I never actually thought about blogging on this topic but what the heck. Since I noticed a few anime characters wearing eye-patches from time to time, I guess it is enough for me to do a short blog just for fun. So by wearing eye-patches, does it give the characters a sense of fashion statement or some sort of personality? Well that depends. I wonder how this would affect their balance and such seeing that you need both eyes to have a 3D effect or better estimation. But I guess that doesn’t matter as long as they look good in them, eh? Thus listed below are the 18 anime girls who wear an eye-patch. Why girls only? Well, there are only a handful of anime guys which I know who dons the eye-patch as compared to females. Plus, I’m a hetero… Yeah, you know what that means.
 
Chihiro Shindou (ef ~A Tale Of Memories~)
 Chihiro Shindou

The twin sister of Kei who is suffering from an amnesiac condition whereby she cannot remember anything further than 13 hours. Therefore she keeps and writes in her little diary of her every day life as to ‘remember’ who she is or ‘recall’ what has happened during those ‘missing hours’. Her condition was due to an accident which she was involved when she was young while she tried to go join Kei and Hiro to play at the beach and this unfortunate incident also resulted in the lost of her left eye.
 
Ryoumou Shimei (Ikkitousen)
Ryomou Shimei
As one of the four Devas of Nanyou Academy, Ryoumou is a serious and tough martial artist chic who seems to be always dressed in a maid’s outfit. Though she is not really blinded in her left eye, she is wearing an eye-patch to contain and seal a dragon power in it, in which she also believes to be dying. Something about during an initial fight with Ryuubi which caused Ryuubi’s awakening dragon to possessed Ryoumou’s eye and that dragon co-existing with Ryoumou eventually. Huh?
 
Chrome Dokuro (Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn)
Chrome Dokuro

Originally named Nagi, she is the vessel for the Vongola Mist Ring holder, Mukuro Rokudo. When she was young, she was involved in an accident which not only resulted in the loss of her right eye, but several important internal organs as well. In order to stay alive, Chrome with the help of Mukuro uses the illusionary powers to sustain her organs. I’m just wondering if she can make illusions for her organs, why not her right eye too?
 
Natose (Kimi Ga Aruji De Shitsuji Ga Ore De)
Natose
She is the personal attendant to Yume and the head of security of the Kuonji mansion. She has an enormous appetite and loves anything meaty. Natose hails from a Pacific island and during a dreadful tsunami which took the lives of her family, she also lost her right eye. Despite so, she remains positive and plays a supportive role for Yume.
 
Jiyuu Nanoha/Jubei Yagyu (Jubei-chan)
 Jubei Yagyu

Probably the first character I have ever known to wear an eye-patch. Jiyuu is an ordinary but lively teenage girl until she is reluctantly given the legendary Lovely Eye-patch from a guy searching for a worthy successor which transforms her into a lethal swordswoman and defeat enemies who are after the powers of the Lovely Eye-patch to rule Japan or out for her blood. She returns back to her normal self whenever the heart-shaped eye-patch is taken off her left eye.
 
Bara Suishou (Rozen Maiden)
Bara Suishou
The evil and fake seventh doll of the Rozen Maiden made by the apprentice Enju. Though she wears an eye-patch on her left eye, she isn’t totally blind in that eye and can actually see. My speculation is that Enju perhaps tried to create a doll closely resembling the real seventh Rozen Maiden doll, Kirakishou, who actually has a rose eye-patch for real and in replacement of her right eye.
 
Marie Mjolnir (Soul Eater)
Marie Mjolnir 
The Death Scythe for Oceania wears an eye-patch with thunderbolt symbol on her left eye. Her surname is derived from the hammer weapon used by the Norse God of Thunder, Thor, thus explaining the significance of the symbol. Furthermore, Thor’s father, Odin, has only one eye and perhaps Marie was designed according in reference to him. Her hidden left eye will glow whenever she uses her Redemption Wavelength ability.
 
Makiko Nagi (Tenjou Tenge)
Makiko Nagi

Souichirou’s mom in the series and comes from a family of demon exorcist. She wears an oversized eye-patch over her left eye to not only cover her missing eye, but to also hide her hideous scar which resembles like a centipede across that area. I’m not sure about her Clairvoyance ability which enables her to see through the visions of other people, whether it is through her normal right eye or blinded left one.
 
Kaede (Inu Yasha)
Kaede 
The younger sister of Kikyo in the series and after the latter’s demise, she takes over her miko priestess role, defending her village from demons and is highly respected by the villagers. She plays a supporting role for Inuyasha and his team by offering advice and knowledge to them. Kaede lost her left eye during her younger days when her village was being attacked by demons.
 
Nao Yuuki (Mai-HiME)
Nao Yuuki 
Initially this bad-ass girl of the series and Mikoto’s classmate didn’t start out by wearing an eye-patch. One of the 12 HiMEs, Nao has a tendency to do morally ambivalent things and also drags her pals into it. There are many people she hates which includes Mai and Natsuki. Her anger and hatred reaches boiling point when she was blinded in her left eye from the ripped tip of her own Child Julia’s stinger during an illusion created by Yukariko which sees some of the HiMEs fighting among themselves. After that, she vows to never forgive them all and even goes to great lengths to hurt those she hates most, though her plans are always thwarted.
 
Abiru Kobushi (Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei)
Abiru Kobushi
Well, her patch over her left eye isn’t really an eye-patch, but more of being bandages. In fact, most of her body is covered with them. Initially to be mistaken as a victim of domestic violence, it is later revealed that her injuries she got are from her weird tail fetishes. Yeah, what happens if you pull a tale of an animal, say a tiger? But I guess she has been wearing them for such a long time that even if she is not injured, she still wears them.
 
Maguro (Penguin Musume Heart)
Maguro

As Mary’s right hand (wo)man and one of the four White Knights serving directly under her, this maid outfit fighter has a very shy personality when it comes to talking to strangers even if she has a stoic no nonsense appearance. To make up for that, she can text cutesy SMS at super high speed! The reason for wearing an eye-patch lover her right eye is not known and whether she is blind in that eye is unclear too.
 
Bel Peol (Shakugan No Shana)
Bel Peol

Oddly, this scheming antagonist also known as Judge Of Paradoxes is one of the Trinity of Bal Masque has 3 eyes. The third one is over her forehead and initially I thought that she was wearing another eye-patch in addition to the one over her right eye. I’m not sure if she has some hidden powers in that normal hidden right eye of hers or just covering it because she using the one on her forehead is sufficient. Theoretically, this means she’s just like normal beings who can see with 2 eyes, right?
 
Kyuubei Yagyu (Gintama)
Kyuubei Yagyu 
A parody version of Jubei Yagyu. But unlike in that series, she doesn’t turn into somebody else when she dons the black eye-patch. Being brought up as a male in her family so that she could succeed her family, she befriends and fell in love with her childhood friend Otae. In order to protect her from harm, Kyuubei lost her left eye as a result and ever since she has vowed to train hard so that she could protect Otae and one day make her hers.
 
Zakuro Mitsukai (Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan)
Zakuro Mitsukai

Although she may look older, she is actually the younger sister of the temperament death angel Dokuro. Her weapon is a wet towel Eckilsax. Initially she was sent back in time to retrieve Dokuro and her clam and no nonsense nature makes her a formidable foe. But after her failed mission, she turns ‘soft’ and her body language indicates that she may have a crush on Sakura. In addition to her white navy uniform, the reason why she wears an eye-patch on her left eye is unknown or if she has lost her vision in that eye.
 
Lucia Nahashi (Venus Versus Virus)
Lucia Nanashi 
She is a gun-slinging girl who is fighting against Viruses along with her members of Virus Vanguard. In addition to her pirate-like outfit, she wears a black eye-patch over her left eye, which she inherits from her dad, to hide and control her glowing golden magical eye which glows in the dark. Also, that eye is believed to be the cause of Lucia’s horrible past. Because of that, she sometimes fear it for she cannot control nor understand its powers and when unleashed, the eye could produce horrible effects on her enemies. She also dislikes people finding out about her left eye as she thinks it would affect their perception about her.
 
Nice Holystone (Baccano)
Nice Holystone 
Honestly, I actually didn’t see this anime but when I saw that she’s wearing an eye-patch, I thought I had to put her in. Okay, so I read from Wikipedia and other sites that this excellent explosives expert keeps small bombs in her right eye socket in which she wears an eye-patch over it. She lost that eye while making some homemade explosives which turned out into a freak accident. So remember kids, don’t play with fire, er, bombs too.
 
Candice (Marchen Awaken Romance)
 Candice

Haha. I didn’t really see this anime too but just so happen that I was browsing through the internet when I spot an image of her and felt the need and urge to put her on this list. So doing a little research on her character from Wikipedia and other online sites, Candice is the 11th strongest Knight of the Chess Piece organization. She wears en eye-patch over her right eye to hide her wound. But in addition to that, a magic stone is embedded in its place in which she uses as one of her Arms weapon.
 
Close an eye…
On a trivial note, 11 out of the 18 females here don the eye-patch on the left. So does wearing an eye-patch make them more moe and kawaii? Well, some of them are like the hugely popular Chihiro. Most probably many viewers like and recognize her because of her eye-patch which gives her the trademark look. Of course this list isn’t meant to be definitive as there are other eye-patched anime ladies out there. But this is all that I can find over the internet, including those series which I didn’t watch. Perhaps there are other eye-patch wearing girls in minor and side roles.
 
Okay, okay. So if you’re still complaining that I should do one for the guys, I’ll just mention briefly. More popular ones include Zaraki from Bleach (eye-patch to control his immense powers), Kakashi from Naruto (more like his headgear to conceal his Sharingan Eye), Lavi from D. Gray-Man (to prevent his amazing abilities of memorizing everything – so he only needs 1 eye, eh?), Agito/Akito from Air Gear (change in eye-patch over which eye means a change in contrasting personality), Sven of Black Cat (lost his eye during an attack but that replacement eye allows him to see several seconds into the future), Ciel of Kuroshitsuji (to hide a pentagon sign of contract which binds the demon Sebastian to his will), Nnoitra of Bleach (to hide his Hollow hole), and the classic character Captain Harlock from the series with his own name (lost it from a careless mistake in an attack).
 
I’m not sure if this eye-patch wearing thingy would become a new fashion trend in the future. But it all depends on the characters and circumstances. But it definitely beats wearing eye-patches for both eyes. That would be more towards blindfold and being blinded. So having just 1 eye may not be a bad thing because to quote a saying (not sure of its origins, though): Sight of foresight is better than sight of vision.

Hyakko

August 29, 2009

High school slapstick comedies. Ah yes. One of my favourite genres. So it is no surprise that I really had to put Hyakko on my must-watch list. I’m not saying that the comedy factor here is sky high and nonsensical so much so its absurdness can only be matched by those which are out of this world, but it is enough to bring in the laughs. Whether you are a fan of such genres or not. Besides, what more would you expect from a high school setting?
 
Basically this series mainly focuses on the interactions between the 4 girls who are first year high school freshies of Class 1-6. From first looks, viewers can guess that lively Torako Kageyama would be the troublemaker and main instigator of the pack. Which group would be complete and ‘fun’ without them? Think of Kana of Minami-ke, Miu of Ichigo Mashimaro and definitely Tomo of Azumanga Daioh. Then there is her childhood friend the quiet and queer Suzume Saotome. Quiet and queer here goes together hand in hand. Because of her quietness, her behaviour is queer itself. Plus, she is a glutton with a bottomless stomach and can go on endlessly chowing down bowls after bowls, plates after plates of whatever food without getting fat. Ah, girls would definitely want to have her kind of metabolism.
 
Next is Tatsuki Iizuka. Your typical sarcastic lady-like gal and hails from a rich family. A daughter of a huge electronics company to be exact. Probably the only one who can put her foot down and put annoying Torako in line. But you know that wild child is still a loose cannon even after much chiding. Finally to complete the group is the gentle but shy and naive Ayumi Nonomura. I find her the ‘weakest’ among the pack because I feel that she is ‘easy to bully’. You know the kind which apologizes most of the time. Sometimes I find her coming close to tears in stuff which shouldn’t. Let’s just say she’s almost like a girly girl. Maybe why she is popular among the boys in school (not to mention her well endowed figure).
 
In most episodes as mentioned, the interaction is mainly among the quartet but there are also interactions between other female classmates as well. There are episodes that dedicate and focus on that supporting female cast and thus each will have their turn of prominence. In short, you’ll get to see each of the character’s unique quirkiness. One of the main highlights of the series. Viewers will also notice that in each episode, a short appearance of a pair of lolis, Hitsugi Nikaidou and Yuki Yagi (reminds me of a Charlie Brown character…) who are always seen together and discussing some random topic. Other than that, some episodes are divided into 2 stories and some a single whole episode.
 
So we are introduced to Kamizono Academy, the school setting in which this anime takes place. This school houses a whopping 3000 students from elementary to high school and this explains the huge grounds of this private institution. Therefore it is no surprise that in episode 1, Ayumi is lost on her way to her next class. She bumps into Tatsuki and follows her but she too is lost. A classic case of blind leading the blind. Ironically, Tatsuki has been a student of this school since elementary days and she can still get lost, not knowing where to go. Can we really blame her? Or is it she really has a bad sense of direction. Of course her lady-like proudness prevents her from admitting it directly to Ayumi.
 
Things get really interesting when the duo spot a girl (Torako) jumping out from the window of the second floor! Is she serious? An angel? A saviour? What started as a cool stunt turned into a humiliating blooper because Torako sprained her ankle when she lands. But she was just fooling around because she got out of the way this instant when Suzume comes leaping down too. Don’t want to be where she lands, eh? So the quartet continue their lost journey as Ayumi and Tatsuki learn that the reason why Torako and Suzume leaped from the window was because everytime they spot their classroom is, they have to take a detour, upstairs and downstairs, left turns and right turns to get there but eventually they ended up losing their sense of direction. So the only way was to go there in a straight line. Even if it means going through windows. But I guess now it isn’t possible because they’re back to square one.
 
I don’t know why but Tatsuki came out with an idea that they won’t be able to reach their destinations because the other girls are right handed while she herself is a lefty. Some imbalance thingy I guess. Ayumi then remembers her handphone has GPS and it quickly leads them to a location in which they believe is behind a locked there (the GPS signal goes off by then). Leave it to Torako to open it because she intends to do so by using a brick! Wouldn’t that amount to vandalism? As Tatsuki tries to stop her, the brick accidentally flies off Torako’s hands, breaking a nearby window. A teacher, Kyouichirou Amagasa, spots this and you’d think the girls would come clean in apologizing and atoning for their mistakes (at least for Ayumi and Tatsuki). But who knows, Torako suddenly gives Amagasa a punch in his stomach! Knocking that poor chap out as Torako signals to the rest to escape. Now they’re all accomplices! The quartet manages to get to class but it isn’t the end of their misery yet. That’s because Amagasa is their homeroom teacher! What goes around, comes around. And after class, they get a good lecture from him and we can tell that his imagination of returning some super punch on Torako as retaliation but in reality he can’t do that because it will amount to harassment or abuse. And yeah, the start of a beautiful friendship. A weird one, that is.
 
In episode 2, the quartet tries out various clubs to see which one they will join. The school is so big that they have weird clubs like Magic Club. I wonder if they have shady ones too. Viewers can feel that Tatsuki is obviously pissed off as she is being ignored by Torako (she’s even keeping count!) but somehow she can’t really ‘leave’ the group and ends up being associated with them, no matter how much she doesn’t want to. So the first club they tried out is baseball. Unfortunately, Tatsuki bears the painful brunt from Torako. Like the baseball in Tatsuki’s hip. Deliberate or fluke? Whichever, it’s sure damn painful. Tatsuki can’t walk away after being challenged by Torako, can’t she? Next is tennis and the girls try it out in pairs. Again, Tatsuki is at the receiving end of Torako’s serves and even has a racquet into her face. Ouch. Deliberate or no skill? Then it is basketball and Tatsuki sees this as a chance to get her revenge on Torako by disrupting her shot by throwing a basketball to hit it away from the goal. Then when it is Tatsuki’s turn to shoot, Torako did the same thing. One bad deed deserves another. But Tatsuki receives another major pain in her stomach when Torako slams the basketball with her palm. Super ouch.
 
So the entire day sees this club testing turning into a personal battle to outdo each other between Torako and Tatsuki. From tea ceremony club to calligraphy club to flower arranging club. Yeah, they even resorted using poor Suzume and Ayumi too. Then the final battle is football. Tatsuki is going to score a penalty shot against Suzume the goalkeeper. However, Suzume’s stomach starts to growl and you know she can’t perform well on an empty stomach. But Torako lifts her spirits by bribing her with food. Tatsuki prepares to run up and kick the ball but Torako intercepts and does a very dangerous sliding tackle, hurting Tatsuki’s heel. Poor girl. Pain after pain. This must have crossed the line. And after lamenting her fate and such, Torako and Tatsuki are back to their arguing ways. I guess the pain of hurting her pride is much more than the physical pain. Isn’t it such a beautiful friendship after all? And so the next day as Torako suggests more clubs to join, Tatsuki isn’t anywhere near the group because she has already went home. Not willing to risk it, isn’t she? Better safe than sorry.
 
The first of the focus on the other supporting female classmates begins in episode 3. The class rep of Class 1-6, Nene Andou, informs Torako that she has been chosen as a disciplinary committee. Due to her job’s nature, Torako has to check the students’ attire the next morning as they enter school. Nene accompanies her and even though she isn’t in the disciplinary committee, her plan of overseeing this is to increase her chances of becoming the next student council president. So we see all the other supporting girls coming through the gate as they do their inspection. Like there’s this delinquent girl whom Nene and Torako are so afraid to go tell her of her dressing, they had to resort to rock-scissors-papers to decide. Also, weird Suzume comes in wearing her bloomers. Then when Ayumi comes in, Nene had the cheek to flip her skirt and look at her panties! Is she a lesbian? Nope. She proudly proclaims that she is bi-sexual! Another sicko alright.
 
The second part introduces bespectacled Chie Suzugazaki from the robotics club. Torako and Suzume encounter a weird looking robot in the hallway which belongs to her and in no time, the quartet are being invited by Chie to her club. When Chie learns that Tatsuki’s dad is the CEO of an electronics company, E-lectra Corporation, she feels very honoured of meeting her because she aspires to work under that company in the future. Torako then gets an idea when she learns that the robots Chie and her club members are making are able to mimic phrases. In class when Amagasa is taking attendance, he calls out Torako’s name only to hear an odd sound coming from Torako. It’s actually that weird robot with Torako’s wig and her uniform! OMG! Is Torako thinking that she can play truant by substituting herself with that robot and that Amagasa is that stupid?! Anybody can tell this isn’t the real Torako. Amagasa punches the robot to vent his frustration and soon the robot malfunctions. Yeah, the head went boom. The next day, Amagasa takes another roll call and he’s glad that Torako has learnt her lesson as she turns up in class. But this time when he calls Suzume’s name, it is that girl’s turn to play truant and replace another weird robot self in her place! Haha! This class can be so frustrating.
 
In episode 4, the quartet visits the cafeteria and Ayumi learns from Torako about some combo card in which one can obtain extra meal portions. Being the prankster she is, Torako selects a larger meal combo for Ayumi before she could make her selection. Poor girl. How can she finish such a big portion. Torako tries to do the same to Tatsuki but the latter manages to hold her off. Of course Torako and Suzume too has larger servings. But Torako isn’t too please about Tatsuki because her smaller portion and not only that, she is eating Italian spaghetti as opposed to their Japanese type ramen. With that, Torako causes a ruckus with her food. In the end, Tatsuki manages to finish hers but Ayumi couldn’t. Troublemaker Torako too can’t finish hers but thankfully there is Suzume to help them out so that it won’t go to waste. I wonder if those are even enough for her. Remember kids. Don’t waste food or play with them.
 
The second part is art sketching and the students are to take turns sketching each other in pairs. Tatsuki is paired with Suzume (woah! Suzume’s body can really stretch!) while Ayumi ends up with Torako. Because of the odd number of students, photography maniac, Koma Kobayashi (her headgear made her look like a gypsy woman), decides to join Torako. Ayumi becomes the model first but Koma decides to turn her into some model as she snaps pictures of her and even instructs her to remove some clothing! Then it is Torako’s turn to do sexy poses for the camera so much so bi-sexual Nene can’t control herself and starts pounding on Torako like a pervert. Koma starts snapping like mad, thinking that this would be good material for some scandalous scoop. Because of the commotion, Tatsuki puts her foot down and regains order in the classroom on behalf of the art teacher. In the end, Torako didn’t manage to complete her class assignment of the sketch but manages to sketch a devil picture of Tatsuki. Later, Koma sells does seductive Torako photos to Nene and makes a profit out of it. When there is demand, there is supply.
 
Yanagi Kyougoku is also another member of the photography club and selling lots of secretly taken photos of the school’s girls along with Koma. Paparazzi in the making? in episode 5, one of his friends, Shishimaru Sengoku spots a picture of Ayumi in it and wants to know more about this girl. Love at first sight, I suppose. So while Shishimaru is admiring the recently purchased photo of Ayumi, a gust of wind blows the pic of his hands and right out of the window. He tries to grab it but Ayumi who happen to pass by accidentally knocks him out the window. Luckily the bushes break his fall and Ayumi later apologizes profusely. This is when Shishimaru got the guts to grab her hand and confess his love for her. But the odd part is that when Ayumi relates all this to her other pals, we find out that the one Shishimaru actually likes is Torako! The Ayumi photo in which bought did have Torako in the side background. I guess it’s miscommunication in the first place. But the thing is, why on Earth did Shishimaru confess to Ayumi and not Torako herself? Yeah, that is what Ayumi too like to know. Panic? Unless he wants Ayumi to tell Torako his love for her on his behalf. Don’t make sense. Not manly enough to face her?
 
The second half sees Torako skipping class just to follow and hang out with the class delinquent Ushio Makunouchi. I guess Ushio couldn’t be bothered and just let Torako do what she pleases. Their day include doing a karaoke session in which we find both the girls tone deaf and horrible in singing. Awful. Their challenge turns into a brawl so much so the karaoke owner kicks them out. Then after buying some food at the convenient store, Torako finds Ushio’s love for pudding and sweet things. Oddly enough, Ushio has a soft spot for cats when a stray kitten comes by. At the end, the duo decide to go back to school because Torako feels that she isn’t a delinquent and that she likes school. Of course when they do return, they get their usual lecture from Amagasa. Yeah, class is already over and for the first time, they both realized that they’re classmates.
 
In episode 6, Tatsuki feels alienated from the quartet because the trio initially did things without her. And I thought she’s happy not to be associated with them but this fact is really bugging her. Well, she remembers how she don’t really have friends during her younger days and I suppose even if Torako is weird, she is HER weird friend. So when Tatsuki returns home, she gets the surprise of her life. Torako and the rest are seen waiting in her room. It won’t be complete if they don’t rummage through her personal stuff such as photo albums. Tatsuki is pissed off and wants Torako to leave but Torako uses a perfect ‘shield’ to soften Tatsuki’s heart and stand. The innocent moe face of Ayumi. Yeah, it worked alright. The gang learns that Tatsuki’s parents are always away working, thus leaving Tatsuki alone with a housemaid, who takes on the role of her mom. I don’t know why, Suzume seems to be fascinated when she took out a pair of Tatsuki’s adult panties from her drawer. I know Suzume prefers to wear animal ones and that she has no qualms if her slip is showing. Torako and pals further enjoy Tatsuki’s housemaid’s hospitality as they stay over for dinner. So sorry that Tatsuki has to endure this torment a little longer. But the housemaid notes how this is the first time Tatsuki has brought friends back to her home and Torako notes that the housemaid is a nice lady. When they leave, the housemaid even gives Torako and Suzume presents. Tatsuki notes that she had a good time with them as well. See, she’s already part of the circle. The end part is a little eyebrow raiser because it is like some sort of dramatic action cinematic trailer-cum-teaser. We see Torako and some of her classmates leading a rebellion against the school. Torako then encounters an obstacle in the form of Suzume and soon a guy named Kitsune (he has a safety pin as his earring!). It ends with a cliff-hanger but that’s about all you’re going to see from this confusing clip. Maybe just a random filler?
 
In episode 7, Yanagi and Koma are up to their no good photo snapping ways when Kitsune decides to join them. When Yanagi’s next target is Ayumi and has problems finding a perfect shot for her, Kitsune decides to go up and play a prank on her, thinking that she is the ‘weak’ kind. And yes, he admits he is a sadist. What is the prank he is to pull? He casually lifts up her skirt! OMG! He then coolly walks away leaving Ayumi very much paralysed as Yanagi and Koma snap away like crazy. Then they are joined by Shishimaru who wants a photo of Torako but he himself thinks doing such act is despicable. Because they can’t take photos of Torako (who happen to be nearby) in secret, they decide to approach her and ask her permission for one. It is then that Torako spots Kitsune and you can tell from her body reaction that she’s having some sort of fear. In short, Kitsune is Torako’s brother! It’s a small world after all. Then when Ushio pointed out that Kitsune was the one who flipped Ayumi’s skirt, he apologizes and to make up for it, flips up Torako’s skirt to show everyone her panties! Real sadist alright! I guess this is the other person who can ‘stop’ Torako. And Nene is definitely a happy person today…
 
Torako relates to her friends how her brother was a big bully and if she ever tried to fight back, she’ll receive a much more worse retaliation. Plus, Suzume too knows of this but we know of her quiet behaviour, right? Because Kitsune always gave her snacks, you can say that it is enough for that queer girl to like him (not in lovey-dovey sense). And with the newfound discovery, Shishimaru wants to call Kitsune his brother but gets whacked instead. Then at the cafeteria, Kitsune plans to torment lone Torako further and has panicking Shishimaru accompanying him. After slightly distracting her to put something spicy in her ramen, Torako has her lips burn, causing Kitsune to laugh out loud before leaving the table. Yeah, he ‘abandoned’ paralyzed Shishimaru with Torako. Noticing that his ramen isn’t spicy, Shishimaru manages to swap his ramen with Torako. You could say that this could be considered a big achievement for that guy (who is semi-dead now). Kitsune watches all this from afar when he bumps into Ayumi, Tatsuki and Suzume but holds them back from joining Torako. So when Ayumi asks for a reason, he simply says to show him her panties again. Ayumi is totally embarrassed as he leaves. The end scene shows Kitsune meeting with a serious and seemingly expressionless girl named Oniyuri at the hallway. Kitsune greets her but she only responds when he says he had lunch with Torako. There’s something mysterious about her.
 
Inori Tsubomiya could be the next horror girl or Ju-on and we won’t blame you for thinking so. In episode 8, because of Inori’s scary and ghostly appearance (coupled in with her shy character), she has a hard time making friends. Nobody wants to get close to a scary looking girl, would they? Scary hair, scary smile. So when Torako accidentally bumps into her and has a short friendly chat with her, Inori goes to great lengths to try and make Torako her friend. Including that hilarious ‘harassment’ in the toilet whereby Inori panics and starts thinking hard of this God given chance to make Torako her pal. When Torako forgets her handkerchief, Inori decides to lend hers but since she is too shy to speak up, don’t blame Torako for freaking out and misconstruing what Inori says. Yeah, Torako heard handkerchief as haka (grave) and chi (blood). Torako is ‘saved’ by Suzume, who soon comes out of her cubicle, as she punches Inori in the stomach. Later outside, they resolve the misunderstanding as they exchange handphone numbers. Well, that’s a start. But Suzume is still wary of this zombie.
 
Then in class, in a quest to have Inori to make friends, Torako suggest a total makeover for Inori so that she could be friendly-looking. This include borrowing stuff from others (Chie’s glasses) and the end result is that Inori looks hot! Yeow! She has pretty eyes to begin with! OMG! She’s damn beautiful. So was it her long ghostly hair that is freaking out everybody? See with some makeover, she looks like a different person. But it isn’t Inori’s hairstyle that got changed, Torako and Koma go on a hairstyle changing spree and every girl in the class has a hairdo makeover. Including Amagasa. Looks like mission accomplished but the very next day, Inori is back to her scary outlook and she is sad because she doesn’t know how to dress and make-up herself. Now that is another problem. As everyone else is back to their normal hairstyle, Amagasa comes into class still with his new hairstyle. I guess he must love it that much, eh?
 
Sometimes being a good Samaritan doesn’t pay. In episode 9, Torako learns the hard way when she lends some money to a tanned classmate, Minato Ooba, who is searching for her lost coin at the vending machine. This Minato girl is very klutzy and is easily depressed. The next day, Minato decides to repay Torako’s kindness by asking to do this and that which soon turns out to be very irritating. Her pestering is very consistent and she does go to great lengths to return the favour. Then when Ushio comes in, she too gets surprised and tries to run away. Torako then learns that Ushio too helped Minato out and ever since, she has been harassing her to do every single little minor deed. So Torako along with Tatsuki, Ayumi and Ushio come out with a plan to keep Minato away but it all ends up in failure. Like trying to be mean to her but when she starts crying… When all else fails, the final plan is just to keep running. But Minato can actually keep up pace and follow them everywhere! The next day at the cafeteria, Minato requests to sit next to Torako when Suzume butts in. Jealous Minato isn’t too happy. Neither is Suzume, who isn’t pleased that there is somebody else sticking too close to Torako. You can smell some rivalry between the duo. Not wanting to give up, Minato and Suzume continue to follow Torako and outdo each other over the next few days and to almost everywhere. Including the toilet. Torako will never get her privacy! The final scene is another random eyebrow raiser because it shows Suzume walking along as many characters somehow decide to give her snacks. So Suzume gladly accepts and accumulates them all until she reaches back to class. She can never go hungry this way.
 
Over the series, viewers will notice a cold distant and unfriendly classmate of Class 1-6 making cameo appearances. She is Touma Kazamatsuri and the reason why she doesn’t like Torako and the rest is because she finds them weird (has she looked in the mirror herself too?). Episode 10 is her prominent episode as Torako tries her best to strike up conversations and be friends with her but to no avail. Touma’s refuge at the rooftop is no longer a sanctuary as Torako comes to continue pestering her. I guess she too like Tatsuki doesn’t want to be associated with such a weirdo. As she journeys to school and meets other her classmates, Touma begins to think how they too are part of Torako’s weird circle. Whether it’s one way or another. Even Tatsuki. She really needs to look in the mirror. Then she meets Ayumi at the library and remembers why she doesn’t want to be associated with a troublemaker like Torako. When she was in the teacher’s room, she spot Torako playing with Amagasa’s new handphone and accidentally broke it, much to his dismay. That event still pisses her off. Touma learns that Ayumi likes Torako because she felt happy for befriending her when school starts seeing that she wasn’t good at making friends. Before Touma leaves, Ayumi requests if she could be friends with her. Her reply is that she’ll think about it.
 
At Touma hangs out on the rooftop, Torako comes with her usual pestering. Touma remembers how she first met Torako when she was visiting as a middle schooler. Torako lost her hair band in the wind so she lend hers. Torako’s short honest conversation seems to impress her and that’s when their ‘friendship’ began. Something about if they both entered this school, Torako suggested to be friends in which Touma replied she’ll think about it. So is she still thinking or decided? Then in present time, Torako invites Touma to have lunch together. More like self imposing. Touma seems to blend in well with them as Ayumi even made a bento for her (better hurry because Suzume lightning snatch is going to finish it all). As quintet cramp with each other on the bench enjoying lunch, to Touma’s horror she realizes that she has ‘converted’ and become part of their weird circle. Haha. It was just a matter of sooner or later. Nene spots Torako’s friendship and decides to do the same as she gathers Ushio, Chie, Koma, Inori and Minato for her circle. She inspects the lunch that each of them brought and isn’t happy with some like Minato’s all-snack menu. The final scene shows Torako redeeming herself for breaking Amagasa’s handphone by giving him a delicious bento. But it turned out to be a handmade bento from Inori.
 
In episode 11, because Segawa is worried about her sick child Yuki and decides to take an emergency leave, Amagasa has to substitute her English class, which is Class 1-6. Noting that the next period is PE, Amagasa decides to tell the class to change to their gym clothes. On the other hand, Yanagi, Shishimaru and Kitsune gets word from Koma about the girls at the gym and decide to take this opportunity to snap more pics. However Amagasa confiscates Yanagi’s camera so he has no choice but to use some hi-tech mini spy camera since he is desperate not to lose this once-in-a-lifetime chance. The game is dodgeball and the group is divided and decided into what they ate for breakfast. Rice or bread. Since Touma didn’t ate breakfast, she becomes the unenthusiastic score keeper while Amagasa the referee. So a battle royale (more like dangerous deathmatch) between Torako’s Rice Team and Nene’s Bread Team starts as the ‘casualties’ keep counting with Ayumi first (ball in the face!), then Chie and soon Tatsuki. Amagasa orders Yanagi and Shishimaru to act as medical personnel and bring the injured ones to the sideline. Inori couldn’t stand all this so she fainted and is out (the guys note how she really look like a corpse because she’s not moving while lying down).
 
With the injuries piling up, the remaining Rice Team members include Torako, Koma and Minato while Bread Team has Nene, Ushio and Suzume. So Torako suggests to settle it with a fight between the leaders. Nene is confident because she claims her team’s leader is the all-powerful Suzume. Torako also knows of Suzume’s potential and decides to substitute her leadership to Amagasa. That guy tries to shift it to Shishimaru, who starts going crazy about some opportunity to demonstrate his bravery fighting on behalf for Torako and thus in a dilemma. So I guess he is out, eh? With Torako’s constant pleas and promise to Amagasa that she won’t skip class, Amagasa also note the sly look in the other girls’ eyes which indicates this teacher is hopeless, Amagasa caves in to pressure and agrees to take on Suzume. Though we won’t get to see how the match went, we all know that Amagasa lost. Must be real bad because his cheek is covered with plaster. I guess Torako’s cheering up that he’s cool isn’t going to cut it. Feeling more than just dented pride, eh? To add salt to his wounds, Amagasa learns that when Segawa has returned, she happily brought her sick ‘child’ Yuki which turned out to be a puppy. All for nothing. The final scene shows Kitsune once again encountering Oniyuri and that girl displays no emotion or reaction whatsoever to Kitsune until he tells her that he watched Torako play during PE. She tells him to go back to class.
 
A more serious and drama-filled episode 12 starts off with Torako out in the streets at night unable to contact her pals. Next day in school, Ayumi finds Torako and Ushio dead tired and it’s revealed that Torako spent the night at Ushio’s place and played video games all night. Of course when Nene overheard about it, she isn’t too happy and starts interrogating Torako with her yuri ideas of they did this and that together or not. Then when Oniyuri appears and asks about Torako’s presence last night (among her other lecturing), Torako starts to feel scared. Nene points out that Oniyuri is Torako’s elder sister and is the current intelligent and hardworking student council president. I guess she knows her not because they share the same surname, but she did indicate it’s the post she wanted to take over. So over the next few scenes Torako feels gloomy (in a funny sense) and even posters Touma to let her stay at her place. Then at the hallway, she bumps into Oniyuri and Kitsune. Oh, the deadly combo. Oniyuri wants Torako to walk home with her but the latter refuses. As they argue, the rest of her buddies arrive and witness this real life sisterly drama. The climax is when Oniyuri said to go home to apologize to dad and that’s when Torako blurted out that they aren’t her real parents. This causes Oniyuri to slap her as Torako runs away.
 
Later Tatsuki and Ayumi learn from Kitsune that Torako and the 2 had the same father but different moms. Step siblings, I’d say. Torako’s real mom died and when daddy brought her to live with them, it is understandable that Kitsune and Oniyuri’s mom didn’t like it. Likewise Torako too didn’t like living with them and still haven’t come to terms with his parents. But Oniyuri came to accept her and treated her like her little sister, though the same can’t be said about the way she coldly ignores Kitsune. You could say she is overprotective over Torako but her way of doting is wrong. After understanding the situation, Tatsuki tells Ayumi to call Torako because they’re walking home together. Meanwhile Suzume confronts Oniyuri and I don’t know why, she didn’t say anything but puffer her cheeks and softly punch her back. But Oniyuri knew she had to apologize to Torako. At the same time, Torako finds comfort with an unlikely person. Touma. Yeah, she even teases that girl for doing so. Touma understands her because she has a sister and is always quarrelling. At the end of the day, Torako sees Oniyuri waiting for her. They both apologize and make up as Torako starts breaking down. As they’re walking out, they see all of Torako’s pals waiting to walk her home and Oniyuri allows her. A flashback of how a young Kitsune and Torako made clay persimmons to throw at some uncle’s home because he suspected Oniyuri of stealing his fruits. But when she found out about it, she advices nicely that this isn’t the way to go and that they should go apologize. She’s not such a scary sister after all.
 
Episode 12 goes back in time back to the start of the year. April 4th is the day whereby it’s the Kamizono Academy’s entrance ceremony and we see clips of several of class 1-6’s girls waking up and preparing themselves for school. Like how Minato is klutzy in putting on her tie and Inori having her sister comb her long hair. Except for Torako and Suzume who are seen waking up from their slumber at some bus stop in some prefecture. In short, it has been 4 days since they’ve ran away from home. You could say that they are broke and if they didn’t bought some food previously, they would’ve been starving in this sleepy countryside. At school, Nene is all excited that she has enrolled in this school (you know why lah), Yanagi gets hyped up to continue his paparazzi ways while Ayumi still lacks confidence. We see Amagasa has been ‘chosen’ to give some speech and the ‘faceless’ principal of Kamizono Academy Taiga Nishizono (hope he has no relation to Torako or whatsoever to) trying to pick out some colourful clothes in his wardrobe to wear for the ceremony. As Torako confides in Suzume about her family problems, she mentions how she doesn’t mind to give her first night to Suzume and even probably her first kiss. That is when Suzume promptly kisses Torako on her lips! Yikes! Enough to freak her out. Regretting it?
 
Before the entrance ceremony starts, Amagasa introduces himself as the homeroom teacher for class 1-6 and notices several of his students missing. Besides Torako and Suzume, the other missing student is Tatsuki because she being chauffeured while stuck in a traffic jam. As the entrance ceremony begins, Torako tells Suzume that she decides to do away with her childishness and attend school. Then she realizes that today is the day of the ceremony and starts to panic. She needs to get back. But they’re in the middle of nowhere, right? She remembers the reason why they’re here in the first place was because of the hotsprings so the duo makes a dash on foot. Later they are seen trying to hitchhike for a ride but nobody is stopping even if they tried seductive tactics. Definitely will miss the ceremony because the principal is already at his closing speech, congratulating and welcoming the new students. Lastly, we see Hitsugi sleeping on her homework.
 
I guess such a series without any serious plot, such an end would deem to be okay. At least in my opinion. Besides some of it’s funny moments. It is nice to see how the ladies interact with each other although there is nothing extraordinary to shout about. I suppose it’s pretty decent seeing that the characters are given their fare share of screen time. So Torako didn’t turn out to be a major troublemaker like those mentioned earlier on in this blog and as the series goes by, she toned down her mischief quite a lot, though she still is that cheeky girl. Suzume is still as mysterious as ever but we can count on that she will always be by Torako’s side. Likewise, Ayumi has gained her self-confidence ever since ‘associating’ with Torako while Tatsuki acknowledges Torako and the rest as her friend.
 
One question still bugs me, though. I wonder what is Hitsugi’s role and purpose in this anime seeing that this loli has never encountered or come into contact with anyone from Class 1-6. I saw the opening credits and seeing that she’s ‘part of the group’, there had to be some connection whatsoever during the show. Nil. Don’t tell me she has something to do with Torako too. Romance-wise, nothing more developed besides the fact that Shishimaru’s crush on Torako remains just that guy’s dream. Too scared to take the first step still? Nene’s bi-sexual is her personal preference in which I don’t think I should be commenting about and Suzume is so close to Torako that I think if the producers ever wanted to make a yuri version between the 2, they could just hit it off. Just kidding. Don’t want that to happen either.
 
As for the voice acting, Fumiko Orikasa does a fine job for Torako. She is famous for roles such as Rukia in Bleach and Miu in Ichigo Mashimaro. I must be able to recognize Aya Hirano who voices Ayumi because I’ve recently heard her doing such character roles like Mahiro in Busou Renkin and Minato in Akane-iro Ni Somaru Saka. Other casts include Michiko Neya as Tatsuki (Agnes in Zero No Tsukaima series), Yurika Ochiai as Suzume (Konomi of ToHeart2), Yui Horie as Chie (Eri in School Rumble, Kotori in Da Capo), Yuko Kaida as Ushio (Riza in Kaibutsu Oujo), Houko Kuwashima as Touma (Tomoyo in Clannad), Asuka Nanase as Minato (Itsuki of I"s Pure), Hiroko Igarashi as Koma, Fujita Masayo as Nene, Keiji Fujiwara as Amagasa (Sven in Black Cat), Mitsuhiro Ichiki as Kitsune and Hiroko Kasahara as Oniyuri. Initially I thought Mamiko Noto did the voice for Inori but it turned out that Satomi Satou (Yuzuki in Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae) took on the role instead. She sound so close and almost had me fooled for a moment there.
 
I read somewhere that the quartet along with the supporting female characters of Class 1-6 and Hitsugi, they somewhat represent the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. They have the animals they represent in their names. Those who have little Japanese knowledge would know that Torako’s name would mean tiger. Then the rest include Tatsuki (dragon), Ushio (cow), Touma (horse), Hitsugi (sheep) and Nene (mouse – as in nezumi, I think) which are obvious. Then the least obvious such as Suzume (rooster – her name means sparrow so I think that’s the closest bird you’ll find in the zodiac), Ayumi (snake – huh? Definitely not matching her character), Koma (dog), Inori (pig), Chie (monkey) and Minato (rabbit) which had me think and think till my head spin just to figure out how the animal was assigned to them. Some of the other characters too have reference to animal names like Kitsune (fox) and Shishimaru (lion). Are they trying to imply that there’s a zoo here? Well, with the weird personalities of the characters, you could say so.
 
On a trivial note, I noticed that each episode title has the word ‘tiger’ in it. Or at least Torako’s name. The way they name the title make it as though it sounded like some simile or idiom. For instance episode 2’s "You cannot catch a tiger cub without entering a tiger’s den", episode 5’s "You need to fight with a tiger to learn about the tiger", episode 8’s "I sketched a tiger but it turned out to be a cat", episode 9’s "A sympathy is not meant for a tiger" and episode 13’s "Four people can become a tiger". Does the creator of this series like that orange striped beast so much? On another trivial note, I noticed the academy has a statue in its courtyard which resembles 3 penguins (or is it some other bird?) and its motto is "Boys Be Ambitious". This is a co-ed school, right? So what about girls? I wonder what is the real meaning behind it.
 
High school days are over for me and unfortunately I didn’t make much of an impact during my final years. Not to say my school is as big as this one, but just average like what many will typically find all over my country. Even if one’s high school years won’t last more than 3 years, the value of friendship and memories that one made during those time is enough to last for a lifetime. And remember, DO NOT EVER jump out of a window. Even Superman does not do that. (He flies, silly!). And yes. DO NOT EVER PUNCH YOUR TEACHER IN THE STOMACH!
 

Hyakko

Chuuka Ichiban Soundtrack

August 28, 2009

This is sure an old anime for me to blog on. Chuuka Ichiban was the first of only two food themed animes that I have watched. With all the seemingly delicious and sumptuous Chinese cuisine that the show has to offer, how I wished I had a taste of Mao’s exceptional culinary cooking skills. Even with the prospect of just seeing all the cooking action, it was enough to make me salivate. Oh yes. Don’t forget those hilarious reactions when other people taste Mao’s out-of-this-world cooking. Simply classic effects.
 
Although the series doesn’t provide eye candy (in terms of animation visuals or hot babes ;p) and the above mentioned savoury candy (how can you taste something instantly on TV?), at least it has several background music which provides ear candy. The original soundtrack is not something to boast about nor is it quite a popular one. Released back in August 1998, the single album consists of only 24 tracks of which 6 tracks are TV versions of the opening and ending themes of the series. Which means if you do the maths, there would only be 18 background music, which are composed by Michihiko Oota. However, not all of them are to my liking and just like my previous blog on anime soundtracks, listed below are my favourite ones in alphabetical order:-
 
1) Being Kind To A Great Mother
2) Born In The Sun
3) Speed & Technique
4) The Great Wall Of China
 
Uh huh. Not much, eh? But it is not the quantity that matters. Among the four, my favourite one is still Speed & Technique. A very catchy and lively beat which is mainly piano and strings driven. I remember this piece is played when we see Mao in fast forward cooking action. Cutting, slicing, frying and cooking those tasty mouth watering dishes. Hey, you can’t wait and watch the entire cooking process, right? I’m not saying that they show it in fast forwarding sense whereby the action zooms by quickly. Just several important clips here and there on how our chefs are progressing with their work.
 
Next is Born In The Sun, which is the longest duration track in the album lasting close to 5 minutes. This is Mao’s theme in particular. Another lively and upbeat rock piece to show Mao’s exuberant and creative side. Not to mention his innocent and bubbly exterior as well. With the electric guitar as its lead, this is the kind of song which gives us an impression of hope and looking forward. Also, the kind of tune in which should befit most happy endings.
 
To portray the grandeur and magnificence of the Chinese culture, that is what the theme The Great Wall Of China perfectly does. The orchestra and very Chinese-like tune may sound a little repetitive even if the bridge part sounds a little diverse but perhaps it is to give an everlasting impression of the continuity of the Chinese splendour. Finally Being Kind To A Great Mother is a slow string-driven piece. Though it has a little sad tune in it, but I feel it sounds more towards ‘paying respects’ to a revered figure. In this instance, Mao’s late mom who is also a great chef herself.
 
Though I’m not saying the other pieces suck, they don’t really appeal to me. So a brief description on the other tracks in the series. Silly Kid sounds more like the blues with some fanfare. Like one of those songs when you enter a pub or nightclub. I’m sure with such a name, this piece is for comical situations. Guess who is the silly kid? Figuring Out What To Do may start out more like a fantasy journey through the Milky Way with its mystical-like tune but it soon turns into a lively piece which gives an impression exactly like its aptly named title. Kikkaro initially starts off with a grand sounding orchestra piece like as though you’ve entered a revered place than halfway it changes to a slower pace with a Chinese tune. Oath Of Vengeance is a slow eerie piece in the beginning and gradually the strings and creepy deep bass definitely make it sound like a revenge plot anxiously going to burst anytime. An aptly named track is Appearance Of An Ominous Enemy. The dark feel of the track sends a warning signal that a great opponent has arrived.
 
I remember when the people who taste those wonderful dishes, they go into some relaxing fantasy of their own. That is what the background music Voluptuous portrays. Though it also sounds very Chinese-like, the easy and soothing pace of the song gives an impression of a peace of mind. If only in real life many dishes could have such an effect. The Competitive Heart Is Burning feels like another theme for a cooking battle albeit it is a slower pace compared to Speed & Technique but sounds a little more intense. Another battle themed song is Solution Of Riddle. This dramatic cosmic-like tune sounds like the chefs have to put on their thinking caps to figure out a way to solve the issues at hand. However the song sounds more towards optimistic rather than tensed. Which Is The Winner is a suspenseful track as it gives off an air of suspense (I think an organ was used for this effect) before the judges deliver their final verdict to the winner of the cooking battle. Of course we know who it’s going to be lah. And after all that hard work and our heroes have won, the lively Victory And Glory piece is played to honour their win.
 
Going On A Journey sounds like a variation of Born In The Sun. Even the rock beat is no exception. Maybe this could be Mao’s second theme. But because of the name of the song, it brings to mind a hope-filled trip and adventures awaiting our heroes. Hope For Tomorrow also sounds like a shorter variation of Born In The Sun but is more strings-driven in a moderate calming pace. Just like its name suggests, it gives a sense of hope for whatever may await the protagonists. However I don’t find the track Anxiety befitting its tune. Sure it sounds dramatic but again the grandeur of the piece gives an impression of an impending approach of something big. Perhaps because of this overwhelming feeling, maybe one is supposed to feel anxious? Confidence Lost is another track which doesn’t sound like its title. It’s not a sad or gloomy piece but more of a dramatic and suspenseful tune. Also sounds a little like a situation where time is running out.
 
In a nutshell, this whole album helps to complement the series though it doesn’t stand out very obvious on its own. But I note that many of the tracks are appropriately named to fit the atmosphere and situation in the series, though a handful to me doesn’t feel so. It’s better than giving some long-winded and unsuitable names which will make listeners scratch their heads of how a particular track’s tune is related to its name. Though I don’t feel like rewatching the series even if they rerun it on TV, I’m still listening to my favourite quartet of songs in this album from time to time. It brings back great nostalgic memories. Now if only I could taste the food…

 
Chuuka Ichiban

Yozakura Quartet

August 23, 2009

I’m sure there are countless shows whereby it explores how the human race tries to coexist and live with other kind of races. Be it different tribes, clans, species or alien beings. I’m certain that there has to be some sort of conflict whereby one side or both don’t like each other and try to wipe each other out. Yozakura Quartet is of such genre but the setting of this supernatural action thriller starts off on a different note.
 
Not to say that there is no conflict between humans and youkais (ghosts) in the world setting of this anime, the relationship between both sides are somewhat tolerable at the start. As narrated at the start of the first episode, Sakurashin City is the melting pot of both humans and youkais. Both sides living in harmony and coexisting together peacefully within a city which is protected by seven pillar barriers called Nanagou.
 
But don’t worry. You can’t really tell at first glance who is the youkai or human as the youkai inhabitants have blend themselves by taking the form of a human. Don’t want to scare the little ones. Another odd thing about this city is that the mayor, Hime Yarizakura, is only 16 years old! Of course, she isn’t human to begin with as she is a reincarnation of a dragon and wields a long lance. She has a loyal assistant, Kyousuke Kishi, who is an onii (ogre) always by her side and aid. So these 2 supernatural beings are the only staff running the city?
 
Nope. Hime regularly engages the help from the 3 member staff of Hiizumi Life Counselling Office. They are its human director, Akina Hiizumi, a kotodama tsukai (one who can materializes things by just uttering words of them), Kotoha Isone, and a satori (literally a mind reader), Ao Nanami. The trio are some kind of jack-of-all-trades or should I say help-for-hire as they perform any sort of requests needed by the citizens of the city no matter how petty. Like fixing a leaking roof. Together with Hime, they are dedicated in protecting the city and the safety of its inhabitants. I’m still wondering why the show is called a quartet. I mean, the primary focus seems to be on Hime, Akina, Kotoha and Ao. Did they forget about Kyousuke? It’s not like he’s not a side character who appears for only 5 seconds in every episode. So should it be a quintet instead? What about Kyousuke’s sister, Touka, too? Sometimes she helps the gang out too. But whatever the numbers, Hime is going to need all the help she is going to get in protecting the city. Being mayor at such a young age is tough. Lots of high expectations to meet. Yeah, you may find her a little naive and a glutton. Uh huh. Hime loves eating ramen.
 
Anyway as the first episode sets the tone of the series like how part of the Hiizumi Life Counselling Office is to transmit whatever important announcement through its loud speakers which can be heard all over the city, the gang are trying to welcome a new resident to the city, Rin Azuma, a Chinese vampire (you know those keong si in Manchu outfits that hop and terrorize people? Ah, I still remember them…). Also, recently there seems to be a criminal on the loose stalking its citizens. During one of Hime’s rounds, she spots him terrorizing poor Rin with his gun but he disappears when Hime comes to the rescue. They learn that human, Kousuke Yoshimura, is being possessed by a youkai and soon he holds a nurse, V Juri F, as hostage and wants Hime to come to him or else he won’t know what a heartbroken guy would do. Of course Hime and her team manage to defeat Kousuke and it’s cool to see Hime deflecting his bullets with her fists. Juri also shows that she’s just not a dumb nurse as she herself too can pull off some self defence manoeuvres. Then I don’t know why Kotoha froze the entire street just to stop him from his trigger happy ways when she could just froze his hands.
 
However it is not the end yet. It seems that Rin, who is one of those youkais who despise humans to the utmost, initially made a pack with Kousuke to get her revenge on heartless humans who used her. She points a gun at Akina. Careful, he’s human. Even if Rin hates humans, she’s not a killer and is still finding hard to pull the trigger. During this time, Akina uses his tuning power to send the youkai in Kousuke’s body to the other world. So what is this tuning power? It seems Akina is the only human and successor of his family who has been using this tuning ability throughout the centuries to send back evil youkais to the other side of the world and cut them off from the human world. When Akina activates his tuning powers, his hair will grow longer and his eyes a little more ‘eviler’. Once all that is done, we see the main villain of this series, Enjin, watching the gang as he notes how things are getting real interesting with this bunch of characters.
 
In episode 2, Hime goes to see Yuuhi Shinatsuhiko, some sort of God and chief division officer of this city to discuss matters of the city. Yeah, he looks like a 10 year old kid. Plus, he has an assistant, Mariabelle who is always by his side, and a cool double sword wielding nun, Yae Shinatsuhiko, which is Yuuhi’s sister. Besides the flashback of how Akina reluctantly learns the tuning process from his grandpa (which seems to ‘kill’ the youkai before exiling them to the other world), we see that Rin is still bitter about humans and to make things worse, she has been put under the care of Akina. Rin is visibly upset and doesn’t trust Akina and thinks his tuning powers are akin to murder even though they are essential to protect the city. Even Kotoha and Ao’s words don’t seem to convince Rin that humans aren’t that all bad. Can’t blame her too since we see Rin’s flashback of some nasty girls bullying her by burning her arm! At the same time, Enjin is seen attacking one of the Nanagous, and this causes some of the youkais in town to lose control over its powers. Unfortunately, one of them being Rin. You see, Akina was trying to give a nice and polite tour of the city when that brat still sulking and stubborn runs away on her own. That night as Akina reflects on Rin’s words, Rin’s destructive powers starts to go out of control. Just as Akina was to use his tuning powers as other methods to stop her were futile, Rin starts to have fears over her own mortality. But Akina wasn’t aiming for Rin, but some shadowy youkai who is controlling her. The next day, after witnessing Akina’s determination, Rin at least is grateful and doesn’t hate humans anymore. She now leads a normal life and also does part time ramen delivery. See, even youkais can change too.
 
In episode 3, Hime continues to train hard in her dojo and her flashback tells us how she had to immediately grow up and take over the mayor job with the sudden demise of the previous mayor, which is her grandma. Of course Hime had to prove herself as many people have doubts what a little kid like her can do to protect the city. In present time, Hime still needs more practice and concentration since she flops on her last training move. The counselling office staffs seem to be thrilled with a new stray furry dog that they found, whom they named Silver. It was pretty funny to see Ao scared of that little dog (is it because she has cat ears and I’m assuming she’s a cat?) but as time goes by, she’ll get used to it. The rest of the gang takes a liking for Silver and Hime even had some grand plans for Silver to help her out for her usual city patrol (riding on it? I O Silver, away!). Spending too much time with Silver has Akina talking to Hime that it may seem that she is shirking her duties as mayor. Because of that, Silver doesn’t like Akina much. One day when Akina is sleeping on his couch, Silver bites his hands. This incurs the wrath of Hime as she slaps it! Will the SPCA look into this? Just kidding. I’m not sure if it understood but it could feel that Hime is visibly upset. Hime tells Silver to get out and with a heavy heart, Silver leaves. Is she being too hard even though Akina says his wound isn’t serious? Spare the rod, spoil the child… As Silver wanders dejectedly, Enjin spots it and decides to possess this abandoned creature for his own means. This would mean that Hime and co have to face-off with Silver who is terrorizing the city. No matter how hard they try, the only way to save Silver is to tune him since it is completely possessed. It’s a sad thing but it has to be done. And I’m not sure why since Yuuhi and Mariabelle knows about Enjin’s doing, why don’t they do something about this threat? God doesn’t like to dirty his hands? Or he prefers to not interfere and let destiny take its own course?
 
In episode 4, we see this Enjin guy who has a half-youkai subordinate Eiji Shinozuka. I’m always wondering if they are trapped in some sort of barrier within the city because it’s like they’re hanging out at certain places. Anyway we learn that Enjin is currently possessing the body of a guy named Gin, who is Ao’s older brother and a close friend of Hime and Akina. A flashback of how Hime, Akina and Gin have to finish eating a super big bowl of ramen in a designated time in order for their meal to be free or else they’ll have to pay more as penalty. Since Hime and Akina are at their limit, it is up to Gin to do so and he doesn’t disappoint, though he didn’t like it. In the end, I guess that’s how the trio got the see-do-hear no evil monkey handphone keychains. In present time, Enjin is having trouble controlling this body because the soul of Gin didn’t completely die out yet and is giving some resistance, thus making him unable to use his full powers. Enjin then plants some seed at one of the Nanagou and the duo manages to pass through the barrier. Akina on his way, then encounters the duo and is surprised to see Gin alive. Well, it’s actually Enjin. Meanwhile Shinozuka goes to the Elders chamber to see Yuuhi but after a short chat and the arrival of Ao and Kotoha, he flees. Enjin continues to taunt Akina but after finding out that Gin’s soul is still alive, he is hesitant to use his tuning powers. Akina could have been toast if not for the appearance of Yae. Yeah, I love that babe, the way she coolly slices and dices solid stuff into half thrown by Enjin. Soon Enjin has had enough fun and retreats. In the end, Akina tells Ao and Kotoha not to reveal this to Hime, who is currently out of town with Kyousuke.
 
Hime returns in episode 5 and we see her new order to broadcast some weird funny anthem throughout the city. Daily. I don’t know if one can get sick of it but Hime sure enjoys them. This episode has the counselling staff helping to care a bunch of nursery kids at a day-care centre. I suppose little angels like them can be devils when they give the gang a hard time. Though they get along well with most of the kids thanks to Ao’s mind reading powers awing the kids, Ao notices a boy named Junta being reclusive. She decides to further use her mind reading powers to find out what he wants. She learns that when his dad left, they made a promise that he’ll return if he can juggle a football consecutively for 20 times. But even when Junta succeeded, his dad never showed up. Junta gets upset instead of surprised when Ao tells him what she knew. Because of this, Ao questions the use of her ability. I know many people would die just to have such mind reading powers but at least Ao has a conscience. Ao teams up with Akina to go look for Junta’s dad and in the end, all their hard work paid off as Junta’s dad and mom comes to see him, making that little boy happy while Ao apologizes for the unauthorized use of her powers. Later as Ao sits on one of the Nanagou in relief and reminisce the times when she was with her brother, suddenly a flock of crows appear and Ao spotting a shocked expression, spots her brother in the flesh floating right before her eyes.
 
However Enjin/Gin soon vanishes in episode 6. Ao tells Akina about it and wants him to keep a secret too. But I’m wondering why did Enjin did so because he is experiencing more painful resistance from Gin within possibly that guy still has a strong bond for his sister and showing up right in front of Ao would just make it worse for Enjin who is trying to 100% control this body. Because of that, he tells Shinozuka to go do as he pleases. Meanwhile Kotoha is at school talking with her buddies about how she can’t wait to go to Germany (she’s already got a ticket) when Hime calls her for an assignment. A funny part is that when Kotoha decides to go karaoke party with her pals, to her dismay she finds that she has to stay back for after-school class and said the F-word in English! Holy sh*t! I wonder how that would be materialized. And it seems that so called important assignment was to be Hime’s sparring partner. That’s it? During the match, Kotoha materializes several machine guns going da-da-da-da-da firing mode and during their bout, Hime accidentally rips her ticket. Pissed off Kotoha then summons an 88 Flak (some anti-aircraft artillery firepower) and starts blasting away! Woah! If not for Kyousuke, Hime would’ve been blown to bits. Later all hope for Kotoha isn’t lost as she finds out that she still may make it to Germany if she wins a karaoke contest as Kotoha and her classmates go practice their karaoke.
 
However Shinozuka intercepts her classmates and kidnaps them in order to bait Kotoha. As Kotoha comes to their rescue under a bridge, we learn from her tragic flashback that she is a half-youkai and once a human before. As a kid with weird powers, she must have despised it because she burned down her town with it. Till Hime showed up and requests her to join her. Shinozuka wants Kotoha to join him and Enjin’s cause but she isn’t willing to give in so a heated battle ensues. Kotoha uses her materialized machine guns but Shinozuka is too fast evading every single bullet. Hime and co soon arrive to help out. After securing Kotoha’s pals, Kotoha summons the 88 Flak and with the help of Ao’s mind reading powers and Hime’s lance, they defeated Shinozuka (he almost got blasted). But you can count on that pale face to be back again. In the end, as Kotoha suggests to continue her karaoke practice with her buddies, she finds that she has lost her voice! What’s this? Hime thinking that she has a chance now?
 
The townspeople are preparing for a local festival to honour the Nanagou in episode 7. I’m not sure if Yuuhi is a pervert or not because the old ladies are mentioning how he is here to ogle at women. Akina and Hime are representing their family line for the ritual. We see Hime proceeding to enter a Nanagou shrine to pray for the safety and protection of this city. Later the gang gathers for a party together and the funny part is that when they drank normal water, all of them got drunk (exception of Akina)! Well, according to them, giving water to a youkai is like giving hard liquor to a human. Yeah, they’re getting intoxicated alright. Even Mariabelle. After the party is over and everyone goes home, Ao is surprised to receive a visitor. Enjin. He kidnaps her and the next morning informs her other pals about it. While under Enjin’s custody, Ao can’t bring herself to stab Enjin (with a fork?) because she still sees Gin in him as Enjin continues to taunt her. Hime and friends soon arrive at the shrine to find Enjin and Shinozuka waiting for them with Ao in their hands.
 
In episode 8, Enjin wants the key to the room within the shrine that Hime entered during the ceremony. I wonder why he didn’t just ask Shinozuka to rip it open or use some other door tearing accessory. Unless that door has a barrier but to be locked with just a key? Hime then finds out about Akina’s initial meeting of Enjin previously and isn’t too pleased. Of course they won’t hand over the key that easily. Akina tosses the key to Hime after getting punched by Enjin and after securing Ao, the gang goes on an offensive. It may seem that Enjin is outnumbered but I assure you he’s got an ace up his sleeve. I mean, he can stop that 88 Flak bullet shell with 1 hand without any effort. Kotoha and Ao team up to battle Shinozuka while the rest takes on Enjin. I’m not sure during the battle, Kotoha managed to trap Shinozuka with her materialized walls and stab them with blades (just like in those magic shows). Then when she removed the walls, Shinozuka’s place has been switched with Hime. How on Earth did he do that? Enjin knows that because Hime still sees Gin in him, she can’t fight him seriously.
 
With Hime as his hostage, Akina has no choice but to give him the key. Then another part I don’t get is that as Enjin opened the door, Yae appeared from the back and threw a sword at him, injuring his shoulder. Then she just leaves it like that as Enjin limps into the room. Earlier on, Yae wanted to help Hime upon realizing Hime can’t defeat Enjin but Yuuhi forbids her to interfere. Is God trying to stay neutral even if he knows an impending doom is upon them if Enjin gets his way. Enjin manages to enter the room and make the Nanagou bloom. And that is a bad thing because if the Nanagou ever blooms, it will mean that both the human world and the other world where the exiled youkais are will be merged. Havoc will ensue. Enjin continues to taunt Akina how the other world which he has been sent (an apparently returned from) is totally void of anything. It’s worse than hell because there is nothing. I understand that so what does this have to do by destroying the human’s world? Ah, he just hates humans after all. As the Nanagou blooms, mysterious shadows start appearing, causing the city folks to start panicking. Hime has no choice as she strikes and splits the Nanagou with her lance to stop it from further blooming. That easy?
 
Seems like it in episode 9. However those youkai citizens who have come into contact with the strange shadows are starting to lose control over their powers. Like Touka. She is so powerful now that even her bracelet which restrains her powers is ineffective. She collapses when she accidentally tripped and caused a big portion of the road to be ‘dug out’ and stopping an out of control van with just a kick. The citizens continue to complain about the recent happenings as Touka is hospitalized. Kyousuke goes to visit her and when Akina comes by, he blames him for all that has happened. If he had used his tuning powers on Enjin back then, all this wouldn’t have occurred. Touka tries to stop them from fighting when her excessive powers accidentally hit a nearby cupboard flying and crashing out of the room. Nearly could’ve hit them. Also a flashback on how before Enjin doesn’t believe in the coexistence between humans and youkais just before he got tuned. So his return to this city is to of course destroy it. Ao goes to visit Hime, who is seen training real hard in her dojo. Also a short flashback on how when Gin was being possessed, he wanted Akina to use his tuning powers on him but Akina couldn’t send his best friend to the other world and wanted to save him. And because Gin’s soul is still alive in that body, they are still in a dilemma to tune him if they ever confront Enjin again. Later Hime and Akina go to meet the Council of Elders (who are somewhat tied to the Nanagou). It seems that they are blaming Hime for the recent events and have failed in her duties as mayor. In short, they have decided to cut down the Nanagou. And as for Yuuhi who is there observing. Yeah, he’s just there observing and won’t get involved. Some God. Yae isn’t too pleased with her brother’s couldn’t care less attitude.
 
So what is so bad about cutting down the Nanagous? This would mean that the entire city will perish! Gasp! How can they think of such a thing? Well, it’s better to sacrifice 1 town to save the whole world. What about the citizens? The Elders say that it is Hime’s responsibility on how she would deal with them. WTF?! So just make a decision and leave all the problems to her, eh? Some people. Thus in episode 10, the citizens too are getting restless and Hime is upset to find Ao and Kotoha as a precaution, requesting the citizens to evacuate to the Elders chamber, which is the location furthest away from the Nanagous. Can they fit the entire city there? More flashback as we see Gin and Akina giving Hime a scarf to hide her neck scar. Then as usual, Enjin unleashes his havoc on the city using giant white monster lizards (looking very cartoonish here). While Akina manages to tune one, Hime tries to take on 1 herself but gets brutally beaten up. Meanwhile Yuuhi and Mariabelle visit the Elders to tell them that the Nanagou is being controlled from the outside and can’t be cut down. The thing which bugs me is that Yuuhi took out his handphone which is placed within Mariabelle’s boobs. I’m really starting to think that kid as a pervert. As Hime lies in hospital, she starts to break down in tears over her helplessness and being weak even though how much she wanted to protect this city. She even confessed that she likes Gin. Was it the reason why she couldn’t fight Enjin seriously? She’s still a 16 year old girl after all. However Akina and the rest assure her that they are by her side to help her, which raises her spirits.
 
After safely evacuating all the citizens in episode 11, Kotoha divides the team into 2 groups. Kotoha and Ao will search for the source of the youkai power which is continuing to bloom the Nanagous in a car of a bearded friend of theirs, Shidou, while Akina and Kyousuke will fight off youkais. What about Hime? Well, Juri wanted her to recover first and even jumped on her to stop her from going. She even bangs her own head on Hime’s! While Ao and Kotoha are met with some shadow resistance, thanks to Yae, they could have some breathing space. Akina and Kyousuke soon encounter Shinozuka and a power battle starts. Shinozuka is disappointed that a full youkai like Kyousuke is on the human’s side and suggests to use his powers for Enjin’s cause. However Kyousuke is ever loyal to Hime because she saved him and Touka. Their fight is cut short when Shidou swiftly comes by to pick them up while Shinozuka was being distracted by one of their combo moves. But in the car, there is only Shidou, Kotoha and Touka (tagging along because she was worried). So where is Ao? Ao is on a Nanagou and decides to use her mind reading powers to tap where the youkai power source is and detects it to be at Tokyo Tower. Enjin is there too. And he is the source. She relays the information to Kotoha and upon arriving at Tokyo Tower, Kotoha materializes a train with a huge cannon to blast the tower. Must be a tough one because she notes how she’s going to get a sore throat for it.
 
Meanwhile an elderly citizen comes by to give Hime a new powerful tip for her dragon lance and since Juri gave her the green light, Hime is all set to go into battle. As Hime comes out of the hospital, she takes heart to know that several city folks who are determined to protect this city that they love. At the same time, Kotoha fires a cannon shot at the tower but Enjin notes it won’t hit him due to the change in wind direction. However, the shell hits right through it because Yuuhi decides to interfere this time and change the wind direction with just a flick of his finger favourable to Kotoha. So now he decides to act, huh? And with just his finger, eh? Enjin isn’t too pleased that Yuuhi has a hand in it. Having just barely avoided being blown to bits, Enjin makes more Nanagous bloom. Better hurry, Hime.
 
The destined battle between Hime and Enjin begins in episode 12 and Hime’s new dragon lance gives her an all new power and shine. While Hime resolves to beat him, Enjin says how Akina won’t send his friend back. He continues to tell them that Gin is no longer in his body because he has let him out and shows a scar across his body. Just as Akina gets ready to tune him, Enjin goes down to him and taunts him. Because he is still hesitating, Enjin gives him a painful lightning bolt. During that time, Akina and Ao saw Gin’s spirit. Hime intervenes but Enjin disappears. Meanwhile Kotoha is trying to take down Shinozuka with her 88 Flak but she is at her limits. Kyousuke comes to her aid. At the same time, Enjin has entered the Elder’s Chamber room and have beaten up all the elders while telling them how he’ll make this a perfect youkai town and if he wants to blame somebody, it should be Hiizumi. Before Enjin could finish that old fart, he is interrupted by Yae who at her limits decides to duel him. However Yuuhi and Mariabelle appear and tell her to back down and let Hime handle it. Speaking of which, she does and another round of battle starts. At the same time, tired Shinozuka is defeated by the teamwork of Kyousuke, Kotoha and Touka. Being pinned by a car, the rest offers him an olive branch to join them to see the err of his ways but Shinozuka has gambled too much of his future on Enjin (seeing that he saved him before, and thus grateful in a way) before being engulfed by the shadows. Kotoha notes how he is a weakling for taking the easy way out.
 
Hime and Enjin’s fight continue and the latter cuts off Hime’s scarf with his scythe. Hime then uses an ultimate technique from her dragon lance to make the sakura petals flutter away from the Nanagous. Enjin is devastated and I suppose with that little distraction, Akina prepares to tune him. This time he does it and before Enjin is being deported to the other world, Akina has a glimpse of Gin who thanks him for protecting the town and its citizens. In the aftermath, the Nanagous are fully withered and the entire city is covered with sakura petals. Shinozuka wakes up in Juri’s infirmary and we see the counselling office with a makeshift tent as their roof. Well, it was damaged during the giant lizards’ attack. Then it caved in and fills the office with petals. Now they have more cleaning up to do. Kyousuke continues to remind Hime and Touka not to eat too much and the calories the char siew mien Hime is eating has. Hime takes her leave and meets Akina on her way. He gives her a new scarf before thanking him and continues her city patrol.
 
I guess for a short series, things ended on a good note. It’s pretty much okay in my opinion. One thing I didn’t like is the non-involvement of Yuuhi and Mariabelle over the series. It’s like they are there just to observe and I felt that in a way their presence wasn’t really necessary seeing that they don’t want to get implicated with the city’s affairs. So being God is just watching over everything? Another thing peculiar I noticed about Yuuhi is that he likes to cosplay Mariabelle. Hmm… Does God have such otaku fetish too? I was also particularly disappointed with the number of screen time that Yae has, seeing that she is my favourite character because I like her wielding a pair of blades. I was hoping she would have some slashing moments with Enjin although ultimately it would be Hime that would take him on but nope. After seeing her short debut clash with Enjin, I was really praying for more but I guess God didn’t want to intervene and make true my hopes, eh?
 
Besides Yae, I think Kotoha has the best ability being able to conjure and materialize anything she speaks. It’s funny to note that everytime she uses this power of hers, she’ll stick her tongue out and you can see electric currents flowing over it. You know what it means when you stick out your tongue especially to somebody you don’t like, right? And to have that whatever thing materialized to that person you dislike, it’s like adding further salt to his/her wounds. Though Ao didn’t use much of her mind control skills, this shows at least she doesn’t want to rely on her powers unless when necessary. Hime has learned to shoulder her responsibilities more maturely and have grown up a little along the way. It won’t be an easy road for the young mayor but I’m glad she’s taking up the challenge. And yes Hime, watch what you eat, okay?
 
One thing I noticed from the synopsis of this series is that they mentioned Akina is a powerless human. Unless tuning is considered something powerless, then I guess he is true. But otherwise in a general sense, I don’t think Akina is powerless since he has the support of the others with him. Another thing which I found out is that Akina and Enjin both shared the same surname, Hiizumi. Does this mean Enjin is a descendent and part of the Hiizumi’s bloodline? Does that make them both brothers or distant relatives? Don’t know. The series here doesn’t address this. It’s hard to say if Enjin is gone for good but he did returned from the other world once, right? Hopefully Shinozuka would turn over a new leaf seeing that he’s been given another living chance. Throughout the series, there are short flashbacks here and there about the character’s past or how they came to be. But it’s better than dedicating an entire episode or stretching it to a couple of few episodes.
 
Though the drawing, art and animation are of today’s Japanese anime standards, I can’t help notice that most of the characters have that one kind look which makes them look the same. Is it because of their eyes, outline of their face and their thin mouth line? Perhaps. Maybe they are trying to look as close as the manga. The mid-intermission has manga drawings of the characters, though. Although the scenery may not be that breathtaking, but the part whereby the sakura petals flutter was a beautiful sight to behold.
 
Most of the songs in the series have that rock feel which is suitable for this kind of genre. The opening theme, Just Tune, by Savage Genius is quite an upbeat tune while the ending theme, Nagareboshi, by ROUND TABLE featuring Nino sounds more like pop rock. There is an insert song during the series which is more of a slow rock and is entirely sung in English. Sounds a little drowsy, though.
 
So another moment in anime history whereby humans and youkais have succeeded against other threats to live together peacefully. But thinking about it, I don’t think that this is possible in the real world because humans themselves will be the real ghosts and demons. And if there isn’t any, they’ll take it out among themselves. So typical. I think we really need a youkai city like this as a role model. So the next time if something supernatural is bugging your neighbourhood, who are ya’ gonna call? No, not that ‘G’ guys, that’s for sure. These quartet, or quintet, or sextet (okay, this doesn’t sound pleasant for a group of 6), or whatever numbers, these people definitely pack a punch and more.
 

Yozakura Quartet

Seto No Hanayome OVA

August 22, 2009

Even if this series didn’t have a sequel, nevertheless it is still great to watch its 2 OVA episodes of Seto No Hanayome OVA. I guess it must be a trend these days that after the TV series has finished airing, an OVA will be given the green light to satisfy hard core fans or those curious enough and wanting to know more about what happens or in store for the gang.
 
Thankfully because of the nonsensical humour the series had to offer and of course having laugh out real loud myself while watching the hilarious comedy of the TV series, it is no surprise that the OVA too retains its overall silliness. Both the OVAs are split into 2 separate stories and I can say that they can serve as a standalone from each other and even the TV series.
 
Briefly on what the series is mainly about, Nagasumi was forced to marry the beautiful and gentle daughter of the Seto mermaid yakuza clan, San, in order to keep himself and his family alive. Then there are parties who want to break them up and of course their other school pals as they try to go on living a normal life without exposing this secret marriage. Now into the 3rd year senior of his schooling life, will it still be kept safe amidst all the chaos? Well, let’s find out. Yeah just like the narrator said, a new idiotic comedy of middle schooling life begins.
 
Episode 1A
Nagasumi is pretty much shocked to find himself in some desolated eerie graveyard-like building. How on Earth did he end up here? Earlier on in the day, Nagasumi, San and Runa are walking to school at the start of the new semester and as usual meet Mawari, the moral disciplinary committee member, at the school gates. Still blabbing about how things should be properly done in society, eh? And yes. The nameless Iinchou is still around. And yes. Nagasumi still gets pounded by Runa. Ah, all too familiar. Good news is that everyone is together in the same class. Bad news is, that means Gouzaburou is still their homeroom teacher. Oh wait. Not everyone. Where is Nagasumi? Yeah, it may seem part of Gouzaburou’s plot to put Nagasumi in a different class. Though he says that he is sad but we know that voice tone and crocodile tears.
 
So that’s how Nagasumi ended up in the worst place on Earth. A decimated post apocalyptic-like prison class with mad delinquents as his classmates who are as crazy and dangerous to go into killing mode anytime. More like an asylum, I’d say. Then there’s this guy with super big feet called Tenousan, who is the supposed emperor of this class. I guess it’s a more macho term for class rep. To Nagasumi’s horror, he finds that everyone here are middle schoolers for eternity! He’s going to have a tough time making "friends". Then the homeroom teacher comes in. He turns out to be Shark! Initially several delinquents didn’t like him and didn’t want to follow his orders but Shark shows why he is the boss and tosses them all out of the window! But Shark is as crazy as everyone because his first lesson is to have everybody kill each other! So Shark has already placed random weapons underneath their table and wants them to take them out and start killing. Unfortunately, Nagasumi got a fish paste. Hah! I think it’s a conspiracy to finish him off.
 
Meanwhile Gouzaburou introduces a new transfer student: Runa’s Papa! Something about being a replacement for Nagasumi’s empty seat. OMG! He’s still cross-dressing weirdo in a sailor outfit with apron! Oh the embarrassment for Runa! Don’t blame that girl for releasing several punches on that sicko. Gouzaburou has had enough of the ruckus so the 2 yakuza heads engage in fiery mortal combat, accusing each other of using dirty tricks. Due to their awesome aura, Mawari has the entire class evacuated while San and Runa go find Nagasumi. Speaking of which, he’s being surrounded by everyone who is ganging up on the weakling. Thankfully, his evasion skills which he indirectly learned from evading Maki’s kill bore fruits. I guess Nagasumi got confidence from this and when Tenousan starts to move, Nagasumi is going to face him when Tenousan takes out an RPG! Haha! Who’ll win? Fish paste vs RPG. Boom! By that time, San and Runa have arrived and the former is devastated to see what’s going on. The delinquents decide to continue their Holy War by attacking the ladies. But Runa calls for her supporters and escalates the chaos. To make things ever worse, Runa sings using her mermaid voice to make them all attack but San counters it by using her yodelling mermaid voice to put them to sleep. Awake, sleep, awake, sleep. Then San’s chivalry speech brings them all to tears so Runa has her supporters retreat while Nagasumi thanks San for saving him.
 
However Tenousan isn’t pleased that a woman got in their way of battle and is going to punch San. Luckily Nagasumi stops his giant fist with his. Don’t mess with his woman. Then Nagasumi transforms into a super manly-faced muscular Bruce Lee-like figure and is in a rage for that big guy to raise a fist towards a woman. Nagasumi beats him in a single blow to the chest. He asks him if he knows what love is and his reply is "friend" although what he meant was "enemy". For unknown reasons, Akeno was there to witnesses the whole thing and is particularly excited about Nagasumi’s bravery so Runa scorns her for taking interest in her slave. If she’s here, what about that fight of the fathers? Well, she couldn’t contain them as they’re still at it and the class now is decimated. Nagasumi decides to step in to stop them but slips on the fish paste, resulting in both dads to punch him in the face. What an embarrassing end after all that cool heroic deeds. Yeah, from hero to zero. Now he’s all bandaged lying in hospital.
 
Episode 1B
With a newly bought jacket, Nagasumi is happy that he is finally out on a movie date with San. However it isn’t going to be just the 2 of them because Maki has tagged along. No peace and quiet that’s for sure. Yeah, Maki’s here to stop whatever plans Nagasumi has. So Nagasumi gets tickets for some love movie thinking that this will set the mood but to his surprise finds San actually wanting to watch an action packed one. Chivalry Death 4? Spoof of Die Hard series? Bunta Willis as in Bruce Willis? Thus Nagasumi got tickets for this one instead. On the other hand, Saru and Kai are out to watch a movie to and initially Saru wanted to book tickets for Chivalry Death 4 but Kai indicated he prefer the love story.
 
Before Nagasumi and San enter the cinema, San patrons the Bunta goods shop as a little bratty girl named Satori accidentally spilled her ice cream cone on Nagasumi’s jacket. Though he is mad, she blames him for ruining her ice cream. San and Nagasumi then find out that she is an avid fan of Bunta. Because San is a fan of Bunta too, you can tell the girls click very well. Uh huh. Nagasumi now has ice cream cones in his eyes (San accidentally fling it in her excitement). During the movie, Nagasumi notices San is so into the movie because she is unintentionally talking out loud. Then to Nagasumi’s surprise, he finds Masa sitting next to him. He’s a big fan of Bunta too? I’m not sure how Nagasumi’s feeling because he too is going crazy as he thought he has gotten over that gay thing. But the one being noisier is that Satori girl sitting right in front of them. Though Nagasumi tries to advice her to keep quiet, her violent behaviour has her fist in his face. But when Masa gently tells her to be quiet, Satori gets this lovey-dovey feeling that he’s so manly. Yeah, she listens to him.
 
When the movie is over while waiting outside, Masa discusses with San about the CG effects during a scene whereby the oil tanker crash. Then an actual oil tanker is heading their way! Luckily the gang gets out of its way before the truck crashes into the cinema. As the cinema staff help evade the movie goers, Kai and Saru are stuck in the elevator. San and Nagasumi drag out the unconscious driver when San notices Satori still stuck at the highest floor of the building. The fire soon bursts into explosion and San desperately wants the fireman to save the girl but they’re thinking it’s too risky. Nagasumi rushes in and a building piece falls to prevent San from following him. Nagasumi runs up the stairs and finally reaches Satori, who is waiting for the lift. Doesn’t she know not to use them in such emergencies? Anyway panicking Kai and Saru are still trapped. They can’t use the stairs as it is engulfed in flames. Before anything else could happen, a huge explosion occurs.
 
Satori opens her eyes to find Nagasumi on top and shielding her. I don’t know why Satori can still make references on what Nagasumi should say just like Bunta. The building starts to crumble so Nagasumi improvises by using a rope and escape through the window. Satori panics a little but Nagasumi remains calm and cool. But before Nagasumi could sling the rope across, the floor collapses. San uses her singing voice to power up Nagasumi as he busts through the building. He then throws the rope to Maki, who pins it to the building across as Nagasumi swings with Satori in his arms Tarzan style before landing safely on the fire engine below. San is happy to see Nagasumi returned safely but Satori tells him to end with a cooler sentence. "It seems I have an unbreakable bond with chivalry". That line is supposed to be cool? Dunno. But Satori seems to have a favourable view of Nagasumi now. In the aftermath, Nagasumi gives Satori his jacket to keep her warm. Then Nagasumi gets a little ‘scolding’ from San not to do that again because it made her worried. As they leave, Satori learns of Nagasumi’s name. Hmm…That fawning look over her face. Nagasumi Willis? Then back home, we find out that Satori is the little sister of Saru! He’s asking her how the movie went and she said she saw a super manly man (Nagasumi with ice cream cones over his eyes?). Yeah, they just laugh it off. Hey, I wonder how Saru and Kai escaped from the elevator.
 
Episode 2A
Remember those 3 fish people? Yeah, they’re downloading fish porn from the internet when they spot something interesting. The scene changes to one whereby Akeno is working part time in a cafe dressed as a maid. Much to the surprise of Nagasumi, San, Saru and Mawari. I guess the quartet is here due to the recommendations of those fish guys. But why is Akeno working here? You see, she was a customer at this cafe when her powerful mermaid sneeze accidentally destroyed a portion of the cafe’s wall. So she’s working part time to cover the damage cost. Seeing how pitiful Akeno’s state is, Mawari and San decide to help her out by working here too. San in maid outfit? Super cute! Enough to bring in lots of customers. Of course when Gouzaburou finds out about it, he is unhappy but softens and allows it when he sees how cute his daughter is. Yeah, Masa is there too. I guess Gouzaburou is here to keep an eye out on his daughter. Well, some customers wanted more than just that service, if you know what I mean. Enough for Gouzaburou to blow his top but is being restrained by Nagasumi. Masa even said how Gouzaburou may end up hurting his daughter’s feelings if he intervened but when some customer tries to hook up with Akeno, Masa swiftly deals a knockout blow (Masa is Akeno’s long lost brother but the latter still doesn’t know of it).
 
Then there’s this Maid’s Fuu Fuu Curry dish which has the maid blowing the hot curry on the spoon before feeding the customer. Nagasumi wants San to do it on him but to his horror finds Gouzaburou in a maid outfit and doing it instead! Disgusting! Enough to scare away the customers. Also, the 3 fish guys are at the cafe and are being served by Mawari. They are taken in by her kindness and want more then that as they start to pound on her. Luckily Mawari is self-sufficient as she takes out those perverted fishes singlehandedly. Not to be outdone by San, kiasu Runa makes her entrance and decides to work here as a maid too. Because of that she doesn’t care how little the pay is and this has Akeno touched. Then Runa’s entire supporters patron the cafe, even if it seemed like it was a setup to make Runa look better. Yeah, she wants them to order the most expensive thing on the menu: Her smile which costs 10 million Yen! Damn, the captain is having it tough because he did say how he’s treating everyone. I guess with such a price, it’s no surprise he collapses. Anybody would. But Runa’s dad says he will have her smile and pay cash up front. Hey, he’s not in his cross-dressing outfit this time. However Runa refuses his order and daddy notes how even money can’t buy his daughter’s smile.
 
Next, enter Satori and we learn that she has become pen pals with San, upsetting Runa even further. She’s happy to see her Nagasumi Willis. Then when she spots Gouzaburou, she thinks how bloody cool he is. Yeah, evil lord aura, she says. Definitely seen too much of those chivalry movies. Because of that, Gouzaburou takes a liking for her. But when Nagasumi advices her not to mix with evil people, he gets a painful sensation in both his ears. As expected, San dresses Satori up in a maid outfit to work alongside them. And as usual, Runa doesn’t want to lose to that loli and puts up a sad performance how her parents died (her dad spitting out coffee in disbelief). Satori too can play that game as she acts and says how her brother is missing (Saru’s turn to spit out coffee). This has Akeno remember how her brother left and forsake his responsibility, pissing herself off (Masa now spewing coffee out from his nose!).
 
With Runa’s dad, Saru and Masa feeling depressed, they decide to order San’s menu to cheer up. San sings a happy fun song which livens everyone in the cafe. By now, viewers can guess that Runa is so kiasu that she isn’t going to let this slip by and sings a rock violent song. This has everyone shaking and banging their heads violently as it soon turn chaotic. Akeno couldn’t take more of this and snaps. She unleashes some powerful force from her sword, wishing that everything would go away. In the end, the entire store is destroyed. San and Runa losing their sanity because they’re laughing together and saying their worries are meaningless? Looks like somebody has to pay for all this… The bar owner is still cleaning the glasses…
 
Episode 2B
This part of the episode feels more like a horror suspense as it begins with a young San making a yubikiri promise to a childhood friend, Saturn, about being together forever. In the present and on a stormy night, Runa gets scared after watching a horror movie. Something about some curse photos and a spirit coming out of it. Uh huh. She throws the TV into the wall. I guess Nagasumi has lived long enough with her to be that calm. Runa then shows a photo of herself and San whereby there’s some spirit in the photo. As Nagasumi looks into the album, Runa notices the door and window open. They thought it was closed in the first place. Feeling creepy here…
 
The phone rings and is a call from San to inform the duo who are home alone that she won’t be back until late the next day because her dad and mom is having some wild drinking session with Runa’s dad as well as Nagasumi’s parents. Nagasumi decides to do some study as distraction but Runa can’t. As she throws a pillow, they notice a pair of creepy feet sticking out from beneath the curtains. Then when they look the second time, it isn’t there anymore. WARGH!!! They start panicking and hide under the blanket and pray real hard. The phone rings again but when Nagasumi picks it up thinking it’s San, there is no answer. But shortly a ghostly voice is heard "You said we would be together forever". Runa freaks out and runs away. Nagasumi tries to chase her but trips. He spots a corpse on the floor which accuses him that all this is his fault! But the body disappears when Nagasumi looks again. Something fishy is going on… Yeah, Runa is shivering outside the house gate.
 
Rain continues to pour the next day and Iinchou spots a girl with a different school uniform at the front gate and approaches her. The next thing we know, we only see her umbrella on the ground and Iinchou nowhere in sight. In class, Runa tries to relate her horrifying experience to the rest like Mawari and Kai. Of course Kai doesn’t believe in them and thinks they’re just presence of seaweeds. Runa then shows her photo album to Akeno and the latter instantly freaks out. In short, she is afraid of ghosts. The lights then start to flicker and Runa thinks she spotted something briefly in the hallway. As Akeno really starts to panic, Kai decides to show them all that there is no ghost as he walks out into the hallway before everyone hears his horrifying scream. While Akeno starts to be in denial, Nagasumi and Mawari decides to investigate as scared Runa clings closely to her slave. As they walk through the dark hallways, slowly Mawari starts to disappear, followed by Nagasumi. Runa panics and rushes back to class but there is not a single soul there. Then a creepy figure slowly approaches Runa from the back and her ghostly voice is asking where San is. Runa tries to pluck up her courage and says how San will be back soon, pleasing the scary figure. As Runa slowly turns around, her true fears are confirmed and in a flash everything went blank.
 
San arrives in school to see nobody around but Runa cowering in fear in the class corner as she screams not to come close to her. Upset San then hears that ghostly voice again and has an idea who did this to her pals. She goes outside the class to confront whoever she is but finds a girl drinking tap water to quench her thirst (probably the reason why she sounded so scary). San instantly recognizes her as Saturn. Both girls hug each other as they reunite and Saturn is happy that San hasn’t forgotten about her. It seems that Saturn is here was because when she wrote weekly letters to San, she didn’t get a reply. Thing is, she wrote it on seaweed and no wonder San claims she has never received them because she used them as dashi in her miso soup. Then we find out where everybody else went. The ceiling. Yup, Saturn thinks that everybody was a bother and tied them up with seaweed there. And as for Iinchou, she’s being tied up behind the school gate’s pillar.
 
In the aftermath, Saturn decides to go back as she can’t live without the sea. While Runa and Akeno continue to argue and tease each other of their fear of ghosts, Saturn wonders why San won’t return to the sea with her. Besides, she views Nagasumi as some cowardly maggot and wants him out of the picture. Perhaps the reason why she feels lonely and that San has drifted away from her. Of course we know ever gentle San is loves her husband very much so they make another yubikiri promise to come back and play together again.
 
Still married to a yakuza mermaid boss’ daughter…
It’s not enough! And I mean that they should have made more OVA episodes if they don’t come up with a second season. Because there are only 2 episodes here, some of the characters from the TV series didn’t make prominent appearances. Like Ren. She’s the only person who could keep that wild Gouzaburou in line. By the way, have we seen Nakajima anywhere either? Nope. The 2 new characters introduced for the OVA are just sufficient. Satori’s lively loli obsessed with the Die Hard spoof is definitely hilarious whereas Saturn is the creepiest character ever in the series. Maybe it’s because of her shorter screen time appearance.
 
As for the other usual characters, their personality and behaviours are still consistent. San is still the lovely gentle wife and Nagasumi still having his hands full trying to keep things around him under control. But some are more prominent than others. For example, I believe I have not seen Akeno’s emotions swinging out so much like this before. Especially when she was working at the maid cafe or her fear of ghosts. At times, she managed to keep her emotions in check. Likewise, Runa is still that abusive slave driver and total kiasu which everybody either love or hate. But we have never seen her freak out so much during that horror episode. Another side of her which we don’t usually see.
 
What else can I say more. It has been a fun filled ride albeit a short one. The quality of the episodes are consistent with the TV series. If they do make more OVA episodes, there is no doubt that I will go watch it. Just hope that they have more roles for the other characters. Perhaps more revealing plots as well, such as Iinchou’s real name. Well I guess being married to a yakuza’s daughter isn’t that bad. Only thing is you need to keep a constant watch out for the other family members if you want to keep your head. Which marriage is without its shortcomings?
 

Seto No Hanayome

Penguin Musume Heart

August 21, 2009

How otaku are you? Do you consider cosplay in real life as a form of fashion? Do you apply what you read in mangas or seen in animes in your daily life? This includes references and quotes from several anime and manga characters of your liking. Not to say that Penguin Musume Heart is a total 100% otaku parody series, but the main character is well, an otaku. I’m sure there are many other series with its main characters like that too.
 
Also known as Penguin Girl, this series is more of an ONA (original net animation), which means that it is being released through the internet rather than the conventional TV stations or videos or DVDs. Though there are 22 episodes in total, each episode is relatively short in the sense that on average it lasts about 10 minutes, inclusive of opening and ending credits. Well, not exactly 10 minutes because some episodes are shorter and I if I can remember the shortest one lasting 8 minutes or so while the longest around 13 minutes. Yeah, not fixed. But the things which are fixed that you can count on are the hilarious comedy and fanservice. Oh yeah. Fanservice. A must have for otaku based animes.
 
As mentioned, the main character is a total otaku. She is Sakura Nankyoku and is obsessed with the anime and manga world, especially some show called Takenoko-chan. I guess being a filthy rich daughter of a super international conglomerate has allowed her to spend more time indulging in this hobby of hers. In addition, Sakura is nicknamed Penguin because of her hairstyle or A-chan, which is short for Antarctica because her surname means so. But throughout this blog, I won’t be referring to her as Penguin like her pals do because I think Sakura sounds better :).
 
As seen in episode 1, Sakura is locked away in her room, obsessed watching her anime so much so her more responsible little sister, Kaede, has to remind her to prepare herself for school. Because Sakura isn’t listening, Kaede tells her butler, Sebastian, to throw away all her anime stuff. Now she’ll wake up. In school, the ever gentle Nene Kurio has nominated her best friend, the crude tomboyish Kujira Etorofu to be the class president. Also, Sakura is the new transfer student and I guess all the guys love her because she’s into cosplay. Which guy isn’t into that? Since Sakura’s seat is next to Kujira, she mistaken her for her beloved Takenoko-chan since she resembles close to her favourite anime character, but gets an Etorofu Punch in return. Because Sakura continues to get all clingy over her, Kujira sends more painful punches, including one which bloodies the blackboard. But Sakura isn’t going to give up and decides to enter the student council president election and if she wins, she’ll have Kujira cosplay for her. During the contest, Sakura wows the crowd with her anime passion while Kujira equals her record with a more down-to-earth do-her-best speech. A tie-breaker is needed to see who wins. We learn that when Sakura cosplays as a character, she’ll gain whatever powers that character has. So the tie-breaker… 45 wins and 45 losses each. Uh… Getting draggy. So the final battle shall be decided using water volleyball wearing swimsuit. Because Sakura is wearing some heavy armour, there is a danger of her drowning when she falls into the pool. Kujira without thinking dives under to save her even if it’s her lost. In the end, Sakura decides to vote for Kujira and make her win the election, thinking she is more worthy. Unfortunately, she voted wrongly and made herself win. Oh great. An otaku as student council president. And as her first order, she has Kujira cosplay…
 
In episode 2, we learn that Etorofu’s dad wanted a son to take over his dojo but since Kujira is a girl, he grew him up as a boy since young and even cross-dresses her. When Kujira learned about her sexuality, she is pissed off. That explains her crudeness. Even until now her dad still thinks that she is a boy. In total denial. However in this episode, a girl from China who irritatingly ends her sentences with "~chi", Cha Chi, arrives to issue a challenge to Kujira by interrupting their conversation (Sakura really loving it for Kujira cross-dressing as a male Takenoko-chan version). Eight years ago, Kujira (then under a pretext as a boy) made a promise to Cha that if she beats her, she’ll become Cha’s groom. Uh huh. Lesbian girl. Even though Kujira insists that she’s a girl now, Cha isn’t listening and starts executing her spinning kick moves. Cha beats her but is at a lost on what to do as lovers. Sakura suggests asking Kujira’s dad in which he disapproves and punches Kujira, making her lose her memory and while in hospital she gets lovey-dovey with the nurse (Nene) and Cha would come in and kill her. Before she could finish, Kujira comes to and punches that otaku. Since Cha knows Kujira isn’t easy to beat, a rematch starts. Kujira unleashes her powerful Etorofu Whale Punch which not only rips Cha’s clothes, but put devastating holes in the classroom! Wow! Cha admits defeat but vows to make Kujira hers one day. The next day, Cha is the new transfer student in their class and since she doesn’t like Sakura, a fight nearly descended when Kujira steps in and in her reflex protects Sakura from Cha’s kick. Cha is devastated to think she is protecting that weird woman as she runs away in tears while reminding about her vow to make Kujira hers.
 
The student council body is having their meeting in episode 3 when Kujira punches Sakura for forgetting to bring her report. As the duo quarrel, Kaede comes in to deliver the stuff Sakura forgot. Though everyone is amazed by Kaede’s politeness, the ironic part is that she turns into a scary being when she lashes out at Sakura’s absentmindedness. Sakura is trembling in fear! Kaede even empties Sakura’s bag full of anime stuff outside the window! Kaede leaves her special daifuku for everyone to eat before leaving. When Kujira continues with the meeting, she finds that everyone in the room is acting like a cat. She contacts Kaede and we learn that Sebastian has developed a drug which has been put into the daifuku that turns people into a cat because he believes Sakura thinks cosplaying as a cat isn’t fun enough and the reason he has Kaede deliver to them is because he knows what Sakura is thinking after serving her for 14 years. Urm… wanting to see her classmates as cats? What’s this? Sebastian too is a cosplaying cross-dresser?! You’ll notice this weird behaviour of his in the coming episodes too. Of course Kaede won’t allow it and orders the operation to begin. Meanwhile, the catgirls are loose over school and attacking other students. Kujira is having her hands full rounding them up when she is attacked by Sakura and Cha (licking at odd places…). Soon the school is surrounded by the special unit and it’s like some big time hostage infiltration as they release catnip gas so that they can take them back to the company lab and find a cure. All except for Sakura who is hiding nearby. Kaede then says if she doesn’t come out, she’ll send her to the lecture house. Sakura instantly comes out and be a good kitty. But Kaede’s scary eyes seems to indicate she’s sending her to the lecture house anyway. Sakura is panicking and apologizing profusely but it’s no use. I wonder what is inside that room.
 
It’s the festivals in episode 4 and everyone is in their yukatas out to have fun at the stalls together. However Sakura is lost. A short flashback sees how Sakura came with Kaede but she spots something and quickly rushes off in her whim. The MIBs are helping to look for her but to no avail. Pissed off Kaede is thinking of sending her back to the lecture house. Yeah, that place must be real scary. As the gang goes in search for Sakura, Kujira thinks she has spot her but WTF?! It’s Sebastian cosplaying as Sakura! Isn’t that old geezer ashamed? Nope. He says it’s his hobby. Another reason for him doing so was because Sakura ordered him to win some prizes. Funny part is that he uses a machine gun to shoot at all the targeted prizes! They then spot Sakura on top of a big tree as Kaede order Sebastian to bring them there. I don’t know what that shirt ripping move is but we won’t get to see how he send the girls to the top because Kujira quotes how they nearly died. Some things are better not known. Then we find out the reason why Sakura rushed off was to find this spot so that she could watch the beautiful fireworks with everyone. Not bad. Surprising that she’s capable of thinking at such times. Oops. Sounded like I look her down. Hehe…
 
In episode 5, an enormous building bearing a bear symbol appears next to Sakura’s residence. Another rich obnoxious girl, Mary Chupacabra Whitebear asks her servant, the single eye-patched Maguro, to deliver a challenge letter to Sakura. Nene and Kujira are on their way to meet Sakura when they’re being confronted by Maguro. Kujira receives an SMS from Maguro which states who she’s one of the Four White Knights, how cute Kujira is, how she loves to meet the real Kujira in person and wants her to deliver the letter to Sakura. The hilarious part is that, Maguro may seem like a tough no-expression maid but when the SMS is read, she sounds so girly and lovey-dovey! So bloody contrasting! Since they’re so close, why don’t Maguro use her mouth? Well, she has fear of talking to strangers apparently. Maguro disappears while Cha gives Kujira multiple kicks thinking she’s a playboy, ripping the letter. At the same time, Sakura picks them up and in the car tries to piece the letter together. Of course, they interpreted it as wanting to meet her at North Pole and off they go. Meanwhile Mary is eagerly anticipating Sakura’s arrival as she sunbaths herself at a tropical beach. Sakura and co arrive at Nankyoku’s Villa and it’s a large mansion made with ice. Freezing cold! Everything is below zero! I don’t know why Sakura isn’t feeling cold as her buddies. Probably she’s in cosplay mode. On a contrasting note, too bad for Mary and her White Knights because they’re feeling the heat, being roasted under the sun and pissed off about Sakura’s no-show. Back at the freezing mansion, the gang decides to take a warm bath but the only bath available is Penguin Bath. Yup, freezing waters. Kujira can’t take it anymore and starts breaking furniture to make firewood. Incredibly, the huge bonfire they created melted the entire mansion. Like hell freezes over? Lastly, tanned Mary isn’t going to forgive Sakura for ignoring her letter.
 
In Cha’s eternal quest to make Kujira hers, in episode 6, she tries to shoot a twin football move towards Sakura but finds the ball exploded before reaching Sakura. What happened? Sebastian snipping from afar as he vows to protect his oujou-sama. Then Cha tries to slash Sakura while the girls are changing but finds her own clothes being ripped to bits. The culprit? Sebastian and his trusty steel wires. Kujira gives that perverted butler a good punch upon finding his presence out. As Cha ponders her fate, she is being called by someone. The next day in school, Cha leaves early as Sakura decides to take Kujira and Nene to a coffee shop. Okay, more like a maid cafe from the Nankyoku Company. Kujira then finds Cha working as a maid. Cha explains that night a maid staff was handing out brochures and Cha thinks this is the ultimate technique to send her opponent to hell and decides to be a maid. Obviously she doesn’t understand what that means so Sakura passionately explains the master-slave relationship and other embarrassing stuff. Cha realizes all this is humiliating and destroys her maid outfit with her Qigong Fists. However Sakura is bloody pissed off for she has destroyed the symbol of a maid’s life and wants her to apologize while hitting her like a possessed mad person. Yeah, nobody can say bad about or dishonour her otaku stuff. Cha, you lose to a maid’s true power. And I don’t know why Sebastian is crying tears of joy while wearing a maid outfit himself.
 
In episode 7, Kujira and Sakura continue to argue about staying back for cleaning duties. You know, Sakura doesn’t want to miss her special rerun of Takenoko-chan although she has the full DVD set of it… Ever smiling and calm Nene steps in to quell the storm and as the duo continue with their cleaning duties, making terrible slip-ups and clumsy trippings in which Nene is at the receiving end of it all, they think they’re goners but to their surprise, Nene isn’t mad a single bit. Sakura finds out that Nene’s grandma always thought her never to get mad and soon learns that she lives in a shrine. Sakura gets a nosebleed and turns into her super hyper otaku self. She intends to help out at Nene’s shrine and her ulterior motive is to put a shrine maiden outfit on. Yeah, even enough to ditch her Takenoko-chan rerun. At the shrine, Sakura is totally taken in by the shrine maiden outfit and thinks it is Godly moe! Of course Sakura tries to help out but as usual is her klutzy self causing more trouble than anything. Then she tripped and banged her head, breaking a seal, causing several evil spirits to be unleashed. I wonder if Nene has teleporting ability because she does one for Kujira and Sakura before they’re being devoured. While Nene continues to give gentle advice and Sakura totally in awe of her goddess aura, Kujira is worried about the evil spirits roaming town. I don’t know how they’ll clean this one up because they leave it to viewer’s imagination.
 
In episode 8, Sakura notices a larger building next to hers, Whitebear Tower. Everything in that building is bigger than Nankyoku’s. From cars to people. Somebody with inferiority complex? The gang are greeted by Mary and Maguro. Later Sakura, Kujira, Nene and Kaede visits Mary and brought along a bowl of soba each so that they could eat together. But upon seeing the penguin logo, Mary has painful memories of being taken away (or was it some loved one of hers died?). Kaede then notes how the Whitebear Family is the Nankyoku’s rival and the 2nd largest corporation in the world, cruelly using and exploiting loopholes in the system to buy out competition and expand their empire. Though Sakura wants to be friends, Mary pours the hot soba on her face and declares this as a challenge to wipe out the Nankyoku family. The next day, a giant Whitebear Junior High School is established next to theirs and they find out there are no students left in their school because Mary tricked Sakura’s uncle, Taro, into some buy-in deal and transferred all their students into her Whitebear school. Nene then says how somebody will notice this chaos and Mary did mention that some back-up student council president guy, Makoto Konsaba, opposing the transfer. But when Mary says he’ll make him the student council president in her school, that guy instantly decides to go! Got future ah like that? But he deserved what he got because he only became president for 5 minutes! But is Kujira and the gang going to sit back and watch? Nope. If they’re going to get Mary at the rooftop, they have to pass through each of her White Knights guarding their path. Yeah, Sakura thinks all this is like from a manga… And Mary is really looking forward to it. Oh, that jerk Makoto is even pleading to be president for 1 more minute! Kick him away Maguro! As Sakura and the gang heads into Whitebear territory, they are confronted with the 1st of the White Knights, Hunting Marie, a fencer.
 
As part of the fanservice in episode 9, Marie rips Sakura close to naked. But don’t worry, Nene’s sewing skills will have Sakura covered up in no time. Anyway Cha’s Spinning Kick was enough to defeat Marie’s Whitebear Piercing Tornado 12 move. The gang moves on into the next room which resembles so much like a quiz show. That’s because White Knight Kiyomi Kodama is a quiz hostess wannabe. Sakura has to answer her questions but since they are not otaku stuff, you can tell she flops big time and earns a basin hitting on her head. Kids, remember to read your history well. Then a final tough question and it’s do or die. Amazingly Sakura answers it correctly because she enters into one of her otaku cosplay mode and became that character. Kiyomi is devastated by her loss and falls into a trapdoor. Our heroines continue their journey but are suddenly trapped in an iron cage. Come forth, another a gothic-clad White Knight, Kare Ijuin, who proclaims that she is the most beautiful among the White Knights.
 
Basically in episode 10, if they want to escape this cage, they have to get the key which is under her skirt, which she claims is the most beautiful place. I can see many viewers will agree with her. However if Kare flips each of their skirt, they lose. Yeah, so it’s just a skirt flipping competition dubbed Death Battle Of The Holy Panties. In a flash, Kare flips unsuspecting Sakura, Kujira and Cha. Now all that’s left is Nene but Nene knows that she is lying to herself no matter what beautiful clothes she cover herself with. Kare frantically tries to flip her skirt but Nene is graceful in evading each of her attempts. Finally Nene’s gentle persuasion says she can’t fool her because lying to everyone hurts. Then Kare is overcome with self realization and thinks she has saw through him. With that, Kare flashes her own skirt and reveals that he is a male! OMG! A TRAP! Shocking discovery for the rest, eh? Kare goes on to say that he likes the beauty of wearing skirts but because of the embarrassment, decides to hide his identity as a man. But after Nene’s words, he felt more confident and gives them the key. Are we still agreeing that’s the most beautiful place? So our gang trudges up to the final White Knight. Yes, it’s Maguro. Kujira decides to settle this one through an arm wrestling match. The funny part is that Maguro can quickly type and send an SMS to Kujira with 1 hand! Bloody fast! Still no confidence of talking to strangers, eh? But her SMS sound as girly as ever. The deadlock lasted for hours and the rest went to do something else to kill time like having tea or playing Nintendo DS. But Maguro is at her limit and faints. However Kujira catches her and says it’s a draw, causing her to blush. Cha isn’t pleased with the developments and orders Kujira to put her down or else she’ll slice her with a sword. Jealous, isn’t she? The girls reached the rooftop only to see Mary very upset that her White Knights has failed her. Because Sakura sees how she is mistreating them like kicking Kare’s crotch and poking Marie’s rapier in her butt, Sakura decides to fight her.
 
In episode 11, Sakura says that if she wins, Mary has to stop bullying the White Knights. But they need to decide on the type of match to settle this. A sumo match? Well, Kujira mentioned that Sakura’s useless big boobs are the only thing which can win against Mary. Though Sakura initially had a good start, Mary’s bear hug causes her to lose strength. But Sakura stands back up when Nene says she’ll get to cosplay Kujira if she wins. Kaede decides to help her sister as she has her men fire some Love Drive needle (into her head?) whereby the power will increase with direct ratio with the amount of love absorbed from her supporters. Sakura seems to be giant size now and naked. Mary also receives the same thing but the difference is the love from her 4 White Knights seems to be pleas not to kill them. No wonder Mary is a little thumb size figure. When Sakura says she won’t lose because she has friends, Mary disagrees because she doesn’t need friends and all she believes is in her own power. The White Knights then got up and say that isn’t true because they love her, the reason for serving her all this time, and wants to be by her side forever. With that, Mary is now giant size as they continue their destructive mortal combat. Yeah, very destructive alright. The entire city is so decimated. In the end, it is a draw as they both shake hands when Mary asks why a naive otaku coward like her is still standing. Sakura’s answer is simple. Because she has friends. Just like Mary has.
 
There’s this hilarious episode 11.5 whereby it’s called a MAD episode in the sense that the scenes are rearranged and changed to create a whole new story. Yup, character messing no matter how senseless it is. This includes voiceovers such as Sebastian voicing Kaede’s lines and vice versa (hilariously lame and out of place), Nene’s consulting corner whereby all her advices aren’t really problem solvers (like the reason Kujira never looks at Cha is because she isn’t her type, or to cure Maguro’s fear of talking to strangers is to break her handphone), an attempt by Cha and Kujira’s love (didn’t work out because something about not getting enough re-submissions?), a 3 minute cooking special from Sakura, an otaku 21 pop quiz (nobody gets enough time to answer), Kujira in a hand to hand combat action, a sentai-like Nankyoku Squadron Penguin 5 to save the world from an evil organization (the squad self destructed even though the monster was defeated?). At the end of it all, Kujira realized she’s been only yelling all the time (trying to correct this series from becoming something unrecognizable, I guess). Well, they don’t call this MAD for nothing.
 
Back to the original story, in episode 12, due to the destruction caused, Sakura and co are having their class under the blue sky. Mary and her White Knights are now transfer students in their class. Mary still harbours bitter feelings for Sakura though she doesn’t hate her as much as before. We learn Whitebear Corporation has been dismantled because they became bankrupt after paying for the city’s damages. 10 billion Yen! Poor Mary, Her clothes are all in rags and patches because she can’t even afford them. Even her panties are patched! So poor thing. Later Sakura invites everybody to a party to celebrate the incorporation of a new Nankyoku Corporation and unveils a new highrise. Not only that. In an instant, the surrounding highrises started to bloom from ground zero, returning the city to its original form. Now we can say she’s super rich. Mary retreats to her little shabby hut when her White Knights takes her to a park bench to celebrate her birthday. Even Sakura and her pals are there. But you know, Mary still has her pride and says she’ll rebuild and take revenge one day but for now if she wants to join in, it’s okay with her. While the gang are happy celebrating, a pair of girls in black suits, Aka and Riff, are taking photos of the group in secrecy before retreating.
 
In episode 13, the White Knights are fitting well in school by joining clubs like Kare in cheerleading, Marie in fencing, Kiyomi in pop quiz host and Maguro in cooking club. Except for Mary because everyone’s too afraid to ask her. Sakura decides to go ask Mary to join the student council but the latter refuses (spitting a fish bone at Sakura’s forehead?!). Sakura then challenges Mary to a badminton game (it’s one of her Takenoko-chan episodes) and if Sakura wins, Mary has to help with the student council activities. And the reason why she wants Mary to be on the council so badly is so that she can watch Takenoko-chan while Mary does the work. Such honest yet insulting reason. Control yourself, Mary. The match begins and it seems Mary is better but every time Mary wins a point, Sakura wants her to paint a stroke on the loser’s face, which Mary very much obliges. But soon Mary finds out that this may be part of that perverted woman’s plan because Sakura seems to be enjoying every stroke of the brush that Mary paints on her. Yeah, she’s so turned on. What’s with that heavy passionate breathing. Aahh… Oohh… What’s this? She wants her to paint here and there too?! Though the White Knights praise Mary for getting her revenge, Mary doesn’t feel like she has won and storms off. And since Mary isn’t there anymore, Sakura wants Kujira to continue. Get away from that pervert! Yeah, she’s totally broken.
 
In episode 14, Kujira continues to keep check on Sakura’s irresponsible attitude during student council meetings. Uh huh. Sakura wants to go to some live concert as part of her job to keep students happy. After getting beaten up, Sakura properly chairs the meeting about what to do for the upcoming school festival but notices a little quiet girl, Saki, sitting among the members. Sakura tries to examine her character and throughout this episode, you’ll notice her Sakura Vision akin to some dating simulation as the words describing her character from Sakura’s point of view will appear onscreen. Since Sakura is very taken into Saki’s mysterious ambience, she has her put on a maid outfit and I’m pretty sure Sakura’s fetish is way beyond perverted because she peeps under Saki’s skirt to see what panties she is wearing! Yeah, terra-moe, says she. I don’t know why Saki is just standing there like a rock allowing Sakura to do as she pleases. Is she that timid? Although Kujira gives Sakura another punch, to their surprise Saki isn’t upset but actually happy and is blushing. Then she SMS to Sakura and introduces herself. Doesn’t this seem awfully familiar? To Kujira’s horror, she spots several manga in Saki’s bag and thinks she is Sakura’s equivalent. Later as Sakura and Kujira walk Saki home, they are surprised to find out that Maguro is her elder sister. No wonder. By now, Sakura has upgraded Saki’s status to Galaxy-moe which has Kujira beating that perverted otaku up and dragging her away. That night Saki writes in her diary the lovely events that has happened and we see Sakura spying with a telescope on her from her building. Yeah, Big Bang-moe now. She deserves another kick from Kujira.
 
In episode 15, Kujira is surprised to learn that Sakura had a boy confessed to her before. A short flashback showing how Sakura went to a shrine and that’s where the confession took place. Anybody can see that the ‘boy’ is Kujira. Yeah, Kujira remembers it and it’s sending a chilling feel down her spine. How embarrassing. Who would’ve thought she said "I love you" to a future perverted otaku. Because Sakura thinks Kujira still doesn’t believe her, she decides to travel back in time to find out. Yeah, the Nankyoku Corporation did make a time travelling machine. However Sebastian refuses to allow her, warning that she may not return if she changes the past. This gives Kujira an idea. She fakes stomach pains and when everyone leaves, she enters the time machine back to 6 years ago. She heads to the dojo and spots her little self training with her dad. Because little Kujira is amazed by daddy’s special mark of attaining heavenly of a true man (kanji writing of sky/heaven), he decides to paint that mark on her back too. However, he slipped a little but decides not to make a fuss. Later little Kujira is running through the streets and spot young Sakura being surrounded by bullies. Kujira saves the day and Sakura thinks how cute this ‘boy’ is. Meanwhile future Kujira has spot her other self and decides to play fortune teller by telling her that Nene is her fiancee. Later Sakura comes by to the shrine and instantly fell in love with little Kujira. But when Sakura finds out that Kujira and Nene are engaged, her shock causes her to fall off the steps. Future Kujira in her reflex saves her. Little Kujira is awed by the newcomer and says she has fallen in love with her. Haha. She fell in love with herself!
 
The quest to untangle her love story continues to be complicated in episode 16 as Sakura is upset that little Kujira fell in love with future Kujira even after having Nene has ‘his’ fiancee. She runs away in tears while future Kujira tells her other self to forget about her (herself). Future Kujira starts feeling guilty that she has done something bad to Sakura but think she has erased an embarrassing chapter in her life. When she returns to the present, Kujira is surprised to find Sakura’s building missing and only Whitebear’s. Her school is no longer there and replaced by Whitebear and what’s worse is that nobody knows who Sakura is. Kujira then spots Sakura, Kaede and Sebastian living a very poor life in a dilapidated hut outside the edge of town. Thankfully, the trio managed to carry on living a decent poor life by selling off Takenoko-chan collection. Oh dear! Kujira really starts to feel guilty and even though she knows that without Sakura there’ll be peaceful days ahead, ultimately she thinks it’s boring without her. Yup, she’s going to change history to how it was.
 
Kujira goes back in time again and bumps into her little self who is looking for Sakura (must be the aftermath of that fiancee thingy). Little Kujira sees Sakura once again being surrounded by those bullies and steps in to save her. However the bullies brought their bigger brother and starts whacking her. Hey, pick someone your own size. Future Kujira refrains hard from getting involved and could only give encouragement from the shadows. In the end, little Kujira does her Death Kick and Whale Punch to send all those bullies retreating in shame. She then reconciles with Sakura and we learn that she doesn’t know the meaning of fiancee and that Nene is just her friend. She gets panic upon learning that being a fiancee means to marry. Finally she makes a promise to appear before her when she becomes a real man. Like that will happen. Or will it? Then I don’t know why, future Kujira and the time machine disappears back into present time. Kujira gets another shock of her life to learn that today is the day she gets married to Sakura. How can this be? Sakura shows the proof on Kujira’s back, the kanji mark for husband (remember daddy’s slip of the hand?) as they have her ready for their wedding. Now she’s in a worse spot than before. Will there be another chance to change history? Maybe. Because their relationship is back to normal for the coming episodes. Unless this marriage thingy is a few years into the future…
 
In episode 17, Mary and her White Knights continue to live the poor life. At least they have each other. Their meal is interrupted by bungling Riff of Kurobara Communications, coming out from the dustbin to introduce herself. She proclaims how she is going to kidnap Mary and unleashes sleeping gas. Bad news is that stupid Riff too fell asleep. Thankfully Aka is more competent and finishes the job. Maguro who is barely awake, SMS an SOS to Kujira. When Mary comes to, she finds herself tied up and in a swimsuit. She is introduced to her captors and the head of Kurobara Communications, Black Rose (if you’re wondering who that mysterious lady is in the opening credits, finally she makes her appearance). Meanwhile Sakura receives a challenge letter from them even telling their exact location. While the White Knights are recuperating in bed, Kujira thinks that this is a trap to lure Sakura and wants to stay put and think of a plan first. For once, Sakura slaps Kujira for being conservative because the former thinks she’s some sort of Heroine Of Justice and needs to quickly go to the aid of a friend in need instead of sitting idly, even if it’s careless and reckless. Nene decides to go and soon Cha, who is disappointed that this isn’t the Kujira she know. Sakura, Nene and Cha arrive at a dark church and are being attacked by Aka’s card weapon. It could’ve been game over for Sakura if not for the White Knights intervention. They too can’t sit around while their master is being held captive. The gang have to beat the duo in order to save Mary by retrieving some card key. Realizing that there are 2 of them, the wonder where is the other one. A hand suddenly breaches the soil and grabs Maguro’s feet. Is it a zombie? Well, the hand lose consciousness and even wrote on the soil to save her. Feeling the pathetic-ness, they just pull her up. Riff then comes to and says how they have fallen for her zombie operation as the earth around them crumbles into a deep pit. Yeah, Riff too falls with the White Knights. Bungling incompetent.
 
Riff seems like the weak kind of opponent in episode 18, blaming herself for her stupidity. But at the same time, she can be very sly. Riff unleashes a mysterious gas but since the White Knights didn’t feel anything, they start to persuade weak Riff in handing over the card key. Suddenly Kare is being punched by Kujira. Is that really her? When Kare open her eyes, he spots his other members fighting among each other. It’s revealed that this gas is causing them to hallucinate each other as enemies. But it’s not working on Kare. Riff then hallucinates herself as Mary and orders the White Knights to dispose of Kare the enemy. Kare’s determination to save Mary has him going strong (short flashback on how Mary picked up the abandoned White Knights from young and ever since they’ve been together) until he is knocked out from the back by Maguro. Then Riff understands why her gas didn’t work on Kare because it was designed to work only on women. Haha! Riff has got Kare’s balls in her face! Double KO. Meanwhile Kujira is at the school rooftop thinking deep about justice and all when she spots Kaede looking for her sister. Kaede then learns of the emergency situation and wants to leave right away but Kujira says she’s not going.
 
In episode 19, Cha takes on Aka turns herself into some ninja dressing after easily knocking out Sakura previously. Cha and Nene cooperate to beat Aka’s Card Shuriken Tidal Wave with Nene holding Aka airborne while Cha unleashes her ultimate technique created to defeat Kujira, Cha Chi Ultimate Explosion. Meanwhile Kujira is still thinking and Kaede notes that she is worried about them. Of course Kujira has her ego to protect and says it isn’t so while ripping the school fence with her brute force. Her body actions don’t lie. Kujira decides to go where Sakura is, giving a reason to return Sakura’s lunch favour. And off they go in Sebastian’s Apache helicopter. At the same time Sakura has come to and wonders what has happened to everyone. Cha and Kare passes to her the card key before passing out and Sakura even have the cheek to say how all this is such like a final episode looking scene. Furthermore, she can’t pronounce Kurobara Communications and mispronounced it as Kuwabara Kowaresouda. Sakura prepares to enter the church.
 
In episode 20, Black Rose says how she doesn’t need Mary anymore because she’s just a bait to lure Sakura. Mary is upset that she endangered the lives of the White Knights for this but Black Rose gives her a super stomach punch. Then we learn that Black Rose is some obsessed lover of Sakura, having heaps of painting, artwork and statues on Sakura! Holy sh*t! Black Rose goes on saying how Sakura’s happiness, joy, cries of sorrow are all hers and that she’s going to torture her! Is she some sadistic stalker too?! Her right, eh? Sakura has done a costume change to power up (not that I can see any) into some magical girl of justice, Magical Penguin. Sakura is taken aback when she is suddenly hugged by Black Rose. Even an otaku like her can get freak out of this yuri stalker onee-san. Black Rose starts her torment by whipping Sakura with her Whip Of Love. To add salt to injury, that whip is thorny too. Sakura is weakened while Black Rose enjoys every second when Nene stealthily and quickly sticks a needle at her neck. But Nene too isn’t able to withstand her Whip Of Love and Cha’s Laser Kick didn’t do much either. Tired with outsiders interrupting their love, Black Rose activates a tall tower of thorns so that she could continue seeing more of her loving expressions. Real sicko. I don’t know if Sakura has the time to comment "What is this unnecessarily epic-looking place?!". Meanwhile the others try to climb the thorny tower but their injuries prevented them from going far. Then to their surprise, Kujira appears. Yahoo. The saviour has arrived and she’s going to climb up. Can she? Don’t underestimate her. Sakura remembers her mission to save Mary and decides to cosplay as Kujira to attain her strong power. Tying a headband around her head, Sakura declares how she won’t lose. The final narration from Sebastian has got to be a hilarious one. "It’s almost time for the finale. Cosplay Headband vs Black Rose Rabu Rabu Whip Of Love. Who is the real pervert?". Haha! So true.
 
In episode 21 as Kujira climbs the thorny tower, Sakura finds that her cosplay moves from Kujira isn’t working. Black Rose rips the attire in just a swing of her whip. Sakura starts to cower in fear so much so that her body can’t move while Black Rose continues enjoying whipping her. But she is surprised to see Kujira holding on to the end of the whip and though Sakura is glad to see Kujira, a short little argument ensue before Kujira and Black Rose get down to serious business. Black Rose seems to have the upper hand when Sakura grabs onto her and says how important Kujira is a friend to her and won’t let go. Kujira takes the chance to land a powerful Etorofu Straight to send Black Rose crashing and Sakura wonders why that move she pulled on earlier didn’t work. Kujira’s reply is that she shouldn’t copy other people’s move and just hit them with her own fists. The duo then combine their powers to strike Black Rose with their Penguin-Etorofu Double Straight Max. But that’s not the end yet as Black Rose somehow appears behind them and her eyes look even more crazy and scarier.
 
But the fight never materialized in episode 22 as Black Rose suddenly turned all gentle and says Sakura has passed. When Black Rose took off her hair band to reveal a same single ahoge (hair antenna) hairstyle as Sakura, Sakura then to her surprise realized it’s her mama! OMG! That sadistic pervert is Sakura’s mom?! Like mother, like daughter. Ah well, Now we partially know about Sakura’s otakuness. It’s all in the genes. Sakura starts shivering in fear because mama is the world’s strictest and scariest mama ever (whipping poor Sakura for any little wrong thing? I know that’s her way of love but…). So the reason why Sakura didn’t recognize her was because she had a little mole on her left cheek. WTF?! Anyway mama proceeds to explain that all this was just a test to see how Sakura is doing after 5 years of absence for work. Though Black Rose still considers Sakura to be a failure due to her weak crybaby and helpless ways, but because she has brought wonderful friends, she passes her. She then hastily leaves in her helicopter and tells Sakura to get along well with her friends. All this trouble just for this crazy test? Yeah, I can see why Mary is so upset. Used and abused. I’m not sure why when the gang resume school, Mary is wearing an embarrassing sailor swimsuit as her uniform. Though her White Knights love it. Not to mention Sakura. As usual, she gets into a spat with the rest when the teacher announce 2 new transfer students. Former Kurobara Communications staff, Aka and Riff. They seem sad that Black Rose has ordered them to study here. Can they get along? Mary and Cha don’t think so but Sakura is quick to offer her friendship. Aka is touched but Sakura sneezed and has her hands accidentally on Aka’s boobs. This made her mad as she decides to slice her up. Then in some office, we see Black Rose saying how her daughter should enjoy herself while she can because she’s going to begin recovery with another daughter named Sakura which closely resembles like the otaku one. What is going on? Twins?
 
So it hasn’t really ended, has it? I guess that cliff-hanger at the end was to tease viewers and perhaps in the near future if the producers have any more wacky ideas, they could come up with a sequel. Sometimes I caught myself laughing out loud with the absurd stupidity or Sakura’s antics. That otaku girl is sure weird in her own ways. Hey, aren’t every otakus weird too? Despite her obsession with anime and manga, she still values the power of friendship, unlike stereotypic views that otakus are lonely hikikomoris who lock themselves up alone in their room watching animes or playing games all day and night.
 
I just wished that the other characters would play a more active role towards the end of the series. No doubt their appearance were short and just to help Sakura out, it was just that. After Mary and her White Knights’ lost to Sakura and co, it’s like they aren’t so prominent anymore after that. I was also hoping that Kaede and Sebastian would do something outrageous and hilarious in the final episode. Perhaps Sebastian cosplaying to cheer Sakura? Haha, can’t believe that old geezer cross-dresses. Some of the other characters are amusing too. Like Maguro’s fast finger texting, Cha’s denial that Kujira is a girl, Riff’s stupidity and Nene’s cool and never-get-mad attitude (we should all emulate her). Hmm… I’m still wondering what is inside that lecture house. Long boring lessons of the world’s history? Also, I’m curious about Mary’s initial hatred for the Nankyoku Corporation. What is it that they have done to her to make her harbour such hatred?
 
The drawing, art and animation are your standard Japanese animes of today. Cute looking bishoujos, that’s for sure. Because of the relatively good quality of the ONA, one can mistaken this to be an OVA production. During the next episode preview, the animation can range from simple outlines to manga drawings. Sometimes the animation here is a little crazy so much so I don’t really understand what is going on. And what’s with that weird looking penguin with a pair of long human legs? Weird.
 
I love the voice of Azusa Kataoka who did the role of Sakura, especially when she gets hyped up and passionate, her voice is so otaku-like. I also like Mariya Ise who did the voice of Kujira because when she starts yelling from the top of her voice, it feels like the voice of reasoning that nobody listens to. I noticed that some of the seiyuus like them are relative unknowns such as Rina Hidaka as Kaede, Yoshino Nanjou as Nene, Anri Shiono as Marie and Yuuto Suzuki as Kare. Of course there are veterans like Sakura Nogawa as Chi (Nemu of Da Capo series), Mai Kadokawa as Mary (Mimi of Kodomo No Jikan), Masami Suzuki as Maguro (Lal Mirch in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Sato Akesaka as Kiyomi (Kuno in Sekirei) and Kouji Ishi as Sebastian (Lori of Skip Beat!).
 
The opening theme, Renai Jiyuu Shoujo, by the seiyuus of Sakura, Kujira, Cha, Kaede, Nene and Mary, is a very upbeat and lively piece. It makes you want to get up and dance. For the first 8 episodes, I noticed that the opening animation differs and each featuring chibi computer avatars of the girls doing stuff like digging underground and such. I wonder what that spacecraft battle between a one which looks like a penguin and polar bear meant. Man, they should have an episode on this too. After that, the opening animation is fixed and is more standard. The 1st ending theme, Yurete Hajikete Afurechau Miwaku No Penguin Musume sounds like a video game song and the animation is also like one. The 2nd ending theme is Yurayura + Yuriyura + Nanananaa sounds like a song with nonsensical lyrics because it starts off with "Na na na na na na… and then the chorus with "Yurayura, yurarira…". The animation here has the characters drawn in chibi manga crayon sketches.
 
Another thing I like about this series is the parody title of certain episodes. For example, episode 5’s "Mary-sama Ga Miteru" is a parody of the Marimite series, episode 9’s "Death Game" (referring to one of Bruce Lee’s movie), episode 16’s "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (based on the Japanese anime movie of the same name), episode 20’s "Sakura Taihen" which literally means Sakura in trouble (fans of Sakura Taisen should know that the name is taken from this anime) and episode 21’s "Sakura And Kujira! Together We Are Magi Cure" (obviously taken from Pretty Cure fame). However I was kinda disappointed with episode 17’s "Rozen No Tsukaima" and episode 19’s "Mai Otome" because there is no parody relating to that mentioned anime series. Not that I can see. It would’ve been even better if they did so. Perhaps they just want to make fun of the title, that’s all.
 
Now that I’ve thought about it, the main characters are represented by animals like Sakura (penguin), Kujira (whale) and Mary (polar bear). Would you go up against a team of girls with such ferocious symbols? Okay, maybe the penguin don’t seem threatening but hey, don’t look down on them (seen DreamWorks’ Madagascar?). While I myself hopefully won’t turn into an obsessed otaku just like Sakura, I’d love to continue watching animes at my own pace and leisure. Hmm… If I were to pick an animal to represent my otaku self, what would it be? A dragon? Too majestic. A tiger? Too fierce. A horse? Better not horse around. How about a pig because I’m a potato couch when it comes to watching animes. Perhaps a chicken because I was born in that animal year. I could just consider a penguin then…
 

Penguin Musume Heart

Akane-iro Ni Somaru Saka

August 16, 2009

Here is another one of those drama-harem-comedy-romance genres based from the H-game and adapted into an anime series. I must really dig such shows to even watch Akane-iro Ni Somaru Saka without giving it much thought when I skim through briefly that it was categorized under such genre.
 
However I find that the anime version is not so ecchi and does not contain much adult or explicit material as compared to the PC game. Not to say that I have played such eroge games before, but after reading so much of this kind of genres, I’d pretty much get the idea of horniness. Of course, with the H-stuff toned down, viewers will be treated to a milder fanservice instead.
 
Basically, we start off in episode 1 to see a new girl in town. She is Yuuhi Katagiri and she seems to be lost to her destination when she is being encountered by a couple of thugs. It won’t be right to start off the series with the girl in need to get ‘violated’ so herald a guy named Junichi Nagase, who is just passing by. The thugs recognize this dude as Geno Killer and start shivering when he gives them that evil stare and flee for their lives. Yuuhi is grateful.
 
With the start of the new school term, we are introduced to the other characters who will be making their appearance frequently or so in this series. Like their homeroom teacher, Seijirou Sugishita, who is a hot looking stud that would make any girls swoon and fall head over heels. Then we have Junichi’s ‘close’ friends Fuyuhiko Nishino and Tsukasa Kiryuu, the pair who are responsible of distorting and twisting lots of facts and rumours about Junichi so much so that is how that poor chap developed the nickname Geno Killer, though it is true that he was a delinquent in junior high but not as exaggerated and worse that it turned out to be today. Furthermore, everyone loves screwing around with Junichi, even Sugishita! Boy, they love it. That Junichi guy must be the most patient guy in the world. Of course the occasional outburst. But he can’t change history, right? Then we have the filthy rich lady-like personality class rep, Karen Ayanokouji, the student council president, Mitsuki Shiina, who if I’m not mistaken is very popular because of her idol status, and just like the rest of Junichi’s pals, likes using him to do whatever favours for her council. Junichi’s such a useful guy. Then you can’t have a guy like him without a sister who is a year his junior, Minato. This gentle girl always look out for her nii-san and you get the feeling that the siblings aren’t blood related (though not mentioned in the anime, based on the game, I found out that they aren’t). But the most amusing character has to be the enigmatic and monotonous-sounding classmate of Minato, Nagomi Shiraishi. She gives an impression like she’s an alien spy and there is a cloud of mystery surrounding her presence. You can’t help but like her weird character.
 
In this episode, to Junichi’s surprise, he finds out that Yuuhi is the new transfer student in his class. Since they’ve known each other due to their initial encounter, I guess the rest of Junichi’s pals are excited to play up something new. So expected of them. This is so when Yuuhi asks Junichi out but to his disappointment, it was just a cup of tea to express her gratitude for saving her. The next day, new girl Yuuhi seems to be attracting lots of attention from her classmates about her so called date so when Junichi confronts Yuuhi (I suppose he’s trying to clarify about that date thing too), some weird stuff must be running through his mind and this made him kissed her right in the middle of class while everyone is watching! Since Yuuhi is your typical tsundere girl, she beats Junichi up (including a painful kick to his crotch. Ouch!). To make things worse, later back home, while Junichi gets treated from Minato, they get another surprise when Yuuhi turns up at their doorstep as she is going to stay at their home. Why? Well, she says she is Junichi’s fiancee. Woah. Just like that after a kiss? And we see Nagomi spying on them with some super hi-fi set in some unknown place. It’s going to get even hotter now. By the way, you’ll also noticed that in each episode, there will be short clips of a pair of husband and wife super spies going around the world doing James Bond-cum-Indiana Jones style missions like saving people or diffusing bombs. You can guess that they are Junichi and Minato’s parents. At least, it beats the typical mundane reason of working overseas in some corporate company and a reason why they’re always not home. Cool parents? You decide. Plus, you get to see Junichi talking with his inner self during ‘tense-what-to-do’ situations.
 
So in episode 2, we find out that Yuuhi’s dad has actually arranged for her to get married with Junichi. Yeah, it’s like their meeting was so fated. Since Yuuhi doesn’t like the idea, she decided to go and live under Junichi’s roof to see and judge for herself what kind of person her future husband would be. Didn’t expect to turn out this bad, eh? What a way to make a bad start and impression. It’s understandable that Yuuhi still can’t forgive Junichi for her first kiss. In addition, Yuuhi’s temporary residence mustn’t be made known to the rest of the class. Or else we can see what kind of schemes they’ll come up with, right? There’ll be no end to Junichi’s ‘torture’.
 
In this episode, expect more teen angst from Junichi because Tsukasa and Fuyuhiko add oil to the fire of those already outrageous rumours and we see Yuuhi accompanying Minato shopping. Since Minato is responsible for meals at home, her cooking skills are top notched. Minato thanks her parents for those superb skills because she learned them while living with them in the jungles (?!) when she was young while plain lazy Junichi stayed back in his comfort zone back home. In contrast, Yuuhi’s culinary skills… well, let’s just say it’s better for her to stay away from the kitchen. Other developments include, one night the power in their house went out and groping in the dark, Junichi accidentally touched Yuuhi’s boobs. More hatred and misunderstandings for that poor guy. Yuuhi gives him a cross arm lock submission move as punishment. Yuuhi befriends Minato even further when the duo shares the same bed (no yuri acts, pleas). Lastly, Yuuhi’s sleep talking and walking behaviour has Junichi play a little prank the next morning (a hair dryer?) but Yuuhi’s a heavy sleeper and continues sleeping on the floor.
 
In episode 3, hot teacher Sugishita goes missing and was last seen around the abandoned school wing. Thus Mitsuki rounds up the usual gang (including poor Junichi) to go look for Sugishita. While Karen is obviously afraid of the supernatural (even if she’s denying it), we learn that the real scheme is to set up Junichi and Yuuhi together to see what will be their reaction together so they split into 2 groups with the duo together while the rest in another. Sneaky busybodies. As Junichi and Yuuhi continue their search, they bump into mysterious Nagomi and I don’t know what they’re talking about because Nagomi activated a trap door and has the duo fall into it after they asked if she had seen Sugishita. Expect close proximity but at the same time, keeping their distances. Including Yuuhi’s torment towards Junichi including using him as a stepping stone to try and reach out. Too bad she’s just too short. Expect more tsundere quarrels especially that stolen first kiss bla bla bla. Oh so typical. I’ve seen too much of this kind of show. Because they’re being so noisy, they awakened Sugishita who’s been sleeping down there. So that’s where he was. So the reason for venturing into this place and staying here was because he got kicked out of his apartment for making to much revving noises with his motorbike. So the trio managed to get out and are reunited with their pals out there, including Minato who is worried sick about her brother but relieved when she finds him safe and sound. Sugishita learns of Junichi’s engagement but decides not to fuss over it. Finally, we see Nagomi communicating with don’t-know-who and that she’s going to keep an eye on Junichi. Interesting…
 
In episode 4, Karen invites her pals to her luxurious cruise party. This confirms it. She’s damn filthy rich. So we see the girls get to choose and wear evening gowns from Karen’s extensive collection. They’re in a dilemma because they want to eat a lot but yet look gorgeous. Junichi notices Minato’s sexy back and tells her to cover up a little and we all know that he likes her more than just siblings’ sense even if he doesn’t admit it. Because the ship’s chef has got seasick, Minato helps to prepare food and shows her awesome culinary skills. You’ve got to love Nagomi cheering Minato on to cut the fish! Then Nagomi makes a human bone soup and I don’t think anyone in their right mind would want to taste that. While waiting for food, Karen entertains her guests with her super lame party jokes. Just damn lame. Why doesn’t she just learn to keep quiet? Perhaps she doesn’t want to be seen as a bad host? But her jokes are so bad that David Letterman turn in his grave. When the food is ready, Minato wows the crowd with her super tuna cutting skills. Since Karen is so kiasu and won’t let Minato top her, she has one of her crew initiate her ultimate back-up plan. That crew dresses up in an obviously lame octopus monster suit taking over the ship while Karen tries to play heroine and save her guests. Lamer! However, it seems Yuuhi is the one who is terribly frighten by it! I can’t believe it either! In her panic, she sets off some fireworks prematurely and causes the ship to be on fire. Junichi notices Minato and Yuuhi not part of the evacuation and rushes back in to find them. Thankfully, they’re both safe. Yuuhi in tears, hugs Junichi in her scared state and in the end no one is seriously injured. Back at school, Karen apologizes and would like to make it up to them again. I think it’s better if she’d just keep the bad jokes to herself next time. And yes, you’ll also notice how Yuuhi have developed a fear for octopus whenever she encounters one. Poor girl so traumatized…
 
Junichi is supposed to invite Minato out to watch a monster movie and Yuuhi insists on coming along after feeling insulted that Junichi thinks such movies aren’t her type in episode 5. But since Minato remembered that she has made plans with her pals, looks like it’ll be just Junichi and Yuuhi. Seems like a date, right? I don’t know why but Yuuhi found the movie so touching that she cried! After the movie, Yuuhi once again attracts trouble when she spills some food on his shirt (why do they easily like to pick on girls like her over trivial matters?). Luckily, Junichi’s there to leave up to his rumoured Geno Killer name to scare them off with his manliness. Junichi and Yuuhi continue their so called date as they bump into Mitsuki in the park who spots them together. Yeah, she doesn’t plan to keep this a secret from the rest. I guess this beats watching romance drama on TV. During evening, Yuuhi’s hat got blown off so Junichi recklessly tries to retrieve it but he fell into the river and causes Yuuhi to panic. Yuuhi continues to be frantic even when they get back home as she tries to treat Junichi and even thinks he is dying! Luckily Minato comes back and restores order and the cure for Junichi’s situation is ramen. That simple? Well, she does live with him for a long time, so she knows his habits. Yuuhi and Minato takes a bath together as the former learns a little more about their past. Something about Minato joking that she’s adopted and can’t clearly remember her past (how convenient). The next day, Junichi is back to normal and in school, everyone is talking about Junichi-Yuuhi date. Such a hot topic. See, it’s so hard for Mitsuki to resist keeping it a secret. Furthermore, this has been confirmed by Nagomi, who was at the movies too.
 
To make up for her blunders, in episode 6, Karen invites the gang once more, including Sugishita, to her family’s hotspring inn. She really wants to redeem herself. Your typical hotspring episode and I don’t want to elaborate much because it’s so typical (including that gang’s usual screwing of Junichi). Because Karen thinks Junichi isn’t enjoying himself, she decides to take the gang (except for Sugishita who is dejectedly playing video games alone with student council member Aya) to a hidden hotspring up in the mountains. Karen sure has some failure complex. Serious one. After trekking a long-winded route, they finally arrive but to Junichi’s horror, the open air hotspring is a mixed bath. Everyone finds out that there are bears occupying the hotspring. But not to worry because Minato seems to be able to get along well with them! Is this the years of jungle training all paid off?! Expect a little fanservice but both genders are being separated by a rock. Then I don’t know why, but Junichi’s inner voice got the better of him to unleash his perverted side. By the time Junichi loses control of himself and decides to be the perverted lead character and take a peek, luckily the girls have already left (they went somewhere to interrogate Yuuhi’s relationship with Junichi. Still can’t resist, eh?). It would’ve been devastating if the girls had seen his perverted side. And oh the rumours too… While Karen is relieved that her redemption is successful, poor Sugishita is still playing video games alone…
 
The school cultural festival in episode 7 sees Junichi’s class doing a yakisoba stall. Yuuhi and Karen try to make the perfect (or at least edible) yakisoba, but unfortunately, there were lots of ‘sacrifices’ before they came up with an edible one. Yeah, a panda as part of the ingredients? Meanwhile Junichi has been ‘kidnapped’ by Nagomi, Mitsuki and Sugishita to initiate some grand plan of theirs, which is to defend the festival from some threat. To Yuuhi and her classmate’s horror, they find out that Minato’s class is also doing a yakisoba stall and is much more popular than theirs. The absurdly long queue is proof of it. The gang thinks that Minato’s tennis outfit is the reason why she’s pulling in the crowd so Fuyuhiko suggests putting on several different outfits and finally a nekomimi swimsuit! I guess this one is good enough to attract customers. If they can live with the fact of those ogling eyes, that is. The festival comes to an end when an announcement is made for everyone to gather outside the school field. We see that Sugishita’s grand plan is to have Junichi in some experimenting mecha taking on a giant monster octopus. Yeah, it’s that octopus again, sending Yuuhi into panic mode. After all that hyped and preparation, as Junichi gets ready to take the first step into battle, the mecha self-destructs in just 1 step! Yeah, poorly made alright. How disappointing. But I suppose if you look at it in another way, it’s quite grand, right? What’s this about Sugishita saying about room for improvements for the next model? Want to bet Junichi will be the guinea pig again? At the end of the day, Yuuhi gives Junichi another round of serious beating after another round of bickering. Falcon Punch! Just kidding.
 
Episode 8 focuses on Tsukasa. At the start, we see her handling the school’s sports festival because Mitsuki fell ill. Then I don’t know why, the relay race has Yuuhi frantically running away from a bunch of loser guys and Junichi in that octopus suit. Why is he wearing it? Do people get their kicks out of Yuuhi’s fear too? Tsukasa shows Junichi an embarrassing picture of him getting pound by Yuuhi and she intends to put it for some best media contest. This causes Junichi to tease Tsukasa back which prompts her to remember her childhood dream to be a voice actress. Aside from that, we see Junichi fantasizing Minato in a swimsuit and the gang of Junichi, Fuyuhiko, Tsukasa and Aya playing some Life board game with them talking about Tsukasa and Junichi’s bad luck causes him to land on a spot that says go back to start because you went to hell. WTH?! I don’t know, I find that amusing. Tsukasa decides to follow her dream and goes for an audition with the rest supporting her. However on that day itself, Tsukasa became nervous and lost her voice, thus failing her audition. Tsukasa spaces out near the river bank that evening when Junichi spots her and talks to her to give her back her self-confidence. With that, Tsukasa vows not to give up and work harder as the duo joins Minato and Yuuhi returning home from shopping. If you think that Tsukasa will fall for Junichi, then don’t hope for it. There is absolutely no chemistry between them because I think she prefers to watch and tease Junichi and Yuuhi.
 
Tsukasa’s photo won her first place in the Best Amitie contest in episode 9. But this part is a little disturbing because we see Fuyuhiko and Sugishita clashing over Junichi! WTF?! Are they gay rivals over him too?! In this episode, Junichi’s birthday is coming up so Minato plans a surprise party for him. Initially tsundere Yuuhi didn’t want to get involve but reluctantly has to when she says how she wants to help Minato (not knowing she was planning Junichi’s birthday). Yuuhi is sifting through a gift magazine and thinking the best present to get for Junichi when Karen notices her so she proceeds to give heaps of books relating to birthday gifts. Seriously, does one need to go through all those pages just to find the perfect gift? Because Yuuhi still can’t make up her mind, Karen suggests investigating what Junichi likes. That night, Yuuhi sneaks into Junichi’s room and goes through all his stuff (people, remember some may find this an invasion of privacy) from his watches to figurines to music collection. Finally Yuuhi finds several porn mags and gets real embarrassed but starts reading it out of curiosity. Hehe… Naughty naughty. Minato catches her in the act but isn’t surprise of what Yuuhi is doing and points out how Junichi likes blonde with big boobs! She does know her brother well. Since Yuuhi says how Junichi’s got everything and wonders what more he could want, Minato suggests baking him a cake. Erm… Yuuhi cooking? Can or not? On Junichi’s birthday, that guy obviously knows that the gang are making preparations because they made him wait for a long time. When it’s done, Junichi is greeted happy birthday from them and soon receives presents from them. Even his parents send a totem pole present for him (?!) while an opal ring for Minato. Ah, the vast difference in treatment. And what’s this? Nagomi being a present herself wearing only ribbons so that Junichi can do whatever she wants with her? Junichi then tastes Yuuhi’s cake. Everyone seems not to like it except for Junichi who thinks it is delicious. Is his taste bud dead or just unique. This makes Yuuhi a little happy but Minato feels an uneasy feeling in her heart although her brother is happy. Jealousy?
 
In episode 10, Yuuhi falls sick and since Minato has to go to school, she leaves her in Junichi’s care. Of all the people in the world. Some close moments which causes Yuuhi to fluster but nothing much. Since Junichi is running late for school, he’s going to leave Yuuhi all alone when Yuuhi tugs him and wishes for him to stay by her side a little longer. So tsundere. I expected that. They had a chat about from the time Yuuhi moved in and since indecisive Yuuhi couldn’t tell whether Junichi was the good or bad guy, she starts crying when Junichi suddenly kisses her! Erm… Is that a way to shut somebody up? Talk, blush, bicker. It’s the same damn repetitive cycle. Make up your mind already. Do you hate or love him? So when Yuuhi comes to school, she is surprised that Tsukasa and the rest are talking about how close she and Junichi are (even in the presence of Minato). Then Mitsuki says how Junichi is the kind of guy who prefers girls to take the lead when Yuuhi denies her feelings for him. Another shocking development is that Karen joins the conversation and declares that she actually has feelings for Junichi! I didn’t know that. Nobody does. Until now. Karen declares Yuuhi as her love rival and at this point Yuuhi’s cover of staying with Junichi has been blown. Well, everyone knew about it from the start. Just that they didn’t make a big fuss. At the same time, Fuyuhiko talks to Junichi and the former seems to tell the latter to choose between the 2 ladies or else he’ll end up losing them both.
 
At the rooftop, Yuuhi comes into contact with Nagomi, who seems to be interested watching them and suggests an idea to help her get closer to Junichi. That night, Yuuhi comes into Junichi’s room dressed in a maid outfit (some idea Nagomi has). Though embarrassed, the duo sat down and chat. They both confessed their feelings for each other as Yuuhi snuggles closely to him and kisses him. But that mood is ruined when Junichi panics after Yuuhi says she doesn’t need the maid outfit anymore. Looks like he has maid fetish. Yuuhi kicks him. It makes you wonder whether it’s the outfit or Yuuhi herself which attracted him. The next day, Yuuhi leaves home so that she can report her findings to her dad. Once she leaves, Minato collapses onto Junichi and in tears apologizes for her little selfishness while saying how she just wanted to stay like this for a little while. Junichi then remembers Fuyuhiko’s words. Is Minato relishing this last chance to be with her brother before she loses him forever? Yeah, Minato claims that she is his sister so any lover’s kind of relationship is a no-no. Yeah, right. Not in this kind of show. And yes, the eternal dilemma for the harem guy. Who to choose.
 
In episode 11, Yuuhi reports her findings back to her dad and has good words for Junichi. But Yuuhi insists on rejecting the engagement and wants to do it on her capacity rather than from her dad. Yuuhi goes back to Junichi’s home and the usual bickering. She also sense something amiss between the siblings and tried asking Junichi but as usual he said everything was alright. This causes a rift in their relationship which is pretty obvious when they’re in class. As expected, their pals gather around to discuss what happened between the duo and each coming up with their own ideas. By right Karen should feel happy since it’s her chance to gain Junichi’s attention but why is she so panic? Thinking of perverted thoughts that has happened, isn’t she? Even Yuuhi got dragged into this ‘meeting’ and tries to cover up what happened. Later we see Nagomi communicating to someone about watching this upcoming trial. That evening, Junichi has been stopped by a couple of MIBs supposedly sent by his dad and is soon whisked away. He informs Minato about it and he won’t be back for dinner so Minato and Yuuhi had a little chat while making dinner (surprise, Yuuhi can make curry!). The conversation included how Yuuhi felt she could be herself here unlike in the past when she had no friends and didn’t think she would fall in love in this house. During dinner, Yuuhi says that this is her last meal here because she intends to pack up and go back to her own home. Though Minato is fine if Yuuhi continues staying, Yuuhi implies that she would be a bother to them and thus announces that she’s nullifying her engagement with Junichi. Minato breaks down and starts apologizing but Yuuhi forgives her even though she wondered why they had lied to her. So Minato comes clean and finally admits that she loves Junichi (more than siblings’ sense, that is). As they both reconcile, Junichi finally reached a base after a long journey and his parents makes a grand entry… Landing with a Harrier jet. Wow.
 
It seems that in episode 12, Junichi’s dad mentioned how those MIBs are imposters as he blasts them away. He tells Junichi that they’re abducting kids for some experimental project before flying off to another world saving mission. That’s it?! WTF?! Junichi comes home and since Yuuhi is still upset, another argument ensues which has Yuuhi blurted out that she’s breaking up with him. Because that guy is pretty dense, he receives a further slap across the face before a goodbye punch. Looks like Yuuhi’s leaving for good. Because of that, Minato too decides to leave the house next day as she feels she can’t leave Yuuhi like this and the house was originally his to begin with. Junichi’s harem is crumbling! What is that poor guy to do? Minato says he has to figure out himself or no one will be happy. Yeah, that answer, right? I guess he has to use his head for once. So where does Minato stay? At Nagomi’s place! Unfortunately, nothing more revealing about Nagomi’s character as I hoped it would be except that she has been watching them for a long time. After Junichi gets some advice from Fuyuhiko and Karen (still in the blur of what to do. I mean, he apologized but they’re still the same as Tsukasa said a girl’s heart is harder to understand), he remembers how Minato came back to the house alone to take care of him and Junichi himself isn’t too fond of having somebody else in his house. But I guess he got used to it. That night, Sugishita takes Junichi out on a ride on his motorbike to a beach to have a manly talk with him. In a nutshell, just do it. In the end, Sugishita went off and leaves Junichi having to walk all the way home. Meanwhile, Yuuhi is seen sleeping at Karen’s house (of all places? Maybe it’s better than her own). As Junichi arrive home, he is confronted with his inner voice, which is his delinquent past, and they both have a confrontation. It’s like he fighting with himself. In the end, Junichi shouts out he loves Minato. I guess he has chosen, eh?
 
The next day in school, Junichi’s pals spot a different atmosphere around him and he wears a pair of gloves now as a seal for his other inner self. After school, Junichi bumps into Minato and he tells her that he loves her because he can’t live without her. With that, Minato is overcome with emotions and hugs him. Yay. Now they’re back together while all their other pals watches from afar in relief. Except for Karen who is more panic and shock now knowing that Junichi has chosen forbidden kind of love in the form of his sister. Sister complex lah. Later we see Nagomi burning all the files (supposedly on her observations on them) and Mitsuki comments that it must be hard. Another strange thing is that, that are 2 Nagomis! OMG! Perhaps a reason why she could appear in odd places at odd times? Back home, Junichi prepares to enter the bath with Minato in a swimsuit (is this what Junichi fantasized?) when Yuuhi busts in and decides to continue staying at their place to keep in check those immoral siblings as she kicks him underwater. Just like that? Maybe she don’t want to admit that she still isn’t giving up on Junichi. Meanwhile Junichi’s parents are seen holding up a file similar to the one Nagomi burnt as they’re having a friendly conversation with Yuuhi’s dad. They’re saying how Yuuhi isn’t going to give up and Junichi’s is an idiot as they give out a heartily laughter. Whatever it was, I guess they’re approving Junichi’s relationship.
 
Uh huh. That’s it? So much for an ending. I’m not saying that it is bad but it felt like a rush job. I also felt that it could’ve been done better. Throughout the whole series it’s always been pointed that Junichi is going to end up with Yuuhi. Arguing couples always end up together, right? Then towards the end, it suddenly turned out Junichi opts for his sister. I could understand that guy for his choice because obviously Junichi has been received a lot of pounding from Yuuhi ever since she arrived while Minato has always gently treated him with care. I don’t blame that guy for having a lethargic attitude because he has been constantly being screwed by his sadistic pals who seems to enjoy it and the beatings he received from Yuuhi. You can say he is one ‘tough’ guy. And I can’t believe Karen’s role didn’t take off in Junichi’s harem. Does that guy even know that rich girl likes him? It could’ve been ‘better’ with a threesome. Ah well, what can you expect from a short series.
 
I was rather disappointed with Nagomi’s character as I was really looking forward for more of her enigmatic character to be revealed. She turned out to be just a side character in the end and her narration of whatever trial upon Junichi was so mild. It didn’t turn out to be anything dramatic or whatsoever. So is she an alien or just a spy for Junichi’s parents or Mitsuki? And what about Junichi’s parents going on a world hopping mission? Was their short appearance meeting with Junichi was just to save him? I guess they show short several clips in each episode so that viewers won’t forget in the end who they are when they meet up with Junichi. Also, I wonder what happened to that short gay rivalry between Sugishita and Fuyuhiko. It would’ve been interesting to note that Junichi isn’t just attracting the girls. Or maybe those guys just want to have the exclusivity in screwing Junichi.
 
There is an OVA episode filler entitled Hardcore. Yeah, and I can guess by the name it means you can see the girls’ tits, butt shots, fanservice pose and ecchi stuffs. Everyone is invited to Karen’s private beach island for vacation, including Sugishita. You know what that means too. Girls in their swimsuit. You should see Minato and Tsukasa’s swimsuit. Some may say it’s a turn on and some a total violation. Except for mysterious Nagomi who dons a school swimsuit to ‘balance’ it up. Expect ecchi turn on situations like the girls changing into their swimsuits, rubbing sun tan here and there, skin to skin contact, oohhh… Then the usual Junichi teasing and calling him some immoral animal, Fuyuhiko a little upset because the girls seem to gather around him, the girls have fun in the water, the guys play volleyball, Junichi getting hit and blown away by Sugishita’s super serve, Nagomi thinks Junichi has swimsuit fetishes and forces Minato to wear school swimsuit back at home so the duo argue which leads to the other girls thinking that they are getting along pretty well. And unknown to them, the girls drank their drinks laced with unknown substances which makes them go daring. Oh yeah.
 
The fun part begins now. That night, Tsukasa approaches Junichi and tries to seduce him. She unzips his zippers with her mouth! YEOW! Embarrassed Junichi quickly runs away. Now notice this trend whenever Junichi meets a girl. Fuyuhiko narrates that girl’s statistics and other biodata, that girl narrates back her wishes while viewers get to see their ecchi pose and her stimulating licking/sucking a foodstuff, and Junichi snaps out from his daydream with a slightly perverted look. Too turn on! Junichi runs into the jungle and bumps into Karen. She also starts seducing him and unzips his zippers with her mouth! WOAH! As usual he runs away and the next girl is Mikoto Tachibana (another student council member). But before she could do anything, Junichi runs away when he sees Tsukasa and Karen coming. But he falls off the cliff. He opens his eyes to find himself on Aya’s lap. Same thing. Then it’s Mitsuki’s turn. See the pattern? Soon it’s Yuuhi and finally Minato. By that time all the girls have caught up to him. He can’t hold himself and is going to unleash his inner beast when Nagomi comes by to swiftly chop everyone unconscious. The next day, the girls are lamenting their bad dream while Junichi ponders it to be between heaven and hell at the same time. Sugishita is eating like a glutton and says how he’s going to train the guys up, sending shivers down their spine. Then things indicate it may be part of Mitsuki’s plan as she says how the effect may be too strong. Did she fell for her own trap? After the end credits, a short nonsensical Macross parody battle with Junichi’s Geno Killer mecha saving the world by sacrificing himself. But it turned out to be a dream. Lastly, since viewers didn’t get to see Nagomi during that Junichi seducing part, she does one now. As usual she ends it in an enigmatic way by saying "If you want to dream, go dream while you’re sleeping" and presents another Nagomi standing next to her. She sure is mysterious right till the end.
 
By now, I should have been able to identify the voice of Yuuhi which is Rie Kugimiya. She is the queen of tsundere and her voice definitely suits tsundere characters like Yuuhi. Her other tsundere roles include Shana of Shakugan No Shana, Nagi of Hayate No Gotoku and Louise of Zero No Tsukaima series. I guess the reason why many fans like it when Junichi chose Minato in the end because ever popular Aya Hirano voices her. That’s right. It’s that quirky voice of the self-proclaimed God character Haruhi Suzumiya from the series Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Still I couldn’t recognize her until I found out and was surprised. Other seiyuus include Wataru Hatano as Junichi (Yuuto in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu, Tomokazu in Yumeria), Akira Ishida as Fuyuhiko (Shin in NANA, Narumi in Gakuen Alice), Marina Inoue as Tsukasa (Tsukiumi of Sekirei, Kyoko of Skip Beat!), Emiri Katou as Karen (Kagami in Lucky Star), Rie Tanaka as Mitsuki (Suigin Tou in Rozen Maiden), Ryou Hirohashi as Nagomi (Tamaki of Bamboo Blade) and Rikiya Koyama as Sugishita (Kogarashi in Kamen No Maid Guy).
 
The opening theme, Hatsukoi Parachute, by Hashimoto Miyuki sounds like a generic pop song for a PC game turned anime series but it wasn’t so appealing to me. However, for a short series as this, there are 10 different ending themes! So much so, I can’t remember each one of them since each ending theme is different and are sung taking turns by the female casts of the series. Some are upbeat and some are slow ballad. The drawing, art and animation is catered as today’s bishoujo’s standard with the colouring and hue to be quite bright. But I have got to mention that the hairstyles of certain female characters are a little outrageous. Like Yuuhi and Mitsuki’s hairstyle seems to remind me of a bird because of how they spread wide open. And then Karen’s hair accessories resemble giant balls… On a trivial note, each of the episode titles are named after a colour (mainly scarlet), though I’m still wondering how is it related to that particular episode.
 
Sadly, I could say that this is one anime that is forgettable as what started out on a promising note, took a downturn towards the end. But still, there are some funny moments to remember like Yuuhi beating the crap out of Junichi (no, I’m not a sadist), Yuuhi’s tsundere personality (can’t get enough of it. So moe!), Yuuhi’s fear of giant octopus (any girl in an ecchi series should) and oh wait… Why is it all on Yuuhi? Okay, so I also prefer Minato because she looks cute and pretty (not because she was voiced by Aya Hirano, mind you). So would you choose a pre-arranged fiancee or a sister who isn’t blood related? Tough choice, isn’t it? And remember, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill especially rumours. For better or worse.
 

Akane-iro Ni Somaru Saka

While listening to several background music of the anime series Someday’s Dreamers, as usual it brought back nostalgic memories of the show. Although I can’t really remember much about it now even though it’s just been a few years. Ah, one of the few early online animes that I have watched and so far the only online anime which I watched the entire series English dubbed. That’s right. Back then I wasn’t that picky. Though I haven’t rewatched the series in Japanese audio with English subs, but I guess if I were to do so, I’d definitely still prefer the subs.
 
One of the main plus point of this soothing and calming slice of life series is its background music. So even if you are not keen of the visuals, at least you can have ear candy with the amazing pieces being played. Even when not watching the series, closing your eyes and listening to the pieces makes me feel calm and at ease. Like as though I don’t have to worry about tomorrow’s troubles. That effective? At least I feel that way.
 
The soundtrack album consists of 37 tracks including the TV version of the series’ ending theme. All the instrumental tunes are composed by Takeshi Haketa while the other themes (only 2, by the way) are performed by The Indigo. As usual, listed below are my favourite tracks from the album in alphabetical order:
 
1) Blue Sky Without A Cloud (Seiten Hakujitsu – Subete Wa Yo Kotomo)
2) Heart Of Ice – After You’ve Left (Koori No Kokoro – Kimi Sarishi)
3) In Flower Language It Is Love (Hana Kotoba Wa Aijou)
4) Kidokorone – Doze
5) Midnight Summer Dream (Manatsu No Yoru No Yume)
6) Poem Of Hope (Kibou No Shi)
7) Sincerely (Kokoro Wo Komete)
8) Where The Sky And The Earth Meet (Kono Sora To Daichi Deau Basho)
 
I know it’s not much but I guess these are the best tunes in my most humble opinion. Among the 8 tracks, Where The Sky And The Earth Meet is my favourite piece and I think is the series’ main theme. I like the way the song starts off with a very creative and nimble finger piano play. Then with the gradual introduction of the strings and flute, it gives the impression of a new life beginning. It may initially sound like a soft medieval carnival and later in the song you can hear children choir-like voices to compliment the piece.
 
Midnight Summer Dream is my next favourite piece and is mainly a slow piano-driven piece accompanied with slow strings. It evokes a feeling like, well, a midnight summer dream. I’m not saying that this song is a cure for insomnia but it makes me feel like wanting to descent into a comfortable and long slumber and dream. There will be choir-like voices as the song progresses and may give some impression that this is a choir organized by for some peace thingy or holy event. I think.
 
The rest of the piece seems like a variation, in which they actually are. Blue Sky Without A Cloud is a slow-moderate piano solo piece while Heart Of Ice – After You’ve Left sounds like it has a ‘heavier’ piano play. Though this piece with slow strings is another slow piece, there is a little hint of sadness in it. Not to say the entire song sounds sad, but at least the main tune does. In Flower Language It Is Love is a double acoustic guitar variation of Heart Of Ice – After You’ve Left piece. Also a slow and lovely piece.
 
The same case with Poem Of Hope. Just a variation albeit the piano solo play is slightly in faster tempo and the piece lasts shorter. Just over a minute or so. Sincerely is also a fast piano solo variation of Where The Sky And The Earth Meet. Kidokorone – Doze is a name which I still have trouble remembering. Don’t know why. However this song isn’t a variation and is a double acoustic steel string guitar piece. It gives an impression of a soothing fresh air countryside with the smooth and cool guitar pickings.
 
Other notable tracks in this album include Himawari ~Hikari Kaze Ni Kumarete (a slightly faster variation of Kodokorone – Doze but with piano as its lead and strings in the background), Kiniro No Hizashi (a dramatic piece using strings which gives a feeling of sunshine), Tomodachi (a flute variation of Where The Sky And The Earth Meet, giving a medieval carnival-like atmosphere), Pachanga No Hibi (just like Tomodachi, only livelier), Wasurenai (a slow guitar solo), Tsuki No Hikari No Shita (a slow harp version of Where The Sky And The Earth Meet) Kimochi Ga Mahou (a sad flute piece with the harp as accompaniment), Asagohan ~Kyou Mo Genki (a flute-based theme which gives an expression of waking up in a good morning), Pain -Itami- (a slow guitar solo piece with a little Latin feel), Netsuki Kyousou (a lively samba piece), Kappa No Kokyou (a fast paced flute carnival-like theme) Tokomademo Massugu Ni (a lively classical piece variation of Blue Sky Without A Cloud), and Mahou No Yukue (another slow guitar picking song giving like in those medieval-like times). The remainder 9 tunes of the album are short eye catches lasting approximately 10 seconds or so which you hear during the mid-intermission of the series.
 
I know some may think that after hearing this album, one may feel ripped off because even as I blogged this soundtrack, you’ll notice that a big majority of the pieces are just variations of either When The Sky And The Earth Meet or Midnight Summer Dream. Just change the tempo, beat or instruments and wahlah, you have a different song added. Partly I guess that’s why my list of favourite tracks in this album is just around 1/5 of the total. Furthermore, some of the songs have that medieval feel because of the flute instrument and the way it is being played. But nevertheless, I’m quite happy with the songs that I’m listening to and would definitely continue to enjoy listening them while being absorbed into my own world and dream.
 

Someday's Dreamers

Finally. Oh finally. At first I was surprised that there was a sequel to the TV series but it took me more than a year to finish watching this sequel! Does it have over a hundred episodes? Heck, only single digit number of episodes. Did the fansubbers face problems while subbing this short series? Nope either. They released it as quickly as possible once it became available.
 
Seeing that this sequel is a year 2007 OVA with only 4 episodes, the producers initially released the first 3 episodes on a consistent periodic basis. If I can recall, around 3 months per episode. Then when they are supposed to released the final one, they are hit with some internal problem which I am not really interested in which resulted in the delay of the release. So much so when it did finally come out I have almost forgotten about it. Not to mention the initial episodes that I have watched. So I need to do a little rewatching to refresh my memory.
 
But I’m still wondering why this OVA title, Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien ~Next Season~ has the ‘next season’ in it. It’s not like it’s continuing from where the TV series left off. Though it is based on the PC game of the same name (the latest edition as I have found out), this OVA offers an alternate ending whereby our main protagonist Takayuki decided to stick with his one true love Haruka at the end of the latter’s 3 year coma instead of the TV ending in which he ended up with Haruka’s best pal, Mitsuki.
 
Episode 1
The series kicks off with Haruka being discharged from hospital and everyone is glad of her recovery. As Haruka gets into her car, she notices someone on the hospital rooftop. It’s Mitsuki. Takayuki then gets an SMS from Mitsuki informing him that she is leaving town. But something tells me that she isn’t really giving up on Takayuki because she wants to keep her ring a little longer. A fortnight later, Haruka is still having nightmares about the accident. She wakes up 1 morning and trips on her way downstairs. Luckily Takayuki is there to catch her fall. When the duo go out to town, Haruka is still having traumatic fears of cars zooming by but Takayuki assures her that everything is alright as he helps her to cross the street. Takayuki spots a microwave being displayed at a store and Haruka if there’s anything that interests him but he says nothing and they move on. At the bookstore, Haruka remembers the first time how they met here before and tried to confess to him. She unintentionally does so which causes everyone to look at them embarrassing her even further. Then at the aquarium, Takayuki remembers how he got close with Mitsuki and tells Haruka how Mitsuki sacrificed her own dreams to support him during those tough times.
 
They arrive at Takayuki’s apartment and when Haruka asks if he still has feelings for Mitsuki, he didn’t hesitate to reply yes. Takayuki gets a call to return to work for his waiter shift. So Takayuki walks Haruka home before leaving for his shift. That night as Haruka studies in her room, she reminisces the fun times she had with Takayuki but feels bad that he went out with her despite having to work. Akane comforts her by saying how Takayuki have changed for the better. For the next few days, Takayuki and Haruka make up for lost time by going out together and even Haruka’s family welcomes Takayuki as part of their family as they have him over for dinner. Then a day whereby Haruka is reluctant to go out with Takayuki because on that day she has to go to the hospital for a check up. Takayuki decides to accompany her. Dr Houzuki gives Haruka the green light that she’s find from head to toe.
 
On another day whereby the duo took a train ride to their destination, Haruka learns that Takayuki had bought the microwave so that he could bake some meat pie for them. Don’t worry. It tastes delicious. As they chat, Haruka talks about her dream of entering college and to be a picture book author. As for Takayuki, he is satisfied of finding a proper job and supporting Haruka for the rest of his life because he doesn’t want to lose her again. However Haruka puts on a sad face and probably feeling guilty that she turned Takayuki into so. But he hugs her instead. When they prepare to board the train home, Haruka lets go Takayuki’s hand as he boards the train alone. Haruka then suggests that they break up. Before shocked Takayuki could react, the door shuts and the train leaves, separating them.
 
What the?! Now that they’ve got back together, Haruka wants to break up?! Isn’t she happy?! Oh wait. Must be the guilt of how everyone sacrificed everything for her sake. Does she not trust that Takayuki truly loves and trusts her? She even has the support of everyone else. Oh well. What good would such a drama be without suspense?
 
Episode 2
While Haruka is studying, she gets a miscall from Takayuki. She then wishes for Mitsuki to forgive her even though she had promised her. But this episode is some sort of a flashback episode. Since it’s been a long time that I’ve watched the series, I can’t remember that the scenes here are taken from the TV series or never-seen-before clips from the time Mitsuki and her pals were in high school to the day the tragic accident happened and how she tried to support Takayuki during Haruka’s absence.
 
We see Mitsuki living in a apartment along with her roommate Tsujimura who is also an ex-swimming member. Mitsuki is currently trying to look for a job to help pay the rent (she bumped into Tsujimura while trying to find a place to live). I guess the economy downturn is that bad, huh? Even in animes during that time. Or is it that Mitsuki and Takayuki lack the qualifications to get a decent job seeing that they didn’t go to college. This episode not only has Mitsuki telling her side of the story to Tsujimura (seems like she is reluctantly listening because Mitsuki said "Since I’m troubling you, will you hear me out?". Yeah, can’t say no, eh?), but also from Takayuki to Shinji as they meet at a bar place.
 
Without going into further detail (mainly because I don’t remember much) as the episode goes back and forth between Mitsuki-Tsujimura and Takayuki-Shinji, all I can say is that Tsujimura thinks Mitsuki has wasted her swimming future and potential by dating that Bakayuki, oops I mean, Takayuki guy. But Tsujimura is the one to say because she too soon follow suit in Mitsuki’s footsteps in quitting the team and the reason why she’s now letting her bunk at her apartment is to clear her conscience for the time she was thinking bad stuff about her like wanting her to quit too. One bad turn deserves another. Of course Tsujimura too has heard a lot of negative rumours about them so Mitsuki takes the opportunity to tell her about the sob guilt ridden story from the events that led up till Haruka’s accident. Mitsuki then felt guilty when Takayuki became obsessed in staying by Haruka’s side so much so Haruka’s parents told him to stop seeing her for his own good. Thus Mitsuki took it upon herself to care and support a very depressed Takayuki till he is better. Then when Takayuki invited Mitsuki out to the aquarium as sign of gratitude, before they know it, they started dating.
 
Just like in the TV series, Haruka wakes up from her coma and Mitsuki felt threatened that Takayuki will be taken away but of course they eventually broke up because Takayuki’s love for Haruka was much stronger. I think it came to a point where Mitsuki nearly lost it and didn’t care about her appearance anymore and tried to flirt with Shinji in front of Takayuki. But you know it isn’t teary Mitsuki who is just suffering because she too spot how Takayuki broke down when he was trying to find an answer that would not hurt both Mitsuki and Haruka. He doesn’t want to be forgiven and blames everything on himself. How to turn back time? Not even God can do that. Since this isn’t a harem anime, obviously Mitsuki decides to leave Takayuki’s apartment and wants him to throw away all her stuff with his own hands. We also learn Mitsuki’s reason to leave town was to relief Takayuki of his pain and since this place is small, the girls might bump into each other and bring back tormenting memories. Yeah, Mitsuki visited Haruka at the hospital just before she was discharged. If only in life there are girls who are so willing to give and take, so tolerant and understanding like them. After hearing her story, Tsujimura concludes that it isn’t Mitsuki’s fault to begin with. So whose is it? What about the driver which crashed into Haruka that time? Well, no story on what happened to the driver after that. Thus Tsujimura feels that Mitsuki too is a victim of it all. And because Mitsuki’s story was so boring, she decides to drink and has Mitsuki as her drinking partner too. I’m not sure if Tsujimura’s being a sadist or already drunk because when Mitsuki’s tear drops into her wine, she tells her she deserves it and go ahead and cry.
 
On Takayuki’s side, he is telling Shinji how for the time being he and Haruka are staying apart. Takayuki feels that in his current position he had to choose between Haruka and his part time job, both in which needed undivided attention. So being separated from Haruka, at least Takayuki thinks he will use this time to get a more solid job in order to make Haruka feel more secure. Thus he is taking his time to do so because he doesn’t want to rush and make the same mistakes all over again. But of course he can’t do it half-heartedly either. So once Takayuki has secured a permanent job, he’ll move in to a place and live with Haruka. Shinji notes how Takayuki has changed too.
 
Ah well, I wonder what is the real significance of this episode anyway. It’s like the 2 characters doing some past analyzing stuff about the problem in hand and a reflection of themselves while pondering about taking the next best course of action. Like I said, it’s all part of being a drama series. This is the episode in which Mitsuki gets to be featured more prominently, albeit it isn’t much. For the remaining episodes, I felt like the series could’ve been done without her. Hey, this is mainly a Takayuki-Haruka focus. And as for Tsujimura, that’s it you’ll hear from her. She’s just a character providing listening service and we won’t know what kind of a past she had with Mitsuki.
 
Episode 3
I guess after having episodes focused on Takayuki-Haruka and Mitsuki, it’s right to have an episode on Akane too. Initially I thought this episode was going to be somewhat similar to that OVA spin-off, Akane Maniax because Akane has been confessed by a guy to go out with him. No, not that loudmouth dumbass guy, Jouji Gouda, from the spin-off OVA. At least this one looks somewhat decent and handsome. Unfortunately Akane apologizes and rejects that poor chap. Of course this has been spot by Chizuru and just like any other good girl pal, proceeds to tease and talk to Akane about the incident as they walk their way home. We learn that Akane is studying English so that she could achieve her dreams of studying in America.
 
When she comes home, mommy tells her that it has been some time that Takayuki had visited them and that it feels lonely. Even though it’s Haruka’s problem, Akane still feels that all this isn’t right. The next morning, Akane goes and talk with Haruka if there is anything that has happened between them but Haruka mentions nothing serious and that Takayuki had change in his work shift, the reason he is unable to visit them. Then it’s like Haruka is trying to avoid Akane’s further questioning when she goes to her mom the instant she calls her.
 
Meanwhile at the Sky Temple cafe where Takayuki works part time, remember those loli brats, AyuMayu? Yeah, they’re still around and this time they’re suspicious of Takayuki because he just got a raise. Because the manager still notices that they are lazing around, he nicely tells them that if something increases, something else must decrease in order to be balanced out. So in terms of salary… Yeah, they better start working hard. The manager too is grateful for Takayuki’s hard work and is also worried that he may have no time for himself if he takes more shifts. Soon Akane comes by to have a chat with Takayuki if anything has happened between him and her sister. Takayuki gives his honest answer like she might feel insecure if her boyfriend does odd jobs for the rest of his life and everything is going to be alright. Of course Akane is still confused because she thinks they both need each other and while deeply thinking about it on her way home, she has a flashback whereby she had a little argument with Mitsuki because the latter said that she is fine if Takayuki chooses Haruka. Mitsuki questions her back if she has ever truly loved someone because if she does, her way of thinking will be different. Mitsuki walked off by saying that she had never intended to seek permission from her in the first place. Back in present time, Akane is of course still bitter about that incident and is confused more than ever as she breaks down.
 
The next day after swimming practice, Akane gets a call from Shinji to meet up at a cafe. Shinji explains a lot has happened between Haruka and Takayuki and what recently happened has allowed them to move forward. He then leaves in a hurry after getting some important call but the look from Akane’s face indicates that she at least understood the situation. On her way home, she spots Takayuki working hard and the usual spat AyuMayu (remember her "Go step on cat poo!" line?). When Akane comes home, she sees Haruka and mommy making dinner together. Akane tells her sister not to deceive them. She wants a clear explanation why she and Takayuki broke up. Akane continues her scathing verbal attack and even though you can see guilt written all over Haruka’s face, she tells her little sister that this is a problem between her and Takayuki which has got nothing to do with her. But Akane isn’t listening as she continues her severe criticisms over Haruka’s selfishness when Takayuki is working so hard and such. I guess if one gets an earful from a younger sibling, it will be deemed too much because Haruka suddenly blacks out and collapses. GASP! Don’t tell me she’s into another coma again!
 
Episode 4
This episode starts off with Haruka and Akane having a sisterly chat together when the latter informs how she is going to America to further her studies. Akane feels that she is in a dilemma because Haruka just got discharged and everyone is finally back together and yet she is going to be separated soon. But Haruka encourages her to pursue her dream and not to worry about her as she is already well as they both hug.
 
Continuing from the cliff-hanger event at the end of the previous episode, Haruka’s mom freaks out over her collapse but Haruka soon regains her consciousness and says that it isn’t anything serious and wants to continue her conversation with Akane. Phew. However Akane is still upset and claims that Haruka is being unfair as she runs out of the house in tears. While wondering aimlessly in town, Akane remembers when she was younger, she tried to play a cheeky cupid to get Takayuki and Haruka together.
 
Houzuki is driving around in her sports car (and in a tight body hugging sexy yellow outfit too. Yeow!) when she spots Akane and picks her up. Along the way, she tells Akane how Haruka has worked hard during her rehabilitation, the importance of dreams, and how sacrifices are necessary to obtain one’s dream whether you wished for it or not. "To gain something, you must sacrifice something else. Achieving your dreams isn’t pretty. The closer someone is to you, the easier they are to be sacrificed", says she. Akane then finally realized her mistake as she tears trickle down her eyes. It really takes a lot of talking to make this girl open her eyes.
 
Back home, Haruka’s mom tells Haruka that she has a dream whereby no matter how much she tries to wake sleeping Haruka up, she just wouldn’t wake up. So she stayed by her side and as time passes, slowly everyone who visited her eventually stopped doing so and even to the point mummy herself. That’s when she gets up from the nightmare and the only thing which gives her a peace of mind is when she sees Haruka in the morning. She is also worried about her gloominess and wished she could tell her. Haruka says she’s scared to be with Takayuki because she feels it’s her fault that he skipped college, broke up with Mitsuki and the reason he has changed. Though 3 years have passed and she tries to catch up and not fall behind everyone, she feels that she is chasing her own dream while Takayuki has given up on his. After mummy gives her more words of encouragement, she supports her to tell Takayuki and start anew. By that time, Houzuki has arrived home with Akane. Akane apologizes as the sisters reconcile. Later the sisters have a chat and Akane says how she loves Takayuki because he’s like a big brother to her and wants them to be together smiling and laughing previously like 3 years ago.
 
The next day, Haruka takes a brave step out of her home and though she still has fears of crossing the street, she sums up her courage and manages to overcome it. Takayuki continues to work hard on his waiting job and in no time is soon finished with his shift. The AyuMayu pair is still working their ass off and isn’t pleased to find Takayuki taking an early leave. That’s because he’s done. You girls should emulate him more. Takayuki notices a miscall on his handphone and calls Haruka. When he finds out that she is waiting at Hiiragi Train Station (where the accident took place 3 years ago), he straightaway rushes there. When he arrives, traumatic memories of that accident flow through his mind as he frantically searches and calls out Haruka’s name amidst the bewildered crowd. Finally he finds her waiting there as they both emotionally embrace. Haruka starts apologizing and says how she wants to move forward and continue walking forever along with him even though it’s just a little step at a time. Takayuki too apologizes for making her feel insecure but Haruka replies that she’s alright now. As they both kiss, they soon notice the onlooking crowd applauding. A real life drama, eh? Though a little embarrassing, they decide to stay this way a little longer. After the end credits, at a beach, Takayuki takes a picture of Haruka, catching her by surprise as she playfully splashes water on him while he snaps a happy shot of her smiling.
 
Next Sequel…
Like there will be one. Even so, I guess it will probably take several more years. Besides I’m wondering if there is another sequel or spin-off, who will be the girl in focus. We’ve got Mitsuki and Haruka already, so how about Akane? Yeah, another spin-off for her. This time maybe an onii-chan complex. Haha. How about AyuMayu? Their short chibi comical spin-off is nothing but comical stuff they do at Sky Temple. So maybe. A tsundere loli for Takayuki?
 
But without speculating if there should be any future productions or not, let me just get back to this particular OVA. I guess I can say that since this OVA is on Haruka, it would definitely be right for it to end on a happy note between her and Takayuki. It would just be suicide if the duo ended up separated and I’m sure many viewers would not like it (including yours truly). And as mentioned, many of the other characters here are just playing second fiddle. However even with their insignificant roles, without them the drama between Haruka and Takayuki will not develop to where it is now.
 
Being an OVA series, the quality of the animation is high and if my memory serves me right, the drawing, art and animation is still consistent with the TV series. I’m still wondering about the strangely named title of the dramatic and upbeat opening theme of the series, Next Season, by Minami Kuribayashi. There is nothing in the lyrics which tells of the back story of the series or anything of the likes. It’s one of those abstract love lyrics. And yes, I’m still baffled that the ‘next season’ title is a little misleading. So it is true that in real life too, sacrifices are necessary to make dreams come true. But sometimes seeing that someone you love happy is rewarding enough and that your sacrificed has been worth it.
 

Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien

Rosario To Vampire

August 9, 2009

Have you ever wondered what would it be like to have a supernatural harem? Instead of pretty human ladies flanking your side, you have female ghouls and monsters instead. Now why would any guy want that sort of harem? Firstly, it isn’t by choice. Secondly, unless you’re talking about Rosario To Vampire, whereby those supernatural spooks look as gorgeous and beautiful than their human counterparts, then it’s a different story.
 
In this series of 13 episodes filled with so much fanservice to the brim, you’ll wonder if the supernatural setting is actually necessary or not. Well, okay. Maybe it is. But viewers will definitely identify with the tremendous amount of fanservice and ecchiness which makes this series a comedy and fun to watch. And I don’t mean it in the sense that I’m a pervert, okay.
 
So our (un)lucky male human guy is Tsukune Aono. As seen in episode 1, he just flopped big time in some exam. His future is at stake. Call it a twist in fate that Tsukune somehow boarded a mysterious bus with a mysterious driver (his eyes are like flashlights!) to a creepy place through a creepy tunnel. It’s like he’s entered a whole new world. A new dimension. The Twilight Zone. Not. Of course as the new kid in town, he’s pretty cautious about his surroundings when a pink haired girl, Moka Akashiya. bumps into him on a bicycle. You can tell that it is love at first bite, I mean sight for Moka because she is somehow attracted to Tsukune’s human scent and sinks her teeth without second thought. Yup, she’s a vampire.
 
Then as Tsukune introduces himself as the new transfer student of the school he’ll be attending, Youkai Academy, his homeroom teacher, Shizuka Nekonome (a catgirl) introduces yet another transfer student. That’s right. It’s Moka. It’s like fate is always bringing them together. Moka is thrilled that Tsukune is in the same class but I guess the other students aren’t so thrilled. Especially, Komiya Saizou, who has set his sights on Moka. So this Saizou guy being the bully and delinquent he is, tries to muscle his way to Moka’s heart by shoving powerless Tsukune away. And when Moka reveals that she isn’t human, Tsukune runs away in fear. It’s natural for a human to be surrounded by supernatural beings but after hearing how Moka too hates humans due to her previous attendance in a human’s school, Tsukune tells her that he is one. He continues to run until he runs into Saizou who isn’t going to let go of him. Saizou reveals his true form, which is an ogre and starts pounding hapless Tsukune. As Moka rushes to his side, she express her wish to have friends and similarly Tsukune too and it doesn’t matter if she’s a monster or what. Tsukune’s hands then accidentally slipped and took off the cross rosary on Moka’s neck. When that happens, Moka will transform into a darker and more powerful self, which I will refer to as Dark Moka. Vampires being the ultimate monster, would send shivers down to any other monsters that confronts them. Though Saizou isn’t going to back down either. Soon, Dark Moka teaches Saizou a painful punishment he will never forget. Once it’s over, Dark Moka puts back her rosary to transform herself back to Moka and collapses. Once she comes to, the tempting scent of Tsukune’s blood has Moka biting it.
 
If you’re thinking why all the students and teachers of Youkai Academy look so hot or just like a human being most of the times, is because as part of the school’s rule to foster better ties with the human world, they cannot reveal their true form at school. Like that will help. I mean, their education syllabus is so Japanese-like. Well, they’re in Japan alright. Plus, no humans are allowed on this territory and if there is one, they’ll be killed. It amazes me how come Tsukune managed to slip through all that. Because of so, many of the other students will always wonder what kind of monster he is. Tsukune has to be very careful not to reveal his true form. It’s like living a real life nightmare.
 
Also in each episode, you’ll notice some sort of pattern. As the story goes by, Tsukune will ‘accumulate’ a harem on his own but luckily he isn’t a perverted guy and usually it’s the girls who duke it out over him. Which means, fanservice, panty shots and boob shots in which poor Tsukune will have a tough time handling and controlling them. Then Tsukune gets some sort of trouble whether they’re jealous guys or they just want to pick a fight with him. It’s ‘refreshing’ to see a bunch of girls protecting a guy when in most cases it’s the other way round. Ah, this is sure a useful harem. More fanservice. Then during the battle, Tsukune will accidentally take off Moka’s rosary like tripping or whatsoever to allow her transformation since taking it off purposely would not make the rosary come off. White haired and bustier Dark Moka appears with the typical narration and the entire sky turning blood red. Even more fanservice. Dark Moka proceeds to kick butt with her trademark high kick and "Know your place" motto as she sends her opponents reeling in defeat. In the end, a chibi bat who also appears onscreen from time to time to inform viewers about certain info throughout the show and ends his sentences with "~dechu", will tell viewers how many seconds Dark Moka will take to settle the duel. Much more fanservice. Dark Moka reverts back to slightly air-head Moka and all is well, ends well. Usually with Moka taking another Capuchuu~ neck biting opportunity on poor Tsukune. Oh yes finally, greater fanservice. See the trend here?
 
Kurumu Kurono, the Tsukune’s harem would-be and succubus, makes her appearance in episode 2. A classmate of Moka and Tsukune, Kurumu is upset of Moka’s closeness to Tsukune and soaring popularity because she deems this as a ruin to her so called flawless plan to enslave the entire male population of Youkai Academy (something about turning them into her food source too) which makes the guys fall for Moka instead of Kurumu. You could say a population of reverse harem here. Because of that, Kurumu declares herself as Moka’s rival. Being a succubus means she has busty boobs and tries to seduce Tsukune away from Moka. This includes rubbing her giant melons on Tsukune (which could ‘steam’ any guy watching this) and hypnotizing him under her influence since succubus have the power to influence men under their spell. Of course, Tsukune’s feelings for Moka is stronger and rejects Kurumu’s advances, which clearly upsets the heartbroken gal. Then as expected, the ultimate battle between vampire and succubus reaches its boiling point when Kurumu decides to kill them both and it won’t take long for any viewers to figure out who will come out tops. But since Tsukune stepped in to stop Dark Moka from finishing her off since he doesn’t think Kurumu as a totally bad girl, I guess Kurumu is grateful and hence Tsukune’s hell increases by 1 more as the girls continue to wrestle over him. Regretting?
 
Another harem member makes her appearance in episode 3. She is Yukari Sendou, the smartest student in the academy (she managed to skip several grades and is the same grade as Tsukune and co) and a witch. Sometimes you can’t help think that she’s either a witch or a magical girl because her wand resembles like the latter and the only magic that she’s capable of pulling off effectively is dropping a basin on someone’s head. Anyway loli Yukari has a crush on senpai Moka and because she’s too close to Tsukune, Yukari pulls off several naughty pranks to separate them, which includes doing a voodoo doll magic on Tsukune to fondle big breasted Kurumu. And you know Moka just happened to walk in… Of course there are a bunch of lizard people who don’t like Yukari being a smart alec and thinks she is boasting. Thinking cornering and outnumbering a loli will do, they didn’t count on Moka and the rest to come to her aid, especially Tsukune who protected Yukari from a blow which was meant for her. After the scaly ones get a taste of their own medicine, Yukari now loves Tsukune in addition to Moka. The numbers just keep adding up, eh?
 
In episode 4, we learn that there are 3 monster guys who have formed a fanclub dedicated to their beloved Moka, Kurumu and Yukari. Which means Tsukune is public enemy number 1 since he’s hogging all 3 of them. The form a Love-love Alliance to counter this Tsukune threat. I know. Sickos and losers. They even have a life size cut out foam board of the girls! However, Tsukune has been thinking hard about his uselessness and the need for girls to protect him. I’m sure every guy will think like that when in his shoes. In short, Tsukune thinks of leaving school. At least this is what the girls concluded after observing his gloomy behaviour and taking his bag with him. Then at the bus stand which connects this world to the human’s, the loser fanclub members ambush Tsukune but you know, the girls can’t let him leave like that and counters their attack and even defeats them after the loser trio combine themselves into some super (but lame) monster. However in the end, the girls find out that he was just delivering letters to the bus driver so that he could send them to his family on the other side. Looks like he is staying and I think he’s gotten the hang of this place. Maybe not entirely.
 
In episode 5, the gang have to join a club at school and Tsukune seems to be attracted by the lure of the swimming club. Girls in swimsuits. That says it all. Moka however is against it and I found out that normal water is also a vampire’s weakness. I know holy water but normal water too drains their power? Because of that Moka-Tsukune relationship strains a little. As Tsukune gives the swimming club a tryout and the usual Kurumu-Yukari quarrel/competition over Tsukune, we learn that the swimming club members are actually mermaids who suck the life out of others. The club president is attracted to Tsukune because he smells like human (it’s right under her nose) and goes in for the kill when Moka without thinking twice jumps into the pool to save Tsukune. After Dark Moka kicks the club president’s fins, she lectures Tsukune for not understanding Moka’s feelings, in which he apologized. In the end, as the gang are still without a club, Nekonome takes the opportunity to recruit them all into her newspaper club, in which she is the club’s advisor. But too bad that mermaid chic won’t be part of Tsukune’s harem. You’ll notice that kiasu Kurumu and Yukari will be at each other’s throat over Tsukune like one calling the other flat-chest and the other monstrous boobs among such. Also, Moka doesn’t really know her other self and as the series progresses, at times the duo will somehow communicate albeit a short while.
 
Tsukune and co are introduced to the head of the newspaper club, Ginei Morioka (a werewolf) or Gin for short in episode 6. He may look like a reliable guy but he’s actually a big time pervert! I guess that’s why he’s a wolf. How perverted? As first assignment for the club, they are to investigate some peeping tom lurking around the school grounds. Tsukune notices Gin is staring at the girl’s undies as they put up notices but Gin makes it as though Tsukune is the pervert and pins all the blame on him while making himself look cool! Of course the Tsukune-Moka relationship gets strain again when vampire girl says she hates perverts. Though it’s not his fault but you know lah. Gin proceeds to frame Tsukune by making him peep into a room of girls changing as he snaps a shot of him doing so. His reasons for doing so is because he loves Moka and wants Tsukune out of the way. Gin later goes to show Moka those pics, but detective Kurumu and Yukari questions the validity of the photos and since there are many holes in his story, Gin is so busted. Just like his ass soon. Even if it’s a full moon, Dark Moka is no match for him. It’s revealed that the peeping tom of the school is Gin himself as the other girls try to get their justice and Tsukune’s name is cleared.
 
After a couple of episode breaks, episode 7 resumes with adding 1 more girl to Tsukune’s harem. She is Mizore Shirayuki and is a snow woman. She isn’t like the snowman people with stick hands and carrot nose, mind you. She can create blizzards and turn hot water into ice. Mizore is a typical stalker and is always seen with a lollipop in her mouth. Furthermore, Mizore though is in the same class with Tsukune, is always absent due to some personal problem. Something about being alone and always ostracized by the rest. So she takes a liking for Tsukune because she too thinks that he is loner like her and decides to rid of Moka whom she sees as in the way. But after hearing from Tsukune himself, heartbroken ice girl runs away and this caught the attention of one of the teachers, who eventually got injured and hospitalized. Mizore is then on suspension and possibly will be expelled but the gang (thanks to Gin for once he put his camera skills to good use, albeit by accident as he was at the right place at the right time) finds out the true perpetrator was that teacher himself. He tried to rape Mizore and in her self defence, attacked him. With that over, they try to find Mizore who is still sad that nobody understands her and is thinking suicide. At this time, she unleashes several ice clones which went out of control. Let Dark Moka to handle the job and even Mizore herself gets one and a lecture to live first before dying. With that, Mizore joins the newspaper club and her stalking ways mean she can pop out anywhere and anytime.
 
Since Tsukune is falling behind his maths in episode 8, a teacher of Youkai Academy, Ririko Kagome, takes an interest in him and decides to help him in his studies. Though Tsukune’s girls offer to help him, Ririko convinces him to attend a special class of hers. You can say that she’s pretty seductive and since it’s a 1-on-1 class, you’ll wonder if Tsukune is really getting the correct attention he needs. So okay, Ririko too is attracted to Tsukune’s human smell and it’s like she’s some sort of S&M maniac trying to put all those formulas into his head and turning him into a zombie-like state. Yeah, he’s been hypnotized again. We find out that Ririko is a lamia (head and torso of a woman while the bottom end of the body is a snake) and is exchanging knowledge with her student’s emotions, in this case Tsukune’s. We know how strong a bond Tsukune shares with Moka when he is snapped out of his hypnotism when he sees a study note left by Moka for him. Cue for Dark Moka to take action and this shows that not only students get their asses kicked, but teachers as well. In the end, Tsukune forgot all those knowledge he obtained from Ririko but still manages to pass with flying colours.
 
With the exams over, the newspaper club head to the human world for their summer vacation in episode 9. Except for Gin who has to stay back because he flopped. Kurumu too bombed but I don’t remember how she got to tag along. Can’t be complete without them all girls, eh? So more fun in the sun with the babes in swimsuits. As Tsukune is glad to be back in his human world, he and the girls stumble upon a field on a hill covered with sunflowers. Yukari to her surprise finds another witch, Ruby Toujou, who has been living in the human world for a long time and in a mansion on this sunflower field. Ruby wants Yukari to join her and her master against human developers who are planning to cut down this place for development. That night, Yukari encounters Ruby again and she’s still in a dilemma. Until Tsukune shows up and Ruby is visibly upset to see him and thinks he’s here to take over the place. Remember, everyone except Moka doesn’t know that Tsukune is a human. Ruby unleashes carnivorous plants to attack. Yukari steals the limelight here as she powers up her magic into some card spell and defeat those plants. As everyone heads back, Ruby still isn’t pleased, she pierces a plant vine through Tsukune right before he and Moka can get a Capuchuu~. OMG! The main guy dead?! We can see how mad the girls are as even Dark Moka appear without the rosary being taken off while Kurumu and Mizore go into pissed off ready-to-kill mode. Never seen them all so mad before. Hey, nobody is going to take away their guy because who’re they all going to fight over, right? Wow. That must be some power blast alright.
 
In episode 10, Ruby opens her eyes to find herself with Tsukune and the rest in their tent. Thankfully Tsukune isn’t dead because it was just a scratch back then. Phew. Can’t have this series without him that’s for sure. The gang learns of Ruby’s situation and Ruby herself realizes that these people aren’t so bad as she perceived them. That night she sneaks out to go back to see her master. When she gets back, she finds herself suddenly wrapped in vines and begs for forgiveness from her master for another chance. Upon realizing that Ruby is gone, Tsukune and co go in search of her. Ruby launches more vicious carnivorous plants to attack them. If you substitute tentacles with plant vines, I guess they can also serve some fanservice. Anyway a huge battle occurs and even Dark Moka has her hands full. Tsukune then heads for the run-down mansion to find that Ruby’s master has been dead for a long time. Tsukune tries to tell Ruby is in denial and created another self of hers but she doesn’t believe it and goes berserk, unleashing a powerful magic which may cause her never to return to her true form again. After hearing Yukari’s plea, Dark Moka gives out-of-control Ruby some super kick. The next day, everyone prepares to head home and feeling gloomy. The bus arrives and everyone is surprised to see Ruby unconscious but smiling in the arms of Gin. How did she ended up there? But too bad Gin is too late to enjoy his summer.
 
With the new semester in episode 11, the newspaper club is having competition from another rival newspaper club called Super Newspaper Club, led by Keito. Super? And 2 newspaper clubs? Anyway the rival one is pulling in the crowd because they have girls posing in swimsuits. Makes you wonder if it’s the news content in which the readers are after. Kurumu and Yukari tried maid outfits but that too isn’t enough. Plus, Gin is telling them to back off since they have the backing of the Public Safety Commission (PSC). Let’s just say they are a bunch of students trying to keep the peace within school with their so called interpretation of what is illegal or not. Just remember what the Gestapo is like. Uh huh. They’ve become corrupted over time and are no different than thugs. The gang decides to use this material to investigate the PSC further. But Gin is not getting involved and tells them to burn all their newspapers. As Tsukune and Kurumu are burning the newspapers, they are being attacked by Keito, a spider monster, and also part of the PSC. Fight fight fight with Dark Moka securing the win and Tsukune decides to carry on with their investigation and show them their worth. Meanwhile the head of PSC, Kuyou, has taken note of this little newspaper club and its members and wonders if Gin has forgotten what happened last year.
 
In episode 12, Tsukune and his girls go uncovering the PSC bullying ways and succeed in capturing several shots of them in action. One day the PSC decides to take action and we see how powerful they are because they could just walk in right into Nekonome’s class (partly she’s a weakling) and arrests Tsukune on suspicion of being a human. Then they round up the other girls and have them interrogated as well. Not only that, the other students too are being questioned but they are giving answers which are against the newspaper club members. While trying to force Tsukune to admit that he is human, Tsukune sees how they are torturing Moka by threatening to spill ordinary water on her. Because of that, Tsukune makes a deal that he’ll admit he’s human in exchange for Moka’s safety. To his horror, he learns that the other girl members too have heard first hand that he’s so and are having doubts about him. Is his harem crumbling? No time for jokes because Kurumu slapped Moka for keeping it a secret from her. While Kuyou lets the rest walk free (due to their shocking discovery, so I guess he doesn’t consider them to be a threat anymore), Moka is imprisoned while Tsukune is to be given a public execution tomorrow. As Tsukune is being crucified on a tree, he learns that Kuyou isn’t going to let the other girls live and will swiftly kill them soon after his execution. This brings up a question. If the PSC doesn’t believe on the coexistence between humans and youkais, then what the heck is this school formed for in the first place or why are they attending it?
 
In episode 13, Ruby returns to help free Moka and the rest to save Tsukune. I wonder how she got back and in the nick of time too? Before Kuyou can burn Tsukune, the girls arrive and they find out how the same fate befell the newspaper club last year when Gin said the same thing like what the girls said about not caring what the PSC think and such and thus went ahead and published it. Kuyou decides to execute their betrayal. During the fight, the girls manage to save and whisk Tsukune away to the rooftop. However Kuyou is hot on their trails and burns Tsukune, leaving his life hanging by a thread. By that time Dark Moka has been summoned as she decides to inject some of her blood to keep him alive. Kuyou has shown his true form, which is a demon fox which is believed to have a status similar to the Gods. Kuyou unleashes a powerful attack but Gin appears to block it from harming them. For once he did something noble because he doesn’t want to lose more club members and passes out.
 
Everyone teams up against Kuyou but he’s too hot to handle. After Dark Moka gives some of her blood to Tsukune, it’s like nothing happened because he’s just lying there. But no time to worry because it’s Dark Moka’s turn against Kuyou. Looks like Dark Moka too has met her match but when she is dealt with a blow, Tsukune catches her in his arms. Yay! He’s alright thanks to the vampire’s blood. Kuyou continues to attack when Gin restrains him to allow Dark Moka to deliver a super kick to send Kuyou (and poor Gin too) crashing down below. As everyone gathers to see what has happened, Nekonome says how Tsukune singlehandedly defeated Kuyou. With that, everyone starts to believe that Tsukune is not human and some monster because no human could possibly defeat Kuyou alone. Plus, they realized that they’ve been bullied by the PSC, that’s why they’re so gullible in believing them in the first place. Hooray! Now Tsukune’s identity is kept a secret (only his harem girls truly knows he is human) and is clear of all suspicions. As Moka recuperates in the infirmary, Tsukune notices his heart racing and wonders if he has fallen for the other Moka. Before the duo can land a proper kiss, the other girls barge in and wants a Capuchuu~ from him. Can he handle all 5? Ah, that’s what being in a harem is all about. Moka dear, you too have got to learn to share Tsukune.
 
But it isn’t over yet as there is a second season, Rosario To Vampire Capu2 (pronounced Capuchuu as in that kiss) with an additional 13 more episodes. So viewers can expect a continuation from the previous season with the introduction of new characters and developments but the same ol’ plot that we all love. That’s right. Fanservice harem. By now Tsukune should be able to deal and cope with his harem girls. Or has he?
 
So Tsukune and co are now in his second year in episode 1 and just like deja vu, he bumps into a orange hair twintail girl who takes a liking for his human scent. Another vampire, eh? However, that rude girl, Kokoa Shuzen doesn’t like him in person and hits him before going away. Tsukune meets up with his usual gang at school and this time Moka has garnered lots more admirers. Even the rest too as they received several love letters and fanmail. Except for Moka, which turns out to be a death threat. Moka receives lots of those similar death threat letters in the form of that chibi bat wherever she goes (accumulating a mass of them in her room!) and we see Kokoa quite the stalker she is, probably even surpassing Mizore. Also, we see Ruby now works in Youkai Academy during various odd jobs. The next morning before the entrance ceremony starts, they notice a ruckus of Kokoa being chased by 2 youkais. Tsukune decides to get away put accidentally trips and summons Dark Moka, who eventually has to settle everything with her trademark kick while Kokoa escapes. And after a short lecture, everyone in the hall loves her. Later as Tsukune and the rest gathers outside, Kokoa appears in front of them and it seems she is Moka’s little sister.
 
In episode 2, we learn that Kokoa is Moka’s half sister (same dad different mom) and they have a total of 4 sisters altogether. To cut short a long story, Moka’s true self is her white haired self and when she was young, they always fight but Moka always wins. If you don’t succeed at first… Ah well, sometimes it’s better to give up but nope. Kokoa pestered on and when Moka left for Youkai Academy, she was devastated. In conclusion, Kokoa is here to settle the score. Like that would make any difference. Okay, perhaps now Kokoa is like an insane stalker and trying to whack anyone who gets in the way of her Moka. Plus, the shocking development of this series is that the chibi bat now takes on a more dialogue role as compared to his onscreen narrations. He is called Ko-chan, Kokoa’s tiny servant and his special skill is to transform into any weapon Kokoa wants by squeezing him. Even Kurumu is shocked by this development. So I guess the right move for the gang is to get away from this violent maniac. A funny part is that when they’re cornered by Kokoa (can’t believe the other girls couldn’t handle a little brat and lost to her!), Tsukune and Moka saw hope in the passionate advent of Gin and Ruby. It’s revealed that Gin was just taking pictures of model Ruby. Haha. So much for help. As the gang continue to hide in a cramp space in the gym, Moka decides to fight because she doesn’t want to get anyone involved. Moka lost but Kokoa isn’t happy because she isn’t fighting like her usual Dark Moka. Tsukune thinks that this is some sisterly squabble and tries to get them to make up but only makes Kokoa give them a hammer pound. At this time, Dark Moka is out but Kokoa turns all lovey-dovey having found her true sister and gets trashed. Is she loving it? Even Dark Moka thinks it’s a bother but better start getting used to it.
 
So things that you’ll notice in this season besides Ko-chan, as mentioned Ruby has taken various jobs within the academy and everytime when asked so, she’ll start her ranting off with "A lot has happened…", blabbing which nobody cares to listen. Ko-chan still does narrate how many seconds it takes for Dark Moka’s opponent to be defeat albeit much lesser and I kinda feel the summoning of Dark Moka to be trivial and short in the sense it is not in dangerous situations as before (not to mention her transformation scene cut real short). Kokoa on the other hand tries to get her beloved Dark Moka because she despises this sissy pink haired one and everytime the white haired one appears, she’s fawning like a love-struck admirer. Is she tsundere or what? Also there’s something about the mild censorship for this season. At certain times you’ll see Ko-chan or a bear face blocking the panty shots. This isn’t so for every fanservice and because of its randomness, it’s like the producers are teasing viewers and in a way annoying. One moment you have full view of the panties and the next, it is purposely blocked. Yeah I know. Buy the DVD if you want to see it all uncut.
 
It’s Parents Day at Youkai Academy in episode 3 and we are introduced to the respective moms of Kurumu and Mizore, Ageha and Tsurara. It seems they both hate each other and are trying to outdo each other by using their daughters to get to Tsukune’s heart. Of course it all ended up in draws as they pester and push their daughters to make Tsukune theirs. Why, even Kurumu and Mizore did mention how they prefer to steal Tsukune’s heart with their own powers and not use some magic charms. But with their mummy’s egos on the line, will they listen? In the end it is revealed that there is a long standing feud between the duo and it all started because they were in competition of trying to woo a guy named Saizou and that they were once students of this academy. He found another girl and I guess they’re trying to settle that score until today. Another one of their feuds has Dark Moka being accidentally summoned as she kicks Tsukune to both moms. Uh huh. Now he’s in a compromising position with them. This kid has really got the girls coming at him, even mothers. Thankfully they won’t be part of his harem. Lastly, they learn that Saizou guy (yes, the parents of that ogre kid) is some fat ugly monster now. Better count their blessings.
 
Yukari is concern of her body size in episode 4 since she has a hard time getting Tsukune’s attention with everyone else treating her like a kid. One day a school nurse, Mako Yakamaru, decides to grant Yukari her wish by injecting some fluid into her. The next thing Yukari knows is that she has a body of a grown up. Nobody recognizes her till she drops her trademark basin on Kurumu’s head. Then she goes out bra shopping with Moka and when she comes back to school, she’s a new idol (except that loser fanclub guy who loves Yukari with small boobs). The physical examination day arrives and Yukari goes to Mako to increase her boob size but finds out that this is a trap by Mako who feed on negative emotions and that Yukari is still a kid inside. Mako injects more fluid as Yukari passes out and during that time she has a self reflection (note the background voice of how Dark Moka is kicking Mako’s butt) and realizes everything. When Yukari opens her eyes, her body is back to her normal self. While Kurumu proudly brags about her boobs, Yukari isn’t fazed and tells Tsukune to wait for her to grow up while giving him a Capuchuu~. Hehe. At least Moka doesn’t steal the kiss everytime.
 
In episode 5, Mizore tries to cook curry to win Tsukune’s heart but you know snow woman’s cold hands don’t make good hot curry. Everyone except Mizore is attending a cooking class by curry maniac Apusara sensei. After Mizore is done with her curry training with Ruby, she notices how everyone has turned into a possessed curry zombie. Including Kokoa, Moka and Tsukune. Their skin is so yellow that they remind you of The Simpsons! And they all end their sentences with "~curry". Apusara tries to have her zombies make Mizore eat her curry and corners her at the rooftop. Mizore then decides to feed Tsukune her special cool ice-blended curry dish and it seems it is so delicious that Tsukune is freed from her spell and manages to summon Dark Moka who too is very yellow but not under Apusara’s control. She gives Apusara her special main course (high kick lah, what else) and in the end, the entire Youkai Academy is covered with curry because the giant container which she keeps her curry cracked thus spilling it all over the place. Ruby has lots of cleaning up to do.
 
Youkai Academy makes a field trip to the human world in episode 6. You know the kind where they visit temples, shrines and yes, the mandatory hotspring inn. Moka plans to spend more time with Tsukune but the other girls are trying to get a piece of his attention. Thus Moka and Tsukune promise to meet together alone at the inn when everyone is asleep. But a group of 4 youkai delinquents kidnap Tsukune in order to lure his harem out. They have to go save him and after Ruby gave them some delinquent-like outfits, the girls face-off with the youkai baddies and I’m not sure about their plan about defeating them to take over the world. Not that I care. Of course they are beaten and they decide to summon their leader, supposedly their trump card. So who is their leader? Why, it’s Kokoa! Kokoa could’ve taken care of the girls easily if not for the summoning of Dark Moka, in which she turned into her ‘weak’ self and gets another taste of her kick. The baddies retreat and when the gang resume their field trip, the delinquents are begging Moka now to be their leader.
 
Episode 7 is the best episode of the entire series and this is what a harem anime should be like. Tsukune takes the opportunity to visit his mom Kasumi back home. Though she is glad, Kasumi gets the shock of her life not only to find Tsukune bring home a girl, but 4 of them! Yeah, they all came uninvited. Trying to win mother-in-law’s heart? Kasumi starts to panic though Tsukune keeps reminding her that they’re just his classmates. A very hilarious part ensues when Kurumu tries to seduce Tsukune taking a bath and Mizore intercepted, causing that human to have a full naked view of the succubus. Kurumu then chased Mizore around the house, both semi-naked. Kasumi is damn horrified to learn these developments and thinks her son needs sex education! Enter Tsukune’s cousin, Kyouko, who too is surprised of what she sees and decides to see which one who gets to impress her will get to be Tsukune’s girlfriend. Thus Kurumu and Mizore starts duelling each other while Yukari tries to stop them and inadvertently gets involved. I don’t know but the duo are causing a lot of wreckage to the surroundings outside. I mean, what if a human sees them. Oh wait. Kyouko can’t believe her eyes what kind of girls they are.
 
Meanwhile Moka and Kasumi has a little chat and gets to know each other better and I think Kasumi in a way approves of Moka by asking her to take care of her son. Meanwhile the battle has Kyouko been knocked out so before the other girls realized it, they see Moka and Tsukune together and think she has been plotting this all along. As expected, Dark Moka appears and in a long time, the 3 of them gets a reminder of what it’s like to get their butt kick. Lolis not even spared. Dark Moka even tells Tsukune to make his choice clearly or else everyone will suffer. The next day, everyone has to return to Youkai Academy due to Kurumu and Mizore’s ruckus. Once everyone leaves, Kokoa finally arrives at the doorstep but to her horror finds out that everyone is gone. Throughout this episode, you’ll see Kokoa with Ko-chan peddling real fast on her bicycle trying to track her sister, going through all the cities in Japan. The funny part is that everytime she overtakes a vehicle, the driver or passenger will be surprised that they’ve been overtaken by a strawberry (referring to her panties)! Finally when Kyouko comes to, she is suspicious about Tsukune’s school and plans to investigate.
 
Episode 8 is a series of short random clips which include Nekonome trying out different clothes, Gin spotting a new hairstyle because he thinks that is what Tsukune has to attract the girls but is a flop, Kurumu terrorizing her other love rivals, Ririko trying to get her revenge on Moka but is stopped by Nekonome in a catwoman outfit, the continuation of Kokoa missing out on seeing her sister during the field trip and is in a bloody bad mood, Moka notices Tsukune’s blood taste different each time because he’s been drinking different stuff like chilli, Yukari finds a little pet dog but is unable to keep it because Gin is a wolf and doesn’t allow it, and finally Ruby’s strict rule of implementing long skirts after noticing short ones are too flashy. But it all backfires when a gust of wind blows them up and reveals their panties. Shocked Ruby then tripped and reveals a more flashy, naughty and sexy lingerie that she’s wearing. Hehe, she can others cannot lah. So I guess she has to revoke that rule. But the end clip sees Ruby talking with the headmaster of the academy that doing all those odd jobs is partly to cover her duty to guard the barrier which protects the youkai and human world from colliding.
 
Episode 9 has the gang take a skiing trip to the snowy mountains at an inn run by Tsurara. Kokoa on the other hand discovers how her true sister will appear after studying the series’ replays. During the trip, Kokoa tries to take off Moka’s rosary but it wouldn’t budge. Her frustration yell causes an avalanche but only Moka emerges from the snow. She goes back to request help from the other girls to find Kokoa and Tsukune, who are taking refuge in a cave. See some tsundere moments from Kokoa before she collapses due to the cold. Plus, they have to get out after hearing yeti roars. So Big Foot isn’t just a legend as it appears in front of the duo. Luckily the girls arrive and saves the day through Dark Moka. Then it is revealed that the yeti is Mizore’s dad! He was just trying to give directions to a safer place. If he could only speak English… Soon everyone heads home and if you’re wondering how a shaggy beast and a hot mama could produce a lovely young snow woman, that’s because Mizore’s dad was just in a yeti’s outfit and he looks cool and handsome himself.
 
In episode 10, a new hot handsome guy, Koutarou Ijuuin, is the new transfer student and seems to be the new heartthrob of Youkai Academy. Actually, he is hypnotizing the girls under his spell by just smiling and saying "Je t’aime". This causes the girls’ body to move totally different from what their sane mind is thinking. Even all of Tsukune’s harem is under his spell, no matter how reluctant they are. Though Gin tried to take action when Tsukune brought up the matter to him, that werewolf too fell under Koutarou’s charm and turned gay. Hah. Finally Koutarou puts up a concert in front of his ‘fans’ and as Tsukune tries to stop him, mind controlled Ruby does an S&M whip on him. Meanwhile Kokoa who has been looking all over for Ko-chan, stumbles upon the concert and realizes that Koutarou is Ko-chan! Koutarou tries to hypnotize Kokoa but notes how vampires are harder to control. As expected, Tsukune manages to accidentally unleash Dark Moka, who isn’t under Koutarou’s spell and doing a combo with Kokoa, kick that batty’s butt before he turned back to his chibi self. Haha, finally the narrator himself got his ass kicked. So how did Ko-chan turned into a hot human? Why is he doing this? Dunno. With everyone free from the spell, Kokoa still refuses to acknowledge sissy Moka as her sister although the Dark Moka says that it’s the pink haired one she should be thankful.
 
I don’t know how but Kyouko manages to sneak into Youkai Academy to investigate her suspicions in episode 11. She bumps into Kokoa and switch parcels. Kokoa in her perpetual quest to win her real sister is shocked to see her parcel as onigiris while Kyouko is stumped by the mirror and a fairy named Lilith in her package. You know that seeing is believing line? Yeah, Kyouko is having a hard time trying to accept all the youkai stuff that she sees and thinks it’s pretty good CG! Since Kyouko wonder why the whole school is like that, Lilith twists her wish into turning every youkai reveal their true form and nature. Ruby goes to inform Tsukune and Moka about how Lilith Mirror has been stolen and is wrecking havoc. Soon all youkais go berserk and Kyouko finds herself as Ririko’s meal until Moka comes to her rescue. Kyouko is still scared and doesn’t trust monsters like her. Then Lilith uses her mirror which causes Moka top split into her 2 personalities. Wow. They are standing side by side now! Dark Moka tells her other self that she is unable to protect Tsukune. Meanwhile Tsukune’s harem girls seem to be horny in their true form but I guess after hearing Tsukune’s words, they are freed from Lilith’s spell. The girls then decide to blindfold themselves so that they won’t fall for Lilith’s spell but can’t see where they’re hitting. Kyouko by now has learned to trust them and gives them exact directions so that for once the quartet (except Moka) gives Lilith their version of high kick and says that trademark motto in Moka’s place. Though Kokoa is thrilled to find her real sister, she is taken away by Ruby for stealing it. However with Lilith power’s gone means Dark Moka will disappear back into Moka. When everything seems to go back to normal (especially the fight over Tsukune), the barrier starts cracking.
 
In order to stop the barrier from breaking further, in episode 12, Moka runs to the control room to find a rosary similar to hers broken. She decide to place her own rosary even if it means Dark Moka will take her place. She sacrifices herself and the barrier is restored. A week has passed (Kyouko has been safely returned to the human world) and in class, we see Dark Moka attending and the funny part is that she tries to fit into her new surroundings and because of her ominous and expressionless ways, it just doesn’t fit. Especially the one whereby Tsukune and Dark Moka try to get lovey-dovey and close to each other. Moka-san, Tsukune, Moka-san, Tsukune… So out of place! Because of that, Tsukune starts spacing out and depressed as the other girls notice this. I thought he prefer Dark Moka? So he now prefers the air-head one? Even Dark Moka tells him that this is her true self and that the one that he usually knows isn’t returning. But Kokoa is sure a happy girl now. Another development is that, Tsurara and Ageha appear once more to announce how their respective daughters are to wed Tsukune. Like they’ve got his permission. Yeah, better start finding him. Even Yukari’s dialogue-less mom enters the fray. That night, Ruby informs Tsukune a secret which she shouldn’t reveal, about trying to contact 1 of the 3 founders of the academy to recreate the rosary, seeing that Moka’s one and the one in the control room are the same. Tsukune is determined to travel the distance to the north, even if it kills him. Finally, Kokoa decides to follow Tsukune and stop him with his whatever plans.
 
Tsukune arrives at the castle in episode 13 but encounters Ko-chan and his clones. Tsukune manages to fend them off with his scary eyes. Then it’s Tsurara and her snow servants who wants him to be wedded with her daughter but Mizore decides to fight back thinking she prefers a fair fight with Moka to be his legal wife. With the aid of Yukari, Tsukune goes further but comes up to a half completed bridge. It’s Ageha’s turn to take him away but Kurumu too had the same idea and after dropping him off at the castle’s door, she continues her fight with mummy. Before Tsukune enters the main room, he is surprised to see Kokoa who tells him the person he is seeking for is her dad, which is also Moka’s, and that he hates humans and will be killed. But Tsukune thanks her for worrying about him, making her fluster. As he enters the chamber, Moka’s dad instantly throws him back with his super force. He is upset a filthy human managed to remove the rosary. We find out the reason he created another Moka was to make her acceptable in the human’s world and thinks Tsukune has taken advantage of that and turned her into his love slave. Even after several blasting, Tsukune disagrees and since he has Moka’s vampire blood, his strong determination emits a strong aura in which a short power battle ensues. But in the end it’s daddy who is still stronger. To Tsukune’s surprise, he sees Dark Moka coming in from the door as she says how daddy’s just acting because he could’ve taken his life at first strike. Daddy is surprised to see Tsukune had snatched the rosary from his hands and Dark Moka says that Tsukune has won. With that, he leaves the rosary in Tsukune’s hands but warns him that he didn’t give his daughter for nothing. As he disappears, the castle starts to crumble because as Ko-chan says, because he’s such a powerful character.
 
In the aftermath, we see the girls reunited and since Tsukune mention that he still can’t decide on which of them, Dark Moka gets pissed and thinks he wants them all! Uh huh. She gives him a taste of her high kick and "Know your place" motto. Yeah, the harem guy gets it in the end too. She does a Capuchuu before reverting back to the other Moka. Tsukune is happy to see this Moka again as they hug and soon another Capuchuu. The other girls decide to let this go for today but that Capuchuu was awfully long. Yeah, so I guess the harem battle starts now! Nekonome and Ruby then arrive in the bus to pick them up (looks like they have tied up Ageha, Tsurara and her servants. Still feuding, I’d say) as they head back to Youkai Academy. As Kokoa is left behind and mentions about Tsukune’s temporary happiness before she gets her real sister back, her dad appears right behind her and starts spanking her for causing all this ruckus. Haha, her butt is so red. Everyone parties back at the academy and I think Kokoa didn’t learn her lesson because she steals Lilith Mirror again and… Ah well, here we go again.
 
So far it has been a fun ride from start to finish. It’s nice to see Tsukune is happily reunited with his harem. With the usual quartet, I’m sure he has his hands full. An air-head vampire, a seductive succubus, a cool stalker and a loli witch. Then again, perhaps I should’ve included multi-tasking Ruby and Kokoa could’ve been in it too if not for her love for her real sis. There’s potential, you know. Don’t count out Kyouko too because though she is his cousin, there are signs that indicate so even if they were just excuses to protect Tsukune. Hey, that counts too, right? And don’t forget Dark Moka too. They are too different people and she did say not to make her wait long. What about Kurumu and Mizore’s moms? Ah, the list keep growing if you just think about it. With Tsukune’s supernatural harem, are they trying to subtly say that humans are the ultimate love being? But he’s going to lose more blood than just nosebleeds. Maybe if there is going to be a sequel, Tsukune could add more supernatural creatures to his harem. Say, zombie or werewolf?
 
Speaking of the fanservice here, it is so mind numbing. But thankfully they are in the name of comedy as I find myself laughing most of the time. I kept wondering why the academy’s skirt is so short that a slight wind or change in angle one can actually have a peek what’s underneath. Don’t tell me the academy is trying to emulate the pervy side of humans too? On another matter, I think nearly every main and supporting characters have their butts kicked by Moka. Good thing is most of them learnt their lesson and realized their place. I certainly don’t want to have mine meeting the same fate.
 
The drawing, art and animation of this series is of high quality and top notch. For instance if you notice the background such as the leafless and withered trees or the sky, you will notice how well the detail it has been given too. The voice acting too is excellent especially versatile Nana Mizuki who exceptionally did different voices for both Mokas. Her squeaky gentle high pitched voice reminds me of Kotoko of Itazura Na Kiss and Hinata of Naruto while her more lower and assertive voice a little like Touma of Minami-ke. But the most surprising seiyuu is Rie Kugimiya who voices Mizore. I couldn’t have guessed it’s her voice because I’m so used to her tsundere loli kind. Reminds me of the time she did Hotaru of Gakuen Alice and Al in Fullmetal Alchemist. I thought Natsuko Kuwatani does Yukari because of her "Desu" lines but it’s Kimiko Koyama (Uzuki in Happy Lesson series) that does this loli. Other stunning casts include Misato Fuken as Kurumu (Yami in To Love-Ru), Saeko Chiba as Ruby (Dokuro in Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan), Daisuke Kishio as Tsukune (Suginami of Da Capo series), Kikuko Inoue as Nekonome (Belldandy of Aa! Megamisama), Tomokazu Seki as Gin (Sagara of Full Metal Panic), Takehito Koyasu as Ko-chan (Kururu in Keroro Gunsou) and Chiwa Saito as Kokoa (Kirie in Girls Bravo).
 
Nana Mizuki sings all the opening and ending themes for both seasons. The 1st opening theme is Cosmic Love and sounds very lively and upbeat while the 2nd opening theme is Discotheque which sounds so disco-like. The animation here has Tsukune’s 5 harem ladies and Kokoa in sexy disco outfits doing a disco dance. The 1st ending theme is Dancing In The Velvet Moon with Nana Mizuki doing powerful vocals of the piece and the animation here has more fanservice on Dark Moka among all the opening and ending animation (close to naked?). The 2nd ending theme is Trinity Cross and sounds more dramatic. There are various insert songs sung by the female seiyuus too. Some are fast while some are slow. Not to mention that there are a variety of BGMs ranging from dramatic to exciting battle themes to just plain fun. Then there’s one which annoyingly goes "Paya paya, paya paya" but it’s catchy and funny.
 
On a trivial note, each of the episode title has "~and a vampire" in it. For the 1st season, the next episode preview shows the gradual luminance of a girl’s plaid skirt, dangerously fluttering threatening to reveal what is underneath them. In the 2nd season, we see 2 girls violently shaking their butts before banging them both together. Fanservice till the end? The mid-intermission is mainly on both Mokas, the 2nd season one feels a bit like a video game, the way the animation design, as we see the girls running away from insane Kokoa trying to bludgeon them all.
 
Well if they ever make a sequel out of this, I’m sure I’ll watch it because I’m curious to see what antics the gang are up to and the ladies will fight over Tsukune’s attention. That is surely a must in harem genres. Plus, there are some developments which may produce another season such as Moka’s other 2 elder sisters, though they are just briefly mentioned. So I’m thinking if vampires were such hot and pretty looking creatures like Moka, heck I don’t mind getting bitten in the neck every night. To take and edit a quote from a superhero movie: "With great harem comes great responsibility!". So true. And a Capuchuu for you!
 

Rosario To Vampire

God. When one mentions that in the world of anime, the first image that conjures up is that quirky girl Haruhi of the equally weird series Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. So popular that show is so much so that there is a cult following called Haruhism for staunch believers and lovers of her. But this blog isn’t about her nor that said series but another anime show which involves a God-like character. This time it is Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens.
 
From the title, it may sound like a comedy series. Well, it is a little. Don’t forget the little drama and romance too. Don’t worry if you’re a pious or religious person because it’s not like you’re going to change your faith after watching this nor there is any mockery of any other religions. Hey, if you’re a totally devout and religious person, what the heck are you watching animes for anyway? Unless your religion is otakuism. Just like me. Hehe. Just kidding.
 
So let’s drop into the story as seen in episode 1, our main male protagonist, Jin Mikuriya. Your normal high school kid with parents working away so he’s always home alone. Ah, the usual setting so that adults don’t get in the way of whatever their kids do. When he was young, he spotted a spider on a tree and caught it. Before he knows it, some goddess appears behind him smiling and in a gust of wind, she disappears along with the spider. In present time, Jin is carving a goddess sculpture from a wood believed to be from a sacred tree for an exhibition. To his surprise, the wooden sculpture suddenly bursts and a young girl, Nagi, materializes from it. Well, it’s better than an angel dropping from the sky onto one’s feet. Nagi claims that she is the guardian of a sacred tree but when she finds out that Jin used that wood to carve her out, she beats him up. Divine retribution? To add to her despair, the sacred tree at a nearby shrine has been cut down. But I guess even if trying to put the wood to good use instead of wastefully burning it away isn’t a good reason.
 
Nagi soon finds impurities in the form of a centipede and believes humans aren’t able to touch it. But when Jin just picks it up and tosses it away, this incurs him another wrath of Nagi. "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU?!". You know for a God, she sure beats up people that easily. The duo return back to the house and the weird part is that while watching a mahou shoujo TV programme, Nagi gets an idea to purify the impurities. Yeah, she buys a magical wand to purify them! Is she turning into a mahou shoujo God-style? Well, she seems to take an interest in that show. But I’m not sure if the wand really works because when they return to the shrine to purify the impurities, it did work. With her hopes renewed, Nagi decides to stay at Jin’s place (more like freeloading if you look at it in a way) to help purify future impurities. So the rest of the episode sees Jin reluctantly trying to fit Nagi to live in his home. Like buying clothes for her, giving her some taiyaki to eat, teaching her about current modern technologies and such. Since it is odd for a girl to be living with him (even if she’s God), he tries to hide this fact from his childhood friend, Tsugumi Aoba, when she calls him that night. Since Jin was taking a bath and didn’t want Nagi to answer any phone call (in which she did), Jin had to run out only clad in a towel to do so. Haha. Then later that night, when Jin hears the flush of the toilet, Jin thinks how even God needs to use the toilet. Ironic. Well, she materializes in the form of a human, right?
 
One thing viewers will notice is that instead of the omniscient God that she is supposed to be, Nagi is quite naive and blur about the human modern technology. It gives an impression that she’s like a country bumpkin. Furthermore, she treats Jin like a slave albeit just bossing him around, and her childish character makes you wonder is she really God. Some kind of God she is.
 
In episode 2, Nagi breaks her wand and Jin just gave her a glue to glue it back. Outside the house, Nagi stumbles upon abandoned kittens and wants to take them in but Jin disagrees. After Jin returns from some errands, he finds the wand stuck upright to the table and is pissed that Nagi didn’t listen to his advice of using a newspaper and lectures her about washing her own panties when Tsugumi makes a surprise visit (haha, caught seeing Jin holding up a pair in his hands!). The girls sat down and chat and we learn that Jin’s dad has entrusted Tsugumi to look after his son. You can see that Tsugumi has a crush on Jin but she’s too shy to admit it. Aiyah. So irritating. Anyway, we also learn that Nagi is a smooth talker and a liar because she coolly tells Tsugumi that she is Jin’s relative to dispel any misconception about them living together. Since when did God learn to lie? But Tsugumi actually believes her! Woah. The power of God’s words. When Tsugumi leaves, Jin learns that Nagi has a split personality. This gentle side tells him her other side doesn’t know about this. Oh, now God has 2 personalities, eh? As Jin decides to get a glue remover, he learns that Nagi has been deceiving him on how the wand got stuck on the table and blows his top.
 
That evening when Jin is walking home, he spots a dead mother cat and rushes back only to find Nagi absorbing the kittens into her body since they too died. Nagi soon collapses. Jin takes her in to rest and fixes her wand back. When Nagi comes to, Jin asks about the kittens and since Nagi refuses to tell him, they both got into an argument in which Jin throws her out of his house. With nowhere to go, Nagi spots several kids playing at the shrine and notices one of them with impurities on his shoulder and his behaviour seems to be negative too. While the kids think she is some sort of weirdo and fraud, Nagi tries to purify it but it bounces off and fuses with a ball (one of the many toys of those kids). She follows it to a tunnel whereby she gets attacked by it in that small enclosure. Luckily Jin shows up in time to save her and carries her back. Though he is still upset, but he’s used to it and I guess this means Nagi is allowed to live back in his place. Meanwhile the kids think Nagi won’t be returning their ball but that negative kid starts feeling better.
 
In episode 3, we are introduced to the other members of Jin’s art club members of the private high school he attends. We have the president Takako Kimura who has weird fetishes and fantasies apart from teasing other male members in her club. Her other partner is Shino Oukouchi, the vice president but unlike Takako’s loudmouth behaviour, she is more gentle and observant even if she shares the same interests with Takako’s weird fetishes. Then there’s the big and ‘slow’ guy, Daitetsu Hibiki and the knowledgeable otaku freak Meguru Akiba (though he claims he is of another class. What’s the difference?). In this episode, we see Takako and Shino commenting and screwing with the guys like giving Jin a nickname, "Too Pure-pure Boy". Takako has the guys and Tsugumi (also part of the art club) to go clean the old storeroom, rumoured to be haunted. Supposedly some boy who died when he fell into the trapdoor. But when the gang hears the trapdoor banging, they start to panic and rush out. Jin noticed an impurity at the storeroom and decides not to tell Nagi about it. Due to his suspicious behaviour, Nagi gets him to spill the beans, then borrows a spare school uniform from Tsugumi and infiltrates the school. Actually Tsugumi was too ‘fat’ to wear that one after gaining a little weight.
 
I guess with Nagi’s appearance, Jin has no choice but to reluctantly introduce her to the rest of his art club members. What is this? Nagi says that she has someone else she loves? I mean, Tsugumi still wonders about the relative relationship thingy and has a flashback about earlier this morning when Nagi visited her in her room and there’s a slight yuri moment whereby Nagi in her bra got on top of Tsugumi! That teasing was enough to make innocent Tsugumi panic and that smirk on Nagi’s face has her know that Tsugumi has a crush on Jin as she sees nothing more than a child in that guy. Well Tsugumi, this is your chance. Try your best. Fight on! Anyway the gang enters the storeroom and when the door behind them shuts. Then the haunted knocking of the trapdoor as Nagi opens it only to her disappointment of seeing a ghost, finds an old man emerging instead. Who is he? He is Dokusasori and is the art club’s advisor. Uh huh. All this is part of Takako and Shino’s plan to introduce them to him. Yeah, he’s using the studio below as his work place. Nagi is upset about this prank and rushes out. She spots a nearby church and enters it only to find a girl in a nun outfit (why is her skirt damn short?!) easily crushing the impurity. Nagi recognizes as her sister, Zange. Oh, so now God has a sibling, eh?
 
In episode 4, we see this ever growing popular Zange sister going around with a signboard that she accepts confessions at a price of 100 Yen. I can see why many men are lining up and who’d want to pass a chance to be forgiven by a cute girl. Back at Jin’s home, Nagi says how she will soon completely lose her powers once the sacred tree completely disappears. Thus she decides to be an idol to increase her powers. God an idol? Now can you beat that? That night as Jin is returning home, he spots several thugs harassing Zange in an alley. Jin knows he can’t be a hero so he decides to leave but as fate and script says a young boy must never leave a damsel in distress, the thugs spot him and with sheer luck, he manages to fend them off and escape with Zange (God is by his side!). When they’re safe, Zange decides to hear his confession as gratitude for saving her and just before parting, Zange licks his face when spots a cut in his cheek! To add further to his shock, Zange says how she is interested in him. This guy is pulling in the Gods, man!
 
When Jin returns home, he and Nagi once again see Zange becoming more popular on TV. Nagi explains to Jin that Zange is her sister and says that there were 2 sacred trees in this city. Meanwhile Zange is in a church and is talking to herself about how she has taken over the body of this person, Hakua Suzushiro. The next day, Nagi and Jin go over to a church, supposedly where the other sacred tree is located and though Jin said that it’s impossible for a land to have 2 Gods, Nagi explains that back in those days, the land was vast and there wasn’t any bridges to connect the land divided by a river so 2 sacred trees were planted on both sides. Over time, both Gods of sacred trees developed differently. However Nagi is suspicious what kind of vessel did Zange materialize since the sacred tree at the church is still intact. Then at school, as Nagi continues to ponder, she is shocked to see Zange in school and her pals refer to her as Hakua. Later Nagi meets Zange in the gym room, and we see Zange getting nasty and overpowering Nagi while teasing her (reminds us of what Haruhi did to Asahina. Yuri!). Nagi confirms that Zange has possessed Hakua’s body as a vessel to appear in this world. Then Jin accidentally comes in to see the duo in a compromising position and his shock just close the door and walk away. That night at Jin’s house while they’re discussing about Zange, Tsugumi comes in and is horrified with the kind of food they’re eating and tries to cook for them. The door rings and to their surprise it is Zange who announces that she’ll be staying here. Aha. Now Nagi has a rival real close. Keep enemies closer…
 
In episode 5, Zange tries to get close and lovey-dovey with Jin. Surely not going down well with the rest. So a challenge to decide everything. The one who cooks the best meal for Jin wins. It seems Zange is having trouble cooking because Hakua doesn’t know how to do so and in addition Hakua, who still has a little ‘freedom’, seems to disagree of playing dirty. And though Nagi seems to be doing perfectly fine, her tasting skills suck! No winner in the end. At school Jin finds that Nagi has become a popular idol and there is a dedicated website for her! Yeah, Takako is a member too. Not only that, Nagi is also part of the art club. Wait a minute? She’s not even a student of this school. Ah heck, she’s popular and that’s what counts. With her increasing popularity, Nagi also notices her increase in powers and thinks she can purify impurities without Jin’s help. Zange on the other hand isn’t too fond upon finding out Nagi’s fansite. So she confronts Nagi and threatens to blow her cover but Nagi counters her that she too will be dragged into it if she whistle-blows. Zange quickly leaves when a teacher, Reiri Suzushiro spots them. But he questions Nagi and that causes the entire school to panic when Nagi has been ‘taken hostage’. Wow. It’s like a big thing. During Nagi’s interrogation with a teacher, she hears all the students expressing their support for her release. She powers up as her wand shines really bright and unintentionally revealing that teacher’s bald spot.
 
Soon Nagi becomes a fellow student of the school, much to everyone’s joy. Jin learns that Suzushiro is Hakua’s dad and a religious teacher. A flashback during when he questioned Nagi back then when he told her how he knew her daughter was being possessed and after knowing that Nagi and the one who possessed his daughter isn’t evil, Suzushiro makes a deal with Nagi that he will make preparations for her to enter this school as a legitimate student in exchange she will free Hakua. That night while on their way to buy groceries, the path was too dark so Nagi decides to use her new light power of her wand as a torchlight to light the way but encounters Zange who wants to treat Jin to a feast and proceeds to get close with him. The sisters get involved in a squabble and I’m not sure what Nagi’s Volt Lighter move is above except it’s shining real brightly.
 
In episode 6, Tsugumi is thrilled to get a call from Jin to go out shopping with her but is disappointed that it’s a setup go shopping with Nagi instead. We see Nagi not knowing the real value of money as she got 10,000 Yen from Jin to spend and thinks it’s big. Yeah, Nagi thinks Jin has tricked her as she can’t even buy a cheap purse! Welcome to the real world. Everything is bloody expensive. Then the girls try on some lingerie and we see Nagi has small boobs inferiority complex but ends up buying one 4 times her size! Due to the lack of money, the girls decide to take up a part time job. At the art club, Takako decides to bring her members to a maid cafe because she wants to stare freely at girls in cosplay outfit (this is also okay with her, eh?). At the cafe, the gang are being served by an awfully familiar cosplay waitress in white. It’s Nagi! Jin can’t believe his eyes and when Nagi realizes it, she runs away to hide herself in embarrassment. Tsugumi soon finds out about Jin’s presence and starts to panic. But the girls are being pushed out by their manager who wants them to continue working. Soon all the otaku geeks start swarming and taking pictures of the duo. Nagi becomes more moe with her clumsiness although she’s not acting. Tsugumi notices Jin’s eyes fixated on Nagi and bangs her head on the wall in ‘defeat’! At the same time, Zange learns from the internet that Nagi has taken a part time job and decides to do one herself so as not to lose to her.
 
Takako then calls Nagi over so that Jin could take a closer look at her. With both being embarrassed and too close to each other, Nagi apologizes and hopes Jin won’t kick her out of his house. By that time, Jin starts to panic and with his face fully red in embarrassment, shouts out loud how he thinks she is cute in those outfit. Nagi turns red herself. Once Jin and the gang leaves, we see Jin still not over his embarrassment and probably in misery over what he said. His body language is so obvious. No wonder Takako teases him Too Pure-pure Boy. While Tsugumi seems depressed while cleaning the table, Nagi chases after Jin and says she’ll quit if Jin doesn’t approve of her part time job. Though he denies, Jin mentions how he doesn’t like other guys taking photos of her. With that, Nagi decides to quit. Meanwhile, Zange is ready to start her part time job at the place where Nagi was working but is horrified to learn that Nagi has quit and wants out. However the manager tells her she got the job because Nagi quit and she can’t back out now because he’s tired of cute girls quitting. Beware his scary manly aura! Haha, now she has no choice but to go through this hell. Ganbaru ne, Zange-chan, the new attraction!
 
Nagi has confined herself in her closet and mad towards Jin in episode 7. She better come out soon because Jin’s adult magazines are in there! Too late, Nagi is going through them. Because she’s not listening to Jin, I guess that guy has to call Tsugumi over to help persuade her out. Since that’s not happening too, soon all the usual gang comes by to try and convince Nagi to come out. This includes Zange taking advantage trying to really get lovey-dovey with Jin by really pinning him down causing Tsugumi to panic and Jin eventually passing out after too much shock, Takako and Shino arriving with their real intention to see Nagi in some home cosplay outfit, and even Daitetsu rushing in about some misunderstanding. However they all fail to draw stubborn Nagi out with their outrageous plans. Then Nagi freaks out to find a cockroach in the closet and during the frenzy, the cockroach lands on Daitetsu’s head before escaping outside. Finally Akiba arrives (earlier Jin called him for help) and it’s a feeling of the advent of a saviour as they both embrace. So we find out why Nagi is so pissed on Jin was because Jin recorded a show on a tape he thought Nagi would like. However, he taped over an anime which Nagi has yet to watch. WTF?! That’s the reason for God to get upset?! So the thing which Jin hoped for Akiba to bring was a video copy of that anime. Unfortunately, it’s a blu-ray disc. Yeah, Nagi don’t know what is that. Akiba soon takes out a video tape after foreseeing this problem. However it’s a beta not a VHS. What’s that? Akiba says "It’s a Sony". When everyone leaves, Jin apologizes with his heart but later finds Nagi already out of the closet and just coming back from the toilet and ready to reconcile with him. So it’s over? We see that the so called anime is some typical mahou shoujo series with the loli fighting villains to save the world while trying to live a normal school life (the bad quality is part of the show) and I think Nagi even wonders that’s all to it.
 
Daitetsu temporarily takes shelter in Jin’s home on a rainy day in episode 8 because he forgot to bring his keys and his ways of getting in has his neighbours think he’s a robber. During his stay, Daitetsu observes Jin and Nagi’s interactions and wonders about their relationship. This causes him to fantasize about several situations in which all ends up as forbidden siblings love. Daitetsu drags Jin to have a private chat with him and asks him what he thinks of Nagi (their position may lead to a yaoi misunderstanding!) when Nagi intercepts. Daitetsu continues to observe them and notices Nagi’s bossiness and concludes that Jin is secretly being tortured by S&M Nagi! Jin and Nagi notices Daitetsu’s uneasy behaviour and try to act like siblings but their plan backfires. Daitetsu wants to know that the wood he gave to Jin to carve, was it Nagi as his model. They mistaken as Nagi’s true cover is blown but Daitetsu doesn’t understand all that God thingy so Jin apologizes for wasting the wood he gave. Upon learning that Daitetsu was the one who stole the sacred wood, she beats him up even though Daitetsu says he was stealing it to prevent it from being burnt. But Nagi disagrees and says that should’ve been a proper cleansing ritual. Nagi threatens him and it’s like she’s putting a curse on him.
 
Daitetsu has nightmares on Nagi’s words. He can’t take it anymore as he rushes out of the house into the stormy rain. Jin was just fixing the electricity outage when he spots Daitetsu. He wonders if this is another one of Nagi’s pranks as he goes to see her in her room but she isn’t there. Daitetsu arrives at the shrine and starts apologizing profusely and begs for forgiveness. A lightning strikes and blows Daitetsu offs his feet. The gentle version of Nagi appears before him saying he need not worry about such trivial things before collapsing onto shock Daitetsu. The next day as they head to school, Nagi doesn’t remember what happened last night and since Jin thinks Nagi is hiding something from him, they broke into another argument. Though he bumps into Daitetsu along the way, he too says he is unable to explain what happened. Daitetsu thinks deep about Nagi throughout school period and thinks Jin is in some sort of trouble and vows to protect him from that evil woman. He then sees Nagi in the art club room and prepares himself in a fighting stance. Meanwhile, Tsugumi tells Takako and Shino how she overheard something between Jin and Daitetsu and Takako thinks some yaoi development is going on when they enter their club room to see a Nagi-Daitetsu stand-off in their fighting stance. Such a tense atmosphere. Who’s going to make the first move? Ding! Ding! Round 1…
 
In episode 9, the gang are trying to figure out what happened between Daitetsu and Nagi. Tsugumi’s worrisome and blurting out loud about the gay possibility between Jin and Daitetsu which causes the rumour to spread like wildfire has made herself feel a little guilty. I can’t believe that there are other guys who are in love with Daitetsu! I mean, Jin received some letter about it… This is even confirmed on Nagi’s fansite. So a friend of Tsugumi has her to reluctantly see Zange, who suggests that Jin gets a girlfriend to quell this gay rumour. Zange suggests that she be Jin’s girlfriend after seeing Tsugumi hesitate but causes the latter to be alarmed. Later as Tsugumi visits Jin’s home and thinking he’s not home, accidentally caught a full view of him naked when she enters the toilet to dry her soaked clothes. After settling down, Nagi and Tsugumi talk embarrassing things about Jin and Zange soon joins them. This includes a photo album whereby little Jin is totally naked! Jin snatches the album from their hands. Tsugumi explains that Jin was a delinquent during his middle school years. Jin brings Tsugumi out before she could say anything more. Zange interrupts by suggesting Jin picking one of them as their girlfriend to quell the gay rumours but he refused. In the room alone with Tsugumi (Nagi and Zange eavesdropping of course), Jin apologizes for the troubles he has caused her during middle school days and this causes Tsugumi to feel touched because he’s always being bothered by it. But when Jin finds out that she was the one who started the rumour, he blows his top. Zange continues to pester on Jin’s girlfriend choice and as Jin is going to mention Tsugumi’s name, Nagi cuts him off saying that he doesn’t have to choose between them. Next day at school, Tsugumi and Zange are fighting over to feed Jin with their bento as the crowd watches with snickering Nagi watching from afar. How embarrassing. Even Daitetsu is shocked with the turn of the events. In the end, the rumours didn’t dispel but it gotten worse. Yeah, now they think Jin is a flirt too.
 
The usual gang goes for a karaoke outing in episode 10. To see who sings first, everyone plays rock-scissors-paper. We can see some hidden talents and some which should stay away from even thinking of becoming an idol. Like first up is Tsugumi who’s singing is pretty decent for a decent song and then the most surprising one of the package is Daitetsu. My, that guy can actually belt out a good voice! While Tsugumi is annoyed Zange is trying to get close to Jin, Jin gets up an excuse himself to the toilet. During his absence, Akiba sings some normal anime song. When Jin comes back, the funny thing is that he entered the wrong room. Cameo appearance of the Lucky Star quartet! Hahaha! Oh the parody cross-over! Jin makes it back in time for his turn and though initially nervous, his singing seems okay until a waitress comes in and he gets embarrassed and his singing becomes softer and shy-er. Embarrassed, Jin retreats to the toilet again. He gets some words of comfort from Daitetsu and Jin feels at ease. They return to find it’s Nagi’s turn to sing some bean commercial song. Weird. Then Akiba challenges Takako to sing and the weird part is that although her singing is good, her karaoke display is quite horrible and that everyone can’t seem to avert their eyes away from watching her. It’s like she’s both good and bad. Zange is jealous because she thinks as the last player, she should steal the show. So Zange sings a cute song but in a talentless way. Moe? When Takako decides the next round to be a duet, Tsugumi wants to pair up with Jin but that guy quickly requests for Daitetsu to be his partner. Uh huh. Gay rumours, remember… At the end of the day as everyone leaves, they realized that Shino hasn’t sung yet. But Takako warns them that if Shino sings, her eyes will open. Is that a bad thing? I don’t know what they saw because the episode ends in a cliff-hanger when Shino opens her eyes to show the shivering gang whatever it was. Some things are better left unknown.
 
In episode 11, because Nagi is still obsessed with the mahou shoujo series, she wants Jin to upgrade her wand. Like that will help. They spot Zange on TV trying to promote her debut CD and soon Jin gets a stalker call from one of Zange’s obsessed fans. He slams the phone down and soon gets another similar call but this one is from one of Daitetsu admirers! Damn. Next day at school, Nagi tries to chase an impurity in the form of a butterfly to the boy’s toilet but crashes into Jin. He then manages to catch the butterfly but loses balance and falls out of the window. Because of his injuries, rumours about Jin in a love square (that’s right, not a triangle) surfaces and this doesn’t help when Daitetsu approaches him to stay away from Nagi. Oh the misunderstandings. Later, Jin has a chat with Nagi outside and wants to know about her true intentions (which is to purify impurities lah). But as he questions further (like why impurities are only appearing in this city), all Nagi replied was she wasn’t sure, causing Jin to lose his cool. Nagi too gets angry and yells back at him for questioning God. Jin continues to yell back to her to think but this time he crossed the line because Nagi runs away in tears as she zooms pass Tsugumi. Jin goes to talk to Suzushiro about Nagi proclaiming herself to be God. I don’t remember nor understand Suzushiro’s explanation but all I can conclude is that Suzushiro thinks that Nagi is playing God to achieve her own means or a lowly spirit who falsely believes that she is God. Because Nagi proclaims herself as one, doesn’t mean Jin has to believe it totally and wants him to investigate further for concrete evidence. Meanwhile Nagi is seen sitting dejected alone on the school rooftop wondering about things and why Jin is being an idiot among others. She becomes despair upon not knowing who she really is. On the other hand, Jin tries to investigate the lore in the library but only finds lots of uncertainties. To his surprise, the recent borrower of that book is Nagi. As the rain becomes heavier, Nagi is nowhere to be seen except her want wand lying at that spot.
 
In episode 12, after Daitetsu gives Jin Nagi’s wand that he found on the rooftop, Jin continues his investigation to an address of an old couple suggested by Suzushiro. Though his findings isn’t much because the main records of the Kannagi shrine has been destroyed by a fire many years ago, the grandma did mention how the goddess saved people from hanging themselves. That night, Zange is being harassed by 3 thugs thinking they could bully a cute girl like her. But Zange shows that she’s no push-over because she kicks ass! Oh yeah! Show those bullies never to judge a book by its cover with those cool moves. The trio retreats in fear. Jin saw everything and he himself is shivering in fear and thinks he shouldn’t have saved her back then as she is self sufficient. Jin then asks Zange about the goddess thingy but she too didn’t reveal anything and says it’s a secret. When Jin goes back, he finds Nagi not at home and a written letter from her apologizing that she had lied. Gosh. He waits for her but she never showed up. He even begins to wonder if Nagi existed in the first place. Because of that, Jin is feeling very down and this is pretty obvious at class. Even Tsugumi notices this and asks him if there’s anything troubling him but he just ignored her. Jin requests to be excused from art club activities and this causes the rest to think that he may be having relationship problems with Nagi. Just stop with the fantasies already, Takako. As it continues to rain, Jin goes in search of Nagi on his bicycle throughout the city but his efforts are futile. He goes back home hoping that Nagi would call him but gets a call from Tsugumi instead, which he didn’t pick up. Jin gets more depressed the next day and this time when Tsugumi snaps him out and asks what happened with Nagi, Jin replies that Nagi may never be coming back.
 
We see Nagi taking refuge at the home of an old couple that Jin went to seek answers about the shrine in episode 13. Meanwhile Jin continues to be gloomy and spaces out while telling Tsugumi to butt out since all this is none of her business. Even Takako and Shino sensed something amiss but thinking that it is some sibling problem, it’s better not to get involved. Later Tsugumi goes to try to talk to Jin again and once she finds out the real reason of Nagi’s departure, she lectures him properly. It was enough to make him open his eyes and rush to look for Nagi. With the help of Nagi’s online forum board, Tsugumi relays information of Nagi’s whereabouts. During his search, Jin reflects on Suzushiro’s words about Nagi being God but he doesn’t mind because he thinks it has been fun. Jin finally finds her standing at a riverbank and confronts her. He tells her he doesn’t care about all that crap about her not knowing anything because he believes that she is God! Oh dear, Haruhi fans will get upset. Furthermore, he remembers meeting her while he was a child and thus held those memories close to his heart. Nagi starts to break down and says that she thinks she is God but can’t substantiate it. God crying? It’s heart wrenching to see her cry her heart out like that.
 
The duo are then confronted by a young lady in a kimono, Shige. As she shows them about the surroundings, she also tells them how she hung herself. Is she a ghost?! When her husband left for war back then, she was left with a child during those hard times and decides to take her life. However she didn’t die because she believed the goddess saved her. Shige bids farewell to Nagi and it’s confirm that she’s a ghost. Remember that grandma Jin visited earlier on in the previous episode? Yup, that’s her. Just recently departed. Hard to believe all this is happening, eh? As a funeral procession is held for Shige’s departure, Nagi once again questions herself to be called God (Haruhi fans know the answer very much already) but Jin assures her that they’ll look for whatever answers together. As they both head home, they replayed several heart warming messages from their friends that they left on Jin’s phone. Nagi gets her self-confidence back and decides to go apologize to everyone at school tomorrow. As Nagi decides to go take a bath, she thanks Jin, which causes him to blush. Having naughty thoughts, eh?. Jin turns on the TV to distract himself from those impure thoughts and we see Zange promoting her CD album debut. Her singing sounds so horrible that she won’t be at Simon Cowell’s mercy. Not even a bit. When Nagi finishes, she finds that she has forgotten to bring some clothes and decides to dash out to get some. As expected, she bumps into Jin and in their awkwardness, collided, and has Jin on top of her. Now, how’s that for a mere mortal to be on top of Almighty semi-nude. I think Jin was trying to confess that he likes her when all in good (or bad) timing, Tsugumi drops by after hearing how Nagi has returned. Uh huh. More misunderstandings. She may be thinking he’s more into incest than for a childhood friend. You can see that I-can’t-believe-it and going-crazy look in her eyes! Tsugumi runs out in tears and before Jin can quell all that, Nagi knocks him out on the head with a frying pan for getting a free glimpse at her. Ouch. Ah, back to normal.
 
Unfortunately, I didn’t find the ending to be satisfying. As usual, I felt it could have been done a little better. In my opinion, this series started out great and probably that’s where I built my expectations as each episode goes by, even if they are just random funny fillers, especially those episodes in the middle of the series. Then with the climax having Jin and Nagi’s quarrel taken to a whole new level, it was like all that excitement and hope died down because the last few episodes was just focusing on Jin sorting out his feelings and make peace with Nagi. He has to. She’s God, remember? Most of the other characters didn’t do much in the final episode and I was hoping that there would be something on Zange but nope. Nothing much happened. What about Suzushiro’s wish for Nagi to help free Hakua from Zange’s possession? Dunno. But if Zange were to leave Hakua’s body, we won’t be having a cute nun girl which would make Kannagi less attractive, eh?
 
Some of the filler episodes were funny enough especially the one which has rumours that turn Jin into a gay and flirt. I wonder how his reputation will be liked now. Should have had more episodes on this ‘conflict’ and I bet it would be darn funny. Yeah, I thought Zange would play a part in the contest over Jin. Somehow all that fizzled out. Did she figure out that Jin is more inclined towards Nagi? Maybe just like Tsugumi did in the end. And Zange’s hostility towards Nagi? That seemed to fizzle out in the end too. It’s also funny to see Nagi as a God trying to live a normal high school life and speaking of her job to purify impurities, it seems much lesser as the series goes by, doesn’t it? What about her split personality then? How I’d wish more of that was revealed.
 
Initially I thought that this series would turn out to be something like how Nagi turned into an idol worshipped by many fans as seen portrayed in the opening credits animation whereby Nagi sings and dances to the tune of the song. It’s like she’s a pop star idol and the rest of the gang are like her entourage in showbiz and Zange her competitive rival. How sad it didn’t turn out that way since Nagi did mention she needs to become an idol in order to increase her powers.
 
However that scene came closest through the unaired episode 14 which is included in the DVD set and serves as a filler. It all began when Takako and Shino found 100,000 Yen on the road side and for some reasons we all know too well for something perverted, she decides to make a movie with their limited budget even if they are art club members. Zange uses her seductive ways to get Takako’s approval to join the filming. After getting everyone’s idea of what type of movie they like, Takako forces Akiba to come up with a script due to his otaku background. And he does so in 15 minutes! It must be good because you can tell their various dramatic expressions. Soon filming begins and I don’t even know what some alien love triangle plot is all about. Besides their lame Z-grade acting, you can hear Akiba passionately directing while Daitetsu films. Then it started to rain and everyone takes refuge. It must be Takako’s perverted idea to have everyone in their school swimsuits. I don’t know how but they ended up playing retro video games. As usual when Zange and Tsugumi start fighting over Jin, a blackout occurs. Nagi uses her wand’s spotlight and they find a DVD which Akiba borrowed as study material for their film. However it’s passed the expiry date and Takako wants him to return it or else. The storm is not letting so Akiba decides he’s going to be a man and return it no matter what. Jin, Nagi and Daitetsu accompany him while dramatic Takako hopes they’ll come back alive. Out in the storm, a flying signboard hits Daitetsu in the face and knocks him out. Then out of the blue, some flood washes Akiba away not before he toss the DVD to Jin to continue his mission. The storm clears up as Jin and Nagi finally arrive at the store. There is a late penalty payment but neither brought any money. The next day as everyone watches part 1 of their lame fruits of labour while blaming it on their limited budget, Takako now spots a huge bundle of money lying on the road (seriously?!) and thinks part 2 is on.
 
The opening theme, Motto Hade Ni Ne, by Haruka Tomatsu is quite upbeat, catchy and lively. Makes me want to get on my feet and do a little jiggle too. The ending theme, Musuhi No Toki, also by Haruka Tomatsu sounds like a sleepy religious hymn. I mean, it has that soothing sound which makes you want to close your eyes. The ending credits animation shows that sacred tree and at the end of it, random manga sketches of the characters. My favourite voice acting belongs to Risa Hayamizu who voices Takako (Kanae in Skip Beat!, Yukihana in Kanokon). I just love it everytime that girl goes into loud mode and into one of her weird fantasies. Then Haruka Tomatsu also did a good job in making Nagi sound like a selfish spoilt princess at times. If you have watched Lala of To Love-Ru, you can recognize her voice role here which is almost similar. Miyuki Sawashiro who voices Tsugumi caught me by surprise. That lady who did roles like Shinku of Rozen Maiden and Shinkurou of Kurenai, once again to me is unrecognizable until I found out it was her voice then it hit me that it is indeed her. Other casts include Hiro Shimono as Jin (Tadashi in Special A), Kana Hanazawa as Zange (Sora in Mahou Tsukai Ni Taisetsu Na Koto: Natsu No Sora), Mai Nakahara as Shino (Aono of Sola, Nagisa of Clannad), Tetsuya Kakihara as Akiba (Fujioka of Minami-ke series) and Takanori Hoshino as Daitetsu.
 
So people, especially you otakus. Would you consider Nagi to be your next God? Not likely since Haruhi will still remain and will always be God as proclaimed by fans and non-fans alike. No 2 ways around it. And I’m not saying I’m converting to Haruhism nor become a fan of Nagi after this. If anime was a religion, imagine all the craziness and outrageous ideas everyone will have. Oh wait. Doesn’t it seem like that now? Only thing is most of us calls it an extreme hobby/obsession. Religion: Anime. God: Anime (also insert name of anime character that you adore most). Bible: Manga. Prayers: Faithfully watching anime. Sunday Service: Watch more anime. You get the idea. But if Gods like Nagi or Haruhi can look good and provide moe fanservice, heck I’d probably convert straightaway!
 

Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens

Wow. If I didn’t randomly surf around the web, I wouldn’t have found and known about this very short clip. It’s called Azumanga Daioh The Very Short Movie. At first glimpse, hearing the name of the title not only brought back that nostalgic anime series without a plot, I thought it was going to last like about 1 hour or at least 30 minutes.
 
But WTF?! It only lasts nearly 6 minutes! That’s right. You didn’t hear me wrong. It’s only half a dozen minutes. So why on Earth did they call this a very short movie? Besides making a joke out of it, this particular ‘movie’ is actually a promotional teaser trailer shown in cinemas to promote about the upcoming series back in 2002. That seemed like a long time.
 
This short clip starts off with the girl’s quirky English homeroom teacher, Yukari, who seems to be handing out the test results to her students and enjoying mocking those who didn’t do well. Yeah, some teacher she is. Of course when it is Chiyo’s turn, she’s like being sarcastic by saying she doesn’t have anything to worry about. She doesn’t. Yup. Chiyo scores a perfect 100. When jealous Tomo finds out about it, she loudly declares her 31 marks, adding up hers with Osaka’s 42 points and Kagura’s 30 points to give the total Bonklers group a total of 103 marks! Thus beating Chiyo’s score. Haha. I remember these trio formed Bonklers being the least smartest within their group of 6. And because Chiyo isn’t in their Bonklers group, they think they have beaten her. Ah, just let them be.
 
But don’t despair Chiyo. For Yomi praises her and says that there isn’t anything that she can’t do. However Chiyo says that she isn’t good with tongue twisters and tries that famous bus gas explosion line (basu gasu bakuhatsu) and flops. But to Yomi, she still finds her damn cute when her tongue is tied. Meanwhile Sakaki is pondering about her injured hand being bitten by a cat earlier in the day and wonders if it was in a bad mood and thinks she should give it flowers the next time. Remember that Kaorin girl? Yeah, that Sakaki-obsessed-cum-stalker girl? She’s still fantasizing and about being with Sakaki.
 
Later as class continues, Osaka notices Chiyo’s pigtails and tries to touch them. However before she could land her hands on them, they both dropped off! Osaka tries to put it back but it just fell off. Poor Chiyo. Tears start welling up in her eyes before she bursts into her shrieky cry. The class gathers around them and wonder who this little girl is. Yomi tries to pacify her with a lollipop but Yukari shows her cold side by asking Chiyo to go away since she thinks she’s a kindergarten kid. How heartless. Chiyo continues to cry louder. Osaka tries to find her pigtails and when she spots them under the desk, the pigtails leap away and outside the window! Chiyo in her panic too climbs outside the window and slides down to grab her pigtails back. But it’s futile since her pigtails keep bouncing away.
 
Then I don’t know what Osaka is thinking because she came up with a conclusion that in order for Chiyo to find her pigtails, she has crossed the sea of lettuce, traversed the carrot mountains, looked for them in the northern lights and travelled around the world for them. Huh? But it is revealed that Osaka was just having a dream. As she open her eyes in the middle of class, everyone has gathered around her and Yukari doesn’t look to amused. Osaka asks Chiyo if she has found her pigtails and of course she doesn’t know what she is talking about. With that, Osaka thinks everything is wonderful. All’s well, ends well. Huh? I just want to mention that the ending theme of this ‘movie’ sounds a little funny and weird and some of its lines too are a little peculiar. Like "A panda farting". Uh huh.
 
Then there is another shorter clip lasting almost 4 minutes. This time it is called Azumanga Web Daioh. The purpose of this particular web-released trailer was to gauge whether it is plausible to release the series through the internet. Because of the overwhelming response, the producers decided to change their initial plan of a web-based anime adaptation into a TV series instead.
 
In this piece, we see Chiyo bringing a video camera to class for a project. When loose cannon Tomo finds out about it, she snatches it away from her and handles it like a piece of trash. Hey, it’s somebody else’s belongings, you know. Please handle with care. Tomo plays with the camera by zooming in and out of Chiyo to make her look big and small. As she continues filming, Kagura then notices that she is on camera. Tomo tells her to do something flashy. Kagura tries to think hard and in her little panic, gives a spinning kick towards the camera. Argh! Blackout.
 
Luckily the video camera isn’t broken yet and we see Tomo running with it through the hallways as Yomi yells at her not to break it. Tomo reaches the staff room and asks Nyamo where Yukari is. She finds her sleeping at her desk. Yukari suddenly wakes up in her surprise, staring at the camera before shortly falling back asleep again.
 
Finally, the gang puts the video tape inside a box and seals it. Osaka then goes to bury the box underneath a nearby tree and it seems that the video is supposed to be some time capsule for posterity. Once she is done, Osaka walks away when a construction worker places a signboard "Danger! Do Not Enter! From: Waste Management Company" next to the tree. A tractor then starts tearing down the tree and everything in its path. Haha. There goes their time capsule and hard work. But I guess it’s better this way because it would save the future generations from knowing what embarrassing and useless things that have been recorded.
 
Ah well, it certainly does bring back nostalgic memories of the Azumanga Daioh TV series. I guess the promo clips were too short for me and before I know it, it is already over. One thing I noticed about Azumanga Web Daioh is that in this short clip, the voice actresses are totally different from the TV series and ‘movie’. For instance, Ayako Kawasumi voices Osaka as compared to the TV series’ Yuki Matsuoka and Satsuki Yukino as Yomi instead of Rie Tanaka. They just sound different.
 
It’s been awhile that there has been no news about any sequels or whatsoever release for this series. As far as I remember, the TV series did end with the 6 best friends continue to go and hang out together even after graduation. It’s not like I have the urge to go re-watch the TV series again but perhaps when I’m older or there isn’t anymore ‘good’ animes to watch. After all, I can always count on impulsive hyper active Tomo, slow Osaka and one kind Yukari for laughs. Ah, remembering those good ol’ Azumanga Daioh days…
 

Azumanga Daioh