Even though this anime Kono Aozora Ni Yakusoku Wo came out in the year 2007, I wasn’t really interested in watching it, citing boring and dull reasons from the review online that I briefly skimmed through. Even the fansubbing group who were subbing the series didn’t finished and dropped it. Not until recently when another fansubbing group picked this up, it started to stir an interest in me. I don’t know, that boring reason then didn’t seem applicable anymore.
 
Based on yet another adult PC game of the same name, I guess it is a good thing that I decided to check out this drama-romance series. Harem? Yeah, if you look at it in a way. However, there are no hentai elements, just a little bit of fanservice. The setting is on an isolated island off Japan called Minamisakou Island. The island has seen better times and was booming due to an aerospace company, Demizugawa Heavy Industries Corporation, setting up factories and labs across the island. Thus the main reason why the island was once thriving with life. But recently the company has decided to close down its operations on this island and thus the population of Minamisakou dwindling as the years pass by. Slowly, everyone is leaving the island in search for better prospects elsewhere.
 
On this island, there is an old school building remodelled into a dormitory called Tsugumi Dorm, and this is where our main story sets in. As expected, the dorm isn’t very populated either. It is currently occupied by students Wataru Hoshino (the only male living in the dorm), Umi Hayama (Wataru’s shy childhood friend who takes on several duties in the dorm like cooking), Naoko Asakura (the assertive double-faced student council president), Miyaho Rokujou (granddaughter of the early founders of this island and dorm), Shizu Fujimura (a quiet but sly loli) and a young teacher Saeri Kawashima (her child-like and scatterbrain personality amuses me). There is a rule that the dorm has to maintain at least 5 people or else it will be closed down. Well, seems a little ‘healthy’ at the moment. However, come next March, Naoko, Umi, Miyaho and Shizu will be leaving the dorm and island and thus will be separated and the dorm to be shut down. Therefore, they are determined to spend their last days together.
 
This is how I see the series being played out. Though there are 13 episodes, the series concentrates and dedicates 2 episodes per girl, in which you’ll see how Wataru interacts and helps that particular girl with whatever issues or problems they are facing. Lucky guy, eh? Don’t worry, Wataru is a nice, sporting and thoughtful guy although on occasions he gets a little cheeky and mischievous. You can guess which girl they’re focusing on since the episode title will be named after her. Furthermore, the mid-intermission shows a still picture of that particular girl sitting on the steps or walking her way towards the lighthouse. Sometimes I’m confused of the time line of the story as to whether that episode is current or in the past. But in my opinion, some are reminiscent of Wataru thinking of those times with that girl after they have left the dorm. So for those of you who already have doubts that this will be a yawn fest, skip it. I’m sticking around to find out more on what drama this island has to offer. At least to determine whether this series is overall boring or not.
 
Episode 1 focuses on Rinna Sawaki. Who is she? She is the newcomer to Tsugumi Dorm. Her appearance is baffling because Wataru too wonders who they ended up in such position. You see, Wataru wakes up to find one morning a girl (Rinna) sleeping next to him in her undies. Yikes! Fanservice cue. Hopefully nothing extreme happened the night before. Then Umi walks in as Wataru tries to prevent her from seeing but too late. He ‘shuts her up’ before the other dorm members could raise any suspicions (they’re having breakfast below by the way). Soon Rinna wakes up and just like any other girl who notice herself not fully clothed when waking up, freaks out and is upset. Understandably, she may think Wataru has done something funny to her last night, so excuse her cold and rude attitude. She slaps Wataru before taking her clothes and leaping out of the window. Holy sh*t! It’s the second floor! Don’t worry, Rinna didn’t break any bones because she’s quite athletic.
 
As Wataru wonders who that girl might be, he soon learns that not only she is the new resident of the dorm but a transfer student in his class. To make matters worse, Rinna’s cold and indifferent attitude too is staying. Though she too would be leaving the island in a year’s time, she has no intention of making any friends, especially those from the dorm. It was pretty funny to see Wataru making a loud guess that the entry of the new transfer student is Rinna but initially turned out to be a lively girl, Akane Mitamura (she can’t stop talking and shaking her head when she does so!). Then of course, Rinna turns up as the 2nd transfer student the next day. Do you feel like wanting to punch her arrogant attitude of not wanting to introduce herself? Besides finding out that the rest of the student council members are also the members of Tsugumi dorm, Umi wants to befriend Rinna and even plans a welcoming party for her but of course that b*tch doesn’t give a damn and shrugs her. Anyway they still proceed with it and hoping that Rinna would turn up. Well, she did. But more like she’s going for a walk. She still gives that I-don’t-wanna-be-your-friend speech which brought Umi to tears. It was heartbreaking to see her cry. That heartless b*tch. Since it has come to this, Wataru declares a challenge to her and says that he will make Rinna part of their circle of friends no matter what. Her reply: Try it if you can, buster. This is sure heating up.
 
So in episode 2, we see Wataru at a cafe run by an elder pal of his, Takashi Mitamura. We learn from Takashi that Wataru was with Rinna at the cafe and after a few drinks, they left. Hmm… Then with the annual local marathon coming up, Wataru suggests to settle their challenge through it. Though Rinna is a runner too, but Wataru is last year’s defending champion! Though he may need a little practice. If Wataru wins, Rinna must join them even for meals and if Rinna wins, Wataru will leave the dorm. The bet is on. The day comes and Wataru seems tired because he has been relentlessly practising day and night (also some last minute supplementary exam). Rinna is worried that he may be in no condition to run and advices him to call it off and do their challenge another time but that guy is persistent and he is going to stay true to his word. Because of that, Rinna doesn’t care too. The rule is just simple, the first one through the finish line wins, no matter the outcome. The race starts and it seems Wataru is having a hard time keeping up. He soon collapses and Rinna only realizes too late when she is quite a distance ahead that Wataru isn’t behind her. Then Saeri and Shizu popped up and said something which made Rinna feel guilty and responsible for Wataru. Though Rinna is near the finish line, to everyone’s surprise, suddenly Wataru shows up and crosses it. He wins! Though he is disqualified (for taking a shortcut) and later suspended temporarily from school by Saeri, Wataru did mentioned to Rinna that it’s a no-holds-barred race and that anything goes. Thus technically Wataru wins the bet and Rinna has no choice but to be their friends. So I guess being part of the dorm isn’t that bad as Rinna sheds her cold behaviour and displays a more friendly behaviour. Now that’s more like it.
 
The next girl to focus on in episode 3 is Miyaho. As we know that her grandpa is the founding family of the Demizugawa company (who recently passed away last year), she is also the school’s director but only in name and is the landlady for Tsugumi Dorm. You could say that by this fact, she is a rich girl. I find her habit of counting the steps up towards Tsugumi Dorm to be weird. In this episode, Miyaho enlists Wataru’s help to do a research on her late grandpa which she has little knowledge of. Miyaho plans to put the fruits of her research as an exhibit for the upcoming school festival. So they go around the interviewing the inhabitants of Minamisakou which includes Wataru’s grandpa. One thing Miyaho knows is that grandpa is actually a foreigner whom the Rokujou family adopted and he took on a Japanese wife and changed his name to reflect one. Miyaho gets excited to know about her grandpa’s love and romance. They discover a diary of his in a library and what Miyaho concludes that grandpa was rather dense when it comes to love. Later, the duo takes a raft to a nearby island to find more clues. Hmm… Is Miyaho’s body language indicating that she likes Wataru? It then started to rain so they took shelter in a nearby cave, which was supposedly a children’s hideout and Wataru did came here with other friends when he was younger. I can’t believe that the flashlight batteries that were left there are still working and the potato chips are still edible! Not passed its expiry date, he says. No thanks. Miyaho isn’t too pleased to find this and Wataru realized that the ‘garbage’ he left here has ruined what is supposedly to be Miyaho grandpa’s memories. He apologizes. Then Miyaho remembers from the diary that there should be a drawing on the cave walls left behind by grandpa and grandma but to her horror spots a love umbrella with Wataru and Umi’s name instead. Miyaho feels devastated and starts crying, throwing a fit that she wants to go home while Wataru wonders what is happening to make her so instead.
 
In episode 4, Miyaho’s sulking has her locking herself up in her dorm room and dismissing Wataru from helping finish her research. The day of the exhibit arrives and Wataru’s grandparents have a firsthand look at Miyaho’s work and are quite impressed, though there are articles missing from a certain date onwards. Later Wataru himself goes to look at Miyaho’s work but doesn’t like the way she worded some of her articles. It’s like turning them into mere memories. This upsets Miyaho a lot so much so she doesn’t want to see Wataru’s face and locks herself up in her mansion this time, giving her illness as an excuse. Though the other girls are pissed about Wataru has done, he intends to make up by continuing Miyaho’s research. Wataru works hard to gather the remaining articles and is successful. One night, he arrives outside Miyaho’s mansion but since she doesn’t want to see him, Wataru waits out all night in the cold. I guess she feels guilty so at least Miyaho opens her window to find out why he came. He shows her the remaining and thus perfect collection of grandpa’s works. Miyaho is impressed and soon the duo sat together and go through what Wataru has compiled as they chat how grandpa loved this island very much. With that, Miyaho is back to her usual happy self and comes back to the dorm. The next day as she fixes the dorm roof with Wataru, she tells her how she intends to come back here even after she leaves and as Wataru suggested, be the second expert of Minamisakou Island.
 
Episode 5 is on Shizu. Wataru remembers how she first met her when he skipped supplementary classes to take a nap to feel the southern breeze when he spot Shizu who soon ran away but dropped her straw hat behind. Though he gets a lecture from Naoko and the rest, he continues to search for Shizu and finds her looking forlorn in the rain one day. He treats her at Takashi’s place and tries to ask her several questions but she did not answer and her looks seems troubling. Wataru then follows her back to her apartment whereby the whole place is in a mess. Worse than a pig sty. He learns that her parents aren’t home and that she gets her meals from the supermarket. Poor girl. Because of that, Wataru brings Shizu back to Tsugumi Dorm for proper food and the other girls get the shock of their lives. Yeah, they may be thinking something else. Once they find out the real reason, they let her stay but note that in order for Shizu to stay here, she needs her parent’s permission. So Naoko warns Wataru that he needs to take responsibility and he agrees to care for her. Funny to see that Saeri fearing that she will be the headline news for child kidnapping. The next day, Wataru and Saeri go find Shizu’s dad who is too busy with his construction job to attend to them or her daughter’s problems. They then find Shizu’s mom who is a pachinko addict. Yeah, she doesn’t give a damn about her daughter. This attitude of hers pisses off Saeri as she spills her pachinko winnings and gives her a good lecture. Back at the dorm, Wataru suggests for Shizu to live with them given that her parents don’t care for her and tries to convince Naoko to become part of the ‘family’. Saeri jokes that this sounds like a marriage proposal, causing Umi to panic a little. Naoko agrees but as long as she is the noble head of the family. I guess Wataru don’t mind doing things for her or if she’s being bossy. With that, everyone has a good time with Shizu around. A funny part was how Shizu was racing with Rinna through a swim at the beach. Shizu did a sly thing by unhooking Rinna’s top so Wataru had to dive in and save her because he thought she was drowning. Of course, Rinna slaps him and thinks he’s a pervert while Shizu wins the race. Hehe. But all that happy days may soon end because one day Wataru spots Shizu’s father at the dorm, wanting to take back his daughter.
 
In episode 6, Wataru and the dorm girls are having discussion over whether to hand Shizu back to her parents. Wataru vehemently objects citing that they have abandoned her. I hope he hasn’t turned into a loli. Just how close are they? Well, they can even take baths together (at least she’s wearing a swimsuit) and Shizu even hides behind Wataru and orders him to ‘attack’ Saeri when the latter chases her for skipping supplementary lessons. Then as Shizu tries to study, the gang are being too noisy so much so Shizu put her foot down. However, as Naoko noted, she looks so cute when she’s mad and probably why Wataru is attracted to her. This statement panics Umi a little as she says their relationship is only brother-sister type. Hopefully. Shizu then pulls Wataru’s hair and calls him an idiot thinking that all this is his fault. Of course Shizu soon excels in her exam, bringing relief to everyone. Another funny part is that Wataru is now acting like Shizu’s father because he objects to whoever gave Shizu a love letter and shreds it to pieces! Shizu is okay with it since she mentions how she belongs to Wataru’s family. Later that night, Wataru gets word from drunk Saeri how Shizu’s parents have several times came to their doorstep and request their daughter back and it seemed that they repented their actions and have turned over a new leaf. Though Wataru still doesn’t want to hand her over, this made him think and in a dilemma. One day while taking a walk with Shizu, Wataru with a heavy heart mentions how she should go back to her parents. This causes her to be upset and heartbroken and runs away in tears. Shizu locks herself in her dorm room crying. Wataru desperately tries to call her out but to no avail. He feels guilty and decides to wait at her door, not moving until she comes out. Finally after a few more comforting and assuring words, Shizu emerges and gets emotional as she eats the onigiri Umi made. Wataru then collapses due to hunger. He recuperates in hospital and thankfully isn’t life threatening. As he gets better, Shizu tells him how her parents treats her better now and decides to go back living with her parents as they can’t live without her them but will always consider Tsugumi Dorm as her second home and will come back if she ever feels lonely. Shizu hugs Wataru and thanks him as he says because of her, they have become a family.
 
It’s Umi’s turn in episode 7. We see Wataru having a discussion with his grandpa who is trying to persuade Wataru to come live back with them. It seems his grandpa doesn’t know that he is living along with Umi at the dorm. Likewise, Umi is having a chat with her dad who seems to be quite busy with his work so much so Umi has to stay at the dorm. One night as Wataru and Umi head back to the dorm together, they spot the rest telling ghost stories. However Umi starts to get frightened even before Miyaho got to the ghost part and her fear is no joke. It’s like traumatic. They stop and Wataru requests everyone to be by Umi’s side for tonight. The next morning as Umi picks tomatoes, Wataru has a flashback of how he met Umi and her parents when they’re kids and since she was so shy, she has always been sticking around him like a leech. It seems Umi has a fear of being alone even in present time and when she got separated from Wataru at the festival, she starts to panic. Thankfully Wataru manages to find her and calm her down. Later Wataru’s grandpa has a social drinking gathering at his home and the way the guests rudely say things may indicate something bad about Umi and Wataru’s parents. Wataru is upset about some of the guests’ comments and wanted to give them a piece of his mind but was restrained by a classmate of his. The reason why those people never made a big fuss about this was because Wataru’s grandpa holds a respected position on this island.
 
As Wataru and Umi head back to the dorm on a stormy night, they find that the electricity is out. Umi, afraid of being alone by herself in her room, requests for Wataru to be by her side. There, they reminisce about their younger childhood days. We find out her mom walked out of her when she was young, the reason for her fear of being alone. Not only that, she eloped with Wataru’s dad! No wonder the island people hate those 2. But to blame it on their innocent children, especially Umi? No wonder Umi’s dad seems like a lenient person too. Some may call him ‘weak’. Meanwhile the principal of the school and his vice, who never liked Wataru for his delinquent ways, tell Wataru’s grandpa that since the male dorm is closed, it has merged with the female’s. Those 2 jerks seem to enjoy what is to follow next as they leave while grandpa is in shock that Wataru had lied to him.
 
In episode 8, Wataru’s grandpa has a serious talk with his grandson. He now wants him to move back with him but Wataru remains defiant. Granny then chats with Wataru and says no matter what, she’ll be by his side. Wataru goes to talk to Umi that his grandpa knows about their secret so Umi tries to go talk to her dad but couldn’t bring herself to reveal it. Next day at school during recess, the gang are talking about the upcoming student council elections. I love it when Akane can talk without pausing and her head is still shaking. Shake it, shake it, baby! Since Naoko is to graduate once this term ends, Wataru suggests running for council president and if he is successfully elected, will nominate Umi as his vice. Yeah, let’s control the school together! Back home, Wataru discusses this with grandma and hopes by getting Umi to be vice president, they will acknowledge it. However, it will be tough since Umi is a shy girl and her part requires her to speak in front of a crowd. As expected, Umi’s low self-confidence and it-is-impossible attitude, protests about it. She feels she can’t do great things nor lead people. She also thinks that by speaking upfront, this will cause her dad to feel hurt once she gets to know her relationship with Wataru. Of course Wataru isn’t thinking like that and wonders if it’s okay for them to run away like that too. This causes Umi to be upset as she runs away in tears. Yeah, another case of confining herself in her room. Is it a trend these days? Luckily she didn’t lock the door so the rest could come in and give her words of encouragement and support. With that, Umi at least feels a little better.
 
On the day itself, Saeri has arranged for Umi’s dad and Wataru’s grandparents (they seem pretty surprised to see each other) to watch their children give speech in front of a crowded school hall. Though Umi fumbles at first, soon her honesty and maturity of her speech (especially about not running away) is enough to impress everyone and put all politicians to shame. A standing ovation! With that, grandma tells the men that she hopes they will acknowledge them and Wataru’s wish to remain at the dorm as they have spoken out to be the school’s role model. They agree to let the past go and talk things over. Next day, Umi is carving something on her wall and tries to hide it from Wataru. She makes him promise not to look at it until she has comes back to the island and by then could say out her feelings properly. It is a love umbrella bearing her name and Wataru’s. I guess it’s better to leave her secret crush the way things are.
 
Saeri takes the spotlight in episode 9. The timeline here takes place just after Wataru and Rinna’s marathon stint. The Tsugumi Dorm girls notice suspicious men around the dorm and poor Wataru got beaten up by Rinna when they took precautions. Saeri then mentions how the principal may have sent somebody from the construction company to Tsugumi Dorm for some spot checks. Remember that minimum rule of having 5 persons living in the dorm? They fear that the principal is having plans to demolish the dorm. Saeri and Wataru plan to do their own investigation on what the principal is up to so that they could maintain living in the dorm with the rest. At least, till next March. Their findings has them to know that the principal and his vice are picking up some real estate agent, Sakada, from the airport this coming Sunday. The duo tail them to an inn and waited outside till they finished. The principal and his vice sends off Sakada in a taxi but since the vice principal need to urgently take a leak, he rushes to the spot where Wataru and Saeri are spying from (a love hotel entrance, that is). In their haste, Wataru hugs Saeri to shield themselves from being seen. Luckily the vice only saw them as an indecent couple and only the back of Wataru. When he is done, he leaves with the principal. Of course Saeri is pretty much embarrassed and upset on what Wataru just did. That night, the vice principal went back to that spot because he remembered he dropped his wallet. Not only he found his, but somebody else’s. The next day, Wataru and Saeri continue their spying on the trio and this is what they find and conclude. The principal is standing for mayor in the coming elections and plans to sell off Tsugumi Dorm, which will then be turned into a resort and he could make some profit from its receipts. But they can’t do anything since there is no concrete evidence. However the next day, Wataru has been called to the principal’s office. He is instructed to face backwards and it is then the vice principal recognizes that back he spot that day. He shows further proof of the student ID wallet that he dropped. With that, the principal is happy and is going to expel him from school. Oh no.
 
But that’s not the end of Wataru’s troubles. In episode 10, even Naoko is upset that he did something like this. Though she wants to know which girl he was with, Wataru tries to protect Saeri by giving an excuse that he didn’t ask her name. But Naoko isn’t that dumb and suspects it has to be a person of this dorm so she tells the other girls to close their eyes and the one who was with Wataru to raise her hand with the promise she won’t get mad. When Saeri does so, she is given a slap by Naoko. Of all people. However Saeri’s earnest emotional confession how she wants to be with them all, soften their hearts. The next day, Saeri is to attend a 12 person emergency meeting whereby they will discuss the fate of Wataru. Miyaho also attends the meeting on behalf of the director. During the meet, it is Saeri against everyone else and Miyaho was like not saying a word to protect nor accuse. Uh huh. She’s like sitting quietly there on the fence, just listening. Saeri is upset that she didn’t do anything to save her but as Miyaho notes, those who save themselves will be saved. Saeri tries her best to convince everyone and the odds are against her 11-1. They need a unanimous decision to expel Wataru. There was even a time when a motion to remove Saeri from the meeting! However, luckily a teacher realizes Saeri’s effort and chose not to remove her as they go back to its original discussion. Slowly the tide turns on the principal and his vice as Saeri debates Wataru’s character like although he’s being a delinquent, his actions were for the sake of his friends. Then when a teacher brings up a case of precedent, Saeri mentions a delinquent with far worse record than Wataru. He is Takashi but he didn’t get expelled, just a suspension and later he graduated with flying colours. In order to get a unanimous vote to not expel Wataru, Naoko and the others blackmail the principal and his vice about his mayor ambitions and his corrupted ways, so he has no choice but to agree. With that, Wataru remains in school as he narrates how thanks to Saeri’s efforts, Tsugumi Dorm still exists today.
 
As you may have guessed, the only girl left is Naoko. Do you want to know how her double-faced came about? In episode 11, 3 years ago, it seems Wataru boldly confessed to Naoko and wanted to go out with her. After all that pestering, Naoko agreed to give him a try. Such happiness can’t be described (which includes trashing his bicycle). On the day of their date, Naoko has a place in mind that she wants to go. On a hilltop, Naoko meets her stargazing senpai, Hiro. She seems quite friendly with him and this made Wataru realized. It may seem that he is jealous but actual fact that Naoko just wanted to bring him along so that she could catch Hiro’s attention. Later Wataru apologizes for not knowing her feelings as Naoko feels guilty. She tries to explain but Wataru runs away and locks himself up in his room. Till one rainy day Wataru finds Naoko standing outside his place. She tells him how Hiro’s heart is only on stargazing and cannot his mind be cracked that easily. She apologizes and kisses him before running away. Soon Naoko left the island and it is then depressed Wataru realized he do liked her after all and that she was his first true love. A year later when Wataru moves into the dorm, he is surprised to see Naoko there. He learns that she did leave for Tokyo but for a week to attend a relative’s funeral. Wataru then gladly says how she should be his official girlfriend. However Naoko isn’t pleased because he didn’t stick true to his word (about never forgiving a woman who used him back then). Yeah, she says how she hates weak guys. With that, she imposes special dorm rules on him. That’s when her double personality arises. This is so that what they did back then will never be revealed. Over time, Naoko imposes her bossy attitude over Wataru and the rest of the other dorm girls, in which they are fine with. Uh huh. To the other people, Naoko puts up a nice personality. Double standards, I’d say. Just when Wataru thinks that he’s okay with the way things are, Hiro comes back to the island, threatening to drag them back into the past once more.
 
In episode 12, we see Hiro having a friendly chat with Wataru at the dorm’s rooftop. Seems like a nice person. During dinner, he says his return is to observe some meteor shower (I’ll spare the technical details) passing here. They also learn that Naoko intends to go study at the same university that Hiro went. He’ll be glad to help her. Because of this, Wataru suspects that Naoko still has feelings for Hiro and spaces out at times and clumsily break plates during his stint at Takashi’s cafe. Maybe. He finds her still talking friendly with him and Hiro did advised Wataru to stop troubling her. Wataru has a chat with Umi as the latter says how she has a certain magic which keeps everyone at the dorm together. Wataru realized and knows what to do. That is, to believe and wait for her. As he is working at Takashi’s, Takashi asks him for his total resolution on his matter and if he is willing to accept the outcome no matter what. Wataru nods in agreement. Takashi then gives him a map and tells him to go there after work because the answer will be there.
 
Later Naoko is seen talking to Hiro at the stargazing site (the location on that given map) as Wataru treks to the spot. Naoko tells him about Wataru, how she used him to get his intention, and how she is comfortable with living with the people at Tsugumi Dorm who accepted her character. In short, she wants to stay back. Hiro wonders why she would give up entering university to protect the dorm. She replies even though the dorm will be dissolved after next March, if there’s a good case, at least it will not be torn down. Just like how Hiro loves stargazing, she too loves this dorm as it is a place where she has made many memories and is currently her dream. So that dream of entering the same university as Hiro was of the past. Now her current dream is to find one on this island. At that time, Wataru has overheard everything, realized how strong a person she is and feels guilty for suspecting her. He rushes over in tears and profusely apologizes. The other dorm girls too heard her and are overcome with emotion. Hiro accepts her decision and will support her dream. He shake hands with her before leaving. Soon Naoko and the rest make 5 vows of Tsugumi Dorm, like to be together and such. The next day, the Tsugumi Dorm tenants gather for a moving out ceremony.
 
The first half of episode 13 feels like it focuses back on Rinna again. As the gang prepares for their moving out ceremony. Wataru notices a little red rock-like earring on Rinna’s ear. He remembers a legend whereby a boy and a girl once fell in love on this island. Because the girl lived in the ocean and they were soon parted, the boy split a priceless red crystal into 2 and gave half of it to her as a symbol so that he will remember her once again and love her. Wataru and Rinna took the earring to a friend of Takashi’s, Junji Kamiyama, who created that piece a long time ago, to ascertain it. Though it’s a bit jagged now. We learn how Rinna’s parents were not on good terms and were close to a divorce. At such testing times, Rinna was depressed and sad. At that time, that’s when a boy came up to her and gave her a piece of that earring, dubbed the rock of reunion, to cheer her up and became her friend, though she can’t remember how he looked like. Wanna bet that this guy is Wataru? Yeah, he finally realized it that night that the boy could be him. So the next day he searched his grandpa’s entire storeroom for his other half. He finally finds it and calls Rinna. It’s like fate reuniting them, huh? However when they try to combine the earring as one again, it doesn’t fit! So much for the drama. The next day, Wataru finds out that Rinna’s piece was given by Takashi! Which means the other half belongs to… OMG! It’s Akane! She’s still talkative as ever! She thinks Wataru is stalking her by hanging out in this place! It then occurred to me that she is Takashi’s little sister! Furthermore, Takashi vehemently won’t allow Akane to be Wataru’s girlfriend, citing that obscene playboy as a perverted wolf! But even so, Akane is disappointed with her brother’s character because she was expecting him to give her his blessing! So my question is, did Rinna actually got the piece when she was young? Later, Wataru and Rinna went to see the latter’s father’s girlfriend and we find out that the reason she lived at Tsugumi Dorm was because she couldn’t handle the shock of them co-habitating together. But she soon finds out that she isn’t such a bad person after all.
 
Note that the mid-intermission here shows the photo of the members of Tsugumi Dorm and now the title of the episode appears, which is ‘The Promised Day’. Other than that, no other particular girl in focus nor is it Wataru-focused episode. Hey, doesn’t that guy like a main star in every episode? I guess that’s enough if you look at it that way, right? The second half focuses on the Tsugumi Dorm members in their moving out ceremony. While Saeri hands the gang their graduation scrolls, she also has a few heartfelt words of encouragement for them, like how they’ve grown stronger and such. She sounds so mature now. Even Naoko is brought to tears. Except for Wataru, whom Saeri didn’t have any words initially because she’ll still be seeing him around but after he protests, she has a short speech for him too. Finally a speech from Naoko, which is an emotional heartfelt one about how they all love and protected this dorm. It’s heartbreaking to see the girls shed tears as they all sing along in their farewell ceremony while having short flashback clips of certain events in the previous episodes. As Umi can no longer hold on, she breaks down and hugs Wataru. Poor girl. I think I can’t hold on much longer too. *Sob sob*.
 
I know the ending wasn’t much but I guess it’s better to leave things the way things are for now. The final scenes of the last episode did stir a little emotion in me. It’s sad to see that many of them would leave the dorm and island but hopefully they will return and reunite one day. Where ever they are, their hearts will always and definitely be together. It’s a good thing I caught this anime series and even though it won’t be an all-time best, at least I like the way the drama is played out. And no, it isn’t boring to me. But there are still some questions which remain. For instance, I’m still wondering how Rinna ended up sleeping in her undies back in episode 1.
 
There is one girl which is my favourite character. She is Akane! Shucks, how I’d wished that she had a 2-episode to focus on. If only she had lived at Tsugumi Dorm, then maybe that’s a possibility. Ah well, even if she made cameo appearances, they’re still enough to make me break into a smile. Got to really love her lively talkative behaviour, that’s for sure. Initially I was also hoping that there would be some love triangle among Wataru and some of the girls but it didn’t turn out anything close. It was a shocker to me when it came to light that Naoko and Wataru were once a couple, albeit for a short time. I had always thought it was to be Umi and that she should be Wataru’s girl. What about Miyaho? She did show some prospects back in her episodes. But I guess the important thing to them is staying together and friendship.
 
The drawing, art and animation isn’t anything to shout about as it is your conventional Japanese bishoujo drawing. I wouldn’t really say that scenes of the ocean or the luscious greens are breathtaking but I guess when one has seen too many concrete jungle, even such natural greeneries can be refreshing. Hey, it’s an island, right? So the most important lesson we can learn from this series is about loyalty and friendship. How it sticks like a glue. One can overcome many obstacles if one have many friends like these people. Just like how Wataru and the girls did. Because of that, you can never feel lonely. I wonder if this could apply to otakus alike. Think hikikomori extreme cases. Nah. Better to just keep watching animes.
 

Kono Aozora Ni Yakusoku Wo

KissxSis

July 25, 2009

Ah, forbidden love. Which kind? The incest kind, that is. What is it with Japanese people and incest? Not only that. There are so many types of hentai and ecchi stories in the anime line ranging from mild to hardcore. Are they such ‘creative’ people that they need to take out their wildest fantasies in the form of 2D animation?
 
Though I wouldn’t consider KissxSis to be a hardcore hentai anime (tempting mild ecchi with mature content, if I must say), but it does touch on the subject on the forbidden love between siblings. Well, step siblings. It may be a little confusing because our junior high school guy, Keita Suminoe, has 2 older twin step-sisters, Ako and Riko. Although Keita isn’t really one of those perverted guys, both the twins wouldn’t mind going to great lengths and do embarrassing lovey-dovey stuff on him. At first glance, it may be incest because they’re siblings but technically not because they are not blood related. Whichever, Keita is one pretty lucky guy to have them vying for his affections. Or is he?
 
I’m not sure how many episodes there will be in this OVA but I noticed that there is quite a large gap between the release dates. The first one was released back in December 2008 and the second in May 2009. Then there will be another one to be released in November 2009. I guess it is a trend these days to bundle OVAs together with a volume of a manga in order to increase awareness or sales. I found out that there has been a discrepancy to what the title number of the first OVA should be. Some listed it as number 1 whereas officially it is number zero. Huh? What does it mean? A prequel before the real story starts? A setting to give viewers a taste of what is to come?
 
The show starts off with Keita waking up to the sound of his alarm clock but he can’t get up to off it because his hands are numb. No, he wasn’t playing with himself, mind you. The reason is, Ako and Riko have once again sneaked into his bed to sleep with him. With both girls flanking his side and resting on his arms, you can pretty much do the maths. Keita is relieved that Ako is soon awake but her morning stretch causes her to accidentally punch Keita in the cheek. To make up for it, she gives him a kiss on a cheek. Of course he tells her not to do such things anymore but would she listen? Once she finds out that Keita can’t move, she gives him a wet passionate tongue-to-tongue kiss! Wow! So stimulating! Sexy crazy! This is definitely a wakeup call. Because of that, his ‘southern’ part too has awakened. Hahaha! Stimulating alright. Ako then goes down when she hears their mom calling.
 
Once she leaves, it is Riko’s turn to awake. So it’s her turn to get steamy with Keita. Uh huh. Riko takes advantage of his immobility and gets on top of him while giving him another morning kiss. She proceeds to give him some service by gently squeezing his ‘southern’ part. Yeow! Oh baby! Riko then decides to help him change his clothes since he can’t move and starts by taking off his pants. But it’s stuck because of that erected ‘southern’ part so she pulls harder till it came off. Let’s leave his sensation to your imagination. Phew. Are we having enough already?
 
Keita and Riko comes down for breakfast and we find out that even their parents are supportive of the twins doing whatever they want with Keita! They’re even okay with them marrying their son or even doing this and that on him. Is this the kind of parents we want? Ah well, so long as they love their children. Okay, maybe not. Keita’s dad then tells him to focus on studying instead of women even though the twins are his sisters. We learn that Keita is planning to go to a different high school than the twins, Suisen, because of his lower grades. The high school which the twins are going is much nearer and I’m wondering if they want to go to the same high school, why not they themselves enrol where Keita is instead of asking him to enrol there? They wonder if Keita doesn’t really want to go to the same school with them. Yeah, with all the early morning harassment, I can see why too. As Keita rushes to school, he has got a lot on his mind about his sisters and what they did to him so much so he bumps into a truck door. Ouch. Keep your focus straight.
 
In class, Keita finds out that his male friends have decided to enrol themselves in the same school that his sisters are. Simply because they want to see them in their student representative uniform or doing some school law enforcing thingy (those masochists…). Back at home, Keita is lying on the floor thinking about the high school he’s going to attend when Riko comes by to purposely show him her panties. I guess this guy has had too many of such teasing that this is hardly (mind the pun) anything exciting. Riko then says how she is doing it for him when Ako comes in to chide her for what she is doing. After Riko runs away, Ako then embarrassingly flash her panties to him. Hah. She’s the one to say. Yeah, she thinks that he has seen Riko’s panties, that it’s only fair to see hers. Huh? Of course Keita isn’t amused and goes back to his room while saying how they’re just using him as a toy because it’s only about one losing to the other in ecchi. Ako is a little depressed and thinks she has made him mad but decides to use her special ability to make up for that chance.
 
That special ability is to cook Keita a love-filled bento. However Ako gets a surprise when Riko too decides to join in, though Riko doesn’t seem to be quite good in cooking. A chance for Ako? Riko tries to pick up a white radish when she accidentally drops it when Ako spots her wearing Keita’s shorts. She is upset and wants her to take it off this instant. Riko uses a diversion to point that Keita is here to escape. I can’t believe Ako actually fell for it and starts acting all lovey-dovey before realizing she has been tricked. Because of the ruckus, Keita wakes up and goes downstairs to see Ako trying to take off Riko’s shorts. I’m wondering how did Ako ended up in her panties only. Did she take off her pants so that she could put on Keita’s? As usual, Keita isn’t amused with their yuri play and lets them carry on with whatever they’re doing. Finally Ako manages to take off Riko’s shorts (OMG! She’s not wearing any underwear beneath!) and starts rubbing it on her own face! That pervert! No difference. Then their parents come in to see them in such a ‘pitiful’ state and tell them that Keita has left for school already.
 
Keita gets a surprise visit from Ako in class as she presents to him her bento. At the same time, Riko too hands her bento (bought from the convenience store, that is) and proclaims she won’t lose to Ako. The presence of the twins has Keita’s male guys crowding around them and wanting them to treat them like usual. However, Riko says that she only thinks of Keita, causing that poor chap to be really embarrassed. Keita then blows his top and yells back why do they need to bring his lunch to school is it because they have brother complex or something. Keita’s pals aren’t amused with his outburst but the twins feel guilty and say that they don’t have brother complex, but rather they love him. Wow. A confession right in the middle of class. However Keita is too upset and says that he doesn’t believe in their words because he feels that they have used him as a toy and wants them to leave. With a heavy heart and tears in their eyes, the duo obliged after apologizing.
 
I guess Keita felt he was too harsh on them and decides to go after them but he heard how the other girl classmates are whispering among themselves about their sick relationship. Keita gets pissed off and tells them off that they don’t know anything and yet they sprout this kind of crap. So they tell him to make them understand and that’s when Keita reveals that they are not blood related while showing them the middle finger! Yeah, you can all go and f*ck off! Okay, I made that last line up. But I guess that’s what Keita would really like to say to them as well. The class is in double shock with their newfound discovery.
 
Keita manages to catch up to the twins and apologizes for his outburst. The twins reveal that since he is going away to a different school, they started to feel lonely and apologize for being terrible sisters. But Keita disagrees that they are terrible sisters (I think he made that statement based on the flashback of all those steamy moments he had with his sisters. Haha. Just kidding) and concludes that they won’t have to resort to such ‘ruthless’ acts if they’re not lonely and decides to study harder so that he can enrol in their high school. The twins are overcome with joy as they jump to over to hug him, which resulted in them falling onto the ground. When Riko recomposes herself, she is shocked to find Ako kissing Keita! By that time, a crowd of students have gathered around them and I think they very much enjoy the drama going on between the trio. They start arguing over Keita (Ako saying not to interfere when she’s having a good time?!) and when Riko realizes Keita is a little out, she starts dragging him to a secret place. Since Ako is her twin, she can pretty much guess what kind of things they’ll do (heck, we too can guess what kind of ‘fun’ things she’d do on him). They resume quarrelling over the possession of Keita and that guy wakes up to see the usual bickering scene. Yeah, he’s now saying how this might not be so bad after all. Uh huh. Methinks that it’s better to have girls fighting over you rather than none.
 
The next episode has Keita and the sisters at the beach. He catches a baby octopus which earns the wrath of the octopus boss. You guess right. Fanservice time with its tentacles rubbing here and there over the girls while baby octopus has its tentacles stuffed inside Keita’s mouth. Keita then wakes up from this dream but to his horror finds Ako giving him a tongue to tongue kiss! Some morning kiss! Does he get it every morning? Ako continues to ignore what Keita is saying and is going to prepare him for school when she pulls away his blanket. To her horror, Riko is sleeping cuddling right next to him. It seems she crept in last night and joined him in his beautiful sleep. She then remembers she forgot to give him a goodnight kiss and proceeds with one, pissing off her twin.
 
As Keita prepares to go to school, to his dismay, mommy already knows that the sisters confessed to him at school because this is currently the hottest topic going around the neighbourhood. I see everyone has no other lives but to enthusiastically butt their noses into some kid’s reluctantly love life. And if mom is hyped up about it, what about daddy? Well, he’s fine whoever Keita picks, as long as it’s not mommy. Who says old people has lost the flame? Anyway, they want Keita to hurry up and choose because the neighbourhood is even betting on who Keita will choose! They really need to get a life. In class, Keita is tired for not having enough sleep so his pals wonder why. When Keita mentions his sisters kept him up all night, they misinterpret that they must’ve done something hentai. They continue to tease him that he has fantasies of them. Keita violently protests as he slams his hand on his desk, injuring them.
 
Back home, he finds the twins waiting in his room. This is part of their plan so that Keita won’t shoo them away and let them stay. If they came after he enters his room, there’s a big chance he might just slam the door on them. But do you think that giving such excuse to help him study for his exams is going to work. We all know the real reason, right? They spot his injured hand so Riko takes his hand and wishes for it to heal. Jealous Ako too does the same thing but in the form of a hasty kiss. This resulted in Keita falling down and Ako landing on his injured hand. Keita goes to take a bath and is having a hard time with his injured hand. Then it hit him how he may have looked at his sisters differently ever since they confessed to him. Before he loses himself, he decides to get out when Riko comes in naked! Ako in a school swimsuit thinks she’s too late and rushes over to give Riko her lecture. Riko puts on a 2 piece cloth and though the sisters argue, it’s not like they’re going to leave Keita in peace. Their intentions are so obvious. Keita is fed up and wants to leave. The slippery floor causes them to trip and let’s say Ako is on top of Keita and has her butt in his mouth. She’s finding it stimulating? On the other hand (literally), let’s say Riko is sitting on Keita’s injured hand. So when he tries to move his fingers… Yeah, stimulating too… I guess we can’t blame that guy because he has hold on for too long and finally nose bleeds. Riko gets naked and thinks that this will stimulate Keita back to life. Would Ako have it her way?
 
Keita wakes up to find himself in bed as he reads an apology letter from Ako who feels bad and just wants to help the person she loves. Well at least it sounded like she was treating him like a little brother than a lover this time. Then a letter from Riko in which she says she washed his underwear because she felt responsible for his wet dreams… The way Keita reacted must be true lah. The next day as Keita visits the infirmary, he finds his sisters wanting to go in with him to help. Riko doing something cheeky like saying she’ll be his right hand while moving her hand actions up and down. Thinking of that ‘M" thingy? Keita changes his mind and wants to go home so a little struggle ensued so much so he fell down the stairs. Ouch. Now his hand has a fracture and will take 3 weeks to heal. We all know partly whose fault lah.
 
I’m not really sure if I could wait until the next episode comes out. Yeah, that will be like a whole year for just 3 episodes. To watch or not? I’ll decide when the time comes. As you can see that the forbidden love here is not so bad either. Though the anime starts out on a rousing and stimulating note with lots of fanservice and panty shots, I wouldn’t really consider this to be a series which contains explicit adult material. Maybe for first timers. I feel it’s rather mild. If you can set your mind that they are not blood related, all those kissing scenes won’t feel that gross. Which brings me to another point. When the sisters kiss Keita especially tongue to tongue, it’s like you could see saliva trails. That passionate, huh? I don’t know. I find it a little disgusting. I guess Keita has experienced too much of this ‘harassment’ so I guess he’s ‘numb’ to it all. So is he a lucky guy or what? Hopefully he won’t turn into a pervert. I know this would make his sisters happy… I also find that Riko is the slightly ‘slow’ but more straightforward type while Ako tends to straighten her out.
 
The drawing and art seems pretty okay for an OVA, not to say that the quality is top notched but I guess we’ll be pretty much focusing on the characters rather than on the background. Even so, the characters do look a little simple. I noticed that the hiragana or katakana writings will appear onscreen whenever there are some sound effects taking place. I’m still wondering why the scene changer has either Ako or Riko turning or flashing as they move across the screen. Yeah, fanservice. Definitely. So those who love ecchi stuff would fancy trying this out. You could say this is a little like soft porn.
 
It’s a good thing that I don’t harbour such fantasies myself. Okay, so maybe wishing for a harem is as bad but I still feel that illicit sexual relationship between blood related siblings is something that I still find unpleasant. Where in the world can we see cute and pretty looking girls or sisters wanting to show their undying and overflowing love to that single guy they hold closely in their heart? Ah, animes has opened up and made such thoughts possible. Fear the power. What will they think of next?
 

KissxSis

Another short anime which caught my attention is Hani Hani Operation Sanctuary. Actually its real name is Tsuki Wa Higashi Ni Hi Wa Nishi Ni Operation Sanctuary. Phew. Now that is sure a mouthful. Literally it means The Moon In The East, The Sun In The West: Operation Sanctuary, so I’m not sure how it is shortened to that Hani title that I just mentioned.
 
Basically, this anime series another one of those ubiquitous genres in which it is based on the H-game of the same name. So how short is this anime? Not only it has 13 episodes but each episode is about 12 minutes of running time, including both the opening and ending themes. And since it is classified as a comedy-harem-drama-romance with sci-fi, you bet that such genre is ‘attractive’ enough for me to go watch. Even if the storyline isn’t all that exciting nor the anime itself has anything unique to offer.
 
So in episode 1, in a decimated abandoned world void of humans, we see some hooded guy trying to escape from some dark swarm when the ground caves in and he falls into it. Yeah, he’s saying something about finding some sanctuary in which they can be saved. Change of scene. Current day Japan. Our main male protagonist, Naoki Kuzumi, is your typical high school student. If you have seen too many of such animes, you’ll guess that he has to have a childhood friend to wake him up to go to school. Yeah, she is Honami Fujieda. What are the chances of any chemistry happening soon? Go figure. Also, since his parents have passed away, he lives in his uncle and aunt’s home. And guess what, he has no memories of what happened beyond 5 years ago. Isn’t it so typical?
 
So as they head to school, we’ll be introduced to other main characters in this series. Like Matsuri Shibugaki who is Naoki’s cousin and Kyouko Nishina, who is the school nurse. Because Naoki is running late for class, Naoki decides to take a shortcut by stepping over a bed of flowers. Of course a girl who is attending them, Chihiro Tachibana, manages to stop him in time. He apologizes and promises to be careful. In class, now this is the most amusing thing. Naoki’s homeroom teacher, Yui Nonohara, is such a short person! Like a midget! At first glance, you may even mistake her for a kindergarten kid! Wow. Some growth deficient, I’d say. I can’t help break into a smile each time I see her. So small lah. Other characters introduced are Naoki’s other male friend, Kouji Hirose, and the class rep, Fumio Akiyama.
 
During recess, as Naoki is taking a nap on the bench, he is awakened by a bright shining light and several feathers floating down. He then spots a girl with a pair of angelic wings above him. Her wings disappear and she drops on him. Talk about an angel falling out from the sky. She is Mikoto Amagasaki and she mistaken Naoki for her brother, Yuusuke. In her happiness, she hugs him but faints due to exhaustion. Mikoto is then the new transfer student in Naoki’s class as introduced by Yui. After class, Mikoto apologizes to Naoki for her earlier outburst. At the cafeteria, we learn that Matsuri is doing a waitressing job there and that Naoki is part of the astronomy club along with Kouji and Yui. It seems Naoki’s intention of bringing Mikoto along was to introduce her as a new club member. Though surprise at first, Mikoto gladly accepts. In exchange, she gets to eat almond bean curd every day.
 
Episode 2 starts off with that hooded guy again wondering where everyone has gone to. I guess Naoki was having that bad dream too when he wakes up to find nobody is at home and starts to panic. So when Honami rings the doorbell, Naoki is relieved to find her and hugs her. She must be wondering what’s wrong with this guy today. Later after Naoki buys some coffee beans for Kyouko, she invites him for a drink in her infirmary. Suspicious at first, Naoki then agrees since the treat is on her. While drinking, Naoki notices how sexy Kyouko is when she then invites him to go out with her to a place nobody else knows. Nope, it’s not what you think either. It’s actually a greenhouse and it’s in a mess. She wants him to help clean up the place. Of course Naoki thought the coffee was a treat but since Kyouko mentioned about the ‘treat’ for his eyes, I guess we all know what this means. Slick. After cleaning up, Matsuri comes in with Chihiro and the latter wants to join the gardening club. Kyouko approves and also appoints her as the president of the gardening club. Hey, she’s the only member. Chihiro is delighted when Matsuri mentions how Kouji is looking for Naoki and this prompts him to remember his astronomy club activities. Naoki apologizes for missing the setting up for the stargazing activity. Soon everyone arrives to watch the night sky and have a delicious picnic underneath the stars.
 
It’s the physical examinations in episode 3 so Matsuri and Mikoto resort not to eat breakfast. Remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Mikoto finds out the hard way as she faints on her way to school, but it’s nothing fatal or serious. But even so, Mikoto and Matsuri pleaded to the teachers to have their measurements taken again. Not desirable, eh? Too bad. You only get one shot at this. Try again next year. Meanwhile Kyouko is taking Naoki’s measurements and sure enjoys teasing him. No, she didn’t measure there lah. Once the measurements are over, Mikoto and Matsuri has Naoki buy them tons of bread as they feast on it like nobody’s business. Yeah, they even finished it! Just as Naoki said, an act of desperation. In class, on Naoki’s proposal, Yui is trying to get volunteers for the committee members and since nobody volunteered, Yui starts to panic. Seeing the current conditions, Akiyama volunteers, much to everyone’s delight. Later as Naoki helps Chihiro with her greenhouse, he spots someone passing by and goes to investigate. That mysterious person shoves him down before running off. Though nothing serious, Chihiro soon helps him up as Matsuri comes by to walk home together with them. On the way home, Akiyama meets Naoki and thanks him for the proposal in class earlier on. Hmm… Her shy body reaction seems to indicate some feelings for Naoki. Soon she part ways with him and walks home with Chihiro while Naoki continue his with Matsuri.
 
The holidays are here in episode 4 and the gang plans to gather at Mikoto’s place. This means Mikoto has to clean it up first while Honami and the rest go shopping. However Honami and Naoki have some school dusty to attend to first. Once done, Naoki hands over the logbook to Yui and Kyouko, who in turn decides to ‘invite’ Naoki to be their ‘helper’ as they are going for a drive to the sea in the next town. Okay, so it wasn’t like an invitation. It’s like he’s forced to come. Don’t be late or else. Thing is, it coincides with his plans to gather at Matsuri’s place. I wonder why he doesn’t just tell them. I’m sure they’ll understand. So the next day, Naoki makes it in time to meet the duo and another amusing part is we see Yui behind the wheels of her beloved car that she affectionately calls Marupin. Can a midget drive? Oh sure. She’s such a safe driver that she’s causing a long jam behind her. Once arrived at the beach, Naoki finds out his helper job is to carry the many luggage they brought. Yeah, they need so many spare clothes in case they get wet. Meanwhile Naoki’s pals are wondering where that lazy bum has gone to and back on the beach, the teachers are interested to know what kind of girl Naoki likes. Well, he gave an honest answer. He himself isn’t sure. Hope he isn’t gay. Just kidding. Then the teachers find out about his other plans and so it’s Kyouko’s turn to be behind the wheel to fetch Naoki to the destined place. Like I said, if he just told them earlier. Can they make it in time? Anyway Kyouko’s driving is a total opposite of Yui’s. OMG! She’s a speed demon! Kids, remember not to drive like her! Cutting in and out and between trucks. Yeow. Hold on for the ride of your life! He manages to make it back in one piece and after a short lecture from Matsuri, they start their party. It’s amazing that the rest aren’t angry about his tardiness. See, you don’t have to be mad. Just be patient and understanding.
 
Mikoto’s birthday is coming up but is just right after the exams in episode 5. Thus Mikoto gets permission from a teacher to organize a group study at her dorm. He agrees so long as they don’t disturb the rest. When Matsuri finds out about it, she pesters Naoki to take her along with Chihiro. Thankfully the group study didn’t deviate into something else as everyone gets serious on their revision. As the gang takes a well deserved break, Honami goes to tell Naoki about Mikoto’s birthday and plans a surprise party for her. The exams come and go. As the gang buys stuff for the birthday bash, Mikoto is being called to help out Yui and Kyouko. Once the preparations are ready, the teachers escorted Mikoto to the cafeteria, in which everyone surprises her with their happy birthday surprise greeting. Mikoto is happy as the gang celebrates the usual stuff. Blowing candles on a birthday cake, receiving gifts. You know the usual stuff. Mikoto is glad to know that Naoki’s present to her is a photo frame. Everyone gathers for a photo shoot as Naoki timed the camera. He slipped when he rushes back so the photo came out with him in a very awkward slipping position. Luckily they had a retake which looks much better. Mikoto frames that photo up and thanks everyone for the memories together.
 
In episode 6, Matsuri chides Naoki for not doing things right because he bought the wrong fertilizers for Chihiro’s gardening club. But she doesn’t mind and thinks he has been helpful all the while. As Chihiro and Naoki have a friendly chat, you can see Matsuri’s body reaction that she is indeed a little worried. Chihiro wants Naoki to teach her to cycle so that she can go shopping without having to trouble him. So the next day, Naoki and Matsuri teaches Chihiro how to cycle and you can expect a few falls. Then a fall which has Chihiro into the arms of Naoki and you can sense how Matsuri feel when she spots that. As a beginner, she’s making quite some improvements. Back in Matsuri’s room, she is obviously in a dilemma about her friendship with Chihiro. Blame it on love, girl. Next day in school, because the cafeteria is crowded, Naoki suggests eating at the rooftop. Matsuri remembers something urgent and tells them to go ahead without her. However Chihiro spots Matsuri eating alone at the steps. Then Chihiro realized when Naoki told her that Matsuri told him to help her in her place. Chihiro then cycles out of school looking for Matsuri, who is walking home alone. You know, at that speed obviously she crashes. A little bloody, I’d say. Thankfully it is nothing serious though she is recuperating in hospital. Though Matsuri suggests Naoki to accompany her, Chihiro says she wants Matsuri to be by her side. Once everyone leaves, Chihiro finds out that Matsuri has interpreted her. Seems that Chihiro always seen Naoki as a big brother and nothing else. So I guess the strain is off from their friendship. Once Chihiro is well, she gives a pot of white tulip to Naoki, in which Honami says that its significance means recollections of love. So I suppose Chihiro’s love for Naoki is different, eh?
 
In episode 7, Naoki wakes up from another nightmare about a place being overrun by weeds. As Matsuri tries to wake Naoki up, she pulls away his blanket and let’s just say his indecency is enough to freak her out. Matsuri tries to pound some responsibility sense into him like making him do some laundry but panics once more when she sees Naoki handling her undies. Yeah, she slaps him. He gets another one (coupled in with name callings like molester and pervert) when he accidentally walks in on her when she’s changing. This is just not his day. Next day at school, Matsuri gets advice from Chihiro and the way she says things, Matsuri takes it that she must be in love. Must be lah. So obvious. She even spaces out while talking to Naoki so she jumps into the pool without proper warm up and soon experiences leg cramp. Naoki dives in to save her. As Matsuri comes to at the infirmary, she overhears how Naoki is telling Honami that Matsuri is like a little sister to him although they are cousins. He wants to pay more attention or else they won’t be a real family because 5 years ago when he lost his memories, Matsuri’s family took him in and if he had been reserved, they would never become a real family. Matsuri is touched by his words. The next day once she has recovered, before she leaves home, she pecks sleeping Naoki. As Matsuri is leaving home, Honami comes in and the former tells the latter how she’s leaving the rest up to her. Honami wonders what she meant but we know that Matsuri is resigned to love Naoki just as his little sister. Uh huh. All hopes for a lovey-dovey relationship rests on Honami now.
 
The astronomy club is having another stargazing event in episode 8. However, it is also Matsuri’s birthday. Due to this, they agree to postpone the party to tomorrow. On the rooftop as the club is observing the stars, Naoki remembers the time he first met Mikoto. She then tells him about Yuusuke and is confident that she will meet him. The next day as Naoki and Honami go out shopping together, Kyouko is reporting to Rei Usami, the chairman of the school, that some level 3 symptoms is showing. And something about ‘that person’ as their only hope. At the street, Mikoto spots Naoki and calls for him but he didn’t reply. It seems Naoki and Honami were behind her instead of across. Then it hit her that he may be Yuusuke. She goes in search of him with Naoki, who leaves the rest of the shopping to Honami. Yeah, ditch the girl right there to help find someone who looks like himself. They search through the whole town but to no avail as Honami goes to Matsuri’s place. But it isn’t a celebration if Naoki isn’t around. As Naoki and Mikoto sat at a park bench, Mikoto tells him how there was an epidemic back in her homeland which a lot of people died including her parents. As a result, Yuusuke went missing. Mikoto starts to cry and Naoki tells her do cry her heart out. Matsuri notices Honami not her usual self and asks her if it is alright for this to go on. Well, maybe not because Honami did note how Mikoto is a little too close to him. Ah, those feelings…
 
In episode 9, Naoki hasn’t seen Honami around lately. He tried calling her home but nobody picked up the phone. It seems Honami is thinking of inviting Naoki to a shrine but since he isn’t home, Matsuri tries to call his handphone. He forgot to bring it with him. Ah, a case of both sides missing each other. Then as Naoki has a picnic with Mikoto, Kouji and Akiyama on the rooftop, Naoki suddenly remembers the promise he made with Honami a month ago to go watch the fireworks there at Hasumi Shrine. He is in a dilemma to go or not but decides to when Mikoto tells him to run there. Though the fireworks are over, he manages to meet Honami there. He apologizes but she doesn’t mind since he did remember the promise (just barely). She then brings him to the spot whereby he lost his memories 5 years ago in an accident. Meanwhile, a guy which looks like Naoki (has to be Yuusuke) is screaming in pain in some room while Kyouko experiments on an antidote. Back at Naoki and Honami, he tells her how she has taken care of him all these years and hopes she will be by his side from now on. Is he settling for her? Anyway Naoki starts to experience pain as he collapsed on the ground. Honami could do nothing but watch in horror.
 
Naoki seems to be fine in episode 10 but this episode starts off with Chihiro freaking out in her greenhouse because some mysterious person is seen smashing the windows. In school, Kouji and Akiyama questions Naoki’s whereabouts last night, in which he replied, home. Of course he gets a little edgy when they say how Chihiro spot him smashing the greenhouse windows. Did he? Naoki spaces out in class and suddenly experiences a weird dream whereby he is suddenly alone in a decimated classroom before collapsing. Rei and Kyouko are having another discussion about the trial medicine and that the dreams ‘that person’ is having may be linked to one of the students. So basically what she means is that what ‘he’ sees, that other student also sees. Make a good guess who. Naoki wakes up fine in the infirmary so Kyouko asks him several questions. He tells her about his dreams which recently caused him to have lack of sleep. That night, he dreams of himself smashing windows at school and cycles there, only to find that the windows are really smashed. As he discusses this with the rest the next day, then it only hit them it may be Yuusuke. Took them long enough to realize it. Mikoto then says how Yuusuke is confused and suffering from an illness which makes him violent. Yeah, didn’t notice this in the first place, didn’t she? That night as Naoki, Mikoto and Honami goes to search for Yuusuke in the school grounds, Yui is horrified to find Kyouko unconscious and her lab in tatters. Then Naoki starts to experience pain once more. Mikoto then spots Yuusuke and chases him up to the rooftop. Mikoto tries to get some answers from him when Naoki and Honami arrive. Yeah, they’re pretty appalled how closely this Yuusuke resembles. So close that I can’t tell which is which! Suddenly the look-a-likes start to feel pain and Yuusuke decides to jump off the roof because he’s tired of all this and wants a long sleep. He says it’s time for the dream to end? This isn’t the Matrix, I presume.
 
In episode 11, Mikoto manages to stop Yuusuke from jumping in time but the pain still persists. Naoki and Yuusuke are unconscious in bed and are being observed. Okay, now this is the part which the mystery is revealed. Rei reveals to Honami that she, Kyouko and Yui are from 100 years in the future. Woah! How far fetch can they get? In the future, a deadly virus called Marubasu is plaguing the land so much so that many of the researchers and medical personnel lost their lives against it. Kyouko is one of the few remaining researchers alive so they time travel back in time to find a cure. We also learn that Yuusuke personally volunteered to be a test subject and wanted the evacuation of Mikoto then. Thanks to Chihiro’s flowers, he is on the road to recovery. We also learn how Naoki lost his memories 5 years ago. It seems that during that day when the future people are doing some time travel evacuation, the coordinates were a little off and it was unfortunate that it happened at Hasumi Shrine. A bright light appeared above them and Naoki lost more than his memories, his parents too.
 
But this part I don’t understand because Kyouko says how Yuusuke and Naoki’s DNA are a perfect match, which means they are the same person. Uh huh. They split during when that accident occurred. That’s the reason why they both see the same dreams. So is Yuusuke from the future or not? But Mikoto did mention that Yuusuke isn’t her real brother and that she and her family found him barely alive, adopted that memory deficient kid and named him Yuusuke. All that happened 5 years ago too on that same day. Coincidence or what. But Kyouko says since that both of them are existing at the same time, they are starting to fuse (the symptoms being the pain). If they leave the duo alone, this will lead to mental breakdown and ultimately death. The question is, if they both fused, which of the 2 will prevail or will a new personality emerged. Tough choice. Mikoto goes to talk to Yuusuke and it seems he is prepared to fuse with Naoki. Mikoto thinks he is going to disappear from her again but he thinks that way, he could live inside Naoki and never be separated from her again. Likewise, Honami goes to apologize to Naoki saying that if she had never invited him to that shrine, all this would never have happened. But Naoki promises her that he will never forget the memories he had with her for the last 5 years.
 
In episode 12, the fusion begins and Naoki has a flashback of the time whereby he was brought by his uncle and aunty to live with them and Honami. Likewise, Yuusuke too had a flashback of how he came to live with Mikoto. Then they were being separated by their parents by some quarantine staff in which their parents later died and Yuusuke fell ill. I think the reason why Yuusuke became violent then was because he was a test subject for the cure and his violent behaviour was some kind of side effect. Then both Yuusuke and Naoki had a chat and it seems Yuusuke plans to fuse into Naoki. We then see a young Honami and Yuusuke at the hilltop at Hasumi Shrine. As Naoki went to help his parents, some bright light appeared to suck them up. Honami is horrified and rushes over. This part I don’t understand. We see the spirits of Naoki and Yuusuke and the former is asking the latter to help him save Honami. How? They both fused. I’m not sure whether this really happened back then or not or just some sub-conscious thingy during the operation. Naoki blocks Honami from advancing further. Back in present time, the fusion is successful as Yui breaks down while Rei comforts her. As Kyouko drives unconscious Naoki to hospital, Honami requests to stop by that Hasumi Shrine area. There, I guess Honami’s emotional speech was enough to wake Naoki up (he’s practically alright the way he stood up without showing signs of fatigue) and say how Yuusuke made him remember that he has always loved her ever since he was a kid and even now. They both soon kissed. Five years later, we see the teachers and Mikoto experimenting with some time travelling coordinates but it seems Mikoto’s coordination somehow shifted and not exactly where they intended to be. Just like how the first time she fell down from the sky with wings. Also, Naoki and Honami got married at a chapel and Naoki saying how they’re starting over from here again under this sky.
 
Episode 13 feels like a filler episode and if you don’t watch it, it’s fine. This episode replays several important scenes of the series and while they’re doing so, viewers can read the information of the main girls scrolling across the screen (mainly Honami, Matsuri, Chihiro, Yui, Kyouko and Mikoto). Data include their birthday, horoscope, favourite food, hobbies, their good and bad personalities and even an opinion of what other people think about them. Also, we get to see several short never-seen-before clips but it’s nothing much.
 
Okay, so the ending was pretty much a happy ending but I didn’t understand the whole thing in the big picture. So did they really discover the vaccine for the Marubasu virus? And about that time travelling thing, that was the most confusing one. If the teachers had Yuusuke in their care all the while and that when Mikoto first made her appearance coming down as an angel back in the first episode, how come the teachers didn’t say or do anything about Mikoto’s arrival? Another thing is, if Yuusuke and Naoki are the same person, how can Yuusuke be Mikoto’s brother in the future? So was that decimated place that Yuusuke and Naoki envision was just an illusion? Ah, so many questions. But it’s not like I want to know the answer more. Afraid that I may get confused.
 
I’m still curious about certain stuff like does Akiyama really have a crush on Naoki. Her body language seems to indicate it in that episode but after that, nothing much happens. Probably just the spur of the moment? Or just a side character? As expected, Honami has become the obvious choice in this harem anime and they even went on to get married. Matsuri’s just a little sister to him while Chihiro regards Naoki as her big brother and Mikoto, she’s more for Yuusuke, though he’s now fused as one with Naoki. Yui is still the most amusing character because of her little size but don’t put her down because she has a big heart as well. Another thing I’m wondering about is the scar on Naoki’s back that Mikoto spot during the school’s pool period. What does it mean? Also, why did Mikoto sort of say goodbye to the gang just after they celebrate their birthday? All too confusing.
 
The opening theme, Amulet, by Iizuka Mayumi sounds like your typical generic anime pop song. However, the ending theme is an instrumental and it only lasts around 20 seconds! How short can you get? So why bother putting up one. There are a few nice background music for the series, though I don’t find them memorable in the long run. The drawing and art too are your typical Japanese bishoujo type with the characters having wide-eyes look. Hmm… Sometimes I feel that they look quite similar to each other. So what is the Operation Sanctuary anyway? I guess it’s about teleporting people from the epidemic future to the past. It’s so ironic. We who are living in the present always look forward to live in the future while those in the future seem to want to try going back to the past. Yeah well, the grass is always greener on the other (time) side. Speaking of which, there is this A(H1N1) flu going about. Is this a sign?
 

Hani Hani Operation Sanctuary

I actually didn’t think that I would be doing another blog on anime cross-dressers. That’s because ever since my lost blog on this topic, there has been even more anime cross-dressers surfaced. Yep. A lot. Okay, so maybe it’s not a 3 digit figure but it is enough for me to accumulate and do another blog like this.
 
Because of that, I have also learned a new term during all these. Trap. It refers to a male character who dresses, looks and acts like a female so much so that no ordinary person in their right mind would think that they are males at first glance in the first place. Neat? The perfect make-up? Something close to a transvestite, eh? Of course in the anime world, there are some androgynous characters which aids in this ambiguity.
 
So listed below are the 17 anime characters who cross-dress, old and new ones. I know that some of my selections may be controversial and debatable but this blog is mainly about cross-dressing and not so much on traps, even if my blog seems to be inclining towards the latter. As long as the character cross-dresses in clothings of the opposite gender, then for me it counts and is good enough. So here we go:
 
Jun Watarase

Name: Jun Watarase
Anime: Happiness!
Occupation: Student
Signature move: Patriot Missile Kick
Cross-dressing reason: Thinks he’s a girl born into a body of a guy.
Most defining trap moment: Having a fan club of his own and the members even know that he is a guy! Even other students have a dilemma and gets turned on whenever they see Jun in sexy cosplay outfits but can’t help shiver to the fact that he’s a guy.
Identity known by: His close pals like Yuuma and Hachi and the entire normal section of their school. Later by Haruhi and Anri when they are transfered to their class.
Comment: Currently the most famous trap with all the references and jokes going about. Even if the series isn’t that famous, I think he is the only thing which makes this series ‘memorable’. Nobody in their right mind would have thought this guy is a girl if his pals didn’t admit it. Uh huh. Isn’t afraid to criticize how dumb men are. Perhaps should have renamed himself as Junko to complete his feminity. Man, this guy should have been born a girl. But life is never perfect, you know. Unless you’re talking about the perfect trap… But he did turned into a girl once, albeit a short time. Can’t stand all that craziness, can’t he?
 
Hamaji Yakumo.

Name: Hamaji Yakumo
Anime: H2O ~Footprints In The Sand~
Occupation: Student and also runs a family convenience store part time
Siblings: A little sister, Yukiji
Cross-dressing reason: Due to their mom’s demise, he cross-dresses to provide a motherly figure for Yukiji.
Most defining trap moment: Giving Takuma a mouth-to-mouth CPR.
Identity known by: Everyone in town except Takuma. He found out the hard way later.
Comment: If he have not gone into the hotspring bath with Takuma and show his full blown naked top, we’d still be thinking that he is a she. Even after when he is married to his childhood friend, Maki, and has a child of his own soon after, he still cross-dresses as a girl. I wonder how this will impact on his newborn child. What kind of message will he be sending. Yeah, his dad is a female…
 
B.C.

Name: Buzam A. Calesa or simply BC
Anime: Vandread
Occupation: Sub-commander of the all-female pirate space ship Nirvana
Specialty: Skilled tactician whip user
Cross-dressing reason: Actually a spy for the all-male Taraak race. Yeah, those men actually went that far to make BC into a woman and infiltrate Nirvana.
Most defining trap moment: Due to her trustworthiness, serious and no nonsense behaviour, I guess one of the ship’s male crew, Bart, starts to develop feelings for him. He’s still unswayed even after his identity is revealed because he did mention how he fell in love with ‘her’ as a woman!
Identity known by: Nobody onboard Nirvana knows his true identity except for the commander Magno Vivan, who decides to keep quiet all the while and forigves him at the end, provided he retains himself as BC.
Comment: Unlike other traps who either sound like a girl or try their horrible impersonation of a girly voice, BC uses a voiceover to make himself sound more like an assertive woman. Perhaps working with an all-female crew has ‘opened’ his eyes. At the end of the series he betrays the Taraak race so that he could go back with the Nirvana crew. Uh huh. He too did say something about how he didn’t like a medal sticking onto his ‘boobs’ (he received it for his stint at Nirvana). Being a female isn’t such a bad thing nor a crime, isn’t it?
 
Seiko

Name: Seiko Kotobuki
Anime: Lovely Complex
Occupation: Student
Loves: Atsushi Otani
Cross-dressing reason: Thinks God has put her in the wrong body.
Most defining trap moment: Giving unsuspecting Otani a kiss.
Identity known by: Well, Risa, Otani and their buddies initially didn’t know his real gender until Risa heard about its rumours. Too late by then…
Comment: Though his real name is Seishirou, poor Otani has his first kiss stolen by a trap! He found out the hard way when Seiko unbuttoned his top at the infirmary. Honestly, I’ve never met a guy who is this squeaky in terms of voice pitched. One can be forgiven if one actually thinks he is a girly girl. Though Otani isn’t homo and would prefer to remain friends after that ‘horrifying’ experience, but I guess that is good enough for Seiko.
 
Ayaka Takeuchi

Name: Ayaka Takeuchi
Anime: Bokura Ga Ita
Occupation: Sales promoter
Siblings: A younger brother, Masafumi Takeuchi
Cross-dressing reason: Not really sure but I’m guessing it’s either one of those born-in-the-wrong-body one or his twisted sexuality preferences.
Most defining trap moment: Not that I can think of since he is just a side character which only make appearances on rare occassions.
Identity known by: Masafumi’s friends which include Yano and shockingly later by Nanami.
Comment: Though Ayaka has never personally revealed herself as a trap, but I guess Masafumi’s other pals did hinted so to Nanami. Yeah, they even teased Masafumi that he turned gay because since his brother is like that. Uh huh. Probably a reason why that guy didn’t want to get a girlfriend. Yet. But Ayaka isn’t just all looks and she does give her little brother some ‘sisterly’ love advices.
 
Mariya Shidou

Name: Mariya Shidou
Anime: Maria+Holic
Occupation: Student of all-girls Catholic High School, Ame No Kisaki
Club: President of the Archery Club
Cross-dressing reason: As part of his late grandma’s wish, Mariya and Shizu cross-dress in a competition in which if their identities are successfully kept a secret after 3 years till their graduation, they will become the next head of the school they attend to. Plus, another reason is to learn the other gender well and to see their crisis management abilities.
Most defining trap moment: Being seen by Kanako how Matsurika is tightening a corset on his body and then giving him a pair of fake boobs.
Identity known by: His ever following maid Matsurika, his twin sister Shizu and recently the self proclaimed lesbian Kanako.
Comment: At least Mariya can pull off a two face acting and considering his ‘pretty’ looks, I guess nobody would doubt that this guy is actually a girl. Even a priest fell for him unknowing his true gender! He may be a sadist pulling off pranks on poor Kanako but he too has a helpful and caring nature. Perhaps he needs to uphold and preserve that goody image in front of the rest. Maybe a reason and excuse to mask his care for others by being sarcastic especially to Kanako? I don’t think this guy would have any intention of becoming a girl as there are times when it comes to exposure of skin, he’d make a deal with his twin and switch places. It’s just his love and respect for his late grandma that he decided to play this ‘game’.

 
Azami

Name: Azami
Anime: Himawari!
Occupation: Kunoichi in training-cums-spy
Specialty: Information gathering
Cross-dressing reason: To infiltrate the all-female kunoichi school.
Most defining trap moment: I’m not sure if this counts but when the girls like take a bath or shower, Azami too joins them. And the fact that the rest know that he is a guy.
Identity known by: Initially her team mates Shikimi, Himeji and Yusura. Later by Himawari and Hayato.
Comment: So I’m still confused about whether Azami is aware that the rest knows about his real identity because his team mates seem to just play along. At times, I feel Azami is like a double spy working for and against both sides but more towards the girls. In addition, there is a rule saying that no female kunoichis in the school must come into contact with their male counterparts. I wonder if the school authorities close an eye on this one because an easy disguise can’t just slip through them considering they are quite skilful, right?
  
Runa’s Papa

Name: Runa’s Papa
Anime: Seto No Hanayome
Occupation: Leader of the Edomae yakuza mermaid clan
Modeled after: Terminator
Cross-dressing reason: Wanting to get to know her daughter better and since money isn’t always the answer, Papa did some research over the internet and played galge in order to do so.
Most defining trap moment: Wearing a sailor uniform and trying to impersonate a girly voice. Result: Horrible and disgusting but hilarious!
Identity known by: Obviously everyone can see who this overgrown guy is.
Comment: Ever since Papa cross-dresses as a girl, he has never dorn his Terminator-like outfit anymore. Has this guy lost his mind? In addition in creating more unnecessary embarrassment for Runa, how would this impact on the image of the Edomae clan? But I guess even if he looks like an obvious failed trap, he still has the power to show that he is the boss. He won’t be winning his daughter’s approval anytime like this soon. Ever.
 
Mako-chan
Name: Mako-chan (real name: Makoto)

Anime: Minami-ke
Occupation: Elemetary school student
Loves: Haruka Minami
Cross-dressing reason: In order to get close to the Haruka he admires so much.
Most defining trap moment: Tries out female lingerie at a store. In a dilemma to enter a female hotspring bath and even a male one.
Identity known by: Kana, Touma and Uchida.
Comment: Poor ‘idiotic kid’ always gets into a pinch because he can’t afford to get his identity busted. It must be tough to change back and forth into a guy and a girl. But I guess he has to live with it if he wants to get close to his beloved Haruka. And dumb Kana isn’t helping either. Yeah, she’s just fanning the fire. Therefore, he’ll always be stuck as Mako-chan forever in the eyes of Haruka.
 
Kuuhen Baum

Name: Kuuhen Bahm
Anime: Galaxy Angel Rune
Occupation: Officer and manager of the Rune Angel Troupe’s dorm. Also works as a bartender in a bar he owns.
Loves: Seducing male customers
Cross-dressing reason: He cares too much for his physical facial appearance and puts too much make-up.
Most defining trap moment: Actually I didn’t watch the series long enough to determine whether any such events happened or not.
Identity known by: I guess the entire Rune Angel Troupe knows about it.
Comment: Here is another one of those obvious traps. I mean you can actually tell by his beard mark even if he is clean shaven. So I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe everytime he dresses as a housewife. You know those typical perm hair accessories and sleeping gown. I suggest he get some plastic surgery if he intends to stay that way…
 
Kamatari

Name: Honjou Kamatari
Anime: Rurouni Kenshin
Occupation: A member of the Juppongatana
Weapon: Large scythe with a chain connecting an iron ball
Cross-dressing reason: A homosexual who is deeply in love with her team’s leader, Makoto Shishio, even though she knows that his love won’t be returned (obviously. Shishio is a straight guy lah).
Most defining trap moment: After flirting a little with Yahiko and when Yahiko even admits that he is quite pretty, cute, beautiful and sexier than Kaoru and Misao (making them mad and jealous in the process), they then stop for a while and realized that this ‘she’ is a he, when Kamatari said how he’d be glad to teach Yahiko how to be a proper woman, throwing the good guys off their feet and in uber disbelief. Yeah, Misao thinks she has ‘lost’ to a guy in terms of sexiness…
Identity known by: Everyone in the Juppongatana, of course. And later by Yahiko, Kaoru, Misao and her members when they clash to do battle.
Comment: I see that even cross-dressing has its roots way back during the Meiji era. Maybe if Shishio’s team had beaten Kenshin has his, cross-dressing would be more widespread and acceptable today. Not that Kamatari is an advocate for it, but you know, when a group emerges victorious, their ideals are then spread to the rest and others.
 
Aoi Futaba

Name: Aoi Futaba
Anime: You’re Under Arrest
Occupation: Police officer
Partner: Yoriko Nikaido
Cross-dressing reason: Initially as an undercover decoy to catch a serial rapist but along the way found his ‘feminity’.
Most defining trap moment: Having quite a famous actor propose marriage to her! Also, having to face a dilemma to reveal her identity to a man whom she had befriended and got romantically involved via the internet.
Identity known by: Of course her colleagues and the entire police force at Bokuto Station.
Comment: I’m not sure how many countries have laws against cross-dressing. But as long as an officer of the law isn’t corrupted and would do anything for justice to prevail, then it doesn’t matter how you look like on the outside. So next time you see a female police officer, think twice before pulling off a fast one.
 
Kaneto Sakurai

Name: Kaneto Sakurai
Anime: Iketeru Futari
Occupation: Student
Love interest: Keisuke Saji
Cross-dressing reason: Because this first year student is in love with Saji so he doesn’t mind cross-dressing as a girl to be with that pervert.
Most defining trap moment: Saji flipping up his skirt to see what is underneath it and Saji doesn’t mind doing so because he thinks that they are both guys.
Identity known by: Everyone who knows him.
Comment: Well, there isn’t anything much I can say about this petite gay side character but what makes me wonder most is perverted Saji is a bisexual or not. I mean, as long as a person looks cute or like a girl, he doesn’t mind getting ecchi. Take Sakurai’s case for instance. But at least it goes to show that Sakurai is willing to go the distance and disregard his outer appearance just to get the one he loves’ attention. But even so, it is necessary?
 
Kishin Mademoseille Saigou

Name: Kishin Mademoiselle Saigou
Anime: Gintama
Occupation: Owner of an okama bar
Son: Teruhiko
Cross-dressing reason: Since his wife’s demise, Saigou cross-dresses to also play a motherly figure for Teruhiko.
Most defining trap moment: Wants his son to call him ‘mother’!
Identity known by: I’m sure everyon who isn’t blind can see he is a cross-dresser, right?
Comment: Formerly known as Saigou Tokumori and an ex-member of the Joi resistance team, I guess after so many hard fought rebelling and wars has got this guy thinking about his life and future, especially after the arrival of his son. No matter how a tough cookie you are with whatever terror legacy to your name, your paternal instincts will kick in and instantly become more mature and responsible. Okay, maybe not true for some but in Saigou’s case, he definitely has thought about it.
 
Kare Ijuin

Name: Kare Ijuin
Anime: Penguin Musume Heart
Occupation: One of the 4 White Knights serving under Mary Whitebear
Club: Cheerleading
Cross-dressing reason: Loves the beauty of wearing skirts.
Most defining trap moment: When he lost the Battle of the Holy Panties competition, he flipped his skirt to reveal his true gender.
Identity known by: Surely by her boss and other comrades of the White Knights, and recently Sakura and her friends.
Comment: I’ve never known a guy who flips up his skirt to reveal his real gender identity. Was it because his lost to Nene was so overwhelming that he doesn’t see a need to hide anything anymore? But if he doesn’t spill the beans, it would be impossible for many of us to know that he is a guy. And even after the rest knows of his true gender, he still continues to cross-dress.
 
Kogarashi

Name: Kogarashi
Anime: Kamen No Maid Guy
Occupation: Maid Guy
Specialty: Too many to list! Bloody multi-talented, I tell you!
Cross-dressing reason: Erm… It’s part of his job description and title, right? As in, maid guy. Get it? "Maid" guy…
Most defining trap moment: Not that I can think of. Possibly not applicable.
Identity known by: Heck, everyone know who he is except for his true face partially hidden behind a mask since he arrived like that in the first place.
Comment: Okay, so he may be the most controversial and debatable character for this blog but hey, he cross-dresses in a maid outfit, right? One reason why his cross-dressing isn’t so obvious is because of his burliness and huge ripping muscles which seems to overwhelm his dressing. Nobody is going to pay attention to his fashion sense because it is his no-holds-barred character and actions in which viewers will be more fascinated and focused on.
 
Hayate Ayasaki.

Name: Hayate Ayasaki
Anime: Hayate No Gotoku
Occupation: Butler-cum-bodyguard-cum-confidante and anything else needed
Loves: Nagi Sanzenin. Though he may not realize it yet…
Cross-dressing reason: Well, unlike other cross-dressing characters who cross-dress at his own will, Hayate’s cross-dressing is forced upon by Nagi (and sometimes Maria) to satisfy her sick fetish…
Most defining trap moment: I’m not sure what that sick pet tiger Tama is thinking but he instantly fell in love for Hayate cross-dressed in a catgirl outfit and even pounds on him to mate! Yeah, even that old geezer Klaus can’t hold back his pervertness.
Identity known by: Good thing that this cross-dressing is temporary. As far as I’m concern, only Nagi and Maria knows about this, though it would be pretty obvious if the rest of the other characters ever finds out…
Comment: I don’t know why but most viewers would also consider Hayate as a trap sometimes. Perhaps it is his girly face and feminine characteristics like good in cleaning and cooking, which makes many to consider him as a trap albeit for a short moment. Uh huh. He may look cute and moe whenever he dons those clothings.
 
Of course this list isn’t meant to be definitive as there are many more cross-dressers and traps (especially!) in the anime world. I know that there are some characters which could have made the list but are missing. That’s because I have not really watched that anime so I don’t really have much information on them and can’t really list it down here.
 
Anime traps and cross-dressers are definitely here to stay for a long time. So it doesn’t really matter what you do or how you look like on the outside, it’s the inside that counts. Erm… That depends on how you view it too. Thus beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So make very sure first because it’s better to be safe than sorry, if you know what I mean. Unless you swing that way too. Now, after witnessing a bunchful of these, I wonder if that character is a trap or not…

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki

July 18, 2009

In my opinion, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki is the anime’s answer to that highly famous dysfunctional family from that US cartoon series, The Simpsons. Depends on how you look at it, I think each of the family members in this anime series is equally quirky themselves. Okay, maybe not so extreme as The Simpsons but I guess the crazy and frenzy fare is enough for me to classify them as its equivalent.

If you are looking for some slapstick comedy with some fast talking amidst all the turmoil and at the same time emphasizing the importance of family bondage and ties, then I guess this series should suit your taste. However I won’t go as far as saying that the slapstick level of this show is close to Excel Saga. Sometimes you’ll really laugh out loud with their hilarious antics and at other times feel a little heart warming fuzziness in your heart because of the lines that they say about sticking together as a family. Hahaha… Aww… Yeah, something like that.

Here is how the story starts off. In episode 1, we see a catgirl, Kyouka, playing naughty pranks and eluding escape from the city’s soldiers. Until she bumps into a personnel of the Great Japanese Empire Paranormal Phenomena Bureau of Measures, Ouka Midarezaki. Upon finding out who he is, they are then taken to the bureau’s headquarters whereby Ouka is being explained by his higher-ups and vice-head of the bureau, Genichirou Hanayama, about his would-be mission. Before Ouka can grasps things, he is forcefully married in a hasty wedding ceremony to Kyouka and hence commenced Operation Cosy Family. What on Earth is that?

You see, a thousand years ago, the god of destruction named Enka was to annihilate the entire planet. However with the humans all united, they managed to defeat Enka and saved planet Earth. But before Enka breathed his last breath, he vowed that he would come back in the form of his ‘children’ who would continue his work to destroy the world. Fast forward to present time, the children of Enka has been identified and Kyouka is believed to be one. Thus the purpose of this Operation Cosy Family is to cultivate love and care by gathering all those related to Enka so that in the event if Enka ever awakens in one of them, he would have learned those loving family values and thus abandon his plans to destroy the world. Sounds easy, right? Yeah, well if that only worked in the real world. But what the heck, it’s worth a shot.

As absurd it may sound, Ouka has no choice but to go along with this mission. He takes the role of the father while Kyouka as the mother. Now, the main motivation to watch this series is definitely Kyouka herself. She is the selfish self-proclaimed omniscient and omnipotent God (Haruhi fans would disagree very much) that everyone shall bow down to. Uh huh. Her fast high-pitched yapping, insults and always-gets-what-she-wants behaviour is the main reason and driving force of why this series is hilarious. Thankfully Ouka is around to keep her in check but he too has his hands full in controlling cheeky Kyouka. So the rest of this episode has Kyouka setting up a one-sided game with Ouka to find the rest of Enka’s children and would-be members of the Midarezaki family. Ouka experiences his first pain and suffering under Kyouka’s rules and to cut things short, the ‘children’ include Yuuka (an abused child – note her hideous scars on her back!), Teika (an African lion), Gekka (a jellyfish who seems to be able to fly and also not constrained to her water tank), Hyouka (a biological weapon) and Ginka (a transvestite). Yeah I know. Weird family members, eh? Human and non-human family members? But one thing is for sure. Ouka is going to be in for the ride of his life.

So in most episodes, you’ll see how the crazy frenzy family members go about in their daily lives with their misadventures and all. Courtesy of Kyouka of course. They’ll meet several other minor characters, some recurring and some just one-off, in their mission to build family ties and relations while having fun amidst the total chaos. How dysfunctional can they get? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Episode 2 focuses more on Yuuka. She is having difficulty adjusting life in her new school and is constantly being bullied. Living up to her name as an abused child? You’ll also noticed that the members of the Midarezaki family previously have their own names before this operation started such as Hyouka was known as Black 13, Teika formerly as Shakuya, Ginka was once Ginichi and Yuuka was previously named Reiko. While Kyouka selfishly wants to do a real wedding ceremony with Ouka, Teika and Hyouka notices Yuuka being bullied but that girl chose not to tell her family members so as not to burden them. Then Ouka finds out and tries to talk to her but Yuuka locks herself in her room. Yuuka is so sad that she wished that she had been better off dead! Kyouka then orders Hyouka to blast open the door and you know it’s going to get dangerous if ever that catgirl gets involved. Yeah, plotting revenge. The next day at school, we see all this as part of Kyouka’s plan to make Yuuka looking all grand. Uh huh. She sets up Teika and Gekka to harass Yuuka’s classmate while Yuuka arrives to save them all. Yuuka will then transform into a magical girl (Hyouka taking over, that is) and whip the lion and jellyfish’s ass. Their plan is successful though Kyouka is really enjoying it all and wants to take even extreme exaggerated measures! Enough already! In the end, everyone praises Yuuka as their heroine and later, Kyouka does her wedding party with an unenthusiastic Ouka. In the end, it is revealed that there is someone paying and ordering those bullies to harass Yuuka. It’s a goth-loli girl, Senko Himemiya and gosh! She has an uncanny resemblance to Suigin Tou of Rozen Maiden! She is so wicked!
 
Senko comes back to further torment Yuuka in episode 3. You see, the Himemiya has a weird abusive tradition whereby the older ones will take out on the younger ones. Because Yuuka has left the family, Senko is getting the receiving end from her crazy grandma and brother. She feels that Yuuka should come back as she’s the one who is supposed to get hit! How selfish! Before Senko could further abuse Yuuka, Ginka comes by to save her (initially he put up a brave manly front but reveals his scaredy self one Senko is gone). It seems Ginka and Senko knew each other when they were younger. When Senko was beaten, Ginka came along and told her how he would save her. But Senko feels that he won’t come to her aid now seeing the way things are and that night, Senko hires those bullies to further hit poor Yuuka. Luckily her family members arrive in time to stop her brutality and at the same time, some strange voices in Senko’s head lectures her and causes her to collapse. When she comes to, she finds herself in Midarezaki’s home and initially Kyouka wanted to kill her as punishment for messing with their family but Ouka points out the source of her problems from the Himemiya.
 
Thus Kyouka declares war on that family and that night they ambush their mansion, taking out lowly guards, destroying priceless belongings and the finale of Hyouka blowing the whole place up with his nuclear weapon. What a way to end things. With Senko having no place to go and after Ginka apologizes for not being able to save her earlier on, they decide to test her to see if she is related to the child of Enka. But Senko has her reservations because every living thing already underwent this DNA testing so there is no chance for her to be one. Though the results came out negative as expected, to her surprise, the scientist confirms she is a child of Enka! How come? Well, Kyouka played cheat by using her Cellphone (some telepathy thingy in her head) to control the scientist’s mind! Slick. With that, Senko is now part of the family and will be known as Chika. Welcome to the family. She apologizes to Yuuka for her cruel ways, discards her gothic fashion for a casual one and you’ll notice how she doesn’t address Kyouka as mom but neko (kitty) and at times try to make Ginka a more manly man since she likes him. But since Ginka is a transvestite, failure to do so gets Chika upset and punishes him (S&M type of punishment?). Also, news of the Himemiya has them in great debt and been absorbed to some other family and their sick traditions abandoned. Chika also thinks that the voice earlier in her head may be of Gekka’s. Hmm… That jellyfish is more than meets the eye.
 
In episode 4, Kyouka decides to bring her family for a honeymoon trip and goes to a travel agency to book one. The travel agent’s most successful and popular staff, Chieri Sakurai (notice her sales stats penetrating out from the chart box and stretches across the ceiling! Wow! I think every sales personnel wants to have such a statistic), is to meet Kyouka and her family tomorrow but it seems the head of this branch, Doinki (some voodoo enthusiast?) loathes her and decides to steal her customers. If this guy’s planning to mess with Kyouka even though his target is Chieri, then he’s going to regret it. The next day, as Chieri welcomes Kyouka (who brought along Ginka, Chika and Yuuka), Doinki devises several schemes to sabotage her, which eventually leads them to his office. Doinki tries to snatch Chieri’s customers and relegate her to doing assistant duties but Kyouka is adamant that she wants Chieri to do the talking. Doinki tries to shift their attention by showing them a simulator whereby they can go anywhere in the world with just a push of a button (surrounding effects may be dubious. The staff making sound effects and changing props?). Kyouka goes back to think about it while Doinki ties up Chieri in a room for his ultimate plan. The next day, Kyouka and family comes back to test this simulator and with the constant location changes, it is putting a strain on the machine and staff. Doinki then wants them to sign the contract but Chika is unwilling because she believes that a fun trip must come from laborious planning and preparation. But Doinki doesn’t give a damn and that’s when the other Midarezaki family crashes in. Ouka arrests Doinki for using illegal curses but Doinki uses a hypnotized Chieri to allow himself to escape. Kyouka throws Hyouka at Doinki to break the spell. When Chieri is back to her normal self, she is depressed of her failure. But after Kyouka lectures her, she gets her self-confidence back and with that, greets them with a smile. Looks like their honeymoon is on track.
 
The gang will enjoy their first honeymoon together in episode 5. We see how powerful Kyouka is. Since it’s a pain to go to the airport, she has the airport come to them instead! Woah! The whole runway right in front of their house! And off the go to some uninhabited crescent island. Because Kyouka was playing with the controls, the plane crashes but luckily everyone is safe. Now how will they get off the island? After a day of fun in the sun, the family follows the pamphlet’s directions and treks through the jungle to find a huge 5-star hotel! WTF?! Yeah, a lone staff-cum-hotel manager, Akeru Nishikura, is waiting for them since they have made reservations through that travel agency. Kyouka decides to name him Pierre based on her stereotypical view that anyone who wears white tuxedo with red bowtie are called so. Yeah, I think I’ll refer to him as Pierre too because it’s easier to remember. Pierre cooks the gang an exquisite meal and later Ouka discovers that Pierre is from the bureau as well because only Kyouka and the bureau can do such extreme measures like having runway at their doorstep and a hotel built on this so called safest island in the world, whereby it is freed from all sort of living animals and microbes. Also, Pierre is posted here for ‘slowing down’ people back at the bureau. That night when everyone is asleep, they are rudely awakened with an ambush. Ouka thinks this is all part of Kyouka’s scheme but finds out that she isn’t involved (she’s watching some love comedy so that she could play a prank on Ouka!). The hotel is under attack by white monkeys who then kidnapped Yuuka and imprisoned her in a cell along with Gekka. Kyouka assembles her family to bring back Yuuka and uses her Cellphone power so that she could see what Yuuka sees. To her surprise, as Yuuka looks out her window, she has a top view of the crescent island below! A castle in the sky? Yuuka and Gekka then enters a room to see a little old guy and she mistaken him to be a monkey. Hahaha. Looks closely like one. Want a banana?
 
In episode 6, Yuuka finds out that he is a scientist named Inuhiko Saruwatari and he is damn happy after Yuuka acknowledges him as human. We learn that he was doing research on A.I. but his colleagues made fun of him and thus decided to hide from the rest of the world in this floating castle of his. Here, he tried to create human beings but the results were white monkeys instead. He then wants to make Yuuka his… Uh oh. That scary look in his eyes… Because Saruwatari knows that Kyouka is going to take back Yuuka, he sends his monkeys down to stop them, only to be greeted with Kyouka serving the monkeys a sumptuous meal and entertainment. Meanwhile Yuuka is being strapped onto an operation table and is scared stiff but luckily Hyouka appears to save her. The floating castle then starts to explode. What happened? This is part of Kyouka’s plan to lure the monkeys with food. After having tasted such a great feast, she tells them to bring some blue crystal (which keeps the castle flying) if they want to taste greater food. But since it is limited, the monkeys panic and start fighting among themselves for it. All that’s left is for Hyouka to fly down with Yuuka. Though Hyouka wanted to slash the obstructing monkeys, on Yuuka’s pleas, he decided not to. Then Hyouka said something how if the world would be divided into 3, it would be Heaven, Hell and himself. Didn’t understand.
 
Soon Hyouka faces Saruwatari and we learn that Saruwatari was one of the group of scientists which created Hyouka. But the process to create Hyouka as an ultimate weapon backfired and ended with the death of the chief, Dr Gebok. The lab was destroyed and he ended up on this island. But Saruwatari isn’t going to end like this and commands his monkeys to surround them. Since he doesn’t care for the primates, this causes Yuuka to chide him saying that they too wanted to be loved by him. Saruwatari realizes that the monkeys have been looking at him as a human all along and repents. The castle crumbles along with Saruwatari in it (he finally found his happiness and place, eh?) as Hyouka swoops down to the island with Yuuka in his arms. Then we see a goddess-like character who chides the family for cruelly leaving her behind. OMG! Is this Gekka’s true form? Though not mentioned, she says she wants sushi as compensation and uses her magic to whisk them all back. Not only they will forget all that has happened, when they open their eyes, everyone is back home and safe. Everything back to normal. Before I forget, Kyouka decides to claim that crescent island as hers and renamed it People’s Republic of Kyouka (PRK) with Pierre as its head. Yeah, she’s God, remember? She can do anything she wants.
 
In episode 7, a pair of ninja assassin siblings, Shuu and Tsubaki, decides to abandon their old ways and make an honest living by running a Chinese restaurant. Their dad however is opposed to that idea, though the duo went ahead. To make things worse, their cooking seems to be collapsing everyone although they follow their mom’s notes! Can they be a chef instead of assassin at the end? Tsubaki enlists her classmate’s help, which is Yuuka, to help their shop. Soon Kyouka and family patrons the restaurant (partly because Kyouka has been causing so much ruckus that they’re banned from eating elsewhere. So this is the last place left) and has a taste of their cooking. Though Chika collapses, she realizes the reason why their previous customers suffered the same fate. Kyouka then takes Shuu on a 3 day training stint but in the end, animals ended up as customers. Then before closing time, Shuu is visited by his dad as he tells why he and his wife divorced (something about how she had a weak body, which is detrimental to being a chef) and as a last test from Kyouka, Shuu makes a bowl of sesame balls. We find out that the reason why people collapsed was because the recipes were too good for ordinary humans to handle. Thus the training stint was to tire Shuu out so that he could be reduced to an average person’s level. With that, Shuu’s dad decides to give them his blessing and retire from his assassination business. Their restaurant picks up business the next day with Kyouka (proclaiming to be the restaurant’s saviour) and family once again dining there and the usual ruckus of stealing who and who’s food. Shuu and Tsubaki proudly frames their mother’s notes on the wall.
 
Episode 8 starts off with a flashback of Ouka. When he was young, he was brought by Shinigami II to a little girl who kills without hesitation and now imprisoned in a messy cell. The girl tries to kill Ouka but he manages to punch her away. In present time, Kyouka is devastated to find out that Ouka went to an amusement park with a girl. Going astray, she thinks. Ouka meets up with an old acquaintance, Shinigami III (what’s with that bone mask anyway? But don’t make any comments about her face because she’ll reply "I’ll destroy your face" answer) and it seems Shinigami wants to know his feelings for her. Before anything happens, Kyouka busts in and you know with 2 women around, a catfight is bound to happen. Yeah, they don’t like each other. Shinigami decides to take Ouka out on a date. Meanwhile, a mysterious being, Odessa Ei, seems to be watching her onee-sama and wants to trap her. You can tell her presence when 2 bunny ears sprout out from something she possessed. Ouka then is whisked away by Teika in disguised to some bar whereby the rest of his children are putting up an act to seduce him. When Shinigami comes in, Ouka then points his gun at his own head and wants Kyouka to come out. He has had enough of this and says he is serious that he will pull the trigger and die hating her. Kyouka agrees though she throws a tantrum. Ouka has a talk with Kyouka and Shinigami and Shinigami decides to judge Kyouka. If she’s not satisfied by the end of the day, she’ll kill her. Kill God? Of wait, Shinigami is a death god too. Literally. The trio take a ride in some slave war exhibit and during the ride, they are ambushed and Ouka notices Shinigami trying to kill Kyouka. Oh wait, isn’t that bunny ears sprouting out from her head? Odessa is calling for Kyouka, her onee-sama, but Kyouka haven’t the slightest clue who she is.
 
In episode 9, obviously Shinigami is under control by Odessa but some voice from her grandpa interrupting has Odessa releasing Shinigami. The trio try to figure out things but the amusement park is under siege by robots of the park. They dispose of the robots easily and though both ladies still hate each other, Ouka suggests a Ferris wheel ride. Shinigami’s luck has the first ride with Ouka and in the compartment, she wants him to kiss her. Of course he couldn’t. Shinigami then senses the Ferris wheel going to explode and leaps out with Ouka and is saved by a being named Suiar, who possesses a robot. He tells them that Kyouka was once worshipped as a God of an underground empire but committed a terrible sin. Suiar disappears before they could get more answer and the park is once again under attack. Kyouka and Shinigami then fell into some garbage compartment below. Ouka goes to the control room and meets Suiar again. He further learns Kyouka was formerly a demon Queen known as Vanessa in that world and her unforgivable sin was to become human. After having her memories erased, Odessa was her successor but was always being compared to her more charismatic sister. So the only way is to for her to beat Kyouka. But it is even a sin coming to this world and Odessa may be in trouble if the underworld finds out about this. Meanwhile Kyouka and Shinigami put aside their differences and work together to overcome Odessa’s death traps. Kyouka goes into Shinigami’s body and uses her sword skills to slash their way out. Though Shinigami is unconscious, Odessa possesses her to trick and injure Kyouka. Before she could land the final kill, Ouka throws a plank breaking Shinigami’s mask (I see it’s to cover her hideous birthmark). Odessa disappears and Shinigami upon finding out her mask is broken, in her panic swings her sword around ordering them not to look and accidentally stabs Ouka. She regrets what she has done and after Kyouka lectures her, Ouka gets up fine and luckily he isn’t seriously injured because the sword just grazed through his skin. After witnessing them, Odessa decides to return another time and beat her sister. The next day, Ouka meets up with Shinigami who isn’t so concerned about her face anymore. When Shinigami decides to kiss Ouka, this pisses off peeping tom Kyouka as the duo once again duke out their love-hate relationship.
 
Another beach holiday for the family in episode 10 when they are confronted with the Purple Skull Pirates led by a little girl named Mujaki Serpent. Good thing is that these are friendly pirates doing trading business. But they’re soon attacked by a rival pirate led by Mujaki’s late dad’s former mate, Doggone. He wants the treasure map that Growald (Mujaki’s dad) left behind. Since Kyouka was holding the map, he kidnaps her while Mujaki and the rest of the family chases them. Except for Gekka who stayed behind with Pierre to feast on the sushi. Mujaki managed to catch up and Kyouka rejoins her family and decides to play pirate. Your typical high-seas action ensue with cannonball battles and swashbuckling moves and yes, the Kraken which unleashes its tentacles to sink the ship (it’s Gekka if you look closely). They all awaken to find themselves in a cave and soon finds a chamber with a key to the treasure. Doggone catches up and wants them her to hand it over but Mujaki’s justice and principals to protect everyone turns the tables by shooting him. Doggone then is happy how Mujaki has turned into a great pirate and it’s revealed that he was playing the part of the villain as commanded by Growald to groom her into one. When Mujaki uses the key to open the treasure, a hologram of Growald appears and reveals about this elaborate setup and that the real treasure is the strive to be a great pirate. As for the real gold and silver, Growald tells her to work her ass off to find it as he won’t hand over them so easily. Haha! Duped. With that, Mujaki turned into a conniving heartless pirate as she takes out on Doggone while Kyouka and co tries to escape. Talk about instant change in character. And I wonder why Gekka and Pierre are having itchy allergies after eating too much sushi.
 
In episode 11, Ouka and Hyouka are escaping from Gebok’s attack while doing shopping errands. It seems Gebok is still alive and he did so by some stem cell transplanting. He wants to know of Hyouka’s progress and a self-destruction causes Hyouka to crash into a shop run by a young girl, Kiriko. Ever since, Hyouka has been coming back to help her fix the store or do some errands. Is he in love? Seems like it. On their usual outing, the duo enters a theme park whereby anyone could see that the person behind that guise is Kyouka. Another setup? Something about wanting to meet her son’s girlfriend. I don’t know why, Kyouka then involves her whole family in some game show for Hyouka. Then when Kiriko appears, the rest restrains Kyouka so that Hyouka could have a word with Kiriko outside. Their conversation is cut short with Gebok’s ambush. Gebok tells a flashback of how Hyouka during one of the experiments, made Hyouka fired onto a target with a live victim inside, which is Kiriko’s sister. This is to hone his killer instincts and make him less resistance to killing but Hyouka went berserk and resulted in Gebok’s death. Hyouka is experiencing malfunction due to his conflicting emotions while Kiriko is devastated. Kyouka wants to help but Ouka prohibits her, saying that this is Hyouka’s fight. Hyouka then powers up and beats the crap out of Gebok and his minions. But this isn’t the end of Gebok yet as you can count he’ll be back in the future. Back home, Hyouka feels gloomy and remorse and Kiriko too the same in her room. The next day, Kiriko goes to visit Hyouka to apologize and forgive him. She tells him that she is leaving town to give herself a chance and to discover herself. They part ways as Hyouka wishes her luck.
 
Episode 12 takes a breather from the Midarezaki family. A side story which focuses on a normal college kid named Rindou Katsura who leads a pretty boring life until he picks up a cat to his room, which turns into a catgirl named Milcatopy the next day. Hmm… Rindou’s next door neighbour lady sounds so much like Ginka. So Rindou tries to live his normal life with Milcatopy without getting her exposed but she showed up at his college one day. Then at the cafeteria, several armed soldiers wants Rindou to come with them. He thinks he is busted and reveals that he is a fake college student who failed his entrance exam and without any support from his parents, wanted to taste college life. But his lecturer (funny accent he has) knew it all along because of his hardworking personality (come to think of it, all college students are slackers these days, which made him stand out). But the soldiers are after Milcatopy and not arrest him. Milcatopy appears to escape with Rindou while the lecturer and his college mates hold the soldiers down. The duo are then picked up by lady Ginka who drives them to a bar place, Virgo, run by a friend of hers, Drinda. Milcatopy tells Rindou that she’s a spirit from the US and since her mom is ill, she needs money for her treatment and didn’t tell him about it because she thought he will hate her. But is Rindou that kind of guy? Nope. At Virgo they’re begging her to stay and work here for the time being when soldiers surround the place. Rindou creates a diversion and runs out to let the soldiers chase him. He trips on a unkempt hooded Kyouka and gives her a canned food. Rindou is surrounded at the park when Kyouka proclaims herself as Kyoukya, ruler of Shangri-La (among her long-winded speech), and repays her debt as she disposes those soldiers easily (they’re afraid of her?). Rindou goes back to Virgo and starts working alongside Milcatopy. During their break, Rindou kisses her as treat for answering his questions. Initially I thought this story was made-up. Later I found out that the characters here will in the future overlap with the main story and this setting was before the Operation Cosy Family started.
 
Chika is the focus of episode 13. Looks like she has been touted the school’s gang leader after easily defeating the previous one, Momokusa(which is now one of her circle of friends). Her friends are pestering her to investigate a case whereby girls of their school are starting to lock themselves in their rooms and not wanting to go to school and that the people at the bureau are even looking into this. One day, Chika is being ambushed by several rude soldiers of the bureau and the ones who do not favour this Operation Cosy Family, which is gaining support. Before they can forcefully take her away, they are pounced away by Pierre and his monkey. Chika and her family discuss about this and Kyouka assures Chika of her support. Then at school, Chika finds out from her buddies that even Momokusa is absent. So along with Kyouka, they decide to pay a visit to her home. Thing is, Momokusa’s family is of the yakuza background. But the thugs are easily disposed and as they enter the underground cave, they made a startling discovery, they find Momokusa has been transformed into an animal and locked in a cell! They also find out that Momokusa’s dad is also responsible for this. In order to test their new drug, they spread it into the entire city’s food but the after-effects seem to turn them into animals (no wonder girls won’t come out of their room). Furthermore, Gebok is behind the development of this drug. Before the yakuzas could attack, some green machine, in which Kyouka takes the liberty to call him Dekamelon as he has never enough time to introduce his name, saves the gang. Meanwhile, Ouka is being visited by Hanayama who tells him that the world’s greatest traitor and bureau’s greatest mistake is back as its head. She is Raichou Hiratsuka and Ouka saying something about a death sentence wasn’t enough for this Empire’s Terrorist? This butterfly outfit girl is seen appearing atop the burning yakuza’s rooftop. Is she some sort of a magical girl?
 
The entire citizens of this city is turning into animals in episode 14 and it is up to our dysfunctional family to put a stop to it. Plus, the entire city has been transformed into a giant defence base in this emergency. We see Hanayama talking to one of his subordinates, Kumo, but since she is working under Raichou, he shoots a sleeping needle into Hanayama’s neck. The Midarezaki tries to take refuge as instructed by the warning but were cut off with the appearance of Gebok (now in the form of a giant tower). He wants them to hand over Hyouka in exchange for the cure. Raichou then appears for the first time before them and says how the bureau too has created a cure but Gebok is preventing their helicopters from dropping the cure. Ouka thought she was against this operation but she replies that she’s in favour of it and needs a strong basis to shut those opposition up. She wants Ouka to stop this madness if he wants to know whether this operation is worth protecting or not. Kyouka agrees as she, Ouka and Hyouka combine their powers to put a stop to Gebok while the rest seek a safer place to hide. Dekamelon appears to help Hyouka to activate some super destructive kick-ass weapon, Lucifer Cannon, to blast Gebok out of the sky (still thinking how marvellous all this is, eh? Mad guy alright). The antidote is then scattered and soon everyone returned back to their human self. As the Midarezakis happily reunite, Raichou is seen happy with the outcome of this test she has set up. She thinks they are able to survive the expected catastrophe with this simulation. I smell something bad coming up. And at Chika’s school, looks like she has become more popular now.
 
Kyouka’s marriage anniversary is coming up in episode 15 as she bakes a horrible cake for Ouka (reminds us of Bianchi’s cooking of KHR, eh?) and forcefully making him eat it. But Ouka doesn’t remember that special day, upsetting Kyouka as she prompts to get her revenge. She does so by crashing into Raichou’s office while she’s enjoying her cake. Kyouka wants to borrow a device that will pry open Ouka’s head so Raichou gives her a magical wand which changes its target’s love feelings into negative energy. But she has to point at a person who loves Ouka in order for that guy to feel the pain. I like how Raichou tells Kyouka she has a fatal flaw to be a magical girl because she’s already a married 20 year old person! But that isn’t going to put her down as Kyouka goes around with Teika to test her wand on people whom she thinks likes Ouka such as Shinigami (by the way, I found out her real name is Shiruku and that her dad is Hanayama) and poor Teika himself. But they all backfire. Meanwhile Yuuka and Chika are out shopping for mommy’s anniversary presents when they’re confronted by several thugs. Luckily Kyouka and Teika are there to save the day as poorly disguised magical girl combo. Kyouka later goes home to find Ouka apologizing about their anniversary, which softens her heart. Because Ouka said how good Kyouka looked, the wand starts to affect on herself and will zap her. In order not to let Ouka get zapped, Kyouka decides to take the fall but Ouka saves her from a powerful energy light which proceeds to blast through the roof and project en embarrassing message in the night sky: "Ouka, I love you". I guess that’s the most terrible consequence Kyouka has to face. The family returns back to normal the next day as Kyouka once again ties Ouka up to a chair to let him taste her dreadful cake. Now isn’t this love?
 
Episode 16 has Teika visiting a fellow lion of the Bister King lineage at a zoo, Madara (a white lion with scars over its body and seems to hate humans) and a little lion cub. Then as usual, Kyouka takes her family out to the zoo and has Ouka play her find-their-children game, which include getting attacked by zoo animals and Kyouka accidentally winning a pig race that she initially bet on for Yuuka to win. Soon Teika goes to introduce Madara his family but the latter isn’t amused as thinks he’s on the human’s side now. Some flashback how they met when they’re cubs but I’m not going into detail. Then we see Raichou and Kumo discussing another event that will turn humans into animals once more. Again? So she dramatically enters the Midarezaki’s home to request them for their help once more (hey, they’re quite reliable the last time, remember?) and what’s this? Gebok is now on their side and Ginka’s drinking partner? Meanwhile Shinigami sneaks into the bureau’s HQ to find her dad but shockingly discovers that he has been turned into a little bear! Raichou discusses this case further at PRK (she wants to marry Pierre because of his superb cooking? Is that a joke?). Then we see Madara at a park with that little lion cub. When she finds out that she was once human, she gets upset. She finds herself surrounded by humans that fully turned into animals.
 
I guess if it’s going to turn out this way, Madara decides to be king of the animals. This is possible since Madara is a lineage of Bister Kings who are able to control animals through their voice. In episode 17, we learn Momokusa’s family are the one responsible for this recurring case. Though they have been disbanded after the 1st incident, they secretly created another drug to re-establish themselves but got out of hand. Madara’s speech is interrupted by Kyouka who plans to challenge her in some election game. The one who appeals to the animals will win. While Madara tells about the humans’ cruelty, Kyouka feeds them with melon bread and promises them that they’ll never go hungry if they support humans. Looks like they’re buying Kyouka’s words. Ah well, one of their basic instincts is food, right? Madara then leaps over to Kyouka’s side and wants them to promise they’ll never betray Teika who lost his family once. Kyouka passes a law which allows animals and humans to walk freely with each other. Don’t be surprise to see elephants and giraffes walking in the busy street for the coming episodes. Then a zookeeper who thinks Madara has kidnapped that little lion cub wants Madara to give her back and fires his gun. Teika uses his body to shield Madara. Luckily, Gekka in goddess form heals Teika doing some magic blood transfusion through Madara. Soon with Gebok’s cure, everyone returns to normal. A hilarious part ensued when Shinigami awakes to find herself naked and thinks her dad is a pervert (yeah, she chased him in circles. Both naked). Later Yuuka has Teika meet up with Madara to talk things over and to Teika’s surprise, Madara is a female and that mane of hers is actually some bird in disguise (like a wig, you can say). Teika is dumbfounded by this and Madara’s body language seems to indicate that she has feelings for him but Teika is too embarrassed to answer her question and flees.
 
Ouka falls ill in episode 18 and the whole household is turned upside down. Ironically, Ouka was the one doing all the chores. So without him, their home is in a mess. They try to fill in his place but it turns out that they’re all klutz. A funny part sees Kyouka trying to take advantage of Ouka’s immobility to do something lovey-dovey on him but backs out when Ginka comes in. Once she has left, Ginka too thinks of the same thing! Until Chika comes in and gives him her usual S&M pain. Amidst that ruckus, Gekka successfully gets close with Ouka, pissing off Kyouka. But because everyone else is messing up the house, Yuuka puts her foot down and reprimands everyone. Thus Kyouka organizes an expedition to find a cure for Ouka which includes a cursed wooden mask and a little menacing vegetable. When those cures are futile, Kyouka decides to shrink themselves to enter Ouka’s body to fight the virus. It’s like a germ warfare and their zapping of the virus is causing Ouka more pain then anything, even if he’s unconscious. After they defeated the virus, they have to get out of the body before they return back to their normal sizes. Just in the nick of time or else Ouka would’ve been torn to pieces. Though Ouka’s illness is cured, he is bandaged due to those injuries. His suffering will continue because nurse Kyouka decides to nurse him back to health. What did he do to deserve all this?
 
Kyouka and her family visits Kiriko’s hotspring inn in episode 19. Unknown to them, a hidden threat has emerged, she is Doji Akuma (literally means clumsy devil) and her sloth assistant, Mike. She hails from the underworld and is on a mission (after receiving some sort of vision) to bring back a soul so that she could be a full-fledged demon. However, she’s such a klutz, you’ll be laughing more than feeling threatened with her bungling ways. She observes the family and is surprised by their weird behaviours like an S&M couple, a drunk catgirl, a talking lion and a biological weapon who is seemingly in love with the hotspring hostess. Unbelievable. It’s pretty weird alright for an outsider. As she ponders which of these souls is the one she should take, Doji bumps into Yuuka while going to toilet but luckily her identity isn’t being exposed. Doji later then spies at the girls as they take a dip in the hotspring and Mike thinks she’s peeping. Furthermore, Doji has set a bomb to blow the place up when Hyouka detects a spy. Doji panics and starts firing her gun but her bullets won’t penetrate his metal skin so she runs for her life. The ruckus causes the guys to accidentally come over and while some girls are freaked out, Kyouka doesn’t mind letting Ouka see her wonderful nakedness (oh please!). But Ouka isn’t turned on, upsetting Kyouka and Chika who sends an electrifying Gekka to zap him. Doji is hiding before a rock with a bomb in hand when she has a vision that she’s the one who’s supposed to die and before she knows it, the bomb explodes. But she opened her eyes to find herself recuperating in the inn with the rest by her side. The reason she isn’t dead is because Mike slipped out the gunpowder thinking that she has no resolution to do this. Doji gets an earful from Chika who chides her for wanting to kill her beloved family and if she does she won’t forgive her. Scary. I guess it’s enough for Doji to back down from her plans and turn over a new leaf. The next day, the Midarezaki leaves the inn. Later as Doji is at the back of the inn, she remembers that she has planted several bombs around the inn in case she failed to kill them at the hotspring. Yeah, there’s 1 next to her. BOOM! She died for real this time. Haha! Live stupid die stupid. Too bad Kiriko’s inn takes a heavy damage and she’s in debt now.
 
Chika is out with her friends in episode 20 as this episode is some sort of a psychological thriller drama. Through her flashbacks, she remembers when she was living under Himemiya, she’s always wary of her elder sister who instead of taking her fury out on her, treated her kindly. Because of that, Senko was always living in fear of her ulterior motives. Senko too kept a monster as a plaything in a hut in the middle of a forest and named it Vitamin C, as what she usually feeds it. One day she brought her sister so that Vitamin C could rip her apart but it never showed up and Senko felt betrayed. Back in reality, Chika and friends noticed that they are being followed by the city’s soldiers and Chika soon realized that one of her friends, Hijiri, isn’t the real thing because the true one was running late when she called them and felt they have left her behind. That fake Hijiri soon turned into the monster Vitamin C as the soldiers surround it. Chika learns from them that this monster is caused by a creature called Muma and though it is small and weak, it takes control of a human’s memories once they bite (Chika got one on her index finger during the start of this episode from a little hamster-like creature) and materializes that victim’s traumatic memories. Chika then decides to confront her past as she borrows Momokusa’s bat and takes out her frustrations by whacking it to its bloody death. The monster vanishes and soon it rains Vitamin C. We learn that Vitamin C was just a figment of imagination of hers and that the real Vitamin C was an escaped convict. When Senko called him out to kill her sister, he was cowering in fear behind the bushes as he couldn’t do so and escaped, never to be seen again. Later as the gang regroups at Hijiri’s house, Chika excuses herself to the bathroom and meets with Hijiri’s dad, who is that escaped convict. But she doesn’t recognize him because hey, Chika never saw the real face of Vitamin C, right?
 
In episode 21, a young granddaughter of Santa Claus, Chloe, hates Christmas because it made grandpa a slave to his job instead of spending time with her. So she decides to ruin Christmas. Of all the houses, she has to pick the Midarezakis as she gets caught because present-obsessed Kyouka set up a trap to catch Santa Claus so that she could force her to give her all the backlog of gifts. Obviously, she has been a bad girl all the while, you know. Thinking that Chloe is the real Santa, Kyouka then spots the ‘fake’ Santa and blasts him out of the sky with a bazooka! There goes all children’s presents. Soon, Kyouka decides to help Chloe with her job and I think she flexes her authority to have the bureau staff give up their free time to do some big time worldwide Christmas operation. Note the tears of despair not joy and words of hatred not love. She has Yuuka, Ginka and Chika as Santarinas while the other family members as reindeers. The gang do their best to deliver presents and eventually the real Santa turns up to do power battle with Kyouka. He’s a little bigger than the average human and he has a six-pack instead of a flabby belly! I don’t know where he learn those energy projection moves (from playing video games perhaps? Just kidding) but the fight seems awesome. Kyouka beats Santa with some cat punch and was going to finish him if not for Chloe’s interference. Chloe then realized how she still loved grandpa and why he is dedicated to his job as they reconcile. But Kyouka isn’t going to let it end there because she hasn’t got her presents. To her surprise, her family each gave her theirs, making her soft as she rummages through them. Just as Santa said "Anyone who gives a present will in return receive a piece of happiness in return". With that, Chloe happily helps her grandpa to deliver the remaining presents and doesn’t hate Christmas anymore.

 

A giant alien seed crash lands in front of Kyouka’s home yard in episode 22 and Raichou once again dramatically appears to request her family’s help to save the Earth from those alien invaders. Kyouka has no choice but to oblige because Raichou threatens to fire Ouka from the operation if she doesn’t cooperate. Same time, Ouka out on a shopping errand, meets a water alien girl, Oasis, amidst the city being attacked by those seed aliens. Oasis combines herself to become Ouka’s hand blade to put those aliens at bay. Once it’s over, she dehydrates so Ouka pours a glass of water to cure her when Kyouka spots them in a compromising position and misinterprets that he’s cheating on her. Anyway they brought Oasis home (much to Kyouka’s suspicion that she’s the alien invader Raichou meant) and the family learns that she has to be constantly filled up with water in order for her not to dehydrate, which could lead to death. They also learn Oasis is on Earth to discover the meaning of love so Ginka decides to teach her put gets S&M punishment from Chika when he can’t kiss Chika and Teika gets the same too when he asked Madara for the same (to teach Oasis about love instead of confessing his feelings, that is). This has Oasis to conclude love is pain and starts torturing Ouka. Jealous Kyouka too beats up Ouka so as not to be left behind. Oasis’s constant harassing of Ouka about love has Yuuka misinterpreting that daddy is cheating on mommy when the duo came out of the toilet semi-naked. That night, Oasis even sneaks into Ouka’s room to give him a kiss, much to the horror of his spying family members. Kyouka has had enough and decide to dispose of this alien threat once and for all but Oasis dehydrates again. They try to find water but the entire house is void of it. It’s revealed that Yuuka had drank them all up as she’s worried and sees Oasis a threat to their family harmony. But Oasis revives back after getting sprayed by Gekka. Next morning, the family wonders where Oasis has gone to when Raichou shows up again. Her reason is that she forgot to tell them the name of the alien invader, which is Gouyokuou. So they’ve been on a wild goose chase, eh? Plus, Oasis is supposed to aid them in defeating Gouyokuou. Bummer.

Those seed aliens start attacking the city and Raichou once again turns the city into a defence base in episode 23. Amidst the chaos, a UFO crash lands and this white armour-looking alien is Gouyokuou. The Midarezakis (exception of Gekka who is missing) encounters him and finds him with a polite and pleasant personality. Handing out blank business name cards? His goal is to find love on this planet too. What’s this with aliens and love? They also find out that the poles on his back is some sort of power restraining tool and without them, the slightest reaction from him can cause devastating destruction! Be careful. Because of that, he is a planet destruction weapon though he himself is reluctant to do such a job and runs away. He drowns his troubles at Virgo and quickly made friends with Milcatopy. Gekka then crashes into the place and soon Kyouka and Ouka arrive to find Gekka beating up Gouyokuou. WTF?! They learn that 1000 years ago, Gekka hails from a different planet in which she is the sole living organism amidst the vast ocean protecting the planet. One day Gouyokuou dropped by and confessed he liked her but Gekka doesn’t. So she made a deal to answer him if he could wait 1000 years in her place as god while she left. Time passes, Gouyokuou soon followed Gekka to Earth and upon learning Gekka’s ‘parents’ he wants to have Ouka’s blessing. Of course Kyouka takes advantage and wants him to bow down before her. Gekka quickly takes her parents away in her UFO when Hyouka crashes in to punch Gekka for acting by herself and making them worry (looks like robots have feelings too). Meanwhile Oasis is pondering near a lake when she hears an evil inner voice trying to coax her to the dark side.

As Gouyokuou ponders and waits for Gekka in the city, Kyouka takes her family (except Gekka who goes missing again) to the base’s shelter in episode 24. Suddenly an Arabian belly dancer-like lady, Scooby Doo, oops I mean, Kyupi Do, tries to hug her in her happiness but Kyouka hits her away. She’s from the Shangri-La underground empire and Kyouka was once their queen before she left. Kyupi likes calling Kyouka, Bakka Kyoukya which sounds like stupid Kyouka. Uh huh. Bakka in their empire means master. She wants Kyouka to return to Shangri-La but Kyouka is reluctant. Later Ouka goes to talk to Kyouka about how he initially took this operation as part of his mission but now feels like a real part of a family. Kyupi decides to atone herself by giving the family a wonderful feast and entertainment. But Kyupi’s intention is to get rid of Ouka as she throws her dagger at him. Thankfully, the quick response of the rest prevented an untoward incident. Oasis then appears to tell them that Kyupi is under control of a Water Parasite (WP). True enough the WP appears out from Kyupi and her goal here is to look for her god disguised as a human and living with them (Gekka, that is). Seems she and Oasis are from the same planet where Gekka came from and WP has infected many of the inhabitants on Earth. She escapes and Kyupi regain consciousness only not to remember what has happened.

WP meets up with Gekka at a lake and makes known her intentions to kill her to protect her ocean world but she can’t as Gekka says all those from her planet are part of her. When she felt lonely, she created other living things from her body. So if WP kills her, she too will die. Meanwhile Raichou discusses with Kumo about Gouyokuou not posing a threat now as he seems obedient and that the real threat if the WP possesses 1 of the Midarezaki. Raichou thinks of temporarily separating the family but who’ll stop Gouyokuou if he turns evil? Don’t worry, with a push of missile button, that’s all it takes to destroy him. Is it? However they’re interrupted by the bureau’s top head, Million (an uncanny resemblance to Senko’s sister. Hmm…), who disagrees with Raichou’s plan. Raichou is still persistent because she thinks the family may face an unwanted ending. Since Kumo is under direct orders from Million, amidst the struggle to draw some funny face on Raichou, she accidentally hit the missile button. This is a signal for the soldiers to move in and destroy Gouyokuou (still patiently sitting and waiting for Gekka, is he?). Lastly, Kyouka takes her family via UFO to the world’s safest place, PRK.

The family arrives on the island in episode 25 to find it has been overrun by hungry white monkeys and love-stricken pirates. They manage to enter the barricaded hotel and seems like Pierre and Mujaki are the only ones unaffected by the parasite due to their unusual water drinking habits. As the gang further discuss the current situation, the soldiers move in to attack Gouyokuou but only succeeds in making his poles fall off and causing surrounding destruction. The soldiers soon cower in fear that nothing can destroy this alien as Gouyokuou slowly walks away. He then goes over to see Virgo on fire and is being chided by Drinda to go do something useful to help them. He gets an idea and meets Oasis at the lake. He requests her to make rain to smother the flames. Gekka tries to find her family but gets a message from Kyupi that she has gone to the island. That night, Ouka finds Kyouka acting weird and confronts her. To his surprise, she no longer has cat ears and has several monkeys and pirates under her Cellphone control. Looks like she is under WP’s control but even so, Kyouka mentions how she is the real child of Enka. Gekka arrives and can’t forgive WP for involving her family but by that time, the monkeys and pirates are holding down the rest of the Midarezakis when Ouka points his gun at Kyouka’s head. OMG! Is he going to do it?

In episode 26, Ouka knows that Kyouka simply is doing this to rid the child of Enka on purpose because she loves her family and that this isn’t the right way to do so. Just then, the rest of the children starts claiming that they are the real child of Enka (even Chika who obviously doesn’t have Enka’s DNA). Gekka’s voice reaches Kyouka’s inner heart as she coughs out WP. I don’t know why, Kyouka has temporarily taken the form of that WP (something about her ability to take over bodies?) and is back to her yappy self. As everyone rejoice, Gekka absorbs the remaining WP from its host to prevent any more harm. Then Kyouka suggests going back for Gekka’s wedding inquisition and Gekka teleports them all back to Virgo. The rest of the family meets Gouyokuou for the 1st time as he seeks their blessings. But Ouka doesn’t approve thinking that it’s absurd for Gekka to marry him just to save Earth. Oasis butts in and doesn’t want Ouka to speak on Gekka’s behalf. Thus Kyouka proposes a game whereby the one who presents a future that Gouyokuou likes wins. Kyouka suggests some lovey-dovey (possible explicit) stuff which is all okay with Gouyokuou while Oasis allows their marriage but disallow them to be on Earth because of the chaos he will cause. Gouyokuou overcome with conscience agrees with her but notes that she is currently under an operation and can’t leave Earth. Oasis then says that she’ll take Gekka’s place, citing that she’s part of her and that she is in love with Ouka. But Ouka rejects her saying that he loves Kyouka and wants to protect his family. Oh the heartbreak.
 
Oasis isn’t about to give up yet and claims Gouyokuou owes her 1 for saving the city from fire. She then possesses him and removes his last restraining pole, making him ‘panic’. Gekka swiftly teleports him to outer space and knows that he isn’t possessed. Gekka comments on how weak she is and that this game was a setup by mommy to give her a push since she doesn’t trust nor rely on the rest of her family. She also realizes how she ran away rather than keeping her promise and thinks Gouyokuou is too good for her and confesses that she likes him. Gouyokuou replies that he’ll be a threat to Earth and since he’s used to waiting, he wants Gekka to teleport him far away and promise to see her in 1000 years and perhaps by then Gekka would marry him. She agrees and sends him off with Oasis who will accompany him so that he won’t be lonely waiting. Oasis feels bad but Gouyokuou says she’ll find her own love one day. Raichou narrates how although the real child of Enka remains a mystery, the fact that the Midarezakis repel the Water threat and displayed their strong family bonds, has prompted the support and continuation of the operation. She even suspects that Million expected all this and had given them these trials as Kumo draws another funny face on Raichou’s tummy under Million’s orders. Looks like her chance to get back will be very far. Back at the Midarezakis, they find Kyouka sneaking out to visit her underground empire. Ouka allows her to go but tells her that her home will always be here. The end credits show how everyone continue on with their daily lives and the Midarezaki’s household isn’t quiet after all since Kyouka has several of her chibi self causing her usual cheekiness.
 
The ending was rather okay though I hope it would end better. I was hoping to find out which of them was the real Enka or somehow the series would end with the awakening of Enka. But I guess that isn’t important because the most crucial thing is that all of them got along and stick as a family till the end. It doesn’t matter if you are not blood related so long as you care and look out for each other, that is what counts the most. Such bonds, relationships and ties, you can’t learn just from any textbook or buy with any amount of cash. It’s the invaluable experience that one goes through as a family.
 
Still, Kyouka is my most favourite character simply because of her conceited attitude which also hides a caring side of hers. No doubt that her speeches are funny and arrogant (not to mention she talks too fast sometimes so much so you have to strain your ears to keep track of what she yaps) but some of her lines are touching. It’s like you want to strangle her for being a selfish mom one moment and then change your mind and give her a big hug. I’m glad Ouka in the end truly loves his wife and accepts her mischievous personality rather than doing this for his mission’s sake. I also note how many viewers too like Raichou. Initially I thought she is going to be the villain of the series seeing that Ouka did mention her as the Empire’s terrorist. But I don’t know if it is his misperception or what but Raichou seems to be on the family’s side and her role was more like ‘supervising’ them rather than planning something grandiose like I hoped it would be.
 
The other minor and supporting characters too are quite wacky themselves. Though I’m wondering what further happened to them. I know that the series mainly focuses on the Midarezakis but I still would like to know their circumstances even if it’s insignificant. Like towards the end, we get to see Shinigami bumming around with her dad. Any indications of pursuing her love for Ouka still? Did Gebok decided to give up his villainous role and be a regular at Virgo? Is Pierre happy of his position on the island with white monkeys as its inhabitants? Is Kiriko planning any long term relationship with Hyouka? What about Dekamelon? Who is he really and what happened to him after the 2nd human-animal case? Same thing, what happened to Kyupi or Odessa as well, who wants their underground queen back? What about Kyouka’s multiple past? So many questions. But I guess that won’t matter, does it?
 
Ayumi Fujimura does an excellent job voicing Kyouka. I wonder if there are any other seiyuus out there who could match her high-pitched fast talking ways. Her other roles include Midori of Xamdou: Lost Memories and Karada in Asatte No Houkou. Also, Yuko Goto does a splendid job voicing the dreamy-sounding Raichou. You can recognize her in other anime roles like Hikari of Special A and Kaede of Shuffle. The other casts are equally good and fit their characters well. They are Takayuki Kondou as Ouka (Oishi in Prince Of Tennis), Kana Hanazawa as Yuuka (Potemayo of Potemayo), Rina Satou as Gekka (Haruka of Minami-ke series), Ryou Hirohashi as Hyouka (Kyou in Clannad), Yoshinori Fujita as Ginka (Masumi of Nodame Cantabile), Haruka Tomatsu as Chika (Lala of To Love-Ru), Hiroki Yasumoto as Teika (Justice of Doujin Work) and a host of other famous seiyuus which play minor character roles like Nana Mizuki (Oasis), Tomokazu Seki (Gouyokuou), Ai Shimizu (Tsubaki), Akemi Kanda (Chloe), Eri Kitamura (Pierre), Marina Inoue (Madara), Mai Nakahara (Chieri), Rie Kugimiya (Mujaki), Satoshi Hino (Rindou) and Rika Morinaga (Shinigami).
 
The opening theme Chousai Senbo Sengen by MOSAIC.WAV is a crazy hyped-up song befitting the series. Not only you have words so fast that you can’t make out what they’re saying and sounds nonsensical (hats off to the fansubbers who I think manages to put every word they sang down onscreen), the lyrics are kind of cheeky with lines like "Autocracy is the best compliment". Something you’d expect out from Kyouka, eh? And just before the song ends, you’ll get to hear Kyouka’s personal ranting of supremacy and insulting remarks. To add to the craziness, there are 8 different endings altogether with each of the Midarezaki family having their own theme song which reflects their character. The drawing and art pretty feels like your today’s standard of anime but something which bugs me that majority of the characters have that ‘same look’ feel. Is it because of their jawbone, big eyes and thin mouth lines? On a trivial note, viewers can view the mid-intermission which serves as an eye candy with the characters in poses or costumes. Methinks they’re desktop wallpaper worthy.
 
So what are your perceptions on family now? Anything can be achieved with close bonds and here can even save the world! Look out Fantastic Four! These guys make the Simpsons look so mild. So be good to your family and love them lots, no matter how weird they may be. Broken family is another thing. But don’t be like Kyouka’s selfish side, okay! That sure is one hell of a frenzy family diary.
 
Kyouran Kazoku Nikki

DearS VS Girls Bravo

July 17, 2009

Time for another versus between anime series. This time it will be DearS against Girls Bravo. Both series have long ended their run many years ago and as usual I find that in a way there are some similarities and differences between them. Both are ecchi romance comedy series with some extra-terrestrial elements in them. The rest, let’s find out…
 
Type of extra-terrestrial
DearS: Aliens from outer space called DearS.
Girls Bravo: Inhabitants of a female majority populated planet named Seiren.
 
Their purpose in life
DearS: They are genetically engineered slaves seeking to serve their master.
Girls Bravo: They are male-deprived and are desperately seeking to marry one due to their scarcity.
 
Main male protagonist
DearS: Takeya Ikuhara. Voiced by Kishou Takiyama.
Girls Bravo: Yukinari Sasaki. Voiced by Mamiko Noto.
 
His character
DearS: Is xenophobic because he was forced to watch Aliens movie several times and thus when he grows up, he initially doesn’t like DearS very much.
Girls Bravo: Has gynophobia as he breaks into hives when comes into contact with girls and initially fears them.
 
Main female protagonist
DearS: Ren Ren Ren Nagusaran Renisia Rurunnren Nakora. Phew. Or just Ren for short. Voiced by Ai Shimizu.
Girls Bravo: Miharu Sena Kanaka. Voiced by Ayako Kawasumi.
 
Why the both click
The reason why both the lead guy and girl ‘get along’ well.
DearS: Well, Ren did kiss him and in DearS language which means they have contracted a master-slave relationship. Also, there is a rumoured legend called Gift which is a relationship ability for both master and slave to sense each other and these 2 may be the ones to possess it.
Girls Bravo: Miharu seems to be the only girl which does not make Yukinari to break into hives.
 
Her significance
DearS: Ren is an imperfect and defective DearS and is dubbed a Zero Number.
Girls Bravo: Miharu has 3 circular dots on her forehead called Seikon which allows her to unleash some powers whenever in distress and also the power to open the dimensional gate between Earth and Seiren.
 
Favourite food
What the main female protagonist is seen eating most of the time.
DearS: Melon bread.
Girls Bravo: Banana.
 
Horniness
You can’t have an ecchi show without the main girl showing of some fanservice, right?
DearS: Willing to ‘do it’ with Ren if her master desires to and she even watches porn to learn it!
Girls Bravo: Due to her airhead-ness and blurness, she doesn’t get embarrassed when she gets ‘too close’ with Yukinari.
 
Rival
The so called self-proclaimed rival for the main female protagonist.
DearS: Miu. Trying to get the better of Ren because she was mistaken as the official DearS transfer student.
Girls Bravo: Lisa Fukuyama. Trying to get the attention and affection of Yukinari as Miharu is always close to him.
 
How they met
Refers to how the main male and female protagonist first came into contact and that’s when their lives changed forever.
DearS: Takeya saves a lost Ren from an oncoming truck.
Girls Bravo: Miharu is mysteriously teleported to Yukinari’s bathtub while he’s taking one.
 
Other ‘colleagues’
Refers to the other same species of the main female protagonist.
DearS: Miu, Khi, Xaki, Nia.
Girls Bravo: Koyomi, Tomoka, Maharu, Nanae.
 
School
The high school which the gang attends.
DearS: Koharu High School.
Girls Bravo: Mizuno High School.
 
Childhood friend
The male protagonist has a female childhood friend whom I can say harbour some feelings for that guy even if they don’t say it.
DearS: Neneko Izumi. Bespectacled, messy haired, tomboy, flat chest, more ‘gentle and soft-spoken’.
Girls Bravo: Kirie Kojima. Short straight hair above the shoulders, busty, more violent.
Coincidentally, both characters are voiced by Chiwa Saito.
 
Siblings
Refers to the male protagonist’s brother or sister.
DearS: A little sister named Natsuki.
Girls Bravo: Nil.
 
The other guy
The other main male supporting character.
DearS: Hikoro Oikawa. Ren’s normal friend, a little pervert and a number 1 fan of the DearS.
Girls Bravo: Kazuhiko Fukuyama. Yukinari’s filthy rich rival, big time pervert and a number 1 sexual harassment devil.
 
The other other guy
A male side character which doesn’t really make an impact but their presence is still noticeable.
DearS: Hirofumi Nonaka. A ladies’ men and playboy of the school.
Girls Bravo: Mamoru Machida. A clean freak advocate and sometimes don a Ranger mask.
 
Animal
Such shows won’t be complete without an animal character, right? Sort of. Maybe not.
DearS: Nia. An airhead and klutzy cat-like apprentice who usually flops on her mission to capture Ren. Irritatingly ends her sentences with "~Nii". Considers Xaki to be her teacher.
Girls Bravo: Ebi. Erm… I’m not sure what this magical creature from Seiren really is. Somewhat of a cross between a seal and a shrimp. Does not have proper speeches or dialogues and just some weird high-pitched squealing. Always seen to be hanging around with Tomoka.
 
Loli
Little girls. Enough said.
DearS: Natsuki.
Girls Bravo: Tomoka.
 
Teacher
DearS: Mitsuka Yoshimine. The horniest teacher ever. Even takes out her sexual fantasies right in front of her class!
Girls Bravo: Hijiri Kanata. Though a strict teacher unless when it comes to Yukinari or Miharu.
 
Main antagonist
DearS: Ruvi, the second in command of the DearS colony on Earth who wants to retrieve defective Ren at all cost.
Girls Bravo: Hijiri, who is actually a spy from Seiren who is working alongside Yukina to kidnap Miharu as she is infatuated with her.
 
She wields
What I noticed the main antagonist usually has in her hands.
DearS: A whip, in which she frequently uses on Khi.
Girls Bravo: Aqua Lamps (device to open the dimensional gate between Earth and Seiren).
 
The retrieval
Refers to the final arc of the story.
DearS: Takeya goes after to try and stop Xaki from taking Ren away.
Girls Bravo: Yukinari and co goes to Seiren to bring kidnapped Miharu back.
 
Hotspring episode
You can have such fanservice genres by leaving out a hotspring episode, can’t you?
DearS: Episode 13 (or some may call it episode 9.5) sees Miu winning a lottery for 4 tickets to a hotspring spa whereby they encounter a fumbling Nia who is still trying to succeed in her mission and a shameless Mitsuka flaunting her assets in public and on camera.
Girls Bravo: Episodes 10-11 sees Yukinari and the girls ending up at Fukuyama’s newly bought hotspring inn whereby they encounter a restless ghost and Fukuyama’s ping pong challenge.
 
Sentence ending characters
Characters that I find end their sentences with an irritating word.
DearS: Nia who ends her sentences with "~Nii".
Girls Bravo: Tomoka who ends her sentences with "~Nanoda".
 
Episode title
DearS: Each episode is named as ‘Contact’.
Girls Bravo: Each episode has the word ‘Bravo’ in it.
 
Mid-intermission
DearS: Chibi Ren eating chasing and melon bread and gets hit on the head by Miu. Cosmic-like background music.
Girls Bravo: Random sketches of the characters in still poses. First half of series has lively fanfare as background music and second half sounds more like a comical countryside banjo-picking.
 
Number of episodes
DearS: 12 TV episodes and 1 unaired episode which some may consider to be an OVA.
Girls Bravo: 11 episodes for the first season and a further 13 episodes for the sequel entitled Girls Bravo Second Season.
 
Opening and ending themes
DearS: Opening theme is Love Slave by UNDER17 while ending theme is Happy Cosmos by PoppinS.
Girls Bravo: Yozuca does the 1st opening theme (Going My Way) and 1st ending theme (Ever After). Miyuki Hashimoto does the 2nd opening theme (Koko Ni Iru Kara) and 2nd ending theme (And Then).
 
Conclusion
It’s hard to choose which of the 2 I prefer since both series aren’t the kind which gets my going gaga over. DearS is funny in a way because of Ren trying to understand and please Takeya and the most amusing part is whenever Miu becomes her jealous self. As for Girls Bravo, Fukuyama is the main reason why the whole series is so kinky and funny and I love the awesome final hand to hand combat scene between Kirie and Hijiri. In both shows towards the end, the main guy undergoes personality change like how Takeya isn’t that xenophobic and accepts Ren while Yukinari thinks girls are wonderful (not in a perverted sense, mind you) and doesn’t fear them anymore. So if you like ecchi genres, maybe you want to have a look at theses 2 titles as well.
 

DearS Girls Bravo

I’m not saying that I am really in love or totally mad with the series, but what makes Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei a likeable show is that, besides its dark and black type of comedy and humour, the characters too are the one which partly play a role in making the series stand out and wacky in its own sense.
 
One of the many wonders (or inconvenience, depending on your outlook on life) of kanji writing is that it can be read and interpreted differently. That is the case with all of the main and supporting characters here in this series. The names also reflect the quirky personalities of those characters and you could say it gives them ‘life’. Listed below are some of the characters for the series:
 
Nozomu Itoshiki
Name: Nozomu Itoshiki
Seiyuu: Hiroshi Kamiya
Nickname: Super Negative Teacher
Kanji writing: 糸色 望
Significance of name: When both his surname’s kanji are put together as one, and combined with his first name, it means despair. Ironically, his first name alone means hope.
Character: Lives up to his name of the world’s most negative and pessimistic person. Always having a penchant for suicide but the inability to finish it off. Just the thought about any topic of society could send him into despair as he starts ranting about world conspiracy theories and the likes. Paranoid? I wonder how he ended up being a class teacher.
 
Kafuka Fuura
Name: Kafuka Fuura
Seiyuu: Ai Nanoka
Nickname: Super Positive Girl
Seat number: 15
Kanji writing: 風浦 可符香
Significance of name: Supposedly named after an author named Franz Kafka as her real name is not revealed.

Character: As contrast, the world’s most positive and optimistic person. But who is scarier? The fact that her positivism is so twisted that it could send terrifying signals to those around her. For instance, there is no such thing as stalking in her vocabulary as she thinks it is ‘deep love’. I know it’s good to keep cool and not panic during such times and that there is always an explanation for everything (okay, maybe not everything), but being this cheerful and distorted? Consider this. In her future hopes (in descending order), she wants to be God, a time traveller and a Pororokan alien. A fan of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu?

 
Chiri Kitsu 
Name: Chiri Kitsu
Seiyuu: Marina Inoue
Nickname: Methodical and Uptight Girl
Seat number: 20
Kanji writing: 木津 千里
Significance of name: Derived from the word ‘kicchiri’ which means precisely. Her name’s writing can also be twisted to mean clairvoyance and to bury.
Character: Some sort of a perfectionist maniac as everything needs to be done in a precise order. If not, she’ll make you do so. And you don’t want that to happen because she can turn into a psycho and even fatal! Due to a misunderstanding, she has a crush on Nozomu and as the series progresses, you’ll notice how she’ll sometimes turn yandere, hiding various weapons and not hesitating to take it out on Nozomu if that guy does something ‘unforgiveable’.
 
Matoi Tsunetsuki

Name: Matoi Tsunetsuki
Seiyuu: Asami Sanada
Nickname: Super Loving Stalker Girl
Seat number: 25
Kanji writing: 常月 まとい
Significance of name: Derived from the sentence ‘tsune ni tsukimatoi’ which means always following around (AKA stalker).
Character: Due to her misinterpretation of Nozomu’s suicide speech as a love confession, she ditches her previous boyfriend and falls in love with him. She also dresses up in a kimono and can be seen following him just about anywhere (and at times popping out right behind from him). Yeah, even to a male’s toilet. She gives a whole new meaning to the term "I Will Follow You".
 
Kiri Komori
Name: Kiri Komori
Seiyuu: Asuka Tanii
Nickname: Hikikomori Girl
Seat number: 23
Kanji writing: 小森 霧
Significance of name: Her entire name means secluding or locking up oneself in one’s room.
Character: Always seen wrapped with a blanket around her and her pale skin makes her look closely resemble to Enma Ai of Jigoku Shoujo. An extreme recluse case, she initially locked herself in her room back home until she has been scared out by Nozomu and Fuura’s persuasion antics of locking in this zashiki warashi fairy. Komori then confines herself in school and later is seen quite close with Nozomu’s nephew, Majiru, sometimes teasing him.
 
Abiru Kobushi 
Name: Abiru Kobushi
Seiyuu: Yuko Goto
Nickname: Tail Lover Alleged Victim Of DV Girl
Seat number: 22
Kanji writing: 小節 あびる
Significance of name: The term ‘kobushi wo abiru’ means flurry of punches though in this context means domestic violence (DV).
Character: Always seen wrapped in bandages and first impression is that she is a victim of DV. However, the real cause of her injuries is due to her quirky habit of pulling tails where she works part time at a local zoo. Would you like it if somebody pulls your hair? Same thing. An animal’s reaction when its tail is being pulled is to counter attack. She has an extensive collection of animal tails back home.
 
Kaere Kimura
Name: Kaere/Kaede Kimura
Seiyuu: Yu Kobayashi
Nickname: Bilingual Personalities Girl
Seat number: 21
Kanji writing: 木村 カエレ
Significance of name: Derived from the word ‘kaere’ which means to return and also based on a Japanese Idol Kaela Kimura.
Character: This foreigner has 2 personalities. One, a mild, gentle and soft-mannered lady whom many would view as Yamato Nadeshiko (the ultimate and ideal Japanese woman) and the other who is quite disgusted with the weird custom and habits of the Japanese culture and people. Her favourite phrase in this mode is "Utaete!" which means to sue and later as the series progresses, she has been demoted to a panty flasher character.
 
Maria Tario Sekiutsu
Name: Maria "Tarou" Sekiutsu
Seiyuu: Miyuki Sawashiro
Nickname: Illegal Student Returnee Girl
Seat number: 8
Kanji writing: 関内 マリア 太郎
Significance of name: ‘Seki uttarou’ literally means to sell one’s name, in her case her name was being sold by a fellow student who wanted to taste true freedom (WTF?!).
Character: An illegal immigrant from an unknown country and is a boy on paper (due to the name transfer) but is a girl in actual fact. Though she is poor, Maria has a cheerful and sometimes playful behaviour, in which some may call her a wild person due to her initial lack of understanding of the local culture. Her optimism is second to Fuura, though she doesn’t come up with extreme twisted logic and explanations. Also in the beginning, many of those around her pity her state and tend to give her stuffs.
 
Harumi Fujiyoshi
Name: Harumi Fujiyoshi
Seiyuu: Miyu Matsuki
Nickname: Ear Fetish Pairing Addiction Girl
Seat number: 29
Kanji writing: 藤吉 晴美
Significance of name: A female who is a yaoi or boy-to-boy fan is termed ‘fujoshi’ while her first name refers to a Comiket site.
Character: This manga artist wannabe will definitely go gaga over the shonen-ai genre. She even has explicit imaginations between Nozomu and other male characters! At first, one may think that manga otakus are hardly athletic but ironically Harumi posses amazing athletic abilities due to her experience when visiting Comiket sites (you gotta be fast, agile and tough if you want to beat the crowd, right?).
 
Meru Otonashi
Name: Meru Otonashi
Seiyuu: Nil. Even if she does have, her seiyuu changes from episode to episode.
Nickname: Abusive Email Girl
Seat number: 17
Kanji writing: 音無 芽留
Significance of name: ‘Otonoashi’ means to be quiet while the katakana writing of ‘meru’ means mail and in her context, those SMS messages.
Character: She is so shy to speak that her only means of communication is through her handphone. However she is no good girl when it comes to using her mobile as her language can be super abusive and offensive. Her inability to speak out has caused several misunderstandings and even includes a time whereby several people try out an audition to be her voice actress!
 
Nami Hitou
Name: Nami Hitou
Seiyuu: Ryoko Shintani
Nickname: Normal Girl
Seat number: 28
Kanji writing: 日塔 奈美
Significance of name: Simple. Ordinary. Average. Enough said.
Character: What else can I say. Among the other weird classmates of hers, she is the most normal one without any traits which stand out. Besides her normalness, that is. Because of so, she hates being referred to as one and in an episode tries to be different like being a delinquent or to gain attention but fails miserably. Sometimes status quo is sufficient for some.
 
Ai Kaga
Name: Ai Kaga
Seiyuu: Saori Gotou
Nickname: Guilt Complex Girl
Seat number: 18
Kanji writing: 加賀 愛
Significance of name: Her name is a play on words in which ‘kagai’ means evil or harm and in her context guilt complex.
Character: Due to her insecurities, Ai is always seen apologizing for the trivial and slightest mistake and those that she even has no connection to. Leave it to her to just find a reason or excuse to why it is her fault and she will start apologizing profusely. You can’t help but feel pity and at the same time find her apologetic personality a turn on. If you’re into that stuff, that is.
 
Mayo Mitama
Name: Mayo Mitama
Seiyuu: Asuka Tanii
Nickname: Exactly The Way She Looks
Seat number: 30
Kanji writing: 三珠 真夜
Significance of name: A play on words in which her name exactly means the same as her nickname.
Character: She has the tell-tale signs. Evil looking eyes and the tendency to commit malicious acts which include shoving a stick into an innocent dog’s butt! However nobody believes that she is so because they believe that they should not judge a book by its cover and thus thinks she is a good girl despite her looks. I suppose idioms like still waters run deep and looks can be deceiving don’t apply here.
 
Manami Ookusa
Name: Manami Ookusa
Seiyuu: Kikuko Inoue
Nickname: High School Housewife, Multiple Responsibilities
Seat number: 16
Kanji writing: 大草 麻菜実
Significance of name: Her named means married person.
Character: A high school student who is already married and does several part time jobs to pay off her husbands debt, though I’m not sure who her husband is. Although she doesn’t make much of an appearance in the series, but she does really act like a married woman.
 
Kagerou Usui
Name: Kagerou Usui
Seiyuu: Youji Ueda
Nickname: Lacking In Hair And Presence
Seat number: 3
Kanji writing: 臼井 影郎
Significance of name: ‘Kage Ga Usui’ means to be overlooked or ignored while the term ‘usui’ which means light can also refer to the thinning of his hairline in this context.
Character: He is the actual class rep but is always being ignored. Nobody notices his presence no matter how much he tries to get their attention. It’s like he is invisible. Oh wait. He is! Sort of. The only way that everyone will notice him is when his baldness is exposed. He is in a dilemma because those piercing eyes will be more focused on his bald top. Too see or not to see. He also harbours a crush on Abiru but what are the chances of him getting noticed?
 
Jun Kudou
Name: Jun Kudou
Seiyuu: Takahiro Mizushima
Nickname: Genius Storyteller
Seat number: 12
Kanji writing: 久藤 准
Significance of name: Based on the same name of the founder of the bookstore Junkudou Shouten.
Character: Besides being an avid bookworm, Jun is an excellent storyteller and you can say that he has a knack and talent for it. He can make a heart moving story on just about anything and even move an expressionless person to tears. So much so I think he can even read your heart. Okay, so maybe some of his stories may seem mocking and nonsensical but a story is a story, right?
 
Chie Arai 
Name: Chie Arai
Seiyuu: Akiko Yajima
Kanji writing: 新井 智惠
Significance of name: Her name is read ‘niichie’ based on the old Japanese system and it is a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher.
Character: This school student counsellor spots a relatively busty and sexy figure. She has a way to get Nozomu to do her orders with ‘that look’ and initially seems to like teasing Komori by playing mild yuri themes when the latter confines herself in school.
 
Rin Itoshiki
Name: Rin Itoshiki
Seiyuu: Akiko Yajima
Kanji writing: 糸色 倫
Significance of name: When her 3 kanji letter is combined into 2 words, it is read as ‘zetsurin’ which means unequalled but in her case it could also mean peerless in bed.
Character: Nozomu’s younger sister and a professional at ikebana and other skills but gets real upset when her name is read as zetsurin as it probably gives a misconception that she is a sexual prowess. I’m not sure why but she is transferred as a student in Nozomu’s class and at times can be seen displaying her sexy pose (partly to do with her name?).
 
Mikoto Itoshiki
Name: Mikoto Itoshiki
Seiyuu: Hiroshi Kamiya
Kanji writing: 糸色 命
Significance of name: When his 3 kanji letter is combined into 2 words, it is read as ‘zetsumei’ meaning death.
Character: The 3rd child of the Itoshiki family runs a clinic of his own. It is ironic that this doctor has such as name and he rues it because it will give patients an impression that he is Dr Death! Yeah, I remember he banged his head repeatedly on the wall while lamenting such a name and the reason why he doesn’t have many patients.
 
There are more side characters in the series with even outrageous names and meanings. But doing research on them is a little tiring from where I am now. It may not be conclusive or comprehensive but for me I guess I’m satisfied. Now, I’m wondering what my name would mean if it was written in Japanese kanji and how far its actual meaning would deviate if I were to add, minus or alter a stroke. Seems kinda interesting, eh? But I don’t want to know because I may because I may be stuck with a horrible nickname for the rest of my life. That will definitely be: ZETSUBOU SHITA!

ef ~A Tale Of Melodies~

July 11, 2009

After a great first season, it is no doubt that I greatly look forward to watch its sequel, ef ~A Tale Of Melodies~. But unlike in most sequels, I won’t say this particular season is an exact direct of its predecessor. For those who have watched the first season, you will know that there are happy endings for the main characters of that season. Especially the story between Hiro and Miyako, Kei and Kyousuke, and Renji and Chihiro.
 
Thus in this sequel, the supporting characters in the prequel takes centre stage, reducing those stars in the first season to secondary characters who just make cameo appearances. Therefore for this particular season, the main storyline is between Himura-Yuuko and Kuze-Mizuki. Both stories are intertwining and take place during different time eras. With Himura-Yuuko story in the past whereas Kuze-Mizuki arc during the present. For simplicity to blog this series, I’ll blog on a time particular time era first before blogging the other because in this series as I have mentioned, both time eras are shown one after another instead of letting one finish first before the next. Get what I mean? Another thing that I noticed that it seems the Himura-Yuuko storyline is given more prominence and screen time as compared to Kuze-Mizuki. I felt it was like 70-30 to the former.
 
To start things off in episode 1, in present time as we know, Himura and Kuze are best of buddies and is seen talking to each other with the later requesting the former to attend some performance. Kuze is a violinist by the way. The scene changes when Mizuki is awakened by Renji in his house (she is Renji’s cousin, by the way) Sumire wonders if they’re getting along fine and teases that she should report this to Chihiro. Of course he tries to quell all this misunderstanding. After changing, Mizuki hears the beautifully play of the violin and learns that it’s from their neighbour Kuze. Mizuki decides to visit Kuze though Renji is against it. With courtesy of Sumire, Mizuki is introduced to Kuze and Sumire leaves Mizuki in the care of that playboy. She finds Kuze’s house almost empty as there are no furniture. It seems that he has cleared them out for a change in space. Kuze also allows Mizuki to come by anytime she likes. After entering a forbidden room (the one he has all the girl’s cosplay outfits! However she doesn’t mind), Mizuki requests for him to perform his violin but he replies that the violin is broken and gives her a CD instead. The duo then lay on the wooden floor as Mizuki notices several masks on the wall. Kuze says something about how everyone wears masks and the more roles one has, the more masks one has to wear. After Mizuki leaves, Kuze sits alone in the dark when he experiences a short piercing pain in his heart.
 
In the past, Himura is face to face with Yuuko on the school rooftop but he doesn’t remember her. So her reply is that she still hates him. I’m not sure if she really means it because her voice is quite gentle while saying that. Himura then at school meets a teacher, Akira Amamiya, who wants him to join the art club but Himura refuses. Later when Himura enters the art room, he finds a girl, Nagi Hirono, drawing a nude sketch of herself. Yup, a strip artist, I’d say. Later that day, Himura is given a sketchbook by Nagi but the latter notices Yuuko following them. When she asked if Himura knew her, he says he doesn’t so in Nagi’s annoyance, she leaves in a huff while throwing the sketchbook at him. After being asked if he’s dating Nagi, in which he denies, Himura remembers who Yuuko is and it has been 10 years since they’ve seen each other and that he is different now. But he tells her not to get close to him and doesn’t want to see her anymore when Yuuko called him onii-chan. He doesn’t want to remember those times again.
 
Episode 2 starts off in the past and we see that Himura and Yuuko met during their days at the orphanage of the church when both their parents abandoned them. Prior to this, Himura had a beloved little sister, Akane, in which died during a fire incident. And I think he is still keeping a badly burnt wristwatch as memoirs. In school, Yuuko continues to follow wherever Himura went even if he tells her to stop it. So she grabs his hands and heads towards the school rooftop (she got the key from a previous student who passed it to her). As usual, Himura tries to distant himself and not wanting Yuuko to butt into his life and doesn’t want to remember those memories but she says it is sometimes to forget them. So when Himura looks at the watch again, he remembers how bubbly Yuuko came into his life. She was infatuated with his sketch and started calling him onii-chan, much to his dismay. Yuuko suggested to draw her but because she has an uncanny resemblance to Akane, Himura refuses to do so. Of course he secretly sketched one of her and Yuuko eventually found out as she wonders if he needed a little sister, in which he vehemently deny of needing one. I guess having Yuuko as his sister will bring back more painful memories of his beloved Akane. Thus Yuuko ran away and that was the last time he saw her and that’s when he resolved not to depend on anyone. So back at the rooftop, Yuuko says that he is her first love and it isn’t over yet. She falls into his arms, shocking that guy, and vows to erase all his sad memories.
 
In the present, we see cheeky Mizuki teasing Renji by trying to take out his clothes and wash them, leaving that poor guy nearly naked! Later Mizuki posts several questions to Kuze like why he began playing the violin but realizes that she has been tricked when he says his first love is some ticking thing called metronome. So when Mizuki goes to do the laundry, she then finds Kuze collapsed on the floor. However seeing that he’s just sleeping rather than falling into a coma, she gives up calling for the ambulance. She lets him continue his rest by resting his head on her lap. Kuze is sleep talking about some scary dream of being alone but Mizuki comforts him. He comes to that night and apologizes to Mizuki as she is leaving and promises to make it up to her. Later he meets up with Himura over a drink and Kuze starts burning letters from his past girlfriends, even one from Nagi. Later that night, Kuze gets a visit from Mizuki who has trouble sleeping. She talks about the wonderful songs on the CD he lent her and before she leaves, she says how she may have fallen in love with him.
 
Episode 3 has Himura of the past once again bumping into Amamiya who wants him to join the art club. Then Yuuko comes by and greets her onii-chan but Himura finds out that she isn’t referring to him but Amamiya. Looks like when Yuuko ran away, she soon came to live under Amamiya as he took her in as his little sister. When Amamiya leaves, Himura notices Yuuko not wearing any shoes so he goes find a temporary one. Yuuko thanks him for his kindness. Though Amamiya questions Himura of his relationship with Yuuko, he learns that he isn’t as close as he thought they would be. Later Himura meets Kuze and asking advice on types of women. I don’t know why Nagi wants in. Feeling lonely? Nah. I guess there is some weird degree of friendship between the trio. Then they spot Yuuko’s shoes on top of the locker. As Nagi sits on Himura’s shoulders to get them, Himura panics to know that she isn’t wearing anything underneath that robe (hey, she’s just fresh from another strip drawing session). Himura goes return the shoes to Yuuko but is upset to learn that there are some nasty girls who doodled some bad words in her book. Yuuko however doesn’t mind all the bullying and abuse she gets. Then as they are about to go home together, they find a pair of burnt shoes in Yuuko’s locker and Himura is totally angry and wants to go find the ones responsible but ever gently Yuuko stops him and says how humans are like that.
 
In the present, we see that Kuze wakes up from another dream and it’s like he has several mean split personalities of himself wearing those masks. Meanwhile Mizuki goes to the church only to see Himura, who ironically sounded like an atheist because it made me wonder what is he doing in a place like this if he doesn’t believe in the existence of God. In the end, Himura warns Mizuki not to get involve with Kuze (just like that warning he gave to Renji about Chihiro in the last season, eh?). Fans of Chihiro will be delighted to see her making her appearance when Mizuki meets her at the abandoned train station. They both chat as Chihiro allows Mizuki to take a peek in her little diary. At the same time, Kuze meets Himura and the former says how he is going to erase everything tonight since he is going to die. Mizuki as she is reading Chihiro’s diary for more info on Kuze, gets devastated to know about Kuze’s condition and numbered days as Renji appears to explain how Kuze has a serious heart condition which made him collapsed during one of his performances. That night, Chihiro goes to inform Mizuki as told by Himura about Kuze’s final performance at the beach. Mizuki rushes there to hear his beautiful violin piece but is horrified to see him burn the violin once he finishes. In her instinct, she tries to put out the fire with her hands (why didn’t she just throw it into the ocean?). Shocked Kuze sees her scorched hands as she manages to put the fire out. Mizuki then says how it isn’t time yet as they’re still alive.
 
Back in the past in episode 4, Yuuko learns that Himura is aiming to be a top student and stinging on his meals so that he could save money to go to university. Because of so, Yuuko follows suit, which made Himura to buy some food for her out of guilt. The duo seemed like going out on a date together even if Himura disagreed. Then they visited the church during their orphanage days and they’re surprised to see Amamiya there. While distracting Yuuko to go pick a ball, Amamiya whispers to Himura that he better prepare himself if he plans to get involved with her. Amamiya leaves when Yuuko returns. Himura then learns that Amamiya too once had a sister and lost her during a fire incident. Deja vu? Himura meets Nagi on the way home and remembers she too has a little brother (Hiro) and Nagi is interested about his date with Yuuko. But since he’s just saying that they’re out to buy things, Nagi leaves frustrated. Later that night, Himura remembers his time with Akane when he looked at his watch. Himura noticed Akane staring at a watch from outside a shop and bought it for her although she denied wanting it. They were very close back then and Akane liked his drawings. But that night an earthquake caused a fire. Himura tried to call and find her but too late as she has perished. Elsewhere, Yuuko takes something from Amamiya’s drawer.
 
In the present, Kuze visits Mizuki who apparently is sick. He hears Mizuki mumbling "save me" so he holds her hand to comfort her. She then takes this chance to kiss him as a reward. The next day Mizuki and Kuze go out together and as they are sitting underneath a tree, Mizuki wonders if they could be a couple. Kuze mentions about his impending death and that he has cut ties and thrown away everything in preparation of it. This has Mizuki asking Kuze if he had any past lover. He admits and says he has broken up with her. Mizuki starts to cry and apologize. Himura spots the duo together and he mentions about how he is used to deaths when Mizuki wonders why he is so calm. Before Himura leaves, Mizuki requests him to do some priest thingy on them. "May the Force be with you"? Something way better than God, he says. That evening, Kuze wakes up Mizuki who has dozed off. He asks her what she wants in her future and her simple reply is to be happy. With that, Kuze confesses that he likes Mizuki, thus the reason he cannot answer her feelings and wants her to go home and never to appear before him again. So back home, Kuze circles a date which he is supposed to die. Also, we get a short glimpse of Hiro who is working hard to finish his manga as he gets a little help from Nagi while Miyako continues to attend school as she meets Yuuko on the rooftop, who notes how she has become stronger.
 
Kyousuke is still filming shots of Kei in episode 5. Even his ex-Girlfriend is helping him edit. While Kei is running outside, she briefly meets Yuuko. Kei then sends and SMS to Chihiro, expressing her wish to meet her and Renji. Though Kei is a little afraid at first, Kyousuke gives her the encouragement to go visit and soon Nagi appears and looks like she too will go with Kei to Australia. Now it makes sense why the prequel didn’t have both stories meeting each other. They’re at different places! Alas, finally both Kei and Chihiro reunite and Mizuki is surprised to see Kei here. Hmm… If I remember well, Mizuki did have some yuri fantasy with Kei. Maybe she’s all over Kuze now, eh? As Kei and Chihiro emotionally embrace, Nagi appears to tell Mizuki how because of Chihiro’s condition, the sisters had to be separated which caused them pain. But that is no longer a problem as they both could stand on their own feet and are truly happy. Mizuki thinks her own predicament with Kuze and wonders how she could obtain happiness like them. However upon finding out that Mizuki is referring to Kuze, she tells her to stop seeing him anymore because she is the one who is going out with Kuze. Poor Mizuki. Having to deal with one heartbreak and another.
 
In the past, Yuuko wakes up from a dream whereby Himura didn’t want her to become his little sister. At school, Kuze gives Himura and Nagi flyers for his upcoming violin performance. Kuze suggests Himura to bring Yuuko along but he denies of having such a compatible relationship with her. The trio then spot Yuuko coming out from the classroom when they heard the sounds of breaking glass. Himura is now furious as he rushes into the room and demands the culprit to show themselves but is restrained. Himura then goes to tell Amamiya about Yuuko’s bullying but that teacher seems to indicate that Yuuko was the one who started it. Himura storms off in a rage when Amamiya says that these problems are of Yuuko’s. Himura then finds Yuuko on the school rooftop and she notes how a kind person he is. Then as they walk home, Himura again notices her bag has been vandalised. Yuuko then wonders what happened to the boy she once knew and when Himura asked what did she expected of him, she replies that it is a secret.
 
Episode 6 is entirely on the past and has Himura taking up his sketching abilities once more as Yuuko says how much she likes him. Himura then notices Nagi not drawing anymore but she mentions that she’s just in a slump period. Kuze then comes to see Himura about the info he obtained about Yuuko’s bullying and it seems that Yuuko is the one who started them. Himura confronts Yuuko at the beach and they talk about believing in God as she confirms that she is hiding something. She kisses him and says she too didn’t believe in God because if He exists, this world would’ve been a much beautiful place. Later Himura sees Nagi at the art room and Nagi mentions that when their names are put together, it means "evening calm". Nagi feels that she is lonely because she thinks Himura and Kuze are leaving them. By the way, Kuze is having his violin performance as his farewell concert as he is going to Germany. Though Himura isn’t going anywhere in particular, I think what Nagi meant was that they are drifting apart in terms of friendship. Himura and Yuuko soon attend Kuze’s farewell concert and it seems that they along with Nagi are the only attendees. Nagi didn’t attend as she is busy trying to sketch her nude self. Kuze starts playing his violin piece (called A Moon Filled Sky) as Yuuko holds Himura’s hands. Yuuko then starts crying and rushes out of the room while Himura gave chase. At the rooftop, Yuuko mentions about Kuze’s honesty in his music but Himura thinks Yuuko is a liar. He then kisses her and wants to know if her feelings for him are true. In short, he confesses that he loves her. So he admits it now, eh? Tears stream down her eyes as she says how this is what she longed for.
 
At the church, Yuuko strips herself to let Himura know her true self. No, not another sex incident. I can only presume that the way they show it, Himura is horrified with the scars on Yuuko’s body. Yuuko wonders why Himura refused to accept her as his little sister back then. She goes on to explain that when she became Amamiya’s sister, she was more like a replacement for his dead sister. However Amamiya realized that Yuuko couldn’t be like his real dead sister and took it out on her. From painful abuse to rape. She’s endured it all without fighting back and each markings on her body have its own unique tale to tell. Then in true dramatic ef style, Yuuko expresses all the words of how she was abused and wanted to get free from it all in such dramatic speed (no fullstop! Gasp!) and in the end a girl Himura abandoned. Himura denies this and says he didn’t want to be like Amamiya but a demonic voice is heard calling him a liar and that his confession is 10 years too late as Himura could only let loose a scream of despair.
 
The past of Himura in episode 7 has him in a rage and wonders why Yuuko still wants to go back to Amamiya’s house. Well, she did mention that he abandoned her and that is the only place she can return to. Then Yuuko gives a dagger (the one she took out from Amamiya’s drawer) in Himura’s hands as she tells him that this dagger was given by Amamiya to her if she ever felt like killing him. Himura walks to Amamiya’s house and Amamiya is like expecting Himura to kill him. Plus, Amamiya is pretty cool and smooth in his speeches. He’s like playing mind games with him like the reason why Yuuko hasn’t killed him so far was because if she does, all this embarrassing things would be revealed and thus exposing her shame. Because Himura is indecisive, Amamiya strikes him back and repeatedly kicks hapless Himura on the ground, wanting him to hate him. He lets him off with an advice that the next time he comes, he must be prepared to kill him or else he will kill Himura.
 
In the present, we see Kuze taking lots of pills possibly to keep himself alive. I thought he was prepared to die. Kuze goes on saying about if something isn’t obtainable in the first place, it shouldn’t be desired. Also, something about being born for the sake of dying is pointless. Nagi questions his theory and Kuze says he may be able to spend his remaining time in peace. Meanwhile Mizuki wakes up from that same dream again. Then we see Nagi and Himura chatting and we learn that Kuze’s engagement was a lie to make Mizuki go away. Himura is surprised to learn that Kuze liked her during their school days but since Kuze knew she liked Himura, he never said a thing. Friendship over love? Nagi continues that Kuze won’t enter a fight he knew he’d lose and that he reminded her of herself. She wonders if Himura is dragging the game out from his past in which he replies, the game isn’t over for him. Later Mizuki goes to the church to find more info on Kuze from Himura but he tells her that he’s just a liar. But Mizuki begs to differ because if Kuze is a liar, how can he be not hated. Himura’s reply is that he is too honest that’s why they look like lies. Mizuki is at the abandoned train station with Kei, who mentions how Hiro is a fan of Kuze and sometimes it is tough to hold something precious in one’s arms. Later that night, Mizuki goes to see Kuze in his dark house. So I guess it’s Kuze’s turn to do what Yuuko did in previous episode as he spews questions after questions of why this why that while those sentences are ripped across the screen. Why oh why? WHY?! WARUM?! (That’s ‘why’ in German). At the end of it, Mizuki just left without a sound. Maybe she got tired of all that ranting. It is then that Kuze feels that piercing pain as he collapses on the floor while desperately struggling to reach for the pills. After managing to consume some, he states how he doesn’t want to die yet. Thinking of a u-turn? I guess it’s normal for one facing death to still fear it no matter how prepared.
 
Episode 8. The past. I think after getting beaten up by Amamiya, Himura calls Yuuko and suggest that they run away together, in which she agrees. Himura hasn’t got it figured out their life plan and such but he’ll take things one step at a time like getting a part time job to support them. Because they can’t get a place to stay, they take refuge at a shrine. A short chat before they kissed. The next day, they managed to find a little rundown apartment to stay. Then when Yuuko notices Himura’s burnt watch and sketchbook, she runs away to a cliff. Yuuko is upset because she thinks Himura views her as a replacement sister just like Amamiya and was a fool to believe him in the first place. Himura slaps her back to her senses and says that he didn’t see her as a tool like that teacher and vows to protect her. So back to normal. Back to their apartment. Having a decent meal and such. One evening while returning from work, Himura is surprised to see Amamiya waiting for him at the bridge. Himura clearly won’t hand Yuuko back to him but Amamiya says that this isn’t the case because Yuuko would still come back to him if she has nowhere else to return. Amamiya then claims Himura has been running since the day his sister died. Though Amamiya wished that he could die with his sister on that day, he was away and the reason he hates Himura is that he had a choice of dying with his Akane but ran away instead. Amamiya hands the burnt watch to him before leaving. Yuuko then notices that watch is missing and start to panic as she searches the town for Himura. She bumps into Amamiya and wonders if she should come home. Looks like she agrees. When Himura comes back, he is devastated to find a farewell note from Yuuko.
 
Back in the present, though Himura and Nagi find Kuze collapsed, they find him alright when he comes to. Kuze remembers how he told Mizuki not to see him again. Then outside, Kuze starts to panic when he realizes that he may not win this fight. Himura advices him not to give up before trying. Then it’s like Kuze has some sort of personality change as he changed into his nasty masked side spewing nasty stuff like how Himura shouldn’t be the one telling him this like how he isn’t able to see Yuuko anymore. This resulted in Himura punching him before leaving. Nagi says he shouldn’t say such things but Kuze gets nasty with her too by saying that she’s still on to Himura. Nagi leaves to let him cool his head. As Mizuki is in her room, Sumire comes in with a package to Mizuki. It’s a violin and a farewell-cum-apology note. Mizuki then realizes that it was Kuze has been broken all along as she tries to play his violin on the beach. Nagi then appears and though Mizuki feels at a lost, Nagi says she didn’t run away. Thus Nagi tells Mizuki that she is the only one who can save Kuze.
 
The past in episode 9 has Nagi noticing Yuuko back in school as she advices the latter not to bring misfortune to Himura. Both Himura and Yuuko are having that guilty feeling and regret that he didn’t accepted her as his little sister and the large amount of injuries Yuuko took in order to get her revenge on Himura for not accepting her she turned out to love him instead. Then Amamiya notices an unfamiliar wound on Yuuko and though he tells her that she is not at fault, he starts abusing her when he ponders why his sister had to die. Does this guy keep a catalogue of bruises on her?! Then Himura appears to explain their unlucky fates of their sisters. Amamiya continues to beat up Himura and when Yuuko couldn’t take it anymore, she takes out the dagger but Himura stops her. Amamiya then notices Himura’s sketchbook and takes a peek. He is then horrified of to see an image he could never perfected over the years. Himura and Yuuko follow Amamiya who rushes into his room full of faceless paintings of his dead little sister! This guy is obsessed! Amamiya is in a frenzy on how Himura could sketch such a perfect image as he tries to recreate the same. As Himura treats Yuuko’s wound in her room, she mentions how Amamiya’s inability to create her sister’s image has him crying every night. Then a fire breaks out from Amamiya’s room. Himura tries to save him but is stopped by Yuuko. The duo could only watch as Amamiya perishes in the fire with a sketch of his sister in his arms.
 
In the present, Kuze is biding his time and is resigned to the fact that he’s going to die soon. Mizuki is at the abandoned train station humming A Moon Filled Sky when Kei and Chihiro notice her sad predicament. They both give Mizuki a key they each own to Mizuki as a charm seeing that they no longer need it. Mizuki then requests for a page from Chihiro’s diary and starts writing on it. Meanwhile Kuze starts going crazy as he even admits that he is afraid of death despite throwing away everything. Then the doorbell rings and tears start streaming down from Kuze’s eyes when he sees a letter from Mizuki as he dropped to his knees when the door before him opens.
 
Episode 10 is entirely in the past and the colouring seems to be dull and monochrome shadings. Himura and Yuuko continue to live together in their apartment and it seems Himura has taken up drawing again. The funny part was when he requested to draw a naked pose of Nagi, she refused, citing that it’s embarrassing for someone to tell her to strip. So she suggests to draw a nude pic of himself and present him with a giant size mirror. Haha. Of course he refused. Himura has also changed his goal in life. Instead for aiming for the top, he now aims to move forward, together with Yuuko. As the duo chat in the chat, they hear sobbing of a little girl, Miki (looking very much like a young Mizuki). According to Yuuko who met her earlier on, seems that she is distrustful of people because her parents tried to kill her in an apparent family suicide. Though they died, Miki didn’t and has become traumatised by that incident. Yuuko continues to accompany Miki at the church while Himura goes to work. Miki says Yuuko is weak because she feels lonely and though Miki claims that she doesn’t need friends, she agrees to be Yuuko’s. So the duo spend some time together as Miki tells Yuuko of her fearful dream and Yuuko teaching Miki to sing A Moon Filled Sky. Ah, the trio seemed like a happy family, walking hand in hand and all.
 
At the apartment, Himura finds a letter from Kuze stating that he’ll return from Germany for Christmas. This has Yuuko asking about his plans for that day and though Himura says he has work, the good news is that he will be left off early so he could meet up with her, making her happy. Then as Miki wanders in the city, she hears Kuze playing familiar tune and goes up to him and expresses her love for the song. Kuze then gives his hair ribbon to hers making that little girl quite happy as she thanks him before leaving. As Yuuko is waiting for Himura that very day, she notices a ball rolling onto the street and decides to pick it up. Unfortunately, she is met with a car accident. Oh dear! As Yuuko lay next to a tree covered in blood, she laments how there are many things she wants to tell Himura but sadly she passed away. Gasp! Himura and Miki are happily walking together and all their happiness turned into sorrow when they see Yuuko’s condition. Himura carries her lifeless body in his arms as Miki wept continuously. Oh my. I didn’t see this coming. Perhaps this explains how Yuuko turned into some sort of angel in the present. Hey! What happened to the culprit who killed Yuuko! Never found, eh? Not even a mention. Just sped off like that?! Irresponsible. Just like Haruka of Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien’s case, huh?
 
With that over, episode 11 is all in the present. Himura hands Nagi a key in which Yuuko once gave to him as a present. A key to a place where everything started. Meanwhile the letter (a challenge letter to be exact) Kuze received contains has a key to the rooftop and he goes to see her there. Unlike a warm hug of embrace, Mizuki gives him a kick in the stomach (why did she say "Chest" instead? Too short?) since it was a challenge letter. Mizuki starts her lecture about a newly reincarnated Kuze and the feelings of love. In the end, Mizuki answers all of Kuze’s questions. Thankfully, they didn’t show her answering each one nor did she decide to actually respond them all. Her answer is simple: Because she loves him. Even if his time is limited, Mizuki at least wants to make the best use of his remaining time. Now that is positive thinking. Just as Kuze accepts her and as they prepare to embrace, Kuze reciprocate the favour Mizuki did earlier on. Yup, he avoided Mizuki’s hug and made her land hard on the floor. Ouch. Payback. But when he is going to embrace Mizuki for real, he suddenly collapses. Wow. Divine punishment, eh? Kuze undergoes operation at the hospital. Mizuki is told by Nagi and Himura that his survival chance is very slim and even if he were to survive. Mizuki tries to be strong and not cry when she is supported by Kei and Chihiro. Even she gets a call from Hiro. Then a short glimpse of how the main protagonist of the first season had Yuuko to thank because they found what they were looking for (they even played the opening theme and credits of the first season! Wow. Brings back memories).
 
Kuze lies in a hospital bed with Mizuki by his side. She wonders how long they can be together as he apologizes for all the troubles he has caused. At the same time, Hiro and Miyako meet Yuuko at the church as they introduced themselves. Before Kuze goes in for his big time operation, all his friends gather to show support. While the surgery is underway, Mizuki sings the full length of the A Moon Filled Sky as various memories of what happened in this and the previous seasons are shown. It seems that Kuze didn’t make it during the operation as his heart stopped but after that song ends, we see his heartbeat revived a little. A miracle, I’d say.
 
Episode 12 begins with Himura visiting Yuuko’s grave in present time. It’s Christmas Day and we see the happy pairs of Renji-Chihiro, Hiro-Miyako and Kei-Kyousuke together (ex-Girlfriend jealous?). Nagi visits Himura sketching the landscape from the church roof. She also learns that Kuze is doing well. Then inside the church, Kuze performs his violin while Mizuki sings A Moon Filled Sky except this time it has a happier tone. Later at the beach as Himura chats with Kuze, Kuze now has changed and sees life in a positive way. He intends of living longer even if it’s just a second. Himura tells him that he is to return to Japan so Kuze gives him a pair of those keys to the place where it all started. Recalling the reason why he decided to return to Japan to spend Christmas there was because earlier Nagi told him how Hiro had met with Yuuko. Back in cold winter Japan, Himura visits the church and encounters Yuuko. Their conversation is exactly like the one in the final episode of the first season, of how they are glad to see each other after so long. Himura hands her a bouquet of flowers as his Christmas present and when Yuuko says she doesn’t have one for him, he says that he already received his in advance, the scarf that she knitted. They chat together and Himura too has a change in character like he’s going to believe those around him. Yuuko mentions how she sort of had a job here to be kind to others (probably the reason she’s stuck waiting in this church) and was to sacrifice herself for the sake of others. She hints that maybe she was told by God to do so.
 
The duo then decide to go to the place where it all started, the school rooftop. Himura takes the chance to confess that he loves her but Yuuko corrects him and says he loved her. Oh yeah. She’s already dead. However Yuuko has to leave since her job here is finished and that she is happy. An emotional farewell as she tells him to move forward before she vanishes. As Himura stood alone, he notices a paper airplane which turns into a white feather as it floats down into his palm. Then back in Australia, Himura tells Mizuki that he is an architect who wants to protect this town so that no one will be lonely. Himura continues to be amazed by Mizuki’s positivism and outlook. She also says how she doesn’t have those scary dreams anymore. Finally when Himura learns of Mizuki’s name, she tells him that she was called Miki during her younger days. He notes what a good name she has. The end has the characters of the series narrating several lines of hope and never to give up.
 
Well, I guess the sequel isn’t that bad. Though it wasn’t as great as I hoped it would be, on the other hand it wouldn’t be fair to say so because I am partly guilty for having a higher expectation after watching the prequel. The story here is tied up nicely and mainly ends on a happy note. Except for poor Yuuko’s death in the past, that is. But she gets to be reunited with Himura in the end and that is a good thing. It is a pitiful thing for Yuuko to withstand all those abuses she gets from Amamiya. I guess many viewers would agree with me that there is no love lost in his death. We can also notably see the change in the characters especially Himura and Kuze. Himura is no longer the lone island who prefers to rely on himself because he is more open to others and freed from his past while Kuze has u-turn from a pessimistic death-anticipating violinist to a optimistic life-appreciating musician. And it is all thanks to both Yuuko and Mizuki. Hey, behind every successful man is a woman…
 
The drawing, art and animation is still very much consistent with the first season. Meaning that the beautifully and detailed rendered backdrops and sceneries as still one of the main reasons why I look forward to watch the sequel. Yes, they are still as breathtaking as ever. Also consistent with the first season are the view angles that are shown to dramatise the effect of the story. Albeit I felt it is much lesser but nevertheless it is magnificently executed. As for the next episode preview, you can still see colour sketches of the characters as they narrate but in keeping with the name for this season, this time it goes "Kikoemasu ka? Shinjitsu No Melody?" (Can you hear it? The true melody?).
 
If English was the language used for all those onscreen words during the previous season, this particular season uses German. That’s right. I’m not sure if they are taken from a particular storybook or song. Like how the mid-intermission has two lines of German sentences which feels like it’s from some storybook (I could be wrong). Even the opening credits is filled with them. Furthermore, in replacement of the Kanji-Hiragana writings that we see during the first season, this time the screen displays a certain number and a German word below corresponding to it (except for 1 episode whereby that Kanji-Hiragana style appeared). Though I haven’t tried it myself, I read that if you put all those words in order, it is supposed to be the lyrics for that A Moon Filled Sky song.
 
I can’t help but feel that the opening theme song by TENMON featuring ELISA, Ebullient Future, is like a variation of the first season’s opening theme. Perhaps it is the liveliness and the way the singer sings it which reminds me of so. Why is the song called so? That’s because I still think the producers have a thing for the words "ef", just like how many of the songs in the previous season or PC game was abbreviated to. Then there is an instrumental version of the song in 1 of the episodes. I read this caught many viewers by surprise because they thought that they had some problem with their audio hardware or software! Let’s sing along everybody! Of course there’s an English version of the piece but it serves as one of the two ending themes for the final episode. I was hoping to hear a German version since that language is quite obvious here but unfortunately, there isn’t. The animation for the opening credits may differ a little for each episode in the sense that in some animation, colours and shadings are added. I remember that there is one whereby the entire animation is flipped upside down! Just creative, these people.
 
As for the ending theme, Egao No Chikara by Mai Goto is often played as it is the theme for Mizuki. Perhaps to make up for the lesser story screening time? The other ending theme is of course Yuuko’s theme which is entitled Negai No Kakera by Yumiko Nakajima and I remember it only lasts for 3 episodes. Then the second of the two ending themes for the final episode is Ever Forever by Mai Goto, Yumiko Nakajima, Hiroko Taguchi, Junko Okada and Natsumi Yanase.
 
If you are the observant enough, you will notice that there is some play on words for each of the episode titles as well. For the first six episodes, the first alphabet for each title spells out to be "ERUTUF" which is future spelt backwards. Then the second half of the series, the same words are used to spell "FUTURE" in the correct order, except it just added "re-" in front. Like episode 2’s "Read" is "Reread" in episode 11, or episode 4’s "Turn" is episode 9’s "Return". Except for the last episode whereby it is "Forever" in contrast to the episode 1’s "Ever".
 
I wonder if they will make another sequel out of this since all of the protagonists in both seasons have been tied up. Even if they do make one with different characters in it, I will definitely go watch it without a doubt. When death affects us in many ways, it is best to see things in the most positive light. Because as we all know, it is one of the 2 inevitable things in life (those having financial background should know the other). You can’t bring back the dead and the most you could do is to remember the memories made with them. Thus the most important thing is to move forward in life. So I’m hoping to live long to watch all the animes I want. Yeah, that’s my true melody alright. Extremely Futile? Not with there’s hope around. Hey, there’s another "ef" word for ya’. End, finish.
 

ef ~A Tale Of Melodies~

Rozen Maiden Soundtrack

July 10, 2009

I still love the Rozen Maiden anime series though I’m not that crazy about it when I first initially watched it. Besides the beautifully designed goth-loli dolls, another plus about the series is its soundtrack. Over the 2 seasons and special, there are quite a variety of background music which range from excitingly fast to soothing slow. All carefully suited for the atmosphere and mood of the scenes in the series.
 
Since the series did officially span 2 seasons, by right there should also be 2 soundtrack albums. The first season’s soundtrack has a whopping 44 number of tracks whereas the second season’s album has been drastically reduced by half, which is 22 tracks. Of course why not use the existing superb pieces from the first album instead of cramming more into the second, right? Besides, many of the soundtracks in the first album are being reused in the second season. For the record, a big majority of the tracks are produced by Mitsumune Shinkichi. As usual, listed below are my favourite soundtracks from both albums in alphabetical order:
 
1) Atatakana Kokoro
2) Bara No Chikai
3) Bara No Jubai
4) Battle Of Crystal
5) Battle Of Rose
6) Creation (AKA Tanjou)
7) For Tomorrow (AKA Ashita E)
8) Hyoukai
9) Kodoku Na Kokoro
10) Komatta Shumi
11) Kowareta Sekai
12) Kurayami Yori Kitaru Mono
13) Nightmare (AKA Akumu)
14) Shukuteki
15) Wrong Way
 
Among these pieces, my most number 1 all-time favourite is Battle Of Rose. I’m sure many Rozen Maiden fans would agree with me that this exciting battle themed rock piece magnificently combines both the orchestra strings, heavy bass and electric guitar. This background music is mainly played during the next episode preview albeit it’s a shortened version. But nevertheless, this is an absolute masterpiece. Battle Of Crystal also feels like a battle theme song to provide variety to Battle Of Rose as it also incorporates orchestra strings and electric guitar.
 
My second favourite piece is no doubt Shukuteki. I vividly remember this piece first came about in the first season whereby the twin dolls took on Suigin Tou in one of the final few episodes. Yup, it’s another exciting fast paced battle theme and every time I hear this piece, it never fails to make me shuffle my feet or at least get up and do a little dance of my own.
 
Atatakana Kokoro is a nice slow piano piece with strings and is a good song for easy listening. Likewise, Kodoku Na Kokoro too is a slow piano-driven piece accompanied with a flute. But this one has a hint of sadness in it. Wrong Way doesn’t sound like a song which befitting its name. I mean, though it’s a slow-moderate dramatic piece, it doesn’t give an impression that one has made any mistake. Something like that.
 
Bara No Chikai sounds like a piece suitable for an advent of a character. It relies on the slow strings in the beginning and the music gradually gets a little louder as the song goes by. Bara No Jubai uses the harpsichord and heavy drum beats in what I feel to be another theme suitable for a fight sequence. Hyoukai is another slow piano ballad which is complemented with slow strings and has traces of loneliness and sadness in it. If I’m not mistaken, this is one of Suigin Tou’s themes. Of all the themes, Komatta Shumi has got to be the most fun one in the sense that this is lively piece and one has got to love the creative guitar picking in the middle of the song. I’m not sure if the other instrument is a synthesizer or something else but it sure does fit filler or comical scenes in the series.
 
There are some scary sounding pieces such as Kowareta Sekai. This song feels like you have stepped into the broken world and N-Field of Suigin Tou. The slow strings and cello play gives a dark impression of abandonment. The same case with Kurayami Yori Kitaru Mono. Also feels like a theme befitting Suigin Tou’s world, the chilling and creepy play of the harpsichord and cello makes you feel that something may strike you at any moment and keep you on your toes. Though Nightmare doesn’t sound like a loud dramatic scary piece with sudden shrieky violins, but the slow combination of piano, strings and chimes is enough to give you a sense of creepiness. It also makes you feel like you are slowly descending into a nightmare which you may never escape.
 
For Tomorrow sounds like a song filled with hope. The piano is the main instrument here as it is accompanied by slower strings which will eventually take centre stage as the song reaches its end. Last but not least is Creation. Another slow dramatic piece which gives an impression of the formation of the dolls. Like giving their first breath and when they first opened their eyes to the world.
 
Since it’s impossible for me to blog on the remaining other tracks (not to say that they sound very bad) but let me just briefly go through some of them. Songs from the first season’s album include Ivy is a short piece lasting 10 seconds only and is used for the series’ title screen. It evokes a feeling of those Victorian era the way the strings are played. Same case with Rose Garden and Concerto as it is the theme for the mid-intermission. The waltz-like tune of Garden Party gives a sense of the rich and opulent fancy ball during those Victorian times. Noble Dolls too have this feel while Cute Girl sounds like a children song with the way the flute the harpsichord is played.
 
Alice Game sounds like an Arabian theme at first but because of the way the harpsichord is played, it gives a sense of eeriness. Kanshaku sounds like a fun piece with its Tiki-like playing. Battle In The House sounds like a funky piece suitable for all those in-house squabbles. Tantei Kun-kun is the theme for the in-series Detective Kun-kun show. It sounds like your typical slow detective jazzy piece. The slow happy tune of Change sounds like a wake-up-in-the-early-morning or daily life song, if you know what I mean. Same case with Neat Sister. Naisei and Awai Omoide is another slow piano play which I feel is suitable for reflection scenes (if there was any in the series. Can’t remember).
 
Abstract gives a feeling of impending or hidden danger while Zannin Na Kougeki is a heavy rock metal piece. Another slow dramatic piece relying heavily on orchestra strings is Bright Red. Okubyousha sounds like a tune for those scenes you see in chapels and such the way the harpsichord and flute is being played. Jaaku Na Takurami has a little samba feel in it while Barricade Sen sounds like a military piece (remember those flute played during the American Civil War?) with a little marching tune in it. Joukigen has a little Chinese feel while Funny Dolls sounds a little funny itself the way the xylophones are played.
 
On to the second season’s soundtrack, Shukumei is another Victorian-like piece albeit a little faster. Slapstick sounds like a song from the circus if you know those kind of songs played when carnival or clown antics are being carried out. Then there is Funky Dolls (more like a funky rock piece), Barasuishou (a creepy song befitting that evil doll), Bara Otome (a dramatic piece for that same wicked doll), I’m Not Junk (a funky lively dance piece which resembles a little closely to Shukuteki), Suishou No Field (sounds mystical and cosmic), Mebae (a song which I think feels like a lounge music with its easy piano and acoustic guitar), Genius Detective (a faster jazzy detective piece), Enju (a slow and easy piece with the emphasis on the flute) and Laplace (ironically it sounds a little relaxing as I was hoping for it to sound darker to reflect the mysterious character himself).
 
Of course there are many more CD audios if you are a hardcore Rozen Maiden fan such as the opening and ending theme singles of the series, Drama CDs (for those who can’t get enough of their favourite dolls) and even several Character Drama Series (for those who still want more of their favourite dolls as each of them have their own separate single CD). Yeah, they even have one Drama CD for that doggy detective Kun-kun called Rozen Maiden Original Drama ~Tantei – Detektiv~. Not forgetting a web radio show (called Radio Dramas) which includes Bara No Kaori No Garden Party CD Special, Memories Of Garden Party and Suigin Tou No Koyoi Mo Ennu~i (for the Ouverture special series). But you know me, I didn’t really listen to all these because I’m satisfied and like those soundtracks. Though I won’t be rewatching the series any time soon, but you can count on me listening to those beautifully crafted tunes over and over again. Just like how the Rozen Maiden dolls are candy to my eyes, the series’ tracks are music to my ears.
 

Rozen Maiden

Woah! For the first time ever in my blog history, I have decided to do a massive versus between four major anime series. That’s right. Four of them. These action-packed series have been long running shows in Japan (think 3 digit episode numbers!) so much so their popularity has created uncountable numbers of cult following and fans. They are Naruto, Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, Bleach and One Piece. I know I left out the Dragonball series but hey, I never did liked that series nor follow that classic cult as much as those mentioned quartet. Hopefully I pray this blog will turn out well. Let’s find out…
 
Main hero
The main lead character and star of the series.
Naruto: Naruto Uzumaki
Reborn: Tsunayoshi "Tsuna" Sawada
Bleach: Ichigo Kurosaki
One Piece: Monkey D. Luffy
 
His character
Overall describes his personality as they mature with the progression of the series.
Naruto: Though he been ostracized by many due to his past and thus the reason why he remains cheerful and boisterous even though he is lazy and isn’t that intelligent. But as time goes by, with his strong will and determination, he makes friends and earns the respect from others, whether friends or enemies alike.
Reborn: Initially has low self-esteem, whiny and is useless in doing many things but whenever faced with difficulty or finds his friends his trouble, he will no doubt come to their aid or protect them.
Bleach: Initially a cynic but stands strongly and firmly with his believes and is willing to risk his life to protect the ones he cares.
One Piece: Not the brightest nor smartest person in the world and seems to be carefree and immature in making weird decisions. But even if ignorance is bliss, he has a great sense of justice and of course loyalty to his friends.
 
His goal
Refers to the dream in life for our main heroes
Naruto: To be the next Hokage
Reborn: To lead a normal life
Bleach: Not known
One Piece: To be Pirate King
 
His age
How old our kid heroes are when the story starts or for most of the series.
Naruto: 12 years old
Reborn: 14 years old
Bleach: 15 years old
One Piece: 17 years old
 
Prominent feature
Refers to the main hero’s obvious physical mark.
Naruto: His whiskers?
Reborn: Nothing much…
Bleach: His orange-coloured hair
One Piece: His straw hat
 
Job description
The kind of ‘occupation’ those heroes do.
Naruto: Ninja
Reborn: Mafia
Bleach: Shinigami (Death God)
One Piece: Pirate
 
World setting
The location of where the story mainly takes place and is set.
Naruto: The hidden leaf village Konoha
Reborn: Modern day Japan
Bleach: The place of the afterlife, Soul Society and Hueco Mundo
One Piece: The world’s most deadliest and dangerous ocean, The Grand Line
 
Current boss
Refers to the current head of the large organization in which the world is set in.
Naruto: Tsunade the 5th Hokage and her assistant Shizune
Reborn: Timoteo AKA Vongola IX Nono and Iemitsu as his loyal helper
Bleach: Shigekuni Yamamoto Genryuusai the 1st Division Captain and his vice-captain Choujirou Sasakibe
One Piece: Fleet Admiral Sengoku Gensui AKA The Buddha and the 3 powerful Admirals under him, namely Aokiji, Kizaru and Akainu
 
Comrades (selective)
That’s the fun of being with a group of people or in a team. Sort of.
Naruto: Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno
Reborn: Hayato Gokudera, Takeshi Yamamoto, Ryohei Sasagawa, Lambo, Kyoya Hibari and Chrome Dokuro/Rokudo Mukuro
Bleach: Uryuu Ishida, Yasutora "Chad" Sado, Orihime Inoue and Rukia Kuchiki
One Piece: Roronoa Zoro, Nami, Sanji, Usopp, Chopper, Nico Robin and Franky
 
Other supporting casts (selective)
Other minor characters which help out our main group of heroes.
Naruto: Other Genins like Shikamaru, Ino, Chouji, Tenten, Lee, Neji, Hinata, Kiba and Shino
Reborn: Bianchi, Dino, Giannini, Fuuta, Kyoko, Haru and I-pin
Bleach: The 13 Gotei Protection Squad, the people of Urahara store and later the Vizards
One Piece: Mainly side characters during a particular arc
 
Teacher
Refers to that tutor/trainer/guide that the main lead looks up to or at least gets his lessons from.
Naruto: A Jounin for team 7, Kakashi Hatake, and one of the legends of Konoha, Jiraiya
Reborn: A tiny infant and one of the Arcobaleno, Reborn
Bleach: Owner of the Urahara store, Kisuke Urahara
One Piece: Captain of the Red-Haired Pirates and one of the Yonkou, Shanks
 
Antagonists (selective)
You can’t do a series without having bad guys, right?
Naruto: Orochimaru and the Akatsuki
Reborn: The Varia led by Xanxus, and the Millefiore Family led by Byakuran
Bleach: Initially the 13 Gotei Protection Squad of Soul Society, then the Bounts (led by Jin Kariya), and Arrancars (led by traitor and former Gotei 13 Protection Squad 5th Division Captain, Aizen)
One Piece: The Shichibukai (Seven Sea Warlords), the Marines and the World Government
 
Food factor
Notice how the main lead heroes have something to do with food?
Naruto: Named after a fish paste and likes to eat ramen
Reborn: Well, Tsuna may not be named after food nor eats a lot unlike greedy little Lambo
Bleach: Ichigo can mean strawberry although his kanji writing means number one
One Piece: Luffy loves chomping down any kind of meat
 
Special ability
Refers to the main lead heroes’ main skill
Naruto: Kage Bunshin No Juutsu (Clone technique) and later power up with his Rasengan
Reborn: Dying will and later combines and improvises this with his X-Gloves to create X-Burner among others
Bleach: Getsuga Tenshou (Moon Fang Heaven Piercer), a bankai technique from his Zanpakutou, Zangetsu and also the ability to combine his powers with his Hollow side
One Piece: Gomu Gomu No ~ (insert name of attack like Pistol, Spear or Gatling Gun) and later power up with his Gear Second and Gear Third
 
Series character’s main ability
Just like in the previous, refers to the other characters special moves on what they are based on.
Naruto: Ninja techniques
Reborn: Vongola Rings
Bleach: A Zanpakutou’s Bankai
One Piece: The different and unique ability of the Devil’s Fruit
 
Love interest
Refers to the girl whom the main hero has a heart for.
Naruto: Sakura
Reborn: Kyoko
Bleach: Nil. But fans hope to see it happen with Orihime
One Piece: Nil. The thing which moves Luffy’s heart is food and the fact that he’d be Pirate King
 
Long range fighter
Refers to the character using fighting techniques which can hit opponents from a distance.
Naruto: Not that I can think off but does Gaara’s sand technique or Temari’s giant fan count?
Reborn: Gokudera who uses dynamites
Bleach: Ishida, a Quincy who uses arrows made from spirit particles
One Piece: Usopp who is the Straw Hat Pirate’s sniper
 
Illusion user
Some fighters are experts in using illusion to their advantage in battlefields.
Naruto: Jounin Kurenai Yuhi is an expert genjutsu user
Reborn: Mukuro-Chrome and Marmon FKA Viper create super real illusions
Bleach: Sousuke Aizen’s Zanpakutou Kyouka Suigetsu has illusion properties
One Piece: One of the 4 Priests of Vearth, Satori, uses a powerful Mantra combined with floating balls in the illusion forest. So okay, he isn’t an illusion fighter but the battle seemingly was
 
Lightning user
They use lightning or electrical currents in their battles.
Naruto: Sasuke’s Chidori
Reborn: Lambo and Levi A Than
Bleach: Jin Kariya, who gathers static electricity to form a lightning blade
One Piece: Enel, who is the self-proclaimed thunder God
 
Bare hands fighter
Characters who do not use weapon or any magic to aid them and just their own force.
Naruto: Lee and Gai
Reborn: Ryohei
Bleach: Sado
One Piece: Sanji
 
Pervert
Men…
Naruto: Jiraiya and Kakashi
Reborn: Dr Shamal
Bleach: Kon and Shinsuke Kyouraku
One Piece: Sanji
 
One eye
Characters that have one eye covered and always hidden
Naruto: Kakashi
Reborn: Chrome
Bleach: Zaraki
One Piece: Sanji
Hey, I’ve been mentioning that Sanji guy for 3 straight times already!
 
Sunglasses
Characters who always don a pair of shades whether it’s night or day. Have we ever seen their eyes?
Naruto: Shino
Reborn: Lussuria
Bleach: Tetsuzaemon Iba
One Piece: Skybreeder Ohm and Erik the Whirlwind
 
Animal
Aww… Seemingly cute little creatures… Sort of.
Naruto: Kiba’s little puppy-cum-partner, Akamaru
Reborn: Lambo. Erm… Okay, so he looks like a little kid dressed in a cow suit. Howzabout Gokudera’s box cat, Uri, from his CAI system?
Bleach: Kon, a modified soul inhabiting a stuffed lion plushie, and Yoruichi in cat form
One Piece: Chopper the little reindeer
 
Little kids
Aww… Seemingly cute little children… Sort of.
Naruto: The grandson of the 3rd Hokage, Konohamaru
Reborn: Lambo, I-pin and Fuuta (prior to the Future Arc)
Bleach: Yachiru Kusajishi, Ururu, Karin and Yuzu
One Piece: Apis (of Apis Arc) and Aisa (of Skypiea Arc)
 
Siblings
Characters which are blood related.
Naruto: Neji and Hinata are cousins while Sasuke and Itachi are brothers but hate each other very much
Reborn: Bianchi and Gokudera are step brother and sisters while Kyoko and Ryohei are siblings
Bleach: Byakuya and Rukia are biological siblings while Ichigo has little sisters Karin and Yuzu
One Piece: Luffy and Portgas D. Ace are brothers
 
Father
Refers to the dad of the lead main hero.
Naruto: He is an orphan so he doesn’t know who his real parents are
Reborn: Iemitsu. Though always MIA within his family, he is actually the Outside Advisor, the 2nd highest position in the Vongola Family
Bleach: Isshin. Though a childish family doctor, he seems to indicate that he is a Shinigami of captain level too
One Piece: Monkey D. Dragon. He is the world’s most wanted criminal and traitor
 
Not really friends but not really foes either
Walking the middle fence?
Naruto: The Sand Siblings, Gaara, Kankuro and Temari
Reborn: Mukuro and Hibari
Bleach: Some of the 13 Gotei Protection Squad like Zaraki
One Piece: Some of the Marines like Captain Smoker
 
Deceased heroes
‘Heroes’ or ‘good guys’ who have died a long time ago.
Naruto: The 3rd Hokage
Reborn: The previous 8 Heads of the Vongola Family including Vongola I Primo, the founder and first Vongola Family
Bleach: Vice-captain of the 13th Division, Kaien
One Piece: Gol D. Roger
 
Near Marriage
Wedding bells are ringing… Sort of.
Naruto: Ino disguises as a bride-to-be to help chuby Princess Fuku court her groom-to-be, an Elvis look-a-like
Reborn: Bianchi weds Reborn after getting the false impression that the latter accepted and goes berserk whenever she learns that Reborn is a now show. But she abandons her plan and put it on hold when she realizes that she isn’t good enough for him yet
Bleach: Rurichiyo and Shuu’s wedding are pre-arranged in order for Kumoi to strengthen his grip on power but the wedding has been interrupted with Ichigo gate-crashing and the discovery that this Rurichiyo is fake. Though they are still engaged, I guess it’s better for them to enjoy their childhood first and take one step at a time
One Piece: Unconscious Nami nearly got married to perverted Zombie General, Absalom, if not for Sanji’s interference and Oz’s rampage
 
Retrieval
Our heroes going on a chase-and-rescue mission. Something like that.
Naruto: Naruto and his other Jounin team mates go after Sasuke who has turned to the dark side
Reborn: Tsuna and his allies go after Shouichi Irie in hopes of returning to their past
Bleach: Ichigo and friends go to Soul Society to save Rukia from execution and heading towards Hueco Mundo to save Orihime
One Piece: Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirate crew go to great lengths to take back Robin from the World Government’s hands
 
Story Arc (selective)
Not fillers, mind you.
Naruto: The Chuunin Exams and Sasuke Pursuing Arc
Reborn: The Kokuyo Arc, The Varia Ring Conflict and the Future Arc
Bleach: The Rescue Rukia Arc, The Bounts Arc and the Arrancar Arc
One Piece: West Blue Arc, Skypiea Arc, Water Seven AKA CP9 Arc, Thriller Bark Arc and Shabondy Arc
 
Fillers (selective)
Anything that has got nothing to do with the main storyline flow and sometimes can standalone as an episode itself.
Naruto: Well, after Naruto fails to retrieve Sasuke, the rest of the episodes are all fillers, which includes Naruto and his mates taking on odd missions
Reborn: The Daily Life Arc sees how Tsuna deals with his annoying ‘family’
Bleach: The one whereby 10th Division Captain Hitsugaya was posted in the real world to keep a lookout for Arrancar’s erratic activities and the Rurichiyo Arc (yes, I consider this long arc to be a filler)
One Piece: After several story arcs, there will be several filler episodes which are character-focused. There are other short filler arcs such as the Foxy Fox Davy Fightback Arc, the Navarone Base Arc and the Legendary Luffy Oyabin Arc
 
Movies
The series is so famous that it spawned feature length films.
Naruto: There are 3 films based on the 1st season while 2 films on the sequel bringing it to a total of 5
Reborn: So far nil
Bleach: There have been 3 films since 2006 and I noticed they are all released in December a year apart from each other
One Piece: Ever since its inception, there has been 9 movies made
 
Conclusion
Well, I guess you can say that there may be some more comparative information missing but that is because I don’t really remember much after watching much of the series. It’s also hard to find a subject which could fit all 4 of the mentioned series. You can add them if you like. Feel free to do so. If I have to choose which of the series I like best, then it is still going to be Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn because of the several team battle scenes. This is followed by Bleach because of the Arrancar Arc and I am interested to find out who fights who. Next is One Piece and although it may be a little draggy but the fights are still awesome. Lastly, Naruto is my least favourite due to the fillers (though I only watched them for pure laughter and entertainment) so much so I didn’t want to watch its sequel. But still, each of them has its plus and minus points. I guess lots of plus points since they are able to sustain in the long run for die hard fans and even ordinary anime people like me. Keep up the good work!
 

Naruto  Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn
 
Bleach  One Piece

Busou Renkin

July 4, 2009

Although the anime series Busou Renkin has came out and ended its run from late 2006 to early 2007, at that time I did not have any intentions to go watch it. Sure, it is one of those typical shonen genres whereby it is filled with action and fighting. And even though this series had some comedy elements (though for comic relief purpose and not the main driving force), I was still reluctant to watch. So what made me changed my mind and decide to go take a peek?
 
Some time back, I have a little glimpse of how the main villain of the series, Papillon, is quite an amusing character himself. I saw pictures of this fashion faux pas guy circulating over the internet of how funny and comical he really is. And he doesn’t disappoint. Yeah, he’s so gay I tell you that every time he makes his appearance, it’s like I will be grinning and smiling to whatever antics he has in store for me, even if his schemes are evil or whatsoever. So there you have it. The main motivation for me to watch this series. A baddie in a butterfly mask who loves doing poses whenever he talks. And oh, did I mention that he keeps stuff in his skimpy underwear too? How the hell did he fit something big underneath that little piece of cloth? Mind boggling. But very funny lah.
 
Okay, before anybody gets the wrong idea that I’m infatuated with the Papillon guy and turned gay, let me continue with the main premise of the series. Many would think that this is a rip-off from the popular series Fullmetal Alchemist because it involves using the art of alchemy to fight against the villains of this series called Homunculi, non-human creatures which feed on humans and the only way to stop or even destroy them is through alchemy. But that is where the similarity ends.
 
And just like in any shonen genres, you can guess that this main high school kid, Kazuki Mutou is going to be the hero of the series because of his sense of justice to protect the ones he loves and jumping in to protect them without giving thought of his own life and safety. Yeah, guy heroes must be so like that. Oh yes, he has spiky hair too, that’s why. So in the 1st episode… He died!!! Woah! How many series starts off with the main hero getting killed off? Besides that pessimistic Nozomu guy in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, that is. Fortunately, he wakes up in the middle of the night in his dorm and thinks is only a nightmare. Or not. So this episode introduces Kazuki’s other school buddies like the resident pervert and Regent hairstyled guy Hideyuki Okakura, large size buddy Masashi Daihama, bespectacled Kouji Rokumasu, Kazuki’s 1 year junior and a little air-head but optimistic and very supportive Mahiro, her best pals Chisato Wakamiya and Saori Kawai.
 
Then of course Kazuki finds out that nightmare is real and that he had indeed died. You see, while trying to save a girl with a scar across her nose, Tokiko Tsumura, from a Homunculus at an abandoned building, he gets pierced through the heart instead. To show her gratitude, she saves his life by inserting a hexagon shaped metal plate called Kakugane as a replacement for his heart. So you can say that Kazuki is being kept alive by it. Then to make things worse, while cleaning the school compound that night, one of his teachers is actually a Homunculus and turns into a vicious monster to eat him. Unfortunately unsuspecting Mahiro was there as he gobbles her up. What would a pissed off brother like Kazuki do if he sees his sister being devoured right in front of his eyes? That’s right. Somebody’s butt is going to get kick real bad. Unfortunately you can’t go hand to hand with a Homunculus so luckily Tokiko is there to save the day. You just got to love this girl’s alchemic weapon which she dubs Valkyrie Skirt, 4 scythe-like blades attached to her thighs. Slice and dice baby!
 
Thankfully when Mahiro comes to, she thinks all this was just a dream. Better stay that way. Though Tokiko insists that Kazuki should go back to his normal school life and stay out from being an Alchemic Warrior to fight Homunculi, but would that guy listen? Not when everybody’s life is at stake. If there are such selfless heroes in the real world. So Kazuki learns that Tokiko is in this town to destroy Homunculi and the part in the abandoned building she was just playing the bait part when Kazuki interrupted. So Tokiko goes off to the abandoned building to finish off all the remaining Homunculi with Kazuki tagging along. Because Kazuki has a Kakugane embedded in his chest, he can summon an alchemic weapon in a form of a lance to do battle. Tokiko is shocked by the development of Kazuki to use such weapon as he rips through each and every Homunculus from henchmen to leader. Thus Tokiko decides to train Kazuki to be an Alchemic Warrior to keep the city safe from Homunculi. Since partly that guy doesn’t want to go back to his boring normal life either.
 
So in most episodes you’ll notice this sort of trend. Kazuki fights Homunculi, powers up with his lance which is dubbed Sunlight Heart (because Tokiko felt the warmth of its sash to be one. Oh yeah, Kazuki did came up with other silly names too…), fights more powerful enemies, learns more about the world of alchemy, powers up even further and kicks more ass while maintaining his sense of justice and sanity. On the other hand, you’ll kinda notice some odd relationship or chemistry between Kazuki and Tokiko. I’m having trouble whether to classify this tough chic as tsundere because initially she feels responsible for bringing Kazuki back to life and is always by his side. So it just develops from there, though not very obvious. But you can just feel it. By the way, Tokiko’s favourite motto is "I’ll rip your guts out!". Warning: Don’t mess with her.
 
So episode 2 has Kazuki learning more about alchemy and Homunculi and its source. Tokiko has Kazuki come with her to a haunted factory and her suspicions that the Homunculi are developing some new weapon, comes true. Not that I understand how that little red embryo capsule works but it’s some sort of parasite which could turn a human into a Homunculus. Only one way. No turning back. Of course they are interrupted by a masked guy, Koushaku Chouno, riding on his eagle Homunculus, Washio. A short fight before Chouno escapes after failing to turn Tokiko into 1 of them. Of course Kazuki’s friends and sister suspect Kazuki of having a girlfriend and goes to the factory to spot him and Tokiko together. In order to hide their true identity, the duo claim that they are siblings. Wait a minute. What does that make Mahiro then? Better to come up with a better excuse. Of course everyone gets along fine with Tokiko and as they walk home, Tokiko spots the parasite on Kazuki’s hair and tries to get rid of it but the parasite strikes her instead. Similarly, Kazuki pushes Tokiko as the duo tumble down the ravine. Bad news is that Tokiko has the parasite embedded in her skin and within a week it will reach her brain, in which she will turn into a Homunculus. The only way to save her is to destroy the creator and if not, kill her. They are then being ambushed by a frog Homunculi and Kazuki takes the lead in defeating him since Tokiko can’t call her weapon. With that, Kazuki vows to be stronger and save Tokiko within 7 days.
 
Episode 3 has Kazuki and Tokiko knowing that the creator is a student of his school and that he wears a papillon mask and a rotten look in his eyes. You can guess that is this sick coughing Chouno guy in bed as he’s taken an interest in Kazuki while being flanked by his other Homunculi servants. So a frog Homunculus decides to find out more on Kazuki and stalks him. Of course the inevitable battle but since Kazuki is still green and Tokiko’s Kazuki-is-in-danger-sense is tingling, she heads off in search of Kazuki. But remember Kazuki can’t die because he already dead. Okay, so it’s because he doesn’t have a real heart anymore should be a better excuse because frog Homunculus stabbed him there. As expected, Kazuki powers up with his Sunlight Heart to send that cowardly froggy begging for his life. Before Kazuki could get an answer from him, froggy is destroyed by his backstabbing comrade, a Homunculus in a plant form. Luckily Tokiko arrives in time and manages to summon her Valkyrie Skirt to finish her off. Because Kazuki’s Kakugane has healing properties too, Tokiko manages to heal the wound albeit not perfect. Kazuki now knows how his weapon works and this leaves Tokiko a little impressed because he’s gotten a little stronger.
 
While Kazuki learns that Tokiko don’t actually go to school and is just wearing her previous school’s uniform, Kazuki finally meets this Papillon guy in episode 4 by accident (not sure if that skilfully sketched picture helped, if you know what I mean). Although he is a student of Kazuki’s school, Kazuki has never seen him around much because of his sick body which makes him skip classes. Chouno even lives in the same dorm that Kazuki resides and you know when everyone doesn’t give a damn about a sickly kid, he’s sure easy to be forgettable. Chouno gets excited when he learns Kazuki has a Kakugane and wants it for his life in exchange for Tokiko’s antidote but Kazuki punches him in the face instead. Ouch. Then when Tokiko arrives, Kazuki learns that he is ripped off because the antidote is fake. Phew. Luckily he didn’t give his Kakugane. He can’t either because he won’t be able to live without it. Soon they learn that Chouno wants to become a super human type Homunculus to get rid of this sickly body of his. There’s lot of talk about dying and living and depending on your side of the argument, both seems right. Then Washio comes crashing into the dorm to take the duo away far from his master. They manage to free themselves but find that they are free falling. Luckily Kazuki’s sash breaks their fall as they prepare to face off with Washio in the nearby woods.
 
Tokiko and Kazuki combine their powers to fight Washio in episode 5. They have too since his powers are of a different level. With both sides having strong determination and willpower to protect, it won’t take long to know who will win in this outcome, right? Of course the human hero lah. So a short flashback about how Washio was once an eagle who was shot out from the sky by some unknown hunter. He was then taken in by Chouno and therefore this explains his undivided loyalty to him. After an explosive battle, even Washio is relieved to know of Kazuki’s resolution and could die in peace. All that’s left is for Kazuki to give injured Tokiko a piggyback ride.
 
Kazuki goes to Chouno’s home to ask his family for his whereabouts in episode 6 but finds his brother, Jiro instead. Not only that, the entire family especially his father isn’t interested in him and considers him to be someone who tarnishes the family name. He’s disappointed for the family’s successor to have such an incurable disease. Such heartless people. How can they throw and abandon someone like that. Oh wait. It’s happening in the real world too. Soon Kazuki manages to find Chouno alone in some secret room of his but Jiro and his bodyguards have followed Kazuki to finish off Chouno whom he hate so much for good. Chouno manages to merge with his parasite experiment to turn into a Homunculus. This is where the freak show fun begins for him. Uh huh. Posing in his Speedo trunks because normal bullets can’t harm him, Chouno sucks the life out of Jiro and his bodyguards and heads over to his home. Because everyone thinks he is Jiro, Chouno decides to play a game whereby if anyone could correctly identify him, he would spare them. Unfortunately, nobody did. Not even daddy. So Chouno has a field time sucking everyone up. Of course Kazuki faces off with him but Kazuki is in a dilemma because the key to Tokiko’s antidote is inside his stomach and Kazuki has to kill Chouno in order to obtain it. Kazuki eventually has to kill Chouno and the latter calls him a hypocrite because the former didn’t want more lives sacrificed but had to do so to save Tokiko. However Kazuki collapses due to fatigue but when he wakes up, he finds Tokiko cured because some Alchemic Warrior in white manages to deliver it to her in time.
 
In episode 7, Kazuki feels bad for Chouno especially after being called a hypocrite. But he gets assurance to continue his mission with the appearance of another Alchemic Warrior, Captain Bravo. He is Tokiko’s commander and the one who saved her previously. Because of that, Tokiko is a new transfer student in Kazuki’s class (don’t know why she doesn’t have to wear the same uniform as the other girls) and to make things worse, Bravo is also a supervisor of their dorm. So is Bravo his real name? Nope. But he can’t reveal it because he thinks it’s cool. Hah. I thought the series would become boring since that Chouno guy had died but fortunately, he is revived by his great-great grandpa, Bakushaku AKA Dr Butterfly (note his butterfly shaped moustache. Hilarious!), who too is a Homunculus and leader of the LXE group of super humanoid Homunculi. Kazuki gets a surprising call from Chouno to meet him at a fast food joint to talk things over (everyone staring at his worse fashion outfit!). In short, Chouno and Kazuki promises to settle their score one day and Chouno is now known as Papillon as a sign for casting away his humanity and the only one allowed to call him by his real name is Kazuki. Later at the school rooftop and after more talking, Papillon leaves but the alchemy gang has to face off with a member of the LXE who is there to crush them, Kinjou, who has a Kakugane from a recently missing and defeated Alchemic Warrior. But Bravo decides to fight this one and show the young ones the true power he posses.
 
Though Bravo easily defeats Kinjou in episode 8, before they could question him more about LXE, another whip wielding Homunculus, Jinnai, destroys Kinjou. Bravo notes of Kazuki’s progress and decides to have him undergo special training as he has Tokiko guard the Kakugane. While Bravo and Kazuki are out training that night, Jinnai hypnotizes everyone in the dorm except for Tokiko, to retrieve the Kakugane. Finally Tokiko faces off with Jinnai and defeats him but gay Papillon creates a diversion to snatch the Kakugane before Tokiko could. Of course the dorm students are freed from their spell and wonder why are they sleeping in the hallway before returning to bed (except for Chisato who had a near encounter of being eaten by Jinnai and starts thinking if the dream was real). By that time, Bravo returns with Kazuki who is dead tired from his ‘ordeal’ and learns of the Kakugane being stolen but he understands her situation.
 
Kazuki continues his tiring training and his tiredness is pretty obvious in class. In episode 9, the student council president, Oka Hayasaka lends her umbrella to Tokiko and Kazuki but the latter decides to return it seeing that his pals brought umbrellas. They did so and meet Oka’s twin brother, Shuusui, who is a member of the kendo club. Kazuki is thrilled of meeting another person who wants to be stronger too and has a practice match with him. I also want to mention another amusing LXE Homunculus, he is Moonface and his face is like well, a yellow crescent moon. I find it amusing with each sentence of his having him going "Moooon~". Another funny guy. Anyway, Dr Butterfly and Moonface gives the Hayasaka twins a pair of Kakugane so that they could find the Alchemic Warrior in their school. Oh, so the twins are Homunculi too, eh? However a pair of Chinese zombie Homunculi aren’t too pleased that the twins got the job. While the twins conduct their investigation, they still mix around with Kazuki and co, not knowing that their target is right under their nose. Also, Papillon visits Kazuki to warn him about the enemy close by and his role is to watch over the twins to see whether they screw up or not. However the school gets a rude shock with the appearance of the Chinese zombie pair in a poorly disguised school uniform outfit. They’re here to take the twins Kakugane but since Kazuki summoned his weapon, the zombies now take an interest in him but are easily defeated. By that time, the twins realized that the duo are Alchemic Warriors.
 
In episode 10, the twins confront the duo and suggests a fight that night within the school compound to settle things. So it’s a power battle between the sword and the lance as Shuusui takes on Kazuki. Thanks to the sparring with Shuusui, Kazuki too have gotten stronger. Meanwhile Tokiko’s Valkyrie Skirt takes on Oka’s archery skills (by her side a pink cupid alien?). Remember Kazuki doesn’t have a heart? Yeah, Shuusui stabbed there but Kazuki manages to break through Shuusui’s powerful and strongest attack and wounding him in the process. This causes Oka to panic and freak out. Oka then shoots her arrow to transfer Shuusui’s wounds to herself. However Kazuki finds from Tokiko that they aren’t really Homunculi because if they are, their wounds would heal. The twins are more like Disciples, humans who have sworn to work for Homunculi and to prevent them from being eaten if ever caught, there is some ‘8’ symbol on their body. They learn that the twins’ wish is to become Homunculi so that they could forever be together. Incest twins. Nope. It’s that normal kind of siblings love, mind you.
 
The twins’ flashback starts in episode 11 as they tell a tale of how they were abandoned by everyone. Even though they were victims of a kidnapper who played their ‘fake’ mom, when she got caught, their true parents didn’t even want them. That’s when they made a vow to always be together. That’s when Dr Butterfly and Moonface picked them up too. Tokiko decides to finish them off seeing that they are the enemies but Kazuki stops her. Does he have compassion for them now after hearing their sob story? While having his argument and debate with Tokiko, Shuusui takes this chance to stab Kazuki. But Oka again transfers his wounds to herself. I guess she too had opened her eyes. Her wound is too grave and they need to heal her with their Kakuganes if they want to save her. Since Kazuki can’t take his out, he requests for Tokiko’s. Reluctant at first, she then gives in. Moonface notes of their failure but decides to retreat after a brief face off with Bravo. As the twins recuperate in hospital (a car accident excuse was given), Tokiko and Kazuki visits them as they find out that the pink cupid angel, Gozen, is a crude talking creature! The other personality for gentle Oka? In short, seems like the twins are grateful to them for giving them another chance as Shuusui leaves for a personal training mission to be stronger but promises to come back.
 
In episode 12, Papillon eavesdropped how Dr Butterfly has no confidence in him so he tries a Kakugane himself. Bravo tells Tokiko and Kazuki that the Homunculi base has been found and will infiltrate it. But as they bust in, they find it to be void and only Moonface is there. He tells them that Dr Butterfly has taken his experiment tube thingy (the revival of some great traitor to the Alchemic Regiment) to a place with lots of live energy, the school. The kids rush back as Bravo faces off with Moonface. Meanwhile a mysterious mist has descended upon town and the school which makes everyone lose their sense of direction. Also, Dr Butterfly (now wearing a white fashion faux pax just like Papillon) unleashes several white giant Homunculi to attack the school. Kazuki and Tokiko manage to arrive in time to fend off the horde while trying to hide their identity but a student among the school, Suzuki, who is also a Homunculus is confusing the students that the enemy is also Kazuki and Tokiko but their pals barge in to tell him otherwise and that they believe in this friend of theirs. I guess they all know it’s them alright. While Chisato is paralysed by the fear of those monsters, Mahiro steps in to protect her friends because she believes her brother will come to save them. And as expected, Kazuki shows up.
 
In episode 13, the students supports Kazuki and Tokiko to boost the duo’s confidence to take on the menace. Dr Butterfly combines all the monsters into a single giant entity while Bravo’s fight with Moonface begins. We see Bravo’s weapon is his impenetrable Silver Skin coat while Moonface has clone 30 of himself as different phases of the moon. Back at school, Papillon takes on Dr Butterfly and the person inside the experiment tube starts to awake. When the tube lands on the school rooftop, it starts feeding the life force out of the students, causing them to faint. Kazuki and Tokiko rushes to the rooftop to stop the process or else everyone will be ‘eaten alive’ while Papillon continues attacking Dr Butterfly with his Near Death Happiness explosions. However Dr Butterfly has caught Papillon in a psychological nightmare illusion of his own called Alice In Wonderland (the names that they give…). Papillon manages to snap out of it and sets off a series of explosions with his Butterflies of Black Death, defeating the old man even though this move of his wounded him. Hey, he died before, right?
 
Kazuki stops and opens the classroom door, believed to where his friends are in episode 14. But they assure him that they’re alright and tell him to continue his mission. I don’t know why, they should’ve taken the shortcut in the first place by blasting a hole straight right up to the rooftop. As Dr Butterfly lay in defeat, he tells Papillon about the person in the tube, Victor. Once an Alchemic Warrior a century ago, he was considered a traitor and was pursued. Dr Butterfly and Victor’s path met as the latter promise to restore him into a kind which is neither human nor Homunculus with the alchemy knowledge they shared, no matter how long it took. However Papillon already knew all these but the answers that Papillon is seeking for still remains a mystery like how he could be as strong as Victor. Dr Butterfly’s answer: Don’t know or go ask him yourself. With that, Dr Butterfly disintegrates so Papillon takes his Kakugane which is all that is left (and his butterfly moustache too!). Kazuki and Tokiko reaches the rooftop to see 2 metre tall, tanned and illuminated hair Victor already awaken. Now this Victor guy is totally powerful and he hates Alchemic Warriors. The duo are no match for him but Kazuki’s willpower has him going strong. But is that enough? The energy drain by Victor is like a reflex action akin to breathing so the only way to stop it is to beat him totally. It’s going to be tough. Real tough. That’s because Victor has a Black Kakugane (I guess it’s more powerful than their usual grey ones) and his alchemy weapon is Fatal Attraction! No, you won’t turn gay. Tokiko becomes furious when Victor seemingly killed Kazuki because his Kakugane fell out of his body. She feels guilty for killing him but feels his Kakugane pulsating. Suddenly Kazuki gets up and picks up his Kakugane as it shatters into a Black Kakugane! OMG! He then turned tanned and his hair illuminated! Wow! He powered up so much and in such a short time in which most anime characters will take several episodes or years to do so! Hehe. Just kidding. Now Tokiko wonders what she has done to Kazuki.
 
Another power battle ensue in episode 15 but is a short one because Victor has enough of today’s feeding and flies away while Tokiko restrains Kazuki. With Kazuki being Victorized, he too has that energy drain reflex. He then switches back to his normal form as Tokiko collapses. But Papillon isn’t happy of what he has seen. He thinks hypocrite Kazuki has turned into a powerful being when Papillon himself is the one who wishes to obtain it. Papillon decides to go ask the higher ups of the Alchemic Regiment seeing that these lower ranks don’t know anything. It’s funny to see Kazuki clinging on to Papillon’s heels as he flies away. Meanwhile the battle between Bravo and Moonface ends with victory to the former. When Papillon arrives, seeing that Bravo too isn’t sure, he decides to conduct his own investigation. Since he’s not a threat, Bravo lets him go. Moonface isn’t killed off either because Bravo is thinking of taking him back to headquarters for interrogation. As everything return to normal for the students (being treated, hospitalized and all), Kazuki and co passes their exams (well Kazuki barely since he had undergone rigorous special training), it’s time for their summer vacation and it’s to the beach. While Tokiko is a little embarrassed to wear a swimsuit, to everyone’s surprise, they spot Bravo surfing there too! And they thought he had gone back. However, Tokiko gets another surprise when another Alchemic Warrior, Gouta Nakamura, approaches her and tells her that they can talk about things tonight and not get others involved.
 
The fun in the sun continues in episode 16 but since Kazuki is still worried that he isn’t strong enough, Bravo tells him to meet him at a rocky outcrop at midnight. There, Bravo tells of the Philosopher Stone (okay, maybe another term from Fullmetal Alchemist) in which it was experimented on and rumoured to have multiple uses such as turning a mortal into having eternal life. The extensive research spawned 3 Black Kakuganes and Victor was the 1st test subject. But it failed so they used some excuse that he turned traitor to cover up for their mistakes. Bravo’s investigation on the Black Kakugane is the same time when Kazuki received his Kakugane and after conducting several samples from him, he concludes that his body and Kakugane are inseparable. Though the Victorization has many stages, by the end of 6 weeks, Kazuki will turn into a monster like Victor himself. Thus Bravo’s mission is to kill him. Gasp! Can they kill the hero? Meanwhile Tokiko confronts Gouta at a pier and though she battles him, he mentions that he’s just a distraction to keep her at bay while Bravo carries out his mission. Kazuki is still finding all this hard to swallow so he has no choice but to engage in battle with Bravo. With Sunlight Heart evolving into a more compact form, soon Kazuki finds a formidable challenge in Bravo as he even transforms himself into a Victor type. Even so, Bravo’s Another Type Reverse Double Strap works like a straight jacket to shut off any offensive move. Bravo wins and tosses Kazuki into the ocean. But Tokiko comes rushing and dives in to save in while Gouta tries to dissuade and calm a frantic Tokiko. Hmm… I can smell that this guy has a crush on Tokiko senpai. But is it really over? Operation Re-kill a success? We’re talking about Kazuki here…
 
So he didn’t really die in episode 17 because Tokiko and Gouta pulled him back up ashore after knowing he still has the energy drain threat. Meanwhile Bravo meets another Alchemic Warrior, Sekima Hiwatari, over his Operation Re-kill. We learn his Silver Skin is immune to energy drain and is instrumental in the fight against Victor. Elsewhere, Oka finds Papillon and works under the latter to research about the Victorization (well, Papillon did say he loves manipulating others but doesn’t like being manipulated himself. Hypocrite?). While Tokiko tells Kazuki that the Kakugane he received was from a previous mission whereby she infiltrated a school called Newton Apple Girl’s Academy, Tokiko’s guilt tells him that she will die with him to if he is Victorized. Gouta on the other hand, reminisces about the training times he had with Tokiko and I guess that’s where he looked up to her. However he is met with Hiwatari and his subordinates, Genji Ikusabe and Shinobu Negoro, who are to conduct Operation Re-kill seeing that Bravo has failed his mission. Gouta has a short duel with them before escaping through a diversion. The next day, Kazuki and Tokiko set out their journey to Newton Apple after informing their pals about their mission. I guess they understand what’s going on so they wish them good luck. On their way, they meet Gouta who tells them that their act may be treason against the regiment but he’s joining them. Of course it’s to protect Tokiko and though Gouta considers Kazuki to be his love rival, Kazuki thinks they’ll get along fine because they have the same person to protect. Oh, and on a disturbing note, you should see how Papillon’s fashion in his skimpy swimsuit! It’s so disgusting yet hilarious! An eye opener, I’d say. See it for yourself. If you have never known the true meaning of fear, now you will! And wherever Papillon goes, he’ll have Gozen as his annoying companion so that he could relay info to Oka to conduct further research.
 
In episode 18, Bravo is being interrogated by the regiment for his failure to ascertain Kazuki’s death. But Bravo’s colleague, Chitose Tateyama stood up for him. Furthermore, the leader of the regiment, Shousei Sakaguchi, acquits Bravo and lets him off the hook. Meanwhile Tokiko tells the boys of her previous school infiltration mission whereby she met some ghost-like person who allowed her to take the Kakugane. At the same time as Hiwatari and co are tracking down Kazuki, they encounter Papillon who wants to know where Kazuki is. Ikusabe decides to take on Papillon so that the rest could continue their mission. Ikusabe makes a deal that if Papillon beats him, he’ll tell. Papillon has a tough time with Ikusabe because his alchemy power is self resurrection, even if he’s completely blown to bits. Meanwhile Chitose gathers several Alchemic Warriors to hunt and locate Victor. They include Hanaka Busujima (a metal fish mask?), Madoka Maruyama, Rintarou Inukai, and lastly she picked up Shuusui while he’s training in the mountains. At the same time, Hiwatari and Negoro have surrounded Kazuki and co.
 
Papillon figures out Ikusabe’s weapon’s weakness in episode 19 which prevents him from full body resurrection. So I guess he has to spill the beans. I’m not sure how the fight between Hiwatari and Kazuki went because Hiwatari used his fire alchemy to burn everything down to a crisp and the 3 kids are nowhere to be seen. He makes the same mistake of not ascertaining their deaths and leaves it to Negoro. Since they’re not dead, I don’t know how Kazuki has been separated from Tokiko and Gouta. But Negoro finds out that the latter duo are still alive so Gouta decides to take him on since Tokiko is slightly injured (and probably to show off to Tokiko). At first Gouta has trouble with Negoro’s Secret Trail (allowing only his body and accessories to go through any solid objects, thus a useful power to hide), but in the end Gouta uses his brains to finish him off by covering his own Motor Gear Kakugane with Negoro’s blood so that it could follow and rip Negoro wherever he went. Meanwhile Chitose’s team finally finds Victor on a Pacific island and engages in ‘test’ battle. But even the combine effort does not match up even close to Victor’s skills. If not for Chitose’s teleport powers, they all would’ve been done for. They retreat but obtains valuable information on Victor like his whereabouts. Lastly, Kazuki is lost but encounters Bravo along his way.
 
Kazuki’s power battle with Bravo begins in episode 20 and both sides have their valid reasons why they should win. I guess their power fight has them jumping from spot to spot so much so Tokiko and Gouta spot them and try to go after them. They do and also manage to figure out the Silver Skin’s weakness, which can’t be used at range (or else there won’t be a reason to wear it). When Tokiko urges Kazuki to Victorize himself, the latter refuses citing energy drain which could harm his comrades. And after all that heroic justice poetry, Tokiko questions Bravo back if he still wants to kill Kazuki. The duel continues and Bravo mentions he is adamant to complete his mission but won’t let him die alone because he too will kill himself (what’s this about blaming himself killing his subordinates?!). Just when Bravo delivered a fatal punch, Kazuki against all odds gets up and manages to penetrate Bravo’s Silver Skin and wounding him. After sensing his great willpower to protect others, Bravo changes his stand and decides to bet on as Kazuki has even surpassed him. The weary warriors embrace each other after a good fight. However, Hiwatari has been watching this on his floating great ball of fire and well, his crazy face seems to indicate that he doesn’t like the developments.
 
Hiwatari isn’t pleased of Bravo’s failure and in episode 21 he decides to finish the job himself. A short flashback on how previously Bravo along with Hiwatari and Chitose failed a mission whereby there were lots of casualties but only a sole survivor, a girl who curiously resembles like Tokiko. Hiwatari confronts Bravo and decides to burn them all with his Blaze Of Glory. But Bravo protects the kids with his Silver Skin and he himself gets toasted. Kazuki is bloody enraged and charges towards Hiwatari. But before the fight could start, Shousei appears and stops them. Thankfully this Shousei guy is a good and understanding person. Anyway he tells Hiwatari that Operation Re-kill is suspended for now as the regiment need to focus all their powers to fight against Victor and need all available warriors. As all the injured Alchemic Warriors are brought in for treatment, Shousei gives Tokiko and Gouta a new mission to keep an eye on Kazuki instead. Meanwhile a lone submarine is spying on Victor but the latter notices its presence and engages in combat. Though the submarine puts up resistance, it isn’t long before Victor crushes them. While Bravo recuperates in hospital, Kazuki and co decides to continue their mission to Newton Apple.
 
The assault on Victor begins in episode 22 with Hiwatari and Chitose’s team combining forces but Victor is still as powerful as ever. Plus, Victor is evolving himself into a more powerful 3rd stage so Shousei has the team retreat as he decides to take Victor on himself. Shousei shows why he is the boss of the regiment as his alchemy, Buster Baron, a giant silver mecha goes head on and is equally matched with a now giant sized Victor. Meanwhile Kazuki and co have reached Newton Apple but finds Papillon waiting for them. The ghost-like figure appears and leads them to an underground path. It eventually leads to a room filled with clone brains as the gang make a startling discovery that the talking brains are actually the remnants of what is left of Victor’s wife, Alexandria. And that ghost-like figure is Victoria, Victor’s daughter, a Homunculus and her power seems to be opening up pathways. Alexandria’s explanation include that she is the developer of the Black Kakugane a century ago and when Victor was seriously wounded in a battle against Homunculi, they did a Black Kakugane transplant but it went awry. When Victor saw his dead wife lying in his arms, any guy would go into rage. No wonder he hates alchemy so much. So over 100 years, Alexandria researched on the remaining 2 Black Kakugane. Since 1 is in Victor and the other is in Kazuki, where is the other one? It is right here, which Alexandria has managed to turn it into a near complete White Kakugane. With its nullification powers against the Black Kakugane, everyone is glad that Kazuki could return to be a human once more. Papillon continues to question how long it will take to produce another one but Alexandria’s reply is that it is impossible since the technology has been lost over 100 years ago. With that, there is only 1 White Kakugane, which means only either Victor or Kazuki will return to a human. Oh, the dilemma for our hero. To save himself or his enemy. No wonder Victoria was smirking how this won’t bring happiness.
 
Episode 23 begins with Kazuki and Tokiko back at their own school with the start of the new semester. Probably he needs time to think about the big decision he’s about to make. He is even surprised to see Gouta in his school (while taking a leak, that is) who offers him his support as a comrade. Kazuki also finds out Papillon is researching to make a White Kakugane so that he could beat him in his top form. I guess their future duel is what keeps them going on. Elsewhere, Shuusui isn’t too happy to know that Hiwatari indicates that he’s going to kill Kazuki once they finish Victor. So another guy who wants to beat Kazuki. But Shuusui will accept the current mission and the one on Kazuki, he’ll think about it when the time comes. The rest of this episode sees Kazuki and Tokiko spending some time together along with their pals at the amusement park. At the end of the day, Kazuki is still in a serious dilemma of what to do because he even thought of who is going to protect him if he protects everyone. Isn’t that what a hero is? Anyway Tokiko’s words sooth and comfort Kazuki. If he dies, then she too will die because they are one. With that Kazuki has decided and gosh! They kissed! Oh finally. The hero gets a kiss from a tough girl whom everyone would think twice about doing so. Meanwhile the relentless attack on Victor continues. I wonder how many ammunition and missiles they’ve got. They can keep blasting and destroy all marine life forms around him but Victor is still standing.
 
In episode 24, Kazuki makes a deal with Papillon and in exchange that butterfly gay could set the time, location and any other conditions of their fight as he wish. Then at the park, Kazuki and Tokiko try to kiss again but is interrupted by Mahiro who is eagerly watching. Tokiko is definitely embarrassed but Kazuki wants to continue smooching right in front of his sister? Before anything could go on, Kazuki and Tokiko are whisked away in a helicopter, being told by Gouta that the White Kakugane is completed. Kazuki tells Mahiro that they’ll be parting for a little longer this time. Tears in Mahiro’s eyes. You know what that means. At Alexandria’s research lab and receives instructions on how to use the White Kakugane and soon despatches with the rest to the battle area. Victor is still holding ground and even if Buster Baron combines the alchemy powers of Hiwatari and the rest, it still isn’t enough. Victor is still pissed off about the past and is persistent in destroying everything related to alchemy. As Kazuki is on the way, he reveals to Tokiko about the deal he made with Papillon. He’s going to use the White Kakugane on Victor and as for himself, he will hibernate in Papillon’s tube chamber he created while waiting for him to finish another White Kakugane from scratch. So I guess this will take another century, eh? So that’s what parting a little longer means. I suppose a hero like him has to be selfless. They soon arrive and combine their alchemy powers to distract Victor as Kazuki and Tokiko together pierce Victor’s chest with the White Kakugane. It temporarily worked but since Victor has evolved a lot, he’s back to his powerful self. Then Kazuki apologizes to Tokiko as he can’t keep his promise. He releases her to the ocean below. Tokiko is devastated and so is everyone. Probably better off being a hypocrite, eh? Kazuki thrusts himself with Victor through outer space and on the moon whereby there will be no energy drain and they can fight to the ultimate. I wonder how will they breathe. Also, Victoria carries her mom’s brain as it disintegrates. Before Alexandria vanishes, she tells her daughter that if she ever sees daddy, tell him that she has always loved him. Tokiko is a total wreck while Papillon is upset that no one will ever call him by his real name again. Or rather no more gay scenes with Kazuki? Haha, just joking.
 
So episode 25 is a gloomy episode because everyone is feeling down and spacing out without Kazuki. Yeah, the whole world is safe and everyone else is living their normal life. Isn’t it how it should be? Nope. Without Kazuki, it’s boring. So they prefer to kick ass when he’s around? Tokiko is still feeling her usual guilt but hey girl, you’re not the only one. Thus Tokiko takes out her frustration slicing Homunculi in a simulation till she collapses. Her wounds won’t recover if she keeps this up. Then one day it hit Tokiko what she can do for Kazuki as she goes seek a request from Shousei, who by the way announces to his Alchemic Warriors that the regiment is gradually freezing all activities around the globe since the confirmed Homunculi threat has been under control. Soon Tokiko along with Gouta, Oka, Shuusui and Gozen, heads off to finish Papillon (her request). At some rubble site, Papillon’s dejectedness is obvious and we see Victoria spewing theories which disinterests Papillon and me. Tokiko and gang arrive but encounters previous animal and plant Homunculi clones which were once Papillon’s servants. The rest take care of the pesky clones to let Tokiko meet Papillon. Once the duo come face to face, Tokiko tells him that she is here to settle things and finish him off in Kazuki’s place. But Papillon isn’t too happy because nobody and he means nobody could replace Kazuki. I’m afraid he’s right, you know.
 
As Tokiko prepares to fight Papillon in episode 26, she notices a big flask behind him and thinks he’s going to burn the world which Kazuki has fought hard to save. When Tokiko pierces through Papillon, the flask breaks after finishing its countdown to reveal a White Kakugane. Wow. He must be so desperate to duel Kazuki that he managed to combine Dr Butterfly and Alexandria’s technology to complete 1 in a month. Then everyone spot a shining glow from the moon and in an instant it’s like Shousei knew what to do. He has Chitose teleport Tokiko back to the base as he is going to send her up to the moon in his Buster Baron using the alchemy powers of Hiwatari and Busujima. On the moon, Kazuki is still fighting Victor. They’re still going strong, huh? But Victor soon stops the match when he sees Buster Baron coming and tells Kazuki to return to Earth seeing that his buddies made quite the effort to come here after knowing he’s still alive. Victor is staying because he has only enough power to send Kazuki home with his anti-gravity properties of his Fatal Attraction. But you know, Kazuki isn’t going to leave him behind too and brings him along. First he wants to beat him, now he wants to save him too? Can’t understand how heroes think. Kazuki successfully rendezvous with Tokiko (wearing Bravo’s Silver Skin) as they embrace. Buster Baron soon lands back on Earth and everyone is glad to see him. Especially Papillon who gives him a White Kakugane to neutralize his Victorization and they soon engage in battle to settle their score. This Kazuki is sure a busy lad.
 
On the other hand, the other White Kakugane is used on Victor as he returns to a normal human being. He is reunited with an emotional Victoria when he asks her about Alexandria’s last words. Victor also requests for Shousei to turn him into a Homunculus so that he could take all the Homunculi to the moon where they will live there since they can’t co-exist with humans. Should’ve thought about this in the first place. I wonder what they will feed on. Moon rocks? With that, Shousei announces all Alchemic Warriors’ Kakugane will be recollected. No more human-Homunculi war? Later, it seems Papillon has garnered media attention and a huge following fan base. WTF?! Did everyone turn gay? They’re cheering on for him! How did they turn to love this gay butterfly? Back when Papillon was fighting with Kazuki, it seems it was the former’s lost but Kazuki didn’t want to kill him a 2nd time as he wish the exchange of lives to end here. As Papillon notes how Kazuki has turned into a bigger hypocrite, Kazuki says he will never forget about him (who wouldn’t?) and wants him to go live a new life with a new name in a new world. So that’s how he came to be. Still so gay, though. Yeah, he wants the cheering crowd to shower him with more love! *Shivering*. Lastly, as Kazuki and Tokiko are walking back to school, they are happily reunited with their friends. But I’m not sure about the ending credits whereby Kazuki is trying to chase Tokiko as she tries to escape from him. About touching the nape of her neck or ear to make her happy. Geez… I guess it’s better than fighting. Oh wait. Being a pervert isn’t good either. Oh and another thing. An unmasked Busujima at the end reveals to be… a girl!
 
Okay, so it was a feel good happy ending. Nothing that spectacular I guess. Our hero Kazuki is allowed to go back to his normal school life with his friends along with Tokiko who along with the rest of the Alchemic Regiment won’t be doing some fighting for a long time to come. Unless you know there’s this revolt whereby the Homunculi on the moon decides to band together and destroy Earth. But that’s another story. If that is even possible.
 
For Kazuki to have gained and powered up so much in such a short time and to give it all up in the end, now that is noble and heroic indeed. How many of us would sacrifice and let go the right things like that. Of course in this series Kazuki is the hero and probably should serve as a model to be emulated for his virtues. Well, most of them. Heck, the opponents he battle in a way gains their respect in the end. Some sort of a friendly foe, eh? On the other hand, I find Tokiko a little irritating because of her guilt-ridden behaviour that she’s responsible for Kazuki. I mean, it’s good in a way but the way she’s reacting is like it’s such a big deal and the end of the world. I’m not sure if Kazuki and Tokiko did become an item in the end. They should because they fit perfectly for each other.
 
As mentioned, Papillon was my main motivation to watch the series but as the series progresses, especially with the appearance of Victor, I felt less enthusiastic and was always hoping Papillon would get more screen time. Well, at least he’s still alive in the end :). One thing I need to mention about the Homunculi is of their short-lived presence. I noticed that after they make their appearance or entry, then after a short fight, they die. Besides, the Homunculi enemy is so comical that whenever they made their appearances, I would feel more inclined to laugh and be amused rather than feeling alerted or tensed because in no way the good guys are hardly threatened by their arrival. Especially Moonface. Do you not agree with me that his looks and character makes you want to laugh out loud? By the way, what happened to him in the end? I’d like to know that too. Send to the moon with Victor and the rest perhaps? Maybe because that’s why he’s called so. Haha. Another thing I want to mention is the names that the fighters give their alchemy powers. Some are aptly named, some sound grand while others totally hilarious and outrageous. I can’t see a reason to hate this show.
 
The drawing, art and animation is your typical Japanese bishoujo and bishonen feel and though the action scenes are not to say the best, at least they are well choreographed. The voice acting also fits the characters well like Jin Fukuyama as Kazuki (Kei in Special A), Ryoka Yuzuki as Tokiko (Ino of Naruto), Mitsuaki Madono as Papillon (Kon in Bleach), Masashi Ebara as Bravo (Alastor of Shakugan No Shana series), Rikiya Koyama as Victor (Kogarashi of Kamen No Maid Guy), Rie Kugimiya as Victoria (Taiga in Toradora among other loli tsundere voices), Hitomi Nabatame as Oka (Mikoto of School Rumble series), Kishou Taniyama as Shuusui (Takeya of DearS), Wasabi Mizuta as Gozen (the voice of Doraemon in the series of the same name), Tomokazu Seki doing dual roles as Moonface and Hiwatari (Sagara of Full Metal Panic), Sho Hayami as Shousei (Meister Kirisaki of Yakitate! Japan), Shinji Kawada as Gouta (Mine in Nodame Cantabile) and surprisingly Aya Hirano as Mahiro (that quirky Haruhi from that you-know-what series).
 
If you noticed several Rurouni Kenshin parodies here such as the time whereby Mahiro bandaged Tokiko to look like Makoto Shishio or one of the sword techniques of Shuusui is called Samurai X, that’s because the creator of this series is no other than Nobuhiro Watsuki, the one who created the Rurouni Kenshin series as well. I found out that the serialization of this manga series has ended a year before the anime was released. So I guess there won’t be any sequel since even the end events of this anime has indicated that everything has been settled.
 
I’m sure most of us are well aware that we don’t need special power ups and weapons to fight our enemies. Just a simple belief in our hearts never to give up and always to look on the positive side. We should have more people like Kazuki in this world. How about Papillon? Well Kazuki, you’re right because I won’t forget about him either. Especially his taste in fashion. That guy should have a spin-off series of his own. I bet he’ll be over the moon.
 

Busou Renkin

Ultra Maniac OVA

July 3, 2009

Though I have never really finished watching the TV version of Ultra Maniac (in fact, I have only watch a few episodes of it here and there), it sure does bring back some memories when I decided to go watch Ultra Maniac OVA. Not to say that I can remember much from the TV series but heck, it was one of those magical girl-themed series with 2 kawaii girls as its main lead which made me decided to watch the TV series.
 
In this one episode OVA which lasts only about 21 minutes, I found out that the OVA is actually released way back in the year 2002 prior to the TV series which ran in the following year. Thus both the OVA and the TV series are not related in terms of storyline although the basic premise and the characters still remain.
 
As the OVA begin, we hear Ayu Tateishi narrating how she has grown up and away from all those magical girl stuff and doesn’t believe in those fantagic (combination of fantasy and magic) things. As she is walking through the school hallways, she spots a new transfer student, Nina Sakura, who is crying and thinks she has been bullied. But actually she has lost something pink. Though Ayu offers to help find it for her, Nina says never mind and decides to look for it herself instead.
 
Ayu is at the shoe locker area and we get to see that she is quite popular with the girls as well. Yeah, some junior schoolmates of hers got so thrilled of even talking to her. You know, that girly squeak "Kyaa!!! Ayu talked to me!!!". As Ayu leaves, she is met with her other guy friends, Tetsuji Kaji and Hiroki Tsujiai. We learn that Ayu is a tennis club member and because of her superb tennis skills, she has attracted lots of fans and has been dubbed Cool Beauty. Of course Ayu can’t take all that compliment and tells Kaji the same thing that he too is the number 1 star of his baseball team and attracting lots of girls. That is when Tsujiai points out how he recently got a love letter from a third year student, causing Ayu to fluster a little. But he dismisses it as a sports festival plan. Soon the guys leave for their sports club activities.
 
We can tell that Ayu has a crush on Kaji (for fans of the series, you’ll know this better) and a short flashback of how Ayu decided to be cool as suggested by Kaji because he notices her cool composure during an English exam. She thinks by being cool, Kaji will find her attractive. In present time, Ayu finds a pink rectangular game-like console under a bench at the courtyard and decides to go return it. Nina is on cloud nine once she gets it back and feels indebted for life. You know, Ayu can sense trouble when she said that. For life… Nina finds out that even though Ayu did peek inside a little, she wasn’t interested on what it was as Ayu advised her to be careful as the teacher will confiscate it if they ever catch her with it. And thus, the beginning of a ‘beautiful’ friendship. At least in Nina’s eyes.
 
The next day as Ayu go about in her usual school activities, she notices that Nina is staring at her like a stalker. Yeah, it’s really becoming uneasy. Then, an argument broke out between the boys’ and girls’ tennis club members. Even though there are 4 courts, the girls need to use them for practice and accuses the boys of slacking around. But the boys disagree and decide to settle this through a 1 set tennis match. The winner will get 3 courts while the loser only 1. Though the girls think that there will be a disadvantage if it is boys versus girls, Nina then shows up and says how if it is Ayu, they can do it. With that, all the other girls too rest their hopes and confidence on reluctant Ayu. Ayu gets a little worried to find out that Tsujiai will be representing the boys. Ayu tries to back out but since the baseball club just ran pass by, Ayu gets all flustered up and doesn’t want Kaji to see her in that state, thus agreeing to the match. In class, Ayu is spacing out over this and after class Nina wants to talk to her privately.
 
Besides thanking Ayu for finding her precious gadget, Nina goes on to explain that she is a transfer student from the Magic Kingdom. That is, she’s a witch girl. Ayu and any other sane person would find it hard to believe. Yeah, Ayu’s speechless. Nina goes on to say how she fell behind in her Magic Middle School and seemingly had no hope to graduate. Thus her transfer here was because there are no magic related classes. Nina introduces that pink gadget which is a mobile computer for using magic and her source for doing so. It has a magic dictionary in it and can also be used to download magic from various internet sites. Now that is pretty handy. In short, Nina wants to repay her debt to make Ayu wishes come true. Ayu is definitely finding all this hard to believe. She tries to leave but since Nina won’t be satisfied until she grants her a wish, Ayu has no choice but help her win today’s match.
 
Nina is thinking more of magic spells like attracting the ball to the racquet or making her opponent fall (isn’t that cheating?) but Ayu has increasing her tennis abilities in mind. As Nina looks through her gadget for such a spell, Ayu wonders why witches don’t use magical wands instead. Her reply: Outdated. Yeah, everything is so high-tech now. After finding the right spell, she puts a little chocolate ball into her magical treasure box and connects it to her computer. I know, everyone including Ayu is still finding it hard to believe. A chocolate for a magic spell? However it didn’t work since flowers only popped out of the box. Ayu decides to take this chance to leave but Nina is persistent and tries again. Again and again. Failure after failure. This is getting old… Finally after calming herself down and thinking of her grandma’s words, Nina finally does it. Erm… Looks like that little chocolate before but only thing is that now it is filled with that spell. She wants Ayu to eat it in order for the spell to take effect. She pops it into her mouth (hoping it won’t kill her) and feels some inner transformation, like something bursting open among such.
 
However when Ayu open her eyes, to her horror she finds herself to be turned into a boy! WTF?! Another magic flop? Nope. Nina says that since it was hard to find a spell to change athletic ability, she decided to change her body into a boy so that she could have quicker reflexes and movements. Not what Ayu had in mind. Definitely pissed off. So I guess that was what she felt ‘bursting open’. Hahaha. Just kidding. Of course Ayu can’t go out like this since she turned into someone else so Nina suggests that she go as ‘Ayu’s replacement’. Uh huh. Something about Ayu getting sick and requests her ‘cousin’, Ayuo, to fill in her place. Would anybody believe it? Yeah, the tennis girls seem to think so since none of them has a chance of winning. What about the boys? Not too well. They wonder why not a girl member to replace Ayu instead of some stranger. However Tsujiai is fine whoever he takes on and thus the match begins. Unfortunately with Ayu’s change in body structure, which means her timing is also off. Yeah, she hits the ball too hard and out of court. Useless body! To make matters worse, Kaji is watching! In the end, Tsujiai has an easy match and wins 6-0! OMG! Must be an all time record even if it’s unofficial. Ayu has no chance at all and all the other girls are bloody disappointed and even thought that they could’ve played better themselves. That’s what you get when you leave fate in the hands of others.
 
Though the boys rejoice, Tsujiai shows his fair side by splitting the court for both sides at 2 each. But they have to do running as a condition. Is he trying to win the girls’ heart? Nope. He too chides the boys for wasting time with such meaningless arguments and wants both sides to get along. I guess that’s enough to make everyone reflect on their actions. With that, Ayu thinks how Tsujiai is such a good person, someone whom you’d expect to be as Kaji’s best friend. Later in the evening as Nina apologizes, Ayu forgives her since everything ended well and that it was pretty interesting that she get to experienced something unusual (damn right she has). She wants Nina to lift the spell now as Nina checks through her computer but couldn’t find the right spell. Ayu gets annoyed and yells "Don’t mess with me! You strange chocolate witch!". Well, keep searching Nina. Or else. Finally as Ayu narrated, she stayed as a boy for 2 more hours and thus her everyday life with the witch girl Nina begins. So does she believe in magical girls now?
 
Well for a short OVA, I guess I can’t complain much. It is still a little hilarious and I really love Nina being a klutzy airhead. Though Nina didn’t perform her henshin and her usual red trademark dress here. Of course, there is nothing much in terms of development of the characters. So if you want to know more, you’ll have to continue watching the 26 episode TV series, which is an alternate retelling. You can say that this OVA can serve as a standalone episode and those who want to watch it can do so if you’re a fan of the series or just wanting some little light-hearted moments.
 
I want to mention that though there is no opening theme for the OVA, the ending theme song is an instrumental which sounds very much like a lively swing piece from the 50’s. Perhaps to give viewers a feel of the wacky magic atmosphere? The seiyuus of the 2 main girls too differ from the TV series. Here, Satsuki Yukino (Kagome of Inu Yasha) voices Ayu as opposed to Yui Horie in the TV series and Nina by Mayuko Omimura (Yoshimi in Tsuyokiss) instead of Akemi Kanda in the same case.
 
From my point of view and recalling hard from my memory banks, the drawing and art remains consistent with the TV series. But honestly after watching this OVA, I didn’t have the urge to go rewatch the TV series since I’m currently watching many other animes. Perhaps it has passed its time? Maybe when I’m older and for nostalgic reasons I’ll give this classic piece another chance. And no, I still don’t prefer magical girl genres.