Maria+Holic

September 27, 2009

Dear mother up in Heaven,
 
I’m still thinking whether I should really classify Maria+Holic as a yuri themed anime. Well yes, there are yuri elements but it is not the entire show or the characters, you see. To the unfamiliar, at first the title may indicate something illegal like relating to an alcoholic beverage. I assure you it isn’t so. And having said that there are yuri elements, is it about girls who are totally addicted to immoral stuff to another girl named Maria? Not either.
 
So what is this show really about and where does the yuri element come in? For those who are bent on watching this series, get ready because our main female protagonist, Kanako Miyamae, a sophomore who has successfully enrolled into the all-girls Catholic missionary high school named Ame No Kisaki, is a lesbian herself! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. She has fears of boys and whenever she comes into contact in any of the male species, she breaks out in hives. Just like Yukinari’s case in Girls Bravo, eh? Because of that fear, she develops her love for the female gender and thus her lesbianism. Expect her to go into drooling and fantasy modes while flooding the place with her distasteful nose bleeds. And that is one the main reasons for comedy in this series. So it’s either you’ll love it or hate it. For me, I’m sticking around for the comedy which partly makes the fanservice funny. Hey wait a minute. Isn’t this school a Christian one? Oh, the unholiness…
 
As seen in episode 1, Kanako has just arrived at her new school and it will soon be the start of the new semester. Because the grounds are so huge, it’s understandable she gets lost. Till she spots a maid outfit lady, Matsurika Shinouji. Her first reaction Kanako got from her was being rudely called a sow as large as the Eiffel Tower. Uh huh. Did I mention that Kanako is a little tall for an average girl her age? Matsurika’s ‘master’, Mariya Shidou, notices the ruckus and her friendly personality is so much more different that of Matsurika’s. Of course Kanako gets acquainted with her and thinks she has found her destined one. Dream on. Yeah okay. As a start, Mariya gives Kanako a peck on her cheeks! Now that girl is totally in Heaven. Kanako learns that freshman Mariya is the granddaughter of the previous director of Ame No Kisaki. Mariya soon leaves for her Archery Club activities and promises to give Kanako a tour of the school later. While Kanako is fawning over the recent kiss, she is stumped that her skin has broke into hives. Kanako reaches her dorm and meets the dorm leader only known and wants to be addressed as… God. Don’t want to question or go against God, don’t you? God seems to be a little girl taking care of the dorm’s chores with her trusty doggy partner, Yonakuni. Kanako also meets her roommate and popular 3rd year Drama Club member, Ryuuken Ishima. Oh great. She’s thinking of some great harem already.
 
Kanako goes to look for Mariya at the Archery Club and meets a fellow club member, Yuzuru Inamori. Now this is the most damning sight that Kanako would see. She spots Matsurika trying to put on a corset on struggling Mariya! OMG! Mariya is a boy! Put on the fake boobs too, will ya’! If Mariya is a male, how the heck can she get into an all-girls school? Well, since she is the granddaughter of the previous director, which means he can flex his authority, right? Besides, nobody else knows that Mariya is a boy except Matsurika and recently, Kanako, whose dreams are shattering till they’re disintegrated. And yeah, the usual quarrelling after that. While Kanako is upset about Mariya’s cross-dressing, Mariya shoots back at her for being a homo. The funny thing is that Kanako prefers the term yuri. WTF?! What’s the difference? Kanako threatens to expose Mariya so he rips off Matsurika’s top and sends Kanako into fantasizing and nose bleed frenzy. Yeah, she’s a lesbian whore after all. Mariya lets loose a blood curling scream as this will attract the attention of the nuns who will rush to the scene soon. Faking a rape scenario, who are the nuns going to believe in this case? You’re damn right. Kanako will be expelled if this goes out so she has to keep quiet if she wants to remain in her universe of all-girls Heaven only.
 
She goes back to her dorm hoping to find solace in Ryuuken but to her horror, Mariya has become her new roommate. I guess she has used her powers to move Ryuuken out, eh? The reason being is that Mariya is still suspicious of Kanako ratting her out and decides to stay close her for supervision just in case. Will things get any worse? With the known fact that Mariya is a cross-dressing boy, Kanako has problems sleeping in the same room with him. So she’s in a dilemma whether to have Matsurika sleep with them too (why did she come in from the window?). Mariya then wants Kanako to help choose which sexy nightie to wear for sleep. Should Kanako be disgusted or continue fawning? Besides, Mariya is a sadist and besides her supervision reasons, I guess she loves making life hell for Kanako. Expect constant bickering between them but we know who will come out tops, right? Matsurika who is her personal nanny gets to be by her side 24/7 just because he is the previous director’s granddaughter. Expressionless sounding Matsurika’s rudeness and sarcasm isn’t confined to Kanako alone but sometimes to Mariya himself. And if you think that Kanako will feel repulse everytime she is with Mariya, think again because all Mariya need to do is her cute girly expression and Kanako will still nose bleed. Lesbian indeed. Oh sorry. Yuri. Not only on Mariya but other girls at school too.
 
Episode 2 starts off with yet another Mariya-Kanako bickering. Something about Kanako wanting to change into her school uniform but since Mariya is a boy… So she tries to change under her blanket. So odd… Mariya and Matsurika bring Kanako to meet the latter’s homeroom teacher, Fumi Kumagai. I can’t believe Kanako is into her too. No doubt she looks young and pretty but I guess any girl would do for her. After we learn Kanako’s mom passed away when she was at a very young age, Kanako is introduced to her class and no prizes to guess what kind of reaction she has to see all her pretty classmates. They include Yuzuru (who is always wearing her Archery Club uniform instead of normal school uniform), bright and cheerful Sachi Momoi and the unsociable Nanami Kiri. Thank goodness Mariya is in a different class due to their 1 year difference. Later everyone converges in the hall for the student council speech. Kanako is upset that Mariya is the one giving the speech apart that he is the Archery Club’s president. However Kanako notices Mariya’s smooth speech gives out a different atmosphere and he is like a goody model student rather than his sadistic side. Suddenly Kanako stomach growls because she missed breakfast. Feeling embarrassed, Mariya takes the blame and gracefully says it is hers, quelling the other students’ curiosity. Then it is the student council president’s turn to give her speech. She is Ayari Shiki and is Mariya’s cousin. However Kanako notices that Mariya and Shiki don’t get along well despite their friendly facade.
 
Later Kanako encounters Ryuuken outside and the latter wonders what is going on because of the recent change in their room. Ryuuken is worried that something may have happened to Kanako and wonders if it’s her fault. When Ryuuken tried to visit her, Kanako’s room has been literally sealed off. Their conversation is cut short when Mariya and Matsurika appear. It seems Mariya is trying to prevent Ryuuken from finding out his true identity. Mariya explains that the change in room was for her safety in the sense that Ryuuken is a popular student and that there are many people who want to get to know her. So by placing a newly transferred student with a popular one, imagine what others would think. She goes on to mention sick seafood pranks that befell on Ryuuken’s previous roommates. Matsurika demonstrates that even Kanako has one now. Seaweeds in her bag? Though Mariya says it isn’t her fault, Ryuuken feels guilty and understands as she walks away depressed. Kanako is upset and wonders if Mariya is jealous over Ryuuken. She also asks her about why she dislikes Shiki but Mariya tells her it is none of her business and touches her in a threatening way (hives coming out!). Mariya says how she has to sell herself as a delicate type beauty while Kanako wonders what the pain she feels in her heart. Could it be love? Yeah right. Something is definitely wrong with that yuri girl.
 
In episode 3, Mariya lends Kanako a spare bag since the latter’s was ruined by one of Ryuuken’s fan’s prank. But being a sadist, there is something creepy lurking in that bag… WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???!!! Anyway we leave that to your imagination. Not only Kanako is a yuri but she’s not that smart either. She doesn’t know much about the rosary as compared to Mariya. And she’s in a Catholic school, you know. Mariya lends Kanako her late grandma’s rosary not because she pities Kanako of not having one, but rather loves the fact to see her suffer sitting uneasily with it the whole day. As Kanako is having a meal with her classmates, she discusses about the unacceptable pranks Ryuuken’s fans did. Then jewellery expert Sachi examines Kanako’s borrowed rosary and estimates it to be worth 15 million Yen! Better not lose it. Later as everyone is changing for PE, a group of trio fans of Ryuuken, led by Honoka Tsutsui, is going to put another seafood prank in Kanako’s bag but some tentacles in her bag grabs the seafood and proceeds to do something creepy to it! Freak out! Honoka gets another shock when Kanako returns. Thinking that the rosary is from Ryuuken too, unhappy Honoka snatches it and throws it out the window. Frantic Kanako rushes out to search for it. While Honoka’s members think she has gone overboard, Honoka thinks she still can’t forgive Kanako for getting special treatment while they themselves suffer the pain in silence. Poor Kanako continues to look hard even if it’s pouring. At time like this, I feel pity for her. But really, no love lost.
 
Soon Kanako gives up but surprisingly is given a towel by Nanami to dry herself. Then in class Kanako sees Honoka and her pals and teary eyed Honoka still won’t forgive her. Then Nanami steps in by saying how they bullied Kanako because they thought she stole Ryuuken away from them. But she assures them this is not the case because she is dating Kanako! OMG! Another revelation! They return the rosary and it seems Honoka had never thrown it out and had just acted so. Kanako is happy when she sees Ryuuken. The latter feels guilty and wonders if it is her fault that she is all drenched. However Mariya and Matsurika show up. Another showdown? At the same time, because Yonakuni has been burying seaweeds in the garden, the rainy weather has them bloated up so much it expands violently like they’re some sort of monster tentacles and they’re approaching Kanako and the rest in a speedy and threatening matter!
 
That seaweed threat is easily disposed off courtesy of Ryuuken in episode 4. Plus, Ryuuken vows to be Kanako’s protector. Serious? Now Kanako is really fantasizing. Super popular Ryuuken on one hand, dating Nanami on the other. But that happy dream comes to a halt because Matsurika is seen suffocating Kanako while sleeping. Good thing? In class, Kanako is relishing to things that she and Nanami would do on a date and goes to ask her for one. However, Nanami says that a date between 2 girls in impossible. How could this be? Didn’t Nanami like Kanako? Well, Nanami mentions that she was asked by Fumi a favour to help out Kanako. She can’t turn her down either. So that’s how it is… If you think losing Nanami is heartbreak and having Ryuuken by her side as consolation, think again. No doubt Ryuuken is with Kanako. All the time. This bodyguard thingy is turning more into a stalker thing, eh? Too bad all those piercing stares made Kanako felt uneasy. It’s like having the good and the bad together. Kanako experiences more pain when a stampede of girls physically pushes (and even steps) on her just to greet Ryuuken. Things get even worse when Ryuuken after getting permission from God pleads to live with Kanako in the same room! This may be a dream come true for Kanako but think of all the unfortunate events that has happened to her. And Mariya isn’t going to like this since this will be close to exposing his identity. Yeah, he says how he’ll ‘penetrate’ Kanako later!
 
As Kanako and Ryuuken sleep together, Ryuuken tells her story how she once kept a pet dog and cat. She always took her dog out for walks but her cat left home alone. Whenever they return, the cat who felt left out would always bully the dog and doggy didn’t fight back till the day it died. Since then, Ryuuken couldn’t forget that misery from that day onwards. The next day, Ryuuken continues to guard Kanako and poor Kanako still feels bothered but is unable to tell her off. So Nanami goes to talk to Ryuuken and suddenly the latter felt embarrassed and apologized before walking away. Kanako learns that Nanami told Ryuuken that they are both dating. Elsewhere, Honoka is planning another prank on Kanako with her last seafood product. Later as Kanako is having a meal with Mariya and Matsurika in their room, Kanako starts fantasizing what she’ll do with Mariya because he is donning a cute maid outfit. Mariya steps on her head but with to no effect and then she realized Mariya is a boy and the horrifying effect sinks in. Oh for crying out loud. You’re eating food lah.
 
In episode 5, Kanako talks to Fumi to try persuade Nanami out of helping her but Fumi disagrees because this is a good chance for Nanami to make friends. In class, Kanako is horrified to learn that she is the new class rep but Nanami saves her once more by volunteering herself to be her assistant. Later they bump into Ryuuken at the corridor and she still thinks Kanako and Nanami are lovey-dovey. Nanami and Kanako attend a meeting by the student council for class reps and Kanako nose bleeds upon realizing how pretty and friendly Shiki is to her. Then Mariya too is there and everyone thinks how he and Shiki get along frequently. Kanako thinks otherwise. Because Kanako intends to know Nanami better, Sachi and Yuzuru help out. Such as offering snacks (rejected!), share textbooks (didn’t work because Mariya switched and put lots of yaoi magazines in Kanako’s bag!), going to cafeteria together (Nanami brought her own bento), and to even desperate move like marry her! Damn. Kanako feels depressed for her failure to even talk to Nanami so Sachi brings out her final measure by disguising herself poorly as some guy so that Kanako could rescue Nanami when she fakes a robbery. However Nanami could tell she is Sachi and even lends her some money. Sachi starts to break down over her failure and says how she just wanted to be her friend. With that, Nanami accepts as they both walk home together. Meanwhile Kanako is still waiting in the bushes for the okay signal. What was the signal anyway? Haha. Keep waiting… So the next day, Nanami is part of the gang but to Kanako’s dismay, Nanami says she is friends with Sachi and Yuzuru but not her. Yeah, nobody wants to be friends with a homo.
 
On another day, God and Yonakuni have conducted spot checks in the dorm rooms and have confiscated several illegal items. I’m not sure if she’s treating this as a game because she’s awarding points to the owners of those confiscated items based on their creativity on hiding them. No matter how creative they are, none can escape from God’s eyes… Even Kanako’s creepy bag is confiscated but God returns them to their rightful owners and reminds them to hide them properly. She also reminds them that there’s a supplementary exam next week and if they don’t get a passing score, their items will be confiscated for real and they have to show an essay of their graduation writings from elementary school. This is so like a penalty game. Back in the room, Mariya reads aloud Kanako’s embarrassing elementary graduation writings. Upset Kanako snatches it back and wants Mariya to help her hide this because she doesn’t want to let anybody else see. Matsurika then activates a button in which the locker opens after some weird password voice authentication. Wow. What a large room and supposedly Mariya’s hidden room! Is this even legal in the dorm? Does God know about this? However Mariya is just teasing Kanako and refuses to let her hide it here and tells her dispose of her creepy bag herself. Kanako leaves the bag outside the garden and though relieved, she felt a heavy heart parting with it. She comes back and Mariya notices her red eyes. Crying, huh? He says how parting is painful and tells her to change and go to bed. When Kanako opens her locker, she finds her creepy bag in there. "Welcome back, my master". Tentacles rubbing her face… Maybe Mariya put a new one for her? Either way, Kanako will never get rid of it. Live with it!
 
In episode 6, under the orders of Mariya, Matsurika pours gasoline over Kanako in bed. You know why lah. Then the usual argument and when Kanako says how Mariya may be interested in her, Mariya threatens with a lighter so Kanako immediately apologizes for going overboard. But this episode has Kanako jumping with joy. Why, it’s the physical examinations. Oh great. More nose bleeds and fantasizing. Have we ever seen such an extreme case of female pervert? Since we know Mariya’s case, he is using the powers as the previous director’s grandchild to bypass it. Because girls stripping and looking at their slender soft white skin is too much, Kanako passes out and is taken into the infirmary. Loss of blood not due to any medical or scientific reasons, you know. And since Kanako is confined to bed, she can only hear in frustration all those girly talk of underwear descriptions and vital statistics. Oh she wants to see them so much! And they’re just opposite behind the curtain. Oh so close yet so far. She deserves to stay there! Call it a blessing in disguise. God knows what kind of perverted rampage she’ll do. Then Kanako is surprised to hear that Mariya attends the physical examinations and rushes out to see if it’s true. Woah! Time out! Mariya has real boobs?! WTF?! Another nose bleed sending her back to bed. When she comes to, Mariya is by her side and she seems compassionate. After all those bullying, Kanako is still sceptical and doesn’t want to be touched by him. However Mariya soon gives out a sly snicker. Suddenly Matsurika comes in with… another Mariya? Twins? What’s going on? It seems that the Mariya with boobs is Mariya’s twin sister, Shizu, from the all-boys school affiliate of Ame No Kisaki, Mihoshi No Mori. Hey wait a minute. Shizu’s a cross-dresser too? Is cross-dressing a norm in this family? The reason Shizu is here is because the twins swap places for their school’s physical examinations. Nobody would notice, right?
 
They explain that their late grandma wishes for them to get to know both male and female gender well and wants them to cross-dress in opposite genders to escape the glance of other students and to see their crisis management skills. However this cross-dressing game is also a contest between which will last 3 years till their graduation. While the winner gets to be the next director of that school, the loser is when one’s true identity is found out by either of the school’s students and Shizu thinks Mariya is lost because of Kanako. However Mariya and Matsurika doesn’t think so because by scrutinizing the rules, Kanako knows about Mariya’s case before she was a student in Ame No Kisaki (the day before her actual transfer). Thus she didn’t break the rules. But it can’t be said the same for Shizu. Mariya continues her winning case and offers to overlook her failure if Shizu kneels before him and lick his feet! But teary Shizu doesn’t want to and runs away. Kanako later learns that Shizu hates boys (unlike like her own case who fear boys) but Mariya says that making her attend an all-boys school is a chance for her to overcome that fear and that Mariya doesn’t care about the director’s seat or mind losing it her. Mariya wants Kanako to keep this a secret from Shizu. That sincere smile and speech has Kanako taken aback so much so she forgot to nose bleed. I don’t know whether I’m supposed to laugh or feel amazed. After the physical examinations, Kanako learns that Honoka has lost her underwear (oh no. It’s that happy perverted face again!). And she just got discharged from the infirmary. Now back there again. Her friends are explaining the events and how it may have been stolen when Kanako perfectly describes Honoka’s underwear (because she was eavesdropping while lying at the infirmary). Then it made her the suspect… Haha, she deserves it even if she’s not the culprit. Besides, Honoka’s underwear was located closely to Kanako’s bed and at arm’s length. Uh oh. It’s understandable that everyone now has a different view of Kanako. Remember kids: Thou shall not steal.
 
Fortunately at the start of episode 7, with God’s help, the culprit is revealed to be Yonakuni and thus Kanako’s name is cleared. Shucks. I was hoping to see her getting some punishment. However that girl doesn’t learn because she takes the bra from Yonakuni and runs away with it! This episode sees how Nanami and Sachi are getting along very well. I don’t even want to think about Kanako’s fantasy that both girls are feeding each other lovey-dovey. Because of that, Yuzuru is bothered and can’t concentrate on her archery practice. Of course Mariya and Matsurika thinks that it may be Kanako’s perverted bullying and at fault. But viewers can tell by Yuzuru’s body language that her best friend Sachi is getting too close to Nanami and she feels left out. The turning point is when Yuzuru invites Sachi to her Archery Club but the latter says how Nanami is more important today and rushes out of class with her. Yuzuru’s heart isn’t clear and this affects her shooting. Mariya gives her some advice (that’s because Yuzuru is their best bet for winning the upcoming competition!). She is happy when she sees Sachi coming in but all that turned into despair when she comes by with Nanami. Then she hears the words how Nanami is cute. She couldn’t take it anymore and runs away. Yuzuru fakes an illness so that she doesn’t have to attend class and stays in her room.
 
Then 1 morning, Yuzuru finds Sachi along with Nanami, Kanako and her roommate Satsuki in her room to celebrate her birthday. She was preoccupied with that friendship jealousy and perhaps forgotten about this day. So Sachi has been going out with Nanami lately just to pick a birthday present for her, an archery glove. Even Mariya and Matsurika drops by to give her a present. Yuzuru is grateful and thanks them. However only Kanako is depressed because she is the only one who doesn’t know it is her birthday and didn’t buy her a present. If she did, she could’ve got her a sexy lingerie! On second thought, it’s better she didn’t. Then Mariya suggested that Kanako do ‘that performance’ as her birthday present. With everyone encouraging her, Kanako has no choice but to do so. Whatever that performance is, we’ll leave it to your imagination.
 
It is Ame No Kisaki’s founder’s day in episode 8 whereby the Virgin Mary Festival is also celebrated. Kanako gets another shelling for her ignorance of the hymn Mariya is singing (sorry, I myself don’t know that Latin piece too). Kanako is excited for the event because it would mean gathering of girls from elementary level as well. During the student council and class rep meeting, Ryuuken, Kanako and Mariya has been chosen to represent their grades in the Virgin Mary Festival planning committee. Later Kanako approaches Shiki and her assistant, Natsuru, for more advice on the festival she is so ignorant but Shiki wonders if she could ask her roommate Mariya instead. But you know Kanako-Mariya case lah. Shiki then realized that it may be embarrassing for a senior to ask her junior so she is okay if Kanako comes to see her. Can’t believe Kanako is starting to fantasize… Want to eat her ‘croissants’? Later Shiki remembers why she hates Mariya so much like how he ate only delicious parts of a food. Mariya also recalls some accident and hopes Shiki doesn’t remember it. In class, Kanako is back to her horny perverted ways and is going to pound on Sachi! Before she could ask her hand in marriage, Yuzuru slaps her! Then Kanako is happily walking along the corridor when she gets knocked out by a ball. It’s from Matsurika. How do we know? Her name is written on it… Another stay at the infirmary so Shiki and Natsuru go visit her. I don’t know if that knock on her head was too hard or it’s just her nature (should be the latter) because Kanako is asking her about her boobs size. Thankfully level-headed Shiki tells her to stick to questions of the festival. Kanako learns that a large number of students in Ame No Kisaki aren’t Christians and that their prayers are for small helpful gestures for others. Later that night, after another enlightening speech from Mariya, Kanako is encouraged to sing and wants to learn from her but Mariya as usual refuses to teach. Haha, all that mood ruined. Meanwhile Yonakuni approaches a forbidden door and God warns him not to enter. But that door bursts open…
 
Is Yonakuni going to feel God’s wrath in episode 9? Well, behind the forbidden doors are some of God’s collections with a tragic past. Game consoles? Anyway Kanako is happy that the cosplay carnival is tomorrow (Virgin Mary Festival to you purists). Mariya ‘re-educates’ her on the festival before she sees it as some big happy perverted gathering of females. Meanwhile Shiki is pondering how her relationship with Mariya has turned sour and Natsuru wonders if she has forgotten about that Panda Chang incident. Preparations for the festival is underway and we see Shiki dressed in pure white cloth just like Virgin Mary. Then she remembers that embarrassing incident but Natsuru thinks how funny it was and wants her to use this chance to fix their estranged relationship. What happened back then was when Mariya and Shiki were kids at this festival, they were playing around. Mariya tripped and accidentally ripped Shiki’s clothes, revealing her panda panties. Ever since then, Shiki has received lots of different nicknames. However history threatens to repeat itself when a couple of young playful girls bump into Kanako. Alerted Shiki stood up but tripped on the cloth. Mariya’s reflex has Shiki fall into his arms. An awkward moment as everyone stares (Mariya strong enough as a ‘girl’ to carry Shiki?). Because Shiki is kicking up a fuss to let her down, her top button pops out leaving her top expose. Another embarrassing moment which will scar her for the rest of her life. As for Kanako, all I can say is that her nose bleed was so tremendous that it tainted the Virgin Mary statue. How impure… As Shiki runs away in embarrassment, thankfully the festival went on without any major hitch.
 
The next part has Kanako and the gang discussing the 7 mysteries of Ame No Kisaki. As each of the mysteries have blood in it, it doesn’t take long for Mariya and Matsurika to guess who the real culprit is. Yup. Who else but Kanako’s nose bleed. Like the pool filled with blood. Kanako’s long steamy fantasy has her nose bleed staining the entire pool. She has that much blood? Others include hand print blood stains on the wall and a foot one on the track field. It’s like they saw through her because Kanako couldn’t talk back. And don’t forget that seaweed monster in that creepy bag too. Later Kanako goes to see Fumi about the 7 mysteries and the latter tells 6 of them. All mysteriously tied to God and the dorm. Fumi doesn’t know the 7th one and believes no one else would because if one knows all 7 then something dreadful happens to that person. Kanako is filled with curiosity but Fumi evades. Back in her room, Mariya and Matsurika says they know about the 7th mystery but do not know about the other 6. They take this chance to experiment (note the evil grin) as Mariya whispers into Kanako’s ear. I wonder how they know it’s the 7th mystery considering that one needs to know at least 6 before reaching number 7, right? Now that Kanako knows all 7 mysteries, God suddenly comes in with a scary look on her face. What happens next is up to viewers to imagine. Aha. I’ve got an assumption. No more contact with pretty girls! Haha! That will be hell on Earth.
 
But that didn’t materialize because Kanako starts fantasizing over Mariya because of the school’s summer uniform although he’s a boy in episode 10. Increase in amount of exposed skin? She needs to see a psychiatrist badly. Also, the exam results are out and Mariya is top of her grade. Not only that, Matsurika is second place. I guess this is what being really close to him means, eh? Hey, is Matsurika a student of this school as well? And yes, Kanako will have to take supplementary exams because she flopped. Don’t worry, Nanami will be with her too. Sachi helps out by lending her notes even idiots can understand. But beware, it is best to pass it at first attempt or else one has to take supplementary classes every Sunday till she passes. Later Mariya is horrified that Kanako’s best scored subject is civics, considering that she’s a pervert. She almost scored perfect marks! Kanako starts studying but Mariya offers to drink tea and play games with hers. Before she realizes it, time had passed and she didn’t revise a single page. A ploy from the master sadist? Well, it’s Kanako’s fault too if you look it on both ways. On the day of the exams, Kanako wakes up with a snobbish attitude (wearing specs too?) and it’s revealed that Matsurika had played some hypnosis tape while she was asleep. However her essential perverted attitude is still unchanged. Some things just can’t. Then in class, she storms out refusing to take the exams, citing some prejudicial thingy. But she got scolded by Fumi and was allowed to re-sit it. Thankfully she got passing marks. Kanako is happy but Mariya warns her that no one living in this dorm has failed under God so since Kanako is the first, prepare for some incurring wrath! Whatever it was, it was so scary that Kanako had no memories of it.
 
The next scene shows God and Yonakuni discovering a torn love letter. God remembers the time when some admirer confessed to her by giving the letter but Yonakuni snatches it away and rips it. In class, everyone is surprised to learn that Nanami has received a love letter from a stranger while on a train. Kanako says how she hates those perverted old guys who get excited with young girls exposing their skin. Is she the one to say?! But Nanami says that she will refuse him. Just that she doesn’t know how to reject him so the rest gave her some ideas how to do in a nice manner. However the persistent stranger counters it back every time such as when Nanami says she doesn’t know him well, he gives her his full resume! Her numerous attempts also fail as each time the stranger comes back stronger and excited. Even if they boarded on different direction trains, they somehow end up meeting each other. Is this fate? Kanako can’t forgive that shameless lolicon for making a pass crime at a sacred high school girl and is taking out on her doll back home. Has she looked in the mirror recently? She is sad that someone has taken Nanami away but Mariya and Matsurika don’t understand what the heck she’s mumbling about. Next day in school, Nanami is at her wits end on how to reject the stranger so Sachi introduces help in the form of Mariya and Matsurika. The drastic measure taken is a big "REJECTED" stamp on his resume. And it worked! So simple yet effective. Though Nanami feels a little bad because she thinks there should be a better way but Yuzuru assures that he’ll find love soon. Later Sachi comes into class with a love letter she got from the train and Kanako’s instant reaction is to call for Matsurika! Haha. Now that someone is threatening to take away her Sachi…
 
Finally the first guy appears in episode 11 (no, the narrator doesn’t count) and he is Father Touichirou Kanae. He seems to be pretty popular with the girls but Kanae has someone else in his heart. Mariya. WTF?! However due to Kanae’s body language, Mariya also knows this priest has hots for him. This Kanae guy does lots of analytical stuff in his mind so it’s kinda hard for me to follow. He makes the simple look so confusing. He notices Kanako walking with her and remembers the girl whom he supervised during the supplementary exams. Kanako panicked then and when he touched her, she broke into hives and collapsed. Then he notices Matsurika and I don’t know why he thinks that she might be in love with him! WTF?! Before he loses himself, Kanae manages to get Mariya to talk to him. They chat about Kanako’s condition and Mariya says how Kanako’s brother died of Tchaikovsky Disease in B Minor! Obvious lie! But Kanae believes her because Mariya puts up her nice expression and pleads for Kanae to help Kanako smile again! So in class, Kanae suddenly hugs Kanako and wants her to call him his brother! Kanako breaks into hives and collapses again. At the infirmary, Kanae tries to find out more about the disease without revealing too much. He then suggests to Fumi that he will pay Kanako a house visit as he takes it upon himself and mission to heal Kanako for Mariya’s sake. If only he’d knew.
 
At the dorm, Kanae meets God and besides the weirdness he notices about her, God indirectly hints that he wants to see Mariya in a nightie! I can’t believe that guy shows admittance! Father, thou has sinned! So God slyly hints that in exchange for a Plasma TV, he gets to visit Kanako and Mariya’s room for 3 minutes. But since that isn’t enough, a DVD player offering will extend the visiting time to 96 minutes because God will be busy watching a movie. Meanwhile Kanako is upset after discovering Mariya’s lie when Kanae comes knocking on their door. Mariya allows him to stay and since both aren’t true to their feelings, Kanae and Kanako thinks their ordeal starts now! Some awkward and ‘tense’ conversation as Kanae wonders what Mariya and Matsurika are whispering at the other end when suddenly God opens the door and says that time is up. So fast? Well, she didn’t want to watch that crappy move so she drags Kanae out and throws him out into the rain. Haha. This shows that you can never beat God. While soaking outside in the rain, Shiki comes out to see him and offers him her umbrella. With that, Kanae thinks he has found a new love. Oh God. Father, thou has really sinned. Hmm… There’s something refreshing about this episode. Lack of Kanako’s horniness! Oh yeah! Besides that, this episode is filled with onscreen notes which Mariya even quips as annoying.
 
Kanako’s nose bleeding fantasy makes a return in episode 12 because it’s swimming lessons! Oh God help us! Then some clause in the school rules says that students of Ame No Kisaki are allowed to express themselves by wearing any kind of swimsuit. Just when Kanako thinks she has no more nose bleeds left, enter the tanned boyish sports beauty swimming teacher Jaiano Enjouji, Kanako is enthralled by her charms and collapses into the pool. Enjouji dives in and rescues her and soon does CPR on her. Mouth to mouth too. Then all her friends fought over who should give Kanako CPR. A dream come true? Nah. It’s just revealed that it was all her sick dream! Thank God! Kanako is devastated but Mariya tells her that there is no teacher named Enjouji and that the swimming lessons have just ended because Kanako ate too much raw liver earlier on which has her bed-ridden since yesterday. Hahaha! She deserves it! Then Kanae pays a visit and as usual Kanako starts panicking. Kanae even touches her when she spews nonsensical words and that guy is trying hard to interpret them all. Kanako foaming in her mouth for real. Due to that, Kanako misses another swimming lesson due to her hives. Later Kanako discovers several food pranks in her desk and bag but Honoka denies them because the pranks are land food. It is revealed the pranks are done by a group of girls who are fans of Kanae. Too bad they won’t have anymore screen time. After eating a wholesome meal of land food, Kanako regains her strength and does some investigation work. Her research shows that some person died due to overeating. And due to that, Kanako becomes absent for another swimming lesson. She must be on a bad luck streak. Or maybe it’s the interference of Almighty…
 
God finds a piece of her old swimsuit and reminisces the good ol’ days when Kanako comes in to request her to cook better food to digest. Now that she has seen the forbidden stuff, who knows what God’s wrath was because it was enough to make Kanako go missing and miss yet another swimming lesson. Is this fate or what? The final swimming lesson is at hand so desperate Kanako takes all precautionary and even exaggerated measures to ensure that there will be no more missing in action cases. She goes to bed confident but the next day since it’s raining, swimming class got cancelled. Boohoo! However don’t despair yet as Fumi announce that there will be a swimming meet before the holidays. One last chance for Kanako. God is gracious? To Kanako’s horror, everyone will be wearing normal school swimsuits because that clause was just part of her dream, remember? But it’s better than nothing. Mariya then tells Matsurika to play a hypnosis tape to make Kanako hate swimsuits and love male loincloths. And it worked! So finally Kanako gets to attend the swimming meet and see girls in their swimsuit but the hypnosis effect has her feeling unhappy because she can’t nose bleed! Then Kanae heard how Kanako shouts out loud that she loves male loincloth and misinterprets so he goes and get a red loincloth.
 
Before the start of the swimming meet, Kanako is upset that all this is caused by Mariya’s prank and decides to get back at him by exposing her fake breasts so that she could get back her freedom. The kibasen event starts and Kanako is hyped-up as she dashes towards Mariya while her pals wonder her strange behaviour. Kanako slips and this causes Sachi to slip as well and her hand accidentally ripping off Mariya’s swimsuit. Wait a minute. Those are real boobs, right? That means, she is Shizu! Shizu screams in embarrassment and with that, Kanako gets her nose bleed back. Yeah, it stained the whole pool. No wait, the whole world. No even more, the entire Milky Way! Such a bloody mess she’s gotten into. And Kanae is coming back in his red loincloth while Mariya is outside the gates stating how he won’t wear a swimsuit in public. Thus, Kanako’s trial (and suffering) will continue. Finally Kanako wakes up in the infirmary with Shizu by her side. She apologizes but Shizu forgives her. She then sees the rosary pendant and gets alerted. But whatever it is, it ends abruptly.
 
I have to say that the series is quite random and I love the comedy that it offers. I read that some viewers didn’t like the series because Kanako yaps too much or they don’t like the idea that Mariya is bullying someone. Firstly, I find one of the reasons the show is funny is because of what Kanako has to say. I know it’s her sick perverted fantasies but hey, they’re still funny. Secondly, not to say I’m a sadist, but the way Mariya and Matsurika torture Kanako is funny. I look at it as a way to keep her in check of reality.
 
I’m in a dilemma to say whether Kanako is my favourite character for this series. There is one word to describe her yuri nature. Sickening. Sometimes I can’t help but feel so disgusted by her lesbian speech, actions and thinking that I feel like strangling her or giving her a good slap. So I don’t blame why Mariya is being such a sadist towards her. Speaking of which, I noticed that Mariya’s sadistic pranks lessen as the series goes by. I thought she would be playing pranks on her in every episode but I guess that is just minimal. Hey, at least Mariya isn’t that bad and has a heart too. Matsurika is equally sadistic and could’ve been an even amusing maid if she too played more pranks or fire more sarcastic remarks. I find that the other characters like Nanami, Yuzuru, Sachi, Ryuuken, Honoka, Shiki and Fumi aren’t featured that much and even if they did, it was probably just one-off. Their characters don’t change much and you can guess their personality will be the same right till the end. The main focus is of course on Kanako… So will she ever learn her lesson? Nope. That’s why her trial will continue.
 
One thing which I dislike a little is how some of the short plots end abruptly in some dramatic fashion and then to be ‘solved’ in an ordinary manner after all that tensed build-up. Because of that, some of the things are left hanging to viewer’s imagination. Thus there are a few questions which I’d like to know such as does Shiki actually know that Mariya is a boy or was it Shizu back then during her flashback? What about that creepy bag which will forever be Kanako’s? Or the time when Kanako received something dreadful from God after knowing the 7 mysteries. I wonder who God and Yonakuni really are. Ah well, God works in mysterious ways.
 
The drawing and art I can say are quite good and there is heavy shading in the colours. Besides that standard Japanese bishoujo drawing, the series also produces different drawings of the characters. For example the chibi mode has the character head with simple facial details while their body is like a long white marshmallow. Then there is Kanako’s fantasies when the art may range from simple sketches to detailed outlines. It is funny to see Kanako and her different drawn faces. From her manly face (when she’s in incredulous or surprised mode) and devilish look (when she’s thinking of evil perverted schemes). I noticed that in most episodes, there will be a funny looking little cat (I think) which drifts across the screen or seen peeking at the edge of the screen. I wonder what is the implication of this? If it’s not that cat, it’s that tentacles of that creepy bag.
 
If you think that there is a feel of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (SZS) here, then you may be correct because both series are produced by the same company, Shaft. Which reminds me, the speeches and viewing angles closely resembles it. There are even a few parodies such as doing Nozomu’s trademark despair scene and some of the characters in SZS making cameo appearances. Even after the ending credits, there are random drawings from different authors and people of the characters of the series. It’s so like SZS. Since there is no next episode review, an omake (extra) is in its place and the short unrelated random skits can either be funny one-off nonsense or confusing what-the-hell-is-that clips. The opening theme by Yu Kobayashi which is aptly named Hanaji (nose bleed) is a crazy hyped-up song and the animation is crazy which include Mariya using Matsurika as his guitar, Mariya pouring red paint and throwing the mannequins around. The ending theme, Kimi Ni Mune Kyun, sounds like a video game song as the voice in some parts of the song is computerized. The animation here shows the chibi computer graphics of the characters and also the usual craziness.
 
Asami Sanada who voices Kanako did an excellent job in portraying her various expressions from being an insane pervert, frustrated loser, among others. Her other prominent anime character roles include Jun of Rozen Maiden and Dejiko of Di Gi Charat. Likewise, Mariya who is voiced by Yu Kobayashi perfectly depicts both sides of her character which is a gentle and kind ‘lady’ to a coarse sounding sadist. She was also the voice of Lala in School Rumble and Kaede/Kaere in SZS. A shocking discovery for me is that Marina Inoue is the voice behind Matsurika. I guess without her fiery and zealous voice, I couldn’t recognize her. After that role of Kyoko in Skip Beat or Kana in Minami-ke, I’ve been conditioned to recognize her voice as that. Another one which caught me offguard is Miyuki Sawashiro as God. That girl too has a versatile voice which I’m still unable to recognize. Come to think of it, her voice role here closely resembles the one as Maria in SZS. Also, I didn’t realize Aya Hirano behind the voice of Shizu until recently. No need for further introductions, especially fans of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Other casts include Nanami by Akemi Kanda (Ryou in Clannad), Sachi by Ryoko Shintani (Milfeulle of Galaxy Angel), Yuzuru by Saori Goto (Bara Suishou in Rozen Maiden), Ryuuken by Yuko Kaida (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen), Megumi Toyoguchi as Fumi (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist), Yonakuni and Shiki by Miyu Matsuki (Isumi in Hayate No Gotoku) and Tomokazu Sugita as Kanae (Gintoki of Gintama).
 
Some may say that this series is like a fanservice version of Maria-sama Ga Miteru as both deal with the Catholic theme in an all-girls school. Are you still wondering if such fanservice goes well for a Christian setting? Anything is possible in anime. While I’m hoping that a second season would be in the works (praying real hard to God. Not for the yuri but the hilarious comedy lah!), I can’t help ponder that with all the nose bleeds that Kanako has spouted out, she could’ve been a good blood donor. I have never known a girl who nose bleeds so much besides that chibi vampire Karin. Thankfully this series did not turn me into a yuri fan or worse, a yaoi one. Heck, it’s not like I suddenly felt holy and feel the need to fulfil my religious responsibilities. I must confess that I’ve had my fair share in watching lots of ecchi but funny animes and even at one point trying out a hentai show. Hey, don’t start pointing fingers at me or even condemn with the highest degree. To quote a line from the Bible: "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone". Oh God, I’m such a sinful otaku…
 
P/S: My mother is still very much alive and fine, doing well.
 

Maria+Holic

Hidamari Sketch

September 26, 2009

If you are not into animes which are slice of life with comedy and prefer those with over the top action, mindless slapstick humour or even frustrating love triangle tensions with convoluted twists and plots, then do not read any further. Those who agree may find the 12 episode Hidamari Sketch series a yawn fest. I know that I noticed myself yawning but overall this is an easy going anime. Nothing very heavy actually.
 
This show which is based on a yonkoma comic strip manga of the same name, focuses on the quartet of girls who are currently studying arts in a private high school named Yamabuki. Which means, this is another art themed anime so those aspiring to be future artists may consider watching this show though it isn’t any guarantee that you will learn any art techniques. Hardly. It is basically how the girls interact and bond with each other during their schooling years and the other characters around them. Are you still reading this?
 
Located closely and directly across Yamabuki is a dorm named Hidamari Apartment (HA) which houses the students studying there. Oddly as far as I know the dorm has only 6 rooms and only 4 are occupied. You may have guessed that our main girls are the ones staying in them. A brief introduction of the characters. First year student Yuno is your typical nice girl but will start to panic when things get a little tough or out of control. Some may find her moe. Then there is her classmate Miyako, the main reason why this series is funny because of her spontaneous cheeky and mischievous ways. One cannot comprehend how she thinks or what goes on in her head though she possesses quite an artistic talent. Some may think of her as a troublemaker but not an extreme one. Miyako is also a glutton and is always hungry, devouring any kind of food that she has her hands on. Then there are their 1 year seniors, Sae and Hiro. Bespectacled Sae works part time as a writer. Due to her tall and athletic appearance, she has a little problem with her ‘masculinity’ qualities and is uncomfortable when asks about her love life. Hiro on the other hand is good housewife material because she is the one who mainly prepares the meals that viewers will see in most episodes. Unlike Miyako, Hiro is very diet conscious and is always in a dilemma of eating her favourite snacks in fear of gaining weight. She is Sae’s pillar of support whenever Sae is bogged down with her work commitments and deadlines.
 
There are other few characters which make the series colourful. They include Yuno and Miyako’s homeroom teacher, Yoshinoya. This cosplay loving teacher has one kind attitude which makes viewers wonder if she is fit to be a teacher. Not only she acts like a child but is lazy! Sometimes dressing her cosplay outfit to class and teaching stuff which is unrelated to arts, she’s really an amusing character. I don’t know if it’s her version of art. Then there’s the literally long face principal of Yamabuki whom I shall simply refer to as Principal. The odd thing about him is that he is always shaking! No, not dancing. I wonder if it’s an old age problem. Principal is the only person who can keep Yoshinoya in line. Whenever Yoshinoya goes about with her antics, Principal will drag her away for some good lecture or chase her down. It’s like a cat and mouse game but will she ever learn? Then there’s the landlady of HA (whom I will also refer to as Landlady) who is always doing lots of part time jobs to pay off her debt and trouble trying to stop her smoking habit always failing the end. Bad habits die hard. Viewers will also notice a green little creature (is it a bug or bird or neither?) called Ume. Always bumming on top of HA doing random stuff, I later found out that it is supposed to represent the author of this series, Ume Aoki, and her short appearances do not bear any purpose or role in the series.
 
As each of the title has a date in them, viewers can guess the timeline of the story. Which means, the way they show the mixed up order of the series reminds me of the one in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. But unlike in the latter series, the plot of this one isn’t heavy or greatly linked as each episode could be viewed as a standalone without confusing the viewers with only minor developments here and there. Basically in each episode there is some sort of trend I noticed. Most of the episodes starts off with Yuno (if not some other character) waking up from bed, then proceed with a particular activity for the day, followed by the gathering of the quartet in one of their rooms having meals and discussion over topics of the day or events that has happened and finally Yuno taking a bath and pondering them and her future before turning in.
 
So in episode 1, it is New Years Day and the usual shrine visiting for prayers and luck reading. While Yuno’s luck reads extremely good, Yoshinoya is misfortune. Sae advices Yuno not to get her hopes up. In class, Yuno forgets to do her homework while Yoshinoya rants about her activity during winter break. Banking on her luck, Yuno tries to get Yoshinoya’s approval to hand over her homework during the next class but she is rejected. So Yuno rushes back to HA to complete her homework and makes it back in time as it starts snowing. Because of that, she forgot to eat so Miyako gives her an onigiri courtesy from Hiro. Yuno and Miyako leave for their clean up duty. Miyako makes art in the snow with her footprints to make "Love & Peace" but misspelled it as "Piece". Sae and Hiro spot it and take a photo from a floor above. Later the quartet gathers in Hiro’s room and discuss about Yuno completing her homework during lunch and the misspelled word (Miyako trying to give lots of excuse). Yuno receives an SMS from Yoshinoya who is impressed of the subjects she had chosen for her rushed homework (New Year card collage of Yoshinoya in cosplay outfits. No wonder). Yuno thanks Hiro for her onigiri and finds out that she got her onigiri was because Hiro had too many rice cakes and thinks of dieting. Miyako wished she had left some leftover food for her. Yuno comments that Hiro is a nice girl, which has Sae and Miyako telling Yuno the same thing, causing her to fluster.
 
It’s summer vacation in episode 2 but Yuno notices a note from Landlady to help make a new nameplate for HA. The gang gathers in Miyako’s room to do it and find out her room was recently cleaned because it was filled with garbage that they could hardly walk. They learn her room’s rent is much cheaper than theirs by 40,000 Yen and come up with theories why HA was called by a different name like Chidamari (blood) or Odamari (shut up), or even haunted. When Hiro mentions a creak in the floor and actually steps on 1 herself, Miyako says that there was never such sounds and thinks Hiro is heavy, pissing her off (Hiro throws her out of the room!). As they split up their jobs to write the hiragana words, Yuno drops her paintbrush and notices it rolling on the floor. Hiro wonders if the floor is slanted. Yuno lifts the floor covering to see several senbei as drying agents. Sae then quickly drags Miyako to report this to Landlady. When they return, Yuno and Hiro find out Miyako’s dirt cheap rent. When HA was remodelled, Landlady ran out of budget and Miyako’s room was remodelled by Landlady herself and was left unfinished. Everyone completes their creative portion of the nameplate and hangs it up. Miyako shows them a notice of a summer festival and those who wear yukatas will be given candy. Desperate Miyako tries to make 1 out from a curtain so Hiro lends her her old magical girl yukata. Though Miyako is fine with it, Sae thinks she looks like a prostitute. The gang patron the festival stalls and had their fun. Sae learns Hiro still kept that unlucky yukata Miyako is wearing because her grandma believes there’s a naughty fox spirit living in it and all bad things may turn into good 1 day. Though fireworks haven’t start yet, Miyako somehow hears its sound as the rest follows her. As they arrive, they’re greeted with the start of a magnificent fireworks display. They think it must be the yukata’s doing. Back home as Yuno takes a bath, Miyako barges in because she thinks she heard sounds of kakigori (shaved ice). She then goes into Hiro’s room and true enough, she is making them and Miyako wants some. Hiro is surprised and in dismay.
 
In episode 3, a rainy school morning has Yuno finding out Hiro’s perm spreading out like Medusa and Sae sneezing. In class, Yoshinoya is wearing a sexy dress as she is today’s art class model. Since Miyako says it’s too hard to draw, Yoshinoya changes into several other outfits before being ticked off by Principal. Unable to continue, Yoshinoya asks Yuno and Miyako to take a Brutus bust as replacement. Class antics include Miyako eating bread used as eraser when drawing with rough charcoal because she hadn’t had breakfast, Yuno accidentally sneezed and has a coffee blot on her sketch (which Yoshinoya thinks it’s Buddha later), and Yuno fell asleep during class so her face was covered in black charcoal. Back at HA, as they talk about Sae’s cold, Miyako mentions the last time she caught one was during entrance exam. Yuno is amazed she managed to pull through but Miyako says she bribed her way through. Everyone starts panicking when Miyako says it’s a joke and that she got through by recommendation. With that, they note how the bribing story sounded more plausible. Later as Miyako’s room is leaking, the quartet sat around watching each drop from the ceiling into the bucket while playing shiratori. Sae and Hiro worry a little when they find Yuno’s previous room was occupied by their senior Misato. They didn’t elaborate but tell her to beware the purple snake. Yuno start panicking due to lack of info and goes into frenzy when a little drop drops on her head. This causes everyone to panic as they tripped and spilled existing full buckets while trying to contain further leakage. After taking a bath, Yuno spots a purple snake near her window and is relieved that it’s just a rope. Curious, she goes over to pull it and a basin drops on her head. Hiro and Sae chat how Misato loved playing pranks and was scolded by Landlady before she left. Yuno is seen sprawled on the floor as she says how she hates rainy days.
 
Yuno gets up in episode 4 to see Miyako hanging out to dry her mackerel fish. At school, Yuno and Miyako are sketching outside within the school compound. Yuno takes a stroll and sees a jizou statue in the bamboo thicket (a couple of girls having a secret tryst?!). Miyako sees Yuno cleaning the statue and gets excited. She gives it wear a traffic cone, believing she’ll be rewarded for her good deeds. WTF?! A stray tennis ball hits Yuno. It’s from Hiro as she rushes to apologize. To the statue. Sae comes by and drags Hiro away. Back home, Miyako is upset her dried mackerel is gone. As Hiro is in a dilemma to eat cake, Yuno suggests going karaoke so she could lose some calories. At the karaoke bar, Hiro starts off and sings another intense piece to burn more calories. Sae reveals that a little girl came up to Hiro and touched her arm and said she’s fluffy. Hiro is upset because she promised not to tell. It’s Sae’s turn to sing. Her 1st was good but her 2nd is out of tune so she excuses herself to the toilet. The trio learn Yoshinoya sculptured the statue during her college days and the weather altered its appearance. Miyako states she saw Sae praying there and when she returns, they question her. Sae reveals that she was doing so because she believed a rumour that one’s breast will grow big by doing so. Miyako is upset because it isn’t related to food. Now it’s Yuno’s turn to sing but is totally hopeless and finally Miyako who is surprisingly good due to her past experience for singing at stores for candies. Hiro then has another go to burn more calories. At the end of the day, the gang spot the little girl who called Hiro fluffy and they find out she was referring to her hair. Then she mentions how short Yuno is, shocking her. Because of that, Yuno is seen holding lots of milk. Back home, Yuno rewards herself with a piece of cake after all that singing and after weighing, she has gained 1 kg. Oh the horror. All for nothing.
 
In episode 5, Yuno falls ill and has a strange dream whereby she arrives late for school in the cold winter, Principal in singlet and shorts and announcing to look for missing Yoshinoya. In real time, the gang notice that Yuno ‘malfunctions’ when she is sick so they take turns nursing her before leaving for school. Miyako comes back to cover up sleeping Yuno and make some bunny apples. Yuno’s dream continues whereby she walks through some machinery and sees a wooden guy fixing a thermostat. She spots her friend Chika and recalls her misplaced handphone. That is when she wakes up and notices an SMS from Chika, reminding her of tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile the trio are surprised to find Yoshinoya in the infirmary and sleeping soundly. Miyako teases her for faking it but she insists her cold is real. Though it’s trivial, Principal isn’t pleased. The trio head back to give Yuno some cold syrup and after making her porridge, they tell of Yoshinoya’s case, Yuno’s weird dream and Miyako makes an accurate impression of Principal, impressing everyone. Then they discuss about Valentine’s Day and Miyako is thinking of eating chocolates Hiro makes. Sae knocks Miyako’s head when the latter teases her to be a boy for receiving chocolates from Hiro. They soon leave to let Yuno rest but silently come back later to leave school notes and cake. Hiro and Sae remember fond memories how the latter took care of the former when she was sick, making Sae blush. They note Yuno looks cute like a little sister. Yuno wakes up later that night feeling thirsty and hungry. She spots the notes and cake and eats the delicious cake. But she has a hard time going back to sleep and is wide awake.
 
Yuno wakes up from a dream of being chased by a red cloak in episode 6. It is the final test and Yuno thinks it’s coincidence her answers are all marked ‘A’. Also, some of the test questions aren’t related to art. More like survey. After Yoshinoya collects their papers, she announces the one with the lowest score will have his/her name posted on the school gates, freaking everyone out. That is, until Principal comes in and ticks her off did she abandon her intention. Back at HA, Miyako basks in the sun and Yuno is surprised to find her very tanned. Yuno and Miyako suddenly comes into Sae’s room, causing Sae to feel embarrassed because she was speaking through her fan and making choppy words. Since Hiro is away doing some project, Yuno and Miyako rummage through Sae’s drawer and read out lout some love romance notes, making her even more embarrassed. Sae then suggests going to a pool but Yuno can’t swim so Miyako brings an inflatable pool as Sae hands her a t-shirt top and bikini bottom as her swimsuit. Sae mentions the different combination so Miyako won’t have her breasts cramp. She then realized the implication… Later as Hiro joins them while making nabe (something about losing weight so she can fit into her summer dress), after Miyako inflates the pool with a pump, the foursome takes a refreshing splash. They lie afloat as Yuno tells them about her weird dream. Later as Yuno takes a bath, she interprets her dream as red curtain (akai kaaten) which has a similar sound to failing grades (akaten) and starts panicking. After bath, she notices her caterpillar hatching from its cocoon and watches it bloom with her pals. But to their shock, it is a moth and when it starts flying around, they start going into panic mode.
 
The sports festival in episode 7 but it’s raining. Sae is confronted by an arrogant rival, Natsume, who proclaims she’ll beat her team this year, who is on a 5 year winning streak. As everyone assembles, a strong wind blows the canvas roof off and fell onto Yoshinoya (giving out a funny scream before the crash). With that, the sports festival is put off tomorrow. Back at HA, a short blackout occurs before the electricity comes back. When everyone warns Miyako about her room’s drying agents, Miyako is curious if the drying agents catches fire when it’s wet, what happens if it is in the rain. So she tosses 1 out but nothing happens. Hiro brings Miyako and Yuno to a local shopping mart, Berry Mart. After paying at the counter, Miyako enters a draw and gets a pike fish as her prize. They return to see Sae talking to Landlady. Sae receives a package filled with thorny chestnuts and puts on a gloomy expression when she reads a letter and getting to know that person is coming. Landlady sees the chestnuts and is interested but Hiro gives the pike instead, much to Miyako’s dismay. It’s the chestnuts or the pike… Miyako gets an idea to break the chestnuts by playing baseball and Yuno realized that lady with Sae earlier is Landlady and feels guilty for not greeting her properly. That night everyone gathers for a delicious chestnut rice dinner and this boosts their spirits for tomorrow.
 
It’s summer vacation in episode 8 and Yuno gets up to draw and gauge her skill but finds it hard to stay awake. Miyako joins her when Yuno gets an SMS from Sae. Yuno spots Miyako standing on the balcony ledge and jumping down! Luckily she’s not hurt. Miyako comments about the nice blue sky and Yuno’s panties, sending that girl into panic as she comes jumping down too. The duo find out Sae is having writer’s block trying to finish a novel before a looming deadline. Miyako suggests writing several random words on cards, pick some out and make a story out of it. Like that will work. Later Yuno and Miyako go shopping and are impressed by a book written by Sae they spot at the stand. They meet Hiro along the way who tell them the reason Sae enrols in an art school is so that she could draw illustrations on her own. They come back to see Sae’s place quiet so they leave the food at the door. Hiro mentions how Sae becomes disorderly and tense when deadline looms. As Yuno and Miyako sketches, they spot the Principal and thinks he lives at school. They also see Yoshinoya acting up because her own parents kicked her out of her home as they don’t want to waste her holidays bumming around. That evening, they check on Sae who has fallen asleep on her near completed work. As Yuno finishes her sketch, she remembers earlier in the day how Miyako encouraged her to jump down from the balcony. I guess she was crazy enough to try but since she was too scared, she is clinging on to the railing and hanging halfway till she dropped down. How embarrassing. That night as they gather for dinner, Sae is embarrassed when Yuno and Miyako has read one of her works at the bookstore and wonders how they knew her penname. The culprit is Hiro who feels more people should read her work, especially the recent interesting one which resembles so much like Lamune’s storyline. Before Hiro could go on, embarrassed Sae quiets her. Yuno is amazed at Hiro and Sae’s friendship and truest and wonders if she could be like them. Miyako pats her shoulders and say "I’m always looking for people to make me food". I guess food is friendship to her.
 
Yuno wakes up from an alarm clock she borrowed from Miyako in episode 9. A blood curling scream pleading not to kill her. Man, that is one weird alarm which will wake anyone up. Outside, Miyako spot several dropped lottery tickets and return it to its rightful owner. As reward, the owner gives it to them. They discuss what they’ll do with the 3 million Yen prize money if they won the lottery. In class, Yoshinoya starts a special lesson whereby she brought her ex-student, Maiko Kishi, to give students inspiration. Kishi is into filmmaking and shows the class her work (including video bloopers of her parent’s farewell, teasing and embarrassing tales from Yoshinoya). She then asks the class their goal and dreams but Yuno is unable to answer. Later Yuno goes to talk to her and wonders if she will find 1. Kishi advice lifts her spirits. Yuno and Miyako are taking out trash when Yuno spots a beautifully drawn sketch thrown away. Back at HA, Yuno learns from Sae and Hiro that the painting belongs to a talented senior who had to be transferred to another school due to her parent’s circumstances. Yuno gets depressed and felt guilty but the rest cheers her up. That evening Sae buys the newspaper to see if their lottery number matches but nobody won. They also spot a column that Kishi has won an award for a film contest. That night, Yuno sleeps with Miyako and the former is still depressed about the transferred genius case and her own for not having any clear goals. Miyako cheers her up with her never give up line and thinks that genius girl is trying her best somewhere out there to reach her dream.
 
Miyako tries to wake Yuno up for the school festival but to no avail in episode 10. So she takes her painting and rushes off to school. So when she wakes up, she starts panicking over her missing painting but Miyako tells her what has happened. During her class’ Cinderella play, Yuno can’t help think how embarrassing it would be since it isn’t complete. Although she made few errors, her class play is a success. Later Yuno goes to the gallery to see her unfinished painting but the viewers are praising it. Miyako takes Yuno to see her drawing, which is a picture of Yuno herself as everyone stares at the real life model. In the evening, Yoshinoya puts on some cosplay after show performance but gets scolded from Principal. However that didn’t deter her as she does an independent one after that. The quartet goes to the public bathhouse and Yuno is surprised to know its name: Yunosama. There, Miyako is up to her usual antics, discuss on stuff like why Dracula fears garlic, the painting they saw at the gallery and Miyako’s horse role during the play. After bath, Yuno notices a life size mirrors in the changing room which reminds them of being in a ballet room. The bathhouse owner comes in to see the quartet doing embarrassing ballet impersonations. Yuno goes home and takes another dip since she notices her bath water is still heated and not wanting it to go to waste.
 
The gang leaves for a sketching field trip to the zoo in episode 11. Yoshinoya acts as a bus guide tour but soon gives up due to motion sickness. At the zoo, they sketch several animals like Japanese monkeys (Miyako doing hilarious drama voice dub for them), elephant (Hiro thinking of putting moisturizers whenever she sees its wrinkled skin), tapir (Miyako thinks of it as an onigiri while Yuno mistaken it for a zebra crossing), and a seal (Hiro thinks it’s trying to court Sae since it playfully follows her). During lunch break, they see each other’s drawings. Expect weirdness from Miyako’s one. A hippo standing on its 2 feet? They learn Sae isn’t good at sketching animals because during junior high her teacher criticized her horrible drawing. When Yoshinoya peeps at her drawing and praises it, Sae feels over the moon. When they return from the trip, Yoshinoya open her eyes to find herself in Hiro’s room. Though she took a cab back, she still experienced carsickness and was outside HA when she collapsed, the reason they took her in. They learn Yoshinoya once lived here as a student and find she has a photo book of her in several cosplay outfits which is a sell out! 300 copies in 15 minutes! They are suspicious and think she is some famous idol in disguise or planted some people to make her look popular. As they quip how cute she is in her outfit, Sae asks her age and her reply: Eternally 17. In her mind obviously. After she left, the gang continue to discuss about her weirdness but likeable teacher. Sae and Hiro say she used to visit sick students as not to make them feel lonely but had to stop after getting their illness and absent from school the next day (also got scolding from Principal lah). They also discuss several outrageous rumours surrounding her like being a former delinquent, daughter of a big company, a Hollywood star and a heroine who saved an old lady from an oncoming truck. But they laugh and dismiss it all. Yoshinoya then returns to pick up a forgotten item and corrects them it was actually a boy she saved. Was she eavesdropping all the while? The quartet are stumped that the rumours may be true.
 
Sae’s little sister, Chika comes visiting in episode 12 and Sae isn’t happy. You can guess the usual sibling quarrel but that’s their way of showing their love. Chika teases her messy room, a reason why she can’t get a boyfriend. She then tours Yuno and Miyako’s room and later their school and meet Yoshinoya who asks if she’s going to enrol in this school. Sae shrugs that idea off and Yoshinoya feels it’s a shame as there’re many cosplay outfits she wants to show her. Is that her intention? Chika spots a head bust of Principal and thinks it’s some Martian before bursting into laughter. As the gang have lunch bat at HA, Yoshinoya drops by in a Santarina outfit and hands them a present. That night, Yuno hears a knock on her door. It’s Chika and she wonders if she could sleep over. She tells Yuno and Miyako about her grouse on Sae how she tried several times that she’s coming over but never got a reply. Sae then angrily comes in looking for her but was invited to stay and play card games instead. They learn the sisters fight because Sae refused to sign an autograph on Chika’s book. The girls sleep together and next morning Chika wakes up to find herself overslept and rushes to prepare herself since today she has to go meet a friend and thanks them for taking care of her. During dinner, the quartet had handmade cake Yoshinoya gave them and talk about the times they had and that they won’t be seeing each other for a short while till school reopens. Sae receives an SMS from Chika thanking for her Christmas present. Sae blushes but Hiro realizes that she must’ve signed her autograph while she was sleeping. Later as Yuno takes a bath, she feels lucky to have 2 homes.
 
But it’s not over yet as there is another season called Hidamari Sketch x365 with additional 13 episodes. More fun and goodness to be expected from the Yamabuki girls. Episode 1 goes back in time whereby Yuno and her mom are seen rushing to school for her entrance exam and makes it in time. In the exam hall, Yuno is still a little klutzy and clumsy. Yoshinoya too is late and bumps into Principal who drags her away for another round of good lecture. On results day, Sae and Hiro watch from HA the new students who are happy of their acceptance into Yamabuki. Yuno is one of them. Soon Yuno moves her stuff from home to HA. As she unpacks, Miyako drops by and they become acquainted. Miyako tells her about the facts of HA including 1 which attracts weird students. Referring to herself? She brings Yuno to meet Hiro but they see her on the floor shivering in fear. Hiro thinks she heard haunting sounds from the room above (creaking floor sounds when Yuno moved in). Uh… Weirdo number 2. The trio get acquainted like drawing bunnies and this has Hiro bringing them to see next door neighbour Sae. But upon opening the door, a hand pops out and drops dead to the ground, scaring Yuno. Hiro mentions about the nearing deadline so they decide to leave her alone. While chatting in Hiro’s room, weirdo number 3’s hand slips back in and closes the door. Like a zombie alright. The trio continue talking about the junior’s reason to move into HA and Yuno gets permission to see them if she has any problems. Yuno goes back to her room and realizes she hasn’t finished unpacking. She takes a bath but Miyako barges in to join her because her room has no water. Hiro goes over to Sae and tells them about the newbies she has met today. This episode is slightly refreshing in the sense that several short English idioms are shown onscreen like "Spare the rod, spoil the child". Very educational.
 
In episode 2, Yoshinoya gets another lecturing from Principal for thinking about Valentine’s Day chocolates rather than being a teacher. Yoshinoya retaliates by saying she isn’t giving him any chocolates this year and runs away in tears. In class, Yuno gets an SMS from Chika stating she’s nervous about her exam results. Later she got a reply that she has passed. Yuno and Miyako go find Hiro and Sae but they aren’t in their class. They spot Hiro standing at the bottom of the staircase watching Sae congratulating Chika over the phone. When Sae realizes her spying friends, she gets embarrassed. Back at HA, they talk about nostalgia like the bunnies they drew a year ago and Miyako’s habit of wearing old school uniform when cleaning her room. Sae gets a call from Chika asking for another round of congratulations since that time was a little rushed. Yoshinoya is at the infirmary talking to a colleague, Kuwabara, about any intentions of giving chocolates. Yoshinoya is upset when she mentions Principal but since she has no other guy to give, she decides to give some to him based on Kuwabara’s suggestion. Principal who is eavesdropping felt happy. Back in Hiro’s room, Miyako’s indirect teasing about weight gain of this nabe has Hiro shut her out temporarily. Since eating nabe causes Sae’s glasses to fog, she takes them off and this is the 1st time Yuno sees her without them on. However she’s as blind as a bat and mistakes the ladle as a clam. After that, Hiro makes very sweet red bean desert and after bath, Yuno gets an SMS from Chika saying how she’s so excited that she can’t sleep.
 
In episode 3, Yuno and Miyako meet Yoshinoya on her way to school on her off day because she got a call from the demon (who else. The Principal lah). Yoshinoya suggests a wonderful shrine area for them to sketch since they have no plans for the day. After taking the train and climbing a seemingly endless steps, they meet a nice good looking Shinto priest and realize he is the reason Yoshinoya thinks the shrine is wonderful. The duo split up to sketch the scenery. After finishing, they meet up and head back. Meanwhile Yoshinoya is being reprimanded for not filing her tons of paper work and leaving it all last minute. Sae gets an SMS from Yuno saying that they’ve missed their stop after oversleeping on the train. They eventually manage to get home. Hiro and Sae are out shopping and bumps into Landlady. They brought up room 203 which is unlocked but she shrug it off as there’s nothing to steal from it. Back in the room, Sae tries to being up the matter about Landlady but Hiro cuts her off and changes topic to eat snacks. While discussing Yuno and Miyako’s day out, Sae gets a call from her manager and goes out to answer. She meets Natsume who starts panicking and flustering upon seeing Sae before going away. Is she tsundere? Sae goes back and rejoins the conversation. Meanwhile Kuwabara rushes to school after getting a call from Yoshinoya. It seems Yoshinoya thinks 2 heads are better than 1 and ‘requests’ her help to finish her work. It’s Kuwabara’s day off too. Many hands make light work, eh? As expected, Yoshinoya gets more scolding from Principal for shirking her duties. She never learns, does she? Trying to sweep everything under the carpet or pass the buck, eh?
 
Miyako finds a stray cat in her room in episode 4. After sharing some of her food, she and Yuno go search for its owner since HA rules don’t allow pets. The search is futile so Miyako decides to let it stay in her room. The rest help to buy milk and cat food. Hey, I know Miyako is a glutton but she’s eating cat food too? They sleep together but the next morning, Miyako wakes up to find the cat gone. Yuno is emotionally crying to her seniors about the cat’s disappearance as they console her but Miyako is lying on the rooftop with 2 different stray cats by her side. She isn’t sad but believes they’ll meet again. The next scene shows the upcoming cultural festival and Yuno is unsure what to draw for the art’s exhibit. Last minute Miyako has her own plans while Yoshinoya is totally into her cosplay performance. Yuno goes to seek her senior’s advice but upon opening Sae’s door, she is shocked to see Sae on top of Hiro! Don’t worry. This isn’t turning into a yuri series. Later they clarify that they’re practicing for a play. Sae shows her a lily painting she did last year. Yoshinoya wishes to borrow Kuwabara’s stethoscope for her cosplay performance but she refuses. Kishi drops by to give them tickets to her film premier so Yoshinoya give her tickets to her weird cosplay performance too. As Yuno walks around school still unsure on what to draw, she remembers Kishi’s words and gets inspired. Back in her room, she burns the midnight oil and puts all her effort into her sketch. Even after dinner and bath, she continues to sketch hard till she falls sleep.
 
Chika visits the gang during spring break in episode 5. They engage in conversations over homemade food. Chika gets excited when they suggest going to karaoke but upon reaching the place, they are disheartened to see it closed for renovation. Walking back, they meet Landlady going fishing on her day off. She tells Hiro that she’ll come and get that thing in room 203, in which Hiro says to hurry. After meeting Principal, they encounter Yoshinoya who has just got another round of scolding from you know who for bringing personal stuffs to school and is seen packing them. Sly Yoshinoya decides to offload some of her work by trying to get the girls to help. Though they are reluctant, Chika offers to help. Back home, the gang makes nabe and since Chika is having so much fun, she thinks of moving here but Sae rejects. During meal, they remember going to the public bath with Yoshinoya whereby Miyako displayed her superb Enka skills followed by Yuno’s out of tune singing. Then everyone sang together in the bath. After dinner, they have cake and give Chika a handkerchief present. Their conversation include finding out Chika joining a brass band and Sae’s masculinity of being mistaken as a boy and receiving Valentine chocolates from girls. This made her embarrassed. Later as everyone retire to their own room, Sae gives Chika a necklace present of her own over a sisterly chat.
 
In episode 6, today is the day Sae meets her editor. But before she leaves, she gets a call from her mom to encourage Chika who is enrolling in summer school. While waiting at a cafe, she meets Natsume who sarcastically teases her if she studies here better. Meanwhile angry Principal is chasing Yoshinoya for failing to water plants but she insists that she didn’t forget. Just that she didn’t wake up in time. She’s good in the blame shift game. Natsume leaves and Sae’s editor comes in to take a look at her work and approves it. Sae returns and the gang gathers in Yuno’s room. After eating banana ice cream, Sae suddenly asks if they have anyone they love as part of her research. This include Yuno saying her love for dad and Nyanta. Who? A cat? Miyako is obviously dried food. Hiro then shoots back at Sae and she blushingly says she has lots of experience herself (liar!). When everyone leaves, Sae SMS to Chika and soon gets a call from her. It turned into a sisterly squabble like Chika teasing her she’s boyfriendless and can’t keep her company since she is attending summer school. Of course Sae replies by saying she’s busy with dates. A lie obviously! Hiro and Sae’s class are doing cream puffs for home economics so much so Miyako can’t concentrate in class and thinks only of tasting them. Hiro’s cream puffs prove to be delicious and she lets her juniors enjoy them. Later when Hiro is at a bookstore, she spots Natsume. Upon seeing Hiro, she panics and makes a hasty magazine purchase before leaving. Hiro returns to tell Sae about it and wonders what books she reads and perhaps a fan of Aya Tachibana (Sae’s penname). As Hiro reads an article on diet chocolate, Yuno and Miyako come by to share some chocolates. Sea continues to work till she dozes off so the trio take their leave. Outside, Yuno notes how Hiro is like a wife to Sae and a mother to them due to her kindness and generosity. Hiro thanks them.
 
School entrance ceremony in episode 7. Miyako comes over to Yuno’s room for breakfast but flips her eggs wrongly. Upset Yuno clangs the pan on her head. Their ruckus has Sae busting in and tell them to keep it down. Initially they don’t remember who she is. Soon Yuno panics and gets nervous on what to bring for her ceremony so Sae helps her out. In the school hall, as Principal gives his speech, Miyako comments out loud his long face and falls asleep soon after. Meanwhile Misato visits Hiro and Sae while cleaning up her stuff from her room as she is moving out. When she spots Landlady, she runs away but the latter gave chase. In class, Yuno and Miyako gets to know Yoshinoya as their weird homeroom teacher because she’s asking for any volunteers to be a nude model for tomorrow’s rough sketch. After school, they get a letter saying to come to Hiro’s room. They enter and are surprised by the seniors as they hold a welcoming party. They take the juniors to Berry Mart to shop for some snacks. Then they return to talk about today’s event which has the seniors recalling their own like Sae notes how Natsume didn’t have an attitude back then. They start to worry when they learn Yoshinoya as their homeroom teacher. When Yuno notes empty rooms 103 and 203 and Miyako thinking of storing her stuff there, Hiro vehemently objects and tells them not to or else Landlady will scold them. Yuno asks how they take care of their food. They mention they cook themselves so Yuno vows to do her best. Miyako is relieved since her food woes are solved. That night, Yuno spots Hiro sneaks out from room 203 but thinks she went to talk to Miyako.
 
The sports day in episode 8. The quartet are on the same team: Red. Same with Yoshinoya. Bummer. Miyako as the rep screws up her oath while Natsume from White team issues a challenge to Sae. The game starts which include Yuno in a scavenger race (needing to find a dog but got infatuated with it), Miyako’s excellent run during hurdle race and the gang show their in-sync through the centipede race and ball toss game. After lunch, the games continue with weirder sports as Red team closes the gap on the White team. The final event is relay race and Yuno is depressed because she is the anchor. Race starts and Sae is neck to neck with Natsume. Finally Yuno gets the baton and runs to victory. Only thing she kept on running… In the end though the overall winner is Blue team, at least Red team beat White team so Yoshinoya has her team sing some weird victory song. Back home, the gang discuss today’s events which include how Yoshinoya tried to get even with Principal through the cavalry event since he announced those who are able to take off his headband will get extra points. She failed miserably and lost. The gang also praise Yuno for the way she run their team to victory.
 
It’s summer vacation in episode 9 but Yoshinoya sleeps in not heeding calls to wake her up. In school, she’s lamenting why she must continue working so Principal chides her. In her retaliation, she runs away and decides not to do any. Every time she does own thing, the angry Principal catches up to her and she starts running away. As she is writing summer greetings to her current and graduated students underneath her desk, Natsume stumbles upon her. Yoshinoya requests her to deliver them in order to reach fast. Natsume delivers 1 outside HA and gets flustered when she thinks Sae is coming and runs away. That night, Yoshinoya can’t run away anymore and is forced to complete her paperwork under Kuwabara’s watchful eye. Principal gives her motivation that if she finishes her work, she gets to play sparklers. When done, they light up the sparklers as Kuwabara and Principal notes how happy Yoshinoya is because of her love for her students and she’ll never let go of her passion for art. Another scene has the quartet watching Kishi’s newly released movie and are moved. Back in Hiro’s room they discuss about the film and Kishi’s potentials. The next day over Hiro’s beautiful and creative lunch, they chat about what they’ve being doing. For instance, Miyako has been scribbling animation in her physics textbook. Then Sae gets a call from her editor and leaves the room. Yuno and Miyako also leave to find out Sae is checking her mailbox and think it’s a love letter. Actually a fan mail which the editor mailed it to her. Back in her room, Sae reads the letter which expresses their liking for last month’s story. They congratulate Sae as she blushes.
 
In episode 10, Yuno and Miyako are making clay sculptures using their old pair of shoes as models. Meanwhile Natsume meets Sae at the garbage section and teases her but panics upon seeing Principal there. He advices them about friendship and after he leaves, Natsume blushes when she notes how he called them friends and Sae confirms it. But she gets pissed and her usual attitude when Sae mentions Hiro’s name. She then storms off. I think this girl is in love with Sae. Back home, Yuno and Miyako decide to show off their real-like clay shoes. Miyako spots Sae sleeping on her desk and plays a prank. When Sae wakes up, she panics upon seeing a pair of shoes next to her futon like as though someone is sleeping there. Sae then storms into Miyako’s room realizing that this is her prank but flusters when she sees 2 sets of shoes at her place and quickly apologizes for bothering them (1 set was that clay shoe). Later Yuno is paid a surprise visit by her parents who are on vacation and decided to drop by on their way home. In her room, they get acquainted with Miyako and gave her meat buns as souvenir. Then Miyako go get Sae and Hiro and they get acquainted with them too. Yuno’s pals leave to buy snacks so Yuno spend quality time with time like giving her dad back massage and mommy cooking some snacks. They leave during evening and exchange photos. As the quartet are eating dinner, they get a surprise visit from Yoshinoya who tells them that Yuno’s parents have visited her at her home and told her to take care of their daughter. As Yuno’s parents take a train home, they’re glad Yuno has good friends. Except one. Yoshinoya. Better be wary of her.
 
In episode 11, Yuno is eating onigiri alone on the school rooftop when her humming attracted pigeons. She tries to feed them but her onigiri broke on her so the pigeons pound on her tills she screamed them off. She then dozes off and dreams of being abducted by aliens who perform an experiment on her. WTF?! Later she goes back to the stage to get her forgotten jersey when she heard weird sounds coming from the small passageway behind the way. To her shock, she sees Hiro in tight longs, knocked out outside a door with an encrypted message and a full size mirror. Back in Hiro’s room, the gang retell what happened while she was lying unconscious in the infirmary. This include Yoshinoya trying to kiss Hiro to see if she would wake up. Sicko. Also Sae mentions about Yamabuki’s 7 Mysteries so the trio along with Yoshinoya went there to do their investigation. They find the drama club’s room filled with outfits. Sae deduces that Hiro bought pants which are too tight so she skipped meals in order to fit into them and using the mirror as indicator, which contributed to her collapse. They tell Hiro to eat properly but Hiro says that isn’t the real reason she collapsed. Though that is partly true, the truth is that when she tried to pull up her tights, the bumped her head on the low ceiling. Meanwhile Yoshinoya happily puts on a drama club’s outfit and is thrilled. Upon standing up, she knocks her head and is out cold. Since nobody is around, she is trapped there till morning. Serves her right. That night, Yuno and co hear mysterious sounds coming from room 203 and opens it even if Hiro tries to stop them. They find Landlady there with several exercising equipments. Miyako pesters Hiro for an answer so she admits she did part time diet modelling job for Landlady but quit since it was too embarrassing. She wants Miyako to keep this a secret. What are the chances? Yuno is in her room when she hears ghostly cries of help (from Yoshinoya) and freaks out so she takes a bath with Miyako.
 
Yuno and Miyako are shocked to learn Sae doesn’t care about Hiro in episode 12. They conclude that they must’ve had a fight. Hiro confirms it as she is aggressively eating her food and obviously upset. She mentions that she entered Sae’s room to find her sleeping when the phone rings. She picked it up on her behalf and the other person on the other line was Sae’s editor, though she didn’t say anything weird. During recess, Sae ignores Hiro and sits next to Natsume and gives that tsundere her sandwich, surprising Natsume and making her blush and happy. Back home, Yuno and Miyako go talk to Sae and the latter confirms what Hiro said. Miyako points out that Sae is at fault for relying too much on her. As Sae goes to apologize, Yuno thinks how she and Miyako don’t fight which prompts Miyako to think what makes Yuno mad. She starts by saying out loud Yuno’s embarrassing "My Future Self" essay so Yuno smacks her with her sketchbook. Boy, she can sure pick a fight easily. Sae and Hiro apologize to each other and reconcile. Hiro is brought to tears as they both embrace. Later the gang use colour papers to decorate the bamboo tree outside HA and write their wishes in conjunction with Tanabata festival. All 4 had the same wish. That is to stay together like this.
 
New Years Day in episode 13 and Yuno comes back to HA from her hometown. The quartet decide to visit the temple and on their way drop by Yoshinoya’s home shortly before the quintet continue their journey. The usual prayers with Miyako’s luck looking good while Yoshinoya still has hers as misfortune. Natsume comes by with her friends and gets flustered to see Sae there. Sae’s luck reading is "unexpected aid" so she and Hiro wonder who will it come from. They think it must be that fan letter so they have good words for the fan and Sae is encouraged to do better. Natsume who is hiding behind a statue and eavesdropping, flusters even more. Don’t tell me she is that fan who wrote the letter! As they’re leaving, Natsume makes a wish to be more honest with her feelings this year when Sae spots her. Yup, it has to be her. Back at HA, the quartet talk about what they did for the holidays and their wish for the year. Sae recalls Natsume’s weird acting at the temple whereby the duo had a ‘showdown’ as they told each other wishes. Natsume wishing for world peace? Obviously a lie. Because Sae hopes her wish would come true, Natsume left with a happy feeling. Everyone gathers at Yuno’s room as she give them souvenirs. But as everyone left, Yuno felt uncomfortable as though she hadn’t complete something yet. She manages to sum up her courage and get her friends’ attention before they retire to their rooms. Yuno says "I’m back". And their reply, "Welcome home".
 
Though there are several special episode releases, I didn’t really get to watch them as they are quite rare to find and are released as DVDs along with the other episodes. Basically they are additional adventures of the gang as I read such as a visit to the water park, dressing up and taking pictures from a camera Sae bought and Hiro getting a love letter and even confess to her but turned him down (aww, I wished I could see the disappointed faces of everyone).
 
Well the whole entire isn’t anything to shout about but at least it is shown at a calming pace. Yoshinoya is my favourite character because of her childish behaviour. I can’t get enough of her lazy and one kind attitude. I’m always smiling and preparing to laugh on whatever easy way out methods she cooks up just to forsake her work. I wonder if Principal will have enough strength to keep on chasing and mending her ways. Miyako too is my other favourite character due to her carefree behaviour and speak-before-she-thinks actions. Especially she loves teasing Hiro about her diet in which she gets her deserved retribution. I also wonder when will that kid ever be full. Any food is okay with her. Though I don’t remember if it’s ever mentioned in the series (probably not), I have a feeling that Natsume is indeed in love with Sae and her tsundere attitude is just to hide that fact so as not to lose face. But with Hiro always by her side, there’s lots of work she needs to do if she wants Sae to look at her. Maybe not too. The other characters’ quirky behaviour are enough to give them a little distinguished personality and though over the series you can pretty much guess what kind of character they are as they don’t really undergo heavy transformation.
 
The drawing, art and animation are more towards moe and kawaii. At points when the scene gets comical, the characters’ chibi form usually has their face elongated like a sideways oval and their eyes, well like rough simple pencil sketches. Odd. Over the series, they use several artistic displays as short scene changers, if not characters in random poses and outfits. However I want to note that only the 1st episode of the 2nd season is very smooth and fluid like as though it was done using computer animation. I wonder why they didn’t continue with the rest of the episodes. As for the next episode preview, it is shown in yonkoma style and the speeches in the word bubbles are what the characters narrate onscreen.
 
Besides the arty display, another thing about this series is the presentation of the various foods that Hiro cooks or the quartet bought from the shop. So if you don’t feel that the anime is providing enough eye candy, maybe the meals that they prepare would provide mouth-watering delicacies for your ‘eye candy’. It’s ironic that Hiro is so concern about her diet, yet she makes so many of such dishes. Yeah, for her friends. Like Yuno said, she is like Sae’s wife. Perhaps indirectly she developed such phobia while test tasting.
 
My favourite seiyuu is Miyu Matsuki who voices Yoshinoya (Harumi in Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei, Yukari in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu). I love it whenever she starts lamenting. She sounds so cute! I also particularly like Hiro’s dreamy voice who is done by Yuko Goto (Kaede in Shuffle, Hikari in Special A, Nanami in Lamune). You can’t get more moe than this. Other casts include Kana Asumi as Yuno (Yukari in Sekirei), Kaori Mizuhashi as Miyako (Ai in Aria The Animation), Ryoko Shintani as Sae (Himeko in Hime-sama Goyoujin), Yuichi Nagashima as Principal (Brook of One Piece), Miyuki Sawashiro as Landlady (Shinkurou in Kurenai) and Rie Kugimiya as Chika (Nagi in Hayate No Gotoku). There are a few background music which are fun to listen to.
 
I’m not sure how popular this series is but it manages to spawn 2 light novels and even a video game! I wonder how the game play would be like. So next time if you see an art student, don’t brush off their creativity as weird. To each his/her own. We are all weird in our own uncanny ways. Besides, art is abstract and up to one’s interpretations. Thus everyone is artistic in their own ways. Which reminds me, I still suck at drawing even the simplest form of manga or anime related drawings. I wonder if those girls would gladly give me some lessons on how to sketch. I’m sure they’ll gladly be waiting at HA like always. And no Yoshinoya, please.
 

Hidamari Sketch

NieA_7 Soundtrack

September 25, 2009

Ah, another old anime series which brings back memories, NieA_7 (pronounced as nii-eh-ah under seven). Well, that is actually inaccurate because I don’t really remember much about the show except what it was in very general terms. But one thing which I do remember is its soundtrack and background music during the series. Not that I could remember if every song was played in the show, but at least there are memorable ones which made lasting impressions.
 
The series’ soundtrack is divided into 2 albums. The first album which is composed by Yoshio Owa is entitled NieA’s Loco and was released during the year 2000 containing 15 tracks of background music. The next album called NieA’s Blues is released shortly after the first and contains a further 16 tracks. However both tracks do not contain any TV versions of the opening and ending songs like most anime soundtracks usually do. Listed below are my favourite soundtracks in alphabetical order:
 
1) Comfortable Feelin’
2) Holo Holo
3) Molokai Shores
4) Olomana Blues
5) Papa Street
6) Paradise Branch
7) Pua Eno Hana
8) Ukulele Blues
 
If you noticed that all the listed 8 songs above are from the NieA’s Loco album. This album in particular is very blues, ragtime and jazz orientated. The pace of many of the pieces is slow and easy to listen like as though you are walking through the peaceful countryside of big USA. At least it gives me that impression. If I had to pick which of the 8 is my favourite then it would be Ukulele Blues, which is a rather catchy blues tune used as the ending theme for the final episode of the series. Until today, I’m still not sure if there are 2 ukuleles plucking. I tried to imitate the song with my guitar using my play-by-ears approach but sadly it didn’t come close. Maybe for the first 5 seconds.
 
But thankfully, there are 3 other pieces in that list which I managed to successfully play with my guitar, albeit it may not be accurate but at least it sounds close to me. The first piece which I conquered was the slow guitar solo Molokai Shores. I don’t know how long it took me but I’m sure it was worth every painful ear straining session. Just like the name of the song, it gives an impression of strolling along the sandy beaches of a Hawaiian island (I think). Sometimes this piece is that slow so much so it may sound like a lullaby but it didn’t put me to sleep, that’s for sure. Next tune which I successfully learned is Holo Holo. Hmm… Sounds like another Hawaiian piece. The slow pace of this guitar solo piece is easy on the ears as with the plucking of the strings. Even if this is a slow song, I feel that I have to play with expression in order to feel its full effects. Finally Pua Eno Hana took me a little longer to learn because I couldn’t really hear really well some of the notes which to me at that time sound ‘conflicting’. This piece gives an impression of the slow and easy going lives of a small town.
 
Papa Street has a more Latin and Flamenco flavour with the bumblebee-like picking accompanied with accordion and bass. This piece can be considered as slow-moderate and is nothing to those fast paced Spanish guitar picking you hear these days. The other pieces in my favourite list lean more towards ragtime blues. For instance Comfortable Feelin’ is another slow easy going piece and because of the ‘lazy’ play of the song, it gives a very laidback feeling. Then there is Olomana Blues in which the piece reminds me of a slow journey back to the countryside. Another relaxing and nonchalant guitar picking piece accompanied with harmonica (or is it an accordion?) to listen to. Paradise Branch is a livelier piece though it maintains its casual blues tune.
 
I once liked the piece Nia, which is another slow nylon string guitar picking accompanied with piano in the background. Somehow over time I didn’t like that piece anymore though it is still okay if I listen to it once in a while. Like A Hula Blues sounds like a typical Hawaiian blues piece because the main instrument in use is that Hawaiian string instrument (don’t remember the name. Damn). Mana sounds a little hollow because the way the Hawaiian string instrument is played and I kinda find it a little echo-ey. Love Never Change starts off with a violin solo before the other instruments come into play and feels like a song for the lonely (at least that was my first impression). Another violin driven piece accompanied by guitar in the background is Come Stay With Me. Lag Rag experiments with the banjo and the fun picking style gives a feeling of the typical countryside farm or ranch impression. Then there’s the slow whistling blues piece As Is.
 
As for the second album, I have only heard samples of them and I can summarize is that the tracks contained here are from famous American blues and jazz artistes. For instance, John Lee Hooker, Floyd Dixon, Howlin Wolf and Jim Lockhart among others. Thus the songs on this album are vocal and if you have listened to the early days of music, you have an idea on how these country blues pieces of the 40’s sound like. I don’t blame people for mistaking and being confused when they see this album. An anime cover with western blues tracks? But the final track in this album is a violin solo version of Pua Eno Hana so it isn’t totally a 100% blues track.
 
Well, after listening to these easy going songs, it’s not like I feel interested to further listen or go into the blues genre. Nor have I decided to rewatch the anime series again. Besides, this series and its soundtrack album can be considered old and because it isn’t that popular enough, it is already out of print. But with the few tracks in hand, I know that I can have a soothing relaxing time. Just close my eyes and listen to the music that plunges my mind into peace and calms my soul. I don’t know if that is the blues way of talking…
 

NieA_7

Asu No Yoichi

September 20, 2009

In the 21st century, how often do you hear the existence of real samurais? Close to nil, right? Read them in history books or storybooks, right? Only hear and see them in the movies and TV shows, right? Well, unless you are talking about the anime series Asu No Yoichi, then it may be a little different story.
 
Based on the manga of the same name, unlike many samurai genres out there which centres around the bushido and code of honour principles, I read that this is more of a samurai harem, which means there will be fanservice, bevy of pretty girls and stuff like that. Don’t worry. Our main hero samurai isn’t a pervert. As expected all these fanservice are attributed to the comedy and action of this series.
 
Thus we are introduced to our 17 year old samurai Yoichi Karasuma in episode 1. He has been living and training vigorously under the tutelage of his dad in the mountains all his entire life, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With his skills improving over time, it is no surprise that Yoichi would surpass him one day. And that day has come when daddy is no longer able to teach Yoichi anything further. So he sends him to go live in the big city for him to gain experience. How is a country bumpkin going to fend himself even if he has mastered his ultimate Soaring Wing, Divine Wind technique? The city can be a ferocious place, you know. Luckily for him, Yoichi’s dad already sent a message to his long time buddy in the city, the Ikarugas. They have 4 daughters who currently live at the dojo and both parents are not around. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? They are, from eldest, Ibuki, Ayame, Chihaya and Kagome. Ibuki is eager to meet this newcomer to their dojo.
 
Yoichi arrives in the city and as expected he gets lost. Not to mention the stares he gets from other people. A real samurai or just cosplaying? He bumps into a couple of delinquents, Ryo Washizu and Keita Torigaya, who mocks his appearance. Washizu insults him by kicking Yoichi’s wooden sword. So Yoichi does a warning move and sends Washizu flying. The amazing part is that his wooden sword didn’t even touch him. That’s using the wind alright. Washizu is left to wonder who that guy is while Yoichi is being taken into questioning by the local police. I guess due to his sincerity they let him go. Meanwhile the Ikaruga sisters are waiting for him at a designated spot. Thinking that he is running late, the rest decides to kill some time by going to a nearby shopping mall while Ibuki continues waiting. At the same time, Yoichi too is lost and decides to enter that same mall in hopes of finding his direction. His rationale is that since the mall is high, he should be able to find it by scouting from above. Of course his path crosses with the other Ikaruga sisters, all unaware of who the other party is. Like how Yoichi accidentally enters a cubicle while Ayame is changing (she thinks he is a pervert) and Yoichi bumping over Chihaya in the bookstore (she thinks he has weird yaoi fetish after books of the genre fall near him). Also, a snatch thief is in the vicinity and Yoichi plays hero by chasing him down and successfully nailing him.
 
Then he meets lost Kagome and decides to help her find her sister. I find it funny that when Yoichi asks Kagome to describe how her sister looks like, the first thought of description that Kagome gave was her big boobs. Ibuki is worried about her sister so she too came into the mall looking for them. Kagome spots her sister but the police wants to take Yoichi in, thinking of all the nuisance he has caused while chasing the thief. Yoichi then does a Tarzan thingy (don’t try this anyhow!) to escape from the men in blue and reunites Kagome with Ibuki in one swoop. But his momentum is too great that he smashed through the window and onto the train for who knows where. I don’t know why he didn’t just jump off so he only returned in the evening. Thankfully, Ibuki is still waiting for him so the 2 finally get to know each other. The police too didn’t give up and handcuffs him but since Yoichi went about apologizing to everyone in the mall, they let him off the hook. Back at the Ikaruga dojo, Yoichi finds out about the other sisters and they too are surprised to see him. Funny how fate works. He is looking forward to his stay with them.
 
So in every episode you can almost guess that Yoichi gets a beating from Ibuki because he seems to always end up in some perverted or compromising positions even if his intentions are true or by pure accident. But it does not help too because he nose bleeds in those fanservice situations. Uh huh. I wonder after all his life living in the mountains and animals as his only companions, it’s a wonder he nose bleeds at the sight of such things. Must be his inner instincts, eh? If he has been living in the city at the start, I wonder if he would turn out to be a real pervert. And as for the sisters, you’ve got a colourful bunch. From a busty gentle but violent dojo instructor, a tsundere flat-chest, a megane mangaka and a moe loli. What more could you ask for?
 
Thus in episode 2, Yoichi is to be a transfer student at Ibuki and Ayame’s school. Can’t be bumming around at the dojo as a freeloader all day, eh? Other developments include Washizu and Torigaya too are students of this school and they are surprised to see the samurai here. Not only that, Washizu has a secret crush on Ibuki and you can tell that this tough delinquent softens everytime he is near her. Note his pathetic Washizu Vision of being lovey-dovey with Ibuki or being a hero to save her from that baddie samurai. Not only that Yoichi will be in the same class with him as with Ibuki, when he learns that he too is living together with his beloved Ibuki, I guess he has his limits. So he challenges Yoichi to a duel. Yoichi seems positive and not the kind who would put anybody down. So even if boxer Wahizu uses his fists, Yoichi puts down his sword and takes him on fair and square. But Yoichi is upset to learn that his fists conceal some hidden weapons and tells him off. In the end, Washizu lost. Ibuki lends him her handkerchief and nicely advices him not to use anymore weapons. Now that guy is more motivated than ever, saying his fight has just only begun. Ayame has been watching the fight and her body action tells us that she is falling for the samurai…
 
Back home, Yoichi falls sick so Ayame tries to learn and cook a porridge dish for him and gets some help from Kagome. Yoichi learns from Chihaya how Ibuki took on a maternal role after their parents left and the reason why she became strict was because she puts her family first. Yoichi apologizes to Ibuki and their friendly conversation doesn’t go down well with Ayame. Uh huh. She causes a fuss and runs back to her room. While thinking how she is always second to Ibuki, she trips and all her hard work in the porridge is threatened to be ruined. Faster than the naked eye, Yoichi dives and saves he porridge but ends up crashing outside the window. He gets a taste of her porridge and finds it delicious, making her happy. Ibuki notices her happy expression which she has never put on for a long time. And when Yoichi comments on her smile, she blushes and tries to act like a tough girl and kicks him. Yeah, she’s turning into a tsundere character alright. An obvious one. Meanwhile, a pair of ladies, Angela Takatsukasa and her master Tsubasa Tsubame, arrive in the city seeking Yoichi’s blood.
 
In episode 3, while Angela brags about how Tsubasa will be the one to defeat, Tsubasa runs away because her heart is not in seeking revenge but rather to enjoy the city life as a normal school girl. Back at the Ikaruga dojo, tsundere Ayame tries to get closer to Yoichi after getting advice from Chihaya, who knows about Ayame’s feelings. It’s like Chihaya is really loves watching the developments between Ibuki-Ayame and Yoichi though her intentions are not bad. Everytime Ayame receives advice from her, she just shrugs it off as nothing. Yeah, your character is showing. Too obvious. At school, the class gets a new transfer student: Tsubasa. The other classmates are thrilled of this cute loli. Angela is spying outside and thinks this is part of Tsubasa’s stealth plan to get close to Yoichi and then go in for the kill while his guard is down but Tsubasa’s real intention is otherwise. Another thing is that Tsubasa bumps into Washizu and Torigaya. Noticing how kind Washizu is to let her off, she starts falling for him. Note her pathetic Tsubasa Vision too.
 
Angela swoops down to remind Tsubasa of her mission and the monetary reward they will get if they finish it. However Tsubasa refuses and runs away. Angela rips Tsubasa’s clothes to reveal a revealing sexy leather S&M-like outfit. Angela then confronts Yoichi and Ibuki to tell of their true intentions. I’m not sure about the reverse psychological training that Tsubasa had but it seems that Tsubasa’s embarrassment is the reason why she can’t display her true power and after all those embarrassing training, Tsubasa has reached the limits of her embarrassment and will cut off all emotions. Now she is like an emotionless warrior taking on Yoichi. Washizu who is passing by thinks Yoichi has some fetish with that loli and decides to step in to fight in her place. Tsubasa returns to normal upon seeing him and flees in her embarrassment. Seeing that Tsubasa is no longer to finish her mission (since Washizu saw her in her embarrassing state and her claims that she hates martial arts training), that night Angela decides to finish the job herself. Yoichi is partially paralyzed (and nose bleeding) because Angela is clad in a revealing black leather outfit. He learns that she has been hired to take out Yoichi and has been offered huge sums of money by an unknown party. Their goal is to revive the Swallow Benten style school. Yoichi is upset of her shallow conviction and tells her off the wrong path she has taken. Angela realizes that she has been wrong and gives up. See, they can solve this without violence. She goes and apologize to Tsubasa for everything and the next day, the duo gives up their mission to kill Yoichi and are working part time at a ramen restaurant. Lastly, the person who hired Angela and Tsubasa, Ukyou Sagonomiya, isn’t pleased with the failure. Why is he wearing a cat mask? Pimples? Just kidding.
 
In episode 4, Washizu is contemplating to return the handkerchief to Ibuki, but his chicken guts got the better off him because he is more concern of what to wear and present himself to Ibuki than anything else. He’ll never return it at this rate. But this episode is mainly on Chihaya. We learn that she works as a manga artist and help supplement income to the family. Yoichi learns of this when Chihaya calls him to her room. As part of her plan to generate material for her manga, she gets close to Yoichi, sending mix signals to him. She even unbuttons her top and tells him to be his boyfriend! She’s a damn good teaser. Yoichi is trying hard to control himself when Ibuki comes in. To make things worse, Chihaya says Yoichi forced himself on her. Pain time. One day Chihaya forgot to take her supplement to class so Yoichi decides to bring it to her. Yoichi hears a bunch of Chihaya’s classmates mocking her and don’t like what she’s doing. He doesn’t bother much about it until he finds that they have torn her work and put up insulting remarks. Though he wanted to teach them a lesson, Chihaya stops him. But behind the classroom door, he can tell that Chihaya is sad and the pain in her heart is unbearable. So outside school, Yoichi confronts the guys and lets them have a taste of his technique after telling them off. Chihaya comes out to see the delinquents lying on the ground and even if they repent, Chihaya is still nice to them. Back home, Chihaya finishes her manga story which is somewhat a resemblance to Yoichi. Chihaya notices Yoichi’s rough hand due to his sword practice, which is the same with her for holding the pen for too long. She puts her palm with Yoichi’s and this sends Ibuki and Ayame into panic mode and threatens to beat him up if he makes a move on her while Chihaya rushes off to fax her manga work to her editor.
 
Yoichi gets a love letter from a freshmen, Yui Hinagata in episode 5. Every guy in his class must be damn jealous. Not only he gets to live with beautiful sisters but now a love letter requesting for a date this Sunday too? I think Ibuki is more of jealous rather than worried about how Yoichi would end up in this dating game so she suggests a practice date herself. What else to do when you’re out on a date? Bowling, singing (Yoichi is horrible!) and shopping. Ibuki gets him to wear normal clothes. While shopping, Ayame is out with her friends and her worse fear confirms when she spots the duo. Chihaya and Kagome follow and spy on them. At the park fountain, Ibuki and Yoichi accidentally fell into it and got all wet. After Yoichi proceeds to give her a kitten doll (it’s ugly if you ask me) as a thank you gift, she goes to buy drinks. Yoichi is then confronted with Yui. In short, he rejects her date offer because he isn’t familiar with her. However this doesn’t go down well with Yui as this ruins her plan. Looks like Yui is a martial artist too and takes out her weapon and starts attacking Yoichi who has left his wooden sword behind. Yoichi can’t return a blow because Yui will put up a moe expression whenever he closes in. But he manages to break a part of her weapon and uses it as her sword to defeat her. Yoichi notices the other sisters spying and has known it all along. They then heard Ibuki’s scream. While getting juices, she is being harassed by guys who wants to hit on her but she is self-sufficient and takes them all out by herself. Help not needed. Later we learn that Yui is another one of those being hired by Ukyou to take out Yoichi but since she failed, Yui won’t get a single cent. Back home, Ayame is relieved that the date was just a practice but starts to panic after thinking that this practice is for a real one. That night, Yoichi explains to Ibuki why he turned down Yui. Yoichi’s words of how his fate as a warrior has him unable to find love which causes Ibuki to blush and deny. But she quickly hides that and scolds him for being a pervert and such.
 
In episode 6, Washizu is still finding it hard to return Ibuki’s handkerchief. So he puts a letter to meet him in her shoebox. Just when he’s about to confess, he is surprised to find Yoichi there. Wrong shoebox? However Yoichi and Ibuki (who is standing behind him), misinterprets the letter and thinks he wants to join the dojo. Meanwhile Ukyou has hired a real samurai, Jinjurou Nuezume, to kill Yoichi. Jinjurou is the opposite of Yoichi’s school technique teachings, Dark Crow, Black Sky technique. The best part is that he burns away all the money that Ukyou is prepared to give him and will gladly accept the mission to get rid of Yoichi. Back at Ikaruga dojo, Washizu is a bundle of nerves at the dojo’s door. Torigaya is just there to accompany him. He’s like sticking like a leech wherever Washizu goes. The Ikaruga dojo as 4 young boys as students so I guess with newcomer like Washizu, they get to throw their weight around. Don’t worry. Those kids aren’t that bad either. Since Washizu is a newcomer, his dreams of being under Ibuki’s guidance is dashed because he is put under Yoichi’s care. Initially he didn’t want to listen to Yoichi but after hearing from Ibuki, that guy is so into it. Then it becomes an endurance challenge of 400 straight push-ups. Not wanting to lose face, Washizu follows Yoichi’s pace to reach a thousand. Everyone cheers them on while Chihaya and Kagome go out shopping to get stuff so that they can celebrate at the end of the lesson. Everyone is amazed by their determination and digs in the meal Chihaya and Kagome had made. Ayame tries to get closer to Yoichi while Washizu is happy to be close to Ibuki. Meanwhile the threat of Jinjurou never materializes because he is always getting lost in some parts of the world. All that potential threat was just hyped up for nothing and never materialized. Ah well, money burnt anyway. New plan, Ukyo. Besides, his cat mask sister, Sakon, too thinks it’s time for her debut.
 
The fanservice episode 7 we’ve all been waiting for. Hooray! The beach episode with our heroine babes in bikinis! Even Tsubasa and Angela are here to enjoy the fun in the sun on this little isolated island but to Tsubasa’s dismay, Washizu isn’t here. Well, Ibuki did invite him but that guy forgot that it is tomorrow instead of today. Yup, he tries to catch a ride here. What are the chances he’ll reach? Your guess is right. Another thing is that Angela is starting to have feelings for Yoichi when she spots his six pack! Also we learn that this private beach belongs to Ukyou and Sakon and is part of their elusive plan to rid Yoichi as they hire a pair of surfer Mizunagi brothers. Some fanservice events include, Ayame thinking of padding her top because of her inferiority boobs complex, Yoichi accidentally tripping and pulling off Tsubasa’s bikini (because he notices a seagull attacking her, courtesy from the command of Mizunagi brothers) and yeah, another one landing his face in Ibuki’s boobs. Since Yoichi doesn’t know how to swim, Ayame and Angela vie for the right to do so but Ayame lost out after knowing she has a bigger bust although they are of the same age.
 
We also find out that a student of the dojo, Masashi, has a little crush on Kagome. The gang thinks Kagome doesn’t know how to swim because she refuses to take off her shirt. She runs away even if Masashi offers to teach her. Everyone starts looking for her and Masashi finds her but they both fell into a ravine. They follow the path which leads to cave, a place where the Mizunagi brothers intents to lead them and Yoichi to (by using that seagull). Masashi falls off the cliff when he rushes out of the cave mouth. The Mizunagi brothers commence their attack when everyone else arrives and Yoichi dives in straight to save him. He can’t swim, remember? Kagome eventually dives down to save Masashi while the rest throws Yoichi’s sword and float to have a fighting chance. Standing on top of the float, Yoichi unleashes his usual technique to turn the tide on the brothers. Though Sakon thinks it’s a waste of money and planning, at least Ukyou has got some important footage of them in action. When everyone regroups, they learn that the reason why Kagome refuses to take off her shirt was not because she doesn’t know how to swim. She actually is quite good in it. The real reason: She doesn’t want to let everyone see her growing breasts! She’s got them grown even at such a small age and hid them under wraps. But Kagome isn’t happy because she wish how they were as small as Ayame’s. On the other hand, Ayame is devastated that even her little sister and ‘comrade’ has overtaken her. Makes you wonder if Ayame is part of the family since she is the only one not well endowed. When you have it, you don’t want it and vice versa.
 
In episode 8, this is the day Washizu will confess his true feelings to Ibuki via letter. Can he? At the store, he bumps into Ayame and they both enter into an argument over a bottled water. At the same time, a bunch of delinquents enter the shop to see Washizu in a losing battle and snaps a pic of them with their handphone. Back home, as part of Chihaya’s advice not to lose Yoichi to a certain somebody, Ayame tries to give Yoichi a towel after his dojo training. But she screws up and puts on a rather scary face instead. Then an accident causes Washizu to slip his letter into Ayame’s hands. In his panic, he quickly rips the letter but falls onto her. At the same time, Tsubasa is doing her ramen delivery when she spots the duo in a compromising position. You can guess what her vision looks like when she hears the ambiguous line "It’s a secret between the 2 of us". She is more than just devastated and just left in lightning pace. Even back at her ramen store, she is inconsolable. So pitiful. Yoichi goes to return the ramen box that Tsubasa forgot to take when she left in haste. On his way out, he overhears 4 delinquents who are planning their easy revenge on Washizu because they think he has gotten soft.
 
They later go to the Ikaruga dojo and get Ayame to follow them. On Washizu’s way, the delinquents surround him and Ayame as their hostage. They think Ayame is his girlfriend from the pic but they both quickly deny. Thinking that they are playing dumb, the delinquent head threatens to do something funny to Ayame and all Washizu has to do is stand there and get bashed. The delinquent head starts stripping Ayame, paralyzing her. I thought she would fight back but nope, she’s just like a damsel in distress. Washizu has no choice but to stand there while the rest take their shot at him. Washizu remembers how he got the title of being the strongest after he single-handedly defeated a group of delinquents because he got nothing to lose. Then came Torigaya and they started out hanging out together. Before long, Ibuki came into his life and that’s when he think it is his downfall. Thankfully before they could land the last blow, Yoichi appears to lend him his strength. After his usual lecture like how the need to protect someone makes him/her stronger, Yoichi and Washizu teams up and proves deadly as they defeat those punks for good. Just when Yoichi is about to offer a handshake for being friends, Ibuki comes running and Washizu’s pride got the better of him so he shrugs him off. Ibuki mistakes that Yoichi may have done something perverted on Ayame seeing her near naked state and you know what is to happen lah. As Washizu leaves, Ayame thanks him by handing him a towel but he tells her to give it to the samurai instead. Does he know of her feelings as well? Ayame does so and clears up the misunderstanding that Ibuki had while Washizu meets up with Torigaya who is worried about the bruises on his face.
 
In episode 9, Washizu’s umpteenth failure to confess to Ibuki has caused him to say out loud his attentions accidentally to Ayame. Since Washizu addresses Ibuki by her surname, you can guess that Ayame misunderstood it is her and gets flustered. Tsundere style. After finding out that Torigaya knows Ayame likes Yoichi and there is an upcoming festival, Washizu hatches a plan. Yeah, girls in yukata this time. At the festival, Washizu and Torigaya collaborate through a rigged lot to cover the festival area in groups so that Washizu could be with Ibuki, Ayame with Yoichi and Torigaya with the other 2 sisters. However Torigaya screwed up and has Washizu and Ayame paired while Yoichi gets Ibuki. Ukyou is at the festival too and he unmasks and introduces himself to Yoichi. Plus, I think he’s got some crush on Ibuki, judging from his fawning face. Perhaps the reason he wants to rid Yoichi. Tsubasa and Angela are working at the festival as haunted house monsters when Tsubasa spots lost Ibuki and thinks Washizu is around too. She gives Angela the slip to go find him. Meanwhile unmasked Sakon approaches Yoichi to enter a shooting game. Since he is too nervous, Ibuki takes over and shoots a golden carp and wins a luxurious hotspring inn trip. But that win was discreetly helped by Ukyou’s wind and Yoichi notices it.
 
Since Ayame is criticizing and mocking Washizu, everyone around them thinks he is getting scolded by his girlfriend. Washizu can’t take it anymore and clears up the misunderstanding that his confession was towards Ibuki. He puts salt to Ayame’s wounded heart by saying that she isn’t cute as her sister. It was heartbreaking news. Washizu apologized for everything but says that she is the biggest loser for giving up at the start. When Yoichi and Ibuki comes around, Washizu quickly rushes off with Ibuki’s hand to let Ayame be alone with Yoichi. Though nervous, at least she puts on a smile. Washizu continues running and is going to confess but to his dismay finds that he is holding on to Tsubasa’s hand instead. Another failed shot. Everyone regroups as Ibuki tells them about her winnings while Washizu and Ayame continue to argue which leads Ibuki and Yoichi to notice how well they get along with each other.
 
The gang arrives at the hotspring inn in episode 10 located at the very outskirts from any civilization. Your typical mandatory hotspring fanservice episode but it won’t be much as the turning point starts when Ukyou drops by Yoichi taking a dip in the hotspring and plays guilty mind games like how he is a freeloader caring only about his training and did nothing to help the sisters. During dinner, the gang learn the reason why the inn lack customers because the owner says a legend about a haunted cave nearby in which prisoners died. Yoichi and Ibuki volunteers to go eradicated the evil spirits. Chihaya sensing great manga material goes to tell Ayame about this so as not to let her chance slip. After tsundere Ayame leaves, Chihaya and Kagome fell asleep through Sakon’s incense. At the cave mouth, the ground caves in which causes Yoichi to be separated from Ayame. Yoichi finds lost Ayame but she is acting different because she is seducing him! Desperate? On the other hand, Ibuki meets Ukyou but doesn’t remember who he is, depressing him. Then they spot Yoichi and Ayame flirting but Ibuki thinks she is an evil spirit because she knows of Ayame’s shy personality. Yoichi too knows she isn’t the real deal but adds another unnecessary reason: Her boobs aren’t that big. It’s understandable that Ibuki whacks Yoichi rather than the evil spirit. But that fake Ayame is actually Sakon in disguise (just like that inn owner). Sakon unleashes her incense to turn Ibuki unconscious and since Yoichi inhaled a little, he is weakened. With Ibuki in his arms, Ukyou reveals that Ibuki is his fiancee and vows to crush Yoichi and believes he has somehow altered her memories. But Yoichi isn’t giving up and wants to fight back so Ukyou tells him to go back to the inn.
 
Yoichi returns to find the place dark and Chihaya and Kagome missing. He is then confronted with past nemesis like Yui and Mizunagi brothers and lots of extra ninja underlings. They are motivated to beat him because the reward from Ukyou is any amount they desire. Luckily he defeats them with his trademark move. Then he comes face to face with Jinjurou. Finally. If you’re thinking that a cool battle is going to start, get ready for another disappointment because just as Jinjurou is about to strike Yoichi with his sword, he is hit away from the back by a wooden sword by the real Ayame. Just like that? Yoichi tells Ayame to wake Chihaya and Kagome seen unconscious at a nearby open hut. Ayame whacks Yoichi when he accidentally touches her boobs and even so, Yoichi is happy to know that this is the real Ayame from her boob size. I hope he doesn’t turn into a pervert. Yoichi makes Yui tell them where Ibuki is being held as they rush into a room to see Ibuki waking up. However, she does not remember who they are. Oh no.
 
Everyone returns to the dojo in episode 11 but Ibuki’s amnesia has caused her to act like a 4 year old kid! Due to that, Ibuki doesn’t recognize Yoichi, Ayame and Chihaya and thinks her sisters still should be little girls. Worse still, she doesn’t know who Kagome is because back then she wasn’t born yet. Kagome feels heartbroken. Her childishness has her acting real strange like releasing her full strength on her dojo students and hurting Masashi (why did they even have lessons in her state?). Ayame is pissed off Ibuki’s childish nature and blows her top while Chihaya tries to restrain her. Then Ukyou and Sakon comes by. They say that though they are at fault for turning Ibuki like that, it is partly Ibuki’s wish who desires to return to her happiest point in life. This has the rest realized that Ibuki may be tired of taking care of the dojo and family. The medicine will take several months to prepare. During that time, Ukyou says that Ibuki will be in his care while the rest will get to live a luxurious celebrity life. Rich foods, good clothes, maids. Wow. They can retire and get use to this. Say, how bloody rich is this guy?!
 
Meanwhile Ibuki is chasing a cat when she bumps into Washizu and Torigaya. She pleads for them to take her away and of course Washizu happily obliged. Although he notices her strange behaviour but he is still pretty much love struck as they accompany her playing sand at the playground. Torigaya rushes off to find the rest while Ukyou has another round of private chat with Yoichi, playing guilty mind games on him and his training in which he did nothing to help the Ikaruga sisters. He suggests Yoichi continue his training under Angela’s Swallow Benten School and he will provide the funds. A butler of Ukyou who has been watching Ibuki, gets an order from his master to take her away. Washizu resists but gets a taste of his stun gun. Yoichi goes to tell Ayame and Chihaya that he will be living with Angela. Ayame is fine with it until they notice Kagome crying in her room and wondering if Ibuki will ever remember her. This made Yoichi realized that he was on the verge of running away and vows to bring Ibuki back as he is still in the middle of training. He leaves with the Ikaruga sisters. Tsubasa is seen carrying Washizu while Ibuki is being put to sleep by Ukyou’s spell in his limo. It is revealed that Ibuki’s request to be turned back to 4 years old was just a lie and is actually Ukyou’s wish. He wants Ibuki to stay this way.
 
Yoichi and co arrive at Ukyou’s palace in episode 12. Upon entering, they are greeted by Sakon and her maid with guns. Yoichi uses his trademark technique to protect the sisters and knock out the maids. He then wishes for Sakon for an audience with Ukyou and asks her how would she feel if her brother was taken away. But Sakon slaps him and says her brother has been taken away a long time ago and that if they want Ibuki back, they’ll just have to come get her. On the bridge, they face several butlers this time. Though weak, their numbers are overwhelming. While Ayame helps out with her wooden stick, Chihaya uses her thick manga as her weapon. See, it’s useful after all. But Yoichi is overwhelmed by his adversaries and before they can deliver the final blow, he is saved by Washizu along with Tsubasa and Angela (why is Torigaya a little chibi kid now?!). They let Yoichi and the sisters advance while they take care of the rest. Angela strips Tsubasa into her embarrassing self so she could unleash her true potential fighting skills.
 
Meanwhile Ukyou prepares a wedding ceremony with Ibuki and remembers the time he first met Ibuki. He was weaker in martial arts and lost to her so he vowed to train hard and vowed to marry her if he had become strong. Ibuki’s reply was that she will wait for him. Sakon is concern for her brother and wishes for him to defer the wedding but gets scolded for her incompetence. Not long, Yoichi and the sisters arrive and Ukyou reminds him how he will never make Ibuki happy. However Yoichi acknowledges that he can’t make her happy as the only thing that will make her so is her family. And that is Yoichi’s job to protect and support them. Ukyou leaves it to Sakon to deal with them as he escapes with Ibuki. They notice how Sakon is crying and Yoichi concludes that she knows what Ukyou is doing is wrong and has been lying to her heart. Sakon drops to her knees and pleads to them. On the rooftop, Yoichi manages to get Ukyou to face him by using martial arts against martial arts instead of money and assassins. Though Yoichi is impressed with his Azure Sky technique, Ukyou is still no match for Yoichi as he realizes the gap between them. Ibuki starts to regain her memories when she slips off the roof. Ukyou wanted to dive down to save her but Sakon clings on to his leg. Yoichi and the rest jumps down and with his wind technique, everyone lands in the water safely. Because Yoichi is still struggling to swim, he clings onto Ibuki’s boobs, only to be greeted with her trademark punch. Yup, she’s back to her normal self. In the end, Yoichi writes to his dad and says how he wishes to stay a little longer and continue his training. But his dad calls him stupid and uses the letter to blow his nose.
 
Okay, so the ending feels alright though I feel that it could have ended a little better. I mean, a happy ending whereby everyone goes back to their normal lives. Like how Ukyou and Sakon are spending quality time together. Though he still yearns for Ibuki but at least he realizes his sister’s feelings. I’m not sure what that final Washizu Vision whereby Washizu is shocked to see Torigaya as a girl. He can’t be a girl, right? Did he turn into one somehow? That part where he turned chibi too isn’t explained and still left me with stitches.
 
Something I feel about the love chemistry between the characters didn’t materialized at the end of the series. Perhaps I was hoping to see Yoichi end up with either Ibuki or Ayame but that didn’t happen. Besides, he did say that it is his role to protect the Ikaruga family. Training and family comes first. No time for love, eh? Likewise I don’t think Washizu will ever get to confess to Ibuki or Ayame to Yoichi but I’m sure that they’ll be happy so long as their loved ones are happy. Hmm… I wonder if Angela’s passion for Yoichi was just for a short while only. So where’s the harem? Tsubasa is still infatuated with Washizu even that ‘flirting’ moment was just a misunderstanding. Ah well, Yoichi doesn’t need to be directly be the main centre of attraction and have the girls vie for his attention. Man, he’s living with them. But he still needs to keep on his toes and watch for those compromising ecchi positions or else each beating he gets from Ibuki will be even harder. Hmm… Maybe that should be considered as part of his toughening up training too.
 
Another thing I want to mention about Yoichi’s different wind technique is that they all look the same to me. I don’t know how many tachis are there in his Soaring Wing, Divine Wind technique and calling each with a different name had me thinking that a rose by any other name is still a rose. The effects are the same, don’t you think? He slashes, the wind appears and the enemy gets blown off their feet. Therefore the fight scenes aren’t anything spectacular. I was hoping to see the clash between Yoichi and Jinjurou since the latter portrayed a lot of potential. Just all talk, eh? Keeping in line with the little fanservice theme of the series, most of the mid-intermissions will show fanservice shots of the female characters in poses. As for the next episode preview, I find it a little odd as it is narrated by Yoichi’s dad in a strange and funny tone and accent. Is he drunk or what? Well, he’s ranting more on his son than what is in store in the next episode. At least, that’s what I feel.
 
The voice cast include Nobuhiko Okamoto as Yoichi (Yorito in Sola), Rina Satou as Ibuki (Haruka of Minami-ke series, Negi in Mahou Sensei Negima series), Haruka Tomatsu as Ayame (Nagi in Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens, MM in Kemeko Deluxe – I personally think her voice is suitable to play tsundere roles), Yukari Tamura as Chihaya (Nanoha in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha), Kana Hanazawa as Kagome (Potemayo of Potemayo), Kazuya Nakai as Washizu (Hijikata of Gintama, Zoro of One Piece), Yui Makino as Tsubasa (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle series), Hitomi Nabatame as Angela (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Katsuyuki Konishi as Ukyou (Ren in Skip Beat) and Sayuri Yahagi as Sakon (Haruna in To Love-Ru).
 
You don’t need to be a olden day samurai to so called train yourself. Even in modern times, everyday life is like a battle field and there are many ways one can undergo his/her training regardless of the occupation. So in my case, since I feel I haven’t watched enough animes to become an otaku of my own standards, I will continue watching all my favourite animes as part of my ritual and training. Love comedy romance especially those harem ones with a little fanservice are top priority. Bummer. Looks like I’ve still got a long way to go.
 

Asu No Yoichi

Clannad ~After Story~

September 19, 2009

If you are wondering what the second title means, Clannad ~After Story~ is of course the sequel to the Clannad anime series. From what I read and understand, this sequel is a path that opens in the original visual novel after all other paths have been opened. My interpretation of that is, after you have won the game through different paths, this extra story unfolds. Something like that.
 
Furthermore, this After Story sequel is predominantly a continuation of Nagisa’s arc. So for those who are not fans of Nagisa but some other girls, it may not go down well with you. Having said so, at the end of the first season, Tomoya and Nagisa finally did become a couple after facing lots of obstacles. If you want to enjoy and understand this sequel better, it is advisable to go watch the prequel. So in this sequel, though life continues for both of them and those around them, they will face even more challenges and tests in their relationship (well, some of them can be considered annoying and avoidable). This isn’t exactly a fairy tale story whereby our main hero and heroine get to live happily ever after and who says love is smooth sailing?
 
Because of that, the harem factor is gone. So don’t expect to see any catfights over Tomoya’s attention. Hey, that wasn’t so too in the prequel, right? But the first thing which caught my attention was during the opening credits. What’s so ‘attractive’? Just like in the prequel, they show the main girls of the series. However I noticed that Fuko is missing! Uh huh. That starfish crazy scatterbrained girl is not there! I thought I wasn’t paying attention so much so I rewind it and even headcount them! Yup. Only 4 of them. Why didn’t they replace Fuko with someone else like Ryou or Yukine? Don’t want a twin to be part of the harem? Don’t want a lesser known character to be in? But Fuko fans don’t despair. Even if she doesn’t make an appearance in the opening credits or the initial episodes, Fuko will make her appearance albeit very late in the series. Very.
 
Since this is a sequel, you can expect many of the same quirkiness from the casts which includes Akio’s eccentricity and Sunohara’s stupidity. Fans of the series can easily identify with them. Also, if you remember that other story in another world about a little girl and her speech-impaired junk robot, who are the only survivors in that world after some big apocalyptic aftermath. From time to time the series will show the progress of the duo as they try to make their escape from this world.
 
A random episode 1 starts off light-hearted as we see our usual gang being roped in to play baseball against a professional team during the summer vacation. Akio’s amateurs against their rival seasoned pros? I guess it is part of the process to reintroduce many of the prequel’s characters before viewers forget about them. So we’ve got Tomoya, Kyou, Tomoyo and even bookworm Kotomi on the team. I wonder if she has read up on baseball but application is a whole different thing. The team also comprises Sunohara’s little sister Mei, Yoshino (Kouko’s husband) and dorm manager Misae. As usual the kids are trailing behind and when Akio gets injured by a flying bat, he substitutes Nagisa to take his place. Can she do it? With teamwork, they manage to catch up and I don’t know about Yoshino’s passionate ranting. I’m not sure that was the speech which turned the tide. It’s finally the tie-breaker and it all boils down to Tomoya (of course). He successfully hits the ball out of the park and wins the game. Yeah, they beat the pros alright. Everyone celebrates their victory at Furukawa’s home that night.
 
In episode 2, Mei comes to stay at Nagisa’s place since she is worried that her useless brother has no plans after graduation. Sunohara takes Tomoya’s joke/suggestion seriously in order to stop Mei’s worries. To have a girlfriend, even if it’s just pretend. I don’t know why he has to ask Kyou and Tomoyo knowing that he’ll get beaten up in the end. I guess he is desperate. Yeah, nobody wants to be his girlfriend. But there is a girl who surprisingly decides to help in Sunohara’s quest. She is Sanae. Since Sunohara isn’t really well acquainted with her, he thinks she is Nagisa’s sister! Well, Sanae does look young enough to be one. With the help of Tomoya and Nagisa, Sunohara and Sanae practice to be a couple and Sunohara is obviously nervous and jittery. Soon Mei wants to have a look at Sunohara’s girlfriend and at the park, Sunohara decides to make it look like as though he has waited long but since he drank too many juices, he excuses himself. As Mei and the rest picks up the cans, Sanae appears and holy @*&#!!! Sanae in a school outfit and she looks damn moe!!! Don’t mention the megane type too! But Mei seems worried rather than thrilled.
 
The fake date continues in episode 3. Sanae introduces herself as Sanako. I can’t help laugh at the line how Mei sarcastically said how she was sorry for Sanae for being her brother’s girlfriend. Hehe. He’s got a reputation as a useless bum even from his sister. Even if they follow Sunohara and Sanako on their date, it seems Sunohara is like insensitive so it raises suspicions on how such a beautiful girl could put up with such a jerk behaviour. Mei is still unconvinced and lets Tomoya and Nagisa know that she dislikes her current brother. Back when they were young, Sunohara used to protect her from bullies like any big brother should. All that changed when he entered high school and joined the school’s football club. Mei also says that she is in town because there is someone she loves. Eventually Mei realizes that their relationship is fake so Tomoya and Nagisa has no choice but to admit. Then in the streets as Mei suggests how nice it would be if Tomoya could be her brother. The funny part is that when Tomoya tries so, he is like in some spasm reaction as he is not used to it. To his horror, Kyou, Ryou and Kotomi have witnessed this and thinks it is his sick fetish (thinking he’s enjoying it) and runs away before they could catch his stupidity! It seems that Mei and Tomoya are on an outing together when they bump into Sunohara. Tomoya lies and says that he is the one Mei is seeing. Sunohara is upset but doesn’t do anything and let them walk pass even if Mei too lies about dating Tomoya. Back home, Mei tells Tomoya and Nagisa that she wants Sunohara to play football again as she believes it is the only way he’ll return to his original state.
 
The trio visit the football club in episode 4 but it seems the delinquent members still have unpleasant memories about Sunohara. Part of the club’s twisted tradition was the mistreatment of seniors against its juniors, especially newly joined members. Sunohara couldn’t take it anymore and he took on the entire senior members. Because of Sunohara’s don’t-care attitude, he and Tomoya nearly got into a fight because the latter is trying to bring him to his senses how Mei is working hard for his sake. Eventually Mei, Tomoya and Nagisa beg to the football club captain that they will do anything to let Sunohara join. They agree but the trio have to do all sort of gruelling tasks. In short, they’re being bullied. They know it but no choice but to bite the bullet. Even after all that, when they learn that the club had no intention of letting Sunohara rejoin in the first place, Mei starts crying. If that is not bad, those heartless morons proceed to abuse her! It is then that Sunohara appears and give them a good punch. Just like the old days, eh? As Nagisa takes Mei away, Tomoya and Sunohara join forces and slug it out the way boys like them only know best. But I guess 2 of them couldn’t turn the tide against the whole football team. In the aftermath, Tomoya and Sunohara are still mad at each other as the former couldn’t accept the latter for leaving his sister alone. But Sunohara’s reason was that if it was Tomoya that she was dating, he saw no problem. I’d say they reconciled. Soon Mei leaves for home after entrusting her brother to Tomoya. This has the guys remembering how they first met as delinquents and they’ve been inseparable since. Lastly, Sunohara really thinks of making Sanae his girlfriend and decides to pop the question at her place. Thing is, Akio is there and Sunohara finds out the hard way who Sanae really is. Haha!
 
Tomoya and Nagisa are visiting Sunohara’s dorm in episode 5. Misae comes in to chat and during that time, Tomoya felt sleepy and dozes off. He dreams about Misae’s past and back when she was in high school, she had a crush on a senior named Igurashi but the appearance of a strange boy named Shima Katsuki has Igurashi thinking that he is her boyfriend instead. Katsuki is here to grant any wish Misae desires but how true is that? Due to Katsuki’s perseverance to always be with her, the duo eventually spend more time together and Misae treats him nicer. One day when Katsuki bumps into Igurashi, he tells Katsuki that he knows Misae’s feelings a long time ago and already has a girlfriend but couldn’t bring himself to tell her and wants Katsuki to do so on his behalf. Later that day as Katsuki meets up with Misae, his body action indicates that he is sad and has a hard time telling Misae the truth so much so he cried. Just before he could say it, Misae spots Igurashi with his girlfriend and is speechless. She realizes all that is happening and runs away.
 
Misae hangs out more often with Katsuki in episode 6 and fortunately manages to get over her heartbreak. A funny part whereby Misae’s pals, Yuki and Saki, cross-dress Katsuki as a girl so that he could enter school and look for Misae! Katsuki is too nervous to the point he confesses to Misae while Yuki and Saki find it real amusing watching them. They decide to walk Katsuki home but shockingly, he doesn’t remember where his house is. When they eventually arrive, to their surprise, Katsuki’s mom think they are here to offer an incense to him! OMG! He’s dead?! It is revealed that this Katsuki is actually the late Katsuki’s cat sent by him to grant Misae’s wish. Misae and Katsuki are at the festival and the latter brings up his initial question of what she desires. That is, for Katsuki to always love her. She kisses his forehead and tears stream down his eyes. He thanks her and realizes his love for her too. Misae left to get juices but finds Katsuki missing upon her return. As Katsuki disappears, he vows to always love her. Some time passed and Misae returned to the school dorm and noticed a cat following her. Ever since, Misae and her cat have been together. Tomoya wakes up courtesy from Nagisa and realizes that Katsuki had always wanted to tell something to Misae. At the festival, Tomoya tells Misae the words from Katsuki, which is his apologies for not staying with her at the festival, his eternal love for her and his wish for her happiness. Misae decides to enjoy the festival once more with her cat Katsuki.
 
In episode 7, Tomoya, Nagisa and Sunohara are visiting Yukine in her library when an injured guy, Sudo, fresh from a fight comes in from the window. The trio learn that Yukine has always been taking care of Sudo and the other gang members and is not only well respected within their gang but their rival gang as well due to her impartial and gentle ways. Another delinquent comes in so Sudo and him decide to take their fight elsewhere so as not to trouble Yukine. Yukine explains that her brother Kazuto is the leader of his gang and has never lost a fight especially with another local rival. But not many knows how he looks like seeing he operates from the shadows. On their way home, they encounter a boy named Yuu looking for his sister. He thinks she is dating a guy from Kazuto’s gang. Sunohara decides to declare himself as Kazuto. Soon they help Yuu find her sister as Sunohara teaches Yuu how to act like a man. WTF?! Eventually Yuu’s sister is found and is at the usual place where Kazuto’s gang members hang out. Surprisingly, they seem friendly. As everyone gets acquainted (Sunohara in a real panic), Yukine explains that everyone here has their own family problems and when Tomoya asks if there are any pics of Kazuto, Yukine says that he resembles closely to her. That night when they are on their way home, Tomoya and co are being encountered by the rival gang who thinks Sunohara is Kazuto. However they got beaten up and think this is his true power. Except that they are being defeated by Tomoyo. She is patrolling the area after hearing several fights in the vicinity and wonders what they are doing here as well.
 
After last night’s events, the tension is arising between both gangs in episode 8. They can’t call the police as it will make it worse. To prevent a showdown, Yukine and Tomoya go and see the rival gang’s head, Sasaki, to talk them out of a fight. Sasaki is grateful for Yukine nursing his wounds in the past so he suggest a single match between both leaders to settle it all. Yukine agrees. Because Kazuto’s whereabouts is that he is being hospitalized, Yuu suggests Sunohara to go in his place. Now is he regretting for talking big? The next day both groups meet but before the match starts, Nagisa hands everyone her specially made bread from Sanae. You know what this means. Uh huh. Everyone got knocked out! With no one left to fight, Tomoya decides to stand in. As they trade blows, Sasaki has the upper hand but Tomoya refuses to give up. Yeah, what a long match this is going to be. When Kazuto’s gang members finally awaken, they are horrified to see what is happening and rushes forward. The same for Sasaki’s men. But they stop when a silhouette of Kazuto appears. Kazuto rushes down but Sasaki gives him a good punch. Then it is revealed that he is not Kazuto but Yukine in disguise. Tomoya realizes why she is doing this and in his rage tells everyone to stop fighting. Then everyone learns the real reason for Kazuto’s no-show. He passed away some time ago. Before he died, he wanted to gang rivalry to stop but circumstances had them impossible to do so. Thus, they kept his death a secret. With that, everyone pays their last respect to Kazuto at his grave and stops fighting. All this could have been avoided in the first place but it’s better late than never. And if they’re not stopping for anything, at least it has to be for Yukine’s sake.
 
Graduation is near in episode 9 so we learn of some the aspirations of the gang like Kyou wants to be a kindergarten teacher, Ryou a nurse, Kotomi to study in USA and Sunohara a model. Keep dreaming pal. The real drama of this series begins when Nagisa starts developing her fever. Due to her weak body and prone to sickness, she is a repeating her 3rd year and history seems to be repeating itself again. Time passes but Nagisa’s condition doesn’t improve. Tomoya tries his best to support her as the final exam nears. Akio and Sanae are contemplating for Nagisa to repeat another year but Tomoya insists that he wants to graduate together with her. Akio tells him off that this would make things harder on Nagisa. Tomoya continues to spend time with Nagisa along with the rest of their friends like Christmas. Eventually Tomoya and friends of the same class graduate. Nagisa have to repeat another year but at least she is in the same year with Tomoyo and Yukine. On the day of his graduation ceremony, Tomoya is saddened that he is unable to graduate with Nagisa and the reason why school became more interesting. But she isn’t sad because she wants him to move forward and expresses everything will be alright. The duo walk hand in hand as they make their way to the graduation ceremony.
 
Tomoya starts life after graduation by taking up a job at the Furukawa’s bakery in episode 10. At this time, Nagisa’s health returns to normal as she returns to school. However she finds it hard to make new friends and her efforts to revive her drama club ends in failure. After Tomoya’s encounter with Yoshino and later Kyou and Ryou, Tomoya gets inspiration of what he wants to do and rushes over to Yoshino and request to work under him as an electrician. Hey, beats working with a clown at a bakery whose bread has no chance of being sold. Oops. Better not let Sanae hear that. One day as Tomoya and Akio are playing baseball, Tomoya asks if he could make Nagisa his one day but daddy says whatever decision is up to Nagisa to make since she is no longer a little girl. Also, Tomoya decides to move out from Nagisa’s place and rent an apartment on his own nearby. Akio and Nagisa help him move his stuff and from time to time, Nagisa make trips to cook him meals. On the first day of Tomoya’s job, he undergoes strict training and tutelage from Yoshino but that is to be expected. At the end of the day, he returns exhausted but still has enough energy to hear Nagisa’s day at school.
 
Tomoya continues to persevere in his job in episode 11 but when Yoshino questions his inability to use his right arm, he doesn’t give a true answer. Tomoya also meets an old friend of his dad who recognizes him. Nagisa tells Tomoya about the upcoming school festival and Tomoya agrees to come. However Tomoya has been working late due to the company receiving lots of contract jobs. So he regrettably tells her that he is unable to come and she understands. He continues to work hard and Yoshino eventually realizes the problem with his right arm. He tells him to make Nagisa happy and thus Tomoya is free to attend Nagisa’s school festival. That night, Tomoya decides to take on a last minute request to fix a lamp post. He fixes everything and thinks he has done it correctly when he encounters Yoshino. The next day, Tomoya learns that Yoshino is fixing that lamp post and rushes to the scene and begs him to fix the problem. Because of that, Tomoya is running late for the festival and only arrives when it is over. Nagisa is seen waiting at the gates but she understands that he is being held back by work. The next day, Tomoya is surprised that his colleagues are apologizing for making him miss his date rather than being mad. Yoshino says that everyone makes mistakes and proceeds to give his long-winded passionate speech which I don’t really remember or care. Tomoya gets a nameplate of his own at the company and earns the respect of his colleagues.
 
Due to Tomoya’s hard work, he is having a prospect of being offered a higher paid job in another company in episode 12. But he is in a dilemma whether to take it or not. Yoshino tells him his past whereby he wanted to be a musician back in high school. Before leaving town for greater heights, his would-be wife Kouko and a teacher that time, assured him that he would be a pro. Yoshino soon became a sensation topping charts and a rising star. One day his visit to the orphanage, the kids told him how his music saved them. Yoshino felt guilty because now he has to shoulder the responsibility of playing music for others. Ever since, he is unable to play well and loses his magic touch. He tries to revive his singing career again but is unable to find the reason for singing. His life comes crashing down when he starts taking drugs. Yoshino then returned to this town and Kouko wonders if he is still singing. Yoshino is brought to tears as he realized that she was the only one whom he wanted to play for and regretted not to continue playing for her. In present time, Tomoya receives a call from his dad’s old friend, telling him that his dad has been arrested for a minor offence. Tomoya is upset because there goes his reputation and his chance at that company. He thinks of running away from this town but Nagisa says that will be running away and without this place, they would never have met. Tomoya and Nagisa visit his dad at jail but Tomoya goes into rage when his dad did not say anything but sat there silently. They leave and Tomoya is having a hard time controlling his anger. Even Nagisa. After calming down, Tomoya proposes that they get married and Nagisa agrees. They promise to spend the rest of their lives together.
 
In episode 13, Tomoya decides to talk to Akio but the latter would only do so if he beats him in a baseball match. So Tomoya trains hard day and night, rain and shine to improve his batting. But each time whenever he is ready to challenge Akio, the results are the same. He could never beat him but that doesn’t deter him from giving up. On the final given chance, Tomoya finally hits a home run as he suddenly comes rushing and begging on his knees before Akio requesting for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Akio says that he reminds of himself and if he ever brings pain or sadness to her, Nagisa would have to return. Christmas is around the corner so Nagisa has her first taste of sake and this made her drunk! Sanae joins in the confusion by saying that she is interested in him. Nagisa is so cute when she is drunk and mad as she’s pestering Tomoya who he loves most. Just when Akio says it is enough for Sanae to stop pretending, she says she is serious and this throws Akio into panic. However during this time, Nagisa’s fever crops up again but thankfully she graduates for real this time. Unfortunately she is unable to attend her ceremony so Tomoya enlists the help of his pals to stage a mock ceremony at the school gates one day. Hey, Sunohara has his hair dyed black. Nagisa receives her scroll as she recalls her fond memories during her schooling years and graduates. Later as Tomoya and Nagisa visit the former’s dad in jail, we see a ring on Nagisa’s finger as she is now married to Tomoya. She notes how she will be known as Nagisa Okazaki from now.
 
Having just stepped into the married life in episode 14, Tomoya and Akio freaks out upon realizing that they will be calling each other son and dad respectively. Nagisa decides to work part time as a waitress at a family restaurant. One day Akio decides to go visit his daughter working (more of wanting to see her in her cute waitress outfit) and drags Tomoya along. I don’t know why but anybody can tell who he is even if he disguises as some rapper. Okay, so maybe only Nagisa may not be able to tell. Some things don’t change. The duo notice a couple of guys trying to hit on Nagisa so Tomoya and Akio step in to warn and scare them off. The restaurant manager arrives and as usual Akio runs away and leaves Tomoya to clean up this mess. Tomoya meets the manager in his room and the latter knows that he is married to Nagisa and decides to keep this a secret anyway. At home, when Nagisa mentions that the old building of their school which the drama room is in, will be demolished, Tomoya becomes angry since that was the place they worked so hard and their memories. He calms down and notes how everything around is changing. Soon, Nagisa isn’t feeling well but this time Sanae reveals that Nagisa is pregnant. Tomoya and Akio starts panicking and Akio isn’t happy that Tomoya has done something on his girl so Nagisa says out loud how since they are sleeping together, they did ecchi things together too. Uh huh. Something that you would not hear from her. A first. Things are definitely changing.
 
With a couple of months to delivery, in episode 15, Nagisa is bed-ridden due to her pregnancy and morning sickness as Tomoya does his best to support her. Luckily Sanae introduces a midwife, Yagi, to help around. Nagisa expresses her wish for her baby to be given birth in their home. One night when Tomoya returns from work, he finds Yagi by Nagisa’s side. Earlier that day, Nagisa had collapsed and they didn’t want to trouble Tomoya at work. With Nagisa’s precarious health condition, this may put a danger on her life and baby. Thus Tomoya is in a dilemma whether to give up on the baby and save her instead but Nagisa expresses her wish to see her child. Tomoya and Akio had a talk at a construction site about the time how Akio and Sanae were both working and busily pursuing their dream so much so it put Nagisa’s life in danger that they had to give it up and care for her. After that final straw when young Nagisa collapsed, Akio ran to this area which was still greeneries with Nagisa in his arms. He yelled for someone to save his daughter and like some godly response, he saw the sun rise. That is when he decided to continue watching this place, which is being designated for a hospital. Akio assures that they will overcome anything together because they are family. Later as Tomoya and Nagisa are out on the beach, they contemplate what name to give their unborn child. They decide on Ushio since it is a name which is neither boy or girl specific and also based on Nagisa’s name. Tomoya has Nagisa promise him that they and their child would come to this beach together.
 
It’s the New Year in episode 16 and Tomoya’s old friends pay a visit to his home. Sunohara asks Tomoya how does it feel being a parent and his reply is he doesn’t know since he is doing his best with the person he loves. Sunohara is glad that Tomoya hasn’t changed at all. This leads to Kotomi explaining in her own jargon and lingo about the other alternative world, in which the rest including me do not understand. But this prompts Tomoya to remember the play that Nagisa did. As time passes, Nagisa’s health deteriorates. One snowy night, Nagisa goes into premature labour. There is no time to get her to hospital so she has to deliver right here right now. Finally Nagisa delivers the baby girl as Tomoya holds her in his arms. However that joy turned into despair when Nagisa soon lose consciousness and passes away. Gasp! This can’t be happening! I can’t believe it! Tomoya remembers the time they spent together and regrets that if he had not met her on that day, this tragedy wouldn’t have occurred. Oh dear. A main character dies. This is so sad…
 
In episode 17, Tomoya’s life turns for the worse and his place is as messy as a pig sty. He is like a lifeless zombie. Turning out to be like his dad, huh? One day, Sanae comes knocking on his door and has him go out with her on a date. At the family restaurant, Sanae suggests that Tomoya come along with them for a family trip. On the day of the trip, Tomoya comes to the Furukawa’s place only to see a note from Sanae saying that something urgent has came up and that she and Akio had to leave immediately and will leave it all to him. Tomoya realized he has been set up. As he sits around lazing doing nothing, he spots Ushio running here and there and calls her name. I find Ushio’s voice rather funny because she sounds like a robot at times. Other than that, she’s like a mini version of Nagisa. So the duo spend their odd time together like Tomoya fixing her broken toy and Tomoya fixing a fried rice which Ushio doesn’t like. That night, Tomoya realizes that Sanae and Akio aren’t coming back so he asks Ushio if she still wants to go on a trip even if it is only with him. She agrees. We learn that it has been 5 years since Nagisa’s death and during that period, Ushio has been under the care of Akio and Sanae as Tomoya rarely sees his daughter and that this is the first time that they are alone together. The next morning, the duo are on their way for their trip.
 
The duo take a train trip in episode 18 and we see Tomoya’s bad side when he yells to a mother whose kid is noisy. Enough to scare them and Ushio. At a stop, Tomoya buys a robot toy for Ushio and they finally arrive at their destination after a night stay at an inn. They are amazed by the large flower field. As Ushio plays in the field, Tomoya dozes off. He wakes up to see Ushio trying to find her lost robot toy. She insists on finding it rather than buying a new one. This prompts Tomoya to remember his childhood and that this place is familiar to him. As he is walking, he meets an old woman, Shino, who recognizes him. Tomoya is surprised to learn Shino is his grandma. Shino tells Tomoya how her son and his dad, Naoyuki, wasn’t much different from him. They used to come here hand in hand. When Naoyuki married Atsuko (Tomoya’s late mom), he was the happiest man in the world until he lost her in an accident. However he continued to do his best for Tomoya’s sake even if life was difficult. However Naoyuki completely lost everything he had when Tomoya grew up and made his own decisions. Tomoya wonders how he could forget all these and realizes that he has become like his dad and that he wasn’t a bad person like he has thought all this while. Shino wants Tomoya to tell his dad to stop working and come home here. The duo reunite with Ushio, still searching for that robot. Though Tomoya wants to buy another one, Ushio says that this is the first thing that daddy gave her. This made Tomoya shed tears and apologizes. He wonders if she could let him stay by her side from now on. She agrees and cries as they both embrace. Taking a train ride back, Tomoya tells Ushio all that he knows about Nagisa. Speaking between tears, Tomoya realizes that he has something to protect.
 
Both father and daughter return from their trip in episode 19 as Tomoya apologizes and thanks Sanae for all that she has done. With that, Tomoya brings Ushio back to live with him. One day after buying some groceries, Tomoya and Ushio meet Kouko who introduces her sister who is out from coma. That’s right. Fuko is back! Though she may be the same age as Nagisa, she still has a mentality of her kid. Because of her crazy no-direction nonsensical talk, she brings back the fun in this series. Since Ushio resembles a mini Nagisa, Fuko is totally obsessed with her as she hugs her and even wants Ushio to be her sister! Yeah, she still has that attitude towards Tomoya. The next day, Tomoya and Ushio go visit the former’s dad who is still the same. Sitting alone in his dark messy room. Tomoya gets his attention and reconciles with him like giving him a bath and cleaning up his place. He then tells what Shino said and soon Naoyuki decides to go back to the countryside. As they see him off, Tomoya shed a few tears when he remembers the good times spent with him. Finally this long black chapter in Tomoya’s book comes to an end.
 
In episode 20, Tomoya sends Ushio to kindergarten and is surprised to learn that Ushio’s teacher is Kyou. Even Botan has grown up to be a rather large wild boar and is quite friendly with the kids. The duo catch up on old times. At work, Yoshino informs Tomoya that Fuko intends to visit them and wants to be friends with Ushio. What else. Fuko arrives and you can expect the helter-skelter antics and conversation she has from her starfish bread, aliens, what if scenarios, the possibility of Fuko becoming Tomoya’s substitute wife and yes, wanting Ushio to be her sister. Before leaving, Fuko prepares to leave and takes Ushio along but Tomoya isn’t that dumb. The sports festival for Ushio’s school is coming up and once again Tomoya and Akio challenge each other in some relay race. Tomoya trains hard while Ushio meets Fuko in one of her wanderings. As they arrive at the hospital, Fuko notices how Ushio likes the area though she herself don’t understand why. As the sports festival is drawing close, Ushio suddenly comes down with a fever. Oh no. Is history repeating itself? Is God playing a cruel joke or test?
 
Ushio’s fever grows worse in episode 21 so much so Tomoya quits his job just to be by her side. He becomes his cynical self once more about the town playing tricks on his family’s happiness. He also thinks that the construction over the place where Akio brought Nagisa is the cause of their unhappiness. Ushio wants to go on another trip but Tomoya promises that they will once she is much better. Winter arrives and Ushio’s condition isn’t any better. She asks Tomoya to take her on a trip, especially to that flower field. Tomoya eventually agrees as they prepare their journey. After trudging a few steps, a weakened Ushio collapses. Tomoya is devastated as he holds her in his arms. Ushio says how much she loves her father and soon loses consciousness. Tomoya screams out for anyone to help her and starts remembering again how he first hated this town and his meeting with Nagisa. If only he hadn’t called out to her, all this would never have happened. It’s just too cruel! First Nagisa and now his daughter shares the same fate?! Is this illness hereditary? After all the pain, suffering and changes that Tomoya has gone through, what did he do to deserve all this? Fate? Was it better that he never existed at all? If he had not, all these wonderful experiences, though how painful it may be, he may not have experienced them.
 
Episode 22 starts off with the alternate world whereby the little girl is dying after trekking with the robot for some time. When she gains consciousness, she is able to hear what the robot says. In short, she says that there are many alternate worlds out there. She wants the robot to go to the other world and herself to stay back for the sake of her people or else the world will totally be destroyed. She wishes for them to meet again in that world. A great ray of light blasts the robot to pieces as the girl bids farewell to her father. Then it’s like history being rewritten because it goes back to when Tomoya first met Nagisa. Initially he lets her pass but he calls out to her and quickly emotionally embraces her. Nagisa is happy and notes how it would not have been better if they never met. Then fast forward to the scene whereby Nagisa is giving birth to Ushio. This time she survives. The following scenes show how Tomoya and Nagisa go through their happy life raising their daughter how it ought to be. A short glimpse on what their other friends are doing like Kyou still a kindergarten teacher, Ryou a nurse, Kotomi, driving her convertible in USA and Sunohara taking a driving test (and failing?). Lastly as Fuko goes out with Kouko and her usual nonsensical ranting on being an adult, she sees/feels something in the woods and rushes there, unheeding her sister’s advice. She sees Ushio sleeping there and declares the start of a new friendship. Uh huh. Let the quirkiness begin.
 
I read that extra episode 23 is supposed to be Kyou’s arc but hardly any solid developments on her and Tomoya on how did in the last prequel with Tomoyo. The events here is 1 year before the start of this sequel. More importantly, Tomoya and Nagisa aren’t a couple or even know each other yet. While Nagisa is trying her best to make new friends, delinquents Sunohara and Tomoya get their punishment by doing some chores after trying to escape in the middle of class. Kyou is upset because she has to watch them. But when a plank threatens to fall on her, Tomoya rescues her and it fell on Sunohara. Later as Kyou finds Tomoya sleeping outside and thinks how cute he is when Sunohara interrupts. Kyou punches him to make him forget. That’s the closest chance of any romance or chemistry for this episode. That night, Ryou uses her card fortune telling and says how a guy will confess to Kyou tomorrow. It seems it is all part of Sunohara’s prank as he puts a love letter in Kyou’s shoebox to ask her to meet at some place. He loves the fact of seeing Kyou’s flustered face. Kyou is made to go on a wild goose chase because every time she reaches the place, there’ll be a note to say how the location is changed to somewhere else. This goes on several times and she doesn’t realize it until Sunohara is contemplating the last destination for the prank in which somebody suggested hell. Yup, it’s Kyou and she’s happy to oblige. Ouch! Later Sunohara and Tomoya plan another trick using a large ball and string. Nobody would be dumb enough to pull it right in front of the school gates. Except if you’re Nagisa. Yeah, she pulls it and a metal basin comes falling down right on her head! When she comes to in the infirmary, she is quite thankful for the prank as it led to one of her girl classmates actually wanted to be friends with her. Nagisa takes home an encouragement message to work hard and never give up, which fell from the large ball. She is grateful because of this she is able to speak to someone but doesn’t realize that it was Tomoya who wrote it earlier on.
 
A compilation episode 24 is basically a recap episode. It is Tomoya telling Fuko the events when he first met Nagisa, the problems they faced during school and in their own homes, right up till their graduation day, his working life and the time Nagisa is pregnant with Ushio. Yeah, recycled and short clips from episodes of the first season too. It also briefly introduces the other characters. Tomoya even narrates the weird alternate memory whereby Nagisa died while giving birth to Ushio till the events which led to Ushio’s illness. Then it’s like going back to 5 years ago and Nagisa delivers Ushio successfully without any life lost. The story ends with Ushio (who has fallen asleep halfway through the story) waking up while Fuko continues to sleep as Nagisa calls on them to go home.
 
Speaking of Kyou’s arc, there is a special OVA for it just like how they did one with Tomoyo in the previous season. This time it’s Tomoya with Kyou and Ryou. No Nagisa, no Kotomi, no Tomoyo and no Fuko. It starts with gloomy Kyou looking out her classroom window one rainy day as Ryou confesses her feelings to Tomoya. She wants to go out with him and he agrees, bringing tears of joy to her. The next few scenes see them dating and on a Sunday as Tomoya is by himself in town, he spots Kyou and they chat together at a park. She tells him how Ryou had always liked him since the junior years so she suggests practice kissing since Tomoya hadn’t had her first kiss. Hesitant at first, he agrees. Just before their lips met, Kyou backs off. In school, Tomoya learns from Sunohara that the entire school knows about the rumour that Tomoya and Kyou kissed. Kyou swiftly takes Sunohara away and later Tomoya sees Kyou trying to kiss Sunohara but luckily that guy pushes her away. Sunohara realizes that Kyou likes Tomoya. Later Sunohara tells Tomoya that Kyou was trying to get rid of that rumour by trying to date him. Afterwards Kyou tries to clear up the misunderstanding like saying how she too wanted to get a boyfriend but Tomoya isn’t buying it. Ryou is seen standing there, her mood gloomy. Even Tomoya and Ryou’s next date seems a little gloomy. After Tomoya sees off Ryou, it started raining and he is surprised to see Kyou alone drenched in the rain. Kyou gets emotional saying how she was afraid to confess because of fear of rejection and if she dated him it’ll make Ryou sad. Kyou says goodbye to him.
 
In school while Tomoya is facing a dilemma, Sunohara gives him advice that his delay will cause them all to be hurt. Surprise, surprise. Even idiots can sometimes give good advice. Tomoya gets a chance to talk to Ryou alone but she first reveals how she doesn’t want to lose to her sister and even knows of her crush on Tomoya. Even so, she wanted to be by his side and would even grow long hair and be the girl he likes. However Tomoya says that’s wrong and doesn’t want her to do so. Before he could say anything more, Ryou quickly gives him a little peck and rushes out. Ryou is then absent from class. Tomoya gets another chance to speak to Ryou and manages to say the one he truly loves is Kyou. But that isn’t Ryou he’s talking to. It’s Kyou with her hair cut short! Teary Kyou embraces Tomoya and says how Ryou ‘scolded’ her for running away and because of that they both deceived each other. Finally she confesses she loves him. Then later on their way home, Kyou gives Tomoya a quick kiss and holds his arms like how lovey-dovey couples do. Say, Kyou isn’t her violent self in this OVA.
 
Now back to the TV series. Honestly with the heavy dramatization of this sequel, it kinda felt a little boring after the first 1/3 of the series. Even the OVA itself was heavily emotionally charged. The comedy factor has been overshadowed by the drama between Tomoya and Nagisa. So when Fuko did make her late appearance, it was a very much welcoming relief. As I can see this sequel can be divided into 3 parts. The first part focuses on the gang and some of the other side characters like Misae and Yukine. The middle part is between Tomoya and Nagisa and the problems they faced life after school or in Nagisa’s case, the struggle to stay in good shape to graduate. The final part is post-Nagisa which focuses on the relationship between Tomoya and Ushio.
 
Thus the sequel very much focuses on the development of Tomoya and Nagisa. I felt many of the other main casts are tossed aside like Tomoyo and Kotomi. Their roles are so insignificant that it’s like they can be done without in this sequel. Same case with Sunohara, Kyou and Ryou but at least they made a little appearance at the start and end of the series. It makes those girls who appear in the opening credits a little redundant, huh? Tomoya once again has changed from a boy who thinks his life sucks into a responsible and mature man, father, husband and son. Though he made a rocky start with Ushio, upon realizing that his own dad isn’t at fault and beginning to see the big picture, he understands the implications of it all after putting the pieces together. Nagisa may have a weak body but she is still a strong and gentle girl at heart till her death. Clearly Tomoya and Nagisa both supports each other but it is also the encouragement and support of Akio and Sanae which helps them to pull through. They may be weird but that’s how they are. It still bugs me as why Naoyuki didn’t explain everything clearly to his son in the first place. Maybe he doesn’t want to put pressure on him and wants him to realize and find his destiny by himself?
 
One thing I find it a little hard to believe is how history was changed when Ushio starts dying. I know it is better to leave a happy ending after all the sorrow and pain the main protagonists have gone through but to go back in time and alter history just like that? It’s just like playing a game with an alternate ending, eh? Oh wait. This is based on the game of the same name too. So I guess that is how the lonely girl and the junk robot in the other world are connected to this one and how Nagisa somewhat remembered the plot for her play even if its origins is a mystery. Tomoya a robot in his previous life? Yeah, maybe that’s why initially he thinks his life is garbage. Haha. Just kidding. My other grouse is that Fuko does not have enough appearance! I could listen to her nonsensical verbal antics all day long.
 
The drawing, art and animation is still consistent with the first season with the details and hue still crisp as ever. Viewers who watched the first season could easily identify with some of its trademarks from background music to the familiar title screen and the next episode preview format. At least this time the opening theme, Toki Wo Kizamu Uta, by Lia doesn’t sound so out of tune like the prequel. It sounds more dramatic which fits the overall theme of the series. The ending theme also by Lia, Torch, isn’t a kindergarten song like its predecessor. A lively and upbeat pop beat and the funny thing about the animation was that I initially thought the characters of the series were doing Moonwalking across the screen. You know, they’re walking to the left but the screen is scrolling them from left to right.
 
At least I’m glad how everything turned out fine in the end and that Nagisa and Ushio’s weak body illness has somehow disappeared. Such a desirable fairytale ending which everyone in life would love to live. After all the emotional, mental and physical anguish they have been through, they deserve to spend their time together finally as a happy family. And perhaps to find out how well they are doing, maybe you could play the game and come up with another alternate path. Well, that is another story. Yeah, Clannad ~Another Story~. Now how does that sound? Oh Fuko. I miss your starfish talk… Yeah, they should make an OVA arc of her too!
 

Macademi Wasshoi

September 18, 2009

I’m sure many would associate magic, adventure and fantasy with Harry Potter. What about in the anime world? I’m not sure the exact number or approximate but there are quite a number of them. Macademi Wasshoi is another one of those series which falls under this genre. Based on the light novel called Magician’s Academy which is later adapted into a manga before given the anime treatment, the usual elements of fantasy and romantic comedy with some hints of fanservice and otakuness. That’s right. You’ll learn why.
 
Our main protagonist, Takuto Hasegawa, may seem like a normal high school student in the real world. However, he is also a student studying magic at an academy simply named Magician’s Academy which is located… Let’s say it’s not marked on any map in the world or universe. Takuto isn’t the only human who is taking up magic classes. His younger cousin, Suzuho, too is following in his footsteps. At first glance, viewers will notice Suzuho’s super shyness so much so she communicates with a sketchbook or cardboard. Just like Megumi in Special A, eh? Thankfully she doesn’t ‘keep’ her voice for singing purposes. Another thing you’ll notice about Suzuho is that she has a deep crush on Takuto even though that guy is oblivious to it. Need I say more?
 
Because there is some rule that magic is not allowed to be used in the human world, Takuto and Suzuho try their best to hide that they are students from that magic academy. Even the path or portal that leads to it needs to be done in secrecy and chant some complex spell (at least to me) to open its doors, which is guarded by some stone faced (literally) named Izumo. As seen in episode 1, we are not only introduced to the location of Magician’s Academy, but several other characters as well. Since the Magician’s Academy is the melting pot of all magic enthusiasts, you’ll see many odd looking creatures from traditional ones like the ever useful (or perhaps slave is the right word?) dwarves and the umm… whatever you want to call those other creatures.
 
Let me go briefly over them. The main characters under the teaching staff and faculty include Professor Sagami who can sometimes lose his head (literally), Professor Frankem Stein (someone who is obsessed with animal ears and makes inventions associating with it) and Eitarou Sakuma (Takuto and Suzuho’s easy going perverted teacher who is an otaku obsessed with cosplays and at times is seen working on his manga). Sakuma has a familiar named Eineus the Vergest or Eine for short. Initially I thought she was a cat due to her ears but realized she’s a dog. Because Eine was summoned as Sakuma’s familiar, she acts politely like how servants do to their masters. But sometimes when Sakuma gets too passionate or acting up, she doesn’t hesitate to pound him to bring him back to his senses. Like he’ll ever learn. You’ll also notice a professor, Habarom, always seen hanging upside in chains. I guess he is such a dangerous guy that they need to chain him that way in some dark room. Then there is the virtual guide-cum-teacher-cum-coach for students named Trincia who lives/exists in the academy’s computer and database. She’s made of polygon if you’re wondering. There is a pair of magic students I want to mention. They are golem (more like robot) Metalys and elf George. For the first few episodes, they make short appearances and seem like an odd couple. Uh huh. Gay. Actually it is Metalys who is trying to tell his feelings to George and the latter is the one who is worried that they’ll turn into a gay couple. Need I go on?
 
Anyway back to the story. In the first episode, Takuto has to summon a familiar as part of his assignment but it went awry and he summoned an unknown creature who is neither God nor Demon. Not only hard to classify, her powers are off the charts! How about 100,000 magical power points, 5,000 offensive and divinity power points each and 78,000 defensive power points sound? If this was a card or RPG game, many would like to get hold of her. This newly summoned wild girl takes an instant liking for Takuto and gets very close, much to Suzuho’s dismay (you know why lah). A tussle over Takuto ensue and Sakuma doesn’t help because he thinks she is so moe and proceeds to put some maid outfit on her (she was naked when she was summoned). However the wild girl soon causes a ruckus throughout the academy as Sagami sends his mechas to keep her at bay. Unfortunately due to her super powers, all the robots met their match. So now is up to Suzuho to stop her. Now this part is an eyebrow raiser. When Suzuho takes off her hair ribbon, not only her hair colour changes to blue, she can now talk! Oh yeah, why didn’t she do this before? I think it isn’t her brutish personality but rather when she is in this mode (which I’ll refer as Suzuho II), she has an ability to nullify or suck magic powers around her.
 
Even so, the wild girl is absolutely strong and proves to be a challenge. Suzuho II summons a non-magical mechanical sword, Warcugis, to do battle but she still is a handful. Finally Suzuho II unleashes Warcugis’ Plasma Mode which has the academy in ruins (don’t worry, the academy will be fixed in no time thanks to the hard efforts of the dwarves). By that time, the wild girl starts crying but Takuto comforts her and decides to name her after his dead pet cat, Tanarotte. Just like in Zero No Tsukaima, Takuto makes a contract with her when they both kissed. So if you think that this is the end of Takuto’s problems, it is very much just the beginning. Due to Tanarotte’s hyper activeness and loyalty, she tends to cling around Takuto and act lovey-dovey, much to you-know-who’s dismay. And since Tanarotte is starting to live with Takuto in his apartment, Suzuho too moves in to keep a watch on him. Don’t want to lose out, eh? And Takuto’s nosy next-door neighbour is always eavesdropping their suggestive antics.
 
Takuto will find that having 2 girls living with him a real challenge because in episode 2 while he is in the toilet, Tanarotte as usual barges in to bath together. She spots his ‘tail’ and thinks it is Takuto’s elephant! Because Tanarotte is naked, she gets excited to see Takuto’s ‘tail’ change in size! You can imagine the mayhem when Suzuho II soon comes busting in to give her piece of her mind to Tanarotte when she sees them in a very suggestive position. Anyway in this episode, an angel Miyabi and a demon Sinclavier plotting to kill Tanarotte seeing that her existence may undo some balance between the world of angels and demons. It is ironic to see that both angel and demon are working hand in hand when traditional stereotypes would suggest that they hate each other like cats and dogs. Not only their case, but many other angel and demons as well. Meanwhile Stein has created some invention called Mimigar Z which has animal ears popping out from the students’ head. It must be his sick fetish since Stein and Sakuma are moe perverts. They take an instant liking for Tanarotte who has cat ears. Even Miyabi and Sinclavier who has infiltrated to academy are not spared. But they gave the perverted teachers the slip when they spot moe Suzuho. Cat ears, maid outfit and glasses. What a better combination.
 
At the same time, Mimigar Z goes out of control so Takuto and Tanarotte tries to stop it. Miyabi and Sinclavier witness Tanarotte’s amazing powers and goes into action to eliminate Tanarotte. Eine takes on Miyabi but Takuto is having trouble with Sinclavier who has got Tanarotte in some binding barrier. Then Sakuma appears to save the day. Who is bloody upset because he found out that the spectacles were fake! That’s it?! Citing it is a grave sin to toy with his pure heart with fake moe, he unleashes his godly power and punishment towards Sinclavier and knocks her out. With Tanarotte out of her spell, she gives Miyabi a one good punch which sends her crashing into Mimigar Z. Everyone is restored back to normal. In the end as punishment, Miyabi and Sinclavier have become ‘slaves’ to Sakuma and have to endure sick punishments from cleaning chores to his manga deadlines at the academy. This is hell, right? As for Stein, he creates Mimigar Z II which uses no magic so it will be safer to turn people into animal ears… I wonder why this academy has so many sickos.
 
If you’re wondering why Miyabi and Sinclavier can’t just escape from Sakuma is that because in episode 3, you’ll learn that he has placed a barrier preventing them from doing so. In this episode, Takuto, Suzuho, Tanarotte and Miyabi are in some RPG-like mission. Not that I could remember what it was. All I remember was that Takuto was slightly injured so Miyabi decides to kiss him in order to heal his wounds. You know whose wrath she’ll incur. Then the gang encounters a cute little bear which proceeds to kidnap Takuto. He is taken to the demon lord’s place. You’d expect the demon lord to be some terror frightening character but it turns out she is some ditzy happy moe girl named Falche. Yeah, her dreamy voice is a giveaway too. It makes you wonder if she is really the demon lord. Meanwhile the rest regroup and Sakuma finds out Takuma’s whereabouts when he made some monitor-faced character called Item-kun talked by switching its manly serious face to some wide-eyed bishoujo one.
 
The rescue party arrives and sly Falche tells them that she has taken Takuto’s virginity to get them come after her even if it’s a lie. A short battle ensued as Falche has Takuto under her control but with Suzuho II, her magic is nullified. Tanarotte unleashes a powerful attack on her and it seems Falche’s easy defeat was on purpose. She had intended to lose? They find out that her actual form is an unnamed staff and she felt lonely when her master Falcesque, a magician, died some time ago. Falche questioned her purpose of existence. Since she found no answer, she decided to play the demon lord role that will be defeated by a hero to end it all. Tanarotte felt guilty of her actions but Takuto comforts her and says she isn’t wrong. Takuto also wished that Falche could’ve stayed in her original form since she was born in this world. Back at Takuto’s apartment, they received a parcel and are surprised to find Falche in it! She says Sakuma has fixed her and decides to live with Takuto since she remembered he mentioned to stay the way she is. Yeah, another one to his harem because Falche too gets clingy and calls Takuto her master. Like some kinky cosplay, eh? They say 3 is a crowd, right? Make it a riot for this exceptional case. And since Suzuho isn’t too happy about it, Falche even has the cheek to say that she’s happy being number 3. Takuto indeed has his hands full. Good luck kid. Have fun.
 
In episode 4, we learn that Tanarotte and Suzuho have become new transfer students in Takuto’s real world class. Everyone’s jealous that Takuto has pretty girls with him. There is a classmate of Takuto, Futaba Kirishima, whom we can tell by her body language that she has a rush on Takuto. Futaba’s twin brother, Hazuki, knows about it but is always at the receiving end from his sister’s fists. In order to ‘gauge’ her love rivals, she invites them all for an outing. At a cafe, Takuto and Suzuho meet Sakuma who is on some undercover mission to track down smuggled goods between the human and God/Demon world. I don’t know. There is some rule which prohibits such transaction. Fortunately for them, the perpetrators are sitting just right behind them. In dramatic fashion and Sakuma’s sense of comedy, he pulls off a dramatic act whereby he gets shot and on the verge of dying so just as to let the couple of MIBs escape. He thinks he doesn’t want the fun to end so fast. The chase ends when they encounter the other party who is to buy human goods. She is a demon named Baltia. Not willing to give up, she unleashes some weird giant monster and wreck havoc on town. I guess Sakuma anticipated this because he too summons his giant robot named Meganeus, which resembles closely to Eine. I think he’s hard up to use it too. Wait a minute. Tits missile?! What more could you expect from an otaku? Unfortunately both Miyabi and Sinclavier are piloting each tits so when Sakuma fires them, he fires them to their doom. Boom! The giant monster robot fight reminds us of those Ultraman days as the citizens start to panic and run helter-skelter.
 
The MIBs then holds Futaba as their hostage but they picked the wrong girl to mess with as she gives them a taste of her fist. The giant battle comes to an end when Sakuma threatens to burn the smuggled goods. This sends Baltia into panic mode as she will do anything for it to be harmed. And we find out that those goods are rare bishoujo figurines and gachapons. Uh huh. Another otaku freak. Why do some Gods and Demons take a very infatuated interest in such things? Yeah, because this is an anime. Haha. Just kidding. Baltia explain their rationale about Gods and Demons living forever but are not allowed to create things, the reason why they are obsessed with human stuff. In the end, though the city is decimated, leave it to the dwarves to do the repairs and the academy conveniently erasing everyone’s memories like as though nothing of this sort has happened. Just like that. It’s that easy. Finally when Futaba and Hazuki visits Takuto’s apartment, not only Futaba is surprise that Suzuho and Tanarotte is living with him, she finds a third one, Falche. Futaba starts foaming in her mouth and can’t take all of this anymore when Tanarotte introduces Falche as Takuto’s Dutch wife sent in a card box! Oh the misunderstandings. Futaba will be facing serious love rivals.
 
Episode 5 is the gay-est episode ever! It all begins when reluctant George is afraid of whatever gay advances from Metalys and breaks some sealed barrier. With that, the entire academy is on alert and everyone starts to panic of the impending disaster. It seems that some angel named Hapsiel was sealed in that rock 20 years ago. In short, this teacher of Magician’s Academy’s policy is love and peace and he goes about giving disgusting smooches and kisses on any teacher or students he can find! Looking at him too gives off a disgusting but hilarious feel. Not only that. He’s a masochist so any harm he takes, he will consider it as some sick stimulation and wants more! Run for your lives! Once you’re in his grasp, there is no escape. And yeah, note the hilarious parody of Flash Gordon theme in the background whenever he makes his appearance. Attempts to stop Hapsiel from advancing flops big time. From one of the academy’s student, Haruka Mikaruya mecha attacks to Stein’s brave direct confrontation.
 
Hapsiel is leaving a trail of big purple lip marks everywhere! Sakuma starts to go crazy and he’s saying how love between cute boys is okay but he can’t accept hard gay! Uh huh. He’s ranting how they have tried so hard to seal his deep love 20 years ago when he was a student at this academy. Thankfully Eine is there to ‘break’ him back to his senses. Miyabi and Sinclavier are next but Hapsiel multiplies himself and the duo are taken out when they got squashed and rubbed in by his muscles. Disgusting. Then it’s Takuto and co to distract and contain him with a special item. Finally it’s crazy Sakuma turn to ‘save the world’ as he summons some super monster firepower but it has no effect. In fact, Hapsiel is even more stimulated! Sakuma then gets smooched. Yeah, it’s like delaying the inevitable. However Hapsiel’s run ends when Sagami appears and says that he can no longer go about with his sick policy as the academy has fired him for going AWOL 20 years ago. Oh thank God. But Hapsiel is still happy because he has never felt like this for so long and think of it as 20 years of unattended play. Back at Takuto’s apartment, the girls are surprised to find Takuto has turned into a girl! How? Initially it was some Bishoujo Transformation Medicine from Sakuma to use on Hapsiel but it was accidentally spilled on Takuto during the chaos. Say, Takuto is pretty cute as a girl, don’t you think? And they enjoy dressing him up in girl clothing. But the nightmare for Takuto begins when Sakuma comes by when he is taking a bath and he thinks how cute he is and wants to pound on him! Is he gay? Well, Takuto’s physically a girl so… Let’s leave it to our imagination what happens next.
 
In episode 6, Suzuho II once again is chasing after Tanarotte after another unshameless act. This time their chase gets out of hand and almost destroys the academy. Metalys spots her during action and feels something in his heart. During class, Metalys confronts the gang and everyone thinks that a big confession is finally at hand. He does. But just when George accepts his gay love and wants him to be gentle, Metalys confession is directed towards Suzuho! Now George is jealous! Yeah, what a turn of events. So he is the gay one. Metalys wants to be Suzuho’s friends but since Suzuho II’s power is draining Metalys’, he needs extra batteries with him in order for them both to spend some time together. I thought Suzuho was going to reject him seeing that she prefers Takuto but I guess not. At the same time, some monster is absorbing the academy’s power system and is growing into a huge creature. Suzuho II is needed to nullify its powers but under that condition, only Metalys can survive so he volunteers to protect her. And that special maid combat outfit, though it’s fitted with gadgets, it must be also part of Sakuma’s moe fetish. The creature attacks and Metalys protects her but drains his powers. After Suzuho delivers the final blow, the room starts to collapse. Metalys summons all his strength to get them out. But he hears how unconscious Suzuho II whisper Takuto’s name and this made him realized. Even if her powers are draining his, Metalys unlocks his inner love to blast them out of danger. Metalys comes to in the infirmary as they thank him for saving Suzuho. Though Metalys feels pain in his heart as he quietly bids farewell to Suzuho, he is happy once more when she gives him a spare battery as a gift.
 
In the second part, earlier on in the episode, we see some sexual subtext that tired Miyabi and Sinclavier are being forced to ‘do it’ nonstop for hours. Actually, they are made to help Sakuma finish his manga for the Comiket. Haha! Now this is really prison. Because of that, the duo make a deal with Baltia to help them escape in exchange for rare Tanarotte figurines. Elsewhere, some maid girl named Fermi panics when she barges into her master Agariarept’s room (he’s watching bishoujo animes? Hey is one of the screens showing Kyouka from Kyouran Kazoku Nikki!). She gets electrocuted for her rudeness but since she’s a masochist, she begs for more. WTF?! Another case like this. Anyway Baltia has Miyabi and Sinclavier dress up in embarrassing cosplay outfit before leaving on a dangerous life-threatening journey. At the end, they arrived at a door in what is believed to be their freedom. To their horror, they are back in Sakuma’s room and they find out that Baltia has played them out by being a double spy because Sakuma has bribed her with an even rare otaku magazine! Now it’s back to hell. Sakuma’s kind and forgiving facial expression turns into a scary evil one as they have to complete his manga and go without any sleep for the next 95 hours! Meanwhile demon Agariarept and angel Gabriel arrives at the academy. Now these 2 are another one of those uncanny angel-demon relationships. They like calling each other pet names like Aga-rin and Gabu-yan and are seen together most of the time.
 
In episode 7, the academy will be running its annual MaU-Con. That’s Magician Academy Uniform Contest. It is a yearly event to whereby the winner will get his/her uniform design to be worn by students for the whole year. And for the last 3 years, Habarom has won it straight, which is the design we see for the series. Perhaps the reason why he is being chained? Initially when Takuto talks to Stein about this matter because Sakuma seemed uninterested. How odd for an otaku? But as Eine reveals that he is busy concentrating on level up his game character. So Stein has Tanarotte as his model. On the other hand, Metalys wants Suzuho to be his model and she agrees, sending George into further jealousy. Contest day arrives and Agariarept and Gabriel attends as observers with Trincia as the commentator. Takuto learns that this contest is a no holds barred battle royale and the last one standing wins. The contestants (which are the models) must race through several portals filled with dangers. Hmm… Seems like a cosplay event with the contestants in weird if not embarrassing outfits. Tanarotte is wearing shorts with cat ears while Suzuho II is in some liquid body suit which seals her magic stealing ability.
 
The race begins with Miyabi and Sinclavier taken out as early as the first step. As we are going to forget about Hapsiel, he makes his disgusting comeback by entering the race. Better not let this sicko win! Tanarotte and Suzuho II are being confronted with Haruka and her mecha uniform but since she fired too many missiles, it knocked nearly every contestant out including herself. As the finishing line is nearing, Suzuho II uses her liquid suit to catch Tanarotte but the suit starts to evaporate. With her suit gone, her magic absorbs everyone’s power so much so it overloads and explodes. This has the contestants all knocked out and giving those perverted guys in the stands some awesome fanservice. Yeah, now I can see the real reason why they hold this race. Out of the blue appears Eine and she is wearing her trademark maid suit and representing Sakuma. He is proclaiming victory when Eine drops a bombshell, she starts stripping herself. Hold still out beating hearts! (Un)fortunately, underneath it is the current school uniform as she crosses the finish line as the winner. Seems that she is working for Habarom and for the 4th consecutive year, this will be the academy’s uniform. Haha. Sakuma frust and die! But the crowd goes wild and loves her. Agariarept and Gabriel leaves and notes something interesting on Takuto and Tanarotte.
 
The first half of episode 8 has worried Fermi crashing into a meeting between Agariarept and Sakuma and co as she thinks the latter is corrupting her master with weird stuff. After realizing that both those guys share the same otaku passion, she gets her due punishment. Then as the gang are enjoying their outing at a beach, Sakuma says the academy has them to investigate some haunting at the academy. It turns out the ghost is a spirit of a digital camera-cum-diary and since Falche is similar to her, she manages to appease it. Sakuma finds the camera handy because he is planning to take sick posses of Miyabi and Sinclavier in embarrassing outfits for his Comiket! Because of that, the second half of the episode sees Sakuma too busy to attend to his sick fetish so he sends Takuto and the rest to find out what is wrong with Trincia. They follow Trincia and find out that she is unknowingly in love with a rocket. Hey, love works in funny ways. So they take her to meet the rocket and they chat about roles, purpose and existence. Though Trincia wants to see him again, the rocket says they can’t because he will be launched tomorrow. The rocket isn’t sad about it because he acknowledges that it is his destiny. Though they won’t be seeing each other again, their encounter that will affect those around them will be their child. Morning arrives and the rocket is soon launched as Trincia happily watches it. Meanwhile Habarom is having a word with Sagami about the decision on the holy mother, which is Takuto. Habarom claims that there is a possibility that he may create Gods and Demons which will lead to the world’s destruction and this danger must be removed. Agariarept and Gabriel appear to give their opinion and their observations has them think that the holy mother hasn’t awakened.
 
After playing in the snow, Takuto falls ill in episode 9 and due to the rest’s incompetence, Eine nurses him back to health before leaving. Soon the gang receives another parcel. Deja vu? It’s a little hyper active air-head puppy girl Finea who is excited to search for her sister. Initially she mistakes Takuto as her sister but realizes her mistake because of his scent. We learn that Finea’s sister is Eine and she is here to take her sister back to the demon realm. She misses her? Yeah, at the academy, she gives Eine and ‘extreme molest show of love’ but Eine bone breaking moves puts a stop to her harassment. Eine did mention that since she was summoned as his familiar, she has no choice but to serve loyally under him. Also, Finea doesn’t like that Sakuma guy and wants to save Eine from him. Problem is, she doesn’t know how he looks like. Sakuma hatches a sly plan and gives descriptions that this evil Sakuma which is no other than Hapsiel! He tells Finea several masochist stimulating moves to defeat him but you know, nobody has beaten Hapsiel before, right? Finea’s perseverance has her try several more times but the results are the same. Either she believes in try, try and try again or she just doesn’t learn. If she would just stop for a while and listen to the rest but… Yeah, her mind is pretty occupied to save her sister so I guess the rest just let her be everytime she rushes off to confront ‘Sakuma’.
 
Takuto feels indebted with all the recent troubles that has happened and requests if there is anything he could do in return for Eine. She suggest to accompany her out to buy stuff on a weekend. A date? Oddly, why didn’t Tanarotte or Suzuho protest? Maybe they know better than to mess with Eine. Their outing involves what lovers do like watching a movie (Eine fell asleep), playing the crane machine and taking a picture of themselves at a photo booth. At the end of the date, after telling about how close Finea is to her although they aren’t blood related, Eine thanks Takuto for a wonderful day and says she is ready to leave for the demon world to send Finea back since she can’t do it on her own and also she views her as an important family member. What?! So sudden?! She kisses Takuto on his forehead and disappears. But that suspense isn’t forever because 3 days later back at the academy, Takuto is surprised to see Eine back. He finds out that after sending Finea back, she returned immediately and her job of accepting her feelings is just to ‘re-educate’ her about coming here. Looks like she won’t be coming back some time soon. Also, I thought she would become 1 of Takuto’s harem. Not. Eine lectures and punishes Sakuma about his otaku fetish when he comments how Eine is a mother obsessed with teaching.
 
In episode 10, a group of bandits led by Mariera, escape from the police after stealing various treasures. Elsewhere, Takuto and his girls are enjoying themselves at Sakuma’s hotspring villa and you can expect the fanservice as they try to fight for the right to wash Takuto. Don’t worry. As Agariarept mentioned, the steam will cover all necessary parts but the DVD version will be uncensored. Haha! That guy and Gabriel are vacationing here too? As usual, Sakuma is forcing Miyabi and Sinclavier to complete his manga while Eine cleans up the villa. As Takuto and the girls are resting, the bandits appear and seems to have mistaken this villa as their hideout. They learn that Takuto is a magic user but their powers are not much for the bandits as they seal the gang in a barrier. Sagami has learned about this invasion and hopes this won’t leak out but too late. Stein is leading his army of students as revenge to save Takuto. Actually, it’s more like an excuse to test their experimental magic because some rule says that they can use magic in the human world provided if their comrades are in danger. The bandits are under assault from all directions of the academy’s weirdos including Haruka’s missile raining mecha. Due to the distraction, the barrier has weakened and Takuto manages to break himself and the rest free. I don’t know why Agariarept and Gabriel are so intense in their ping pong match that they are oblivious to the counter attack. As for George, he is on a stealth mission to kill Suzuho so that Metalys will be his once more! But his plan backfired because his camouflage card box was being stepped by Metalys when he arrives to save Suzuho. Then herald Hapsiel! His match up with one of the bandits has them flexing their muscles to see who is more sexier. WTF?!
 
Next is Stein as he confronts Mariera. Just like the rest, he is just all talk but he manages to put an animal ear on her, which turns her into a tsundere character! Even so, Stein is blasted away. Meanwhile Sakuma is finishing his manga when an ink spill horrifies them all. Now they’re crying blood because they have to start all over again. In the craziness, Sakuma unleashes Meganeus to blow everything away. Takuto finds the rest okay after the blast but Mariera and her bandits aren’t going to let him go easily. Though Suzuho transforms, Takuto finds that her magic nullifying powers are useless. Mariera and her bandits aren’t using magic. Their powers of teleport, telepathy and psychokinesis are supernatural. Falche and Tanarotte are already weakened. Mariera uses her powers to bring forth a sharp giant stake and wants Takuto to use his magic for their own means. Since he refuses, she plunges the stake at him. However, Tanarotte uses her body to defend him. As she lies motionless in his arms, Takuto is in shock and cannot accept what is happening.
 
In episode 11, Takuto’s angst has him unleashing scary creatures from different dimensions. His power is enough to blow away Mariera and her bandits. Agariarept and Gabriel use their magic to calm the situation. The next thing we know, Takuto is back in the real world attending school but feeling gloomy. He visits Suzuho II who requests to get ecchi with him since she is dying. We learn that her hair ribbon slows the process of her death but sadly a few days later, Suzuho passes away. Can this be true?! Well actually, Takuto is in a simulation created by Habarom to find the best possibility in a world devoid of magic. Of course the rest aren’t going to sit back and watch as they go on a rescue mission. Tanarotte is still alive and her injuries being healed. On the way, they are being confronted by Agariarept and Gabriel who intends of stopping them after what they have witnessed. Sakuma takes on the duo while the rest continue their journey and it seems he is not a human as he transforms into a more powerful being to kick their ass. I wonder what his true form is since I don’t remember seeing it. Upon arriving at Habarom’s lab, the girls can’t fight back because if they destroy the simulator, Takuto will die as he is being fused with it. But Tanarotte doesn’t understand all that crap and jumps into it anyway.
 
In Takuto’s dream, he meets a boy who tells him to picture and record his dreams. So Takuto goes back and sketch something which looks like Tanarotte. Forty years passed in his dream and Takuto has become some mad scientist who has successfully recreated Tanarotte. When they both embraced, Habarom is devastated because he is wondering where his perfect calculations has gone wrong. However Sagami tells him that this was just inevitable as the existence called Tanarotte was born from within Takuto as she is part of him. In short, no matter what changes in form, appearance or time, they will somehow meet as this is something that has been pre-determined for his world. Takuto and Tanarotte safely return to the lab and since Tanarotte is still clinging on to him, Suzuho II is irritated and becomes more so when cheeky Tanarotte says that they are being lovey-dovey. Falche also joins in for the fun.
 
A filler Christmas episode 12 sees Suzuho, Tanarotte and Flache competing among themselves selling Christmas cakes because Takuto spot a Anileon action figure in a store window and it brought back nostalgic memories of how his dad bought it for him. Though the trio wanted that Anileon for Takuto’s Christmas present, the store owner, Baltia says that she would exchange it in return for a rare figurine made by Kirishima foods. It turns out that this is Futaba’s dad’s company so Futaba is stumped when she learns the rare figurine would be sufficient payment for the trio’s part time job. She will give the sole figurine to the one with the highest sales. Meanwhile George is confessing his unreturned love at a church when he hears a voice telling him to be selfless. Soon that voice turns into Hapsiel as he bursts into the scene! I don’t want to know what happens next. While the 3 girls are off to their work, Miyabi and Sinclavier rope Takuto in to help Sakuma finish his manga for the Comiket. One after another, problems cropped up until some tone runs out. Agariarept and Gabriel decides to help him buy it as they speed along in some otaku sports car. At the same time, Stein is being approached by Hazuki who is selling photos of Tanarotte wearing horns. So now he is into this fad after animal ears? Also, George is working part time for Futaba too! The girls aren’t happy to learn of their new competitor but at the end of the day before Futaba could announce the winner, the girls start fighting over the figurine and rush it back to Baltia. To their horror, the shop has been robbed and everything taken by Mariera and her gang.
 
Since Takuto’s present is on the line, I guess even if they’re riding a cart, they can catch up with Mariera’s car. It’s the power of love. A short battle ensue and with the passing of Agariarept and Gabriel’s sports car help make life difficult for the bandits. Mariera’s car then transform into some Metalys robot to fight back but the toys that they stole including Anileon comes to life and give attack her. It ended when Metalys self destructs after all that hyped up. Later as Anileon thanks the trio, he learns that they are not sent by their master to rescue them. Feeling bad, the girls return Anileon to their rightful kid owner. On their way home as they lament what to give to Takuto, some Santa guy appears and give them an Anileon for substituting his job. Meanwhile Sakuma is happy that his work is finally finished. But Miyabi and Sinclavier are dead tired (literally). So is their hell over? Back home, Takuto is very excited and happy that this Anileon isn’t just a new toy, but the one his dad bought for him. The marks on the box are proof! In his happiness, he hugs the girls, making them feel warm and happy. Outside, Sakuma is talking to Santa and it looks like he is the principal of Magician’s Academy. Wait a minute. This Santa guy may be Takuto’s dad too? The next day as everyone gathers to watch the debut of a city called Avalon, the location of their new school, the usual ruckus between Tanarotte and Suzuho II over Takuto. A disturbing development is that while Metalys cheers on for Suzuho, George is in despair and he is dressed like Hapsiel! OMG! He finds solace in that gay guy as they both embrace! Disgusting! Tanarotte and Suzuho II’s battle has them causing a loose giant ball falling off and crushing the old Magician’s Academy. Ah well, looks like the dwarves will have it tough again. But they’ll get by with everybody’s help.
 
So much for a short hilarious series. I can’t help laugh out loud at all those nonsensical and comical moments. I really did enjoy them. That potential hidden danger within Takuto makes me curious to know if he could actually tilt the balance of all worlds. But I guess it is better for everyone to stay this way. My wish for Futaba to make more screen appearance so that she could be part of the fight in Takuto’s harem didn’t materialized. Perhaps after finding out that shocking truth about those ‘freeloaders’ staying at his place, she gave up, eh? It could’ve been fun as more the merrier. Hope I don’t sound like a love sick sadist.
 
Another funny side of this series is the gay part. Yeah I know. Who can forget about that hard gay Hapsiel no matter how disgusting even if you want to forget him, you just can’t. And when George became his student, it was like damn, this confirms it that he is definitely gay. It’s so gay right till the very end as Hapsiel thanks viewers for watching the series by giving onscreen trademark smooches. Yuck! Apart from that I’m also wondering since now that Sakuma’s manga work is finished, would Miyabi and Sinclavier be free? Don’t think so because Sakuma may still use them as ecchi models for his sick fetish. Don’t worry. Eine will always be there to keep him in line. The other characters too are wacky and are quite memorable (please, don’t remind me of Hapsiel again!). Though their behaviours aren’t that deep and you can guess what kind of characters they are after a few observations. Like Stein’s fetish for animal ears and Haruka’s obsession with the mechas. It still makes me wonder what are Agariarept and Gabriel’s real day job as a demon and angel are. Hanging around and watching or sometimes helping our heroes. Yeah, it’s boring being such majestic beings. Say, what happened to Fermi? Got zapped too much?
 
I also noticed that each of the episode’s title has the word ‘nanka’ which means somewhat and sounds somewhat weird. For example, episode 3 is "We somehow got a demon lord coming out" and episode 4’s "This is somewhat like a crime". Another thing I noticed which also makes the series funny is all those exaggerative and hyped-up-cum-grand talking. In most cases, it’s like after yapping and showing viewers how great and super their invention or the outcome of something, it fizzles out to be something weak and nothing but just talk.
 
The drawing and art are drawn more towards moe lolicon as the characters lean more towards cute than bishoujo or bishonen, though some of the characters still look gorgeous. Sometimes they put real life images in certain scenes which makes the whole thing look a little funny. Just like the mid-intermission whereby they show weird looking plushies of the characters. I don’t know but they look ugly to me. And while at it, you can hear random characters saying the name of this series. On a trivial note, the next episode preview is hardly anything on the next episode. While it is shown in yonkoma (four panel comic strip) style, it is quite funny and random. For instance, Takuto waking up from a nightmare that Falche is torturing him. But his relief is short-lived because Falche is standing behind him ready to give the poor kid that same torture. Another one is whereby George is trying to think real hard how to get back Metalys’ attention and he concludes that since he is infatuated with Suzuho II, George dresses up like her.
 
The opening theme, MOSO Ranbu by Marisa Ise, Ui Miyazaki and Yukari Fukui (the seiyuu for Tanarotte, Suzuho and Falche respectively), sounds weird. Aside from the crazy animation (like butt shaking), the song features a little rap in it and the lyrics too is one kind. "Wasshoi, give me a baby…". Uh huh. No further comment. The main ending theme is Pastel by Ayumi Murata. I don’t know, but the way she sings the song makes it a little ‘drowsy’. There’s also a special ending song for that gay episode, entirely for Hapsiel. Entitled Miwako No La Vie En Rose by MIKA, it either wants to make you laugh or cringe. Or both. Too much hard gay!
 
Thus I hope everybody will have a swell time at their new location. Things will take a more exciting turn now that Takuto has a bevy of ladies fighting over him. I don’t know about you but if there was such a hidden magic academy and world out there, I don’t want to be in Takuto’s shoes. Imagine all the trouble (or fun, depending how you look at it) he has to go through. I don’t think any amount of magic can cure this. Call it destiny or fate.
 

Macademi Wasshoi

Skip Beat

September 13, 2009

There are many reasons why one decides to go into the world of acting whether it is theatre, the big silver screen or television release only. Some say it is the money and some a lifetime dream of theirs while others may want to achieve worldwide fame and glory. Then of course there are others who are inspired by versatile and wonderful actors and actresses and perhaps it is their goal to rub shoulders with the biggest and famous names of Hollywood. So how about revenge? Say what? Going into show business for revenge? Sounds like a plot straight out from some serial drama doesn’t it?
 
That’s right. Taking up acting just to get revenge is the case for Kyoko Mogami in Skip Beat. I am sure that nobody in this world would enter such a glamorous profession with such a goal. So for her to use this as her reason to enter the world of acting, it is definitely an eyebrow raiser for those who would come to know of this. Having said this, the anime series which is based on the Japanese manga of the same name isn’t gloomy or filled with purely intense hatred. It is more like a drama romance comedy and I’m sure most viewers would find it suitable to watch this series even if you know nuts about acting. Like me.
 
So why is Kyoko seeking revenge and on whom? As seen in episode 1, Kyoko is your typical plain Jane girl. Not that anyone would notice her for being the next big star of the film industry but even if she is a little klutzy and low self-esteem, at least she is loyal to her boyfriend, Sho Fuwa, who is the new rising star in the country’s show business. Who wouldn’t want to be with this hot hunk? Or is it? Kyoko has been with this guy ever since they were kids so she’s some sort like a care taker to him but the unfortunate thing is that Sho is an arrogant, spoilt and ungrateful bastard. You heard me right! He takes poor Kyoko for granted and you’ll learn that he is just using her to get what he wants. Stupid jerk! But I suppose having great charming looks help cover it up, eh? I don’t really know how Kyoko can stand it all this while. She follows him to Toyo and does all the chores from cooking and cleaning and even took up several part time jobs just to support this guy (including emotionally), all in the name of love and her feelings are definitely genuine. And what does she get in return? So this is the turning point for Kyoko. One night when she decides to pay a surprise delivery to Sho’s agency, she overheard her talking to his manager, Shouko Aki, how he is saying Kyoko is just her maid and he has never cared for her all this while! To add salt to injury, Sho tells it directly to Kyoko’s face when they find out about her presence. Unlike other weak girls who cry heartbrokenly, Kyoko is engulfed in rage and vows revenge to bring him down in his own game. Through acting. But cocky Sho is unfazed and even challenges her because he really believes a girl like her can’t do it. And that’s when the Pandora Box is opened and Sho better be watching his back because soon Kyoko ditches her plain Jane style by dying her hair orange and cutting it short as she plots her revenge on him.
 
Thus in each episode, viewers will get to see how a beginner like Kyoko, new to the acting world, goes about in her trials and tribulations just to get her revenge on her ex-boyfriend. It is going to be tough because there are other naive fan crazy girls out there and to declare all out in public would be as good as writing a death wish. Though Kyoko may be an apprentice, you’ll notice that she has a hidden talent for acting such as being able to come up with lines and portray strong and convincing emotions in crucial parts whereby one needs to improvise fast with time not on one’s side. So will Kyoko be the next big thing in her journey to get her revenge? Like killing 2 birds with 1 stone, eh? Another ‘fun’ thing about Kyoko is that due to her utmost hatred for Sho, everything that she imagines or thinks which directly or indirectly links to Sho, she’ll get real upset and angry and this is eminent with her little devilish imps floating around her while giving out a very dark and deadly aura. Enough to give everyone around her the creeps and even make the Devil himself shiver in his pants. Just hilarious every time she goes into this mode. Even so, you can’t help but root for Kyoko to go on even if her cause may be morally wrong.
 
In episode 2, Kyoko is currently living at the restaurant where she works part time, Daruyama. To start things off, she needs to find an acting agency who will take her in. What better way than to start her vendetta by applying for a place in a rival agency of Sho, LME. She approaches the talent manager of LME, Takenori Sawara but he kicks her out upon hearing that she has no interest in show business. However Kyoko isn’t going to give up and stalks him day and night till he gives in! Way to go! Kyoko gets her first audition and on the way she bumps into LME’s number 1 star, Ren Tsuruga, who is also another famous star. Now Ren is currently on the top list of the hottest stars and is the person whom Sho really wants to knock off. Call it fate, eh? But when Ren hears Kyoko’s revenge cause, he tells her it is useless to join LME. Another start of another love-hate relationship? Though Ren may treat Kyoko cold at times but I feel that he is indirectly teaching her valuable lessons in which Kyoko learns and appreciates through time. You can’t be spoon-fed all the time, right? Because of this approach, Kyoko doesn’t really go down well with Ren and sometimes is in a dilemma to kill this guy just like Sho. Another person to hate. Ironic to know that this girl hates good looking boys. Or is it just coincidence? How about any romance blossoming between them? Don’t hope for it. She just endured a heartbreaking break-up. However Ren is a very good and skilful actor and is able to influence the moods of others around him, on and off stage. So when he gets angry with just a piercing stare, even Kyoko knows where she stands. During Kyoko’s first audition, she notices a lady Kanae Kotonami who impresses the judges by memorizing a whole book and its exact lines and pages in just a short time! Then it’s Kyoko’s turn as she takes out a knife and daikon (white radish). Oh no. Hope she doesn’t have Sho on her mind and taking this ‘killing him’ act out on stage, is she?
 
In episode 3, Kyoko impresses the judges by using her swift knife skills to turn the daikon into a rose (more like a cabbage actually). One of the judges, Lory, the president of LME is truly amazed because this skill is hard to master. Now viewers may think that Lory being the head of LME allows him to be weird because he dresses in whatever theme like currently some Arabian clothing and even comes in on a camel! Anyway Kyoko passes the 1st test. The 2nd audition has the successful applicants needing to act out their emotion based on the message from a handphone. Though many applicants play out happy emotions, Kanae’s turn stun the judges when she shed tears. Finally it is Kyoko’s turn but when the voice on the other line reminded her of how Sho dumped her, her murderous aura starts appearing and freaking everyone in the hall! She throws the handphone to the floor in her rage, breaking it. Bad news, the handphone belongs to Lory and he is saddened that it is broken. Likewise, Sawara is in a panic because if Kyoko gets kicked out, he’ll be in deeper trouble (remember the stalking from Kyoko?). Later Sawara informs Kyoko that she didn’t pass the audition. Back at Daruyama, she is ready to give up but the owners gave her a good lecturing so she’s back into it again. Meanwhile Lory tells Sawara that he can’t let a good talent like Kyoko go to waste though she failed the auditions. Yeah, he needs her. Hooray!
 
Kyoko is working as a petrol attendant in episode 4 when a car carrying Sho comes in to fill up. Kyoko goes into enraged mode but her colleague is a fan of his. Though Kyoko doesn’t want to meet Sho face to face, her colleague makes her meet him. Then Sho didn’t recognize Kyoko’s new look and soon off they go. Call it a blessing or insult, depending how you look at it. Unfortunately for Kyoko, she’s pissed. She thinks he has forgotten her so fast already. However Sho has his reservations about her but dismisses her to be Kyoko thinking that she still has long hair. Kyoko decides to try at LME again and bumps into a famous actress, Kamio, and ends up carrying her bags. She also meets Ren as he explains LME’s new section called Love Me whereby it is to house potential talents but lack the X-factor. Under this section, trainees are subjected to any jobs without question. So when Ren says that Kyoko will be the first trainee under this section, Kyoko is extremely shocked and drops Kamio’s bags, resulting in Kamio’s fury. She gets even angrier when Kyoko allows Ren to help her with Kamio’s bags and this resulted her into getting a penalty stamp. Part of the rules of Love Me is that trainees are given stamps which could increase or decrease their points in a little book based on their performance. But Kyoko gets infuriated further when she gets to know that Ren had tricked her in the sense that even if he had offered to help her with Kamio’s bags, she should’ve insisted and refused. Really another guy to add on to her utmost hate list. Only second to Sho, that is. And oh yes. Lory has been waiting for Kyoko to arrive for the new opening of his Love Me section, all dressed up in some royal outfit and doing some mock sword fighting with another guy. But Kyoko is slow to turn up… Keep on waiting, pal.
 
In episode 5, Kyoko meets Lory as he gives her a little pink book to record her stamps. The more stamp points she gets, the closer she’ll get to appear in her debut. He asks if she is capable to love others and of course we know the answer after her fallout with Sho. But she vows to get back her that lost attribute. However working under the Love Me section has another downside. Trainees have to wear a very obvious pink jump suit with the section’s name front and back. Quite embarrassing and attracting unwanted stares actually. Meanwhile, a short confrontation between Ren and Sho and the latter tries to outdo the former with some ego thingy but it backfires. Kyoko’s first job is to clean and wax the hallways but her sheer determination makes it too slippery causing some to slip. Then while being dejected on the stairs, an LME idol bumps into Kyoko. She is Ruriko Matsunai and wants Kyoko to do a job for her. Ruriko wants Kyoko to protect her while doing her shoot up in the mountains. You’ll notice Ruriko’s spoilt attitude and she’s like a total b*tch. But that won’t stop Kyoko from trying harder. The car breaks down halfway and the girls have to walk to their location but Ruriko lies to her about her sensitive skin to UV rays and has Kyoko carry her all the way to the shoot. Kyoko sprains her ankle badly and selfish Ruriko walks herself to the location. She even forgot to get help for poor Kyoko who is laying there unable to move an inch. There are so many of such people in this industry. However a saviour comes to Kyoko in the form of… Ren! Of all the people… Can’t think about that now since she has fractured her bones so Ren scoops her up and carries her in his arms. What message does this send us? Nah. Don’t hope for it.
 
Ren carries Kyoko back to the house, the setting of the shoot in episode 6. Ren’s manager, Yukihito Yashiro, help bandages Kyoko’s ankle and Kyoko refuses to be whisked away to hospital, still thinking about her job to protect Ruriko. However Ruriko is filled with extreme jealousy when she saw Ren carrying Kyoko back to the house. One bad turn deserves… Coupled in with her spoilt attitude and throwing tantrums during the filming (she got tired of ding retakes due to her inexperience unable to meet the director’s expectations), she decides to play reverse psychology by calling it quits. Plus, Ruriko declares her hatred for the Love Me section. She even suggested for Kyoko to replace her role. But her plan of being pleaded by the director to stay backfires because everyone else seems to take up her suggestion and let both girls act out in a competition to see who shall get the lead role. Ruriko has no choice but to go along. Kyoko gets dressed up and is excited since she looked so pretty in make up for the first time in her entire normal life. But I’m sure Kyoko’s ‘gratefulness’ to Ruriko is seen more like a sarcastic insult. It isn’t just Ruriko who could put up her f*cked up attitude. Don’t forget Kyoko too has her dark side. She’s picking with the wrong girl to mess. The catfight escalates when Kyoko learns that Ruriko isn’t sensitive to UV rays but rather scared of getting dark. Ruriko starts off first by acting a tea ceremony scene with Ren and as usual gives lots of excuse for her mistakes. But Kyoko isn’t going to give up without a fight yet.
 
It is Kyoko’s turn to act in episode 7 and though her ankle pain is killing her, she holds it back and puts on a convincing smiling face. This is all thanks to her mom when she told her to always smile to their guests no matter what. But Kyoko is surprised that she is being influenced and led by Ren’s acting. Though Kyoko performs well, she collapses halfway during the shoot. This causes Ruriko to reflect upon herself on Kyoko’s determination and perseverance. Back then, Ruriko was like her. So she pleads to the director to have her role back and promises to work harder, in which the director agrees and says that was the original plan. We find out that it was a setup by Lory for Kyoko to help Ruriko improve her attitude and that he had never any intention to let Kyoko to act in the film. Later Ruriko gives Kyoko a full 100 points as gratitude but still maintains her obnoxious attitude in front of her. If that isn’t shocking enough, Ruriko even says that she likes Kyoko a little bit more now (notice Kyoko’s hilarious agape mouth!). At the backstage, Yashiro asks about Kyoko’s tea ceremony making skills and Kyoko tells him about her training from Sho’s mom. This causes Kyoko to fall into depression again because she now thinks all that training was just to be Sho’s future wife. Then Kyoko refuses to remove her make up since she’s looking quite pretty but after knowing a whitening cream that Sho uses on a TV ad will lead to bad skin, she reluctantly agrees. Back at LME, when Ren learns that Kyoko’s motivation to act is still Sho, he gives her a minus 10, leaving her bewildered and upset. She just can’t understand him, eh?
 
In episode 8, Kyoko bumps into Kanae and learns that she is also in the Love Me section. How did she end up here? During her final audition, though her acting was good, Lory was disappointed in her lack of feelings in her heart and is sent to Love Me so that she could learn it. But Kanae is quite embarrassed and in denial to be associated with this section or Kyoko, even if the latter is happy to know that she has a partner. Hehe. Kanae has no choice but to be her ‘partner’ because Kyoko’s demons bind her from escaping. It’s like she has no choice, be her friend or else… Furthermore, Kyoko likes to call Kanae "Moko-san". I don’t know how that name came up. In this episode, Lory requests for the Love Me girls to help his granddaughter, Maria (the little girl Kyoko sarcastically ticked off for crying to gain sympathy in her first auditions) because her pranks now has cause some to be injured. If Kyoko can successfully open Maria’s heart, she will be exempted from studying fees at LME. Of course upon hearing this, in denial Kanae makes a sudden u-turn and supports the section. Kyoko tries to use a chibi Ren doll to lure Maria out in which she is successful. Maria tells Kyoko that they are the same in the sense that she wants to give Ren her little cursed doll so that she could make him her eternal slave. Twisted little girl. Lory then comes by and wants Maria to apologize for the troubles caused but she refused saying that she wants the agency to stop a show production called "The Angel’s Words" because the plot reminded her of her tragic past. Because Kyoko agrees with the weak plot, the other unhappy and offended actresses challenge Kyoko to act out a sisterly-hate scene. Kyoko is in a bind because the scene isn’t in the script.
 
Kyoko takes up the challenge in episode 9 and Lory is looking forward to seeing her performance first hand. Of course Kyoko is at a lost at first and needs some ‘help’ from Kanae to get back on her feet. But Kyoko is pissed when the other actresses accuses her of using her parent’s money to achieve her dream. I think that’s when she snapped and I know I’ve said this too many times, they picked the wrong girl to mess with. Be wary of her scary mode. You’ll live to regret it. I’m not sure the storyline but Kyoko improvises by using a different emotion for her same lines in the script. This causes Maria to remember her past whereby her mom died in a plane crash and she responsible for her death. She also felt that adults are liars when they said nice things to comfort her just because she’s a child. Even when Ren told her that her dad didn’t hate her for her mom’s death, she refused to believe it. Back to the acting, Kyoko’s acting has led to her and the other actress in reversed roles! Maria gets emotional and interferes with the act. It’s like she’s taking out her past here. In the end, Maria realized her dad’s true feelings and she herself has been the one coming in between herself and daddy as she breaks down. Later as Kanae talks to Kyoko about her acting, she is impressed of her ahead thinking and interpretation. Be wary of another future potential rival. And yeah, Kyoko and Maria are good pals now. But unfortunately, both Love Me girls will have to pay for the fees seeing that Maria interrupted the act.
 
Maria takes the first step in getting back with good terms with her dad overseas in episode 10 by writing a letter and learns of Kyoko’s own parents abandoning her when she was a child. Compared to Kyoko, Maria has it better, right? As Kyoko sits on the stairs, she takes out a blue precious stone called Corn, which she uses in times of despair. Since she is lost in her thoughts, Sawara’s appearance startled her as she drops Corn. She frantically tries to find it but Ren picks it up. They learn that when she was young, Kyoko met a boy named Corn at a riverside who gave her the stone to reduce her tears. Now if you ask me, this Corn boy resembles a lot like Ren! It is definitely him because as Ren gives the stone back to her (much to her relief), he asks her if she is from Kyoto seeing that this stone is only available in that area. But all that mood is spoiled when Ren says those who deceive are wrong. Back to square one. When Kyoko meets up with Kanae later, she remembers the time when Sho had lots of girls flanking around him and because of that, Kyoko has no other friends as they are jealous of Kyoko’s closeness to him. Deadly aura cue. So Kyoko’s new job is to be a chicken mascot named Bo on a variety show. The thing is, Sho is making a special guest appearance. Oh the horror! Disguised Kyoko then hatches a plan to ruin Sho as part of her revenge. Is this a God given chance? Kyoko’s plan starts off by rigging fan questions by putting in those which Kyoko and Sho would only know. Like his real name. I don’t know why it’s a bad thing since Sho’s real first name is Shotaro. Sho is taken aback and starts panicking in his mind but he comes up with an answer to avoid it by saying that the day his real name will be revealed is the day he will retire from stage. All the fan crazy girl audiences then plead for Sho to stay on and that they don’t mind his real name. What amazing psychological answer! With that, Sho’s coolness has increased, much to Kyoko’s dismay. But it won’t be fun to win at first try as there will be more opportunities coming by. Yeah, Kyoko is relishing to give Sho a hell of a Q&A time.
 
In episode 11, Kyoko gets another shot for revenge by playing badminton onstage. Kyoko is to unleash a secret winning technique only known to Sho and Kyoko but the shuttlecock got stuck up in the ceiling and Kyoko lost. The show takes a break and Sho is starting to wonder if Kyoko is underneath Bo. Backstage, he tries to take off Bo’s head and give sarcastic unfeminine remarks. Obviously Kyoko is mad and wants to strangle him but is caught by a staff and is placed in a cage and banned from the show. As Kyoko dejectedly walks around, she encounters Ren who is having difficulty expressing a line in the script. Luckily she is still wearing Bo so Ren doesn’t recognize her. He asks to borrow her handphone, in which she doesn’t have. The duo engage in some chat about that line in the script and Ren blushes when Kyoko laughs out that he misinterpreted that line. But when Kyoko indirectly tells of her recent sacking, Ren proceeds to recount his many past failures during his early acting days. Kyoko also uncovers a little of Ren’s feelings towards her. Soon Ren goes back to reading his script and as Kyoko leaves the building, she has a more positive perception of him.
 
Though Kyoko blushes when she thinks of Ren’s recent words, in episode 12, she frantically walks away in panic whenever Ren walks close by. Kyoko then tells Ren and Yashiro that she is taking a drink commercial audition of another agency and Ren encourages her to take whatever chances that comes by. Upon reaching the audition, Kyoko is surprised that Kanae is also there to audition. But she spots a pensive look. It seems a blonde twintail girl, Erika Koenji, who hails from a super rich and influential family, doesn’t like Kanae and is always trying to outdo her. Yeah, another b*tch. She is far worse than Ruriko, I tell you. Using her connections, she tries to influence the judges and the other kiasu auditioners try to follow suit. Kyoko learns that since during Kanae’s schooling years, Kanae beat Erika to some lead drama role and ever since then, Erika is always holding a grudge on her. Still holding on to it after all these years? Obviously Erika is here to continue crushing Kanae’s dreams of becoming an actress so much so Kanae even thinks of giving up and running away so as not to cross her path. But Kyoko gives Kanae encouragement like saying money can’t buy talent and even literally slap some sense into her. So the duo form an unlikely alliance to do something better for the audition. Unknown to them, the commercial director, Kurosaki, has eavesdropped their conversation and finds them interesting. The next day as they come in their embarrassing pink outfits, the usual sarcasm from Erika but this fires up the Love Me girls even more. Kurosaki decides to change his intention of using 2 girls for his commercial instead of the original 1.
 
In episode 13, we see bratty Erika trying to bribe Kurosaki with money but that smart guy ain’t buying (he should’ve kicked her out too!). A lot is drawn for the pairings and as fate would have it, Kyoko and Kanae gets paired. In this audition, they are to act out a 60 second scene whereby both girls are good friends but like the same guy. However that guy rejected one of them because he has feelings for the other. Having only 20 minutes to think up of a scene, as usual Kyoko doesn’t know how to go about. Kanae keeps mum on what to do and just tells her to follow her lead. When it is their turn, Kyoko is still in the dark. After a 10 second blank stare showdown, Kanae suddenly starts off by slapping Kyoko in the face! Is it an indication of taking out her frustrations on her or just purely acting? Of course Kyoko’s natural reaction in person or acting is to slap back but when she sees Kanae suddenly going into weeping mode, Kyoko apologizes. This stuns everyone. They have some time left although their acting is done and they’ve gone by with only a single word. Not wanting this to be just a fluke, Kurosaki decides to retest the pink ladies and Erika’s team. This time the act is supposed to be reconciliation and Erika is seen eavesdropping on Kyoko when Kurosaki comes by. Kyoko accidental slip of her tongue makes Kurosaki known her intention to use the drink bottle, Kyurara, for her reconciliation act. Erika is still eavesdropping from afar and decides to use Kyoko’s idea since her team will be going first. And that is what happened. This leaves Kyoko in utmost shock but you know, a girl like her won’t give up that easily.
 
Thankfully Kyoko has come up with an improvise in episode 14 and this time it is Kanae’s turn to be in the dark. Kyoko starts off by splashing the drink on Kanae as retaliation! She then sticks out her tongue and says that she’s just kidding. But Kanae decides to splash the drink back but finds the drink flowing out instead when she opens her bottle cap. Her flustered reaction makes Kyoko laugh and soon the duo and everyone else starts laughing before they made up. Kurosaki is impressed and even more amazed by the fact that Kyoko only came up with this a few moments ago. In the end, Kurosaki chooses them both for his commercial. Congratulations! In the evening, Kyoko hangs out with Kanae and they ‘commemorate their friendship’ by eating ice cream. Kyoko offers to be Kanae’s friend upon learning that she too had no friends just like herself back then. Though Kanae is reluctant, she agrees to do so since there’s no reason to turn her down (actually her inner demons would be a very good one). However Erika is still sore over her loss and confronts them. Since she can’t have her way, she is going to scar Kanae’s face so that it will put a stop to her acting for good! OMG! How can she think of such hideous things! This time Kanae stood her ground and gives Erika a good ticking off. She tells her to use her talent instead of money to influence people. Though Erika gets the message, she still displays her arrogant ways so as not to lose face and leaves and will be waiting for the day Kanae will be her worthy rival. See, violence doesn’t solve anything. Kyoko and Kanae take a bus home and while Kanae rants about herself, she is disheartened to find tired Kyoko asleep. Yeah, wasted all that breath, eh? But Kanae gives a 100 stamp point to her trustworthy partner. Finally the commercial is out as Lory and Maria watches it.
 
Because Yashiro is out with a cold, Kyoko has been reluctantly assigned to be Ren’s temporary manager in episode 15. Being Ren’s manager is a tough job because Ren is a workaholic and furthermore, it is Ren who is protecting and apologizing for Kyoko’s mistakes. During a dinner outing, Ren learns that Kyoko never went to high school as she dropped out because Sho’s parents think she is fit to be Sho’s wife and nothing more. When Kyoko reiterates her revenge on Sho, this thought disgusts Ren. It is then Kyoko realized that this may be the reason why he is cold towards her. Kyoko then receives a call from Lory saying that she has a chance to enter high school provided if she passes the entrance exam. She is happy to accept the offer. The next day as Ren is shooting one of his scenes, Kyoko notices that Ren may be coming down with a fever though he himself dismisses it. True enough, Ren gets sick and he apologizes for not listening to her. However he continues to act in his worsening condition and to make matters worse, the actress alongside him fumbles her lines many times and the scene is a rainy one. Ren still manages to keep his professionalism and politeness and continues with his work even if worried Kyoko tells him to postpone his shooting. Back in the dressing room, all these factors have aggravated Ren’s fever as he collapses onto Kyoko.
 
Obviously Kyoko can’t just shove off Ren’s heavier body. So in episode 16, Kyoko recite a play line and instantly as though as it’s some kind of reflex action, Ren got up and continued his work. At the end of the day, Kyoko continues to nurse Ren back at his apartment. For once, her skills for Sho like making soup are put to great use. It’s that pissed off feeling again. Yeah, almost everything seems to remind her of Sho. Due to her nursing Ren, she hasn’t had much time to study for her entrance exam. One day she finds him sitting on the stairways having trouble memorizing his lines. Kyoko helps out and Ren is impressed of her improvement. Though Kyoko says that revenge is still on her mind, she also realizes her passion for acting and wants to reborn herself into something new. Ren believes her. That night Kyoko continues to study hard so Ren advices her not to push herself and neglect her own health. Kyoko is embarrassed to take a bath in his place but after he sarcastically says he’d rather die than peep at her, Kyoko goes take one. Haha. Next morning, Kyoko and Ren are running late for their shoot since there is a traffic jam. Kyoko then gets out of her car and forcefully ‘borrows’ a passer-by’s bicycle (don’t want to fight with her demons, eh?). She decides to peddle him to work and better hurry because the crowd has spotted them. Ren thinks of giving her 100 points if she can pull this manager job off.
 
In episode 17, Kyoko passes her entrance exam and is relishing her lost schooling years. On her way back, she heard a couple of passer-by commenting on her drink commercial. Something about how they prefer the long black hair one (Kanae) to the ordinary plain short hair one (Kyoko). Control your anger, girl. Back at LME, Kyoko meets Ren and he gives her 100 points for being her manager but deducts 10 points upon hearing that she’s doing this just because it’s her job. Another bewildering moment for Kyoko. Just when she thought he’s a nice person, it’s back to his cannot-comprehend-his-action-and-thinking ways. Meanwhile Sho is watching the drink commercial and is suspecting this girl to be Kyoko. Kyoko receives shocking news from Sawara that she is being offered to act in a promo video with Sho! Gasp! At first Kyoko vehemently refuses but after learning Kanae has gotten herself a role in a drama series, Kyoko accepts the offer and use Sho as a stepping stone to success just like how he did it to her. Yashiro is accompanying Ren to his next shoot and thinks something must have happened between him and Kyoko since he is acting a little kinder to her. You’ll notice how this guy indirectly tries to play cupid with Ren and Kyoko. Ren thinks Kyoko shouldn’t see Sho at this time and since he didn’t know of her promo offer, it’s too late.
 
Yeah, Kyoko is waiting for a long time in a room at the shooting scene. Feeling impatient, she decides to get up and investigate only to come face to face with Sho at the door. In order to hide her identity, Kyoko pretends to act out stuff that Sho would thought Kyoko would never do like shaking his hands. She did a perfect job acting as an obsessed Sho fan. On their way, they bump into the promo video’s producer, Haruki Asami and it seems Sho is trying to flirt unashamedly right in front of Kyoko’s eyes. Hate metre rising! In a room, Kyoko is introduced to another ‘protective’ fan girl of Sho who clings on to him the instant and is jealous of Kyoko. She is Mimori Nanokara and is also cast to play alongside Kyoko in Sho’s promo video. Asami reveals the plot in which Sho plays the devil who is in love with 1 of the 2 angel sisters played by the girls. More accurately, Mimori is the angel which Sho falls for and since evil angel Kyoko can’t stand the sight of it, she has to kill him. A role which Kyoko immediately volunteers to do because she had always wanted to kill the ‘devil’ with her hands. Haha! How fitting! As they sit together eating lunch, Sho shows his unappreciative side to Mimori when she offers him her bento. However she made sweet omelettes, something which Kyoko knows that Sho hates. Too late, he puts it in his mouth already. Just as he is about to spit it out, Kyoko without thinking flicks a pack of salt to him and in this instant, Sho confirms his that this girl before his eyes is indeed Kyoko.
 
Though Sho knows that this is the real Kyoko, he intends to make her reveal her identity in episode 18 as he dangerously flirts with her. Unfortunately jealous Mimori breaks them up. Kyoko’s identity is known when Kyoko refers to a cosmetic make up with a name she once thought up during her childhood years. The cat is out of the bag. However Sho doesn’t intend to fire her because he is confident it will not affect him and wants to see how far she can go. Make sure he eats those words, Kyoko. Yeah, after putting up all those make-up and costume, Kyoko looks stunning! Wow! Unrecognizable at first. It’s a total makeover. Now that guy’s speechless. She kicks him in the shin and tells him how the pain in her heart he caused is incomparable to anything else in the world. Elsewhere Yashiro and Ren are talking about Kyoko’s 10 point deduction and Yashiro thinks Ren may have some feelings for her but that guy dismisses it as some responsibility for the Love Me section. Yashiro is dumbfounded that though Ren may be a good actor, he is clueless when it comes to love. Back to Sho, he somehow can’t help but stare at Kyoko, which infuriates Mimori who thinks he is looking at Kyoko more than her. As filming starts, Asami is impressed with Kyoko’s acting and could even lead on Mimori even if the latter hates her. She advices Sho to be on guard. Now the scene that Kyoko has been waiting for has arrived. The part where she gets to kill the devil. She is supposed to strangle and push him off the wall (don’t worry there are wires attached) but Kyoko got so into her killing mode and let her devils took over, that she nearly suffocated him. Several times and takes! Yeah, you can say he had a near-death experience. I think Kyoko would be happy to repeat this scene but considering her acting career on the line, the team takes a break as Kyoko tries to recollect herself. Sho then goes up to her and mocks her once more to give him a more beautiful performance due to her incompetent and inability to surprise him any further other than her appearance.
 
In episode 19, Kyoko calls Kanae for advice. Since she didn’t pick up, she hesitantly tries Ren but reaches his mail box. Then Kanae returns the call. Kyoko is in a dilemma on what to do for her scene so Kanae says that if she ‘kills’ her lover, she herself will hate ‘Kyoko’ since by killing her lover is as good as hurting her. The retake starts and this time tears stroll down her eyes as she slowly puts her hand on Sho before pushing him off. Kyoko’s eyes then turn devilish like as though she has turned into the devil herself. Sho is stunned so much so he forgot to do his part, which is to close his eyes while falling. This has Sho recalling his past like how Kyoko was always crying and he felt helpless to do anything (is this to make viewers feel that Sho is not a total jerk?). After the shooting, Mimori continues to be jealous and saddened that Sho looks at Kyoko more so Sho gives her a hug and literally melt that girl’s heart. This caught Kyoko’s attention as she tells him she doesn’t know of his ‘powers’ to stop a girl’s crying. She continues that when she was young, she didn’t want to trouble him further since he’s so useless just standing around and thus went to a special place of hers to cry her heart out. This was where she met Corn. Back in real time, Ren notices his handphone message and Yashiro is stumped because Ren has never returned a call during work. Kyoko soon receives a call from Ren and the duo chatted away. She is delighted that Ren is showing concern for her. However upon knowing that the person on the other line is Ren, Sho snatches her handphone away and sarcastically tells Ren how she did well before hanging up. Kyoko is totally pissed and an argument ensue. Unleash your little devils! It’s hell time. Ren on the other hand realizes it is Sho on the other line.
 
Back at LME in episode 20, Kyoko apologizes for that incident with Sho but Ren says he is not mad. Until she mentions she entered his promo video not for revenge which causes Ren to get mad. Yeah, can’t understand him either. One minute he’s all sweet and nice, the next he is giving off that scorning aura. Because of this, Yashiro tries to blackmail Ren into giving details of his relationship with Kyoko or else he’ll destroy his handphone. But you know, Ren is stubborn as a goat even if he gives an excuse that an old guy like him could date a young high school girl like her. Also, Kanae finds out about Kyoko’s revenge and gets her to spill the beans. Initially reluctant, Kyoko has no choice but to let her know everything since Kanae threatened to break up their friendship. Kanae concludes the reason Ren hate her is because she lied to him about the revenge. If not, he may be jealous… I think Kyoko will stick with the first one. Later Kyoko then receives good news from Sawara that she is selected to play a lead role in a remake of a famous 20 year old drama series called Tsukigomori, as Dark Moon. A reason Kyoko is being selected because the director for this series, Hiroaki Ogata, fell in love with Kyoko’s acting after watching Sho’s video promo, courtesy from Asami. Afterwards Kyoko thinks of going to apologize to Ren but she sees him and Yashiro too soon when she got out of the lift. A little weirdness occurring like shutting the lift door before it reopens and we see Kyoko begging for forgiveness on her knees. Kyoko gets a ride home from the duo. She tells them about her revenge and sincerely apologizes to Ren. However Ren’s mind is occupied with his earlier meeting with Lory. He told Ren he isn’t fit to play the lead role in Dark Moon because he knows Ren is lousy when it comes to acting out love scenes (due to his many years of bachelor-hood and probably the reason why he has no girlfriend all this while. I know, he may be oblivious to love too).
 
In episode 21, Kyoko learns she will be playing a rich girl Mio but gets disheartened to find out that she isn’t the kind of rich girl she hopes to play. Instead, that rich girl has inferiority complex, deep hatred and a hideous cover across her side forehead. I’m not sure what the story is really about except that Mio holds deep grudges for several characters in the show like her cousin Mizuki and teacher, Katsuki. Kyoko also finds out that Ogata is troubled that Lory doesn’t want Ren to be in the series. Ogata wants Ren to act in the series in order for the remake to surpass the original. At the same time, Ren is talking with Lory and the latter comments on his cold attitude towards a girl’s love. In the end, Lory reluctantly gives Ren permission to act in it since Ren vows to outdo the original. Though Kyoko thinks of turning down her role, after learning Ren is staying to act, she decides to stay on to watch Ren in action. Filming soon begins and Kyoko is having trouble about playing her character. Though Ren gave her some advice, she still blunders. To make things worse, the actress who played Mio 20 years ago, Iizuka, is there to watch and she is bloody strict on how Kyoko will portray Mio. She is also acting in the remake as Mio’s mom. She is upset Kyoko’s inexperience will ruin Mio’s reputation and is even demanding Ogata to remove her! Yeah, she’s like bossing around. I think she’s the one causing lots of trouble here. She calls Kyoko and asks her several questions on Mio to see if she is qualified to play the character and if she makes 1 mistake, she wants her to step down immediately. So far Kyoko has answered her ‘interrogation’ well until the one why Mio hates Mizuki has Kyoko stumped because the answer is not as straightforward as it seems to be. With that, Iizuka tells Kyoko to step down from the role.
 
However in episode 22, Ren pleads for Iizuka to give Kyoko some time and thus she is saved from being fired. Ren gives some advice about her character but as usual it isn’t so straightforward and like a riddle which has Kyoko in stitches. Outside, Yashiro is trying to cheer Kyoko up (even telling her that Ren may be in love with her!) but she is in deep thoughts about Mio. Then she hit eureka and runs off. Yashiro tried to go after her but she outran him so he goes back to report to the rest. Though Iizuka thinks she has run away, Ren still believes in her and will wait. Three hours later, Kyoko’s return stuns everyone. She has toss away her wig and dyed her hair black again. The thing is, Mio uses her long hair to hide her scar but now with her short hair, it is so obvious. What has Kyoko thought about her character? Not only that, Kyoko is so absorbed in reading her script that when Ren tries to touch her, she ignores him and gives him that piercing stare! She is totally into the role of Mio! With that, the rest decides to play along. Iizuka is upset that this isn’t the original shy and introverted Mio she played but decides to test her while playing her mother’s role. I don’t remember what the conversation was about but Mio’s words provoked her mom and she uses her scar, which is the source of her weakness as a weapon to blame Mizuki! Initially Ogata decides not to use this Mio as it is too different and intense but decides he needs to in order to make an impact and to surpass the original. He realizes his need to create a new world for her to exist. Even if both Mios are portrayed differently, they both have the basic hatred. Iizuka concedes defeat and accepts this Kyoko after hearing Ogata’s plea. When Kyoko snaps out of her role, she apologizes to everyone big time.
 
The filming continues with everyone impressed with Kyoko’s acting in episode 23. Elsewhere, Shouko spots an advertising poster of Dark Moon and tries to hide it from Sho because Kyoko’s name is on it. Imagine what would happen if Sho finds out Kyoko has taken big advancement and may surpass Sho sooner than he thinks. Of course Sho eventually sees it but acts disinterested. Is he? With Kyoko’s portrayal of a new Mio done with, the issue now is on Ren. Remember Lory told him he was lousy with love scenes? Previous takes has Ren flawlessly living up to his abilities until now. Ogata wants him to do retakes because he doesn’t feel the impact of mixed emotions between Katsuki and Mizuki’s scene. Ogata nicely lectures Ren that he believes he can easily surpass the original but Ren is finding difficult even after last night’s watching of the original Tsukigomori and this time during the retake, Ren fumbled and forgot his lines! This is going to be a tough one.
 
In episode 24, Ogata tells Ren to take some time off after losing his ability to play Katsuki. Thus he is in depressed mode. A crisis looming? Meanwhile although Sho still acts disinterested with his newfound knowledge on Kyoko, he can’t help getting pissed off when he thinks about probably lovey-dovey stuff that may happen between Kyoko and Ren. Jealous? On the other hand, Kyoko has finished another role in her Bo mascot when she spots Ren sitting dejectedly. Deja vu? Initially she wants to run away but can’t help donning Bo and offer him some advice. Ren pours out his heart about what love is all about which has Kyoko in a fix because of her bad experience with Sho. Meanwhile Lory pays a visit to Ogata and finds the main star isn’t with them. He reminds Ogata of his purpose in directorship and if Ren can’t play Katsuki’s role in 3 days, he wants Ogata to find a replacement. Back to Kyoko and Ren’s talk, she finds that he is clueless when it comes to matters of love and the reason why he couldn’t play Katsuki well. A situation tougher than she had expected. So when Kyoko finally asks if he has ever felt sensations like how she may look pretty or cute when he stares at her, thoughts of Kyoko ran through Ren’s head and when he says he does, Kyoko points out that he has been in love. Oh my. So Ren unknowingly is in love with Kyoko!
 
The conversation continues in episode 25 and we learn Ren is having trouble accepting it all because that girl is still a high schooler. Kyoko tries to persistently persuade to grab the chance and go all the way, not knowing that it’s her he’s referring to. After another successful scene, as Kyoko prepares for the next, she overhears the actress playing Mizuki saying Kyoko’s acting is better than Ren because of the many disappointing retakes. Of course this is a praise but this made Kyoko feel very guilty. So she calls Yashiro to know Ren’s schedule. He will tell her on 1 condition, that is to have dinner with him. Ren is driving and his heavy thoughts have him pull over the side for awhile. That is when Kyoko comes up to him and off they go back to his place to make dinner. However Kyoko thinks he is mad because he has been awfully friendly and smiling! She doesn’t believe it! He’s always putting up such poker face till even Kyoko doesn’t know it’s his genuine one. Kyoko turns on the TV to quell the awkwardness and the talk show sees an interview between a professor and his student. Because of that, Ren notes he now realized things he shouldn’t have. With that, his act gets weirder like not spewing a word till dinner finishes and even when he drives Kyoko home. Kyoko says she’ll be waiting for him and his reply is to try his best. Later that night Ren gets a call from Lory that he’ll be watching him closely and if he doesn’t like his performance, he’s out. Of course Ren says he’s going to do it. Meanwhile Kyoko prays to Corn to take away Ren’s pain and worries. The next day, Ren seems to be confident as Yashiro drives him to the shoot while Kyoko is excited to meet the new Ren. As she peddles to her film, she notes how she has changed and will continue to change every day while we see the other characters going about in their daily lives.
 
Honestly I have to admit because they make it such an open ending, the enthusiasm when I felt at the start of the series waned towards the end. It didn’t resolve anything much. What started out as Kyoko’s journey for revenge, took a slight detour at the end as it focuses more on Ren. Even so I thought it would at least solve Ren’s problem or give an insight on how he is going to deal with his Katsuki character. Due to that too, several other characters were left out like Kanae. Maybe she has secured her drama role elsewhere so there is no need for her presence. Same case for Maria as she is taking steps to get along well with her daddy and Sawara, he is still the talent manager at LME. I can say that there isn’t much character development towards the end. You can bet that Sho is fuming with jealousy over Kyoko’s rise and it serves him right for using her. Yeah, it is going to backfire on him if he doesn’t do some damage control.
 
Kyoko overall is still my favourite character because of her volatile personality. One minute she can be innocent goody-two shows and the next wrong move could send her into total u-turn and madness. It’s just crazy. Especially her inner demons which overrides every sane rational. Because of her background, I find her fit to play TV roles of characters with dark personality. She’d be damn convincing. Her evil piercing glance, her broken but twisted hearted and her soft but brooding voice makes her a very suitable candidate. Though initially she entered show business for revenge against Sho, but over time, she realizes her true potential and learns each step as not only a lesson in acting but life as well. They say revenge is a dish best served cold. But she doesn’t necessarily have to do hideous stuff just to teach Sho a lesson. Outshining him to be the greatest actress and role model in current time should suffice. That will be hurting his pride even more. So who says a popular star like Ren doesn’t have his own problems to deal with. His acting is so good that I think he had hidden himself from love underneath that poker face. Just like Kyoko, sometimes I find him hard to understand or what he wants. No doubt his actions are like riddles to make Kyoko think but sometimes I feel he just needs to be more direct. Just like his feelings. Such a promising chemistry that viewers would die to have them end up together. At least, if you are fans of them both.
 
Obviously the drawing, art and animation are drawn to cater to bishonen and bishoujo standards. Everyone (well, almost) looks hot and good. I guess in show business, looks upfront counts a lot. I can’t help but notice that Sho and Ren look almost familiar to Kyohei and Takenaga of Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge respectively. Likewise, Ogata resembles closely to Sanzo of Gensoumaden Saiyuki. But not all the time you will see the characters drawn gorgeous. When things get comical, the characters will be drawn in their chibi mode, especially their faces which become simpler. Even the backgrounds are given much exaggerations with the hiragana or katakana words as its sound effects. I also like it when the characters emit a dark aura, be it a killing intent or gloominess. It’s hilarious too. Another thing I happen to notice is that when the characters are thinking aloud, the voice in their head sounds somewhat a little muffled, though it’s not that obvious. It’s like speaking through an unclean microphone with some interruption. Perhaps it’s my sound player?
 
My favourite voice acting is still Kyoko by Marina Inoue (Kana in Minami-ke series, Tsukiumi in Sekirei) because of her versatility in voicing the many moods of Kyoko. Especially when she gets into hate mode, she’s damn convincing. Otherwise, don’t let her sarcastic mild pleasant voice fool you because behind it lies a scary tone. Her other voices made during profusely apologetic mode, super incredulous pitch, angelic manner or blur expression are noteworthy voice tones. Other casts include Katsuyuki Konishi as Ren (Amidamaru in Shaman King), Mamoru Miyano as Sho (Death The Kid in Soul Eater), Risa Hayamizu as Kanae (Takako of Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens), Kouji Ishii as Lory (Sebastian in Penguin Musume Heart), Hiromi Konno as Maria (Akira of Lucky Star), Ayako Kawasumi as Ruriko (Henrietta in Zero No Tsukaima series), Atsuko Enomoto as Erika (Misaki in Angelic Layer) and Masahito Kawanago as Yashiro. I don’t know but the seiyuu for Ogata, Yoshinori Fujita, made him sound so gay. Perhaps his past roles in which he played such characters like Ginka of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, Masumi in Nodame Cantabile, Tomokazu of W~Wish and Kaoru in Ouran High School Hot Club made him such a suitable candidate for this gentle speaking character.
 
Initially I thought after the halfway mark of the series, there is going to be just 1 opening and ending theme. To my surprise, the producers decided to leave it late and changed both themes at the 20th episode. Which means 4/5 of the series is already gone by then. Normally I believe that for a short series like this, the halfway mark is a better ‘place’ if they ever intend to change its opening and/or ending. Anyhow, I still prefer the hip-hop 1st ending theme, Namida, by 2BACKKA as compared to the dramatic slow ballad 2nd ending theme, Eien, by Yuusaku Kiyama. Same case as I’m still prefer the upbeat pop rock 1st opening theme, Dream Star, by The Generous rather than the 2nd opening theme, Renaissance, also by the same group. On a trivial note, the next episode preview which is called "Next Target", is shown during the last few seconds within the ending credits. No speeches, only visual. Well, don’t want to ruin the music, eh? As each episode is named "Stage", I wonder how many stages Kyoko will need to go through in order to fulfil her goal.
 
So will Kyoko achieve her revenge at the end of it all or will she find something else more appropriate as her destiny? We won’t know how long she will take but it isn’t going to be an easy path. She may not get a big fat contract in Hollywood or win the Grammys but as long she is happy with what she is doing, in that sense she is successful. But just take a look at today’s film industry. With all the publicity and buzz surrounding it, do you think it is worthwhile? Well, that’s show biz. And the show must go on. For better or for worse.
 

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Ichigo Mashimaro Encore OVA

September 12, 2009

I guess it is not enough having one OVA season of lolis so much so they need to produce another OVA to satisfy hardcore lolicon fans. I think. Which series am I talking about? If you have seen Ichigo Mashimaro or at least a fan of the series, you would have known that a second batch of OVA has already came out, entitled Ichigo Mashimaro Encore. Yeah, I suppose the encore word is fitting in a way because it’s like we need to more doses of loli goodness after a long lapse of period.
 
Mind you, I’m not a lolicon but the main motivation for me to catch this 2 episode OVA is definitely Miu. That’s right. The troublemaking little loli whose thinking and logic is one kind (and rather twisted) that she may cause those around her to cringe and die a thousand deaths and those who have died to turn in their graves over and over again. If she grows up to be a villain, she’ll definitely be a ‘worthy’ one and leave heroes in stitches. But that’s not the point in case for this OVA. Miu is still causing her usual troubles and the main reason why this otherwise mundane series is funny. So want to know what she is up this time? Read on…
 
Episode 1
Chika’s home phone rings but nobody is at the other end of the line when she picks up. Enter Miu who uses her handphone to ‘test’ whether it is working (note those funny black devils on her screen!). Due to their proximity, Chika thinks it is useless until the phone rings again. This time Miu answers it and I’m not sure why she gave the thumbs up seeing that there isn’t any reply. Later the usual gang gathers and Miu’s handphone tone freaks the rest out. I wouldn’t want to question Miu’s rationale of Matsuri doing some practice with a handphone in case of being kidnapped during free study period. Since Matsuri is involved, I guess lolicon lover Nobue decides to ‘help out’ by donning goggles and ski hat and act as some ferocious monster. Poor weak Matsuri finds it hard to push the button on the handphone to activate some call for help. In the end, Nobue carries her away. After that, she assures Matsuri that she herself will come by her rescue to push the buzzard, making her feel relieved. Nobue then gets a wrong number call from Hiroshima. I don’t know why she yelled "Okonomiyaki!". When they are discussing of what to paint during free study period, Miu suddenly says she wants to be an idol and starts doing a back flip to show off her talent. Kids, don’t try this at home.
 
That’s because the next thing Miu knows is that she is dead and in the other world when she opened her eyes. Does the halo over her head tell you anything? I’m sure the rest would prefer Miu this way but would it be fun? Anyway a girl named Noguchi (it’s Matsuri by the way. I’ll refer to her and the rest by their real names instead), approaches Miu and is some sort of guide in the after life. Even in the after life, Miu can still cause her mischief. No repentance, eh? Matsuri takes Miu to see the judge of the after life, Enma (Nobue). Not sure if this alcoholic cigarette smoking girl fits the role but as she is looking over Miu’s records, she concludes she isn’t a good person (very true). I guess a person like Miu doesn’t know her place and questions Nobue’s decision. So her end judgement? Heaven or hell? You guessed right. Hell suits her. Miu tries to act all goody. Feeble Matsuri tries to catch her but she gets a chop at the back of her neck. Yeah, can a dead spirit do this? Not if you’re Miu. She tries to make a run to heaven’s gate but Nobue zaps her and drops a basin on her head.
 
Matsuri continues to bring Miu to see the devil Sasaki (Chika). Miu continues to tease Chika of her embarrassing outfit and the possibility of this hell. As mentioned by Chika, in hell they’re supposed to do things one hates the most. For Miu, it is doing jokes without comebacks (getting hit with the paper fan, that is). This girl is so weird. Miu tries to do several funny jokes as Chika tries to hold it in until she finally can’t and hits her with the paper fan. Devil lost to loli… Next, Chika decides to force Miu to eat some greens but she’s putting up quite a fight. Because of her stinking behaviour, Chika tells Matsuri to take her to heaven. Hehe, don’t want a trouble maker like her even in hell, no?
 
They arrive via lift and they see angel Shinohara (Ana). Miu lifts up Ana’s skirt to see if she’s wearing any panties beneath and deservingly gets kicked. Then Miu wants Ana to grant her wish of bigger boobs to prove that this is heaven. She does and Miu is happy with the results, though I don’t see any difference. She then has Ana demonstrate her ability to fly and is impressed. Ana also grants Miu a pair of wings on her request to fly. But it is all part of Miu’s plan to escape! Upon realizing that they have been tricked, Ana chases Miu but the latter fast approaches the exit. When she heads out, she even has time to tease Nobue so much so she has enough time to drop another basin on her head. She could’ve been gone if she didn’t do that. Miu wakes up to find herself lying on the room’s floor. The other girls are relieved to know that she is alright as Chika hugs her. Miu starts calling the rest by their other names she met during her out-of-body experience and when she realizes her boobs has shrunk, she freaks out. Nobue starts calling for an ambulance. Perhaps to the mental institution? For Miu’s case, I’m not sure whether people will be happy if she had stayed dead or not. Tough choice, huh?
 
The next part has the lolis having their class free period at a park. The teacher is still picking on Sasazuka to stand up even though he is not in classroom! Still discriminating, eh? The quartet decides to sketch sceneries. However Miu forgot to bring her paints and decides to call Nobue. You know that annoyed look on her face when she knows the person calling is no other than Miu. Don’t blame her for ending the call. She reluctantly picks up when Miu calls again. Initially Nobue doesn’t care about Miu’s problems until Chika starts to panic that her white paint is missing. Nobue angrily goes to Chika’s room to find Miu’s paint box under her bed and Chika’s white paint there. Now she has to go deliver it. Upon arriving at the park, Nobue calls them to find their whereabouts and Miu says that they are near a samurai cosplayer (a statue actually). Really frust and die if you deal with this loli. Cheeky Miu tells her to defeat the samurai but this time Nobue turns around and walks away. Miu then jumps out to make her presence known. At this point, it is Nobue’s turn to blackmail her. She wants Miu to handover Matsuri and Ana in exchange for her paint box. Chika calls Miu and tells her that she has turned into a kidnapper. Miu starts panicking. Don’t worry, it’s just one of her fits.
 
As Nobue gets ready to leave on her bike, she gets a distressing call from Miu that something is about to befall on Matsuri and Ana. She frantically runs to the top only to find what Miu had meant is that they are doing their best and made it here. She should’ve known. Pissed off, Nobue spreads the entire white paint on Miu’s face, making her look like she’s put on some mascara. After Nobue has left, the gang contemplates on what to draw. At the bridge near a waterfall, the gang starts sketching and Miu sketches Matsuri and Ana in a comical manner like Matsuri being hit by a football and Ana falling into the pond. Ana isn’t amused and starts chasing Miu. Later Miu is sketching some flowers next to that old man who is still around. She requests him not to move. He thinks she is her sketching model but the real fact is that she’s just drawing the flowers. On the other hand, Miu is annoying Chika with a close up sketch of the latter. The final output is Chika taking off her skirt! Can’t blame her for chasing that troublemaker down, can’t she? At the end of the day, everyone gathers back at the spot (except for Sasazuka whom the teacher says he doesn’t have to return. Sheesh). The quartet takes a look at each others work and you should expect Miu’s one to be exceptional. Some clock tower control panel in the form of a refrigerator. Need I say more? Miu remembers that she forgot to eat her snacks. When Matsuri says she too can’t finish them, Miu suggests a trade. A sashimi package? Yeah, it is expired. She even has the cheek to say she doesn’t want to eat something spoilt while the others run away. Miu then SMS an annoying message to Nobue saying that today’s snack is sashimi.
 
Episode 2
Chika tells Miu to complete her homework or she won’t get any snacks when the latter says her back is itching and pesters Chika to scratch it. She gets annoyed when the place she scratched is reachable herself. Matsuri then clumsily spills her drink and Miu swiftly take some tissues to blow her nose instead. She then stuff 2 off them in her nose. Chika continues to help Ana with her maths problem when Miu and Nobue pester her to eat some snacks so she chides Nobue for not doing her own report/homework. She also tells Miu to take out the tissue papers from her nose already.
 
One day when Chika comes into Nobue’s room to tell her not to change some time on the game, we learn that Nobue is trying to quit smoking but Chika knows too well that she will be back to her bad habits in 3 days. This has them making a bet. Later as Chika talks to Miu about tomorrow’s PE class, Miu is copying every word and movement from her. Chika tries to do impossible moves as Miu keeps up and finally when Chika does an embarrassing facial expression, Miu quickly whips out her handphone and snaps a pic of it. I think she planned this out already. Remember Miu’s typical punishment of face down flat on the floor? That’s what Chika gave her upon realizing what has happened. On the other hand, Matsuri goes visit Ana but her pet ferret escapes when she reaches her gate as she chases it down. Thankfully, Matsuri informs Ana that she isn’t playing ding-dong ditch and she understands. It would be a totally different case if it’s Miu.
 
Later as Miu and Chika take a walk together, Miu wants to know the difference between buddies and friends. Miu barges back home and forgets her question when she spots a loose thread on Nobue’s shirt and says that is the reason she has no boyfriend. Chika then asks Nobue to move from her desk so that she could listen to her CD and when the latter ignores her, Chika gives her sister Miu’s punishment! Now she’s got it too! Looks like this punishment type isn’t reserved for Miu only. As Chika listens to her CD, Miu asks Nobue her buddy-friend question. She notices Nobue texting an SMS and wonders if that person is a friend or buddy.
 
When Matsuri and Ana come by for a visit, Miu suddenly snatches Matsuri and holds her at ransom. She wants Ana to take out her hair nostrils and put it on her eyelashes or else she will write "God" on Matsuri’s forehead. Nobue notices the commotion and grabs Ana as her hostage. She wants Miu to release Matsuri or else she will stick her 2 fingers up Ana’s nose! It’s getting weirder by the moment. Miu doesn’t mind so Nobue threatens to kiss Ana instead. Chika then notices the ruckus behind her and tells them to stop. It’s pretty hilarious to see Matsuri and Ana trying to hold out on sickos Miu and Nobue from trying to write on her forehead or doing a force kiss respectively. Then Miu said that this was a test to see how intimate Matsuri and Ana are. Matsuri and Ana thanked each other for trying to protect each other and this has Miu asking them if they are buddies. They confirm it but Miu wants proof. They tell her several examples like sending SMS. Miu wants to see what kind of SMS they send and it seems like comforting about tomorrow’s exam. Miu laughs while Nobue thinks it’s cute. Then Miu shows them her SMS friendship proof with Chika. Some weird unrelated words from Miu and Chika’s reply is to tell her go die. Yeah, it’s friendship alright. Seeing that the rest aren’t impressed, Miu SMS to Chika about tomorrow’s exam. Her reply: Disgusting. She shows the SMS to them and further questions their intimacy. Miu brags that she has kissed Chika and even groped each other’s boobs! Miu gets her typical punishment when she tells Chika that Nobue told them they are lesbians.
 
Nobue then asks where she stands in their eyes. Miu replies, a boss. Nobue starts sulking that she has no buddies so Matsuri and Ana tries to cheer her up by saying that they are her buddies to the point that they even say they like her. Probably another plot for Nobue to get intimate with them. Yeah, she’s all feeling better and hugging them. Miu is still upset so Nobue gives an example whereby Ana is to die from a disease and Matsuri needs to give a transplant. Naive and emotional Matsuri says she’ll give Ana a transplant so as not to let her die. She starts crying even if it’s just an example and Ana says she’ll do the same. Miu goes to pester Chika to give her an organ and the latter throws her away. Then Miu tells her the transplant need story and Chika says she’ll donate and organ if necessary. Miu rejoices but when she herself says she won’t give her organ, this pisses off Chika.
 
On another day, Miu comes in to Chika’s room through her window and isn’t pleased to see the usual boring routine from the rest. While the young ones are studying, Nobue is ogling over you know who. Miu then tries to mimic the rest in an annoying way and finally asks to guess who the one she is mimicking. Hmm… I am an idiot, I love cute girls… Chika then says it is Nobue. This resulted in both Miu and Chika to get that typical face-down punishment. So what is the point of this conversation? Miu says that they must be prepared for changes like Matsuri and Ana will soon have to go to junior high school. Nobue starts to panic and it is definitely confirmed that she’s a lolicon because she’s saying how the duo will forever be grade school students. Thus Miu has everyone dressed up in junior high school uniforms, which are Nobue’s old ones.
 
Miu goes on to imagine what kind of junior high life the girls will be leading by doing some forecasting through a coin. Don’t ask why. I’m not sure why she imagine Ana as some bad-ass delinquent carrying a toy hammer to school when she is confronted by a statue (that old man actually) and asked to pronounce ‘ginger ale’ properly. Upon her failure to do so, Ana says "God damn it" and runs away in tears while Miu notes herself as cute. As for Nobue, Miu imagines her to be her oversized pet dog in her second life. It ends with Miu narrating that the city is in peace. Guess what next? Miu with her usual punishment and everyone throwing their school uniforms on her. Had enough, eh? Yeah, the rest enjoy some snacks and let Miu be.
 
The next scene shows Nobue depressed after knowing she can’t afford to buy a player at a store even after all the saving she has done (either her pay must be very low or the player’s price is sky-high). Because of that, back home she starts smoking and Chika catches her in the act and wants her to fulfil their bet and promise made earlier. Nobue has no qualms in fulfilling the promise, surprising Chika a little. Soon excited Chika informs the other girls and off they go to the beach. No, they didn’t walk there. Luckily Nobue has a driving licence and borrowed her parent’s car. Hopefully they didn’t get lost the last time. At the beach, the lolis are enjoying themselves while Nobue watches them. After they give Nobue some funny shaped seashells, Nobue wonders if they ever get bored. The sudden gust of waves on the shore caught Nobue by surprise as she loses her footing and falls on her butt. The rest tease her for wetting her pants so Nobue chases them as they continue their fun.
 
Strawberry Loli Ensemble
Though this second wave of OVA does not offer anything new or much, at least it does satisfy hardcore fans of the series. If not lolicons like Nobue herself. Miu is still my favourite character all this time and time after time, she just refuses to learn or grow up. It’s like annoying other people is her ultimate destiny. But if you look it from another perspective, she does spices up the life of those around her. It would’ve been a real bore without her troublemaking ways. Then again, they could have lived better without her. There’s always 2 sides to a coin.
 
Also it was pretty hilarious to see Nobue frightened to know her beloved Matsuri and Ana will grow up one day. This definitely confirms it. She’s so in denial. Will she grow out of it when the time comes? Hehe. This series is mainly revolved around lolis so unless they show future visions of their grown up lives, this series will always be in loli fashion, if you know what I mean.
 
Having said so, this OVA also feels like an extension since the drawing, art and animation is consistent with the first batch of OVA and TV series. The seiyuus and background music are also retained for this short project and everything else too is inclined towards cute to give out the moe feel. Perhaps in the near future, there will be another OVA? Some people just can’t get enough of lolis. No, I’m not one of them, mind you.
 

Ichigo Mashimaro

Da Capo If

September 11, 2009

Unbelievable! I really didn’t think that there would be more sequels coming out from this series. So this Da Capo series in a way does live up to its name of never-ending, eh? After 4 successful seasons of TV series (in my opinion, by the way), I wouldn’t have guessed that the producers would come out with a 2 episode OVA called Da Capo If.
 
Now, this OVA goes back 50 years back to the original first season of the Da Capo series. This is an OVA made for Kotori fans. In short, the story has our main male protagonist Junichi going out steady with pretty red-head Kotori. All Kotori fans rejoice! For those anti-Nemu people, they would be happy to know that Nemu does not even make a single appearance here. I’m not anti-Nemu but I’ve always preferred Kotori. Hence, the name of this OVA, If. Yeah, if it would only turned out that way in the TV series. So what is in store for Junichi and Kotori in this OVA? Tune in to find out…
 
Episode 1
Kotori comes downstairs one night to see her sister, Koyomi, drinking alone. Note Kotori’s wedding dress and wedding reception note. Wow. It is true that she is going to get married to Junichi soon. Kotori thanks Koyomi for all that she has done and the reason why she could move forward so Koyomi replies everything will be fine since it is him that she will be happy (not to mention all Kotori fans too).
 
The next scene changes and we see Kotori cooking and preparing her bento before rushing off to school. Late running Junichi finally meets her and the duo are off on their way to school together. Along the way, Junichi thanks Kotori for all that she has done and without her, he wouldn’t know where he’d be today. They could’ve got more intimate but Miharu interrupts them, citing that they may be bothering other students (must include her too lah). Even in class, Kotori’s friends are asking her if there is any progress in their relationship.
 
On the rooftop, dreamy Moe makes nabe for the gang. Mako and Suginami are there too. Miharu seems to be the cheeky one now because she wants Junichi to eat all her 3 packs of bento but Junichi says Kotori’s one is enough. With that, Miharu takes away Kotori’s thinking that having a beloved wife making him bento is against the rules (yeah, her bento are all banana ingredients!). Junichi doesn’t like it and starts chasing her to give the bento back. Suginami wonders if Junichi and Kotori are truly lovers already and decides to ask directly. Feeling that Suginami isn’t reading the atmosphere, Mako tries to punch him several times but he as usual evades them all with ease. After school, Junichi and Kotori went out shopping together and at the beach, Junichi catches hold of her when she losses her footing. A little staring. A little blushing. Lips getting closer. Oh yeah! Oh damn! They backed off upon realizing what was about to happen and suggests going home. Back at Junichi’s place, after dinner, he tries to get cups to drink tea but spots Utamaru-patterned ones and spaces out (something to do with Nemu, I guess). He snaps out and is a little panicky when Kotori talks to him. Upon sending Kotori back, Junichi wanted to ask her something but backs out.
 
The next day, Junichi visits a grave which is believed to be of Nemu. So she’s dead, huh? Then he gathers Kotori, Miharu, Mako and Moe to his place and enlists their help to clean up Nemu’s room. Miharu and Kotori didn’t want to but since Junichi requested them, they can’t refuse. As they pack away Nemu’s stuff, Miharu says that there are some items that she doesn’t want to put away but Junichi says that will defeat the purpose. They reminisce about the good old days when they look at certain stuff like Nemu’s neat notes. Then Kotori sees a small shirt and Junichi tells her that is the clothes that she wore when they became siblings and must’ve kept it as a memento. Kotori suggests of keeping this one but Junichi is bent on cleaning every last bit of memory of Nemu. He goes on to say how he has become useless during that 1 year of Nemu’s absence but with everyone’s support to help him get back on his feet, he feels that it is them that he should be looking at. However this statement upsets Kotori as she hastily gets up to return home.
 
Junichi chases her just outside his house and she asks him if it is okay to clean up Nemu’s room. With his stuttering and incomplete sentences, I can guess what he is trying to say that he won’t be able to move forward if he doesn’t. Before he could confess to her, with a gloomy look Kotori apologizes and this shocks Junichi. In such scenes, rain starts pouring to add to the dramatic effect as Kotori runs away leaving him stunned. As she walks drenched in the rain towards the already withered sakura tree, Kotori starts crying and wonders why even though it is the moment she has been waiting for, even though those are the words that she has longed to hear, why she had rejected him. Why oh why, Kotori. It is the perfect chance for you. Because of that, we have to drag on this drama for another episode. ;p
 
Episode 2
Kotori comes home all drenched and wet, which causes Koyomi to be worried. The next day when Kotori comes down to talk to her, Koyomi suggests that she sit school out due to her cold (though it’s not that bad) even if she isn’t supposed to do this as a teacher but she’s doing so as her sister. Junichi walks to school alone and the dejected look on his face is obvious. He meets Miharu who teases him that he had a lover’s quarrel but he is in no mood. Upon finding out from Kotori’s friends that she is absent due to a cold, he goes to see her after school and outside her doorstep, though Kotori says her cold has gotten better, Junichi apologizes for yesterday’s events and leaves.
 
Next day, Kotori goes back to school. At the hallway, she sees Junichi in front of him. They walk towards each other, pretending like as though nothing happened between them. When they passed each other, Kotori just walked on without looking back and this shocks Junichi. Later Mako and Miharu ask him what has happened but he thinks that this isn’t Kotori’s fault since she has been saving him again and again ever since that day. After school, Kotori hangs out with her 2 friends and back home she recollects her thoughts and feelings while wondering why she couldn’t understand why Junichi wanted to clean up Nemu’s room.
 
Another nabe lunch on the rooftop with the usual suspects minus Kotori. Suginami mentions the unusual thing for Junichi to clean Nemu’s room. Why did he do it now and not 1 year ago? Was it strange for him to leave her room as it was? But the answer as Suginami says, is up to him to find out. That guy is as mysterious as ever. Later in the evening, Koyomi spots Kotori sitting alone at the playground swing and goes to talk to her like why she had fallen in love with Junichi. Also as Junichi is looking at the nearly cleaned up Nemu’s room, Sakura makes her short cameo appearance and questions his rationale of cleaning Nemu’s room since it is cruel to do this. He replies he needs to draw the line, make this clear and move on. Sakura chides him back if he could really forget about Nemu if he cleans up her room. He answers he couldn’t. Then Sakura asks did Kotori wanted this or wanted him to forget about Nemu in the first place and this made Junichi realized. Finally Sakura says how he always shoulder anything that bother others even if he’s at the short end and because of that, everyone loves him.
 
Kotori is alone at the withered sakura tree as she remembers the first time she met Junichi at this place. She remembers the time spent with him and liked him for being a person who is honest with his thoughts (Kotori had the power to read people’s thought back when this sakura tree was in full bloom). She starts singing and at the end, Junichi appears and tells her that he remembers. They apologize and embrace. He also thanks her for everything and confesses that he loves her. Soon enough, Kotori too confesses that she loves him and kisses him.
 
The next scene then changes to whereby the duo in their wedding outfits kissing each other in the church. Yay! They finally did it! The day of their wedding reception arrives and everyone eagerly waits for the new bride and groom. Junichi and Kotori are making their way to the school (where the reception is being held) when suddenly all the green leaves on the side transform into pink sakuras. The entire island is in full bloom of sakura leaves! Kotori thinks it is Nemu as the newly married lovebirds take a big step forward, arm in arm.
 
Da Capo Maybe
Hooray! What a nice ending though I felt that the second episode was a little draggy. Nevertheless it was good to watch this series again after some time and of course it does bring back nostalgic memories. Overall though this OVA may not offer much and that the drama and suspense between Junichi and Kotori isn’t intense, but if you’re a Kotori fan, you can’t complain, right? I’m still wondering what the cause of Nemu’s demise is but heck, don’t mind about the minor details. Besides, it’s not that I care anyway (oops!). Utamaru makes short cameo appearances here and there and is still as cute as ever. Nyaa~.
 
Also, I’m still really pondering why Kotori is upset about Junichi cleaning up Nemu’s room. I mean, it’s not like she’s a selfish person and wants Junichi to totally forget about Nemu but perhaps erasing Nemu from his memories would indicate that Nemu is no longer significant in his memories. Sometimes leaving the past behind to move forward may not seem right but in order to move forward, one needs to learn from the past. But I’m glad that the duo reconciled in the end. With the never-withering sakura tree already withered at the start of this OVA, I’m also thinking the time line of these events (no characters from Da Capo Second Season like Aisia too). I know it is an alternate path but without that sakura tree, I don’t feel the magic here. Noticed Junichi didn’t make sweets from his palms? Is that even necessary here? Yeah, there is no harem here too. Not that I actually mind since it is Kotori he ended up with.
 
Something I noticed about the opening theme, which is only for the first episode (the second episode has no opening theme and gets straight into the drama). Named Da Capo ~Dai 2 Botan No Chikai~ by yozuca, there is no ‘sakura’ word in the lyrics! It is quite hard to find lyrics for this song even so. Then I realized when they used the first season’s second ending theme, Sonzai, as the ending theme for the first episode, this song too has not got the word ‘sakura’ in it. But this sombre piece definitely fits the suspense of the first episode’s ending. Then they used the first season’s opening theme, Sakura Saku Mirai Koi Yume, as the second episodes’ ending theme. Very fitting since it ended on a happy note. Yeah, a ‘sakura’ word there. Also, Kotori’s insert song has the word ‘sakura’ in them. Why am I being picky about this? Simply because this a sakura-themed series, right?
 
Let’s see, after an OVA series, now it has got me thinking and speculating that there will be another Da Capo series to follow. Whether it is soon or some time later in the future, whether it is an another alternate storyline or another spin-off sequel, I’m sure I will want to catch it because I still like the series. Not only it has to live up to its sakura theme, but the meaning of its Da Capo name as well. Maybe, just maybe they will make one between Yoshiyuki and Nanaka. Hmm… But that will look and sound more the same like this one, right?

 

Da Capo If

Kemeko Deluxe

September 6, 2009

Normal high school boy whose normal life is shattered when some girl turns up and proclaims that they are to be married. How often have I seen such animes. Not that I’m complaining because it seems that such genres attract my attention! Yeah, I must really love such series in addition to harem ones. Kemeko Deluxe is no exception.
 
Initially I was ‘turned off’ by looking at one of its early pictures. What do I mean? Seeing a very ‘ugly’ short chubby funny-looking girl which somewhat resembles an uglier and bigger version of Potemayo as opposed to those pretty kawaii wide-eyed bishoujos had me kick into stereotypic and bias mode and brushed this off as a not-to-be-seen on my anime list. However, curiosity got the better of me after learning that this is a comedy-ecchi-romance genre, I decided to give this a shot. Lesson learned: Never judge a book by its cover. Do more in-depth research first before jumping to conclusions.
 
Though I’m not saying that this anime totally rocks, but at least now that I have watched it, this is one of those ubiquitous ecchi and comedy series and there is nothing extraordinary. So fans of the ecchi genre may want to watch this for some panty and boob shots while others like me would just want to sit back and laugh at all the frenzy and hilariousity (if there was ever such a word) that the characters pull off.
 
As seen in episode 1, our typical normal boy is Sanpeita Kobayashi. Ten years ago he had a childhood friend, Kemeko. A girl his age. Before she departed, she gave him swallowed an energy ball. Ten years later, you can say that Sanpeita still harbours hope of reuniting with this girl and even carries a picture of her (the only picture) in his wallet. His peaceful life takes an ‘interesting’ turn when a giant spaceship crashes and gets stuck on his room’s ceiling. What follows next is like what we usually see in Western action flicks. That ugly short chubby funny-looking girl/robot in a bridal outfit appears and starts kicking ass! Wow! She’s firing the machine gun against her robotic pursuers causing damage to his room like nobody’s business. To make matters complicated, she proclaims that she is his fiancee. What is a boy to do at this moment? Yup, he runs away to school. It’s school day, by the way.
 
So on the way, he meets another busty childhood friend, Izumi Makihara. You can tell that this girl harbours a deep crush on Sanpeita but of course she is too shy to tell him straight her feelings. So typical. Ah, the tension. At school, we are introduced to Sanpeita and Izumi’s other friends and classmates. The bespectacled Ryouta Minamino who is basically the class pervert and Misaki Hayama, an odd girl who seems to know of Izumi’s crush and she harbours deep fantasies about making their one way non-existent love. You can tell from her soft but queer voice and that ‘deep breathing’. You know what I mean. Better than reading a yaoi doujin, eh? Then a funny part is that when Ryouta is anticipating a hot girl transfer student, it turned out to be a nerdy short chubby boring-sounding guy named Hanayamada. How disappointing.
 
But Sanpeita’s day is still about to get worse because that bridal freak comes crashing into class, force kissed Sanpeita and telling them all how they’re to be married. Yeah, she says her name is Kemeko. Some evolution from a pretty young girl into this ugly creature? All these shocking revelations, eh? Izumi’s heart must be most uncomfortable. Then another robot from a big electronics corporation, Mishima, appears and another battle ensues. Sanpeita and Izumi run up to the rooftop as the class is being evacuated but there, another giant robot attacks them. If not for Kemeko, they could’ve been toast. Now the amusing thing is that this Kemeko girl can really kick ass despite her appearance. Just think of Sammo Hung. Short and fat but agile and flexible. Kemeko defeats the robot easily but she has taken some damage. Kemeko’s head then opens up to reveal a girl inside her. She is MM. It is mind boggling to see how she can fit into something smaller than her control it. The law of physics doesn’t apply here and it’s no use trying to scratch your head trying to think about it. Just accept it. Because MM is injured, she faints so Sanpeita takes her to the infirmary (Izumi having fainted from all those frightening stuff earlier on). At the same time, Sanpeita is thinking hard because this MM girl resembles a lot like her childhood friend Kemeko.
 
Izumi awakens in the infirmary and sees MM lying in the next bed. But when MM comes to, she becomes alerted because she realizes that she isn’t in her robot suit (trashing the infirmary just to find it?). She finds out that Sanpeita is ‘keeping’ Kemeko in his classroom under his table so of course when she arrives, this causes everyone’s head to turn. Who wouldn’t be distracted of seeing a girl in some sexy near-revealing body suit. However remnants from the robot she fought earlier on starts attacking her and MM in time enters Kemeko to do another power battle. Yeah, another devastating damage to the school before Kemeko defeats it. At the end of the day when Sanpeita goes home, the craziness hasn’t end and it is just the beginning of his nightmare because Kemeko is seen waiting for him in his room. Now trying to play the wife role, eh? Not removing the spaceship from the ceiling anytime? Well, if it’s not broken… Oh wait, the ceiling is broken… Ah, never mind.
 
Episode 2 introduces the rest of Sanpeita’s household. I can understand why he is somewhat tolerant to all the recent craziness (okay, maybe not so) that’s because his little family is as quirky. Take for instance his single mom, Fumiko. She’s constantly trying to finish her manga and beating its deadline (which she hardly ever does) along with her assistant Aoi. And I think it’s because of this pressure that Fumiko sometimes snap and no matter how much Aoi tries to put her foot down and orders her to finish her work, Fumiko still toys around like nothing. Besides, Aoi’s unrecognized effort and being dumped by her boyfriend too sometimes has her in ‘psychotic’ tears. So to keep the family together, Sanpeita’s little sister, Tamako, takes on motherly roles like buying groceries and preparing meals. Meanwhile Sanpeita is still annoyed by the intrusion and ruckus caused by Kemeko in his room. Because mommy and Aoi are too busy with their work, they can’t be bothered with the ruckus upstairs. So when Sanpeita manages to get MM out of her Kemeko, he takes out that picture and asks her if she is that girl in the picture. MM instantly blasts that picture with her ray gun. But it turned out that she sensed an enemy watching and fired it as reflex. Turns out it was just a cat. Oh no. Now that picture is gone! Of course he is bloody upset that the picture was destroyed though MM denies ever meeting him 10 years ago. MM also mentions that the Mishima Corporation is their enemy and is currently pursuing Sanpeita for reasons not willing to be revealed. You can tell that this Mishima Corporation is one hell of a big and famous corporation because not only every darn electronic product brand is from them, there is a huge TV screen right smack in the middle of the city which serves as their HQ. Seems intimidating, doesn’t it?
 
Though Sanpeita doesn’t want her little sister to find out about all this, too late because as she is preparing a meal in the kitchen, she notices an unusual ruckus so she has to go check it out. Thinking that something bad may be happening to her brother, she musters up her courage and barges in to his room to save him. At that time, MM has entered into Kemeko and is trying to seduce Sanpeita on his bed. You know the misunderstanding when Tamako sees it so she attacks her brother instead. Dangerous loli when she snaps. Seeing that Sanpeita is attacked, Kemeko tries to fight but Sanpeita ends up in both their receiving end. Poor guy. It just gets worse, eh? Outside the rooftop, Tamako confronts her brother and tells her tale of how she sacrificed herself and everything for him (prostituting herself too?!). That’s when she hits the spaceship as it starts to ignite. The spaceship blasts off with Kemeko in it but Tamako’s clothing is caught stuck onto it. Sanpeita clings on to Tamako as he tries to save her but they soon fall off. It’s a long way down. Thankfully Kemeko swoops down to rescue them with a soft landing (except for Sanpeita, of course. On his head…). Though Tamako apologizes to Sanpeita, she is taken in by Kemeko’s coolness and accepts her into part of the family upon learning that she is Sanpeita’s bride. That easy, huh? Yeah, Tamako even calls Kemeko her onee-sama (big sister). Even mommy accepts her. And if you think Sanpeita will get an outdoor starry sky as his ceiling, well that is short-lived because the spaceship plunges right back there again. How unlucky can this guy get? Uh huh. It’s not the end yet.
 
Sanpeita’s day is about to get worse because in episode 3 in order for Kemeko to continue protecting him and sensing an enemy nearby, she has to follow him. Even to school. Not as a fellow transfer student, but as his teacher! For all subjects! How does she get everyone to accept her? She points a chain gun at the class and orders everyone not to go against her education policy! Who dares to oppose? In order to continue their unfinished wedding ceremony the day before, Kemeko instantly causes another ruckus as she chases Sanpeita through the class wearing a traditional Japanese bride outfit. Yeah, at the expense of cancelling the literature class. This is going to be more than just scandalous. The slapstick chase resulted in Sanpeita falling over Izumi in a compromising position. Embarrassed Izumi in her reflex throws Sanpeita out of the window. You’ll notice how this girl’s favourite motto is "Unhealthy" each time she thinks or sees Sanpeita getting close with another girl. Outside, Sanpeita encounters a girl named Ryouko Kurosaki and her pet black cat, Juumonji (the cat MM nearly blasted in the previous episode). Kemeko sensing her beloved husband in danger, arrives on scene to battle with sword-wielding Ryouko. Meanwhile Misaki is playing some mind games with Izumi saying how Sanpeita may be eloping with Kemeko but we can tell that even if Izumi denies having an interest in that guy, her body language tells us that she is concern.
 
Ryouko manages to damage slightly Kemeko and takes the opportunity to awaken some Nano Ball which is believed to be inside Sanpeita. Sanpeita starts glowing and a little plant sprout from atop his head. It then grows into several vines which start attacking Ryouko. Fanservice time, eh? Vines in replacement for tentacles and they’ve got Ryouko in its grasps. In addition, Sanpeita is possessed and is in a zombie-like state. Kemeko pulls herself together and does some weird technique to beat possessed Sanpeita. Kemeko-the-hip looks more like her butt in his face. I don’t know. It seemed so funny that it worked. Later when Sanpeita comes to, a relieved MM hugs him. Ryouko and Juumonji watches from afar and classifies this investigation case as ongoing and that his powers isn’t complete yet. Meanwhile Izumi has witnessed all that has happened behind the block and wonders what is going on.
 
In episode 4, Sanpeita learns that Ryouko is his classmate, just that she doesn’t attend class very often. I guess now that Sanpeita is her investigating subject, she attends classes. Still thinking that this girl is dangerous, Sanpeita puts up a lot of barriers but Ryouko cuts them all down with her sword. Even Sanpeita’s clothes. Now he’s totally naked in class! Furthermore, Ryouta seems to take a liking for her and I’m not sure of his masochist ways wanting Ryouko to scold him and run him down and such. But this episode is your typical fanservice episode. Kemeko flexes her authority by cancelling class so that everyone can have fun at the school pool. Yeah, girls in swimsuits. Looking pretty hot! Can’t say the same for Kemeko in my opinion… Yeah, even Fumiko and Aoi changed into their swimsuits back at home, though they’re still arguing about the manga deadline. Meanwhile Sanpeita decides to sit this out along with Ryouko (don’t want to admit that she can’t swim?). Though Sanpeita pesters her to tell him about his hidden powers, the only thing she spilled is that the fate of the world depends on him. Woah. That is going to be such a huge responsibility. Tamako comes by to deliver Sanpeita and Kemeko’s forgotten lunch and gets involved with Kemeko’s organized water competitions.
 
Because Izumi isn’t happy with the recent developments, she challenges Kemeko to a swimming duel. If Izumi wins, she wants Kemeko to stop her unhealthy relationship with Sanpeita. The match starts with Izumi seemingly in the lead but Kemeko eventually catches up (it’s a power robot suit, remember?) and her Underwater Death Technique finishing move called Kemeko-with-flutter-kick causes a whirlpool and emptying the pool while sending the students flying away. In the end, Kemeko proclaims the match to be a draw since this place has got not enough water and the next time she’ll accept her challenge at the sea. But it isn’t going to end just like this. That’s because when Izumi goes over to Sanpeita, a spectacle comes falling down from the sky and in good timing, unhooks Izumi’s top. Sanpeita has a full blown view of her huge… melons. Embarrassed Izumi punches him and causes him to be hospitalized. And he thought he couldn’t get hurt if he stayed out of it all. And in the end, Kemeko forces Ryouko into some swimming lesson.
 
In episode 5, because Kemeko is disguising as some passer-by super assistant Kemeko J and helps the hopeless mangakas to finish their work, Fumiko hands her a pair of movie tickets in which Kemeko later and forces Sanpeita out on a date. This includes going bowling in which Kemeko throws her bowling ball with powerful force into the pins, nearly destroying the entire alley! As opposed to the Midas touch, everywhere she goes, Kemeko ends up nearly destroying it. And that Kemeko song of hers? It sounds so weird. So perasan… Fed-up with all this annoyance, Sanpeita isn’t willing to go out with her anymore and this prompts MM to get out from her Kemeko to change into some decent dress. Sanpeita is taken aback on how pretty she looks. If only MM would come out more often from Kemeko. So the duo finally made it to the movies and some intimate moments here (which include MM revealing this name of hers to Sanpeita for the first time). But in the midst of the movie, the rest of the audience in the cinema turned into Mishima robots and starts attacking them. MM calls her Kemeko like you see in those sentai shows and jumps into it with precision timing to defeat all of them with the help of Sanpeita’s unused wire. At the end of the day, MM and Sanpeita walk home together as they admire the beautiful starry sky. Though MM blushingly requests Sanpeita to take her out again to see the movie, Sanpeita teases her name in which she returns it with her Kemeko punch, kick and… Kemeko Yoga Fire? Next day at school as Izumi gets her courage to ask Sanpeita out for a movies (seeing she has obtained them from Misaki earlier on), she gets freaked out to see his super bruised face and that poor guy saying no to anymore movie outings. Ah, a moment too late. Well, keep trying. I’m sure Misaki enjoys watching from afar.
 
The summer break arrives in episode 6 and as usual Kemeko butts in and plans an outing for Sanpeita and his buddies. Unfortunately Fumiko and Aoi still have their manga job to finish and thus can’t tag along even if they’re wearing their swimsuits back at home. They’re never going to finish at this rate. And because Kemeko and Izumi continue their public spat over Sanpeita, it is understandable that this kid is irritated by it all and leaves for home. But upon arrival, he gets the surprise of his life because he spots Kemeko in a kimono and an eye-patch. She is Kiriko, to be precise. Another machine from Mishima. Yeah, mommy thinks he’s such a playboy while Tamako won’t forgive his two-timing ways. Putting that aside, inside Sanpeita’s room, a woman named Vanilla Makes Repairs (yes, that is her full name) comes out of Kiriko (another mind boggling fact how she fits into it). Vanilla, the executive director of Mishima, seems to take a liking for Sanpeita and proclaims that she is here to protect him from Mishima’s traitor who is MM. But Vanilla is not alone as she is accompanied by her R&D department of Mishima, Kyte Brian Sounds, who doesn’t listen to higher ups even if he is Vanilla’s subordinate. She hands him her business card and tells him to meet her 10 days from now at that place if he wants to know all about MM and will explain everything before leaving. Kemeko later comes back and has nabe with the family and though she suspected something wrong, she doesn’t question Sanpeita’s behaviour who is trying to hide the fact of his earlier meeting with Vanilla. At the top of Mishima HQ, Kyte wonders if Sanpeita will really show up and Vanilla is confident he will because Sanpeita is essential in her plans.
 
In episode 7, Izumi is trying to choose a swimsuit with Misaki in order to enhance her relationship with Sanpeita for the upcoming trip when she collapses. Back at Sanpeita’s home, if you’re wondering what that Purippurin exercise is about, part of it has one doing a head stand while splitting one’s legs wide upon and saying "MARVELLOUS!". I wouldn’t want to try it to save myself from embarrassment. Kemeko has the whole Kobayashi family doing it and since Sanpeita isn’t enthusiastic and spacing out about his encounter with Vanilla, she chases him and threatens to kill him with a chainsaw when a car comes crashing into his place. It is Misaki and sounds panic as she informs him that something bad has happened to Izumi. Sanpeita rushes there and barges into her room only to see her changing. He gets hit of course. Actually Izumi has a cold and it isn’t as bad as Misaki dramatically painted it.
 
Then Kemeko appears out of nowhere and starts playing nurse to heal her. All her suggestions are ridiculous and common sense tells us it is not going to work anyhow. This includes shoving leeks up her butt. Seriously? Then she made some porridge and has Sanpeita test taste it but since it was too spicy and laden with explosives, he got knocked out in an instant. Man, that stuff could kill! This is followed by putting several cosplay outfits on her (can you spot Punie of Dai Mahou Touge and that bloody death angel Dokuro-chan?). When all else fails, Izumi tells them to leave and that she doesn’t want to be a burden to everyone and decides not to go with them on her vacation trip. After Kemeko and Misaki leaves, Izumi tearfully laments her fate when Sanpeita comes to. After some comforting words from Sanpeita, Izumi gets her confidence back to soldier on and this is when she realizes that her cold is cured. Outside her room, Kemeko and Misaki are eavesdropping and Misaki mentions how she thought it was the right thing to have brought Sanpeita. Something about how love cured her. Later Kemeko and Sanpeita walk home and it seems MM now has a cold. Oh yes, Fumiko finally masters that Purippurin exercise. Marvellous!
 
Episode 8 shows Ryouko sending her report investigation to somebody. We also see Vanilla talking to a loli subordinate, Riko At Androids, who plans on killing an obstacle named Ryouko. Meanwhile Kemeko is having a ramen contest as her students cheer her on. While trying to beat the clock and food obstacles, poor Hanayamada is ignored to get his meal ordered. Sanpeita is not too fond with all this and leaves when he bumps into Ryouko in the streets. More like he was attacked by Ryouko. I don’t know how but to show her apology, she takes Sanpeita out on a date but it ended up with him paying and treating for her sweet desserts. I guess he has no choice but to because Ryouko promises to reveal her secrets. Not only that, Sanpeita is having fantasies of ‘doing it’ with seductive Ryouko. We also see the teaser Ryouko is because when she was about to reveal her first secret, she flashes her skirt up and says she’s wearing black panties, causing Sanpeita more than just nosebleed as he blurted out "F*cking great!". Yes. He did say that! I guess that’s his appetisers, main course and desserts. All in one.
 
Then Ryouko agrees to tell him if they are both alone. Up on the hill, as Sanpeita is panicking while thinking of erotic fantasies with Ryouko, she teases him once more when she proceeds close to him and prepares to kiss him. But it fizzles out when her intention is just to get him buy her juice. Oh the frustration. When frustrated Sanpeita leaves to get her juice, Ryouko then tells her hidden enemy to come out. Another robot from Mishima. Ryouko transforms herself into some fighting outfit and reveals that she is part of the 88th department of the Unified Public Security Agency and her codename is Black Girl. She destroys the robot and when Sanpeita returns, he is shocked to see the kind of girl Ryouko is and runs away. Ryouko catches up with him and that’s when he realized he needs to go back to the ramen store. Upon which, Kemeko has conquered all obstacles and been crowned Ramen King as she is being tossed in the air by her happy students. Even the ramen owner is happy that there’s somebody who beat it all. Just when Hanayamada thinks all the attention and hoo-ha is over and wishes to take his order, the waitress continues to ignore him! Aw, he’ll never get to eat! In the end, as Riko rendezvous with Vanilla and Kyte at Mishima HQ, Vanilla is unfazed that Ryouko is still alive but is confident that Sanpeita will leave MM once he hears the truth about her.
 
The summer vacation at Misaki’s villa near the beach starts in episode 9. We get to see more Izumi vs Kemeko situations. However this is an elaborate setup by Misaki and Ryouta to see if Sanpeita chooses which of the 2 and also Ryouta’s attempts to get close to Ryouko. It was pretty funny to see Kemeko smashing the watermelons with her bare hands to make watermelon juices. It’s amazing that Tamako even tries to emulate her! Because Sanpeita notices how good Izumi is in her swimsuit, jealous MM later comes out of her Kemeko wearing a bikini. When Izumi comes in to find Kemeko, in MM’s haste, she escapes but leaves her Kemeko suit behind. Because so, the gang are horrified to learn Kemeko is paralyzed like a stone. Worse, they think she may be dead! Of course Sanpeita knows what’s going on as he leaves the villa to find MM. He finds her hiding in the nearby forest bush and is embarrassed because of her bikini. I guess at such times, whether true or not, Sanpeita still has to comment how good she looks in them. The duo then fell into a trap hole.
 
When they come to, MM finds her ankle sprained so Sanpeita decides to carry her after wrapping it with his shirt. Hey, can’t have her protecting him all the time. So now it’s his turn to do some good. They then encounter a cat maid girl named Miura who proceeds to offer them some refreshments and tea as she explains her role in protecting this island. At the same time, the rest at the villa are bidding their time by playing some card game (so care free, aren’t they?) and Ryouta is over the moon when Ryouko kisses him as part of the penalty. Soon Miura attacks the duo, believing that they are intruders and as they are running away, Sanpeita is knocked unconscious. That is when his Nano Ball activates and his vines got the better of Miura and defeats. The plant on his head act as a propeller as they escape from Miura’s Maid Hole while the latter proclaims that this is the first time that somebody had successfully escaped from here. Similarly, Vanilla and her subordinates are watching all this from their helicopter. When Sanpeita returns to normal, he and MM rushes back to the villa and back into Kemeko before anybody suspects anything. She revives by giving an excuse how good a sleep she has had. Later when Miura comes in and as Sanpeita finds out that she is Misaki’s elder sister, he snaps and goes on a rampage. Kemeko adds to the chaos by whacking him to ‘stop’ him. It’s a crazy holiday alright.
 
The summer vacation continues in episode 10 with the Purippurin exercise and pillow fight (in which Ryouko used Ryouta as his shield, much to the latter’s delight). We also see how Fumiko came to draw her yaoi manga when during her high school years some popular guy took a look at her drawings. Yeah, Fumiko is even laughing how it all happened. Not only that, when that guy is leaving overseas and promises to marry her when he returns, that girl rushes off without saying anything just because it is time for her favourite anime! No wonder lah. Back to the villa, Miura notes how her maid fetish is just her hobby (just like Misaki’s fetish in watching other people’s love affair) and that she no longer is fit to be manager for Maid’s Hole and has somebody more fitting to replace her. He is Paul Patrick, age 43, and is some tough American army veteran. Why is Miura keep emphasizing on his age? Anyway since Sanpeita defeated her, Miura now wants Sanpeita to be her master! It’s getting worse alright. The gang decides to go watch the fireworks at the festivals tonight and Tamako is pretty enthusiastic because the way she sounded is like she’s never been to one before.
 
At the festival, looks like it is part of Misaki and Ryouta’s plan to create the much anticipated moment. As Ryouta gladly accompanies Ryouko to find a perfect spot to watch the fireworks, Miura follows Tamako seeing that she is the sister of her new master. Misaki lets herself being taken away by the crowd to leave Sanpeita and Izumi alone. Realizing this, Izumi gets nervous so she decides to get some drinks. However as Misaki and Miura spies from afar, they see Sanpeita being approached by MM who takes him away. Miura recognizes that girl as the one she battled at Maid’s Hole. Misaki sense something amiss. When Izumi comes back, she finds Sanpeita gone. Then alone at the shrine, MM comes out of her Kemeko to reveal her yukata she is wearing and returns the shirt Sanpeita used to wrap her ankle. She seems nervous to say thank you and when she does, the fireworks start. MM then flees in her Kemeko. Izumi regroups with the rest who are watching the fireworks but finds out that Sanpeita and Kemeko hasn’t arrived at all. MM is sorting out her feelings while Sanpeita that tomorrow is the day he’ll meet Vanilla.
 
Everyone returns back home in episode 11 and it seems Kemeko is on a winning streak after playing mahjong all night with the family. Izumi then comes by to give Sanpeita the vacation photos and confirms herself that he is living together with Kemeko. You can tell that she is upset and jealous because she breaks the tree branch with her bare hands! As Sanpeita tries to pester MM for answers about herself, she avoids him. So I guess he has no choice but to leave for his appointment with Vanilla. Upon reaching Mishima HQ, Sanpeita is tranquilized in the neck and when he comes to, he notices Vanilla in a sexy seductive position, trying to hit on him. Sex ed? Of course that guy isn’t amused and wants her to get to the point. Vanilla says that 10 years ago, the founder and first president of Mishima, Souichirou, developed an invention which could harness infinite power out from nothing. But that invention was incomplete and he was killed by his only daughter, Mei (I guess that’s what MM’s initials stand for), and stole the invention. MM senses something wrong and immediately hops into her Kemeko, jumping from place to place over town, searching for Sanpeita in frenzy. It is then she encountered Ryouko and they had a short duel before Ryouko tells her to hurry or else Sanpeita will die. Before Vanilla could finish her story, the intruder alarm goes off and the 2 intruders identified who are here to retrieve Sanpeita, Kemeko and Ryouko. I’m not sure what that initial duel was about but looks like Ryouko is on Kemeko’s side.
 
Episode 12 begins with a short flashback of how Souichirou showed Mei his Nano Ball creation in a lab tube. In present time, Kemeko and Ryouko decides to part ways after disposing some robots. Ryouko thinks of leaving but Riko and her army androids decides to play with her. Meanwhile Izumi has a hard time sleeping and her Sanpeita-in-danger-sense is tingling so she herself runs out of her home late in the middle of the night (realizing how unhealthy what she is doing eh?) right to Mishima’s HQ. She just got a feeling Sanpeita’s there. At the same time, the explosion from Mishima HQ has many curious onlookers, including Ryouta who is taking the chance to snap pretty pics of ladies with his handphone. Too bad, Izumi accidentally comes by and ruins it by breaking his handphone before stepping on his face. As Vanilla takes Sanpeita up a lift to meet Kemeko and telling him how Mei wants the Nano Ball inside of him, Kemeko intercepts the lift and Sanpeita free falls. Kemeko catches him before he falls to his doom but the first thing she did was to beat the crap out of him for making her worry. So the battle between Kemeko and Kiriko starts. Metal saw vs double metal fans. Not to say that the action choreograph scene is out of this world but more like engaging. It’s odd to see weird robots twisting and turning. At the same time, Ryouko along with Juumonji easily take out Riko’s androids before Ryouko herself handcuff and arrest Riko. It seems Ryouko knows about Riko’s sad past like how she wasn’t treated as a normal human for being a genius, the reason why she ran away. Ryouko tells her to go home because her parents are still looking for her. But Riko doesn’t want to so she uses all her handphones to activate her androids to self-destruct. I think Riko died in the blast.
 
Likewise, Kemeko defeats Kiriko with her The Exploding Kemeko Kick. Kemeko and Sanpeita’s emotional conversation is cut short when Kiriko appears. Seems Kemeko had defeated a dummy. Round 2 is to begin but Sanpeita comes between them. Sanpeita makes clear his choice that he is not going with Vanilla because he finds Kemeko not a bad person. Just that simple reason? Yup. I guess Sanpeita even crosses the line by blurting out Kemeko’s bad and embarrassing habits and had to beaten up again. But Kiriko isn’t going to let go because she hates Kemeko very much. Before anything could happen, the floor collapses courtesy of Kemeko’s earlier destruction of the research floors below. Thankfully, Ryouko bursts in on her motorbike to give the gang a ride to safety. Kiriko is stretching her hands out for Sanpeita to save her. Though in a dilemma, Sanpeita soon chooses to go with Ryouko and Kemeko. And I thought he would try to save everyone. Not. Kiriko falls into the depths in shock. Outside the nearly ruined HQ, Sanpeita is reunited with Izumi, who as usual ticks him off of his unhealthy habits before giving him a nice face punch. Misaki and Ryouta show up to complete the ruckus. Sanpeita goes to reconcile with Kemeko and tells her that he has no reason to kick her out of the house, making her happy as the gang walks back. A girl in a miko priestess outfit watches them from a distance and says how she had wanted to meet with Sanpeita. I think this is the girl he met 10 years ago. If it’s true, man she’s so different! In the end scenes, Kyte is teasing Vanilla how she is dumped by Sanpeita. But Vanilla isn’t going to give up because she has received orders from the president of Mishima and has recalled all the R&D sections to forcefully retrieve the Nano Ball and destroy Kemeko once and for all. Yeah, they’ve got their plan rolling already since we see a huge army of mean-looking androids chanting destruction. Sanpeita and co better watch out.
 
Ah well, an ending which give rise to a potential sequel, I must say. There is a big probability because there are still many unresolved issues such as Sanpeita’s inner Nano Ball and why Mishima wants it so badly. Even so, why did it take them 10 years to do so? Probably reports of its awakening? Was Vanilla’s story of MM being a traitor a lie? Then there is MM’s past which desires a lot to be revealed. Even though she briefly denied that she was the one who killed her daddy in the final episode, I still wonder what is the true story behind it all. Aside that, it is pretty funny to see such a scene whenever MM is peeking her head out of Kemeko’s head at times. It’s like it doesn’t match up. MM is definitely bigger than Kemeko so seeing such a scene feels kinda odd, if you know what I mean. Sometimes it feels like there’s a thin person trying to get out of a fat person, you know what I’m saying. Another mind boggling thing about Kemeko is her tendency to dress up in weird outfits besides her red trademark one as she thinks befitting for the occasion. From the visually disgusting swimsuit to a casual summer wear to a strange slug suit. I wonder if it’s necessary to do so because it seems so odd (but funny). Plus, how and where on Earth did she get to custom made outfits to fit Kemeko’s odd body structure? She personally made it? Or does it come with the strange robot?
 
But I guess for this particular short series, at least Sanpeita accepts MM and Kemeko for who she is, even if it means more havoc days ahead. Speaking of which, that poor guy has been through a lot of pain, torturing and humiliation ever since Kemeko and MM arrived. He’s got to endure it all whether he likes it or not. Kemeko and MM’s contrasting personalities are quite amusing. Kemeko on one hand can be the assertive, pushy and aggressive weirdo while MM on the other can be seen as a little clumsy and shy. In my opinion I think MM does have some feelings for Sanpeita. Ryouko… What more can I say about her. She’s just a teaser and an observer. No chemistry for Sanpeita that’s for sure.
 
As for the other characters like Ryouta, Misaki, Fumiko, Aoi and Tamako, they are more like side characters (well, duh!) and I thought they would help contribute to something at the end. It’s like they were ‘cast aside’ when Sanpeita decided to go meet Vanilla in the final storyline. Nevertheless they are still wacky in their own ways like Fumiko’s never-ending manga job with Aoi. I think at this rate she will go cuckoo. Oh wait, she already is. What about Izumi? Obviously that girl still hasn’t got the guts to confess so it’s back to square one. Unlike Ryouta’s unreturned love from Ryouko, but that’s a different case. And that Miura girl? Didn’t see much of her after the festival. I thought she wanted to be Sanpeita’s master and do anything and be anywhere for him. Amazingly MM manages to keep her secret identity from the rest of the gang and although there are times when Izumi and lately Misaki suspected something about that pink haired girl or Kemeko-sensei’s weirdness, they eventually didn’t bother much about it.
 
I liked the voice acting for Kemeko which is no other than Chiwa Saito (Kirie in Girls Bravo, Natsumi in Keroro Gunsou). I love it when she goes into hyper loud mouth mode and her answer for everything is ‘creative’. Initially I thought she too would voice MM but it seems the producers decide to employ another seiyuu for a more higher pitched character. Haruka Tomatsu does MM and her voice sure fits this girl. You can recognize her in previous roles like Nagi in Kannagi and Lala in To-Love Ru. They also did the same thing for Vanilla (who is voiced by Aya Endou – Miyuki of Lucky Star) and Kiriko (voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi – Excel of Excel Saga). Though Rie Kugimiya isn’t in her tsundere loli role, she is still recognizable in her Misaki role. Just imagine her in a more soft-spoken state. Other seiyuu casts include Eri Kitamura as Sanpeita (Rin in Kodomo No Jikan), Mikako Takahashi as Izumi (Rushuna in Grenadier), Ryoko Shiraishi as Ryouko (Hayate in Hayate No Gotoku), Mai Goto as Tamako (Mizuki in ef ~A Tale Of Melodies), Ayako Kawasumi as Fumiko (Kaede in 2×2=Shinobuden), Saeko Chiba as Aoi (Natsuki in Mai-HiME) and Kana Hanazawa as Riko (Potemayo in Potemayo). Though only a brief appearance, Mamiko Noto still did a splendid and lovely role for Miura (that’s because she’s still my all time favourite seiyuu!).
 
The opening theme is of the same name as the anime title and is sung by the main female seiyuus of the series. It is your typical upbeat and crazy group song and the animation itself is wacky which includes Kemeko doing several flasher poses and Sanpeita bearing the pain of it all. Poor guy. The ending theme is Purippurin Taisou by Chiwa Saito and as expected it sounds very much like a tune fit for an aerobic exercise. However, I find the lyrics a little mischievous such as "Sigmund Freud is an erotic twerp". I’m not sure if such workout would reduce one’s weight. Maybe it’s just a dance craze. Not doing that "MARVELLOUS!" thingy anytime or ever.
 
On a trivial note, the mid-intermission shows several rows and lines of the Kemeko army marching. Yeah, it’s a scary fact if they are to be produced in such large amounts. Imagine the chaos and frenzy not to mention the ‘abuse in power’. At the start of each episode, a random character will seemingly tease viewers about what is in store for that episode. Not to say that they are giving away much details but I can’t help notice that some of them are nonsensical chatter. Also, at times I kinda noticed Sanpeita’s skin tone to be a little pinkish. No, he’s not blushing. Maybe it’s his skin tone after all.
 
Perhaps it is such a fitting nickname that Kemeko is dubbed the Steel Bride or the Unknown Girlfriend. Who wouldn’t have the shock of their lives when some mechanical girl forcefully proclaims to be one’s bride. Forced marriage. Yeah, happens in the real world too. And even if one really do appear, could you run? Could you hide? Could you even escape? Better to grit your teeth and bite the bullet. There are much worse things in life than getting married.
 

Kemeko Deluxe

Kyo No Go No Ni 2008

September 5, 2009

I didn’t expect Kyo No Go No Ni to have a TV series after its OVA and a special was released previously. So when the TV series was released back in autumn 2008, it was a surprise to me that the producers decided to expand the series. Therefore for nostalgic reasons, I decided to put this on my watch list, though it wasn’t a number 1 priority.
 
One of the obvious things in the TV series is that, faithfuls to the OVAs would come to realize that there is no fanservice at all! No more boob shots, no more panty slips showing and definitely no more panty shots. Such scenes have been totally cut out or replaced with a ‘boring’ one. It is a far cry for those who have watched the OVA and expected something better on this area. I guess this is necessary seeing that this was shown over national airwaves and targeted for younger audiences. Uh huh. Maybe the producers thought that the older and mature ones had their ‘fill’ in the form of those OVAs.
 
So for those who still caught the 13 episode TV series like me, just like in the OVA, a big majority of the episodes are divided into 4 short stories, which are dubbed Lessons (which I will use as reference in this blog). They are relatively independent of each other though some are inter-related. Of course the final episode will be just 1 big Lesson. Another thing for those who have watched the OVA is that, some may feel it is a repeat of the OVA seeing that the first few episodes contain stories from the OVA! For instance an episode may contain 3 stories from the OVA while featuring 1 new story. Are they trying to rip-off viewers? I’m still wondering why they are being repeated because it is not like they are being retold in an alternate manner or so. Of course gradually as the OVA stories are being covered, more new stories will be shown.
 
Just a little refresh on what the series is about, it revolves around a group of elementary school kids of class 5-2 and their antics in and out of school. Our main guy is of course Ryota who often gets into hilarious and perverted situations due to some mistake or misunderstanding. Ah well, it is all part of growing up and learning about the opposite sex. But seeing that this TV series has toned down the ecchiness, there won’t be many funny situations based on that. But viewers can guess it is so. Ryota too is your cocky and obnoxious brat though sometimes he is your typical lethargic lazy kid. Since he is the ‘star’, you can feel that many ‘depend’ on him or if not ‘point their fingers’ at him.
 
Lesson 1 is Loose and this is just like the same story in the OVA whereby queer Kazumi has Ryota stay back with her to do some school work. Kazumi’s ‘chewing’ of her mechanical pencil turns out to be an act of loosening her baby tooth. But when Ryota gets a paper cut on his finger, Kazumi sucks it. So does she really have a fetish for biting things? Lesson 2 is Superball, another OVA story whereby Ryota is challenging Kouji to see whose balls could bounce the highest (nothing perverted, okay!). Of course when it lands on Yuki and Megumi’s head, the girls aren’t too pleased and want the guys to apologize. But they are oblivious to what’s going on. Another try has the balls accidentally flipping up their skirt (sorry, no more panty shots). Now Yuki is pissed off and ticks Ryota off. Unfortunately, Yuki slips on one of the balls and due to their position, her feet kicks Ryota’s crotch. Ouch! Accidental revenge? In Lesson 3 (In High Spirits), Ryota and Kouji are performing an electrifying rock concert using brooms as their guitars. Obviously the boys are more interested in watching them rather than focusing on cleaning the class but the girls obviously aren’t. So when Yuki wants Chika to tell them off for slacking, Chika instead asks for an application to join their band! Rainy Weather is the theme for Lesson 4 and when Ryota, Kouji and Tsubasa forgot their umbrellas, Chika and Natsumi helps them out. However Kouji and Tsubasa ditched Ryota and that guy has no choice but to go with the ladies. Along the way, Ryota has to endure their arguing and good spirits until he gives up. That is when Chika and Natsumi hugged him from both sides so that they could share the umbrella and not get wet. By that time, the rain has stopped, so the girls continue with their journey while Ryota is still annoyed.
 
Lesson 5 (Cat’s Paw) has the girls talking about cats in class but since Ryota is more into dogs, the girls try to convince him on how a cat’s paw feels like. Such as pinching and pressing each other’s body parts here and there. In the end, when a real stray cat turns up in class and they let Ryota have a feel of it, he ends up with painful scratches on his face and affirms his love for dogs. Lesson 6 (Unbeaten) has Ryota storing sports equipment in the shed with Natsumi. Since that girl has always beaten him, Ryota thinks of a perfect chance to get even when they are accidentally locked in and he finds out her fear of dark places. He scares her as Natsumi starts panicking and clings on dearly to Ryota (like pulling his pants down). So when the gym teacher and the rest go find the missing duo, they are shocked to see what Ryota is doing to ‘violate’ Natsumi when they open the storeroom. Yeah, it’s like he’s forcing her to ‘do it’! Unforgivable! Punishment! Lesson 7 (Ball Washing) has the guys challenging to see who will end up washing the football. Meanwhile the girls are staring at Megumi’s sports bra in the changing room and starts gossiping about it. At the same time, Ryota chases the ball as it rolls into the girl’s changing room and you know what this means when he stumbles upon semi-naked girls changing. Another painful lesson to learn. Lesson 8 (Wet Clothes) has Megumi wondering where her bloomers went so the girls of the class starts conducting their investigation on the boys, checking their bags to see if any of them stole it. Then when it’s Ryota’s turn, he is reluctant to show them his bag and this raises their suspicions. Upon struggling, several puddings fall out and the guys are upset. Then Natsumi flips up absent-minded Megumi’s skirt to reveal that she is wearing them. Ah well, damage done because the boys are fighting over Ryota’s pudding hogging.
 
You know at that age when boys are starting to get interested in the female’s anatomy. Lesson 9 (Collarbone) has the girls chiding the guys for bringing Playboy magazines to school so I don’t know why the guys seek Ryota’s help and he answered that the collarbone is the most sexiest part of a woman. All the guys believed him and later at the playground, they are gathered around him and seeking his advice! As Yuki is still uncomfortable with that thought, she goes to the fountain to drink and coincidentally meets Ryota. I think he was staring at her boobs but since Yuki thinks he’s looking at her collarbone, she is disgusted and splashes the fountain water at him. Lesson 10 (Library) has Chika sitting on Ryota’s shoulders to get a book high up in the shelves. A little commotion has the duo off balance and crashing onto Kazumi. I’m sure Ryota saw more than he expected. Then when they spot Tsubasa and Kouji taking a chair to get a high placed book, the duo are stumped because they actually didn’t thought about that and starts arguing like a married couple. Shhh! Silence please.
 
A pair of younger boys flips up Chika and Yuki’s skirt in Lesson 11 (Skirt Flipping) and this prompts the duo to do a study by interviewing other girls. A mixed variety of answers, I’d say. Then they decide to ask the guys. But nobody seems to believe that Ryota has never done it before. And as expected, an accident which has Ryota tripping and accidentally flipping their skirts, left the girls in a furious manner. Some legendary overhead lift, eh? Yeah, now Ryota has joined the statistics of skirt flipping. Lesson 12 (Experiment) has Chika forgetting a skirt but when she goes to retrieve it, she spots Kouji doing some analysis (the skirt was left on his table). When Kouji learns of the situation, they decide to team up and pull this prank on Ryota. That guy starts to think deep and probably panicking on what a skirt is doing on his desk. The rest are snickering as they’re watching from behind the door. Chika comes in and pretend to look for her missing skirt and panicked Ryota unconsciously hid it in his desk. Finally when Ryota realizes that he’s being made a fool, he decides to get his revenge by putting on the skirt and runs away while tossing his shorts to Chika! OMG! A trap in the making! Then the gang did the same trick to Tsubasa but since that guy is too infatuated reading his astronomy book, the prank has no effect. That kid only thinks about the stars.
 
Ryota and Yuki still have problems washing their eyes after swimming lessons in Lesson 13 (Covered In Water). Chika did a nasty bluff to trick unsuspecting Yuki to wash her eyes. Chika then argues with Ryota who is trying to escape. While quarrelling, Yuki has already changed into her clothes and since she spot the lovebirds bickering and teases them, they decide to get their revenge and spray a water of hose. However it didn’t end too well as Ryota accidentally pushes Yuki into the pool. Because of that, Ryota has to borrow Yuki his clothes while he himself is in his swimming trunks during class. Lesson 14 (Dress Up) has Ryota accidentally spilling milk on Megumi’s dress and his stew on Yuki’s. As Megumi and Yuki are drying their clothes in the infirmary, the get a call to head to the teacher’s room. They borrowed Natsumi’s clothes and promise to return as soon as possible. So while waiting, Natsumi dozes off. Ryota by that time decides to go apologize and heads to the infirmary and spots naked Natsumi sleeping. His mind must be running wild when Megumi and Yuki return. Not good. They must be thinking he’s turning into some serial pervert.
 
Viewers must be wondering some kind of sexual subtext argument between Ryota and Natsumi in Lesson 15 (Top Bottom) because they are quarrelling about their preference of from the top or the bottom. Then it turned out to be taking off a shirt from the bottom or the top. So when Kazumi suggests Ryota to do so and is successful, this prompts Natsumi to try too. Of course topless Ryota tries to restrain her, Yuki comes in and disapproves of what she’s seeing and stomps on Ryota. The usual bickering between Chika and Ryota has Tsubasa and Kouji wondering their relationship in Lesson 16 (Surprise Attack). Since Ryota says they are just friends, you can see Chika’s disappointed expression. Later as they are alone in the classroom, Ryota is complaining about his painful eyes from not washing them after pool lessons. Chika devises a scheme to make him feel better by asking him to close his eyes. When he does, Chika prepares to kiss him and edges closer to his face but when their buddies arrive (Tsubasa and Kouji shouting out loud on what they are about to see), Chika and Ryota in their surprise bumped each other’s head instead. Ah well, so close yet so far.
 
Because Chika has never seen Kazumi smiled before, in Lesson 17 (Smile), she and the boys try several attempts to make Kazumi laugh such as a staring contest or telling a funny story but the results are similar. Maybe she’s born with that face, eh? Then Chika decides to use force and tickle her as she chases her down the hallway. Cornered, Chika does her finger work while Kazumi tries her best to hold her smile and tickles Chika back. In the end, though both girls are exhausted, at least Kazumi made a tinsy little grin. The gang are out to watch the shooting stars in the night sky in Lesson 18 (Shooting Star). The weird part is that Ryota is sleeping and those attempted to wake him up, somehow gets pulled under the blanket and a violent struggle ensues before the victim is tossed out sleeping. I don’t know what happened to make them fall asleep so one by one nearly all of them fell into Ryota’s trap and the only one left to watch the shooting stars is Tsubasa. Still don’t get what Ryota did. Episode 19 (Change Of Clothes) has Yuki demonstrating how to put on her swimsuit without taking off her dress to Megumi since the latter forgot to bring some changing sack. But because of her clumsiness, it’s better for her to just borrow one. Meanwhile Ryota and Kouji challenged each other who can take off their underwear with their pants on and the winner is… Tsubasa! Finally the girls are having their swimming lessons and Chika is being praised for her speed by Yuki, which then turns into some boob talk and then physical retaliation in the form of butt smack and tickling. Meanwhile the boys are waiting and wondering when they could get their turn in using the pool.
 
Observation Diary is the title for Lesson 20 as Kazumi and Yuki decides to record and observe sleeping Ryota by doing experiments what it takes to wake him up. This includes holding his ears and mouth, blowing in his ear and well, biting his ear. Can’t believe that guy is still sleeping like a log. When that guy finally awakens, Kazumi blames it on Kouji and Tsubasa when he asks if they’ve done something funny on him. So when unsuspecting Kouji and Tsubasa come in, they have a torrid time for a crime they did not commit. The gang are playing dodgeball in Lesson 21 (Sudden Shower) when it suddenly rains, forcing them to take nearby shelter. Slow Ryota decides to hide in the slide structure where Kazumi is taking refuge but slips and gets himself all muddy. Ryota snaps and starts playing the rain. Seeing how much fun he is having, the rest soon joins him and gets all dirty playing in the rain. Ah, it’s nice being kids. I’m not sure why Kazumi is worrying about Natsumi’s exposed tummy so when she rushes out, as expected she slips and gets dirty too. When the rain stops, they tease Megumi for being an inverse panda (with her glasses off, I guess her eyes are the only parts not covered in mud).
 
Ryota sucks in Rock Scissors Papers (Lesson 22) because the loser has to fan the winner. Kouji is on a winning streak and call it stubborn or fate because Ryota refuses to give up but the results are the same as each time the ante goes up. He is such a bad loser no wonder Kouji loves picking on him. Ryota is dead tired by this time as he tries to use all his might to fan when Chika turns up. This causes him to accidentally fan and flip up her skirt. Not amused, Chika challenges Ryota to a rock scissors paper game in which that kiasu guy gladly accepts. However this results in him getting punched. He’ll never win at this rate. Summer Festival is Lesson 23 as the gang make their way to the festival and enjoy their outing. Gullible Ryota learns from Kouji that since girls don’t wear underwear beneath their yukatas, Ryota frantically tries to ‘protect’ Chika from unintentionally ‘revealing’ herself. Chika eventually notices this and thinks he cares for her although the reason Ryota gave was that he didn’t want her yukata to get wet. Yeah, right. The gang watches the beautiful fireworks display in the end.
 
Lesson 24 (Victory Defeat) shows the kiasu side of Ryota because for every challenge that he contests with Natsumi, that athletic girl always beat him no matter what. Furthermore, the challenges has Ryota is representing the boys and their losing streak means that they have to give up their favourite desserts for weeks to come with his losing streak. So Ryota thinks hard that night on what Natsumi isn’t good at. He finally gets it and beats her! Guess what? It’s embroidery. Yeah, and Ryota is really bragging about his victory. Hey kid, you’ve only won once lah. Lesson 25 (Crossfire) has the guys doing a team death match with their water guns at the playground. When the girls come by, they got accidentally caught in their crossfire. In order to get their revenge, the girls head to a nearby store and bought several water guns and water balloon bombs of their own and beat the guys flat in their own game! Dangerous! Don’t mess with them. Megumi is in a dilemma on which manga to buy in Lesson 26 (Bookstore) since she has not enough money. Ryota and Kouji on the other hand are also wondering to buy a magazine. They each decide to get a copy when Tsubasa buys one. In the end, we see Megumi and Kazumi pooling their resources to buy both mangas and when they finish, they swap them. Smart girls. The usual Kouji-Ryota challenge in Lesson 27 (Three-legged) has them up against each other for the upcoming sports festival in a three-legged race. Their partners have to be a girl and though Kouji and Chika are in sync, it’s total opposite for Ryota and Yuki. Thus Ryota goes all out in his training which he drags Yuki into, going everywhere with their legs (or any other body part) bound together (even going to the boys toilet?). Even after all that, it is understandable that Yuki is fed up even if his intentions are genuine. On race day, the flop and trip at the start while Kouji-Chika breezes through.
 
Weight-conscious Megumi decides not to eat her lunch in Lesson 28 (Scale) so much so Ryota and Kouji takes the opportunity to seize her lunch. It’s like Heaven’s retribution because Ryota soon experiences stomach pains and head to the infirmary. He notices the scale is a little off and fixes it. Probably the reason why Megumi thinks she has gained weight. At the same time, Megumi comes in to weigh herself and strips off nearly all her clothes and specs. Of course Ryota spots this and starts panicking. Thankfully Megumi is blind as a bat without her specs so even if Ryota makes a noisy blunder, she can’t see clearly. Finally when Megumi weighs herself, she is delighted of the desired weight. Then her buddies come in and Ryota has to continue hiding under the bed. Surprisingly, they didn’t detect him because we all know he’ll get another beating. Lesson 29 (Hunger) has Megumi still concerned about her weight and decides skipping lunch. I’m not sure if Kazumi is a sadist, plain weird or an observation freak (or all!) because she is testing Megumi’s tolerance to hunger by mentioning food names. She also tickles her to see if this would distract her stomach pains. Then when Megumi’s stomach starts to growl, Kazumi puts her head closer to hear. By that time, Yuki and Ryota comes in and a misunderstanding arises because Kazumi says she hears a moving sound. Yuki thinks it’s a baby!
 
Lesson 30 (Height Comparison) has Chika beating Natsumi in their height comparison so Natsumi decides to hang upside down on a parallel bar to grow taller. Likewise, Ryota too hangs from one to grow taller when Kouji suggests a comparison between Ryota and Chika. The loser will have to do anything for the winner. The results: Ryota beats Chika and that guy starts getting cocky when Kouji notices Ryota’s short legs. So another challenge on the parallel bar sees Chika having longer legs than Ryota. So that guy just had a longer torso, eh? Though it’s a draw in the end, Chika teases Ryota for his order. Natsumi’s appetite for milk in Lesson 31 (Milk) has her drinking lots and lots of bottles of it. The ever challenge nerd Ryota challenges Natsumi to a milk drinking contest, in which Natsumi beats him flat so much so Ryota has milk coming out from his nose! And Natsumi still could go on! Later Natsumi reveals that she is drinking lots of milk so that she could have big boobs when everyone thinks she wants to grow taller. But to her disappointment Natsumi finds that it is just a rumour. But the weird part is that Ryota is starting to have doubts because since he has drank quite a number of milk bottles, he is fearing that he is growing boobs! WTF?! Chika argues with Ryota that he won’t grow any boobs because he’s a guy but the kid still isn’t buying it. He goes on to rant that he fears his boobs may grow to be bigger than Chika’s! An insult or what!
 
A storm is coming in Lesson 32 (Typhoon). The guys are happy about it because it would mean class to be cancelled. The girls slowly one by one starts believing in the guys when they offer suggestions on several problems during the storm, except for Chika. Then the storm starts to go away and everyone desperately try calling its name to make it come back (storms of the world are given human names, right?) but to no avail. Yuki comes to class in a new fashion outfit in Lesson 33 (Fashion). Though the girls commend her, she goes over to Ryota and Tsubasa and is subtly giving them hints about her new dress. The oblivious guys are panicking because they don’t want to say the wrong things to upset her. After a few bloopers, Ryota then notices her long sleeves. By this time, Yuki is greatly anticipating for them to say the word, nodding her head in excitement in just about any sentence they say. Ryota and Tsubasa then realize that they have to wear shirts with sleeves or else they’ll end up sick like Kouji who is absent, and rushes off. Yuki realizes too late what the guys meant.
 
In Lesson 34 (Doze), Chika starts dozing off which has her head bump into Ryota’s (she can fall asleep while standing?). Later everyone has a sense of drowsiness and pin points where they get them from. It ends up Ryota being the culprit of how their drowsiness started. A dodgeball challenge is suggested to keep their minds alert. Yeah, Ryota always get hit in the face. Then a challenge to Natsumi has Kazumi sprain her ankle. Ryota has to shoulder the blame and give her a piggy-back ride home. As Ryota walks back with Chika, they hear Kazumi sleep talking saying "Ryota, suki…" (I love you Ryota). This shocks them both but it’s revealed that she her finished line meant that she just wanted to see Ryota in a skinhead. Kazumi then wakes up. Obviously Chika is jealous even if it’s a misunderstanding as they continue walking home. During home economics class in Lesson 35 (Eating), Yuki shows off her culinary skills by mixing anything and too much of everything for their miso soup. Would you want to eat that? Since Yuki test taste it herself and finds nothing wrong, Kouji takes a sip and gives the thumbs up before quickly walking out. So when it is Ryota’s turn, he immediately collapses. Outside the hallway, Kouji is at his limits and is on his knees at the hallway and looks like he has endured whatever pain so as not to break Yuki’s heart.
 
It is a cold day in Lesson 36 (Warmth). Because Natsumi ran on her way to school, she is all warm so the girls decide to warm themselves by putting their cold hands all over her body. This is sexual harassment. The guys are watching this commotion and as usual Ryota has unkind comments. This prompts Chika to touch him with her cold hands. But since she has ‘molested’ Natsumi, her hands are all warm. Ryota gets cocky when Kazumi comes up behind him to give him the shock of his life with her cold hands. He didn’t see that one coming, eh? Now he’s embarrassed. Lesson 37 (Fairytale) has Yuki and Kazumi overhearing from younger graders about a rumour that a princess’s kiss can heal wounds. Back in class, because Ryota is having some eye pain, Yuki suggests a cure and wants Chika to kiss him. But Chika says she can’t cure him and wants Yuki herself to do so. Yuki in a fix then passes it to Kazumi. With the mess getting out of hand, she then suggests Tsubasa and Kouji. Kouji starts to panic and forces Ryota to kiss Chika. Ryota then mentions how doing this will hurt him even more and this earns Chika’s wrath as she punches him. Then the pain in his eyes is gone. Kazumi then notices a dislodged eyelash which may be causing the pain. So much for the kissing rumours. I don’t know what Yuki meant when she said that is the power of love. Is she obsessed or still in denial?
 
Another Fairytale II in Lesson 38 takes on a more fantasy-like setting. Kazumi as Tinkerbell is seen guiding Ryota the prince to find the princess (Chika) to cure his short legs curse. Along the way, Ryota is being chased by a wolf (Natsumi), given a paper fan by klutzy water spirit Megumi, fighting off a battle between a witch (Yuki) and her knight (Kouji). I’m not sure why Ryota’s battle with Kouji is comparing their short legs but Ryota ultimately lost. Seeing this, Kouji gives his blessing for him to go seek the princess. As Ryota enters the castle room, he finds the princess sleeping in her bed. Unfortunately it turns out to be a sleeping cat (Tsubasa). Then the real princess comes in and since Ryota pisses her off by saying that if he kisses her he’ll be put under a weirder curse, Chika takes his paper fan and starts whacking him. He’s cursed alright. I don’t understand Lesson 39 (A Leaf) because Yuki and Chika are trying to console a crying Natsumi when the boys come by. They learn that Natsumi read a book with a sad ending whereby a sick girl says her life will end with the fall of the final leaf. Then Ryota spots the tree they are under as it only bears a single leaf. They gang tries not to make Natsumi look at it while slowly bringing her away from the tree but Yuki tripped along with her. Too late. Natsumi saw it and the leaf falls. With the leaf in her palms, Natsumi thanks it for doing its best and hugs the tree. She gets over her gloominess and returns back to her normal happy self. Huh?
 
Yuki decides to conduct her personal physical examinations on her pals in Lesson 40 (Suddenly). First victim is Megumi then Chika. I’m thinking they’re all sadist because when they are the victim, they are like against it and struggling while the rest turns into devils with red eyes and starts holding the victim down. Then when it’s somebody’s turn, the victim takes joy and becomes the devil. When it is Kazumi’s turn, she voluntarily took her clothes off before the girls could pound, shocking them all. Next is Yuki herself when Ryota decides to enter the infirmary but gets kicked out for being a pervert. Finally Natsumi it’s Natsumi’s turn and by that time, Ryota decides to try a 2nd time. Chika decides to stand guard outside but timing has her and Ryota missing each other when they enter the door. Ryota then sees the girls holding down Natsumi (like trying to rape her or something) and gets a 2nd beating for being a serial pervert. Lesson 41 (Duck) has the girls observing a lone duck swimming in a pool. They try calling it but to no avail until Kazumi calls out "Kobayashi" that the duck responds to her. The guys also arrive and when they wonder how Kazumi knows the duck’s name, her answer: "Because it is Kobayashi". Uh huh. Noticing the migrating flock in the sky, they wonder if it’s being separated and tries to make Kobayashi go back with them. Attempts to make the flock notice Kobayashi were futile too. Then as the gang decide to take care of Kobayashi, did it start to spread its wings and fly. The gang are happy but Kobayashi soon lands at a nearby organic park with other ducks. Looks like it’s just a local duck after all.
 
Kazumi comes in with a different hairstyle in Lesson 42 (Hairstyle). This has attracted the attention of the girls. Not to be outdone, fashion trend setter Yuki too decides to have a different hairstyle and soon the rest of the girls come to class with a unique (or weird) hairstyle the next day. When Ryota once again comments how their hairstyles have changed but their character remains the same, the girls gladly redo his hairstyle while he is sleeping and he gets the shock of his life when he sees it in the toilet mirror. Then 1 day Kazumi comes in to class with her original hairstyle and it is revealed that she tied her hair up because of her neck rash. Then everybody soon starts reverting back to their original hairstyle when Kouji comes in with a new rock and punk-like hairstyle. He felt embarrassed when he learns the girls have done away with it. In Lesson 43 (Ice), Ryota and his buddies keep a piece of ice chunk that they break from a frozen puddle. Chika warns him about getting frostbite so Ryota drops a piece into her shirt to send her in cold hysteria. Then the guys play their version of curling using their ice in the hallway, which causes Yuki and Chika to slip and drop their trash. They better be prepared for punishment. After school, Chika notices the frozen puddle and decides to break and get one but injures her foot and her shoe wet. Ryota comes by to see her and since Chika blames it on him for all that has happened, he has no choice but to give her a piggy-back ride home, in which she enjoys.
 
Lesson 44 (Roasted Sweet Potato) has the girls coming across a store selling roasted sweet potatoes. Chika, Yuki and Megumi notices a big one and decides to go for it when the guys come by. With the change in scenario (they’re thinking the perception of how the boys will view them if they select the biggest one), the trio decide to go for the smaller one as Natsumi has no qualms in taking the bigger one as they all enjoy their snack. Then somebody farts and though the trio don’t want to make a big fuss about it until Natsumi and Kazumi pointed it out and make things worse. Ryota and Kouji decide to challenge each other with their fart and things indicate that the fart culprit may be Tsubasa. In Lesson 45 (Kon Kon), The guys notice it is snowing outside but not enough to have their fun and is in a dilemma whether to go out before the other classes hog it. The girls start singing a children’s song which has the lyrics going the snow goes kon kon. This prompt everyone to wonder what kon kon mean. Something about relating to some fox but Kazumi points out that they’re all singing it wrongly. By that time, the gang notices the other classes have already gone out to play in the snow so they follow suit and have their fun.
 
Ryota’s bad luck streak continues in Lesson 46 (Lottery) when he continues to win consolation prizes of tissues at a lottery. Even Kouji ends up his umpteenth time winning only consolations. Same case with Tsubasa but he really does want a tissue for his running nose. Megumi, Yuki and Kazumi then arrive to play the lottery. Yuki rants on some impassiveness theory but she herself got a consolation prize. When it’s Kazumi’s turn, she got 4th prize and they think the key is indifference. Finally it is Megumi’s turn as she tries to apply the indifference theory and wins 2nd prize, some tickets to a bakery with high quality cake. The gang thinks that it is her empty stomach and thoughts on food which gets her to win the prize.
 
Natsumi is duped by Yuki into believing that chalks are edible in Lesson 47 (Munch Munch) and nearly could’ve eaten them if Chika didn’t stop her. Chika decides to pull this prank on Ryota and initially that guy didn’t believe her until she mentions some high technology food safety precaution measures did that guy instantly took a bite. While Chika laughs, this made Ryota to say her cookies are bad. Because of that, Chika avoids talking to Ryota and he regrets it. He gets advice from Kouji about never say bad about a woman’s cooking when Yuki shows up and asks his opinion about his cookies. Kouji has no choice but to lie. Happy Yuki then tells him to look forward to her Christmas cake. Oh boy. Later Ryota tries to apologize but it isn’t enough as Chika wants him to kiss her as a condition to forgive him. After summing up his courage, he does and takes her by surprise. Then she wonders if he has washed his lips after biting the chalk, which he didn’t. Yeah, the chalk taste is there. But even if this kiss isn’t sweet, it isn’t that bad for Chika. Lesson 48 (Merry Christmas) is the shortest story ever because it shows clips of what the gang are doing while John Lennon’s Merry Christmas War Is Over song is being played in the background. Like Megumi enjoying her cake (for once she puts away her scale and doesn’t worry too much about it), Natsumi getting baseball equipment as gifts, Kazumi writing her observation diary about Santa, Tsubasa observing the night sky, Yuki visiting Kouji’s home to give her Christmas cake (he’s in big trouble now. Regret what he said?) and Chika and Ryota watching the snow together out in their balcony.
 
Episode 49 (Yubikiri) starts off with a flashback whereby young Ryota and Chika made a promise to marry each other. In present time, Kouji is demonstrating his magic skills by successfully pulling a table cloth under from a deck of cards. The boys cheer him on until Kazumi pushes her finger to make it tumble. Thing is, Kouji’s trick has been revealed. The cards are stuck with glue. What a big disappointment. Chika then comes in very happy, having dreamt a good dream. Ryota is clueless and later tries to eavesdrop when Chika tries to speak about it at the toilet but was nearly caught as a peeping tom. Attempts to eavesdrop from Yuki to failed when Kazumi requested for his help to pin up papers. While doing so, Kazumi says that she has heard from Chika about the time during kindergarten. Ryota remembers about his marriage promise. Since he said he’s still thinking about it all the time, Kazumi responds by saying how pitiful. This made Ryota mad as he pushes her onto the floor. He realizes his mistake but Chika has witnessed everything. Kazumi clears the air with Chika on the way home and Chika realized something when Kazumi says Ryota got mad on what she said earlier on.
 
The next day as Chika and Ryota walk together to school, you could say that they reconcile but with the usual spat. When Ryota blurts out about the promise, Chika looked stumped. Then he finds out that the talk all along was actually about Ryota wetting his bed! He realized that was what Kazumi meant. So in school, Ryota is in depressed mode, not talking to anyone. Attempts like Megumi giving her pudding or Natsumi’s milk drinking challenge combo with Kazumi pulling off a funny face didn’t turn things around but instead made him sulk even more. Then one evening sitting alone in the classroom, Chika comes by to have a chat with him. She tells him to try his best and be a better man since it’s too simple to get married because of a promise. At the shoe locker area, Chika trips while putting on her shoe but Ryota catches her hand as they walk home together. In the end scenes, we see several developments like Megumi’s little physical change around her chest area, Natsumi wearing a skirt for the first time, Kouji with a clean successful trick but was forced by Yuki to clean up the mess, Tsubasa infatuated with the snowflakes and yes, Kazumi persisting for Ryota to lend him his finger for her loose tooth. And when Chika comes in to see what they’re doing… The usual ruckus until Ryota trips and falls on top of Chika and Kazumi on top of him. Yeah, the hold class watching. Chika punches him as punishment but soon wonders if she hit him too hard. Everyone then gathers outside to admire the snow.
 
Is there anything groundbreaking? With nearly half of the Lessons being repeats from the OVA and probably just shown in a different manner, I hardly doubt it. As for the new Lessons, some are really funny which made me laugh out loud like the one whereby Ryota thinks he’s going to grow boobs just because he drank too much milk. Then there are some Lessons which I don’t get like Natsumi crying over a single leaf. The characters themselves aren’t anything new though they are quite amusing in their own ways. Like tomboy Natsumi has no qualms about stripping in front of her pals, Megumi and her weight conscious thinking at her age, Kazumi’s peculiar ways makes her an even enigmatic girl and Ryota’s tendency to ‘get into trouble’. He’s going to grow up with a high resistance to pain seeing the amount of beatings he received from misunderstood situations. Ah well, boys will be boys and girls will be girls.
 
Those hoping to see any chemistry taking flight between Ryota and Chika would surely be disappointed towards the end. I guess they have just patch up and renew their friendship. But I suppose that’s a start. Don’t really expect kids at that age to act all lovey-dovey, don’t you? Better for things to stay the way as it is now and take things a little step at a time. What about Yuki and Kouji? There are little indications, though. But nothing concrete.
 
Another obvious thing I should have mentioned earlier is the drawing and animation. In short, it is much horrible! As compared to the OVA, the art now seems to be very simplified and lacking lots of details. Trying to make it a little cartoonish because it’s intended for children? Due to that, the characters look a little different and ‘uglier’. Initially I couldn’t recognize pretty Chika and could only guess by deduction that this now yellow-haired girl is her. At least they still maintain the ‘manly’ facial expressions during confrontation and ‘tense’ situations to put some drama effect. I could say that this drawing does make the kids look grown up, mature and better looking than the standard drawing although it also feels more simplified than the OVA.
 
The TV series also has done away with the previous voice acting casts of the OVA and has a totally new casts for it. Not that I can remember how the voice acting of the OVA and the TV series but I guess they sound close enough. Like Kazumi still sounds ominous and Ryota is still the loudmouth kid whenever he raises his voice. There are a few fun background music which feels like kiddie songs, especially played during the mid-intermission between Lessons (you can also see random poses of the characters during that). I’m not sure why but the TV series has 4 different endings and the 5th one for the final episode which is the opening theme. A new ending theme and animation after 3 episodes. Well, they all sound like a group of children singing together (actually from the seiyuus of the series) and leans more towards pop or ballad. Just like the opening theme too. No children songs, though. However all the ending and opening themes didn’t appeal to me.
 
So after a 1 volume manga which has been adapted into OVAs then a special followed by a TV series, what’s next in store? A movie length feature? Maybe. Even if they do come out with one, I won’t be surprise if they rerun certain clips from its predecessors. And then perhaps a video game… Nah, better not. A childhood is a special phase in life which combines the process of learning and fun. I believe such period of innocence shouldn’t be taken away. Unless in the case of this series, would learning a little naughty stuff by accident considered to be loss of innocence? And when little lolis and shotas display a little of bit of their ecchi side, would it mean they will grow up to be perverts? It all depends on the lessons they learn…
 

Kyo No Go No Ni

This show is so like Ikkitousen. I’m not saying that Zettai Shougeki ~Platonic Heart~ resembles the said series in terms of storyline, but rather the fight scenes which involves female’s clothing been ripped to bits in just a single blow leaving them in their undies or sometimes baring their breasts. Yeah, topless fanservice but no full blown nudity. Don’t discount those panty shots too.
 
This is a short 5 episode OVA series and if you are into battle royale tournament style girls-only fighting series mixed with some fanservice, then I guess you’d want to check this out. Did I mention girls only? Yeah, who would want to see muscular and ripped guys duking each other out when you can have sexy and pretty young ladies slugging it out in a no-holds-barred tournament. Much pleasant to the eye for us guys. You could say that this series is made and targeted for male audience. Duh.
 
So this show resolves around a high school student Aya Iseshima who reluctantly gets involved in some mysterious tournament called Platonic Heart in which the winner will be granted any wish that she desires. As Aya is a martial artist herself, she isn’t a mere pushover as she can self defence herself against hordes of unruly guys even if the odds are against her. I’m not saying she is a troublemaker but if trouble comes looking for her, she solves things the way she knows best. Her fists and kicks. Maybe it makes her less elegant as a lady but in today’s dangerous world, that’s a plus point.
 
Episode 1
Aya and her best friend-cum-classmate, Natsume Honma, are walking their way home from school when they encounter a brutal match between a miko priestess named Miko Kazuki (her name is it just coincidence or convenience?) and an air stewardess (for reference, I’ll refer to her simply as Stewardess) underneath a bridge. Brutal as in we’ve got to see their uniforms ripped and that their weapon accessories aren’t just for looks. A handbag laced with weapons? Miko is on the losing end and is being taunted by Stewardess about the former’s wish to make friends as her reason to participate in Platonic Heart. Aya didn’t like the trouble and mess she’s causing to the surroundings and gives her a good whacking knocking Stewardess out. Natsume is totally impressed.
 
Then at a fast food restaurant, Aya and Natsume discuss about the former’s self defence moves in which she learned when she was young but Aya isn’t proud of it. Natsume then tells Aya about the rumour whereby girls take part in ruthless task in order to collect pieces of some crystal gem called Platonic Heart in which the winner will be granted her deepest desires whereas the losers will be taken to the dark realm. I don’t know but the Platonic Heart crystal gem somehow reminds me of the one in Pretty Cure even if they don’t look alike. Miko continues that many girls would like to participate but is unsure on how to do so but Natsume is staying out for fear of the dark realm. Miko then comes by and introduces herself and more about the secretly carried out tournament in which she firmly believes in its existence. The detailed workings of the tournament is a mystery as each participant is given details about their next match via handphone SMS. Who are the organizers? Dunno too. Miko shows them her SMS message as proof. After learning about Miko’s wish to make friends, Aya instantly extends her hand to be her friend. Miko is touched that even though she hasn’t won Platonic Heart yet, her wish came true and is overcome with emotions. Her first friend in 19 years? Wow.
 
The trio are on their way home when they see Natsume’s older brother Haruki. You can see that Aya has a crush on him the way she blushes every time she sees him. Hey, even girls like her have a right to fall for a handsome hunk, right? When they reach Miko’s house, Miko gives them phone straps as commemoration of their friendship. Aya is alone at the park when she receives a mysterious SMS that she has joined the Platonic Heart tournament as Miko’s replacement (Miko withdrew after making friends with her). She may be thinking it’s some prank but soon it isn’t because it’s a rematch with Stewardess. It’s payback time. Aya is reluctant to fight back but Stewardess plays dirty by chaining Haruki with explosives to a lamp post! This is a no-holds-barred match, right? And Stewardess warns her not to do anything if she doesn’t want her beloved Haruki to be blown into bits. This includes defending herself. Yeah, Aya getting beaten up is more of a fanservice cue. But she isn’t going to let it all end this way. Now this part may seem a little farfetched because Aya, faster than Superman dodges one of Stewardess’ attacks and frees Haruki of his explosives which she kicks into the air before Stewardess can push the boom button. Her feet is much faster than the push of a finger! Unbelievable.
 
With nothing to hold her back, Aya goes on the offensive and it is Stewardess’ turn to get naked as Aya rips her apart (more on her clothes, that is). Another defeat for her. Aya is still in shock over the recent developments and rushes to Miko’s place in tears. She can’t believe that they even resorted to using Haruki. But upon reaching her house, she finds the place ransacked and Miko nowhere in sight.
 
Episode 2
Back home, Aya is reflecting the events that happened. To add to the suspense and mystery, the shrine priest where Miko supposedly works do not know of such person. Furthermore, when she contacted the police to Miko’s room, the place is all cleaned up like it was never a mess in the first place. Very strange indeed. This had Aya thinking that Miko may have been taken to the dark realm but is confused because she did not lose but merely withdrew. During breakfast, her mom Suzuho is worried what happened to her seeing that her school uniform is quite expensive. But she questions no further since Aya is a grown adult and whatever she does is up to her. Aya gets another SMS saying that she will inherit all the pieces of Platonic Heart from Miko but she feels something amiss because even if Miko got her wish granted, she went missing.
 
Aya is a few steps late for school and because of that, the perverted PE teacher Yoshida gives her 2 choices. Either go by the rules to be suspended for a week or wear nothing underneath tight clothes and bloomers and run 100 laps parade. Some sick fetish he got there. However, Aya’s chemistry teacher Azuma Suma, saves her by saying that she was doing some chores for her. Yoshida has no choice but to drop his sick schemes and let her off. In class, Aya tells Natsume the strange events that has happened to Miko as she herself finds it hard to believe. Aya gets an SMS about her next battle place.
 
As the duo skip class and wait at the fountain park, they are surprised to know that Aya’s next opponent is Suma! Suma too is surprised that Aya is in this tournament and had hoped to avoid facing her. But if it comes down to this, she’ll still show no mercy. Aya is adamant to get Miko back so she too can’t afford to lose. However Suma decides to postpone the match seeing that there’s a teacher’s meeting later. On the way home, Aya part ways after Natsume reaches back to her home. We see that Natsume’s mom, Kumi, is a mute and has a hideous scar across her neck. Aya takes a train home and meets Suma in the same coach and it’s like a friendly rivalry talk before the storm. Because Aya is in a dilemma since she knows her next opponent, she isn’t concentrating in Suma’s class.
 
The postpone match resumes and we see Suma fitting her limbs with basic chemical elements. When she fights, she says out loud a chemical compound and if you remember them well, you can predict her combo moves. If only Aya had studied them. So people, do you still remember your chemistry lessons? From simple ones like water (H2O) to complicated ones like sulphuric acid (H2SO4). Is this considered educational? I think Aya can’t fight back if she doesn’t have her clothes ripped. Just kidding. After thinking that she has to find Miko, she gathers the necessary strength to turn the tables on Suma and knocks her out cold. Some blood and clothes ripping included. Suma concedes defeat and falls unconscious but Aya feels guilty that she has to go through more painful battles just to find Miko. Watching from afar, a group of 3 sisters are watching Aya’s match and are wondering if she would join them. For convenience, I’ll refer to these 3 sisters from the uniforms that they are always dressed in. Geisha, Policewoman and Nurse. Simple, eh?
 
Episode 3
Aya is in another match and trend has it that she is being mercilessly whipped and her clothes shredded by an opponent whom I shall call Mechanic. Hey, she has a close resemblance to Kyoko of Skip Beat! Anyway Mechanic is sick of spoilt girls like her but Aya turns demonic after knowing her pathetic reasons for taking it all out on her and delivers a crushing defeat to Mechanic. I’m not sure if Aya is enjoying it because she is giving out that satisfying evil grin after the match. Later Aya and Natsume just finished visiting Suma at the hospital and on their way out they meet Suzuho who claims that Suma is now missing and wants them to help look for her. Taken to the dark realm already?
 
Back home as Aya sits dejectedly in her dark room, she gets a call from Haruki who invites her to the pool courtesy from Natsume. Can’t say no, can’t she? This is Natsume’s way of help cheering Aya up so the trio meet up at the pool and have some fun and relaxation. However, the 3 sisters are also at the pool. As Natsume went to get some juice, Aya is left alone with Haruki and starts to feel nervous. Policewoman cuts their conversation and decides to ‘arrest’ Aya for being indecent in public. Aya denies her accusation and soon she realizes that Policewoman is a contender of Platonic Heart when she hits off Aya’s top. Not wanting to show her brutal side to Haruki, she runs to another spot whereby she took out Policewoman with a single kick while having her hands covering her boobs! Wow. She is really that skilled, eh? Yeah, she protected her modesty. Geisha is satisfied with the outcome and leaves as she requests Aya’s presence at the harbour tonight. She has to come because they’ll explain everything.
 
At the harbour, Aya meets the sisters and learn that they want her to withdraw her participation and join them as the organizers of Platonic Heart. They feel that with her much prized skills, she wants her to relay information from the branch to other contenders and the rewards and incentives will be even better based on her performance. But when Aya learns that Suma and Miko have been taken care off (assuming being killed), Aya refuses their offer. Since she has heard the secret, they can’t let her leave alive. The sisters use their bonds and systematic combo to give Aya lots of trouble (including more ripped clothes). So Aya decides to single out Policewoman and go after her even if she is still the receiving end from the other 2. This knocks them off their pace and Aya uses this opportunity to knock Geisha and Nurse out. Policewoman can’t believe what she has done to her sisters so she gets into her car and decides to ram Aya down. Is she serious? Yes. Now this is another ‘incredible’ stunt Aya pulls off. When Policewoman is charging towards her, Aya jumps and her knee kick breaks the front window and into Policewoman’s face. I don’t know how at that position she managed to move away and let the car go off the pier. Geisha and Nurse are horrified to see what has happened and quickly dive in to save their sister. Did they survive? Well, only their headgear resurfaced. I felt this part was a little funny because they just jumped in and never came back up like as though they were meant to be ‘disposed’. Till death do us part?
 
Another car pulls up and a woman named Izumi Hayakawa claims that she is the employer of the sisters. Izumi tells Aya that she will remain in contention of Platonic Heart but Aya doesn’t want to fight anymore seeing that there’s no point in doing so as Miko is dead. But Izumi says that Miko is still very much alive and all she has to do is to win her remaining matches. Aya finds it hard to believe but Izumi says she isn’t lying and adds that her master wishes to meet her. Aya is lucky because Izumi’s master rarely make public appearances and not even employees like her get to see his face. The back seat window of the car rolls down and Aya catches a glimpse of him, which is, take a deep breath. OMG! It’s Haruki! I should’ve seen this coming. The car drives away and Aya is left even more confused. Is Haruki to real mastermind of this tournament?
 
Episode 4
Because of that, a lot has been going through Aya’s mind. At school she tells Natsume about what she has saw and wonders if she has just mistaken him for a look-alike. But she soon dismisses it because if Haruki was somehow involved in Platonic Heart, Natsume would at least have the slightest clue. Aya receives an SMS for her next semi-final battle at Akihabara. That’s right. The otaku district. In short, her next opponent is some loli cosplaying as a super idol maid, Rin Hiroishi, in a maid cafe. But facing Rin isn’t going to be easy because this is her home ground and she has several hardcore otaku geeks on her side! They are her fans and it is clear that they are being one-sided. While shouting their support and eternal love for Rin, Aya gets hostile reception. It’s like putting on a show onstage. Yeah, Rin is promoting her single album too. What are the chances of those otakus buying them. She’s even singing them onstage with her fans cheering her on! Is she serious about fighting? Maybe that’s her style.
 
Rin even goes on to mock Aya about her panty flashing ways when she gives her high kick. Because of that, Aya couldn’t concentrate much and is focusing more on protecting her modesty. Hey, her clothes got ripped so many times and I thought she would have got used to it. I guess it’s understandable that Aya doesn’t want to let those perverted sickos to see her naked. Rin continues to attack and rip Aya’s clothes with her magic wand. Uh huh. That cute thing is definitely a dangerous weapon. Aya trips and fell into a room. Rin thinks that she has won but Aya emerges in a nekomimi maid outfit and says that she just merely had a change in clothes so that she could fight better. Now this is the turning point and unbelievable part. All those otakus who saw Aya’s moe cosplaying outfit suddenly fell head over heels for her and start supporting for her! Traitors! That’s right. Poor Rin wanted them to continue supporting her but they turn hostile towards her instead. What a total u-turn! Now they’re into nekomimi outfits! They are even fighting over themselves who gets to be with Aya! Useless jerks!
 
Rin loses her focus and because of that Aya delivers a knockout blow and notches up another win. Not even lolis are spared. Izumi is watching from behind the crowd and notes how Rin’s weakness is that she relies on other people’s support for her success and because of that she doesn’t improve. The otakus swarm Aya as she spot Izumi and her MIBs taking unconscious Rin away. She tries to catch up but the crowd held her back. When she do finally got away from them, Izumi is long gone. Natsume and Aya walk back and the latter is a little embarrassed to do so because she is still wearing the outfit since her school uniform is ripped. Then they bump into Haruki and Kumi on the way. And because of his ever gentle and kind personality, Aya believes he can’t be the one behind the Platonic Heart tournament.
 
The final battle soon takes place on a highrise tower amidst the dark gloomy sky. How fitting. Aya’s opponent is some fortune teller with a crystal ball whom I shall refer as Cheongsam (because of her attire). As expected, Aya is having a torrid time because Cheongsam can predict all her moves and see into the future. Aya thinks it’s some trick like doing some research beforehand but Cheongsam says it is her crystal ball that allows her to see everything, including her heart. On an unrelated note, we viewers as usual get to see ‘everything’ off Aya. Yeah, in her usual bra and panties. Haha.
 
Episode 5
Cheongsam continues to play mind games with Aya by revealing her past and saying that she is a hypocrite. Like how she is starting to blame Natsume for not showing up to support her, fighting for her friends to seek the truth is just an excuse to cover her violent nature and such. After all that scathing verbal abuse, suddenly Cheongsam sees a green dark aura emerging from Aya and starts to feel afraid of this true evil because she can no longer read what is in her heart. The next thing Aya knows, she is on top of Cheongsam still punching her bloodied lifeless body. Then to her surprise, she sees Miko. Is she dreaming? Did her wish come true after finally winning the tournament? She follows Miko into a dark room in the tower.
 
Now this is where everything is revealed. Miko says that this room is where the losers of the tournament are taken to. Yeah, all of them from the ones Aya defeated and the rest from other battles. Everyone here has lost their sanity and are like some insane helpless miserable woman who are devoid of any normal reply. It’s like an asylum! Aya realizes that Miko is in cohorts with the organizers of this tournament. Miko further reveals that Platonic Heart is also some sort of business whereby the losers are being auctioned off and Aya is partially responsible for putting some of the girls here. To edit a superhero movie quote: With great rewards, come great risks. That’s why the women like Stewardess jumped into this tournament hoping to get medical treatment for her very ill brother (who is dead by now) and Suma looking to reunite with her lost dad.
 
Miko is interrupted with the appearance of Haruki and Izumi. Haruki wants Miko to hand over Aya but she refuses. Good news is that this is not the Haruki whom Aya knows. This fake Haruki did some facial plastic surgery to get the woman he wants. Miko pulls out a gun put Izumi grabs her by the neck. With Izumi’s strength, Miko’s neck could snap anytime. Miko showing her pitiful face pleads for Aya to save her. Aya is still in shock to do anything. However several bullet shots are fired at Izumi’s back as she falls dead to the floor. Okay, now it is the real Haruki who shows up. And no, he’s not Aya’s prince charming on a white horse to save her. This real Haruki too is an accomplice in this Platonic Heart! Woah. The twist and turns. However both Harukis aren’t on good terms so the real one shot the fake one in the forehead. Now that’s one less problem. Or is it? Nope. It just get worse. Natsume is on Haruki and Miko’s side.
 
Their reason for dragging Aya into this painful mess? For revenge. Oh yeah. I didn’t see this one coming. Now here comes the damning revelation. Miko’s mom Yumi happens to be killed by Aya’s dad, Shigeyuki, who is also the father of Miko. Step sisters, I’d say. Not only that, Yumi is also the sister of Kumi which makes Miko a cousin of Haruki and Natsume. Though to Aya her dad died 15 years ago in some accident, this abusive short tempered man was abusing Kumi when she was protecting Miko who was 4 years old then. She watched in horror how her mom died in Shigeyuki’s hands though that guy too died along with her. So you could say Miko is haunted with that thought every night and no wonder she hates Aya so much. To add salt to her physical wounds, now Aya is feeling the pain of her emotional wounds because Miko and Haruki are an item before Aya met him.
 
They further explain that Shigeyuki was the one who created this tournament 20 years ago by luring gullible women to take part. That time, Kumi and Yumi participated in the tournament in which the winner was Suzuho. The plot thickens again. However Suzuho and Shigeyuki were an accomplice and although they gave a handicapped 2-versus-1 match for the sisters against Suzuho, their ability to control the battle scene and using the sisterly bond technique which Aya used against the 3 sisters previously, Suzuho emerged victorious. While Yumi was forced to be Shigeyuki’s mistress, Kumi is muted and to be sold off to a wealthy man overseas. But Kumi escaped when this matter was made known. As Kumi told her children about her brutality through sign language and writings, Miko continued to search for Suzuho and her unknown daughter. Until fate has them meet up together and that’s when they hatched this elaborate plan. After which, they let Aya joined the tournament to experience her parent’s heartlessness and cruelty. Natsume and Miko hated every bit and moment each time they had to smile and be friendly with Aya but it was all for this goal and for this day. The phone straps that Miko gave them had a messaging and listening device.
 
They throw a gun at Aya’s feet and want her to commit suicide in front of them so that they can record this and send it to Suzuho. Aya in her state of shock and picks it up. Still wondering why she have to die, she points the gun at them and pulls the trigger. Unfortunately, the gun is empty. The trio laugh and knew this would happen and continue mocking her like she thinks she’s still the victim. It’s ironic that earlier on Miko put on some crocodile tears when she was being strangled by Izumi and now things are on her side, she’s playing the devil. Oh wait. She is one. Miko and Natsume decides to kill her with their own hands by whipping out their own loaded pistols. They fired several shots at her shoulder and thigh and enjoy watching her squirm in pain. As they contemplate how to torture Aya slowly and painfully, the building suddenly goes up in fire after several explosions. Looks like it is Suzuho. Earlier on, she intercepted the few MIBs, pour gasoline and set up several bombs in the building.
 
Suzuho gets to know of Kumi and Yumi’s offspring and admits it was her mistake on her part not to stop Aya in getting involved. Suzuho says that they are the ones who is being cruel and heartless and tells them something in which they don’t even know. She and Shigeyuki didn’t sacrifice Kumi and Yumi for pleasure, but rather because their parents (grandparents to Natsume, Haruki and Miko) killed their parents. Oh this is sure getting interesting and confusing. So I guess this tournament that Shigeyuki organized was just a huge plot to get revenge, eh? When Suzuho says how it is cruel for Kumi to use her children to get revenge, they won’t allow her to insult their mom and start attacking her. Suzuho dodges bullets better than how Neo does it in The Matrix and even breaks their neck with a single hand! At least she shows why she was the champion and perhaps those fighting skills do run in the family’s blood.
 
As the building continues to be engulfed in flames, Suzuho apologizes to Aya for not telling her the past because she wants her to live a normal life but realized they couldn’t escape from destiny. Suzuho picks up Aya’s handphone and sees the Platonic Heart message and notes how the crystal isn’t complete yet. Now the building floor starts to collapse and while the firefighters try to put out the flame, Aya still in shock over everything limps away. I don’t know if Suzuho or the others in the building survived or not. Back at Kumi’s home, she is seen repeatedly stabbing the pictures of Aya with a knife when she hears the door bell. When she opens the door, her facial expression seems to indicate she has seen the most frightening thing ever in her life. She can’t scream, remember?
 
Zutto Shouganai ~Demonic Heart~
That final scene cliff-hanger and whatever happens next is definitely left up to viewers how it would turn out. Could it be Aya who seeks revenge or is it perhaps the believed-to-be-dead Shigeyuki at her doorstep? Or could it be Kumi is shocked to see her children returning in such a ruin state? Wait a minute. They died, right? So my best bet is that is has to be Aya. Will she finish her off or will she reconcile and explain? Ah, so many possibilities. But I have to admit that the twist in the plot in the final episode left me glued to the screen and caught me offguard. I actually didn’t expect the betraying of the 3 friends even so, just Haruki alone. What about the missing piece of Platonic Heart? Is it with Kumi?
 
All this revenge thing and its elaborate setup has me thinking how humans never change and that I am reminded of the saying violence begets violence and it’s a neverending cycle. I feel pity for Aya because she is innocent and never had any ill intentions for revenge. Her search to find her lost friend is genuine and for her friends to take advantage of her friendship is just disgusting. How can they do such a heinous thing? Ah well, it’s all part of being human. It was heart wrenching to see her face when she got to know the painful truth. Perhaps she did not know of her cruel past but even if she does, will she continue with her bloodthirsty ways? She did show some enjoyment of violence during her matches and her violent self defence moves against her perpetrators during her past did cause some misunderstanding. Even so, she didn’t turn out to be a total delinquent. So is ignorance bliss?
 
One thing I noticed about the female fighters in the series is their uniform that they wear during battles. It feels like a cosplay battle. I mean, I don’t really know if they actually do wear such uniforms as it is their day job or what but even the other losers of Platonic Heart that was briefly shown are wearing some sort of outfit or uniform. Is it part of the rules of the game too? Though the fight scenes are not as good compared to other fighting genres out there, nevertheless it is still decent. Except for the clothes ripping part of course. That’s indecent. How can a single swing rip off one’s clothes without even scarring the skin? Really a wonder. It is so like Ikkitousen.
 
I also wonder how many school uniforms does Aya have seeing that each time she goes into a duel and has them ripped, and that Suzuho did mention how expensive it was, why didn’t she bring spare clothes or ragged clothes? Not enough time? Well, she could have thought about that but I guess brains isn’t her forte. The opening theme song by Little Non is Tatsumaki Wave is a rock piece befitting this action series but I find it funny during the closing lines when she sings after all that yeah yeah yeah, she lets loose a funny rock scream. Aaow!!! The ending theme is sung by Kaori Nazuka entitled Will ~Kokoro No Michishirube~ and is a slow pop tune. The final episode’s ending theme, Zero Gravity by Little Non sounds like a dramatic slow-moderate rock song which suitably reflects the suspenseful end of the show.
 
Another lesson probably subtly hinted is that the ever growing scams using SMS via handphone. There are people in this world who are still gullible to fall for such ploy even if it sounds deceptive and its source unknown. And maybe not to our knowledge, there are many underground illegal fights going on. Whether it is for money or the thrill of blood. So even if I do ever receive such SMS on Platonic Heart or prize winning announcement, I’d just delete them. That would be much safer. How the heck did they get my number anyway?
 

Zettai Shougeki ~Platonic Heart~