never expected them to come. Meanwhile Sheffield reports to Joseph of this development but he doesn’t mind because he’s about to unleash his new toy.
 
Louise wakes up from a dream in episode 12. She dreamt how close Saito and Tabitha was and was going to blast him but is startled to know she has lost her magic powers. While the gang are taking a break in the forest, Louise comes up to Saito to tell him that she can’t use her magic. It can’t be a nightmare come true, can’t it? I mean, not only she can’t use magic but Tabitha seems awfully close to Saito, reading him that storybook. Why is Tabitha blushing?! Does she have feelings for him now? Way to go Saito! Now that’s another girl to add to your list. Anyway once Louise mentioned being magic-less, Tabitha quickly stood up and says how she’ll be the one who will protect Saito because he has saved her. Uh oh. Meanwhile Joseph is ready to unleash Jormungant while Osmond searches the rescue party in his Ostland. We see that the previous night, Giulio gave him some Great Spear in case Osmond ever encountered obstacles in Gallia (Giulio did some investigations on Gallia and concluded something fishy is going on there). Saito and co continue their journey back to Tristain and since Louise is panicky about her loss of powers, she begins to wonder if she’s with Saito was because he’s a Gandalfr. When they reached the border, a large armour knight comes dropping from the sky, blocking their path. It’s Jormungant with Sheffield on its shoulders and their target is Louise. The gang engages in battle but finds that Jormungant is too strong for them. Jormungant than has Louise in its grasps. Louise is thinking of sacrificing herself but you know Saito don’t believe in that kind of crap and his short outburst manages to give Jormungant some pain and release Louise. They could’ve fallen to their deaths if not for Tabitha and Sylphid. Saito hugs Louise from her back as she feels a little better.
 
Ostland arrives and the rest regroup on the ground. We find out that the Great Spear is some military cannon. Having the power of Gandalfr, Saito immediately knows what to do with it and orders the guys to set it up. Upon firing a shell, they find out that their shot was unsuccessful because there is some barrier on it so Derflinger suggests the Dispel move. However Louise still has no confidence, ranting like a little kid. Tabitha then takes the chance to kiss Saito and become his knight! Woah! Memories of moments spent together with Saito flow through Louise’s mind and when she desperately doesn’t want him to leave her, the magic starts flowing back through her body. Probably this was just a ploy by Tabitha to let Louise get her powers back. Louise uses the Dispel attack as Saito fires another shell to send Jormungant exploding into smithereens. Joseph watches from afar and he isn’t angry nor disappointed at all. Rather in awe of the amazing powers of the Void user. What is this guy up to anyway? Louise and Saito are resting in a room and they reconcile. Yup, they kissed each other twice before they go back to their usual bickering ways. Oh yes, looks like Louise upgrades Saito back to a dog. Back at Henrietta’s castle, Louise is ready to receive her punishment but Henrietta gives her a royal mantle. Which means, Louise has become Henrietta’s sister and the next in-line for the throne. She’s a royalty now. Henrietta gives back Saito’s Chevalier cape and welcomes Princess Charlotte to Tristain. Everybody rejoices. But if Louise thinks everything is going to end well, she had better think again because to her surprise, finds Tabitha snuggling real close to Saito’s arms. Punishment time! But she can’t blast him because Tabitha swiftly takes Saito away on her Sylphid. Now Louise has got another set of problem on her hands. Yeah, she has to chase him with Tabitha in the picture now.
 
Well, the ending wasn’t really a satisfying one but at least for this season it ended on a good note. Maybe mediocre is the correct word. A possible sign that there is going to be a 4th season? There better be one because I still feel this whole series is left hanging. For instance, let’s take a look at the characters. Joseph, the main villain still remains undefeated and none of our heroes have actually met him face to face. What ever happened to the group of villains Reconquista which was the main villain back in season 1? Perhaps no more Albion, no more Reconquista? What about Louise? In the last episode, she’s kinda like an emotional wreck, an insecure little girl, fearing that she could lose Saito forever. But thankfully Saito still likes her and doesn’t really give a damn about those master-familiar crap. So okay, maybe he needs a little control over his straying ways…
 
As for the new characters, they don’t really play much of an impact. As for Tiffania’s case, she was just brought in because she saved Saito’s life. Nothing else. Then her role throughout the series is being reduced to a side character. Same with that Beatrice brat. Probably she just had 1 episode which features her prominently (no, that yuri one doesn’t count). Hey, now that she is infatuated with Tiffania, is she really a yuri girl? Then Irukuku’s presence came too late although she has been Sylphid all along. It’s like the producers had to turn her from a dragon to a human so that we viewers could understand what’s going on instead of cracking our heads trying to figure out what the dragon is saying. Even so, her role was pretty redundant after Tabitha has been rescued. And that Vidalshal guy? He’s like here today gone the next. What happened to him? Gone home? Will he be back if there’s a next season?
 
So because of the way things ended, many characters didn’t play much of a significant role in the end and thus the ending felt like a little rush job. For this particular season, I guess the main focus here is on Tabitha with half the storyline on it. Well, that’s just the later part. The earlier half feels more like filler episodes. Ah well. Can’t complain since those comical episodes did made me laugh. Especially the yuri one. Hey, now I just remembered. What happened to that ring Sheffield stole from some water guardian back in season 2? I thought Saito was going to return it? So many questions, so little answers… But even so, fans of the series can still find some familiar stuff retained such as the fanservice pose during mid-intermission. Yeow! Louise hot…
 
Speaking of fanservice, there is an OVA filler episode for this season. The usual gang heads to the beach and since this world’s swimsuits are like fully clothed sleeping pyjamas, pervert Saito and Osmond conjure a plan to make the ladies wear sexy one piece swimsuits as giving their prayers to the Water Spirit. Even Henrietta dons them as the guys plot nose bleeding ecchi activities for them. Then they make the girls wear even more revealing swimsuits and play games like the mandatory blindfold watermelon hitting game, they finally decide to have selected girls an ultra sexy piece through a beach volleyball game whereby the winner gets to wear them. Since they want to see Tiffa badly in them, they rigged the match letting Tiffa-Siesta win against Henrietta-Agnes. But I don’t know why they didn’t do the same for Kirche-Tabitha team and let Louise-Montmorency win since they want to see the former’s boobs too. That night, Louise stumbles upon the guy’s scheme and is going to make them pay. Next day, the guys are waiting for the girls when only Montmorency showed up informing them how the rest got injuries and wants Saito to meet Louise at a rocky place. He goes only to be surrounded and tied up. This is a set up by the girls to slowly lure the other guys 1 by 1 and tie them up to a rock and beating them up as punishment. The girls then go off to have their own fun. And the tide’s rising too. Suddenly a giant octopus emerges and attacks the girls. Fanservice time. Tentacles wrapping around them, rubbing here and there. Ah, all too familiar. Saito manages to free himself as he quickly cuts the monster’s tentacles to free the girls and save the day. Later as Saito grills those leftover tentacles, the girls secretly try out those ultra sexy swimsuit just to have a feel when Saito comes by to serve them takoyaki. He spots them all (including those loser guys still tied to the rock, trying real hard to take a peek) and to make things worse, Louise’s top came off. Another painful memory, eh? Worth it?
 
Just like in previous seasons, ICHIKO once again sings the opening song. Another powerful lively pop beat called You’re The One. Hmm… Is there a pattern here? All her songs have that lively energy feel to it and are in English words. I find the end of the opening credits animation a little funny at first. That’s because we see Saito being flanked by Siesta and Tiffania before Louise gives him a drop missile kick right from the sky onto his head. He’s going to have one big headache. Rie Kugimiya also sings the ending entitled Gomen Ne. As usual, this slower piece is about Louise singing her complains about Saito and her uncertain feelings for him. Yeah, I think there’s definitely a pattern here. Part of the ending credits animation sees chibi Saito running away (probably from Louise’s punishment) and sleeping on Tiffania’s waterbed-like boobs, among others. Uh huh. You sometimes wonder if she has shoulder aches for shouldering such heavy assets. One thing which boggles me in the ending credits is the white rabbit. At the end of the credits, you’ll see the rabbit unmask itself to randomly reveal the face of a female character in the series. What does it mean?
 
I’m not a real hardcore fan of the series but I won’t say if there is a sequel, I’ll definitely watch it. Hopefully it will answer many burning questions that has filled my head to the brim so much so I already forgot what it was. Plus, I’d really love to see how Saito handles his newfound harem now that he has 4 girls to deal with! Tabitha is the girl I least expected to have feelings for Saito while Tiffania doesn’t really show those lovey-dovey affections but I have a feeling she still loves him. The main heat is annoying Siesta and fickle Louise. Now if only Kirche didn’t gave up, it would’ve been a quintet… Oh wait a minute. I forgot to include her highness Henrietta. There’s a high probability, you know… So hurry up and make a 4th season already!
 
Zero No Tsukaima

Saishuu Shiken Kujira

May 15, 2009

I’m still in the midst of trying to understand what is going in even after finishing watching the anime series Saishuu Shiken Kujira. Though this anime came out somewhere in the 3rd quarter of year 2007, my gut feeling told me to watch it in order to satisfy my curiosity on what it is about. Curiosity satisfied, check. Understanding what the whole series is about, still in progress.
 
This series is one of the few animes which is been classified as an ONA (Original Net Animation), which means it is being released on the internet rather than through the conventional TV station or DVD discs. Perhaps it is more practical to do so because each of the episodes in this series lasts only around 5 minutes on average! Yeah, a real short series and you can just watch the entire 12 episode series in one sitting which will cost you about an hour or so.
 
The one thing which attracted me to watch this series was the little mystery element it has. That’s right. In this city, there seems to be a mysterious whale floating eternally in the sky. Day and night. Rain and shine. You could say I was intrigued with the series synopsis taken from Anime News Network which goes something like this: "Like snow falling in summer, like a cicada lamenting the coming of winter. In a town watched over by a whale in the sky the extraordinary is made ordinary. Spectacles that could never be given form are instead given flesh and soul. And in their midst, the story of a miracle that comes to pass in this town of miracles incarnate. Welcome to the world of Final Examination Kujira". Sounds enigmatic and a little chanting, doesn’t it?
 
So of course anybody new in town would be bloody surprise to find a floating whale right up in the sky. Just like newcomer Mutsumi Kuonji. He can’t help staring at it in surprise. Then comes along a bespectacled girl, Kurumi Haibara, who taunts Mutsumi for being surprised at it because it’s like as though he’s never been out of his home or someone from the countryside. Kurumi continues to analyze Mutsumi to see whether he’s from the countryside or not and soon asks his school grade. I guess Mutsumi gets a little annoyed if some stranger comes up to him and asks him questions like that. We find out Mutsumi has just arrived yesterday and is going to be a transfer student at Haruna Academy. Yup, you’ve guessed it. Kurumi’s a student there too as she lively introduces herself to Mutsumi. Yoroshiku! That’s it. End of episode 1.
 
Are you still following the series? On to episode 2 as we see Mutsumi getting up from bed. He hears his little sister, Haruka Yumesaki knocking on his door and goes to open it. However she’s sort of sleepwalking so when Mutsumi opens the door, she falls onto him. By that time, Haruka has fully awakened and even though they’re both embarrassed about it, I’m not sure what’s going on in Mutsumi’s mind. Is he thinking about incest? I mean even if Haruka is his little sister, they don’t share the same surname. Get what I mean? Anyway he thinks how nice a girl shampoo smells like (huh?), and how light and fragile she is. Luckily he snaps out of it as they both regain their composure. We learn that Haruka has low blood pressure and is not a morning person and it’s her habit to wake him up ever since they’re young. Suddenly Haruka feels some sensation and she can’t hold it much longer. She pops out a little panda plushie with her palms. As Mutsumi mentions, she has a weird ability to pop out animal plushies on occasions. So have you understood what’s going on? It just gets weirder and weirder.
 
In episode 3, Mutsumi is taking a walk when he heard a little cry for help from a little girl but can’t determine where she is. Yeah, he even thinks he is hallucinating or that desperate for girls! Then he gets hit on the head by a boot and concludes that in such animes, a girl would usually come falling from the sky. Haha. As he looks up, he gets the shock of his life because the first thing he saw is her striped panties. So okay, that girl, Niina Mikage, Mutsumi’s petite senpai, somehow got stuck on a phone pole and can’t get down. You see Niina’s a little airhead because she’s worried that since she has lose 1 of her rain boots, she’s afraid that she’ll be blown away to another strange faraway country whereby she’ll be called an angel and soon be taken as a wife by an old greasy man. When Niina finally realizes that someone is down there, she thinks he is a pervert and continues to cry for help. Mutsumi tells her not to call him that. But Niina continues to say "The pervert scold me not to call him a pervert". Haha! You just got to love this girl. She continues her ranting till she recognizes his voice. Mutsumi is going to help her down but Niina requests that he don’t look while doing so. Since Mutsumi says that it is impossible, Niina continues with her frustrating cry. Want to help or not?
 
During recess in episode 4, Mutsumi is trying to find his classmate Sae Nagumo because everyone is worried where she has disappeared to but he hears ambiguous sounds coming from the back of the school building. "No need to rush…", "Get closer…", "Don’t come in here…", "Don’t lick there!". Enough to make any guy’s mind wander. To Mutsumi’s relief, Sae is just playing with a litter of kittens. Phew. Soon Sae knows of Mutsumi’s presence. We learn Sae was feeding a hungry kitten with milk and before she knows it, several of them show up. We can also see the difference in treatment the cats give to Mutsumi. Uh huh. They’re being nice to Sae but bare their fangs when Mutsumi comes close. Perhaps he’s still a stranger in their eyes. As the duo soon gets up and leave for class (haha, the cats ignored Mutsumi when he said goodbye but gave a cheerful reaction when Sae does the same), Sae wants Mutsumi to promise her to keep this place a secret, in which he agrees.
 
Episode 5 is a beach episode as the gang goes there under Kurumi’s suggestion. It’s kinda disturbing to see Mutsumi’s male pal, Seiichiro, wanting to put sun lotion on his back so as to make some memories together. Is he gay?! Even Kurumi couldn’t believe it and misinterpreted that the guys are into that! But I guess Kurumi doesn’t mind having yaoi because she thinks a good looking young man and girly looking guy isn’t bad either and should be good material for doujin. Yeah, she’s writing it down too! After Niina and Haruka show the guys their swimsuit, the gang is interrupted when a helicopter approaches. Somebody is bungee jumping down and crashing onto the sands below! Well I suppose they decide to cram in and introduce the rest of the remaining girls in this episode rather than dedicate one girl per episode. So this time we have the rich twin busty sisters, Mika and Yuka Motegi and their old butler Fujiwara (you can ignore this guy if you want to). Oh yes, if you happen to notice some weird girl dancing weirdly in the background, she is Yun Sakura, also their classmate. Anyway after dropping the twins, Fujiwara bungee jumps back up to the helicopter. Mika and Yuka continue to argue about kakigori (shaved ice) so they just ordered Fujiwara to bring them their favourite kakigori flavours. Yeah, this time the whole kakigori shop bungee down from the helicopter to the ground, causing everyone to get knocked off their feet again! Is this what rich people do?! I suppose they can turn this whole sandy beach into a resort in a second if they want to either.
 
The beach episode continues in episode 6 and as everyone has their share of kakigori, we learn that Yuka and Mika already has several helpings of them. Is it good for their health? How can they keep such a beautiful shape if this is their favourite dish? But that entire ruckus made another bustier, prettier and sexier lady come out of the shop. She is Kaguya Kagura and since the guys can’t help stare at her, she wonders if they lost their words because of her beauty. But Yun is another weird girl. She starts pointing at several body parts of Kaguya and is thinking of it as meat! Yeah, she’s thinking of food! Kaguya is obviously disturbed and tells her that she is no food ingredient. Cheeky Yun tells her to stick her tongue out in which suddenly everyone starts feeling hungry. I guess Kaguya starts to go psycho because Yun then says how she looks so nice and juicy. Soon everyone has grilled BBQ and the twins orders Fujiwara for more meat. Yeah, he’s thinking of killing 2 or 3 more cows. Haruka starts to panic when she pops out a beef meat plushie from her palms. They can’t eat that, right? Mutsumi asks Kaguya to come join them but she is seen sitting alone at a distance from the rest. Kaguya claims that 1 of them is trying to eat her when we see that evil sparkle in Yun’s eyes. Kaguya moves a little further away. Then when Niina starts talking about cooking methods too, Kaguya goes even further, not within visual range anymore. Probably at the beach’s end. Yeah, better get away from those cannibals!
 
Back to class in episode 7. Mutsumi spots Sae sketching a cute whale in her book. It’s no surprise she gets embarrassed and tries to hide it. In order not to make her feel so, Mutsumi then tries to draw a whale and shows it to her. Erm, looks lamer, doesn’t it? A whale spouting water from its top? Then it’s Kurumi’s turn to draw but can you call that a whale? It’s horrible by the way because it has thick lips and uneven sets of teeth?! Not to mention a nose?! It’s a blasphemy against whales! Seiichiro decides to draw next. I think it’s so horrible that even the producers censored it out! Finally it’s Yun’s turn and the gang knows she can’t draw well but to their surprise, she drew a real life-like whale! Obviously Yun wins hands down. Just like Yun’s cry of victory: "Judgement!".
 
It’s back to the beach in episode 8. I’m not sure if the guys have swimsuit-apron fetish because they seem to not take their eyes of Niina, who is cooking in that outfit. Unfortunately, Niina can’t cook well and her ingredients are out of this world (in a terrible sense). Yeah, very dangerous indeed. Then some prince-like alien (let’s call him Alien) appears and is enthralled by Niina’s cooking. Uh huh. Somehow Niina managed to turn all that horrible ingredients into some good tasty looking pudding. How’d she do that?! It’s a miracle! Alien wants Niina to come live with him in his palace but she declines because she doesn’t want to wear such funny clothes he is wearing. Alien then says how this clothes of his is multi-purpose and all that technical stuff. Niina then says how the clothes appearance is most important when Yun comes by say how she’d wear rags rather than those. Alien is obviously upset with her statement and tells her how this clothes cost enough to buy a dozen crappy planets like this one. Niina and Yun continue to lecture alien about the importance is not in its price but the hands that made them with love. Alien can’t stand this talk anymore and decides to finish Niina’s dish before it gets cold. Then Kurumi dares him to do so. Everyone watches in great anticipation as Alien takes a bite. His face soon turns into the most hideous thing ever! Enough to scare ghosts away! Alien collapses and Kurumi says how they have captured him and tells the gang to bury him under the sand with only his head sticking out. Are they wondering how much his clothes will sell? I don’t know how but Seiichiro too got buried next to Alien. After the gang takes a photo shot (Kaguya still suspicious and afraid of Yun), Niina seeing that her dish would go to waste, decides to feed it to poor Seiichiro. Oh oh. It’s that sneaky grin. WARGH! Be careful of this girl. She may seem like an airhead but she has a darker personality…
 
In episode 9, Niina is telling Mutsumi how she can fly endlessly with these clothes she is wearing and with that is able to fulfil her dream. She also feels like she is flying with him. Mutsumi then tells her how nobody has ever fly up to that whale in the sky and advices her not to go too far. After a few more words of encouragement, Niina powers up and feels some kind of power flowing through her body. She then sprout some wings and soars into the night sky. But not too long, Niina swoops back down and hugs him saying "It wasn’t very long. But I’m back". Urm… So what is the point of this episode anyway?
 
Suddenly the whole scenario turns serious and shocking in episode 10. What happened?! A man in a suit named Colonel threatens Mutsumi and Kurumi to save the world from collapsing as he points his gun at them. I’m not sure where they are but they seem to be on some pinkish-purple platform high up in the sky and the ground is slowly crumbling below. Colonel then points his gun at Kurumi and fires but the hooded girl jumps over and uses her body to protect Kurumi. It is revealed that the hooded girl is Yun. What’s going on?! Colonel is disappointed in her as Yun says it’s over while apologizing to Kurumi for deceiving her. Yun then says how she’s her first friend and that this world is going to collapse just as the whale girl mentioned. She also doesn’t know if the world will regenerate after that but she believes that the world will be rewoven back again. As Yun limps back to Colonel, she tells Mutsumi and Kurumi to be her friends again and hopes they’ll be happy in the new world. Yun then rushes towards Colonel and pushes him down the cliff along with herself! Oh dear! Kurumi wants to go save her but is restrained by Mutsumi. We see the world below engulfed in flames and it is bloody chaotic. Wow. What a sudden turn of unexpected events.
 
Episode 11 continues from the previous and this episode is by far the shortest one, lasting under 3 minutes. Mutsumi is discussing with Kurumi how ‘that guy’ is planning to use the whale girl’s power for something and that she let herself get captured for their sake to save them. Thus they decide to go rescue her and Mutsumi is thinking of borrowing a helicopter from the twins. But that cute little white whale soon transforms into some mecha and then a sophisticated aerial vehicle. Looks like it wants them to ride on it. Can everything be resolved in the next and final episode?
 
I don’t really know what happened between the previous episode and this episode 12 because Mutsumi is now face to face with the whale girl, which is Sae. The environment seems calming as they stood on the green grassy plains. So where the heck is the destruction? As Mustumi hands over a little white whale keychain from his palm, Sae feels happy and is glad that she has met him as she says "When the 3 keys come together, the door of truth opens. My wish came true because you came here". Mutsumi then hears Sae calling him from behind. Wait a minute. There are 2 Saes now? I’m bloody confused. When both Saes come together and their palms meet, they wish each other goodbye and welcome back. They both disappear and the floating whale disintegrates into snow. Mutsumi’s final narration "Here in the perpetual town of summer, snow falls around me. I can hear cicadas in the snowy scene. Snow in summer. Cicadas in winter. A surreal, absurd scene". The white little whale keychain starts to slowly disintegrate as Mutsumi continues "I have grown to accept this world as normal, where a whale floated in the air. To end this absurd world, we chose a dramatic destruction over a dull, eternally-lasting world. That’s what she wanted. And what I wanted". Everything than fades to pure white. WTF?! What on Earth has happened. Did Mutsumi and Sae just destroyed the world?! And they did it by just wishing it?! And what are those 3 keys anyway?! Huh?! Huh?! WHAT?! Oh great. The world has just ended. I’m so darn confused now.
 
However there is a 1 episode OVA lasting 30 minutes! Wow, from 5 minutes up to half an hour of screen time. There must be something to tell, isn’t it? I was a little disappointed after watching it because it doesn’t really answer what happened at the end of the ONA. This OVA starts off with Mustumi narrating how this town has people with filthy minds and all that filth comes down onto the surface as snow. I was wondering the time line of this episode but I soon realized as the episode progress that Mutsumi is remembering his younger days with Sae. That’s right. It’s a flashback. Young Mutsumi is at the park overlooking the city when a young girl appears before him. She is Sae and it seems he doesn’t recognize her. Well, she does recognize him after taking a closer look. But you know, shy Mutsumi runs away to school. Later in the evening, he goes back to the park to ask her name and he remembers her after she introduces herself. It seems Sae was away in a hospital as she is suffering from a disease. Mutsumi doesn’t remember her because she’s quite energetic. Their conversation is cut short when Sae’s nurse-cum-guardian, Mieko, comes pick her up to return to the hospital. Looks like cheeky Mieko too takes a little liking for him. Before she leaves, Sae wonders if he will come here tomorrow, in which Mutsumi affirms.
 
But the next morning he’s running late so Sae isn’t at her usual spot. As he rushes to school, he bumps into Sae in town. After she goes over her diary, Sae then takes the opportunity to ask him out on a date. I guess her pestering made reluctant Mutsumi agree even if he has school. "Come on, don’t ruin this chance!". We see Mutsumi the shy boy while Sae the bold one as they share a parfait. Indirect kiss? Later at the park, Sae gives Mutsumi a peck on a cheek as a spell so that he won’t forget her. Mieko then comes to pick her up once more. Mutsumi returns to the same spot the next day but finds Sae crying in her happiness because he came. Then Mutsumi notices how she’s always carrying her diary but she tells him it’s too embarrassing for him to read. He apologizes for making her feel so and suggests that they meet at a bookstore tomorrow. The next day as usual, Mutsumi is running late (he’s got to ditch this bad habit) but manages to meet up with Sae. Mieko is there too but she won’t get in the way of their innocent date. They had fun throughout the day and at the end, Sae says how she wants him to be with her all day tomorrow when she suddenly collapsed. Good thing Mieko was nearby as she takes out Sae’s handphone to call for an ambulance. The next day, Mutsumi rushes to the park but only finds Mieko there, who is here to tell him Sae won’t be coming today but couldn’t tell him why. Though she tells him not to worry because Sae is a strong girl.
 
Mutsumi and Sae continue their outing at an aquarium another day. After watching the dolphin show, Mutsumi buys a little white whale keychain for Sae. But the next day as the duo meet at the park, Sae reveals to him that she has some memory problem and doesn’t remember much. She’s been using her diary as a reference for 6 years and reads the notes every night. Holy crap! Does she have the same kind of memory illness like Chihiro from ef ~A Tale Of Memories~?! No wonder she’s always looking at him and asking whether if he is Mutsumi or not. Sae tells him that they won’t see each other again because she’s moving to a bigger hospital. Mutsumi is upset that she is hiding that fact from him but she too tells him that he’s a liar and is hiding something from her. It seems Mutsumi will be leaving this town soon. Sae then says how she’s always waited for him to come. Mutsumi then wants to read her diary to get to know her better but she disagrees. As they both struggled, not only her diary has been ripped but Sae collapses. Mutsumi panics as he takes out Sae’s handphone to call for Mieko. She arrives and lectures him and tells him to come to the hospital tomorrow if he has the guts.
 
That night, Mutsumi is thinking over what Mieko has said and we see part of the torn pages of Sae’s diary contain nothing but written lines of "I love Mutsumi". The next day, Mieko shows Mutsumi Sae’s hospital room and to his surprise finds colourful doodles on the walls and floor. Mieko tells of Sae’s worsening memory conditions about how she used those times to look for him at the park. Mutsumi read Sae’s touching words on how she’ll give up on him if doesn’t turn up at the park. Mutsumi gets upset when Mieko tells him how Sae has been moved to a bigger hospital as some people are interested in conducting tests on her. WTF?! As Mutsumi has flashbacks of how he first met Sae when they were much younger and became friends, Mieko receives a phone call saying how Sae has escaped. Mutsumi is determined to save her as he rushes out of hospital to look for her. Sae communicates with him through SMS and her messages were like farewells. Mutsumi then arrives at the park but finds that she isn’t there. He falls to his knees as he starts to go crazy. At the same time, it started snowing even though it’s summer. He then frantically searches through the snow for the little white whale keychain and yells from the top of his voice to give Sae back. His final narration, "If the reason snow is white is because it’s reflecting the colour of our soul, then God is too cruel. It’s so unreasonable". The end.
 
I just don’t get it, the OVA. In the end, so what does it mean if Sae was taken away? I mean just like in the beginning of the ONA, Mutsumi returns to this town, right? So they’re separated, right? But in the ONA it seems there has been no trouble of Mutsumi and Sae reconciling as though they were just normal friends like the rest when he returned. Plus, the OVA seems to have grown up Mutsumi narrating gloomy lines and at one point we see him standing in the grassy plains, so I’m thinking this OVA is the aftermath of episode 12 of the ONA series. Maybe he’s just thinking of the good old days with Sae and how’d it turned out like that. So how is this related to the end of the world in the ONA? Perhaps reminiscing the good times one last time before destroying it, huh? So how did Sae became the whale girl? And how did the floating whale in the sky came to be since the OVA does not show it. So I assume that it wasn’t there yet at that time. All so confusing…
 
Besides Mutsumi (who I guess is the only character who appear in every episode) and Sae, the rest of the other side characters didn’t really have an impact. I mean, they’re just there because they’re just there and didn’t appear in the OVA. I was hoping maybe some of them could play certain roles in answering several questions but it didn’t turn out that way. What happened to Kurumi who was on her way to save the whale girl with Mutsumi? Did she died? What about Yun’s role during that tense cliff-hanger? I wanted to know more about Niina’s weird personality too and the reason behind her ability to sprout wings and fly. What about Mika, Yuka and Kaguya? They’re just characters for the beach episode, huh? Right. Just like Seiichiro, a side character so that Mutsumi won’t be seen as the only guy here. And Haruka… That little sister didn’t do much too, eh? I guess that’s what Mutsumi meant when he said this world being absurd.
 
The drawing and art seems a little light and thus ‘bleached’. But I guess for an ONA production, the quality is still there so I won’t complain so much about it. Just the storyline… Since they’re developed by Circus, the same company who created the Da Capo series, I was really expecting a little more. Besides, there is no opening theme and only an ending theme called Tooi Natsuzora by eufonius. The song has a mysterious feel just like the show itself. Plus, the animation shows the ever mysterious floating whale and Sae.
 
So why the heck is this anime called Final Examination anyway? We don’t see the characters sitting in some final school test. Perhaps the ‘test’ here refers to the world being destroyed. After seeing all the madness which don’t make sense, the result is that the world must end. That’s what I concluded. Yup, there’s definitely an air of mystery here. But you know, there are some things which are better left unknown. Now, if this real world could be destroyed just based on a single wish and restarted on a clean slate, that would be sweet, wouldn’t it? All sins, bloodshed and conflicts erased! But what are the chances of we humans making the same mistake again…
 

Saishuu Shiken Kujira

Itazura Na Kiss

May 9, 2009

Here’s another love comedy drama series. I must recently really dig such anime genres because my previous blog was one too. If you are a fan of the shoujo genre, then I suppose you should check out Itazura Na Kiss. Adapted from the manga of the same title, but unlike most manga titles which are still running or has ended this run, this series wasn’t completed at all. The author of the manga, Kaoru Tada, died in an accident back in 1999 before she could finish it. Wow. That has been 10 long years that has passed already. Perhaps somebody saw this title and decided to give it the anime treatment in commemoration of her? Thus it’ll be interesting to see how the 25 episode anime series ends this unresolved issue in the manga.
 
So folks, meet Kotoko Aihara. Your typical high school girl who is very much in love with a good looking guy named Naoki Irie and has been admiring him for many years now. Yeah, she even dreams of marrying him at the chapel (but that’s just a dream…). However, the feeling isn’t mutual. There is an obvious difference between them. You see, Naoki is one of the top students in his school (probably in whole of Japan!) and of course is in the model A-Class whereas Kotoko is at the other end of the polar, F-Class, the residues of the not so intelligent. Gee, it’s going to be tough to convince him to be his girl. However, there is good news: Naoki is still single because mainly he rejects all the other confessions of other girls too. Bad news: Kotoko is one of them. Even badder news: Naoki rejected Kotoko’s feelings even without reading a single line of her love-filled letter which she poured her heart and soul into. How embarrassing. Not only that, Naoki did mention straight in her face, "I hate stupid girls". Horror! The truth hurts. A lot. And since they’re in their final high school years, is Kotoko going to stay defeated and not let Naoki know her true feelings for the past 3 years and beyond?
 
Good thing about Kotoko is that she isn’t willing to give up (perhaps a good point about being ‘dumb’?). Viewers may tend to dislike Naoki at first because of his cold and grouchy attitude and appearance. Hey, do you expect him to be some gentleman like those perfect types you see in animes? Oh wait. This is an anime too. But it’s not going to happen here. So the rest of episode 1 introduces other characters like Satomi Ishikawa and Jinko Komori who are Kotoko’s best friends and classmates. Also, there is Kinnosuke Nakamura or Kin for short, who is a life-long passionate devotee to Kotoko. He looks like a typical delinquent and speaks with an accent. But I guess Kotoko’s heart is with Naoki and doesn’t take his advances seriously. Well, you could say he too doesn’t give up on her even though he has announced aloud his undying love for Kotoko several times.
 
An important development in this episode is that Kotoko’s widower dad, Shigeo, has just finished constructing their home when a slight earthquake crumbles their humble abode. Thing is, only their home has taken full damage! All the other houses around are still standing like as though the earthquake didn’t happen. So did Shigeo stinge on materials or was he cheated of it? Of course this embarrassing news starts to spread throughout school and Kin even starts a donation drive fund for Kotoko’s house rebuilding. Since Naoki’s there too, you can bet that Kin doesn’t like that guy so much and even blames him for all that has happened. I’m not sure if Naoki’s being sarcastic or not because he takes Kin’s persistent behaviour as he won’t stop bugging him till he donates. Kin could’ve beaten him up if Kotoko didn’t restrain him. Anyway Shigeo tells Kotoko that a very good friend of his decides to take them in to live with them for the time being. Upon arrival, Kotoko finds out the family’s name is Irie and thinks it’s just coincidence. But she has the shock of her life when she finds out that this is Naoki’s residence indeed! Oh her dream come true. Now she gets to live with her crush. Call it fate or destiny but that dream has become a reality.
 
In episode 2, though Kotoko is thrilled, Naoki sure isn’t. We are introduced to the rest of Naoki’s family. His dad Shigeki as we know is Shigeo’s best friend, his mom Noriko the hyped-up super-controlling mother who loves planning romantic things (read: busybody) for Naoki and Kotoko, and his little brother, Yuuki who too doesn’t like that ‘stupid girl’ because now he has to give up his room to her while sharing his with Naoki. This episode has Naoki giving Kotoko the cold shoulder right from the start as they leave for school. Very rude of him. So when Kotoko confronts him, his reply "I hate absent-minded girls more than stupid girls". Bummer. He even tells her that their living together is never to be known. Then Kotoko sees an opportunity to get back at Naoki when Noriko secretly shows her a picture of a young Naoki dressed as a girl! Noriko had wanted a girl so badly that she was desperate enough to do so. Probably that explains Naoki’s cold character when he found out about it. Sly Kotoko uses this photo as a blackmail to get Naoki to tutor her for the upcoming exams and if she manages to get the school’s top 50 (something which no F-class student has ever achieved before), she’ll return the photo with no strings attached. Naoki has no choice but to do so. Besides tutoring her, I think because of that, Naoki starts treating her a little nicely too, though he’s still overall cold towards her. After all the hard work, Kotoko manages to get 50th spot! History! So when her buddies pesters her for the secret of her success, Kotoko’s slip of her tongue reveals that she’s living under the same roof as Naoki. Soon news spread like wildfire and Naoki is certainly pissed off. He tells her to stay out of his life. Ironic since she’s staying with him…
 
The school sports festival in episode 3. To make things worse, Naoki and Kotoko’s family are there to eagerly cheer them on. F-class thinks this event is their once in a lifetime to beat those studious A-class by using their brawns over brains. A funny part during the borrowing race has Kotoko needing to borrow ‘someone she loves’. Since she has trouble taking Naoki and with time running out, she chooses Shigeki instead. Bummer. During the mixed relay race, Naoki shows that he too is as athletic and not a mere pushover and passes Kin. But at that time, Kotoko trips and hurt herself. Naoki carries her to the infirmary earning Kin’s wrath. That night back home, Naoki reads the love letter Kotoko has written but she slaps him for invading her privacy. Then for no reason, Kin barges into their home to declare his undying love for Kotoko. Still not thinking of giving up, isn’t he? Perhaps he doesn’t want to lose to Naoki still. Kin makes a point that Naoki hates Kotoko but he replied that people’s feelings may change one day, the person you hate becomes the person you love. Wow. Shocking revelation. So next day in school, somebody plays a prank by drawing a picture of Kotoko and Naoki being married. Though Naoki isn’t too fond of it, but Kotoko shoots back at him by saying that he did imply how he could love her tomorrow back then. Haha, backfire for Naoki.
 
Kotoko and her pals head to the pool in episode 4. Noriko wanting something romantic to happen between Kotoko and Naoki, sends both her sons there. Yuuki still doesn’t like Kotoko and decides to observe her, which includes going to a deep end of the pool but ends up nearly drowned. His saviour? Why, it’s Kotoko! But Yuuki still has reservations on her. Later Kotoko’s leg experiences a cramp during the water slide and nearly drowns (now it’s her turn?) but luckily Naoki saves her and even gives her a foot massage. Now if he could be like this more often. Funny thing, Yuuki wrote in his observation book how he was like the hero and saved cry-baby Kotoko instead. When they got back, Noriko decides to leave the duo alone and forcefully brings Yuuki along to visit their relative (which is just a made-up excuse). We find out that Kotoko is a bad cook and later tries to do her homework but finds the questions a little too tough so she decides to sneak into Naoki’s room to ‘borrow’ some answers but as expected flops. Partly Naoki isn’t sleeping and proceeds to tease her. I guess she felt a little insulted and decides not to borrow his notes, but since he insisted on it as atonement for teasing her, I guess she might as well take it. Hehehe.
 
The final exam is near in episode 5 so Kotoko has Jinko and Satomi over to do a group study. I don’t want to comment on their intelligence level but it seems each time they try to start off a question, well they can’t because they’re stuck! Thus Kotoko has to go pester Naoki on how to do it. Many times. Not only he’s annoyed but he finished demonstrating his answer in record time! But even with Naoki’s indirect help, those F-class students are totally hopeless. Seeing Naoki’s potential, the whole F-class goes to beg and plead for Naoki to tutor them! Woah! Except for Kin who’s got it all planned by going to start work rather than college so that he could support Kotoko for life. Now Naoki has to be heir teacher. He should start charging a fee. Wait a minute, he doesn’t because he’s rich, right? He can’t turn them down either or else he’ll look like the bad guy. Thankfully all that hard work paid off as the entire F-class pass their exams (except Kin. He flopped. See lah. Don’t study some more). During Christmas Day, the entire F-class show their gratitude by giving Naoki an ugly doll version of Kotoko. Previously Kotoko on the other hand tries a part time job as a ramen shop waitress to buy a personal bracelet gift for him. Though she doesn’t want Naoki to know (because of some embarrassing greeting), unknown to her, he spots her doing so from afar while taking a walk. On that day after Kotoko gives him her present, Noriko wants to take a photo of them together as his present to Kotoko and surprisingly (to everyone) he accepts, though it’s just a one-shot. As blushing Kotoko gets close, Naoki whispers in her ear that embarrassing greeting which throws her off guard. Oops. The photo has been snapped and the picture turned out spoilt. Poor Kotoko, frust only.
 
Valentine’s Day in episode 6 as Noriko helps Kotoko make home-made chocolates for Naoki but she fails to give it to him. Since Naoki is to enter a top Tokyo University, he has to study for the entrance exam. I don’t know if Kotoko is really that dumb or what because she’s like unintentionally trying to sabotage Naoki’s chances when she gave the wrong medicine for his flu on his exam day. Though Naoki feels drowsy, he manages to settle all the questions in time. Thanks to superior intelligence. Remember those Valentine chocolates? They’re suitable to be poison if you ask me. In replacement of that, she gives him a good luck charm for his next entrance exam. As Kotoko accompanies Naoki there, Naoki must be really having a streak of bad luck because Kotoko’s stomach starts to experience pain. Naoki isn’t a selfish person and ditches his exam to bring Kotoko to the nearest clinic. Because of that he misses the exams and a chance to enter a top university. Kotoko feels guilty and blames herself. Even Shigeo got down on his knees to beg for forgiveness but Shigeki doesn’t mind. Even so, Naoki doesn’t take this as a setback and decides to go to a local college. Which means, Kotoko has a chance of being with him still. But that night, Kotoko thinks of running away from home after thinking she’s a burden to Naoki (which is partly true). But after hearing Naoki’s sweet but stinging words, Kotoko changes her mind and decides to stay back. At least she has the guts to confess that she loves him this time. After that, Kotoko successfully made Valentine chocolates but to her disappointment finds out Naoki doesn’t like western sweets and only prefers Japanese ones. Damn.
 
Graduation day in episode 7. Kotoko must be real embarrassed because Kin is doing his usual love declaring stuff onstage. This is made worse with Noriko objecting to it all and calls for Naoki to stand up for her. It’s getting rowdier, huh? Later as F-class celebrate their graduation-cum-farewell party at a restaurant, they bump into A-class who are doing theirs there too. You can see the difference in their standards. Naoki and his classmates tease Kotoko’s unrequited love but instead of getting embarrassed and teary-eyed, Kotoko gets even. That’s right! She shows the whole crowd that girly picture of Naoki! Horror! The tables are turned! Although Kotoko returned the photo, Noriko gave her another one soon after. Everybody frantically tries to grab it and have a look for themselves but Naoki manages to take it back as he drags Kotoko out with him behind the alley. No, he’s not going to rape her. As they argue, Kotoko tries to act tough by saying how she’ll forget him as she goes to college and such. Naoki executes his trump card and tells her to try and forget if she can as he kisses her! Shock! Naoki leaves giving that you-deserve-it look while Kotoko sat there stunned.
 
College for Kotoko starts in episode 8 and she finds out that nearly the entire F-class has enrolled in this college and the same course with her! But Kotoko should be happy because Naoki too is attending the same college albeit a different faculty. Still not over with that kiss, Kotoko brags to Jinko and Satomi about it. Of course they couldn’t believe it and their loudness causes those around them to hear as well. Kotoko goes to visit Naoki in his class but to her dismay finds that he’s getting along pretty well with another pretty and intelligent classmate, Yuuko Matsumoto. I smell rivalry coming up. Of course both girls won’t get along seeing that they’re after Naoki’s heart. Also, a guy who seems to know Naoki, Sudou, is pestering him to join his tennis club. Naoki reluctantly joins with a condition that he doesn’t have to play. Say, doesn’t Sudou look like Momoshiro of Prince Of Tennis but with a moustache? And when he holds a tennis racquet, he undergoes a personality change, like Kawamura of that same series! Oh the uncanny resemblance! Kotoko joins the club so that she could be with Naoki but finds Yuuko too is in that club. Not only that, practice under Sudou is like hell training camp. Oh Kotoko, you’re screwed big time! Another development is that we find out Kin is working part time at the college cafeteria by day and at Shigeo’s sushi restaurant as a chef-in-training by night so that he could prepare himself to support Kotoko. Yeah, he’s got his life plan all laid out.
 
Kotoko starts her hell tennis training in episode 9 (on a different note, just to say how those exaggerated moves in Prince Of Tennis are impossible, eh?). Kotoko then invites Naoki out to watch a movie but he declines. However, she spots him going out with Yuuko instead and becomes a jealous stalker along with Sudou. It seems that guy has a crush on Yuuko but as usual, she doesn’t even look at him. Deja vu? So the jealous duo tries to sabotage them without getting their cover blown. Successful? You figure it out. Then when Yuuko asks Naoki’s ideal girl and concludes that they’re the perfect pair, Kotoko gets depressed and is starting to concede defeat when she bumps into some unruly punk. He takes advantage of her by asking to clean his stupid shirt or pay a high price for it which doesn’t even cost a dirt. Luckily, Naoki stops him and puts the newly bought tennis racquet (earlier he went to bought one with Yuuko) into Sudou’s hand and you know the rest of the story. Yuuko’s disheartened because it’s her tennis racquet that he’s wrecking while Naoki takes this chance to escape with Kotoko. The duo take a boat ride at the lake and due to Kotoko’s clumsiness, the boat overturns and they got all wet. As they dry their clothes, another round of chat before Kotoko once again tells Naoki how much she loves him. That’s getting old…
 
In episode 10, Shigeo thinks of moving out because he feels he has overstayed his welcome even of the Iries dismiss the fact (especially Noriko. No more romantic antics). Which means, Kotoko won’t get to be with Naoki 24/7 anymore. No choice, she has to abide by her father’s decision to stay at a nearby apartment in which they rent. Even though they’re living separate lives and only get to see each other in college, I guess even if Naoki views Kotoko as a bother, there’s still something missing. Even Yuuki feels the same way although he gets his room back. A subtle sign that they miss somebody to bully? Just kidding. One day, Kotoko passes by Naoki’s home but heard something wrong. As she steps in, she finds Yuuki home alone squirming in pain. She calls Naoki at college on what to do. Though he is initially surprised she is at his place, he tells her to call 119 (Japan’s equivalent to 911). Yuuki is sent to hospital and he is diagnosed with some intestine problem which is non-fatal. Naoki is grateful for what Kotoko has done as he comforts her. Kotoko is overcome with emotions as she breaks down. They continue to visit Yuuki every day and it seems Yuuki has made friends with a roommate, Non-chan, who has been hospitalized for quite a while due to some serious illness. Since Yuuki is quite attached to Non-chan, Naoki even takes the liberty to tutor him, so much so Kotoko suggests Naoki to become a doctor so that he could cure Non-chan. When Yuuki gets discharged, he feels reluctant to leave him but promise they’ll keep in touch. As days go by, seeing how close and happy Kotoko is, Shigeo decides to move back with the Iries, much to everyone’s delight.
 
Naoki does some serious thinking on what to do with his future after Kotoko’s suggestion in the previous episode. Wow, he’s taking the advice of a girl he once deemed stupid seriously. So in episode 11, he goes to some Romance Village with Yuuki for his spring break to think about it. Thing is, Yuuko’s there too. And she brought along her sister, Ayako, and their dogs as well. I guess Kotoko doesn’t want to be left out and tags along with Sudou as well. Even though Ayako did indicate Naoki’s a nice guy but you won’t see her making any serious moves. As Yuuki is playing in the woods, he discovers a shocking discovery. While Kotoko is napping underneath a tree, Naoki goes up to her and kisses her lips! SHOCKING! Though Naoki knows Yuuki has seen this, he calmly indicates to him to keep this a secret. Then later Kotoko and Yuuki got lost in the woods and are being confronted by a wild dog. Their dog is a coward as it ran away but luckily Naoki arrives in time to save them and bring them home. Then there’s a funny thing which I don’t get it. Kin followed and spied Kotoko all along without getting his presence known. Then he got lost and a little injured and I don’t know how, Naoki manages to find and help him back up. Since he remembered something about being late for work, he rushes off. Huh? In the end as the gang heads home, Naoki tells his dad he wants to become a doctor. Shigeki isn’t pleased because he expects Naoki to take over his company. But since Naoki is adamant, Shigeki is upset so much so he gets a heart attack. Oh no! Everyone starts to fear the worse. The more the reason Naoki should become a doctor now.
 
Thankfully Shigeki is recuperating in hospital in episode 12. As his family visits him daily, they begin to wonder if he has much needed rest or not because his employees start streaming in with workloads and decisions. One of them including the need to send Naoki to a marriage interview of one of their clients as a condition for a loan. Naoki decides to go because he feels he needs to lift the burden off his dad’s shoulders. We see that the girl Naoki is to meet is a British Caucasian but has some knowledge in Japanese. She is Christine Robbins or Chris for short. You know, the thing which bugs me is that when Naoki and Chris spoke in English, it’s so heavily accented. Especially Chris, so much so it sounded like she isn’t and English woman in the first place. Kotoko and Yuuko are horrified to learn of this and spied on the duo. They tried to sabotage but flopped. Why is Yuuko helping Kotoko out? Well, she did mention that if she were to lose, it’s better to lose to Kotoko because is she lost to Chris, it would make Yuuko seem less perfect. Is this an indirect acknowledgement for Kotoko? But seeing how close Naoki is to Chris and the she ‘has won without fighting’ and even overhears how Naoki tells Noriko that he likes Chris, Kotoko starts to give up and probably having thoughts of settling for Kin. So she goes out with him and Kin takes the opportunity to propose to her! Of course she can’t give an answer now. As the duo walk along, they come face to face with Naoki and Chris as Naoki introduce them all before leaving.
 
Kotoko has a lot on her mind and feeling depressed lately in episode 13. She has a chat with her dad and he suggests about leaving again. Meanwhile Chris visits Naoki’s college and soon his mom. Noriko of course acts in an arrogant way so that Chris will have a bad impression and leave but it all backfires. Even Yuuki feels uncomfortable if Naoki marries Chris and one day at the hospital tells his parents that Naoki is only in love with Kotoko (because of that kiss in the woods). Also when Naoki gets to know of Kin’s proposal, he gets that uneasy feeling too. Kotoko goes to see Kin and asks more time before she could give her answer but impatient Kin has had enough of it and says how he’ll make her forget that bastard Naoki and nearly forces himself on her! He realized and lets her go when she yells out to Naoki’s name. Heartbroken Kin drops to his knees and cries while Kotoko runs out in the rain. But to her surprise, she sees Naoki standing in front of her.
 
The usual bickering in episode 14 but Naoki pulls off another shocking move. He confesses that he loves her and kisses her! After reconciling, they walk home hand in hand. Back home the rest of the family receives yet another shocking news. Not even Noriko could expect this one. Naoki is asking Shigeo’s permission to marry his daughter! So I guess the reason why he said he loved Chris was just to help his dad out. Naoki then decides to drop pursuing his doctor career but Yuuki says not to because he’ll take over dad’s company. Yay. Everything is resolved. Almost. Now, the only thing is to tell Chris and Kin about it. Naoki goes to tell Chris and it seems that Chris accepts it and well, she too doesn’t really have feelings for him and was just obliging her dad. Then it’s Kotoko’s turn to tell Kin but she has problems of trying to do so without hurting his feelings (like how can you have fire without smoke?). Naoki then comes in and tells it straight to his face that he’ll be taking Kotoko. For once, Kin becomes a mature guy and lets her go and if Naoki makes her unhappy, he tells her that he’ll always be her back-up. Meanwhile Shigeki is meeting with Chris dad over the same thing. He’s in a bind because if Naoki doesn’t get engage to Chris, his company will not get the loan which they badly need. But Chris tells her dad off and not only that, she already has someone whom she really loves (it’s Kin by the way. SHOCK! She thinks he’s the manliest man. Funny how love works sometimes). Her dad must be devastated that her daughter talked back to him but I guess this case is pretty much solved. With all those loose ends tied up, Noriko can’t wait and starts planning their wedding! And it will be in 2 weeks time! Their wedding really did happen. So I guess that dream Kotoko had all the while finally came true. To make things worse, Noriko shows everybody of Naoki’s cross-dressing photo (she claims it’s like taking the weight off her shoulder). By the way, both bride and bridegroom looked stunning and for once, Kotoko boldly kisses Naoki at the altar. Aww… You go girl! Well, I guess for Yuuko, she has to give up since this episode didn’t see her making any fuss or objections.
 
The newlyweds are headed off to Hawaii for their first honeymoon in episode 15. As usual, Kotoko is having trouble speaking English and has to depend on fluent Naoki to get by. On the way, they also met a newly married couple, Horiuchi, and it seems the wife Mari takes a liking for Naoki. She seems so clingy to him. Is her husband supposed to be jealous? Let’s just say he’s got no backbone. Kotoko of course feels that Mari girl is trying to interrupt their honeymoon because everywhere they go, she just seems to want to be with Naoki. And you know Naoki’s don’t mind attitude. You’d think that Kotoko and Naoki are alone but if you look closer, Noriko and the rest are actually here too on vacation and in disguise. At times they try to interrupt Mari’s doing. The days flew by and Kotoko feels they haven’t been doing things together. On the last day, she makes Naoki spend time with her. Guess what? Mari too tries to intercept. She fakes some stomach pain so that she could get Naoki alone with her in her room. Kotoko has had it with Naoki and gets emotional as she runs away. Mari thinks she has won when Kotoko leaves but Naoki scoffs her off that she couldn’t even come close to Kotoko and leaves. Mari feels insulted and is determined to break them up but her husband came back and slaps that b*tch to her senses. For once he becomes a man and says he’ll protect her instead. Good riddens. Kotoko meanwhile is lost and is confronted by a large-sized man who’s speaking English. She thinks she’s going to get done in when Naoki comes by. That man gives a heartily laughter and leaves. We find out he was a plain clothes policeman who thought Kotoko was a lost high school girl. The duo reconcile and manage to spend the last night together. Yeah, they’re doing what lovers are supposed to be doing. OMG! Are they making love in their room?! When they return home to Japan, Kotoko announces how she’s going to be a nurse so that she can support Naoki. Can she? I mean with her level of intelligence and clumsiness? Sceptical at first, but Naoki decides to support her.
 
Episode 16 focuses more on Chris and Kin. Seems that Chris is going back to England but she is in a dilemma to stay because of her feelings for Kin. If Kin tells her to stay than she would gladly ditch her trip back to England. However, Kin doesn’t care for all that. Kotoko devises a plan along with Jinko and Satomi to celebrate Kin’s birthday even if it’s several weeks early. Kin tests several dishes and mixes up the taste (he thought the good ones were Kotoko and the bad ones were from Chris but it’s more like the other way round). Kin becomes rude and cold, which hurt Chris’ feelings. Knowing this, Chris decides to go back to England. Kotoko and the rest are furious of Kin’s egoistic attitude. But you know, he can’t stay like this forever. Perhaps the romance in his heart was late to bloom. So Kin realized he does love Chris after all and rushes towards the airport. By that time, Kotoko who was accompanying her, has waved her goodbye as Chris has already boarded her flight. Kin arrives a minute too late. But to their surprise, Chris didn’t get onboard as she appears before them. Seems like she couldn’t leave after somehow hearing Kin calling her out. Though Kin still has his ego, he does admit he likes her, so Chris is now determined to stay by his side as she kisses him! Kotoko goes back and since she’s feeling a little dizzy, Noriko jumps to conclusion that she’s pregnant. She’s already rejoicing the fact and goes on a shopping spree to buy toddler stuffs. However a visit to the hospital shows it’s just a false alarm. Because earlier on, Kotoko pestered Naoki to give her a reward to go on a date as motivation to study if she passes the entrance exam for the nursing college, even Naoki is surprised to find that Kotoko has passed. Yeah, not so dumb anymore. So Naoki has to keep his end of the bargain and agrees to go out on a date with her. And for those happy folks back home expecting a new family member, well let’s not disrupt their happiness.
 
Kotoko starts her nursing college in episode 17 and has made several new friends. There’s the angelic, kind and gentle Tomoko Ogura, the I-became-a-nurse-so-I-can-marry-a-rich-famous-doctor Marina Shinagawa, the transvestite Motoki Kikyou (those kind of woman who feels they’ve been wrongly born into a man’s body), and the serious and passionate male nurse wannabe Keita Kamogari. Naoki too is undergoing his training as a doctor in this college and it seems Tomoko, Marina and Motoki harbours a crush on Naoki but hates his wife! And don’t even know she’s Kotoko. It’s right under their noses. But Kotoko can’t seem to find the right time to tell them. So the trio along with Kotoko spies outside Naoki’s house and sees he’s seen entering with Yuuko, they think she’s his wife. Seeing how perfect his ‘wife’ is, they decide to give up pursuing him. Just like that? But the cat is out of a bag when Naoki one day randomly shows up in her class to tell her to do some chores. Yeah, the gang are pretty upset to find their pal is HIS wife and thinks Kotoko has deceived them. But no hard feelings, really. Later Kotoko goes drinking with them and she gets a little drunk, argues with Keita and falls asleep. Hmm… Kotoko looks scary and cute together when she’s drunk. Naoki comes by to take her home but Keita ‘advises’ him to take better care of his wife (yeah, Naoki is back to his cold ignorant ways). I smell another rivalry coming up. But Naoki just plays it cool. The next day because Kotoko is still a klutz being a nurse (it would be horrible to think she’ll become one with such horrible skills), Keita offers his arm to let her practice take blood pressure. Naoki spots them together from afar. Oh is he getting that jealous feeling? Oh yeah, before I forget, it seems Chris is hanging out with Kin during his work and I’m not sure if it’s official or not, she helps him out in his job just like a wife in training.
 
After Kotoko continues her blundering practices on poor Keita, the nurses takes an autopsy practice filled with blood in episode 18. Besides Tomoko loving the sight of blood (how ironic), Kotoko faints but Keita helps her. In the room alone, Keita notices how pretty Kotoko is and probably his actions indicate he might want to kiss her! Gasp! Till Naoki comes in, that is. Naoki confronts Keita about getting involved with other people’s wife but Keita too mentions about Naoki’s cold outlook and no respect towards Kotoko. Noriko notices the threat towards the relationship between Kotoko and her son and does her usual snooping on Keita but finds out that he’s a nice guy. Uh huh. She even had the thought of choosing Keita over Naoki. She even thought the unthinkable that Kotoko is going to be whisk away by Keita. Yeah, it’s going to be a tough fight. The next day while Kotoko and her mates are having lunch, Keita asks her why did she marry someone like Naoki. His words seem to upset Kotoko as she gets up and leave. Keita chases her and hugs her from the back as he tells him to leave Naoki for him! This confirms that Keita do have feelings for Kotoko. More confusion for that poor girl.
 
Naoki continues his cold attitude towards Kotoko in episode 19 and he doesn’t even know it’s jealousy! So much so Kotoko has had enough of him and throws a book at him while saying how Keita was right about his uncaring attitude and that Keita cares about her more than him. This causes Naoki to slap her. In shock, Kotoko runs away from home and takes refuge at Tomoko’s place (is she some kind of a cult fanatic?). While Kotoko gets consoled from her classmate buddies, Shigeo talks to Naoki about Kotoko’s late mom. Hmm… They look so similar. Like mother, like daughter. One day, Chris scalded her leg and was rushed for treatment. Chris is sad because she feels Kin won’t look at her anymore but he decides to burn his leg too to show support. Luckily he was stopped. It is then Kin declared his love for Chris and proposes that they get married, delighting Chris very much as she boldly kisses him once more. Looks like a person who was devoted to Kotoko for most of his life, he’s able to move on. See, love can change a man. It is then Kin tells Naoki the meaning of jealousy. It’s ironic because a smart guy like him doesn’t know and has to be shown by one who has been so for the past several years. Then when Keita professes her love for Kotoko and even suggests coming to live with him, Kotoko thankfully is still faithful to her husband and defends him even if Keita says Naoki doesn’t love her. Naoki then comes by to admit everything like how he was jealous and has now come to know of it because of a certain guy (hinting Kin and possibly thanking him?). Naoki continues his cool speech by saying because of that, he needs Kotoko with him and since Keita is a strong guy, he doesn’t. Kotoko is filled with emotions and wonders if Naoki still wants her. Of course he does. They both hugged. Aww… The crowd cheers (a little embarrassing, though). Sorry Keita, you lost. That night in their bedroom, the lovebirds reconciled their love as they both kiss once more.
 
Kotoko and her pals are going to graduate as nurses in episode 20 and are attending a nightingale capping ceremony (looks like a religious cult ceremony if you ask me). However Naoki is away at some meeting so he can’t attend and watch his beloved Kotoko graduate (horror! Kotoko’s being selected the head to recite the pledge!). During the ceremony, Motoki dresses as a female nurse which the head nurse refuse to cap him. But after Kotoko’s heart moving speech and support from the rest, she makes this an exception. Kotoko nervous at first, then recites the pledge flawlessly. That night as Kotoko sits alone in the hall, she is surprised when Naoki comes to see her. Though he didn’t make it to see the ceremony, at least he manages to see her as she recites her pledge to him. Four years later, Kotoko is a full fledge nurse but is still klutzy and clumsy. I hope she hasn’t killed anybody yet. Furthermore, there is an old hag patient making Kotoko do her errands, pissing her off. Not only that, the old hag has several pictures of Naoki (Kotoko shockingly saying Irie-kun doctor version!). If she was 50 years younger, I think she would seduce him! Speaking of which, the other nurses seems to be swooning over Naoki. He must have that kind of charming effect on woman. But of course, he just ignores them. Since Kotoko wanted the pics badly, she tries to snatch it from her when the head nurse comes in. The old hag fakes it by saying she was trying to steal her pics. Kotoko got a lecture and is sent away. Later Kotoko finds out that Keita is being awfully nice to a wheelchair-ridden patient girl and thinks he has a crush on her though he denies it. True. Another guy who has moved on. Then Kotoko is being dragged by Motoki and the rest to find a famous movie star named Nobuhiro who is seeking treatment in their hospital. They find him sitting at the lounge and Motoki and the rest asks him for his autograph seeing that they are big fans. However Nobuhiro declines and is very rude. Kotoko chides him back and that is when Nobuhiro got up and hugs her! Gasp! He even says it has been a long time since they’ve seen each other.
 
In episode 21, we find out Nobuhiro is that Non-chan. OMG! What a vast difference 7 years makes! How can he look from a cherubic little kid to a hot gorgeous girly looking guy? That’s why things like that only happen in anime. Plus, everybody else looks the same like they haven’t change in their appearance. Maybe except for Yuuki who’s a little taller and bigger but at least we can still recognize him. Yuuki is thrilled to see Non-chan again. Kotoko can be forgiven for not recognizing him since she’s not into movies like the rest of her family. However, Kotoko notices this Non-chan is different from the one she knew because he is cold, rude, bitter, obnoxious and his attitude stinks! Is that what being a movie star is all about? Well he blames it on his life long illness for being in hospital too long. I know he’s got his own broken family problems and loneliness but to show it upon others? He doesn’t want to depend on his parents because they broke up and fought over how they should take responsibility for his illness. So that’s why he worked hard and turned into a celebrity. We see his sh*t behaviour when he steal a kiss on Keita’s beloved wheelchair girl. Keita would’ve beaten him up if not being restrained by Kotoko. Naoki advices to do some surgery to save him since this is the right time but he refuses and display his f*cked up attitude. So much so Kotoko slapped some senses to him and tells him how Naoki became a doctor for his sake! After teary Kotoko runs away, Nobuhiro then realizes his mistake and goes to apologize to her. Yeah, it took a slap to open his eyes and change his attitude. He also mentions how he’s going to do the surgery. As Nobuhiro prepares to undergo surgery, he tells Kotoko to hold his hand. You’ll find out later his reason for doing so is that she won’t do anything else. Haha. No confidence in her skills still?
 
Nobuhiro’s surgery was a success in episode 22 as he goes back to his filming crew while giving a press interview his gratitude for those who had supported him. Even that old hag respects Kotoko now and doesn’t annoy her with her silly errands. She says how lucky Naoki is to marry a girl like her and his reply although she isn’t capable of 90% of the things he can do, but she succeeds at the 10% where he couldn’t. Since Kotoko’s birthday is coming up, she dreams of the ideal birthday date with Naoki. Surprisingly, Naoki is able to reschedule his busy schedule to accommodate her. That night Kotoko is to meet Naoki at a hotel for a romantic candle light dinner (what’s with that weird hairdo) but she had to assist in an injured motorist along the way. To her horror, she has been dragged to the hospital to oversee it. Once it’s over, Kotoko’s is running late though the motorist is very grateful. She tries to take a cab but the traffic is jammed (why is it always like this at important hours?), so she runs to the subway station. Kotoko arrives but is all dirtied and messed-up and thinks her once in a lifetime dream is over and starts crying. Thankfully, understanding Naoki has been waiting there all along and it scared him because he thought the blood on her dress was hers. By now, we can all tell Noriko’s weird disguise as she helps the duo as some foreigner tourist. Naoki and Kotoko manage to make up as they made love in the hotel room! Don’t worry, the sex scenes aren’t shown. Naoki puts a ring on Kotoko’s finger when she’s sleeping. The next day, Kotoko is obviously overjoyed with her new ring. New motivation to work harder! After doing a late night emergency call on a boy with vomit stuck in his throat (ugh!) with Naoki, when they come home Noriko thinks Kotoko has developed a fever but Naoki surprises them by saying she is pregnant. After that last false alarm, not even Noriko dare thought of this. Hey, that’s why Naoki’s the doctor, right?
 
It’s confirmed Kotoko is 3 months pregnant in episode 23. Everyone rejoices and it’s a good thing they didn’t throw those toddler stuff they bought. However there is a new problem. Kotoko heard from her pals about straying husbands and this causes her to be suspicious of Naoki because he’s seen very friendly to a new nurse trainee, Yukie. But this episode mainly focuses on other characters before we forget them. Like Kin now manages his own sushi restaurant as he invite his friends over and even proposes to marry Chris! How things have turned out. Then Chris mom, a famous Hollywood actress comes in to give her blessings and even thinks Kin is such a handsome man (their taste in handsome is quite different) and will go talk to her husband and make him change his mind! Of course mommy wants the wedding to be in England because they’re related to the royalty too! Wow! Kin on the other hand wants it in Japan as they argue. Also, Yuuko has been admitted to this hospital for some stomach problems and Sudou is still pinning for her love. Record unrequited love of 8 years. He’s a car salesman by the way. Even if Yuuko is hospitalized, she is so caught up with her work so much so she has no chance to rest. So much so Sudou prohibits her from doing her and prevents her from leaving her bed. Yuuko starts b*tching about it so he slaps her! In retaliation, she punches him back! Naoki and Sudou had a chat about how Yuuko has always disregarded her health due to her hardworking character and all Sudou wants is for her to get better even if it means she hating him. Yuuko was eavesdropping them so later she hints to Sudou that she likes hardworking man and will stay in bed till she recovers. This motivates to go work harder as he declares he will come back for her. Back home, Noriko who has been doing her spy job on Yukie (she’s really a professional in this area) and confronts Naoki by showing pictures of them together and talking to other nurses. But you know her habit of making a mountain out a mole hill. In the room, Kotoko says how Noriko was just worried about him when she starts feeling her stomach move. Is it due? Wait a minute? If she’s pregnant, how come it doesn’t show her stomach’s protruding that much? She’s like still having her slim body figure. Anyway, they’re glad they’ll be parents soon.
 
At least Kotoko now looks like a pregnant woman in episode 24. She’s loving her C-cup? Anyway she cuts her hair short too. We see that Kin has married Chris in England and she is 3 months pregnant too. While Naoki is working on his thesis, Kotoko’s pregnancy hypertension causes her to collapse. Thankfully, she and her baby is safe as she recuperates in hospital. Also note that Naoki is more kinder and caring towards Kotoko. Talk about a U-turn in his character when this series started. As Naoki and Kotoko takes a maternity class with Kin and Chris, Kotoko begins to feel pain in her stomach. It’s due. Though Naoki promises to be with her during her labour, Sudou suddenly rushes Yuuko in as she is coughing blood (by the way, he’s been elevated to boyfriend status since her discharge). Since there’s no other available doctors, Naoki has to do his first solo lead surgery to save her. Kotoko understands he can’t be with her so she supports and encourages him. Kotoko prepares for labour and Naoki’s surgery was a success, making Sudou feeling very grateful. Naoki rushes over to Kotoko and to his joy, she has given birth to a healthy baby girl, Kotomi. Four years has passed and it seems Kotomi is a naughty mischievous girl! She’s running around not listening to mama! Not only that, they’re both competing for Naoki’s affections! WTF?! Kotomi wants to even marry him?! It goes to show Naoki still has the pheromones. The end credits see a short glimpse of how the other characters are doing. Like Kin and Chris have an equally naughty kid of their own, Sudou and Yuuko got hitched, Nobuhiro doing well in his movie career, Keita still trying to woo that wheelchair girl, Yuuki now has a girlfriend and Noriko now turns her spying to him! Some things will never change. But for Naoki and Kotoko, they’re a happy family.
 
Though Kotoko and Kotomi continue to fight over Naoki, episode 25 feels like a filler as Naoki takes Kotoko to visit his grandpa (Noriko’s dad) and his big family in the countryside farm. Yeah, they all look the same (including that attitude). The reason Naoki does so is to get Grandpa’s approval and blessing of Kotoko but of course Grandpa isn’t pleased and proceeds to ‘beef up’ Kotoko with harsh labour! Hell time! No escape. Even all the uncle, auntie, nephew and nieces enjoy bullying Kotoko with some fake family ghost story. Of course Kotoko had the tables turn on them when she tells of each of their embarrassing secrets (courtesy from Grandpa) and they start treating her a little better. Kotoko then decides to take up a challenge to get a fruit in the mountains for Grandpa to win his approval (part of the family’s scheme to embarrass her, I guess). Though Naoki says not to underestimate her because she managed to win him over, Kotoko got lost but luckily got help from Grandpa to find the fruits and way back. She then bumps into Naoki who is frantically searching for her. But Grandpa is missing by then. Gasp! Did she see a ghost? Back home, everyone is amazed she manages to get lots of those fruit and thus Grandpa approves of her. Kotoko thanks him profusely but when Grandpa denies helping her, it’s then Kotoko realized the Grandpa who has helped her all the while, from telling of those secrets to nightly toilet visit advices, has a large mole on his cheek. It then occurred to everyone that is the head of the family 10 generations ago! Everyone freaks out upon realizing that there’s a ghost! The next time round, Naoki and Kotoko visits Grandpa again and this time they bring along Kotomi. Yeah, that girl saw the ghost Grandpa too. But they’re rather calm this time.
 
As expected everything ends well for everybody. Finally Kotoko gets to live out her life with the guy of her dreams. I’m not trying to say that stupidity is infectious but for a guy like Naoki to make a 180 degree U-turn, that’s one amazing feat Kotoko has pulled off. Though her clumsiness isn’t a trait one should emulate, there are other good points of her we should take note like not giving up. Thus perseverance is the key. And she got her reward right in the end. It’s a good thing too that fate has made Kotoko and Naoki met because without her, Naoki will never become a ‘human’. Life is just more than being smart and studying. Something which you won’t really find in textbooks. Naoki at the end has more human feelings and emotions as compared at the start of the series.
 
One thing about this series is that it doesn’t really focus on just the protagonist’s high school life as it progresses through their early stages of being a young adult. Though the high school and college part takes a big chunk out of it. Because of that, I felt that as each time frame passes, the other side characters became less and less prominent and only made several short appearances so that viewers won’t forget about them. For instance, Jinko and Satomi. You can feel that their presence could be done without when Kotoko and Naoki became a doctor-nurse pair. Or when Kotoko and Naoki got married, Sudou and Yuuko’s role has been featured less. After all, this entire series main focus is on Naoki and Kotoko and though I read that there are more characters and love triangles in the manga, but I guess I’ll just leave it here for the anime.
 
The voice acting is great and Nana Mizuki who voiced Kotoko is one of my favourites. She is quite versatile in making Kotoko sound cute, panic, incredulous or just any other expressions fit for the occasion. Her cute voice reminds me of those she voiced as Hinata in Naruto and Shinobu in 2×2=Shinobuden. Noriko who is voiced by Naoko Matsui is my other favourite seiyuu because of her loudness and expressful ways. Her other anime roles include Suzuki of Detective Conan fame and Koyomi of Da Capo series. Jinko’s voice is done by Kinoko Yamada makes her character sound like a high-pitch pig squealing (no offense, but I find it cute). Of course the only seiyuu which I know who can voice a foreigner and make it sound good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) is Yuko Goto who voices Chris. Remember her role as Kate in Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~? Other seiyuus include Daisuke Hirakawa as Naoki (Makoto of School Days), Romi Paku as Yuuki (Edward of Fullmetal Alchemist), Shuuhei Sakaguchi as Kin (Kawachi of Yakitate! Japan), Yuuki Masuda as Yuuko (female Hibiki of I My Me Strawberry Eggs), Akio Outsuka as Sudou (Mister of Coyote Ragtime Show, Marshall D Teach in One Piece) and Tomoko Kaneda as Kotomi (Chiyo in Azumanga Daioh).
 
The opening theme Kimi Meguru Boku by Motohiro Hata sounds like a lively pop beat fitting for the series. The 1st ending theme Kataomoi Fighter by GO!GO!7188 sounds like a spy song from the 70’s (I think) while the 2nd ending theme Jikan Yo Tomare has an R&B and hip-hop flavour in it. At first the female voice sounded okay until the rapping male lines come in. I don’t know, whenever I hear that part, my hair stood on ends as I find it unsuitable as it spoils the song.
 
Just like other shoujo animes, the drawing and art lean towards the bishoujo type and with Naoki drawn to such an ikemen (cool looking guy) extent, I’m sure many girls would love to fawn over him just like those in the show. Some of the slapstick comedy here is funny enough to tickle one’s funny bones, with most of the hilarious attempts coming from Kotoko. And then there’s Noriko’s meddling into the love affair of others… Does she still think that she is young? I mean, in the anime she addresses Naoki as onii-chan so initially I thought she was his prankful sister. There are some suggestive scenes (albeit short glimpses and not shown) so this show may not be suitable for younger audiences. Sometimes I feel that this series should be nicknamed Itazura No Sex. Oops…
 
There has been a live action drama adaptation of the series in Japan but it lasted only 9 episodes during its run in 1996. Then there’s a Taiwanese live action TV drama version of it which lasted for 20 episodes called It Started With A Kiss. I guess it was popular enough to spawn a sequel called They Kissed Again with the same number of episodes. Anyway I’m not so interested in watching them.
 
Just like Naoki’s saying of how one may fall in love with the person you don’t initially love, it goes to show that yet again love works in many mysterious ways. And to experience and be in one is definitely an amazing feeling. Is it too late for me yet? Well perhaps if I keep on watching such animes and just to quote a line from this series’ next episode preview narration, "I’ll definitely be happy!". Anime = Love. Love = Anime. See, love is a two way thing.
 

Itazura Na Kiss

Bokura Ga Ita

May 8, 2009

I’m sure there are many countless series on teenage love romance. Bokura Ga Ita is one of them. As it was a year 2006 anime production, I was initially reluctant to watch because I read that it was one of those slow-paced love stories. And slow it is indeed. So for those who are really not into this kind of love stories, whereby you know kids at that age are uncertain about their feelings, coupled in some angst and bickering moments, this may not be your cup of tea and you’d definitely want to give this one a miss.
 
I have to admit too that I caught myself yawning at least once while watching the series. Is it that boring? To a certain extent. But that doesn’t mean I should just straight away drop it from my watch list. I have this conscious at the back of my head telling me that if I don’t finish what I started, I’m really going to regret it in the future. Just like love and life itself. Don’t want that to happen, would I? But it’s true and let me say it again that if you don’t dig this kind of slow-paced anime, it’ll be definitely hard to sit through 26 episodes of it.
 
But don’t despair as there are some comical scenes albeit not much. But I’m going to try and keep my blog on this series simpler than most of my anime blogs because I don’t really remember much. Thank goodness I managed to pull through and finish watching this series. So as seen in episode 1, our main female protagonist Nanami Takahashi, a cute 15 year old freshie, has a crush on one of the hot guys in school, Motoharu Yano. Who wouldn’t? I mean, he’s quite good looking and his carefree smile is enough to melt any girl’s heart like a hot knife through butter. You just got to love his smile. So much so all your anger, upset and disappointment will instantly subside once he flash those trademark smiles of his. If only real life could be that simple. And yes, since Nanami is relatively a shy girl. She too has a hard time confessing her feelings to him. With many girls liking him, it’s hard to think about being rejected, right?
 
This episode also introduces other characters like Yano’s best friend, the kind and considerate Masafumi Takeuchi, who is always on the lookout for his best buddy and sometimes give him advice. Then there’s a seemingly quiet and unsociable bespectacled girl named Yuri Yamamoto. She has some hatred towards Yano, a reason which probably contributes to her unfriendly behaviour. Also, there are Nanami’s best pals, whom are fondly known as Mizu-chin and Taka-chan. You could say those duo are somewhat ‘experts’ on the love area and would gladly lend some advice to Nanami as they go along.
 
Other developments in the first episode include Nanami getting a complete zero in her test (woah! I don’t think she is that dumb… Besides, she’s the class rep you know…), and the gang taking a school field trip whereby Yuri fell ill halfway while trekking and Yano took charge and brought her to the nearest clinic for treatment. Also, Nanami finds out from Yano that he did have a girlfriend, named Nana. She is Yuri’s elder sister and she died last summer. Gasp!
 
So in episode 2, Nanami finally has the courage to confess her feelings to Yano that she likes him. But I’m guessing that probably Yano had too many other girls saying the same thing, that he just gave a casual answer to agree and ask go out with her then. But as for Nanami, she must be real surprised that he accepted her feelings just like that on the first try. As the series progresses, Nanami tries real hard to understand Yano’s character even if she knows that he is generally the irresponsible type but still caring and gentle deep down. Men, they are real hard to understand. Pfft! I’m the one to say! Then of course during an outing with their other classmates, Yano made some remarks which upsets Nanami as she storms out. She then scolds him "Moron! Idiot! Jackass! Son of a bitch!". Ah, lover’s quarrel so fast already? But I guess she has to forgive him since she dropped her wallet on the way out and Yano managed to gave it back to her. Nanami finds another shocking discovery that Yano’s mom was an ex-prostitute and his ex-girlfriend was with another guy on the day she died. You could say she was cheating on him right till her death. How would you feel if your girl does that? The rest of the episode sees Nanami trying to get their class a room for the upcoming school festival (their class is doing a play, by the way) but was unsuccessful. But leave it to Yano’s smooth PR to get the job done.
 
Thus in most episodes, you’ll see the roller-coaster ride of Yano and Nanami’s relationship. The high and lows of what they go through to keep their fragile love intact. Of course there are other obstacles which would prevent them from moving on such as Yano’s past with Nana and the other characters which later would have some feelings for them. Therefore it’s quite interesting to see how it will all turn out in the end and what kind of path they choose to walk.
 
Summer holidays in episode 3 as the gang also work on their school festival. Here we get to see cute Nanami in her yukata. She also finds out from Takeuchi that today is the anniversary of Nana’s death so probably why Yano is feeling a little depressed. Looks like he hasn’t really gotten over her death yet. So Nanami makes a surprising visit to Yano’s house and since he didn’t allow her to enter and was just watching from his room window, she rings the doorbell like mad as Yano call her a degenerated woman and a stalker. But Nanami gets embarrassed when Yano’s mom soon opens the door and ‘sarcastically’ apologizes for making her wait. So it’s a little dangerous situation for a guy and a girl to be alone in the room and they nearly got caught because Yano’s mom just barged into the room without knocking. We also see a flashback of how Yano and Nana were an item. It seems that Nana’s ex-boyfriend, Kagawa, is an abuser, always hitting Nana. Gosh, she has the bruises and bumps to prove it! Why couldn’t she just leave that jerk? I don’t know, even she doesn’t. So after Yano beats the crap out of Kagawa and before they know it, they’re going out and even had sex after her graduation ceremony. But even if Yano made Nana promised him not to cheat on him, she didn’t hold on to it when that fateful day occurred. What a way to receive such horrible news on the day the accident happened. So I suppose it’s no surprise that Yano asks Nanami the meaning of happiness is.
 
The school festival is getting closer in episode 4 and Yano shows his irresponsible side by not showing up for practices. But I’m not sure if he’s a genius or not seeing that he did quite well on the first try of the practice when he finally show up. So on the day itself, Yano seems to have forgotten his lines, which sends everyone into panic because all their hard effort will be wasted! But never fear because Yano improvised his lines although they are so bloody comical, the audience had a good time laughing and enjoyed the play very much. You could say it was a successful failure on his part. After the festival ended, everyone did some parade outside school. The usual Yano teasing and Nanami "You’re a jerk" response and attitude. But they got separated and Nanami finds herself looking for Yano. He finds her and glues back a crystal ring (which she bought for herself earlier on) that broke off. She then says "I love you" before the duo kissed. Is such public display of affection illegal or embarrassing? Oh heck, seize the chance while they can.
 
Of course by now, word has spread to Mizu-chin and Taka-chan that Nanami has kissed Yano in episode 5 as they pester her for details. Jealous? Also, Nanami is to go on a council meeting but since she overslept in class, she completely missed it but luckily Yano covered and went on her behalf. Later the duo go on their first date which includes the mandatory going to the movies. Then she asked him what he wanted for a Christmas present and his reply was her. Is he joking? He can’t be since he sounded so serious. So later as they hold their warm hands, Nanami asks him once more what he really wants for a Christmas present. So he tells her that as long as she is with him, he doesn’t need one. Because of that, Yano makes her promise never to leave him and never to betray him as they hug.
 
Nanami waits for Yano for another outing in episode 6 but since she arrived too early, she takes a look at a nearby jewellery shop. Nanami is being assisted by the shop’s pretty assistant, Ayaka, when Yano comes in and recognizes her as Takeuchi’s elder sister. Since they are Takeuchi’s pals, she offers them a discount on a ring which eventually Yano buys for Nanami (even if Yano is still broke or will take many years to clear of its instalment payments). In school Nanami finds out from Takeuchi that Ayaka is a guy! Holy cow! Probably why Takeuchi never had a girlfriend. And Nanami though he had sister complex (while his other buddy thought he was gay!). Meanwhile Yano and Yuri had a little confrontation when Yano notices the scarf on Yuri which once belonged to Nana. Well it was Yuri’s to begin with since her sister had a bad habit of borrowing and never returning things. Yano grabs her scarf and says how both sisters are the same when she tells him how Nana was the one who threw him out. But Yuri responds back by telling him not to group her the same as her late sister. Later as Yano and Nanami are waiting for their bus home, they kissed not giving a damn about the on looking public. Later in school, Yuri lost her balance on the stairs but luckily Yano caught her. A short flashback sees that Yuri and Yano did have some sort of relationship albeit a short one. Yeah, they kissed and even held hands while burning that scarf…
 
In episode 7, Yano decides to stalk Nanami after she said she can’t go out on a date with him because she’ll be accompanying Mizu-chin and Taka-chin to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Actually, Nanami had asked Takeuchi to go out with her so that he could help her choose a gift for Yano. Because of that, Yano ignores her. Like when he was walking too fast for her to catch up, Nanami got fed up and threw the birthday present at his back. Tears swell up in Nanami’s eyes so Yano had to go comfort her as he finds out his present is some hat and wears it immediately. In school, Nanami is feeling worried since the new sitting arrangement has Yano sitting next to Yuri. Previously, Yuri sat next to Nanami. Everyone is surprised when Yuri lends Yano her textbook when the latter forgot to bring it because everyone was pretty sure Yuri hated him. Then Nanami invites Yano to her home this coming Sunday since her parents won’t be around. Would he miss this opportunity? Come Sunday, Yano must be disappointed because Nanami’s mom is there too. So much for privacy. Of course in the room together, they’re nearly busted when Nanami’s mom barges in without knocking. Hehe. So after really leaving them both alone, Nanami asks Yano about his past relationship with Yuri since that topic is troubling her. But since he didn’t say anything, this is making her feel uncomfortable.
 
Yano is ‘saved’ from answering that question when Nanami’s mom barges in once more in episode 8. I’m sure Nanami must be feeling jealous due to his suspicious behaviour. There’s this funny part in class whereby the teacher is asking Yano to translate a Japanese sentence "I want to make friends with her" into English. Yano had a hard time and after a few tries he finally said "I want to f*ck her!". OMG! He actually said that F-word, sending the whole class bursting into laughter! Nanami must be feeling embarrass because she thinks he’s really trying to hold in his perverted side (yeah, part of the meaning of love is sex to that guy). So because Nanami thinks that Yano has had sex with Nana before, she acts cold towards him (there’s a short clip which shows Yano probably doing it with Yuri after her sister’s demise too!). Later when Yano and Nanami goes back to the latter’s house to study, Nanami’s mom is out shopping so Nanami is horrified that the duo are alone and thinks Yano has tricked her as part of his scheme to get back at her. The usual bickering and tenseful distant atmosphere when Nanami says how she knows of Yano’s sex with Nana. He admits it and Nanami didn’t blame him for it. Yano wished that he could rewrite history if he’s able to stop Nanami from crying. Then when Nanami says how she’s willing to have sex with him, Yano is taken aback and thinks she’s joking but that deadpan seriousness on her face tells it all.
 
Episode 9 continues with the duo stripping and preparing to have sex. Funny thing is that Yano is already in his boxer’s while Nanami just took off her outer jacket. You call that stripping and getting naked? So with Nanami’s advice to undress her, he did just that and he tells her if she feels pain, just raise her hand and he’ll stop. Is this heaven? Nanami has lots of things going through her mind when she suddenly felt some pain and is brought back to reality. She raises her hand but Yano just tells her to endure it. What the?! But that is cut short when they heard Nanami’s mom opening the gates as they quickly put back their clothes back on and Yano leaves straight away. Sex, interrupted. Later Yano tells her that he didn’t penetrate her at all. So I guess it must be all in her mind. In class, Yano is trying to sell his stuff to other classmates so that he could save some money and bring Nanami to a love hotel. But Nanami wanted to go somewhere special like Disneyland to ‘do it’ so I guess the cost just went up, eh? Better start saving at this rate. I don’t think Nanami’s piggybank savings will be enough too. Later in class, Nanami accidentally drop Yuri’s books and notices a photo of Yano and Nana in it. She wonders why Yuri has it when the latter comes back. Yuri goes over her stuff and notices her precious picture is missing and it seems Nanami has taken them.
 
Yuri tries to search for that photo high and low in episode 10. Nanami feels guilty about taking it during the spur of the moment but fears Yuri’s wrath if she finds out. Yano then comes by to ask Nanami to lend her a textbook which he has forgotten to bring. Nanami realized too late that the photo she stole was in that textbook and during class, that photo fell out. Yuri then says how that photo is hers and requests Yano to give it back. But Yano think this is some sort of harassment and rips it instead, leaving Yuri in tears. Later Nanami tells Yano how she was the one who took that photo so Yano gives her a good lecture on the bad points of taking things from others without their permission. Another low point in their relationship. Then Nanami gets a call from Yano’s friend to head over to Takeuchi’s place to celebrate his birthday. But when she hears Yano’s voice telling her not to come before immediately slamming the phone down, this pisses her off and she has got to come to tell of that jerk. Nanami arrives with Mizu-chin as she has bought a sea urchin strap for Takeuchi. Yano is still acting up and throws it out of the window. Nana splashes a glass of water in his face and tells him off before storming out. Yano chases her and manages to calm her down when he tells her what he threw out was just a peanut. He admits he was jealous and that he didn’t want her being friendly with other guys. Meanwhile Yuri is seen pasting back that torn photo. As Yano chats with Nanami at the former’s house, Yano’s mom tells him that he has got a visitor. To his surprise, Yano sees Yuri standing at the gates asking him whether he wants to know why Nana was with Kagawa on the day she died.
 
We are told of that flashback in episode 11. It seems earlier on that day Yano and Nana had a fight. Yuri noticed how Nana was eagerly looking at her handphone hoping that Yano would call or message her but it never happened. So when Nana was out shopping, she happened to meet Kagawa who gives her a ride after wishing her happy birthday. So it was her birthday too. In present time, Yano is sceptical and thinks Yuri has some revenge on her mind. Nanami wants to come out but Yano locks her in saying that she has nothing to do with this. It’s confirmed that Yuri and Yano did engaged in sex but perhaps she thought she was a substitute to her sister which Yano couldn’t forget nor let go. When Yuri leaves, Nanami comes out but she is unhappy since Yano treated her like an outsider and leaves too. Yano chases her but she smacks him in the face with her bag. Nanami feels he has betrayed her and calls him a liar but Yano begs to differ because he didn’t throw her away. Nanami left and it seems Takeuchi has witnessed it all. Next day at school, Takeuchi advises Yano to tell Nanami the truth. Yano tries his best to break the ice with Nanami which he eventually succeeds. Finally he tells her which one of the 3 statements are true. The 3rd one turned out to be Yano had sex with Yuri. Nanami starts crying and Yano starts to feel regret over what he did.
 
Because of that, Nanami doesn’t want to see Yano as she ignores him in episode 12. But of course she can’t stay mad at him forever so they eventually made up. So to make things up, Nanami has Yano take her out to the beach. It seems like they’re the happiest couple in the world and all those problems never occurred until Nanami feels something tickling her hands. She thinks it’s Yano at first but lets out a scream after finding out it was a sea bug. Yano then remembers how Nana too hated bugs. Memories of Nana began to flow through his head as he shed a tear, Nanami realized that Yano hasn’t really let go of Nana and still loves her deep down in her heart. He then says how he wished she was here so that he could forgive her. Bad move. Nanami then knew she couldn’t keep up with it anymore and dumps him. Uh huh. So much for her earlier pledge about making Yano happy. Looks like she can’t if he still clings on to the past. Even later when Yuri asks Yano if he wants any comfort, he just sarcastically smile and leaves.
 
So they’re now separated in episode 13 even if Yano didn’t agree to break up. Even if they have not talked to each other for a week and acting like total strangers, you can feel that awkward feeling between them. Takeuchi notices Nanami’s gloominess and invites her to his house to cheer her up with some puppies. He tells her to take one home since his family doesn’t allow pets. Yano on the other hand went to some hook-up party organized by his other pals and a naughty girl accidentally erased his handphone pic of Nanami. The one he took after the festival and in her yukata. Obviously he’s pissed. Then the odd thing is that, in 2.30 in the morning, Yano sneaks into Takeuchi’s room to blab about those horrible girls and bug him if he has a spare picture of Nanami in a yukata! Can’t believe how desperate this guy is. Sleepy Takeuchi says he doesn’t have it anymore. Since it’s been a year already, the time has come for another round to discuss what they should do for their upcoming school festival. As usual, Yano gave a good suggestion. To do a Disneyland. Impossible? What the heck, it sounds better than the usual cafe or haunted house. But the episode ends with a shocker because it seems Takeuchi tells Yano how he is serious in making Nanami his girlfriend too! All the while I guess he has some feelings for Nanami but chose to protect his friendship with Yano instead. But now it’s a different story…
 
I guess Yano is starting to panic when he learns that his best friend too has a liking for his girlfriend, even if they’ve broken up. So we see in episode 14 Takeuchi talking to Nanami at the riverbank while Mizu-chin plays with the puppy. Yano tries all sorts of stuff to try and find them and even resorts to calling Ayaka. But Takeuchi knew of Yano’s tactic and hung up when Ayaka called. So when Yano eventually meets up with Takeuchi and issues him a stern warning that he’ll personally kill him if he lays a finger on Nanami, Takeuchi isn’t worried because he’s prepared for it. As everyone prepares for the school festival, we find that Yano’s Disneyland proposal has been shot down and will do a cafe instead. Yano tries to be helpful around Nanami but she ‘exiles’ him to help out faraway for the cafe. Looks like Nanami still feels uncomfortable around Yano but I don’t think that guy is willing to give up just yet.
 
Nanami and Mizu-chin are at the night festival trying their hands out at the tortoise scooping in episode 15 and are impressed by a man who does 1 try and gives it to them free. But Takeuchi appears to bring them away after saying not to disturb his girlfriend. Later he reveals that it was some sort of scam to get them buy expensive feed to maintain the tortoise. After Nanami goes back to her friends, Yano and Takeuchi had another chat about Takeuchi’s going to make his move on Nanami and Yano is not going to lose to him. But I’m not sure because of their rivalry because Takeuchi even mentions how he views his friendship with Yano is more important than his family. The school festival starts and we see Yano’s rip-off cafe menu raking in the profits! Ayaka visits their cafe and offers some advice to Nanami about how a new love is required to replace and forget the old love (Yano tried to interrupt but was unsuccessful).
 
Takeuchi is going to confess to Nanami in episode 16 but Yano plays dirty by getting some of his pals to lock Takeuchi up in a class! Yano tries to find Nanami but she is in fact hiding from them both because she doesn’t know what kind of answer to give them. Eventually Takeuchi manages to break free from his imprisonment and goes to find Nanami. Who will find her first? Well, both the guys found each other. Since neither is going to give way, they broke into a fight. Luckily Mizu-chin was there to stop them as she tells them how Nanami is unable to give them an answer now. Nanami is hiding in a classroom and it seems Takeuchi knows she’s in there so he tells her from behind the door and advises her to follow her heart and go find Yano (is he giving up?). Nanami finds Yano lying on the grass outside and tells him that they could get back together if he’d just tell her everything about Nana from his own mouth. That’s it? That’s all it’s going to take? Takeuchi then turns up and says that if he isn’t serious about it, then he doesn’t deserve her. Not only that, Takeuchi surprises Yano by showing that handphone pic of Nanami in her yukata. Yeah, he lied and has it all along.
 
In episode 17, Yano convinces Nanami to go out on a date with him because he’s going to tell everything about Nana but to his disappointment, Takeuchi too tags along. Due to that, Yano didn’t spill a thing. Noticing that Nanami was just making Yano telling all about Nana was just something to make her feel better, he tells her to go back to Yano. Yano goes to Nanami’s place and shows her the puppy he got from Takeuchi as part of his plan to win Nanami back. He named in Lalami? As they took a stroll at the riverbank, we find out that Yano has never met his real father before and was probably born out of wedlock. Which means his current dad is his stepfather instead. This made Nanami even more indecisive and confused on what to do. Yano goes home to see his mom doing some gardening. He has a flashback of how he tried to train himself to be the best swimmer like his dad but he eventually gave up. Yano sends Nanami a message to meet up as he is ready to tell everything.
 
Their date in episode 18 begins at the movies but just like the bickering couples they once were, they’re arguing about the popcorn toppings! During the movie, Yano tells Nanami Nana’s profile but it seems they aren’t the answers she’s seeking for. But rather his feelings for her and any impressions after going out with her. On their way home, they got into another argument as Nanami feels that he’s still not answering her question. Nanami leaves in her upset but slips on the autumn leaves and feels how she doesn’t understand his feelings anymore. Once they reached Nanami’s doorstep, Yano reveals everything on what happened that day. How they quarrelled on the smallest thing on what to do on her birthday. But he never got the chance to reply back because she died so soon. He also says how the woman he always wanted the most kept running away from him (referring to both the Nanas, I presume) and that the most important person now is her. As Yano leaves, Nanami then says how she thinks Nana still loves him a lot, how she’s regretting for leaving you behind, how she’s watching him from heaven. She rushes over to him as they both hug. She also says how Nana did love him but lost the chance to do so. As Yano stood crying and apologizing how he couldn’t make her happy, Nanami says, "Yano… you passed…". Looks like she has forgiven him and he is free from his past.
 
Yano and Nanami are back again in episode 19. But that’s not the end of their problems yet. Yano bumps into Takeuchi on the bus and there is an awkward atmosphere between them. It seems Takeuchi isn’t giving up on Nanami either. So much so the duo had some horse vault jumping competition among each other. Yeah, they’re trying to outdo each other with super flips, spins and somersaults during gym class. It could’ve been a tight finishing if not for the teacher stepping in and Takeuchi having a backache. Back at Takeuchi’s home, Ayaka comes to give him some advice on love, which sometimes isn’t really a fair game and that one may sometimes have to resort to stealing other people’s love. Yeah, if you really want something, you have to go all out and fight for it. But Ayaka leaves him to figure out something about it and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t deserve it. But at the end of this episode, Yuri comes in to class without wearing her glasses and is on contacts. Everybody must be real surprised. Even a person like her which everyone least expects to, do undergo some changes. I must say she does look different and a little cuter.
 
Takeuchi unwillingly goes out to accompany another buddy of his for a hook-up party in episode 20 and finds out a girl named Chisa is quite interested in him since she didn’t get to talk to him at the previous one. Takeuchi agrees to go out with her for test period of 1 month. Then a funny part is that Yano is sleeping and probably dreaming something kinky on Nanami as he sleep talk. But when he opens his eyes, he saw 2 of his friends in his room, trying to prepare his place to celebrate Takeuchi’s new girlfriend. Can they just go in as they like as though it’s their home? Of course Yano leaves for his date with Nanami which includes taking her to a pet shop. In school, I’m sure people have some annoying comments about Yuri’s new look but Yano calms her down with his suave talking and tells her how contacts don’t fit her as it is causing her eyes to be red like a rabbit. Then during gym class, Yano and Takeuchi got physical over the latter’s girlfriend and could’ve gotten worse if Nanami didn’t come in. Yeah, they’re both trying to fake friendship and cover up their lameness. Uh huh. Takeuchi’s got strands of Yano’s hair in his palm while Yano licks Takeuchi’s bleeding arm. That night, Yano meets Nanami out in the park as they talk over Takeuchi’s new girlfriend. He notices her wet hair and gives her his sweater before hugging her and realizing she’s not wearing any bra. After more romantic talk like how they’d wish they’d be like this together forever, they kissed under the starry sky.
 
The duo plans another date in episode 21 and this time they may just ‘do it’. Yeah, Yano is seen buying some condoms at the mart as precaution. While Yano waits at the bus stop, he gets a call from Yuri who is frantically saying how her mom suddenly collapsed. I’m not sure what this guy is thinking because he decides to go accompany Yuri at the hospital and ditch his date with Nanami! Of course Nanami who is waiting out in the cold snow is pissed off that he has chosen someone else over her even if there are no romantic feelings. After all the hard work to get their relationship to this point, it’s going down the drain again. Even if Yano tells Nanami to go home, she tells him to come this instant and that she’ll not be budging till he arrives. Yano knows that Nanami is a stubborn girl and gets Takeuchi to call her on his behalf (after getting some scolding from him too, that is). Yano arrives at the hospital and Yuri seems shaky, though her mom is in stable condition now. She is grateful and wants to do something in return for him but Yano declines. As Yano leaves, Yuri then blurts out how she has always liked him all these time. OMG! Yano couldn’t believe his ears as he walks away looking stunned while Yuri could only weep. Meanwhile Takeuchi is dating Chisa but tells her that he has something important to do (read: he dumps her) as he goes to Nanami still waiting out in the cold. He vows not to make her sad. By the time Yano reaches the place, Nanami is nowhere in sight. Too late boy.
 
Takeuchi brings Nanami home in episode 22. Yano soon arrives by taxi and tries to explain but the damage is done and Nanami doesn’t want to hear anymore. He stood outside her house ringing her doorbell but she continues to ignore him so he finally gives up and goes home. Next day in class, Yano tries once more but Nanami shoves him and since he was weakened due to last night’s cold, he collapsed. Yano is recuperating at home when Yuri comes by to visit him but Yano isn’t amused and tells her to leave. As she does, she meets Nanami who is just coming in. Nanami then tells her not to see Yano anymore but Yuri raises her voice back at her saying that she knows more and longer about Yano than she does. Yuri leaves when Takeuchi comes by. Yano spots Takeuchi and talks to him (Nanami hidden between the leaves so he couldn’t see her). Yano says how he had hurt Nanami and for the first time is nervous and had no confidence about their relationship. After closing his window, Nanami rushes off with Takeuchi chasing her but she says not to take advantage of her during her weakest moment by being a nice guy. Takeuchi then says how he’ll make her happy and protect her (figuring out what Ayaka had meant to tell him). Finally, Yano gets to know from his mom that she is getting a divorce and moving to Tokyo as a friend of hers offered her a job there. Oh no. Does this mean Yano has to move too?
 
Yano finds out that Takeuchi did confessed his feelings to Nanami while the former’s out sick in episode 23. Meanwhile Nanami is getting some advice on what to do from Mizu-chin. The rest of the episode focuses on Yano and his mom as they talk on how mommy was never a good planner in life. Just like giving birth to Yano. But even so, he was the reason she was happy and glad that she didn’t decided to abort him that time, which turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Thus she always wants her son to be happy. Then at school, Yano asks Nanami to walk with him back home but she refuses so he goes off alone. But Mizu-chin tells Nanami that she shouldn’t make things worse as it is now because one day there’ll be somebody else who will take Yano away. And speaking of which that day may come too soon. As Nanami watches through the window, Yano is ploughing through the snow, she spots Yuri trying to catch up to him but trips. Yano then offers his hand to help her up. Better act fast Nanami or he’ll be gone…
 
In episode 24, Yano finds out that his mom couldn’t afford to move to Tokyo with such high living expenses so he suggests doing part time to help out but she disagrees and wants him to concentrate in studying to enter a university. Later Yano speaks with Takeuchi and doesn’t want him to tell Nanami of his moving as it will make her even sadder. Even Yano’s moving seems to worry Takeuchi. Ayaka thinks it’s good since Nanami will be all his with Yano gone. In class everyone are discussing their preferred universities and to Yano’s horror, Nanami seems to have chosen one in Sapporo instead of the one in Tokyo (because at that way, they could still be together. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone…). Though Nanami is upset by Yano’s words, Takeuchi goes over to Nanami’s place and tell her that Yano is moving and says that she is the only one who can prevent him from doing so. Because of that, she heads over to his place to confess that she still loves him (you don’t know what you’ve got till you lose it) and will respect whatever decisions he made as they reconciled. The next day the duo continue to discuss what universities they are to attend and Nanami vows to do her best to enter it and support Yano too.
 
It’s good to see Yano and Nanami spending some time together in episode 25. But even if Yano’s mom is moving (on 24th December to be precise), it’s not like Yano will be following her. So at first. There’s lots of uncertainty between Yano, Nanami and Takeuchi in this episode and Nanami is certain that she can’t imagine a world without Yano and probably regrets telling him to go as she breaks down. Even Yano has a weird dream about Nanami saying she regretted something and asks her about it but she just brush it aside saying that it was just a dream. Later when Yano asks Nanami out on a date to the zoo for Christmas, she is delighted because she thinks Yano decides to stay. But her hopes vanished when she finds out that their Christmas is a week early. Then Yano tells her that he is following his mom to Tokyo. Nanami starts to cry as they hug each other.
 
We find out that Yano made a deal with his mom that he will go to Tokyo with her if she gives him an allowance of 20,000 Yen to spend on his girlfriend for a day in episode 26. I guess this his last chance saloon to make memories with her. So on the night of the date, Nanami spots a new haircut. Yeah, she’s cut it short and got it a little wavy. Yano thinks she looks very cute (I still prefer Nanami with her long hair, though). So the duo do what couples do on their dates. Hold hands, eat, play that toy crane machine and took a photo of themselves. They should’ve been doing stuff like this all the while and not because somebody is leaving. At the end of their date when Yano says how he loves Nanami, she gets teary and makes a promise with him to meet at Tokyo a year from now. Until then, she also promises not to fall for anyone else. The next day, Nanami tells Takeuchi her answer. Sorry boy, Yano won. Though he doesn’t look disappointed, but the way he says things indicate that he isn’t giving up yet. Also, Yuri is telling her mom how she’s going to study in a college in Tokyo because there’s something she want more than anything else in the world. Not going to give up too, eh? The day for Yano to depart soon arrives as his friends gather to bid him farewell at the train station. The usual friendly rivalry chat between Yano and Takeuchi with the latter saying that if Yano lets his guard down, he’ll not hesitate to steal Nanami away. Finally Nanami gives an emotional farewell speech as Yano hugs her before his train leaves. As the train moves, Nanami starts chasing after it as tears well up in her eyes as well as Yano’s. It’s such as heartbreaking scene. Even their pals could only look on and Yuri is even to watch them albeit from a distance and behind a pillar. Thus the final narration of why this series is named so. With all their countless feelings, leaning on each other’s strengths and weaknesses, as they lived here, yes indeed, they were here.
 
Well if you really want to find out more about what will happen to our lovebirds and their pals around them, you’ll just have to continue reading the manga. For me, I’m stopping here. So Yano and Nanami decide to do some long distance relationship? I’m just glad that in the end it worked out find between those two. At times it was really heart wrenching to see how Nanami and Yano deal with their emotions. I’m sure they’ve learned a lot through their ups and downs. Yeah well, love isn’t an easy thing in the first place. If it was, we wouldn’t be fighting with each other through meaningless wars for ages, wouldn’t we?
 
Yuri was the least person that I would expect to have feelings for Yano. It never really crossed my mind. Probably all the while she was just in denial, hiding her feelings for him until it couldn’t hold anymore and thus boom, it explodes. Some viewers dislike her character and view her as an obstruction between Nanami and Yano. Just like her dead sister too. Maybe it’s because Nana gave a cheating impression just before her demise and that’s why viewers hated her and wish she’d just die. Oh wait. She’s already dead in the anime ;p. It’s a good thing Yano managed to overcome her eventually. Hopefully Nanami could be the new and even better Nana in Yano’s life. Hey, Nanami and Nana are 2 different people and I shouldn’t view Nanami as Nana’s replacement. Though the near similarity of their names sometimes confuses me. As for Takeuchi, I suppose he’s facing a dilemma whether to protect his friendship with Yano or go with his feelings for Nanami. Can’t have both, right? Although Nanami made it clear at the end, there is no sign he’s giving up just yet. Can he willingly wait for 5 years or possibly 10 if Nanami and Yano ever breaks up? Is he willing to wishfully wait and hope that day of his will never come? Anyway I find he’s a nice guy and that’s what friends should generally be.
 
I like the voice acting of Nanami, who is voiced by Nozomi Sasaki (Patricia in Lucky Star). She did quite a good job in making her sound cute, dreamy and shaky at times. You can’t help that even if she’s confused, upset, in panic or starts scolding, she sounds very cute! The other casts don’t really have a long list to their resumes and are relatively unknown seiyuus like Hiroshi Yazaki as Yano, Erina Nakayama as Yuri (Lily C Sherbet of Galaxy Angel Rune), Takujii Kawakubo as Takeuchi and Yurin as Nana. Mizu-chin is voiced by Kaori Shimizu (Akira in School Rumble series) and has a slightly longer voice acting roles than the rest.
 
The opening theme is called Only You by Mi and sounds like a generic pop song for such a generic series. However, I noticed that there are many ending themes for this series. Nine of them actually. Each taking turns being played for each episode. Some lasting for several episodes (may not necessarily be in consecutive episodes) while some just for a single episode. They can range from slow ballads to faster beats. You can tell that the ending is coming up because it’ll start during the several final few seconds of the episode and even spills over till the next episode preview is over. However I want to note that some of the ending songs are being used as insert songs during the episodes. The thing which caught my attention was that most of these insert songs were going just "La la la la la la la…" the whole way! No other words!
 
The drawing and art may not appeal to those who prefers contemporary Japanese drawing as this one seems simple and the colouring a little light and thus ‘bleached’. Because of so, sometimes I have a little problem of differentiating between Yano and Takeuchi because they look close to each other in a certain light. Another thing I want to mention about the drawing is that I know that animes usually have the habit of not drawing the character’s eyes due to certain conditions. But here, at times they just draw only 1 eye of the character even though viewers have a full view of their faces. It looks odd at first and seems like they forgot to draw it. But I got used to it. Of course there are moments when the characters go chibi during comical moments, that’s to be expected.
 
Though appearing in only a handful of episodes, there is a comical mid-intermission hosted by Mizu-chin and Taka-chan entitled Watashi-tachi Mo Ita (We Were Here Too). In terms of the comical aspects, this is the best one and I’m always looking forward to it as it features how the duo rant about the relationship between Yano and Nanami to Mizu-chin’s unrequited love and desperate pleas to get a boyfriend. Haha. I just love the one whereby Mizu-chin sang a short outburst of the "Come On My Love" doo-wop.
 
For those who don’t mind a slow paced romance theme, maybe this anime is worth checking out. There are several slice of life sayings relating to love in this anime but I can’t really remember them. It goes to show that love itself isn’t a smooth ride. It takes a lot of trial and error, perseverance, give and take. Even so, one may not fully understand it. But I guess that’s what makes life interesting. Since I haven’t experienced it myself, can’t really say, "Been there, done that". All I can say is that "I was here", watching this anime…
 

Bokura Ga Ita

Himawari!

May 2, 2009

One of the lesser known ninja genre animes is Himawari! Of course when you say ninja anime, many anime otakus would surely think of Naruto or Ninja Gaiden at least comes to mind. Because of so, you can’t really blame that this series is not as popular as the other ninja themed animes as they easily overshadow this one. Since this is a short anime series which spans only 13 episodes, I guess I decided to check it out since I read that there is a few comedy and adventure in it. Not to mention a little fanservice ;p.
 
I’m not really a fan of ninja animes so I’m not sure if this is the only series which focuses on a kunoichi ninja. What’s that you ask? A kunoichi refers to a female ninja and their training which they undergo is much different from the male ninjas. For instance, their training basically uses their gender to their advantage. Like disguising as a geisha so that they could be close to their target and poison them. Generally that’s what a kunoichi is but you won’t get to see this kind of stuff in this anime.
 
In this series, there is a kunoichi school called Shinobi Gakuen right smack in the middle of the Village Of Mist. Where’s that? Heck, I don’t know. Since stealth is part of the kunoichi and ninja’s way, I guess we’ll never know. One of the many would-be students of Shinobi Gakuen, Himawari Hinata, a lively but klutzy girl is seen arriving at Shinobi Gakuen, soaring through the skies with her giant kite in episode 1. Why is she so keen on becoming a kunoichi? The episode opener sees her being rescued by a mysterious ninja while she was hibernating in some test tube in some large hi-tech plane, which is on the verge of crashing. The only clue Himawari has to this saviour of hers is a little odd shuriken mark on the back of his neck. What happens after that is anybody’s guess because Himawari soon faints.
 
In present time, Himawari is having trouble controlling her kite. At the same time, a new teacher named Hayato Marikouji has just arrived before the steps of the Village Of Mist. I guess this place has a scary reputation so much so the taxi driver just dump his bags and leave right away. Hayato then spots Himawari spiraling out of control and his instincts tells him to borrow a nearby bicycle and save her. Hmm… How does he pedal so fast in such a bumpy path? Himawari soon gets entangled and trapped on Shinobi Gakuen’s entrance shrine and when Hayato arrives, everybody is just like watching. Hayato proceeds to climb up the shrine to bring her down but Himawari soon fell off. With sheer luck, Hayato manages to do some acrobatic move to save Himawari and bring her down. Note that Hayato is just an ordinary guy and that feat itself was actually mind blowing. Himawari is grateful and then spots the shuriken mark on his neck and thinks Hayato is her saviour. Thus she proclaims him to be her master (nothing kinky okay) and will do anything to protect him. Of course Hayato doesn’t know what she’s talking about and is reluctant about this master thingy.
 
We are introduced to several other characters in this episode. Let me go over Himawari’s so called ‘friends’. This quartet at first don’t really like Himawari and Hayato seeing that she’s not a pure bred test tube ninjas with superior genes like them. But as the story progresses, you’ll see that they form some kind of bond. First, there’s the information specialist Azami. Why information specialist is because she tends to start most of her sentences with "According to my information…". Where she sources it from is anybody’s guess. Then there’s the bespectacled Shikimi who is quite knowledgeable in medicine and herbs. Thirdly, a wild crazy one named Himeji. She speaks with some sort of accent and ends her sentences with "~de arimasu" (no relation with that Keron invader, though). She’s some sort of weapon expert and don’t really hesitate to use them or just to have her ‘fun’ (dig her wooden machine guns!). Finally the loli of the pack is Yusura whose specialty is communication with animals. You can guess by her animal-like outfits as she sometimes make references or similes with animals in them. Yusura has a little pink cat (I think) named Momota. The funny thing about this ever-smiling cheeky creature with a peach-like butt is that it likes to give off its smelly fart while snickering! As for Himawari, she loves to watch some ninja drama show called The Shinobis and sometimes quote lines from the show or uses its examples during training or faced in some situation. Then there’s the principal of Shinobi Gakuen, Yatsugashira, who is a weird looking lady who has a weird mechanical life-size doll, Yotarou, to carry her around. As for the other teaching staff, some look so weird that you may think this is some cosplay school.
 
As the story progresses, you’ll wonder if Hayato is really the man who saved Himawari because he’s quite whinny and well, normal. Not only that, he’s so poor so much so that his biggest concern is his next meal. So why did he take up this job? It seems he had lent some buddy of his 2 million Yen and he stood him up. Until he saw some recruitment sign to be a teacher in the Village Of Mist with a salary of that amount, I guess it could make any guy jump straight in without thinking. I wanted to make a comment out of Hayate No Gotoku but couldn’t come up with any, if you know what I mean. Oh yeah, Hayato will soon learn that his 2 million Yen salary is like easy come easy go. Uh huh, there are so many silly expenses while living in the village which is being minus out from his salary, Hayato is left with close to nothing. Also since he doesn’t possess any ninja skills, his job is to teach the kunoichi girls general knowledge so that they have an idea of the workings of normal society when they graduate. Seriously, are ninjas still in demand? Well, not if you consider stealthy assassinations of high political figures as your line of work.
 
In this episode, since the quartet isn’t really fond of Hayato, they decide to test him by tying him onto a railway track and an oncoming train (Hayato thinks of quitting since he found the job unsuitable). Lucky the train changed course to another track or else Himawari won’t have enough time to untie him. Hayato continues to leave but finds that wherever he turn, he comes back right into the village. Just like Hotel California. You can check in but you can’t check out. Yeah, even a friendly chubby kappa named Yonezawa even told him so. Later the quartet confronts Himawari and wants her to leave because they think she’s not up to mark like them. However she refuses and so they have her to prove it. Thing is, Hayato has to do a William Tell by hitting an apple on Himawari’s head. Well, since he’s a good dart player, he’s confident. Not till Momota cheekily jumps on him when he throws the dagger right at Himawari’s head! Good thing is that Himawari did a body substitution technique with a tree trunk so rest assured she is safe. As the quartet acknowledges her, it looks like Hayato has to continue staying here. Partly he can’t get out and secondly he needs to recover his debts. And Himawari continues to pester him to be her master…
 
In each episode, you’ll tend to notice this sort of trend. The girls and Hayato in some adventure of theirs in which it’ll all end well. Other things viewers will notice are a mysterious pointed ear lady in kimono named Tsukiyohime who appears out of nowhere and seen enjoying her meal. Her role is some sort of a soothsayer as she shows whoever is looking into a miso soup, which will show the future outcome of certain events. Then there’s this ninja woman from some Shell Clan named Okashira (literally meaning boss) and her 2 kiddie subordinates Wabisuke and Sabisuke. Okashira seems to have some grudge on Hayato and wants to take revenge. However she is quite bungling and moronic. Whenever she puts her plans in motion, it ends up being screwed and suffering from it. You could say she provides short comic relief. Also, the gang seems to like hanging out in an okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) shop named Monjaya run by an uncle, Mansaku.
 
Shikimi searches for some herbs in episode 2 and because of that goes missing. The gang has to find her because as Hayato finds out a kunoichi cannot make contact with a boy or she’ll be punished. And if she falls in love, she’ll be expelled. Shikimi stumbles upon a rare herb when she also spots a male ninja Nanafushi injured and unable to move. She helps him out and he suggests they exchange herbs so that Nanafushi could heal his injured leg, much to Shikimi’s dismay. Since Nanafushi isn’t having any herbs, he has to go back and get it as promised to Shikimi. Nanafushi keeps his part of the deal as he and Shikimi meet on a tryst in the village. Soon news of Shikimi’s tryst comes to light and it’s pretty funny to see her pals trying to disguise as her to save her to convince Yatsugashira but failed miserably. Of course Shikimi tells Yatsugashira everything and wants a chance to erase Nanafushi’s memory instead. On the night which they’ll meet for the last time, they both already know it will turn out this way so they both exchange dangos and hairpin laced with memory erasing medicine. Shikimi was going to pin it on her head when Himawari appears. Sly Shikimi decides to stick it in Himawari’s head! Haha, so it’s Himawari who forgets instead. Though we won’t see Nanafushi for a while, you can sense that there’s some chemistry between him and Shikimi (even if she doesn’t admit it) and the other girls will mildly tease about it.
 
There is supposed to be some mecha competition between the girl’s and boy’s school in episode 3. So our girls will need to make a robot themselves and part of the game is to spy on the enemy camp as well. Since the teacher for the mecha department is away, you guessed it, Hayato is in charge. While Himawari is at Monjaya, she spots Azami and her suspicious actions indicate that she may be a spy for the boys! After the girls created a big robot and named it Eggplant, it’s time for the challenge the next day and they find the boy’s robot is much smaller. The objective is to collect as many missing statue heads and put it back to its original body. Depending on the head size, the points may vary. So we learn that big isn’t necessarily good because the girl’s mecha is so clumsy whereas the boy’s is more practical and fast. And to think the girls want to put everything into that machine when they know how the game works. Himawari spots Azami trying to give the boys clues so she tries to prevent the other girls from finding out. However they tell Himawari and Hayato that Azami is a boy! OMG! Hey, if she’s a guy, how come she can enrol in a kunoichi school? What about the expel rule? I’m confused. But I’ll still refer to Azami as a she. Not only that, they all are keeping quiet since Azami is playing double agents as her information could prove useful at times. Though the girls are catching up in points, there is a final head which will decide who’ll win. The girls win when Azami relay inaccurate information about the head, which turned out to be a watermelon.
 
Due to poor attendance in Hayato’s general class in episode 4, the kunoichis are to be grouped into groups of 5 each and if anyone breaks a rule, the whole group will be punished. Guess who’ll be part of Himawari’s group. In addition, Yatsugashira is leaving the school for a day for some health check-up. After seeing her off, Hayato spots a broken head of Yotarou in the woods. The other teachers spot him and think Hayato has done something bad and warns him to leave before Yatsugashira comes back because rumours say whoever messes with Yotarou will never be heard of again. Hayato packs his bags while Himawari tries to find the place where Yotarou’s blueprints in order to fix it back. The other girls have no choice but to tag along because of that punishment rule. Klutz Himawari goes through some creepy mansion filled with traps and if not of the other girl’s help, Himawari could’ve been toast. Meanwhile Hayato has been kidnapped and tied upside down by a drunk woman in the woods (I believe is one of the school’s many weird teachers). Then a male teacher caught Himawari (she’s trying to disguise by using her butt as a rock?!) but the girls save her again as they made the place on fire. As they run out, they follow Hayato’s screaming and manages to save him (that woman didn’t do anything weird, must be his fear which’s causing him to scream). Then they go back to the mansion to find several spares of Yotarou! With Hayato’s name cleared, Yusura lectures Hayato of Himawari’s mediocrity and the trouble she put all their lives in danger just to protect his job. Hayato’s class soon has full attendance but he might be thinking of quitting when the normal classroom turns into a danger-filled room. Hayato nearly died…
 
While Hayato despairs with his ever shrinking net salary, episode 5 is Valentine’s Day. Do kunoichis celebrate it too? Yatsugashira announces a new transfer student in Hayato’s class. She is Tsubaki Kazama and it seems she wants Hayato to be her master after she reads some scroll while coming out from Monjaya. Oh oh. Another rival for Himawari. Things are sure heating up. Of course Tsubaki seems better in terms of skill as compared to Himawari such as making chocolates. Even if Himawari confronts Tsubaki about Hayato being her master, Tsubaki seems to indicate polygamy as acceptable because she still will give Hayato her chocolates and doesn’t care if Himawari give him hers. But Himawari isn’t going to give up and continues to burn the midnight oil to make the perfect chocolates so she could give to Hayato first before Tsubaki. I think the quartet got a kick of watching this love rival so Shikimi and Yusura makes a bet with Azami and Himeji to see who will give Hayato their chocolates first. So it’s funny to see both sides trying to intercept each other to prevent the other side from winning and poor Hayato got caught in the middle. Then desperate Tsubaki makes a false smoke signal to distract other teachers of a war signal and to give Hayato her chocolates. Of course Himawari and the girls soon arrive and another round of duel since the bet is still in place. Tsubaki uses her giant kite to kidnap Hayato but accidentally drops him. Himawari sacrifices her chocolate shuriken to break his fall and pin him to a tree. We learn Tsubaki is from a masterless clan and according to the scroll Hayato is the one after she makes him eat her chocolates. Tsubaki admits defeat after seeing how Himawari risks her life to save Hayato from a fall and leaves but promise to return. While the other girls are splitting the bet into half at Monjaya, to Himawari’s dismay finds out that the Mansaku writes scrolls as a part time job and even scribbles on Himawari’s precious (but fake) scroll. But Hayato cheers her up as he eats her leftover shuriken chocolates and says how he has received them.
 
Himawari is feeling depressed in episode 6 after doing badly in a training. Azami suggests for her to go see a legendary sage in some cave so that she could be a powerful kunoichi. Yeah, Himeji is thinking of fighting with him. They manage to find him behind some waterfall and to their disappointment doesn’t look anything like legendary. However the sage is making the gang doing mediocre chores so much so they’re wondering its training or just a rip-off. Uh huh, he even made them do some performance. I don’t know if he’s faking illness because he says how he liked to see those maple autumn leaves like those of his hometown before he goes. However Himawari still believes him and tries to oblige with his wishes. Then I think Himeji is losing it because she burned the surrounding trees with her flame thrower so as to resemble those autumn leaves. She’s going crazy! But luckily Yonezawa is there to stop and lecture her. Then it occurred to me that Yonezawa is Yusura’s boyfriend! Wow. Himawari even tried to use Tsukiyohime’s illusion miso soup but that didn’t work because she didn’t want to teach her. Azami then tells Himawari how her info on the sage may be wrong because she fell asleep and dreamt of him at a mini shrine. But still, Himawari is bent on showing him. So the rest decide to make the maple leaves using paper colour. The sage sees them and is happy. He tells Himawari to leave him alone for awhile. But when she returns, he’s nowhere to be found. Tsukiyohime then says how he’s a spirit of an injured man who died at this spot long time ago and Himawari fulfilled his wish before returning to the next world. Even if he didn’t teach her any techniques, she did learn from his advice that those techniques are obtained and polished by training, act of foresight and careful preparation.
 
Himeji wants a clever pet like Momota in episode 7 but she wants a bigger and cooler one instead. Hayato is on his way back (usual complaining of getting involve in some training) when he trips and his head broke some stone seal! Wow, his head must be real hard. Likewise, Himeji stumbles into a cave and is saved by a mysterious robot. Ever since, Himeji is acting strange (like eating more than her huge portion and sneaking out with food at night) and Hayato thinks there’s a monster in the school grounds. It seems Himeji has got a pet of her own, that giant robot whom she named Kakunoshin. They’re getting along quite well and one thing which bugged me is that why does a robot need to eat human food? Fuel? Heard of oil then? Anyway the next disturbing scene sees Himawari dreaming of what might Hayato be doing something kinky to her. "Hayato-dono, please don’t. We can’t! I can’t… eat anymore". Yeah, she was sure dreaming about food. Then when news of Monjaya got destroyed during the night, everyone starts to believe that Hayato may have seen a monster. Himeji still believes that it isn’t Kakunoshin’s doing. So everyone stays on guard that night and another rampage occurs. Good thing the monster isn’t Kakunoshin but one named Giant Warrior. Yatsugashira chants a temporary barrier as she explains how the Giant Warrior is a result of fusing a soul with an inanimate body. They also learn that Hayato was the one who broke its seal and need to find a way to reseal it. Giant Warrior is making headway while Himeji tries to take on the giant herself with her wooden machine guns. Is she crazy? Well she is in the first place. Hayato pilots Eggplant to save her but was no match. Then Kakunoshin appears to protect Himeji and the giant robots engage in a fiery battle. Kakunoshin protects Himeji (who’s in tears asking him to stop) till the very end as Yatsugashira chants an incantation to seal it all as both robots fell over the cliff and disappear. The next morning a bed of flowers covered the cliffs and Himeji isn’t sad anymore as she wishes him farewell.
 
Himawari still slacks in disguise transformation in episode 8 when a teacher named Takechi disguises himself as Hayato in his class for lessons. Plus, Azami says nobody has ever seen Takechi’s real face. Himawari continues to persevere in her disguise techniques but since she isn’t doing well, she heads over to Yusura’s place for her opinion. Just to quote what Yusura said on Himawari’s weird dressing, "You call that a disguise? It’s just cosplay". Yusura is seen putting on cucumbers on her face, scaring the lights out of Momota. Soon a blackout occurs and one by one, Himeji, Yusura, Shikimi and Azami turned into chibi little kids after smelling some weird fragrance. Shikimi thinks there is an intruder who is after their genes in the school grounds because each of the girls has some suction mark on their neck. They suspect Takechi since he’s a master of disguise and to infiltrate the grounds without raising any suspicion. But as they confront Takechi (in the guise of Himawari) being little chibi kids, their powers are being suppressed and you know, they fall asleep easily. Kids must go to bed early. In the end, they managed to unmask the real culprit which is some foreigner ninja disguising as the school nurse. They easily pin him down. Meanwhile Takechi is reporting to Yatsugashira about the foiled plans of an enemy ninja to obtain superior genes from this school and that the blood samples of the quartet has been returned and they will return back to normal in 3 days. Then we see that weird shuriken mark behind Takechi’s neck. So he may be the one who saved Himawari! As for the chibi kids, they’re thinking of having fun first by jumping on Himawari before returning back.
 
There seems to be a young boy stalker around Himawari in episode 9. Everytime Himawari forgets to do something or does a mistake, it’ll be corrected but each time there’s a round flower pattern (Goshiki Mai) on the ground. So you could say that Himawari is receiving quite a good treatment when she receives her favourite dish to her dorm even without ordering it. Of course the quartet senses something amiss and did some investigation. Azami receives info from Nanafushi that the stalker may be a genius from the boy’s school who is playing truant. Himawari decides to meet him and puts some encryption on the ground for their meeting place. While the quartet is using Himawari stuff as bait to lure the stalker out but since he’s smart, he doesn’t fall for it and the poor girls waited for a long time. Till hungry Hayato picks up the Goshiki Mai and the quartet ambushed him. When Hayato learns of Himawari’s danger, he rushes to find her. Meanwhile the stalker, Komurasaki Ichimonji, meets Himawari and to cut things short, he admires her and I think he has a crush on her. As the duo chat, Hayato arrives and misunderstood that Komurasaki is trying to hurt Himawari so he tries to protect her. Komurasaki unleashes an attack but Himawari intercepts and got injured a little. She says she can’t forgive anyone who hurts her master. Komurasaki understood and decides to leave after thinking that she has dumped him. In class as Hayato and Himawari’s relationship improves, the quartet are fantasizing of a possible love rival in 5 years. Is Hayato jealous? Later Komurasaki is seen eating Himawari’s bitter and burnt bento as her favour repayment for his earlier deeds. Yeah, like he said, first love should be bittersweet.
 
The gang takes their midterm exams in episode 10 except for Shikimi who is out with a cold. Everyone including Shikimi turns up next day for the practical skills test. The kunoichis are to be grouped into teams of 6. We all already know who Himawari will end up with, right? But who is the 6th person to fill in their group? Why, it’s Tsukiyohime! Didn’t know she’s a student in the first place. However this test is quite different. The objective is that each group has a scroll which needs to be delivered to Yatsugashira waiting at the mountain top with the winner getting loads of points. But the person in the group who scores the lowest in the overall test will be forced to leave school. Gasp! So it’s every kunoichi for herself! All friendship down the drain! Everyone tries to make a head start in this no rules test. Though Shikimi is still ill, Himawari still looks out for her but the former is still cynical about it even if Himawari’s intention is true. So we see the gang unleashing all sorts of tricks from Himeji’s crazy guns to Yusura’s animal assistance (yeah, love Momota’s smelly fart technique). As the scroll change many hands, Shikimi finally has it in hers but got injured due to Yusura’s call of rampaging wild boars. Himawari can’t leave her and that’s when Tsukiyohime show up. A gust of wind appears from her miso soup as she disappears and takes the scroll to Yatsugashira and wins. That sly girl. Later Yatsugashira announces the results of the group and it seems there is one person who beat the rest by a single point. It’s Himawari! Would you believe it she scored perfect on Hayato’s general paper! Which means the other 5 are tied at the same score. Everyone is surprised, which means 1 of them has to drop out. However Yatsugashira says how they’re all cursed together with extremely bad luck and passes them all in this exceptional case. Hooray! What a relief. So the gang celebrates together with Tsukiyohime at Monjaya. So I guess Tsukiyohime made for all those absent classes by winning this one, eh? Did she see this coming? If she didn’t, she could’ve been the one who dropped out. Even so, Tsukiyohime still doesn’t attend classes and prefers to mysteriously appear here and there enjoying her meal.
 
The gang takes a field trip up to the snowy mountains in episode 11 and the funny part is that Himeji is afraid of the cold because she was born in the south pacific island. So in order to calm herself down, she hallucinates being in the sunny and sandy beaches and in the mean time goes crazy and takes off all her warm clothes in the middle of the snow! But this episode is more on Yusura and Momota. It seems Yusura has recently got into a fight with Yonezawa during their date because Momota couldn’t stand see Yusura being with someone else and interfered. So it’s either the kappa or the cat. Yusura chose. As the gang treks up the mountain, Momota spots Yonezawa and goes after him. Due to that, Momota went missing and this adds to Yusura’s worries because her pet will get sick if his bottom gets cold. So they split into groups of 2 and mount a search for it. We hear how Yusura saved Momota from a trap and they became separable ever since. During the search, Yusura and Himawari fell into a deep chasm. Good thing they found Momota but it’s starting to fall ill. Himawari tries to climb out but fails. Since Yusura doesn’t want it to end like this and wants to make up with Yonezawa, she uses her animal communication to ask several animals to bring help (should’ve done this in the first place). Meanwhile Yonezawa meets Tsukiyohime who shows him Yusura in danger as he rushes to save her. When everyone converges at the chasm, Hayato and Yonezawa is hyped up to get the duo out but lacks strength. Then I don’t know why, when they are given cucumber and fried eggs, the duo suddenly powers up to remove the boulder and free them. In the end as everyone enjoys a hot meal at the mountain top, Yusura and Yonezawa both reconcile and it looks like Momota doesn’t hate Yonezawa anymore.
 
Hayato is seen sneaking into Himawari’s room in episode 12. No, he didn’t turn into a lolicon. It’s just that his cheap and poor nature now takes him to a new level as he can’t afford to have a warm bath and it’s embarrassing that he has to borrow 1 of his student’s. But you know Himawari is so willing because he is her master. However, the duo got into their first quarrel over the water temperature. That’s it?! Later Hayato accidentally discovers a hotspring below a sacred sakura tree and takes a dip. The next morning, everyone is surprised to see the tree slide down due to a landslide. Hayato receives another transfer student, the seemingly shy Sakura who can’t seem to get Hayato’s name right. Himawari made friends with her but it seems Sakura is some sort of airhead, doing things she shouldn’t like doodling on the wall. So much so poor Himawari has to cover up for her. Then when a group of kunoichi are getting ready to battle fair and square over some rare melon bread, Sakura takes the whole tray and gives it to Himawari, earning the wrath of those girls. Since Himawari and Hayato still don’t see eye to eye, Hayato is saddened to learn his private hotspring is now occupied by Yonezawa. I guess he’s so poor that Hayato even demands some membership fee. But he gets an idea to find and dig a hotspring of his own (thinking of making big bucks here?). Hayato starts digging near a chimney of a crematorium but Sakura senses danger so in her anger she is going to make Hayato pay. While the girls are doing their research and stumble upon Hayato’s belongings, Tsukiyohime informs them that Hayato’s life is at risk. As Hayato research at a bookstore, a strange gust of wind whisks him away (it’s funny to see him like dancing) and onto several life threatening dangers like in front of a tractor but was saved by cheeky Momota (is that cat smoking?). Himawari goes in search of Hayato and finds him on the verge of being thrown of the cliff! Himawari’s will to protect him stuns Sakura and soon she gives up her vendetta. We learn that Sakura is some sort of sakura tree spirit and over time fell in love with the chimney and that’s why she wanted to protect it (both are some sort of deity which protects this village). Well, love works in mysterious ways. Sakura vanishes and reappears as a sakura tree around the chimney. As everyone takes a bath together in the open hotspring underneath the sakura tree, Yonezawa lectures Hayato and Himawari for being greedy and stubborn. Hayato and Himawari then make up.
 
After all that bungling and failures, Okashira is going to zoom in for the kill in episode 13. But first, she abducts Himawari and sends a note of their cave hideout to Hayato. The quartet actually knows of Okashira’s presence a long time ago but they deem her insignificant and not a threat. Haha, what an insult but how true. While Okashira and Sabisuke go out to find Hayato, Wabisuke has to watch over Himawari. As Himawari chats with Wabisuke, we see a flashback of how Okashira took the homeless twin orphans under her care. Thus the reason they stick with her and treated her as their master. Himawari manages to free herself when Wabisuke collapses. Then Hayato arrives and Okashira takes this chance to duel with him. Of course when Okashira says how he is the descendant of the tyrant Nobunaga who ravaged villages and killed innocent villagers, Hayato is still in the blur. Himawari then gets her strength to protect Hayato and gets even encouraged by his words when he says how it’s a master’s job to protect his students. Meanwhile the quartet are searching through Okashira’s hideout and finds out some ultimate deadly technique of the Shell Clan and thinks they have underestimated their enemy and that Himawari is in danger as they rush to her. The gang has Okashira cornered but us forced to back off when her subordinates held the upper hand. Then Azami says how Okashira has mistaken Hayato for being Nobunaga’s descendant. Taking out a family tree scroll, let’s just say he’s a bloody distant relative. A nobody, that is. Furthermore, the scroll is written by Mansaku! Okashira is horrified that she’s been on a wild goose chase all this time. Then Wabisuke collapses again. Later they find out it was due to hunger and after getting a meal from Tsukiyohime, he’s back to normal. Okashira then decides to drop her revenge for Wabisuke and Sabisuke’s sake and become some sort of wanderers. In the end, Hayato and Himawari underwent some master-servant ceremony officiated by Tsukiyohime which looked so much like a wedding. I guess the girls really do get a kick seeing the drama between the duo. Well, partly they say Hayato have to show some sign of apology for causing trouble to everyone. What a fine mess Hayato got into as he finds out their vow is eternal. Just like marriage, eh? But the end scenes show Takechi on a plane saying how the war has started.
 
With that kind of ending, there’s a 2nd season is most likely and it did with additional 13 episodes. But an eyebrow raiser for me is that the name of the 2nd season is called Himawari!! See any difference? Uh huh. They just add another exclamation mark. WTF?! Because of so, sometimes it’s a little misleading because if I skim through it very fast, I might misinterpret and thought it is still season 1.
 
Basically the story continues off where the previous season has left off and as seen in episode 1, Himawari is a little more skilful an still loyal to her Hayato master. But this episode starts off with the boy’s ninja school being attacked and according to Azami’s info, there’re no body remnants while the academy is decimated. Hey wait a minute, Azami is also a student of the boy’s school too? I mean, she’s on her way to attend some welcoming party for new male students when the attack occurred. The girls investigate the devastated site only to find Hayato in his Eggplant and learning about some demolition orders from Yatsugashira. When they confront her for answers, she is reluctant to tell them more as they sense that they’re being tapped so they back off. In this season, we can see that Takechi is communicating with some guy in a high-tech plane about putting his plans in motion for those test tube kunoichi. Therefore in each episode, he unleashes some experimental human-cum-creatures to target Himawari and co. So in this episode, a blue weird looking gum boy (who decides his next course of action through his gum machine) kidnaps Himawari as his target. As the rest goes in search for her, gum boy decides to kidnap his next target. Better think fast because his gum is real sticky. Uh huh. It gives a whole new meaning to a sticky situation. Though Tsukiyohime still randomly appears, her miso soup illusion now can be used to see someone’s past. In this case as she shows Himawari and Hayato the reason why gum boy is doing this was probably those naughty kids of the boy’s academy bullied him and stepped on his precious gum. Tsukiyohime frees Himawari with her chopsticks as she goes to save the rest. It’s funny to see how whinny Hayato is so Himawari just told him to shut up as she lectures gum boy. He is insulted by her words and is going to kill her when Himawari shoots her shuriken to disperse his gum machine and Momota eating it all and its fart turned into a huge bubble before exploding into a huge stink! Himawari does some parody of Luffy’s Gomu Gomu No Gatling Gun to send him flying. While the gang enjoys a big meal at Monjaya, we see Takechi talking to some guy but isn’t disappointed with the outcome.
 
In episode 2, Shikimi finds a weird mushroom but there are several mysterious warning attacks which tries to keep her away from it. As usual, hungry Hayato picks it up and eats it so the next morning he has a mushroom grown right out from his head! The gang learns that some weird mushroom boy is behind this and Nanafushi was the one who was trying to warn Shikimi. They manage to tie the mushroom boy up and it seems Hayato is slowly turning into a plant if he isn’t cured. Not only that, Shikimi has a little stub sprouting out of her head too! Perhaps she ate it out of experiment. Nanafushi tells of what happened at the boy’s school. During the night of the party, some organization gate crash to kidnap the boys to some place but only Nanafushi was able to escape. Then when they decide to make an antidote, they use Hayato as a guinea pig. Yeah, it looks like a poison more than an antidote. But the mushroom boy soon escapes. Since Himawari spilled the antidote, Nanafushi and Shikimi suggests a rare plant which can cure all disease located at a cave. After traversing the maze tunnel, they finally arrive at a spot with the plants. Hayato starts eating but the medicine experts seems to note there is no effect and realized the stalactites which filters the water are all gone. Where has it gone to? Well, Mansaku seems to have broken it off for his new okonomiyaki recipe. There goes their hope. They then go see Tsukiyohime and Hayato thinks of this as his last meal. After he’s done, he hugs Himawari farewell but it seems Hayato is soon returning back to normal. They find out that her miso soup has healing attributes. Shikimi and Nanafushi are overjoyed but hold it back when the others are looking. Later Tsukiyohime is seen talking to Yatsugashira and the latter says how she wanted to see where their skills are. Nanafushi parts with the gang as he is going to stay in the mountains for awhile to watch the organizations movements. We know Shikimi is saddened of his departure so she gets a new hairstyle by letting her hair down.
 
Just when Hayato has become an advisor for the newly created okonomiyaki club, Monjaya has been destroyed again in episode 3. Also the school has a new teacher named Misa Ushikubo. She’s busty and sexy enough to make any guy go gaga over her. Love rival for Himawari? Plus, she’ll be assisting alongside Hayato in his lessons. One night Misa comes to Hayato’s room with an intent to kill him but was saved when Himawari comes in with an okonomiyaki. It seems Misa has some sort of okonomiyaki phobia as she runs away everytime she sees them. Not only that, we see she’s some sort of flying squirrel creature who’s responsible for the recent midnight rampage in the village and has a hard time controlling her transformation. The next day, I think Misa is trying to kill the girls when she locks them in the bath with the rising water. They’ll drown in no time. I don’t know how but Tsukiyohime turns up and breaks a wall with her chopsticks to free the girls. Misa tries to kill Hayato again but luckily Himawari appears in time and throws an okonomiyaki at her face. Funny to see Hayato’s ‘I-can’t-believe-she’s-a-flying-squirrel-creature’ look on his face. As Misa chases Hayato, we learn that she’s Hayato’s childhood friend and the reason why she developed a fear of okonomiyaki was back then Hayato told her how she got a seaweed stuck to her teeth! I guess it must be traumatic. And I suppose that turned into hate and revenge. Ironically the quartet thinks it’s his fault as Misa mercilessly chases Hayato who admits his fault but didn’t had any ill intentions at all. After seeing how persistent Himawari is protecting him, Misa gives up but warns them that there’ll be other ninjas coming after them. When Misa leaves, Takechi confronts her and wants her to transform and complete her mission but it seems she doesn’t fear okonomiyaki anymore as she disappears. Meanwhile the gang has okonomiyaki as usual and I guess Hayato learned his lesson when he spots a seaweed on Himawari’s teeth and keeps quiet.
 
Episode 4 has Himeji flushing out the girls with her machine gun while playing kick the can. Is that legal? Anyway Himeji is the target as several micro ninjas abduct her. The gang follows the animal’s direction to the mountain top where she is held but Himeji is unconscious. Nanafushi appears and tell them that the micro ninjas are in her subconsciousness to control her will. They can’t attack the micro ninja’s body since it won’t have any effect and in order to save her they have get unconscious too. Poor Hayato who’s finding food gets dragged into it while Nanafushi stays on the outside. The gang are walking through Himeji’s mind and they have to solve it all in 15 minutes or they’ll never get back to their own bodies. The gang spot the micro ninjas trying to destroy Himeji’s precious memories (which are being represented by film clips?!). They learn the reason why Himeji wants to be strong because her masters sacrificed their lives to save her from a hostage situation. The micro ninjas are using the sun to burn her memories (thus why they put her on the mountain top) and without fear and other emotions, Himeji will turn into an ultimate killing machine. But would the rest allow it? Everyone cooperates to bust the micro ninjas and save Himeji’s memories. The micro ninjas combine into a giant form but Himeji appears in her subconscious to kick them out of her head for good. Then all in good timing everyone manages to get out safely before time’s up. Phew. On the zero mark! Every wakes up but decide to let Himeji sleep a little longer. Micro ninja goes back to report of his failure but it seems Takechi isn’t fazed and the other guy saying something about announcing their results?
 
Hayato as usual tries to find food in episode 5 but stumbles upon Takechi inviting Yatsugashira to a party announcing some results but the latter refuses. After they’re gone, Hayato decides to go in her place. All he thinks is food. Next morning, Himawari finds a wounded Komurasaki during her training and takes him in for treatment. He tells the girls how he barely escaped from the organization’s base and the abduction of the boy’s academy being drugged and used in some experiment. Azami decides to play spy while leaving a giant satellite for the rest to hear her info. After Azami infiltrates the party, the gang hears her scream and thinks she has been abducted so they decide to go rescue her. Meanwhile, Hayato is stuffing his face and pocket with food. He is then whisk into a VIP room whereby the guests are shown results of some research. Since Hayato isn’t interested he tries to leave but got lost and sees Takechi in a room with some little vehicle. Even if the girls try to sneak in stealthily, their presence is soon discovered and they have a hard time evading the security. The girls are cornered but Komurasaki arrive in time to save them. Then a beast appear and at first seems to attack the girls but it’s actually Azami in disguise. She didn’t get abducted, just that when security discovered her, she disguised herself as 1 of the model exhibits. As the party guests leave, the place starts shaking and soon flying in the air (the party is held on that plane). The gang and Hayato fell out of the plane and it’s free fall. Luckily Azami’s spy kit sprout a giant kite as the gang floats safely towards the ground. At the same time, as Hayato tells the girls Takechi’s real, they see him riding in a little aerial vehicle.
 
Tsubaki returns in episode 6 but is being chased by Takechi and a subordinate. Though Takechi wants her alive, the subordinate says he has orders to kill her and manages to wound her. Himawari spots this and hurries to her. Upon arrival she sees Takechi who then leaves (he’s treating her wounds). As Himawari and the other girls treat her back at Shinobi Gakuen, Azami informs them how their school is on an indefinite break and all the teachers except Hayato (whining about his allowance) are missing. Tsubaki then tells how she saw teachers of Shinobi Gakuen burn her village down the previous night and challenges Himawari over Hayato but this time the former wants to marry Hayato. Since Himawari isn’t willing, Tsubaki threatens to burn her special The Shinobis DVD collection but Hayato stops them (he thinks of selling them but Himawari soon learns he was just faking it and doing so for her sake). Himawari then receives a note from Tsubaki saying how Hayato is in her hands. Himawari meets Tsubaki on the mountain top with Hayato being tied to a rock. Then they learn that somebody has been writing them different letters so as to fight among themselves. A paper guy then appears so Tsubaki challenges Himawari whoever beats him will get to marry Hayato. Try as they will but this is no ordinary paper as it can regenerate. After getting Tsukiyohime’s advice, Hayato goes over to the feuding duo and tells them that this is a trap to tire them out. For once Hayato looks cool as he makes the true perpetrator appear, which is Takechi. He admits that he’s the one who sent the letters and a plan to have them kill each other. Everyone discovers Takechi’s shuriken mark and Tsubaki has a sudden change in heart and decides to marry him! But Takechi says she can follow him, which she gladly did. So is Himawari having doubts of her true saviour? Guess Hayato will have to do.
 
The circus is in town in episode 7. Yusura and Yonezawa go on their date for their Cucumber Anniversary. During the show, the ringmaster, Yohi, hypnotized the spectators and that night they attacked Himawari and friends. Thankfully they managed to flee. Yusura and Yonezawa has the girls temporarily take shelter in a cave and later Yonezawa secretly tells Yusura to run away with him or they’ll get killed and meet him at a designated statue. But Yusura turned up only to leave her cucumber present before heading back to her pals. The rest suspects them to be under a spell except Himawari who still believes in them. Next morning Hayato finds ransom posters on his students and that night, the hypnotized villagers surround and assault them. Though they manage to flee once more, they are met with Yonezawa (what manly looking face!) who attacks them. Yusura’s pleas to stop fell on deaf ears and Tsukiyohime shows them the reason why Yusura isn’t affected. She was asleep during the show while Yonezawa was half asleep, thus only half controlled. Yusura tries to make him remember the first time they met and become a couple at a cucumber field and throws all the cucumbers to jock his memory. Unfortunately, she accidentally threw a shuriken which strikes his heart. The other girls managed to find Yohi and defeat her, releasing the villagers from her spell. But everyone is relieved upon finding out that Yonezawa is fast asleep rather than dead because the shuriken hit the present cucumber instead hidden in his chest. Phew.
 
A guy from the organization is tired of Takechi’s failures in episode 8 and sends several men to destroy Shinobi Gakuen. Thankfully no one was around but the place is totally destroyed. If not for Nanafushi’s advice, our heroines would’ve been toast. They take refuge in the forest as Himawari goes in search of Tsukiyohime when it starts raining. When she finds her, she tells how her grandma looked after her when her parents died in a plane crash. Then Hayato comes by and tells her to go back to her grandma and live a normal life but you know Himawari and her master-student thingy refuses to do so. The forest gets colder and everyone decides to leave but Tsukiyohime refuses citing that she will die with the forest if it does. Himawari decides to stay put and this has the rest following suit. As they pass a lake, they encounter a semi-liquid assassin who attacks them. They throw everything they’ve got at her (including trigger happy Himeji) but it was futile. The assassin then paralyzes them with her cold blizzard but Tsukiyohime makes a deal that she will help retrieve them alive in exchange if she leaves the forest alone. Is she betraying them? The assassin agrees and soon Tsukiyohime rounds them up and toss them into a hotspring. She then grabs the assassin since her body warmth is able to melt her. I guess she was just playing poker too because although her forest is her family, those comrades are her friends and she wants to protect them both, not caring if she dies along with her. After hearing those words, Himawari and the rest spring into action and team work has them defeat the assassin (Momota farted in her face!). Back at the organization, that guy now takes an interest in Himawari.
 
However that’s far as I go since the subs are only till there. See, this isn’t a popular ninja anime to begin with. I find that the 2nd season storyline is more interesting and probably would answer several questions like what those experiments on the boy’s academy are, Takechi’s true intentions and Tsukiyohime’s mysterious presence. But even so, I’ve lost interest in it. The 1st season felt like fillers and as it introduces things and has the gang in some random adventures.
 
I can see how Himawari grows from a klutzy ninja to a more skilful one even if she needs a little more practice. It’s good to see that she is still loyal to her master but with Takechi’s mark, that will be a big question mark. As for Hayato, I still find him whinny. Nothing but complain but I guess I have to give him his dues too because at times he does provide advice to the girls. The other girls too play an important role in terms of cooperation with Himawari. See the bond of friendship between them? It may not be obvious that they learn to lean on each other but I guess a motivation for the quartet is getting a kick of seeing the developments between Hayato and Himawari (Yusura thinks it’s romantic). As for Azami, I’m still wondering if he’s really a guy even if she’s confirmed as a he because at times when the gang takes a bath, the rest have no qualms over it. Equality or just don’t bother? Oh yeah, Momota’s fart has been useful in the 2nd season as it saves the gang from various life threatening situations. So don’t look down on gas!
 
Himeji is my favourite seiyuu because of her accent and crazy laughter which makes her sound like a witch sometimes. She is voiced by Mayumi Yoshida who was the voice of Hiroko in Kaibutsu Oujo. Himawari’s dreamy voice and whenever she’s in a pinch makes her sound different as opposed to those ubiquitous high-pitched girly voices. She is voiced by Kana Matsumoto, a relative unknown as I checked her resume that this is the only voice acting she has ever done. I was surprise to find Aya Hirano as the voice behind Shikimi and you know that name instantly rings a bell for those who know Suzumiya of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Other casts include Ryoko Shiraishi as Azami (Hayate in Hayato No Gotoku), Asumi Nakata as Yusura (Lucia in Mermaid Melody), Kouichi Tochika as Hayato (Neji of Naruto) and Yui Kano as Momota (Momoko in Sumomomo Momomo).
 
I know this may seem trivial but I kinda noticed that some of the characters here resemble closely to those in the anime Lemon Angel Project either in terms of appearance or character. Like Himawari is a little like Tomo, Himeji like Erika, Shikimi like Fuyumi, Yusura like Miru, Azami like Miki and Hayato like Ryouta. Yeah, probably they can all form a ninja pop group in the future. Haha.
 
The 1st season opening song Taiyou No Kakera by Ryoko Shiraishi feels like a pop rock just like the 2nd season opening theme Sora Iro No Tsubasa also sung by the same person but with heavier electric guitar play. Hmm… Sometimes the 2nd season opening song feels like a kindergarten tune with rock beat. The 1st season ending theme Guruguru by eufonius sounds like a slow lazy summer song with the animations showing Himawari changing several outfits based on the season. The 2nd season ending theme Kirakira also by eufonius sounds more lively but sometimes like a kindergarten song to me. If you keep your ears peeled, you’ll notice that the seiyuus of Himawari, Azami, Himeji, Shikimi and Yusura take turns singing their own version of this piece. And I don’t know why but the animation here has the characters in cute drawing which reminds me a little of Ichigo Mashimaro. Another thing I want to mention is the background music (BGM). In short, most of them are unsuitable especially there’s a frenzy piano piece like as though someone is just simply pounding away and another piece which sounds a little techno. I find the BGMs which are being played doesn’t suit the scene and thus ‘annoying’.
 
Unless you’re into ninja themed animes or a fan of Aya Hirano who would like to hear her voice in lesser known animes, perhaps you might one to skip this one. Though some of the episode titles are meaningful (for example "When master and servant fights, the dog is not fed") and the fanservice here isn’t that much. I’m still why the animation of the 1st season opening credits starts off with the girls in their swimsuits. And you know Azami’s case… So I’m thinking is life as a kunoichi that bad? Well, life as an anime otaku for me sure isn’t. Anime is always my master and I’m forever its slave. Er, I mean servant. Oh wait, follower sounds better.
 

Himawari!

Hooray! When I first heard that there was going to be a third season of the hilarious School Rumble series called School Rumble Sangakki, I was eager and waiting with baited breath to catch what further romantic antics the whole bunch will be in store. However to my little dismay, this third season is actually an OVA and not to be made a TV series as I hoped for. What’s more, it has only 2 episodes! Uh huh. I thought it was a joke and did an extensive research hoping to prove that I was wrong. Perhaps I was more in denial than anything else.
 
There is a reason why there is only a couple of episodes released for this OVA series. I found out that the manga author of the series, Jin Kobayashi, has decided to end the series after a long spell (hopefully, running out of ideas isn’t the main reason for this ;p). Therefore, the 2 episode DVD OVA will be released simultaneously as a package with the final 2 volumes of the manga. Neat, huh?
 
Another thing to note for those who want to watch this third season is that, since there has been an awful time passed between the end of the second season and the third, there have been several developments that have taken placed. So if you jump right into this third season without reading the manga chapters which are not being animated into the TV series, then you’ll spend some time scratching your head figuring out what’s going on. Like yours truly.
 
Episode 1
Thankfully, the episode starts off with a real short summary of the events taking place before this OVA and the end of the second season. It seems that the love triangle between Tenma, Karasuma and Harima isn’t really resolved. Hey, that’s the basic premise of this series, right? Furthermore, there has been a development of feelings between Eri and Yakumo towards Harima! I believe that there are some footages in the opening scenes that I have never seen in the previous seasons like a short scene here whereby Yakumo confesses that she loves Harima! Man, I have got to read the manga (fat chance at this rate!). Probably those short scenes are just drawn for this OVA to let viewers have some visual of some of the events that took placed then.
 
Though this episode starts off on the class’s third term final event, the walkathon, there are other major developments too which contributes to the suspense and build up of the finale. Like how on that day itself Karasuma is going to America. Seeing that this is Tenma’s last chance at confession, she has to try her best. Likewise, this is Harima’s last chance saloon too so he left for the jungles of Angola (which he barely escaped and made it back alive) but it got complicated when everyone thought he and Yakumo are in some sort of lovey-dovey relationship. In the end, Tenma begged Harima to be alone with Karasuma and poor Harima felt he had been rejected without even confessing.
 
The walkathon starts in the early morning on a beach with Tenma finally being alone with Karasuma. As Tenma jogs along with him, she’s still having trouble trying to say it. The hilarious part begins with whenever Tenma manages to actually scream from the top of her lungs that she likes Karasuma, that guy speeds off ahead of her, leaving Tenma in surprise and unable to complete her sentence! It’s like as though he doesn’t want to hear it! This happens several more times whenever she catches up to him and tries to confess. She’s already having a hard time catching her breath, so can she catch up to him? Tenma then trips after trying so hard but surprisingly Karasuma lends her a hand to help her up. Harima is watching from afar and somehow he’s being philosophical (did he get it during his manga days?) like saying "While one person is confessing, another is being dumped at the same time" and "Although I’ve been dumped, acting depressed and asking for kindness, the world will not give such a thing". Harima decides to head back and not participate in this class activity while Yakumo, Mikoto, Eri and Akira watches and lets him be.
 
Harima is then confronted by Hanai who tells him he has a responsible to participate till the end and not to upset Yakumo (this guy was previously in love with her. Lingering past affections?). He challenges Harima to a race to the finish line and if he beats him, he’ll only then be satisfied. As they prepare to start, Harima did a dirty trick by kicking his butt to make him trip as he runs ahead. At the finish line, we see the students have already arrived. Eri, Mikoto and Akira are wondering where Tenma is when they spot her sitting alone. To their utmost surprise, tears are streaming down her eyes. Meanwhile, Harima beats Hanai to the finish line by 5cm when Yakumo comes running to Harima to tell him about Tenma and Karasuma’s case. In addition, Karasuma is nowhere to be found and Yakumo fears he may have already left for the airport. Harima is furious and decides to borrow Itoko’s car to chase him. Unfortunately as Itoko said, she doesn’t have one. Haha. So Harima borrows Tani-sensei’s bicycle and peddles all the way back to school even if there’s a chain locked to it. Must be the power of love.
 
He spots Karasuma looking out from a classroom window and the first thing Harima did when he comes face to face with him is to punch him! OMG! That never happened to Karasuma before! Harima is really taking out his frustrations as he gives him several blows and lecturing him to love that girl all his life. But soon we also see a side of Karasuma which I believe has never seen before. He fights back. Not only that, his face now has expression in contrast to his trademark dull and monotonous glare! Meanwhile Yakumo is telling Eri, Mikoto and Akira that Karasuma told her the previous night that he was leaving for an operation in America in the early morning so he won’t have time to see them. Karasuma wants Yakumo to keep it a secret that’s why she never told anybody then. They decide to go cheer up Tenma but it seems she’s in some sort of denial being her happy self. I know she’s trying to look positive but I somehow feel in that situation, it doesn’t really suit her. Everytime they say Karasuma’s name, Tenma experiences some shiver and tries to change the subject. Eri then says that there is chance and asks if she would fight for it. Tenma replies she’s just a normal girl unlike Eri whereby most guys will be swayed by her. Slowly she starts to breakdown.
 
At the same time, Karasuma and Harima continue to trade blows. Furthermore, Harima has handcuffed both their feet together and he’s determined to beat Karasuma up till he cry. Harima is trying to play mind games with him like saying how after he’s beaten him, he’s going to find Tenma and not let her be led by a trash like him. Karasuma fights back and apologizes in an upset tone for being gutless and having low self-confidence. But he tells him his reasons for doing so. Since this involves being with a girl for his whole life, he has to think whether he could give her happiness throughout life and not just himself. Karasuma then says how he loves Tenma too! So no wonder he’s always been a dull looking mysterious guy. Harima is still unconvinced and wants him to prove it with his actions. They trade final blows when Harima says he’s not interested to fight him anymore as he understood why he always kept silent and never complained. He concludes how he didn’t want to blame others because he’s a stubborn guy. With that, Harima says how he can rest peacefully as he carries Karasuma out of the classroom. Harima thinks of going to see Tenma and Karasuma supports him by saying that he can definitely bring her happiness. Plus, Karasuma says that if he had liked her, he would have no choice but to watch over her happiness. Finally Harima tells him that if he can’t retaliate or protect the girl he likes, he deserves no sympathy. Harima then leaves in the bicycle (the chain finally broke off) while Karasuma takes a taxi straight to the airport.
 
Meanwhile Eri and Yakumo think of how to cheer Tenma up. So the gang brings Tenma back to her home and they have what seems like a drinking session. Just like all sad drunkards pouring out their woes, that’s what Tenma look and sound like. Yeah, she’s really blurting out her pent up feelings. Thing is, she only drank soda (they’re still minors, remember?). Then the gang engaged in ‘lively’ conversations. Harima then arrives in his bike and wants Tenma to come and talk with him. Tenma is still in drunk mode while Eri thinks he has mixed up between the Tsukamoto sisters. Tenma takes this opportunity to wish Harima to have a happy future with Yakumo. Harima denies and says that there’s something good happening for her. But Tenma too denies and that something better than falling in love is world domination (yeah she’s really out of her mind now). While Tenma continues blabbing, Harima remembers Karasuma’s words. He then tells Tenma how he’ll make her happy, shocking everyone. He then takes her hand and forces her to come with him. The girls think Harima has kidnapped Tenma as he places her on his bike and starts riding off. Where is he going? He’s taking her to the airport.
 
Episode 2
Harima continues riding to the airport to let Tenma meet with Karasuma even if she’s against it. Outside the house, Yakumo spots a bouquet of rose on the ground and picks it up. She says how Harima has dropped his feelings and left once again. She tells the other girls that he may be heading towards the airport. Harima asks a passing biker which airport has flights to America and finds out that he has to go to Narita Airport. But you know, since he came up with this plan as he goes along, he still wonders if he has enough money to buy an air ticket. Suddenly a police car approaches and tells them to stop. They’re running out of time so I don’t think Harima is going to oblige. Just then, Harry and Tougou appears in a sidecar (WTF?! Tougou standing up instead of sitting down on the sidecar! Has he ever heard of wind resistance?!). They pull up alongside Harima and Harry tells him how Akira has called on them to ‘lend them their powers’. He also goes on to mention how Eri has taken care of the preparations while Mikoto and Yakumo have packed for them. They can’t talk for much long as the police car is bugging them. Thus Harry and Tougou stall the police car to buy Harima some time.
 
They finally arrive at the airport and Harima tells Tenma to refer to her handphone mail for further instructions from Eri. Once she gets to the counter, the stewardess wonders if she wants to check in. Then she hits a brick wall when Tenma realizes that she needs to have a passport. Didn’t think of that, did they? They inform Harima that they’ll have to wait for the next flight and wants Harima to come up with something until then.
 
While waiting, Harima tells Tenma how Youko and Itoko will be coming here soon to bring her passport, living expenses and luggage. As they chat, Harima says how Itoko is like her big sister as they’re living together when Tenma asks if he loves her, causing Harima to spit out his drink and refute her statement. Tenma then teasingly says he’d probably like pretty and styled girls and not ordinary ones like her but Harima replies he has a different sense of beauty and that he doesn’t like shallow thinking and arrogant girls like Eri. So what kind of girls he like, asks Tenma. A kind of girl who is a little stupid, insensitive, optimistic, does everything without thinking and likes to talk loudly (hint hint). Tenma is bloody surprised that such a girls exist but Harima tells it straight to her face that he’s talking about her and to notice it, dumb girl! Tenma asks why he wanted her to see Karasuma and his reply is probably intuition. Harima continues that he doesn’t know what Karasuma said to her but thinks it’s a lie or was just pretending. Also, one day a man who loves her will appear and he will be extremely miserable. Harima takes off his sunglasses and with a determined look on his face says that’s a man’s will, that guy who will never give up in trying to steal her away from the Karasuma she loved and not to ever forget that. Tenma then says how he wore sunglasses all the time to hide his face from him. It then occurred to Harima that Tenma probably saw his real face as she thinks they have met before. Though Harima strongly denies and Tenma constantly pestering him, he is saved by his handphone ringing and decides to answer the call from Itoko. Haha, Tenma thinks it’s not fair since he manages to evade answering her.
 
Itoko and Youko arrive to pass Tenma her stuff. Harima takes Tenma hands as they run along to catch their next flight. Harima then in his heart says farewell to Tenma and thanks her for everything. Before she goes, Tenma says how she’s glad that they’re in the same class and with tears in her eyes, she hopes to meet him again one day. As the airplane takes off, Tenma says to herself how she heard what Harima said to himself on his bike during the ride to the airport and thinks the truth may be even long before that about his pride and feelings he had in himself. As Harima watches the plane lift off, he takes off his sunglasses and throws it away. But I think it’s just a temporary one because I still see him wearing them.
 
Yakumo is with her pet cat Iori at her home when one by one, all her classmates and friends turn up to have a party at her place. Except for Harima who is alone in some bar. He punches some insensitive guy in the stomach when his smoking got in his face. As Harima leaves, he is confronted by a bunch of gangsters and like the delinquent he once is, he gets into a fight. The next morning, Eri is taking her dog out for a walk when she spots Harima all bruised, sitting next to a temple shrine. She treats his wound and goes on to say how he’s such an idiot for getting into a fight for being dumped. He launches a stinging verbal attack on her by telling her to shut up and says since she sees him worthless in her eyes, that’s the thing he hates most about her. Because she changes boyfriend every few days, he doesn’t want to get involve with her in anything she does. She’s like a slut leaving emotions everywhere and will never fall for such an easy girl with easy feelings like her. But Eri isn’t going to let those comments slip by. With tears forming in her eyes, she hits back at him, both verbal and physical. She is upset and says back does he even understand what kind of girl she is, acting like he knows everything. She breaks down while mentioning all the boys she went out with don’t really love her in their hearts, boys are all stupid and that it’s okay if she doesn’t go out with them at all. She hopes she’ll find a boy who will love her from the bottom of his heart and even hates the little girl thinking that she has now but it doesn’t matter which guy she’s talking to because it’ll all be useless. Eri gives him a final punch and wants him to forget everything she said. Harima laughs and thanks her for opening his eyes.
 
Yakumo narrates how soon after Harima went missing (I think he’s somewhere wandering the deserts of America based on the scene. But hey! How come there’s a sign with the words ‘Malaysia’ on it?), follow his destiny and didn’t get in touch with his friends. Meanwhile Tenma has arrived at a hospital in America but her happiness soon turned into despair. It seems Karasuma has some memory illness, though not to say that it isn’t incurable. Karasuma has lost the power to think. In other words, for example what he wanted to say was they could be together, but it would be a love in which he won’t know who Tenma is. A love without love. Can Tenma cope with such a one-sided love? But Tenma never gave up hope. She stayed by his side night and day.
 
One day Yakumo received a letter from Tenma about something miraculous that has happened. It seems Karasuma has remembered a few memories that they have spent together. With the news spreading to all their friends, Hanai soon organized a gathering for all of them at a chapel. Yup, Tenma is back with Karasuma. So is the whole jin-jang gang. Some still never change after all these while. Like Imadori is still a pervert and always get pounded by Lala. Though Hanai propose some singing for the sake of their class friendship, I guess a pie fight seems more fun. Soon everybody starts throwing pies at everybody. Tenma asks Karasuma if this feels nostalgic but since he didn’t give a respond, she still thinks his memory is broken. Just then a pie is heading Tenma’s way when Karasuma instinctively uses his hands to block. More are coming and just like Bruce Lee, he swats them all in super reflex speed. However, 1 of them managed to give Karasuma the slip. Will Tenma get pie in her face? Nope. Somebody else stopped it. Why, it’s Harima! He’s back! Well, I guess he has to since he somehow found out about it and said nobody bothered to invite him for this reunion. As everybody looks on in surprise, suddenly Karasuma too has that surprised reaction when he sees Harima. He starts stammering "Ha… Ha… ", and everyone is holding their breath and crossing their fingers as they think he’s going to get his memory back. But unfortunately, Karasuma spewed "Hanai-kun". Argh! Oh well, so close yet so far. Harima then says to Tenma how he has come in the end. Tenma is so happy that she starts crying. Everybody else is upset and thinks Harima did something to make her cry and starts throwing pie at him. As the pie fight continues, Tenma says "Welcome back, Harima".
 
Next semester, please!
Well there won’t be because it has already ended. Boo hoo! I don’t know, I just feel that the ending was a little unsatisfying. I mean it’s good to see that everyone is reunited once again. I’m not sure if they made it clear who ended up with whom. At first glimpse, it looks like it’ll be Tenma and Karasuma since she decided to stay with him even if he has a memory defect. What about Harima? Even a delinquent like him is a noble person when he gave up Tenma so that she could be with the one she really loves. So is what about Eri or Yakumo’s stand and relationship on Harima? Don’t know either.
 
Watching this OVA did bring back some nostalgic memories while watching the previous seasons of School Rumble. Also some of the scenes here did stir some emotions in me. Especially those scenes whereby Tenma is heartbroken and the scene Eri gives Harima her piece of mind. Also probably it was because I was so engrossed watching it and learning the developments of the story. Of course the hilarious slapstick comedy still has its touch and in my opinion was as good as the first season (to me the second season was a little boring since there’s a storyline which has Harima into his manga job). But it’s a good thing that Harima here had his little moustache and beard back (he had shaven them off during the second season). He looks more rugged and macho that way. While the many other side characters are not so prominent here with just a short cameo appearances from time to time, but I guess what viewers really want is to see how it really ends up between the main characters.
 
I’m also glad that they used back the first season’s jazzy fanfare opening theme for the OVA’s opening too, Scramble. The ending for OVA 1 is also the same for the first season’s ending theme, Onna No Ko Otoko No Ko. But this time instead of seeing a chibi Harima watching the sunset underneath a tree by himself, we see chibi versions of Tenma, Eri, Mikoto and Akira instead. Whereas OVA 2 uses the rap-like School Rumble 4 Ever song, which is the song for the final episode of the first season. A fitting piece for a final farewell to the series.
 
But even so, this series hasn’t really ended yet. In terms of manga, there’ll be a serialization of the series called School Rumble Z in a weekly magazine soon after the main series has ended. Will there be new characters and plots or will it be a continuation? But you know me, I don’t read… So I won’t find out lah unless it’s being animated. After watching this OVA and remembering the TV series, what did I learn? Love is a give and take thing. But just to quote a line from a song from The Monkees, "Love is more a less a given thing. Sometimes the more you give, the less you’ll get".
 
School Rumble