Top 10 Bishoujos of 2009

December 26, 2009

Hooray! It’s that moment we’ve all been waiting for (yeah, right). It’s that time that I have been waiting patiently all year long (beats me why I had to place this section as so). It’s that special final blog of the year (though it’s only Boxing Day) in which yours truly (read: loser otaku) have decided the most beautiful, gorgeous, pretty, attractive, cute, sweet, appealing, stunning, lovely, charming, adorable, moe, kawaii, daikirei girls of anime. It may not seem any special to some but I guess it has been my tradition to review the animes I have watched during the year and recall all those pleasant memories of the pretty 2D girls I have seen throughout the year (I really need to get a better hobby…).
 
Though I have watched much more animes as compared to its previous years, that does not mean that the number of bishoujos (beautiful girls) would also proportionately increase. That is why the perfect number 10 is still the maximum limit of those whom I shall consider kawaii. Not to say the rest aren’t so, but after all that headache in judging, evaluating and assessing the candidates, these are the best of the best, the creme of the crop for 2009.
 
As usual, those who made the cut are listed below in alphabetical order. However for this year, I decided to scrap the short narratives on why I decided to put them down in my list. Simply because a picture is worth a thousand words and since beauty is in the eye of beholder, no amount of words could ever describe their everlasting beauty (in 2D sense, that is). No, it’s not that I’m lazy to put it down in words, mind you. So if you are still curious to find out which anime girls managed to steal my heart during the year, don’t hold your breath any longer for here is the Top 10 Bishoujos of 2009:-
 
1) Ayame Ikaruga (Asu No Yoichi)
Ayame Ikaruga
 
2) Eineus The Vergest (Macademi Wasshoi)
Eineus the Vergest
  
3) Kei Enomoto (Hatsukoi Limited)
Kei Enomoto
 
4) Lydia Carlton (Hakushaku To Yousei)
Lydia Carlton
 
5) Mahiro Mutou (Busou Renkin)
Mahiro Mutou
 
6) Mai Tokiha (Mai-HiME)

Mai Tokiha

7) Minato Nagase (Akane-iro Ni Somaru Saka)
Minato Nagase
 
8) Mio Akiyama (K-ON!)
Mio Akiyama
 
9) Suigin Tou (Rozen Maiden)

Suigin Tou

 10) Yuzuki Mikage (Jigoku Shoujo: Mitsuganae)
Yuzuki Mikage
 
And there you have it. Another round of applause for my top 10 ladies. A million congratulations to them who have made the list. As usual, it won’t appropriate if I don’t list out the other candidates as well. They provide a tough choice and a ‘good fight’ before the final list is being made. They include (in no particular order) Mifuyu Kisaragi (Tayutama -Kiss On My Deity-), Kuon Ginga (Gokujou Seitokai), Ami Kawashima (Toradora), Yukari Sahashi (Seikirei), Yui Hinagata (Asu No Yoichi), Miu Kujou (Linebarrels Of Iron), Mary Chupacabra Whitebear (Penguin Musume Heart), Naoko Asakura (Aozora Ni Yakusoku Wo), Akie Takasugi (Jigoku Shoujo: Mitsuganae), Kanae Kotonami and Ruriko Matsunai (Skip Beat), Rika Noyamano (Air Gear), Misaki Yamamoto (Hatsukoi Limited), Hiro (Hidamari Sketch), Sora Suzuki (Mahou Tsukai Ni Taisetsu Na Koto: Natsu No Sora), Kasumi Kisaragi (Kujibiki Unbalance), Zange (Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens), Sayako Arashiyama AKA Arashi (Natsu No Arashi), Sachi Momoi (Maria+Holic), Maiko Kaji (Hataraki Man), Tobiume (Bleach), Hinagiku Katsura (Hayate No Gotoku 2nd Season – Actually her looks remained the same in the sequel. I just don’t know why I didn’t find her kawaii then during the 1st season. Sighs… Ah well, looks like she got a second chance), all the pretty side character females in Gintama as well as all the beautiful minor character ladies in Skip Beat.
 
Unless you have not been following my blog for this segment (which I doubt many people would), then you would’ve known that all these years there has been two bishoujos which seems to eternally occupy the top 10 list. That’s right. Forever established as the number 1 bishoujo in my heart of all time, she is Mai-HiME’s Mai Tokiha!!! Wohoo!!! And coming in second place is of course Rozen Maiden’s Suigin Tou! So here are pictures of them below to celebrate their constant ‘victory’!
 

Mai Tokiha 58

Suigin Tou 16

 
Until next year comes around again, I guess it is worth the wait to see what the exciting new year will bring. How many more bishoujos will make their appearance for me to discover? Hmm… Do I sound a little like a pervert? Well, at least I know I’m a hetero… That’s beside the point. I feel such bishoujos are partly a ‘motivation’ for me to watch an anime series even if the storyline sucks. Always a sucker for a (2D) pretty face. But even if a series has a bevy of babes, that still doesn’t mean I should hop on and watch them (usually this reasoning fails most of the time). Until then, LONG LIVE BISHOUJOS OF ANIME!!!

Bakuretsu Tenshi Soundtrack

December 24, 2009

Hot kick ass babes in tight outfits and on fire. Blasting away wave of adversaries as they come by. At least that is how I remembered Bakuretsu Tenshi or also known as its English equivalent, Burst Angel. But I’m not here to blog about the series again. Instead, I’ll shortly blog about the background music and soundtrack album of this series. I’m not sure if the music stands out or not but there are some pieces that grabbed my attention.
 
Basically the soundtrack album is divided into 2 CDs considering the numerous tracks on it. I guess you can’t cramp it all into 1 CD without trading-off the quality. Plus, I think having a double-sided CD gives a greater impression that you are going to get your money’s worth rather than buying a single CD. I think. The first CD contains 21 songs while the second CD has 25 more tracks. If you do the math, this brings the total to 46 tunes. All the instrumental tracks are composed by Masara Nishida and as always, listed below are my favourite ones in alphabetical order:
 
1) Jou No Theme Part 1
2) Jou No Theme Part 2
3) Ryoute Ni Juu
4) Shinjitsu No Kao
 
Erm… Seriously? Am I serious about this track? Just 4 songs as my utmost favourite? Don’t want to argue with that. It’s hard to choose which among the four songs I like best as I have said they are my favourites. So let me start off with Jou No Theme Part 1 first. In my opinion, this is quite a lively and action piece which I feel is the main theme of the series. Or at least when our heroine Jo goes into shooting action. It combines a good mix of strings and acoustic Latin guitar picking. The tempo is moderately paced and though the bridge slows and quiets down a little, that is just for the dramatic build-up before the explosive finale. Gets you into the action mood. Always.
 
Jou No Theme Part 2 feels like one of those Mexican stand-off. I mean, those you would usually see in cowboy movies. This is mainly a slow-moderate tune as it starts off with easy guitar pickings before those trumpets gradually take over. As far as I remember, this song is usually played for the next episode preview, albeit that is a shorter version. Another exciting and fast piece is Ryoute Ni Juu. This track definitely is suitable for Jo as well. With its faced action pace of the song, you can feel that no doubt this is another one of those action themes. With its trademark Latin guitar play, heavy bass lines and catchy background percussions (are those sounds of hand claps I hear at certain points?). I tried to emulate those guitar parts but up till today I still couldn’t match them :'(. Shinjitsu No Kao feels like a techno and pop version of those Gregorian monastery hymns. You will know what I mean when you hear those monk-like voices in the background which occupies a big majority of this song. After a while, those voices may sound a little monotonous and the track repetitious but it is still nice overall as it is not that heavy.
 
Other tracks on the first CD include Dennou Toshi (a little funky bass lines and screeching electric guitars anyone?), Hakai Kousaku (feels like an enigmatic-cum-eerie piece the way the harpsichord is played. What’s with the strange bass play anyway?), Kyuukutsu No Taion (another eerie-sounding piece using the high pitched end of the piano. I’m not sure what is that glaring noise in the background but that’s what make it creepy), Toshi Densetsu (a very slow piece with a hint of sadness and forlorn), Kurutta Kajutsu (though it starts off weirdly with weird noises, eventually it turns into a heavy rock piece), Sasayaki To Tomo Ni (a slow song using chimes and low strings), Asu Ni Mukatte Hashire (a fast paced funky piece), Tsuiseki No Theme (another heavy rock piece – feels like I’m in a rock concert because of the crazy electric guitar and fast bass lines), Kanzai Bakusou Rengou (an electric guitar driven action piece), Kowareta Tokei (heavy bass riffs take the lead here with drum beats as its accompaniment), Yureru Tsuki (a slow and calming piano piece doing a duo with the bass), Itsuka Yasashii Ame (feels like one of those slow sad songs in the rain using the harmonica), Onmitsu Koudou (a jazzy tune befitting its title – for covert operations, that is), Modashite Gorazu (a slow and light rock piece with the electrical guitar as its lead and then the funky electrical organ for the bridge)
 
On the second CD, the tracks include Jango Shutsudou No Theme (a trumpet blazing and electric guitar screaming version of Jou No Theme Part 2 – feels like when Jo’s mecha Jango is called into action), Akatsuki No Theme (feels like a dramatic-cum-suspense song of being pursued), Shinrai No Theme (a lively techno-cum-dance song that incorporates the flute I must say), Nichijou No Theme (a lively pop song using the harmonica as its lead and guitars as its accompaniment), Kakeru Koma No Joku (a dramatic theme played when danger is lurking for the heroines), Giniro No Himitsu (a creepy song like as though something ominous is about to happen – employs piano and cosmic sound effects), Nishi Kara No Chinkyaku (feels like an African tribal song and though the music here keeps a low profile, it is enough to give off an intimidating effect), Kagami No Jibun (the whole song keeps you in suspense because of the way the soft music, guitar pickings and eerie strings is played), Nanyou Fukago No Kodou (a heavily timpani or kettle drum driven song to give an intimidating effect), Hakuchuu Yume (another ‘frightening’ piece, I must say) and Gogo No Hanazono (a soothing and slow piece using what sounds like an accordion – makes you feel like wanting to stroll through a flower garden).
 
Then there is also Sentou Taisei (this fast rock music feels like a video game song maybe because the instrument they used reminded me like those MIDIs used for games), Himitsu Jikken (another enigmatic-cum-eerie feel – like one of those uncertain lab experiments), Hangeki Kaishi (just like its name suggests, a heavy rock music signalling the start of an attack), Yuuhi No Gun Human (a slower and acoustic guitar variation of Jou No Theme Part 2), Fuunmei Na Sora (I don’t know whether I should classify this song to be funny or scary. Or both), Juu No Ashiato (feels like one of those olden spy movie songs but with heavy electric guitar towards the end), Shinkirou (sounds with a little suspense – like a mirage), Hakuran No Utage (very Chinese and oriental-like – like a song for the New Year?), Dennou Saimin (slow piano play with the flute and strings in the background), Kibou No Theme (another variation of Jou No Theme Part 2 but the orchestra music makes it sound very grand) and Shiroi Ame (another creepy piece – note the ‘skeletal-like’ percussions in the background)
 
Of course both the albums also have the TV versions of the opening and ending themes of the series. Also a vocal piece from the second CD entitled Hitoshizuku. Sounds like your typical slow pop. Aside from the soundtrack album, there are 4 image albums, each dedicated as image songs to each of the heroines in the series. Not so crazy about them so I didn’t really went and listen. So to sum things up, most of the background music in the soundtrack albums are either rock music or just plain weird or eerie. I suppose it is to fit with the different scenarios in the series. Probably a reason why I didn’t find it appealing when I first heard it. Even if I have listened to it recently, they still don’t really appeal to me except the favourite quartet that I have mentioned earlier on. These are enough for me to remember the nostalgic days when I was watching the series. Now I’m on fire…
 

Bakuretsu Tenshi

Genshiken

December 19, 2009

If you want to have an idea of the life of doujin otakus, then I suppose Genshiken would be a good example. I’m not saying that this is how every otaku in Japan live out their lives, but this series gives us a glimpse of the challenges they face and the things they do. As we all know that anime and manga is currently a booming trend worldwide and is considered one of Japan’s most successful exports. If not, the number one all time thriving exports.
 
This series focuses on a group of university students who share the same passion and hobby which is no other than you know what. In a way, the characters here in terms of age are a little older as compared to most animes that I have seen who are usually around middle or high school. Thus in Shiiou University, there is a club called Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyuukai which literally means "The Society For The Study Of Modern Visual Culture", or Genshiken for short. As far as I am concern, this club with little members seek to bridge the connection between anime, manga and game.
 
While watching this series, there are some cultural and otaku references and terms here albeit not as heavy as parodied series like Gintama, so if you are a blur case like me, you won’t get to understand them. Even if the fansubbers did a good job in prompting some of the lines, for me it was just the knowledge of being exposed to it. I’m not that hardcore by the way. Also, due to copyright reasons, some of the famous animes of course have been ‘renamed’. Want to know what Code Geass, Slam Dunk or Gundam is in this series? Watch to find out.
 
When I first watched the first episode, I thought I was watching the wrong series and was taken surprise with the prologue and different opening credits and animation. Yeah, I thought I was watching Kujibiki Unbalance! I later found out that this an anime series made for this series itself and in the story, Kujian (that’s what it is famously known as in short form) is quite a popular series. Remember just like Densha Otoko and Getsumen To Heiki Miina? Due to the popularity of the former, it was enough to create a spin-off series for the latter. In which in this case is also true. But we’ll save that story for another day. Over the series, you can see clips of Kujian being played on the TV screen in the Genshiken club and the members discussing on it.
 
So back to the story proper, our main protagonist, Kaniji Sasahara, is a shy freshmen and is coming to terms with his inner otaku. He follows some note in his book which leads to the Genshiken club. But he is having a hard time due to his shy nature but eventually manages to pluck up his courage and ask for information. Elsewhere, another freshie, Saki Kasukabe, is telling off some guy who is trying to hit on her but seems to be attracted at first sight to another guy. Soon she realizes that this guy, Makoto Kousaka, is her childhood friend and you know, she is interested in being his girlfriend. Finally as Sasahara is outside the doorstep of the Genshiken club (such a gloomy and dilapidated place. And I’m talking about the whole university’s corridors!), Kousaka approaches him and wonders if he’s a member but his reply is that he’s just checking out. Upon entering, we see the other Genshiken members but they seem to ignore Sasahara, letting him do what he wants while they carry on their own thing. Soon, one by one each one leaves the room and Sasahara is left all alone. As they say curiosity kills the cat, Sasahara checks out the shelves and cabinet filled with erotic stuff. I guess any guy would ‘enjoy’ such stimulants. Then everyone else comes back and that is when Sasahara realized that this is all a setup. Yup, caught red handed in the act reading porn! So one of the guys asks him if he would consider joining when Saki comes in. Sasahara thinks she is one of them but she punches him in the face! WOAH! She is pissed that he groups her with the rest of the otakus when she herself hates such creatures!
 
I guess it is natural that after experiencing such events, Sasahara is still in a dilemma whether to join or not. So he and Kousaka had a chat and the latter thinks he fits in nicely. Kousaka also mentions that Saki isn’t really her girlfriend but someone who likes to hang around him a lot. Get a hint, pal. So Kousaka invites Sasahara to play some video games back at his home and soon the other Genshiken guys drop by and join the fun. Then Kousaka receives a call from Saki wanting to come over. Sasahara realizes that Saki wants to spend time alone with Kousaka so he and the other Genshiken guys leave as he tells Saki to come over. Saki does and the good news is that she has Kousaka all to herself. The bad news: He is more interested in playing his video games. Bummer.
 
How is that for a start? So let me introduce the Genshiken members. First, we have the mysterious president of Genshiken whom I shall only refer as Kaichou. He has that enigmatic and stealthy presence and perhaps because of his weird face, I have an impression he is an alien. Maybe I watch too much animes. Then there is the bespectacled and skinny Harunobu Madarame, the most hardcore otaku among them all and I think there is potential for him to be the ‘interesting’ one of the pack. Not forgetting the huge sized and stammering Mitsunori Kugayama and the cosplay designer and plastic models expert, Souichirou Tanaka. Now the most amusing one is of course Saki. Considering how she hates otakus, she always seems to hang out at Genshiken, claiming to wait for her so called boyfriend. Furthermore, she sometimes helps out the club while hiding it behind some excuse though I feel she genuinely isn’t interested in the club. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Her boyfriend is totally one and I always wonder why she doesn’t leave him after all the attempts to get his attention. I mean, Kousaka is pretty much a dense guy in a way that he doesn’t understand Saki’s feelings for him. But you can’t hate that guy because he is honest and is always polite and smiling. Hmm… Maybe that’s why Saki liked him. And I hope she’d realize it will be futile to try and change and otaku. Wanna prove that love is greater and that appearance doesn’t count? Yeah, unless you can tolerate all the frustration and otaku terms and jargons…
 
In episode 2, the Genshiken members (Madarame, Tanaka and Kugayama) take Sasahara to Akihabara to let him experience his first taste of the world of doujinshi. So in the doujin bookstore, with the wide variety, it’s understandable that it’s hard to choose which one. Well, everything would be perfect but since you have a limited budget… As for Saki, that girl is yet in another attempt to get closer to Kousaka by going out shopping with him. He’s still an otaku at the end of the day… Later Saki tells the other members how she found eroge in Kousaka’s room and doesn’t like a bit of it. So the other members give their reasons why it is acceptable in the world of anime. The truth is always horrifying, Saki. Then when they learn how Saki and Kousaka are childhood friends, they get amazed and start to fantasize how attractive Saki is since she is a living example of a real life anime reference of childhood friends.
 
If you want to know how scary the sea of people lining up just to enter the ComiFes (the world’s largest self publication comic fair), you can have an idea in episode 3. The Genshiken members are waiting in line in the crowded place when Madarame’s hyper activeness causes him to slip and injure his hand. He tries to act tough like as though nothing happened because I think he would rather die rather than miss out on the fair after coming all the way here. Too bad he is no Superman. Though he tolerates the pain, eventually he gives in and has to be wheeled to hospital. Don’t worry, the guys will back you up and buy your share. Sasahara continues with his buying spree and possibly that experience visit to the doujin shop helped. During his spree, he meets Haraguchi, a member of Shiiou University’s Manga Club. Now this Haraguchi guy is one character everyone loves to hate. He is self imposing, obnoxious and his smooth talking seems to hint a form of intimidation into submission. Haraguchi is trying to persuade Sasahara into joining his club but since he is badmouthing the Genshiken members, Sasahara politely refuses and that he is fine with Genshiken. So in the end, Sasahara thinks that he may fit in after all.
 
Tanaka suggests Kousaka and Saki to cosplay in episode 4 but as usual Saki refuses. Don’t want to be embarrassed, eh? Yeah, she’s frequenting the place so often that I guess it’s natural for the rest to assume she’s a member. Just then, a girl with long black hair and busty proportions, Kanako Oono, comes in interested to join the club. She just returned from USA. It can’t be more bad timing for Saki because she can’t believe a girl who enjoys cosplaying and Oono loves doing them, making Tanaka happy. She agrees to cosplay for the club for the upcoming cultural festival. However, Saki doesn’t mind taking measurements for Oono. Saki arrives at Oono’s place and finds out she likes bald men! To each her own… Though Oono is embarrassed, Saki pretends that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Soon Tanaka is taking photos of Oono cosplaying as Guilty Gear X’s Cloudberry Jam while Saki gets a call from her ex-boyfriend who wants to patch things up. When they meet up, Saki tells him that she isn’t interested in him and thankfully that guy understands. Then Madarame puts a nekomimi on Saki and though the crowd finds her cute (including Kousaka), upset Saki starts chasing him. But the turning point is when she bumps into her ex-boyfriend since he is looking around the festival. Yeah, imagine what he would think since he thought she hated otakus. Uh huh. Saki goes berserk. Unleash your violent fury! You guys are so dead.
 
The Genshiken club is threatened to be closed down in episode 5 because they have not been active in holding activities. Well, what do you expect? Bumming around all day long in the room. Saki is happy because the closure of this club means Kousaka will no longer have to come here. However Haraguchi comes in and implies of having Kousaka join his club so this pisses off Saki a lot as she takes Oono to go see the student council. The vice president, Yurie Kitagawa, explains the misuse of the club and due to the lack of space in the university with the mushrooming of other clubs. You can tell Saki and Kitagawa aren’t going to get on good terms. Smell a cat fight. Meow! Saki isn’t going to give up so when she learns from Kaichou how Kitagawa got athlete’s foot, she goes to the student council office and blackmails her with this information. However it ended up like some love story because it seems Kitagawa and the student council president ended up confessing their love together and he doesn’t care about her athlete’s foot. Yeah, Saki seems to have unwittingly helped in bringing the couple together. In the end, Genshiken club is saved and because Kaichou subtly hint about Saki’s passionate encounter with Kousaka (now her turn to get blackmailed!), Saki suddenly announces that she is joining Genshiken, surprising everyone else. Surprise, surprise. It is odd to see how Saki personally went to fight for the continued existence of Genshiken while the other members were like bumming around doing nothing till the last minute when everything is cleared up.
 
Saki tries to be more attractive to Kousaka so as to get his attention away from video games in episode 6. After he hugs her, her happiness turns to despair when he says there’s an anime he NEEDS to watch. Bummer. Looks like he doesn’t need you. So she gets advice from Madarame and he suggests playing a game and start it off with a Tetris-like game. So that night when Saki challenges Kousaka to a duel, she lost so badly that she cried alone underneath the blanket and vowed never to touch a game ever! Pitiful. Did I mention that Kousaka is a game expert? Don’t mess with him even if he looks calm all the way. Later Sasahara gets a call from his sister Keiko to meet up and the guys are all abuzz but he says that his sister isn’t what they think. Indeed he is right. The gang trails Sasahara to the train station. We see Keiko not only a fashion disaster (too much make-up!) but her attitude stinks. The siblings are so contrasting in character. Keiko is demanding some money from Sasahara. Then Kousaka passes by and Keiko thinks of hitting on him! Not when Saki is around. Yeah, Kousaka displays a large poster of some eroge character because Keiko wanted to see it. Saki, oh Saki… To add salt to injury, that night as Saki and Kousaka are to get intimate, Saki sees that poster right on the ceiling above his bed. Ouch…
 
Kaichou thinks of graduating and hands over his position of the club to Madarame in episode 7. Finally getting serious, eh? Also, the Genshiken club is receiving 2 potential new members. They are the beardy Sawazaki and a noisy joker Manabu Kuchiki. Of course Saki doesn’t like them and tries to discourage them from joining by setting lots of condition for those losers. This includes trying to scare them off. Hey wait a minute. If she wants this club to close down by dwindling its members, what the heck she was doing several episodes ago trying to save it? Some may call it hypocrisy… Anyway even if they aren’t members yet, the rest holds a welcoming party for them at a restaurant. There, we see Oono getting drunk and all over Saki, Sawazaki trying to hit on Saki but the latter knows and isn’t interested while Kuchiki, erm, let’s just say he’s just eating and being too noisy. Can somebody shut this guy up! Since Sawazaki is still trying, Saki suggests playing a game with Kousaka and if he wins, she’ll kiss him or else he will have to leave. This guy doesn’t know the trouble he is getting into. Saki is such a sly girl. Kousaka beats Sawazaki flat. The next day at university, I guess the 2 new recruits didn’t materialize because when Sawazaki saw Saki and Kousaka together, he remembers the embarrassing moment of loss and walks away. On the other hand, when Kuchiki sees them, he remembers the time he embarrassed himself at the restaurant toilet singing some song. He walks away too. Yeah, Saki, your plan seems to be working even if it wasn’t your doing.
 
In episode 8, Tanaka is teaching Sasahara and Oono the finer points in assembling the plastic models. Saki doesn’t know what the hype is all about and couldn’t care less. Everyone is worried on the way she is handling it and true enough, she accidentally drops and breaks one of Tanaka’s models. Everybody safeguard your models! Don’t let her touch them! Soon Kitagawa tells them that she has received complaints from other clubs because they are using thinners to paint their models. So they go paint them outside in which Kitagawa isn’t pleased too. Expect another Saki-Kitagawa spat. Oono and Sasahara complete their models and Saki request to have a look at Oono’s. The guys are reluctant but Oono allows. Their fears come true when Saki once again breaks a part of the model. Though she feels sorry and promises to buy another set, but it isn’t the money, but the time and effort put in. Something non-otakus would understand. Saki then promise to do anything to make it up to her. Anything she says? Yeah, Oono wants Saki to cosplay but she refuses. Ah, she was hoping something non-otaku, eh?
 
Episode 9 feels like a solo play between Madarame and Saki. Madarame comes into the club room only to find Saki alone. While Saki is quietly and calming reading, it is Madarame’s wild imagination that is going through his otaku head. Yeah, dating game simulations and scenarios, anyone? If real life was as easy as choosing the options onscreen, eh? Madarame’s paranoia has him trying to talk to Saki but was unsuccessful. He then spots a nose hair sticking out and his mind goes wild again, trying to think of ways to tell it to her. Finally he is going to pull it out and have her thank him via his refreshing handsome face (note, this is his imagination) but in reality Saki who is engrossed reading the manga saw a perverted monster face coming right at her instead. Naturally she gets freaked out and punches him away. Saki realizes what she has done and apologizes. Though his face is swollen, Madarame says it doesn’t hurt and manages to tell her about her nose hair. Maybe he should’ve played it cool and told her straight from the start.
 
The Genshiken members go to the beach in episode 10. Oh no. Keiko tags along too. She isn’t giving up on Kousaka yet. Uh huh. Saki is going to have a tough time distancing her while Kousaka is as dense as ever. Is he that blur, doesn’t mind or doesn’t care? As for the other guys, they are just sitting under the parasol discussing anime. Isn’t that no different than in the club room? Eventually they all get out from the shade and have a taste of real mother nature. As busy Saki is trying to prevent Keiko from getting close to Kousaka, she ends up helping her when Keiko bumps into her harassing ex-boyfriend. Later Keiko gets an idea on how to attract Kousaka so she forces Sasahara to help her be a hardcore otaku. You know, you can’t actually turn hardcore overnight. This includes following the guys to ComiFes. Yeah, Saki has to tag along just to be sure Kousaka don’t fall into her trap. The girls experience the hell in which all otaku considers to be normal. In the end, they’re both exhausted and realize that they are not each other’s enemy but anime. Saki relates her experience of dating an otaku and even says how the key to their relationship is letting the otaku do their hobby from time to time. Look who’s talking. She sure can put up with all that. So Keiko, are you willing to go the distance?
 
Saki flex her authoritative muscle in episode 11 by ordering the Genshiken members to clean up their messy club room by throwing away all those useless stuff. I can’t believe they listen to her even if they are reluctant. After putting all the boxes at the storage area, Saki has thoughts of burning them as she lights her lighter. Must be her inner hate. But even if she doesn’t eventually, when she realizes, the whole area is on fire! Everyone tries to put out the fire. Saki sees a nearby pail, takes it and splashes it towards the spreading fire. I don’t know why but Oono is standing right there and takes the splash. I wonder what weird liquid was in that pail… Though the fire is put out (Kitagawa called the fire department!), the student council bans the club from using their room until further notice. Saki feels sorry as Oono starts to feel sick. Oono will forgive her on 1 condition. Saki must cosplay in her place. Oh the horror. She tries to give excuses but since everyone is putting the blame on her, she has no choice but to agree. On the day of the event, Saki cosplays as Ritsuko from Kujian and astounds the spectators. To Saki’s horror, she sees Kitagawa among the crowd and she is laughing! It must seem like an eternity for Saki on stage. Saki then spots a pervert secretly recording up the girls’ skirt on stage. She goes down, slaps him and reveals his unholy intention. Everyone’s applause surprises Saki. Finally as Saki is giving statements to the police officer, he seems to take a liking for her outfit, in which she is still in. Kitagawa still giggling…
 
In episode 12, Saki continues to feel guilty for what has happened to Genshiken. Shouldn’t she be happy? I guess it made her look like the baddie in this case. However Madarame’s careless blame statement has gone too far so much so Saki actually cries! No crocodile tears. Kousaka apologizes and comforts her while Madarame reflects on his actions. Having been banned for 10 weeks, the Genshiken members have to undergo various community services as punishment. However, this coincides with their winter ComiFes. So the only person who is free is Saki. If she wasn’t feeling this guilty, she wouldn’t have run this errand as she musters up her courage to buy doujin stuff for the guys. Call it a blessing in disguise? When they get to use their club room again, Madarame decides to hand over his presidency to Sasahara since he is the most normal otaku of them all. Plus, Madarame intends of going on a job hunt. Can’t stay like this forever, eh? Still, an otaku has to be realistic. Sasahara is reluctant at first but accepts since the others support him. So as his first order as president, he wishes for the club to participate in the next ComiFes.
 
However this isn’t the end yet and though the next 3 episodes are OVA episodes, they are continuation from the first season. Episode 13 (OVA 1) has Genshiken getting 2 new members. Remember that Kuchiki guy? Yup, he’s back and officially joins them. Since he is still his noisy self, notice how he is always at the receiving end of Saki’s punch. Or rather, she likes taking it out on him. The other member would be Chika Ogiue. The gang first spot her when she jumps down from the 2nd floor of the Manga Club! Don’t worry, she survived. A Manga Club member, Takayanagi introduces Ogiue to Genshiken and tells how she and the other girls in the club didn’t get along and wonders if Genshiken would accept her (like shifting their problem to another club, eh?). Now, Ogiue is another amusing character. She claims to hate otakus, especially female otakus. Yup, she and Oono won’t get along. And you thought having Saki was bad enough. Note her horizontally standing side burns too. It isn’t long before she drives everyone up the wall. Oono devices a plan with the other guys to find out Ogiue’s true character. They are spying from opposite the building as Ogiue enters the club room alone. Another thing about Ogiue is that she is secretly a yaoi doujinshi! And she says she can’t see why girls love homo! The hypocrisy! Being embarrassed is another thing but to this extend? Ogiue is going to read a yaoi doujin when Saki comes in. This ruins Oono’s plan to find out what it is. Saki notices Ogiue’s yaoi doujin but the latter gives excuses. Then Ogiue’s fetish to yaoi has been exposed so she tries to give excuse that she was exposed to it from her friend since 5 years old. Then Oono comes in and the whole atmosphere turns cold. Ogiue doesn’t want Oono to learn about her yaoi fetish but Oono isn’t that dumb. As the ‘war’ escalates, Kuchiki comes in to show the girls that he has a picture of Ogiue lining up at a yaoi doujin line. In her embarrassment, Ogiue tries to jump out the window once more but luckily Saki restrains her.
 
I notice that Kaichou won’t be making anymore appearance. Graduated for good, eh? So in episode 14 (OVA 2), Saki is seen ‘advising’ Ogiue on her fashion sense. Later Saki notices Madarame’s square-shaped glasses and laughs out loud. Though he felt he wanted a little change, he wonders if it’s good. So this episode is basically Madarame in a dilemma shopping for clothes and whether he should change his outlook appearance or not. Not to mention the price tag too. Yeah, that guy even gets some tips from Saki while dining at a sushi restaurant. So when Madarame enters the club room with the clothes he recently bought and to his surprise, Saki gives the green light. However, Ogiue comes in and surprises everyone with a weird fashion combo. And Saki isn’t amused…
 
Episode 15 (OVA 3) has Oono doing a cosplay shoot for the university festival. Of course Ogiue isn’t fond of it and dismissed the idea, upsetting Oono. Tension… Plus, Oono isn’t pleased to find Tanaka has been making cosplay outfits for other people. Ogiue perhaps? Well, those outfits don’t fit Oono’s size. But she forgives him. Then minutes before the shoot, cheeky Saki plans to get Ogiue to cosplay and smooth talks hesitant Ogiue into doing so. Better to take it out on someone else, eh? Yeah, Saki is like I’m not trying to make you cosplay but merely to put it in front of you so that I could see how you look like in the mirror. Oono realizes what Saki is doing and strongly advices not to force someone to cosplay. Well, Saki was forced into it last time, right? Eventually Ogiue has to because if she doesn’t strip Saki will… Meanwhile the guys are discussing how Ogiue and Oono don’t get along with each other and even bet among each other if Ogiue will cosplay or not. Kousaka and Tanaka bet she will while the rest against. Then it is time for Oono’s shoot so Saki and Ogiue come out and the latter is back in her usual clothes. The guys are surprised to learn from Saki that Ogiue cosplayed as Renko from Kujian. Ogiue gets embarrassed when she learns about the bet. In the end, Saki mentions that her intention was to bridge the gap between Oono and Ogiue and perhaps one day Ogiue might cosplay in front of the guys.
 
The otaku lives on as there is a second season called Genshiken 2 with a further 12 episodes. Long live otaku! So in episode 1, Sasahara learns that his club has been successfully admitted to participate in the upcoming ComiFes. Looks like they are going for a hentai doujinshi of Kujian. Kugayama and Ogiue will be the artist since both can draw while Oono plans to cosplay to help draw in sales. Sasahara also consults Takayanagi on printing matters. However, Haraguchi learns of Genshiken’s participation and makes his entrance to the club by offering his help. I thought this guy has graduated? Anyway, he insists on suggestions of how things should be done and even if Sasahara refuses them, he already moved his hand by calling several famous doujinshi artists to help out. He even ridicules them about their plan (something about masturbating which isn’t as good as real sex – Go lose your virginity for real? WTF?!). Finally Sasahara tells him off that they just want to do this at their own pace and not for the money. Sasahara also requests the numbers of the artists so that he could contact them and call off their help. Haraguchi then leaves and everyone is relieved. Good grief. After Sasahara obtains the numbers from Haraguchi, to his surprise, he learns that the artists hate Haraguchi as well. No one is. Yeah, he was like using Genshiken for his own selfish means.
 
However Sasahara is facing a crisis in episode 2. Looks like he and Kugayama are in a feud. It all happened when Kugayama gave excuses which delayed the completion of their work. Even if Sasahara volunteers to do the other job like editing and such, Kugayama just had some reason. Plus, Kugayama is the only one who has access to scanner and Photoshop facilities. Ogiue suggests helping out but Sasahara thinks she has done her part. And the deadline is looming. Seeing that the deadlock is not going anywhere and that Ogiue suddenly cries, Saki puts down her foot and instructs Sasahara, Kugayama and Ogiue to do the job. No buts. No sleep either. Would you want to go against her? Miraculously, they get to complete the job and send it for print. See, it isn’t so hard, isn’t it? I know, the first step is always the hardest. Hmm… What is this? Sasahara taking a little liking for Ogiue?
 
Genshiken’s first ComiFes participation starts in episode 3. So with the others manning their booth, Kuchiki will do the errands buying the other doujin work. Sasahara meets Takayanagi at the fair and true enough, Haraguchi is also here. Looks like he cheated his way in. He takes a look at Sasahara’s work then gives it back, not wanting to take one even if Sasahara offers him for free. That guy has to be insulting right till the very end. Later Kousaka cross-dresses as a female Kujian character and with Oono cosplaying too, this helps in attracting more sales! Soon Sasahara is free on his shift and goes round and meets other artists that were set up by Haraguchi. Though he apologizes, they aren’t too concern about it as they exchange their doujin work. As the Genshiken club’s copies are successfully sold out (Sasahara and Kugayama also reconciled), Saki finally arrives and is horrified to see Kousaka cross-dressing. And she thought she has tolerated all his worse sides. Kuchiki comes back from the buying spree and in bad timing, Saki takes out on him. At the end of the day, Madarame wonders if Sasahara plans to do this again the next round but I guess he’s tired for a first timer and decides to pass this one out. So everyone celebrates their success at a restaurant in well, that was enough to wipe out all their profits made.
 
Oono and Tanaka are spending quite some time together so why aren’t they like a couple? Well, episode 4, the other Genshiken members wonder about their relationship. Loudmouth Kuchiki asks them straight, which earns him a good punch in the stomach courtesy from Saki. Later Saki finds out from Oono that they are a couple, just that she is sad that Tanaka isn’t making any first moves. Likewise, Tanaka is talking to Kugayama about the same case but to Kugayama, he sees her as another otaku. One night, Oono drops by Tanaka’s place and requests to place some eroge with him. Which guy would boldly play an eroge with a girl? Unless you’re Kousaka. Of course Tanaka feels uneasy. Even if the game will take the whole night, Oono still wants him to show her. Finally Tanaka can’t stand it anymore so he confesses that he likes her. But he has low self confidence and feels that cosplay is the only thing he could offer her. However Oono disagrees because without that, she wouldn’t have confidence. She promises to go out with him if he stops making cosplay outfits for others. Still hesitant, Oono then decides to give him a little encouragement as she turns off the lights and woah! What a passionate kiss that was! I want that kind of encouragement too! Oono even mentions that she is willing to have cosplay sex with him if he desires! Well, she can’t do it in other cosplay costumes because she believes in not disgracing the character. Next day, Oono surprises everyone as she cosplays as an eroge character. Then Kuchiki comes in cross-dressing as the same eroge character and he starts panicking when he sees Oono. I don’t know whether to laugh or feel disgusted.
 
Episode 5 is the gayest, most homo, most yaoi episode of them all! It all began when Ogiue enters the club room and sees Sasahara pulling Madarame’s tie (the latter was on a job hunt, the reason for suiting up). That’s when she starts to misinterpret and fantasize a yaoi relationship between the duo. Hey, everyone looks so mature and good looking! Let your mind run wild, girl! She even goes on fantasizing a harem for Madarame which includes Kuchiki and Kugayama but concludes it definitely has to be Sasahara. Then she gets another wild idea after seeing Oono-Tanaka pair. Something about Sasahara disheartened to see Madarame in bed with Tanaka whom he thought is a hetero. Uh huh. Something about Oono was ‘blind’ not to realize his true type of love. Then depressed Sasahara is seen in bed with Kousaka but the latter leaves him and has a passionate kiss with Saki (looking very good in a cheongsam) because he feels he isn’t the man he used to be. While Ogiue continues to sketch, Saki catches her and tries to cover up. So Saki misinterprets that she likes Sasahara. The final yaoi fantasy moment came when Madarame saves dejected Sasahara from an oncoming vehicle. Realizing that they are fated to be with each other, they proceed to have some S&M sex with Sasahara being the dominant one! Holy sh*t! Sasa x Mada sex! This girl is dangerous! Lastly when Ogiue tries to clear up Saki’s misunderstanding by showing her yaoi sketch, Saki misinterprets and thinks she likes them both and can’t decide on which. Bummer. Then she shows her sketch to Oono and she completely understands her yaoi work but Ogiue notes their totally different taste on the matter. It was really a surprise to me that Ogiue is capable of such fantasies. Yeah, I was laughing all the way rather than disgusted since I’m not a yaoi fan.
 
The Genshiken members are discussing their plans for the winter ComiFes in episode 6 but Ogiue says she won’t attend it at all. Is she? Not surprisingly, Ogiue disguises herself to attend the ComiFes and hopes she won’t bump into the Genshiken members. However the other girl members of Manga Club recognize her from afar and wonder what she is doing here. Thing is, Ogiue ends up buying all the doujin work before they could because it’s a sell out. Finally Ogiue happens to chance upon the Genshiken members. She could’ve left but I guess she was interested in hearing the guy’s opinions on her. Yup. They’re all talking about her from dating simulations to ultimate hentai sex. Hah! If Ogiue can fantasize, so can the guys. But that is normal for males, right? Then Sasahara sees and thinks he recognizes Ogiue. She starts to panic and runs away but bumps into Oono. The embarrassing thing isn’t her busted identity, but her doujin purchases all sprawled across the floor. What to do? Run away lah! She is so busted. So back at the club room, Ogiue nervously hands in her application for summer ComiFes. Might as well.
 
Graduation looms for Madarame, Kugayama and Tanaka in episode 7. Oono is sad because since she is a transfer student from USA, she won’t have enough credit points to credit until 2 years later. That means, everyone else will be gone by that time. She cries as Saki comforts her and promises she will cosplay for her on her graduation day (serious?!). At the graduation ceremony, Saki finds Kitagawa graduating and that she is marrying the student council president soon after. Like a fairytale come true, eh? What about her athlete’s foot? Well, that wicked laughter could mean it’s totally gone and Saki feels she has been defeated. Meanwhile the other Genshiken members gather for a group photo when Takayanagi comes by to tell them how Haraguchi is in hiding after running into problems for selling unauthorized scripts. Serves him right. At the end as everyone walks back, Sasahara decides to pass his presidency to Oono. It’s becoming a trend for Genshiken, eh? Oono is reluctant at first but when Saki suggests she could turn the club into a cosplay research club, Oono is all for it. Note that sparkle in her eyes… Uh oh. She attempts to get Saki to cosplay but was instantly shot down. Now she turns to Ogiue. Better flee, girl. Then the gang are having a farewell celebration at the restaurant and this time, Tanaka himself accidentally breaks his eroge plastic model. Yeah, Oono feels happy. Madarame also says how he has found a job located just 10 minutes walk from the university. A reason for him to visit the club on and off. As everyone parts and say goodbye, Madarame, Kugayama and Tanaka have now officially graduated.
 
While Ogiue learns she is accepted for the ComiFes in episode 8, Oono is holding a recruitment drive for her club as she cosplays and displays several of the outfits at the corridor. Even if Oono and Ogiue still aren’t getting along well, they both have a common person whom they just can’t stand: Kuchiki. Yeah, that annoying guy is driving away potential club members with his irritating attitude so much so Oono has to chase him away. Ogiue won’t even allow him to lend her a hand in handing out posters. Kuchiki goes back to the club room and when Saki comes in, she advices him to act normal after asking of his weird personality (he says he can’t control it?). Kuchiki goes back out and takes over Sasahara’s duty to watch their booth. Kuchiki then notices a guy stealing a cosplay outfit but is in a dilemma whether to tell Oono or Ogiue. Kuchiki confronts him and though that guy denies, he eventually returns the costume to him because of his weird act. See, it works. Oono then sees Kuchiki and is pissed to see what he is doing. Being the funny and weird guy he is, Kuchiki suddenly undresses himself and puts on that costume! Oono is horrified! Hear her distressing screams! Yeah, he’s going to dirty and ‘taint’ them. Though Oono learns of the truth later, in the end, nobody joins the club. Don’t want to be associated with weirdoes, eh?
 
In episode 9, Sasahara goes on a job hunt as a manga editor but because of his low self esteem, he isn’t successful. I mean, he is honest in telling of his weaknesses and his life without a goal but which company would want to hire someone like that? Also, Kuchiki wants to go on some camp trip with his members and possibly set up Sasahara with Ogiue but Saki tells him to go himself. Other than that, this episode is predominantly gloomy but the best part is when Saki finds out straight from Kousaka’s mouth that he prefers 2D! OMG! Yeah, after all his explanation on people playing eroge for stimulation and such, which I find it to be true. Then the final bomb came when Kousaka enters the club room and announces that he has found a job: A programmer for an eroge company! Oh Saki! Hey, I didn’t know Kousaka took up programming? Oh, he mastered it in 1 month. A genius! To make things worse, the programmer ran away so Kousaka has to start work tonight! After hearing how Oono murmurs pitiful and painful, Saki couldn’t stand it anymore and takes Kousaka to find the nearest hotel! She’s saying that they’re going to do it like bunnies 10 times! DESPERATE CASE! But Kousaka thinks she is doing it by herself so she has to spell out that they are doing it together. DENSE CASE! Uh huh. She says she can’t forgive herself if they don’t do it. Later as Sasahara comes back from another failed job interview, he plays his eroge (the loser hentai dialogue is amusing!) but seems to be fantasizing doing it with Ogiue.
 
Oono, Sasahara and Ogiue are discussing their plans for ComiFes in episode 10. Oono notices how they both like each other but aren’t true to their feelings. Reflecting on her own relationship with Tanaka, Oono notes how Ogiue would respond if Sasahara would just approached her. Next day at the club room, Madarame is alone when a very friendly blonde girl comes in and starts hugging him! She’s speaking in American English so he can’t understand her and starts to panic. She is Angela Burton. Then Oono comes in with another unfriendly-looking loli foreign girl, Susanna Hopkins AKA Suzy (she only speaks lines from anime!) and tells her stop doing it since Japanese people may take such subtle messages seriously. Oono’s English isn’t bad, though the little accent here and there. They are Oono’s American friends who are here for a visit. Because of that, Oono apologizes she won’t be able to help Sasahara and Ogiue for the ComiFes. Then at Tanaka’s place, Angela wants Tanaka to make her a cosplay costume and even seduces him! Oono, better hold on to your man tightly! Though Oono wants Tanaka to refuse but he just can’t so Angela strips instantly so that he could take her measurements while freak out Oono tries to put her clothes back on. Are Americans this crazy? Later as Angela is alone with Madarame in the club room, she is sending mix signals to him while reading a magazine and only communicating in English. Then before she could kiss him, Saki and Kousaka come in. Madarame backs out. Of course she was just testing him. Saki seems to be able to speak English and knows her since Oono told her about them. Then to Madarame’s surprise, Angela could speak and reply in Japanese but in heavily American accent. As Oono walks home with her American friends, Angela notes how Japanese are sensible people. Is she hinting she has a liking for Madarame?
 
Sasahara and Ogiue go set up their booth in episode 11 while Oono and her American friends wait in line. While Ogiue is nervous when a lady customer takes a look, Oono and Angela energetically cosplay. Then Ogiue’s middle school friends come by and are surprised to see her here so Ogiue gives them a free copy. Soon Suzy comes by and browses. The duo start panicking since they can’t speak English and are thinking of giving her a free copy so when Sasahara blurt out "Present for you", Suzy blushes and says thanks before leaving. But it isn’t before long she returns and asking for Ogiue’s autograph. She’s her total fan now. Yeah, she’s saying "This page is awesome. Real hardcore". Ogiue panics and thinks she’s doing it on purpose since Suzy wants her sign on the hentai page! Oono then gets a call from Ogiue saying how Suzy has settled in their place reading the manga. And she’s not moving. Or listening too. I don’t know how but later the girls are soaking at a public bath and the funny part is Suzy following panic Ogiue like a stalker! She even mentions about her flat chest! Then she opens her towel in front of Ogiue like a complete flasher! Scaring the wits out of that poor Ogiue! The next day at the ComiFes, Suzy continues to follow Ogiue but Oono thinks she’s close to her. Ogiue finds out how they have read her manga and especially Angela is loving it (WTF?! The sperm thingy says she?!). Sasahara and Madarame concludes thinks she has megane (spectacles) fetish. Angela wants to have a look at Sasahara’s work too but he is embarrassed and refused. The foreign nightmare will soon be over as the fly back to America after ComiFes ended. Phew. But due to large amounts of doujinshi they bought, Oono will have to mail it to them. Later Oono and the Manga Club girl are reading Ogiue’s work and want more of it! Man, that girl must be good!
 
Episode 12 has Sasahara feeling very much vexed. I don’t blame him if it’s Kuchiki’s constant yapping about his camping trip but the actual cause of it is his failure to land a job as he is handed rejection after rejection. It’s enough to put a guy down. So 1 day when he comes into the club room with an unshaven look thinking about going on a camping trip to get away from realities of life (including going as far as saying himself as a failure), Saki and Ogiue become disappointed with his attitude and told him off. After lots of thinking and a call from Kugayama, Sasahara finally lands a job in an editing production company. He calls Ogiue about it and she congratulates him. Soon everyone else learns about Sasahara’s acceptance. Sasahara finally has the courage to give Oono his earlier doujinshi so that she could mail it to Angela.
 
So that’s how it is. The ending was pretty okay. I mean life has to go on, right? Even if it is a small club, at least the Genshiken members will be bonded by that special bond of friendship that they made and spent during their time together. It isn’t smooth sailing with a little problem and tension here and there but in any organization or club, there’s bound to be that. Sasahara who was lacking direction and goal during the start of the series at least is a little better off now. Likewise, I find Ogiue to be more open, honest to her fujoshi feelings and accept her otaku personality than before. However, I was hoping to see Sasahara and Ogiue become a pair at the end after seeing how Tanaka and Oono became one (that girl doesn’t like bald men anymore, eh?). But that didn’t materialized. I guess it’s better to take a small step at a time. Like they say, birds of the same feather…
 
During the first season, I felt that it was mainly Saki and to a certain extent Madarame that was making the series interesting because of their character especially Saki’s intention to close down the club so that Kousaka could be hers. Then the OVA and the second season, they were more toned down and I felt the one who stole the limelight was Ogiue and Kuchiki. I read many viewers like Ogiue in particular. Of course things weren’t as lively if it wasn’t for Kuchiki. Who wouldn’t love and be annoyed at the same time the words and nonsense he spews. Right till the end, I’m still puzzled about Kousaka’s character. I know he mentioned that Saki is just a person hanging around him but that guy has got to open his eyes and be more sensitive. Sometimes I don’t understand what is going on inside that guy’s mind. Okay, maybe eroge, manga and anime. Acknowledging he prefers 2D has got to be a damning revelation. I also have to admire Saki’s tolerance and perseverance to stick by her man. Well, don’t give up. Hey, what about Keiko? Has she given up? It’s a good thing we didn’t see her after the first season. She could have been more than just annoying. I also find Saki to be more receptive of Genshiken towards the end even if she doesn’t admit it. Some of the other characters too have changed like Kugayama who finally had the inspiration to continue drawing even if he is working.
 
I find the drawing and art for the first season to be a little dull in terms of colouring. Then the OVA and second season seems to have polished up quite a lot as the characters and background looking a lot brighter and smoother. So much so some characters like Kousaka looked a little different. However for the OVA, I noticed that when the characters blushed, in addition to having their cheeks in pink, the blush lines drawn are kinda, how should I put it, unrefined. It’s like as though they’re just simply sketching them. I don’t know. That’s how I felt.
 
Initially I was surprised to find that Tomokazu Seki was the voice behind Tanaka. After hearing all his hyped up and lively roles like Kenichi in History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi and Pierrot in Yakitate! Japan, voicing a less vigorous character makes him sound unrecognizable to me. Ayako Kawasumi fits perfectly as Oono and if you know how Nodame of Nodame Cantabile sounds like, you have an idea. It was just amusing to hear Oono tell off Suzy to shut up. Kaori Mizuhashi plays Ogiue nicely too especially when she is in her shaky and nervous tone. She was the voice of Miya in Hidamari Sketch. I also like Akira Ishida for voicing Kuchiki (Hakkai in Gensoumaden Saiyuki, Gaara in Naruto) well because of his liveliness. Other casts include Takanori Ooyama as Sasahara (Byakuran in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Nobuyuki Hiyama as Madarame (Madarame in Bleach – yeah coincidentally they share the same name), Satsuki Yukino as Saki (Kagome in Inu Yasha), Mitsuki Saiga as Kousaka (Robert in The Law Of Ueki) and Kenji Nomura as Kugayama (Misao in Hatsukoi Limited). Another surprise for me is to find that Yuko Goto did a cameo role as Suzy. I’m used to her voice so I instantly recognized her even if Suzy spoke limited anime lines and in English. However it wasn’t a Caucasian who voiced Angela but Yuki Kaida instead (Kurapika of Hunter x Hunter, Fuji in Prince Of Tennis). Sounds close enough but if you listen closely, indeed there is a little Japanese accent.
 
On a trivial note, for the first season, the episode titles sound like long lecture topics like as though there is a class on anime otaku. I won’t be surprised if there is actually one. Because of that, I don’t really understand or see how the episode title is related to that particular episode. Man, if I ever took up such lecture topics, I’m not sure if I will get a pass. Then for the OVA and second season, the title drastically changes into something much shorter and relevant to that particular episode. I wonder what was the mecha parody for the second season’s opening animation. Not to mention the girls cosplaying as Kujian characters while the guys at one point are… topless mugshots? I guess for a series to have several otaku parodies, it is befitting to have one for its opening. Fancy Genshiken saving the universe in their piloted mecha? The ending animation for the first season and OVA changes each time and shows the aftermath of the members in club room for that episode like getting beaten up from Saki after the nekomimi stint. Then for the second season, it was just a sketch being coloured to life before the Genshiken members come into sight.
 
People today may have their own stereotypical views towards otakus. It is just like doing your favourite hobby on a bigger scale and passionately so much so it affects your life. While I don’t consider myself to be a hardcore otaku or even half of it, but at least I know and not afraid to let people know of my number 1 leisurely pursuit (if they’re interested, that is). Definitely the anime culture is here to stay for a long time to come and to sign off with a little modified saying with a hint of otakuism in it: "You can take the otaku away from the anime, but you cannot take the anime away from the otaku". Now that’s hardcore.
 

Genshiken
Here is another set of anime series which I find closely similar to each other. This time they are Da Capo and Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~. One reason why they are suspiciously similar is because they are both based on the H-game developed by the same company, Circus. So just change the few characters, the storyline and plot a little bit, add some novelty here and there, and wah lah! There you have it, another different story altogether. So okay, here we go:

The lead guy
Refers to the main male protagonist.
Da Capo: Junichi Asakura.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Haruhiko Amami.

The harem girls
Refers to the girls who are seen as the main love interest to the main guy. And yeah, the main guy eventually ended up with one of them.
Da Capo: Nemu Asakura and Sakura Yoshino.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Riko Fukamine and Kirino Konosaka.

The other girls
Since they are both harem anime genres, it is not surprising that there are other side and supporting girls in the fray too. Albeit not as important as the ones mentioned above.
Da Capo: Kotori Shirakawa, Miharu Amakase, Mako Mizukoshi, Moe Mizukoshi and Miski/Yoriko Sagisawa. In the second season, Tamaki Konomiya, Nanako Saitama and Alice Tsukishiro join the harem.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Chisa Fujimiya, Rinka Hokazono and Yukari Kamishiro.

The other guy
In order not for this series to be dominated by a single guy, he needs to have a best buddy, eh? They do have that similar personality…
Da Capo: The mysterious Suginami seems to have knowledge just about anything and though a top student and excellent athlete, loves dragging Junichi into various situations. In the second season, Suginami seems closer to classmate Kanae Kudou.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Maki Endo is an outgoing and passionate person obsessed with anything to do with science and has crazy inventions but often goes out of control. Also likes setting up Haruhiko in various situations.

The returning girl
One of the girls who have returned from a faraway place back when they were young and now back to their hometown when the series begins.
Da Capo: Sakura returns from USA.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Riko.

The detesting girl
What’s this? A girl who does not seem to like the main male lead? Ah well, nobody is perfect.
Da Capo: In the second season, Aisia may not show her loathing side towards Junichi but she does not like the fact the way Nemu is hogging Junichi so she creates a little magic-cum-trouble to level the playing feel for those who are after Junichi’s affections. In the end she realizes her mistake and notes that magic can be used for greater good.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Nami Satou is obsessed with Rinka and doesn’t like the fact (rather jealous) that Haruhiko is too close to her even if that guy doesn’t harbour any romantic feelings. Nami causes trouble when she tries to use her Gift resulting in dimension and space distortion. In the end, she reconciles with Rinka, accepted her Gift and became part of her dojo.

Siblings but not quite blood related
Must be the trend in today’s animes because Junichi and Nemu of Da Capo consider themselves as siblings while Haruhiko and Riko of Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~ too regard themselves in the similar way but of course not blood related. Does she have big brother complex or is this situation to confuse viewers about incest? Either way, they both ended up with each other. Blood is thicker than water, eh?

Pet
The little animal that seems to always be by a character’s side.
Da Capo: The mouthless white cat named Utamaru seems close to Sakura. In the second series, Sakura has a little puppy named Harimao.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: A little black crow (I thought it was an owl!) named Jinta seems close to Chisa.

The place
The setting of the story.
Da Capo: On an island named Hatsunejima.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: In a seaside town named Narasakichou.

The magical phenomenon
The distinguishing occurrence always seen 24/7.
Da Capo: Sakura trees bloom all year long throughout the island and a large never-withering sakura tree which grants wishes.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: A permanent rainbow in the sky, night or day, rain or shine.

The magical feature
Refers to the magical aspects that the residents of that island/town has.
Da Capo: Some of the inhabitants posses magical powers like the ability to make sweets from one’s palm or read the minds of others. However later in the series, as the never-withering sakura tree is able to grant wishes, it doesn’t filter bad ones from the good ones and thus mishaps do occur. That sakura tree withers in the end.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Each of the residents posses 1 Gift, a once in a lifetime miracle which can only be evoked once. There must be a willing giver and a willing receiver or else it will wreck havoc and this is evident with 1 of the rainbow colours turning black. That rainbow in the sky disappears in the end.
The teacher
Refers to the homeroom teacher for our student casts.
Da Capo: Koyomi Shirakawa, Junichi’s homeroom science teacher and Kotori’s elder sister.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: The name of Haruhiko’s lolicon homeroom teacher is not known but I referred to him as Sensei. Sick loli lover!

The school
Refers to the school where our student casts goes to.
Da Capo: Kazami High School.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Shimono High School.

Student council
Da Capo: Nemu is part of the student council. In the second series, Otome Asakura is the head of the student council with Mayuki Hosaka as her assistant.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Because student council president Sena Asakawa is so klutzy, her assistant Ibuki Yajima is the one pulling the strings. She also has 2 followers which echo every sentence she says: Ayako and Maiko.

Researcher
Da Capo: Koyomi is also part of the research team responsible in creating the robot Miharu.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Tamami “Tama” Konoe is part of the research team studying about the existence of Gifts.

Catfight
When things get tense and the desperate attempt to get the main lead guy for herself. All part of the conflict in a harem series.
Da Capo: Episode 20 has Sakura trying to play psychological guilt on Nemu by forcing Junichi to carry out his promises. The heated quarrel has Nemu collapsing and coughing out sakura petals.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Episode 9 has Kirino accusing Riko for breaking their promise about not using their Gift for Haruhiko, in which the latter did so. Kirino is unwilling to forgive Riko which causes the latter to be guilt ridden and gloomy.

Beach episode
Ah, what is a harem series without the mandatory fanservice. And what better way to show off some skin at the beach.
Da Capo: Episode 6 whereby Junichi invites his pals to the beach for some fun and relaxation.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Episode 4 whereby Haruhiko and the rest take it to the beach on a hot summer day.

Jungle and hotspring episode
Yeah! More fanservice episodes! Hooray!
Da Capo: Episode 13 sees Suginami inviting the rest to a jungle themed hotspring but ditzy Moe causes a little havoc about misinterpreting and saving some ostrich eggs.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: In episode 4, Maki sets up a test of courage through a forest to test the relationship between Haruhiko and Riko but it awfully went wrong when real ghosts appear. Episode 13 (OVA episode) sees Haruhiko and the girls running a hotspring inn belonging to Kirino’s parents and faces tough competition from an unscrupulous new hotel owner.

Jealous guy
Not that song from John Lennon. We know that he’s the main harem guy so I guess it’s obvious when someone else shows an interest in one of his harem girls. Pfft…
Da Capo: In episode 9, Nemu receives poems from an admirer but it turned out to be a girly guy instead of a girl she’d hoped to be.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: In episode 3, Riko receives several requests from other guys (who are much uglier) to be their boyfriends. But in the end, Riko’s first love has always been Haruhiko.

Number of episodes
Da Capo: In 2003, the first season span 26 episodes followed by second season with another 26 episodes in 2005. It then spawned a sequel spin-off containing 13 episodes in 2007 and another sequel following that in 2008 with a further 13 more episodes. If that isn’t enough, in late 2008 and early 2009, a 2 episode OVA called Da Capo If was produced. Phew! They sure stayed true to the meaning of its name Da Capo.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: The original TV series ran in late 2006 with 12 episodes and a single OVA episode.

Opening and ending themes
Da Capo: Yozuca does the opening themes. First season is Sakura Saku Mirai Koi Yume and for the second season is Sakurairo No Kisetsu. All ending themes are sung by CooRie which include Mirai E No Melody (first season’s first ending), Sonzai (first season’s second ending), Akatsuki Ni Saku Uta (second season’s main ending) and Kioku Love Letter (special ending theme).
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: The opening theme is done by Miyuki Hashimoto entitled Nijiiro Sentimental while the ending theme is Kokoro Niji Wo Kakete by Misato Fujiya.
I know I’ve said this before in my blog but let me say this again. Notice how most of the lyrics in Da Capo songs have sakura while Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~ has niji (rainbow)? Yeah, even the lyrics are themed this way.

Drama CDs
Da Capo: There are lots of them produced ever since its inception. Based on Wikipedia, a total of 11 drama CDs covering the anime and the visual novel.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: A total of 5 drama CDs which features the 5 main heroines of the series each.

Conclusion
In my opinion, since Da Capo was one of the very first animes that I have watched, I would definitely prefer it over Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~. Besides, the drawing for the former is much better as compared to the latter because in the latter’s case, there is something about the way the characters’ eyes are drawn. Too big their pupils? Because of that, the character designs in the former series is better and taking into account that this series has spawned several sequels, there has been ample character developments, storylines and other factors which makes it a better series. But I wouldn’t say that the latter series is totally bad. Rather I felt it was a little rip-off of the former even if they are both different but from the same producer. If both shows ever have any sequels, I’d definitely go watch them.

Da Capo Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~

Tayutama -Kiss On My Deity-

December 12, 2009

Another one of those adult PC games adapted into an anime. But what if they involve supernatural creatures? Would it amount to hentai horror? Before I stray too much, Tayutama -Kiss On My Deity- is yet another of those H-game and as expected when it turns into an anime, you can expect some fanservice albeit don’t get your hopes up too much. I find it a little mild here and not that provocative.
 
Since I did mention that it has supernatural creatures, don’t worry as they aren’t scary looking enough to scare the living daylights even out of a toddler. Think of those cute little monsters in Pokemon or Digimon and you can have an idea of what those supernatural beings, named Tayutai, will generally look like. More cute that anything.
 
As episode 1 begins, the setting takes place in feudal Japan and you can see powerful Tayutai in some feud. With the help of a Shinto priest, a Tayutai Kikurami Kaminohime manages to seal her other equally powerful comrades. Fast forward to modern day Japan. Yuuri Mito is the descendent of that Shinto priest of the Yachimata Shrine. As a normal high school kid and a budding motorbike mechanic, we are also introduced to his dad Yuudo, his childhood friends, Sankuro Kaname and Ameri Kawai (note: typical emo tsundere childhood friend character). Yuuri investigates a nearby construction which nearly decimates a tree shrine containing a Tayutai seal. He is confronted by Mifuyu Kisaragi who wonders what he is going here. Yuuri spots several Tayutai around her and tries to shoo them away. Since the Tayutais are invisible, Mifuyu thinks he is trying to do something funny to her and warns him. Yuuri knows he needs to do something so he goes back to request the help of Sankuro and Ameri to do an exorcism at the seal. Yuuri’s chanting awakens Kikurami. She warns him how the world will be in chaos if this tree is to be cut down as 1500 species of Tayutai will be released. Kikurami believes in the coexistence between humans and Tayutais one day when a booming voice scoffs her. Yuuri tells Ameri to take the bike and escape but in her panic, she crashes the bike into the seal and broke it. Uh oh. All the Tayutais are released and Kikurami takes the form of a white loli. My, what big hammer she has. She uses it to teach all the small fries a lesson and to never to do bad things. Thankfully they listen. However the other 3 most powerful Tayutai aren’t willing to do so and attacks Kikurami. She is easily defeated in her weakened state so they feel it doesn’t amount to any challenge and escape.
 
Yuuri brings fainted Kikurami back to his home and is being told by his dad he needs to take responsibility. You know what that means. After Sankuro and Ameri left, Kikurami awakens and her hair now is reddish-brown. Furthermore, she is acting like a lively child. However she notes that her current self and Kikurami are different so she can’t be called that name. Yuuri decides to call her Mashiro since they are eating, well, marshmallows. How convenient. At least it’s better than Potemayo… Potato and mayonnaise… Mashiro then wants to be Yuuri’s bride. Erm… This is developing too fast. I think. Since Yuuri thinks it’s better to wait for her to grow up, she decides to make an oath and kisses him! Then she collapses. The next day, Ameri visits and is shocked to see a grown up girl sleeping in Yuuri’s bed. Naked. Actually she is Mashiro because they recognize her fox-like ears and bushy tail. More misunderstanding arises when Mashiro mentions about being his wife and last night’s oath. She even gets up close and lovey-dovey with him! Because of his gentle care, that’s why Mashiro is able to return to this grown up state. You don’t want to know how pissed Ameri is. Yuudo gives Mashiro his late wife’s kimono to wear and she feels honoured. Mashiro vows to train Yuuri for the upcoming battle against The Strongest Three.
 
Mashiro’s abusive and torturous training starts in episode 2. Hell time. So it’s pretty understandable if that guy is dead tired and can’t move on his bed. And with Mashiro going on top of him, you can pretty much guess the kind of expression Ameri has when she walks in and sees it. Hey, she just walked in like that? "Yuuri-san, it’s alright to do whatever you want…". Erm… Nothing more to be said. Since Mashiro wants to be with Yuuri, she thinks of going to school with him. Also, she thinks of facilitating harmony between humans and Tayutai. Yuudo pulls some strings with the director of Sousei Academy (Ameri’s dad) to see if Mashiro could be transferred to this school. Can’t say no, can’t he? Of course Ameri isn’t really pleased. You know why lah. At school, Yuuri is suddenly hugged by a girl, Yumina Takanashi. Onii-chan fetish girl. Then we learn that this school is divided into 2 sections. The Flawless are those with intellects and well mannered people like Yumina and Mifuyu. Otherwise they fall under the Slightly section like the rest. Some names, I’d say. Mifuyu then appears and she is still suspicious over that incident. Though Mifuyu may sound like an obnoxious b*tch, actually she is understanding and caring person. She just sound that way. More misunderstandings when Mashiro spew out about being Yuuri’s wife… Which means Yumina’s status will be: Sister-in-law! So much for onii-chan… Mashiro gets admitted into Flawless because of her perfect entrance exam scores! She’s a goddess, remember? Though she is happy but the downside of being a Flawless is that she has to live in their dorm. This means, away from Yuuri. But since her goal is to have humans and Tayutai coexist, she accepts this. If Yuuri thinks he can get away with training, then think again because Mashiro has her little Tayutais as her replacement. Bummer. Everyone in class is enthralled with Mashiro. But that enthusiasm turns into horror when they see her tail. They get startled and make excuses to avoid her.
 
In episode 3, Mashiro is confined to her room because she tried telling the truth about Tayutai and such but which human would ever believe her. When Yuuri gets this news, he wants to do something but Flawless has very strict rules. Like not admitting outsiders. Not even if they are from different sections. That concern with their image, eh? Ameri tries to ask daddy to pull some strings but he too can’t do much. That night, Mifuyu visits Yuuri to find out the truth about Mashiro, to ascertain herself if Mashiro pulled those ‘pranks’ (Mashiro did a little magic to try showing what she said was true). But all she got was the same story. Next day, Ameri tries to discourage Yuuri from rescuing Mashiro and even speaks ill of her but Yuuri isn’t amused and says he can’t leave her alone. That night, Yuuri and Sankuro try to sneak into Flawless. Though Ameri initially didn’t want to help, she just passed by to give them an access card. Well, It’s better than trying to climb over a wall with a ladder. Yuuri gets in and with Yumina’s help, she leads him to Mashiro’s room. However Mashiro refuses to follow Yuuri and resigns to her fate, thinking that she wouldn’t want to bring any more trouble to him. But you know, Yuuri can be considered a smooth talker. Can’t leave you even if the whole world was against me. Enough for Mashiro to just walk through the door like a spirit (she is one, by the way) and hug him. But the alarm system went off. Before they could make their final escape, the access card now doesn’t work as Mifuyu arrives thinking Yuuri is doing some kidnapping. It seems Yumina too had a hand in alerting Mifuyu. Mashiro tries to reason with her but thinking that she still doesn’t believe her, she uses her magic to summon her Tayutai underlings to gather around her. The next day, Yuuri learns from Mifuyu that everyone that night had their memories erased except herself and Yumina. Mifuyu will try to talk to the authorities of letting Mashiro commute to Flawless from her home and will help in the coexistence of humans and Tayutai. That’s good news to his ears.
 
Mifuyu is fighting against one of The Strongest Three in episode 4. She is Nue, a mollusc. Though Mifuyu is no match for her, Nue didn’t finish her and leaves. Back at Yuuri’s home, Mashiro is trying to pick which panties to wear with Ameri’s help. Even Yuudo gave his opinion. But their revelry is cut short when Mifuyu stops by. She tells them about the Tayutai attack which left a little damage on school aside from stealing underwears. Mifuyu wants Mashiro to tell her how to defeat this Tayutai but Mashiro says that they need Yuuri’s powers to do so. But Mifuyu says males can’t enter Flawless or else he will be expelled. So how to solve this problem? You see, Yuuri has some spiritual power which allows him to change into a girl! Woah! Better than cross-dressing. That night as Mifuyu gathers the other Flawless students to be on guard, Nue makes her move. Yuuri and Mashiro face Nue but it is a trap because Nue has rigged the entire school with her spiders. Nue grabs Mashiro with her tentacles but Yuuri can’t use his exorcism powers yet till Mifuyu gives the signal. However all the other students manage to destroy every spider trap. Mifuyu then activates the sprinkler to immobilize Nue. This is so because since Nue emits lightning, she isn’t able to do so when she is close to water. The trio combine their powers to exorcise Nue as she turns into a bratty loli. They learn she stole underwear because she wanted to try them on. Nue goes on how she was bullied even more when she was named one of The Strongest Three and doesn’t believe in coexistence. Mifuyu makes a promise with her that she will protect her from any harm but Nue is sceptical and accepts thinking that she will not deliver her promise. With Nue no more a threat, she is seen at Yuuri’s place and arguing with Mashiro over panties. They have a bunch of them… Yuuri’s fetish? Not.
 
Yuuri wakes up from a dream whereby he and Ameri made a promise to always be together in episode 5. However when they entered middle school, Ameri coldly ignored him. Nue drops by to see their training but is disappointed and thinks they have no chance. Nue is the weakest among the 3 and the reason she wins is that she chose battles that would result in her favour. Elsewhere, another of The Strongest Three, Ouryuu, drains the life force out of a woman and notes how humans these days aren’t worth feeding on. Yeah, the kind of lifestyle and attitude, I understand what he means. Meanwhile Ameri isn’t happy to know that Yuuri is getting less ‘free time’ for himself because he’s been doing this and that for Mashiro. In this case, to investigate a recent incident which may involve The Strongest Three. Sankuro knows Ameri’s feelings for Yuuri so he advices her to tell her true feelings to him. But you know, Ameri is emo. Sankuro then gives her 2 tickets so that she could watch a movie with Yuuri. Ameri musters her courage and finally does so but gets disheartened when Yuuri invites Mashiro to come along as well. She runs away eventually.
 
That night as Yuuri is fixing his bike, Mashiro asks him if he ever thought that Ameri may have feelings for him. But he dismisses the fact since they’re childhood friends. Ah, no wonder lah. And to think he says he knows all about her. However Mashiro couldn’t think of any other reason for Ameri to act that way and wants to talk to her. Yuuri tries to call her but finds his number has been blocked. He is upset and decides to go find her. He finds her walking in the street and an argument ensues. Yuuri gets even upset when he hears how Ameri calls Mashiro a monster. He starts raising his voice and this scares Ameri. Ameri bumps into a supernatural being who wants to feed on her life force but Ouryuu comes along and destroys it for taking his prey. He tells her how he has been looking for her. Yuuri continues to search for her but to no avail. Next day in school, he is surprised to see Ameri back to her normal self but something feels amiss. Then the sky suddenly turns dark and a dragon emerges from the vortex. Also, everyone else seems to be frozen in time except for Yuuri, Mashiro, Nue and Mifuyu. But Nue lifts her protective spell on Mifuyu and the result she is frozen like the rest. Nue feels that she doesn’t want to lose a friend like her but also thinks she can’t defeat Ouryuu and runs away. Mashiro and Yuuri confront Ouryuu but he is too powerful. Ouryuu zaps Mashiro with a powerful lightning blast while Yuuri suddenly felt hard to move his body. Yuuri then sees Ameri hovering in the air with black wings. The next thing he knows, he is in the infirmary with the rest while Mashiro is out cold. He wonders if all that was just an illusion seeing that Mashiro is her happy self.
 
In episode 6, Mifuyu and Nue inform Yumina that Mashiro has reverted to her child form after using up her powers. Yumina then prays upon a shooting start to give her powers to help Yuuri. Well, she may be praying too heard because the shooting star crashed into her! Next day at school as the rest are discussing things, they are surprised to see a phoenix Tayutai sitting on Yumina’s head! They learn that this is the male half of one of The Strongest Three, Hou. His other half is a female named Ou and when combined, they become Houou. Furthermore, Hou does not have any intention of leaving her head. Hou will peck anyone who tries to remove him. Yumina is saddened what did she do to receive such punishment. They also learn that Hou finds Yumina’s spiritual energy compatible so he is sort of like replenishing his energy. His mood depends on Yumina sort if she’s sad or any negative feelings, Yumina will receive lots of pecking headache. Well, at least this makes her to be happy always. In order to keep an eye on Yumina, they suggest Yuuri to once again transform into a girl and be a new transfer student in her class. This time Nue gives Yuuri a magic stone to do so. Call her Yuuko… Though Yumina is thrilled, Yuuri is having a tough time because he has to run back and forth between classes of both sections. Must be very tiring. Then during PE, the magic stone starts to weaken as Yuuko turns back into Yuuri. Almost busted. Another day as Yuuri and Yumina’s class does an outdoor sketching, the sky is suddenly filled with Tayutai ravens that proceed to attack them. Yuuri protects Yumina even if he gets injured in the process. Yuuri says Ameri was by his side when his mom died and when got into a fight with Ameri, so this time he will protect her because she is his precious family. The ravens relentlessly attack Yuuri so Yumina tearfully pleads to Hou to do something. Hou suddenly turns into a majestic blue phoenix and all the ravens stopped attacking and bow their heads in respect. But it’s not over because Hou’s other half, the red majestic phoenix, Ou, appears swooping down with her army of ravens.
 
In episode 7, Hou flies away as Ou tails him closely. The imminent threat is gone as the others arrive and are thankful that they have no serious injuries. Mifuyu decides to investigate further. For the time being, Yumina stays at Yuuri’s place. As Yumina, Mashiro and Nue are taking a bath, Hou suddenly pops up and sits back on Yumina’s head. Is he treating her like some battery charger? Later that night, Mashiro sense a very strong Tayutai presence and realizes it is Ou. Hou transforms into his phoenix self and I don’t know why Yumina was like sticking to him when he took flight. A little aerial battle but Hou isn’t any match for mighty Ou. Yumina must be having the fright flight of her live. Yuuri devices a plan to save them. He rides his bike using poor Nue as a ramp, crashes it into Ou and unleashes his powers into Ou’s forehead. As Ou disappears, now it’s the problem of free fall. Before Yuuri knows it, he sees Yumina sprouting a pair of white wings as she says how Hou lend her some of his powers and land safely. Ou drops into her arms as everyone learn the birds’ problems. It seems when they were released, Hou thinks of leaving old hag Ou to find a fresh girl. Coincidentally an airplane was passing by so Hou fell in love and tried to shower it with his spiritual power love but it has no effect on machines. Because of that Hou ran out of energy and jealous Ou attacked the plane in retaliation. That’s when Hou found Yumina whose spiritual energy found compatible. So it was just a lover’s quarrel, eh? But both lovebirds reconcile. Even if it is a good thing, it isn’t for Yumina because now she has 2 birds sitting lovey-dovey on her head! Her neck is going to break someday. Yumina vows to look after them both. At the same time, Mashiro has used up lots of her energy so she is still unconscious, sleeping back in her room.
 
Nue warns Yuuri that Ouryuu may use a human accomplice to attack in his stead in episode 8 and to better prepare himself. It seems that Ouryuu is playing mind games with Ameri, showing her how close Yuuri and Mashiro are and the impossibility of coexistence between humans and Tayutai. He further mentions because of that, she has a chance with him. Then in class, Sankuro suggests Yuuri to hang out with Ameri, which he agrees. Back home, Nue brags and shows Yuuri how she is using the internet to keep track of Tayutai’s energy. She wants Yuuri to dump Mashiro and serve her but he says he’ll think about it. Plus, it has been a week since Mashiro hasn’t regained consciousness. The following scenes show Yuuri and Ameri going out together. Is this the moment she has been waiting for? Then in a Ferris Wheel, Ameri learns that Yuuri still can’t let Mashiro go and wonders if he loves her. Then Yuuri feels a strong presence and suddenly Ouryuu appears sitting next to Ameri. Ouryuu sends Yuuri flying out of the carriage and it is amazing that Yuuri could actually survive the fall from that height! He also sends the carriage crashing down on him. Yuuri could’ve been flattened if Mashiro didn’t suddenly wake up and rushed to the scene. Ouryuu transforms into his dragon form and attacks Mashiro and Yuuri while Ameri sprouts her black wings and is looking very spaced out. Then Yuuri and Mashiro combine their powers to blast him out of the sky. Mashiro collapses due to fatigue and Ameri, snapped out of her spell, sees the duo in embracing form. She continues to space out and even back home, looking at her mirror and wondering if she really did sprout those wings. And if you think Ouryuu is gone for good, then think again. There’s a reason why he is the strongest of them all, you know.
 
Remember that afro Nabeshin guy? He makes his cameo appearance in episode 9 trying to sell his scam hotspring trip to Mashiro. Since Mashiro is absorbed into whatever fantasies she’s having, she didn’t properly hear his scam word even if he mentioned that clearly out loud. Luckily Nue chases him away. Then Nue suggests that Yuuri may be a filthy male and that Mifuyu may make her move on Yuuri if she was serious (replay that scene Mashiro was daydreaming except replace her with sexy Mifuyu. Yeow!). Meanwhile Yuuri invites Mifuyu to go karaoke with the gang. She flusters because she has never done so before. As expected some are good while some sucked. I believe I have never seen Mifuyu so tensed up before. Then back home, Mashiro continues her torturous training over Yuuri. Though she says The Strongest Three are out of the way, there are still thousands of Tayutai to deal with. Yuuri, Mashiro, Ameri, Sankuro and Yumina go on another outing. Sankuro tells Ameri not to push too hard because she is trying to discard her feelings by letting Yuuri and Mashiro enjoy themselves together. Then the closest Ameri got to Yuuri was in a crowded lift going up some telco tower. At the top, Ameri finally tries to confess to Yuuri but was cut off by Mashiro. This is what happens if you take too long. Frustrated? She should be. On the train ride home, Mashiro puts her hand on Yuuri’s and wishes for just the 2 of them to somewhere together. And yeah, that sad expression on Ameri’s face as she stares forlorn into space. This is getting a little irritating. Can’t really leave her feelings for Yuuri, eh?
 
Yeah, more sulking from Ameri in her room. But in episode 10, Yuuri improves in his training that even Mashiro admits her lost. Later Yuuri is talking to Mifuyu and Yumina. He learns Mifuyu is going to succeed her family in politics and economics and will entrust Flawless to Yumina. She starts to fluster upon hearing it. Perhaps too great a responsibility? Then Yuuri’s teacher Ran comes by and wants to see him. She is all bandaged up. Though she is concern with his career choice, Yuuri learns that her car was hit by an invisible impact, the reason why she is injured (yeah, she’s lamenting she has 72 more instalments on her payment). Later Yuuri visits Ameri at her home (she didn’t attend school and giving an excuse she’s sick. Love sick perhaps. Just kidding). Ameri is happy to see him but suddenly that turned to depression. Guess why? Right. Mashiro is with him. Yuuri thinks of using Mashiro’s spiritual energy to heal her but Ameri kicks up a fuss and tells them to leave. Yuuri isn’t amused by her ungrateful attitude as Mashiro calms him down. They soon leave. Mashiro once again try to talk to Yuuri about Ameri but nothing fruitful came about. Mashiro tries to touch him but notices some energy barrier around his body so she apologizes and leave. Ameri continues to be dejected and as she is walking to school, she spots Ouryuu. She tries to run from him but he catches up every time. He continues to play mind games with her and pinning all the blame on Mashiro/Kikurami. So he tells her if she doesn’t want to lose him, she must rescue him herself. Ouryuu releases his powerful energy on the city. Meanwhile Sankuro is upset that Yuuri has did something that may have hurt Ameri and Mashiro. Mashiro and Nue then come running by to inform them that something bad has happened. It seems at the telco tower, Ouryuu once again has possessed Ameri (I believe he has never left her body in the first place) and is going to tell Kikurami the meaning of reality.
 
Everyone in town is frozen once more in episode 11 except a few. Yumina and Mifuyu want to help but are advised to stay back. Yuuri, Mashiro, Nue and Houou go confront Ouryuu. Ouryuu is more powerful than before and their energy attacks don’t seem to work on him. Mashiro goes into his body to go after Ameri. Houou and Nue take on Ouryuu but got absorbed and became part of him. All that’s left is Yuuri but is a mere human any match for a powerful dragon? Hope Yuuri isn’t roasted BBQ after that fire blast. Ouryuu also tells Yuuri how he tried to coexist at one point but was disappointed in the end. Yuuri thinks he is just running away instead. Meanwhile Mashiro confronts Ameri and a lot of angst talk from the latter while the former tries to reason. Like how Ameri just wanted to get along with Yuuri even though she can’t be his girlfriend, she was just fine along with that even if she doesn’t tell Yuuri her true feelings. Though Ameri still blames Mashiro, the latter mentions that even if she hadn’t come along, some other girl will eventually take Yuuri away. Mashiro then says she loves Yuuri but also loves Ameri, though she has more memories of him than she does because she is his childhood friend. Then they both shake hands and reconcile. Thank God. I thought Ameri was going to be stubborn till the end. Ouryuu is going to do his finishing move on a weakened Yuuri but felt his powers weakening. Because of that, Houou and Nue are freed from his grasp. Mashiro and Ameri emerge out from Ouryuu. Since he can’t let it end this way, he zaps them. Furious Yuuri suddenly powers up and strikes him with a powerful blast. In a final move, they go head on with each other.
 
In episode 12, before Yuuri and Ouryuu could take out each other, the girls come in between them. Mashiro thinks this would set a bad example for coexistence while Ameri doesn’t want Yuuri to be killed. Ouryuu isn’t happy that she’s talking back and thought she wanted to beat him up. She agrees and goes over to Yuuri and slaps him! Then she kisses him! OMG! Extreme emo actions! She then wishes for Yuuri to live happily with Mashiro. Finally let go of him, eh? Ouryuu and Ameri continue to argue so Mashiro thinks this is a form of coexistence too. With the battle ended, she uses her powers to unfreeze time and repair the damages. She collapses due after using up almost all her celestial powers. While Mashiro is unconscious, Nue says how Yuuri has become too powerful to the point Yachimata’s power would overflow from within his body and this would take a toll on her body if Mashiro were to seep in even more. Yuuri feels guilty that he is unable to do anything for her and for once Ameri did something useful by telling to do what he wants to with Mashiro. He understood, gets up and head to Mashiro’s side.
 
When Mashiro regains consciousness (though she is still weak), she finds Yuuri preparing a Shinto marriage between them. Then everyone including those mini Tayutais gather as guests to witness their holy matrimony while Yuudo acts as the priest. They exchange vows and their I-will-never-leave-you and I-will-always-love-you lines turn out to be over mushy-mushy so much so everyone had to leave to give them time alone. Well, at least Yuuri has made up his mind that he won’t love any other girl except Mashiro and that he would even continue to love her in the afterlife. If only real life was like this. So much for that harem factor too. Ouryuu can’t stand this blabbering so he gives them a piece of his mind. He asks Yuuri why he could use so much power against him but none for Kikurami. He also questions the purpose of their existence. They realize that they were born for the sake of being together. As they embrace, a bright flash of light envelops the city. Everyone’s lives go back to normal as Yuuri narrates how Mashiro returned to her usual long slumber and her next awakening could be in the next 100 or 1000 years. But he feels it isn’t forever and that Mashiro’s ideals of coexistence shouldn’t come at a price of someone’s sacrifice. The final scene had me stumped because it showed some ruins being taken over by nature and what seems to be Yuuri riding his bike with Mashiro as his pillion. The future?
 
What a heavy emotional dramatized final episode that was. Though it was sad to see that Mashiro couldn’t continue to be with Yuuri but well, she is happy of what they have achieved. If you ask me, I’m glad Yuuri chose Mashiro over Ameri because you don’t want an emo tsundere as your wife, eh? Just kidding. Thank goodness she isn’t emo till the end because I find it quite annoying. I think her emo behaviour started after Yuuri lost his mom and when she coldly ignored him during middle school. Perhaps she realized her feelings for him back then? I’m not sure if humans and Tayutai around the world continue to coexist seeing that they were just confined to this city in this series. Thinking back, the battle against The Strongest Three, especially Nue and Houou did not amount to anything much. When Mashiro said that Yuuri needed some serious training to beat them and then the way they duke it out was like so simple, it made me wonder if they are indeed The Strongest Three or not. There wasn’t any tough challenge facing those 2 nor any threatening feeling that the whole world would be in danger. Except for Ouryuu of course. That guy is one tough nut to crack but in the end, he too gave in. Another point I’m pondering is, can Yuuri actually change into a girl? Nah. Not important.
 
My most favourite part of the show is the next episode preview. Why? It is narrated by bratty and obnoxious Nue with lolicon Mashiro. Though what they narrate does not really reflect what is to happen in the next episode. Sometimes they get to cocky so much so it ends with a sound of an explosion! Yeah, not to mention the final episode narration about Nue telling her Nuetama loyal fans to prepare themselves to enter a world filled with exciting panties and magical girls! She sure is infatuated with those stuffs. Another thing about the next episode preview is the cute greyish Tayutai cat, Azrael, seen doing random stuff such as playing an eroge, taking a bath, eating a meal or even whatever that weird dance is. It is so amusing that I can’t help break into a smile each time I see this section.
 
On a side note, when I first got to know that the name of the company which created this series, Lump Of Sugar, I couldn’t help but grin a little because it sounded so funny. Well, it’s better than Lump Of Salt. Cute little Tayutais floating around to satisfy all those with a sweet tooth and cravings for anything cute and kawaii. Say, those mini Tayutais did not do anything much and lack any significant impact except maybe for filler purposes. Just like how in episode 9 when they were more cheeky than usual when they see Mashiro and Yuuri together. I was also hoping Mifuyu and Yumina would have a significant role in the end but it didn’t materialized. Better to leave it to the pros, eh? Each of the main Tayutai seems to support and lean towards a human character in the series. Like Mashiro with Yuuri, Nue with Mifuyu, Houou with Yumina and Ouryuu with Ameri. Well, none for Sankuro because he’s just a side character. Just joking.
 
The drawing, art and animation seems to remind me a little bit from the anime Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun even though they are produced by different companies perhaps because of the character’s eyes, facial outline and hairstyle. My favourite voice acting and character would still be Nue who is voiced by Rie Nakagawa because of the way she portrays Nue excellently especially when she lets loose her arrogant loli laughter. Mashiro is done by Noriko Rikamaru (Nori of Rozen Maiden) and it seems I too like her voice when she is speaking in loli form. She sounds cuter that way. I also like Norio Wakamoto’s trademark sexy low voice. If you remember his previous anime roles like Onsokumaru of 2×2=Shinobuden and Matsudaira of Gintama, you can definitely recognize his voice here as Yuudo. Other casts include Satoshi Hino as Yuuri (Saito of Zero No Tsukaima series), Asami Shimoda as Ameri (Chika in the TV version of Kyo No Go Ni), Shizuka Itou as Mifuyu (Hinagiku in Hayate No Gotoku), Kaori Mizuhashi as Yumina (Ogiue of Genshiken, Miyako of Hidamari Sketch) and Daisuke Kishio as Ouryuu (Suginami in Da Capo series). Hey, I just realized that the fanservice has been gradually toned down to relatively close to none as the episode passes by. Well I did mention that it is quite mild.
 
But if you buy the DVD version of the series, you will be treated with a short 3 minute special called Pure My Heart. It is pretty much about nothing except short random clips of the characters in the series doing random things. The drawing of the characters are totally in chibi form. So for Special 1, if you aren’t fluent in Japanese, don’t worry because this special lacks in speeches and even if there was one, it would be a short line enough for beginners like me to easily catch. The skits in this special include Mashiro playing whack-a-mole but gets frustrated when all the holes appeared that Tayutai cat all at once, Ameri eating sweets, Yumina trying her luck at whack-a-mole game but finds Azrael too cute to hit, Mifuyu putting on cat ears, Yumina trying hard to sketch something all day but only manage to write "Onii-chan", and Azrael enjoying its tea. Am I supposed to laugh? Because even though I did smile, at the end of it, I was going like, "Huh?". Special 2 has Yumina freaking out to see Azrael drinking coffee in the middle of the road. After lighting up a cigar and introducing himself, he proceeds to tell that blur girl about not wasting life… like his toast. Huh?! Soon Azrael goes back to his card board box for adpotion. Yumina walks away happily while trying to deny all this. And as for Mifuyu, this time she puts on a full cat suit.
 
Special 3 is Ameri’s version of the famous Japanese folklore Momotarou. Sankurou the grandpa and Nue the grandma didn’t get along very well. They receive a large sweet candy package so insane Nue cuts it open in half with her knife. Bloody… The little girl, Ameratarou grows up and learns of some demons tormenting people by wasting their money on them (demon show girls, that is). So Ameratarou gathers Ouryuu, Houou and Azrael to fight the demons in the form of sexy Mifuyu, Mashiro and Yumina. Azrael submitted to Mifuyu’s force, Houou continue to sit on Yumina’s head while Ouryuu is lazy to do anything so Ameratarou beats him till he explodes. So the final battle between Ameratarou and Mashiro ended with Nue wrapping the demons with her tentacles (fanservice cue!). Ameratarou receives the treasure in a form of… naked Yuuri? Well, he throws her away and takes the gold and money. She uses the money to create games she herself stars in but since none was sold, she led a poor happy life. Okay, lied about the happy part.
 
Special 4 sees Yumima and Ouryuu playing rock-scissors-paper. Ouryuu lost first and got a super punch from Yumina. He lost the 2nd round so Yumina blasts him with her bazooka. Mashiro takes on Azrael and wins so she hammers the poor cat with her huge mallet. Azrael also lost his match with Mifuyu and got sliced. He too lost to Yumina but she doesn’t do anything. I just realized that the losers wearing safety helmet isn’t going to do muh and Azrael’s fingerless hand doesn’t tell much, doesn’t it. Next game is kick-the-can and Ouryuu is ‘it’. After several losses, he finally catches everyone except Ameri, who then kicks both him and the can for the win. Then Yumina plays Red Light, Green Light with everyone (when ‘it’ turns around, nobody must move, no matter what funny positions they are in). At first everyone is still as a rock. Yumina does a 2nd time and finds more ghostly people in the game. She then does a 3rd and only sees a sunset and decides to play by herself then. It’s the fanservice hotspring in Special 5. Though the girls are enjoying their dip, the guys are being tied-up in a different room. Better be safe than sorry, eh? The girls are then being given the scare of their lives with the appearance of several scary face masks (one including Jason from Friday the 13th). Note how Azrael’s facial impression changes with each scare. Then when they realized it’s Nue playing a prank, Mashiro hits her head but sulking Nue walks off. She passes the room where the guys are tied up and frees them. I don’t know why but Sankurou somehow turned into a pervert as he goes on his knees begging for Nue to let him peep. She gives the green light. Sankurou rushes to the female’s section with full anticipation while Yuuri tries to stop him. As he opens the door, however to his dismay, the girls are ready for him because they heard his shouting. They beat the guys up and lock them back up in the room (poor innocent Ouryuu and Sankurou bearing the brunt too). Now the sign on it says it has bigger idiots inside. Haha! Nue walks pass again and gets this cheeky idea of freeing them again.
 
In Special 6, Mashiro is some sort of super thief known as Kaito Mashiro and plans to steal the gold Nue-Nue statue. Yuuri as the detective seems to be real talkative here and plans on foiling the attempt by guarding it. Nue the police chief and Ameri his colleague don’t particularly care to guard that statue supposedly belonging to owner Ouryuu while Mifuyu is just swinging her wooden sword around and Yumina dozing off. Because Yuuri’s talking so much, Mashiro comes in and quickly switches it with Azrael (tied up in some hentai fashion pose?!). While getting away and quipping she don’t actually need this thing and was just stealing it out of boredom, she comes face to face with Yuuri and co. Since Yuuri continue to blab, this allowed Mashiro to escape once more. Even Nue (in mollusc form) who got Mashiro in her grasp eventually lost her to some toy plane distraction. While Yuuri is lamenting his failure, he didn’t even notice Kikurami passing by with the gold statue because he’s so obsessed with capturing Mashiro. He’s lamenting how is he going to answer to his chief. Speaking of which, Nue is in a Ferris wheel in some lovey-dovey situation with Sankurou. Not. That guy is just jamming his guitar while frustrated Nue sits by. Huh? And finally the ending credits reveal Azrael’s construction of some building called Azu-azu Sugar. Huh? Anyway it’s just a cardboard piece.
 
Talking about coexistence, I think at this point it would be hard for us to coexist with others. Look how we are ‘raping’ and polluting mother nature and mistreating animals. Don’t even look that far. We can’t even get along well among ourselves. Hmm… Maybe just as Mashiro said, that too is a form of coexisting. Having lived under the same roof with a person you have always hated for many years? So what are the chances of even aliens or supernatural creatures coexisting with us? Well if they look as cute as these Tayutais, I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem. Maybe not. Would we like to get along with Barney the Dinosaur? Yeah, maybe not.
 

Tayutama –Kiss On My Deity-

Soul Eater

December 11, 2009


Hmm… Is this a rip-off of Bleach? I mean, a school set up for Soul Reapers to counter the threat of evil spirits known as Kishin, which are somewhat equivalent to Bleach’s Hollow? But that is just where the similarity ends in Soul Eater. Basically the plot in this 51 episode series focuses on students of Shibusen Academy, a school located in the fictionous Death City whereby weapon meisters hone their skills along with their weapons (that can take on human form as well) so that their weapon could become the ultimate Death Scythe for the head of the school, Shinigami. In order to achieve that, they have to collect 99 Kishin souls and 1 soul of a witch. Sounds tough, eh?
 
Well the entire series is going to be just based on that. But rest assured that there will be plenty of action, comedy, drama and adventure for the whole year (provided you watch this on a weekly basis, that is). At first looks, viewers may find the art a little cartoonish, though they still blend it with today’s usual Japanese anime art. What do you expect if you have a sun with a face laughing throughout the whole day in the sky or the ever smiling moon with blood dripping out from its mouth. What about those dark alleys of the old London-like streets or the graveyard? Yeah, sounds like a horror series, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, the cartoonish feel somehow offset it all.
 
And cartoonish indeed it feels in a way because our Shinigami guy here is such a joker and full of antics as contrast to many Death Gods there who are scary and well, herald death. You got to love his sporting ways and his erm… hippie accent? Always seen ‘stuck’ in his Death Room at Shibusen Academy (not to be mistaken for a hikikomori, mind you), another very bright and cartoonish place and communicates with the ‘outside world’ via mirrors. To contact him, just call 42-42-564 (pronounced as shini-shini-koroshi which literally means die, die, kill – Haha! Really!). I guess anybody would love to be this guy’s best pal. Just don’t annoy him or you’ll get the receiving end of his trademark but painful Shinigami Chop. I suppose that’s why both his white hands are that big and cartoonish. Just like his skull mask. Oh dear. How many times have I said that ‘C’ word already?
 
Of the 3 main protagonists, our star student of Shibusen is of course Maka Albarn, whose mom was once a power weapon meister. Besides being a skilled scythe user, she also has a Soul Perception which allows her to sense souls whether it is to track them or gauge their combat ability. Her weapon, Soul Eater Evans, seems to be infatuated of being ‘cool’ thus using direct approaches to solve his problems. The duo are on the verge on completing their mission after successfully collecting 99 Kishin souls and just needed a witch soul. So they paid a visit to one named Blair and since she is quite seductive, you can bet that Soul is having a hard time focusing. In the end, Blair is revealed to be just a magical cat and taking a form of a witch. Well, Soul did mention that the appearance doesn’t matter, right? So what is the penalty for failing this mission? They have to start from scratch again. Bummer. Just when they have gotten 99 Kishin souls and they flopped the all important one. I don’t know why but ever since then, Blair lives with Maka and Soul, much to the former’s chagrin whenever she tries to seduce him.
 
Our next main protagonist is Black Star and his multi-ninja weapon Tsubaki. Unlike Tsubaki who is patient, kind and understanding, Black Star is somewhat infatuated of being the number 1 and the goal of surpassing God himself. In other words, he is another loudmouth type who thinks it is his time to ‘appear on stage’. Because of that, the pair has not got a single Kishin soul to their name and when their mission to stop a baddie Al-Capone and his henchmen who has collected 99 Kishin souls and are after a loli witch named Angela, Black Star comes face to face with a super samurai Mifune. The thing I like about this cool children loving samurai is the way he throws his 100 swords around the battle field and when the fight starts, it’s like he just need to reach out and pick out any sword he wants any time anywhere. Though Black Star emerges victorious, he doesn’t kill Mifune or Angela and instead gives back all the Kishin Souls from Al-Capone (in which Mifune easily wiped out) back to Shinigami because they aren’t his. Nice guy. But still too idiotic.
 
Finally to complete the trio, Death The Kid is the son of Shinigami and he too has a quirky personality. He is somewhat infatuated with symmetry. Yup. If thinks aren’t symmetrical, he goes crazy and ‘paralyzed’ and won’t hesitate to correct it. Notice his white strip on his hair? Not symmetry lah! Anyway, the cool thing about him (or maybe weird, if you look at it) is how he holds his gun weapons, Liz and Patty Thompson. Yeah, he holds them upside-down and uses his pinky finger to pull the trigger! Though Liz and Patty may be sisters but their behaviours are contrasting. While Patty is like the care-free and ‘dumb’ one, Liz is the more rational one but is afraid of monsters and ghosts. Their mission is to intercept some witch trying to revive a mummy but Kid is so worried about the symmetry of the stuff in his home that he leaves his weapons to finish the job! After doing so, he faces the mummy but can’t defeat him because of his beautiful symmetry. Until of course he turns unsymmetrical that Kid got pissed off and blasts him away. However the whole pyramid is destroyed. So he loses all his Kishin souls. Being the son of Shinigami initially exempts him from attending Shibusen so I guess Kid eventually decide to enrol in class but on his first day, he got into a fight with Soul-Black Star team but the latter duo’s incompatible wavelength causes them to lose. Until Soul accidentally cut a little wee bit of Kid’s hair and ruining his symmetry.
 
What is with the guys having some lame kind of personality? One trying to be cool, the other trying to be number 1 and another about symmetry. The girls seem to have far better responsibility than them. But I guess that’s why the series is fun in the first place. So in most episodes you will see how the trio interact, go on missions, power up and face more powerful and threatening enemies. Initially we see the weapon meisters and their weapons doing Soul Resonance, a process which matches their wavelength so that they could unleash more powerful attacks. Then they get to power up and learn to control their abilities like Maka’s Witch Hunt slash and later Demon Hunt slash and Black Star’s ability to use the Fey Blade mode of Tsubaki after they defeated the soul of the Demon Blade, Masamune, who happens to be Tsubaki’s brother. And yes. You gotta love Kid’s ultimate Soul Resonance move with Liz and Patty called Death Cannon because it really packs a power punch.
 
Of course there are many other colourful characters in the series as well. They include Spirit (Shinigami’s current Death Scythe and Maka’s dad whom she hate most because of his flirting ways) the Shibusen’s teacher Sid Barett (already dead but revived as a zombie), Mira Kniges (Sid’s weapon), Dr Franken Stein (has a bolt right through his head. Probably the source of his headaches? Besides, he is Shibusen’s most powerful Meister and Spirit’s ex-partner and loves dissecting… Spirit found out the hard way about his unknown injuries…), Ox Ford (another top student and Maka’s rival in class) and yeah, the very annoying Excalibur. Is he an anteater by the way? He claims to be some legendary super weapon but in reality nobody can put up with his long-guest attitude, telling pointless contradictory life stories, must-adhere-to rules and his trademark "Baka" line while pointing his stick in your face. Even Black Star and Kid’s attempt to retrieve it ended up putting back where he is. Same case with Ox. Yeah, make that disgusting annoying face whenever his name is mentioned. But some unpopular student named Hiro became his servant, I mean, meister. Everyone is surprised how he could put up with it all but he too gave up because… Excalibur sneezed. WTF?! He can tolerate everything except that?! Then there are fun filler episodes whereby the students have to take a test with Maka and Ox vying for top spot while the not so smart ones like Black Star and Soul try to cheat but failed miserably (never try this anyhow!) and as for Kid… He spend too much time trying to write his name perfectly…
 
The start of the potential threat to the world begins when Maka and Soul are sent to dispose of a Kishin in Italy. After doing so, they sense a strong energy from a nearby church. They will have to soon battle this weapon meister Crona (by the way, is this kid a boy or a girl? I’ll just refer to her as a she) and her weapon Ragnarok are tough to handle. To make things worse, Ragnarok is created from Crona’s black blood so any slashing won’t do any good because the blood will harden. Furthermore, she can turn her blood into solid weapon any time. Oddly, crazy-looking Crona may be the master but it is sarcastic Ragnarok which is bullying Crona all the time. Soul gets injured while trying to protect Maka. Before Crona could deal the final blow, Stein and Spirit arrive in time to save the day. The witch behind it all rescues Crona and flees. Back at Shibusen, Soul is treated and it seems there are traces of black blood in his body. Maka feels guilty about this as Medusa nurses Soul. Thing is, Medusa is the witch in disguise that was observing Crona’s duel and rescuing her. Hmm… With a name like that, the academy should’ve suspected something but I guess she managed to fool everyone with some identity barrier of hers. However Stein faintly hints that he knows of her presence as a witch and this has Medusa on her toes, not sure whether he is just fooling around or not.
 
Medusa’s infiltration at Shibusen seems to be doing some sort of experiment with the black blood. Of course she herself isn’t that popular among some of the witches and during some witch congregation, Elka and Mizune confront her but Medusa shows her power by killing mouse-like Mizune and putting snakes into frog-like Elka. Now Elka has to be her subordinate and do her bidding or else Medusa will send her exploding like her little friend. The snakes in Elka body also works as Medusa’s third eye as she uses them to spy or see things via Elka. So Elka’s first job is to infiltrate a prison and release a very dangerous werewolf prisoner. Why isn’t he killed in the first place? He’s an immortal. Ah, I see. This guy, whom he has renamed himself as Free (perhaps after living for so long he has forgotten his own name), escapes and I guess as gratitude he aligns himself with Medusa. She wants Free to dispose of Maka and Soul who are both on a training stint despite the risk it poses to Soul. So in London, Maka, Soul, Black Star and Tsubaki duel Free but in the end it is Free’s magic slip-up (probably got rusty over the years of his imprisonment) which allows the kids to win. But soon after, Maka starts coughing up black blood. Elsewhere, Kid and his weapons are investigating a mysterious Black Dragon terrorizing the Baltic Sea only to find a deserted ship controlled by an evil poltergeist. Kid learns that the poltergeist is collecting souls for the Demon God at Shibusen. Kid is surprised but to hear of this their battle is interrupted when the true Black Dragon appears: Crona with wings? Oh yeah, it’s her black blood. Crona easily destroys the poltergeist and escapes but because of Kid’s fascination with the sunset and cloud’s symmetry, he ended up chasing after nature over the horizon. Damn. Then Stein of course sends Sid and Kniges to investigate about Medusa’s identity but Medusa set traps and blows her own place up, not leaving a trace behind. Don’t worry, Sid isn’t dead yet. He is already dead to begin with.
 
Soon a party to celebrate the founding of Shibusen. This event is significant because it will be the only time Shinigami will come out from his room into the public. This means, all Shibusen staff and student will gather at the same time, prompting Medusa to unleash her plan. True enough, she has Free sealed them all in an enclosed space even if it is for a limited time, but it is enough for them to execute their plan. What plan, you ask? You see, Medusa is bent on reviving the Demon God Ashura that is kept imprisoned in his own skin by Shinigami underneath Shibusen (the reason why Shinigami cannot leave the place at all). To do so, they needed black blood. It seems Ashura once fought alongside Shinigami and was one of the strongest in his time. But because he was too powerful and afraid of just about anything, he began taking innocent souls and his madness soon transformed him into a Kishin before Shinigami took steps to seal him. Sid manages to come back and inform the threat and sends Maka, Black Star, Kid, their weapons along with Stein and Spirit away before Free’s magic enclosure takes place. Their goal now is to stop Medusa and co from reviving Kishin as they dash towards underground.
 
The gang encounters Medusa playing guard so Stein and Spirit take on her so the kids could catch up with the rest. Of course Medusa has a backup plan and the second guard is Crona. Stein initially wanted Black Star to face-off with Crona but Maka requested that this duel be hers so that she could finish her grudge match. Because of the black blood in Soul, he is seeing visions of some imp trying to tempt him to getting more powerful but Soul is reluctant. Furthermore, doing Soul Resonance may be risky but Soul accepts. This turned Maka into a crazy girl enough to match Crona. So inside Crona’s mind, she learns how Crona is Medusa’s daughter and was thought to kill mercilessly. Because of that, she was always alone. Maka is determined to save Crona but before Maka’s black blood could drive her crazy, Soul saves her. In the end, Maka extends her friendship hand to Crona and it’s the start of a beautiful friendship. Amazingly, the black blood in her has vanished. Ragnarok turns into a chibi character though he is still the bully he is, picking on Crona. She holds Ragnarok back to let Maka and Soul pass. Outside Shibusen, it is amusing to see Blair take on Mizune (actually 5 little relatives on Mizune combined together after being misinformed that Shibusen was the one who killed their sister). It is like a hot sexy babe cat fight! Even the person who got pinned by the rubble ‘revived’ to watch them fight. Too hot to handle!
 
Kid is having a tough time eluding Elka’s tadpole bombs. Furthermore, he realized that it is all just a trick to buy time when Free’s body is just a hologram. By that time, Free and Elka have reached the room where Ashura is sealed in. They can feel his madness wavelength and start to have scary crazy illusions of being killed. Wow. This Ashura guy must be one hell of a dude to have this kind of presence. Elka hurries to inject the black blood when Kid and Black Star arrive. I guess Black Star is too dense not to be affected by the madness as he slashes away the injection. Victory? Not quite. It seems that was just an illusion too. Elka has already injected the blood as Ashura slowly revives and takes form. Yeah, they scare the wits out of each other, he and Elka. Meanwhile Stein and Medusa are in a deadlock battle. The revival of Ashura has Medusa let her guard down a little which allows Stein to slice her into half. Ashura blasts out to the surface but encounters Shinigami. Looks like Free’s magic wore off sooner than expected. Hey, nobody’s perfect. As the other Shibusen staff has citizens of Death City evacuate to safety, the old timers clash. Death God vs Demon God. Hmm… For the first time, Shinigami sounds very serious and his well, low voice sounds quite intimidating. Shinigami fails to stop Ashura and since the latter had enough fun, he flees. With that, Shinigami orders the return of all the world’s Death Scythe. Elsewhere a snake is seen slithering out from a drain. Yup. Medusa isn’t dead yet. And Elka thought she would be free. Not.
 
Since there are 8 Death Scythes in the world including Spirit, only 3 of them return. They are Justin Law (always having a headphone in his ears. Is it so that he purposely can’t hear what others say? Hey, but he read lips…), Yumi Azusa (quite analytical and her clairvoyance would prove useful in future episodes) and Marie Mjolnir (wears an eye-patch and has bad sense of direction. Makes me wonder how she got to Shibusen in the first place). Well, half isn’t so bad, right? Azusa is to scout for Ashura’s whereabouts, Justin on standby while Marie to be with Stein because it seems he is turning mad gradually after the fight with Medusa so Marie’s soul wavelength should have a calming effect on him. While the protagonist kids are playing basketball to cheer things up, especially Maka, Crona is seen confined in a room at Shibusen. Maka and Marie try to get Crona enrol into Shibusen and be friendly with her but you can’t blame her for being distrustful.
 
Soon Crona, Maka and Soul are sent to an Eastern European country to investigate a rampaging golem. They encounter an enemy named Giriko who could turn parts of his body into chainsaw. Crude and rude Giriko with his golem attack Maka but thankfully Crona fights back. It is a good thing she is on their side now. However it isn’t long before Giriko beats up Crona and this time their saviour comes in the form of Justin. He shows them why he is worthy of being a Death Scythe by easily disposing the golem while Giriko escapes. Ashura’s insanity seems to have woken up another antagonist from her long slumber, the spider-like Arachne and is supposedly Medusa’s sister. Giriko serves under her as Arachne returns to her base along with her massive Arachnophobia organization. Oh, did I mention she has a loyal servant named Mosquito? He looks like an evil version of that Monopoly mascot. They vow to take down Shinigami. With Arachne’s awakening, things get complicated because she is aiming to gather all of the Demon Tools. Whatever it is, judging by that name, it is another one of those contraptions which will bring an end to the world. After learning one of Arachne’s labs is making them, Sid, Kniges, Azusa, Black Star and Tsubaki are sent to intercept. Black Star and Tsubaki are surprised to learn Mifune is on Arachne’s side (well, Angela is in their custody). Another cool battle ensue. Mifune is so sharp that he can even sense where Sid is sniping from! The battle ends with Black Star losing. Has he lost his touch? Though they successfully ambushed and destroyed the base, this allows a slight opportunity for Black Star to escape. Kid on the hand is doing his own investigation on the Demon Tool and to his surprise, has more questions than answers. Is there something between Shinigami and Eibon, the creator of Demon Tools? Did Medusa borrowed a book about Eibon the day Ashura was revived? Shibusen isn’t what it seems…
 
Elsewhere, Medusa takes over a little girl’s body, Rachel. Now she’s a chibi girl. But her trademark grin is still as evil and crazy as ever. So next time listen to your mother’s words of not to touch anything suspicious. But heartbreak for mommy because her ‘child’ told her goodbye and left. Where is Medusa going? She went to see Arachne, who isn’t quite happy. Though Medusa leaves, she has Elka and Free disguised as one of Arachne’s many underlings. Back at Death City, the kids are trying to make Crona feels at home. Just when Crona feels that she is settling in, then comes across Medusa. Enough to bring all those shivering memories back. Medusa smooth talks Crona into being her spy for Shibusen. Torn between her loyalty to her mom and new friends, Crona reluctantly agrees to do so. One of them being dropping some sort of liquid into Marie’s drink which allows her to hear and see her conversations with Stein. With that and combining Medusa’s destabilizing magic, Stein increasingly is on the brink of insanity. He sometimes sees the madness of Ashura in his illusions. However he isn’t totally crazy yet as he still manages to conduct class and a lesson whereby Maka, Black Star and Kid have to combine their Soul Resonance together for greater offence. Initially Maka is upset due to Black Star’s attitude but Stein points out that it is her who may be dragging the team down. Eventually they manage to successfully resonate their souls together.
 
The next clash has the Shibusen against Arachnophobia to obtain a Demon Tool named Brew on some dangerous island. This island has a very strong magnetic field due to a great explosion of the tool on this island so much so they can see visions of the past being played back. It’s like having a rerun in 3D. Stein and Marie are to enter and retrieve it but their bodies are at their limit so they have no choice but to come back out while Maka, Black Star, Kid and their weapons head in. On the other hand, Giriko continues his match with Justin while Sid plays a cat-and-mouse game with Mifune. Ox and his team mates, Kim Diehl and Kilik Lungu take on the rest of the Arachnophobia army on their side. Maka and co enter the magnetic field only to encounter Mosquito as their obstacle. He has Brew in his hands. Mosquito powers up into some over-bloated younger self as the trio combine their powers via Soul’s suggestion of Chain Resonance (that’s some weird piano melody he is playing) to beat and gravely wound him but not enough to kill him as he escapes in the nick of time before the ultimate death blow. In the end, Shibusen escapes from the island and this mission is considered a failure. However when Mosquito reports back to Arachne, he tells her that Brew has been destroyed and the tool he obtained is nothing but a junk. But Arachne isn’t fazed because she knows Shibusen doesn’t know of this and could use this info to their advantage. Then again, the real Brew isn’t destroyed. It is in the hands of Medusa. While Shibusen and Arachne were duking out, Elka and Mifune sneak in amidst all that chaos to steal it.
 
Kid continues his investigation on Eibon and his father but got nowhere close while Maka and Soul try practicing Demon Hunter in hopes that it wasn’t a fluke shot. Soon, a man from the technological branch, the coffee lover Joe Buttataki, arrives at Shibusen at Shinigami’s request to subtly handle the Demon Tools and Eibon’s book. Kid tries to question him but his lips are tightly sealed. Elsewhere, Arachne has located Ashura’s presence and tries to persuade him to join her side against Shibusen. Arachne has a taste of his madness but is unfazed. You could say he accepts. Oh great. Two of the world’s most dangerous villains joining forces. It’s the end of the world! Also, Elka tells Crona to go back to Medusa and as usual that dilemma kid is indecisive. However when Maka and Kid get to know Crona is missing, Maka goes all out to find her. Well, she isn’t far from Shibusen. Just sitting in some hole she dug in the desert. I think without Ashura’s madness, this kid can go crazy by herself. Guilt-ridden Crona tells Maka of the things she has done but Maka doesn’t care about all that. Friends again? Even so, news of Crona’s betrayal reaches Shinigami and the rule is that she may be expelled. To complicate matters, Medusa shows herself up at Shibusen and voluntarily surrenders. To win their trust, she gives them the real Brew. However they remain suspicious since it is Medusa we’re talking about. She must have something up her sleeves. Medusa cuts a deal with Shibusen. She will reveal the location of Ashura in exchange for her release and promise that no harm will come to her. Any collateral? They will just have to trust her. They have to. That’s because Ashura’s madness is spreading throughout the world. So of course when Maka finds out that Medusa is walking free, she gets pissed. All is going perfectly to Medusa’s plan on seeing both sides wipe each other out. On a side note, it was funny seeing Shinigami and Spirit teasing chibi Medusa. Aside from that, Marie to her horror finds Stein has gone missing. He is going to Medusa.
 
Apart from preparing the final showdown with Arachnophobia (whose location is at Baba Yaga castle), Crona requests to go settle things with Medusa once and for all. Marie decides to accompany her. But aren’t they breaking the deal? Well, Crona is expelled while Marie has resigned so technically they aren’t from Shibusen. Yeah, I can’t believe Shibusen is that sneaky too. Shibusen are getting ready to launch an offensive outside Baba Yaga. But Maka’s heart isn’t at ease because of Crona’s case. After Soul makes her realize what she wants to do, she and Soul set foot to Medusa’s hideout. While the epic battle between Shibusen and Arachnophobia begins, Kid and his weapons are on a mission to obtain the last Demon Tool to operate Brew in a deserted town as Joe has discovered from a secret page in Eibon’s book. After he defeats those clown-like monsters, he hears a voice from it questioning the right of those who would use the tool. During the battle between Shibusen and Arachnophobia, Justin once again faces Giriko. It’s like fate for them, huh? Arachne isn’t happy to see that Shibusen knows her whereabouts and later realizes that this could be Medusa’s doing. I guess Arachne has a more important task of soothing and taking good care Ashura who is lying on her lap like a little scared boy.
 
Crona and Marie have arrived at Medusa’s hideout. Some dramatic talking but well at least Crona isn’t fearful of her mom like she used to. Unfortunately, Stein is on Medusa’s side as he is being controlled by his inner madness. He is one tough nut to crack seeing that he is a skilled weapon meister. Crona is still no match for Medusa and just before she is about to be killed, Maka arrive just in time to clash with her. She is very pissed. So Maka and Crona combine their attacks against Stein. When Medusa unleashes an attack towards Maka, Crona uses her body to protect her. Deja vu? But this time, due to Medusa’s magic, Crona’s blood cannot harden so her injuries are grave. I can’t believe that Ragnarok is still sarcastic and blaming Crona right till the very end, slowly dying in his own pool of blood. What is worse than a pissed Maka? An even pissed Maka, that is. Maka is going crazy as she vents her fury on Medusa, attack after attack. With Stein coming to Medusa’s aid, this gives Marie enough time to use her Redemption Wavelength and cure Stein of all his madness. Thank goodness he is back. Now all that is left is Medusa. Stein advices Maka to use her Demon Hunt on her but can she cut Medusa without hurting Rachel’s body. That is the power of Demon Hunt. The ability to cut through evil only. Maka successfully uses the slash to cut a surprised Medusa and releasing her from the body. Thankfully this time Medusa is gone for good. Maka and Soul head back to Baba Yaga while Marie and Stein take Crona back to Shibusen for treatment.
 
Meanwhile Black Star is making headway progress into Baba Yaga and comes upon Mifune once more. Round 3 anyone? Sure. With a win and a loss each for both sides, this tie breaker will settle everything. As they fight, Mifune remembers how he once fought Black Star’s dad, White Star and noted how he chose the path of the demon instead of the path of the warrior. He asks Black Star this question and his conclusion is that he too would follow the fate of his dad. Then Black Star got defeated but he hasn’t totally lost yet. While facing with his inner demons, Black Star soon revives and tells Mifune that he will neither walk any of those paths except the path of his own. In a final move, Black Star emerges victorious but chose not to kill Mifune. So he helps him up and try to find Angela who is somewhere in the castle. Arachne is getting desperate and tells Mosquito to use a devastating cannon to destroy its surroundings, not caring much for her own subordinates out there.
 
Back at Shibusen, when Kid returns with the last demon tool and passes it to Shinigami and Joe, Eibon emerges from it and we learn that he also once fought along Shinigami and Ashura. Amazingly, Excalibur is here too but he mentions he is merely here to observe. Eibon created many of those tools in hopes of searching for a cure and immortality for his loved one. He even aligned with Arachne to achieve this but it ended in failure. This last Demon Tool is a key created from Eibon’s soul to unlock Brew, a tool that allows the wish of anyone to be granted. So I guess why a Demon Tool is called so it’s because of its powerful effects and if fallen into the wrong hands it could mean bye-bye. As atonement for his sins, Eibon activates Brew for Shinigami. So what is Shinigami’s wish? He transforms the entire Death City into a big robot! WTF?! I know his soul is tied down to the city but the whole city moving with arms and legs with Shinigami piloting it? Too much! Well, it’s not supposed to make sense to begin with. So the robot city treks all the way to Baba Yaga. Mosquito also activates and moves the spider-like castle. If you look at the battle between 2 giant beings, it’s like trying to swat a pest! the castle trying to evade every slam of the robot city’s hand. Eventually the robot city manages to hold the spider castle in its grasp and with Azusa’s clairvoyance to pinpoint Ashura’s exact location, Shinigami unleashes several ‘arms’ to grab Ashura away from Arachne. Now this part doesn’t make sense too. The robot city swallows Ashura like as though it is a living thing. I know. Hard to believe. Just like everyone else who is watching.
 
This means another power battle between Shinigami and Ashura in Death Room. So apart from all the trading of blows, Ashura also tells the reason of spreading his madness is so that to stop people from imagining which he claims is the source of all the fear in the world. Yeah, next time be careful when you unleash your creativity. They both seem to be equally match until Ashura shoots his weapon from his throat towards Kid and Azusa who are observing from afar. Shinigami goes to protect them but the price he pays is dear. Kid can’t believe his father is defeated and his body badly damaged. So when Ashura is seen flying out from Death City, everyone else can’t believe that Shinigami lost. Ashura flies back into the arms of Arachne. She is happy and had always believed that he will return to her. However, Ashura says that he is afraid of her so he kills and devours her soul! So much for the alliance. Now this is true madness indeed. Would 2 less antagonist make a difference? Not if you are as mad as Ashura, it doesn’t matter how many baddies or good guys there are.
 
Ashura is planning to go into hibernation and heal his wounds from the fight with Shinigami and creates a barrier. Is that a bad thing? Well, the world will still go insane even without Ashura meddling. Bummer. Before it closes, Maka, Black Star, Kid and their weapons manage to get in. Together with Chain Resonance, they take on Ashura who looks more menacing and bigger. However he doesn’t seem to get a little scratch. But Kid notes that they have to keep doing it because it is weakening the barrier. At least there’s some progress. Just as Maka is to unleash her Demon Hunt slash, the imp swallows Soul and in reality he collapses unconscious. Ashura explains how Soul pushed himself to the limit in order to obtain maximum power and thus the burden on him increases. And with the black blood in him, his body is bound to fail. Maka doesn’t know what to do so Black Star tells her to go get him while he and Kid take care of Ashura. Maka goes into Soul’s mind and after trekking down the gloomy steps, finds a monochrome Soul expecting her. Outside, Kid is preparing to unleash a devastating move that will decide the outcome but Ashura pierces him. Then like in a trance, Kid revives and his white strips of hair connect as his Death Cannon materializes into a bigger gun! Woah! Black Star buys him time by pounding Ashura with his clone technique so when Kid is ready, he fires away and dissolves Ashura. Though he collapses soon after, Black Star still sees a normal size Ashura standing and thinks that he is the one fated to surpass God. He prepares to take him on.
 
Meanwhile monochrome Soul gives Maka a box telling her to open it as it contains his courage and the only way out. However this Soul is fake and the real one is inside the box. If Maka opens the box, the black blood will completely take over his body. The real Soul is trying to tell Maka not to do so but she can’t hear him. Maka is suspicious of the fake Soul and knows he isn’t the real deal because of his actions so she refuses to open the box, upsetting the fakey. The fake turns into the imp and he tells her how Soul and him are one. But Maka decides to open the box and save Soul as she vows not to let the madness control Soul. She goes in and successfully saves him. The imp can’t believe this is happening and is worried Soul is going to erase him. But he devours him instead since he is part of him. When they both return back to the real world, they are horrified to see Kid and Black Star out cold while Ashura is the only one standing. It’s the final showdown.
 
Maka and Soul did a Soul Resonance and even Demon Hunt but their attack has little effect on Ashura. Even if it did, Ashura healed himself back. Soul once again uses his body to shield Maka from Ashura’s attack. While he mocks the weakling and is going to finish her off, Maka takes another blast from him. However Maka suddenly has blades coming out of her body and starts attacking back furiously. Ashura is alerted and noticed that she is unconscious, thus she has no fear. He wakes her up by giving her pain. Then when he says how she has nothing more to defeat him, Maka replies how relieved she is, surprising him. Then everyone else agrees how Maka has the 1 thing in her heart: Courage. Ashura starts to panic and going crazy, trying not to believe what he has heard. He gets agitated and unsettled to see Maka very calm. Maka races up to him as he is in a frenzy to keep her away but successfully lands a punch in his face. When Maka says how everyone has courage in their heart, Ashura thinks how that is the same as madness. He then starts to crack as he explodes and the barrier destroyed, revealing a clear blue sky. Though Kid notes even if Ashura is gone, other Demon Gods may arise due to human’s negative feelings but Maka is positive that negative feelings aren’t only in people as they have courage too.
 
Erm… Okay, so I was expecting something grand to end it all. It would be a lie if I didn’t say I wasn’t disappointed because I expected it to end with a bang. Sure, Maka uses a special ability which isn’t something overly powerful to defeat evil but the final episode felt like a mix between action and drama talk of Ashura’s point of view of madness and weakness at first and then later he switched to fear and incomprehension. At least it goes to show that you don’t need big guns, powerful magic spells or strong super strength to beat an insane villain. It’s all in your mind and comes down to how strong your heart and mind is.
 
Because of that, I felt that many of the other supporting side characters have been sidelined in the final few episodes. I know that there is nothing much they could do but to pray and wait. Thus I’m wondering what those leaderless villains such as Elka, Free, Mosquito and Giriko would do now considering both their female heads are dead. Are they free to walk their own path or wait and choose another leader to follow or turn over a new leaf? I’m sure Shibusen has lots to do in cleaning up Death City and patching things back. What would be Crona’s fate then? Will she be accepted back to Shibusen and will Marie too come back? Or will the other Death Scythes return to their previous positions prior to Ashura’s awakening? And is Mifune going to take up Black Star and Tsubaki’s suggestion of being a teacher? What about Maka’s ability to transform part of herself into a weapon? Ah, so much questions but I guess it’s better to leave it there.
 
The varied and colourful characters in the series are likeable. For instance, Maka may not be a perfect girl but she keeps trying and do her best with her partner Soul. No matter how noisy and persistent Black Star is about his stage, it’s hard to put him down. Even in the end if that stage wasn’t his or he is still blabbing about his superiority, that’s Black Star for you. It’s better to appear on stage for a brief period rather than none at all. And Kid isn’t so particular about his symmetry at the end, eh? Maybe he’s too busy to note all that. I hate to admit it but Excalibur’s presence in the end was less annoying even if he is giving advice in his trademark sneering form.
 
I also seem to notice something about Maka’s voice. If she’s not talking, she’s like screaming whether it is out of anguish or unleashing a power move. It’s not totally that shrieky high pitched voice but with a little husky feel to it. Maka is voiced by a new seiyuu, Chiaki Omigawa, whose other role at this point is Jun in Natsu No Arashi. Yumiko Kobayashi does a nice job for Black Star and that voice of hers does fit the character well. You may recognize her as Azuma in Yakitate! Japan. I also like Shinigami’s voice done by Rikiya Koyama. It is certainly different from the other anime roles like Kogarashi of Kamen No Maid Guy. Other casts include Mamoru Miyama as Kid (Light in Death Note, Sho in Skip Beat), Maaya Sakamoto as Crona (Haruhi of Ouran High School Host Club), Kaori Nazuka as Tsubaki (Hiromi of True Tears), Akeno Watanabe as Liz (Rito in To Love-Ru), Yuya Uchida as Stein (Emile in Kaibutsu Oujo), Toshio Furukawa as Ashura (Piccolo of Dragonball series), Houko Kuwashima as Medusa (Tomoyo in Clannad), Michiko Neya as Arachne (Agnes of Zero No Tsukaima series), Takehito Kuyasu as Excalibur (Kururu in Keroro Gunsou) and new seiyuus Kouki Uchiyama as Soul and Narumi Takahira as Patty.
 
The 1st opening theme, Resonance by T.M. Revolution is a rock piece and those familiar with the band’s style of music should recognize this one. The 2nd opening theme by Tommy Heavenly6 is PAPERMOON and though it has a rock beat, I find this one very much less appealing. I Wanna Be by Stance Punks is the 1st ending theme and though the song starts off like a soft lullaby, gradually it turns into a loud hard punk rock music. Yeah, all those screaming and shouting. Kana Nishino sings the 2nd ending theme entitled Style and sounds more pop-like. Ending theme number 3 by Diggy-MO called Bakusou Yumeuta has a little hip-hop flavour in it while the 4th ending theme, Strength by Abingdon Boys School is another rock piece. Hmm… the animation for the 4th ending theme seems to have almost everyone drawn or pinned down in madness. Ashura’s influence is that great, huh?
 
On a trivial note, each of the episode titles are in the form of a question. It’s like either one can’t believe the outcome is like that or whether it would happen this way or not. During the first half of the series, the sponsor screen will show a couple of lines which serves as teasers (like the ones in Gintama and School Rumble). I don’t know why they do away with it later. Same case for random sketches and illustrations shown at the end of the episode. I did a little reading up and it seems the anime deviates a little from the manga. For instance some of the character roles like Medusa and Arachne towards the end vary a lot. What happened in the anime didn’t exactly turned out how it was supposed to be in the manga. And in the manga, Joe was murdered? Justin aligned to Ashura? Well, if they are going to make a sequel, it’s going to be tough to rejoin the original manga story unless they start anew and do a remake.
 
By now, Maka’s opening narrative line has been drilled into my head: "Kenzen naru tamashi wa, kenzen naru seishin to kenzen nikutai ni aru". That basically means a healthy soul resides in a healthy mind and body. Just another way of saying a healthy mind is a healthy body. Maybe I should once in a while get out and do some stretching before my mind becomes the Devil’s workshop. Worse still, I might go insane after watching too many animes. Yeah, it feels like it is fuelling my anime addiction. Anime, the soul of my life. Now to go watch another anime. Now, who do you think would win if Maka is pitted against Bleach’s Ichigo? To quote another line from Maka said after the end of each episode preview: "Omae no tamashi, itadakimasu" (I will have your soul).
 

Soul Eater

Continuing with my theme of pink haired anime girls, this time round my blog will focus of pink haired anime girls whom in my opinion can kick ass. What do I generally mean? In a nutshell, those who possess fighting abilities and skill and are not your usual damsel in distress type which needs some prince on a white steed to come to their rescue. These girls can take care of themselves and moreover, don’t mess with them because they may return the favour and twice the pain. Now that’s what I call packing a punch. That’s why they kick ass, literally. So here are some of them:
 
Hinagiku Katsura (Hayate No Gotoku)
Hinagiku Katsura
The student council president of Hakuou Academy and very skilled at kendo. A responsible girl (well, at least much better than her one-kind elder sister Yukiji) but the ironic part is that she is afraid of heights though her student council room is situated high on top of the school’s clock tower. Has a secret crush on Hayate but afraid to admit her feelings to him as she fears that if he does so, he will abandon her.
 
Kujira Etorofu (Penguin Girl)
Kujira Etorofu
A very skilled martial artist only by the fact that her father raised her as a boy because he wanted one so much. You can partly attribute her crude and violent behaviour because of that. Other than that, she’s basically a nice girl until Penguin comes along and mistaken her to be a favourite anime character of hers. I guess those chops do come in handy to keep some perverted otaku in line.
 
Simca (Air Gear)
Simca
A high ranking Storm Rider also known as Simca the Swallow or Migratory Bird. When she first met Ikki, she takes a great sudden interest in him, seeing that he has the potential to be the next Sky King. Initially she had a carefree personality (including several teasing for that kid) but eventually resolves to be more serious and focus in order to strengthen him.
 
Sakura Ushikubo (Special A)
Sakura Ushikubo
The daughter of her family’s large medical company. Initially a marriage candidate for Kei but he isn’t her type and she was considering her family’s business advantage if they were both to get hitched. Does not like liars and dishonest people very much so for those of you who frequently like to tell lies, get ready to receive her passionate punishment.
 
Nadeshiko (Inukami)
Nadeshiko
One of the 10 Inukamis serving under Kaoru. Initially she has been ostracised by the rest of the pack for her unwillingness to join and take part in battles. However of all the Inukamis under Kaoru, Nadeshiko seems to be the most powerful one of them all even as arch rival Yoko quoted that she is the only one with merit, in the sense that she is much keener than the rest. However Yoko still despises her seeing that her own perverted master Keita has an eye for her. In addition, Nadeshiko and Kaoru share a close bond and thus making the rest of the other Inukamis under Kaoru jealous.
 
Kim Diehl (Soul Eater)
Kim Diehl
A student of Shibusen Academy. She is a lamp meister and her partner-cum-weapon, Jacqueline, whom in weapon form will transform into a fire breathing broom, thus allowing Kim to fly. Her team-mate Ox likes her and tries to win her affection but she just ignores him and constantly turns him down.
 
Momoko Kuzuryuu (Sumomomo Momomo)
Momoko Kuzuryuu
Another young girl who is a very skilled martial artist. However in her dad’s eyes she is weak since she is a girl and is unable to master martial arts effectively (what discrimination is this?) and needs to marry someone and will bear a strong offspring. This hyper active girl from the Dragon Clan may seem annoying and naive at times but that’s because she is adamant in pleasing her future husband Koushi and respects him very much. In contrast, she possesses a stronger will and determination than bookworm Koushi himself.
 
Franca Dochley (Coyote Ragtime Show)
Franca Dochley
The cute daughter of the late legendary Pirate King Bruce. Though she is still very young, she runs a Coyote bar belonging to her late dad and even if the customers are crude and rowdy, they still respect her. Even if there is a fight, she breaks it up quickly and effectively. Yeah, she has no qualms punching our hero Mister in the face! Most viewers would classify her as tsundere mainly because she is sceptical of Mister and thinks he is only after Bruce’s treasure in which its location is inside the pendant she posses. Eventually she accepts Mister as part of her family because he kept his promise.
 
Sakura Haruno (Naruto)
Sakura Haruno
A ninja of Konoha and though her skills aren’t that polished during the beginning of the series even if she is skilled in the basics but lack any unique techniques of her own, as time progresses she undergoes intensive training under the current Hokage of Konoha, Tsunade, to user her skills and specialize as a medical ninja such as healing wounds.
 
Tsubasa Tsubame (Asu No Yoichi)
Tsubasa Tsubame
She may look like a shy and clumsy girl on the outside. Erm… Well, yeah. She is one by the way. Though she dreams of leading a normal life, still don’t let that exterior fool you. She turns into a very deadly assassin when she is naked in public and embarrassed. What is the logic behind this? After too many embarrassing ‘trainings’ from her subordinate-cum-guardian Angela, Tsubasa will cut off all emotions when her embarrassment reaches its limits. Don’t play-play.
 
This list is not meant to be definitive as there are many more other pink haired anime girls that kick ass. That’s because I haven’t seen every damn anime available at this point. Would that be possible? Furthermore, this list of mine is based on m opinion and some of you may disagree with my choices but hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. So next time if you see a pink head lovely lass, think twice before making an illicit move. You may get your butt kicked till it is pink. Maybe reddish. Or even worse, blue black.

Hatsukoi Limited

December 4, 2009

Have you ever fallen in love before? I guess everyone has in one way or another. There are quite a number of romance comedy animes out there and though Hatsukoi Limited falls under this category and is not likely to make a significant impact like many of its more successful counterparts, still it is good enough to give this one a worth of shot. There’s nothing to lose when it comes to love, right? Well, depends on how you view it.
 
This short series focuses on a group of middle and high school boys and girls in a particular school in the vicinity. It depicts their love life, the ups and downs, and the obstacles they go through during their teenage years. Sounds like a typical plot? Unless you are done with such stories, then forget about reading any further. The stories in this series are somewhat intertwining and would all come together in the end. Though I feel that because they are friends, classmates or even relatives, I guess that’s why I could consider it intertwining in the first place.
 
Episode 1 starts off with the main bunch of female middle school students. Kei Enomoto, Ayumi Arihara, Koyoi Bessho, Rika Dobashi and Nao Chikura are on their way home discussing about love. Kei is more particular about a guy’s looks whereas Ayumi considers the inside to be more important. Suddenly a huge ‘ugly’ high school guy comes up before them and it is natural for the girls to be frightened by his intimidating looks. This guy, Misao Zaitsu, whips out a love letter and passes it to Ayumi. He tells her she can give her reply later and walks away. So is Ayumi really regretting about what she said? Of course she can’t go out with him and rather die (she did say that!). However Ayumi is in a dilemma because she fears that she will receive a horrible consequence if she rejects him. Oh what mess has she gotten into. She continues to space out back at home till her brother Yuuji comes by. She gets an idea and wants a favour from him: To beat Misao up. Though Yuuji is more than happy to oblige, but upon hearing the person he is supposed to beat up, he chickens out. Ayumi, you’re on your own. But that’s not the end of her nightmare. For 1 week, Misao continues to follow closely Ayumi to and fro school. Stalker? So in class she can’t take it anymore and semi-collapses. Her classmate, Mamoru, carries her to the infirmary and that’s when Ayumi started to fall for this prince charming guy. Well, at least he looks better than that beast. But to her horror, she finds out Mamoru is Misao’s little brother! NO! Think of the kind of relationship if she is to marry Mamoru! It’s like between the devil and the deep blue sea. Speaking of which, how can Mamoru and Misao look so different? Doesn’t matter.
 
One day while walking home, Ayumi summons her courage to tell off stalker Misao to stop following her. Misao is stunned but Ayumi interprets it as being mad. She runs away to a safe distance but she somewhat felt guilty in her heart. Suddenly a thug kidnaps her. A flashback reveals why Misao decided to confess to Ayumi was because when he nearly lost his life in a gang fight, he just felt he needed to tell her his feelings. Mamoru then gets a call about Ayumi’s fate and rushes over. At an abandoned building, it seems the thugs are using Ayumi to lure Misao out for a fight. They think she is his girlfriend. I’m sure she’d love to differ. Ayumi then says he isn’t coming to save her because she rejected him and starts throwing girly tantrums. This must be harder to handle than a fight, eh? Then Misao surprises everyone by turning up. But the thugs threaten him that if he doesn’t stay still and get beaten, they’ll do some hentai stuff to her. For a start, he flips up her skirt! Misao has no choice but to get beaten up even if Ayumi told him not to care about her. However Ayumi manages to free herself because the rope isn’t tied tightly in the first place and she was just acting like a damsel in distress as she thought she couldn’t get away. Smart girl. Useless thugs. With that, Misao is free to teach them the meaning of pain. In the aftermath as Misao asks if she is alright, Ayumi gives him a good kick saying how scared she was. Taken down in 1 swift blow! The thugs saw this and bowed at Ayumi’s feet, thinking that she is the strongest one! Even Mamoru who was peeping outside couldn’t believe his eyes. As Ayumi continue to walk to school, Misao too continues to watch her from afar with a happy feeling in his heart.
 
In episode 2, as high schoolers, Misaki Yamamoto, Meguru Watase and Yuu Enomoto head to school, Misaki receives an SMS from Misao wanting to talk to her. Meanwhile, rumours are spreading that Misao lost to a girl. You know who lah. In class, Mamoru is talking to his buddy the perverted Kusuda and bespectacled Sogabe when Ayumi comes by to give him her handmade bento as gratitude. You can tell that she is really going all out for him but Mamoru is oblivious so much so Kusuda has to say it straight in his face. He suspects that he already has someone he likes so out of curiosity, Kusuda goes with him to see the girl he has a crush on: Misaki. And she’s looking back at them. Hmm… With that curvaceous figure, it’s hard to not wonder why. However Mamoru notes that it is just a one-sided love. Kusuda agrees to help him get close to her in exchange to touch her boobs. Sicko. Kusuda goes back to Mamoru’s place to discuss the plan when suddenly they hear a girl’s voice outside the window. Yikes! It’s Misaki! And she is Mamoru’s neighbour! It’s really a small world. Misaki says she’s just passing through and proceeds to slide over Kusuda giving him feel the ecstasy of a woman’s body. Yeow! Full body rub-over! Anyway she is here to go see Misao. Mamoru says of their relationship as childhood friends, thus their relationship can’t progress beyond that.
 
Misaki goes to Misao’s room and the latter is sort of talking indirectly about his love. In order to get him to speak straight, Misaki does some wrestling submission moves on him. If this was official, she’s another girl he’d lose to. He tells her how he fell for Ayumi to moment he saw her picture from Mamoru and the reason for his stalking. However Misaki can’t really give him an advice as she doesn’t have anyone she likes yet though she tells him to stop following her. She also thinks liking and going out with someone you like is too much hassle. She promises to keep it a secret from Mamoru and goes back the same way she came in. Kusuda tries to prevent her from leaving so he tells her to sit down while he recites lame puns. To my surprise, she fell asleep! Unbelievable! What is the point of doing this? With her unconscious, Kusuda says that they can do anything with her body. Not good. He’s going to take pics of her underwear with his handphone! Definitely not good. Mamoru being the good boy he is decides to protect Misaki and won’t let Kusuda lay a finger on her. I’m not sure if Misaki has woken up or sleep talking because she did some submission moves on Mamoru. Seeing the kind of pleasure Mamoru is going through, Kusuda too wants part of it. Yeah, he gets one too. Heaven and hell… Now their joints are out of place. As Misaki goes to school with her friends, she gets an SMS from Misao saying that he can’t help himself and eventually followed Ayumi. So Misaki notes how bothersome it is to fall in love so she’s not bothering with it just yet.
 
Mamoru and his class are taking down names of participants for the sports festival in episode 3 when Ayumi is shocked to learn that Kei got a marriage proposal from an elderly geezer! She was asked to have an extravagant romantic dinner with someone her sister knows and that’s when he popped the question. But she rejected that lolicon even if he was willing to wait. Yeah, maybe she would if he was handsome. Dobashi shoots back at her about her love taste so Kei gets back at her by proposing Dobashi to run for the girl’s 100m sprint. In retaliation, Dobashi suggests Kei for the cheering duties. Well, Dobashi did mention she’s good in bossing people around. Kusuda also volunteers himself for the cheering duties. While Kusuda is into it, Kei is lamenting her fate of being paired with that kappa-faced guy. You can tell that the duo aren’t on good terms and just about anything could spark them into a lengthy argument. As they continue with their cheering duties, Kei starts to think he may be a reliable guy when he starts drafting lyrics for their cheer song but he drew cheerleading outfits instead. She beats him up and returns to her usual perspective of him.
 
Kei decides to do the outfits all by herself because he doesn’t want perverts like him to see. She burns the midnight oil and continues to do so in school till she fell asleep. When she awakens, she is surprised to see Kusuda helping her sew. She feels bad for saying mean things to him and going by her body language, she is going to turn tsundere at this rate. She’s still psychoing herself that a guy is all about the looks. But why are you blushing then, girl? Just then, she heard him say how he needs to finish them because he wants to see Ayumi and Koyoi with these outfits on. Hate meter rising again. She kicks him and knocks him out. Oh now who is going to finish the job? They didn’t so their cheerleading outfits has the girls wearing the boys’ uniform and Kusuda himself in the finished one. So odd. But instead of being mad for being forced to wear it, Kusuda is happy. Kei’s feelings are confused once more. We also see a picture of Kei sleeping while sewing in Kusuda’s handphone. After the race, Kusuda does his lame victory cheer. The teacher compliments Kei for a job well done when Kusuda continues to give Kei more credits. Ker’s face is as red as a traffic light but since she has her pride to protect, she tells Kusuda to stop acting cool while reiterating that cool looks line. Think not. Yeah, I bet she’s falling for him. And tsundere too…
 
If you haven’t seen an extreme case of onii-chan fetish, episode 4 is a good one. That fetish belongs to Koyoi and as she and her friends are leaving school, Yuuji is trying to take a peep at Yoshihiko’s little sister, much to the latter’s dismay. Something about Yuuji wants to know if Yoshihiko’s sister is uglier than his because Yuuji believes in brother-sister love. Incest? Suddenly Koyoi in her excitement grabs Yoshihiko and pins him down. Soon they leave together but it’s a different case for Yuuji and Ayumi. Yeah, they both hate each other. So ironic. Yuuji is a siscon but Ayumi doesn’t like him much but Yoshihiko who has that isn’t fond of the attention Koyoi gives him. Where did it all go wrong? Back at Koyoi’s apartment, she is praying to her late mom that tomorrow will be the start of the happiest day of her life. Her dad is going to be transferred due to his job. Which means, nobody can come between her and her onii-chan. Oh God, she’s even praying her dad’s job will continue for a long time. She even starts acting like a housewife and get all lovey-dovey with Yoshihiko. Enough to send shivers down to any guy’s spine. Would you want this kind of sister? If you have siscon, maybe. As Koyoi is eating lunch with her friends, Kei’s slip of a tongue said how Yoshihiko looked plain and useless. But Koyoi is happy because there will be no rivals to gain her brother’s affection. She’d better hope he never gets a girlfriend then. Speaking of which, Yoshihiko seems to have a crush on Misaki… Yoshihiko and Yuuji are talking about the possibility of Ayumi falling for Misao. Yuuji is getting paranoid and thinks Misao seduced her with lollipops. Yuuji decides to demonstrate this theory. As Misaki is walking by, he suddenly pops a lollipop into her mouth. She just stood there silently so Yoshihiko thinks she is mad and takes Yuuji away. Is she? So much for the demo.
 
Yoshihiko goes home yet again to be treated like some married husband from Koyoi, the ever lovey-dovey and caring wife. Please… It then hit him that today is the day of dad’s transfer, the reason why she’s acting so. Koyoi proceeds to prepare a sumptuous meal for him. How much does that lobster cost?! Do they have that much allowance?! As Yoshihiko takes a bath, Koyoi answers a call from Misaki who is looking for him. She starts to fear the worse and even thinks she has gotten the wrong number. But upon hearing that Misaki is on the line, Yoshihiko quickly shoves Koyoi out of the way to answer the call. Koyoi’s heart is unsettled to see Yoshihiko’s happy face but still thinks she has a chance if this is an unrequited love. The next day, she follows him to a cafe and easily spots who this Misaki is. Yeah, she’s an eye puller. Everyone is looking at her curves. And the way she’s licking the lollipop… It’s really none of those crowds’ business because you can see their jealous looks when she greets Yoshihiko. While Koyoi thinks she has lost to her in terms of boobs and sex appeal among others, Yoshihiko painfully learns that Misaki is in love with Yuuji the moment he put the lollipop in her mouth. OMG! I can’t believe that worked! And I thought she said she wasn’t going to bother with love. The reason Misaki called to meet him is because she wants to find out what kind of guy Yuuji is like and his love history seeing that Yoshihiko is always close to him. Though Koyoi is happy, she can’t help feel guilty about her brother’s heartbreak. So she fixes him another meal with expensive meat. Though he scolds her for using up the money, it can’t be helped since it has been done. But Koyoi notes that this soft-hearted and gentle person is the brother whom she loves very much.
 
Episode 5 focuses on Meguru. In school, some crazy guy in Speedo trunks, Gengorou Takei comes to ‘persuade’ Meguru to join the swimming club since she was a top swimmer during her middle school years. She apologizes that she has quit swimming and can’t join his club. Maybe it’s the way he asked her, no? Plus, does this guy have a sense of modesty? He’s running around chasing her in his trunks! I don’t blame anyone who thinks he’s a pervert even if his intentions are genuine. Meguru comes running to a cafe where Misaki and Misao are in and hides underneath their table. If not for the store manager dragging him out, who knows what would have happened to that frightened girl. Meguru explains the reason why she quit swimming. She was uncomfortable with her large busts (would F-cup be enough to fit? Just kidding) and attracted many stares and molestation. So she wears a smaller bra to make them look smaller. Then here’s another twist. Misaki wants Meguru to tell him her feelings clearly to stop this endless chase but Meguru says she isn’t bothered with that. In fact, Takei was her first love and still is! So why can’t she just ask him out on a date? Erm… Something about he sees her as a rival rather than a woman. Since Takei breathing down their neck, I guess he is desperate enough to say he’ll do anything if she beats him in a swimming challenge. This is a good chance. However the other swimming club members come rushing to tell Takei that one of their members has transferred school. Meaning with 1 member short, their club is threatened to be suspended. Takei begs to the teacher not to close down the club (begging in his trunks?!) but he gives him 1 week or else he has no choice but to do so. Takei then goes to beg Meguru to join the club but she runs away instead.
 
As time pass, Takei and his swimming club guys try to recruit an additional member like handing out flyers but to no avail. Furthermore, it is winter season so nobody in their right mind would want to join. I guess Takei is burning so hot in his passion that he can be out in the cold with only his trunks. Meanwhile as Kusuda talks to Sogabe about joining the swimming club for the busty girls but Sogabe scoffs him off because his kind of ideal girls are those with pure heart. He bumps into Chikura and loses his glasses. She puts them back on for him and her polite behaviour steals his heart. Sogabe is adamant in returning her feelings. Back at Meguru, she is in a dilemma of joining the swimming club. Though it will solve the problem, she still has that fear of everyone just interesting in looking at her breasts. On the final day of the deadline, as Meguru goes to see Takei (thank goodness, he is fully clothed for the first time) and learns the reason for his love for swimming (something about swimsuits for the tournament?) so she agrees to his swimming challenge. Well, at least she’s not afraid to don her swimming suit even if her breasts rely defy science and gravity. The race begins and Meguru wins. Takei is ready to listen to her wish and that is, she wants a swimsuit for her to use in their upcoming tournament. Everyone rejoices that their club won’t be suspended. However Meguru joins as their coach and has them undergo intense training. Takei wishes for Meguru to another race once he gets better so Meguru wonders when Takei will look at her as a woman.
 
In episode 6, Sogabe and Kusuda plan a Christmas party in order to get closer to the girls they want and blackmails Mamoru into their plan. Kei, Ayumi and Chikura agree to come. But Kei is disturbed on what spending Christmas with Kusuda so much so her fantasies run wild on what might developed. Her sister Yuu spots her rolling around in bed clad with a towel. Bummer. At a store, Kei thinks of what to get Kusuda for a present and thinks a scarf would be good when she spots Kusuda too shopping nearby. They get into another argument and when she sees the pink gloves in his hand, she shoots that any girl won’t be happy receiving them and if she were to receive them, she’ll throw them right away. Upset Kusuda throws the gloves down and leaves. Kei feels guilty for her actions as Kusuda continues to snub her so she has no chance to apologize properly. Kei walks back with Dobashi when Dobashi decides to walk back with a guy she knows. Next day in class, Ayumi asks Kei is it is okay for her to wear pink for the party because they don’t want their colours to clash. Ayumi notes how Kei’s favourite colour is pink as most of her stuffs are of that colour. But Kei herself is surprised that she herself doesn’t realize this and wonders if those gloves were meant for her.
 
Kei meets up with the gang on the day but only sees Kusuda and Sogabe. They say how some Santa collapsed so Mamoru took him to the hospital as Ayumi accompanies him. Then Kei gets a call from Chikura who can’t attend because she fell sick so alarmed Sogabe decides to rush over to her place because he claims that he is the only one who can save her. Oh, now he’s a doctor. This leaves Kei alone with Kusuda. He wants to call it off but thinking of the need to apologize, she persuades him to go out and eat something since they’ve came out all the way here. Can’t believe Kei can still be picky on what kind of restaurant they’re supposed to dine in because Kusuda settled in for some cheap family restaurant (that guy trying to peep at Meguru’s panties – she’s working there part time by the way). After dinner, Kusuda decides to go home but Kei can’t let it end like that. Then at a snow covered playground, they start throwing snowballs at each other and accusing why you’re so cold to me, because you’re like that, because you’re like this, you don’t know my feelings, bla bla bla. Before Kei could apologize (or confess), Kusuda leaves so she throws him his present, which is a scarf. He also has a present for her: A sexy Santarina outfit! Anyway Kei apologizes and takes back her statement and that those pink gloves may look good on her. Just as luck would have it, Kusuda has got them and gives it to her. He shortly u-turned and bought them that day. Kei puts on the gloves and after that pesters Kusuda to put on the scarf too. We also see how the other characters spend their Christmas with their loved ones (except for Sogabe. He’s concocting some poison, I mean medicine) and lastly as Kei goes back to put on that Santarina dress, Yuu comes in… Perhaps she should try locking her door next time.
 
In episode 7, Kei asks Dobashi if that guy whom she walked back was her boyfriend and to her surprise she admits it. But Kei tells her she feels bad for him because Dobashi has no openings and always relied on herself and to a man, that is like making him feeling useless. Yeah, Dobashi quipped how she was lectured by a person who doesn’t even have a boyfriend. That guy is Haruto Terai and is one of the tennis club members just like Dobashi. The other guys are commenting on her harsh ways and that nobody wants to be her girlfriend. Terai and Dobashi walk back together and Terai feels hesitant to hold her hand. By the time he is going to do so, they’ve reached her house. A short flashback sees how Terai was an amateur tennis club member. He thought of quitting when Dobashi decided to personally train him. During that time, he indicates that he may have fallen for her so she suggests going out for real. Back in reality, Terai talks to Dobashi about how he’ll never catch up to her so she tells him that even if he thinks lowly of himself, she knows he is trying his best. She hugs him as a reward. As New Year’s Day approaches, Terai invites Dobashi out to the shrine.
 
Meanwhile Koyoi and Yoshihiko are there too for prayers. I can’t believe Koyoi is playing some RPG game straight for 90 hours! Finally restored peace to the Earth, eh? Yoshihiko makes a wish for Koyoi to fall in love with another guy (hope that comes true) while Koyoi fresh from her RPG victory wishes for world peace. Then they have their fortunes read and Koyoi’s one read "Terrible Luck". On the way home, they meet Misaki so Koyoi thinks she is the Demon King after having a close up look at her assets. No elite equipment to fight back, haha. When Misaki learns that she is his sister, she proceeds to hug her and feels envy because she’s an only child. Instant defeat for Koyoi. Then she regrets her wish for world peace and should’ve wished for bigger boobs. See lah. Play some more RPG lah. Terai and Dobashi are returning from the shrine and he once again fails to hold her hand. In class, Koyoi and Ayumi did some weird chanting ("Beat the Demon King"?) and ritual to make their breasts grow. Dobashi notices Kei wearing pink gloves to class, same with Kusuda in his scarf. Then after school, Terai walks home with Dobashi again and finally manages to ask to hold hands but he got more than that. She kisses him! She thanks him for trying hard and thus she too will try her best.
 
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner in episode 8. Misaki meets Yoshihiko to ask a guy’s opinion for that day and his reply is a day to find out who likes who. Misaki eventually bought chocolates to give to Yuuji when someone bumps into her before rushing off. Mamoru comes by and is disheartened to see Misaki with the chocolates so he says he wants chocolates from her before rushing off. Then it hit Misaki about his feelings. In school, Yuu and Meguru hint that Yoshihiko may have feelings for Misaki and as proof, he’ll wait for her after class even if it takes forever. True enough, Misaki sees him waiting. Back home, Misaki faces a dilemma of giving her chocolates now that she knows the feelings of the other guys. In class, Ayumi also learns Mamoru like Misaki because she was passing by and eavesdropped how he wanted chocolates from her. She and Koyoi discover that their loved ones like the ‘Demon King’ and proceed to form an alliance to defeat her. How desperate they are? The duo confront Misaki after school and tell her to give her chocolates to Yuuji tomorrow. But Misaki says she can’t because she can’t see a reason to love him but Ayumi tells her she doesn’t need a reason as long as your heart thumps when you’re with that person. With that, Misaki decides to give it a shot. Ayumi and Koyoi are happy and as long as their loved ones see this, they’ll give up their love for Misaki.
 
Misaki calls Yuuji to meet him tomorrow underneath a bridge as she wants to give him something. Yuuji starts to panic because he knows tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Koyoi leads her brother there while Mamoru follows a note to the place. Meanwhile Kei is giving Kusuda her chocolates but realizes that this isn’t hers. She remembers bumping into somebody (Misaki) and perhaps that’s when the switch occurred. She rushes off and promises Kusuda that she’ll give him her chocolates. Kei calls Yuu because she faintly remembers that person she bumped into is her classmate. She wants to know her location and hopes she doesn’t give away that chocolate because it’s a chocolate bomb! Yikes! Ayumi also overheard this and is going to rush over when she bumps into Misao. Ayumi then says she’ll give him all her chocolates if he’ll take her to the bridge as fast as possible. That guy would do anything for her. I think the world record is in danger of being smashed. Misaki meets Yuuji at the bridge as Koyoi, Yoshihiko and Mamoru are also there. Before Misaki could give her chocolate, Ayumi arrives in time and in dramatic fashion jumps down (don’t try this anywhere) and kicks away the chocolate. It turned out to be a round brown ball with a kappa inside. Misaki gives out a heartily laughter and feels relieved. With that, she apologizes to Mamoru and Yoshihiko for all that has happened. The dejected guys leave as Misaki turns to Yuuji and say to start off by being friends.
 
Sogabe is really happy that he is able to walk home with Chikura in episode 9. Meanwhile Kei lectures Koyoi and Ayumi for their selfish plan which ended up hurting their loved ones. In tears, they rush to go apologize to them. Elsewhere, Chikura is staying late finishing her painting and we learn she looks up to a sakura painting of a person named Yukito Renjou. Then a high school guy comes in and comments on her painting. She learns that he is Renjou, an ex-student, and is thrilled to meet him. Because she always claim she could never reach his standards or finish her painting, he suggests that they finish it together, delighting her. So over the next few days, Chikura and Renjou happily paint together and Sogabe gets disheartened when he finds out. He leaves them alone. As the duo continue to paint, Chikura learns that he is going overseas and it is his dream to travel around the world to paint for children of poor countries. That night Chikura walks back with Sogabe and tells him about Renjou’s work though she displays her happy self. On the day of Renjou’s graduation, he comes to see her. Chikura says how much she respects him and wants him to do his best. Renjou is taken aback and hugs her while offering his thanks. In her embarrassment, she runs off. The next day, Chikura eagerly waits for Renjou to complete the painting in her club room but he never turned up. She notices a letter on the easel and sees the painting finished with a picture of herself smiling amidst the sakura trees. Tears stream down her eyes when she read the letter. It seems Renjou is to leave the country right after his graduation but upon seeing how happy she was painting, he couldn’t bring himself to tell her. He was worried about his future since his family and friends disagreed with the path he chose, the reason he came back to this school. He is glad to have met and painted with her and wishes for her to continue smiling as he’ll never forget them. She rushes up to the rooftop and cries her heart out. In the aftermath, Chikura continues to paint. I’m not an expert in art but does that painting take a long time to finish? But I really sympathize with Chikura. It’s so sad to see her cry like that.
 
In episode 10, Sogabe joins Mamoru sighing in some unofficial broken hearts club of theirs. Meanwhile Kei and Kusuda get into another argument when a girl named Sumire Fudounomiya overheard the kappa word Kei has been calling him repeatedly. She proceeds to smother Kusuda in her busty boobs and you can tell Kei is jealous even if she doesn’t admit it. Sumire is from the theatre club and needs a kappa for her performance for the new student’s reception. At the cafe, Kei’s friends think she has a rival when Misaki and her pals come in. They learn Kei and Yuu are sisters. Suddenly a flat chest loli, Nanoka Kyuuma challenges her so called eternal rival Meguru to a swimming duel. In class, Kusuda is obviously dreaming about Sumire’s boobs even if she is showing her script for the play. It isn’t significant and just a cameo appearance. Elsewhere Nanoka pesters Meguru to swim but she says she has stopped doing so. Nanoka then wants the guys to convince her. Takei says he likes the faster one. Meguru instantly gets into swimming gear. But she lost and instantly leaves. On the way home, she meets Kei and they had a chat. Kei thinks Meguru’s boobs are the key to changing her life. Then in school, she sees a trail of cucumbers on the floor. Obviously a trap set up by Sumire for that kappa. She really thinks of him as a kappa?! I guess Kei wasn’t thinking because she tells Sumire that she can’t tempt Kusuda with cucumbers but porn mags instead. She does so and it worked! Kei is pissed and confronts happy Kusuda collecting those mags. Kei continues to show her tsundere side and tells him to go to the big breasted woman’s side instead. Then Kei meets Meguru on the streets again and learns she has taken her advice. Yeah, now she has them lose. And a hazard it is because all those perverted guys are staring at them!
 
Then Nanoka confronts Meguru and asks why she is absent from club activities. Meguru instantly takes Nanoka to do some shopping. She puts on Gothic Lolita clothes on her while a loose one for herself. But Nanoka isn’t happy because she is showing off her breasts in public when she should be showing them in pool instead. Takei then drags Meguru back to the pool and forces her to have a race with him, in which she lost. She tells them about her big bust problem so he replies not to worry about them and just swim. She gets her confidence back and everyone rejoice. Elsewhere, the usual spat between Kusuda and Kei though the former wanted to just tell her he declined Sumire’s offer. Then in class, some guy wants Kusuda to help him give his love to Kei since he is always with her. Of course the others misinterpret it. Even if Kusuda clears this up by saying the letter is from some popular and handsome guy, Kei continues with her stinging remarks that a handsome guy like him would suit her better than Kusuda. Dobashi thinks Kei has gone out of line. Next day, Kusuda is talking to Sumire about the love triangle when Kei chides him for talking to her. Kusuda has had enough of her attitude and tells her back that if she hates ugly guys like him, she should just leave him alone and that she is the type of girls he hate most. However those words left Kei hurt for real.
 
Thus Kusuda joins Mamoru and Sogabe in episode 11. Kusuda and Sogabe suggest running away on a soul searching trip and drags Mamoru along. The guys meet up early one morning and decide to just head east via their bicycles. Hey, they didn’t make any long term planning after all. Not to mention the kind of limited supply and money they have. In class, the girls notice the trio missing and decide to pay a visit to them after school. Upon arriving at Mamoru’s place, they see Misao frantically running out, saying how Mamoru has run away. They suggest Kei to call Kusuda but she is hesitant so Ayumi takes over. In some rural place, Kusuda picks up a call when a loud broadcast announcer interrupts them. Sogabe tells him to immediately hang up. They then turn off their handphones. Chikura recognizes the broadcast and has a rough idea where they are. Ayumi suggests for them to go bring the boys back but Kei says she can’t because she thinks Kusuda hates her. Misao tells her that even if it is so, she still has something she wants to tell him. Kei gets her confidence back as everyone head home to make the necessary preparations. Dobashi won’t be tagging along because she doesn’t want to make Terai worry. Elsewhere, Misaki is trying to personally get to know Yuuji better but that guy tells her to go out with those other rejected guys instead. Then Yoshihiko comes in to tell Yuuji that their sisters ‘ran away’. Misaki also gets the same SMS from Misao that he is going to look for them too. Yuuji panics and rushes off to find his sister. Misaki then tells Yoshihiko seems that Yuuji isn’t interested in her. Night falls as the girls ride a train to their destination when Kei spots the guys peddling as hard as they could away from a pack of chasing angry wild boars. She could’ve jumped off if the girls didn’t restrain her. Is this their idea of soul searching? Are we having fun?
 
Thank goodness they managed to escape from that but another problem crops up. In episode 12, the guys have to uncomfortably share a camping bed. They really didn’t come prepared. As for the girls, they’re really relaxing at a hotspring inn. See the difference. When morning comes, more commotion when the guys accuse each other for finishing their snack rations. All are equally to blame. We also see Misao, Yoshihiko and Yuuji taking a train. Misao is trying to get all nice with Yuuji but the latter isn’t going to give his sister to that beast as he proclaims he loves her sister more. Siscon. Yoshihiko advices Yuuji to give some thought about Misaki. The runaway boys are peddling while yelling out to their hearts desire of their loved ones, weaknesses and what they could do. They then reach the beach and facing towards the open ocean, they shout out loud I-love-you of their loved ones. However, the girls have arrived and heard them. Embarrassed, the guys make a run for it. Kei, Ayumi and Chikura start chasing them as they leave their bags to Koyoi. Since Sogabe has been cycling too long, his legs motion are unbalanced as he trips. When Chikura comes up to him, Sogabe starts ranting the difference between him and Renjou. But Chikura notes that Sogabe is Sogabe and a different person. She wishes for them to try their best. Ayumi catches up with Mamoru and asks why he is running away. He says is to recover from the impact of rejection and after he shouted out loud, he felt a little better. Ayumi is relieved and starts crying, happy to see his smile. At the same time, Misao, Yuuji and Yoshihiko have arrive and see this.
 
Kei tackles Kusuda to stop him from running. Kusuda asks her why don’t she date some handsome guy but she replies she knows his cool points. Kei then confesses she loves him but Kusuda thinks it’s a lie since he remembered her saying she hated him and only liked guys with looks. However, Kei says that it is the inner beauty that counts. Now she’s talking. She has sure changed. The gang regroup and watch the beautiful sunset before leaving. Yuuji thinks of letting go his siscon ways. Elsewhere, Dobashi gets word that the guys have been found. She tells Terai that she won’t let him run away if anything like this happens. In school, Ayumi is down upon knowing the boy she loves still likes the other girl. She thinks of going along with his siscon brother but she got advice from her friends about love and feelings. Yuuji is seen confronting Misaki and is interested in getting to know her more. Though she is initially reluctant, she gives in. Finally Ayumi rings the doorbell of Mamoru’s home and though she apologizes for the late reply, she isn’t going to give up her precious first love on Mamoru yet.
 
I’m glad of how things turn out well in the end. To me, this whole series can be summed up as heart warming. Maybe for those season romance viewers, you won’t find anything special but still I feel it is good mix of love stories between the several characters. Even if some of the characters didn’t get to end up with the ones he/she wanted but even so as Sogabe mentioned "Love with no results still give you many rewards". To see the person you love happy is one of such rewards. As they also say, love is a give and take thing. Love does change a person too. Especially Kei who initially thinks it’s all about the looks, after all that bickering and denial, look how she turned out into a self-proclaimed preacher of inner beauty. Hmm… I don’t think I’m ever going to try popping a lollipop into a girl’s mouth just to make her fall in love. There’s a thin line between wanting a girlfriend and just being desperate.
 
Hey, I just realized that Yuu doesn’t have a love story among the girls. I thought that seeing that she is also being featured in the opening and ending credits with the rest of the girls, perhaps there will be an episode that will focus of her. Even if Sumire and Nanoka’s appearance were short ones and serve as fillers, but in a way they are part of the little development in the love story of the middle school kids. But if you buy the DVD, you’ll get special episodes lasting around 5 minutes each called Limited Girl. Who is this girl? She is Soako Andou, self professed mega klutz. Yeah, this unknown girl gets some screen time of her own compared to Yuu. Special 1 sees Soako running late for school. Because of that, she forgot to wear her bra and panties. Ooohh… So a lot of things going through her mind as her day will just get worse. She’s so scared of being exposed so much so like simple tasks of walking up the stairs seems like a nightmare. As Soako inches up slowly, Kei is chasing Kusuda over his porn mags when he bumps into her. Soako falls and this will expose what is underneath her skirt. With quick thinking, she points out a UFO with feathers and it was enough to fool everyone. Safe for now.
 
Not yet because in Special 2, she has gym class. Her mind goes crazy again, thinking she will be exposed if she changes in front of the girls. Of course, she later changes in the toilet cubicle. As they are doing jumps over the horse vault, Soako notices how Kei’s boobs bounce so much even if she wears bra. So she fakes that a failed jump but the teacher tells her to do it again. In her haste to get it over, as she jumps, her shorts ripped. Oh dear. She stops dead on the vault. She tries to move off slowly without exposing but crashes the whole thing. At the end of class, she volunteers to fix the vault alone while holding its wooden outline to hide the ripped part. If you think the nightmare is over, it is just about to begin. In Special 3, she drops her eraser deep between the classroom cupboard so it’s really awkward to see her trying to retrieve it while covering her ass. Then Koyomi rushes in to inform her the sale of the once-a-month melonbread which they love so much. When they go over to the cafeteria, Soako is devastated to see only boys tussling and pushing for the limited bread. Koyomi pushes her into the crowd as she experiences ‘severe molestation’, including Kusuda, Sogabe and Mamoru. When the breads are sold out and the crowd disperse, Kusuda notes how he felt a different kind of melonbread pressed against his back. While Koyomi happily eats her melonbread, Soako is left lying on the floor feeling real violated. Hey, it beats getting raped.
 
Soako’s class is doing cleaning duties in Special 4. She notices the certificate frame tilted and since there is no teacher’s desk and the chairs won’t help in reaching them, Sogabe suggests Soako to stand on his shoulders to adjust the frame. Of course we know what Soako’s problem is and not whether Sogabe’s back is strong to support her or not. Since Soako is pretty occupied of whether her boobs are showing, she can’t concentrate as her balance shifts. Naturally Sogabe’s reaction is to look up to see what is wrong. In Soako’s panic, she tries to shield her lower part resulting in her butt sitting right on top of his head! Just then the frame drops and knocks Sogabe out. Soako leaves like as though nothing happened. In Special 5, Soako can’t go home yet because it’s her turn to be a model for the art club. Uh oh. Those piercing eyes are like saying right through her clothes. During the break, the mega klutz goes to get water but turns a faulty tap which results her entire clothes getting soaked. Mamoru instructs someone to get a towel and during Soako’s daze, I guess she starts to fall in love with Mamoru. Then Chikura and Mamoru start to notice… That’s when Soako is snapped back to reality. She gets very embarrassed and runs away while hiding herself in a room. So in Special 6, she strips herself naked (oh yeah!) while waiting for her clothes to be dried via some heating equipment. The door is locked and the curtains drawn, all she have to do is wait, right? I guess she fell asleep waiting so much so it’s evening. The girls are worried about her locked in there for so long but Mamoru decides to handle this situation on his own. In a gentleman’s way. That’s because he secretly knows Soako is wearing nothing underneath and feels he musn’t reveal her immodesty. Yeah, a gentlemen says he. The girls agree and leave. He opens the door with a key and is he going to get a free show of Soako? Thankfully, he blindfolded himself with a towel. He hands a towel to her so that she could clean himself but I don’t know why she uses it to blindfold herself (unless she was thinking of having blindfolded sex! Haha!). Yeah, really mega klutz. As she walks home with him, she feels that she may start to fall for him. Phew. The day’s nightmare is over. On an unrelated note, it’s amazing she didn’t get raped. Just kidding.
 
The drawing, art and animation of the series seems a little ‘bleached’ or light at first that’s because it is produced by J.C. Staff, the same company which brought you Honey And Clover and Nodame Cantabile. Other than that, the drawing is your typical anime standards of pretty bishoujos and the sorts. As for the fanservice, there are but I would consider them as mild. Well, if you’d love to see the girls in random outfits like nurse or even cowboy, yeah the ending credits animation has them too. Even the Limited Girl fanservice could be considered mild. Heck, no serious panty shots. It’s like they’re just teasing us viewers.
 
This series isn’t meant to be definitive on how teenagers go about in their love life. But for a clueless chap like me it gives a little insight. Yeah right. After watching so many kinds of this genre and I’m still unable to find one. I still my eyes and heart set on Mai, though. Oh Mai, when will my love be returned. Dream on. Like 2D characters ever count. While there are many types of love in this world, the way one fall in love and countless love adages, quotes and the likes, it is something that should go unlimited. So now, do you believe in love? Or rather have you fallen in love?
 

Hatsukoi Limited