Kamen No Maid Guy

June 28, 2009

Maids. That word brings to mind those female servants who serve their master’s whims and fancies gracefully. Be it those Victorian maids from England or the more recent Japanese anime and manga style maids. However, have you ever seen a maid guy? And I’m not talking about being a butler. That’s right. A guy who dresses as a maid. No, not cosplaying or cross-dressing mind you. You’ll get the idea once you’ve watched Kamen No Maid Guy.
 
I don’t know the reason why he dresses up like a maid but it adds to the comedy and hilariousness of this nonsensical fanservice-laden series. But if you’re expecting that this maid guy, Kogarashi, is gentle, soft and girly, then think again. He’s muscular, burly and has one kind rational and thinking for his masters. Yeah, it’s like he’s giving the maid outfit a new fashion meaning. Imagine a WWE wrestler in one…
 
So who are the (un)lucky masters for this maid guy? As seen in episode 1, Naeka Fujiwara (looking a bit like Kojima of Girls Bravo) is your average girl with over-sized boobs living an average life attending Seiha Private High. Did the boobs thingy attract your attention? There’s more to where that came from. Naeka is also a skilled kendo club member as she scores another victory for her school. But her life will soon take a drastic change (for worse or better, depends on how you look at it) because she should’ve noticed the signs when a water bottle given to her from her friend has been hit away by a knife while several officials we’re knocked out by several needles. The culprits? Kogarashi and his colleague, Fubuki, from afar ‘protecting’ their would-be master as they think the water may be poison and those officials are assassins. Some thinking. Later, Kogarashi even puts extra set of undies in her locker as his first time meeting gift. WTF?!
 
Soon Naeka and her chubby brother, Kousuke, are called by their wealthy grandpa, Zenjurou, to come live with him in his big wealthy mansion being served like kings by dozens of maids. Of course Zenjurou is a dirty old man and it’s no surprised that loser Kousuke has unfortunately got this part of his genes. However Naeka refuses so Zenjurou takes a trip to their house and wonders if they’re really okay with the present condition. OMG! Their house is worse than a pig sty or a garbage dump! Trash and rubbish filled to the brim and the stench is unbearable! How on Earth does these 2 go on living?! Zenjurou cannot accept such embarrassment to the Fujiwara family and will forcefully change their lives as he summons Fubuki out. Fubuki, the graceful maid appears and I suppose it’s natural for Kousuke to drool over her. But to their surprise, they find that their entire home has been cleaned. No spot left untouched! Wow. It’s like a makeover. Can give that How Clean Is Your House reality series a run for their money. Zenjurou praises the perfect maid that he has picked out for Kousuke. Though that kid rejoices, Naeka doesn’t approve of it because it will further ruin Kousuke’s eroge lifestyle. Zenjurou thinks that Fubuki isn’t Naeka’s type so he has already prepared a maid to suit her personality, Kogarashi. Erm… The path of the samurai or swordsmen reasoning? Kogarashi makes his entrance with some dark aura because he’s trying to clean up all those pests in this ‘zoo’.
 
Of course Naeka doesn’t want such a weirdo like him and kicks back. It is then that Kogarashi starts to ‘violate’ her. Uh huh. He’s undressing her and making comments about he has replaced her worn out undies with a new set and wonders why she didn’t wear them or does she have such fetish. Any girl would feel mad as Naeka kicks them out of the house. Later as Naeka chats with Kousuke about what has happened so far, Zenjurou has a discussion with Kogarashi and Fubuki. We find out that Naeka and Kousuke’s parents may have died in some accident and this may not be a mere accident because all of the other children of Zenjurou have met the same fate. Thus Naeka and Kousuke are the only ones left who will rightfully inherit Zenjurou’s wealth once Naeka reaches her 18th birthday, which is in a few months time. He orders the duo to protect them at all cost. In this time, there may be assassins out to assassinate them, thus the need not only to protect but to properly raise them.
 
So we see how Kogarashi show his maid guy skills to Naeka like putting a water hose between her boobs to wake her up from her morning slumber. And because Zenjurou got the wrong idea that Naeka got her most important thing as a female stolen, he is furious at Kogarashi so he gives Fubuki the power to do whatever she can to tame that wild beast. But since Kogarashi still doesn’t get it, Fubuki gives Naeka a special whistle to tame him. Naeka gives it a shot and when she blows, it’s like Kogarashi experiences a very painful frequency in his head. And because he’s cooking, he is set on fire! Naeka is shocked at the results but feels that she has overdone it. Well, their fire extinguisher has expired 3 years ago… However, you can’t expect a little fire like this to kill a maid guy like him, right? He’s one bloody tough cookie.
 
Thus in each episode you’ll notice something like this. Kogarashi and Fubuki tries to serve their new masters to their best but you know Kogarashi is the source of Naeka’s misery (and hilarious antics) even though he’s loyal and multi-talented. Bloody multi-talented, I’d say. He can do a lot of things. Impossible things. He makes the impossible look so easy! Of course, most of them are useless and it makes you wonder if they’re necessary in the first place. But they’re cool. With his trademark "Kukukuu" laughter, Kogarashi isn’t afraid to criticize Naeka’s weakness or come up with his out-of-this world logic and answers. And when he has gone too far, Fubuki has to teach him a lesson as she hammers him with a club with nails to stop his ‘sexual harassment’! It’s a bloody scene but Kogarashi will be up on his feet faster than you can say "WTF?!". And by the end of each episode, a countdown of the number of days until Naeka’s inheritance. It’s less than 6 months and time is ticking…
 
However in episode 2, Naeka won’t be able to use that whistle anymore because she accidentally breaks it by closing the drawers on it when Kogarashi’s appearance startles her. But in this episode, Naeka learns that there may be inverse proportions between bust size and maths score. Uh huh. We have to do a detailed research on this ;p. It seems her flat chest classmates, Eiko Izumi and Miwa Hirano, scores way higher than her. Yeah, Naeka flops. Because there are too many boob talk and comparisons, you can’t blame them for going mad over Naeka’s monstrous boobs. So if Naeka doesn’t pass the next mid-term test, Eiko and Miwa along with their kendo club captain (I’ll call her Buchou) will sell her boobs off to the male kendo club members for 10 million Yen! Wow! Do big boobs fetch such a high price? To make things worse, the 3 guys of the male kendo club are fans of Naeka’s boobs and even made a fan club of it, Fujiwara Naeka’s Boobs Fan Club (FNBFC). Sickos.
 
So how to help Naeka? Leave it to Kogarashi to concoct some weird drink. He may put in all those sick ingredients but it turned out looking just fine. But Naeka is reluctant to drink it fearing of something may go wrong so he tries to force it down her throat. Thankfully Fubuki’s there to punish Kogarashi and stop his antics. Kousuke becomes the guinea pig and after drinking it, he instantly becomes fat! Thank goodness she didn’t drink it. Naeka wants Fubuki to teach her but she too isn’t good at maths. Naeka is horrified because that inverse proportion rumours may be true as Fubuki too has a huge pair herself. Thus Kogarashi decides to personally coach Naeka. Not believing it at first but Fubuki admits that Kogarashi was once a professor at the famous US university, MIT! Holy cow! So he’s got the brains and brawns too! Now we know the quality of students these days. Poor Fubuki, in despair that she lost out to him for once. Kogarashi continues to tutor Naeka and there has got to be a limit on Naeka’s bad maths. I don’t even know how she came out with the answer 1 + 1 = 3. She even goes on saying how it doesn’t matter what the answer is because it could be 5 or 10 depending on the factors bla bla bla. Is she adopting Kogarashi’s reasoning?! But that maid guy isn’t going to let this slip by. If Naeka can’t understand the basics, all she has to do is memorize. Now this part is hilarious because Kogarashi is going to print out the lecture notes during his stint at MIT from his memories. How? He plugs a printer USB port to his ear and the images start printing out! WOW!!! He’s really useful and multi-talented! "You’re not a true man if you can’t communicate with it". I’d like to try that out too. Of course Kousuke wants Kogarashi to teach him how to do it because he has lots of ecchi figurine models in his mind out on paper… However, Naeka burns out because her tiny brain isn’t enough to absorb in all those notes.
 
In a final desperate attempt, Fubuki wraps Naeka’s boobs to make them small. Hey, it may be so crazy it might just work. Unfortunately, her boobs are too big that the bandages can’t even keep them in place. Boobs over brains, I’d say. To counter this, Kogarashi has her wear a metal steel breastplate. During the day of the test, Naeka is pretty confident and it seems like all is smooth sailing. Until the breastplate starts to burst during the test, leaving Naeka embarrassed and topless. Really, her boobs has got to be the thing which stands out in the end. However, it seems Buchou, Eiko, Miwa and FNBFC guys are happy over the prospect of making huge money and getting something they’ve always wanted. Did Naeka get her boobs sold?
 
We see more of Kogarashi’s awesome and absurd abilities in episode 3. Yeah, some Maid Guy Sensor when he senses some unknown individual glaring at Naeka. Before that, we see FNBFC challenging Naeka and the girls to a kendo dojo. If the girls win, they get the newly constructed dojo and if the guys win, they’ll get Naeka’s boobs! However it’s a one-sided match as Naeka pounds them all and even gets approval from Buchou to cut them up!. Later, Naeka seems to have received a love letter in her shoe locker but reluctant to open and read it back home. Because of that, Kogarashi uses his Maid Guy X-Ray Visions to take a peek but was stopped by Fubuki’s needles. Kousuke then tells Fubuki how Naeka has philophobia (fear of falling in love) because back in middle school, she has a crushed on a senior and was ecstatic when he agreed to have a picnic with her. However, he nearly died when he taste her bento (his mouth was instantly foaming and went into a violent seizure!). He developed a fear for that poison woman. That’s why Naeka vowed never to fall in love again. In present time, since Naeka didn’t want to read the letter, Kogarashi tries reverse psychology by using his Maid Guy Shredder to rip it to pieces. He also chides her for being a hypocrite by hiding lots of dating tips magazines under her bed. "You don’t even have someone you like and yet you’re preparing a date plan already". He furthers go on to ‘take pity’ on those sad grandkids by saying how Naeka is a homeless dog and Kousuke only plays eroge games and vows to serve them until they are happy.
 
Next, Kogarashi concocts another weird potion. When Naeka drinks it, she becomes all lovey-dovey as she clings onto Fubuki’s breasts! Fubuki is freaking out but Kousuke is okay with maid-san yuri! Kogarashi ponders where he went wrong in making the potion (does he even know what he’s making?!). Zenjurou comes by for a visit only to his horror to see the whole place dark and bloody! Fubuki is heaving heavily with a bloody nail club and Kogarashi is seen lying motionless on the floor with blood splattered all over while Kousuke and Naeka are being tied up! Bloody! Later Fubuki teaches Naeka how to cook and Kousuke becomes a guinea pig of Naeka’s effort. Thankfully, it tastes good so this boosts Naeka’s confidence. The next day in school, Naeka is going to meet the guy as mentioned in the love letter and is thinking what kind of guy he is. She settles that even though he may not look good but as long his heart is, she’s okay with it. Then Naeka finds the shocking truth. Even I didn’t see this coming. Naeka’s admirer is a girl!!!! HOLY COW!!! Naeka is in denial and tries to run away. But Kogarashi isn’t going to let Naeka escape and wants her to take responsibility not to be insensitive of her admirer’s feelings and drops the duo into a love bed suite he constructed! Naeka fears for her life while that girl is obviously not going to let this chance escape as she pounces on her. Love fest time! When Naeka barely gets back home, she’s so pissed that she wants to cut up Kogarashi with her sword but is restrained by Fubuki and Kousuke. At least we know Naeka’s not lesbian. Throughout the anime, I noticed that no one refers to this yuri admirer by her name. I did my research and find out that she’s Saki Tabaruzaka and she’s not going to give up her lust over Naeka that easily.
 
Episode 4 starts off with a loli with strawberry panties, Elizabeth K Strawberryfield or Liz for short, going to show Naeka her true colours. Meanwhile, a group of hooded men breaks into Naeka’s house to steal panties because selling panties of beautiful women could fetch millions. WTF?! They get caught and Naeka thinks they’re referring to hers when they mention that they are after Fubuki’s. Haha. Naeka attacks them in her anger but this allows 1 of them to escape with a panty. However he soon realized that it’s Naeka’s. He then gets swiftly beaten up by Liz. Kogarashi just arrived at the scene only to find the panty thief knocked out. So he uses some mind control ability on a fish monger who was the only witness (he was just passing by in his van) and the only clue he got was strawberry panties. Next day in school, Naeka has a new transfer student from England (Liz) in her class and challenges her to a kendo duel. You got to love this loli saying her challenge to her: "I want to beat you up. I want to beat the crap out of you then watch you beg for mercy, lick my shoes…". Yeah, she throws a shoe at Naeka’s face! You could say this wealthy kid doesn’t like monster boobs Naeka 1 bit. Furthermore, she has a personal ninja maid, Shizuku.
 
Meanwhile, Kogarashi is doing something which could have lawsuits against him. He is stripping panties off the girls in Seiha Private High! Woah! Since he is so fast and agile, he manages to do it without making the girls feel that they’ve been stripped! They don’t even notice that they’re not wearing anything beneath their skirt! Double wow! I guess lots of perverts would like to have such skill! But to his dismay, none of them are strawberry panties and once Fubuki finds out what that maid guy is doing, she presses a button which sends Kogarashi exploding. Wanna bet he’s still alive? He is. That’s because Kogarashi is being attacked by Shizuku. Maid guy versus ninja maid. Who’ll triumph? Meanwhile Naeka gets ready to face Liz in a kendo match, which has accumulated a crowd, and Liz blackmails Naeka to face her, failing which she’ll spread erotic pictures of Naeka to FNBFC. The best out of 3 matches start and it seems Naeka plays dirty when she gives Liz wears a smelly unwashed headgear of 3 years to Liz. A stench enough to knock out anyone. Slick. So it’s Liz’s turn to play dirty when she scatters those erotic pictures to catch Naeka off guard. The score is tied with each a piece. At the same time, Kogarashi’s battle with Shizuku heats up as the latter hides somewhere to taunt him. Kogarashi uses his X-ray visions to easily find her and Shizuku fears the worse but all Kogarashi wants is to check her panties. After using his swift stripping skills and not finding the panties he wanted, he leaves after throwing back her panties. Shizuku is so damn embarrassed and violated.
 
The 3rd final round between Naeka and Liz lasted about an hour and it’s starting to get draggy. It’s turned into an endurance match. Then Kogarashi summons a group of Naeka-undies-seeking-crows which starts pecking at Naeka’s undies strewn all over the place. WTF?! Perverted crows?! They manage to distract Liz and some fanservice to viewers. Thing is, they started pecking on Naeka too. Bummer. Fubuki has had enough of it all and hits the self-destruction button which explodes the entire room. Looks like it’s a draw. It’s the hospital for everyone else. Finally as Kogarashi gathers all of Naeka’s panties, he notice that a pair is missing. Then we find out that Kousuke has sold it and with the earnings, he bought 70,000 Yen worth of eroge! Extreme! Naeka unsheathes her sword and prepares to slaughter… That smile on her face doesn’t mean a happy one, you know…
 
Based on the last events, in episode 5, Liz develops a fear of crows and starts ‘making a world map’ on her bed. Since Shizuku was incompetent, her twin sister, Tsurara makes her appearance and chides her as well as scolding Liz for being childish. Liz is so pissed off at Naeka that in class she can’t concentrate on lessons and tries to snare Naeka until the teacher throws a chalk at her. That night, Saki in her own room is happy that she has set up several hidden cameras to spy and record her beloved Naeka. Another hilarious part is that Kogarashi senses this and uses his Maid Guy Freezing Voice to freeze Saki. With this, she cannot move. Not even blink. To make things worse, Kogarashi has hacked and switched all the camera views to a naked elderly fish monger taking a bath! Oh the horror! That disgusting scene is definitely to burn right into Saki’s cranium. ARGH!!! Serves her right. She’ll be frozen like this for 30 minutes. Seems like eternity… Later Kogarashi has Naeka watch a video whereby she spots Fubuki wearing her school uniform. Fubuki in the video then said how Naeka may have gained weight, which made Fubuki give Kogarashi his usual punishment to shut him up. Meanwhile Shizuku and Tsurara are going to watch the spy cameras on Naeka when once again Maid Guy Freezing Voice intercepts and freezes them. It’s that horror fish monger bathing scene again! Amateur Shizuku can’t escape and watches in horror while Tsurara manages to unfreeze herself and let her poor sister be.
 
The next day, Saki decides to get rid of anyone else pursuing Naeka as she heads to her locker room. However, to her surprise finds Kogarashi there as she unleashes his Maid Guy Freezing Voice on her. Deja vu again? Kogarashi inspects her undies to see whether she is Naeka’s rival and since he didn’t suspect anything, he heads back into the locker. Meanwhile Tsurara is going to infiltrate the school to find out more about Naeka by dressing in a school uniform. However nobody is fooled by her looks and thinks she’s an aunty trying to dress young, pissing Tsurara a lot. Haha. Shizuku goes to Naeka’s locker, only this time to find the FNBFC guys in a freezing position too and semi-naked. Haha, she thinks they’re summoning for UFOs. Shizuku could’ve got hit by Maid Guy Freezing Voice if not for Tsurara who saves her in the nick of time. Thus Kogarashi and Tsurara engages in battle. Tsurara uses her ninja skills to numb Kogarashi’s senses but he mentions that she only managed to destroy 3 out of the 37 senses. WTF?! It’s total nonsense! A normal human has only 5 senses, right? God or devil? Whichever, you don’t want to mess with him. Kogarashi revives by using his long hair to entangle and ‘violate’ Tsurara (substitution for tentacles?). By that time, Saki is able to move and gets caught in Kogarashi’s hair tentacles. Kogarashi apologizes to her as he has mistakenly thought her for someone else so he gives her a Maid Guy badge to make up for it. Who wants that yellow little sharp teeth smiley? Tsurara seems to be at the losing end when Naeka spots what Kogarashi is doing and beats him up. This allows Tsurara to escape with Shizuku. Back home, as Tsurara chats with Shizuku, Liz comes in to spot Tsurara in a schoolgirl uniform and teases her about her fetish. This misunderstanding pisses off Tsurara as she declares how she’ll beat Kogarashi.
 
In episode 6, Kousuke, Naeka and Fubuki are out shopping when they step into a lift only to have it beep the overweight warning. With that, Naeka decides to have everyone undergo a dieting programme (poor Kousuke gets dragged into it even though he doesn’t want to diet). The gang take some weight measurement and Kogarashi uses his Maid Guy Levitation and makes his weight at zero! Then it’s Fubuki’s turn which turns out to be at an ideal 35kg. Kogarashi then reveals Fubuki’s bluff as there is a needle stopping the pin and upon removal, Fubuki weighs 85kg! Though she blames all those tools which she carries hidden under her uniform. How does she carry so much of those stuff anyway? Their first step in dieting is through sauna and Naeka swallows a whole bottle of pills when Fubuki says how it helps in weight loss. After stopping that, the girls are shocked to see Kousuke coming out as a handsome guy. Wow. Enough to fall head over heels. Until he starts drinking his cola and in an instant, he’s back to his chubby shape. Dang. Next is to fast. Kousuke is obviously against it because he can’t eat his favourite food. But he has no choice. As Fubuki and Naeka starve and lock themselves in a room, Kogarashi decides to teach them a lesson by using his Daydreaming Maid Guy Illusion and have both ladies in horror as their boobs shrinks! They can’t tell what is real or not in this nightmare illusion! Though they end their fasting, Fubuki has come down with fever.
 
Naeka then decides to play nurse and maid to Fubuki but since she’s cooking up weird food, this causes more anxiety for Fubuki and her fever won’t be going away anytime soon. Plus, with Naeka donning a maid outfit, she’s more clumsy and tripping than ever. Thus Fubuki tries to put up a front that she’s already well but Naeka soon finds out that she’s just faking it and drags her back for more treatment. Kousuke then tells Fubuki how Naeka wanted to be a nurse when she grows up as their mom was always sick but that dream ended just then because she adapted her body to handle whatever weird food she puts in her stomach. Though Kogarashi chides Fubuki for being a useless maid, Fubuki orders Kogarashi to go on a journey and bring back some special herbs she prescribed. When he returns, Fubuki gets her usual strength after drinking it but when Kogarashi says how it’s all in her mind as that special ingredient was just moss at the back of the house, Naeka is thrilled once more as she gets to continue nursing Fubuki since she is still sick. Oh the horror. Say your prayers, Fubuki. Hope she gets well soon.
 
In episode 7, Naeka along with Buchou, Eiko and Miwa are dipping themselves in the public bath house and talking about the upcoming kendo tournament. Since Naeka is opting out, the trio aren’t too pleased. We find out that several years ago, Naeka faced an opponent, Yoshie Arayashiki in a televised final. Wow. Arayashiki is like a giant and one could be forgiven for mistaking her as a male. Anyway as Arayashiki charged towards Naeka, the latter accidentally causes her bottom to be pulled down and at the same time her panties snapped. So the entire world witnessed the most horrible thing in their lives. It would’ve been a different story if she was a pretty girl, right? Ever since, Arayashiki has been brutally training herself to beat Naeka and avenge her public humiliation. But do the trio give a damn? Because if they win this one, they’ll have their training camp at the beaches of Okinawa. Ah, the motivation… Just then, Kogarashi kidnaps Naeka to the reclusive mountains for her training. Don’t worry. Fubuki is there to watch over them after she gives Kogarashi a good pounding for another undesirable method of whisking Naeka away. After gauging Naeka’s strength with a real bear (she flops of course), Naeka has to collect 10 Maid Guy badges in order to complete her training. And for going up against that bear, she already gets 1 as a reward. Uh huh. You’ll find that the reasons for Kogarashi giving the Maid Guy badge for Naeka’s achievement to be one kind.
 
Finally Naeka seems so ready, so calm, so focused because she can slice the water of the waterfall in half! Superb. So her final test is to take on a giant falling log. She flops. But because Kogarashi admires her courage to face up with it, he gives her the 10th badge and completes her training. The day of the tournament arrives and as expected Naeka is to face Arayashiki in the final. Arayashiki is relishing the chance to beat Naeka after her viper-like training and drink. Uh huh. See the battle aura of a viper versus a cow? During the match, Naeka manages to get a point as she strikes Arayashiki’s torso but ends up being flattened by her. Though Naeka is out cold, Arayashiki is going to continue with her revenge when Kogarashi intercepts with his Daydreaming Maid Guy Illusion to make Arayashiki have several visions of Naeka’s head (which are those spectators in reality). Arayashiki then starts to go crazy as she rips naked all those Naeka-head people. Even Saki and FNBFC guys! She’s on a rampage! Though she has been disqualified and Naeka is declared the winner, Kogarashi gives her a Maid Guy badge for her craziness. He gives out those badges easily, huh? In the end, Buchou, Eiko and Miwa are seen enjoying themselves at Okinawa’s beach. But where’s Naeka? She’s in hospital covered with bandages and Kogarashi’s by her side. Those ingrates…
 
In episode 8, Naeka receives a marriage proposal from a handsome Englishman named Hendrick with a weird accent (gotta love some English words he says like "Sh*t!". However, he changes his mind when he sees Fubuki. To cut things short, this guy is a big breasts maniac and is Liz’s elder brother. Liz comes riding on her horse under the guise of Strawberry Mask (though everyone can tell it’s her) and whisks her stupid brother away. I also kinda noticed that Kogarashi has started referring to Fubuki as dojikko (clumsy) maid. To make things worse, Naeka’s male homeroom teacher is on maternity leave (that’s right, maternity leave) so Hendrick is their replacement teacher. Thing is, he has the natural ability to charm females to swoon over him whenever they look into his eyes. Later Liz tells Naeka, Eiko and Miwa about Hendrick’s case and it seems Liz thinks Naeka is using her ‘lump of fats’ to trick her brother. Eiko then guessed correctly how Liz has brother complex. Something about how Liz always reminded him that she’ll marry him once he grows up but as time goes by, her boobs was the only thing that didn’t grow. Ah, I see that’s why she hates girls with big boobs. The girls soon find out that Hendrick is also the advisor for the female kendo club and has got all the other female kendo members under his charm. Hendrick wants Naeka to be part of his harem and since she refuses, she and her pals challenges him to a duel. Liz is watching from outside when hooded Kogarashi appears to help another fellow mask to use some secret weapon which is a sure win against Hendrick that will open his eyes.
 
During the match, Eiko and Miwa got defeated easily when they try to fight him without looking into his eyes. So all their hopes rests on Naeka. Her friends came up with a strategy to fight without her bra so that Hendrick will be distracted, which works but Naeka is quite embarrassed about it. However Hendrick spots a flaw in this strategy as with time passes, Naeka will work up sweat which will cause her shirt to be transparent. Naeka can’t fight effectively with one hand over her boobs, can’t she? Before Hendrick could land the final blow, Strawberry Mask appears to assist. Yeah, now she look like she has boobs. Of course Liz puts down the rules that all Hendrick need to do is to hit 1 of them to win in order to get Naeka’s boobs, in which he accepts. Hendrick has them cornered. Then upon remembering Kogarashi’s advice, Strawberry Mask uses the secret weapon by pulling the bra string, which turns out to be an inflatable bra. Erm… It expands to unbelievable proportions which sends ecstasy to Hendrick (opened his eyes alright). But that bra which Kogarashi dubs Sure Kill No Bra Blinding Strategy Maid Guy Protection Bra Model Destruction, soon emits a very bright light which temporarily blinds him. Naeka uses this chance to strike Hendrick but before that he gets a little view of Naeka’s jugs (was it those beauties that he was enthralled with and didn’t defend himself?). His charm over the other girls wear off as Hendrick admits defeat while being stretchered away. Back home, Naeka finds out that Kogarashi has laced all her undies with dangerous weapons and devices as defence tactics so she throws one at him which expectedly explodes.
 
In episode 9, after witnessing several successful critical help outs from Kogarashi, Eiko and Miwa wants to be his apprentice to save their part time job at a local cake shop, D’erlanger. Kogarashi says that they need to ask his master first and when the duo are willing to let Naeka copy their maths homework, busty girl instantly gives the approval stamp. So they get down to work as they find out that D’erlanger is losing business to a rival cake shop opposite. Upon closer inspection, the customers seem to be typical otaku geeks. Then they find out that one of the main attractions of the store are busty waitresses, in which the job application also state the requirements to have them. The bigger the better and the higher the pay. Brace yourself for lots of boob comments and insults here! Or else cover your innocent ears! Thus, the duo wants Naeka to infiltrate and spy on them and since Fubuki too ‘qualify’, Naeka forces her but that dojikko maid is reluctant and embarrassed. Naeka goes to ‘work’ while Fubuki runs away at the last minute, leaving Naeka to fend for herself. She discovers that the staff and the Manager (I’ll refer to her as that) has rocket size busts! Outrageous! It’s so big that they may violate air space ;p. At the same time, Kogarashi will be working as D’erlanger’s chief patisserie seeing that the useless owner of D’erlanger has run away with no hope (he even blames the duo for not having big boobs!).
 
Kogarashi then uses his Maid Guy Trapping Voice to hypnotize those male customers to come over to D’erlanger. You know, the pastry stuff Kogarashi made are really one kind. Scorpion Chocolate Cake? But the customers are loving it. Manager gets to know of this so she assembles her staff for an emergency meeting. Naeka finds out that the shop’s selling points are their boobs and the cake is just as a bait to lure them in. Boobs Society? Manager decides to teach newcomer Naeka on how to use her boobs to make her more appealing but she fails so Manager has her pull out from the serving front. Fubuki is disguising herself in a trench coat and somehow ends up as a patron at D’erlanger, who is experiencing good business. Naeka makes a visit and finds Kogarashi using weird ingredients for his cake (a panda?!). Manager then busts in (no pun intended) and decides to taste their cake as she orders 3 sets while insulting Eiko and Miwa ‘minimum size’ and ‘palm size’ (shocking them greatly). Manager notices the crab cake is fake and demands the chief patisserie. She complaints while saying how she’ll strip him behind his mask to find out his true identity. Kogarashi then says they both have been lying and wants to strip her mask too. Yeah, he punctures Manager’s fake boobs! They’re all just air, eh? Too good to be true. Manager’s staff chides her for tricking them and she insults them back for their big boobs (nutrients going there instead of the head?). While they are in disarray, Eiko and Miwa uses this chance to increase their sales and destroy their rival by saying customers will get a chance to see Naeka’s real boobs if they buy their cake. All the perverted customers (including FNBFC guys) are motivated by her real boobs and starts buying 10, 20 30 sets of cake. WTF?! 260 sets?! See, sex sells. Kogarashi spots Fubuki and tells her to come out. So no choice, Fubuki has to don a maid outfit and serve those perverted customers. Later as Naeka and co takes a break, her insensitive comments about small boob size causes Eiko and Miwa to get mad.
 
In episode 10, Naeka is still having math problems so Kogarashi suggests to pray to God as he takes the gang to a local shrine. They are greeted by a priestess (whom I shall refer to as Miko) who is Kogarashi’s ex-colleague and she calls him Gai. Miko is a divine priestess as she is able to directly communicate with God and put God’s wishes on her clipboard. She can even tell their personalities like how Kousuke wants to know what panties Miko is wearing (she isn’t wearing any by the way) and Fubuki disrobes when she gets drunk (a secret that we never knew!). You’ll note how the gang even quotes "We don’t even know what God is thinking sometimes". Since men are forbidden, Miko takes in Naeka and Fubuki while Kogarashi and Kousuke watches from outside. Naeka finds out that Liz and Arayashiki are here to seek God’s prayers to dispel her fear of crows and to beat Naeka respectively. Remember God works in mysterious ways so the winner will get their wish granted through a tennis doubles match. It’s Naeka-Fubuki against Liz-Arayashiki. No Prince Of Tennis exaggeration here. Since Fubuki’s refusal to wear a mini skirt, Naeka-Fubuki team gets 1 set penalty. WTF?! Is God a pervert?! Naeka-Fubuki make some headway so Liz suggests Arayashiki to use several objects to block their shots. Since God finds it amusing, He allows it. WTF?! Fubuki is depressed by her uselessness so Naeka decides to cheer her up by saying that it’s alright because she’s used by failures as she’s a dojikko maid. I think Fubuki got fired up because of her anger rather than encouragement. As they continue, Kogarashi uses some mind telepathy to hint and boost Naeka’s morale about why God penalises them in the first place, before cutting communications so as not to arouse Miko’s suspicion. As Liz-Arayashiki continue to dominate, Naeka then lifts up Fubuki’s skirt. God is ecstatic and gives 1000 points to them! God is really a pervert! Naeka-Fubuki is 1 point from game, though Fubuki isn’t too fond of it and wishes to have a ‘long talk’ with Naeka once everything is over.
 
Arayashiki notices this and forcefully strips Liz. So okay, God is a lolicon too but he prefers big boobs as He only gave them 200 points. Arayashiki isn’t happy so tosses Liz away and she strips herself naked to show God her sexiness (ARGH! My eyes! My eyes!). Even God disapproves of her nudity as dark clouds form. God has had enough and declares Naeka-Fubuki the winner and since Arayashiki questions His problems on her sexiness, He strikes her with lightning. Remember this golden rule: Never question God as He is absolute. Miko gives a maths problem charm which will have Naeka’s maths IQ at Einstein’s level. However when doing her maths problem, Naeka notices she must fulfil a condition in order for the charm to take effect. Something about for each Fine Play a maid does, a math question is guaranteed solve. For Super Fine Play, 10 questions will be solved. Since Naeka has tons of them, she looks at Fubuki with those monster eyes… Later Fubuki goes to see Miko to cure her dojikko maid title when she spots Liz in a loli swimsuit to get a charm for her crow phobia. She runs away in embarrassment. Miko relays God’s Fine Play as putting on sexy see-through lingerie! Fubuki has no choice but to put it on if she wants others to call her decent maid. When she goes home, though she feels uneasy, Kogarashi spots her and calls her a decent maid. He uses his Maid Guy X-Ray vision so in her embarrassment she clubs him and runs away vowing never to wear them again. So looks like even God and Miko thinks it’s impossible for Fubuki to shake off her dojikko maid title from the start.
 
In episode 11, the kendo members are running up and down stairs as part of their training. Of course the FNBFC are doing it because of Naeka’s bouncing boobs. Because Leader (that’s what everyone refers to him) of FNBFC was admiring too much, he slipped and ended up hospitalized with brain damage. Naeka feels guilty as she and her pals visit him. Even the doctor says he has no hope but when Naeka’s boobs sway too close to Leader’s face, he immediately comes to and praises her boobs! Naeka beats him up. However he has amnesia. Then the doctor ditches her medical science and tells Naeka that the a way to get his memories back is through a Love Shock Remedy! Thus Naeka has no choice but to date that boobs pervert. Naeka in her yukata, meets up with Leader and was made to promise not to beat him up by Eiko and Miwa. But Naeka can’t help but kick his back when he remembers her name after seeing her boobs. As Naeka gets lecture by her pals, Kogarashi is watching them and decides to support his master’s love, though Fubuki isn’t too fond of it and even clubs him. But I guess after getting clubbed so many times, he even manages to recover in record time to give Fubuki the slip.
 
At the festival as Naeka and Leader date, Miwa, Eiko and the other 2 FNBFC members are watching from afar (read: busybodies). Kogarashi decides to heat things up by snatching a nearby toy rifle and using his Maid Guy Gun Action, fires the cork using centrifugal force at Naeka’s feet to send her tripping into Leader’s arms. A romantic set up? Until Leader says how soft her boobs are, which earns him a painful elbow from Naeka. Kogarashi is going to make another accident when Fubuki appears and prepares to club him (because partly Kogarashi did call her an old maid) but unfortunately she’s taken away by twin maids who has her help out their takoyaki stall. How did she end up in that situation anyway? Later while the rest continue to spy, Naeka asks Leader is there anything else he remembers besides breasts and he wonders if he could touch them as to jolt his memory but once again earns another knockout punch. Naeka then meets Liz and the usual catty talk. Hendrick then comes by with 2 big breasted foreigner women flanking him. Yeah, he is still enthralled by her big boobs (heck, any big busts will do) so Naeka does her version of Guile’s Moon Kick on him. When Leader comes to, Naeka points out to those huge foreigner boobs but he says he only has eyes for Naeka’s boobs. This causes Naeka to blush and her heart beating fast, so much so her punishment kick in the leg is ‘soft’!
 
Kogarashi then unleashes his Maid Guy Golden Splash as he fires a goldfish into Naeka’s yukata. The idea is so that since Naeka can’t take off her yukata in public to get rid of the goldfish, she has to run into the woods and a concerned Leader will follow. Aha. Trying to get them doing lovey-dovey stuff, eh? At that time, mad Fubuki has arrived to club Kogarashi and her scary aura has Eiko and Miwa tell her where Naeka went. In the woods, Leader is searching for Naeka when he sees her semi-undressed. Yeah, he gets perverted and jumps on top of her. But it’s revealed that he’s just taking care of a snake. As the duo have a heart to heart chat (is Naeka giving him a chance to steal her heart?), Fubuki appears and instantly throws her lamp at Leader. The force is great enough to send him crashing and stuck into a tree. Because of that, Leader this time is hospitalized and in coma. Fubuki feels guilty and since her boobs sway too close to Leader, he instantly revives and passionately says to show him more of it! Naeka is bloody angry because she wonders where his eyes for her boobs only went as she throws him out of the hospital window. So he’s turning into a big boob fanatic just like Hendrick, eh?
 
Episode 12 starts off with a pointy hair man, Wabisuke Kofujiwara addressing a ninja maid, Hyouchuka and her clan members to devote and combine to build their power. Is that Shizuku and Tsurara serving under him too? Back at Naeka’s house, she and the rest receives an invitation to celebrate Zenjurou’s 70th birthday at his mansion. Upon arrival, Kousuke is happy to see grandpa and his hug nearly killed him (not that he has long to live ;p). Soon, Wabisuke arrives and Fubuki and Kogarashi notes that he is the secondary inheritor although he is at the lowest rung in the family. The duo receive orders to head to the security room whereby the head maid informs them how Zenjurou received a cross star knife next to his bed when he woke up this morning. They think this may be related to the inheritance thingy so Fubuki and Kogarashi vow to protect the grandchildren and show those perpetrators their true maid powers. Meanwhile we also see Liz and Hendrick there but since that guy is still fawning over big boobs, Liz beats him up and threatens to go home. Outside, a ninja maid swiftly takes out the several security personnel. Soon Naeka and Kousuke are to hand Zenjurou his presents on stage in front of several multi-national dignitaries when the lights go out. Shizuku then drops in from above to kidnap the grandchildren as she also drop several sleeping gas bombs. The entire mansion goes into full alert.
 
Outside on the rooftop, Naeka and Kousuke are being held hostage by Shizuku and Tsurara. Suddenly both ninja maids find themselves trapped by fine hair cage. Actually it’s Kogarashi who is disguising as Kousuke as he reveals his true self. Before Kogarashi could ‘violate’ them further, Hyouchuka and her subordinate appear. She orders them to take out Kogarashi but the maid guy shows us why he’s still unbeatable as he takes them all out with ease. As Kogarashi approaches Hyouchuka, she takes out a whistle and starts blowing. OMG! Kogarashi body starts to ‘explode
in blood! Then he got pierced as he crashed below! Oh no! NOOO!!! Kogarashi can’t die!!! The whistle then disintegrates. Good for one time use only, eh? But it’s one heck of a good use. Then when Naeka starts ranting on Hyouchuka’s aim is to force Zenjurou in naming her master as the heir, Tsurara notices that there is something wrong because this Naeka knows too much. Yup, it’s Fubuki in disguise as well. Hyouchuka notes that they have been had and that all the information they’ve gathered were fake. Hyouchuka sends her subordinates to dispose of her but she too shows why she’s a master with a club. So where are the grandchildren? They’re lying semi-naked unconscious in a room. Before the present ceremony, Kogarashi and Fubuki switched places with them. Naeka comes to and she spots Kogarashi lying motionless outside. She is devastated that he is dead and refuses to believe so as many ‘memories’ of them come flowing back. Her voice reaches him as he instantly revives! YAHOO! Hey, even if he violates her all the time, he is HER maid guy.
 
Though Fubuki is tired after taking out too many subordinates, Hyouchuka and the rest are surprised to see Kogarashi’s revival. He then throws a boulder at them, soon after he levitates in the air and unleashes his Homing Catapult. Hyouchuka realizes her lost and decides to retreat but is stopped by Fubuki. However, Kogarashi is going berserk as he continues to summon some jumbo typhoon, sucking up Fubuki, Naeka and the ninja maid sisters into it while Hyouchuka escapes. She apologizes her failure to Wabisuke but he isn’t disappointed because he notes how the real fight starts now. In the aftermath, Fubuki and Naeka clubs Kogarashi as their clothes are torn and shredded. Zenjurou and the rest wakes up to see his mansion heavily damaged. Hey, there are other unmasked maid guys too! The next day, Naeka is back to her normal self as she meets up with Eiko and Miwa. But the FNBFC are still persistent on Naeka’s boobs, Naeka decides to slice them with her sword while Saki is ecstatic as ever. Fubuki talks to Zenjurou about their formidable enemy and the former reassures how she and Kogarashi will protect his grandchildren with their life. And Kogarashi pledges that he will continue to serve his master with top quality services so that she can enjoy every day with complete assurance and safety. With that kind of services? Oh well, that’s what being a maid guy is about.
 
There is a filler OVA episode whereby the gang is vacationing on some deserted island when some legendary folklore old guy, Tarou Urashima, starts to do perverted stuff on Naeka like unhooking her swimsuit top and even trying to do something unthinkable to her and her pals at the hotspring. Can’t believe that a famous folklore character doing perverted stuff. Though Tarou managed to drag naked Naeka into the forest, thankfully she is rescued by Kogarashi. Back at the inn, the gang discovers a giant talking turtle (from that same legend too) and Turtle tells them that Tarou and some princess called Otohime were in love but she found out he was cheating on her by flirting around. Fearing her wrath, Tarou escapes with Turtle. Furthermore, the earthquakes in Japan are caused by Otohime’s anger whenever Tarou left. Ah, the stress. Thus the gang have up to 2 days to have Tarou meet up with her in order to save Japan. Now that’s a big task and would’ve rewritten all legend and stories. Kousuke comes up with a plan by planting fake huge boobs in Eiko and Miwa wearing swimsuits as bait. That dirty bastard did appear and even had some boobs rubbing action on him. That is when he realized their fake boobs but it’s too late when Kogarashi springs his Maid Guy Hair Sensor. He escapes and lets both girls fall into Kogarashi’s hair trap.
 
Of course Kousuke still has his trump card in the form of Naeka in a naked apron. Tarou is suspicious because he won’t fall for the same trick twice. Until Kousuke cuts the apron loose and reveals Naeka’s authentic melons, which sends that guy into ecstasy. Plus, Kogarashi uses his hair to cut Fubuki’s clothes and reveal a very revealing bikini. Because Tarou thinks how Fubuki’s boobs are even bigger than Naeka’s, this obviously upsets Naeka very much and he is defeated in a single punch. Just like that? He deserves it. Tarou is tied onto Turtle’s shell as they swim back to alleviate Otohime’s anger. In the end, it is revealed that all this was Kousuke’s dream as he is awakened by Fubuki. However, since he was sleep talking, Naeka and her pals have overheard his erotic story and aren’t going to let him go. After beating him up, everyone leaves the island but Kousuke is left behind.
 
It’s sad to see that this series has ended but of course with the potential of a sequel. But I really did enjoy the ride. Kogarashi is a character whom viewers would either love or hate. For me, since he is the source of many hilarious antics and nonsensical quips, of course I dig him! Many viewers also compare him to Sagara of Full Metal Panic due to his insensitive and no-holds-barred approach in solving problems and handling situations. I was hoping Kogarashi would clash with Tsurara again seeing that ninja maid did mention she wanted to get revenge on him but that final episode wasn’t anything much. I kinda noticed that Fubuki who originally started out as a graceful maid, becomes less of so as the series progresses. Perhaps she has got fed-up with Kogarashi and trying too hard to keep that beast in control. But nevertheless, they’re both still loyal to their masters. I bet even though Naeka finds her maid guy very distasteful, I guess she’d have it no other way too.
 
Rikiya Koyama who voices Kogarashi (Hakuoro in Utawarerumono) definitely suits the character very well in terms of making him sound burly and such. The other casts include Megumi Toyoguchi as Fubuki (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist), Yuka Iguchi as Naeka (Irukuku of Zero No Tsukaima: Princesses No Rondo), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Kousuke (Sunohara of Clannad), Saki Fujita as Liz (Momo in Manabi Straight), Hiroki Takahashi as Hendrick (Harima in School Rumble), Akemi Kanda as Shizuku (Nina of Ultra Maniac, Miharu of Da Capo series), Hiroe Oka as Tsurara (Kanwu of Ikkitousen), Mugihito as Zenjurou (Hayashi in Binbou Shimai Monogatari), Yuko Kaida as Saki (Riza of Kaibutsu Oujo), Emiri Katou as Eiko (Kagami in Lucky Star), Yu Kobayashi as Miwa (Kaere/Kaede in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei) and Mayumi Yamaguchi as Arayashiki (Forte of the Galaxy Angel series).
 
The opening theme, Special Life! by KOTOKO is a lively pop piece which gets viewers into the mood of the series while the ending theme, Work Guy! by Yoshiki Fukuyama sounds like hard rock. I love it everytime before the ending theme starts, you’ll hear Kogarashi saying some sentence before the singer completes it with his wild hard rock screaming voice. Besides, the end animation credits sees Naeka and Fubuki trying to run away from Kogarashi. A sign that they can never escape from his grasp? The background music for the mid-intermission is an eyebrow raiser because it sounded like a kindergarten tune!
 
I just want to note something about the art and drawing. No doubt it’s drawn to today’s conventional Japanese anime standards, I can’t help feel that especially the female characters have a sharp chin and that their little mouths are too close to their little noses. It gives them a one kind look. So if you’re not used to the absurd fanservice in this series, I’m afraid you’ll have to pass this one. You don’t know what you’re missing, man. So maybe you want to lock yourself alone in a room and watch this behind your parent’s back.
 
Though I myself don’t wish for a maid guy, but I sure do admire the multi-talents that a maid guy posses. I really wish I can be as competent as a maid guy and do lots of stuff even if it looks silly and impossible. Plugging a USB port into one’s ears? That’s got to be the best thing Kogarashi’s ever done. I wonder how many other maid guy skills he has but hasn’t shown yet. He should run for president, if you know what I mean. Ah well, if there’s a sequel, I’ll definitely be waiting for him to be at my service. And yeah, I want one of those Maid Guy badges too! Kukukuu…
 

Kamen No Maid Guy

Golden Boy

June 27, 2009

I read somewhere long ago about some comment saying that every straight anime guy has to watch Golden Boy. Uh huh. Which means this series must have been filled with lots of adult material and stuff enough to arouse one’s desires and fulfil their deepest lust and wild fantasies of the opposite sex. Sort of.
 
Well I’m not saying that this series amounts to hentai but seeing that this is a year 1995 anime production, there is some adult material but which I do not find that provoking. Hey, it’s more than a decade ago so I guess I could say such ideas are way ahead of its time (also the fact that I’ve seen more recent and current ecchi animes which are far worse than this standard).
 
In this 6 episode OVA series, the main protagonist is a 25 year old law student dropout, Kintaro Oe. His current goal in life is to go around learning and experiencing, well erm, life. I guess you can’t learn these kinds of things through textbooks and school. So he goes around wandering from place to place in his bicycle, Crescent Moon, doing various part time jobs while learning things in the process. In each episode, he meets a different girl and of course that’s where the adult stuff comes in.
 
First impression is that, viewers will think he’s a big time pervert. He is. It’s written all over his face and body actions. At first, you may think he’s writing down important notes in his trusty little notebook but you’ll see that he’s drawing and scribbling notes on beautiful and sexy woman he just met! Ah, if there’s only such subject in school. Not. But don’t write him off yet because there’s more than meets the eye to this wandering pervert. Besides, his favourite motto is "Benkyou" which means how educational or to study, in which Kintaro always take such important ‘life lessons’ as advice during embarrassing or caught-in-the-act moments. So is he really learning? You decide.
 
Episode 1 – Computer Studies
Kintaro is happily listening to his walkman while peddling his bicycle and wondering what exciting job is in store for him. Because he’s not paying heed to the traffic, a fast speeding Ferrari comes up behind him. Kintaro is surprised and falls off his bicycle into a nearby trash. The person who steps out from the Ferrari is literally an eye opener because she’s a hot sexy blonde in a tight sexy leather outfit. Yeow! Kintaro’s pervertness is kicking in though he’s holding it back. Upon finding out that Kintaro is alright, this lady offers him 1 million Yen as compensation right away! Kintaro of course is stunned by the amount of money and decides to give it back to her as he touches her shoulder. However the lady quickly shoves off his filthy hands and warns him not to touch her before speeding off. You’ll wonder how he scribble and draw that sexy lady in his notebook so fast.
 
Kintaro takes his bicycle to a repair shop run by an old man who decides not to charge him for the minor repair. Once Kintaro leaves, 2 ruffians approached the old man and threaten to do something if he doesn’t pay up. Kintaro couldn’t take that injustice and walks towards them with that serious look. He seems like as though he’s going to give those gangsters the meaning of his justice. Then he turns into an alley when the ruffians turn and look his way. Hahaha! They continue to harass the old guy with their ‘sweet’ persuasion while Kintaro jots it all down in his notebook behind the corner.
 
Kintaro arrives at a building whereby he’s supposed to work part time. It looks like a computer programming company and its entire staff are female. Kintaro must be starting to like this place. A staff then introduces Kintaro to her boss of this new recruit, which turns out to be that sexy lady (for easier reference, I’ll call her Sacchou). He’s pretty surprised and pleased to see her so Sacchou gives him a toilet cleaning job. The next scene is disturbing because as Kintaro cleans the toilet bowl, he’s fantasizing how the ‘queen’ puts her butt here and starts rubbing his face all over it in his pleasure! He’s even fantasizing some S&M play and drinks the toilet water spray! Super disgusting! Until Sacchou spots what he is doing. But Kintaro reiterates his passion to work here and even though he isn’t knowledgeable about computer science, he wants to prove it to Sacchou that he can do it. So Sacchou decides to give him a chance. I’m not sure if practicing with a paper keyboard would make a good practice. Tough times he say? Yeah, PCs in those days were expensive.
 
The day comes when he’s supposed to strut his stuff in front of the girls and he’s like so know-it-all until he sees what the heck is this programming. Yup, he knows nothing except for basic programming. The girls laugh at him and tells him about their more complex C programming. Kintaro gets passionate again and wants Sacchou to give him another chance and that he’ll work for free. Over the next few scenes, Kintaro goes about learning this C programming from the staff in addition to his office cleaning chores. Erm… Aren’t those notes he written down, sketches of those babes? But Sacchou seems to admire his perseverance. Then as he’s cleaning the changing room, he spots a bra and put it on for size until the girls came in. He hides in the locker hoping nobody would catch him in the act. Luckily they didn’t but he has an eyeful of the girls changing as he jots it all down in his notebook.
 
One evening when everybody has gone home, Kintaro spots a computer left running and takes the liberty to off it so as not to waste electricity. Then he sees Sacchou coming by. Sacchou then is distressed to find that somebody has unplugged the server. Kintaro thinking that he’ll get a reward hug for his deed then admits he’s the one. But he’s being greeted with a furious punch from Sacchou instead. Sacchou explains that by turning off the server means all the valuable data that they have been working on for months have disappeared. Kintaro reassures her that all the information back-up has been written in his little notebook. Sacchou is still furious as he rips his precious notebook to bits. Kintaro is horrified that his life long work has been destroyed. He yells back at her for what she is done as he hold and show the torn notebook at her. It’s funny because Kintaro realized he just showed a page of the sexy woman he sketched. If you hear the English dubbed language, it’s damn funny when he said "Oh shit…". But Sacchou isn’t amused and still pissed that he’s a useless man after all (Sacchou spitting right into Kintaro’s mouth was damn funny!) and wants him to get out of her sight as Kintaro apologizes on all fours. Sacchou says he doesn’t have to worry about money since he pulled that fake million Yen accident. But Kintaro says he already spent it all, which pisses off Sacchou even further as she thinks he has spent it on useless stuff like womanizing and drinking. She continues to torture him by repeatedly stepping on his useless head.
 
A week later, we see the staff trying to redo and finish the entire project for their client as the deadline looms. Too much coffee and no more goodnight sleep. It’s worse than waking up from the wrong side of the bed or having a bad hair day. However one of the staff noticed a backup of the programme Kintaro erased. Sacchou couldn’t believe that this may be the doing of that useless idiot and checks it out herself. She finds the backup programme more user friendly and a better improvement from theirs. Finally an indication to indicate that this is indeed Kintaro’s doing. Sacchou feels bad and rushes out to search for him. Outside, she spots an old couple (that bike repair shop guy) looking for Kintaro. She learns that the old couple wants to give thanks to this kid who gave them a million Yen to settle their debts but he left without letting know their name. Sacchou then realizes Kintaro gave away the money to a compete unknown stranger and wonders who is he. She gets into her Ferrari and tries to find him. Talk about the instant change in perception. Is she regretting her rash actions and starting to fall for this guy?
 
But she won’t find Kintaro because he’s happily peddling on his journey. Then the end narration says he’s a law dropout and such. In addition to that, the narrator says how he voluntarily dropped out of school because he mastered the entire curriculum! Wow! So he’s really a genius! That’s why he’s going on a journey to learn about life. Not only that, he goes on to say how Kintaro may one day save Japan and the world! Double wow! A perverted genius? But this shows that Kintaro isn’t all talk and he can really learn and do things in a short period of time. He is truly an angel, a saviour!
 
Episode 2 – Temptation Of The Maiden
Kintaro is working as a worker for a local election candidate, Juzo Katsuda, who is also the incumbent mayor. Thing is, Katsuda has affiliation with gangsters and such so you can imagine the kind of campaign that the do. Kintaro was at his mansion when he spots Katsuda’s pretty teenage daughter, Naoko, and thinks he has saw an angel. Yeah, he saw her panties, that’s why. He’s there to collect something back to the campaign office when he saw that so much so his neck turned 180 degrees! Even he notes a human’s neck cannot turn that way. At the office, Kintaro offers himself to fill in a house cleaner lady’s job when she needs to take leave to see her sick son even though Katsuda’s wife needs him for the election campaign but allows it in the end. Oh yeah, here comes paradise. But he gets a warning from a gangster staff who tells him how Katsuda loves Naoko very much and those who try to be funny will be thrown into the swamps of the mansion. Tread carefully.
 
At Katsuda’s mansion, Kintaro starts cleaning the toilet bowl and has that sick fantasies again until Naoko shows up and invites him to her room. Must be a chance of the lifetime for Kintaro. In her room, after she passes him a towel, Naoko starts stripping! Kintaro is trying hard to control himself. But it seems Naoko has an ulterior motive and wants to tease him because she thinks he’s just another perverted guy. Kintaro finds it too much to handle as he runs out of the room. Satisfied with what she saw, Naoko notes how she’ll tease him every day. The next day as she heads to school, she spots Kintaro putting up posters. So goes to him and feigns collapse so as to let him feel that she isn’t wearing any bra and panties. She then hands him a letter to meet later back at her home before rushing off.
 
Kintaro goes to meet Naoko as mentioned in the letter and it seems she wants him to teach her. Teach her simple maths, that is. What was he thinking. She gets Kintaro to come teach her every day as part of her plans to tease this perverted guy. She even goes to the extent of dressing in a swimsuit one day for their maths lesson. Naoko even notices his erection but prefers to continue teasing him this way. She also notices the little notebook in which he scribbles everytime and manages to steal it from him unsuspectingly. Then in her room alone, she’s wondering what stories this perverted guy has written about her but to her shock and horror finds out the real truth. In the notebook, Kintaro writes how Naoko thinks she is a tease and puts up an innocent girl act on the surface. He also thinks she has father complex and is trying to get even with her dad, so he decides to help her with his love. Wow. Don’t thinks this Kintaro guys is dumb. Naoko is bloody upset that her act has been seen through and that she was fooled by the better actor. Unforgiveable!
 
One day as Kintaro searches for his notebook, he approaches Naoko in her room if she has seen it. Naoko then takes a pair of scissors and starts cutting up her clothes. She puts the scissors in Kintaro’s hand and screams. This sends Katsuda and his henchmen rushing to her room. Naoko then puts up an act to convince daddy that Kintaro was the one who did this to her. Katsuda is angry and orders his henchmen to beat him up. While they’re doing so, Naoko thinks Kintaro will spill the beans by blaming this on her. She’s anticipating that he’ll reveal her as the culprit to see how far his love for her. But to her surprise, Kintaro didn’t say a word as he quietly gets beaten up. Naoko starts to get worried when Kintaro suddenly kisses her and declares his love for her. But Katsuda has his men continue to beat him up. Naoko then feels guilty and wonders why is he trying to protect her. She can’t take it anymore so she stops the men from hurting him any further in tears. Yeah, his face is one big messed up bruise.
 
The next day as Kintaro leaves on his bicycle, he sees Naoko standing in front of him. She returns his notebook and apologize. She further adds that once his injuries are healed and if he doesn’t hate her, she wants her to come back to this town to take her virginity. Wow! She gives him a kiss on his check before leaving. Even Katsuda wishes he had more men like him because Kintaro had a backbone and didn’t come up with excuses or run away. Naoko then notes how Kintaro was right that she was living under her dad’s shadow but has changed ever since she met him. As Kintaro continues to peddle away, he notices a note in his notebook left by Naoko saying that she’ll wait for him. For the record, this episode should’ve been named Election Erection. Hahaha! Just kidding.
 
Episode 3 – Danger! The Virgin’s First Love
The adult stuff is toned down a lot in this episode. Kintaro is seen working as an apprentice ramen chef because the chief has his arm injured from a hit and run accident. Though a regular customer isn’t happy with the ramen’s taste, the chief begs for forgiveness and to give this new kid another chance. The chief also has a pretty grown up daughter named Noriko or Nori for short. She’s the traditional kind of girl. Gentle, well-mannered and has flower arranging skills (something which most youngsters today probably won’t bother to learn). Then a young obnoxious-looking businessman, Kogure, steps into the shop to drop by and visit Nori and her family-run shop. We find out that Kogure was the one who saved the chief from the hit and run accident, thus the reason why the family is grateful to him. There’s some fake politeness that I can sense from him… Before he leaves, he invites Nori to his company’s ship this coming Sunday. Come Sunday as Nori accompanies Kogure on board the ship, Kogure drops a shocking question. He proposes to her. However she is unable to give him an answer right away and wants to think about it.
 
That night as Kintaro heads back from the public bath house, he spots Kogure coming out from a red light district with another woman by his side and it seems he may be doing some shady business. Kintaro follows Kogure to his car, in which Kogure and his mistress start to snuggle real close to each other. But the more shocking thing is Kogure’s revelation. It seems that he is planning something wicked on Nori and her family. He is trying to seduce Nori so that she can marry him in a month’s time. Six months down the road, he’ll close the shop after transferring the land title. He’ll then divorce her, marry this mistress of his and open a bar. What a sly jerk! And Kintaro’s quietly recording all this in his notebook. However before the duo can engage into intimate acts, Kintaro knocks on the window and politely asks him if what he said is true. Most people would think he’s dumb and rather escape quietly than confront a bastard like him. But Kintaro’s seeking for the truth, you see. Kintaro even introduces himself and begs Kogure not to do anything bad to Nori and her family. But Kogure isn’t listening and starts kicking Kintaro, who doesn’t fight back. Kogure threatens him that he’ll kill him if he spills the beans, leaving Kintaro all bruised.
 
The next day Kintaro continues to work as normal but notices Nori’s future is in danger. He finds out that Nori is going out on a date with Kogure and his serious manly expression shows that he’s not going to let that happen. Nori and Kogure are seen watching a horse race from a private room. He wants her answer on his proposal. So in order to help make up her mind, Kogure starts to caress her and such. He thinks she won’t be able to resist his hot body (yeah right!). If you notice a funny horse puppet in the corner, it’s because that’s Kintaro in disguise! The funny part starts as everytime Kogure unbuttons or unzips Nori’s clothes, Kintaro buttons or zips them back. Then Kogure starts licking Nori’s hand, but is actually Kintaro’s! Kogure even thinks that ‘her’ excitement voice sounds like a man! Then he decides to finish her off with Kogure Special Corkscrew Kiss! He locked lips with Kintaro!!! OMG!!! So disgustingly hilarious! And the best part is that, Kogure did not suspect a thing! Yeah, Kintaro manages to go back to his original position. But Kogure is in for some disappointment as Nori says she wants to go home. He can’t believe all that hot excitement ended up like that. Hahaha. He really doesn’t know. Better not.
 
Back home, Nori goes to talk to Kintaro about Kogure’s proposal and about him moving here once they get married. But Kintaro’s reaction seems to be against her so Nori isn’t pleased that he’s thinking something bad about a person he doesn’t know. Oh, she doesn’t know alright. She apologizes for disturbing him as she thought she could get some support and leaves. In her room, Nori is in a dilemma and her flower arrangement basket is unfinished and a letter addressed to Kogure. That night, Nori is restless and goes out to search for Kogure but spots Kintaro on his knees while talking to Kogure. It seems Kintaro wants Kogure to stop this but that bastard isn’t going to stop after coming this far. He even goes on to gloat about that passionate kiss! *Shivering*. But they realized that Nori has overheard them. Kintaro tries to cover up by hugging Kogure’s mistress and says that he wanted to introduce his own girlfriend to her. Kogure too plays along but Nori isn’t buying it as she runs away in tears. Kogure is upset that his perfect plan has been disrupted and is ready to punch Kintaro but that guy counters back first by giving him several good knock-out punches. That jerk deserves it. Hopefully he’ll stay away from Nori now.
 
The next day as the chief gets better, but it seems Kintaro’s ramen skills has surpassed him as his usual client quotes how Kintaro’s tastes better. Kintaro goes to Nori’s room to apologize and inform her that he is leaving. Though Nori apologizes too, I think she’s trying to say that she likes Kintaro. But Kintaro says that he knows she arrange flowers for the one she loves so they have to find a guy who likes her flowers because he isn’t good in remembering flower names. I guess that’s a no, eh? Or rather Kintaro wants a better guy than himself for Nori. Kintaro leaves as Nori and her family wave goodbye and in Nori’s flower basket, is a letter addressed to Kintaro.
 
Episode 4 – Swimming In The Sea Of Love
Kintaro passes by a swimming complex and spots a lady in leather outfit, Ayuko Hayami, and loves her wild African savannah eyes. So leave it to Kintaro’s animal instincts to follow her into the complex and when she notices his presence, as luck would have it with reference to a poster on the wall, he says he’s looking for a job here as a swimming instructor, in which Ayuko is the chief instructor. Kintaro then takes a swimming test so that Ayuko can gauge his level. Now this is the hilarious part. Kintaro doesn’t really know how to swim. As he dives in, he puts on the most pathetic disgusting and hilarious swim like as though he’s struggling and drowning to reach the other end! Not only that, the pool is shallow and at one point he did stood up choking! And when he reaches the finish line, Kintaro has the cheek to put on his serious manly face to ask how was his superb swim. Haha. So who is the one needing swimming lessons? Ayuko tells him to leave since all posts including janitorial are full. But Kintaro begs for a chance and challenges Ayuko to a swimming duel in a month’s time. If he wins, she have to hire him as a coach and if he loses, he’ll work here free for an entire year and do whatever she wants. Ayuko finds it interesting and accepts. Kintaro is particularly all fired up by this wild beastly thingy and it’s disturbing to see his crotch throbbing! However a swimming staff tells Kintaro that it may be impossible because Ayuko was a Olympic gold medallist in the 200 metre medley. He’s sure in big trouble now.
 
As Kintaro learns how to swim, he also works part time (for free) by coaching beginner kids. This shouldn’t be that bad, right? But Ayuko isn’t fond of Kintaro’s childish teaching methods as she says how parents pay good money so that their kids can learn swimming. As Kintaro learns some teaching and grading methods from other staff of the school, Ayuko notices that Kintaro too has made some improvements in such a short time and admires his perseverance but still thinks he has no chance of beating her. Then when Kintaro says how swimming captivates him, this causes Ayuko to dive into the pool. What’s going on? Ayuko says that if he can keep up with her, she’ll admit that he has guts. Of course that guy is going to do this challenge. Kintaro is particularly thrilled as he swims if all his might to catch up to Ayuko but she’s just matching his pace. So what is the thing which motivates Kintaro to swim closer? Yeah, it’s Ayuko’s crotch area. Unbelievably, he manages to catch up to it so much so, he has his face and mouth ended up in it! Woah! Hmm… Is that surprised expression on Ayuko’s face indicating some pleasure-ful sensation? Ayuko stops and says he’s quite good. As she steps out of the pool, she tells him that this is only half of the speed which she is capable of when she spots something unsightly. Uh huh. It’s Kintaro’s crotch. I think it’s sticking out. Can’t see since it’s so ‘shiny’. Ayuko is pissed off that he has violated the pool’s sanctuary (note the electrical currents of anger!). But Kintaro is all hyped up and says back how the wild beast in her has awakened the wild beast in him. Ayuko punches him.
 
The next thing Kintaro knows is that he is outside in the cold with all his belongings thrown out beside him (underwear on his head?). He quietly rides his bicycle away and says how he’ll come back once things calm down. Yeah, he’s fired alright. Over time, Ayuko notices how many students have advanced out of novice class. A colleague explains to her several methods and activities to make kids less afraid of the water. It’s like they’re having so much fun. This causes Ayuko to have fond memories how her dad introduced her to the world of swimming and she has fallen in love with it ever since. Ayuko then finds out from her staff that these techniques were created and improvised by Kintaro. Just then a parent and her child appears to thank Ayuko for her efforts. But the little girl wonders where Kintaro is. It is then that Ayuko realized that she has been beaten outright even though they didn’t managed to go head on in their swimming challenge. She laments his loss and hers and says how she’ll hire him as a coach just as she wished. She’d even gladly invite him back but it’s too late for that as she too knows that he is gone while tears well up from her eyes. No use crying over spilt milk. But it’s good to know that she acknowledges his potential.
 
Episode 5 – Balls To The Wall
Kintaro’s journey this time takes him to the mountain pass when a biker babe zooms pass him. He takes a break at a nearby rest area when he spots that lady again. Another eye opening moment because it’s like that lady is having exciting orgasms with that own bike of hers! Oh crazy and sexy! Too stimulating! Keep revving it up baby! She soon speeds off and Kintaro chases after this so called shooting star. Is he serious? She’s long gone already. But that doesn’t stop this crazy bugger.
 
Anyway Kintaro’s part time job takes him to the outskirts of Kyoto whereby he is to work as a scullery/kitchen worker of a wealthy man, Daitoku Terayama, in his large traditional Japanese home. Working there is tough and strict but Kintaro perseveres. He also notices the master’s beautiful daughter, Reiko. Ah, the one with all those good eloquence and etiquette needed by such wealthy family. You know this guy of course can’t take his eyes of her lah. So much so one night he was carrying stacks of bento boxes and he got distracted by her beauty when she passes by, he slipped. Are the boxes going to fall and dirty that lady? Kintaro did fall and made a mess out of the bento but he is stumped to see Reiko have avoided its path and wonders how she evaded it so quickly. After he offer his apologies and since he says he’s alright, Reiko leaves.
 
Then it’s that disturbing scene once more. Uh huh. Kintaro is fantasizing with the toilet bowl again! His hugging all over it! Till he notices Reiko watches him from behind. Enough to send shivers to this sick guy. She just shuts the door without saying anything. See lah. Next time close the toilet door whether you’re doing business or just cleaning. Later I don’t know why but Kintaro sees some stuff in Reiko’s room and ‘invades’ them by licking her tea cup and rummaging through her bags. WTF?! Then the head housekeeper catches him in the act and politely says his services is no longer needed (read: fired). Kintaro gets thrown out of the estate even though he pleads for a second chance. He even quipped that he got fired so early and without any developments! Thus Kintaro decides to camp outside nearby and hope something exciting will develop along the way.
 
Several days passed and nothing much happened until he spots Reiko heading out alone in a taxi. He follows her to an abandoned building to have another shock of his life. Reiko is that biker lady and what is more shocking is that she strips down naked to her undies and starts having intercourse with her bike, Bimo! WTF?! Still waters run really deep. Kintaro who is peeping, must be having the thrill of his lifetime. Ooooh. Those synchronized body movements. Wish she had them done on him! Yeow! What a turn on! Soon Reiko spots Kintaro spying and the latter reveals himself. Reiko spills the beans by saying how she gets her sexual gratification from her Bimo because no man is good enough for her especially those in big fast cars and bikes whom she thinks are just big talk. Holy sh*t! She’s masturbating herself right in front of Kintaro while talking to him! Yeah, she notices his erection and wonders if he wants to screw her. "I’d be lying if I said otherwise". Which guy would pass up a chance like this? But she throws him a condition. He has to catch her riding her Bimo. That simple?! Oh yeah, Kintaro agrees straight away without thinking.
 
Erm… Common sense tells us that the winner is already decided outright with a high horse powered superbike against a man powered bicycle. Is Kintaro nuts? Oh hell, there’s always a chance because sex is at stake here! The race starts as Kintaro uses all his energy to peddle while Reiko teases him by matching his pace then decides not to wait anymore as she zooms ahead and disappears. How is he going to catch up? As Reiko rides into a tunnel, she spots a Porsche and decides to play a prank on him. Meanwhile Kintaro is lagging far behind and is thinking how to catch. The next few scenes are impossible so remember, DO NOT TRY THIS ANYHOW OR ANYWHERE! This is what Kintaro did. He takes a shortcut down the mountain slope via a concrete barrier! It’s a roller coaster ride downhill! Yehaa! Meanwhile Porsche guy is upset that he got screwed and decides to chase Reiko. Kintaro incredibly has reached the tunnel and hooks his grappling hook onto the Porsche. As they twist and turn through the hilly corners, a cat crosses their path. Reiko manages to avoid it but Porsche guy breaks and loses his momentum and will to chase her. The sudden stop of Porsche guy sends Kintaro and his bicycle flying high into the air. Now this is another ridiculous part. Another reminder: DO NOT TRY THIS ANYHOW OR ANYWHERE! With all the nice timing and precision, Kintaro manages to swing himself onto the electric wires and rides even faster! He’s better than a circus act! Unbelievable! Reiko too can’t believe it when she spots him and wonders how the hell does he do that.
 
When the line ends, he still manages to keep his momentum as he rides down crashing into things but his bicycle is still in 1 piece! He is even ahead of her since now it’s downhill all the way. This particular scene is hilarious because Kintaro is seen steeply cornering on his bicycle while peddling. Left right left right. Too funny! Then as they’re approaching a sharp turn, Reiko thinks Kintaro is too fast to make the corner but realizes that he’s going straight to jump off an unfinished concrete bridge! Kintaro’s crazy! Has he lost his mind?! But Reiko isn’t going to chicken out and is going to follow him. Kintaro’s speed propels him off the bridge but Reiko’s sanity got the better of her so she stops just right at the edge. Is Kintaro trying to be like E.T.? Another funny part is that, the camera angle shows as though Kintaro’s going to make it but soon falls straight down the gorge! He didn’t make it! So people, DO NOT TRY THIS ANYHOW OR ANYWHERE! Reiko is shocked and realized that this guy is even better than her Bimo. She laments it’s no use because he’s dead. However to her surprise yet again (and mine), Kintaro emerges from the bushes below and continues peddling! WTF?!!! TOTALLY UNBELIEVABLE!!! Unscathed and his bicycle is still in one piece! What is this bicycle made of?! She then realized that Kintaro is the one for her and starts chasing him on her bike. I wonder if she can catch up since he’s so far away ahead. Yeah, she’s screaming how he has to screw her! This guy has really proven it, man! In the end, we see and hear Kintaro saying his benkyou line like a broken tape recorder (he’s saying it ever since pulling off that 1st crazy stunt!) and he’s not stopping anytime soon because as mentioned by the narrator, his bicycle brakes are broken. Wait a minute. That’s the only thing broken after the way he trashed the bicycle Woooohooooo!!! Yeah, put on that crazy face, will ‘ya! It’s really the ride of his life!
 
Episode 6 – Animation Is Fun
Kintaro lands a part time job as a production administrator trainee of a tiny anime production company. After Boss (I’ll call him that) hires him, he lets Chie, the animation cell painter, show Kintaro around. To those not familiar of the anime industry, you’ll get the shock of your lives when you see all those animators sleeping on the floor and table of their work place. It’s like a pig sty! This episode give viewers a little insight on how animation is made. It’s good study material for you aspiring anime or manga artists. Makes me feel appreciated of all the meticulous effort that they put in day and night. Of course Kintaro as usual is sketching pretty Chie in his notebook and is even making guesses of her bust size. Then he gets friendly with an animator staff who is drawing some ecchi animation and you know those 2 could click right away. That is, till Boss comes in to chide him for lazing around and not cleaning as they’re expecting some guests over.
 
The Sponsor Lady (I’ll call her that. She’s your typical stuck up woman) arrives with the manga author and creator, Tatsuya Engawa (later I found out he’s a real life mangaka and creator of this series!), is here to meet the company’s Director (I’ll call that unkempt old man that) about their upcoming anime project, The Valley Where The Demon Cries (thankfully it isn’t something ecchi though it ambiguously sounds like one). Kintaro gets excited to know that he too did some ecchi works and wants his autograph. Though Sponsor Lady vehemently forbids at first, Engawa doesn’t mind and you can see the change in Sponsor Lady’s attitude to be all lenient and nice. The team gets to work under the tight deadline schedule.
 
Kintaro notices how the team isn’t eating well and suggests cooking a better meal for them, seeing that he once worked in a ramen shop before. Chie, who just came out of the toilet, relishes the chance to taste his food once he is done. Then Kintaro gets this sick toilet bowl fantasy of his. Uh huh. He goes to the toilet and is trying hard to control himself while in a dilemma whether to get up close and personal with the toilet seat because he thinks Chie’s butt warmth is still there (sicko!). Then Boss came in and startled him and Kintaro nearly sliced his face off! Thankfully it was just his hair. He gets his deserved pounding thereafter. Kintaro continues to learn about the anime world and gets beaten up by one of the staff after cleaning his desk. Yeah, his desk his so clean so much so he can’t tell where his things are! He gets treated by Chie who advices him not to touch their desks.
 
Some time later, Sponsor Lady comes by to check on their progress and finds out that they are way behind so Boss wants her to extend the deadline. Chie accidentally spills some tea onto Sponsor Lady’s boobs so Kintaro’s initial reaction is to wipe it off! Is he actually harassing? Well, he did it in record time, 2.23 seconds to whip out a cloth and made contact with her boobs. Sponsor Lady is horrified with this pervert and has had enough. So she throws down the gauntlet that if they don’t make the deadline, she’ll crush this company to bits. After she leaves, the other staff confronts Boss to tell it’s impossible to do so with the given amount of time as each of their department is still lagging. Though Boss gets ready to bite the bullet, he receives a phone call saying Director got involved in an accident and is hospitalized. All hopes down the drain! They’ll never make it in time!
 
Kintaro goes to cheer Chie up because she thinks it’s her fault that she spilt tea onto Sponsor Lady. She then reflects the kind of boring job she’s been doing but Kintaro says otherwise. He gives her enough self confidence back with the pros of doing anime and encourages her to study further. Kintaro is having discussion with the other team who are on the verge of giving up when he suggests CG. They aren’t too fond of the idea as it takes money which they don’t have. Kintaro then gets an idea as he calls Sacchou. She’s bloody glad to hear from him and is happy to help him out. Kintaro continues to learn and get ideas from the staff and even Director in hospital and when 1 of the staff needed some reference material, Kintaro calls Ayuko to have a swimming video for him. What about meals? Don’t worry, Nori gladly cooks them tasty ramen. What about the seiyuu who bailed out last minute? Don’t worry, Kintaro’s got Naoko to fill in. Everything is going fine but even so, Boss thinks they can’t make it after putting in all the effort. Can the reel reach in time? Of course, leave it to Reiko’s superbike! Wow. All those ladies Kintaro helped has returned to return the favour.
 
The day of the test screening arrives as everyone from the team and some invited guests (including those 5 ladies) watch the movie. During the movie, Kintaro notices a tense atmosphere and starts to panic because he thought he screwed up somewhere. When the film ends, the audience give a heartily applause. Sponsor Lady is pleased and expects a final re-edit tomorrow. However 1 of the staff screams in panic to Boss that Kintaro has packed his bags and left. Those 5 ladies are shocked and thinks he’s running away again as they start to chase him. Well, he’s pretty hard to catch, right? So better not let him go again or they’ll lose track of him. Boss wonders why Chie won’t go after Kintaro as she says she needs to get back to the studio for her re-editing. While Kintaro continues his journey, the 5 ladies are in hot pursuit on his trail. Can they catch up to him? In Chie’s studio, she notes how Kintaro has taught her the importance and fun of her job and hopes to see him one day as she shed a tear or two. As Kintaro peddles, the narrator narrates his usual line but this time adds, how he might one day save the anime industry too! That’s right. Kintaro, the anime industry needs you! Don’t forget those ladies too.
 
Golden Angel
So what are your views of Kintaro now? Overall, I find him to be a good guy. I know some of us won’t like his perverted side as it is quite disturbing and obvious at times. But hey, he’s a healthy young adult so it’s natural for him to be so. However the more important aspects is his ability to help those in need. It’s just a coincidence that all 6 episodes had women in them. Okay, so maybe they are the main motivation why he decides to chip in. With his ability to learn and adapt fast, I’m sure Kintaro has learn lots of valuable life lessons in his job hopping journey. Now that’s something that all of us should emulate. And I’m not talking about his perverted side lah!
 
Kintaro’s presence seems to remind me of that American drama series, Touched By An Angel. He came, he saw, he did all he could, and he left. But it’s very certain that he definitely left footprints in the heart of those ladies and even changed them in a way. Mitsuo Iwata who plays Kintaro, did a very good job in making the character sound very passionate and hyped-up. His previous voice acting roles include Pyoro of Vandread and Marcosias of Shakugan No Shana. You just got to love him during those moments when he gets into those loud modes. I also love it when he goes into ‘crazy’ mode. You know, his eyes become round and big and his mouth wide open like those incredulous looks. Don’t forget that hilarious manly serious look too. He’s such a funny and fun character (don’t mind his perverted ways). Surprisingly, I later found out hat Kikuko Inoue too have a role here as Ayuko. I’ve been so used to her gentle dreamy voice that I couldn’t recognize her here until I saw the end credits.
 
Though the opening theme is totally an instrumental piece, the ending theme, Study A Go! Go! by Golden Girls (I think they are the lady characters of the series) sounds like an all-girl pop group. I also think that the ending theme is a full length version since it lasted around 4 minutes, partly a reason why this OVA is close to 30 minutes of running time.
 
Life is a never ending learning process. There are many ways for one to accumulate and garner knowledge, whether it is good or bad. I know it won’t be really accurate to say to emulate Kintaro’s feat because of his pervertness, but it would be better for all of us to follow his good intentions and heart. Yeah, his pervertness seems like the overwhelming factor here. I would like to recommend this anime to everybody, not only straight otaku guys, but with the mature content, some may find it a little too much to handle. So watch it with an open mind. Now if I could just get on my bicycle and go learn about life that way. Maybe not. I’d prefer to continue watching animes over the idiot box. Hey, I could also learn life that way, right?
 

Golden Boy

I really do miss that anime Tsubasa Chronicle. It was one of those romance fantasy adventure genres that somehow captured my attention. Maybe I was new to the world of anime that time and was touched by the bonds, emotions and relationship of the time and dimension travelling group. Though I haven’t rewatched it yet for nostalgic reasons, perhaps in the near (or distant) future, I might just consider doing so.
 
Anyway one of the plus points of this series besides the storyline is its background music. It’s like everything here complements each other from the music to the animation and to the characters. So it’s no wonder after watching into several episodes of the series, it didn’t take me long to go look for the background music, which until today which I considered to be one of the best compilations for such a genre.
 
The soundtrack album which I am to blog here mainly refers to the soundtrack of the TV series. Since it spanned over 2 seasons, there have been 4 albums released. They are named Future Soundscape I to IV and each album on average consists of 20 tracks, inclusive of the TV edit version of the opening and ending themes. Though the background music occupies a big majority on each album and are composed by Yuki Kajiura, there are also vocal tracks which featured other artistes as well. Although not every background music is to my personal liking, listed below are the tracks which I have been listening to ever since I’ve got my hands on them. And of course, in alphabetical order:
 
1) A Song Of Storm And Fire
2) Believe
3) Blue Clouds
4) I Talk To The Rain
5) If You Are My Love
6) Lost Wings
7) Ship Of Fools
8) Storm And Fire
9) Strange Names
10) The Dreamers
11) Through The Gate
 
Hmm… That doesn’t seem quite a lot, doesn’t it? Nevertheless as I’ve said, these are my favourites. But if you noticed, these tracks are mainly from either Future Soundscape I or II. Of course even if I had to pick one to be my favourite of all favourites, it would undoubtedly by A Song Of Storm And Fire. This is an exciting battle theme befitting for action and fighting sequences in the series. This thrilling piece is mainly voice-driven, like the ones you usually here in large choirs. There are also strings in the background to complement this piece perfectly. Hearing this track evokes a feeling of an epic battle between good and evil as they clash. Then the intermediate part slows down slightly with a melancholic tune which adds to the suspense before bursting into its usual lively and grand finale.
 
My second favourite track is Storm And Fire, which is a shorter and vocal-less version of A Song Of Storm And Fire. Though not as upbeat as the latter, but nevertheless it is still a good piece and variety for action scenes. In replacement of the vocals, the strings and flute solo takes centre stage. I find the flute play fast and creative, which I also feel is the part of the song which I liked best.
 
The Dreamers is next in line not only because of the violin play, but the Latin guitar pickings. How I wish I could try and follow the fast and smooth pickings even though it’s just a short stretch but until today I can’t because well, it’s just too fast. Oh well, I guess I have to be happy and satisfied by just listening to it. Of course both the violin and guitar complement this piece well.
 
If you have watched the TV series, then you should very well know and remember that Through The Gate is a dramatic lively piece whereby the gang finishes its mission of finding a piece of Sakura’s feather in the present world and are preparing to leap though a time dimensional gate to the next world. Likewise, Believe is another upbeat track whereby it gives a feeling of another mission accomplished. With heavy bass lines and dynamic string pieces, it also gives off a sensation of hope.
 
I Talk To The Rain is a song which initially starts off in a dramatic slow pace as it incorporates slow strings and solo mezzo voices. Then the piece picks up in tempo before ending on a slower and melancholic note. If You Are My Love is a slow piano piece which gives off emotions of sadness and sorrowfulness. The slow strings and flute enhances this effect. A piece which is mainly played by flute (at the start) and strings (from the middle) and is accompanied by the gentleness of the piano is Blue Clouds. This slow song at least gives off a calm and soothing sentiment like that feeling you get on a nice bright and blue sunny day.
 
A slow piano solo is suitable for the track Lost Wings (though as the song progresses, you can hear slow strings in the background) and is yet another one of those soothing background music. If my memory serves me well, I think there is a vocal and more upbeat version of this song sung by the seiyuus of Sakura and Syaoran. Though Sakura’s voice of singing her part in this tune isn’t bad, however it is Syaoran’s voice which instantly had my hairs stood on ends. Uh huh. So unfitting. I never wanted to hear this song ever again. Ship Of Fools sounds a bit like an Arabian song because of the tune of the voices and other musical instruments like bell chimes which brings to mind such Middle Eastern impressions. Like running through the markets of a Persian street while being pursued by Arabic guards. Yeah, feels like that. I’m not sure what string instrument they use for Strange Names because this piece too sounds like another one of those Arabian tunes. I’m sure the tune of the flute does.
 
I’m sure that there are a variety of other beats throughout the 4 albums, ranging from slight variations (in terms of musical instrument variety) or total revamp (but keeping the main tune of the piece intact). Whether they are fast or slow, upbeat or sad, depending on your flavour in music, I’m sure that there is one which will suit your taste, even if you’re not a fan nor have you watched the series. Besides the original soundtrack, there are also vocal albums, which are compilations of all the full versions of opening and ending themes of the TV series and also vocal tracks from the original soundtrack. Those who are infatuated with the series and still can’t get enough would be happy to know that there are several Drama CDs and albums. For me, I’m satisfied with the handful of background music that I have. So even if I don’t rewatch the series, hearing these tracks sure do bring back nice memories when I was watching them. Though by now, I can’t remember much of it ;p.

 
Tsubasa Chronicle

To Love-Ru

June 21, 2009

Have you ever thought or dreamt of being engaged and married to an alien princess whose empire spans several galaxies and solar systems? And I’m not talking about just being boyfriend-girlfriend case like in Narue No Sekai. That’s right. It’s To Love-Ru that I’m talking about. Don’t worry. You’re not going to see space adventures or fighting alien monsters from different planets. It’s all happening right here on good ol’ little planet Earth.
 
In this 26 episode series, this is your typical harem romance comedy series. Oh yes. Don’t forget the fanservice. Lots of them. So for those who want to see more ‘intelligent’ animes, you can skip this one. For me, I’m here for the comedy and to laugh out loud. You must be thinking that this series is a no-brainer and waste of time, huh? It feels kinda like that after I watched the series but I don’t really regret it because I did have some laughs which I’m after.
 
Let’s get down to business. Meet our main protagonist, Rito Yuuki. Your ordinary boy attending ordinary high school in his normal life. Nothing much happens. But all that is about to change when a princess from the planet Deviluke, Lala Satalin Deviluke, is seen escaping from her pursuers onto Earth in episode 1. She uses some teleport thingy as her last ditch attempt to escape and ‘vanish’ from their sights.
 
So okay, maybe Rito isn’t just ordinary, he may be a little loser because he’s having a hard time trying to confess his feelings to the secret crush of his life, Haruna Sairenji. Everytime he says that today will be the day he’ll do so, but it doesn’t really turn out well. Plus, we see a short flashback of why he has a crush on her. Back in middle school, everyone is convinced that Rito was the culprit in destroying a flowerbed except for Haruna who firmly believes in him. As Rito once again tries his confession attempt, he is interrupted with a crashing of a spaceship. Back him, he’s daydreaming about the girl of his dreams in his bathtub when something crashes into him. Next thing he knows, he’s got both his hands over the boobs of this mysterious naked girl (Lala). Of course he gets embarrassed and after Lala introduces herself, I don’t blame that guy for not believing her out-of-this-world story. I mean, who would believe a gorgeous babe like her from another planet. But she manages to convince him with a black tail that all Deviluke inhabitants possess. Their conversation is interrupted when a little strange robot creature enters. He is Peke and is created by Lala as some form of shape shifting costume. Neat.
 
Soon Lala pursuers have detected her whereabouts and appear before them. Lala can’t use that teleport thingy because it needs some time to recharge. You know Rito can’t leave a damsel in distress so he helps her escape through his window. As they run across rooftops, Haruna who is taking her pet dog out for a walk spots Rito. Then cornered at the park, one of the pursuers, Zastin, wants Lala to come back with him. Rito finds out Lala is running away from home because she’s fed-up with all those marriage interviews. Hey, she’s the princess of a powerful empire. I’m sure lots of aliens want her hand in marriage. But Lala’s just a young girl and wants to have her fun rather than going through all that royalty crap. Lala unleashes another invention of hers which is an octopus-like vacuum to suck Zastin and his men into. Problem is, she doesn’t know how to turn it off so the machine is going to suck everything in. Including Rito. Once it can’t suck in anymore, it explodes. The next day, Rito is lamenting his bad luck as he heads to school when he meets Haruna. He thinks it’s the perfect chance to confess to her. Finally he manages to say those 3 words but he gets the shock of his life because it seems that he has confessed to Lala instead! How was she standing there in the first place?! Lala too thinks the same thing and wishes for them to get married. Oh great. Now the real mess begins. Haruna has that concerned look on her face.
 
Thus episode 2 Rito has more rude shocks to his peaceful life like finding Lala sleeping naked next to him. She can’t wear Peke all the time because that’ll use up lots of energy and needs to recharge (excuse for fanservice, I think). Things get even complicated when Rito’s sister, Mikan, walks in to see them like that and leaves them alone. Even if Rito isn’t amused that Lala is the one who decided they’re to be engaged, Zastin makes his appearance to tell him that it is Deviluke’s custom for a proposal to grab one’s breasts. I see. Weird. Of course Zastin ‘warns’ him that if he refuses the engagement, Earth will be destroyed. Rito’s got his hands tied real tight. If Rito thinks his school is a sanctuary from Lala, then think again because Lala soon comes looking for him. With Lala clinging so closely to Rito, he earns the jealousy and wrath of the other loser boys, including his best pal Saruyama (read: another loser). So these losers chased Rito who is running away for his life. They got him cornered so he tells Lala to use her teleport thingy in which she does. The next thing they both know, they appear naked together out of some locker room. A female changing room, that is. Guess what. Haruna’s changing there. Holy sh*t! Haruna’s reaction is to slap that shameless pervert.
 
Rito goes home to find Mikan and Zastin getting along pretty well. Looks like that girl has accepted things and Zastin making himself at home. Rito asks the procedure to annul the engagement in which Zastin says one has to touch her breasts again. But one has to do it within a period of time after which the engagement becomes permanent. For the sake of Haruna, Rito tries various attempts to touch Lala’s boobs but fails miserably. Time is running out and there is 1 hour left. Rito goes talk to Lala and asks her opinion about marriage. Since she replies how Rito was different because he tried to protect her unlike other marriage applicants who only shower her with gifts, she feels happy. Rito feels bad about cancelling the engagement and soon the time limit is up as Rito prepares to live with fate. He is congratulated by Zastin and his henchmen on his way out to school but his troubles are far from over because Lala has become the new transfer student in his class. How can this be? An alien in his class? Well you see, the short bald principal of this school, Sainan High (whom I shall refer to as Kouchou) is a pervert! Yeah, he sees a sexy girl and he agrees to just about anything.
 
So it’s like this in most episodes, you’ll see some sort of wacky adventure between Rito, Lala and Haruna. As we go by, we will be introduced to several bunch of characters, in a way contributes to Rito’s reluctant ‘harem’. One thing viewers will notice about Lala is how carefree and an airhead she is. Firstly, she has no qualms about being naked and that whenever she’s in danger, she’s like still so happy-go-lucky character not knowing the threats of the danger. I know it’s best to remain optimistic and positive in such times but hers give an impression that she’s having fun. All the way. Besides, she creates so many weird inventions which backfires in the end (or at the start) and some may be useless and the cause of trouble and Rito’s woes. And again, it’s like she’s having fun whenever Rito’s in pain. Also, over the course of the series, you’ll notice that Haruna has a secret crush on Rito from her reactions and such. But she suppresses it. Ah, if they’d both only knew. Initially I thought Zastin was Lala’s brother or kin but later found out that he’s just the bodyguard for Lala.
 
In addition, Rito has to keep this alien thingy a secret. It would be bad stuff if humans every find out that there are aliens living among us, right? Speaking of which, this planet is a melting pot of aliens with various creatures blending into the human society! So in episode 3, Rito tries real hard to prevent Lala’s origins of being exposed, though Lala is being her usual airhead self. That girl too has easily made good friends with Rito’s classmates, Risa Momioka and Mio Sawada. To make things worse, Rito hears from Haruna herself that she thinks Rito and Lala are suited for each other! Due to his depression, Mikan suggests to go shopping with Lala. During the outing, Peke starts losing his energy which means Lala’s clothes start dissolving. Those perverted people! Luckily they head to a nearby clothes store to get Lala some new clothes. Since Lala is enjoying dressing herself and one in a lingerie outfit, Haruna passes by… You can figure the rest. Good thing Mikan is able to clear things up by saying Lala is a foreigner. Like that will work. Oh wait. It did. Soon Lala becomes friends with Haruna and the gang decides to check out a newly opened aquarium. As usual Lala’s carefree self causes more trouble. But on the other hand, Rito sees this as a chance to confess to Haruna. However, it’s taking too long. How long? Lala decides to play with those fishes and even strips down naked (because that perverted staff suggested so and does so himself too) and floods the entire aquarium with her weird invention! She’s riding naked on a shark! So no choice, Rito has to put off his confession once more and run for his life. See lah. Take so long so more lah. I wonder if they’ll get penalised. Doesn’t matter. The next day though Rito feels closer to Haruna although he didn’t confessed, he tripped and land his face onto her boobs, earning himself a good slap. Ah well, back to square one.
 
Since Rito is the future ruler of Deviluke Empire, Zastin calls him mukou-dono (son-in-law) in episode 4. Also, Rito gets frightened at the idea that he has to go to war once he ascends the Deviluke throne. Whether it’s on the offensive to expand the empire or defensive to protect from rebellion, what are the chances of victory for a skinny weakling like him? He only sees his impending doom. So when Rito finds out that Lala can’t really cook, he cooks up an excuse to get out of this marriage. Yeah, he said it in her face that he doesn’t want a wife who can’t cook. Since it’s so darn convincing, Lala just got up and run away in shock in her spaceship. Did he say it too harshly? Though Mikan lectures him, Rito brushes it off although he himself feels guilty about his actions. The next day, Lala busts into Rito’s class the energetic self and drags him to the home economics room. It seems Lala has been gathering ingredients from all over the universe in which she stores them in her Deviluke Freezer (reminds you of Doraemon’s pocket because you can seemingly keep endless giant stuff in there). Then Rito learns that even if he becomes the ruler of Deviluke, he doesn’t necessarily directly get involve in wars and can just sit back and relax and let his generals do the job. Isn’t giving orders part and parcel of this position? But Rito’s relief is short-lived because now he has to taste Lala’s monstrous cooking. I know having fresh food is good but her ingredients are still alive! Not only they’re rampaging, but they’re perverted as well! A giant space octopus, squid, lobster and worm all fighting to get pervy with the girls. WTF?! Zastin is blown away by the squid. So much of protecting his majesty. To add to the ‘orgy’, Haruna passes by, gets the shock of her life on what she saw and passes out. Keep your dirty perverted tentacles of her! The monsters continue to wreck havoc on the entire school and what happens after is left up to viewers to decide. WTF?!
 
The school’s rich and popular sophomore, Saki Tenjouin notices Lala’s popularity is soaring above hers in episode 5 and she doesn’t like it. Your typical obnoxious b*tch with her typical trademark laughter that any sane person would consider embarrassed enough to laugh so in public. She has 2 followers, Aya Fujisaki and Rin Kujou, who also serve as her loyal assistants. Meanwhile Lala has another weird tiny dog robot invention which attacks any suspicious person. Well, it attacks just about anybody, ripping their clothes off. Fanservice cue! Anyway Saki decides to hold a Ms Sainan beauty contest as a challenge to Lala. How influential is Saki? Her underlings can even walk into the middle of Rito’s class lessons and shoot a challenge letter at Lala. Only thing is Lala swiftly evaded it to let Rito take the pain. Ouch. Plus, with Kouchou’s approval… On the contest day, Saki is strutting her stuff much to the perverted boys’ delight while Lala is nowhere in sight. Pissed off of waiting, Saki decides to use Rito as bait to lure Lala (she’s forcing him to touch her boobs in public? Haruna is watching, you know). Lala then comes running by chasing after her robot dog. The robot dog then shreds Saki’s bikini to bits leaving her totally naked and embarrassed in front of the perverted crowd. Still not wanting to lose out, she and her underlings go to Rito’s house to spy on her but Saki gets caught in Zastin’s traps while Aya and Rin run away. So much for being loyal. Saki then finds herself in Lala’s room and thinks it’s the perfect chance when she accidentally hits a button which ejects Lala’s room into orbit. What on Earth is such a button doing there? Why is it necessary in the first place? Well, it’s sort of like an escape pod Zastin built just in case. Just in case.
 
Anyway Lala still seems like having fun while Saki starts to panic and wondering what is going on. Zastin goes into rescue mode and if you’re wondering why the series is called To Love-Ru, it stands for something really long and ridiculous. Technology of Over Level Operation for Very heavy command to Electronic control unit… Ru. I don’t even know what that means. However Zastin has been blasted away when Lala accidentally unleashes several missiles at him. Oh they’re doomed. Saki thinks this is the end as she free falls off but luckily Lala swoops down to save her. If you think that Saki and Lala will become friends soon after then think again because after Saki faints from her ordeal, she awakens to find herself lying totally naked once more in the public street! Courtesy of that little robot dog. Oh the embarrassment! Now she hates her rival even more. Apparently Lala has accidentally dropped her somewhere and is currently looking for her. What about her room blasted into orbit? Don’t know.
 
Rito and Lala are in a biology class in episode 6 and I’m not sure if Lala knows the meaning of dissecting because she wants to dissect open Rito like how they did to the frog. Meanwhile an alien Ghee Bree crash lands his ship at Sainan High and it seems this frog-like alien who irritatingly ends his sentences with ~fushuu (is he trying to imitate Kaidoh from Prince Of Tennis?) is one of the many would-be aliens trying to get Lala to marry her. Ghee Bree is also a shape shifter as he takes the form of Kouchou and since he notices how Rito has his heart set on Haruna, he tells Haruna to follow him to the storeroom. As Lala continues to chase Rito on the rooftop to dissect him, Saruyama says how he wants to get dissect by her too after telling Rito that he saw Kouchou bringing Haruna to the storeroom. Thinking that Kouchou may unleash his inner pervertness on her, Rito heads there while Saruyama strips down to his undies to let Lala dissect him. Pinching his navel? Is that called dissecting? Rito to his horror finds Haruna fainted, tied up and her clothes torn. Poor girl. She has to be the victim of perversion many times in this series. Lala manages to track Rito down when she notices his failure to return. Ghee Bree attempts to ‘violate’ Haruna hoping that this pressure will force Lala to marry him. Rito can’t take this anymore and is going to punch Ghee Bree in his rage when the latter cowers in fear. Rito soon learns that Ghee Bree is a weak creature in its true form and shape shifting into meaner looking creatures is its only defence. Not only that, Ghee Bree has several other wives and children who come looking for him soon! And he still wants to take on another bride? Yeah, he’s still in denial and running away from them all. Lala teleports them to Zastin’s spaceship and interrupts his warm bath. Later at the infirmary, Haruna wakes up and is told by Lala how Rito protected her. Meanwhile the real Kouchou is seen enjoying his masochistic tied-up in the storeroom just like how Saruyama is enjoying his on the rooftop.
 
In episode 7, Rito passes by a girl in a school boy’s uniform after soon which she sneezes. In class, they get another transfer student, Ren Elsie Jewelria who quickly proposes to Lala. Though Ren is Lala’s childhood friend, Lala doesn’t remember him much (probably after meeting so many potential candidates, can’t blame her) so Ren shows several photos of their younger days and from what I understand is that Lala ‘abused’ him as her toy. Then some promise that she’ll marry him if he gets manlier. Uh huh. He was like a sissy boy back then. Ren also views Rito as his rival and vows to take Lala away from him. Thus Ren tries to show his absurd manliness to Lala in the following scenes but Lala doesn’t recognize them (partly she’s an airhead). So Ren undergoes intensive training to be more ripped and manly (including a parody of that American boxing movie, Rocky). After several hard effort and training which garnered world wide publicity, Ren is heading for the finish line to finally get Lala who is waiting there to recognize his manliness. On stage, he asks her opinion of his manliness when Ren sneezes. Ren then turns into his girl form, Run (the one Rito earlier spot). Uh huh, he’s some sort of transsexual alien but unlike Ranma who changes into a girl when he gets poured by cold water, Ren changes gender whenever he sneezes. Because of that, Lala quips how she can’t proclaim a girl to be manly. Ah what a waste of time and effort. Too bad. Just keep trying.
 
Basically, Run is in love with Rito now after her unforgettable kiss with him in the previous episode. Well actually, it is Ren who did it when their lips accidentally met after tripping. Ugh! First kiss Rito got was with a boy. In episode 8, Sainan High’s public morals committee, Yui Kotegawa, isn’t impressed of the degrading moral standards especially surrounding Rito. Yeah, he’s got a harem. Saki is even in because she always had the idea of using and seducing Rito as bait to defeat Lala. Thus dressing in sexy revealing leather outfits. Thinking that Rito is a pervert and the source of those poor girl’s to be ecchi, she even manages to convince Kouchou to ban illicit sexual relations in school and has restricted Rito from contacting with any girls for 2 weeks. However Yui notices that even quarantining Rito hasn’t ended the problems so she decides to follow him and see for herself. Her views of Rito turn favourable because Rito seems to be a good, helpful and honest kid. He can’t be a pervert, can’t he? Yui thinks she must’ve misunderstood him and apologizes. Hmm… Her heart is throbbing. Could this mean something? However Lala and the other girls are thinking of cheering him up so Lala uses her weird Rito magnetic device to ‘bring’ Rito to where she is. Rito drags Yui along the way overrunning everything in his path and he ends up in a compromising position with Yui. All that good perception on Rito vanishes when Yui spots Rito in a compromising position with naked Lala at school. Yeah, she puts a sign ‘Beast’ on Rito this time.
 
Another marriage candidate, Pikari from the planet Kirara, arrives on Earth to propose to Lala in episode 9. He is somewhat like a rocketman and his eyes always have that sparkling stars in them. Of course he doesn’t like Rito and decides to whisk Lala back to his planet but uninterested Lala destroys his belt which contains much of his abilities. Which means he is useless pretty much after. Pikari gets help from Ren and Zastin to be stronger but flops big time. Then we find out that Sainan High’s hot sexy busty infirmary nurse, Ryouko Mikado, is actually a secret doctor treating aliens on Earth. Yeah, she’s an alien too. After Mikado treats Pikari back to health, Pikari decides to kidnap Lala once more by paralyzing her and making her drowsy while trapping Rito. But luckily Mikado arrives in time to wrap him up like a mummy and sends him packing and flying back to his home planet.
 
The chairwoman of Lala’s fan club, Stellar, arrives on planet Earth to bring Lala back in episode 10 but you know, Lala isn’t really interested into going back to her idol show business because she wants to stay on Earth with Rito, which shocks Stellar very much. Seeing that Rito is the cause of all this, she wants Rito to take responsibility and find a replacement idol. Stellar’s picky taste gives Rito a hard time. Just then, she ‘senses’ a nearby human idol material. In short, she is Haruna. Now Rito doesn’t want this little sick birdy alien to turn Haruna into some space idol adored by billions of its fan clubs members, now wouldn’t he? Stellar tries several attempts to kidnap unsuspecting Haruna while Rito tries to prevent her. However his warning attempts ended in perverted and compromising situations with Haruna. Yeah, she may start thinking that he’s a perverted stalker. The duo return home after a day of failures (depending on how you look it on both sides). Stellar gets enthralled by Mikan’s idea of doing a show with Rito in which Lala says she would gladly join in. However Stellar’s happiness is cut short when she receives a call from her staff back at her home planet saying how the tax department has caught up with them for tax evasion so Stellar is instantly ‘blasts off’ away to home.
 
As Rito and the gang are shopping out in town in episode 11, Rito meets a blonde haired girl (looking very much like Fate of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha). To cut things short, she is an alien under a client’s orders out to assassinate Rito named Konjiki No Yami (Golden Darkness) or Yami for short, a legendary assassin feared by many aliens who know of her. Her specialty is that she can change any body part of hers into a weapon. Better start running for your life, boy. If not for Zastin who soon clashes blades with her, I wonder how long Rito could last. Okay, so Zastin didn’t last long either. Makes you wonder how he ended up as Lala’s head security. Thus Lala decides to take on Yami herself. Who gets the upper hand? Lala’s weird inventions or Yami’s shape shifting body weapons? One thing we know is that Yami doesn’t like perverts. That’s because during the battle, Kouchou wanted so much to see Yami’s panties and she got distracted to beat up that pervert when she had Lala captured in her hands (which allowed Lala to escape). Yami wonders why Lala is going great lengths to protect an evil man but Lala disagrees because Rito is a good person. Soon a space ship arrives and we find out that a tiny obnoxious alien, Lakospo, is Yami’s employer. Yet another rejected marriage applicant of Lala so he decides to hire Yami to get rid of Rito. However Yami only takes on the job provided the truth is told. Seeing that Lakospo has lied to her, he turns on him. Lakospo and his giant frog unleashes some poison gas which disintegrates clothes. Yami is ‘paralyzed’ so Lala and Rito join forces to protect her and since Lakospo threatens Rito, Lala blasts him away into space, never to return. Yami asks why she protected her and Lala’s reply that that Lakospo did a despicable thing to a cute girl, causing Yami to blush. Even though she’s giving an excuse that she’ll kill Rito when the time comes, Yami decides to stay on this planet for the time being and calls Lala, Princess.
 
Your typical fanservice sports cultural episode 12. Sainan High begins with Kouchou having the girls doing very suggestive warm up moves and position until they realized too late his perverted intentions and throw several stuffs at him. While Ren challenges Rito, Saki does the same for Lala. One of the events is to search for the stuff written on a piece of paper. Common sense tells us most of them is impossible. But Rito has it easier. A girl’s bloomer, Okay, maybe not that easy. With Lala’s malfunctioning invention, Rito is ‘forced’ to take off the nearest bloomer. Haruna’s. Slap! All the other events has Rito ending up in perverted positions. Poor guy. Then in the relay race, Ren finally comes back with some huge legendary sword which he’s supposed to find but his giant sword causes a giant crack on the ground in which Rito falls into. Haruna reaches her hands out for him but he accidentally grabbed her boobs. Slap! The final event is the water kibasen (cavalry) in which Saki is using this chance to get back at Lala. She transform the pool into a sophisticated one with her technology. Not only that, Saki plays dirty with some swimsuit cutter device. When the device shreds the swimsuit, the girls will be too embarrassed and their hands too occupied to cover their modesty and thus Saki’s chance to go for victory and steal the headband. Haruna is knocked unconscious by the device as Rito takes her to the infirmary. Meanwhile Saki’s plan backfires because she too becomes a victim of the swimsuit shredding device just as she’s about to go in for the kill. Haruna wakes up and to Rito’s relief that she isn’t mad. Something romantic could’ve happened if not for the usual ruckus causing the building to shake which has Rito’s hands ending up on Haruna’s boobs with Lala showing up as her usual energetic self. The havoc continues and how it ends is pretty much left to viewers’ discretion.
 
Zastin warns Rito about Lala’s father, Gid Lucione Deviluke, the King of Deviluke, coming to Earth personally to see her daughter’s fiancee in episode 13. Rito conjures several images on how he would look like. Would he look like a devil because he’s a ruthless ruler (and partly because of his name) or a handsome guy because Lala turned out to be quite a pretty girl. No matter how he looks like, we know he’s damn powerful as seen in this episode’s beginning how he single-handedly destroyed all those rebels. Wow. Don’t play play. Thus Rito decides to be honest with his feelings if he ever comes face to face with Gid. Of course the usual ruckus in class whereby the usual Saki versus Lala but this time the fanservice is on Yui when she gets tied up real tight by Saki’s ropes and her clothes get ripped by Lala’s haywire invention. Rito goes to protect Yui which results in the latter hugging him in her fear and relief. Then Rito runs into more trouble in the form of Run and Yami (the way she says things like how she’s the only one allowed to kill Rito reminds me of yandere characters…) and gets his (un)deserved punishment. Rito is called by Mikado to the rooftop when a blonde woman starts seducing him right after Mikado leaves. Then the woman collapses and a disapproving voice is heard. A little funny looking kid is seen and Rito have no idea who he is until he reveals himself as Gid. Holy cow! That little kid is Gid?! Goes to show never to judge a book by its cover. Because of Rito’s indecisiveness, Gid thinks he isn’t the right one for Lala and decides to dispose of him and the rest of the planet. Before Gid could finish him off, Lala arrives to stop her puny dad and at the same time describe all the good qualities of Rito. Have we ever seen Lala this serious before? I mean, she confessed how much she loves Rito! For real?! You bet. Rito is exhausted from that attack to respond but has heard what Lala said. Gid makes Rito promise to be the number 1 man in the universe and befitting of Lala or else. Back home, Rito gives this a lot of thought but decides to take up the challenge. Can’t have the planet destroyed due to his selfishness and weakness, right? Now that’s a huge responsibility for a kid to shoulder.
 
Thus Rito decides to do some training and change himself in episode 14. He starts by doing some jogging exercise and his daily routine has caught the eyes of Haruna, who decides to cheer him on and support his cause. This is some sort of a blessing in disguise for Rito as he gets to meet with Haruna every day at the park as she serves him her delicious home-made bento. Feeling like a date? Even Haruna’s sister, Akio, notices the change in her as she is more cheerful than usual. One day, Haruna’s dog fell into a river and nearly got swept away by the current but luckily Rito was there to save it. Haruna is grateful and invites Rito back to her home to dry his clothes. Rito’s heart must be beating and mind wandering for a rare chance like this. What more, he’ll be alone with Haruna today as Akio is out with her friends. Her parents? Oh it’s just the 2 sisters living together. Gulp. After Rito finishes his bath, he spots a middle school photo of Haruna when the latter comes in. She trips and Rito tries to catch her which results him being on top of her. Rito must be guided by his inner instinct as he prepares to kiss Haruna who seems willing to do so. However you know things don’t always go smoothly because Akio suddenly returns to see them in a compromising position and in good timing his towel came off. Kiss, interrupted. Rito runs out of the house in his panic. And naked. Back home, he’s really in despair. What a streak of bad luck and embarrassment.
 
As the girls are having their pool activity in school in episode 15, Zastin beams down from his ship to pick up Lala. He then reveals Lala and his positions as alien. I thought they have to keep it a secret? Ah well, seeing that in previous episodes, all those alien activities happening right smack in front of the eyes of those don’t-care-attitude humans. In addition, all of Lala’s pals quickly accept the fact that she’s an extra-terrestrial. Zastin beams Lala and Rito up but Haruna accidentally got caught in the beam as well. To cut things short, it seems Prince Kata from planet Baroz, an ally in the Deviluke Empire, is here and Zastin wants Rito and Haruna to act as representatives for Earth as formality. After Lala dances with Kata, Rito finds out that this is his chance to be the universe number 1 and agrees to participate in a hunting game which the people of Baroz are skilled at. They are to hunt using prehistoric tools and clothes as they head to an untouched and remote region of Earth which seems to stood still in time. Uh huh. King Kong and T-Rex still rule the place. It would’ve been more believable if they had went to another planet. The hunt begins and Haruna gets kidnapped by King Kong. Rito tries to stop mighty Kong but is futile. His efforts seem to attract a group of Amazons as they kidnap him so that the leader could mate with the strongest man. Rito is against his will as they prepare the ceremony when Lala comes to the rescue. We find out that as long as you grab a Deviluke’s tail, he/she will be weakened. Just like that? So easy?! Too bad for Lala. Even worse for Rito. You know Kong is in love with Haruna when that over-sized gorilla is listening to her command. Haruna orders Kong to save rampage and while he’s doing so, destroys the Amazon’s village. But since Kong is jealous that Haruna has eyes over Rito, he throws him far away, provoking Haruna’s wrath and no choice but to look for Rito soon after. Kata is amazed with Haruna’s ability to tame that wild beast and when the hunting game is over, Kata bestows Haruna with the greatest hunter in the universe title and a huge trophy cup, sitting cumbersomely in her room and wishing how all this was just a dream.
 
Episode 16 has Lala inviting Rito and her girl pals to a water amusement park. That’s right. Your usual mandatory swimsuit episode. Expect the usual fanservice stuff. This episode focuses a little more on Run as she feels a little ‘left behind’ in Rito’s ‘harem’. As Rito attempts to get closer to Haruna, Run attempts to have Rito look at her too. Of course, failed attempts filled with fanservice. One including ‘violating’ Rito during the water slide with a pole. Ouch. Some making it look like Rito’s fault, like ice cream cones on boobs… Run even went to the extent of unleashing space piranhas in the pool. Good thing is they’re not flesh eating vicious fishes. Bad thing is, the eat away all your clothes. You know what that means. So Lala’s faulty invention once again saves the day (depends on how you look at it) and catches the mama piranha (in which Run was dressed as). Run then apologizes for causing inconvenience to everyone but they think it’s Rito’s fault. Rito denies that it is and this sends Run into depression. Because of that, Run decides to be an idol and undergoes tutelage under the wings of reluctant Honekawa-sensei. Of course, a failure too. Not idol material. Some hot guy tries to woo Run but she’s too depressed to even noticed him and ‘bankrupts’ him by ordering lots of food. Haruna goes to talk to Rito about Run’s case and made Rito realized his mistake so that boy rushes off to find Run, only to find her being bullied by a bunch of heartless thugs while buying juice. Rito protects her but gets punched. The other girls saw this and rush to their aid. Lala uses her over-sized water gun to send those bullies reeling. At the end of the day, Run and Rito apologized to each other and everyone notes how Rito has become reliable. Even if Lala mentioned how she considers Run to be her friend, Run gets encouraged and won’t lose next time in their love battle.
 
Lala is thrilled to visit the school’s abandoned wing, rumoured to be haunted in episode 17. Though Haruna is afraid, Lala manages to convince her, Yui, Risa, Mio and Rito to come along (that guy of course the opportunity to ‘protect’ Haruna). The 1st ‘ghost’ they meet turned out to be Yami, who is there to read old books. After that, a series of freaky events causes the gang to think that this building is really haunted as they try to escape (akin to Scooby Doo?). When they are cornered, Haruna in her instinct uses Rito to whack and destroy the main ghost. Later it’s revealed by Mikado that those ‘ghosts’ are jobless aliens who’re sacked from their home planet and nowhere to go. Meanwhile a real ghost appears. She is Oshizu (OMG! It’s the voice of Mamiko Noto! WOW!!!), a 400 year old ghost. Poor Yui. It’s funny how she says why she’s the only one who can’t faint at such times. Every time she does so, her head bumps into something thus awaking her again. Oshizu claims she hasn’t had much sleep since those aliens were being noisy. Plus, Oshizu isn’t the scary kind but a gentle and friendly one (like Casper?). Oshizu is able to get some much needed rest when Mikado has the jobless aliens work at a place of an old acquaintance, Tooyama. But they are disheartened that the place is under renovation to be turned into a space cabaret, thus male aliens aren’t required. So it’s back to the school building. Oshizu then trains the aliens to be more feminine so that they can work there. With hard work and perseverance, all those manly GAR turned into disgusting womanly features (but hilarious lah). Since Tooyama has observed their progress and is very much impressed, he decides to hire them for his cabaret. Later as Lala, Rito, Yami and Mikado visits the cabaret, they find Oshizu working there and what’s this? Zastin a patron among those recently ‘converted’ aliens? Does he swing that way?
 
Before we forget who Saruyama is, he is the main focus in episode 18. Lala receives a package from outer space which turns out to be a giant wolf-like female assassin (I’ll refer to her as Wolfy). However during the attack, Wolfy experiences labour pains so Lala and Rito takes her to the infirmary and leaves her under Saruyama’s care. Better to push responsibility to someone else, eh? After Wolfy has given birth, she apologizes to Lala for attempting to take a life. Due to Wolfy’s race of wild mating customs, she doesn’t know who the real dad is so Lala decides to give Wolfy an Earthly souvenir. Wolfy wants Saruyama. Well, he’s quite good with that baby. Of course Saruyama declines but Wolfy is still adamant. Risa and Mio even went to the extent of dressing him up as a fish as Wolfy’s gift! However Saruyama heard that she will give up on him if he has a girlfriend. So Saruyama goes to great lengths (some may say desperate) to ask all those other girls of this series to be his girlfriend only to be at the receiving end. Poor guy. Nobody wants to date a loser, even if it’s for a short period. Feeling pity for him, Rito decides to be his partner! Can’t believe he’s swinging that way for a buddy even if it’s an act. But Saruyama isn’t that desperate nor dumb as he refuses (his reasoning is that it’ll make Lala sad). Good to know cares for his friend and at least straight. Saruyama decides to settle for a little stray dog. Okay, it may be ridiculous but it’s worth a shot. By the time he returns to the infirmary, Wolfy has already left because all she wants is Saruyama to be happy. Tears welled up in Saruyama’s eyes as he gets emotional. But all that touching moment is disrupted when the dog bites Saruyama as he finds out that the dog is male… It shows that he can never get a girl.
 
Lala decides she’s going to have her own hotspring in episode 19 after watching a TV programme on it. So she starts digging at Rito’s backyard with her driller. But news of this reaches her other friends as they invited themselves and tag along. Saki could’ve followed them if she’d stopped her usual idiotic laughing. She got dirt all over her and was left behind (not that they know she was there in the first place). This may remind us like Journey To The Centre Of The Earth movie. Lala’s digging bypasses several valuable sites like hidden treasures and lost city of Atlantis because they weren’t simply the hotspring she’s looking for. There goes their fame and fortune. They finally reach an underground chamber with different coloured hotsprings. The gang takes a dip in each one of them until Saruyama can’t hold in his pervertness and goes on his little ‘rampage’. Rito and Haruna had their moment too but you know, they’ll never make it to confess to each other because they got interrupted. Lala decides to resume work by bringing a hotspring back to the surface (is she thinking straight?) and starts digging again. This causes magma eruption as the gang has no choice but to cut short their stay and escape or else they’ll be roasted. While the magma swallows and destroy the entire hotspring area, the gang are in a race against time to reach the surface. Along the way, they disrupted the final grand plans of some mole people to take over the world when magma comes flowing into their lair (haha. They got beaten by an airhead alien). What happens next is left up to viewers discretion, though I get the feeling the gang did make it back out alive and in one piece.
 
One can be forgiven if they think they’re watching the wrong show. That’s because episode 20 has been replaced with a mahou shoujo storyline! Your usual high schooler Kyoko Kirisaki who also doubles as Magical Girl Kyoko Flame and her tagline is that she solves everything by burning them down. One thing ‘special’ about her is that she doesn’t go through her usual magical henshin and instead has to go manually change herself! Then her good looking sidekick upper-classman, Ikemen (how aptly named) is a little pervy so he goes to peep on her but spots a homeless old man potting instead and gets chased. Once Kyoko dons her outfit, she takes on villain General Mojack who is turning everyone’s hairstyle into an afro as part of his take over the world plans. Kyoko beats him by burning her surroundings so the chief of the fire department (Kouchou actually) reprimands her instead by wanting to do something ecchi on her. Kyoko’s in a bind because if she doesn’t he’ll reveal her true identity to the public. Mojack comes back an brings his mom this time and Kouchou becomes happy when Mojack gives him an afro. Soon Ikemen comes by, still being pursued by that old guy. It’s revealed that the old guy is Mojack’s dad who has left them as mommy beats him up. It soon turns out to be a public family affair of cheating and pachinko addiction (another turn of events see that mommy likes the pachinko waiter who turned out to be Ikemen’s brother who quitted). Though they reconciled in the end and the crowd breaks out into a song and dance, Mojack uses this chance to attack by creating more afros while Kyoko while burns them. Kouchou arrives in a fire engine to douse the fire as the rest continue with their happy folk dance amidst the craziness. Then we see that this is just a TV show as Lala is watching so excitedly whereas Rito is damn bored.
 
In episode 21, Rito is all excited to host Earth’s only alien inn after thinking that this is his chance to be the universe’s number 1 following Mikado and Kimio (an intergalactic TV network host)’s recommendations. Rito and Lala uses the abandoned school building for it and gets Zastin and his underlings to quickly reconstruct and renovate it. Renamed Yuuki Inn, the duo starts receiving customers as Rito works real hard to please all the different alien customers. I don’t think I have that much energy to serve. The duo rope in Oshizu, Mikan and Yami for additional (wo)manpower like cooking and housekeeping duties. After awhile, their business quiets down when a group of little chibi aliens come staying. They are actually secretly plotting an attack against Deviluke. Rito notices how they don’t want any room service even though he politely offers them, thus interrupting their plan discussion several times. But when they took out a space map of the Deviluke planet, Lala recognizes it and the aliens are horrified to learn that the princess is here and starts attacking. To get even more shock to find that the legendary Yami is teaming up with Lala against them. What a deadly combo. Zastin enters the fray with his henchmen and the fight wrecks Rito’s beloved inn. The inn is totally destroyed with Lala’s usual gone-wrong inventions. There goes Rito’s hope and dreams. But in the aftermath, Mikado has a tough job of treating all the wounded, filling her infirmary to the brim.
 
Though Yami goes to find an assassin job after reflecting what she has been doing all the time on Earth, episode 22 is the school cultural festival and class rep Yui has only 2 options for her class, calligraphy or exhibit research. How disappointing and boring. Saruyama takes over and gets other suggestions from his other classmates. Since there are various ideas, Saruyama creatively combines them all into 1. So they’ll be having an okonomiyaki animal cosplay cafe. Now this is more like it. Risa and Mio take this opportunity to measure the girls and take their vital statistics for the cosplay outfit. They really enjoy it. Until it’s the other girls’ turn to get their revenge and measure the perpetrators themselves. Meanwhile Saki gets word from Aya and Rin on what Lala’s class is doing and decides to do better. As everyone excitedly prepares for the festival, Yui gets disheartened because her idea was rejected but after Haruna talks to her, she gets her confidence back and joins the rest. On the other hand, Yami is finding hard to find employment under the assassin trade (seriously, who’d offer that kind of job) and was even mistaken as a young prostitute! She’d sure show that guy not to mess with her. The day the festival starts, one of their classmates has fallen ill and she is supposed to wear a bunny suit. Since that girl is small sized, nobody else can wear it. Yami then comes in to ask Lala if there are jobs available, so Lala entrusts her to wear this bunny suit. With that, Lala’s class experiences hectic and increasing business as people flock over. But as for Saki’s class, she has not a single customers. Simply because her cafe theme is insect. You figure out the rest.
 
Saruyama has a feeling that he’ll never get a harem in episode 23. So okay, that’s how I view it because Saruyama notices how the girls have those ‘loving’ eyes for Rito, including tsundere ones like Yui and Yami in addition to Lala and Haruna. But can you say Rito is lucky? Thus Saruyama is jealous and wants a harem of his own when suddenly the setting changes to the Edo period and he himself is a noble of that era. Well, he gets his wish alright. Only thing is, his harem are all ugly looking aliens who are going to smooch all over him with their disgusting, erm, mouths. If that’s what you can call them. So he tries to get away from them. You’ll also notice the wood-like background design you see on manila papers in this dream-cum-nightmare of Saruyama. Unless you are very well knowledgeable in Japanese folklore and literature, you’ll be at a lost here. Like yours truly. Saruyama’s misadventures of pain including meeting those famous and fictional characters of that time in which are being played other female characters of the series with some taking on multiple roles. Oh, Rito and Zastin made short appearances as females. Since I’m not into those, I’ll skip the details. Everytime Saruyama wakes up from his dream, Lala sends him back to slumber land with her hammer invention. Yeah, a recurring nightmare. His escape is futile and ends up getting smooched by those ugly alien harem of his. Since he can’t wake up, his sleep talking is painfully distressing and annoying and Lala freaks out thinking he’s going crazy as she runs out calling for a teacher.
 
Rito wakes up in episode 24 to find Lala sleeping naked next to him as usual. However Lala gets embarrassed and runs away. Mikado later reveals that Lala has a type of cold which changes one’s personality. Uh huh. So Lala has become shy. For several days, Lala’s new personality irks Rito as he pesters Mikado for a vaccine. But as Mikado said, Earth is a remote region so it’ll take days for it to arrive. Does Rito prefer the airhead carefree Lala? I mean, we even see a tsundere version of her! Lala’s cold one day turns her into an ambitious take-over-the-world character. Which means, she’s preparing androids for world domination for Rito’s sake, even if he doesn’t want to rule the world. Time is running out so Rito goes to the old school building to try and talk Lala out of her crazy plans. It seems Lala has recruited Haruna, Mio, Risa and Saruyama as her generals and they are happy to join Lala because they have a particular region on Earth they want to control. Ah, who ever dreams of owning the Caribbean? Rito tries to stop them and selfish Saruyama, Risa and Mio sees him as a threat so they command their androids to stop him. Luckily Haruna is on Rito’s side as Rito summons his own androids (earlier on provided by Lala for his portion) to counter against them. So it’s 2 against 3 in this free for all. Yami joins in the fray to deliver the vaccine but Zastin stops her because he is glad Lala has awakened as a true Deviluke warrior. The androids overwhelm Rito as Lala questions why he can’t understand her. He says he does because Lala has always been thinking about him although she has undergone several personality changes. This causes Rito to scream out loud that he loves Lala. This shocking revelation causes everyone to stop. Lala then suddenly returns to her normal self and wonders what’s going on. But she hasn’t take the vaccine yet. Ah ha. So it must’ve been Rito’s voice and love which has reached her heart and cured her. Must be lah. However things aren’t going back to the way they are just yet because Gid’s voice is heard saying how he won’t allow their marriage as he forcefully beams Lala back up to his space ship. Gid then proclaims himself to the entire inhabitants of this planet. Oh no. Is it going to be the end of the world?
 
Episode 25 is like Independence Day because several fighter jets are firing missiles to Gid’s mother ship but he disposes them with a super warning blast which even reaches the asteroids! He warns them to back off or else. Gid has a short chat with Lala about his and Rito’s promise and after that, confines her. Zastin goes to Rito’s home to relay him a message from Gid. Rito is to represent Earth in a game that will begin tomorrow and all he has to do is get on the mother ship. The time limit is sunset failing which Earth will be destroyed. The fate of humanity rests on Rito! Thus he’s in a dilemma. He gets a call from Haruna to meet him at a park that night. There, he tells her he’s going ahead with the challenge and after this finishes, he hopes she’ll listen to his true feelings. The next day as the world watches in baited breath which has garnered lots of publicity and Rito hogging the limelight (except Kouchou who is reading his porn magazine), Yui goes to see Mikado for a favour as Rito starts his run towards the mother ship. First obstacles he encounter are giant seeds which are send flying and smashing through buildings. Then giant plant vines grow out from it to entwine whatever it holds. Is it a time to get ecchi and fanservice? Why does the vines only grab females?! Rito tries his best to avoid and before a vine can grab him, a van pulls up to Rito as Yui and Saruyama grabs his hand into it. Since there’s no condition for Rito to get help, Yui decides to do so giving an excuse she’s doing this for the world (yeah right). Hold on to your seats because Mikado is going to ‘fly’ straight there.
 
Rito’s run continue in episode 26 as a crater appear before them. The gang manages to get across by squeezing into Saki’s helicopter. They are being shot down by more seeds but luckily Yami’s hair landed them safely. I’m getting the feeling that even if Yui, Saki and Yami gave excuses for assisting Rito, I sense that they have some feelings for him. Meanwhile Risa and Mio goes to pick up Haruna to help Rito. They sit in a taxi driven by Ren but it’s no ordinary taxi as it transforms into a futuristic one and flies there. Back at Rito and co, giant gourds appear to obstruct their journey so the rest stay behind to allow Rito to go ahead. Gid is impressed with Rito and decides to have Rito see a dream. Rito falls into one when he encounters several strange plants emitting strange smoke. In the dream, Rito is being seduced by naked Lala and Haruna who agrees to be both his wife. As Rito is losing out, Haruna arrives and shouts his name to awaken him from the dream (same as with Lala who is watching with Gid). Rito thanks them as he rushes towards the finish line. Yay! Earth is saved. Lala in her happiness rushes to hug Rito in her tears as Gid congratulates him. Before Rito knows it, Gid prepares a wedding ceremony for them as he has proven himself to be the universe number 1. But Rito is hesitant since he has feelings for Haruna. Lala then decides to stop the marriage because she doesn’t want Rito to be sad and decides to annul their marriage. In exchange for Earth to be destroyed, Lala decides to erase everyone’s memories instead. Everyone fears the worse but it’s too late to stop her. Few days later, Rito’s teacher announces a new transfer student (Lala). But she gets the shock of her life when everyone still remembers her. The reason? Has any 1 of her inventions ever worked properly? Good news. With that everyone rejoice and though Rito wanted to say his feelings to Haruna, she just puts her finger over his lips. Welcome back Lala.
 
I must say that this series is just okay and I have to admit that if you really want to watch this one, just watch for the sheer absurd stupidity. I felt that it was interesting when the series started out but as it progresses, it becomes less appealing because of the way certain episodes ended. They left it hanging up to viewer’s discretion, without proper tying up and without any consequences in the next, so much so those episodes serve as fillers, which they are. Besides the gang’s usual antics, it was either an alien coming to seek Lala’s hand in marriage or an assassin out to destroy the Deviluke Empire. In a way it left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Except for the final 2 episodes, it got interesting once more because I wanted to know how a single kid would save the world as he took on the universe’s most powerful ruler.
 
I was hoping for some character developments or if Rito made a decision to which girl he would like to be with but there isn’t anything conclusive. Though Lala has annulled their marriage, did she annul their engagement as well? Oh heck, after saving the Earth, choosing which girl can take a back seat first. Besides, that’s a tougher choice, isn’t it? I suppose all we see here are little bonding and friendship which doesn’t amount much. You’d probably guess what kind of personality they are after a few appearances. Though Rito, Lala and Haruna did make some changes along the way. So okay, maybe Lala is still the same overall. But 1 thing is for sure, Rito sure is attracting the girls, directly or not. From airhead Lala to gentle Haruna to tsundere Yui and Yami to even obnoxious Saki and flirtatious Mikado (hey, they’re interested in ‘using’ him, right? So it counts too).
 
The art and drawing are your typical conventional Japanese bishoujo and those who love ecchi stuff would definitely love the ecchi poses and fanservice shots. I still like Lala’s costume’s design when she dons Peke. The opening theme, Forever We Can Make It, by THYME feels like a rock song while the 1st ending theme, Lucky Tune, by Santos Anna initially sounds like a kindergarten song before turning into a pop tune. The 2nd ending theme is Kiss No Yukue by Anna and has a cosmic feel probably because of the background vocals. To portray the amount of fanservice in the show, both the opening and 1st ending credits are filled with fanservice of the girls in the series. However the 2nd ending theme credits discards all that and I’m wondering why Haruna is the only character which appears. The mid-intermission treats viewers with more eye candy fanservice with the main female characters in a pose. Each of them will have their turn as it rotates after a few episodes. With the exception of Lala’s one of course (taking off her towel?! Fanservice alright).
 
I like the voice acting of several characters especially Lala who is done by Haruka Tomatsu (Nagi in Kannagi, Sumi in Moetan, Chika in Kyouran Kazoku Nikki). I love her energetic high pitched voice. Other casts include Akeno Watanabe is Rito (Jo in Bakuretsu Tenshi, Chachamaru of the Negima series), Kana Hanazawa as Mikan (Potemayo of Potemayo, Sora of Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~), Misato Fuken as Yami (Kurumu in Rosario To Vampire, Hime in Yozakura Quartet), Sayuri Yahagi as Haruna (Izumi in Hayate No Gotoku, Karin in Karin), Satomi Arai as Peke (Kozue in Mahoraba), Ayako Kawasumi as Saki (Aoi in Ai Yori Aoshi, Miharu in Girls Bravo), Kaori Nazuka as Yui (Hiromi in True Tears, Nadeshiko in Inukami), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Saruyama (Pete in Ginban Kaleidoscope, Yuuji in Tonagura), Takehito Koyasu as Zastin (Kururu of Keroro Gunsou), Hidetoshi Nakamura as Gid, Masako Jou as Mikado and Kenichi Ogata as Kouchou (Genma is Ranma 1/2). There are many other seiyuus who did multiple roles albeit they are side and minor characters but that’s an amazing feat seeing that this series has lots of them.
 
I later found out that there are several little trivia and parodies in the series for you to spot. Like how Ren was watching Pocky, a spoof of the American boxing cult movie Rocky. Besides the ongoing manga and a drama CD, there has been 2 video games of the series released. I’m wondering what kind of game will it be. Want to bet there’ll be some fanservice elements in it? I also later discovered that the name of this series when written in Japanese Hiragana, it sounds similar to the English word ‘trouble’. Trouble sure is the right word for Rito’s new life is filled with them. I’m wondering if they are such a sadist and by the end of all that, Rito will probably be the universe’s most resilient durable kid.
 
After watching this, marrying an alien princess is definitely a huge responsibility. The fate of one’s civilization could be really at stake and one mistake could define your future existence. Don’t say extra-terrestrial life forms, even some are finding it tough to handle our own kind. Hahaha! Sorry. Just joking. I’m sure Rito’s happy with the way things are now even though if it means more headaches and trouble in his daily life. But in many other harem animes, he’d have it no other way. Just keep the love coming, they’ll be alright.
 

To Love-Ru

MUKYAA! GYABO! Ah, those are the favourite catchphrases of Megumi Noda or more fondly known as Nodame. This time she is back in a sequel called Nodame Cantabile: Paris Hen (Paris Chapter) with her beloved senpai-cum-boyfriend-cum-husband, Chiaki (according to her, that is). As the title suggests, the duo are now in France to further study their musical skills and also a chance for Chiaki to be an accomplished conductor that he has always dreamed to be. Hey, Chiaki has been cured from his flight phobia, remember?
 
That’s right. So it will be in Paris, the city of love. French, the language of love. Oui. Bonjour, monsieur. Bonjour, mademoiselle. Merci beaucoup. Sacre bleu! Hah. Do I sound like I’m proficient in French? Oddly, this entire sequel isn’t going to have its characters spewing their dialogue totally in French. On occasions, maybe several simple French words like I’ve mentioned. So it was kinda weird for me to see that even the inhabitants of France or foreigners speaking in Japanese! And I thought French people are so proud of their language. Or is it they are speaking in French but are purposely dubbed into Japanese? Maybe not because Nodame certainly has a lot of brushing up to do.
 
This second season in terms of number of episodes is shorter than its predecessor. Half of it. Only 11 episodes to be exact. What an odd number just like in its previous season. Perhaps to reflect Nodame’s quirkiness? But that has got nothing to do with it, really. In this sequel, viewers can expect to see new faces and of course more classical orchestra pieces (actually in terms of numbers, it is lesser than in the first season. What I’m referring to is the new musical pieces and movements you’ll get to hear). But because Nodame and Chiaki have left their home soil for Europe, some of the characters back in the first season do not make their appearance here. Especially Mine and Masumi. Yeah, no more the weird quartet they used to be. Maybe it’s more expensive to have everyone go further their studies in Paris. Or rather everyone back in the S-Orchestra had their own ambitions and goals after that final performance. On the other hand, if some of the other characters in the first season do appear here, it is most likely just cameo.
 
So in episode 1, Chiaki and Nodame have touch down in Paris and arrive at Chiaki’s plus size mom’s family apartment. Too bad for Nodame because she won’t be getting to stay in the same room as Chiaki, though their rooms will be adjoining. Nodame’s piano play is still excellent but haphazard as usual. Meaning, she adds and deletes notes and lines of famous classical pieces while playing the piece. Definitely purists would scorn her in the strongest form. This episode also introduces the other inhabitants of this apartment and music students. A fellow Japanese, Frank (somewhat a little obsessed with otakuism) and a Russian pianist, Tanya. It seems Nodame recognizes Frank because she has met him in some exam in Japan before and they both could click well because of their fondness of the anime world (notice a chibi Shana on Frank’s t-shirt!). You can see that Frank has a little crush on Nodame while Tanya is a little flirty around Chiaki. But no big deal. Later Chiaki and Nodame go see the orchestra performance of Viera (Chiaki’s mentor) and are touched. That night when Nodame and Chiaki were dining at a restaurant, the hilarious part was that in Nodame’s efforts to learn French, she said how she was raped in French, raising the suspicions of the waiter! What kind of learning book is that?!
 
The next day, Nodame wants Chiaki to bring her for sight-seeing but that guy is busy preparing for an upcoming competition. So disappointed Nodame goes to Frank’s room and is amazed to see her favourite Puri Gorota on TV. And in French! Nodame gets motivated to learn French while Frank thinks it’s an opportunity to get closer to Nodame. Meanwhile Tanya visits studious Chiaki in his room and ‘convinces’ him to help her connect an Internet connection to her laptop while she blabs about her failed relationships. Boring. Chiaki doesn’t really care about that. But he requests her to play the piano for him. In the end, while Frank totally lost out and ‘in shame’ after discovering Nodame’s otakuness and enthusiasm on anime (she managed to memorize perfectly the Puri Gorota lines in French!), Chiaki is visibly annoyed that Tanya isn’t a good pianist either. Not even close. So Tanya has to endure strict hell lessons from the maestro himself… What a morbid feeling for Frank and Tanya…
 
Chiaki and Nodame take a train to the former’s Platini International Conductors’ Competition in episode 2. Nodame gives a Puri Gorota baton as a lucky charm. Chiaki meets a tough competition in the form of Jean Donnadieu (hate his proud and egoistic girlfriend, Yuuko). Not only Jean is the favourite to win this competition, he is also a top student under Viera. I can see why Chiaki is a little worried. It’s like going up with the master himself. Chiaki also meets a fellow Japanese, Hajime Katahira, who is also participating in this competition. Perhaps it’s because the duo are from the same country that they stick together. Over the 10 day competition which splits into several preliminary rounds, Chiaki, Katahira and Jean make it through the first hurdle. The 3rd round features the trio in which the number of participants has been shortlisted to just 6. Another weird and hilarious part from Nodame is that, she is seen trying to kiss Chiaki’s picture on the board of shortlisted candidates! Desperate case or what! Thankfully Frank just pulled her away.
 
Due to stress, Chiaki makes an error and apologizes but as for Jean, he tries to cover up his mistake by ‘putting the blame’ on some other orchestra player. Not very good. Even those orchestra players are human beings you know. And I think one of them, Roland, a young lad seems to take a liking for Chiaki. Gay? If I remember well, Chiaki has this mysterious charm not only on girls but some guys as well. As for Katahira, well his jumping-cum-conducting did surprise the judges like as though he was flying. The suspected trio as expected gets into the final 3 and the night before the finals, silly Nodame even had the cheek to ask which matching lingerie she should put on for the finals! Yeah, Chiaki is super surprise that she is a D-cup. So the results of the finals are announced and the winner is Chiaki. Can’t believe they skipped whatever piece Chiaki was to conduct. Not even a second of the song shown or heard. In the aftermath, Jean congratulates Chiaki though he doesn’t feel it is his lost, Chiaki too feels that he hasn’t really won. Jean wants Chiaki to tell Viera the results himself because Jean heard from Viera himself, which makes Chiaki his senpai (Note Yuuko and Nodame fighting in the background). Chiaki is relieved to know that Viera hasn’t forgotten about him and later as Chiaki goes home with drunken Nodame, she hugs him and says how he has cleared another hurdle.
 
Stresemann makes a brief comeback in episode 3 and he is still the harasser he is, fondling Nodame’s boobs from behind. Somebody should sue this guy. Where’s Chiaki? Right after the competition, he is being swiftly kidnapped by Elise (Stresemann’s manager) and being forced into signing a contract (with the devil, hehe) that will have him tour around the world performing conducting concerts. I don’t know if that Operation Desert Prometheus is when Elise starts tickling Chiaki with a double wooden back scratcher. But hell, it’s sure one heck of a non-stop laughing torture. After that, Chiaki goes to meet Stresemann… at the nightclub (after finding out from Frank that Nodame when out with him after bringing him back to the apartment for tea. Another case of ‘kidnapping’?). Still flirting, that old fart. So I guess if Chiaki’s going to be on a world tour which will last for 3 months, might as well look at it as a training opportunity. To be a conductor lah. So of course with Chiaki’s sudden departure, the apartment feels a little empty without Chiaki around as we are introduced to yet another apartment resident. He is Li Yunlong, another music student hailing from China.
 
Another naughty thing Stresemann did was while he and Chiaki was on tour, Stresemann send back photos to Nodame in which the pictures show Chiaki being very close to a piano prodigy of China, Sun Rui (note how Stresemann highlights and points out she is an F-cup!). Nodame sinks into depression because she thinks her ‘husband’ is having an affair. But no time for that because Nodame receives a letter that she will be under the tutelage of Charles Auclair (one of the judges during her piano competition back in the first season). Frank isn’t too happy because Auclair is the professor he really would love to study under. And on the first day of school, they are already running late because Nodame woke up late and if not for Tanya’s ‘help’ (she can be Chiaki’s replacement to look after Nodame!), they wouldn’t have made it just in time. Phew. Don’t want to start off with a bad impression, would they? They could be expelled, you know. Meanwhile as Chiaki and Rui are shopping together in Shanghai, Chiaki spots a ring from outside a store and is in a dilemma whether to get it for Nodame (before he left, Nodame requested some souvenir). I guess he was pretty embarrassed about it so he opted for a necklace instead. Back in Paris when Auclair requests Nodame to play a piece she wanted, Nodame instead plays one from Rui (after hearing that piece on TV). But Auclair isn’t happy because he isn’t here to listen to her showing off her skill, which leaves Nodame pretty much shocked. Lastly, Chiaki and Rui part ways as the latter leaves with her strict b*tchy mom who doesn’t seem to like Chiaki because I think he’s under Stresemann. And I think soon after that, Stresemann said something to Chiaki about making his stand on Nodame and why he’s treating her like this.
 
In episode 4, Chiaki returns from his world tour but finds Nodame all gloomy instead. She isn’t glomping over him with excitement. I guess Nodame is still disturbed over Auclair’s words, which in a way is true as she reflects herself. Thus Chiaki requests Nodame to play a song and she plays that horrible Rui one. He stops her and suddenly kisses her! OMG! I didn’t see that one coming. However, Nodame still isn’t in the mood. Damn of all times when that bubbly girl wanted a kiss so much from Chiaki, then when she got it, it’s like no emotion or whatsoever. So when she resumes her class with Auclair, Nodame slowly learns what she is missing and the funny part is how she sees Auclair as Master Yoda and to use the force! Haha! Never thought she’d make a Star Wars reference. Yeah, she’s back to her usual self. With Chiaki’s return, he practices under Wiltord Symphony Orchestra for an upcoming performance. Looks like that Roland really does look forward performing with him. On the day of the concert, Chiaki’s family members turn up to watch his awesome feat and even Nodame is being reduced to tears. Then at the backstage as Nodame requests an autograph from him, she gets more than that. She gets hugged! Woah! So it’s no surprise when Chiaki’s family members come in to see Nodame lying on the floor love-struck. The next day as Chiaki and Nodame go out together to an art museum and something about painting and music are similar. Yeah, art, that is. A form of expression, I’d say. Later as they eat some chestnuts by the bridge, Nodame wants a re-kiss from Chiaki as the earlier one was a little hazy but he stuffs the chestnuts in her mouth instead! Oh man. At least they’re back to normal. Oh wait, they’re walking back hand in hand too. At least there’s some development between them now.
 
As episode 5 starts off with Chiaki’s short flashback of how he waited for his dad to return for Christmas but he never did, this episode also marks the of Kuroki, the oboist of S-Orchestra who has a crush on Nodame back in season 1. Fate has him meet up with Nodame again as he is staying at the same apartment and attending the same school. We also learn that Chiaki is leaving for another performance in Holland as Nodame desperately clings on to him and tries to get another goodbye kiss but he ignores her and escapes after being seen by Kuroki. Then I think as Nodame was searching for a key to Chiaki’s room in her own room, Kuroki gets the shock of his life. No, it’s not her messy place. Okay maybe. But the main shock is that he spots a photo album filled with pictures of Chiaki in it! Some are just plain sexy! Crazy stalker woman! Anyway Kuroki goes to practice his oboe after listening to Nodame’s piano play. Then Kuroki is feeling that he is lucky when a fellow student, Katherine comes up to him, requesting him to be her partner for a test. But in the end, she dumps him for another. Adjusting life to Paris is hard. Meanwhile Chiaki is feeling insecure because Nodame hasn’t picked up his handphone messages about spending their Christmas together (he’s on his way back by train, by the way). Wow. I didn’t expect him to turn out like that.
 
The rest of this episode sees Nodame and Kuroki helping out with a play at a local church. Yeah, the duo are to play the part of the donkey and Nodame is so hard up to play to donkey front. Hey, she has experienced playing the mongoose mascot, remember? So the birth of Jesus Christ play when smooth until the donkey part. I don’t know. Swaying its hips? A donkey saying "Congratulations"? Enough to bring the house down with laughter. But the kids love it. As Chiaki returns home, he is somewhat disappointed because Nodame wasn’t there to usually greet him. Because of that, when Nodame runs pass Chiaki at the bridge without noticing him, Chiaki felt hurt. But Nodame soon stops because she recognizes that familiar smell. When she calls for him, it’s like revenge because upset Chiaki just ignores her. Then Chiaki says how he is giving up on her which resulted in the duo getting into a physical fight and trading accusations of being busy away and uncaring. OMG! Nodame doing a spinning kick on him! She too can play that game as she dumps him! So I guess when Chiaki finally says to start all over again, Nodame is overcome with emotion and in tears as they reconcile and quickly make up. Wow. Just like a real life drama unfolding before the eyes of those passer-bys. Woohoo! They don’t know what’s going on as they cheered but it sure ended like how many happy ending lovers’ quarrel dramas should end. Finally on Christmas, Chiaki listens to Nodame playing her piano.
 
In episode 6 as Nodame rides a bus with Frank and Tanya, they spot a large poster of Jean performing for Deschamps Orchestra. We see that Chiaki is enduring some torturous insult and laughter from Elise because she’s a fan of Jean. However she tells him that Chiaki gets to conduct an orchestra that Stresemann once conducted during his younger days, the Roux-Marlet Orchestra, because some famous director, James Depriest, recommended him. However when Chiaki and Nodame went to watch a performance from the band, it was downright disappointing. Mainly because many of its usual members have left and they had to quickly find replacements as fill-ins as Chiaki finds out from Roland who too was attending with his grandma. Later Nodame forms a band with Kuroki and bassoonist Paul Dubois and dubs her team Yaki Trio (I think she was thinking about food because it closely sounded like yakitori – roast chicken) for an upcoming exam. Nodame then notices a familiar face (Rui) asking for directions to the toilet. Ever since, Nodame is stalking her although Rui obviously notices it. So I guess Rui gets her off her back by giving Nodame her autograph. Meanwhile as Chiaki is out shopping in the streets, he meets Rui and when she gives him a greeting kiss, this shocks Nodame so much that she jumps on him and bites him! This has Rui realize what kind of relationship Chiaki has with her (that shopping for a ring incident several episodes back). Chiaki invites Rui back to his room and we see Nodame in some denial hallucinating mode as she acts as Chiaki’s goody polite wife. They learn Rui and her mom are not in agreeing terms so she is to stay here temporarily. Rui manages to convince Chiaki to help her look for an apartment tomorrow and when she gives him another kiss, Nodame blows her top but Chiaki has had enough of her ruckus and kicks her out.
 
The next day, Chiaki gets a call from Roland to accompany him to be an extra violinist for Roux-Marlet Orchestra, which will serve as a good opportunity to see how the orchestra works. Because Chiaki is quite famous, Roland disguises him and his alias name: Nissan Toyota. Haha! Upon arrival, they find that the grumpy cocky concertmaster, Simon, isn’t the kind that is easy to work with. To make things worse, a sudden announcement that the conductor has ditch this rehearsal because he went back to Poland, thus this practice is cancelled. Roland then suggests Chiaki to be the conductor, Simon isn’t happy and thinks he is an amateur. Must be a real insult for Chiaki who is listening to all this. Yeah, he realized he was chosen because he is young and cheap! It all boils down to this. Meanwhile Nodame adds more words to her French vocabulary like "My husband is cheating on me" and "This is unforgiveable". She sure learns fast. She then spots Frank and Yunlong welcoming a guest, Rui. It seems that they are quite a fan of her work. The guys were also the one who helped find Rui a room since Chiaki suddenly left for that Roux-Marlet thingy. At the same time, Chiaki’s hands are in a bind because time is not on his side as he has to 3 pieces of music for the performance which is in 3 days time and the orchestra has only 1 shot at rehearsal. This is worse than beating the deadline to submit your tax form. But Chiaki vows to do his best and not give up because he feels that this is the orchestra that Stresemann kept alive.
 
Episode 7 begins with Rui waking up drunk in Nodame’s messy room. By the way, Nodame slept under a kotatsu. Chiaki goes to meet his Roux-Marlet Orchestra members after meeting with the orchestra’s agency staff, Theo (who is quite happy to see him). Of course many of the orchestra members are thrilled to be playing alongside Chiaki except for Simon. Chiaki carries on with the rehearsal and even ignores Theo’s advice not to provoke or dispute with the Simon. However their practice is cut short when they are ‘kicked out’ by a bunch of little ballet girls because it’s their turn to use the room. How embarrassing. Meanwhile Nodame accompanies Rui out shopping instead of looking for an apartment. Then at the park, Nodame plays with a little boy at a fountain with his paper boat. But since it is drifting further into the middle, Nodame tries to reach it but falls into the water. So when she comes back and Chiaki wonders why she smells, she gives an excuse that she fell into a puddle. But you know, her story has holes in it. The next morning, Chiaki finds Nodame has cooked for him (we know she isn’t a good cook because Chiaki was the one who ALWAYS cooks for her) and a note saying she’ll invite all their friends to come see his performance.
 
With the performance coming up, Chiaki is still short of a few instrument players and ‘threatens’ Theo to find replacements or else. But Chiaki has a person in mind to play the celesta. Nodame. He calls her and she is on cloud nine. She rushes to the place but surprisingly finds Rui there. As the ladies enter, Theo is surprised to see Rui and thinks she is the one Chiaki had requested to play the celesta and quickly rushes her into the hall. Oh no. Nodame’s world crumbling. Not only that, everyone else is ecstatic to see Rui playing with them and that Rui is a well known friend of Simon. But I guess Chiaki tried to explain but everyone got caught up in the excitement. Poor Nodame decides to back out even if Chiaki tries to call her over as she starts acting as Chiaki’s polite wife. Must be to cushion the devastating turn of events. On the day of the performance, Kuroki, Frank, Tanya and Yunlong attend the concert but wonder where Nodame is because they spot Rui playing in her place instead. The performance seems awful and since Theo’s failure to find a replacement for a percussionist, one of the orchestra members has to double up as a cymbalist and a gong player. He has to be pretty fast and precise because he has to mute the gong as soon he hits the cymbals and this resulted in a funny moment because it seemed like he is hugging the gong. The audience bursts into laughter and applauses. With that, Chiaki vows to make his way to the top.
 
Even so, Chiaki feels disappointed for his first performance and is seen sulking in episode 8. He’s thinking his disastrous performance was something like a wizard’s apprentice whereby magic was used to clean up the place but it got out of hand when he tried to control the chaos in the end. On the way back home, Rui suggests to help cheer up Chiaki but Nodame refuses since she has practice early next morning. Suddenly Rui’s mom shows up and gives her a slap! She is disappointed to learn that Rui has been slacking and been hanging out at Chiaki’s place. She wants her to immediately leave with her back to America. Because she isn’t fond of perverted Stresemann, what more a student of his, mommy smacks Chiaki with her handbag! Gosh. Violent woman. Back in their room, Chiaki tells Nodame how Rui has been performing since at a very young age and her recent performances are below par. Thus Chiaki makes it a point for them to treasure the time they spend together. Nodame feels sorry for Rui and starts crying as Chiaki comforts her. Nodame gets her energy back when Chiaki says for them to work hard so that they will be called Golden Pair. The next day, Chiaki goes to the library to research what musical scores Stresemann used for the orchestra when he overheard Simon and Theo about an audition for the orchestra and wants in as a judge.
 
Meanwhile Nodame is practicing with her Yaki Trio and after that, Paul gets firsthand experience how to eat soba ramen the right Japanese way from Nodame. Also, Chiaki invites Kuroki to audition for the Roux-Marlet Orchestra. Paul wants to audition too but gets depressed to learn they want a fagotto player although it basically also means a bassoon. Elsewhere, Rui has cleared up the misunderstandings with her mom and is allowed to go see Chiaki so that Rui could go apologize to him. But she decides to leave right away after hearing Nodame’s piano play. On the other hand, Chiaki decides to get a small car to have a little mobility (it’s hilarious to see Jean and Yuuko protesting Chiaki to buy that car because they test drove it before and gave the thumbs up, allowing Chiaki to make his decision to purchase the car, leaving them stumped) while Nodame’s Yaki Trio passes with flying colours (a perfect score!). Even Nodame passes her solo piano exam with a Tres Bien when the judges (which include Auclair) find her playing style to be bold and interesting but unstable and that they feel her playing was more recital-like rather than an exam. Nodame relays the good news to Chiaki when she gets back and even hugs him. With Tanya and Frank passing their exams too, the gang gathers to celebrate and Nodame announces that for the upcoming summer vacation, she is going to perform a recital in a church at Saint Malo, a town located near the ocean northwest of France. Chiaki has a surprised expression on his face. Is he thinking how Nodame may have surpassed him or has he not expected such a big feat to happen for Nodame?
 
In episode 9, Tanya’s dream of basking in the southern beaches of France comes crashing down because her mom gives her a call to inform a cut in allowance due to her brother’s unemployment. Though Yunlong and Frank have gone back home for the vacation, Nodame is hard at work attending special classes. When Tanya learns that Chiaki is to attend Nodame’s recital, she decides to tag along and even had the cheek to ask Nodame to bring a nice guy along (hint: she wants to flirt and doesn’t want to be left out due to Nodame-Chiaki relationship). And that nice guy turned out to be Kuroki. They’ve met once before and it wasn’t pleasant… So the quartet takes a drive to Saint Malo and Chiaki is once again his fearful self because he finds the place an island surrounded by water! I see this phobia still isn’t gone yet. So much so, it’s quite hilarious to hear and see Chiaki acting like a scared little girl and when he gets all clingy with Nodame, Tanya gets pissed off having the impression that they’re doing lovey-dovey stuff boldly in public. Odd to see Nodame is the one playing the comforting role. Thus Tanya decides to cool off as she has Kuroki go shopping with her. They’re still not getting along well.
 
The duo then bump into Nodame and Chiaki on their way out and they learn that Nodame is to play several Mozart recitals because the owner, Pierre de Benoit, is a Mozart fan. They soon arrive at his castle mansion and are given a warm welcome. He is even dressed as Mozart! Funny part is, Nodame thinks it is cosplay. Haha! After being shown their rooms, Nodame lets Chiaki know that she still hates playing Mozart pieces due to her past strict teachers. To make things worse, Benoit wants her recital to be as precise as Mozart. Meaning, no haphazard playing. That night, the gang are being treated by Benoit’s wife cooking but the unappetising meal resembled like some Zen temple gruel. Haha. Before Chiaki turns in for the night, Nodame (still nervous and worried about tomorrow’s recital) requests him to read several diaries of Mozart. Is this how obsessed Benoit is with Mozart? Some entries are downright funny and embarrassing ("I was downright happy to my buttocks"?), causing Nodame to laugh. Then Nodame falls asleep as Chiaki continues reading and he too sleeps by her side.
 
In episode 10, Chiaki tries hard to zip up a dress that Nodame is to wear for the recital but it rips. Haha, looks like she put on weight. Don’t despair. Benoit have a wardrobe collection full of those old European clothes. Meanwhile Tanya lets Kuroki know her intentions of attracting one of Benoit’s sons who will be attending the recital. Of course to her horror the receptionist tells them that they need to pay 15 Euros to enter the recital and since she’s short of cash, she has to borrow from Kuroki because she spent her money to buy some necklace for later attraction. *Shaking head*. As everyone gathers in the church, Nodame appears in a Mozart dressing! She sure looks funny. Nodame starts playing and enthralling the crowd, especially Benoit with her Mozart pieces. After finishing her 2nd piece, she immediately plays a 3rd one which catches everyone by surprise before her final one. Everyone gives her a standing ovation.
 
The post recital party has Benoit wanting Chiaki, Tanya and Kuroki to perform since he doesn’t let them stay here for free. Though Kuroki and Tanya are excited as they get to dress up, Chiaki feels otherwise. At the party, Tanya is upset because everyone else is also dressed from that era so she can’t really stand out. To add to her dismay, Benoit introduces his eldest 2 sons who are already married with children. But there is still hope because he has a 3rd bachelor son. Who is he? The receptionist! Ah well, at least he remembers the cash-short lady. But he isn’t interested in her either. Bummer. Soon Chiaki starts playing his violin with a quintet and Kuroki decides to join in soon after hearing Tanya’s rant on how she left Russia and French guys are arrogant. He advices her to perform in order to make herself more appealing. Though she is still gloomy, she plays a solo Mozart piece but is of a depressing tone. Meanwhile Nodame finds Chiaki outside as the clothes are too hot for him. As they chat, Nodame takes a picture of Chiaki but he is annoyed to know that she has secretly taken pictures of him and snatches her camera away. Desperate Nodame tries to get it back and when she couldn’t, I think she did some Street Fighter combo move on him. Tanya and Kuroki spot the duo fooling around outside so Kuroki takes Tanya’s hands to suggest that they go eat. Hey, Tanya’s blushing. Could it mean? Outside, the ‘fight’ ends with the duo on the ground. Chiaki then says how he doesn’t want to lose her and kisses her! I hope Nodame remembers this one. Hehe, what are the chances she’ll be asking for more.
 
The gang is back in Paris in episode 11 and Chiaki is judging the audition along with Simon and the other remaining Roux-Marlet Orchestra members. It isn’t smooth sailing though as Chiaki and Simon face disagreement from the rest but it’s like a conspiracy from the duo, going against the rest. Yeah, it may seem that they’re like good buddies. Kuroki attends the audition (Tanya having several tsundere and blushing moments when Kuroki thanked her for helping him out) as well as Paul who brings his bassoon instead of a fagotto. They both pass and are recruited into the orchestra. Once the audition is done, it’s back to the strict persistent practice. Chiaki style. I wonder if everyone can take it. After the 1st practice, Chiaki gets a call from Depriest to check on things. Though that guy is with Stresemann, Depriest mentions how he chose Chiaki because he heard his concert rather than Stresemann’s recommendation. Chiaki feels honoured and after they hang up, Depriest notes how Chiaki has surpassed Stresemann. Chiaki continues to rehearse hard with his orchestra and 1 night while taking a walk with Nodame, she tells him how she’s working hard so that she could play in the same orchestra with him. Just before the performance, an oboist guy seems to make Kuroki his errand boy like borrowing a reed from him and requesting him to pick up his daughter for him. I guess Kuroki has no choice but to oblige. Kuroki brings the little girl back to the apartment and during dinner, she mentions how the conductor is a terrible person as everyone is having a tough time. Yeah, Chiaki was standing behind her and heard everything. But after hearing how her dad has practiced hard even when he came home late, they understood because they are all pros. On the night of the concert, it is a sell out crowd as Chiaki performs his best to a standing ovation. Even Nodame is in tears as Tanya resolves to continue studying. But Chiaki isn’t going to rest on his laurels yet because there are more upcoming concerts.
 
Well, there isn’t anything breakthrough in this season. Even the hot-cold atmosphere between Chiaki and Nodame felt like it was to tease viewers. We all know that Nodame still has her eternal crush on her senpai but as for Chiaki, I’m not sure if the feeling is really mutual or not. Sometimes he ignores her and sometimes he treats her nice. So to me, they are unofficially a couple. Not so obvious. Maybe just one-sided. As for Kuroki-Tanya, there are some indications that the Russian babe is starting to have feelings for him. Nothing conclusive. At least I wanted to know what happened to some of the characters in this and the previous season such as Jean, Mine and Masumi. I’d really like to know their status and whereabouts. Unless they’re not considered as important as Chiaki and Nodame. Hmm… Even the Puri Gorota that is all Nodame’s craze isn’t given much prominence after the initial episodes.
 
The drawing, art and animation is consistent with the first season and first time viewers may find the colouring a little ‘bleached’ and light. I’m not saying that the backgrounds and scenery are horrible, but the water colour-like painting and sketches leaves a lot to be desired. Then at times, I have a little trouble distinguishing certain characters because they almost look the same. Some foreigners don’t look like foreigners, if you know what I mean. Perhaps it’s the series’ ‘trademark’ on how the characters look? It’s hard for me to remember them all, especially the new characters. But on the plus side, the finger movements while playing the piano or movements of the orchestra is still super smooth.
 
The opening theme, Sky High, by The Gospellers sounds like a calming moderate-paced piece. The animation here has the characters like as though they are from a cardboard cut out while many of the background buildings (mainly landmarks of France) are in silhouette-like drawings. Of course, you can also see the musical stave complete with clefs and notes as they float randomly across the screen. The ending theme however, Tokyo et Paris, by Emiri Miyamoto x Solita, is totally sung in French. Though the vocals may sound sleepy and drowsy, it is the liveliness and spirited play of the single violin in the background which makes the song catchy. If you notice, the next episode preview is shown during the ending animation credits.
 
Thankfully there are a few simple pieces which I could still recognize. Like Mozart’s Turkish March and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. So okay, not the most grand of pieces but at least there are some classical pieces which I know of. I noticed that those who watched the anime and the live action version, many prefer the latter because they show the orchestra performances longer. What do you expect since the live action version lasts an hour. Furthermore, there is a live action version of this season called Nodame Cantabile In Europe albeit it lasts only 2 episodes but each episode is 2 hours long! But the series isn’t au revoir yet because it has been stated that a 3rd season will be released in late 2009. More like au bentoit, no? First Japan, now Europe. What’s next? The world? Yeah, the sky is the limit for Chiaki and Nodame.
 
Even after watching this sequel, I still don’t have what it takes to appreciate classical music. My current favourite music category is still anime songs! But that’s a different story. It’s good to see that Chiaki and Nodame’s skills have improved since their fated meeting and I hope that they will carry on to do what they love most. Hmm… Fancy hearing Nodame say in French, "Sacre bleu!". Hahaha! I think "Gyabo!" suits her just fine.
 

Nodame Cantabile

Soul Link

June 19, 2009


There aren’t really much space military animes that comes to my mind besides Galaxy Angel so what are the chances of me watching Soul Link when I first came to know about it? Well, my gut feeling told me to give it a try and I did just that. Not to say the series is that ground breaking but I couldn’t really say I regretted watching it either. Yup, a typical neutral on-the-fence answer.
 
Based on the eroge of the same name, you can expect a little fanservice in the anime in addition to the sci-fi action drama and romance genre. I’m not sure how closely the anime follows the game because well, I didn’t really play it nor heard about it till I watched the anime and did a little research of my own after that.
 
Set in the near future of 2045, the series centres around a group of young military cadets who are going to undergo some military training onboard the space station Aries, which is hovering just above the Earth’s atmosphere. Of course, along the way, they will encounter their first real life obstacle in the form of a space terrorist group (even crime has evolved into a high-tech manner), in which an unexpected turn of event will soon unfold will then turn into a matter of survival. Sounds interesting? You decide.
 
As seen in episode 1, we are introduced to the several characters that will set the tone and pace of this series. Like Ryouta Aizawa, a third year cadet preparing to board to Aries with his classmate and childhood friend Sayaka Nagase. Along the way, they also meet up with their 1 year senior friend Nao Morisaki, who is also a student in the military academy but under the medical division, and Kazuhiko Nitta who specializes in computer programming and hacking (I guess such skills are necessary seeing that the future is highly computerized and humans depend very much on them). First thing which will hit you is that why is Kazuhiko’s uniform different from the other military cadets? From a different division or a higher rank? However, I find that other characters who are so too dressed in a green outfit as compared to Kazuhiko’s white one. Moving along, Ryouta also bumps into a mysterious busty lady (literally, he tripped and got one of his hands on her boobs). But she didn’t scream harassment and just walked away.
 
As the military cadets get onboard Aries, we are introduced to Cellaria Markelight, an instructor for the cadets on Aries. However, Aries isn’t just a space station for military cadets as it also hosts civilians but both the military and civilian sectors are strictly kept apart and there are no contacts between both sides. Too bad because Sayaka’s best friend, Aya Sugimoto has told Sayaka how she intends to go visit the latter onboard Aries, depressing Sayaka very much. Lost Aya bumps into 2 characters which viewers can easily tell that they are going to be a terrorist planning to hijack Aries or something like that. They are the tough looking commander Gale Lantis and a skinny petite former soldier Karen Tachibana. Also onboard Aries, we see that the lady Ryouta bumped into, Yuu Yamanami, isn’t an ordinary civilian as she possess firearms hidden underneath her clothes and has an air of suspicion around her. Also, a steward of the Aries space station, Shigemichi Morimoto (OMG! It’s that low sexy seiyuu Norio Wakamoto!) who is helpful to attend the needs of all those onboard Aries.
 
This episode also features a little fanservice like how Ryouta has just finishing taking a bath and going out while Sayaka is coming in only to see him fully naked. In her embarrassment and panic, she slaps him. Also a little naughty kid flipping up Nao and Sayaka’s skirt and it feels like the producers are teasing viewers to get a taste of a little fanservice. Does that kid’s mother ever teach him manners not to flip up a girl’s skirt (or 2 skirts at the same time, in his case)? What more a military personnel. If those girls are the violent kind, he’d be finished by now. When Ryouta informs the duo how his genius brother who skipped 2 grades at the military, Shuhei, is coming onboard, Nao gets the shock of her life so much so she drops her food tray. We can tell that this girl is pretty much in love with this Shuhei guy but to the extent of dropping her tray?
 
In episode 2, Shuhei indeed prepares to come onboard Aries but he bumps into another military cadet who is running late, Aki Nitta. After a little spat because Aki stepped on his bag as Shuhei was trying to pick up his dropped stuff, they got onboard a transport ship to Aries along with Aya. But Aki is in awe after getting to know that this guy is the said genius of the academy once she gets to know his name. Onboard Aries, Ryouta decides to help Sayaka see her friend though they have to do it all in precise timing. That’s because the military cadets’ training is to begin right away and through some survival training as they are divided into 2 groups. The plan is to let Sayaka get ‘taken out’ early in the game while Ryouta tries to stall for more time. During that time, Sayaka has to sneak out and hurriedly go see Aya and return before the training ends. If they get busted, it’ll be the end for them. So everything goes according as plan and I don’t know why Kazuhiko is bloody adamant in hunting down Ryouta. Seeing him as his eternal rival, eh?
 
Sayaka manages to meet up with Aya just in time to talk things and go back. Previously, Aya meets Morimoto and shows him a picture of her and Sayaka together and it seems Morimoto’s expression tells us he knows Sayaka. Meanwhile Cellaria meets Shuhei and Aki and gives them a tour around Aries. Later as Aki tries to find her class, she bumps into Yuu who is alone in some control room and wonders if she’s part of the military but Yuu denies and says she’s just a lost civilian. Hmm… The training comes to an end when Nao was the one who ‘shot’ Ryouta. When the cadets regrouped, Ryouta is a little worried because Sayaka hasn’t come back yet and it’s roll call time. Thankfully, she just made it back in time. In the end, when Shuhei makes his appearance to the trio, Nao gets all emotional and is so glad to see him like as though she hasn’t seen him for a very long time. Wait, that’s true too. I don’t know if Shuhei’s being cheeky or not because the first thing he asked Nao was the colour of her panties. Pfft. However their happy reunion is cut short when the entire station goes into red alert mode as the alarm goes off.
 
But the situation on Aries returns to normal soon after in episode 3 as the Aries had just experienced a near-miss of something. Well, it’s that terrorist ship actually. Since their presence have been known, they’ll have to bust in now. Because of that, the military has evacuation orders to safely evacuate the civilians and new cadets. Sayaka panics when she doesn’t see Aya and goes searching for her but ends up meeting with Morimoto instead. He agrees to help her find Aya. Where is Aya? Okay, she’s changing her clothes when somebody pushes her into a locker, thus trapping her inside. Meanwhile Shuhei who is searching for Ryouta and Sayaka bumps into Yuu. He takes her with him seeing that she mentioned that she’s a lost civilian. The space station experiences a large jolt, which means the terrorists have docked. What a way to make an entrance. Yeah, this one is even ‘grander’. When they busts in, Karen starts shooting her trigger happy self and starts slaughtering nearly everyone in the control room even though there have been orders not to kill. I mean, if everybody is dead, then you won’t be able to take hostages, right? Ah well, better make do with all that’s left. Haha, goodbye to all those side characters. I really didn’t expect them to die, but seeing that this soon turning into a survival genre…
 
Ryouta, Sayaka, Nao, Shuhei, Kazuhiko and Cellaria meet up in the second control room and thinks of a way to escape since the terrorist are in control of the first one. It’s going to be tough seeing that all the escape pods has been used for the evacuation so they have this control room as their ‘base’ for the time being. Don’t worry, Kazuhiko’s a pro in this area. As the terrorists group goes in search for any more hostages, Karen stumbles upon Aya trapped in the locker and brings her back to Gale and the rest. In the meantime, our young heroes decide to play, erm, hero just to show the terrorists that they aren’t useless kids as they plan to fight back. Wait a minute. Hand pistols against machine guns? Shuhei and Cellaria take the frontline as they both killed a terrorist each (OMG! Can’t believe they did that. Ah well, they’re just side characters and besides, it’s a hidden message to tell us never to have mercy on them). So okay, they get their fare share of injuries of gunshot wound. Hey, it’s give and take. Karen appears as she engages in a hand to hand combat with Shuhei but the latter proves he is a class above her. Shuhei manages to get back to his party just before the door closes but Karen is pissed off with her ‘defeat’.
 
A concern Nao rushes to Shuhei’s side in episode 4. Being the good guys, they noticed a fallen terrorist is still warm and can’t leave a poor soul like him to die. Thus they decide to take him in for treatment and probably get some answers. Kazuhiko on the other hand is able to intercept a message sent by the terrorist to Earth. This terrorist group, Harallax, wants the release of their comrades in exchange for the hostages. They also don’t want any other ships near Aries. Failing which, they’ll drop several nuclear bombs onto Earth. As Shuhei visits Nao in the medical room, Nao has a short flashback of how she was enthralled by Shuhei during their younger days with Ryouta. Basically, the brothers managed to nurse a wounded bird back to strength when she couldn’t and ever since then Nao has been friends with them. Probably a reason why she entered the medical division. Back in reality, the duo witnesses a disturbing scene. The wounded terrorist’s body starts to turn into water. It tries to attack them but shortly evaporates. Shuhei advices Nao not to tell everyone about this as not to cause panic.
 
Shuhei returns to the rest and because everyone doesn’t know Yuu’s name and she is reluctant to talk, Shuhei decides to nickname her Rocket Breast Girl! With that kind of embarrassing name, I guess it’s enough for anyone to at least tell their name. Kazuhiko then informs them that he has received a message from another sector of Aries. It is a distress message saying that they are civilians and needing rescue. However they are puzzled as that sector is supposed to have no air so Shuhei decides to take a little maintenance ship over there to check things out. Shuhei finds Aki and Morimoto there and that Aki was the one who sent the message. The air leak alarm was just a decoy so that the terrorist will not suspect anything in this sector. The trio head back though it gets a little cramped for 3 people to sit in a one-sitter. Haha, the cramp space make it seem Shuhei is like sexually harassing Aki and Morimoto quipped how he too wants to have a try at it. Once they return, we find out that Kazuhiko and Aki are siblings. Quarrelling siblings. Ah, the love-hate relationship.
 
Episode 5 starts off with a short flashback. We see that Kazuhiko and Aki come from a high class wealthy family and Aki always hate it when people starts comparing her to her brother. In present time, since Aki too is a computer genius, she starts arguing with Kazuhiko who should be in control of the control room. Morimoto puts a stop to their bickering and has Aki to man the controls. Disappointed Kazuhiko goes off but meets Shuhei. He thanks him for saving his sister and even though he hates him, he respects him too. Huh? Ryouta tries to lift the tense and gloomy atmosphere as he suggests the gang to take some pictures of themselves while Morimoto makes some grub for the gang. Meanwhile Aya is seen serving the terrorists. Has she become their servant? Well I guess it’s better to have a cute girl taking care of meals rather than having all the hostages idly tied up. Furthermore, Gale thinks she isn’t a threat and with her serving the rest, the others will feel a little at ease. They then prepare to strike back at the good guys. Ryouta and Yuu are paired up and taking turns to guard the door which divides both sides when they heard a blast. Shuhei and Cellaria rushes there and upon arrival, Yuu and Ryouta retreats to the control room.
 
Shuhei opens fire but to his surprise finds Gale standing with a transparent shield to deflect his bullets. Gale starts firing but as Aki watches from the control room, she suspects something amiss. After activating other cameras onto the screen, we find out that Gale’s attack was just a diversion (he isn’t advancing, see). Kazuhiko rushes to the other terrorist group and manages to catch them off guard and killing those underlings. Karen faces off with Kazuhiko and we see this computer whizz kid isn’t just good with electronics because he kicks ass too. Kazuhiko plans to use some explosive to blast the path so that when the air leaks, the automatic door while come shutting down making it impossible for the terrorist to cross over anymore. As Kazuhiko reports back to Aki, he hears her screaming to Yuu not to do it.
 
This is what happened while Kazuhiko was fighting with Karen. In episode 6, while Shuhei and Cellaria are facing Gale, Cellaria charges towards Gale to prevent him from shooting Shuhei. She then tells Aki to close the door. Because Aki is reluctant, Yuu just calmly went over to press the button and thus separate Shuhei from Cellaria. According to Yuu’s common sense, she has too or else everyone will be in danger. Sacrificing 1 life is better than all? Even though the gang are saddened over Cellaria’s capture and has received a picture of her semi-naked and tortured, we see that she’s alive and well. Uh huh. In short, Cellaria is a traitor and part of the Harallax! Didn’t see this coming. So she does know Gale and all that was just a set up. Pretty convincing. She discards her military uniform for a more darker and revealing outfit and lets loose her hair. Now she looks more like a villain. Meanwhile Shuhei is resting from his wounds when he notices the bullet shot on his stomach has been healed as though he’s never been shot in the first place. Shuhei then experiences a weird horrifying dream whereby everybody gets killed before being awakened by Nao’s voice to get a hold of himself. Aki and Kazuhiko sense something amiss like how all communications with Earth has been cut off. Shuhei gets another nightmare vision whereby all the terrorist starts killing each other while Gale tells Karen and Aya to run.
 
Shuhei decides to attempt a lone rescue mission for Cellaria but before that he has a private chat with Ryouta and Yuu. He tells them about how the wounded terrorist turned into water and evaporated, and that such creatures are called Sukyura. Shuhei whips out a gun at Yuu and her reflex is similar and as fast as Shuhei’s. He knows that she is no ordinary civilian but doesn’t know about Sukyura as well. He has her spill the beans about herself. We find out Yuu is actually a mercenary hired by a splinter group of Harallax to disrupt the main group’s activities because this splinter group doesn’t like the way this main group is going to bomb Earth with their nuclear missiles. Even within the terrorist organization, there’s a split. So technically, she’s on their side. Later, Shuhei and Nao have a private moment of theirs. He puts an engagement ring onto her finger, the reason why he came onboard Aries. After that, the duo had sex. Woah! Is it some sort of a parting gift for Shuhei?! Must be damn good one. Just kidding. When that is done, Shuhei prepares to leave in the little maintenance ship to rescue Cellaria. But in the end, Cellaria mentions something about how she has mind control powers too. Gasp!
 
With Shuhei gone, the rest decide to nominate Ryouta to be their leader in episode 7. Well, I guess better to let someone bear the burden of being the leader. Then the gang hears a startling discovery. It’s like Shuhei is trying to convey this message with his encounter with Cellaria. He makes known that Cellaria is the mastermind behind all this and that Shuhei himself is infected with this Sukyura thingy. Also, Cellaria says how her intention has shifted to money and no longer the release of their comrades. She’s planning to use the money do conduct further research and experiment on Sukyura. Then all hell break loose as all the terrorists and hostages becomes infected with Sukyura and are under Cellaria’s control, except for Gale, Karen and Aya who made their escape. Those soldiers are so zombie-like. It’s like Resident Evil in space. Because of the commotion, Nao panics for Shuhei’s safety and rushes to the door which is keeping both sides apart. The door blasts open severely injuring Nao. Yuu and Ryouta go to her aid but as they fire shots into the soldiers, their wounds immediately heal. The duo drag unconscious Nao away before the door comes shutting down. While recuperating in the room, Nao has some weird visions of a girl telling her it’ll be alright. When she comes to, Nao finds all her wounds has been completely healed. I have a theory. She did consummate with Shuhei who was infected with Sukyura, right? Oh dear! Sukyura is a sexually transmitted disease too! Haha!
 
At the same time, Gale and Aya are fending off some zombie soldiers and Gale is amazed that Aya isn’t afraid of what is happening. Well she did mention how she isn’t afraid as long as she’s with him. Not only that, she did say how she may like him! Wow. Enough to make a tough cookie like him blush and all soften up too. Karen is somehow separated from the duo and is in a maintenance ship trying to operate it. Though Nao is healed, Ryouta doesn’t want to alienate her even though she is suspected to have Sukyura because at this point they all need to stay together. With Morimoto’s help, the girls make some food but since they’re running low on supply, Morimoto along with Ryouta and Sayaka decide to head over to the food supply storeroom to get more stuff. As they open the door, they think that someone else is there but finds a furry dog instead. Morimoto recognizes it as Kuu, the mascot of Aries. Soon they find a little girl named Nanami hidden among the shelves. So if you’re wondering who that other girl is in the mid-intermission, opening and ending credits, she finally makes her appearance halfway through the series. They bring her back as she explains how she don’t remember much after waking up and finding herself in the storeroom. She’s your typical curious happy little girl. However the gang receive news from Aki about a maintenance ship returning but can’t tell whether it’s Shuhei because there is no reply.
 
When the maintenance ship docks in episode 8, we find out that it is Karen instead. Of course it’s normal for the gang to get defensive since she’s part of the terrorist. However when she mentions Shuhei’s name, Ryouta wants to know how she knows his brother. Karen tells them how while she is fending off several Sukyura soldiers, that’s when Shuhei arrived in the maintenance ship and she thought he is one of them. Because Shuhei maintains his rationale unlike those zombies, Karen thinks he’s not a Sukyura. She goes on saying how Gale and Aya too are unaffected, making Sayaka relieved to know her friend is still alive. Before Karen parted with Shuhei, he tells her to go back to where he came from as there are no one infected with Sukyura. With that, Ryouta allows Karen to stay with them. Because Kazuhiko and Aki continue to quarrel, Nanami wonders why they are always so. Anyway it took a little girl for those kids to reflect upon their petty argument. Also, Karen and Yuu had a little confrontation and they don’t really like each other. But when Karen mentions how one of her comrades, Shin Kurosaki, is working with Cellaria, Yuu is kinda surprised and heads off. Yuu has a short flashback and we see while she was young, she and Shin were in some war torn village. Shin was looking for his beloved sister and rushed off and that was the last Yuu saw of him. Since Nanami is spending quite some time with Nao, I don’t know why but she wants to call Nao her mom. Whatever. Later Aki and Kazuhiko notices a hangar door is open so Ryouta and Morimoto rushes there to find Sayaka trying to go save Aya by herself. Ryouta tells her not to but she throws a tantrum so much so Morimoto slaps her! Yuu then says how she will go over to rescue Aya in which Ryouta agrees. However he gives her a condition that she has to return alive even if it means only herself. But I think Yuu is more interested in finding Shin.
 
In episode 9, Shuhei is under Cellaria’s captivity and she wants to mate with him to produce a perfect Sukyura because she regards him as one. While Nanami wonders the meaning of happiness and Morimoto explains it like how all we should to a little girl (but Nanami is still confused because mommy isn’t with Shuhei), Yuu has arrived and storms through the hallway to reach Cellaria. Though she finds Shuhei tied down, she is also surprised to see Shin working for Cellaria. Shin says ever since Cellaria saved his sister, he has somewhat become her ‘slave’ doing everything she commands. Is this the kind of gratitude and loyalty we’re talking about? Yuu doesn’t believe all that crap and fires at Cellaria but her bullet wounds instantly heals. Yeah, she’s a Sukyura herself. Meanwhile Aki decides to go take a shower break after a short spat with Kazuhiko. It’s like deja vu for Ryouta because he comes out just when Aki heads in and she too gets a full view of his naked body. But Aki doesn’t freak out and cheekily says how he’s cute. I guess he’s got a lot on his mind because he remembers how Shuhei asked him if he had confessed to Sayaka.
 
Back at Cellaria, she’s thinking of making Yuu her Sukyura soldier. Shin can’t take it anymore and tackles Cellaria to give Yuu a chance to escape. Shin gets shot by Cellaria and soon infected by her Sukyura. I see she can do that by just touching one’s wounds. Shuhei then tackles Cellaria to buy time for the duo to escape. While taking a breather, Shin tells Yuu what Cellaria said was true. He did found her sister but she’s on the verge of life and death till Cellaria came and healed her. Shin knew his sister wasn’t really alive although she has been revived and feels more like a zombie. But he kept hoping for a miracle. Thus the reason he saved Yuu was that he wanted another chance. As Shuhei faints, Nanami senses something wrong (can she see through Shuhei’s eyes?!) and heads to the control room and it’s like she knows which button and keys to press to activate a camera onscreen to see what’s happening on the other side. The gang spots Yuu and Shin cornered. With that, the duo is ready to sacrifice themselves by blowing themselves up when the door behind them opens. Reinforcements in the form of Karen, Kazuhiko and Ryouta. Nanami comes up to Shin and places her hand on his injured shoulder and starts healing it. She can even do that?! There’s something mysterious about this loli.
 
Episode 10 sees Shin being treated as he explains about Cellaria’s experiment on Sukyura which goes back a long way. I don’t remember the technical details of it but from what I understand, Cellaria has the ability to control other imperfect Sukyuras which evaporated once they get wounded. Uh huh. Something about how Sukyura cells try to reconstruct a certain damaged part but an imperfect one will evaporate instead. In addition, Cellaria’s lab was burned down once it is found out that she’s being conducting such research. Shin thought she was dead but one day she turned up before him. Shin did say something about Nanami being an anti-Sukyura thingy because Shin isn’t infected with them now. Meanwhile Gale and Aya continue to defend themselves from more Sukyura soldiers. While Yuu stays by Shin’s side, the rest gets word from Aki and Kazuhiko that Aries may be crashing into Earth soon because the planet’s gravity is pulling them in and the rocket blasters which keeps them afloat isn’t working anymore. So they device a plan to escape through a detached space station, Botein, which was originally used when Aries was first constructed. The problem is getting there. Because it seems they’re abandoning plans to rescue Shuhei and Gale, Karen thinks he’s selfish but it’s a tough decision he has to make as said by Morimoto. Even if it’s a painful one, make sure it’s not one that he’ll regret. At least that’s what Shuhei told Ryouta. As Nanami spends more time with Nao, Karen tells Kazuhiko how Gale is like a father to her since she herself doesn’t know who her real parents are. While Sayaka is trying to operate a vehicle, she sheds a tear when she looks at the photo of herself and Aya. Ryouta comes to comfort her and soon they both kiss. However Cellaria decides to spice things up and show the negotiators of her impatience. Aries jolts once more and to everyone’s horror, Aki says how the rocket blasters have been activated to accelerate towards Earth. They’re going to crash sooner and faster! That crazy woman! Nanami rushes to confront Shin and wants him to tell her something.
 
I’m not sure about this episode because it is an unaired episode some call it episode 10.5. It’s a flashback-cum-recap episode through the narrations of Cellaria and Nanami. Though I would’ve passed it, it’s a good thing I didn’t. Why? As the first half is sarcastically and sadistically narrated by Cellaria, we find out that she was the one who trapped Aya in the locker and planted her Sukyura cells into Shuhei when he got injured when they first took on the terrorist back in episode 3. A perfect way to spread her disease on the person whom she wanted so badly for her experiment. The second half is of course by innocent-sounding Nanami and her narration balances out Cellaria’s dark one with hope and faith.
 
Episode 11 starts off with Sayaka’s flashback on how her dad left her. While sitting alone on a swing, Sayaka was approached by Aya and it was then their beautiful friendship began. Back in reality, everyone makes preparations to head to Botein. Nanami is nowhere in sight as she decides to crawl through a tiny air vent herself to where Cellaria is. She remembers the time whereby she confronted Shin who tells her that she may the one who can defeat Cellaria because she has both human and Sukyura cells. Nao and Ryouta searches for Nanami but ends up finding Kuu barking at the air vent spot. They realized that Nanami had went through went Aries starts to jolt once more while Kuu finally manages to get itself into the air vent to follow Nanami’s trail. They have to scramble to Botein now. As Kazuhiko and Karen are the first batch to arrive at Botein via a maintenance vehicle (so that Kazuhiko can hack and take over the main controls from there after all of them have left their main base), Shuhei is having visions of Nanami who calls him father and says she’ll be there soon (it then occurred to me that Nanami may be the child of Shuhei and Nao after that consummation. How did she grow up so fast? Don’t know but she does address them as her parents, right?
 
At the same time, Gale and Aya have arrived at a dock with a maintenance ship as Aya gets onboard. After some instructions to set the ship on an auto pilot course, Aya realized that Gale isn’t coming with him. OMG! Is that guy going to sacrifice himself?! Aya is horrified as she could only watch helplessly as Gale stays back to keep those zombies at bay. Gale gets injured badly (real bloody, I tell you) in the hale of bullets and finally he decides to take them all with him as he detonates himself with the zombies. NOOO!!! Even terrorists have their pride. Heartbreak for Aya. Also, since more zombies are creeping into the main base, Yuu tells Ryouta that there won’t be time to ferry them over. Is she and Shin going to sacrifice themselves too? Maybe not. They’re going to take the long way to Botein. Just that they’re going to kill some zombies on their way there. So the remaining survivors get onboard the maintenance ship and head for Botein. Sayaka then hears a radio communication from Aya seeking help and is glad to hear her voice. With Morimoto’s help, they are able to bring Aya’s maintenance ship safely to Botein. Sayaka and Aya hugged in their happy reunion. Karen then asks about Gale but since Aya isn’t able to answer and tears start to build in her eye, Karen fears the worst as she leaves in tears.
 
Karen is walking alone dejectedly when she is met with Sukyura zombies in episode 12. She takes out her frustration on them like a mad girl who has just lost something precious. As the rest arrive, a zombie then shoots Ryouta in the leg and is going to finish off Sayaka and Aya when Morimoto takes the shot. As the girls go get medical supply, Morimoto tells Ryouta how he left his daughter for a job. To cut things short, Morimoto is Sayaka’s dad. He was quite surprised to see her onboard Aries and had intended to tell her but was unable due to these events. He gives Ryouta a pendant and wants him to give it to Sayaka and continue protecting her smile. It’s so sad to see him pass away. Sayaka who has overhead their conversation is in despair as she realized he is her father but is too late to save him. Meanwhile Nanami manages to reach Cellaria and confronts her. Cellaria is happy to see another survivor and decides to plant some Sukyura cells on her. Shuhei is too weak to do anything. Nanami has a flashback of what Shin told her about destroying Cellaria but I don’t remember much. Cellaria’s going to implant her cells when she’s distracted by Kuu who comes running in. Nanami then places her palm over Cellaria’s chest and causes the latter pain as some of her body parts start to glow. I don’t know how but Cellaria notes how she has been defeated by a little girl before disintegrating. That’s it?! Beaten so easily?!
 
As Yuu and Shin have already arrived in Botein, they are to detach from Aries soon but since Nao is still worried about Shuhei and Nanami, she apologizes to Ryouta as she rushes out of Botein and into Aries. Looks like she can’t leave them alone. Botein detaches itself safely as Nao happily reunites with Shuhei and Nanami. The rest could only watch as Aries breaks apart as it enters orbit and its parts scattered below. A year later, Yuu and Shin chat with each other and we find out that Shuhei and co are still pretty much alive because Shin did told Nanami about an escape shuttle from the Harallax. Not only that, the trio managed to disarm the nuclear missiles before escaping safely. Shin didn’t want to tell Ryouta and the rest since he didn’t know whether their escape was successful or not and would prefer to keep these Sukyuras a secret. We also see that Ryouta and Sayaka after attending a ceremony in which Ryouta has been hailed as a hero who stopped the nuclear attack. Aya is lost at the ground station as usual carrying a big bouquet of flowers while Kazuhiko and Aki meet Karen (who is dressing a lot like a pretty lady) at that station. Things indicate that Karen may have a crush on Kazuhiko so Aki leaves her brother in her care. Finally as Sayaka and Ryouta visits Morimoto’s grave, a little boy hands them a letter. They open a letter and to their relief, finds a photo of Shuhei, Nao and Nanami who says that they are doing fine.
 
In the end, I find this series quite engaging. Though the twist of the storyline from a terrorist hijack to a horror survival theme is fascinating. However even with all the blood and gore (in the initial episodes), I find that the action lacks impact. In the sense that when they fire their guns, you don’t feel the ‘weight’ of it. Furthermore, when the characters get shot and wounded, it’s like as though they just got a scratch and do not react painfully like those who get bullets pierced through their skin. Yeah, they can still move about though less efficiently. In addition, although the drawing is your conventional Japanese bishoujo art, sometimes I feel certain episodes and scenes have a drop in quality as I noticed the character’s facial details not properly drawn or their body parts a little not proportionately equal.
 
I don’t mean to sound like a sadist, but seeing that this turned out to be a horror survival flick, I was hoping to see more main characters to be killed off. But I guess it’s better to have a good happy ending. There are potential chemistry between several characters but it didn’t amount to anything much. Like Kazuhiko and Karen’s. As for Ryouta and Sayaka, perhaps it’s right for them to be concentrating on getting off Aries. Don’t want to see a tragic love romance, don’t we? Similarly, Nao gets to be reunited with the Shuhei she loves. It’s really mind boggling to see how the duo can conceive a child just like that. Effects of Sukyura? But I still find Nanami the most annoying because of her high pitch squealing. And it still bugs me that Cellaria didn’t put up much of a fight in the end. Perhaps I was hoping for her to turn into some giant monster like you see in those video games. Yeah, the final boss stage monster.
 
The opening theme, Screaming, by Miyuki Hashimoto is a rock piece and is quite fitting for this series as it gets viewers in the mood for drama and action. She also does the ending theme, Dust trail, which is more of a slow rock. On a trivial note, the next episode preview is narrated by Cellaria and the initial episodes, her narration sounded like philosophies of life. Then when her true nature is revealed, her narration turned into a dark, mocking one, coupled in with her trademark sinister evil woman laughter. Each of the episode’s title are single words which reflects what will happen in that episode like episode 3’s "Outbreak" and episode 6’s "Farewell".
 
Though I won’t be playing the game anytime soon (or ever), but at least if there are future animes of such genre, perhaps I won’t write it off quickly and give it a chance. Space, the final frontier. So much of the unknown to explore and discover. I wonder if the high-tech advance technology and development is all worth it seeing that there are futuristic threats to handle like space terrorists and super viruses. Ah well, the best is back to basics. And to quote from a movie line, "In space nobody can hear you scream".
 

Soul Link

Toradora

June 14, 2009

I think there is a trend and tendency to use Rie Kugimiya for any anime characters that fit the tsundere loli category. Like many of the previous animes which she voiced, the character’s personality, looks and sounds like how many otakus would view a typical tsundere loli. Personally, I too think that her voice fits such characters and no one would ever match her voice. All hail Rie Kugimiya as the queen of tsundere loli! So as such, it is very fitting and no surprise if she did such a role in Toradora.
 
This show is one of those romance comedy drama genres and the plot may not be unique as there are a whole lot of such genres out there flooding the market. The series may remind me a little of Ranma 1/2 in terms of the few love relationships between the characters and while this series doesn’t have many characters as the said comparison, you’ll get a feeling and gradually learn who likes who as the characters are gradually introduced.
 
In one corner, we have our main protagonist Taiga Aisaka whom as many seasoned viewers will be able to recognize is the tsundere loli of the show. She may be petite but her temperament is short. You don’t want to be at the receiving end of this girl whom other students nicknamed her as Tenori Taiga (Palmtop Tiger). On the other hand, we have the male protagonist guy, Ryuuji Takasu. He has a reputation for being a delinquent. Partly because of his eyes. Uh huh. Since they are so ‘mean’ looking, others tend to stay away from him and yeah, he has no girlfriend too. So put these 2 together and that’s how the name of the series came to be. Tora is Japanese for tiger as Taiga’s name would sound like one while Ryuuji’s name means dragon as the ‘dora’ part in the title. Well, I guess it’s better than naming it Tsundere Tiger, Smitten Dragon. Haha. Just kidding.
 
So this is how the slightly complicated love relationship works out. As seen in episode 1, it’s the start of the new semester and Ryuuji is happy to know that he is in the same class with the girl he secretly admires, Minori Kushieda. Viewers have got to love this bubbly and positive ever smiling cheerful girl and because of so, it makes her queer but loveable. Problem is, Minori is best friends with Taiga. And she too happens to be in the same class as Ryuuji. Ryuuji’s initial encounter with Taiga in the hallway has the petite girl punching him in the face. Clash of the Titans? On the other hand, Taiga too has a secret crush. He is the bespectacled Yuusaku Kitamura. Just like Minori, he has an unusual positive behaviour but not as extreme as he. Guess what? Kitamura is Ryuuji’s best friend. Ah yes. They both love each other’s best pals. Besides, you can see Taiga ‘freezing and paralyzed’ whenever Kitamura gets close or talks to her. So obvious. Hey, she’s still a normal girl in this sense.
 
Thus it all started when klutzy Taiga accidentally putting her love letter for Kitamura in the wrong bag. Ryuuji’s bag. Taiga starts attacking him in class but since she can’t get it back, she leaves in a huff. Ryuuji only realizes then when he comes home and finds the letter in his bag. That night as he is sleeping, he hears someone coming into the room. He thinks it can’t be his mom, Yasuko, who is out working late. He’s correct. It’s Taiga. She’s here to kill him with her wooden sword! Since she can’t forget about that embarrassing situation, the other way is to silence him! At this point, Taiga may loosely resemble several past tsundere characters she played. Like Shana because of her "Urusai!" lines. Like Louise because keeps calling Ryuuji a dog. Like Nagi because well, she’s a rich girl. Not until Ryuuji points out her letter’s contents is empty, did Taiga stopped attacking. The duo had a chat on love bla bla bla and Taiga accidentally finds out Ryuuji’s crush on Minori. He’s like keeping a box of mementos of her? Stalker? Anyway, Ryuuji introduces Taiga to his pet parrot, Inko. Now, this weird bird has a crazy face and viewers may think that this bird may go into some sort of seizure anytime.
 
As Ryuuji promises to help Taiga get close to Kitamura, Taiga agrees to compensate for the damage she has done to his house and leaves. The next morning, Ryuuji gets a call from Taiga and the shock of his life. She just lives next door to him. It’s an odd sight to see a huge luxury mansion overshadowing the little abode. Their place is so close that you can actually leap into each other’s place in a single jump. Don’t try this anyhow, okay? Ryuuji is further surprised to see Taiga’s place all messy and dirty. Because Taiga lives alone all by herself, I think Ryuuji must be feeling sympathetic that she’s living in some large doll house and proceeds to clean up her place, much to Taiga’s surprise. He even cooks her a decent meal. Note that Ryuuji is quite good ‘housewife’ material because he does the cleaning, cooking, washing and shopping in his household. Yeah, I’m not trying to run down Yasuko, but that young single hostess bar mom is kinda ‘useless’ so Ryuuji has to take care of such things. Another person I want to mention is their homeroom teacher Yuri Koigakubo. She may seem like a normal teacher except that don’t just go talking about lovey-dovey stuff or relationships. This boyfriendless teacher gets depressed about her single status and may exhibit her twisted nature by taking it out on her class sometimes.
 
In episode 2, Taiga becomes a regular over Ryuuji’s place and Yasuko takes a liking for her. Because of the proximity they live in, they go to school together and almost causes a misunderstanding from Minori that the duo are a couple. Rumours of this start soon spread throughout school while Taiga’s attempts to get closer to Kitamura backfire due to her clumsiness. It gets worse when Minori and Kitamura gave their blessings to the couple. At the same time, Ryuuji concludes that he has to help Taiga get closer to Kitamura first if Taiga is to help him get closer to Minori. Taiga is fed up with the rumours and trashes the classroom, making all the students apologize. Outside, Ryuuji is surprised to see Taiga confessing her feelings to Kitamura. He asks her opinion of Ryuuji. Well, she doesn’t hate him and is grateful for the things he has done. In the end, Kitamura says how she puts on an interesting face when she’s with Ryuuji and that, they can only be friends. In short, he rejected her. After Kitamura leaves, Ryuuji goes to talk with Taiga. Amazingly she didn’t cry although I know deep down she is heartbroken. Since he can’t leave her like this, Ryuuji states some idiom about only a dragon can be together on equal terms with a tiger which earns him a kick. A start of a new level in their friendship?
 
In episode 3, Ryuuji is mesmerized by the beauty of Minori who is playing baseball and is the club’s captain. He is snapped out of it when Taiga beats him up for staring too much at her best pal. I guess because Taiga has been eating over at Ryuuji’s place, it’s naturally that his rice cooker breaks down so they go eat out at a restaurant. To Ryuuji’s surprise, he finds Minori working there part time. But this isn’t the only part time job she is on. Why, she has several of them. Simply because she has the time and energy. Ah, those youthful days better spent like this than wasting it away (like watching anime…). The next day, the duo spot Minori in another one of her part time jobs, some sake shop. Ryuuji takes this opportunity to get closer to her by volunteering to help out, dragging Taiga into it. As Taiga go do deliveries on a bicycle (she can’t cycle by the way), Ryuuji and Minori got trapped together in the storeroom. Night falls and it seems their calling has been futile. But Minori refuses to give up and Ryuuji learns her reason for cheerfulness is to defeat her weakness. That’s looking at things in a positive light. As they finally decide to climb out through the high window, Ryuuji comes face to face with a pissed Taiga who is looking all over for him and thinks he has been slacking. A little ruckus causes Taiga to fall into the storeroom. Now the trio are trapped…
 
In episode 4, Ryuuji offers to help Taiga take some photos of Kitamura, seeing that all her photos on him are very blur. Yeah, she gets excited whenever she’s close to him. Even at a distance. We learn that Kitamura is the vice president of the student council and the head is Sumire Kanou, in which Taiga doesn’t get along well with. After the photos are developed, Ryuuji offers to laminate 1 photo for her, Taiga is having a hard time choosing which one, so she tells him to pick one. When Ryuuji bumps into Kitamura later, the former learns that Kitamura has several pictures of Taiga because he once liked her. Wow. So why did her reject her then? Is it because of retaliation? I mean, when Kitamura confessed to Taiga back during junior high days, he was rejected instantly. Ryuuji confirms this when he speaks to Taiga. She mentions that her instant rejection of Kitamura was due to the suddenness of everything. However she soon came to regret her answer and developed a liking for him. Finally Taiga decides that the 1 photo she wants laminated is that face of Kitamura when he confessed to her. Ryuuji notes that they both should be more honest with their feelings. Is he the one to say?
 
In episode 5, I guess Ryuuji’s frequent patron to the restaurant is to see Minori at work but unfortunately she’s off on that day. Taiga is showing him a bag in a magazine and Ryuuji happen to notice the model in the magazine, Ami Kawashima, is right here in this restaurant. Right now too. Not only that, she is Kitamura’s childhood friend. What are the chances of being one with a famous model? Though Ami is seen as a polite and nice girl, Kitamura takes Ryuuji away to observe the girls from afar. Ami’s true nature is revealed to be stuck up, manipulative and spoilt as she tries to verbally abuse Taiga. But does Taiga give a damn about that? She slaps her face giving some mosquito excuse. That’s when the guys came back and had to split. To make things worse, Ami is a new transfer student in their class and she wins friends over easily with her fake friendly personality. Kitamura tells Ryuuji that he doesn’t hate Ami’s character and wants others to see it in hopes that she will stop lying. Minori thinks Ryuuji has abandoned Taiga for Ami and she did a very funny ghostly impression as a warning to him right in the middle of lessons! See it for yourself! Ami continues threatening Taiga for this and that and though Taiga doesn’t really bother about it until Ami mentions about Kitamura hating her for it. Ryuuji goes to console depressed Taiga at her home and is soon back to her normal self. Later that night as the duo go out to shop some groceries, they spot Ami acting suspiciously in strange clothes. Like how celebrities are trying to hide their cover in the presence of the public. Taiga notices a statement in a magazine which states Ami’s temporary break from modelling and she grins because she thinks she can use what she just saw against her.
 
In episode 6, Ami reveals that her transfer was to get away from some stalker. Too late. He’s here. Continuing to stalk. Ami takes refuge in Taiga’s mansion but since she is back to her stuck up ways, Taiga decides to test her with impersonations of other people. I don’t know what or how she did it but she was damn tired the next day after doing it consecutively for 150 times! World record? Because of that, Taiga will use this as a threat against her and calls Ami ‘stupid Chihuahua’. Kitamura requests Taiga and Ryuuji’s assistance to help Ami make friends without her fake behaviour. After school, the gang did some community service by picking up garbage around town organized by the student council. Ryuuji and Ami ended up together and separated from the rest. Then Ami gets alarmed when she spots the stalker and goes into hiding. Taiga and Minori show up and the stalker starts taking pictures of the duo. WTF?! I thought he was an Ami obsessed fan? Taiga is annoyed and beats the crap out of him as he tries to escape. Ami is amazed by Taiga’s attitude and not to be outdone by her, Ami too goes after the stalker. Later as Ami and Ryuuji goes back to the latter’s house, Ami tries to get closer to Ryuuji and teases him if he wants to know her true self. You can pretty much guess that Ami’s body language isn’t fake that she is starting to like Ryuuji. But in great timing, that’s when Taiga comes in. Showdown…
 
In episode 7, as Minori calls from outside if Ryuuji or Ami is in there, Taiga lies and says that they are not. This prompts Ami to wonder if Taiga won’t accept any other girls in Ryuuji’s house other than herself. But this episode has the gang going shopping for swimsuits (dragging along reluctant Taiga) for the upcoming class swimming event. So if you’re wondering how flat chest Taiga is, you’d be surprised to know that when she puts on her swimsuit, the chest part sinks in! Holy sh*t! Over underdeveloped! Taiga is happy to learn from Yasuko about some drinking ingredient to make her breasts bigger. So Ryuuji decides to help her out by sewing some padding in her swimsuit. The next day, it’s no surprise that Ami is an eye catcher with her desirable physiques while Ryuuji’s handwork succeeds in fooling everyone except Minori. You know, Taiga tying up her hair into round buns make her look like Mickey Mouse. Then Ami gets a little playful and nasty as she throws Taiga into the pool. Ryuuji then realizes that Taiga really doesn’t know how to swim as she is struggling like a drowning rat. Ryuuji dives in to save her and notices 1 of her pads is falling out and manages to put it back in place. Not before some embarrassing moves. Luckily nobody else saw it. Or else… Back in the classroom, Ami and Taiga are having a heated argument so Minori steps in and suggests a swimming challenge to solve everything.
 
In episode 8, the condition if Ami wins is that she’ll whisk Ryuuji away to her summer villa leaving Taiga all alone. With the odds stacked against her, Taiga continues to persistently train under Ryuuji’s guidance. Ryuuji goes talk to Ami at the school’s vending machines and it occurred to me that Ami likes to sit in the small gap between the vending machines. It’s like her personal space whereby she feels at ease. To each his/her own. Ryuuji and Taiga continue their training at the indoor public pool, tickets courtesy from Kitamura, since the next few days continue to be raining. Because of Ryuuji’s ignorance, Taiga gets upset and kicks the pool table. She thinks he is acting like he knows how she feels in her heart as she leaves in tears. Back home, Yasuko tells Ryuuji that Taiga isn’t the kind of person who would hate people. Race day arrives and Taiga shows up with lots of floating device. A funny sight. But they’re all not to help her in her swim. Before the race starts, Taiga did an underhanded thing by throwing many of them at Ami and unstrapping her top to immobilize her! Because of that, she gets a head start. However her ankle sprain caused by the kicking off the pool table is acting up on her return leg and Ami is catching up. Taiga is adamant to continue but Ryuuji is knocked unconscious into the pool when some of the boys are pushing around. Taiga forfeits the race to go save him. When Ryuuji regains consciousness, he finds Taiga a little angry as she screams how Ryuuji is hers. I wonder why nobody else jumped in to save him. Though Ami won, Taiga, Minori and Kitamura insist on tagging along to Ami’s villa. Can’t argue about that.
 
Ryuuji and Taiga both wake up from a horrifying dream in episode 9 whereby they’re both married to each other. Since Taiga lost her badminton game to Ryuuji, she has to help him get closer to Minori. The quartet arrives at Ami’s villa and while the rest go have fun at the beach, clean freak Ryuuji decides to clean up the villa. After their curry dinner, Ryuuji and Minori end up washing dishes together and later as they look at the stars, Ryuuji asks her if she has any boyfriend. But Minori avoids answering it by asking if he believes in ghosts. I think Minori is trying to subtly say something about her inability to find feelings of love through her speech about the existence of ghosts. That night after Ryuuji and Taiga grab some late midnight snack, they return to his room to find strands of hair and sticky substance on his bed. Same with Taiga’s. Then the room and balcony doors start making banging noises as the 2 grip each other in fear.
 
Because of that in episode 10, the duo stayed awake all night. Day breaks and the duo soon discuss their plan with Kitamura and Ami to scare Minori since she dislike horror stuff. Ryuuji and Minori are alone together chatting as Ami eavesdrop. At the beach, Ami wonders why Ryuuji is going to great lengths to woo Minori and since he refuses to say anything, Ami refuses to help him out. Part of the Minori-scaring plan is for the gang to enter a dark cave in which Kitamura has set up some scary traps prior to it. However his traps aren’t that scary either. Ryuuji then notices a sticky substance but Kitamura says he didn’t plant that trap. The group ended up being separated with Ryuuji and Ami alone together and lost. Ami thinks Minori doesn’t suit him when they hear screams of Minori and Kitamura. When they regroup with Taiga and Kitamura, they learn that Minori has disappeared further into the cave. Kitamura soon follows suit. Upon seeing the strands of hair, Ryuuji and Taiga starts to panic. Until it’s revealed that Kitamura and Minori are just playing a prank on them, including the ones in their bedroom. Uh huh. They noticed their strange behaviour in trying to scare Minori earlier on and that’s when they decide to show them how the real stuff is being done. Besides, Minori says she loves horror stuff and stating that she disliked them was more of a psychological thingy. Later that night as everyone watches the fireworks, Ryuuji goes talk to Minori. He expresses his wish to help find her a ghost. She indicates her intention to find out why Ryuuji would do all this for her, his kindness and after searching for all the UFOs she will… But I think Minori was trying to say she would fall for him but Ryuuji cut her off and the fireworks start.
 
The school cultural festival is coming up in episode 11 and Kanou is thinking of making this the greatest event before bowing out. The class is debating on what to do which includes a maid cafe and a cosplay cafe but the final draw turned out to be pro wrestling play. Huh?! Did Yuri have a hand in this turnout? By the way, I need to mention several supporting characters which happen to be Ryuuji and Ami’s classmate and friends. They are Kouji Haruta, Hisamitsu Noto, Maya Kihara and Nanako Kashii. But this episode sees Taiga ignoring repeatedly phone calls from her dad. Ryuuji learns that Taiga isn’t on good terms with him because he ‘abandoned’ her to live in the mansion all alone. Because of that, Taiga notices her allowance being sent from him has been stopped. Ryuuji has been sent by Taiga to go meet him instead. The guys talk things over at a cafe and he thinks that Ryuuji is his daughter’s boyfriend. He proceeds to tell Ryuuji that the reason Taiga hates him was because he moved in with a new wife and Taiga was forced to leave. However he intends to leave her and wishes to be reunited and start anew with Taiga. When Ryuuji goes home, he tries to explain this to Taiga but she refuses to listen. The next day in school, everyone in class is roped in for their lines for the play. The plot is real weird and has Ami the heroine saving the world from evil aliens played by Taiga and Ryuuji. After school, Taiga goes home and notices her dad waiting at her mansion. She kicks him in the crotch and goes to Ryuuji’s place but Ryuuji forces her to go meet her dad, citing his own case whereby he couldn’t meet his even if he wanted to. Taiga believes him and goes to meet her dad. Ryuuji wonders if he has done the right thing.
 
Taiga continues to spend more time with her dad in episode 12. Taiga wishes to switch roles with Ami so that her dad who is coming to watch her play would get to see her good side. But when Minori finds about the recent developments between Taiga and her dad from Ryuuji, she becomes disgusted and upset. Minori thinks Taiga is being deceived by her dad and this makes Ryuuji a little angry. He thinks she doesn’t know what’s going on and she tells him back the same thing. Later Ami goes to cheer him up and offers her advice. Ryuuji goes home to learn from Yasuko that Taiga is going to move away with her dad. When Taiga comes home, she wants Ryuuji to apologize to Minori and it isn’t about whether he was right or wrong. The festival play starts and you can say even though it is hilarious, it was a huge success. Ami vs Taiga. Yeah, it’s the best chance to take out on each other. More importantly Taiga’s dad didn’t turn up at the festival at all and when the class celebrates the play’s success, Ryuuji notices Taiga looking disappointed because she didn’t get to play the lead role once.
 
In episode 13, the classmates learn that Ryuuji has sewn a dress for Taiga for the school’s beauty contest. The eagerly anticipated beauty contest starts and Taiga is looking quite pretty herself. However Ryuuji receives bad news. Taiga’s dad SMS him saying that he won’t be able to attend the festival and he has even aborted his plans to live with Taiga. Why that creep! Ryuuji realizes that he has been wrong all along and notices Taiga’s gloomy face. As Ami calls for Taiga’s no-show dad, Ryuuji tries to save her by starting to clap. This is followed by Minori in tears and the rest. Though Taiga wins the contest, Kanou decides to spice things up by proposing a race in which the winner earns the right to dance with Taiga. Ryuuji decides to enter this race as he thinks the only person who can be beside Taiga is him. The race is tough with desperate guys singling out Ryuuji. Minori enters the race too but she holds back the other guys so that Ryuuji could win. He refuses to do so and takes Minori’s hands as they both cross the finish line together and at the same time forgive each other. During the festival dance, Kanou is seen talking to Kitamura while Minori tells Ryuuji how a similar thing happened to Taiga last year whereby her dad stood her up the last minute. Minori did the same thing as Ryuuji did but in the end she felt disappointed. They both apologize to each other before their classmates pull them into the dance. Finally Taiga gets to dance with Kitamura.
 
In episode 14, rumours that whoever touches Taiga will be granted happiness. Also rumours about Taiga and Kitamura dating have surfaced even though Taiga hangs out more with Ryuuji. The festival photos are up for sale and as expected Taiga chooses the one whereby she dances with Kitamura while Ryuuji prefers the one he crosses the finish line together with Minori. Meanwhile Kanou says she has something important to tell Kitamura. After school as Ami bumps into Ryuuji at a supermarket, Taiga encounters Kitamura at the riverside. He seems to be worried. Taiga goes home and is embraced by Yasuko upon learning about the rumour. Yasuko notes how the trio are like a family, causing Taiga to feel touched. Ami is seen talking to her mom over the phone and expresses her wish to stay as she has made some friends. I guess she has partially changed too.
 
Something is really bugging Kitamura in episode 15 as he isn’t his happy self recently. He vehemently turns down the offer to be the next student council president, something which everyone expected him to be. The next day he turns up in school with his hair dyed blonde which gets him into trouble with the teachers. So what’s eating Kitamura? Though Ryuuji and Taiga suspect something must have happened during his talk with Kanou, Kanou notes that if it is so, she is disappointed in him. Ryuuji and Taiga try to find Kitamura at his home but he’s not in. When Ryuuji comes home, he is shocked to see Kitamura at his place. He ran away from home? Having sleeping over at his place, the next morning, Yasuko chases the trio out of the house for being too noisy. It was funny to see Kitamura getting punched in the face by sleep talking Taiga who thinks he is Ryuuji. The trio spend the rest of the day together like playing caged baseball. When they return, Yasuko plans to dye Kitamura’s hair black again upon finding out what happened from his parents but he runs away. The next day in school, with Kitamura still not wanting to be the next student council president, Taiga decides to run for presidency and bring her reign of terror to the school. Perhaps an attempt to change Kitamura’s mind to save the school?
 
Despite all this, in episode 16, Kitamura sticks to his decision of not contesting. Ryuuji then finds out the source of Kitamura’s weird behaviour. Kitamura has a crush on Kanou but she is going to study abroad in USA soon. He goes to find Kitamura sitting at the riverside. He reveals that the reason why he joined the student council was so that he could impress her and since she is going away soon, he feels all this are for naught. You thought he was in love with Taiga, right? Yeah until he was rejected, soon after Kanou appeared before him and gave him some words to boost his self confidence. That’s when his feelings for her started. Well it makes sense why Kitamura wanted to be Taiga’s friend in the first place. With that, Kitamura is back to his normal self and decides to contest for presidency. However Yuri says that he hasn’t submitted his forms yet which means technically Taiga will be president if he hasn’t done so by the deadline. Ryuuji and Taiga confront Kitamura and is being told that he would quit anyway. Not until Kanou shows up and lectures his foolish actions. She gives him the form and wants to see what kind of student council he will be running. With Kitamura as the new student council president, the next day of his instalment, instead of giving his opening speech, he confesses his love for Kanou and wants her reply! But Kanou quickly dismisses it and says how he is such an interesting guy. After that, Ryuuji catches up to Kanou and wants to know why she didn’t reply him but Taiga tells him that Kitamura is crying. Taiga decides to settle this herself. She enters Kanou’s class and challenges Kanou to a sword fight. While trading blows, Taiga calls her a coward but Kanou in tears explains that she knows Kitamura is the kind of idiot who would do anything she’d ask him to. Because of that, she has to be strong and not be a fool himself. By that time, Kitamura has heard her and expresses his thanks for all that she has done and that he is glad to have fall in love with her. Soon Kanou leaves for USA and Taiga is suspended for 2 weeks. In that period, she has to write an apology letter to Kanou but the letter contains ‘baka’ only as Kanou gives out a heartily laughter.
 
After Taiga and Kitamura, now it is Minori’s turn to get depressed in episode 17. She is spacing out so much that she isn’t concentrating on her baseball match and made silly mistakes. Christmas is approaching and it seems Taiga has garnered a few fans after her fight with Kanou. Noting that there is no progress between Ryuuji and Minori’s relationship, Taiga decides to help out. Now that Kitamura is free from his depression, he has become an even quirkier guy. Greeting face flat on the floor? Plus, he has been dubbed the God of Broken Hearts and offers advice to those people with relationship troubles. Like Yuri. This guy has sure changed. Has he? He also announces a Christmas party and Taiga thinks this is a good chance for Ryuuji to confess but Minori says she won’t be attending. At the restaurant, Haruta and Noto tries to pair Kitamura and Taiga to sit together since they believe Taiga likes him seeing that Kanou has dumped him. They think Ryuuji doesn’t know this. Oh he does. And too well of it. As they are walking home, Kihara seems to drop hints to Ryuuji that Taiga is more suited for him. This prompts Ryuuji to think that Kihara likes Kitamura but she didn’t reply as she rushes to catch up with the rest.
 
As everyone prepares for the Christmas party in episode 18, Haruta and Noto are trying to make Kitamura and Taiga spend more time with each other. Because Ryuuji doesn’t like how everyone is playing cupid, Ami remarks that Ryuuji is like playing a father’s role and wants him to stop. Partly because Ami feels he should let her inside her heart as well. The final preparation of the Christmas tree is nearly done as Taiga puts a glass star on top as its finishing touch. As they awed by the magnificent sight of the lighted tree, a baseball comes crashing in and knocking the star off. Minori is devastated to learn that it is her fault and forces guilt-ridden self to patch up the shattered pieces. Ryuuji offers to help though he says it is for his own reasons. After finishing and putting the tree up for the second time, Minori apologizes and leaves. Ryuuji invites her to come to the party but she refuses. However Ryuuji promises that he will be waiting.
 
In episode 19, Ryuuji tries to contact Minori but she doesn’t answer. Taiga gives Ryuuji a suit once belonging to her dad for the party. The party starts and we see Kitamura dressed up as a topless Santa in suspenders. He’s gone crazy ever since that day, eh? Ryuuji is on the lookout for Minori and is feeling anxious because there is a present he wants to give her. Then Ami and Taiga surprises everyone by singing a duet on stage. Have they become this friendly to even plan such a secret performance together? After the performance, Taiga leaves for home (she called Minori and told her about Ryuuji’s promise) and Ami is still annoyed that Ryuuji is playing Taiga’s father. Ryuuji then leaves the party. Taiga is home alone and thinking about meeting Santa when a bear Santa comes knocking her window. Though she is happy but realizes that he is Ryuuji once the head gear comes off (he borrowed the gear from some guy in the streets, trading it with his suit). Ryuuji doesn’t want to let Taiga spend Christmas alone but Taiga tells him to go back and wait for Minori. After he reluctantly leaves, Taiga breaks down and suddenly realizes that she can’t bear the thought of being separated from him. She runs out of her home in tears screaming his name. Not far away, Minori sees what is happening. Outside the school gates as Ryuuji waits, eventually Minori turns up. Her usual indirect speech about not wanting to look for UFO and ghosts anymore before going away. Ryuuji realizes that he has been dumped.
 
It’s the New Year in episode 20 and Ryuuji has caught a cold. Also everyone is looking forward to the hot sunny beaches of Okinawa for their school trip but Yuri informs them that since the hotels have been burned down, it’ll be replaced with a snowy skiing trip. Ryuuji soon recovers and finds out the bear suit he borrowed from was from a guy in his school as he returns his suit. He remembers that he has left the present for Minori inside its pocket, a hairpin. At a cafe, Taiga reveals to Ami that Ryuuji has been rejected by Minori. Next day, Ryuuji meets Minori on the streets and she is her bubbly self. Sly Taiga plays a trick on them when she comes running from the back, throws her back at Ryuuji and tells Minori to grab him and zooms past them. In her response, Minori quickly grabs Ryuuji’s hands before realizing the prank and gets flustered. Ryuuji and Minori had a little chat as they walk to school. In class, Kitamura has divided the class into several groupings. Kihara isn’t happy with the current grouping which has Ryuuji, Taiga, Ami, Kitamura, Noto, Haruta, Kashii and herself. The gang gathers at Taiga’s place for the school trip’s assignment and are amazed at her mansion. Ryuuji notices Taiga is able to talk normally with Kitamura without having all that stammering and blunders. Minori then praises Ryuuji for changing Taiga, something which she didn’t had the courage to do since her last visit to her place before her dad’s incident. Minori wishes how all this would continue forever. On the day of departure, Ryuuji is determined to find out Minori’s true feelings.
 
The gang arrives at the ski resort in episode 21. Noto and Kihara argues about the latter always trying to be around Kitamura and Kitamura himself is blur to the obvious on what they’re fighting about. Ryuuji learns that Taiga had met with Kitamura during New Year’s Day and notices Minori is wearing his hairpin as she has received them indirectly from Taiga. Because of that, I guess it’s Ryuuji’s turn to be depressed so his guy pals go ‘disturb’ him until he can’t take it anymore (funny Kitamura faking a fart on his face!). They learn that Ryuuji has a crush on Minori and has been rejected on Christmas day. So Kitamura suggests asking Minori herself the reason as they drag Ryuuji into the girl’s room. Luckily no one was around. They heard footsteps of the girls coming back and hide in the closet but only find Taiga coming in. They too drag Taiga into the closet when the other girls came back. The guys and Taiga overhear the conversations between Ami, Minori, Kihara and Kashii whereby Ami taunts Minori about rejecting Ryuuji. This causes Minori to be upset as they broke into argument. I think I’ve never seen Minori with such a serious and angry face before. Thankfully, the other girls broke them up. The next day as everyone is skiing, Taiga and Minori’s sled crashes into Ami and she thinks Minori did it on purpose. Another argument soon turns into physical as the rest tries to stop them. Minori’s hairpin is dropped during the fight and Taiga decides to go look for it herself but slides off the slope. A heavy snowstorm soon occurs and when Taiga doesn’t return, Ryuuji, Kitamura and Minori go looking for her. Ryuuji spots the hairpin and unconscious Taiga at the hill slope bottom. He carries her on his back and that is when he heard her speaking semi-consciously. Taiga thinks Ryuuji is Kitamura. She apologizes and wants ‘him’ to take away these feelings as her wish from the God of Broken Hearts didn’t work. In the end, she confesses how she loves Ryuuji. I guess this explains why she isn’t nervous around Kitamura anymore.
 
It’s back to school in episode 22. Ryuuji is recalling the Taiga saving incident so much so he screams out her name right in the middle of class. Uh huh. How embarrassing. Taiga is currently recuperating away with her mom. Ryuuji tells Kitamura what happened and requests him to pretend to be the one who saved Taiga. At this point in time, the students are to hand in their form of their future careers. While Minori has found a new part time job in a ramen store, Ryuuji thinks he can’t afford higher education but Yasuko insists that he continue studying as she thinks something will work out (meaning Yasuko will soon work longer hours). A short flashback which sees how Yasuko comforting young Ryuuji who is saddened by the lost of his dad. She’s being optimistic by saying she’s some kind of super mom. While Ryuuji is thinking about the times he spent with Taiga, he gets a surprised when she turns up at his doorstep. Looks like her injury wasn’t as bad as it was claimed. She’s spending some good time with her mom and the reason she’s knocking on his door is because she forgot her house key and decides to go through his place via window (kids, don’t ever attempt her ‘tiger’ jump anyhow). Though she notices the hairpin in his box, she assures him that he’ll be with Minori. Taiga then tells him about the weird and embarrassing confession dream she has while being semi-unconscious but Ryuuji pretends to tell her that it is just that and nobody heard what she said, making her feel relieved.
 
Valentine’s Day is approaching in episode 23. Yuri is advising Ryuuji and Taiga about their future career. Taiga isn’t interested because she thinks she’s a rich girl and doesn’t have to do anything while Ryuuji maintains he can’t afford it. Ryuuji then meets Ami who turns down a modelling job for the school. He learns that she planned to stay in this school for a short term only but decided to stay after learning of Taiga’s true inner feelings. Ryuuji then receives a call from Taiga that Yasuko has collapsed due to overworking. As Yasuko rests back home, Ryuuji feels guilty for what has happened. He and Taiga decides to help out by being Yasuko’s replacement at a part time bakery shop selling cakes. During their shift, the duo are shocked to see Haruta with a girlfriend. Things do change. They also see how Noto is quite concern about Kihara as Taiga says directly in his face if he has a crush on her, causing him to panic. Seeing that business is slow, Taiga calls Ami for help. Ami is disappointed she called her for such a menial thing and leaves but Taiga ‘threatens’ her. The nearby crowd recognizes Ami so the latter has no choice but to help out by using her celebrity status to buy one. With that, the crowd follows her actions and business increases. After their shift is done, Taiga goes to give chocolates to Minori, Kitamura, Ami and Ryuuji as appreciation for looking after her. When Taiga thanks Kitamura for saving her, Minori realizes what’s happening as Ryuuji hasn’t told her about his pretending plan. Upset Minori confronts Taiga for not showing her real feelings. Ami and Kitamura block the exits so Taiga can’t escape. Taiga is at breaking point as she says all she wish for is Minori’s happiness but Minori disagrees because she herself can only decide her own happiness. Ami and Kitamura allow Taiga to escape. Minori decides to go after her while Ryuuji is in a dilemma of whether to chase after her. He wonders what he’ll do if he finds out how Taiga feels about the feeling she wants to hide.
 
Ryuuji decides to go chase after Taiga with Minori in episode 24. While looking for her, Minori did say how she liked Ryuuji all the while. I guess the hallway is pretty much empty for her voice to echo that far. They couldn’t find her and ended up in the infirmary since Minori tripped during the search. There, Minori tells Ryuuji about the hairpin he wanted to give for his present but she decided not to accept it. She implies how Taiga likes him and says her farewell. Ryuuji agrees and continues running out of the room. Taiga is on her way to her part time job and is surprised to meet Ryuuji. After their shift, they talk things over but their moms intercepted. Taiga’s mom isn’t happy she’s taking up a part time job and wants her to come back with her and of course that girl disagrees. Ryuuji also gets into an argument with Yasuko which ended up with mommy in tears. They both ran away in the end. At the bridge, they continue their talk and Ryuuji says that in 2 months he’ll be 18 years old. By then he’ll make Taiga his wife. Of course she got flustered. Before they both could finish confessing, Ryuuji gets a call from Kitamura to get his ass over to Ami’s place. There, the gang learns that Ryuuji and Taiga plan to elope. Though it’s wrong, they decide to help them out like Minori giving her part time wages as a start, Ami her key to her villa and Kitamura some train tickets. Minori decides to stay at Ami’s place to ‘patch up’ their relationship. After the rest leaves, Minori breaks down. Ryuuji returns home to find a note left by Yasuko saying that she is staying over at a relative’s place and has brought Inko with her. More like ran away, eh? The day soon comes when Ryuuji and Taiga are absent from class and because they have packed their stuffs and are taking a train to Ryuuji’s grandparent’s place. They’re pretty surprised to see their grandson and his wife.
 
Yasuko rushes to where Ryuuji is after receiving a fake voicemail from Taiga in episode 25. We learn Yasuko’s relationship with her parents was strained and hasn’t seen them in 10 years. Of course after some scolding, they reconcile. Ryuuji also learns from Yasuko that she isn’t married to her dad. When she was pregnant with him, daddy ran away with another woman. Though everyone wanted her to get an abortion, Yasuko remained steadfast in keeping her baby and raised Ryuuji to how he is today. That night Ryuuji and Taiga got a little intimate as they practice exchanging marriage vows and they kissed several times. Soon the trio head back to their own homes as a family. Taiga is back at her place and thinks the scathing voicemail from her mom is funny. Believing she loves Ryuuji and needs to change, she leaves a farewell note to Ryuuji because she doesn’t want to run away anymore. The next day in school, Yuri announces Taiga has quit school to follow her mom, much to the surprise of the other classmates as they start texting to her. Later Minori confronts Ryuuji and slaps him for returning alone but Kitamura stops her. Though Ryuuji wanted to bring her back by any means, he believes her trust in him and can the only thing he can do now is to accept it.
 
As Ryuuji visits Taiga’s ex-room and goes through the stuff she supposedly forgot to bring, he gets an SMS from her. Her other classmates also receive the same picture SMS. A black star with a single sky. Minori interprets this as Taiga’s will to do her best and the sky will connect them together so long as they shine. Then they go in search of the broken glass star and took a class photo to send back to her. Note Kitamura is topless. WTF?! Ryuuji is seen stating that tiger and dragon will always be together line. Although they’re separated, he feels that he’ll leap through space and time to be with her. The final scenes show Inko finally able to say its own name and the graduation day for the gang. As Kitamura is going to pursue his education in USA, the legend of Palmtop Tiger who brings happiness is born among the lower classmen. Outside, Ryuuji thinks he saw Taiga in a classroom and rushes there only to find her hiding in a closet as a surprise. Ryuuji confesses that he loves her and causes her to fluster. Taiga head butts him for saying such embarrassing things. Some things don’t change.
 
There is a short 5 minute clip called Toradora SOS which has the characters drawn in their chibi form. Plus, the girls have animal ears and tails and the storyline is somewhat comical and doesn’t bear any significance to the TV series. It’s about Ryuuji and the 3 main girls having some Torako and meat spaghetti duel. A lot of ranting which I don’t really understand or care about. Anyway the winning spaghetti as concluded by Kitamura is… well, more like a draw. As the girls are on their way home, Minori says SOS could mean Strawberry on the Shortcake. Lastly a short section called Today’s Inko in which that weird parrot tries to say several stammering words like shokupan (meal bread), Chopin and panties. That bird is so weird…
 
As expected, I anticipated that Ryuuji and Taiga would be a couple in the end. Though it was a little unexpected that they had to be separated but their brief reunion was enough to end the series on a good thing. What started out as a plan to hit on each other’s best friends turned out into an unwitting fate which attracted them together. That’s what you get for hanging around and relying on each other almost 24/7. With this love relationship solved, I guess the rest too would fall into place like Ami and Minori having to give up Ryuuji and Kitamura perhaps is still bent on pursuing Kanou. Not too sure about Noto-Kashii or any indication that Kashii is giving up on Kitamura.
 
Minori is still my favourite character because of her positive and bubbly behaviour. Her liveliness never fails to bring a smile on a my face especially when she makes those ghostly ones. But even so, her cheerful exterior sometimes to a certain extent hides her troubled self. As the series progresses, the main characters do develop from their initial personalities. Like how Taiga doesn’t think that she’s alone now. Ami is a lesser arrogant brat and at times she does give good advice and opinions to Ryuuji and Minori. Kitamura is still the helpful student council president he is but can be a little crazy at times. Yasuko may not be the most responsible single parent and her behaviour is still child-like but she still cares for Ryuuji and what it takes to keep her family together. What more could I say about their pet parrot? Hey, I also noticed that as the series progressed, the other people don’t seem to fear Ryuuji’s scary eyes anymore. So you see, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
 
There are some issues which I’m still pondering about like the reason for Minori’s gloominess isn’t really explained. Or perhaps I wasn’t paying attention. Was it because she realized that Taiga’s heart belongs to Ryuuji? What about Taiga’s dad who wanted to move back into her daughter’s life and then abandoned her at the very last minute? Maybe he still sees her as an eyesore but it’s a good thing we never heard of him after he left. Better to stay that way. Away, that is. I noticed in the series a coffeehouse called Sudoh-Bucks, which is of course a parody of the popular Starbucks. Of course its logo is slightly different but you can make out that it’s a slightly different design than the real one. Are they trying to subtly promote the brand or avoid copyright infringement? I remember Ryuuji did mention how they could get sued.
 
As mentioned, Rie Kugimiya did another splendid job voicing tsundere Taiga. Need I list down her other tsundere roles? Go do a little research yourself. It’ll be much fun. I also like Yui Horie voices Minori and because of her exuberant and cheerfulness in portraying her character. She is famous for previous roles like Tohru in Fruits Basket, Kotori in Da Capo series and Eri in School Rumble. Other casts include Junji Majima as Ryuuji (Aoki in Kodomo No Jikan), Eri Kitamura as Ami (Saya in Blood+), Hirofumi Nojima as Kitamura (Ranmaru in Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge), Rie Tanaka as Yuri (Maria of Hayate No Gotoku) and Sayaka Ohara as Yasuko (Alicia in Aria The Animation).
 
Yeah we’ve heard it many times before that love works in mysterious ways. And even though the main protagonists didn’t end up with their intended crushes, but at least they still found love with each other. A relationship between a tiger and a dragon, now that is one mighty awesome, influential, commanding, majestic and dominating combination, don’t you think? I can think of a few celebrities with the Chinese word dragon or tiger in their names or nicknames and even emblems and logos with such creatures. I wonder what would be the significance between say, a rabbit and a duck? Don’t laugh. Just think Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, no? What about a coyote and a roadrunner then? I think it’s pretty obvious…
 

Toradora

It’s about time I do another short blog on anime soundtrack. This time round will be from the anime series Lovely Complex. It sure brings back good nostalgic memories when I was watching that love comedy romance series. Tall girl loves short boy. But short boy too dense to know tall girl’s feelings even if it’s spelt right in front of his face. The roller coaster emotional ride that tall girl has to endure in this All Hanshin-Kyojin relationship of theirs.
 
I think I should stop before I lose myself in the plot (you can read my blog on that series if you want) and should concentrate on the soundtrack album. Released somewhere in September 2007 just as the series is about to finish, the soundtrack entitled Lovely Complex Kyun Shi Ni Music Collection, consists of 35 tracks and does not contain the TV size version of the opening and ending themes like what many other anime series usually does. As usual, listed below are my favourite tracks from the album, in alphabetical order of course:
 
1) 22 Seiki No Bach
2) Akane Iro
3) Dry Tears
4) Orchestra Na Risa
5) Premier Amour
6) Ragtime Na Risa
7) Risa
8) Theme Of LoveCom
 
Uh huh. You count them right. Only 8 miserable tracks that really appealed to me. I’m not saying that the rest sucks nor are they horrible sounding. Just that they aren’t to my taste. Besides, some of the tracks have several versions of it. For instance the track Theme Of LoveCom has an orgel version (which sounds like a lullaby considering the music box like sound) and an orchestra blues harp version. So that’s 3 songs already though the basic tune remains and they vary a little.
 
Out of the 8 favourite tracks, my personal favourite one is Risa. Because of the lively and upbeat fanfare, this piece suits the character Risa well. Heck, the track is named after her, right? This piece has a jazzy feel to it and I’m sure most of us wouldn’t mind shuffling our feet or two to the cool saxophone play. Besides, there are other tracks in the album which are named after Risa’s moods such as Fuan Na Risa (a slow cello solo with a melancholic tune), Bosa Na Risa (a Brazilian bossa nova tune), Samba Na Risa (a typical samba and tropical tune and feel) and Kabuki Na Risa (sounds like a fast cowboy solo piece).
 
Ragtime Na Risa as listed above is another one of my favourite Risa-themed tracks. As its name suggests, it is a ragtime piano piece. As far as I can remember, usually played when there is nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Just a normal day without all those heart stopping moments. Then there is Orchestra Na Risa, which is a slow orchestra piece mix with light and easy piano play. By the way, this track has the longest duration among the other tracks in the soundtrack as it lasts over 3 minutes.
 
Next is the theme, Dry Tears. I find this piece to be quite dramatic with a hint of sadness in it. Usually played when Risa experiences painful feelings (like when Otani is being a jerk. At least according to Risa’s view). The song starts off with a soft and slow piano and strings. As the song progresses, the crescendo and full effects of the orchestra is gradually introduced to the dramatic effect it needs.
 
I don’t remember if 22 Seiki No Bach is ever played in the series, but this piece as like what its name suggests, could’ve been an upbeat and lively piece if that music maestro Bach was to survive in the 22nd century. The creative play of the harpsichord, piano and pipe organ accompanied with an R&B-like background beat makes this tune a catchy one. Another Bach-like piece is 18 Seiki No Bach which sounds like a horror tune using pipe organs like those you hear in horror movies.
 
Akane Iro is another slow piano piece accompanied with some strings. It gives a feeling of a romantic atmosphere, I’d say. Just like the track Premier Amour, another easy piece. I’m not sure if the instrument at the beginning is a piano or a harp. I think it’s a harp. But I can tell that the rest of the song is mainly dominated by the piano while being accompanied by the soft cymbals in the background. Last but not least is Theme Of LoveCom, which is a moderate track which fits as the theme of the series. I think it’s usually played when a problem is resolved or the characters are resolved to do something or move on. There’s a Ska version of it which sounds a little comical. Feels a little like a chase song…
 
Other noteworthy tracks include Complex (a dramatic pop beat featuring wind and guitar instruments with strings as background accompaniment), Dunk Shoot (another funky samba piece with lively fanfare), Deep Past (a variation of Akane Iro but an even slower piano solo with a little sad tone), Eki Made Dash Eki Kara Dash (feels like a song needing to rush somewhere as time is running out), World’s End ~Chikyuu No Hate~ (feels like a tune for impending trouble with its fast, short and sharp piano and strings. There’s a very slow and soft piano of it called pf version), Honobono (a slow string piece which can stir some emotions), Gakuen Seikatsu (a comical fun piece with trumpets blowing), Manzai Combi (sounds like a song befitting a clown’s performance. Isn’t that what a manzai combo closely resembles?), Maity No Theme (sounds like a super hero tune with those choir voices in the background), Seiko No Theme (sounds like a lively sunshiny mahou shoujo theme) and a rap-like R&B piece, Shouganezee (I think it’s a piece for the in-anime rap star Umi Bouzu).
 
If you really like this series so much, you’d be happy to know that there is a drama CD as well as the opening and ending singles for it. Since there is a live action version of the series, I’m sure there is a soundtrack for it too. For me, I guess the anime soundtracks for the background music are enough. I’m still listening and enjoying them, though. Now that isn’t a complex thing to enjoy.
 
Lovely Complex

For nostalgic reasons, I decided to give the sequel Mahou Tsukai Ni Taisetsu Na Koto: Natsu No Sora a try. If that name is a mouthful to remember, then I suppose Someday’s Dreamers: Summer Sky would be an easier alternative for you to remember. Ah, those were the days. It does bring back fond memories when I was watching the prequel many years ago.
 
One thing very unique about this series and probably the first thing that will hit viewers is the drawing and art. The producers here mixes and blend real 3D images to complement the 2D animation. So it is either you love it or hate it. For me, at first I wasn’t used to it but after a while it’s rather okay and nice seeing that it’s quite refreshing to see such images after watching too many conventional anime drawings. Sometimes I find myself immersed in the breathtaking and picturesque backgrounds, which provides much needed eye candy (no, not pretty fanservice girls, mind you). However, these backgrounds are inanimate and those objects which moves are done so in 2D animation, which is sometimes awkward because it seems like time has stopped.
 
This particular series is a sequel spin-off in the sense that it is not a continuation of the prequel but the basic setting and premise still remains. Like how this world are divided into people who can use magic (mages) and those who can’t. Young mages who reach the age of 16 are required to attend magic school to effectively harness their powers for the good of society which including an internship training programme by attaching oneself to an experienced mage. So for those people who aren’t into slice-of-life genres sprinkled with a little magic, you’ll find this a yawn fest and might want to skip this.
 
Of course as mentioned since this series isn’t related to the previous, obviously we have a new character taking the limelight. This time round, we have Sora Suzuki, a cheerful girl from the countryside of Biei, Hokkaido Japan. Viewers are treated to the lush greenery and vast space of Sora’s family farm. Just like her dad, she is a mage and in episode 1, Seiichirou Hara of the Magic Of Bureau in Tokyo has called her mom to confirm of her internship. Since Sora is out on a bicycle delivery, her mom takes the call and is ecstatic that her daughter got accepted. Sora too gets excited when she hears this new when she comes back. She’s going to the big city. Sora then goes to talk to her late dad, which has been buried next to a giant solitary tree about her acceptance. Something about fulfilling and keeping her promise by becoming a full fledge mage.
 
Thus Sora calls her best friend, Michiru Satou about the good news as they meet and chat under a bridge. I think Michiru feels sad that her close ones are leaving her. Besides Sora, the crush of Michiru’s life, Touyama, is moving away too and he doesn’t know her feelings yet. Sora decides to help her confess and to meet at the barn that night. All goes according to plan as Michiru confesses to Touyama while Sora puts up a splendid display of magic: White snow falling inside the barn? Well, Michiru did hear how he wanted to watch how winter look like in Biei. With that spectacular sight, Touyama is glad that he manages to do so with her. With that over, Sora is all excited about her new future back home and the next day, she says her goodbye to her family and friends as she is sent to the airport. Her mom tells her not to be afraid of making new friends and to go see the world. Sora boards a plane to Tokyo as she receives an SMS from Michiru wishing that she’d come back sooner so that she won’t be lonely.
 
Sora touches down in the prefecture Shimokitazawa, Tokyo in episode 2. Since Sora is a country bumpkin, she is amazed with all the tall buildings and takes her time sight-seeing while on her way to her magic school. While getting some directions from a local police, Sora hears a screeching sound and notices a truck going off the bridge and endangering the lives of innocent passer-by. At the same time, a young guy was helping a granny to cross the road but that impending disaster was too shocking for that granny to take, thus paralyzing her in the middle of the street. Quick thinking Sora uses her magic to float it down slowly. She is applauded by the crowd and wonders if that boy and granny are alright, in which they are. Sora then continues her journey. Because she has been taking her time, she realizes that she is late but manages to reach the bureau of magic. Class has already started but her serious no nonsense homeroom teacher, Kawada, gives her a warning. Kawada has an assistant, Morishita, who looks like a strange senile old man (you can be forgiven if you think he’s a serial killer. Just kidding). Sora introduces herself and since her motto is trial and error, everyone gives out a heartily laughter.
 
Sora quickly make friends with classmate Hiyori Yamabuki and finds that the boy who was helping the granny earlier on, is also in the same class as hers. He is Gouta Midorikawa and his outlook seems distant and unfriendly. After taking a short written test to gauge their basic knowledge on magic, the students are then to take a practical test to gauge their magic ability by freezing water in a fish tank. Sora’s ability seems to be impressive because she made an ‘ice chandelier’ of it! Uh huh. They call it Heaven of Ice. But her other classmate, Honomi Asagi, isn’t impressed seeing that such shape isn’t practical for transportation like hers, which is an ice block. Then another classmate, Kouji Kuroda, chides her for Asagi’s impracticality too because unlike his, there isn’t a hole to let a rope through. You’ll notice how these 2 are loggerheads and even though Asagi sounds obnoxious and arrogant, it’s just the way she sounds but she’s a good girl. Kawada then says how magic isn’t a competition but to determine what kind of mages they’ll be. Asagi then asks Kawada about the magic resurrection, in which Kawada dismisses it as a rumour made by people who can’t use magic. Once class is over, Sora takes a walk back to meet her mentor Hara and it seems she will be living in his dorm too. Sora goes to her room and wonders why it is decorated like a boy’s. Then she spots Gouta within the dorm area when she opens her room window and thinks that this is his room and also a resident of this dorm. Yeah, fate just keep bringing them together, eh? By the way, you’ll notice a street performer, Yasuko, who plays her guitar to the crowd and she writes her own weirdly themed songs. A song about jellyfish?
 
In episode 3, Gouta wakes up early to go surfing but gets a warning not to do things without permission from his mentor, Saori Shiraishi, an elderly lady who also lives along Hara in the dorm. While Gouta later tries to read up books on magic (seeing that he is quite uncomfortable with that fact he can’t use it properly), Sora gets her first client in her first practical training with Hara as they have received a magic request from an old lady, Mami Motohashi. Her request is simple. To open a safe in which she has lost her key to it. But there is one thing weird about Motohashi. After requesting a magic request to open the safe, she shortly check its contents before locking it back up again. And this has been done many times over and over again. So why not leave the safe unlock? Are the contents that precious? If so why not change the safe or get a new key (I’m assuming she’s rich because of her large traditional Japanese type mansion).
 
Sora is intrigue by this fact and is reluctant to fulfil her request but Motohashi remains stubborn. Once Sora manages to open the safe, she runs out with its contents, which are photo albums of her life. Woah. Can she do that? Out in the yard, Sora pleads to stubborn Motohashi not to live in the past. Hara tells Sora not to get involve in their client’s personal affairs as they are here to only do their job. As Sora gives Motohashi her photo albums back and the latter puts it back into the safe, she finds the safe locks broken and that Sora has cast a destructive spell. Though Motohashi is upset, Sora tells her that locking up those photos won’t bring back her loved ones. With that, Motohashi realized so the ladies had a little chat about Motohashi’s family and loneliness (in which Sora too felt the same about her mom back home). I’m impressed that Sora’s innocent and frank ways can change the outlook of an old lady. Meanwhile Gouta is having a tough time doing his magic training with Saori but the old lady is patient and convinces him to stay on further. As Sora and Hara walk home, Sora apologizes for her act but he doesn’t mind. Sora then says although the sky in Biei and Tokyo are different, they’re both beautiful and loves the feeling of this city.
 
Episode 4 focuses on Gouta. Gouta finishes his breakfast first while eating with Sora, Hara and Saori. In class, he remembers the time when he was in school with his other male buddies (they’re talking about how pretty Gouta’s mom look?). Later Gouta goes out with Saori for a magic request. Their client wants them to find his lost insurance card amidst his messy room. Uh huh. It’s like he wants them to clean up his room. Not only that, this guy is bloody rude and is talking on the other line of his handphone. Anybody would understand that Gouta is extremely upset about his behaviour and decides not to fulfil his request and leave. But Saori tells him he shouldn’t run away when he is faced with such difficulties. Gouta then has a flashback about a time whereby his dad admits to his mom that he is a mage. His mom couldn’t accept the fact that he had been hiding it for many years (although he had stopped using it for a long time) and decided to leave the household though his dad was very apologetic and guilty about it, the reason he didn’t went after her. Gouta didn’t follow her since it was too sudden and that he had school to attend. Ever since then, his friends have distant themselves from him and even thought that he used his magic to attain high test marks. Humans can be so cruel. No wonder Gouta is quite cold and distant himself. In present time, Gouta decides to deal with this problem as he apologizes and proceeds with his request. In the end, they manage to find the card and that jerk at least shows his nice side and apologized for his earlier behaviour. Saori praises Gouta for his patience.
 
Later Gouta invites Sora out for dinner at a sushi restaurant and he finds out that she can eat quite a lot too. Soon Gouta gets another magic request from a lady who wanted some nostalgic taste of sweet and gentle but couldn’t recall what it is. I see magic requests can come in the form of such too. How would they know that kind of taste if the client herself only knows it? Ah well, that’s what magic is all about and don’t mind those minor details. After some analyzing, Gouta fills a glass in which the lady finds the taste to be horrible. But upon finding out that drink is breast milk, she sips it again and finds it acceptable after Gouta explains it to her. She thanks them for bringing back the nostalgic taste and reveals that she has breast cancer and will be undergoing surgery but won’t be giving up. Back home, Sora learns that the goldfish in the pond was caught by Saori 3 years ago with her daughter. And since Saori hasn’t seen her since, that goldfish is precious to her.
 
Episode 5 begins with Sora and Hara attending another client’s request, an old lady by the name of Kikuko Akaike. She wants them to restore some cinders back to its original form. It is an item in which her lover held on to dearly until his death during World War II. As Sora tries her magic, the cinders suddenly bursts into flames and it would’ve gone out of control if not for Hara’s intervention since Sora started to panic. The item seems to be a comb which Akaike gave to her loved one before he had left for war. As they leave her house, Sora feels guilty of her failure but Hara reassures her that’s what this training is for. Back in class, the usual Kuroda-Asagi spat when Gouta asks Kuroda how he knows how to use magic. Meanwhile, Hara is seen visiting a pub to chat with his old friends and things indicate that he was once part of a rock band. Later, Sora and Hara goes to visit another client’s request. This time Sora needs to use her awakening magic because the client’s wife, Miona, has been in a coma for a year time so much so their son, Shion, has forgotten how her mummy sound like. Sora promises Shion that she will regain Miona’s consciousness. After casting her spell, Miona did open her eyes but has amnesia as she doesn’t recognize her own family. Sora wants to try again to bring back her memories but is stopped by the father who is okay with it and Hara saying that they have fulfilled the request of waking her up and that magic isn’t perfect and cannot solve everything. Sora is visibly upset. As they leave, Hara visits the bar and meets a very inspired young rocker while Sora is obviously having lots on her mind back in her room.
 
In episode 6, Sora is still depressed and Gouta seems to notice this because she isn’t having her usual portions for breakfast. So after class, Gouta tells Sora that she look best when she smiles. That afternoon, Sora is to meet up with Hiyori and Asagi for an outing. Initially Hiyori asked Gouta to come along but the latter wasn’t sure and decides not to. As the trio heads back to Sora’s place, they spot a little girl sitting outside, Ruriko Nishihara. It seems she wants a magic request to have a baby! Yikes! Does she know what’s she talking about? She goes on to say how her real parents died and is currently living with her step parents who are cruel as well as her 2 step sisters. Doesn’t this sound a little like Cinderella? Though the girls have never heard of a magic type to create babies, I’m sure there’s an ‘easier’ way, don’t you think? ;p. Because they are unable to fulfil her request, Ruriko runs away while saying she’ll take one from the nursery instead. So no choice the girls have to spend all afternoon searching high and low for Ruriko. Thankfully, they checked the nursery and no kids were missing. They could’ve used their magic to make the search easier but unauthorized magic use especially from apprentices will land them in big trouble. Ah, nothing like the good ol’ manual needle in the haystack search. Asagi and Hiyori then notices a cafe’s logo the same as Ruriko’s handbag and soon finds her there. After calling Sora, the gang gathers to hear the real story. Ruriko’s mom explains that Ruriko had a fight with her friend so she wanted a baby to play with. Sora suggests for Ruriko to patch up their friendship like reading a storybook together. With that, Ruriko is back to her normal self as the trio leaves. Hiyori thanks Sora for today’s outing and says how this is the first time she’s doing things with her mage friends. Back home during dinner, Gouta receives an SMS from Kuroda, saying that he is quitting training. Gasp.
 
We see why Kuroda wants to quit his training. At the beginning of episode 7, Kuroda’s failed magic attempts and his client’s petty complaints and ungratefulness is the cause of bringing down his confidence on magic. Those clients didn’t think well of an apprentice and would prefer the mentor to do it. Asagi receives a call from Kuroda, asking to meet up at an old shopping complex. Well, it looks like a date to me because previously Kuroda’s body language seems to indicate he has some feelings for Asagi even though the duo bickered. Asagi asks his intentions of inviting her out and he wanted to know her reaction if he brings her to Nakano Broadway, a place which she has never been to. After all that tour, Kuroda then asks Asagi if she was satisfied with her training. Since Asagi isn’t going to listen to his complaints because it seemed like he was beating around the bush about his problems and frustration, Kuroda walks away but Asagi stops and tells him that if he has something to say to her, then just tell it straight, among other ‘lecturing’. Kuroda is annoyed by her insensitivity of other people’s feelings but she hits back by saying that though she cares for her own feelings first, she respects the feelings of others too. She then walks away.
 
Because of that, the next day, everyone gets to know that Kuroda is planning to quit training. Asagi as usual comes up with a stinging comments like people with too much self-esteem have problems facing normal problems (did she look in the mirror lately?). Hiyori suggests to go visit Kuroda and talk to him but Asagi refuses, claiming it’s a waste of time. That night, Sora ended up with a fever so she can’t tag along with Hiyori and Gouta. Kuroda has locked himself in his room as Gouta and Hiyori tries to persuade him but to no avail. Surprisingly, Asagi shows up and you got to love how this girl applies her reverse psychology on her stinging lines. It made Gouta and Hiyori’s persuasion look so tame. Asagi’s rebuke include about how she’d understand if Gouta quit because he doesn’t understand magic but is working hard to use them, how he never put in effort to understand magic nor human feelings, how humans fail and that what he did isn’t wrong, that it’s important to pick oneself up after a mistake and move on, and wonders where has that cocky guy she first met when to because at this rate he’ll always run away forever. As Asagi storms off, Gouta and Hiyori soon leaves seeing that there is nothing further that they could do. Kuroda is seen crying in his room. As the trio wait for their train home, Gouta SMS back to Sora to tell her what has happened and hopes Kuroda will change his mind.
 
Kuroda is still missing from class in episode 8 though Sora has recovered. Was the lecturing too much for him to handle? But the gang remains confident that he’ll return. However Kawada’s class is interrupted when Morishita rushes in with a panic look after receiving a request from the ministry of magic. It’s pretty funny to see the little struggle as Kawada tries to seize the report which Morishita is clinging on so tightly in his fists. It seems there are several beached dolphins and there aren’t enough rescue workers to push them back to sea in time. Kawada dismisses class and the gang will attempt their very first teamwork magic in public. Though Morishita will be tagging along to supervise, he looks more panic and worried then the rest. Onboard a train, the gang talks about their future aspirations like how Gouta wants to be a pro surfer, Hiyori to open a magic branch of her own and Asagi a diplomat (I’m not so sure with her kind of speech). Once they arrived, they are given several instructions by a rescue worker to assist them. The plan is to have the mages float up the dolphins in a water bubble and then hurl it far away towards the ocean so that they won’t swim ashore anytime soon. Since this is their first time, the water bubble keep bursting and it’s hard landing for those poor dolphins. In my opinion, they’re going to kill the dolphins that way. But it’s tough seeing that they need immense amount of concentration.
 
Asagi has a tough time handling one when she hears a familiar voice to imagine wrapping the dolphin like in a paper. She is successful and Asagi is glad that Kuroda is standing next to her. Gouta too is having a hard time so Sora encourages him and lends a hand as they combine their powers. They manage to lift several dolphins and toss them away into the ocean. Sora says how he can now use magic and Gouta seems confident now. Once it’s over, Gouta and Kuroda chat and the former is surprised to see him here. Kuroda mentions how he came right away after watching the TV news and as mages, that’s the least they could do. The tired gang takes a train home as they fell asleep except for Asagi who welcomes Kuroda back. Sora and Gouta are being congratulated by Hara and Saori. Once the kids sleep, the old ones discuss that seeing them reminded Saori of her daughter who is 18 years old now and wonders if she would call her.
 
Gouta and Sora out on a date? Well it seems that way in episode 9 because Gouta invites Sora out with him to Enoshima as thanks for helping him out during the dolphin rescue operation. No matter how you look at it, it’s a date, right? They even walk hand in hand. So it’s a date. Sora finds out that Gouta has stopped surfing because he doesn’t want to get into trouble with Saori. Then Gouta’s handphone starts to ring and it’s from Hiyori, who is inviting him to an outing with everyone else since this is their last day of vacation. Upon learning he is with Sora, Hiyori gets disappointed. I see, this girl has a crush on him. But Hiyori soon gets a call from Asagi who wonders why she’s wasting such a beautiful day locked inside her room and invites her out for some ice cream, cheering that girl up. As Gouta and Sora are strolling at the beach, they spot a lost kid, Sota, crying for his mom. The duo helped in to do so and in no time, his mom comes looking for him and is grateful for their help. The duo commented on how the boy’s name ‘So’ from Sora and ‘Ta’ from Gouta as they both laughed. Hmm… a premonition if they ever get hitched? They then head to the temple to get their luck reading and Gouta’s one was moderate but Sora’s body language didn’t indicate so as she tries to hide it from him. Later the duo had a meal by a beachside restaurant overlooking the magnificent sea. Sora gives Gouta a little rock that she got during their walk on the beach. Then up the tower they go, and I think they both kissed. Can’t tell it’s them or not since they only show silhouettes.
 
The next day as class begins, Asagi chides Kuroda for not knowing about Sora-Gouta relationship when he mentioned how they all could’ve gone together. As Gouta is getting a drink, Hiyori approaches him and tries to start a conversation but a crowd of other students soon gather around Gouta and are impressed of his magic abilities during the dolphin saving operation. Instant celebrity? Hiyori just walked away quietly and disappointed. After school, Kuroda teases Gouta on Sora and the former did the same too on the latter on Asagi. It started to rain so Gouta has to rush back home. Upon reaching home, a bright flash of lightning occurs when he spots Sora and Hara in a very ambiguous position across the room. Is he like hugging her and his face on her chest? Gouta is in shock so the rest of the night in his depression he wanders around town and ends up at a bar (the one Hara visited several episodes back) and even asks for something strong. Thankfully the bartender isn’t going to spoil this kid and serves him tea instead and offers him curry to eat.
 
In episode 10, Gouta wakes up in that bar not remembering much of what happened last night. Though he gets scolding from Saori when he comes back, he punches the wall in his frustration to learn Sora and Hara are out together on a magic request. In class, the rest notices how Gouta is awfully quiet and wonders if he and Sora got into a fight. Then we see a weary Sora calling her mom to tell her how she wants to go back to Biei soon. Later Sora is seen talking to the husband of Miona as she wants another chance to recover memories. However the husband is reluctant as he and Shion are happy to make new memories with her. He is also afraid that God will punish them if they ask for more. Sora leaves disappointed even though she spots happy Shion and Miona together outside. Gouta comes home to find that the mentors are talking about how Sora has escaped from hospital and is bad for her condition. Gouta is now mad as he gets rough with Hara and yells what he has done to her. Hara then punches Gouta after all that violent shaking. Hara says Sora is dying. Oh dear. She has a condition whereby if she sees bright lights or hear loud sounds, her heart will beat faster. That time when the lightning occurred, it triggered this condition, which is only present in mages, and Hara was just trying to protect and shield her from it as he scolds Gouta for jumping the gun and imagining stupid things. Sora inherited this condition from her late dad, who died of this way too. But this isn’t the first time Sora is experiencing this and the last time was last summer. With that she only had a year to live. Gouta is extremely shocked to know about this and couldn’t believe it because Sora has always been a lively and cheerful girl. Gouta rushes out to find Sora and the others agree to do the same.
 
Gouta searches throughout Shimokitazawa but Sora is nowhere in sight. Then when he passes Yasuko, the street performer wonders what happened to his girlfriend because she always notice seeing them together. She then mention how she did saw Sora but that’s 40 minutes ago. Gouta gets permission to use magic on her and some pink smoke which resembles Sora comes out from Yasuko’s mind and starts flying towards the direction of Kitazawa. Gouta thanks her as he follows the smoke. Yasuko thinks how magic is interesting. Gouta soon finds gloomy Sora sitting alone on a park swing. Though she said he could get into trouble for using unauthorized use of magic, he didn’t care for all that as he only wanted to find her. Gouta listens to Sora as she pours out her woes of her recent memory recover failure and that she is going to die soon and all that will be left of her are memories in everyone else. Gouta then says how Sora hates magic and wants to cry more than anyone else. Sora denies it but Gouta persists until she breaks down and cry in his arms. Sora wonders why this has to happen to her as she wants to go on living.
 
In episode 11, Hara and Saori are relieved to know that Gouta had found Sora. Thanks to Gouta, Sora feels much better as they both walk home hand in hand. This episode sees the apprentice mages having their final written and practical tests. We see that everyone has matured and powered-up a lot as they made beautiful ice sculptures with their magic during the practical test. I guess the best is Sora’s which looked like coconut tree and leaves because Asagi herself is praising it. Soon the results are out and everyone passes. Everyone is a certified mage now. Hooray! As Kawada gives them their certificate during graduation, she has a few words for them as they have for the rest. Except for Kuroda because though technically he passed, he missed several classes so he has to attend them and his graduation is delayed by a week. I don’t know why but Morishita got real emotional when Gouta came up to took his certificate. Does he really like that kid? I mean, I noticed that this guy always encourages him from time to time. Also, the other mentors are there to witness their graduation and other guests include Motohashi and Gouta’s parents. Once over, Sora and Motohashi had a chat as Sora finds out Motohashi will be going to England to see her daughter. Also, Gouta finds out that his parents are getting back together so he introduces Sora to them and says if it wasn’t for her, he wouldn’t have made it as a mage. And I thought he was going to introduce her as his girlfriend…
 
Sora and the rest gathers in classroom as they talk about how they plan to visit Sora back in Hokkaido. Later as Sora and Gouta are walking outside the building, Sora mentioned how she initially wanted Gouta to forget about her but decided that she doesn’t want him to do so and to think of her from time to time. Wait a minute. Are they parting ways? Is that a tear Sora is shedding? But Gouta just take her hand and says "Baka". Then Yasuko finds out that the duo have graduated and offers her congratulations and plays them a newly written song to cheer them up. Back home, Hara and Sora talk about things as Hara mentions how he wants to have a daughter like her. Sora is embarrassed so she tells him to find a wife first. That night, I think Gouta see off Sora at the train station. The next morning, Gouta is seen sitting alone by himself while Sora catches a plane back to her hometown.
 
Sora returns to Biei and is welcomed back by her mom in episode 12. She talks to her about her experiences during her Tokyo stint during dinner. Later she goes over to the tree of her late date to tell him that she has finally become a mage. She gets an SMS from Gouta who is now surfing as she replies an SMS including a picture of herself and that tree. A flashback sees how Sora loves fulfilling requests her dad wished and the one he wrote on a piece of paper before his death was to see Sora in a wedding dress. Sora uses her magic to show a vision of herself in a stunning white traditional bride outfit and Gouta as her groom. She then passes out in the arms of her mom once it’s over. Five years down the road, Hara continues to take in another magic apprentice while Hiyori is seen consoling and giving words of advice and encouragement to an apprentice of hers who is saddened by her magic failure. Also, Kuroda and Asagi are seen eating together and they look very mature. They plan to visit Sora in Biei but Asagi doesn’t want to stay at Sora’s home. Also, Yasuko seems to made it big with a hit record label as she plays to the crowd during a promotional stint at a music shop. This time her song is about her experiences at Shimokitazawa.
 
Surprisingly, we see Gouta riding a superbike through the vast lands of Biei and he spots long hair now! He is asking directions to a solitary tree to see his girlfriend. Isn’t that Sora’s mom that he’s asking directions from? But this is the most shocking thing. Upon reaching that tree (thanks to that SMS Sora sent him back then), Gouta says how he finally gets to see her. OMG!!! HAS SORA DIED!!! NOOO!!! I can’t believe this!!! That cute cheerful innocent girl is gone?! Gouta sits under the tree and talk about their times together and his experiences of surfing the waves all over the world. He notes how he has always been by her side as he takes out that rock Sora gave him during their date back then. Though he doesn’t know when he’ll see her again, he’ll keep doing his best and tell her again. Before he leaves, he decides to use his magic to show her the seas that he has seen. Ankle-level sea water then floods the area to give a sea-like atmosphere and feeling.
 
I have to admit that the ending was a real shocker and my heart really sank to learn that Sora has passed away. I really couldn’t believe it. And I was ready to conclude this series to be another one of those nothing-much-happens-in-the-end or rather a good-but-dull-happy-ending. Even if it is revealed that Sora is dying or other signs which hinted of Sora’s numbered days, it still didn’t shake me up as bad as her death. Just like Gouta once, how could such a cheerful little girl be dying? But that is life. So unfair. So unexplained. I think Sora didn’t want others to worry about her condition and hide it all behind that happy face. Even with Sora’s passing, the rest still go on living, doing their best.
 
I couldn’t really compare if this sequel is better than the prequel because they are both different storylines amidst the same setting. In this sequel, it concentrates more on the magic apprentices, especially Sora and Gouta. So much so the other characters didn’t had much impact. Like we won’t get to know more about Hara’s background about being a musician (maybe that’s just about it), or if something really happened between Saori and her daughter, and Kawada is just the apprentices’ teacher. Maybe they wanted to make this a light series. Nothing too deep. I wonder why that graduation episode spent some time on those other classmates of Sora who don’t even appear anywhere else. Perhaps not to forget that they too exist? I was also initially hoping that some love triangle would come up between Hiyori, Gouta and Sora. But in the end, I guess Hiyori didn’t even let Gouta know her feelings because I think she knows that those 2 suit each other well.
 
I like the opening theme, Fly Away by THYME because it’s a lively pop rock. However the ending theme, Kawaita Hana by micc is a slow rock piece and it doesn’t appeal much to me. Although there are several nice and easy background music, I didn’t find them appealing as the prequel. They are still easy on the ears, though. Seeing that this is mainly a drama-driven series, sometimes the voice acting may sound a little flat. Therefore, I still like Asagi’s voice best because she does sound high and mighty. The only seiyuu who could play such a proud character is no other than Marina Inoue, who also voiced similar character roles which include Tsukiumi of Sekirei and Kana of Minami-ke. Kana Hanazawa does a nice job portraying Sora as a cheerful innocent girl. Her previous voice roles include Sora of Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~ (am I seeing something here?) and Kusano in Sekirei. Other casts include newbie Tomoaki Maeno as Gouta, Rikiya Koyama as Hara (Kogarashi of Kamen No Maid Guy), Daisuke Namikawa as Kuroda (Maiku in Onegai Twins), Mikako Takahashi as Hiyori (Rushuna of Grenadier) and Yoko Soumi as Kawada (B.C. in Vandread). However, I find that the sound effects like the waves of the beach or the buzzing sounds of the insects to be quite surreal.
 
Previously I did mention that the drawing mixes real still photos with 2D animation. Upon closer inspection, I find that the 2D animation lacks a lot of details. In short, they are quite simple so much so that some of the side characters have this weird look and in my opinion, ugly. No offense, but they do look a little horrible. Maybe the reason I can think of is that they try to blend both real and 2D animation as one. So if you don’t look closely, you won’t really tell the difference. Also, sometimes the 2D animation can be a little ‘jerky’ and it is quite obvious when it is especially not in detail. There are some short narrations during the sponsor screen which feels like comments from fans. I wonder what’s the significance of that?
 
There are important aspects that we can learn from here. Always look forward for a brighter tomorrow. The most important things that you do in life and how they will affect the people around you. Sora is a girl that everyone of us should emulate. Without her, people like Gouta could never get his confidence in using his magic capabilities. Thus, we don’t really need any magic to make happiness and miracles to happen around us. Dear Sora, may your soul rest in peace. Damn it. Can’t believe that she’s gone. Hey, I shouldn’t wallow in such depression but move on in life with a smile.
 

Mahou Tsukai Ni Taisetsu Na Koto: Natsu No Sora

Although anime and manga are one of the most successful exports of Japan today, and that the global trend is steadily continuing to rise, there are still some quarters who view them as kiddie stuff and grade otaku hardcores as childish and immature. Before you start blowing your top, let’s just say that there are 2 sides of the coin. Depending on which side you are on, views and opinions may differ very much.
 
Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu is another one of those animes which explores the otaku world. But this series isn’t totally about the discriminations faced by the anime and manga enthusiasts. Instead, we have a high school girl named Haruka Nogizaka, who is seemingly the most perfect (if not close) person whom everyone yearns or admires to be. She is pretty, attractive, intelligent, active in clubs, gentle and well mannered. So much so her schoolmates nickname this idol of theirs Nuit Etoile (The Silver Star of the Night) and Lumiere Du Clavier (The Shining Princess on the Piano) for her skilled piano play. Seems like the perfect untouchable lady, eh? However Haruka has a very deep secret that nobody else knows. No, she’s not a hooker by night, mind you. She is an otaku addict! Surprise? I don’t blame her for wanting to keep this hobby a secret because if anyone gets to know about it, her reputation and people’s perception of her will change drastically. For the worst. All their hopes and dreams on this perfect girl will come crashing down.
 
How is this girl going to handle the pressure if they find out about it? More interestingly, how long can she hide this secret of hers? That is what I would like to know. Not that I’m a sadist, but rather seeing that this is a romantic comedy genre, I’m hoping to get some laughs instead of garnering hatred for all those anti-anime and manga people. But then again, I’m not a cruel hearted person laughing at other’s misfortune. Plus, there are a few fanservice here… You can’t leave those out in an otaku-themed anime, right?
 
The series starts out in episode 1 with an ordinary boy, Yuuto Ayase. In short, he’s normal but the people around him aren’t. He has to put up with their shenanigans most of the time. Like his classmate Nobunaga Asakura who is a hardcore anime and manga otaku who calls Yuuto late in the middle of the night just to tell him to watch an anime series on TV, Dojikko Aki-chan. And you think little girls only watch magical series, huh? Well, in Nobunaga’s case, nobody scorns him for being an otaku because he’s a nobody. To make things worse for Yuuto, his elder sister, Ruko and her best friend, Yukari Kamishiro who is also Yuuto’s homeroom teacher of the school he is attending Hakujou Academy, causing a ruckus while watching that show too. First thing you’ll notice is how crude and ‘unrefined’ these ladies are. They like to get drunk and undress their top while watching the show. How can a person like Yukari be a teacher? Her character sometimes reminds me of Mitsuka of DearS. Yeah, sexually deprived. So much so Yuuto calls her ‘sexual harassment teacher’. It is because of these reasons, Yuuto doesn’t have a girlfriend. Rather, he gave up on them. Uh huh. His buddies sometimes tease him for being gay. Life is hard for a normal kid too. Elsewhere, Haruka too is watching that show in her room.
 
The next morning, Yuuto goes to school and as usual meet his classmate buddies when they overhear Haruka’s piano masterpiece. In class, Nobunaga gets excited telling an unexcited Yuuto about the magical girl show he saw last night. He then shows him a magazine which he borrowed from the library, Innocent Smile, which seems to attract Haruka’s attention. She stands up suddenly but walks out of the classroom, puzzling everyone around her. After school, a P.A. announcement informs Nobunaga to return the book he borrowed and for some reason, Nobunaga decides to entrust this responsibility to good ol’ Yuuto. I guess he has no choice but to do it for him. I think Nobunaga did so because he doesn’t want to get scolded by the librarian uncle. Yuuto received it on his behalf. At the library, Yuuto notices Haruka who is trying to hide her face. Her clumsiness causes her to bump and tumble the bookshelves. Yuuto saw 2 things which he shouldn’t. One, her panties. But that isn’t as bad as the second one. It’s that Innocent Smile magazine that she just borrowed. Haruka stars panicking and is in tears thinking that her secret has been exposed as she rushes out. Though Yuuto deduces Haruka may be an otaku addict, the other passer-bys aren’t please to see that Yuuto has made their idol cry. Not good.
 
Because of that, Yuuto tries to explain to Haruka but she avoids talking or seeing him. So much so, Haruka’s self-proclaimed Imperial Guard confronts Yuuto to prevent him from causing anymore bother to their idol. It’s like as though Yuuto’s the bad guy. Fortunately for Yuuto, he manages to meet Haruka on the school rooftop one evening. Haruka is distressed that her secret is out but Yuuto doesn’t care for all that and just wants to be her friend. Plus, he promises not to tell anybody else about it. Haruka is relieved. That night Yuuto gets a panicking call from Haruka. It seems that in her attempts to avoid Yuuto, she forgot to return the Innocent Smile magazine and tomorrow’s the deadline. With the public announcement, her secret will be exposed. Yuuto is the only one she can rely on since he knows her secret. Yuuto agrees to help her out as the duo sneak into school at night to safely return the magazine. I wonder why the school isn’t locked up. Where’s the security? This is a private high school, right? Due to the many mangas Haruka read, she starts to fear those ghostly stories and clings tightly to Yuuto’s arm as they trudge through the dark hallway. As they leave, they are freaked out by the sound of a monster cat, which turns out to be Yukari’s lost handphone. Some ringtone. What’s it doing there in the first place? In the end, Haruka thanks Yuuto and you can tell that it’s a start of a beautiful friendship and for those who have watch too many of this kind of series, that’ll all turn into love in the end.
 
In most episodes, you’ll see just that. How Yuuto and Haruka get along with each other, since the former is the only person whom she can rely on when it comes to her secret hobby. Hanging out with Haruka isn’t that all bad as Yuuto starts to learn about the otaku world. Also you’ll find that Haruka isn’t a perfect person like everyone views her to be. Besides being a little clumsy and sometimes scatterbrained, she’s also a little naive when it comes to the feelings of the heart. It’s ironic that if an otaku like her has read so many shoujo mangas, she’ll at least be able to identify with that. But she’s a little dense when it comes to herself even if she’s been pinpointed the obvious. Haih… Of course there will be other characters to spice things up as well.
 
So in episode 2, because Yuuto is seen walking together with Haruka to school, this causes the admirers of Haruka to be jealous and wonders who that unknown is and stares at him with stabbing glares. Losers. All of you. This episode has Yuuto being invited by Haruka to accompany her this coming Sunday to the famous Akihabara district, the holy pilgrimage of all otakus alike. Yuuto has a fear of going to that place because Nobunaga ‘used’ him and left him stranded in that crowded place. Sunday comes and Yuuto keeps his promise. He finds out Haruka has made a shopping plan of places to go and see before buying the latest release of a PDS, a portable game system (the reason for this trip to Akihabara). The reason for visiting several places is so that their trip won’t end so fast. Don’t mind her badly drawn map. Yuuto asks how did Haruka ended up in this otaku line when she replies when she was young, she was crying alone on a swing after getting scolded by her dad. A boy then comes up to her and gives her an otaku magazine to cheer her up. That’s when she got into it all though her memories of it are a little hazy. Common sense indicates that that boy is Yuuto but he himself doesn’t remember pretty much about it.
 
The duo bump into Nobunaga at Akihabara so Yuuto tries to shield Haruka from his otaku pal’s eyes. Nobunaga is surprised to see Yuuto here and thinks he has finally become an otaku. After he leaves, Yuuto realizes Haruka is nowhere to be seen and thinks she is lost. He frantically searches for her but bumps into a girl named Shiina Amamiya (panty shot cue!). He soon continues his search and finds her being surrounded by 4 muscle men. Yuuto jumps in to protect Haruka but it seems Haruka was just giving directions to those lost men. I don’t know what language they were talking, but it sounded funny. And Haruka speaks it fluently too (I think). Their trip through Akihabara include visiting a Gachapon store (Haruka couldn’t get the Dojikko Aki-chan one no matter how much she tried), eating at a maid cafe whereby the maid waitresses convince Haruka to put on a maid outfit and gets their picture taken. The final destination is the PDS store. As they approach the counter to make their purchase, Haruka is being told that they are sold out. Horror! Did they go sight-seeing too long? Haruka is devastated and in shock so much so she faints. Yuuto carries her away to a park where he comforts her by saying he had lots of fun today and wasn’t a burden to her. Haruka’s relieve and tears cause Yuuto to faintly remember something similar in his past when he’s interrupted by a call from Ruko. On their way home, they spot a Gachapon machine and Yuuto tries his luck one more time for her. This time he got the figurine she wanted. Haruka is very happy and says how she’ll treasure this present from him as they agree to visit Akihabara again.
 
In episode 3, Yuuto gets invited to Haruka’s mansion to study together for the upcoming exams. But since Haruka’s map sucks (sorry), Yuuto is having a tough time getting there until he meets a little girl who draws a better looking map there. Plus, it seems she knows his name. Yuuto is greeted by the head maid and Haruka’s personal maid, Hazuki Sakurazaka upon arrival. Seems like a no nonsense serious maid. The mansion is so big that even Yuuto himself gets tired from walking from the lawn right up to Haruka’s room. Yuuto is surprised to see no otaku stuff in her room. Haruka tells him that her hobby is also a secret from her family, especially her strict dad who disapproves of it all. As they study, both their hands met when Haruka dropped her eraser. It is then when that little girl Yuuto met earlier comes crashing in. Eavesdropping, eh? She is Mika, Haruka’s little sister and her personal maid Nanami Nanashiro (why does she wear a pair of sunglasses? Her hairpin accessories look weird by the way). Mika takes an instant liking for Yuuto but don’t worry, she looks up to him as her onii-chan. You can tell that Mika and the maids love to set up and watch Yuuto and Haruka together. Also, the trio knows of Haruka’s secret hobby (because of her obvious strange acting) but decide not to make a big fuss about it. Remember how dense Haruka is when it comes to love? While Mika is playing with Yuuto (nothing hentai lah), she accidentally trip on top of him. Haruka spots this but didn’t think it was something serious. Most otaku would already jump to the conclusion that Yuuto may be a loli. Good thing or bad thing?
 
After the exams, Yuuto and Haruka are talking in the hallway when a student bumps into her, causing Haruka to drop her bag and expose an otaku catalogue. In a pinch, Yuuto takes the fall by pretending to pick up his catalogue, much to everyone’s relieve who didn’t think Haruka could be such an otaku. However even if the cover up is perfect, Haruka runs away in tears. Haruka is absent from school for several days so much so Yuuto receives death threats in his shoe locker! Those losers think Yuuto made Haruka cried because he has associated her with his otakuness. WTF?! Then a guy, Takashi Ogasawara comes up to Yuuto and tells him not to get close to Haruka anymore.
 
Yuuto goes to visit Haruka’s mansion that night but meets Mika and the maids at the gates. Though they initially thought Yuuto did something bad to Haruka, they realize he can’t be a bad guy so Mika tells him about how Haruka was transferred out of middle school right away when her secret was exposed. The gang tries to coax Haruka out from her room which she has confined herself in ever since. They managed to do so when Mika tricks her by using a seductive move on Yuuto (like she’ll steal Yuuto away from her if she doesn’t come out). So partly, it’s Haruka’s jealousy which causes her to bust out of her room to tell Mika not to do such things. Though Yuuto explains that her secret is still safe, Haruka says that’s not the point. Her worry is that Yuuto will lose all his friends like how she once did when her secret was exposed. But Yuuto then says they are not real friends if they think like that and even if it comes to that, he’ll always have Haruka as one. Haruka is relieved once again and asks Yuuto to always be by her side as they both embrace. Haruka goes back to school with Yuuto the next day but is being confronted by Takashi who tells her not to hang out with an otaku loser like Yuuto. Takashi then gets the surprise of his life (just as everyone else) when Haruka does a judo throw on him. She tells him not to say bad about Yuuto and admits that the catalogue is hers. Wow. Not afraid anymore. Plus, she tells him to speak out directly to her if he has anything to say. Way to go girl! You deserve what you get Takashi. Don’t play play with her. Haruka continues walking with Yuuto wearing a smile on her face.
 
In episode 4, Haruka suspects something wrong with Hazuki’s behaviour so she consults Yuuto. Mika then suggests following her. On the day where Hazuki goes out to do some shopping errand, Mika, Nanami, Yuuto and Haruka follows her (or stalking?). Haruka is thrilled because she’s wearing an outfit which resembles Shana of the anime series Shakugan No Shana. Haruka’s cute when she tries to emulate Shana’s trademark lines. Urusai! Urusai! Urusai! They’re even playing that 1st season theme song! Nobunaga spots them and Yuuto once again tries to hide Haruka. The funny part is that Nanami did a voice impersonation of Kana Ueda to send that over-enthusiastic Nobunaga scrambling to search for that ‘popular and beautiful’ seiyuu. Of course Nanami sounds so much like Kana Ueda because she’s the voice of this character here! Anyway the gang follows Hazuki to a stuffed toy shop and then to their surprise a lingerie store. They think she has a boyfriend. While the girls go in to continue their snooping, embarrassed Yuuto decides to stay outside. Once again he bumps into Shiina (that panty shot again!). They recognized each other and she cheekily says he’s doing so on purpose before excusing herself. Haruka then comes out as she and Yuuto continue to follow Hazuki. What happened to Mika and Nanami? They’re engrossed in trying out different bra and panties since they’re having a bargain sale. Let’s just leave them there. The duo bump into drunken Yukari on the overhead bridge and she’s so unashamed of herself in broad daylight! WTF?! She wants to do a threesome?! They manage to give that sicko teacher the slip and we find out Haruka isn’t knowledgeable in those, erm, let’s just say intimate relationship definitions, when she asks Yuuto what Yukari was talking about. Of course that guy can’t just explain to her like that. Some things are better left unknown.
 
The duo are resting at a cafe whereby to Yuuto’s surprise, finds Ruko working part time as a waitress there. Ruko and Haruka gets to know each other and big sister requests Haruka to take care of his useless little brother. Later in the day, they spot Hazuki entering a bridal shop and she’s being greeted by a man. They think he is Hazuki’s boyfriend. They rush in only to be mistaken as clients for a wedding shoot. The staff dresses the duo up before realizing they’ve got the wrong person. They certainly suit each other in their wedding clothes. A premonition of their future? To make things up, they took a free photo shot of them. As they leave, Haruka starts thinking if she’s in the way of Hazuki’s happiness because Hazuki has always been taking care of her since small. When they come home and ask Hazuki about it, she was reluctant to tell them since it was an unimportant matter until Haruka spills her true feelings about Hazuki. Hazuki then realizes the misunderstanding and explains that she has just gone to the hardware store above the bridal store to get replacement chains for her chainsaw. Since she’s a regular customer, the store manager personally came out to greet her. She thanks them for looking out for her which causes Haruka to be overcome with emotions. Mika and Nanami then come back from their lingerie bargain and realized their whereabouts has been busted. Mika then passes a lingerie present she bought for Haruka. Haruka gets embarrassed and tries to hide it when the wedding photo shot slips out. Mika picks it up as she and Nanami starts teasing them while Hazuki congratulates Yuuto.
 
Call it fate or destiny. That’s because in episode 5, Yuuto once again bumps into Shiina. You must be thinking that he’s a lucky guy because everytime he does so he gets a shot of her panties. Yeah, it must be fate because Shiina is a new transfer student in Yuuto and Haruka’s class. And she there’s an empty desk right next to Yuuto. See how the trend is falling into place? Friendly Shiina too has her bunch of admirers as she is quite skilful in many things. I’m thinking did they choose the new girl over Haruka? Or can they occupy both great ladies in their little cramp hearts? Shiina makes friends with Haruka and the latter isn’t jealous or anything but is impressed as well. Likewise, Shiina is thrilled to know Haruka is that famous Lumiere Du Clavier pianist and is a big fan of hers. With the upcoming swimming tournament, Shiina agrees to enter but the catch is, she doesn’t know how to swim. Yuuto and Haruka agrees to help her out. While the duo are coaching Shiina, there are other ‘unwanted disturbances’ who is taking advantage of using the pool like Mika and her maids, Ruko and Yukari in one of her tiny bikini, having a BBQ-cum-drinking session. At the end of the day, Mika, Nanami and Hazuki hints to Haruka that she has a new rival for Yuuto but you know Haruka’s pretty dense, disappointing the trio.
 
On the day of the event, Yuuto’s words made nervous Shiina regain her self-confidence. During the race, Shiina experiences leg cramp. Yuuto without thinking dives in to save her. Why is everybody else just watching? Anyway he takes her to the infirmary whereby she feels bad for not winning after receiving their special coaching. But Yuuto doesn’t care for all that and is glad that she’s fine. Shiina’s other classmates come in and are concern for her but after finding out she can’t swim, they decide to do their best and win the race on her behalf. When it’s over, Nanami drives Shiina home (OMG! She’s a speed demon behind the wheel!). Haruka walks home with Yuuto and says how he looked cool when he saved Shiina but felt a pain in her heart when she watched him do so (it’s called love, girl!). Yuuto comforts her and says that he’ll save her too if she’s drowning, making Haruka her happy self again.
 
Haruka invites Yuuto to the Comiket in episode 6 so he has to turn down a pool invitation offer by Shiina, in which she is okay with it. Before that, Nobunaga warns Yuuto not to underestimate the Comiket. A first timer like Yuuto would get the shock of his life to see the tremendous crowd at Comiket. He gets ‘drifted’ by the sea of otaku enthusiasts. Haruka is here to get a doujinshi work but they find a long line waiting so Yuuto suggests jumping queue. Haruka informs him of several courtesy rules which makes the Comiket a success. As they are walking through the crowd, Haruka gets bumped but luckily Yuuto catches her in his arms. He then suggests to hold hands so that they won’t get lost (looking like lovers, aren’t they?). Finally they arrive and queue at the doujinshi booth but when it’s their turn, a fat otaku jerk walks ahead of them and buys the last copy. Haruka is devastated once more that she didn’t manage to buy the things she want and almost faints. Yuuto starts raising his voice about how that fatty snatched the last copy but Haruka tells him not to do so or else he’ll be seen as a bad guy. Yuuto then apologizes for his outburst. As they walk outside, a well-dressed man comes up to them and gives Haruka his copy of the doujinshi book he bought. He says after seeing their actions, he was moved and decided to give it to them before heading off. Haruka is in delight as we find out that man is actually Nanami in disguise! Woah! It seems Mika and the maids have followed the duo here and they have thought that fatty a good lesson he’ll never forget.
 
Haruka and Yuuto continue to walk around Comiket and we see lots of anime references here such as Shakugan No Shana and a yaoi version of Inukami! OMG! Haruka can’t handle the ‘hotness’ and nearly passes out. Yeah, she nearly did that again when they pass by an ecchi booth. So innocent lah this girl. Unknown to them, an MIB-like man is spying on them. Yuuto also bumps into Nobunaga again as he tries to hide Haruka once more. Outside, the duo notices a cosplay photography session and decides to take a closer look. However all the photographers spot Haruka and thinks how pretty she is and starts snapping away. But Haruka feels uneasy so Yuuto tries to stop them but they wouldn’t listen. Yuuto then takes Haruka’s hand and makes a run for it but those shutterbugs won’t let him go so easily. Now this is the best part. The duo are being saved with the appearance of Hazuki in the disguise of Dokuro-chan! She’s singing that Pipiru Pipiru Pii line and holding her chainsaw as her Excaliborg (she’s calling it by a different name)! Yeah, she cuts everyone’s camera with her chainsaw! Personally, I feel that Hime of Kaibutsu Oujo is the only girl fit to hack and slash with the chainsaw but for Hazuki, I guess she’s just okay since it’s her trademark. Furthermore, Mika and Nanami also saves the day as they disguised as Hecate and Wilhelmina of Shakugan No Shana respectively! Perhaps Haruka should’ve dressed as Hecate (only fans of the series can understand what I mean ;)…). They tie up those losers before escaping upon realizing that they have broke 1 of the Comiket rules.
 
As they ride the train home, Haruka is quite happy on today’s outing but obviously Yuuto isn’t because he saw through Mika and her maids’ disguise and possible interference. The train suddenly jerks which causes Haruka to stumble into Yuuto’s arms. He apologizes but she doesn’t mind as they stay that way a little longer. On the way home, Yuuto meets Mika and the maids who are asking where he went with Haruka in a lovey-dovey mode. He fires back the question to them. Mika then says if he spots anyone suspicious, Yuuto points at them (damn right!). But since this isn’t what Mika meant, she says never mind before leaving. Yuuto is back in his room when he gets a panic call from Mika who is calling for Haruka’s whereabouts. Just then his doorbell rang and to Yuuto’s surprise, finds Haruka’s in tears as she collapses in on him.
 
It seems Gentou, Haruka’s dad has found out about her secret hobby and is furious. Thus in episode 7, he dispatches his personal guards dubbed the Hell Hounds to look for Haruka. Since Haruka is on the run, she seeks refuge at Yuuto’s place. I guess Ruko and Yukari love to see some romance blossom between 2 healthy young teenagers and allows Haruka to sleep over since their parents are overseas. Hazuki is there too to protect Haruka. So the usual welcoming party which results in Ruko and Yukari getting drunk and sleeping in an unashamed position. That night Mika calls Yuuto to say how they have only a day before their whereabouts will be discovered by the Hell Hounds. Hazuki tells Yuuto take Haruka up to her bed while she patrols the area. Since Hazuki is a little drunk, she keeps banging her head into things. That night, Yuuto has a lot on his mind when Haruka comes in and wonders if she could sleep with him since she’s afraid of sleeping alone. Don’t worry, nothing steamy happening. I suppose Yuuto has to sleep in an awkward position since Haruka is holding on to his hand like that.
 
The next morning, Yuuto finds Haruka making him breakfast but the serenity is soon to be broken when Hazuki spots the Hell Hounds closing in on Yuuto’s home. They surround the house as Gentou takes a step into the house. He looks like a scary guy so it’s understandable that Yuuto didn’t want to open the door when he rang the bell. Because nobody answered, Gentou slashes the door open. He is met with Ruko who clashes swords with him. Looks like this sister is not a useless drunkard after all. But Gentou himself is a skilful swordsman, deflecting each and every of Ruko’s strike. Who wouldn’t get mad if somebody busts in without permission and furthermore breaking down the door. Hazuki chips in as she fends off the Hell Hounds with her chainsaw. But they are too much as they pin the ladies down. Haruka is paralyzed in fear as Yuuto steps up to protect her but Gentou throws him aside with ease. Gentou wants Haruka to come back and says how he over his anger from trashing her otaku stuff. Though still afraid, Haruka says she doesn’t want to go home and has done nothing wrong even if Gentou says animes and mangas are childish and useless (all anime fans revolt!).
 
Yuuto then stands up and lectures back about what’s wrong of being her hobby even though Gentou blames him for influencing Haruka. Ruko and Hazuki are moved by his manly words and overpowers the Hell Hounds to regroup themselves. It could turn into a bloodbath if not for Mika and Nanami’s arrival. Well, more importantly, Akiho, Haruka’s young mom (why do mothers in animes look hot and gorgeous?). You can tell that no matter how tough Gentou is, he is the kind of guy who bows down and fears his wife. She must have a reputation to make a tiger shiver in fear. Yeah, Gentou can’t even talk back as Akiho mentions that there is nothing wrong with Haruka’s hobbies. So long as she does well in her studies, she’s okay with it. Gentou has no choice but to accept. Relieved with the way things ended, Haruka hugs Yuuto and everyone gives that smirking look that something interesting may have happened between them. Except for Gentou who still doesn’t approve of their relationship. Gentou and Akiho leave with their Hell Hounds after apologizing for the ruckus. The rest decide to go get breakfast after their victory (can’t believe Yukari slept through all those noise!). Haruka smiles as she holds Yuuto’s hand.
 
In episode 8, Mika teaches her friends some dating and love tips but it was too much for them to handle. Though Mika notes how her only interaction with males are only her dad and Yuuto, she and Nanami decide to go eavesdrop on them in Haruka’s room. Sounds ambiguous. Enough to make their face go red. Mika and Nanami bust open the door to tell them not to do such unholy things but find out that they’re just making pancakes. Phew. Because Mika feels that Yuuto’s relationship with Haruka isn’t progressing, she decides to teach him a few tips on dating by dating Yuuto herself. I wonder why this guy is so obliging. Can’t turn down a girl? Maybe he views it as nothing serious. So their date include the usual, holding hands, eating a large ice cream at a parlour (fanservice cue!) and going to the movies (Mika falling asleep and her sleep talking is annoying other movie-goers).
 
Later Mika tells Yuuto how Haruka will be waiting for him at the fireworks festival when they bump into Shiina in her yukata (no more that panty shot). Noticing how friendly Yuuto is with her, Mika drags him away to buy some yukatas. Jealous? At the night of the festival, Yuuto gives Mika a piggy-back ride so she could see the fireworks. Yuuto’s words seems to surprise Mika when he says how he’s a burden as she has to teach him those stuff. Of course Mika has to be modest and says how she had fun the whole day. This causes her to fluster a little as she notices his gentle side. Starting to have feelings for onii-chan, eh? Haruka and the maids come by and Yuuto comments on how Haruka’s yukata suits her (as advised by Mika earlier on). Nanami teases Mika for having fun on their outing as they watch the fireworks together. With summer break over, class resumes and the first thing Yukari mention is how she got dumped by her boyfriend 3 days ago. Yeah, she starts crying in class. Not that everyone’s interested in her personal life. After recomposing herself, Yukari announces the upcoming cultural festival and wants a male and a female volunteer to represent their class. Shiina excitedly volunteers because she wants to blend in quickly and get along well with everyone. With that, Yukari handpicks Yuuto to be her partner. Reluctant at first, he soon agrees after Shiina’s request for his assistance and ‘support’ from everyone else. I’m not sure about her "First Move Deathblow" motto but everyone sure loves it including Haruka.
 
So the newly elected class reps have to choose a theme for their cultural festival in episode 9 as they take ideas from their classmates. What’s this? Yukari suggesting a beer garden? And when her proposal is being shot down, she goes into crying mode saying how Yuuto promised to marry her when she was young. Is she still drunk or what? Surprisingly Nobunaga who is not from their class suggests a cosplay cafe and everyone agrees. Why is he doing this? Well he did suggest this theme for his own class but was rejected so he’s doing this as revenge through Yuuto’s class. While Mika and the maids start to plan how Haruka should win over Yuuto, Yuuto requests Haruka’s help in designing cosplay costumes, much to her delight. So they’re at the cosplay store as Haruka puts on an outfit when Nobunaga comes in to collect an outfit he ordered. Yuuto panics and tries to hide Haruka so they both cramped themselves in the tiny changing room. Ambiguous position, I must say… Thankfully Nobunaga leaves, so the duo leaves and Yuuto gives Haruka a Dojikko Aki-chan musical box which he bought earlier on. Just then Yuuto gets a distressing call from Mika warning him that Gentou is furiously on his way to retrieve Haruka because she has broken her promise to meet a famous pianist coming over to their home today. You can see Haruka shivering in fear.
 
The Hell Hounds must be real effective in finding out Haruka’s position as they surround them in no time. Gentou is going to strike Yuuto with all his rage when he is blocked by Nanami and Hazuki who has just arrived in time. Thankfully Akiho is here too so that guy has to keep his mouth shut. Yeah, she even punches him out cold. Akiho talks to Haruka that if she wants them to approve of her hobbies, then she has to keep up with her studies too. Yuuto then says how this is his fault because he asked Haruka out without knowing her schedule but Haruka denies and says it’s hers. Even though she knew of this, she still broke her promise because she wanted to be of help to Yuuto as this is the first time he depended on her. Yuuto and Haruka try to insist that the fault is theirs when Akiho stops them. She understands their feelings and though it saddens Akiho that Haruka broke that promise to her too, she’ll forgive and overlook this one. As everyone rejoices, Haruka requests for Yuuto to be her partner at the festival’s folk dance, in which he agrees. In class, Yuuto and Haruka shows Shiina their cosplay outfit as everyone starts their preparations. Back home, Mika and the maids notice Haruka baking cookies for Yuuto but the shape of the cookies seemed horrible (hopefully not the taste). Once done, she goes back to school to find Yuuto and when she opens the class door, she is shocked to find Yuuto on top of Shiina with a hand on her breast. You know, a veteran like me can tell that it’s some misunderstanding. I suppose they add some dramatic effect by showing how Haruka dropped her cookies like it’s the end of the world, end of her life with Yuuto.
 
We find out what really happened in episode 10. While Shiina was talking to Yuuto, a sign was going to fall on her so Yuuto instinctively pushed her away, which ended up him being on top of her. And all in good timing, that’s when Haruka opened the door and started jumping to conclusions before running away heartbroken. Shiina tells him to quickly go after her and when Yuuto catches up to her at the shoe locker, Haruka says that there must be a reason but you can tell she still feels hurt. That night, he calls Haruka but was told by Hazuki she has gone to bed. Yuuto attempts to try again the next day but surprisingly finds Haruka back in her happy self. Even Shiina sensed that the problem has been resolved between them yet. Mika and the maids visit Yuuto’s cosplay cafe to ask about how Haruka’s cookies taste like but Yuuto didn’t answer seeing that they don’t know what really happened. Hazuki seems suspicious though. Later Haruka is entering the school’s 35th beauty contest dubbed Miss Hakujou and Shiina’s participating as well along with 6 other finalists. As expected she wins. She can’t be everyone’s idol if she doesn’t right? Haruka notices Yuuto looking at her in the crowd and diverts her eyes. Yuuto then knew something isn’t right and goes to talk to her backstage but she continues to run away. Yuuto frantically tries to find Haruka all over school but couldn’t find her.
 
Yuuto then meets Hazuki who tells him her sad love story about how she was separated from her loved one, Eric, 3 years ago. She doesn’t want him to make the same mistake and to always think of Haruka first and tells him that Haruka is waiting behind the gym. Yuuto finds her sitting on the steps alone with the Dojikko Aki-chan musical box in hand and starts apologizing. However she says that he doesn’t need to do so since it’s not his fault to begin with. Though her heart starts to feel pain whenever she sees him with Shiina, she doesn’t want to trouble him further that’s why she forced herself to smile. In short, she has that painful feeling that Yuuto would be leaving her. However Yuuto assures her that he’ll always be by her side unless she doesn’t want him anymore. So after Haruka says she do want to be with him, they both embraced. If it was this easy to settle things. But I guess it’s good for Haruka seeing that this is the umpteenth time already Yuuto have to reassure her. Even if the folk dance has ended, Yuuto suggests that they dance and use the Dojikko Aki-chan music box for the music. Behind the bushes, Mika and the maids are happily watching when Mika says how she never knew of Hazuki’s sad past. However it is revealed that Eric is Hazuki’s beloved teddy bear and that he has returned to her. Through Yabay! Auctions. Haha!
 
Mika informs Yuuto of Haruka’s upcoming birthday in episode 11. He goes to Akihabara alone to get a present but is indecisive. He gets an unsuspecting help from Nobunaga who’s extremely glad that he’s ‘opened his eyes’ to the otaku world. After Yuuto gets a Dojikko Aki-chan figurine, Nobunaga says how he has changed and this prompts him to tell Yuuto how back then Yuuto gave away a special magazine away to a stranger without his permission. Obviously, Yuuto doesn’t remember much about it. On the way home while thinking about it, he is picked up by Hazuki and Nanami in their limo to Haruka’s birthday party destination. Where is it? They need to take a supersonic jet there. Have you figured it out? An uninhabited island near the equator bought by Gentou solely for Haruka’s birthday. How rich is this family?! Besides, Ruko and Yukari are invited along as well. Of course there are other famous celebrities and guest for the party but Yuuto gets disheartened to learn that their presents are lavish and beats his puny otaku one. While wandering around the beach, Yuuto meets an old man who is looking for his fishing hook and helps him find it. The old man asks his relationship with Haruka, in which Yuuto replied that they’re just friends (why isn’t Yuuto happy with that answer? We know lah *wink wink*). Yuuto is soon called by Mika and he gets the nose bleed of his life when he sees her in her swimsuit. That’s right. This kind of genre won’t be complete without a fanservice swimsuit episode.
 
So the usual fun in the sun and sea with Mika still teasing shy Yuuto by getting close to him and I’m not sure if she deliberately unhook her top so that Haruka can run close to Yuuto and stop her little sis from making naughty advances. I’m amazed that Ruka and Yukari can even get drunk on the beach. They really love their beer. A little suspense occurred when Haruka accidentally slipped into the deep parts and nearly drowned. Luckily she’s saved and brought back ashore although unconscious. Though not life threatening, the other girls scheme to have Yuuto give Haruka a CPR. Yeah, they’re really anticipating with hope to see their first kiss! Yuuto has no choice but to do so but Haruka opened her eyes just when Yuuto got his face to close to hers. They both got embarrassed and backed away. Yuuto gets upset when he finds out the girl’s plan to make him do so. But Haruka seems a little happy. However from a distant in a yacht, a rich guy, Shute Sutherland, isn’t too pleased to see that ordinary bespectacled kid so close to his fraulein Haruka. That night when the party starts, Shute confronts a lone Yuuto and starts his snobbish obnoxious talk to irritate him. He delivers the deathblow when he asks Yuuto what sort of presents he is going to give Haruka. When Yuuto didn’t answer, he proceeds to show all the jewellery and luxurious accessories he is going to give Haruka. Yuuto is disheartened and ‘paralyzed’ by the fact that his present seems very insignificant to his. Shute tells Yuuto to go away quietly if he doesn’t want to be embarrassed later on. Oh no. Has Yuuto been ‘defeated’? Will Haruka be taken away by a rich prince (un)charming?
 
Haruka’s birthday party begins in episode 12 and Yuuto is still depressed over his insignificant present. If not for Mika calling him, I guess he would’ve sat this one out. In the crowded hall, on Mika’s advice, Yuuto manages to shout happy birthday to Haruka in a stunning white dress, making her feel happy. Because there are too many people, each of them are given a number to queue and give Haruka his present. Yuuto’s number is 596. That’s a long way. While Yuuto tries to ignore drunkards Ruko and Yukari (they’re dumbfounding the crowd with their Godzilla-like chugging down), he bumps into Shute again. That jerk proceeds to taunt Yuuto when he spots his lowly present and snatches it away. He and his underlings tosses it among each other as Yuuto tries to take it back. A struggle ensue when Yuuto accidentally rips off his present’s cover, revealing the figurine. Shute mocks his cheap present and tells him to go away. Defeated Yuuto thinks he is unworthy of giving his present to Haruka and decides to leave when he is stopped by the old man from the beach who opened his eyes by saying "So the first friend Haruka brings back is an unwelcomed guest". Yuuto remembers all the moments he spent with her and gets his confidence back as he heads back in. Good timing because his number is being called. However, impatient Shute jumps the line to give his (including his crappy cheesy sweet talk. Ugh!). Yuuto ignores that jerk as he goes ahead of him and gives his present to Haruka. Shute is still bragging about Yuuto’s unworthy present but gets the biggest shock of his life when he hears from Haruka’s own mouth how she’s very happy. The crowd has never seen Haruka this happy before and what amazes them even further is the fact that Gentou shook hands with Yuuto! A sight anybody would least expect to see.
 
Shute isn’t happy and even tries to call his Papa to intervene and do something (spineless kid!). Papa gets ready to do something. That is, until that old man shows up. Because Shute was being rude to the old man and Papa recognize who this old fart is, he punches his idiotic son as they both got down on their knees to apologize before leaving. That’s right! Go away you sh*t head! It’s your lost! Anyway Yuuto finds out that the old man is Ouki and is the previous head of the Nogizaka family. Which means, he is Haruka’s grandpa! After watching the fireworks, Yuuto is alone in Haruka’s room and the latter shows him all her collection of Dojikko Aki-chan. When Haruka tells him about that first magazine she got from a stranger which got her addicted to the otaku world, Yuuto remembers Nobunaga’s words and instantly he remembers that he is that boy who gave the magazine to her. It took you long enough, buddy. He gives out a heartily laughter and since Haruka pesters him on what’s so funny, their little commotion had clumsy Haruka fall on top of Yuuto. Another near face to face encounter. Then I don’t know how it happen because we see their room lights out as Yuuto slowly goes on top of Haruka as they prepare to kiss. Holy sh*t! Unfortunately, they’re brought to a screeching halt when the busybodies who are eavesdropping on them comes crashing in (because too many of them was leaning on the door). Kiss, interrupted. Even Ouki and Akiho are interested to see the development between the two. Except for Gentou, who’s going to slice Yuuto apart! As the duo flee from Gentou’s wrath, Yuuto tells Haruka to go to Akihabara again when they return. Just the 2 of them. And when Gentou demands what Yuuto is he planning to do with his precious Haruka, the 2 of them replied "It’s a secret". Oh heartbreak for papa. The final scenes show Yuuto and Haruka enjoying themselves at Akihabara. The rest too tag along and some things don’t change like the drunkards (happy hours is all year round) and Haruka still can’t handle ecchi stuff. And Gentou becomes a ‘donkey’ because he’s carrying heaps of stuff Akiho bought.
 
Well, what a nice and feel good ending. That’s should such animes end like. We can see that Haruka has undergone the most changes throughout the series. She was somebody who fears about her secret being exposed. In the end, she has become more open about it though I’m not sure if everybody else especially her schoolmates know about her secret. Even if they do, it’s not like she’s going to make a big deal out of it because all that matters is that Haruka enjoys her hobby from the bottom of her heart. Yuuto too played a role in helping Haruka overcome this fear of hers. Yuuto gets to learn more about the otaku world and Haruka gets to learn that being an otaku isn’t a bad nor embarrassing thing. So who says an ordinary boy doesn’t get the girl in the end? Well, maybe Haruka isn’t that all perfect, but it beats many of those losers.
 
Since the series focuses mainly on Haruka and Yuuto, I felt that some of the other character’s presence didn’t make an impact. Take Shiina’s for instance. I was hoping that she would at least get involved in a love triangle between Yuuto and Haruka or she’s some spy trying to find out about Haruka’s secret. In the final episodes, heck she didn’t even make much of an appearance. Perhaps this series is too short to see whether Mika’s onii-chan feelings would turn into a lover’s one. There’s always that possibility, you know. But I guess she and the rest would prefer to watch those innocent lovebirds. Don’t worry, Yuuto’s a decent guy and as far as they’re concerned, Hazuki and Nanami will always protect and ‘watch’ over them. As for Ruko and Yukari, I’ve never known a pair of ladies who drink for half their appearances. So my initial question, how the heck did Yukari became a teacher in the first place? Something which could only happen in animes, eh? And the overprotective Gentou has to let go of his precious Haruka sooner or later. Perhaps too soon.
 
My favourite voice acting is Haruka who is of course voiced by my number 1 favourite seiyuu Mamiko Noto! Another round of applause to this multi-talented lady who portrays the many moods of Haruka such as being her dreamy cute innocent self and at other times an anxious shaky distressing girl. I just love her voice! Other casts include Wataru Hatano as Yuuto (Tomokazu of Yumeria), Mai Goto as Mika (Sumomo in Happiness!), Kaori Shimizu as Hazuki (Akira of School Rumble series), Kana Ueda as Nanami (Mikan in Gakuen Alice), Rina Satou as Shiina (Haruka of Minami-ke), Hitomi Nabatame as Ruko (Nobue in Ichigo Mashimaro, Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Miyu Matsuki as Yukari (Harumi in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei – love her voice when she starts sobbing and kicking up a fuss), Aya Hisakawa as Akiho (Skuld of Aa! Megamisama, Maya of Tenjou Tenge), Fumihiko Tachiki as Gentou (Zaraki from Bleach) and Reiko Takagi as Nobunaga (Kaolla of Love Hina, Sakura of Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan).
 
I guess the drawing and art should appeal to those who are into contemporary Japanese bishoujos. Some of the background music have that luxurious and rich feel in it with those grandiose orchestral strings. Like the mid-intermission (which also features still poses of the characters) and the next episode preview (with a cute crayon sketch-like drawing). As an otaku-themed series, you can’t leave out all those little otaku trivia for viewers to spot. By the way, there are tons of them if you keep your eyes peeled (for starters, take note of the advertising boards and window display in the anime). Some are obvious to spot while others may need a sharp eye.
 
If you don’t mind the little fanservice, I guess this show is quite enjoyable to watch. So are you still having reservations about anime and manga lovers? Well, you are still entitled to your opinion. It very much boils down to one’s taste and preferences. Thus a lesson here is never to judge a book by its cover and that still waters run deep. I’m sure everyone has little secrets of their own. Who knows, maybe your parents are even otakus behind your back. You just don’t know. While it’s no secret to my family, colleague and friends that I’m an anime lover, however there’s still a secret that they don’t know relating to it. I’m not telling because I’m planning to keep it that way! Some secrets are never meant to be exposed or revealed. ;)
 
P/S: No anime and manga otakus were discriminated or biasly prejudiced during and after the making of this series. (Hahaha! Just joking).
 

Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu

After 2 successful seasons, I guess it is appropriate to produce a 3 episode OVA. Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is the third season of the black comedy series. I suppose this means that there are more fun to poke at the many and ironic aspects in life. Seeing that Nozomu is still alive and hasn’t killed himself in anyway yet (either way even if he did, he must have not been successful). I read that the OVA like any other marketing strategy today is being bundled together with the release of some manga volume.
 
The word ‘goku’ in the title based on the kanji writing means prison. Perhaps it is to imply that our super negative and pessimistic teacher will be forever trapped in his world of despair. Or that he has no chance of escaping from the dreadful and ironic truths in life. Well, that is what we all living beings will face. The OVA is still as wacky as ever and fans who have watched the first 2 seasons will be glad to know that the randomness, comedy and visuals are still very much in line with its original season. Try not to think so much while watching the show. Watch first. Then only think. Don’t forget to laugh too.
 
Episode 1
Without going into much detail like all those examples cluttering the screen, I will briefly mention points which I think are important. I think. This episode starts off with Nami and Fuura giving viewers that singing-drawing song on Nozomu’s face. Want to guess how simple and horrible it is? Yeah, what a way to start the show. The episode proper has some of the girls trying to give Nozomu their Valentine chocolate. Expect perfectionist Chiri to make a chocolate heart which resembles like… a real heart! With Nozomu receiving many gifts, this prompts him to come up with the topic Honey Trap, whereby he thinks that the givers of those gifts are feigning their sincerity to make him fall in love with them and then they will in turn use underhanded tactics to blackmail him. Also leave it to Fuura’s positivism about who won’t fall into those Honey Traps. An example includes some hot sexy seductive mistress trying to get some otaku geeks to spill some secrets. When her body attractiveness doesn’t work, she uses 2D Honey Traps in the form of Haruhi collectibles but surprisingly, they’re not interested too. And yeah, there’s an ugly parody of Lucky Star called Lucky Muta.
 
The next part has Nozomu thinking about how boring those aired programmes on TV. This prompts him to think about the unaired ones which are more brutal than aired ones. In short, for every calm that we see on the surface, behind the scenes there is a more intense fighting and such. From campaigns to even manga dramas. Of course Chiri doesn’t like certain things being hidden and wants them all to be shown. She follows Nozomu to a gym and is surprised to see him doing neck training, toughening his neck muscles. How can he die by hanging this way? Unwilling to die? Yeah, his unaired training which nobody is supposed to see. Finally when Abiru gets too close to Nozomu and inviting him to a meal (her bandages wrapping around him?), Chiri gets jealous and is going to kill Abiru with her shovel! But that’s the unaired part. If it was aired, it would turn out to be Chiri softly hitting Abiru’s head with a toy hammer, and then they make up and both laugh it off. Hahaha.
 
Nozomu is wearing a pumpkin on his head as his Halloween gear but notices everyone else doesn’t dress up true to the occasion. They’re more like cosplaying. This has him thinking that the world today is full of things which are not true to the original. He’s not the only one to be in despair because some Indian curry guy too felt the same way when today’s curry isn’t true like its original. Fuura counters that by saying it is more like evolution. Like her long hair now (change of image she says?). Fuura also warns that staying too close to the original may not be good like chocolates are actually quite bitter in its original form. Then a Japanese World War II soldier returns to his homeland only to find it not true to its original form as it has been corrupted into modern Japan. But the best example of this is when Nozomu spots a couple of zombies and thinks those people are properly dressed for Halloween. One of them turned out to be Michael Jackson! Holy sh*t! Not true to his original black chubby afro self! But instead a skinny pale zombie! Hahaha! Finally when Harumi notes how a manga she reading isn’t true to its original, Nozomu comes up and says that if it was so, it would’ve turned out like this. Note the change in the drawing of his face, which makes him look more nerdy and dorky. I’m not sure which anime or manga this trademark drawing is from, though.
 
Episode 2
Chiri is thrilled when Nozomu says he is coming by her house tomorrow. But to her dismay, though Nozomu did come, he left as soon as he has arrived. Why? Because he’s just passing by. The drawing then changes to that dorky one at the end of the last episode and I almost couldn’t recognize every character. Because Chiri brought this matter up the next day in class, Nozomu scoffs it off and says Japanese put more emphasis on the process rather than its results. For instance, even if a ramen tastes normal, Japanese still prefer to wait in long lines. So the waiting process is more important than the taste because they enjoy the former better? Then the topic shifts as Nozomu tells his students to aim for the appeal of incomplete growth. Something about the imperfections of others. Chiri tells him to show his imperfections as well but Fuura says that Nozomu is maturing and intensely in the process of things. Like falling to the ground? Even a few seconds can feel like a few days. Yeah, Nozomu plunged from the cliff alright. Then Chiri is in some police interrogation, telling them of what she did. But she didn’t tell what happened to him simply because the end result doesn’t matter as the focus is on the process.
 
The drawing for this story changes back to its original trademark. Nozomu is lethargic and lazing around just because his manuscript won’t get printed due to a newspaper report than an earthquake will happen. This has him ranting that in today’s life there are many things which are fruitless but has to be done, even knowing that they’re in vain, it can’t be avoided. Like presidents who know they can’t keep their promises but still rely on the support of the people. Another example is of naked Rin. If she gets to be published, then she will be fully clothed instead of seeing her full in the flesh. Nozomu still thinks they will be cancelled due to the earthquake but Fuura says because of that, they can now decide on everything that they’ve been indecisive about. Yeah, in a way, it doesn’t matter, right? Uh huh. Like a dirty gag of a flower blooming on Nozomu’s crotch. Hey, now that we’ve seen it… Then Fuura suggests about Nozomu’s love partner and handpicks Ai. Of course guilt ridden Ai dismisses it all. But still Fuura says it’s okay since it isn’t going to be published. The next scene shows Ai confessing to Nozomu her love for… Turkish delights, while jealous Chiri eavesdrop behind a wall. Later, Chiri ‘invites’ Ai to the back of the hills and from there it is up to viewers to think what happened after that tensed meeting. After all, it couldn’t be published, right?
 
Now the drawing of the next story has the characters looking like those psychotic asylum people in one of the endings for the second season. Here, Nozomu is in despair because he finds many book titles which don’t match their contents. So he takes the liberty to change some of the book’s title to a truer but longer and weirder name. I suppose if you can guess what a book is about based on its title, it would make an easier read and familiarity instead of being deceived by them. Remember, don’t judge a book by its cover. Kino then suggests a challenge to Jun to a contest to see who can change titles of hard-to-understand-titles into something new. Creative or weird? But it’s definitely a desecration! Because of so, many people pass by those newly named books because they prefer the original titles. This prompts Nozomu to say that this case isn’t confined to books but to other industries like music and gaming as well. Greenland has no greenery? Names. All lies! But Fuura says that it isn’t like names and substance are that different as names do reflect themselves at least in their linguistic image. Then Chiri appears and isn’t too pleased that she has been left out from such an important meeting (this?). She also thinks how lately there is now despair in this show and wants Nozomu to get caught up in more desperate situations. The next thing he knows, he is on the edge of the cliff and surrounded by a pack of wild dogs that are ready to pounce on him. Below are sharp bamboo splinters… You can guess what happens next.
 
Episode 3
For this week’s Truly Fearsome 100 Tales, Nozomu and his girls are sitting around in a dark room with only several candles as its light. He asks them if they had brought any gags for this week’s chapter. Slowly one by one, as his students read out their so called gags, he rejects them after thinking that gag has been used and blows the light off a candle. I’m not sure those stories the girls told are supposed to be normal, scary or funny. Or all. But plain weird. With 99 candles blown out, the last one remains and Nozomu takes this chance to say that if they don’t stop at 99, something dreadful will happen. Chiri wants him to properly finish it by telling all 100 tales himself. Then Fuura suggests a game of 100 tales whereby every gag is rejected as no good but the final candle soon blows out. The next day, Nozomu restarts this feat again only to be told to go back to the first page. It ends with Nami doing a bon festival dance.
 
After watching 2 otaku geeks fighting each other and declaring their victory over the present that they gave to a maid cafe waitress, Nozomu says that they are both losers. He continues to give examples of heated and tensely fights whereby from an outsider’s point of view, they both are deemed losers. As usual Fuura gives her positive answer in which there are battles that both side wins. Like a fixed match. Yeah, the losers are still the spectators. Nozomu thinks Fuura’s everyone wins policy is just a trick. So the scene changes to some TV interview-cum-debate between Fuura and Nozomu about space aliens living in Japan. But after the show, the duo are friendly with each other as they go grab lunch. A collusion, eh?
 
The final story sees Nozomu as a high school student. It’s a beautiful day and the sakura trees are blooming but to his horror find 4 guys hanging from them! Is this how he developed his will to die? Not that he can do it anyway. Nozomu runs away in fear. At school, Nozomu is looking forward to a rosy high school life but the several girls who come up to him are just using him as a messenger to send love letters to his elder brothers. Annoyed, he thinks it must be his glasses so he goes to some dark classroom and requests for them. Hey, aren’t those 4 guys the one hanging from the tree? Anyway, they persistently want Nozomu to join their club. Negative Club, that is. One of them notes how Nozomu is good in looking backward at things when he explains the gag. Then they give him a pair of conflicting glasses which causes Nozomu’s temple to be in pain whenever he thinks of something positive (a sign that probably why he’s so negative?). Since the members already think Nozomu is part of the club, they teach him their proper greeting, which is like begging for forgiveness on one’s knees. Really pathetic. Nozomu can’t take it anymore and wants to quit but one of the members said that if he leaves while he is under probation, he’ll be deemed a parolee, in which the smallest mistake could be deemed as a violation. Nozomu runs away. I guess that’s how his despair started. Whether true or not.
 
Outside, Nozomu encounters little but still over-positive Fuura who is lost on her field trip. So he brings her along to a nearby house to call the police. To his surprise, he spots those 4 guys in there again. Then the TV news reports a missing girl on a field trip which has been kidnapped by a certain someone wearing a certain pair of glasses which matches Nozomu’s. The 4 guys detest Nozomu and decide to purge him. Even Fuura joins in the chanting to purge Nozomu. The next day as Nozomu walks to school, a girl comes up to greet him. Looks like she is genuine. However Nozomu greets her using the way he learned from the Negative Club. The girl suddenly felt so disgusted with it. Imagine if somebody got down on his knees and wishes you good morning. Ah well, a chance lost. So many negative contributions. Maybe that’s really how he turned pessimistic.
 
Goodbye Mr Despair for good?
Well, at least that is what the final scene at the end of the third episode said. No more seeing us again for real this time. Even so, I really did enjoy this OVA though at times it may get irritating in the sense that I have to pause for a while to read all those listed examples on screen. Then there are some jokes which I didn’t get but it is mainly because of my lack of knowledge in many areas.
 
I guess being an OVA there isn’t much to cover in the sense that I was hoping that maybe something about Fuura’s past or real name is revealed but nothing close to that. Maybe the producers just wanted to stick with the randomness like it has been a winning formula for its previous seasons. Also, some of the characters didn’t make much of an appearance such as Chie and Majiru. Like Kaede/Kaere, Meru and even Mayo how just made brief cameo appearances. If you don’t see Usui around, I don’t blame you (fans of the series would understand this joke). But if you look closely, you can see his transparent and faint presence at times.
 
So what will be Nozomu’s hopes for the future? Seeing that everything will be leaving him in despair, I guess it is ironic that he is very much alive and kicking. But I guess one has to stay alive in order to experience all those bitter and sweet things. It’s okay to have a little negativity but just don’t over-react and be too much like him. Of course it’s nice to be like Fuura’s case to but being too optimistic isn’t good either. It’s better to have a mix of both and remember, moderation is the key in life. Now that I have realized that the series has really ended, oh no! I’m in despair! ZETSUBOU SHITA!!! Don’t worry. There’ll be more animes like this in the future. I hope. ZETSUBOU SHITA!!!

 
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Quiz Magic Academy

June 5, 2009

Hmm… An OVA to a game which I have never heard of? Oh heck, it’s not that I’ve played lots of games in my entire life before to know each and every one of them, whether popular or not. So when the game’s creator, Konami made this particular game Quiz Magic Academy into a 1 episode OVA, I was a little curious to see and find out myself what it’s all about.
 
I did a little browsing on what this game is about, though I may still not understand the overall concept. Like I will. The game is set in a magical academy on a floating triangular-like island. Though I’ve never seen how the game works, I read that players answer trivia and questions. Is it just a Q&A game or does it include dragon slaying adventures as well? Not really sure.
 
But whatever the game play is, you’re not going to see the characters answer any trivia or questions in this 30 minute OVA. That would be absolutely boring, wouldn’t it? Besides, if you really want to see such game shows, I’m sure there are quite a few of them over TV. What I can say about this single OVA is that it’s just a short adventure of the students in one of the many classes in this magical academy filled with some magic (of course!) and comedy.
 
The episode starts off with a quartet of boy students, namely Leon, Kaile, Lask and Serious (seriously, that’s his name) facing a ferocious fire-breathing dragon. All hope seems lost when a girl named Ruquia soars down from the sky on her broomstick to save the day. Claiming to be the magical academy’s first rate captain, she takes on the dragon as they both unleash high powered projection blasts. In the end, Ruquia emerges victorious and the dragon turns into a chibi self. Everybody rejoices as they are amazed by her awesome magic. They shower her with praises and respect. But when Ruquia opens her eyes, she is in bed cuddling her little red dragon stuffed toy and her alarm clock is broken. Haha, it was just a dream. She lets loose a blood curling scream.
 
Yep. Ruquia’s late for class as she rushes to the academy knocking down the gates. See lah. Dream some more ‘terror’ high and mighty dream of yourself lah. Ruquia manages to arrive at her class but since she brought her pillow instead of her bag, her teacher Amelia (looks like Tabitha of Zero No Tsukaima but with more expression and as later you’ll find out, a little child-like) zaps her as punishment. Later Ruquia is having a chat about her lateness with her girl classmates, Shalon (looks a bit like Anri from Happiness!), Clala and Aloe when a new transfer student Thanders interrupts them. First thing, viewers may mistake him for a student because he looks like an elderly General Commander! Anyway he gives them his passionate speech like as though he’s addressing his battalion before going out to a battlefield. After he leaves, the girls notice another of their classmate snickering, Malariya (hopefully she’s not named after that mosquito disease. She sounds ominous too by the way…) who thinks this class is interesting.
 
Meanwhile a teaching staff, Miranda goes to talk with Amelia about her class student’s unique personality (some may say they’re weird). Of course being a magical school, the teaching staff have their peculiarities too whether it’s their appearance or character. Like Garuda who is well, a Garuda bird. Romanov, your typical long white hair bearded headmaster. Mallon the magical girl teacher. Francis the nice teacher who likes taking down notes. Lydia the elf archer. Anyway, Garuda swoops down to tell them about his rebel young years (attacking some volcano?) but the ladies think of him as a little young chick in his nest. Romanov then comes by to tell Amelia that it’s okay to have some personality as long as they don’t neglect their work. But Amelia’s frowning expression indicates that she may have a lot of work to do.
 
In class, Amelia tells her student that they have to win the climax of the upcoming school festival – Class Crash Magic Battle. Leon gets excited because he thinks he gets to destroy other classes with his magic. Well, that’s not exactly how it’s going to be since it’s going to be a team work of using magic. In addition, Amelia tells her class how the number of magic stones of this class is the least. Why are they important? They are used to calculate each class and its students’ results. Magic stones are given when they perform tasks or do well in their exams. However, they can be taken away if they fail tests or do mistakes as penalty. Shalon is surprised because recently she scored high marks on her tests just a few days ago and wonders how they could lose so many magic stones in such a short time. Furthermore, most of the other students too did well. Maybe except for Leon and Ruquia (so much for her dream of being the academy’s honour student). So we see a short flashback on how these students make dangerous faux pax which contributes to their magic stones being taken away. Amelia is in despair. Malariya concludes that’s the reason why Amelia wants the class to win the magic battle so that they could make a comeback.
 
Thanders then starts his passionate speech. I’m not sure what he’s talking but I understand that he wants the class to be united. Since Leon and Ruquia are in a little panic, Shalon assures to help them so that they won’t be left behind. Of course, she has the rest of the class to help out. And thus Amelia’s hell training revision class begins. Lots of life threatening dangers if you don’t answer correctly…
 
Soon the day of the Class Crash Magic Battle arrives and Mallon hosts the event by asking Romanov to give his opening speech. You know he’s typical long boring speech but the thing which attracted my attention is that this is the 155,499th festival of the academy. Must be a very long time, huh? Even Mallon cuts short Romanov’s speech to start the event. Nobody wants to hear and old bugger blab. The magic performance starts and the teachers are equally impressed with the display. Finally it’s Amelia’s class turn. The gang starts off with an impressive magic display of lights, astounding the teachers. Then it turns into a little storytelling tale with Shalon as the knight slaying Ruquia who is playing a puppet dragon. The teachers are even impressed with their hard work in such a short period of time.
 
The climax of their show has Amelia starting to panic because she doesn’t remember doing this during their training. Ruquia does a summoning technique to summon a golden dragon from another dimension. Amelia then rushes down to them and asks what in the world they are doing and Ruquia’s reply is that they wanted to give her a big surprise as they had just added that to the script. Uh oh. Not good. A golden dragon did appear albeit briefly. Then it vanishes before several tentacles start appearing from the sky. Then it’s revealed that Malariya may have messed up in mixing sugar and salt. Not sure whether it’s done on purpose or not seeing her sly facial expression. So looks like they’ve summoned demons from another world instead. Definitely not good. The tentacles start wrecking havoc on the academy so Leon and the guys decide to put a stop to all this but got taken out when a tentacle smashed them on the first hit. Then Thanders flew on his rocket missile towards it but it ran out of gas. Bummer. Since the guys are useless, Shalon leads the girls in counter attacking the demon but was quickly met with the same fate as the guys. What a quick defeat.
 
A little fanservice here as the tentacle grabs Miranda. So it’s now the teachers turn to show why they’re masters of the magic academy as they unite and combine their magic to subdue the menacing threat. Seeing how cool and awesome they are, Ruquia and her classmates decide to help them as they too combine their magic. However Amelia knows best as she wants them to just stay put and do nothing. Too late. However, their magic has several basins dropping down on each of the teacher’s head. Messed up again, eh? Oh who is going to save the academy now?! Amelia is pissed off with her students’ stupidity as she zaps them all with her electricity. But she misses and zaps the core of the tentacles instead. Garuda’s remark: "A once in a lifetime critical hit". Unfortunately, her zapping causes the gravity device nearby to be destroyed. The other teachers are saying how her class overdid it and that she’s really amazing. Not sure if those remarks are supposed to be praising her.
 
Because of that, the floating academy crashes down on to the ground below. In addition, Romanov announces everyone in Amelia’s class to have points deduction. So much for that comeback. Amelia’s not spared either. Romanov is going to have a good talk with her later. Better say your prayers. The final narration tells viewers what a magic academy is. It’s a place for people who thirst for knowledge and for those who wish to become a sage and learn. In the aftermath, Amelia’s students are seen repairing and repainting the academy, and Amelia receiving a new bunch of students under her wing.
 
I guess for a short show, it’s just pretty much okay. It’s the kind of show where you see it once and then leave it behind as memories. Though the drawing and art are mainly contemporary Japanese anime type, during the episode, there are several short skits in between which have the characters drawn in chibi mode. These skits do not really influence the main storyline and serves as a short comical intermission. For example, remember that Thanders guy being mistaken for not being a student? Yeah, everyone thinks he’s part of the teaching staff. He thinks his battle-worn face made him look more mature than others but Malariya quips he’s just got an old-looking face. Other short skits include the one whereby Leon, Kaile and Serious are ordering their lunches when Garuda swoops down and orders everything, leaving those guys with nothing to eat. Many of the female students are excited over a new fashion fad, a pair of cat ears. Except for Shalon who thinks it’s stupid and childish. However alone behind the building, she herself puts on a pair and gets all excited over it. Tsk tsk tsk. Malariya’s watching… Then there’s the one where Mallon is using her magical powers to solve mysteries. So when Amelia asks her real age, Mallon evades answering it and makes an excuse to go solve some other mystery. Some mysteries must be protected no matter what.
 
There are some fanservice pose in this series but nothing serious and going as far as those ecchi panty shots. Well I suppose the producers can’t resist doing so seeing that there are some pretty looking girls here. Also, I know that this is supposed to be a fantasy magic genre so the names of the characters aren’t your traditional Japanese Haruka or Takeshi. But some of them are a real eyebrow raiser especially Serious. I wonder if Ruquia’s name was taken after that character in Bleach since their pronunciation is the same. Nah, maybe not. The opening theme, Kenja No Michi by Houko Kuwashima sounds lively and your typical song for such a magic series. The ending theme, Mirai No Minna by Masumi Asano sounds like a cabaret or Broadway style.
 
Surprisingly there are quite a few famous seiyuus lending their talents for this short OVA. My favourite one is still Norio Wakamoto who voices Garuda. Still love his low sexy voice like the one he did as Onsokumaru in 2×2=Shinobuden and Matsudaira in Gintama. Other seiyuus include Houko Kuwashima as Ruquia (Miya Miya of Bamboo Blade), Masumi Asano as Shalon (Hakufu of Ikkitousen series), Nobuyuki Hirama as Leon (Ikkaku of Bleach), Takehito Koyasu as Serious (Kururu of Keroro Gunsou), Yukari Tamura as Clala (Nanoha of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha), Tetsu Inada as Thanders (Kurogane in Tsubasa Chronicle), Yuko Nagashima as Malariya (Natsumi of Rizelmine) and Chiaki Takahashi as Amelia (Nanami of School Days).
 
For a short anime, there are quite a number of characters here. Too much for a short series. Some just for a short moment while some have appearances scattered here and there. Not that I can keep up with them. I’m wondering if the game has more characters seeing that the ending did introduce several of them. But overall, the characters are the one which made this series funny in the first place. Amelia sure has her hands full with her bunch of weirdos and failures. Is it worse than Louise of Zero No Tsukaima? Ah well, better start working harder. There is even no magic for shortcut to success. It’s a long and traditional path of hard work and perseverance. Ganbatte minna!
 

Quiz Magic Academy