Kimi Ni Todoke

September 25, 2010

Another high school drama romance series. That’s what I should classify it after watching Kimi Ni Todoke. You know the usual ‘ingredients’. Girl meets boy, girl likes boy, boy also likes girl but both do not have the courage enough to confess to each other’s face about their feelings, their buddies and pals some of which may add to the love triangle and complications. Yeah, those sort of things. But how about if the girl is more of a social outcast? Wouldn’t that make her an unlikely heroine? If you have seen Ugly Betty, then you should know that anything is possible. Uh huh. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
 
That said girl in the series, Sawako Kuronuma, has always been shunned by her classmates simply because she resembles very closely to that ghostly character in The Ring film. Thus the misconception and nickname given to her from that said movie, Sadako. Long black hair, eerie smile, ghostly voice. I think you can’t blame them for cowering in fear every time she tries to talk to them. They may think they have incurred the wrath of a spirit! To worsen things, though Sawako is a sweet girl, she is very shy and does not tend to correct people about their misconceptions. It is that and you will notice Sawako is some sort of dense and slow whenever it comes to making contact with the people around her. No, I don’t mean to say she’s stupid or a retard, just that she has been going through this all her life so in a way it ‘impedes’ her ability to do better. All that is about to change when she meets a lively, popular and outgoing classmate, Shouta Kazehaya. He’s like a total opposite. If Sawako drives away people, then Kazehaya attracts people. Man, he’s so popular that not only he’s got lots of girls admirers, but they even form an alliance to maintain peace and order among themselves! Kazehaya belongs to everyone? Since when did he become public property?
 
Episode 1 sees how Sawako is the object of fear in her high school and that her earnest wish is just to make friends. She gets taken in by Kazehaya’s friendliness while finding her way to Kitahoro High School. Because unlike others who fear her, he instead smiled and said thank you. Other than Kazehaya, Shino, Sawako’s middle high school friend is the only one who talks normally with her. Too bad they aren’t in the same class. Sawako volunteered herself to help her classroom teacher for some summer work when no one else did but Kazehaya thinks it’s not good to let her do all the work. However Sawako insists she’d love to do them. During that she was able to speak with Kazehaya and he compliments her for being able to speak her mind. Looks like Sawako will be getting more friends because she made 2 quick ones after expressing her earnest feelings of doing those work to the tomboyish Chizuru "Chizu" Yoshida and the perceptive and intelligent Ayane Yano. With that, Sawako is able to participate in the class’ event of kimodameshi (test of courage). Guess what part Sawako played? The scary ghost of course. She’s a natural even if she doesn’t understand what’s going on. Sawako and Kazehaya had some time together so they talk. She is pretty surprised herself that this is her first time that someone said such nice things to her and experiencing such feelings of the heart. Because Kazehaya lost the kimodameshi, his classmates have him undergo some penalty game. That is, to date Sawako for a week. But he chides them all for being rude and disrespectful. Sawako feels that it isn’t right for him to always stand up for her so she told the class the truth on what she thinks on Kazehaya’s integrity. During summer holidays on her way to school, she shed tears as she feels lonely but to her surprise sees Kazehaya waiting for her. He hands her a little present from everyone who was sorry for what they said to her. He thinks back the first time he first met her and indicates the feelings he had back then which continued to grow and wonders if it will reach her someday.
 
In episode 2, Sawako left her umbrella for a stray puppy on the roadside (even animals hate her!) so she got soaked when she reached school. Chizu lends her spare clothes and Kazehaya his towel. As gratitude, Sawako bought and left packet drinks for them. After school, Sawako and Kazehaya go see the puppy. See, Kazehaya is so popular that the little doggy instantly likes him. He decides to adopt it. Next day in class, Sawako baked some cookies for her pals but decides to wait after school to give it to them. Today is the day that the class rearrange their seating and there are talks among some of the classmates they don’t want to get Sawako’s cursed seat. As they draw lots, Sawako gets hers near the window. Those who aren’t close to her would love to stay as far as possible. Kazehaya decides to switch places with the one assigned to sit next to her. This is followed by Ayane and Chizu who ‘moved’ in front of her. And at the back of her, Ryuu Sanada, a baseball freak who seems to spend most of his time sleeping and bad with names. It’s like she’s being protected by a circle of friends, no? She hands the cookies to her friends and feels very happy to be in this seat. Sawako feels a feeling that overwhelms admiration and respect. Yes girl, it’s called love.
 
Kazuichi "Pin" Arai becomes the temporary replacement homeroom teacher for the gang in episode 3. Some loudmouth guy with some ego we’ve got here. Pin needs someone to help with the attendance log after school. Though Sawako volunteers, Kazehaya offers to help. Why is everyone else thinking of wanting to help too? Because Kazehaya is in? Sawako is doing the log after school and her private time with Kazehaya is cut short when Pin orders him to get his ass to the teacher’s room or else he will reveal his embarrassing ghost stories. It is that time that Sawako make more friends. They are Erika Hirano AKA Ekko and Tomoko Endou AKA Tomo. See, it’s not that bad once you get to know her. After school, Kazehaya invites Sawako out for a walk with him since he is taking the puppy, Maru, out for one too. Next day in class when Sawako helps tutor Chizu with her school work, everyone else got so amazed that they flock to her for assistance! That’s when everyone saw the most beautiful side of her: Her smile. A gleaming smile of a goddess. If she’d smile like this always. After school, Ayane and Chizu heard a bunch of girls talking how the former slept with lots of guys and the latter a juvenile delinquent. They confront them and demand who spread those rumours. In fear, the girl says it is Sawako.
 
As the rumour spreads in episode 4, Ayane and Chizu didn’t believe it is Sawako since she awfully looks like the type that couldn’t though they still have their doubts. Why would a girl who gladly lends her notes do such a thing? I don’t know what Pin’s problem is because he’s making Kazehaya listening to his weird stories of seeing drunken tiny men running around his cup! He thinks it’s Sawako’s doing so probably he wanted to ask Kazehaya since he sat close to her. He even thought he hooked up with her! When Shino talks to Sawako about the rumours, Sawako doesn’t even know that she’s the one being talked about but says she isn’t worried because of the kind people around her. Ayane and Chizu just happen to walk around the corner and heard her say "They’re not my friends" when Shino asks her about the duo. I’m sure they could’ve listened to the whole story if Pin hadn’t dragged them away. What Sawako meant was the kind of deep bond between the duo in which she doesn’t feel deserved to be called yet. Because of that, their suspicions of her increase and when they confront her to ask if she likes them, her hesitation causes her to be cut off. Looks like they aren’t on talking terms. Even if Sawako doesn’t understand what’s going on, she felt she was the cause that made them sad. Even Kazehaya notices Sawako is avoiding him. She says nothing when he confronts her and runs off instead.
 
The gloom and strain on their new friendship continues in episode 5. Sawako thinks of distancing herself like in the past so as not to hurt anyone anymore. Kazehaya can’t take it anymore and has Sawako tell him everything after school. She cries while telling about the rumours causing Kazehaya to lose his popularity. But he doesn’t care about all that because those things are for him to decide and not others. He continues to comfort and talk to her what if their positions were reversed and in other people’s shoe, would she like that? He has her promise never to avoid him again. Ayane and Chizu are still sorting their confused feelings and gets unlikely source of advice from Pin and Ryuu respectively. Blaming others won’t solve things and that there could be other reasons why she didn’t answer them back them. Next day, Sawako is in the girl’s toilet thinking of how to apologize to her girl pals when she hears a bunch of girls talking bad about them. She tells them otherwise and to clear the misunderstanding but they corner and mock like the bullies they are.
 
A large crowd gathers outside the female toilet in episode 6. Kazehaya obviously can’t go in to stop them. The b*tches get a little physical and push Sawako onto the floor. Sawako gets the shock of her life when she learns that SHE was the one spreading the rumours. Haha. And she didn’t even realize that herself. Ayane and Chizu step in after hearing no matter how much Sawako was blamed, she stood up for her pals. The bullies back off unless they want to ascertain Chizu’s rumours of beating up lots of people. When the bullies got out of the toilet, they hear Kazehaya’s voice on how he hates people who spread trashy rumours. You know what that means. You’re no more in his good books. Who cares what will happen to them because it’s over if they think they can get closer to Kazehaya now. And after everyone else thinks deep and hard how Sawako helped them, they believe she couldn’t be the one who spread them. Should’ve thought about this in the first place. Ayane and Chizu apologize to Sawako and for suspecting her. They reconcile and their friendship takes a healthy boost. Now they’re really best friends.
 
Sawako gets a call from Chizu and Ayane saying that they’re going out to eat ramen together in episode 7. Even Sawako’s parents are bloody shocked that she got calls from friends! Seems the place is Ryuu’s as his family runs a ramen store right beneath the house they’re staying. Since Chizu is so close to Ryuu like siblings (she’s his neighbour by the way), she can even enter his room and do what she likes. Not like that quiet ‘bo chap’ guy cares. The girls get an idea to get Sawako call Kazehaya over. Using Ryuu’s handphone so that Kazehaya would be caught offguard (in which he was), Kazehaya gladly makes his way there. They go over the school year book that Kazehaya was in as Sawako learns he was part of the baseball club then. They also talk their ideal kind of girls/boys. Sly Ayane decides to see Kazehaya’s reaction when she gets too close to Sawako. Pin, a regular customer at the store, invites himself into the room and is surprised to see the entire gang there. Sawako learns Pin and Kazehaya go a long way together because Kazehaya’s dad used to coach Pin’s little baseball team. I’m not sure why he’s asking Sawako’s exorcism advice for his apartment. At the end when everyone parts, Chizu asks Ryuu his ideal type of girl and his reply is dense and simple-minded ones (hint, hint). Kazehaya walks Sawako back and she is happy to see a part of his expressions she has never seen before.
 
In class, Sawako is trying hard to pronounce her friend’s name by their first names in episode 8. I know she’s not used to it and nervous but it’s mind boggling that she’s actually struggling! Ayane being a little sadist must be enjoying it and suggests calling Kazehaya by his first name. Pin is in charge for the sports festival so Chizu gets fired up as both the active people team up to do their best and win the championship. Sawako and the girls practice football but it seems she’s a ‘kaki ayam’. Yeah, reminds me of myself. Kazehaya attends the class rep meeting and meets an old acquaintance from middle school, the sweet and pretty looking (like a bisque doll!) Ume "Kurumi" Kurumizawa. Sure, any girl would love to chat with him but she notices him staring out of the window instead of paying attention to what she’s saying. What is there? Sawako watering the plants below. I know what to expect from this. At the end, Kazehaya practices with Sawako kicking the football and not bad for a beginner and though no World Cup material but she is able to return the ball to him.
 
There’s a vast improvement in Sawako’s performance in episode 9! Other than that, Sawako makes another new friend when she meets sweet Kurumi when she was trying to meet Kazehaya but was out practicing football. Then the practice of calling each other’s first name also continues with Kazehaya given the task. Of course he couldn’t do it and for Sawako it’s like a roller coaster because her heart’s beating fast. It’s just first name, right? Well to some, it’s a big deal. Sawako is also in dreamland after seeing how pretty Kurumi is. Trying to get a perm? Trying to act more girly? Maybe not. More ghostly and hair-raising if I should say. After class, Sawako is wondering how close Kazehaya is to Kurumi since he calls her by her first name, not knowing that it is short name for her surname. She’s thinking so much that she got surprised when Kazehaya pops up besides her. Their ‘tense’ moment is eased with Kurumi’s appearance. She wipes Sawako’s sweat and says that they’re friends. Yeah, Sawako is like so surprised with that statement. Since when did they become friends? Oh what the heck, she’s her friend and all that matters, right?
 
She must have sleepless nights that Kurumi suddenly become friends. But it’s no dream because Kurumi continues to be very friendly and helpful with Sawako in episode 10. Sawako and Kurumi continue to chat together about knowing Kazehaya and the likes. But something seems to be making Kurumi mad even if Sawako doesn’t realize it herself. Is it her density? Though Kurumi is encouraged to do her best and be like her, you tell that Kurumi’s ‘evil’ aura indicates otherwise. Chizu tells Ayane about Kurumi. When they were in middle school, she always asked her to help set up meetings with a particular girl with Kazehaya. Of course everything soon started asking for a set up and got mad when Chizu refused to help one after another. Kurumi shed sympathetic tears not to blame her so everyone decided to form an alliance that Kazehaya belonged to everyone. Not that it mattered to Chizu but she and Kurumi never got along well. Sawako and Kazehaya chat and the former learns of Kurumi’s full name and feels relieved. I guess Kurumi has up to here after seeing them both together for so long so she decides to ‘borrow’ Sawako. On the way home, Kurumi suddenly has a change in personality. She yells back to Sawako not to call her by that name. She proceeds to ask Sawako’s help because there is someone she likes but doesn’t know what to do. Sawako is initially nervous but decides to help out. Till Kurumi says the person she likes is Kazehaya.
 
Sawako apologizes she can’t help her out after all in episode 11 since Kazehaya is someone special to her. In the end, Kurumi snapped and showed her true colours. Oh such scathing words. Perhaps Sawako was so dense that at one point she thought there was a different person due to the different voice! Kurumi is visibly upset that a pretty girl like her needs to work hard to get Kazehaya’s attention. And how dense could Sawako get? She thought it’s tough being popular and she was benefitting from looking gloomy. I don’t know what else to say. The sports festival starts and with Sawako’s class having football. Her class is winning and perhaps Sawako needs a little more practice because her kick was great, she lost her shoe. Yeah, it landed on Kurumi’s head! She returns her shoe when the match is over. Kurumi could’ve blown her top if not for the other people around her so she’s trying real hard to control her sweet outlook. But Kurumi isn’t happy Sawako tried to call her by her first name which she despises. Then they go watch the boys’ softball match (because Kazehaya is in it). As they talk about Kazehaya and his friendliness, a stray ball threatens to hit Sawako. Luckily Ryuu catches it before it smashes into her face. Kurumi gets an idea that Sawako should go thank Ryuu and talk to him more often.
 
Kurumi continues to tell Sawako in episode 12 that she knew Kazehaya for a long time and was with him through all those times and even slipped her tongue in saying she went to great lengths he didn’t find a girlfriend. Luckily (or not) Sawako was getting emo that she went through lots of hard stuff. After the match, Kazehaya confronts Ryuu if he has feelings for Sawako. He makes it clear that it’s not of those lovers kind. What a relief. Kurumi goes to see Pin under the ruse of wanting to help out when her true intention is to know Kazehaya’s schedule on the sports committee. Kurumi meets Ayane and the latter hints that she knows she is the one who spread the rumours. Kurumi then leaves a note in Ryuu’s shoe locker. Faking it as from Sawako wanting to meet him at the sports equipment room to thank him. She then tells Sawako about Ryuu waiting there. Sawako arrives to see Ryuu sleeping there. She thanks him. They also talk about love and this is when Sawako is surprised to learn Ryuu confessing he likes Chizu but wants her to keep it a secret. Kurumi sees Kazehaya putting away sports equipment and goes to talk to him. She tries to stir things by saying Sawako had eyes for Ryuu. To prove it, at the sports equipment room they both see Ryuu and Sawako talking together. Kurumi thought her plan is a success and wishes Kazehaya to support them. But he dropped the sports equipment in aghast and rushes over, shocking Kurumi.
 
Kazehaya quickly takes Sawako away in episode 13. Ryuu just walks away leaving Kurumi visibly upset. At a place by themselves, Kazehaya asks it straight to Sawako’s face if she likes Ryuu. She says those feelings aren’t of romantic type so in addition to being relief, Kazehaya felt a little embarrassed and apologized. Then they talk more and Kazehaya asking about her opinion about 2 people going out. Not like she can answer. Meanwhile Ayane is telling Chizu her conclusion on what she knows about Kurumi. Her plans to make that pact so that the girls wouldn’t make Kazehaya their boyfriend. To ascertain that even further, Ryuu comes by to show the note Sawako wrote to him and he knew it was fake because it wasn’t her handwriting. Ayane decides to gather more evidence before pinning Kurumi down. Since when did this get personal? As for Kurumi, she’s waiting at the sports equipment room hoping and waiting for Kazehaya to return. But to her dismay she sees Pin. Noticing that she’s not leaving and her fidgety and nervous body language, Pin misinterprets that Kurumi may be in love with him! Perasan! Then he tells her he is too old for her and rejects her! Not that she said anything but the final blow has got to be when Kazehaya returned and heard all that! Oh the misconception! Her world is crumbling! How she’d wish she die now! But she deserves it! Ayane and Chizu then confront Kurumi about the rumours and show her proof. Sawako is looking for Kurumi and decides to tell her feelings for Kazehaya since Kurumi told her hers. She encounters the trio together and didn’t know they have become good friends (read the atmosphere, girl)! Ayane tells Sawako that Kurumi was the one who spread the rumours and put her through all that hardship.
 
I guess Sawako was so dense that Kurumi can’t take it and just revealed the whole damn truth that she was the one who spread the rumours in episode 14. All those like being her friend was just an act and she has never considered her as one. Ayane and Chizu want Sawako to give her piece of mind but Sawako shed tears instead and said nothing. Chizu can’t stand it so she tells Kurumi off that she can say bad about her but never to Sawako and Yano. Wow. She seemed so cool. Till she boast about it. How lame. Kurumi thinks it’s okay to use people so Ayane threatens to tell this to Kazehaya. Kurumi dares her. Since the girls’ volleyball match is starting, they leave. After the match, Sawako tries to find Kurumi but couldn’t find her. They haven’t leaked this to Kazehaya yet. Pin must still think he’s such a sinful man for breaking a girl’s heart and even tells Ayane and Chizu not to fall for him! Like they will. Even the girls felt pitiful for Kurumi. Sawako finds Kurumi at the same spot (she didn’t move an inch?) and confesses her she loves Kazehaya. But Kurumi is still upset. "What’s the use of being pretty if Kazehaya won’t fall in love with me?!". What does being pretty have to do with falling in love? I know it’s directly related but really is it a necessity? I guess the girls feel so pity for each other that they both cried. Sob, sob.
 
Sawako consoles Kurumi in episode 15 as they talk more about the man of their life. But it doesn’t matter to Kurumi because her life is over (yeah, the Pin’s case was a classic one). Sawako advises her to talk to Kazehaya and clear the misunderstanding just like how she did with Ryuu. Flashback how a group of girls didn’t like Kurumi because they thought she had stole the boyfriend of one of their friends. They even wanted to get in her way if she ever got a boyfriend. Kurumi of course was upset but the only guy who showed concern was Kazehaya. And the rest was history. Kurumi meets Kazehaya at the bicycle area. Finally she gets the courage to say he is the one she really loves. Kazehaya apologizes because there is someone else that he loves. Obviously we know who it is but at least Kazehaya felt a little happy that she told him her feelings. As a parting note, she tells him he’ll never find another girl as cute as her. Probably Kurumi tries to look cool in school tomorrow because she’s wearing shades. She comes across with Pin again but this time he tells her if a girl tells a boy her feelings, no matter what, his thoughts will be clouded with her for the whole day. True or not but at least it gave Kurumi something to be happy about. So when Kurumi passes by Sawako, the latter wonders if they’re still friends. Nope. Rivals. Too bad Sawako’s class didn’t win the championship since the girls lost all their football matches. After that, their class had a celebration. Kazehaya spots Sawako sleeping by the stairs (?!) and sits beside her. Since she’s dreaming and sleep talking, she leans on his shoulder. She realized she fell in love with him when he first called her name. Episode 16 is a recap episode. Remember those tiny little drunken men that only Pin sees? Yup, they narrate from start about Sawako, the friends she made, the nasty rumours and right up till the ultimate rivalry with Kurumi. Why the heck do we need a recap for?! Do we need to hear their comments and thoughts? I’m not sure if they’re figments of imagination since it ended with Pin coming in and all of them nowhere to be seen.
 
Ayane and Chizu visit Sawako’s house for the first time in episode 17 and even Sawako’s parents are pretty surprised. In her room, they show her photos they took during the celebration and even the one where she leaned on Kazehaya’s shoulders. Shocking! Ayane wants Sawako to quickly confess so that they can start dating but Sawako is satisfied with their current relationship now. Kazehaya and letting animal lover Ryuu play with Maru when he noticed he’s got 14 miscalls from Pin! What is wrong with that guy? Seems he is unwell and wants him to bring Sawako over this instant. He thinks Sawako has cursed him because they bump into each other at the video store and Sawako thought he is trying to rent adult videos. Of course adult in her context means grownup issues like documentaries and social issues. And that scary tone of hers didn’t help either. No choice, Kazehaya calls the girls as they head over to his pig sty apartment. They help clean his place up and since Kazehaya doesn’t want Sawako to do the job, he does it in her place instead. Don’t want Sawako to get ‘contaminated’, does he? Sadist Ayane tells him a ghost story to scare him out of his wits and put him to sleep. He’s sleeping soundly by the way. Sawako sees photos of Kazehaya during his baseball days but he is embarrassed about it. At the end of the day, Pin feels like he’s waken up in a different room! He decides to thank Sawako and whispers into her ear about Kazehaya. Kazehaya walks Sawako home. Behind him, she closes her eyes and tugs his shirt. Then their face got close to each other. Too bad their eyes had to open and instinctively back off. Seems Sawako was told that if she ever wanted to thank him, grab him and close her eyes for 5 seconds. She actually believed that?!
 
The Sawako-Kazehaya relationship takes a backseat for awhile in episode 18. Besides Ayane annoyed by her college boyfriend’s constant SMS on her situation and whereabouts, this episode focuses more on Ryuu and Chizu. Chizu takes Sawako out shopping with her since the former knows Ryuu’s birthday is around the corner. She decides to get him a glove sack with the words "Baseball Freak" on it. Sawako asks Chizu if she liked anyone in particular. Chizu admits there is but is a one-sided love as they have known each other since kids. Sawako must be getting real excited to think it is Ryuu but as Chizu continues ranting, the events don’t add up. He lives in Sapporo and didn’t come back for a year? So who is she talking about? It’s Ryuu’s brother, Tohru, that Chizu likes. And speaking of the devil, Ryuu tells Kazehaya that Tohru is coming back for the New Year next week and hasn’t told Chizu yet. In class, the gang are shocked to see Ayane’s left cheek bruised. Seems she got a slap from her boyfriend when she decided to break up. If Chizu could waltz into Ryuu’s room anytime, then the opposite must also be true, right? Yeah, Ryuu comes into Chizu’s room that night. She thought her birthday present surprise will be ruined so she kicks him out before he had time to say anything.
 
Sawako is invited to sleepover at Chizu’s place with Ayane in episode 19. Ryuu tells Chizu to stay away from his place for the next 2 days, not revealing anything further. The rest thought Chizu had upset him. I guess the girls decide to get this off their chest so they pay Ryuu a visit anyway. The guys in their class are having some consoling party for one of their mates, Joe, who got dumped after confessing to a girl. Does he really look that down? He’s more like the same as before. Just that this broken heart thingy is the topic. Suddenly Tohru returns. Wow. He’s quite the handsome guy he is. Seems he got off work early. Chizu rushes over to hug him. She is upset that Ryuu didn’t tell her this. But not as upset as she’ll soon find out. Tohru calls her girlfriend in, Haruka Katayama. Now the bombshell. They’re getting married. Gasp. I’m sure Chizu must feel very awkward so Kazehaya decides for everyone to call it a night. Even if Chizu acts like her normal self but I’m sure deep down she is hurt. Sawako’s mind is clouded over how Chizu must be feeling right now. She feels so bad that she couldn’t do or say anything to cheer Chizu up, Sawako cried. Chizu remembers how Tohru and her were like siblings even though they weren’t related anyhow. She always noticed the girls Tohru dated come and go so she wished to be his bride.
 
Tohru leaves the next morning in episode 20. Chizu has lots on her mind so that night she goes over and sees Ryuu waiting outside. She thinks he’s trying to be considerate by not telling about Tohru’s engagement to avoid her getting hurt. But Ryuu is relieved that it has come down to this because she will give up on him. Chizu throws his present at his face and says she hates him. Sawako and Chizu are depressed that they can’t help Chizu so Kazehaya talks to them. Though his honest opinion made Ayane want to pound him, at least if they don’t know what to say, they shouldn’t force themselves to. During recess, Ryuu meets Chizu. She wonders if he is to apologize for yesterday but he isn’t. She says she didn’t visit his place yesterday to see Tohru. At the top of her voice, she would’ve loved to see him but it wasn’t her place to do so and only went after he left. Besides, she went to give him his present. Later when she meets Ayane and Sawako, Chizu finally cried her heart out and told them everything. They let her express herself and just listened while comforting her. At the end of the day, she feels much better and notes how Sawako’s tears prompted her to spill everything.
 
While the girls are out together in episode 21, to their surprise they see Tohru who wishes to ‘borrow’ Chizu. They talk about things like Chizu’s mini skirt, the nikuman and anman dilemma she had due to lack of money, Chizu trying to catch a stag beetle at 3 in the morning, staring up at the starry sky together and the constant fights she and Ryuu had. She asks what made him decide to marry and his reply was he decided that she was the person whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He also mentions the reason why he called her "Chi" was because when one tries saying that, one’s mouth will break into a smile. Finally Chizu confesses she likes him he also replies the same but Chizu knew it wasn’t that kind of meaning though it makes her happy. She wonders if it’s alright to visit him next time even if they’re not related but Tohru says he has always seen her as his little sister. Later that night, Ryuu meets Chizu sitting alone at the pier. She knows he was the one who called Tohru over. They talk things out and reconcile. Chizu thinks her love for Tohru may be just admiration as an older brother but Ryuu knows she was really in love with him. Ryuu gives her his shoulder to cry on as it started snowing.
 
With Chizu’s love arc over, episode 22 has Kazehaya and his class planning a Christmas party. Sawako is of course excited to join her friends. Though Kazehaya would love her to come, Sawako decides to ask permission from her parents first. However she couldn’t get the moment right since her dad was kinda lively is looking forward to their own Christmas Day. Because of that, Sawako tells her inability to attend to Ayane and Chizu and hands them their early birthday presents, coasters and an apron respectively. Kazehaya learns about it but I guess since it’s her family I guess he understands. One morning, Sawako’s dad accidentally took a hat Sawako knitted meant as Kazehaya’s present and mistakes it as Sawako’s present to him. Now, remember Sawako’s incapacity to correct others so she just didn’t say anything since her dad was enjoying it so much. During dinner, Sawako’s pals in the middle of the party call to check on her. But Sawako just stood there paralyzed and started crying. Something is obviously wrong. Sawako’s mom takes over the phone while daddy goes talk to her. Kazehaya says they’re having fun but they’ll have twice as much fun if Sawako is here. Sawako finally mentions her wish to go to the party. Daddy gives her a present, which is a handphone. Now come to think of it, she never did have her own handphone. She rushes over. Why didn’t she take a cab? Maybe the snow conditions aren’t right. But running all the way there? Better hurry because the party is winding up. Just when Sawako reaches there, the party is long over and only Kazehaya is seen waiting for her. He gives her a handphone strap accessory as her present as they exchange handphone numbers. Sawako then gives him his Christmas present. He thinks it’s a neck warmer but was actually the waistband meant for her dad. Blooper…
 
The closing ceremony for the school before it breaks for the winter holidays in episode 23 falls on Christmas Day. Remember, Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan. Sawako’s original homeroom teacher returns so much so the class forgot who he was! Anyway this will be his last day as a teacher as he decided to help out with his wife’s business. A little farewell party after the ceremony and school’s off until the next 3 months. Sawako eats with Ayane and Chizu and after the latter duo help set her handphone, they plan to meet at the shrine on New Year’s Eve since Sawako mentioned if they are free. Sly Ayane convinces Sawako to call and invite Kazehaya to come with them quick or else he may have other plans. Though Sawako is nervous and her speech is messed up, at least she manages to sum up her courage and invite him. Of course he is coming. Can’t turn her down, can’t he? It will be a special day for Sawako too because it’s her birthday too. On New Year’s Eve, Ayane and Chizu come to Sawako’s help and help put make-up on her. Wow. She looks pretty. Better hold back those tears and emotions so as not to ruin the make-up. As they leave and before reaching the meet up point, Ayane and Chizu pull out and has Sawako go alone. Yeah, all part of their plan. But Sawako can’t withdraw since she was the one who invited Kazehaya. See how their plan all fits nicely? Sawako eventually meets Kazehaya waiting there. She thought he would be disappointed but he isn’t as they make their way to the shrine.
 
Sawako almost slips off the slippery snow covered steps in episode 24 but Kazehaya catches her in time and their face close enough to warrant a… Well, you know. They back off in embarrassment. Apparently our Chizu and Ayane are spying from a distance and aren’t too happy with the turtle-like development pace. Yeah, they even dragged Ryuu along. Chizu calls Kazehaya to tell him that they aren’t able to come due to ‘change in plans’ so the duo go get some amazake (a sweet drink). The stalkers continue their spying but see Joe. In order to prevent him from seeing Kazehaya and Sawako, they go talk to distract him. Thankfully his stupidity saves their plan from falling apart. After getting their drinks, Sawako learns it’s Kazehaya’s first time buying a handphone strap for a girl and also he is actually wearing the waistband gift under his shirt! Sawako decides to SMS Kazehaya for the first time. Then it hit him as he asks her birthday, in which she replied today. Fifteen minutes before the New Year, Kazehaya manages to wishes her happy birthday. Then they go on talking as Sawako tells her short summary of her life’s milestones on what she did and her hobbies. Sounds depressing in a way if you consider that she played those games alone. Then of course this year was the best year and the year of many changes for her because she got to meet and spend time with him. Ah, tears of joy.
 
As the duo reflect things that has happened during the year in episode 25, Kazehaya notes Sawako had changed in a good way. I guess Ryuu got bored playing hanging out with the girls’ spying game so he heads off. Ayane tells Chizu to go after him and her poor self is stuck with happy Joe. Broken hearts couple? He’s loving it, she’s not. Ryuu knows what Ayane and Chizu are up to but whatever they’re worried about, Kazehaya can handle it. True enough that guy and his gal are good together like how all of us would like to say. Chizu makes Ryuu stay with her longer. At the stroke of midnight, Sawako exchange "Happy New Year" emails with Ayane and Chizu. Sawako and Kazehaya go pray and then have their fortune read. It must be fate since Sawako’s read "Misfortune". But a side note says the person beside her is the right one and not to hesitate. Kazehaya decides to share his "Excellent Luck" fortune with her. Well, partly as his birthday gift to her and like he mentioned, he’s lucky to begin with. Yeah, spread the luck around. Ayane is finally relieved when Joe’s parents come to take him home. He’s so like a kid. I guess everyone around them just felt pity. Pin is nearby and I don’t know his problem with love or what because he’s in a bad mood and when he sees a couple of random guys trying to hit Ayane, he gives his intimidating scare to chase them away. Pin and Ayane aren’t happy to see each other and continue quarrelling on their way home. Kazehaya and Sawako leave and pass by the place where they first met as we see short clips of other characters. After Kazehaya walks Sawako home, we see his fortune reading note to offer his love that will lead him to happiness. Sawako feels she can’t just classify him as a friend but rather ‘someone she loves’.
 
I have to admit that though the series started out quite amusing but as it progresses, I just find it hard to keep that same enthusiasm. I was even having problems trying to focus and lost count of how many times I have yawned. I’m not saying that this series is bad or sucks but I should have expected that from a teenage romance drama. So where has the magic gone? Well, Sawako was a funny and amusing girl initially. She still is overall the same person right at the end so we have come to expect that at the passing of each episode and thus became ‘immune’ to her whenever she goes into that funny mode of hers. It’s funny though but the effect is less. Because of the nice people around her, we see good changes in her. She has become more open and receptive to other people. However she is still quite dense and simple in the bigger picture. You can thank the interaction of other people to her from her earlier years for that. It would be unfair to expect her to totally change from her typical behaviour in the span of 1 year but for those who have watched the series for half a year, I guess I don’t blame you if you feel that she’s the same old, same old. Sometimes her density of the obvious makes you feel like want to shake your head and laugh. Probably it’s her nature not to think badly of others. But I’m glad that Sawako is still the nice sweet girl she is despite her outer appearance to others. I just hope that the other classmates who shun and fear her in the beginning would become friends with her.
 
But the ending as I felt should have ended a little better. How much better? Like Sawako and Kazehaya confessing to each other face to face and officially become a couple! Yeah, maybe that’s too much to hope for. So I suppose it’s best for them to remain as they are now and take things at a little step at a time. The development of other characters is also quite satisfactory. In order for this series not to be totally Kazehaya-Sawako dominated, we have a little veering off towards Ryuu-Chizu. Kazehaya’s friendliness and popularity shows that he’s not just doing it to gain everyone’s favours as it is something natural of him. Who says nice good looking and popular guys should end up with equally popular girls? His case proves to be otherwise. Too bad Kurumi, you’d better find somebody else. I still loved that backfired plan that Pin thought she loved him. She so deserved it. Though she proclaimed herself as Sawako’s rival, I don’t see her doing much after her arc is over. Ryuu may not be the talkative or social kind of creature but his few words provides enough support and encouragement needed. Just as with Ayane and Chizu themselves.
 
The drawing and art are mainly simple so much so some of the background scenes felt like water colour drawing. I won’t go as far to say the characters’ drawing is too simple that it lacks details but they seem plain. However some of the art are nice for instance the snow falling which is quite spectacular in my opinion. Of course comical moments make those funny moments up a notch when the characters go into chibi mode. So it’s no surprise to me that Sawako has 3 forms. The chibi form in which she is in her dense/impressed/over-happy mode, the normal form just like any ordinary high school girl, and the scary form in which she resembles The Ring’s Sadako. I just wished Sawako smiled more like she did earlier on which caught everyone by surprise. The drawing for the title screen may show the cute chibi form but the way it is presented seemed to me like as though they are illustrations for children’s book.
 
Something about this whole series that somehow reminds me of another anime series, Bokura Ga Ita. Firstly, the drawing style, and then the genre of both animes. Next, both the lead male character has almost similar characteristics (like being friendly, popular and carefree) and so do the lead female characters. Well, almost in terms of their issues of trusting others or the other at first. The main female of both sides have 2 best friends to support and cheer them on. A little love triangle tussle that threatens the break up their relationship but in the end it still has to be the main boy and girl. Then in both series they have a character by the name of Yano. Of course I find out that both series which are based on the ongoing manga are by different authors. Maybe they’re just coincidence. Just like how Sawako seem to resemble Sadako?
 
Mamiko Noto plays Sawako to perfection with her various tones and moods. I guess her roles in other animes like Enma Ai of Jigoku Shoujo and Matsuri of Sola come in handy (there are too many other roles she played to name them here :). Seriously). She sounds cute in making Sawako during her dense and surprise mode, creepy during her ‘ghostly’ mode, choking when she’s sad or crying and otherwise her husky normal conversation tone. Other casts include Daisuke Namikawa as Kazehaya (Fye in Tsubasa Chronicle), Miyuki Sawashiro as Ayane (Shinku in Rozen Maiden), Yuko Sanpei as Chizu (Hajime in Natsu No Arashi), Yuuichi Nakamura as Ryuu (Tomoya in Clannad), Aya Hirano as Kurumi (Haruhi of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu), Wataru Hatano as Tohru (Yuuto in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu, Junichi in Akane-iro Ni Somaru Saka – initially I thought it was Shinichiro Miki who played Urahara in Bleach) and Yuuki Ono as Arai. The opening theme is the same name as this series and sung by Tomofumi Tanizawa. I may sound trivial but I noticed that the opening theme only lasts a minute long compared to the standard one minute and a half. No wonder when I was first listening to it, I got a feeling it ended so soon. The ending theme by Chara, Kataomoi, feels like a woman who has drank too much all night singing. Reminds me of Honey And Clover’s opening theme by YUKI. Man, at first I thought they were the same singer.
 
The lesson of this series is never to judge a book by its cover. A person may not be as bad as others perceived to be once you get to know the person better. Okay, sometimes it’s the other way round. But the important thing is that not to straightaway judge a person and come to conclusions based on one’s stereotypes before knowing him/her in depth. So people, are we ready to accept obese and plump people as swimsuit models? Are we ready to have a person with a face filled with scars, wearing an eye-patch and a broken set of teeth as our president? Are we all prepared to acknowledge a child prodigy who is half our age younger as our mentor or teacher? Am I ready to accept a girlfriend who looks like a cursed spirit? Erm… Eh… Urm… Ah… If she’s 2D, I don’t mind…
 

Kimi Ni Todoke

Asatte No Houkou

September 24, 2010

Be careful what you wish for no matter how much you want it. Maybe it does seem at the spur of the moment but if the wish doesn’t turn out to be as one desired and that there is no turning back, you’re going to regret for the rest of your life. That is what I feel when I watched another retro anime recently, Asatte No Houkou (The Direction Of The Day After Tomorrow).
 
It was one of those interval times whereby I take my time off ecchi and mindless fanservice comedies and go watch something which is more of a drama. It’ll be a good break, so I thought. Well, at least it satisfied my curiosity and dilemma whether if I should go ahead and watch this 2006 production based on a 5 volume manga of the same name. For those who aren’t into the slow pace of the romance drama and little fiction, you may find it hard to sit through the dozen episodes offered. I thought the synopsis of 2 girls who aren’t happy with their current lives somehow swap ages to be a little interesting, thus giving it a try.
 
Set in a sleepy town away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Shouko Nogami has just returned from USA and sees little Karada Iokawa praying at a small shrine believed to have stones that grant wishes in episode 1. She goes over to pray with her. Karada’s elder brother, Hiro, turns up and Shouko seems surprised. Come Sunday, Tetsumasa Amino and his sister, Touko, meet up with Karada, Hiro and Shouko at the train station to go to the beach. A flashback reveals Shouko knew Hiro as an acquaintance and she came back from USA to restart everything all over again. That’s when Karada invited her to the beach. The usual fun in the sun and good tasty food courtesy from Karada. Touko talks about to Shouko and assures Hiro’s just a regular customer at the cafe where she works. She asks Shouko’s relationship with Hiro but she raises her voice and says that it isn’t like that. Hiro talks to Shouko and tells her that 4 years since their parent’s death, Hiro and Karada both took turns doing chores and look after each other. He mentions Karada hates being treated like a child. On their way home, Hiro picks a nice ribbon for Karada. She shows it to Shouko but she says it suits her… like a child. This hurt her feelings as she runs away so Amino chases her down and talks to her and soon she feels better. When they reach home, Hiro confronts Shouko and tells her that what she did to Karada was mean. Shouko tells her story that when he disappeared 4 years ago, she believed he would return. She didn’t even know he had a sister and wonders if he broke up with her for Karada’s sake. Hiro asks if she still loves him but got slapped instead. She calls him the worst and runs away (oh man, can’t understand woman!). Shouko trips on her way and sees Karada praying at the little shrine. As the full moon becomes visible, suddenly both girls swap body size as they stare at each other in disbelief. Seems Shouko body has shrunk (clothes no fit, loose) and Karada’s all grown up (clothes too tight, sexy and a little busty – no pun intended).
 
While Shouko quickly grasps reality in episode 2, Karada is in shock and can’t believe all this is happening. She starts breaking down so Shouko brings her back to her own place. Hiro, trying to find Karada, calls Shouko’s handphone but was cut off. He regrets having sent her home alone. Morning comes and Karada still can’t believe this dream and sinks into depression as Shouko plays the grown up (in reality isn’t she?). Amino notices Karada didn’t come to class that morning. Hey, they’re classmates?! Their differences in size sure don’t tell! It goes to show that looks are deceiving. Well, let’s just say Amino is taller than normal kids his age. And I thought he was a loli lover seeing how his body reactions are towards Karada. Anyway he goes to look for her at her home after school but only sees Hiro. He asks about her whereabouts but Hiro doesn’t divulge much and runs off. Karada thinks the source of this to be the shrine and rushes there. But to her dismay, the stones have turned into charcoal and thinks it has granted her wish. In tears and on her knees, she reveals her wish to grow up fast to free Hiro because she feels she’s a burden to him ever since. After much thinking, Hiro also arrives at the shrine and sees both girls. However he apologizes and rushes off. Karada breaks down further not knowing what to do now seeing that Hiro doesn’t even recognize her.
 
Shouko takes Karada to the clinic in episode 3 but the latter isn’t used to her body and becomes clumsy. At the train station, Shouko continues to comfort Karada. They have to get use to their new bodies and no point feeling disappointed. They go shop for clothes and order a new bed. They act as sisters but it seems odd each time Karada has to refer to Shouko when being asked by the salesperson. It’s a topsy-turvy world. Back home, Shouko puts on the ribbon Karada bought at the beach and praises Karada’s cooking. That night Shouko notices Karada crying in her sleep and calling her brother’s name. Hiro patrons Touko’s cafe and tells that the police investigation doesn’t come up to anything. A lost delivery guy comes in to ask for directions. Seems he was delivering the new bed to Shouko’s place so she gets a shock to see Hiro at the door soon after the delivery. He spots those familiar ribbons but Shouko feints she doesn’t know him and that she’s Shouko’s little sister and that her ‘sister’ went out shopping. She invites him in to eat. He notices how she’s quite independent as she can cook and clean. Shouko says it’s because her ‘sister’ got a new boyfriend unlike the useless old one (hint, hint). Shouko got upset that she reminded him of his little sister and rushes out. He manages to catch up to her. She starts saying lines from Shouko that Hiro would know. Flashback of how Shouko and Hiro were a couple in USA (as far as including intimate sex?). One day he got a phone call and needed to return to Japan but promised to be back. Shouko agreed and waited throughout the season but he ‘disappeared’ after she received his break-up letter.
 
Hiro still thinks little Shouko as the sister and feels Shouko should’ve complained to him directly and not get Karada involved. He also thinks she knows where Karada is since the ribbons belong to her. Shouko tells about Karada’s wish upon that shrine but Hiro still doesn’t believe. She starts hitting him so he tells her that Karada isn’t her real sister. His family took her in when her mom died when she was young. Karada doesn’t know about this. He intended to return after the funeral but changed his mind after seeing the burden she was bearing. After all, she is his precious little sister. Shouko brings Hiro back to her place whereby Karada is preparing to cook. Shouko points out to the real Karada as the latter herself is shocked to see Hiro.
 
Episode 4 begins with a short flashback. Hiro brought Karada to the festival to see the fireworks. In present time, Hiro still doesn’t believe all this. Till he says "That girl is Karada-chan, right". Karada storms off and locks herself in the room so Hiro leaves. Shouko goes after him. She ticks him off for hurting Karada because she’s the person whom she had wanted to believe the most. Since he still can’t believe it, Shouko kicks his shin and calls him an idiot. She goes back to comfort Karada who is blaming herself for making that wish. Shouko also apologizes for bringing Hiro back suddenly. She assures her he’ll believe her when the time comes. Soon, Hiro returns to their doorstep and stays with them. Morning comes and cheery Karada makes him breakfast. Touko teases Amino that he’s ‘studying hard’ on Karada since he can’t concentrate on his books. But I guess he had to sneak out to go find the missing loli. Of course he can’t find her lah. Shouko calls Hiro at work (he’s a pharmacist by the way) to tell him to meet up with Karada at tonight’s fireworks festival. She lends Karada her never worn before yukata. At the crowded festival, Shouko leaves the duo alone. Hiro brings Karada to the place where they usually watch the fireworks. He gave her sit on his shoulders since she was too short to see them. He asks about her wish to become and adult so she gives him that burden answer. However she notes she isn’t an adult and still caused him troubles. She starts weeping and apologizing. When it’s over, they return to Shouko. Noting that everything is alright, Shouko leaves. But Karada wishes for her to come home together with them instead so she agrees.
 
The trio start living together in episode 5 but Karada seems to do the chores herself instead of letting Shouko. After Hiro left for work, the girls go to the library. Shouko tries to find clues on the shrine but naught. Then alone at the park watching the other children play, she remembers her own past when other children didn’t let her play with them. Shouko meets a friendly girl who has just returned to this town after years of travelling, Kotomi Shionzaki. Till Kotomi has the other kids play with her, did Shouko got up and ran away. Embarrassed? Hiro lies to Touko that Karada has been found and is currently living at her relatives’ place for the rest of summer. But she’s suspicious since it isn’t like Karada to leave not to say anything. Next morning, Shouko helps around the house. Hiro leaves for work and talks to Shouko alone. He is glad she came because he didn’t know how to interact with Karada and is just controlling himself with Shouko around (you mean he will turn into a ‘monster’?). Shouko thinks he hasn’t changed and is selfish. Hiro thinks she’s the same too and that she’s angry. Of course even if she denies that, obviously her expression isn’t. Seems Kotomi returns to Amino’s house and knows his family well. It has been 4 years since their last meeting as she teases Amino that he has grown taller. Shouko at the park is reliving her past again as the kids didn’t want her to play with them. Till a girl cheekily makes her ‘it’ so Shouko naturally joins them. There’s a kid in all of us. How can you beat her when she has a mind of an adult? When Shouko returns home, Karada emotionally hugs her and was worried where she might have been. Touko spots the trio together and wonders who those girls Hiro with are. She then gets a call from mommy that Amino has sneaked out of his room. Seems she knows where he is. Sitting outside at her apartment (she lives independently from them). Touko informs him that Karada has been found but decides to talk about it inside.
 
One morning, someone comes knocking on the Iokawa’s door in episode 6. Karada opens it and to her surprise sees Amino but he doesn’t recognize her. He asks questions like the place of Karada’s relatives but doesn’t get any answer so he leaves. Karada (acting as Hiro’s girlfriend) follows Amino as he goes round asking everyone if they have seen Karada. Of course he spots the stalker. He tells her he has a feeling Karada is in town but just couldn’t pinpoint where. OMG! It’s right under your nose! She’s just before your eyes! How ironic! Shouko does shopping and meets Kotomi. She accompanies her to the post office to post a letter to her dad since she’s new here. Amino and Karada go to places as he reminisces about the things he did with Karada. Like he got the nickname Crispy Amino for unsuccessfully breaking an egg during economic class. Like his futile search for her at the recent festival. At the shrine, Karada asks why he is so concerned about her. His answer: He can’t just leave her alone. Damn. I was hoping he’d confessed that he loved her. Amino takes her through the jungle trek to reach a cool water source. He says he wanted to bring Karada here but she got scared halfway and ran home. Karada says to bring ‘her’ here next time and she’ll really like it. Karada happily returns home so when Hiro asks where she had been, she says it’s a secret. That night, Karada tries to indirectly ask advice from Shouko on how to reconcile with a friend but can’t meet in person. Shouko suggests writing a letter. Touko comes back from work and gives Amino a postcard from Karada. His face lights up as he happily reads Karada’s late summer vacation letter at her relatives. We know how recent and where the letter was written, right?
 
It’s Hiro’s birthday in episode 7 but he even doesn’t know it himself. At least don’t forget your girlfriend’s… After Hiro leaves for work, the girls plan to bake him a birthday cake. They shop for ingredients as Karada pleads to Shouko to use her place to do so. Since her room is still unpacked, Shouko allows Karada to try some of her stuff. Karada wonders if Shouko has a boyfriend seeing she has beautiful clothes and accessories. She says yes and hints that useless irresponsible liar. You know who lah. Meanwhile Touko treats Hiro her birthday cake at the cafe. Shouko and Karada work together to make the cake though Shouko is clumsy but with Karada around, they both get by. Shouko’s so tired that she fell asleep. She dreamt how she and Hiro were a couple dating back in USA. She wanted to roast him a turkey for his birthday but it got over-burnt so they went out to a fine dining restaurant instead. Shouko wakes up when Karada calls her and gives her a little cake piece as token of gratitude. They share the cake. On the way back to Karada’s place, they see several adults making a commotion at the shrine. They are upset about the prank of coals being put there. The duo also see Kotomi who says how she made a wish before but it didn’t come true. Before the duo left, Kotomi asks Shouko if she had made any friends. Shouko shyly points to Karada. That night they happily celebrate Hiro’s birthday as he blows the candles. While Shouko accompanies Hiro to buy cigarettes, Karada spots a photo jutting out from one of Shouko’s books. Next morning, Hiro wakes up to find Karada gone. Seems she’s at the train station spotting a gloomy outlook.
 
Like a country bumpkin in the city in episode 8, Karada wanders around looking for a place to stay but has no money. She tries getting a job nut doesn’t know what a resume is. Even getting resume sheets and a guidebook on how to write them, people are just suspicious, though she continues trying. She’s 12 years old in reality but does she really look her age? Night falls, she gets harassed by several punks and runs for her life. Sure got a culture shock. Sitting alone at the playground, she remembers the time she was playing with her parents. They showed her a photo of Hiro who was in USA and was introduced has her brother who may return home if she’s a good girl. One night she overheard them talking that she isn’t their real child and cried. They consoled her and continue to shower her with lots of love till their deaths. Hiro returned shortly and apologized for coming late as the duo started a whole new life together. Realizing Hiro has sacrificed a lot, that’s why Karada wished upon that stone to become an adult and free him of his burden. Not until she saw those photos of Hiro and Shouko together and thinks of it as his ultimate sacrifice. In present time, next morning a taxi driver notices a looking-lost Karada. He goes talk to her but she runs away into the train station, dropping her resume. Meanwhile Hiro saw those photos and thinks it’s the reason Karada left home. He wonders why she still kept them and it seems she forgot that they were there. Hiro gets a call from the taxi driver about Karada’s whereabouts. He goes to fetch her alone. Karada must be in a dilemma to step onto the train the whole day but when she sees Hiro coming out across the platform, she quickly gets on. That made up her mind, eh? Hiro tries to catch up but the door closes. Karada in tears just said sorry as the train leaves.
 
Hiro comes back empty-handed in episode 9. Amino goes there to look for him and for some answers. Seems he noticed the postcard stamp is local so he knows Karada is around and wonders what’s going on. But Hiro didn’t reveal much except that Karada has run away and may never return. Amino is sulking at Touko’s place so when she finds out, she kicks him out because she’s disgusted with his indecisiveness. Though she acknowledges his stupidity. Double insult. Amino makes up his mind. He’s going to look for Karada. Taking a train, he meets Kotomi who is on her way to visit an old teacher of hers. When she learns he’s looking for missing Karada, she decides to help out. Amino plans on asking everyone but Kotomi has a better idea. Photocopy Karada’s picture on leaflets and distribute them. Karada under the name of Satou, is working at a part timer at a beachside pension run by an elderly couple. They talk about the sea, work, life and sacrifice. Karada calls Shouko via public phone. The latter apologizes for not telling her things and would like for them both to sit down and talk. But Karada says she’s fine and not to worry before hanging up. Shouko calls Hiro to meet her at Touko’s cafe and tells him about Karada’s call. She thinks something is amiss and she couldn’t have left just because of discovering their past relationship. She wonders if Karada knew she wasn’t his real sister and if he’d really made it a point to find out that she didn’t know. He says there isn’t a need since they’re siblings. But she tells him off he’s a coward still trying to escape the truth, scared of hurting her feelings. She adds she isn’t worried but lonely because she’s gone. Amino and Kotomi’s search is futile as they rest. Amino plans to continue but hasn’t thought of a place to stay. Kotomi suggests her old teacher will allow them to stay and takes him there. It seems her old retired teacher, Isogai, is that couple who runs the pension. Talk about fate.
 
Isogai calls ‘Satou’ to greet their guests in episode 10 and of course Karada and Amino are surprised to see each other. Karada continues to serve the guests. Amino thinks Karada has broken up with Hiro (remember, he thinks she’s his girlfriend). When Isogai asks if they knew each other, Amino says ‘Satou’ is his classmate’s brother’s friend. Isogai thought they were a couple so cheeky Kotomi teases by saying he’s a dedicated guy because he came all the way to search for her. Before she could reveal his crush, Amino shuts her up. That night as Karada sleeps, she remembers Amino’s still looking for her. Next morning, Amino leaves to continue his search. Kotomi talks to Isogai about some love legends by writing names in the beach sands and let the wave wash it away. Karada alone thinks about the times she spent with everyone else. Amino happen to hear her say "It’s a secret" and asks her what it means but she doesn’t answer. As they walk and chat. Karada wonders what if he doesn’t find her. This made Amino shout out he likes her so he’ll find her. The cat’s out of the bag. He got embarrassed and cycles off. Shouko packs her bags and leave. She thinks Karada was the one that kept them together but also concludes that Karada herself felt she was the one who separated them. She wonders if Hiro is just planning to wait. Amino continues to search in the heavy downpour and hurt himself after falling off his bicycle. Karada notices he isn’t back yet and goes to search for him and luckily finds him. She brings him back to the pension whereby he develops fever. Karada decides to care and nurse him. He’s still worried Karada may be out there so Karada thinks it’s her fault that this happened.
 
Amino feels better by morning in episode 11 but is told to continue resting rather than continuing his search. He tells her a dream whereby he showed little Karada the water source. Hiro remembers the time he trekked up the mountains with Shouko while they’re still dating. They let a passer-by take a picture of them which became that photo Shouko kept. Evening, Mrs Isogai has Karada take a walk with Amino. Finally Karada admits her true self to him. The Isogai couple notice both Karada and Amino acting strange when they return. Kotomi goes talk to Amino and finds out he has been told about the transformation that turned Karada into an adult. Of course he doesn’t believe all that crap and is quite upset. Kotomi goes to talk to Karada next. She tells her she knows all about the wishing stone because she grew up in that town. Plus, her dad always kept telling her stories of it. Karada insists what she told Amino is true. Flashback at that identity revealing moment whereby she told Amino the things they did on this beach together with Hiro, Shouko and Touko. Though she’s happy he went all out to search and finally found her, Amino is upset. He thinks she made up that story because she thinks he’ll never find Karada and ran off. Karada tried to tell him all the other things they did together but he didn’t listen and causes her to break down. Bad to make a girl cry. That night Karada calls Shouko. She doesn’t know what to do anymore and thinks Amino hates her. Realizing how she always felt relieved and warm inside whenever she’s with him, she then hangs up. Hiro then calls Shouko, admitting he’s a coward trying to escape all the while. He thought it would be much easier to be hated or be her true brother rather than telling the truth. He decides to go look for her but doesn’t know where. Shouko knows and tells him she’s at the beach they all went together. Next day, Hiro packs his bags and heads for the train station. He meets Shouko there and she has the same intention.
 
Amino goes out to continue his search in episode 12 when he bumps into Hiro and Shouko in episode 12. Obviously he hasn’t come to terms to admit Karada yet though he has found her because he has always thought of her this small. Size does matter. Hiro follows Amino to the pier. Seems Amino got some light guiding legend story from Isogai. I don’t know its implication but it seems it made Amino realized and okay so he goes back with Hiro. Shouko meets Kotomi at the pension and they’re both surprised to see each other. Kotomi brings her to the observatory where Karada is and tells Shouko about the wishing stone Karada told her and how they switched bodies. Shouko admits to it as they part. Shouko and Karada both talk. Karada feels guilty and the cause Hiro broke up with her. Shouko thinks otherwise. She got to see him again and that they’re all together. Karada still doesn’t believe that and runs away. Shouko tells the returning guys about it. Amino goes to find Karada (again) and sees her just outside the train station. He tells her if she’s going to run away, he’ll find her no matter how many times it’ll take. He confesses that he likes her. Finally. Karada is brought to tears and thanks him. You could say they make up.
 
While walking back, Shouko tells Hiro that she has no friends when she was young and despised everything when she moved back. Thinking it was her own fault that he broke up with her and dragging her past around, after meeting Karada, that’s when she made the wish. She probably wanted to turn back into a child like her and start over. It’s nice to see Hiro and Shouko holding hands but from a certain point of view, he may look like a lolicon… Amino and Shouko bid goodbye to the Isogai couple and Kotomi. Isogai thinks Amino found Karada (Shouko). Kotomi gets a call from her dad. At the observatory, Karada and Hiro apologize, reconcile and decide to become siblings once more. Back home, everyone continues to live their normal lives. Amino helps Touko at her cafe to cover the paid travelling expenses. He mentions he wants to grow bigger? To match Karada? Shouko sees off Kotomi at the train station as the latter is returning to her father. Before Kotomi boards the train, she hugs Shouko. Shouko realizes a little piece of wishing stone in her pants’ back pocket and thinks Kotomi must’ve slipped it in. She rushes back to the shrine and the next thing we see, they return to their own body sizes and are living together as the stone vanishes into dust.
 
Well, I guess the ending was pretty okay. It would suck big time if they didn’t actually return to normal though I felt the scenes shown that they have reverted back to normal was a tad short. How long do I want anyway? Everything is back to normal, right? I felt Karada was the main focus of the series instead of Shouko. We see her inability to cope with the drastic turn of events and when she thought she could just finally adapt to life, she starts to feel guilty and blames herself for what she thought she had done to Hiro and Shouko and then the shocking fact that Amino couldn’t accept who she was just like she did initially. Karada seemed like a fragile and vulnerable girl that lacks the strength to stand up on her own and all she could do was run away. Behind that smile of hers, there is a melancholic side to her. Thankfully even if Shouko did turn into a child, she still maintained her maturity and thinking as an adult with her calm and rationale thinking. Without her, I guess Karada and Hiro won’t grow closer as they are in the end. You can say that if Shouko had not returned and meet the duo by chance, things may have been status quo but I also think that their fateful meeting proved to be the better one even with all the painful obstacles faced because they all get to be together in the end. It bugs me a little to see how different Hiro looked when he was dating with Shouko. Back then, he looked like a decent looking guy with a bright future. Fast forward 4 years later, he looks more like an unshaven, long haired, down-in-the-dumps older brother.
 
As for cheery Kotomi, I felt that she was some sort of a fate reuniter. It’s like she’s some sort of goddess that puts the key puzzles together. Take a look at this. If she hadn’t return, Shouko may never have been able to overcome her fear of making friends. Also, Amino would never have gotten her help in finding Karada or even stay at the pension where the climax of the series is set. Without her, Karada and Shouko would never have returned to their original bodies. It is anybody’s guess on how she got the wishing stone but who cares about the minor details. Besides, I wonder what her wish that didn’t come true was. Something to do with Amino and love? Of course it can’t be… It was pretty amusing that Amino kept searching for Karada although there were many occasions that they come into contact with each other. In terms of looks, I don’t see any difference between the kid and grownup Karada. Like they say, seeing is believing. And is a good thing too that both of them finally get to be honest with their feelings.
 
The art and drawing feels pretty light as though they are made using water colour. Well firstly, this is of course an old production and secondly since the time line is set during summer, I guess that ‘bleached’ outlook is suitable to reflect the summer’s heat. The opening theme by Suara, Hikari No Kisetsu, sounds like a moderate pop befitting the pace of the series. The ending theme by Yuumao, Sweet Home Song, sounds like a slow country blues piece. I may be wrong but hearing it somehow conjured images of Norah Jones. Must be the piano. There are a variety of background music and some of them sound pretty nice especially the piano ones. But most of them have that melancholic feel to them.
 
I suppose the lesson of the story is to be with happy with what you have and when the grass seems greener on the other side, do not rush in and make a hasty wish that will bring lots of unnecessary troubles. That’s why even if you could have a single wish come true, make sure you think hard and thorough. I know myself that never in a million years I would never want to swap bodies with those of an otaku body. Big thick glasses, chubby, slouching, unkempt hair, unshaven face and anime print T-shirts. Hmm… Maybe I don’t even need a wishing stone, if I continue my current anime trend, I just might turn into one.
 

Asatte No Houkou

To Aru Kagaku No Railgun

September 18, 2010

I didn’t see the first season of To Aru Majutsu No Index (Index) but decided to jump and watch its so called second season To Aru Kagaku No Railgun (Railgun). Why? Because I thought the girls here were cute. Sheesh… At least that’s what I thought when I first saw its promotional poster. What about the plot and storyline? Is it good and worthwhile? Heck, I don’t know. The girls were cute enough, do I need a better reason? Sheesh… Because of that, I’m not really sure about the terms or storylines that are brought over, if there are any, by the way.
 
Even if I didn’t watch Index, of course I did a little (read: very minimal) reading. Well, it was enough for me to know that Railgun is actually a side story of Index. I’m interpreting that as the secondary characters will be thrust into the limelight this time. Plus, the setting is Academy City whereby 80% of the population are students. Say what? That’s 4/5 of the people are like say 17 years old? And finally, from what I understand, Railgun’s events are set before Index. Therefore I believe you are going to see cameo appearances of other characters from Index here as well as some of its terminologies.
 
Thus the tale of this action sci-fi Railgun series tells us about the adventures of heroine Mikoto Misaka and her other friends in Academy City. Namely Kuroko Shirai, Kazari Uiharu and Ruiko Saten. Misaka is the third ranked Level 5 esper out of the powerful seven in Academy City (Level 5 being the highest and Level 1 being the lowest while Level 0 indicates you have no powers whatsoever – a normal ordinary human being). Nicknamed the Railgun, her super electromagnetic powers can literally cause the entire city to blackout. You don’t really want to make her mad. But being a tough girl doesn’t exclude her from having her have own weird fetishes like loving kiddie stuffs, wears shorts underneath her skirt and obsessed about some frog mascot, Gekota. Misaka’s ‘sister’, Shirai is part of a special group that maintains public order in Academy City, Judgment. While her Level 4 power is teleportation and she’s no pushover doing her job, an annoying thing about her is her lesbian tendency to get intimate with Misaka. It’s funny to see her trying to get lovey-dovey but at the same that that cringing feeling in your stomach. Of course most of the time, she gets fried by Misaka. Better luck next time. Shirai’s Judgment shy and humble Level 1 colleague Uiharu seems to always wear a headband of flowers in her head. Did she come from San Francisco? Just kidding. Why do they need kids in Judgment to maintain public order anyway? Oh yeah, 80% of the citizens are kids. Finally Uiharu’s best friend and Level 0 cheeky Saten seems to love flipping Uiharu’s skirt as some sort of her sick idea of greeting, making that poor girl fluster. Another sicko like Shirai but I guess she keeps it under control.
 
So episode 1 introduces these characters and others such as the prideful Mitsuko Kongou, a schoolmate of Misaka and Shirai (they attend the famous Tokiwadai Academy that hones powerful espers) and also we see Uiharu and Shirai cooperating to bring justice to punks that ruin the peace and harmony of Academy City. Though Misaka isn’t part of Judgment, I guess sometimes she goes overboard to help out too. Shirai and Misaka then meet up with Saten and Uiharu like how friends normally meet up. Probably Shirai’s hope of getting closer to Misaka has to be put on hold because the bank nearby is in the midst of getting robbed by Level 3 robbers. Shirai singlehandedly overpowers most of them since they’re looking down on a school girl. But when one of them uses an innocent boy as a shield and Saten trying to rescue him but got kicked instead, Misaka is furious and is going to get involved no matter what. It’s personal. The robber is going to ram Misaka with his car but cool Misaka flips her coin and unleashes a powerful electromagnetic railgun blasts that sends the car flipping hundreds of metres in the air! WOAH! DON"T PLAY PLAY MAN!!! The baddies are taken away by Antiskill (some sort of police that cooperates hand in hand with Judgment in keeping the peace) and the girls continue their frolicking. Especially Shirai. Zap time…
 
Episode 2 sees Misaka chasing that protagonist from Index, Touma Kamijou. I’m not sure why she has a bone to pick with him. Does she really hate him or just tsundere? Anyway this episode sees yuri Shirai looking forward to celebrate her ‘anniversary’ with Misaka since they became ‘sisters’ in this dorm. At least that’s from her point of view. This includes picking out what exotic undies to wear. Her plans are thwarted when Saten and Uiharu pays a visit. However Misaka isn’t too fond of that idea and entertains Saten and Uiharu while ignoring Shirai, sending that girl into deserved depression. Then they get a package delivery, supposedly some aphrodisiac Shirai ordered so Misaka blows her top and has had enough with her pervertness. I’m sure they forgot about the dorm rules of not using esper powers in the dorm. So thankfully the strict Dorm Lady (that’s what I’ll call her) makes her fearful presence and stamps her reminder authority by ‘snapping’ Shirai’s neck! Oh sh*t! Even the Railgun doesn’t want to mess with her! As punishment, the duo are made to clean the pool. They meet Shirai’s friends, Kinoho Wannai and Maaya Awatsuki who are grateful to Misaka for saving them the other day. Of course Shirai gets jealous when they seem to get too close so I guess she broke down after several rejections. Misaka shows she’s not bad hearted so she gives her a T-shirt present. Seems they reconcile and things going well till Shirai realized she drank the wrong bottle that contained the aphrodisiac intended for Misaka. Shirai turns horny and cheeky and once more Misaka has to electroucute her and keep her in line. Seems she likes the pain, eh? And I think her buddies watching may just get the wrong idea about this… Pretend you didn’t see this…
 
Kongou is attacked by a stun-gun from a mysterious presence in episode 3. Saten and Uiharu meet up with Misaka and Shirai at their school so the latter duo give the former pair a tour of their school and area. But Shirai and Uiharu are called back by their Judgment senpai, Mii Konori, about cases of 6 Tokiwadai girls being attack continuously and incapacitated by a stun-gun, all within the Gardens of Education compound. Saten is in the washroom and becomes the latest victim. Luckily Misaka was there to help her. As they continue to investigate and eliminate possible suspects (victims reported that they didn’t see anyone) that used invisibility powers but all had alibis. Uiharu mentions an ability to erase someone’s awareness of seeing an object and the only person to have that power is Miho Juufuku. But her Level 2 powers make it impossible to pull it off. When Saten comes too, everyone has the laugh of their lives. Except Saten of course. She has thick eyebrows drawn over her original ones! It’s payback time. The gang anticipate Juufuku’s next move and with their slick cooperation, she can’t hide no matter where she runs. Of course her stun-gun won’t work of Misaka. Saten is going to get her revenge but it seems Juufuku has thick eyebrows too. She tells her sad story whereby her boyfriend dumped her for a Tokiwadai girl because of them. That’s why she hates her eyebrows and seeks revenge on Tokiwadai girls. Saten consoles her and even says her thick eyebrows are her charm point. No point holding a grudge now. When Juufuku is taken away by Antiskill, she hopes to write letters to Saten. Did she just fall for her? But Saten regrets she should’ve scribble on Juufuku’s face because her thick eyebrows are drawn with a special ink that won’t come off for at least a week.
 
The girls discuss urban legends in episode 4 like some stripper lady and Level Upper, a tool that enhances esper abilities. Another urban legend about a guy who nullifies esper abilities has Misaka thinking that Touma may be the one but dismisses it (some incident whereby he tried to save her from harassing punks so she got pissed that her powers fired everyone except Touma who was still standing). Misaka by chance spots Touma and decides to settle things but Touma runs away when the woman he’s helping, Harumi Kiyama, starts stripping! I don’t know if she feels that hot that she needs to strip. Those heavy bags under her eyes may give a wrong impression… Anyway Touma leaves her in Misaka’s care. Misaka accompanies her and learns she is a scientist researching applications of power. After they part, Misaka spots Touma and this time she forces him into a duel. At the river bank, Misaka uses her power to draw iron in the sand to make a sharp blade since electric shocks didn’t work. Don’t let that touch you. Even if it’s a trap for Misaka to touch him and sent electrical waves through his body, she realizes that no current is flowing through. Touma then feints defeat but this upsets her further. He runs away, she chases him. I guess she lost him so she returns to her dorm but another sort of trouble awaits her. Horny Shirai is trying to undo the curse of the stripper lady she believes has possessed Misaka. Underwear on her head? Using an underwear? Ah well, we all know how this will turn out. Yup, Misaka having her peaceful sleep and Shirai deservingly tied up. Should keep her this way forever.
 
Shirai and Uiharu are going to arrest petty criminals breaking into a car in episode 5 but Shirai’s decision to handle it herself instead of waiting for backup not only left them a little bruised but the criminals escaped as well. Uiharu isn’t happy with Shirai’s decision and this causes cracks in their relationship as both girls are not on talking terms with each other. A flashback when young Shirai and Konori were partners in Judgment and Shirai just got to know Uiharu that time. At a post office, Konori (whose power is clairvoyance) notices a man with a pistol in his pocket. She reminds Shirai not to be rash and evacuate the people and leave the capture to Antiskill. But the man makes his move first. Shirai acts rashly and takes him out but there is another accomplice as he takes Uiharu hostage. Shirai goes in and he throws explosive beads. Konori uses her body to shield Shirai. Still in shock, the heartless guy starts kicking Shirai. She got enough strength to teleport Uiharu outside. Frantic Uiharu pleads for help while the baddie demonstrates his bead powers. He offers Shirai to team up with him but being a girl who just realizes, she refuses. He throws dozens of beads and just when she thinks her life is over, a streak of electric zaps them all away and Shirai takes this chance to subdue him. Unknown to them, Misaka was the one who had a helping hand in that. In the aftermath, Uiharu was so impressed with Shirai and her principles that she decided to follow him and made a promise to work together. In present time, Uiharu and Shirai get another call for action so I guess they can’t stay mad at each other and mend their relationship on their way to the scene.
 
The case of Graviton particle acceleration explosions are seemingly increasing of late in episode 6. But so far they are very small in terms of scale and no casualties reported. Misaka has an argument with Shirai about Judgment’s duties (the latter nagging the former like as though she’s her mother!). So one day Uiharu forgot her Judgment armband and left it on a cafe’s table so Misaka takes it. Konori spots her and mistakes her to be a new Judgment recruit. Misaka takes this chance to be part of the team. She expected high adrenaline but was disappointed when they’re doing boring jobs like cleaning up places and menial chores of helping citizens. Then they get a request to search for a pink children’s bag. Thinking there may be a possible Graviton case, they better get on a move but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Misaka spots a couple of guys bullying a helpless victim. She tries to control herself not to act rashly but the bullies mock her and walk away. But the victim is ungrateful because he was beaten up since he expected help to arrive earlier. Then they spot a dog with that bag in its mouth and chase it down before finally getting it. Thankfully there is no Graviton in it and the bag is reunited with the little girl who was with Shirai and Uiharu all along. Of course Konori knew Misaka as the Railgun all along. A pair of Judgment personnel are in the midst of evacuating people at a convenient store since there is a possibility of a bomb in here. Unfortunately it explodes and takes the life of 1 of the personnel.
 
While the girls are sifting through the databanks for possible suspects and clues in episode 7, hints indicate it is that bullied guy in the previous episode. Since Judgment help didn’t come when he needed it most, he hates those Judgment guys. Saten and Uiharu invite Misaka out to shopping and we can see she isn’t honest with her feelings about her preference on children’s clothes. To make things worse, Touma is there and sees her in an embarrassing moment. He’s there babysitting that little girl from the previous episode. After they left, Uiharu gets a call from Kuroko that there is a bomb in the store they are in. They evacuate everyone without causing any panic while Uiharu searches for the bomb. However Touma notes that the little girl isn’t with him and thinking she’s still inside, Misaka goes back inside. The little girl comes running to Uiharu and shows her a Gekota stuff doll she got from some guy. But it seems that is where the bomb is and it is going to explode. Misaka makes it in time to use her powers but her coin slipped. Luckily Touma was there and used his powers to protect them. Shirai has found the culprit and corners him and Misaka soon to follow. He brands them as the bad guys and continues his ranting of unfair treatment and his dislike for people with power. Misaka beats him up because he used his lack of power as an excuse as Shirai notes Misaka was once a plain Level 1 but she got herself to where she is now through sheer hard work.
 
Uiharu gets sick in episode 8 and probably it’s partly true because of Saten’s constant skirt flipping which got her cold. I think she meant that as a joke. The rest pay her a visit. They talk about the recent cases which may have something to do with Level Upper since it is impossible for such people at their level to pull off such incredible feats. While Saten nurses Uiharu, Misaka and Shirai go to search more about Level Upper which is increasingly becoming more popular on the forum boards. Even if Misaka tried to pull off that nice school girl trick and ended up in a gang fight (which she obviously won by the way) and also their boss (with powers to freely control asphalt) they got nothing. Except the blackout as resulted from her final battle. Next day, Misaka and Shirai get news that the bomber guy and all those in the same state start to collapse into an unconscious state though there is no signs of anything wrong with the body. Since the hospital has inadequate facilities to handle such cases, a brain psychology specialist from an external department is called. She is Kiyama.
 
Besides the several stripping commotion in episode 9, the girls asks for Kiyama’s opinion. As far as I remember, those who use Level Upper may experience side effects and commit crime. Something that Saten is worried because she’s got a hold of it though she hasn’t used it yet. Saten walking alone spots a guy being beaten up by thugs. He was supposed to buy Level Upper from them but the thugs raised the price. It’s commendable that Saten tried to tell them off nicely that what they’re doing is bad but she should’ve seen that those heartless bastards are the types that would pull a girl’s hair and love seeing them writhe in pain. Luckily Shirai is there. Though she took care of the small fries, the boss is a little tougher to handle. Seems her teleportation ability is a little off whenever she fights him. She makes a tactical retreat into the building, supposedly the punks’ hideout. Begins a cat and mouse game as Shirai finally realizes his ability is making illusions by bending light. She makes a daring move by teleporting shattered glasses to cut concrete pillars and send the building crashing down when he refuses to surrender on the final warning. Now that guy is scared in his pants as he hands Shirai the Level Upper, which is a music player?
 
In episode 10, because Saten told her other friends she has Level Upper, they try it and are amazed with the little powers they have gained. Hey, even if they are simple but to a non-power user, they’re awesome since this is their first time experiencing such powers. Kiyama comes back with her research on Level Upper and mentions that it is possible via Testament, a special tool for inputting large amounts of digital info into the brain in a short period. Saten and her friends are having fun with their newfound powers. Till one of them collapses. Saten starts to get worried and calls Uiharu. She knows she will collapse too and feels this is some sort of retribution for cheating. Uiharu rushes over, assuring she’ll always be there for her. Next thing we know, Saten is in comatose state. A doctor that Misaka sees closely resembling to Gekota (at least to her) calls her and Shirai and discuss something about brainwaves signal and those who used Level Upper has got the same brainwaves. Not that I get it anyway. Uiharu sees Kiyama while the rest continue to research on the subject with Konori. More technical terms which I don’t understand. They explain it using computer networking linking those connected up as example but it was just too much for me. Say what again? They find a person that matches an ability to use such a network: Kiyama. Uh oh. Uiharu is in danger because she’s looking at some of Kiyama’s research when the latter’s away for a while but got busted. She takes Uiharu away in her blue sports car. Kiyama doesn’t answer Uiharu’s barrage of questions but tells her she has no interests in other’s power as her true goal is far greater.
 
More technical explanations about what Level Upper is from Kiyama in episode 11. What distribution across multiple brains? What using human brains as computational network? She got 10,000 espers and is using them as guinea pigs for what already? She has a treatment programme that will free everyone once it’s over too? Because Antiskill raided her office, her security system wipes out all data on it so the only cure is a little chip she has given to Uiharu. Kiyama encounters a roadblock in the form of Antiskill. She steps out of the car but she’s not surrendering. Her left eye turns devil red as she unleashes her powers like controlling some Antiskill members against each other. When she wipes them out, it’s Misaka’s turn and expect a power battle. Whose side is right and whose is wrong? Well Kiyama did give Misaka a point to ponder about the data the higher-ups take and measure and possibly cover up. The battle ends with Misaka using a decoy and giving Kiyama a powerful electric shocker. So powerful that Misaka is reliving Kiyama’s memories. A flashback of how Kiyama is made by a higher-up to be a teacher of children who are Child Errors (children in this city with no families or relatives. In other words, orphans) while regulating their developmental data. Of course she hated that job since the kids were naughty and cheeky but she grew fond of them seeing that they’re actually nice and innocent (probably she got her stripper habit from one of their pranks). Then the children underwent some experiment and fully trusted Kiyama. Something went terribly wrong but her higher-up continued on and even claimed their sacrifice were valuable in the name of science. Kiyama tells Misaka that the experiment of controlling AIM diffusion was just a guise for overloading abilities. Those children never woke up and are still in comatose state. She tried to find a cure or take her case to higher-ups but it fell on deaf ears. She’ll do all it takes to wake them up even if this means making the whole city her enemy. Suddenly she collapses and a hideous foetus emerges from her. Scary!
 
The foetus now wrecks havoc in episode 12 and the comatose patients go into tormenting state like as though they’re having a bad dream. Kiyama explains it is beyond her control and the foetus is made out of the mass thoughts of 10,000 people, pitiful thoughts of Level 0 people craving for power. Firepower seems to have no effect on the foetus and in fact it seems to be growing bigger at each shot taken. Uiharu takes the chip back to Antiskill in hopes that it will put a stop to this. So happens there is an experimental nuclear facility nearby and the foetus is heading towards it. So cliche. Misaka buys Uiharu time as she battles the monstrosity. Uiharu broadcasts from the Antiskill van, some weird song. What were you expecting? Some hip hop or rock? Well, it was enough to sooth the patients but the foetus is still on a rampage and even regenerating. After hearing those pitiful thoughts and promising to help Kiyama if she leaves, Misaka destroys the foetus not with her electricity but the heat from it to melt it away and then her trademark coin flipping move to obliterate it for good. Kiyama is arrested as she tells Misaka that she isn’t giving up yet and if she isn’t happy with that, she can come stop her anytime. And the good news is that all the comatose patients regain consciousness and that means the girls are happily reunited with Saten. That was a good lesson, right? Everything’s back to normal. Including skirt flipping and horny advances.
 
Wannai and Awatsuki invite Shirai and her pals to do a swimsuit model photo shoot in episode 13. Well, Kongou and Konori are there too. I guess this episode is to provide the typical fanservice as the girls choose their swimsuits and as usual due to peer pressure Misaka can’t be true to her feelings of choosing a kiddie one she likes. With technological advancement, locations of the photo shoot are random and the hologram sure makes the surroundings quite real and believable. Of course due to some error, they are taken to several extreme places like the desert, icy tundra and even the moon! While fixing the system, the girls take a break and decide to prepare curry meal (don’t worry, the ingredients are real). The tasks are divided and Kongou is in a pinch to make curry since Wannai and Awatsuki looks up to her as their sensei when she couldn’t even make a decent one. Finally she comes clean but they aren’t mad at her as they seek help from the rest. They have their delicious meal and all those hard work paid off. At the end of the day as the girls part, they wonder where Misaka is. Seems she has gone back and put on that cute kiddie swimsuit and enjoys herself on the hologram beach. What she didn’t know is that she accidentally activated a camera that projects her actions to the street outside. And Touma saw it…
 
On a hot day-off in episode 14, unlucky Saten and her pals have been chosen to undergo some special classes at a different school with her other pals, Akemi, Muu and Mako. There are other students from other schools too and the only similarity they all have is that they once used Level Upper. Some punishment? Yup, even Juufuku is there. Theory lessons starts with a loli teacher Komoe Tsukuyomi (brings back memories of Doki Doki School Hours’ Mika and Pani Poni Dash’s Rebecca). During recess, Juufuku meets with Saten to share her lunch. Then the physical-ed session has Aiho Yomikawa of Antiskill making them do marathon training. Run till you can’t run anymore. Whatever that means, one of the badass girl isn’t too happy because she thinks it’s punishment for them who used Level Upper. Yomikawa notes it’s to surpass one’s limits and probably realize the power inside that they aren’t aware off, once you give up, it’s over. Everyone is exhausted except for one chubby guy who still kept running and as Yomikawa notes he was the first one who wanted to give up but went on. So where did that extra power to run the extra lap come from? It’s all in the mind. Training is over when it starts raining. While changing, Saten got into a confrontation with that badass girl but nothing serious happened. Lesson continues with Komoe as she gives them motivational and encouraging words. At the end of the day, Saten’s eyes opened to a lot of things though she still remains a Level 0 but I guess she’s happy that she still has her other pals. Uiharu, Misaka and Shirai come to pick her up.
 
Kongou is confronted by several gang members of Skillout who hunt down espers in episode 15. She is immobilized by some sound wave but a mysterious guy in a leather jacket and spider tattoo shows up and defeats them. Back at Judgment branch, Konori tells them how Big Spider group was part of Skillout. They once had pride but recently turned into a bunch of lawless mob with an inferiority complex who hates society. A Skillout member reports to their head, Wataru Kurozuma about the recent events and he isn’t pleased to hear ‘that guy’ is still alive. Misaka and Shirai go to Skillout’s hideout to gather information but are surrounded by those punks. They could’ve handled it themselves but that guy in leather jacket and a fond drinker of Musashino Milk shows up to beat the crap out of them. They talk but nothing conclusive. Kurozuma is upset that his group is being beaten up so he threatens to kill his underlings unless they go out and beat up more espers. Of course Misaka and Shirai put the brakes on their bullying spree and arrive at Kurozuma’s hideout to arrest him. That guy still acts tough so he unleashes some resonating sound wave called Capacity Down to render their abilities void. Then the leather jacket guy appears and unplugs Capacity Down. The thugs recognize him as the real Kurozuma and he recognizes that fake Kurozuma as Hebitani. The punks attack but since Kurozuma is quite a handful, coward Hebitani flees. Konori appears and it seems she and Kurozuma know each other, shocking Misaka and Shirai.
 
Konori seems upset that Kurozuma didn’t contact her all this while but he just coolly left. In episode 16, Misaka and her pals are interested to know more about Konori-Kurozuma relationship so they visit her but only see her room-mate. She tells them how Konori was once a member of Big Spider. Without a place to go, she saw Kurozuma and gang in a gang fight. But he was fighting for and kind to a boy. She got attracted to that and joined him. Well, you could say she took a liking for him. Back at Judgment branch, Uiharu receives a report that Antiskill will conduct a surprise raid at Skillout’s headquarters tomorrow morning. Misaka confronts Konori at the rooftop. Konori remembers a flashback. Kurozuma decided to go rescue kidnapped Hebitani though he very well knew it was a trap. When Konori reached the place, Hebitani was alive and well but the place burnt down and Kurozuma never to be seen again. Then Kurozuma joins the girls’ conversation, saying he woke up in hospital and was straight away sent to the institution. He intends to end Big Spider since he was the one who created it. Konori isn’t happy that history is repeating itself because she doesn’t want to lose a place she calls home. Next morning, Shirai and Misaka meet up with Konori as they barge into the hideout before Antiskill’s anticipated time with Kurozuma. Misaka takes out Capacity Down so the thugs are no match for the combo of Kurozuma and Konori pair. Hebitani is left and he has dynamites strapped to himself. Before he could anything stupid, Kurozuma punches him as he is disappointed on how much he has changed. But it’s not over yet. Hebitani swiftly takes out a knife and though it grazed his cheek, Kurozuma lands a powerful knockout punch right in his face. In the end, the baddies are arrested and Kurozuma willing gets arrested by Konori. They share a light joke before they part. Musashino Milk has got to be the best?
 
Episode 17 focuses on an Antiskill member, Tsudzuri Tessou, Yomikawa’s partner. Besides being a teacher in her day job, we see her going through a bad day like being late for work and taken hostage! Then at the video game centre, she spots Misaka and co. She reminds them about curfew. She sees a lone boy there too, Kounoe, a classmate of Saten and Uiharu but aren’t that close. After that, Tessou goes bathing and eating out with Yomikawa and Komoe. The next day, same thing repeating. Another bad day at work. She sees Kounoe playing a fighting game at the centre, and the outing. This causes her to be depressed. On another day at the centre, Tessou plays the fighting game with him and share some secrets since she was a fan of it before. But her bad day continues (I believe several cameo appearances of Index characters here. Including that nun) so I guess she lets go some steam by playing at the video game centre. She is surprised she lost to Kounoe using her favourite secret character but he did take her advice and practice a lot. She walks him back to his home after that. Some time latter Tessou notices that Kounoe doesn’t show up at the centre anymore and she learns from Saten and Uiharu that he suddenly transferred to a different school in another district. Seems that school is famed for making video games. Tessou got her self confidence back and is determined to do her best.
 
Another terrifying neck breaking punishment for Shirai from Dorm Lady for breaking another dorm rule in episode 18. Shirai drags Misaka along one day to spy on Dorm Lady to see what suspicious things she does (apart from all those unsavoury insults she made up about her being a spinster and all that). It leads them to Cypress Park, a home for Child Errors. Seems Dorm Lady is doing volunteer work here. But there’s a catch. You can tell she has a crush on a teacher who is working voluntarily here, Daigo, who is Uiharu and Saten’s teacher too. Shirai suddenly decides to help Dorm Lady win the love of her life because that means she’ll be treated better if she falls in love. Of course Dorm Lady is suspicious but agrees to let her help. Shirai and her pals also help do voluntary work at Cypress Park as she tries to set up moments for Dorm Lady and Daigo. Of course the cheeky little kids tease them as lovebirds, making Dorm Lady blush. Daigo mentions he likes those who put others before self. Then a short minor earthquake so Daigo praises Dorm lady for being selfless. It’s funny to see a strict lady daydreaming of getting married. And she’s being lenient too! Where has that strict devil gone? Then she gets a call from Daigo to meet her. With Shirai and co spying from afar, Daigo asks Dorm Lady’s opinion on marrying somebody younger than her like say, him. She’s okay with it. When she returns, Shirai congratulates her. Next day, Dorm Lady dresses up nicely so she could properly reply him and at Cypress Park it seems the moment she has been waiting for. Daigo takes out a wedding ring and decides to propose to her. No, not Dorm Lady, but the elderly manager of Cypress Park instead. Heartbreak… He thanks her for giving such encouraging advice then. Sad, but I guess with love out of the way, Dorm Lady returns back to her demon self. All Shirai’s plan wasted… Prepare for another neck breaking punishment just for being a second late. JUST A SECOND LATE! I’m surprised she didn’t die after all that neck breaking.
 
Misaka is dreading this day in episode 19. The one day of the year where their dorm is open to public and are expected to receive many guests. Think of it as a school cultural festival on a big scale with the dorm girls dressed up in maids to serve people and even getting help from a school that specializes in maid training, Ryouran, to help prepare the food. Misaka introduces Saten and Uiharu to Maika Tsuchimikado of Ryouran. Can someone please keep photo maniac Shirai at bay? Thank you Maika. Misaka takes Saten and Uiharu on a tour around the dorm. Uiharu is so captivated with everything so much so Saten had to bring her down to Earth by flipping her skirt. Uiharu thinks of eating lots of food till she spots Tessou having stomach discomfort from eating too much. Better put back those cakes. Why is Misaka dreading this day? Seems she has a stage performance later. To her dismay, more people seem to get to know about it and looking forward to it. Including the kids from Cypress Park (Dorm Lady’s revenge?). Then there’s that weird auction event (Shirai buying up Misaka’s donated stuff at very high price to stem out competition?) and Kongou’s weird combination of miko priestess and maid outfit. Then it’s time for Misaka’s performance. She’s nervous at the backstage but she gets pissed when she sees Touma who is looking for that nun. She was going to whack him with a chair but he flees. She realizes her nervousness has subsided. She goes on to display her wonderful violin solo.
 
Uiharu gets a new room-mate in episode 20. She is Erii Haruue and they get quickly acquainted. While she also gets friendly with her other friends, seems there is a new phenomenon case. Earthquakes believed to be caused by supernatural phenomenon called Poltergeist but as Yomikawa mentioned, there is no such thing and the cause is an outbreak of RSPK Syndrome. Whatever that is. I’m once more too tired to understand all those theories by Multi Active Rescue Squad (MAR)’s Telestina. Abilities of multiple espers converge to create a Poltergeist effect and thus seemingly like an earthquake? That night, the girls get dressed in their yukata and head for the fireworks festival. They notice the presence of MAR there. Well, safety first as precaution. During the fireworks display, Haruue starts acting strange and walks away alone so Uiharu and Saten go after her. Shirai’s mood to get horny with Misaka is ruined when she gets a distressing call from Konori that the Poltergeist phenomenon is linked to the deliberate interference of AIM diffusion fields. Meaning, it is not an act of chance or by accident. An earthquake suddenly occurs and a lamp post threatens to fall on Haruue and Uiharu but luckily was held up by Telestina in her MAR power suit. Haruue still seems to be depressed as she keeps looking at her locket and wondering where ‘that person’ is.
 
While Saten and Uiharu accompany Haruue to the dorm in episode 21, back at the dorm, Misaka does some research and feels Kiyama may be behind this. Though she is still in detention, she feels something isn’t right. Uiharu continues to be with Haruue as they go on an outing together at the park (did she ditch Saten?) but Misaka and Shirai discover that Haruue has a Level 2 telepathy ability though it isn’t enough to cause such phenomenon. Then at the park, the earthquake happens again. There are some serious injuries this time. At the hospital, Shirai tells Uiharu what she has found about Haruue. But Uiharu is upset because she thinks she is suspecting Haruue. But Telestina says only a Level 4 could pull that off but need to examine Haruue. Uiharu is against this but Telestina assures her that it’s a way to prove her innocence. However Uiharu and Shirai’s relationship are on the rocks once more. Telestina talks to the girls and it seems results of the tests show Haruue isn’t responsible for the phenomenon. Haruue comes to as Uiharu gives back her precious locket. She says it’s a memento from a friend. Sometimes she can hear her voice and whenever she does, she goes into a daze. When she opens the locket to reveal her picture, Misaka is surprised because she has seen this girl, Banri Edasaki, before. It was that Child Error girl she saw when she absorbed Kiyama’s memories.
 
Haruue reveals she and Banri were from the same Child Error facility in episode 22 but one day Banri was transferred to another facility. Uiharu promises to help find her. Misaka and Shirai talk to Telestina about Kiyama and the overloading abilities experiment. It’s revealed that a ‘mad scientist’ Gensei Kihara was behind all this and his whereabouts are currently unknown. Thus he may be behind the Poltergeist occurrences. Shirai and Uiharu’s relationship plunge to record low as the latter accuse the rest of suspecting Haruue’s friends now in their quest to investigate the case. Then they get word that Kiyama has been released on bail and then some theory about espers with overloading abilities will resonate with other espers that will cause 78% of espers in the city to fall and the city destroyed by the Poltergeist phenomenon. How true is this? Well, it was written by that mad scientist. That night, Misaka sneaks out alone to Gensei’s sealed facilities but meets Kiyama there. She got so upset that her electric powers restored the security system. Kiyama takes Misaka to a hospital and is shown the comatose Child Errors. Seems that Gekota doctor was behind Kiyama’s release and was trying to find a way to save those kids. But each time they get close to awakening, their AIM diffusion fields show irregular patterns. He says how Gensei started it all and his goal was to create Level 6 via Crystallized Esper Essence. So Kiyama was at that facility to look for data for that vaccination software. Kiyama is desperate to wake them up even if it causes Poltergeist. Suddenly Telestina and her MAR men barge in since they’ve followed them here. She is going to take custody of the children. Kiyama is against it but Misaka stops her, feeling that she did nothing close to save their lives. She also tells her about Haruue hearing voices of Banri calling out for help. Telestina assures of their professionalism to save lives and facilities to treat them. Kiyama has no choice but to give in.
 
In episode 23, Haruue is given the chance to see Banri and she is relieved to see her even if she’s in comatose state. Uiharu goes to see Kiyama and the latter is depressed that she’s just a few steps away from waking the kids up. Uiharu suggests for her to take her data and see Telestina. However Telestina tells them they are going to be transferred to a place with better facilities soon and they can’t come along. However they are taking Haruue with them. Then Telestina steps and crushes on Kiyama’s data, saying it is useless. Kiyama goes into a fit when she hears Telestina’s full name: Kihara Lifeline. But Telestina overpowers her. Saten calls Uiharu but is shocked to hear the latter crying uncontrollably on the other line. The rest are shocked to learn that Telestina is Gensei’s granddaughter and the first subject he used for his Crystallized Esper Essence and Kiyama is ‘missing’. Because Uiharu is still sobbing, Shirai slaps some sense to her and tells her that there are better things to do than to sit there and weep. Misaka goes to confront Telestina and isn’t happy that she’s secretly helping out in Gensei’s experiments. Telestina shows her true colours and first thing we see her face turned into of a mad woman who couldn’t care less about anything except her goals. Misaka is going all out against her but was held back by Capacity Down, something she created and used Skillout as guinea pigs to test it out. She tells her goal to perfect the Crystallized Esper Essence before overwhelming helpless Misaka with her power suit. Her MAR men were supposed to take her away but luckily Kongou was there to use her influence to let her escape. Misaka wakes up in hospital with her pals beside her. She wants to go after Telestina but Saten stops her. Even without powers, Saten plays big sister and makes Misaka realize her selfish actions and has Uiharu and Shirai make up. Or else. They get to work and track down MAR’s trailers heading to a district, supposedly where one of Gensei’s facilities is. Then they spot a familiar car trailing behind: Kiyama.
 
Telestina knows Kiyama is following her and sets her subordinates to attack in episode 24. Before they can move, our heroines arrive and immobilize them. Apparently Kiyama is following a decoy so Uiharu and Saten rides in Kiyama’s car to follow the real ones with Misaka hitching a ride on Konori’s bike. Shirai and Kongou make an unlikely combo as they take out the other power suit users. Along the way, Telestina decides to join in the fun and makes her appearance in a huge mecha (she’s wearing a power suit in the mecha?). A great high power, high speed battle along the highway. Misaka unleashes her full electricity potential via metal piece with a combo with Shirai to blast the mecha into smithereens. Then in a lab area, they find the sleeping children but the esper girls are immobilized by Capacity Down. Telestina’s not out yet. Now she’s crazier than ever. She beats them up and says how this whole town is like an animal farm and experiment specimen. Something about using these kids’ power to create Level 6 by overloading them which will cause Academy City to undergo massive a Poltergeist and be destroyed. Well according to her, there is no need for a city once Level 6 is attained. Like reaching Heaven, eh? Saten who isn’t affected is given hints by Uiharu to take out Capacity Down at the central control room. I’m sure it was her noob in the computers fuelled by her rage when Telestina mocks her pals that makes her smash the entire control centre and break Capacity Down. Though Telestina isn’t going to give up yet and still has a powerful electromaster power in her suit, who do you think will win? Telestina’s electromaster against Misaka’s railgun? Doesn’t take a genius to guess who’ll end all mess up. Once that’s over, Kiyama inputs her programming data and her wait over these years is over when the kids regain consciousness. Tears of joy. In the aftermath, though Kongou brags but I think she’s taking too much credit, Telestina is arrested but remains a tough nut to crack because she’s not spilling anything even if she’s under detention, and Kiyama’s kids wish her a big happy birthday and I-love-you via blimp. Misaka is happy that this city is never boring.
 
Nice happy ending. All is well ends well. No complaints. Okay, there is one. The terms. My head is still swirling each time I try to understand them. In the end, I just forget about it and enjoy the electrifying action instead. I guess it’s pretty okay for a side story to take centre stage and make it big. I’m not sure if this will be getting a sequel but I read that Index is getting one. After being thrust into the limelight, how do you feel about going back to a supporting role, Misaka? Despite being heroines, each of them have their own quirkiness and may not be perfect. That is why they have each other to rely on and together they can make the impossible possible. That’s what friends are for. For instance Saten, she may be a Level 0 but because of that, she was spared from the effects that affect espers and the turning point that brought Telestina’s mad schemes to a grinding halt. Shirai’s love for her onee-sama may be annoying and sickening but when it comes to her Judgment job, she still holds her ground. Too bad I was hoping to see some sort of ending between Misaka and Touma but I guess the latter was just a side character here. He’ll be back in the second season of Index. I’m guessing that Misaka is tsundere about him… I wonder if there’s anything going on between Konori and Kurozuma after that. Maybe that guy prefers to do his new life behind bars. Kiyama may appear to be the initial villain but I guess she was just desperate to wake her precious ones after waiting for too long. Her methods may be questionable in endangering many innocent people but I guess it’s something like only what mothers would understand towards their children.
 
I’m not sure how many specials are there but you will be treated to those short comical clips if you buy the DVDs. I only watched the first one which lasted around 8 minutes. What does it contain? Well, the repetitive replay of Saten’s skirt flipping and Uiharu’s rebuking, the talk of Dorm Lady’s neck breaking technique of where she got it from, Saten’s teacher doing some lesson to change a cat in a box into something else, the meal outing between Yomikawa, Tessou and Komoe, Misaka’s paranoia on Academy City’s windmills if they are really generating electricity which turn into government conspiracy which turned into aliens. What’s with that repetitive advice by Misaka to conserve electricity in different voice tones? Easy for someone with electricity powers to say so. I wonder why Misaka is so dramatic and emo while the pair of Saten and Uiharu sound so silly. And Shirai’s like ‘don’t-be-so-paranoid-you-all’.
 
Then there’s a special DVD episode dubbed episode 13. Why that number? Because it takes place during that swimsuit photo shoot. Ah, the much needed fanservice the series lacks. Besides its long second title, the special is only 5 minutes long. As usual Misaka manages to get away from the horny Shirai. To Shirai’s dismay, Misaka is okay with Uiharu rubbing sun lotion on her back. She teleports an aphrodisiac one but her plan backfires when Saten takes Misaka’s place. This causes Saten to become horny and goes after Uiharu’s virginity. Misaka suspects this is the work of Shirai and electrocutes her. Meanwhile Kongou spots that lotion and puts it on her pet snake. Uh oh. After Saten has come back to her senses and the gang walking back (Shirai tied up and being dragged back), they are horrified to see Kongou’s snake slithering all over her naked body. Even snakes are horny. Better than the typical tentacles, right?
 
There is something about Academy City that bugs me. Considering that fact that 80% of its said population are students, I don’t see their overwhelming numbers supporting that statistic in the series since I noticed quite a number of working adults too. I have a few theories. One, they can’t show everyone of them (haha). Two, the city is so populous that they seem evident which means students are even more evident. Hey, this is a big city anyway. Three, the definition of student varies for example one in terms of age, say you may be 40 years old but considered a student statistically. Hey, they have students running Judgment, right? Does this mean, ‘students’ too do the teaching job? One might say so for Komoe’s case but 20% only for the real working force, that doesn’t seem right. Of course over the series there are hints that the databanks and the higher-ups may not be accurate or righteous as they seem but I guess that isn’t important here (maybe in Index).
 
Whenever Shirai goes into her horny mode, she sounds like a very deprived pervert. I guess I kinda enjoyed it whenever she breaks into this mode. Shirai is voiced by Satomi Arai and was also the voice of Aoba in Mahoraba and Peke in To Love-Ru. Once again, Aki Toyosaki shows that she is suitable to voice Uiharu and the other kind of ditzy or seemingly-out-of-breath girls like K-ON!’s Yui and Akikan’s Najimi. Kiyama’s character really do sound tired and weary and Atsuko Tanaka (Caster in Fate/stay Night) portrayed her perfectly. Hats off to Sayaka Ohara (Rika in Honey And Clover) who did an equally good job when she made Telestina sound like a mad woman in the final episodes. Other casts include Rina Satou as Misaka (Haruka in Minami-ke), Kanae Itou as Saten (Amu in Shugo Chara), Kana Ueda as Konori (Mikan in Gakuen Alice), Minako Kotobuki as Kongou (Tsumugi in K-ON!) and Yukari Tamura making a cameo as Juufuku (Sakura in Da Capo series). Both the opening themes, sung by fripSide, have that techno dance pop feel. The lively beat makes you want to get up and dance. Only My Railgun is the first opening theme and LEVEL5-judgelight- is the second one. With ELISA performing the ending themes, I prefer the slow-moderate but catchy first ending theme, Dear My Friend -Mada Minu Mirai E- as compared to the slight techno feel of the second one, Real Force.
 
Some of the CG used for the animation is pretty nice and smooth. I won’t say that the designs are creative or mind blowing but well to me they are just a little different. Ever since lots of giant ‘skinny’ windmills in the city? Must be to harness power for its huge population, eh? What about those little sweeper robots that keep the city clean by swiftly sweeping away any dirt on the ground? We need to have more of those. On a trivial note, each episode’s title serves as the mid-intermission. That means they appear only during that time. So don’t go searching for the episode title before, during or after the opening credits. I don’t know if this is true in every episode but I kinda noticed that the title of that episode are said somewhere in the show. I know this is evident especially if the title is named after the terminologies, but there are some episode titles which sound more like speech lines. And those lines happen to come out from a character’s mouth and made me go "Isn’t that the title of this episode?". Then there are several trivia for instance Shakugan No Shana and Toradora characters making cameo appearances and I suppose Pizza Hut was the main sponsor for this series just like they did for Code Geass so you can obviously see their trademark label in one of the episodes.
 
I feel that the series explores the theme about human experiments and using them as specimens for whatever research. There are for and against about this but of course if it is done in the name to take over the world then it’s a big no-no. That’s what happens when scientists become too curious and decide to expand their knowledge and that ‘greed’ of theirs turned them into ‘monsters’ who will do whatever it takes to achieve it. Thankfully for Academy City, they have Misaka and her buddies to keep it safe. I love it when she does her coin flipping action. I tried her move once but it backfired. Don’t worry, just got a little bruised ego that’s all. Other than that, we should all be happy with what we have and even if one deems oneself as useless, I’m sure there are other ways that one can prove to be helpful. To quote a line from a superhero movie: "With great powers come great responsibilities", I guess it’s safe to say that I am happy being a Level 0 otaku with no special skill, talent or ability to my name. Who needs Level Upper when I can watch my favourite animes… To Aru Kudaranai No Otaku (A Certain Useless Otaku)… I wonder if today’s iPhone has Level Upper application?
 

To Aru Kagaku No Railgun

When you think of nekomimi (cat ears) and/or nekomusume (cat girls), it brings to mind the anime otaku culture of moeness. Yeah, I’m sure many of those otakus would sure somehow find those cat features appealing and moe. Mind you, I’m not one of them. Having said there, unlike many anime characters (girls especially) who will swoon at the sight of cute furry little animals such as cats, there are some anime characters that will experience discomfort whenever they are close to them. Whether it is ailurophobia (fear of cats) or allergies, as long as it is those domesticated purring felines, you can bet they prefer jumping down from a high story building than sit next to it for a second. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating but if you don’t like cats, it’s best to stay away from them no matter what. And note for you cat lovers out there, this list isn’t meant for you to take out your hate and make them a target for dart practices.
 
Ranma Saotome (Ranma 1/2)
 Ranma Saotome
Probably the most famous anime character with ailurophobia. Basically Ranma becomes paralyzed whenever there is a cat around. When Ranma was young, his sick father Genma tried to teach him the Cat Fist technique and threw him into a pit filled with hungry cats. Not only that, he was covered with fish sausage so you can imagine the trauma he had to go through. Too bad that one of his self proclaimed fiancee, Shampoo, also turns into a cat whenever splashed by cold water.
 
Alan (Marchen Awakens Romance)
 Alan
Even tough looking hardened smoking guys have their own fears. His fear of cats developed when he was sealed inside the court guardian and custodian dog of princess Snow, Edward, in a fight and curse set placed by Igneil, Halloween’s Darkness ARMS. In a slightly complicated condition on how Alan and Edward swap their bodies and consciousness (about sleeping and knocking oneself out), due to the time Alan spent inside Edward, ironically he developed his ailurophobia from there even if both of them are later separated with their own bodies.
 
Junpei Kousaka (Nyan Koi)
 Junpei Kousaka
Unlike many of the characters in this list who are ailurophobic, Junpei’s condition is mainly chronic allergy to cats. He must be one unlucky kid to have born with such a condition because his family members are cat lovers, just like a big chunk of everyone else in this town. One obvious symptom when a cat is nearby is that he starts sneezing. His allergies will take a complicated turn if he doesn’t complete the 100 good deeds he needs to fulfil to cats after accidentally breaking the head of the shrine’s statue cat deity. Yeah, he’ll turn into a cat and die from his own allergies.
 
San Seto (Seto No Hanayome)
 San Seto
Not just her, in fact the entire mermaid yakuza clan (with the exception of Masa) has this fear of cats. Well think about it. Mermaids are from the fish family, right? And what are cats’ favourite food? Exactly. I guess you can’t blame when they turn frenzy and panic helter-skelter when those felines are close by. Run for your lives unless you want to be cat food! Since her fiancee Nagasumi has a pet kitten, that would make things worse, doesn’t it? Even if San fears them, at certain points she is able to overcome her fear and save the kitten whenever its life is endangered.
 
Shinku (Rozen Maiden)
 Shinku
She may seem like an aristocrat quirk who loves tea ordering her servant around (that’s Jun). One of her weaknesses is the fear of cats and as revealed it was developed when a cat nearly swallowed her wind-up key in the past. Remember that Rozen Maidens are still dolls and are brought to life by that wind-up key. Without it, they are as good as lifeless.
 
Yuuto Amakawa (Omamori Himari)
 Yuuto Amakawa
Another character that is allergic to cats rather than fearing them wholeheartedly. In addition to his uncontrollable sneezing, Yuuto’s experience other symptoms like watery eyes and running nose. He’s going to experience more of this with the appearance of his cat bodyguard. As long as she remains in human form, that is fine. Yuuto’s allergy to cats as revealed stems from Kuesu, another Demon Slayer clan whom their parents match-make during their early childhood. Always the rivals they are, Kuesu never liked Himari being close to Yuuto and cast a magic spell to make Yuuto allergic to cats.
 
Ruuan Keikounitten (Mamotte Shugogetten)
 Ruuan
How is this goddess supposed to keep Tasuke happy when she is afraid of cats? Not that her inanimate objects materializing would do any good and bring more havoc instead. Due to her troubled and disturbing past experience with cats, Ruuan is of course traumatized by them. Her previous master, an old granny loved cats and had 1000 of them all over her house! Ruuan was tasked to take care of them all and from there she developed her fears from it. Though Kouichirou helps her overcome her fear, in the end she gets mad with it when it scratched her ‘beautiful’ face. Back to square one? Fear turned to hate…
 
Nayuki Minase (Kanon)
Nayuki Minase
Yes, that slow talker and heavy sleeper is allergic to cats. As far as I know, she already had this condition so I assume she must have got it since birth. But unlike other characters in this series, Nayuki does not hate cats. In fact she is quite fond of animals and will never miss an opportunity to pet them. Unfortunately it is just cats that she is allergic to and even so, that doesn’t stop her from trying to pet it although it won’t be any good for her health and the cat itself.
 
Marie Kagura (Tonagura)
 Marie Kagura
That little sister who pelts her perverted brother with her air gun hidden in her teddy bear also has this phobia on cats. Though it is not revealed why or how she fears them, but each time cats draw closer to her, she would be in a near paralyzed state and unable to move. There was 1 episode whereby several cats surrounded her and for unknown reasons it’s like they turned evil and would’ve pounded her if Niina didn’t save her and Yuuji and Kazuki giving their lunch to calm them down. Though Marie is more receptive about mixing and interacting with others (her other fear), I don’t think the cat ones will go away anytime soon.
 
Gilbert Nightray (Pandora Hearts)
Gilbert Nightray
I didn’t see this anime so I’m not pretty sure why this bishie guy fears cats since 10 years ago. I can’t find much information pertaining to it except the fact that his fear for them provides laugh-out-loud comical relief since he paralyzes and ‘drops dead’ if the cat in any form or shape comes into contact with him. Oh yeah, his phobia is incurable too. Poor guy.
 
Mad Pierrot (Cowboy Bebop)
Mad Pierrot
Didn’t see this retro anime either. But from what I read, this genetically engineered cruel assassin with a child-like mind fears cats because of the head scientist’s cat that was staring and watching at him when he underwent that traumatic and cruel project experiment he volunteered in. I suppose he is the only one on this list who would maniacally harm a cat out of fear. I guess those scientists forgot to include in their project experiment of theirs to remove such fears in addition to superhuman strength. Something they overlooked? Thankfully Pierrot’s ailurophobia allowed our hero Spike to be saved several times.
 
Cat Caught Your Tongue?
This list isn’t definitive as there may be other anime characters with such a condition. But for the ones here, it sure gives a new meaning to the term scaredy cat. Looks like these characters won’t have their phobia cured anytime soon but in a way it’s a good thing to have a little fear. We’re not that all perfect, aren’t we? Besides, you’d agree with me since some of them are pretty cute and amusing whenever they get freaked out by cats. Yeah, we’re such sadistic people. No point having sleepless nights on how to overcome their fears or search for ways to cure it. For now it’s better that they stay as they are with their phobia because as have you heard, curiosity killed the cat?

Ladies Versus Butlers

September 11, 2010

A prestigious school that houses not only nobles and the rich but servants as well? That is possible if you watched Ladies Versus Butlers. It’s like starting them young. Live a life to be served and to serve for the rest of one’s life. Welcome to Hakureiryou High School, some sort of boarding school, where future masters are groomed to take over the lineage and tradition of their wealthy-cum-influential families under the Upper-ed section while their butlers and maids are trained to serve them for better or worse under the Servant-ed section. Can you choose which section to enrol in? Apparently that depends on your family’s financial status as far as I’m concerned. Though school fees are exempted, if your family’s rich and famous, you go into the Upper-ed, otherwise it’s the Servant-ed.
 
Based on a series of light novels, those intending to watch this series be warned that there is quite an amount of fanservice here. I’m not really sure if the TV version has the uncensored version but the edition I saw was the uncensored one. And that was before the release of any DVD or Blu-Ray discs. So seasoned and hardcore ecchi fans may rejoice of seeing lots of panty shots and girls baring their boobs and for the newbies, just beware. You have been warned.
 
As in any stereotypical ecchi romantic comedy series, our main protagonist is of course a guy, Akiharu Hino. He decides to enrol in Hakureiryou after he realized his uncle was after his family’s inheritance. Plus, both his parents are dead. At least Akiharu isn’t a pervert but the unfortunate thing is that he looks like a delinquent. So I guess having such ferocious looks won’t help him win friends on his first day, eh? In addition, he made a bad start in episode 1. He got his hands on a proud noble Upper-ed girl, Selnia Iori Flameheart. First thing viewers would notice is how ridiculously her large blonde hair resembles a drill. Or is it a croissant or cocoon? I think it’s a drill. Man, if looks could kill then she’s one heck of a walking danger. Anyway how did Akiharu got into this predicament? You see, as everyone knows, Selnia and another Upper-ed student, Tomomi Saikyou don’t really get along well. Sure their conversation tone is polite and maintains their ladylike-ness. But I guess you can tell whatever they talk could turn into a nasty catfight soon. As usual another round of verbal catfight on that day as Tomomi is being called to the principal’s office to welcome the new transfer student (Akiharu). While Selnia is taking a walk trying to clear her head over the recent argument with Tomomi, that’s when she bumps into Akiharu. She chides that rude suspicious commoner but he doesn’t give a hoot. To make matters worse, Akiharu calls her ‘drill’ because of you-know-what lah. Because of that taboo word, Selnia gets upset he insulted her beautiful hair and decides to give her death sentence. Not anything near if you ask me. So the misunderstanding has them tripped and Akiharu in a compromising position over her.
 
With her modesty outraged, Selnia isn’t going to forgive him and chases the poor chap all over school. The weird part is that any girls that Akiharu comes across, the girl will faint! I don’t know if it’s his scary face but I doubt it. I was hoping he’s got his zipper down but right till the end, nothing of this incident was explained. Anyway the chase has Akiharu bumping into other girls who will make their supporting appearances as well over the series. Such as the drawing prodigy loli Mimina Oosawa, Chinese girl Suiran Fou, overly clumsy maid Sanae Shikikagami and her stripper sister Saori. Each time Akiharu bumps into them, he ends up in compromising positions so much so in the eyes of Selnia he’s like a serial rapist that isn’t satisfied with just molesting her but other girls as well. Finally he bumps into Tomomi (another hand on boobs? Is this a trend?) who has been waiting for him all day. Selnia and all the other ‘victims’ caught up. Tomomi explains to them about the transfer student and wishes for them to forgive him. Selnia isn’t willing to until Tomomi prompts if she wants him to take responsibility and marry him. I guess the former would be a better choice. Tomomi may seem like a nice girl upfront but is actually a sadist. After explaining Akiharu is her childhood friend, she exposes his embarrassing secret in which his childhood dream was to become a bride! Seriously?! I guess everybody felt so pity for him that they just leave him alone. Too bad Akiharu’s hell has just begun. Because Tomomi notes how from now on it’s going to be a lot more fun. Note her sadistic smile on her face.
 
So in most episodes you can expect poor Akiharu to get into lots of trouble with the other girls even if it isn’t his fault. Especially Selnia who is a typical tsundere and you can expect her to be scathing towards him but gradually tell she’s falling for him though her pride won’t allow her to admit it. And yeah, Akiharu fans the fire further because he can’t remember her real name and keeps calling her ‘drill’. Bzzz… Tomomi being a sadist will be the main source of Akiharu’s torment. You can tell every time she does her trademark evil smirk. That’s a signal for a big "Oh sh******t!". She must be so bored in her Upper-ed life that she loves cooking up schemes to torture him. Ever thought of reading a book? Ah well, that’s why she’s a sadist. Then there’s Akiharu’s roommate and Servant-ed classmate, Kaoru Daichi. Seems wanting to hide something from Akiharu and always remains suspicious when he’s around. What is it? Let me spoil you. Daichi is a girl pretending to be a boy. Another amusing character is Hakureiryou’s principal, Kaede Tenjouji. In short, she’s childish and immature as she loves playing her eroges and H-games more than running the school! How did she become the principal anyway? She gets excited at the sight of any yuri of ‘youthful’ things and the only person who could keep her in line is the serious no-nonsense teacher, Mikan. Be careful when she throws her fountain pen at you because it could destroy a computer! This gives a whole lot meaning to the pen is mightier than the sword.
 
In episode 2, Selnia still hasn’t gotten over her humiliation and things get worse when Akiharu is put in the same class with her. Note that normal curriculum is mixed between Upper-ed and Servant-ed in the morning. Akiharu makes friends with fellow Servant-ed guys like the perverted Shingo Todoroki and crowd darling Mitsuru Sanke. Though Hakureiryou isn’t an all-girls school, however there are only 5 boys in this entire school, including Akiharu and Daichi (note, nobody knows ‘he’ is a girl). The other guy is an Upper-ed, Touichirou Kazamatsuri. The usual recess has the Servant-eds serving the Upper-eds. Nobody patrons Akiharu’s table because he looks like a delinquent. Because of that, Selnia takes this opportunity to teach him some manners as she and Fou occupies his table. Sure lots of pesky requests that tests that guy’s patience. Their argument could’ve escalated till Sanae clumsily spills curry on him. To make things up, Sanae wishes to scrub his back but you know she’s so clumsy that they got into a compromising position. It would be bad if Selnia sees this. Good thing she didn’t. Bad thing Kaede and Daichi saw it. Kaede loves it. Daichi hates him.
 
For the next lesson, Mikan has the Servant-eds undergo swimming lessons. Having them jump in the pool with their clothes on as training to save their masters if ever such a case happens. Like it’ll ever. But it helps to be prepared, right? Tomomi invites Selnia to watch Akiharu in his lesson (what else?). The usual spat when Touichirou makes his appearance. Now we know why everyone stays away from him. He’s such a narcissist and claims to be the most beautiful creature on Earth. What more self proclaiming everyone admires him. Get real. He can go drown for all they care. The lesson continues as Mikan ups the ante by activating violent waves in the pool (this school is so rich that they can have such facilities). However Sanae starts panicking and clings on dearly to Akiharu like a drowning rat. Selnia tries to throw a float to him but it hit his head. Oops. Akiharu sinks while Sanae continues to panic. Akiharu wakes up in the infirmary with Tomomi by his side. He is suspicious she is up to no good. Tomomi tells of how her mom remarried to a famous entrepreneur when she was transferred and had her surname changed to Saikyou from Suzuhashi. She intends to help him get accustom to life here and also help him graduate. Like would he believe that after knowing her as a little devil? Tomomi knows Selnia is eavesdropping and lets her in though the latter gives excuses she was passing by. Her tough talking is just a camouflage for her concern so Tomomi starts laughing and notes things won’t get boring after all.
 
In order to take a Servant-ed exam in episode 3, Akiharu needs a card from the Upper-ed as proof that he has a partner. Tomomi ‘generously’ gives hers to him. Oh no, that smirk… Up to no good, eh? Well, Selnia wants to give him hers as part of her whatever ego thingy but she was a second too late. Mikan explains the task of this exam is to be faithful to their master. Meaning they have to obey to her whims and fancies. The exam ends at 5pm where they will need to hand a short report. You can tell Tomomi’s evil aura is thinking of all the evil deeds to torture the poor soul but it seems his task is to accompany Mimina for the entire day. Mimina doesn’t like the idea of Akiharu following him the whole day but he’s got no choice. It’s like a victim running away from the stalker, if you know what I mean. Plus, Mimina is having a hard time trying to choose a subject to draw since she got a request to draw for a special edition. And with Tomomi and busybody Selnia watching from afar, yeah this sure is getting a lot interesting. Mimina finally decides to sketch a cat but since it keeps getting away, Akiharu has to chase it down. Though he caught it, it isn’t long before it runs away again.
 
Akiharu treats Mimina to a drink when her pals come by. They start jumping to conclusions that he’s a scary pervert and should leave before they get harassed too. They wish Mimina luck and will be looking forward to her finished work. Mimina seems gloomy when she trips and injures herself. Akiharu takes her to the infirmary and treats her. Mimina feels Akiharu is different because he didn’t make a big fuss when she’s injured especially her precious fingers. As they go continue searching for the cat, Mimina reveals how she had a weak body and spent most of her time in hospital. To ease her boredom, she began drawing. When her father’s friends note how good she is, she started participating in competitions and even gets paid to draw. Gradually, demand for her drawings grew but she felt depressed for not being able to draw what she liked. Mimina’s pals come by again and tell Akiharu to put her down, lecturing him he doesn’t know Mimina’s value and her mission to draw art for the world bla bla bla. But Akiharu tells them off that she has no obligation to draw for them and should draw what she likes. After her pals go away, Akiharu cheers Mimina up by saying if people still force her to draw, he can help get rid of them just like that. They finally find the cat as Mimina continues to draw happily. At the end of the day as Akiharu carries tired and sleeping Mimina, Tomomi comes by. He has a feeling it was all part of her scheme. True, she needed someone who is unfamiliar with her drawings to accompany her. Plus, Akiharu knows Tomomi and Selnia were following him all day long because they’re being noisy. When Mimina’s interview article comes out in a magazine, she hints Akiharu as her favourite place to rely on.
 
How did Akiharu got engaged to a Middle Eastern Upper-ed lady, Ayse Khadim in episode 4? Apparently he accidentally walked into a classroom while she was changing. Due to her strict family law, any guy who sees her pure body will have to be killed unless they’re family. I’m sure Ayse’s loyal bodyguard, Hedyeh would love to kill Akiharu anytime but if Ayse didn’t stop her, he would have seen his maker. I’m not sure if Ayse is so shy that she can’t speak so much so Hedyeh has to act as her voiceover, which sometimes doesn’t turn out as what Ayse wants and usually all made up. Especially if Akiharu’s around. She just can’t wait to get rid of him. For instance, life saving CPR lessons, poisoned bento during lunch and dropping dangerous objects on him. Thankfully, erotic Todoroki bears the brunt for each of them in Akiharu’s place. Serves him right in all of them. Seems Akiharu-Ayse’s scandal has been the talk of the girls as poor Akiharu gets kidnapped to Ayse’s tent. She serves him tea but Akiharu escapes faster than a cockroach when he senses Hedyeh going to cut off his head from behind. Selnia is getting vexed by the minute though she still denies it has anything to do with her (yeah right). Till Tomomi suggests the reputation of this school tarnished by it that Selnia used that as her reason to stop them. Daichi tells the duo that Akiharu has been kidnapped once more so the trio go in search of him. I guess Kaede got so excited that she joined them too.
 
Akiharu is being chained up by the bed and descend into manhood if totally naked Ayse gets her way. For once she speaks that she’s not doing this because of her family law and loved him since the time she first laid eyes on him. That heart-warming speech turned into one of insult and you know that could only be the work of Hedyeh’s voiceover. The seduction continues with Akiharu now tied up in a spot when Selnia and co busts them. How did they know where they are at the infirmary? Seems there are only 2 places to do lewd things. The infirmary or the gym store room (looks like this one was occupied by a pair of yuri girls). Hedyeh isn’t pleased that outsiders are interfering with the family’s internal affairs. Tomomi has studied the family laws well enough to know that Akiharu’s case is an exception as accidental cases don’t count. That means Akiharu has a choice whether to accept her marriage or not. Hedyeh knew it all along but was doing it for her milady’s sake. Before they leave, they apologize and Ayse hugs Akiharu one last time as she hopes she’ll receive his love one day. Things go back to normal, including the Selnia-Akiharu spat. So still thinking of protecting this school’s reputation and couldn’t care less about that commoner’s future?
 
Selnia wants again blows her top in episode 5. Seems she lost out to top spot once again to Tomomi for the exams. Then there are some who needs to resit the exam like Akiharu and Saori. With Selnia and Tomomi not on their usual ‘talking’ terms, I guess it’s up to Akiharu to lighten the mood. He talks to them, treats them cake (although the food here is free) and learns both girls don’t like to lose especially to each other. Who doesn’t? Sure Selnia may envy Tomomi for her grades but it seems Tomomi herself has something to envy about Selnia. Let’s just say it’s her physique and ability to make friends. So some flashbacks on how their relationship goes a long way back when they’re first years at Hakureiryou (Selnia’s ‘drill’ doesn’t seem intimidating at that time. My, how they’ve grown). With the school’s heating system down for a week, those who intend to take a bath will have to use the natural hotspring bath behind the dorms. You guess what is Todoroki thinking? I don’t know why he has to drag Akiharu but if not for Mikan, Todoroki could’ve seen his paradise. On another night, Selnia and Tomomi took a late bath so they’re alone. The door gets jammed so they’re locked in. Mikan is busy intercepting Todoroki’s perseverance probably why she didn’t notice the trapped girls. Both girls talk and you could say they make up. Not entirely friends exactly. Still frenemies. Akiharu and Sanke are having their late night bath too. The girls hear his voice and plead for help. While Sanke go get help from Mikan, Tomomi feints Selnia in big trouble and for Akiharu to hurry. Akiharu breaks down the door, slips and got his hands on Selnia’s boobs. Deja vu? Mikan saw this and he got painful butt smacks. His torment continues on the exam retake the next day when Selnia sees him on top of stripped Saori. He was trying to help her retrieve her dropped eraser but do you think they’d accept that answer. And why is Kaede so happy taking snapshots of them with her handphone?
 
A ball will be held for the Upper-eds and the Servant-eds will support them in episode 6. As part of Kaede’s sick fetish, Servant-eds are to cross-dress as dance escorts except for Todoroki and Akiharu (she thinks no one wants to look at them as girls). We learn about Daichi’s past of how she enrolled in this school for 3 years under her strict dad’s orders to graduate as a boy. Seems like an easy task till that annoying Akiharu showed up. Not to mention the many occasions when Akiharu just walks into the room with Daichi semi-naked but thankfully he is so dense it feels like Daichi’s identity is never in threat. Oh yeah, she’s a flat chest too. That helps a lot. I think. For the cooking class, Daichi is paired with Akiharu and Sanae. You know who is going to make a mess out of things. Though Daichi is pretty skilled in many of the cooking area, it’ll take just a second of Sanae’s clumsiness for Mikan to fail them. Then another few identity-exposing moments like in the shower together with Daichi and the judo lessons whereby Akiharu tackled Daichi so rough that to a girl it would seem like molestation. He got beaten up real good. The butlers bring the dresses and shoes to the ladies. Daichi remembers her past when she was a child when a group of pretty ladies hand back her ball in front of her house. Probably she’s still a girl deep down inside and thinks of wearing a dress. To her horror, Akiharu spots her holding one. If you think this is where Daichi gets busted, think again because he thinks Daichi dislikes the idea of having to cross-dress and that the principal should’ve considered their feelings too. Daichi runs off and Tomomi sees this.
 
On the day of the ball, the ladies look splendid in their dresses. Akiharu is dressed as some cupid while Todoroki as a lion statue. Good idea to put him there. Daichi still has second thoughts on wearing the dress so Tomomi helps her out by giving her a bra and help put some make-up on. Daichi comes in as a pretty maid and attracts everyone’s attention and compliments. We can all ignore Touichirou by the way. Too bad he was too taken in by Sanke’s pretty maid dress that he starts chasing him for a date. Sick guy. At the end of the day, Daichi felt that today was disastrous but somehow found renewed spirit to continue if she tries her best. Then as she comes out of the shower, she comes face to face with Akiharu. Her top is exposed so she thinks she is done for. Good thing he was too tired to notice as he heads into the shower. Daichi looks at her flat chest and wonders if she should feel happy or sad. I think it’s the latter.
 
Late one night, Akiharu saves some magical girl wannabe from falling off a branch in episode 7. She is Pina Suforumukuran Estoh and the next day she realizes she lost her magic wand. She gets a call from Kaede’s office and gets embarrassed to see her wand in the hands of Akiharu. He picked it up last night and didn’t know who it belonged to and asked Mikan for help. And she was right though Pina denies everything. But it soon turned into an otaku talk and her passion for the magical Diva in which no one is interested in thus the reason she felt lonely. Later when Akiharu learns Pina is a real princess from a northern European kingdom of Suforu, Akiharu panics that he used informal language on her. This gives Tomomi another opportunity to screw with him. Yeah, she’s conjuring the effects of the school’s fate if this escalates into an international matter. Pina makes good friends with Kaede since they both clicked in the otaku area. Pina wants to make a Diva doujinshi. Kaede is willing to help out but you know Mikan, so she can’t do much. So who will she get help from? Of course Akiharu. He’ll help out in exchange she forgets his rude behaviour.
 
So they go round recruiting for help for the project including Selnia since her ego didn’t allow her to back out. After watching a short clip of the Diva anime, Pina feels they are still short of a trump card. She sees that in Mimina, who isn’t too fond of joining. Pina pursues and begs but Mimina just couldn’t comply. Then Selnia finds out the doujin involves taking photos in embarrassing photos and pose so she threatens to opt out if its contents aren’t changed since this will tarnish her family’s name. So leave it to Akiharu to beg so Selnia agrees to help Pina. That night Pina leaves a letter and several pages of the manuscript for Mimina. Next day, Akiharu shows the doujin work to Todoroki and Sanke. And because Todoroki approves it in a big way (he’s lower anatomy is going to burst so much so he needs to excuse himself to the toilet) you can call it a success. Mimina seeks Akiharu’s advice on Pina’s invitation so he says if she’s interested, just do it. Mimina searches for Pina and agrees to publish doujin with her. She shows her manga drawing but to her dismay, the doujin is a cosplay photo gallery instead. Pina is quite happy with the outcome and decides to the same people for a live photo shoot!
 
Selnia beats Tomomi this time to give Akiharu her card to follow her back to her summer home for summer vacation in episode 8. Wow. A long line of maids. The cheeky maid head, Anna seems to tease Selnia about her new boyfriend :). Even her dad who takes time off work to return via helicopter to greet his precious daughter. Selnia takes this opportunity to order Akiharu around but he points out the Servant-eds are only to follow their masters home and watch and learn. So he doesn’t have to follow her selfish requests. Plain failed. So she takes him around the house and tells her about the burden and family honour she has to uphold once she takes over. Meanwhile Tomomi has Daichi take her card. Looks like she knows her secret. In her home, she shows Daichi all the naughty deeds she did to poor Akiharu when they were young. Akiharu is on a winning streak against Selnia in chess. Anna interrupts to inform them that they have to spend the night in the same room. Haha, I know what they’re thinking. Selnia starts panicking and even more when Akiharu starts acting strange. Seems he got drunk when he ate that chocolate filled with whiskey. Now he’s like a pervert. He pushes himself onto her and for the first time calls her by her first name. Her heart beating fast. But all that mood ruined when he fell asleep on her. Too bad, such disappointment for Anna and her eavesdropping maids. Akiharu wakes up the next morning not remembering anything that happened last night after the chess game.
 
I guess Tomomi was bored so she and Daichi pay them a visit. The gang get into their swimsuits to have fun in the sun on the private beach. Except for Daichi who is so obsessed in protecting her identity, is clad in her butler outfit. So hot… Selnia is trying to taking her mind off things by floating in the shallow section of the sea. But you know she’s not feeling particularly happy when she spots Akiharu friendly chatting with Tomomi. Suddenly she experiences cram. Luckily Akiharu spots her and rescues her in time. Bringing her back to land, I guess this is the much anticipated CPR moment so much so Anna even has a video camera in hand! Even if Tomomi tells him to kiss, I mean give CPR, she feels startled when he actually was going to do it. Good thing Selnia got up in time and he got a big slap. That evening, Selnia talks to Akiharu and feels gratitude as she sincerely thanks him. As a noble, she feels she can’t be a lowly person who only cares about her face value. Akiharu compliments her and changes his opinion on her. Selnia decides to return the favour for his noble deed and kisses him. Woah!
 
Seems Tomomi saw that in episode 9 so she too has many things running through her mind. Is she finally falling for the object of her torment? Back at Hakureiryou for the second semester, Selnia must be regretting her actions as she gets overly flustered. But Fou thinks she seems more happy than worried. Like she’ll believe that. She intends to silence that guy before things get out of hand. However Tomomi has made her first move. She requests Akiharu for a date. Of course that guy is still suspicious of her ulterior motive but she assures him there is no trick. Like he’ll believe that. Anyway he’s too nice of a guy since he was made to go out with her while Selnia follows them. During her spying, she comes into Sanae and Saori so I guess they too got nothing better to do than to observe the lovebirds. So far nothing suspicious happening at least to Akiharu. Seems like a normal date. Drinking together at a cafe, watch a movie (Selnia got kicked out for being too noisy – I guess it’s over for the Shikikagami sisters so it’s Pina and Mimina turn to go with Selnia), help her shop for clothes (what’s with that Pina boobs molesting on Mimina in the dressing room?!) and playing the crane machine (Akiharu has to try harder to get the soft toy or else…). Selnia who initially didn’t want to play some dance game eventually got into its fever and sets a new high score. Sure everybody applause her but for that, she lost Akiharu and Tomomi who have long gone. All hard day’s work gone. As Akiharu and Tomomi walk back, she thanks him for going out with her as it made her understand lots of things. We see that it was Tomomi who made naive Akiharu then to write his dreams of becoming a bride and be a laughing stock of the class though she didn’t tell him to write it down but that’s just an excuse. So when Tomomi asks him whose bride he wants to be, he replies Tomomi because he probably had her in mind and thus the reason he wrote that dream essay. This causes Tomomi to blush for real. No acting.
 
Daichi receives a letter from an Upper-ed lady, Sakurako Benikouji in episode 10. At least it’s good to know that not all the girls here are lesbians. Oops, sorry. While Selnia and Tomomi have their usual confrontation (their feelings for you know who), that seems secondary as this episode focuses more on Daichi and her dilemma whether to reply the love letter. She intends on ignoring it but her butler pals deemed it rude and disrespectful. Still not sure, her pals promise to help her out. First with Todoroki giving his lecherous mood lecture, followed by Sanke’s family plan (WTF?! Including 30 year home loan?!) and Akiharu’s direct approach (he broke down after relating his own personal tough experiences. Poor chap). Hey, isn’t Daichi interested in knowing how to break up with her? The trio start fighting that their plan is superior and this causes Daichi to become upset and run away. At the park, Akiharu cheers Daichi up and advices her to tell her true feelings (why is Tomomi and Selnia eavesdropping from behind the bushes? Do they need this ‘advice’ too?). Daichi meets with Sakurako and politely rejects her though he can’t tell the reason. Sakurako isn’t happy with her answer and starts crying. She thinks Daichi is in love with someone else. Daichi wanted to deny but somehow she can’t as flashes of Akiharu’s face come to her mind. She realized she may be in love with Akiharu! Because Sakurako sees this expression of hers for the first time, she knows she is in love and will give up and happily support her. I guess the annoyance has gotten enough of them so Selnia and Tomomi confront each other near the fountain and they conclude that they should make it clear.
 
As gratitude, Pina gives Akiharu a pair of tickets to Try Aqualand, a large theme park in episode 11. Akiharu is pondering who to bring along when he spots the Selnia-Tomomi confrontation. So in a classroom, the cat is out of the bag as both ladies spew what they know about each other like the kiss and the date with Akiharu. Poor Akiharu gets smacked in the middle of their war as it turns into one who will receive his other ticket half. Sure slick Tomomi has Akiharu give it to her and questions Selnia’s reasons for wanting one. Even so, the method for who should get his ticket is debatable till Kaede suddenly announces a sports festival. That’s right. The winning team that they’re on will get the tickets. And I don’t know how the rumour of the main prize got twisted into Akiharu surrendering his mind and body to the sports festival winner. You know those communication interference theories, right? During the sports festival, a flashy and expensive air show (damn!) to start the event off as Selnia and Akiharu are on the same team. As usual, the sports feel more like perverted versions of its counterparts. What is Kaede thinking? She must be enjoying it as she and Pina are the announcers. We have Touichirou jumping down the crowd to grasp his beauty but he can land hard on the dirt for all they care, Hedyeh still trying to kill Akiharu, Selnia got slippery eel in her pants in an event, slippery and wet tug-of-war, Selnia borrowing Mikan’s clothes in a borrowing race (Mikan looks hot in tight clothes!), a three-legged race with Akiharu being paired with Saori but the clumsy girl slipped on the first step causing Akiharu to accidentally pull down Fou’s pants and the furious crowd throwing things at him. Then the 100m race which pits Selnia and Tomomi. Akiharu notices how both girls aren’t themselves since Selnia is too worked up and Tomomi is showing too much emotion. In either case, both girls can’t afford to lose no matter what.
 
Seems Selnia lost the race in episode 12. Maybe if her’ ‘drills’ were lighter… Just kidding. Akiharu talks to her and who wants to hear her story high expectations and becoming a perfect lady till that girl showed up? Since Akiharu also went to talk to Tomomi, who wants to hear her difficulties enrolling in this school till she meet that girl who seemed so flawless. Anyhow, Akiharu is dense not to read between the lines. The final event is the kibasen and Kaede announces the winner will earn his/her team 1000 points! An outright overall win! What were all those scores for anyway?! Selnia has Akiharu and Sanae on her team. Surprisingly Sanae isn’t clumsy compared to the other ‘weak’ girls who fall off once the race starts. A side distraction with Touichirou stripping naked for everyone to admire his ‘beautiful’ body. Mikan disqualifies him. Good riddance. So the event filled with faceboobs, facebutts and near-kissing-face-to-face position has the remaining 2 team of Selnia’s team against Tomomi-Daichi team (her sly strategy was to wait for everyone to wipe out each other). A little struggle ensues to take the other’s headband when both girls seemingly fall off. But Akiharu catches Selnia. And in her hand, Tomomi’s headband. Yup, Selnia wins it for her team. Because Akiharu still calls her that excavation tool, Selnia promises to call him by his first name rather than commoner and the likes.
 
Later in the bath, Tomomi admits defeat to Selnia and they’re both gracious and respected each other. At the end of the day Akiharu gives the ticket Selnia. Then he gives HIS ticket to Tomomi. What does this mean? Well, he saw how the girls were doing their best and wanted the ticket so much, he decided to just give them both. Obviously the girls aren’t happy because this defeats the purpose. Looks like he has been downgraded from dense to retard. I don’t know how but all the other pals are watching and I’m not sure if they understand what’s going on because they start criticizing Akiharu like he’s the bad guy and how disappointed they are in him. By the way, Akiharu is still blur. For once, Selnia and Tomomi both agree to do the only thing left to do. They both simultaneously slap him a cheek each. Is that enough to open his eyes? Don’t think so. Life resumes for everyone. This includes the bickering between Selnia and Tomomi and Akiharu getting dragged into it even if his intentions are to calm them down. Perhaps you can sense a change in their relationship because though they admit they won’t lose out to each other, they call each other for the first time by their first names. Frenemies is more like it.
 
Haha. So it ends another mediocre series. At least that’s what I felt. To borrow a line from Pina in those final scenes, "Seriously, what a crappy ending". How crappy? Well, Akiharu is still dense-cum-retard when it comes to a girl’s feelings. But I can’t blame him because he has been living a good part of his younger days being torment by Tomomi so there’s always this suspicion towards her. Selnia herself is prideful so maybe Akiharu isn’t into those kind of girls. Didn’t that kiss they shared at least changed him a little? I mean he’s still the same lethargic guy doing his butler job just because he’s fated to do so. In most animes whereby the main guy gets kissed, I’m sure there’ll be moments where his mind will be clouded with thoughts and what-ifs, thinking nothing and trying to reason behind their lips locking incident. So do we see Akiharu like that? Disappointing or what? Sometimes I can’t help think sometimes Selnia’s hair is really a drill because it really does spin whenever she’s mad or annoyed. Buzz… Doesn’t your hair feel heavy, milady? Another thing I noticed is that the girls don’t fear Akiharu as much as they do at the start. At least there’s some good news. Other than that, I can see Selnia and Tomomi’s friendship taken another step further even if they’re still quarrelling or being tsundere. But some things don’t change like Tomomi’s evil grin and Selnia’s outburst at the slightest annoyance.
 
As for the other characters, I felt they were so minor that their role was to fill up the number of episodes in the series. Don’t get me wrong but although the series is mainly focused on Akiharu-Selnia-Tomomi, I just felt the rest could have had a little more prominent roles to play. I was expecting that Touichirou guy to have some impact like maybe a love triangle or whatsoever but he’s just an annoying narcissist and the series could’ve gotten by without his presence. Nobody wants to see your ‘beautiful’ body, mister. Get over it. We have single episodes dedicated to Mimina, Ayse, Pina and Daichi but that’s as far as those characters go. So Daichi realizing that she may be in love with Akiharu, is she really going to admit that and break her strict father’s rule to graduate as a boy? I don’t see Hedyeh trying to kill Akiharu in every subsequent episode. Must be torn between her love for her master and hatred for that idiot. Why couldn’t just Ayse give an order to back down assuming if she doesn’t want to see Akiharu hurt? Too shy to speak? It’s also odd to see Hedyeh even dressing Ayse right to her undies. I’m not sure if she’s that incapable or Hedyeh just wants to do it. I don’t know, but I feel that Mimina and Pina are really odd together considering they’re close friends now. What is with Pina as she’s infatuated with ‘molesting’ poor Mimina?
 
Kaede has got to be the most amusing weirdo. Do you think the school will be a better place if she was fired as the principal? But it won’t be more fun without her. She’s like a classic example of an adult who doesn’t grow up. Or maybe it’s that otaku thingy. I guess even Mikan gave up in putting her in line since I don’t see her putting her foot down when she suggests those outrageous ideas. Yeah, she’s the head anyway. If Tomomi’s smile indicates her evil sadist side, then Kaede’s smile indicates her perverted otaku fetish. As for Sanae, I felt her existence was to provide ultimate fanservice and nothing else. How can somebody trip so clumsily many times? Maybe it’s the maid outfit. Tripping and revealing is her destiny. Perhaps a sign that she’s not cut out to be a maid? Same case for her sister Saori. If she had made more appearances, you’ll be getting to see free shows in just about every episode.
 
When I first watched the series, the drawing and art immediately reminded me of Kanokon. Those cute character facials like the pinkish cheek blush and such. Well, they’re both produced by the same company, Xebec, so it’s no surprise. Yeah, a maid version of Kanokon, I’d say. But I give them points for the hue because it’s pretty nice when you see sunlight through the leaves being shone against the characters. Even the water effects are cool too. Considering the ecchi and fanservice level of the series, I was surprised that the mid-intermission did not contain any ecchi visuals. Such would have been expected of ecchi genres but instead we have the series’ logo which is the form of a big ‘X’ while a random character says the name of the series. You need good ears to grasp the next episode preview. That’s because it is a cacophony of 2 characters trying to speak and narrate at the same time! If not for the fansubbers, I don’t think I could make out all that gibberish. Not that my Japanese is good anyway.
 
Speaking of fanservice, if you buy the DVD, expect to get extremely visually horny ecchi clips. Dangerous enough to make jealous wives and raging girlfriends to break up. I’m not sure how many specials are there as I have watched a handful. Out of curiosity lah! Seems each special lasts around 3 minutes and pits a pair of the series’ girls in some Sexy Appeal Battle. What does that mean? The girls will flash their undies, do fanservice poses and flaunt their top assets much to the applause of the crowd (that’s us viewers). Special 1 has Tomomi and Selnia, Special 2 has Sanae and Saori, Special 3 has Mimina and Pina while Special 4 has Hedyeh and Ayse. ‘Viewers’ were disappointed when Special 5 pits Daichi and Fou together but were too shy to undress. Eventually they had to… Why are they doing this if they feel embarrassed? I thought Special 6 would be Mikan and Kaede but they only make short appearances as this final special also features all the other previous girls. Can’t forget about them, eh? And I’m sure both are ‘winners’ at the end, right? Because the viewers are expected to ‘enjoy’ gawking at them.
 
Then there’s a special music clip. Much more dangerous than the special. So dangerous that the safest picture would be the opening which happens to be the series’ logo. Then there’s that ‘warning’ to have other people and children out of the room, an ‘excuse’ for this experimental clip intended for people restricted to OO years old. Heck, not for everyone is that what they’re trying to say? What could be so possibly so dangerous? Amidst the tango background music, it shows still pictures of the girls in positions that could stem from hardcore H-games. Yup, it looked like rape scenes like the girls being tied up, posing in enticing positions and topless. Some crying, some in pain and some inviting. Still intend of watching? You have been warned.
 
Ayako Kawasumi voices Tomomi and in my opinion she sounded like an ‘evil’ version of Nodame from Nodame Cantabile. Must have heard too much "Gyabo!" and "Mukya!". Mai Nakahara is equally convincing as Selnia when she blows her top. Definitely not near Clannad’s Nagisa or Sola’s Aono. Ami Koshimizu does Sanae and her screaming every time her character goes into clumsy mode is perfect. Maybe her previous role in Tenma in School Rumble helped her. Maybe. Marisa Ise as Kaede (Cruz in Needless, Ringo in Air Gear) was convincing when she sounded childish or hyped up over her fetishes. I thought Ayse and Hedyeh were voiced by the same person but I found out it isn’t. Kana Hanazawa as Ayse (Sora of Mahou Tsukai Taisetsu Na Koto: Natsu No Sora) probably has only 2 or 3 real lines since her character doesn’t even make any noise. Haruka Tomatsu does Hedyeh and probably voicing characters with such personality like Akari from Nyan Koi, Ayame of Asu No Yoichi and Yumiko of Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou made her suitable for this mad can-kill-you-anytime bodyguard. And another veteran seiyuu which I couldn’t recognize: Rie Kugimiya as Daichi. Epic fail. I don’t know what to say anymore. If I don’t hear her trademark loli voices then… Other casts include Kazuyuki Okitsu as Akiharu (Tasuku Fujiomi in Seikon No Qwaser), Mai Goto as Pina (Mika in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu), Yuko Goto as Saori (Asahina in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu), Rina Hidaka as Mimina (Kaede in Penguin Girl) and Kumi Sakuma as Mikan (Seina of Gokujou Seitokai).
 
So if you ask me about a school for training ladies and butlers, I don’t know. Just like many other professions in the world, being a butler or a maid is a noble profession. Until anime and manga came along, that is. The whole perception and definition for it sure took on a whole new meaning. In fact I gained lots of insights in addition to my stereotypic views on many things. I never knew that being clumsy while wearing a maid uniform could be such a turn on. I never knew higher-ups who play games all day get to run an educational institution and still be there. I never knew setting up people, playing pranks on them or scheming could be so much fun without any repercussions. And I never knew that a drill can be such a hair-raising hairstyle concept.
 

Ladies Versus Butlers

Green Green Character DVD

September 10, 2010

What’s this? Another round of mindless surfing on the internet has me chance upon something that would never would have come across my mind even if I were to rewatch that series again. Yup, it’s Green Green and I was a little surprised that they had several specials in them. Oh heck, every anime that has its release on DVD or Blu-Ray definitely has extras and specials to go with it. So for this particular one, they call it Character DVD because well, it focuses on the main characters of the series. Of course, girls only. Heh…
 
For those who have watched the series that premiered way back in 2003, who can’t forget the mindless ecchi antics that comes with it. Remember the all-boys school, Kanenone, deep in the midst of the natural forest is getting its first co-ed experiment by having a few girls coming over? Remember the Baka Trio who are always up to perverted antics and drag poor Yusuke along and reaping what they sow? Oh yeah, sure brings back memories. So the specials here are divided into 2 sections. The first section has 3 videos each dedicating to a pair of girls in the series lasting about 9 minutes each. Expect some sexual innuendoes and tits baring sessions…
 
Character DVD 1 – Midori and Reika
What a way to start things off with Midori moaning to Reika that it just couldn’t fit in because it’s too big. Well it seems Reika was trying to help put on her yukata but due to Midori’s poor calculation on her measurements (not to mention her huge boobs), of course the dress couldn’t fit. What were we thinking? Midori thinks she’s getting ‘fat’ because she’s in love but Reika thinks otherwise. So it starts, a session of molesting each other boobs that turns into a wrestling match (fanservice cue!), bothering the other female guests. After tiring out, Midori has an idea. That is, to take a dip at the school’s pool. Since it’s late at night, she’s confident no one is around especially the boys. They float in the cool water while looking up at the stars. Probably they got drifted into their own world of fantasy so we viewers too have a nice view of them flying through space. Naked. They’re brought back down to Earth when Chigusa calls out to them. Seems she can’t sleep on this hot night and decides to cool off here. Soon the other girls come by and here sounds of the fireworks. In their yukatas (I couldn’t recognize some of them when they tied their hairstyle differently, they climb to the school’s rooftop and watch the fireworks display. They are glad that they came to this school and make cheers to everyone’s youth.
 
Character DVD 2 – Futaba and Chigusa
This has got to be the best sexual innuendo. Futaba enters Chigusa’s infirmary panting and then collapsing onto her. Behind the curtains we see silhouettes of them with Futaba sitting on the bed with her legs spread open and Chigusa telling her to relax and closing in on her lower region. She’s going to touch it. As she moves Futaba seems to be in pain and embarrassment. She wants her to stop but Chigusa knows she felt pretty good. With that finally over, Chigusa finishes wrapping a bandage over Futaba’s sprained ankle. HAHA! What were we thinking seriously?! Next, Futaba brings drunken Chigusa back to her room. Chigusa doesn’t want her to leave so she holds her back and embraces her on her bed. It got so steamy that Chigusa is going to kiss her. But Futaba can’t take it anymore and slams her against the closet. Chigusa comes to her senses so she’s quite embarrassed of what happened. Furthermore, she starts breaking down and tells Futaba about her problems. Something about her boyfriend broke up with her because he wanted her to choose between him and her job. Well, we know how it ended. Probably Futaba was too kind in lending her ear so much so she had to stay up all night listening to her. It’s already morning, you know… Next, Futaba and Chigusa take a hot bath together. Futaba seems disturbed by Chigusa’s huge boobs so she requests if she could touch them in hopes that some energy of her big boobs could be transferred to make hers bigger. What kind of logic is that? I didn’t know this tough girl had this kind of complex. Chigusa allows her but after she puts her palms on them, they trip. Chigusa tells she noticed breasts got big during middle school probably of doing push-ups and the gravity made them big. Next day, Chigusa spots Futaba doing push-ups. That desperate, eh? 764, 765, 766… Keep going girl. At this rate, they may even sag. Oops, sorry.
 
Character DVD 3 – Sanae and Wakaba
The duo are admiring the beautiful flowers blooming and dreams of its petals spinning like pinwheels. They then decide to water them. While doing so, they got playful and splash each other with water so much so their clothes become soaked. In the end, Wakaba pours the whole pale of water onto Sanae. Isn’t this too much to be doing to an ill girl? What the heck, they seem so happy. Next, Wakaba notices Sanae longing to wear a swimsuit. Because of her body condition, she isn’t allowed to join swimming class. Wakaba allows Sanae to try her swimsuit. When Sanae takes off her top, she felt itchy on her neck so Wakaba spots a pink spot and thinks she got stung by a bug at the flower garden. She proceeds to suck the poison via her mouth. Then she spots more bug stings on her chest. Actually it’s her tits you dummy! But for yuri fansevice sake, she starts sucking them both of them causing Sanae to feel sensations she has never felt before. Moving on to the lower region, she notices more bug bites so Wakaba continues to suck out poison… Let’s leave it to your imagination. Can’t she tell? Then the duo bath together at the hot bath. Still talking about sucking out poisons? Anyway they got too friendly while trying to clean each other so Futaba has to forcefully separate them from their wild play. Then they talk about their time in Kanenone is nearly up and hope to come again next year. Sanae promises she will be well enough to swim in the pool by next year.
 
Music Videos
The second section is just music videos that last about 3 minutes or so. There are 6 of them and each video dedicated to a girl of the series. Visually there is nothing spectacular or different in my opinion because they seem like footages from the TV series itself. More like a music montage. I’m not sure if there are extra never-seen-before scenes since I don’t remember much. Hey, I can’t be remembering every damn scene, can’t I? As for the music, they are mainly rock based with either NANA, Yozuca or Yuria doing the vocals and milktub as the composer.
 
Blue Blue…
There was even a 23 minute interview extra special that sees seiyuu Kana Ueda, who was the voice of Reika in the series, being handed the task of going around interviewing the other cast members of the series. Well, I wasn’t interested so I didn’t stick around to find out more on their opinions and thoughts. Maybe I’ve missed some important details or maybe I have saved myself from watching something that doesn’t interests me. Hey, now I remember that the specials here don’t feature that Arisa girl. I don’t know. As far as I remember, she was just a side character and not popular with the guys unlike the 6 of them here. Not even to the Baka Trio. Sidelined…
 
So you could say I have watched every entire recording that this series has got to offer. From the initial TV series to the very rushed and badly produced spin-off OVA to the very erotic and heavily censored (at least the version that I watched) 13th OVA episode called Erolutions. And now these specials. Too bad there isn’t any sequel since the story properly ended or even a remake. Imagine the riot the Baka Trio would bring if there ever was one. Those guys really need to undergo sex rehabilitation. While the specials do serve as nostalgia for the TV series, it was a good thing I didn’t turn into erotic idiots like them. Hmm… Probably it was the root of why I prefer anime genres along this line…
 

Green Green

Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo

September 4, 2010

Please do not confuse this series as a sequel whatsoever to The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. In fact, Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo or Sora Kake Girl is in fact more of a sci-fi comedy action drama series though its name in English would’ve sound more accurately correct as The Girl Who Leapt Through Space than The Girl Who Leapt Through The Sky. If you have seen futuristic shows whereby humans live in colonies and outer space depending on lots of technology and stuff, then you’ll find this genre quite familiar. Then of course, some evil force tries to take over or destroy the peace and it’s up to our heroes to save the day. Oh, I forgot to mention the little ecchi fanservice stuff too.
 
Let’s get down to the usual summary. Set in the space colony named Kirkwood, in episode 1, eldest Shishidou sister, Kazane, wants middle sister, Akiha to get married. Now! Yikes. What does poor Akiha do? As protest, she runs away to school with her little potato-head alien-cum-sister Imoko or Imo for short. Kazane has fourth sister Nami to go after her but without a school pass and help from Akiha’s pals, Julio Surre and Neneko Okura, she escapes. Akiha and Imo sneak abort a space capsule to watch the ‘beautiful scenery from space. Floating debris with lots of antique junk. Imo is some sort of an antique fanatic because she spots some old tram and they go after it. A huge space colony suddenly appears and its gravity sucks them in. Itsuki Kannagi of the Mystery Department of ICP (Inter Colony Police) decides to sneak in to investigate. Akiha and Imo wander inside the colony to find no living life form. Till they stumble upon a room whereby a large eye-like robot is talking to himself (a narcissist, I’d say). Of course their presence is busted when Akiha drinks his tea. He is disheartened because he thinks it’s an indirect kiss! He then introduces himself as Leopard. Itsuki comes in and is going to arrest them but Leopard disposes of her. ICP surrounds the colony so Leopard is going to show his true powers. He gives Akiha a Golden Gun for her to activate. He fires a powerful Leopard Cannon shot but it’s just a dud. Feeling embarrassed, he decides to go die! By crashing into Earth and taking everyone out with him! Akiha lectures some sense into him so he changes his mind but it’s too late. Leopard has Akiha take responsibility by putting her into QT-Arms mecha. Together with Itsuki they manage to veer him off course but the colony takes a direct hit from the hundreds of missiles. Leopard escapes via wormhole. Later as Leopard and Akiha reunite, a little quarrel because Akiha left his precious QT-Arms down at the city. A girl named Honoka Kawai appears before Akiha and fires a shot at her.
 
While Itsuki returns to her superior, Nina Stratoski in episode 2, Akiha wakes up to find herself back in her own room. Imo says Julio rescued them while they’re drifting in space and that colony incident was reported as blown up. Kazane comes in and says if she didn’t want to get married, she should’ve said so but would keep in view if she’s ever interested. Just that simple? Akiha is called by the student council president, Shigure Shinguuji who wants to know what she’s doing illegally onboard the capsule and has video proof. Suddenly Honoka breaks in to fight the prez to let Akiha escape. Later she is shocked to learn Honoka is a new transfer student in her class. Meanwhile Itsuki and Nina are being faced by the ICP board members as they are dismissed to their usual position. Later the duo met up at a bar with Public Security, Ul. He researched that was a Brain Colony, a Banned Article. That is, ICP is trying to cover up something. Furthermore, the colony is some sort of Anti-matter Cannon which can blow half a moon away. Ul thinks it’s damage since its Magnetic Chamber is spoiled and may act upon its instinct to repair itself. As Akiha tries to follow Honoka, she gets shot by her gun again. When she comes to, she finds herself and Imo being taken by Honoka to see Leopard. Then Honoka takes them to the Magnetic Chamber and enter a Q-Tector machine to transform into cool futuristic space outfits. Then heading towards an abandoned space plant to retrieve the Golden Orb for the chamber. They triggered an ICP alarm. Itsuki and Ul are nearby and reach the place. She battles Honoka and beats her. Akiha is trying to retrieve the orb when Itsuki appears and wants her to take her to the colony. Suddenly a robot worm-like creature emerges.
 
Itsuki and Honoka battle the raging worm in episode 3. It wrecks havoc all over the place and even damages nearby ICP units outside. Honoka orders Akiha to take the orbs back to Leopard and with the latter’s guidance, starts up the Anti-matter Cannon. Leopard tells her to aim her Golden Gun at the clock tower. She pulls the trigger to unleash his Soul Shouts move as the cannon vaporizes the plant. Wow! Nothing left! Not a speck of dirt! Akiha and Imo return to Leopard. Though Leopard calls Akiha, Kareha (Dead Leaves) but Imo completely snaps when he calls her a baked potato. She violently retaliate insults like dung beetle among others. Such scathing tongue! Remember to note down that taboo word. Just unbelievable. Akiha plans to leave but Honoka is reluctant because she believes she is the queen and must be beside Leopard who is king. Nina thinks Itsuki’s investigation has gone overboard with all the firepower and wants her to write an apology letter. The ICP board members send Bougainvillea and Mintao (I’ll call them BouMin whenever referring to them both) to capture her. As they tail Itsuki to a deserted spot, suddenly Nina pulls out a gun and shoots Itsuki, killing her and sending BouMin into a panic that they trigger a trap in their haste to escape. Itsuki’s funeral is soon held but it was all fake. She goes undercover and impersonates as a new transfer student in Akiha’s class as Mutsumi Shimoyama. First thing she did was give Akiha an ‘exchange diary’ to read but was too dumb to understand. Because of that, Shimoyama has to admit loudly she loves her and wants to know more about her. Yuri. She even tries stripping down and considers doing it just to win her trust! Total yuri! Honoka does a distraction to draw her out and when they’re alone, they fight. Honoka thinks those who are an obstacle to Leopard must die. Akiha catches up but was told to butt out. She gets pissed and whacks them and put a stop to their fight. But even if Shimoyama’s wig fell off, dumb Akiha couldn’t remember who she is. As Itsuki talks to Ul later, they see several Level Free students including Shigure who seems to know they’re from ICP but won’t get in their way.
 
In episode 4, Akiha does some modelling distraction as part of Leopard’s plan to steal parts but it got flashy and drew attention. Yeah, he doesn’t give a damn about them! BouMin are being reprimanded by the board and to atone for Itsuki’s death, they are to investigate the unknown structure secretly. It’s the school festival as Akiha is being called to Surre Academy’s director, Elle and her brother Emilio. Since it came from Akiha’s terminal, she shows her a video of Leopard announcing his plans to steal something from school. Pissed Akiha and Imo go confront Leopard (surfing internet to find out his popularity?) so he tells them about retrieving Positron Matrix from inside the school. BouMin infiltrate as students at Surre and see Shimoyama bout couldn’t recognize her. Suddenly a student goes on a rampage. Shimoyama casts away her wig and goes into action. BouMin freaks out upon recognizing her and thinks she’s a ghost! Seems a student with a red box on his head, supposedly from Reorganization Zone (students who are against current education system). Itsuki and Level Free students face off with the box guy in a power battle but ultimately it’s Honoka who finishes him off. When Akiha returns to school, she sees Itsuki who reveals her true self. It took a while for that dense girl to remember the ICP babe. That night, Honoka, Akiha and Imo try to find the matrix in school. But Itsuki appears and handcuffs Akiha for theft charges. Suddenly Leopard communicates via Golden Gun and he intends to show them who’s boss by gradually removing pieces of their Q-Tector suits. Since Itsuki’s connected, she too feels its effects. Leopard wants Akiha and Imo to acknowledge him as number 1 and his slave or else. Itsuki refuses to give in to that women’s enemy. Leopard continues vanishing pieces of their clothing as both ladies barely avoid being seen while making a run through the school. Imo pilots an old plane to save them from potential embarrassment while Honoka has the matrix in her hands.
 
Takane’s Shadow Group are chasing a masked female X-QT S-class bounty Aleida in episode 5 but it was a diversion and they’re all wiped out. Takane reports to Kazane their true motive is to kidnap the youngest Shishidou sister, Sakura and she thinks this is related to the Nervalists who intend to utilize Sakura’s genius. Akiha angrily confronts Leopard about that near naked-experience and they both bicker and insult each other. Leopard tells her never to show her face again and Akiha happily obliges. At school, Honoka tries to take Akiha for another parts mission but she refuses. Honoka says Leopard chose her but still she doesn’t believe and goes away. So when Honoka returns to Leopard (still full of himself), she asks why he chose Akiha but he acts as though he doesn’t care. Meanwhile BouMin report to the board about Itsuki’s revival via voodoo! Can you believe them? Thinking she’s still alive, they send the duo to arrest her before things get out of hand. Nina reports this to Ul and Itsuki so they can’t make rash moves. While Takane battles Aleida, Akiha and Imo get a rude wake up call. It’s Itsuki and Ul as they force them to take them to Leopard. In the ship, Itsuki says she’s doing this not of her job but the colony may have something to do with her missing parents. The conversation veers a little as Akiha notes herself as useless compared to her sisters. Suddenly BouMin attack their ship to arrest them. Itsuki finds it tough to counterattack due to their perfect synchronicity. I guess Leopard eventually decides to care and give them a hand, giving an excuse his hands slipped to release Q-Tector to Akiha. Plus, his colony was nearby the fight. Akiha soon beats the duo and later pleads to Honoka to let Itsuki see Leopard. She agrees if she helps them retrieve parts, supposedly on the Moon. Itsuki agrees and this brings them to St Artemis Rehabilitation Centre, a den of thieves.
 
Leopard doing his own radio show in episode 6?! Anyway Kazane plans to see the Shishidou Elders and Board of Trustees upon knowing Takane has been captured since her periodical reports never came. Akiha and co bust into St Artemis to see it like a labour camp. Ul disables the security system to free the prisoners as they cause a riot and use this chance to infiltrate. The ICP board members contact BouMin and order them on a new mission to head to the Moon. Itsuki, Honoka and Ul face a robot, Mister (looking very much like Asimo), who can only say "Let’s be friends". They attack but it’s so good that it pull off Bruce Lee hand movements to deflect missiles! In the end, Honoka guessed something and shake its hands. It became friendly and allows them in to a room behind whereby a little hyperactive girl spewing nonsensical words in every line, is quite enthusiastic about them. Akiha recognizes her because she is Sakura. Seems she was promised by some guy to repair this building in return for lots of sweets. Yeah, how to bribe a kid successfully. Then they see via the TV, Aleida addressing her army of red box-headed people (is this their uniforms? Kinda weird). They get startled to see Takane tied up next to her and rush over. When they arrive, Aleida and Honoka attack each other but the great blast seems to have weakened Honoka. Leopard has just arrived (after bored with his radio show and thinks he’s kind hearted to help them out) when a voice welcomes him to celebrate their reunion. Honoka recognizes him as Nerval, the enemy of mankind.
 
The building starts shaking in episode 7 so Aleida takes unconscious Takane away and the rest flee via Sakura’s ship. Nerval confronts Leopard and is going to have him pay for his betrayal which resulted in the loss of his body. The heroines get into their Q-Tectors and go help save Takane but Itsuki’s being ambushed by BouMin. The battle between Leopard and Nerval (taking the rehabilitation centre as his body and make it look like a long spinal cord) clash with great impact. This causes the surroundings to freeze so the ladies also freeze and crash to the surface below. Kazane sees the Elders about Nerval’s revival on the Moon so they give her absolute command and Morihime. Akiha and co find themselves faced with Nerval. The latter spots her Golden Gun and thinks she’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Space and Honoka as the survivor of Existenz. Honoka prepares to attack but Aleida deflects. Takane shows up for another rematch. She tells Akiha to return to Leopard and use Soul Shouts, the only thing that can defeat Nerval. Inside his colony, everywhere is freezing up so much so Leopard is weak and sleepy and can’t do anything (his Golden Orb ‘balls’ froze, that’s why!). Sakura uses her telepathy to send inspiration to Kazane. This allows her to hack and control the sunlight from Kirkwood (can it give her that much authority to do that?). This melts away the snow and ice as Leopard is back to his normal energetic and bragging self. Akiha points her Golden Gun at the clock tower but probably he was bragging and taking too long that Takane had to slice the huge asteroid Nerval was going to pound him with (woah!). Soul Shouts then vaporizes Nerval. Before he could brag, another talking colony appears. She is Xanthippe and is here to retrieve Nerval (his core is still intact, protected by Aleida during the blast). Everyone including Takane and Elle, reunite inside the colony as Sakura has another parts of Leopard in her hands obtained from the Moon, Golden Orb Warmer (so he won’t freeze again). Akiha bugs her sisters for answers so they explain the situation (not that she understands anyway) but in the end Kazane points out Akiha is fated to fight Nerval with Leopard.
 
In episode 8, Honoka takes everyone to see Leopard. Seems Kazane can communicate ‘on level’ with Leopard. He’s met his match. She wants to use his colony as their base to fight against Nerval but he refuses. Naughty Sakura causes a mess by opening his personal closets so the girls decide to clean up his ‘collection’. He goes crazy and throws them all out. As Honoka fixes the parts, the rest soak in hotspring inside the colony. The rest knows of Itsuki’s identity. Kazane tells Akiha a story of how Shishidou Committee was in charge of the Brain Colony 50 years ago, supposedly built to make human more efficient with AI. The first one was Nerval and soon several sprouted. But when population reached a million, Nerval revolted and locked in the population. Nerval’s uprising came about when Leopard and Shishidou led a revolt against Nerval and succeeded though his core escaped. Sympathizers of Nerval integrated into society in hopes of reviving him. Suddenly a creature whom Leopard calls Crocodilias Leopardus (Akiha heard Kuro Panda) emerges and stole the Orb. They have to retrieve it or the place will become and unstable and explode. They head to the library to search for the map to where the creature possible lives (considering Leopard threw away the map, an excuse for losing it). After encountering a real ghost in the form of a headless knight, they subdue and communicate with it. It will give them the map in exchange for a head. Akiha learns Itsuki joined the Mystery Department due to Terra Abduction, a large scale phenomenon where hundreds of thousands of people disappeared in a single night. She was there when it happened to her parents but nobody believed her. As they head to a frozen area to retrieve the Orb, the see Crocodilias fighting with a squid (Leopard decides to name the new species Leoparda Octopada – Akiha head Leo Panda). They return the Orb to Leopard but he throws them out upon learning they dirtied the place he just cleaned. After failed attempts to get Leopard’s attention, Itsuki decides to earn his trust bit by bit starting by cleaning his place. BouMin on the other hand are being reprimanded for their failure and dismissed with punishment.
 
A filler episode 9 sees Akiha as the Masked Pitcher going around destroying baseball teams with her QT power baseball technique with Honoka. Shigure seems to be making a contract with her to take out those teams because he feels baseball with QT powers is interesting as opposed to his dad (baseball league head) who thinks traditional is better. Itsuki is a former Pirates team baseball member living a poor life at a church with Sister Nina and orphan kids. She was banned due to her QT powers. One day she is offered a comeback by the Pirates manager to fight against Akiha and a chance to revive her career for the kids’ sake. During the showdown, Itsuki lost but Akiha took some damage too. The manager knows she didn’t use her QT powers to win and thinks she lacks the winning urge. Wanting a 2nd chance, she tells Itsuki to go to a place for training. Akiha back at her home reveals her reason for doing so as revenge because her sisters died mysteriously when QT powers were banned. All she has now is ill Nami to take care. Seems Akiha is a at her limit with only power throws left before the contract she made with demon Honoka expires, in which she will take her life. Itsuki arrives at the place of the so called baseball demon, Leopard. He has her go through tough training till she can wield the Iron Rod bat. She turns the cloudy dark skies into a sunny one! Then another showdown and both sides are determined. Akiha starts feeling pain but Nami is there to encourage her so she gets back up, unmasks herself and play ball. Itsuki hits the ball but collapses. It’s revealed the baseball league head and Pirates manager are in cohorts to have both QT players wipe each other out. They’re also the ones behind Akiha’s sister’s death. They’re going to take out Akiha when she unleashes her final powers taking everyone with her. What a grim end.
 
Back to the story proper, Itsuki gets her ICP licence back in episode 10 since the board changed their mind. In school, Shimoyama shows Akiha a human size box who claims to know about Enigma. Seems it communicates is via text appearing on its front. Kazane, Takane and Sakura help to create parts for Leopard (not that he’s happy about it). Elle takes Honoka to see the Elders and is emotionally reunited. Honoka returns to tell Akiha and Shimoyama that the box came from Nerval. The girls take it back home and ask questions but there’re many things it doesn’t remember. Honoka mentions Nerval traps humans inside boxes and makes them pieces of the world he rules as supplementary parts, thus there is no need for memories or plans. Akiha decides to help the box out and calls it Hako. They have a pyjama sleepover. In the middle of the night, Hako’s alert went off followed by an explosion outside. Seems Aleida is here to retrieve Hako. They escape as Kazane and Takane fight her to buy time. Several metres from the shelter, the car breaks down. Hako decides to get out of her box and walk there. Before she could, Aleida coaxes her by saying no one will guide her nor will she achieve her goals outside the box. Aleida unmasks herself and Akiha recognizes her as the woman she sees in her dreams, Kagura. Hako follows Aleida’s orders not to come out and with the help of one of the student council girl, Tsutsuji, Aleida swiftly takes Hako and blasts off into space.
 
Akiha and her sisters regroup back home in episode 11 to discuss about a mysterious body that steals Energizing Mirrors lately. Honoka thinks they’re Nerval’s comrades. Suddenly all the mirrors in school instantly go missing. Akiha and Imo decide to skip school and go see Leopard in hopes of finding a way to save Hako. Tsutsuji is indeed a Nervalist as she meets Aleida. Aleida wants her to help a new Brain Colony to self complete, Benkei. They’re to initiate Bisuna Plan. Nami is upset that her sisters left her in the dark about the recent events but Kazane scorns her back for being selfish. Unlike Akiha who is walking her own path, she feels Nami is running away from her past. Nami decides to leave so Kazane tells her to do as she wishes. Leopard receives an email and being framed for stealing mirrors (he was expecting some fame in it?!). He gets tricked to enter a site in which an announcement by Benkei tells him he’s going to steal his mirrors. The ICP board guys meet up with Nina and Itsuki and want them to restrain BouMin whom they suspect of stealing mirrors secretly. Akiha gets ready to do some bait mission to use mirrors to capture that Brain Colony with the rest as backup. Nami sees her old friends along the way but starts getting paranoid and attacks them thinking that they’ve stolen her modelling place. But they assert that she ran away instead. Nowhere left to go, Nami returns home and sees horrifying paranoid visions. Till Benkei and Aleida extend their hand to her and promise never to abandon her. Nami joins them. Itsuki confronts BouMin who are discarding mirrors as bait. While duking it out, the real mirror thief appears before them: Benkei.
 
Leopard and Benkei have a massive battle in episode 12. Including trading insults. Leopard seriously doesn’t remember who he is till he mentions his former name, Bonarpart. Benkei got so pissed off with Leopard’s insults that he trapped him in a large box. Leopard tells Akiha to activate Soul Shouts to blast them out but it’s a trap for Benkei to absorb his cannon’s power. He also deflects it back to Leopard, damaging his colony while Kazane utilizes Absolute Breakthrough to hack Kirkwood’s system for remote attackers to attack Benkei. But Leopard’s colony isn’t totally damaged because Benkei kept some of its powers to initiate their next plan. With Tsutsuji commanding Exclusive Control, Xanthippe and other Brain Colonies emerge and immobilize Kirkwood, including hacking its systems. All its residents start collapsing and the Elders start to feel immense pain. Leopard is so pissed off that he was being used, he gets enough energy to ram Benkei as they both dangerously fall into Earth’s orbit. Akiha thinks of stopping the fall like she did in episode 1 but Takane intercepts. As Honoka said, she has turned into a Nervalist at the Moon. Benkei is happy to die together with Leopard but the latter says he can go die alone as he escapes himself! He also left the rest behind inside his colony! Coward! Aleida ambushes the Elders’ hideout. They let Kazane escape while Aleida destroys the entire place. In Kirkwood, snow falls everywhere and everyone seems to be comfortably asleep so Aleida shows Nami that this is Nerval’s word, a pure and tranquil one.
 
The gang crashes onto Earth in episode 13. Seems the place is overgrown with plants and in ruins. Citizens who escaped Nerval’s grip (like Nina) head towards Kirkwood’s private space station, Blue Bird Mall. Leopard’s blooper causes him to bump and bring unnecessary trouble and ‘reunite’ with Akiha, Imo, Itsuki and Honoka. Seems Itsuki’s emergency backpack is quite prepared with everything. Including swimsuits. She takes them downstream to the Emigrator’s dome, employees of Earth’s admin bureau. She reveals she’s born on Earth. However they’re surrounded and captured by local tribesmen. Even Leopard got caught in their net. Not so might now, eh? They’re going to burn Honoka whom they see as a devil’s agent as revenge for their comrades. Suddenly it starts snowing and a large spaceship hovers over them. The locals think it’s the devil and make a run. Itsuki remembers this scene as Terra Abduction. Lots of white Honoka clones hypnotize the locals by putting a red box over their head. Even Akiha got under their spell as they trudge their way to the ship. Honoka knows them as Existenz, her sisters. She uses her powers to snap everyone out. Honoka notes Akiha’s heart is weak that’s why it was easily manipulated by Nerval. Sakura arrives in her spaceship and several jet fighters soon take on the spaceship but got taken out. The spaceship disappears and the weather returning to normal. Examining the jet fighters, they note the parts are new and trace the source of the remote transmission. Tsutsuji and Benkei who crash landed nearby, plays God and strikes fear in the locals to bow and obey before her. Akiha and co head towards and island when an old guy, Friedrich Otto Noblemain AKA Fon, pulls their ship in and proclaims it as his. Honoka and Fon recognize each other as the former jumps on him and tries to strangle this traitor.
 
Honoka is upset he went into hiding when everyone was fighting Nerval but he claims he fought via remote control. In episode 14, Leopard doesn’t recognize Fon who claims to be his creator. Fon recognizes Akiha of the Shishidou family as Honoka says she’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. The gang want a way back to space but Fon tells them there isn’t and ends the conversation. Nerval in human form, notes Kirkwood has been conquered and Bisuna Plan was a success and thus proceed with the 2nd phase, Zaria Plan. Nina spots Itsuki’s ship and goes greet her but sees badly messed up BouMin (apparently they barely escaped in her ship during the remote attackers’ attack). They start crying over their cursed luck so Nina treats them to pizza (note Pizza Hut the main sponsor). They get emotional over the good food so Nina offers to hire them under her wing and they accept. Itsuki interrogates Fon so he reveals Pied Piper, an orbital elevator created by Nerval to kidnap humans to populate his colony. She isn’t pleased he let it happen but he says it’s not different up there or down here as it’s natural for humans’ desire to seek safety and isolation. Suddenly the spaceship returns for its kidnapping again. Those with a weak heart like Akiha are hypnotized. Fon unleashes QT-Roses to restore order and send the ship away. He tells them Existenz were living weapons created to kill Nerval but were appropriated by him. Honoka is the only survivor.
 
Akiha collapses and has that dream with Kagura. She points out her being Aleida but she dismisses it and the fact she’s fighting against Nerval. Kagura, Honoka along with the young Elders head out to war so Kagura says to read a note she left if they fail to beat Nerval. So why Akiha? Because she’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. Simple. Akiha rushes out to see a war going on and realizes the cafe she was in named Enigma. Akiha is then awakened as Honoka notes she was meeting with Kagura. Fon points out she is her ancestor and all those people they say didn’t return (not necessarily mean they got killed). The incident wasn’t announced publically as the Elders wanted it to die along with history. Suddenly intruders appear: Tsutsuji and Benkei. They claim they aren’t Nerval’s ally anymore because earlier on she knows they’ve been used and abandoned. If not, Nerval would’ve come to their rescue long ago. She wants them to hand over their ship and in return may let them return to space. Itsuki asks why didn’t she return via orbital elevator but she’s lost. Fon has an idea to return them to space. Aleida takes Nami to a place to retrieve the latter’s power she needs to save the people and right the wrongs of this world. Why her? Because she is The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. Another one?
 
Fon predicts the next Pied Piper’s appearance in episode 15 and gives them miniature QT-Roses to counter its effects. Fon plans on staying. Tsutsuji acts all goody-goody and offers to be their slave but Honoka throws her and Benkei into the store. The next abduction begins as the gang fly into ship in time. BouMin are doing their patrol duty when they get freaked out after seeing a wounded woman in space. Turns out to be Elle. As the gang reach space, Xanthippe appears. Akiha spots Nami heading there with Aleida so she and Imo go there. While the boxed humans are being transferred, Aleida gives Nami a staff which allows her to have full control over 8 Existenz battle maidens. Akiha and Imo arrive and plead Nami to return but she turns them down and even attacks them. Itsuki and Honoka then arrive but Honoka is stunned to learn Aleida is Kagura as she attacks them. Nami batters Akiha and rants about being abandoned, no one helped her, bla bla bla so Akiha tells her off and to shut up. Leopard and Sakura’s ship seems to be scratching Xanthippe’s ‘beautiful’ walls so she snaps and goes after him. Unfortunately Xanthippe accidentally destroyed Pied Piper. The distractions allow the heroines to escape. Upon Aleida’s advice, Nami orders her Existenz to attack Leopard. They surround the shop as Leopard sees fearful illusions of Kagura and goes out of commission. Xanthippe and the rest escape via wormhole called Entropy, some space distortion.
 
In episode 16, Julio and Neneko are trapped in school. Julio feels something’s weird. Though food supply came, rescue party didn’t. They get surprised to see their teacher in a box! Emilio, Shigure and his student council members barely escape from Kirkwood to the Mall. Elle wakes up in hospital with Nina by her side. Nerval talks to his followers about establishing the rule of perfect justice by putting citizens in boxes via phases though he feels humans should choose if they want to be in this society. Do they have choice? Xanthippe returns so Nerval wants her to bring Nami in. He wants her to protect this new world together. She isn’t impressed with his crap but when she sees Takane as his bodyguard, she’s okay with it because it’s not like she’s responsible and couldn’t care less for humanity. Akiha and co wake up and find themselves near Jupiter due to the irregular element in the hyperspace jump tunnel when they tried to chase Xanthippe but got thrown out. Honoka notes Jupiter is where she and Leopard hibernated. It’ll take them 5 years to reach Kirkwood. Looks like technology isn’t that great after all. The girls start arguing among themselves. Honoka thinks this isn’t Kagura because she knows everything about her and she’s dead. Itsuki thinks Akiha is reckless but she doesn’t give a damn about her investigation. They see Leopard’s colony drifting nearby and decide to bring that high and mighty machine back to it. Itsuki reflects on her harsh words and surprisingly the headless knight consoles her! Leopard is pissed Akiha is talking about Kagura this Kagura that so he blows his top that he got hurt most because he trusted her but got betrayed when she organized that assault. He isn’t going to let Kagura’s descendant deceive him anymore and that he hates women. Suddenly lightning storm appear at the clock tower.
 
The strong electromagnetic waves are going to destroy them and Jupiter’s gravitational force is pulling them in in episode 17. Suddenly Sakura’s alien-stuffed-doll-scarf (whatever that is), Yupitan comes alive and suggests a way out. They need to use acceleration from the free fall and additional force to break through. Benkei powers the engines while the QT-Arms ladies push from outside to make it a success. As the girls apologize to each other, Yupitan points to a space station that they can hyperjump back to Earth. Supposedly built secretly between humans and aliens to foster ties but abandoned due to financial difficulties. Ah, even the universe isn’t spared from monetary woes. Honoka knows this station, also known as Proxima Crown, because it was the last base the Shishidou used for their rebellion against Nerval. She searches for Enigma but couldn’t find it as Akiha remembers this place as the one in her dreams. They prepare to hyperjump back but Leopard refuses due to some trauma from Existenz and can’t connect to his colony. Using the station’s 50 years worth of recharged solar power, Benkei does the honour. Before they jump, Yupitan goes back to his slumber. Kazane sees some space commander and gets him to lend her an agile ship. Julio and Neneko escape outside school to see Nami and her Existenz mercilessly putting escapees into boxes but they’re discovered. BouMin who are assigned by Nina to infiltrate Surre Academy, spot this and return to report to her. However Nami and her Existenz surround the Mall and tell the refugees to surrender. Suddenly Leopard’s colony appears before them.
 
Nami fears the ‘Black God’ and orders a retreat in episode 18. Benkei got his colony back and with Tsutsuji, steal Leopard’s mirrors and escape. Nami reports back to Nerval but his followers aren’t happy though Nerval believes her. He knows Black God is Leopard and fears his unpredictable behaviour may ruin it all and will go deal with it alone. Akiha and co reunite with Elle and Nina as they exchange info and being informed of Kirkwood’s situation. The refugees are now occupying Leopard’s colony since the Mall’s location has been detected and it’s safer here. Elle has Akiha and Imo go cheer Leopard up but there is no response. An argument with Itsuki that she doesn’t take the initiative to know Leopard more has them think he’ll do better when praised (who doesn’t?). They hold a little mock party enough to draw his attention. He goes for a walk with Akiha who tells him grateful things though he can’t see where she’s going at. He then sees the citizens creating words with light "Welcome back Leopard" so he decides to take responsibility although short of admitting it. Suddenly Xanthippe appears with hundreds of Existenz and is going to dismantle him properly. Existenz avoid the QT-Arms of Itsuki, Honoka and BouMin to start attacking Leopard’s colony. Honoka suddenly blackout for a while. Leopard still fears to connect so Akiha has had enough and kicks him into control. Though with only 1 mirror, Soul Shouts was powerful enough to send Xanthippe freaking out over her ‘precious skin’ and escapes. While Leopard brags, Honoka and Itsuki return to tell him Aleida has kidnapped Akiha.
 
Somehow Leopard manages to find and ambush Benkei to take back his mirrors in episode 19. Leopard makes it top priority to look for Akiha (because he can’t Soul Shouts, nothing else) and doesn’t care about the system failure causing hardship for the citizens as Elle snaps due to pressure. Itsuki and BouMin are assigned to fix the systems via underground maze and the duo are brought to tears upon hearing Itsuki’s background. Kazane reunites with the rest and learns of Akiha’s abduction. Akiha and Imo wake up in Xanthippe’s colony. We learn her distraction allowed Aleida to board Leopard and that Nerval wants to make Akiha his assistant. Akiha and Imo run away but find themselves in a room filled with row of boxes. She wants them released but Xanthippe says humans are like supplemental parts and Leopard is the same. Akiha dismisses Leopard isn’t like that but Xanthippe questions back how much she knows about him. While trying to escape from hostile machines, Akiha sees Hako and tries to get her to escape but Hako rejects. Akiha herself is then trapped in a box. Nerval shows Nami a room filled with rows of boxes and assures her she won’t be put into one because she is The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. But he notes he received 2 of such girls. Akiha and Nami: A light and shadow, white and black.
 
Akiha is still conscious inside the box in episode 20 and manages to communicate with Imo via keyboard (thus the text appearing on the outside). While Kazane discusses with Emilio about Leopard’s last self-actualization phase, Benkei attacks Leopard out of revenge. Kazane steps in to offer Tsutsuji a mission. Though Tsutsuji claims she is an independent force not affiliated with Nerval, I guess Kazane’s deal was too eye-popping good for her to refuse. Kazane allows Shigure and co to follow Itsuki to Kirkwood to find Akiha while Honoka who knows her time limit is near decides to go down to Earth to get Fon. Kazane has Leopard do a slow journey to Innsmouth Reef to avoid detection to find his Sword while Benkei’s hyperjump serves as distraction. Nerval and his group are at the box room as they’re 70% near completion to Full Cowl. A standalone assassin robot suddenly breaks out from 1 of the boxes and stabs Nerval before fleeing. Nerval orders to go after it or their location will be exposed. Aleida, Takane and Nami chase it before Nami manages to subdue and rips its head. When they return, Nerval has another replacement body and they think it’s from the Uray People’s Republic. Nami touches the ripped head but it suddenly pierces her.
 
Benkei and Tsutsuji arrive to retrieve the Crown located very close to the sun in episode 21. Benkei is reluctant but crazy Tsutsuji tells him to go forth and fight for their survival and so they succeed. Akiha seems to find the box rather cosy since she gets, sees and hears what she wants. She even rejects Imo’s pleas to get out! Nami wakes up in a room (Enigma by the way) and goes downstairs to see Nerval cooking noodles for her. Aleida soon joins them. Nami gets upset and leaves when she learns the other Girl Who Leapt Through Space will gather. Takane intercepts Honoka as they battle it out. Nami soon joins them as Honoka did a final break to escape. Nami turns to fight Takane but some force restricts and causes them both pain. While Existenz retrieve Nami, Takane continues to float in space. Imo’s desperate pleas never to separate from Akiha have her snap out of her comfort zone spell. She accidentally throws a fit and broke the box. She keys in a password "The Girl Who Leapt Through Space" and her box starts to move. With Imo’s guidance, Akiha evades hostile machines till they escape in a ship (note Akiha is still inside the box). Suddenly hundreds of missiles rain on Kirkwood. Xanthippe starts panicking so Nerval takes control of her and fires Nerval Extraordinaire Cannon to destroy them. But an anti-matter missile is heading towards Kirkwood’s perimeter. With no choice, Imo ejects Akiha and dashes towards the missile. Thinking back fond memories with her and professing her utmost love, Imo does a kamikaze and crashes into it. Wow. Now over-baked potato. Oops, sorry.
 
Nerval finds the rebel perpetrators responsible and freezes them all for eternity in episode 22. Honoka crashes onto Earth as Fon saves her. But she knocks him out with a bowling pin to take him along. Some gratitude. Akiha is retrieved by Itsuki and co and let out of her box. They escape to Kirkwood and when Akiha learns of Imo’s fate, she breaks down and becomes depressed. The gang sees rows of human buts but it seems the Shishidou Elders have survived the obliteration and bring them to safety. In an unknown location, they show them human survivors from the box including Julio and Neneko. They’re so influenced by the box that they want to return to its sanctuary. There’s also some manufacturing plant in which dead human boxes have their contents and brain neurons removed and recreated into those red boxes. Itsuki learns they’re the ones who released Hako who is one of their comrades to infiltrate Nerval but lost her. The Elders are suspicious about the deaths of many human boxes supposedly intended to prolong their life with better management, due to unknown causes whether it’s functioning properly or not. Xanthippe finds them so everyone and the victims evacuate via a ship. They’re faced with Xanthippe in space when Benkei hyperjumps back and bumps into her. Benkei’s supposed to retrieve the humans when Xanthippe chides him for being a traitor so he changes his mind. However Tsutsuji orders him to take them in and temporarily controls Benkei to stave off Xanthippe. That guy sure is caught in the middle. Mad Xanthippe is going to slice the humans when Takane intercepts. When everyone gets onboard Benkei, Tsutsuji orders him to swiftly hyperjump to Innsmouth Reef.
 
All survivors board Leopard in episode 23. Kazane explains Anti-QT, the power to repel QT and see through everything which they inherited from Kagura and the reason Takane broke free from Nerval’s control. Kazane knows Nerval will come after Akiha and since Benkei used his hyperjump, their location is discovered and will be here soon. Nerval learns of the current events and orders Xanthippe to destroy Leopard while he’s still recovering. Akiha still couldn’t get over Imo’s death. It’s made worse when Leopard exclaims how happy he can sleep peacefully without those insults. Can’t he see how pitiful she is? Xanthippe arrives and launches her minions to infiltrate inside Leopard’s colony. Aleida fights Takane again. Existenz hypnotizes the citizens and are ordered to retrieve Akiha. Akiha resigns to her fate but Itsuki slaps some senses into her. But the box people have them cornered. Honoka returns in time with Fon as he plants QT-Roses in the Crown to free the people and send Existenz away. I didn’t know they grow so fast. Super fast. Leopard has found his Sword hidden within the asteroids and recovery is complete but he can’t seem to connect. As Honoka explains, the Sword has been sealed and the only way to release it is to use Golden Gun. Akiha realizes her importance that if she doesn’t stop Nerval, more important people will die. She fires Golden Gun into Leopard as he powers up and uses his Swords donned onto his mirrors to slash and immobilize Xanthippe. Aleida and Existenz escape as the rest board Xanthippe. Itsuki accuses her for killing Imo but Akiha says it doesn’t matter because it won’t bring her back and breaks down. However Xanthippe denies and that Imo is still alive with Nerval. That baked potato is wearing China communist clothes?
 
Logically how can a little thing blow up a missile? So it’s revealed in episode 24 that it was Nerval’s large colony, Cathedral Ventisca that intercepted it. Akiha wants to go save Imo but Kazane locks her up for her own good to avoid falling into Nerval’s hands. Leopard is bragging of his eternal strength when he sees a vision of his dark self, dubbed the Prince of Darkness, who mocks him and reminded him that he was one who dominated the world with fear and tremendous power. Imo wakes up next to Nami and is surprised to see Nerval. She learns Nerval wants to know humans better in order to rule them. When Nerval learns of Xanthippe’s failure, he thinks of having more allies and calls back Benkei. He is thrilled to be back by his master’s side but Tsutsuji thinks otherwise. Seems she is disappointed with Nerval as he’s not what she had hoped for. In short, she isn’t going back to him and cuts connections. Benkei is obviously pissed and isn’t going to follow her orders anymore but Tsutsuji had secretly made modifications to control Benkei. She wants him to be her foundation stone for her empire and gives him a chance to be god. But Benkei decides to settle an old score first. Nerval concludes he can’t understand humans so Nami suggests destroying them all. He disagrees as his role is to make both humans and colonies exist together and has no further use for Nami as he thinks she is immature. Honoka and Itsuki decide to defy Kazane’s words and free Akiha. But they’re cornered before they leave and also Benkei returns to fight Leopard over his mirrors. But Leopard has turned into his dark side and mercilessly slices Benkei to severely damage him. Leopard then hyperjumps to Kirkwood and destroys the mirror life support systems. He announces to the citizens he’s going to make them experience absolute darkness and to accept his rule and work hard for his sake. Akiha, Honoka and Kazane try to go talk to him but he no longer has further use for them as Honoka weakens. Nerval appears and says he can’t hand over the universe to him, his son, at this state.
 
A power fight between Leopard and Nerval in episode 25 but Nerval lost. The citizens in Leopard are being evacuated as Akiha goes off to save Imo with Honoka and Itsuki following behind. Akiha manages to see Imo but an attack shortly forces them to separate. Nami destroys Enigma and sees Akiha crashing before her. Nami filled with hatred beats her sister up. Aleida seeks answers from Nami thinking she has betrayed Nerval but was attacked. Even Honoka and Itsuki can’t stand up to her. She’s about to finish them when Akiha shoots her Golden Gun and releases lots of Anti-QT. Nami got the cheek to say she had the guts to fire at her own sister. What about her? She tried to attack Akiha, right? Nami orders Existenz to dispose her but they do not obey. Aleida says Existenz belongs to Akiha originally as The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. Angry Nami flees. Aleida reverts to Kagura and becomes her friendly self. Honoka is overcome with happiness upon learning so. The gang regroup and Akiha gets a good lecture and slap from Kazane for doing things selfishly. Akiha argues back that she doesn’t understand this and that so Kagura explains the queen of Existenz is the one holding the Golden Gun. The Girl Who Leapt Through Space is the one who will put an end to the battle between Brain Colonies. The Elders are wary of Kagura but she assures them she’s back after she got directly hit by Nami’s Anti-QT. Kazane tells Akiha her next mission is to kill Leopard since the circumstances have changed. Akiha is reluctant at first but gets her confidence to complete her mission. Nami teams up with the ‘Black God’ Leopard and decides to show the heroines who the true ruler is. A powerful cannon blast that destroys Fon’s entire island! Don’t play play.
 
The plan is for Akiha to infiltrate and destroy the Brain while the rest destroy Leopard’s Crown in episode 26. Seems the real Leopard is trapped within himself. Nami fights Kagura and the former isn’t happy about the latter being a hypocrite because she got into this messed all because of her. Kagura’s answer: Sorry. Yeah right. Like she’ll buy that. Eventually Kagura defeats Nami and breaks her staff to rid her off her powers. Dark Leopard discovers their plan and prepares to fire his Anti-matter Cannon at them. But the other Brain Colonies appear to restrain him in time. Kazane makes a deal with Nerval to cooperate. As Leopard thrusts his Sword into Benkei, it’s a trap by Tsutsuji to break his Crown. Itsuki retrieves Imo and reunites her with Akiha. With a message from Fon, after all that mumbo-jumbo, all Akiha has to do to reach Leopard is to wish hard enough upon her QT powers. Entering a hyperspace dislocation, the genes of Constructs and memories of Brain Colonies, they reach a mirror-like Leopard. Akiha gives orders to her Existenz to fire at Leopard. It cause a little pain so the real Leopard briefly shows himself before the dark one wrest back control and throws everyone out except Akiha and Imo. Akiha tries to convince the real Leopard and eventually kicks him in the eye (that worked?). Dark Leopard is going to use his remaining energy to destroy everything, the real Leopard is back and resumes control. Nerval uses Exclusive Control to transfer Dark Leopard into Nerval’s human body and wants Leopard to fire at him though it will destroy him too. Leopard happily obliges. Haha. Good or bad thing? Dark Leopard is destroyed and Nerval survives. Seems his core is in the Magnetic Chambers and the distraction was part of his plan for Leopard to fire at him. The gang board Leopard to find Akiha but couldn’t find her so Itsuki ticks him off and gets emotional. Leopard is surprised to see Kagura while the rest try to free the human boxes. Due to the hyperdrive when the dimension of dislocation was destroyed, Akiha and Imo were blasted away to another galaxy where they both spend time together watching space. BouMin beg Nina to allow them to stay with her while Benkei and Tsutsuji pick up Nami, still bitter and reeling from it all. Leopard and the rest soon find Akiha and Imo as they happily reunite and then go home.
 
Hmm… I couldn’t say I’m pretty much satisfied with the ending. Not to say it totally sucks but I feel it could have ended in a better way. I mean, in fact a very big chunk of the series was pretty much focused on preparing to defeat Nerval with the introduction of the characters, powering up Leopard with parts and then for the last couple of episodes, everything turned topsy-turvy and it turned out the real antagonist was supposed to be Leopard’s dark side and the baddies become the good guys and cooperate to defeat the final main foe. Even if Nerval seeks forgiveness though his sins against humanity won’t be completely forgotten, it’s like as though all the build-up to his perfect colony rule just came to nought in the end. It could’ve been so easy in the first place if both humans and Brain Colonies coexist, right? Instead of having to go through all that crap and make Akiha a reluctant heroine and such. Maybe Nerval realized all that through Nami.
 
With too many characters, terminologies and things going on, partly that was what contributed to my dissatisfaction. Thus there are many questions that I was seeking at the end. For instance, what was that note that Kagura left in Enigma for Akiha to see? Well, Nami burnt the whole cafe down, didn’t she? And since Nami is back to her old ways, is she going to continue to be bitter or change over a new leaf? How did Kagura end up being Aleida and under Nerval’s command in the first place? What about the Elders’ investigation on the unnatural deaths of the boxes? If Leopard’s true self was such an evil menace 50 years ago, how did he and the Shishidou family team up to defeat Nerval then? Wouldn’t they be fighting Leopard instead? So how did the narcissist one came about? Split personality? Then if Existenz can only obey the true Girl Who Leapt Through Space, how come they obeyed Nami in the first place? Was the Golden Gun the overriding factor? What happened to Hako? Has Itsuki resolved her parent’s Terra Abduction case? What happened to that space commander Kazane met? And why does Honoka do not have much time left? Too many questions so it’s best I just let them be.
 
My favourite character is of course Leopard. Simply because of his narcissism. I just love it when he goes bragging about his high and mighty self and it just gets even better when he and Akiha lock horns. Yeah, the blockheads they are. I just wish he had more screen time and wouldn’t mind listening to his mocking and insults even if they’re unrelated. Perhaps they should make a sequel spin-off for him only. Akiha as an airhead shows that not all heroines are perfect. She may consider herself useless but she still has her principles when it comes to friendship especially with Imo, the duo are inseparable. Just remember not to call that potato a… Oops, I said it. She’s yandere potential. Itsuki is a serious and no nonsense ICP cop and she should learn to loosen up a little. Though she may not like Akiha in the beginning for being to carefree, in the end she does admit that she loved her. Not going yuri from her Shimoyama experience, isn’t she? Taciturn Honoka too see the importance of Akiha and I’m glad she acknowledges her as her friend. The pair of BouMin is definitely jinxed. Where ever they go, they sure get into trouble. For comic relief if I should say. Towards the end, I felt that the many other characters were redundant for instance Emilio, Elle, Shigure and his student council members, Julio and Neneko. It’s like they had just little parts to play in the series and tagged along for the remainder so that we’d know where they are.
 
Nerval doesn’t really feel like the bad guy if you think about it. Perhaps his way of making humans sleep in the comfort of the boxes is odd but it’s the best interest for eternal peace according to him. Annihilating other life forms isn’t his top priority unless when needed to. Thus the true villain here in my eyes is the fallen idol Nami. She’s so spiteful of everything and wants everything to destroy. She’s the kind of person whom you’d love to see crash and burn. Too bad she didn’t perish in the end. Tsutsuji may be prideful but she’s not bad either. If you can stomach her philosophies and her dream of leading her own empire, I guess she’s pretty alright. Benkei sure learned his lesson and nearly got ‘burnt by fire’ after nearly paying the price for his ego by confronting Dark Leopard. Yeah, I’m sure it took him a scary near death experience to not want to fight anymore. Xanthippe is another amusing character simply because of her cacophony when she tries singing. Faraway from being idol material. Kazane truly plays a good role as a leader being the eldest among the Shishidou sisters. Without her, I guess the whole gang won’t be so efficient in achieving their mission. She’s such a smart girl that even Leopard can’t beat her in chess. She won hundreds of rounds straight! Probably Leopard is at a loss for words for that and sometimes it’s necessary to know where he stands. I don’t know if spewing nonsense and being playful is considered a genius in Sakura’s case but she does deliver the goods. Though I feel she provides more towards the loli side.
 
The drawing and art are of today’s anime standards but seasoned mecha fans would find better mecha designs elsewhere. The QT-Arms to me resemble more like robotic centaurs and it was hard for me to distinctively tell them apart. Not to mention their ‘unique’ and hard to remember names (at least to me). So when Itsuki and Honoka got their QT-Arms upgrade later in the series, it made me go "Doesn’t look any different?". Besides, the Existenz battle maidens sure look weird with human boxes as it head. As for the futuristic suits, well let’s just say that they are tight and body hugging. Especially Itsuki. Yeah, fanservice I guess. I’m not sure if this is the fashion of the future but some characters in the series have bags below their eyes and make them look weird. Though I am impressed with the CG work, it isn’t anything to shout about if you’re a seasoned mecha fan as the fights could be considered mediocre to their standards. And those box head people? At 1 time I thought they were from some occult.
 
If you buy the DVD, you get special extras in the form of Picture Drama (PD) and there are 9 of them. Yup, still picture monologues including ecchi fanservice (meaning you get to see tits and all while admiring the ‘beautiful’ art and background), focusing one or two characters for a PD. I have seen them all but most without the subs and with my limited Japanese vocabulary, I can barely make out what they say. So my blog here may not be accurate. Like PD 1 has Akiha narrating how she and Imo met when they’re young and became close to each other. PD 2 about Itsuki and her disguises to infiltrate the school and something about being yuri (Hatsune Miku in the end?). PD 3 on Honoka trying to be more feminine as per Kagura but ends up dressed as some leopard? PD 4 focuses on Takane on her struggles in the family and coming to terms with it. PD 5 on how Nami got into the modelling world to break free of her shyness by Kazane but lost it all in the end and turned to the dark side. PD 6 about BouMin talking on eating and food as means of their existence (is that all they think?). PD 7 on Tsutsuji and her boring life and a secret one as a Nervalist and is waiting for a day she’ll live a free one. PD 8 has Sakura revealing her sisters’ secrets but nothing scandalous. Just normal ordinary ones. Of course we couldn’t leave out Leopard because he’s so high and mighty and not to allow the PDs to be dominated by girls, PD 9 is about Leopard doing his own radio show being the host and audience himself! Oh yeah. You got to love his radio show. It will last forever and eternity! As for the other girls missing, perhaps they’re not sexy enough to warrant their own PD. Haha. Nina’s weird afro hairdo probably was a turn off, who’d want to see big sister Kazane and Kagura is an aunty by now. Elle? Side character. Not important.
 
Voice acting wise, my favourite is got to be how Jun Fukuyama voices Leopard. His voice is just befitting when he goes arrogant and such. He is famous for roles like Lelouch in Code Geass and Watanuki in xxxHolic. As the phrase of the series is "I have control!" (when the Brain Colonies or those little aliens connect to the system and such to gain control), it never fails to make me break into the smile each time Leopard says that. He should say it more often. Jun Fukuyama also doubles as the voice of Fon if you pay close attention. Ai Nanoka is quite convincing doing Imo’s role and I thought her voice was suitable for ditzy girls like Fuko of Clannad and Koyomi of Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou. She proved to be very convincing when she snapped during Imo’s verbal abuse. The side of her I’ve never heard before. Good job. Veteran Rie Tanaka as Xanthippe is also amusing especially when she goes berserk screaming over her ‘precious skin’ or the likes. She reminded me of Sanada in UFO Princess Valkyrie. Another surprise for me is Yukari Tamura as Kazane. Boy, without her high pitch squealing girly roles, I could never have figured out her voicing a mature lady. Heard her Sakura in Da Capo? Nanoha in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha? Rino in Gokujou Seitokai? Totally caught me off guard.
 
Other casts include newbie Mako as Akiha (Kazumi in Kyo No Go No Ni TV series), Yui Makino as Honoka (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle), Aya Endo as Itsuki (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Mai Nakahara as Aleida/Kagura (Mai in Mai-HiME), Ami Koshimizu as Mintao (Tenma in School Rumble), Mika Kikuchi as Bougainvillea (Mokona in Tsubasa Chronicle), Banjou Ginga as Nerval (Babbo in MAR), Miyuki Sawashiro as Tsutsuji (Shinku of Rozen Maiden), Naoya Uchida as Benkei (Soichiro Yagami of Death Note), Daisuke Ono as Shigure (Koizumi in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu), Naomi Shindoh as Nina (Shizuru in Mai-HiME), Yuuka Nanri as Nami (Nao in Mai-HiME), Yukana as Takane (Rinslet in Black Cat, C.C. in Code Geass), Momoko Saito as Sakura (Choco in Chokotto Sister) and Takaya Kuroda as Ul (Renjou in Kurenai). If you’re familiar with the mischievous and gothic singing style of Ali Project, you’ll be able to instantly recognize their trademark in the first opening theme, Rara Eve Shinseiki, which very much suits the pace of the series. However though the anime rock-like second opening theme by Minami Kuribayashi entitled Miracle Fly feels not. I felt they should’ve stick with Ali Project. The first ending theme is more of pop rock sung by Mako, Aya Endo and Yui Makino called Sora Wa Shoujo No Tomodachi Sa while the second ending theme, Espacio by Ceui, seems to have a darker and melancholic feel to it. The characters in the ending credits animation are in chibi form probably to add some cuteness to it since the episode proper itself lacks any. There are a variety of background music in the series but the eyebrow raising ones are those jazzy pieces. They sound cool but when played during battle or tense scenes, it just feels odd. On a trivial note, each next episode narration are just ranting and has nothing to do with actually what is in store in the next episode.
 
This series probably has lots of cliche in lots of other areas that I’m probably not aware of. So why Akiha was chosen to be The Girl Who Leapt Through Space still beats me. Maybe it’s because of her being an airhead that literally seems that she’s never having her feet on the ground. Haha, just kidding. I know I don’t want to be a reluctant hero and get dragged into a mess of universal proportions. Saving the universe and mankind is one big thing to shoulder. Space maybe the final frontier but it seems we humans still have our very same set of problems whether we are advanced or not. So how to make life better? For me, perhaps I should continue locking up myself in my room, continue to watch animes in my comfort zone. Oh yeah, very comforting that way. It takes my mind from the reality of troubles and into another world. Of course without the box over my head as I couldn’t see a thing if it’s in the way. Maybe I’ll be known as The Boy Who Watched Too Many Animes. Damn Leopard, you got me hooked on your comebacks… "HUHUHAHAHA!!! I HAVE CONTROL!!!".

Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo

Chu-Bra!!

September 3, 2010

WHAT’S THIS?! An anime about underwear?! A shameless attempt to attract viewership by showing something that is considered to be personal and ‘dirty’?! Something that could easily lead to misinterpretation and probably indirectly contribute to the rise of sex-related crimes like increase in horniness and porn?! Ahem, ahem. Before I start jumping to conclusions and draw unfavourable views of this anime, it’s best for me to watch it to see for myself first! HAHAHA! Some lame excuse that was.
 
But really, Chu-Bra!!‘s main theme is indeed underwear and at first impression, this anime may ring all those impure and dirty thoughts. But as humans, we are quick to judge a book by its cover and unless you’re the kind of super holy and strictly religious fanatic, each one of us is guilty of having our own fantasies and preferences when it comes to the world of lingerie. Some rather mild and some extreme. For those of you who are thinking that if this series is hentai, I would definitely say a big no. Of course the fanservice here is for the purpose of showing coloured panties and designs to satisfy otakus who love such ‘services’ but they aren’t anything provoking. Otherwise, the show can’t be shown over national television, right?
 
So by having this thought that the theme is lingerie, you would probably think that the main protagonist is a guy, right? Wrong. In fact, the honour of being an underwear maniac goes to a girl, the bespectacled middle high school Nayu Hayama. It lessens the effect of pervertness, eh? But mind you too, Nayu isn’t a pervert either. Her passion is no doubt underwear and she’s a bloody damn good expert in it. Knowing the designs and uses of many underwear, if you have any queries on the topic, you know who to ask. She even has experience in determining what kind of bra size and type suits you! If you don’t mind the hands on ‘molestation’, that is. Wow. So young so knowledgeable on this area when kids of her age are just about to discover puberty.
 
Even if Nayu is a pro in the subject, that doesn’t mean she fails in other areas. To everyone’s surprise in episode 1, Nayu is the top scorer for her school’s entrance exam and thus been given the honour as the student’s representative during the opening ceremony. Okay, so that wasn’t the surprise part. The surprise is when she trips and everybody in the hall gets a good view of her adult panties. How daring! So it’s no surprise that rumours about her doing prostitution and compensation dating after school quickly surface. Best friends Haruka Shiraishi and Yako Jinguuji try to investigate further to see whether the rumours are true. Their fears come true when they spot her on the phone telling the person on the other line how tight her crotch area is. Even that supposed guy turns up in school as Nayu returns the underwear to him. Not satisfied, they even tailed her to the lingerie store and observe her. Must be her favourite place to hang out as she checks the stocks. Imagine if you tell people about where you love to hang out and the reactions on their face must be priceless. In school, Yako and Haruka bump into Nayu. Since Haruka is very well endowed for her age, Nayu becomes enthusiastic and her reflex is to put her hands on her boobs! Of course anyone would certainly be shocked over the modesty outrage so Yako thinks she’s scouting for other girls for her schoolgirl prostitution! So just to be safe, the duo try to keep a distance from her, avoiding her at all cost. It seems that Nayu isn’t well liked by some other girls too. Especially Sae Mishima and her pals, Kaori Seto and Natsumi Terauchi. Don’t know what grudge Sae has because she made her the class rep and leave lots of work to her. A short flashback reveals that she didn’t like Nayu who was wearing flashy adult panties during her elementary years and thinks it’s a ploy to tempt guys for their money.
 
Haruka feels that Nayu hasn’t done anything wrong so Yako decides to gather evidence that she’s a bad girl. That is to take a picture of her adult panties via her handphone. Unfortunately Yako slipped off the stairs in her attempt but luckily Nayu and Haruka grab her before she breaks her neck. Eventually they fell down together. Nayu spots their underwear and gives her opinion and shares her opinion on the brand they’re wearing. She clears the misunderstanding that the guy she gave back the underwear to was her elder brother Keigo. His works as an underwear designer and she was just helping to test out the product. You could say the trio become friends but maybe they need some time to get used to her since Nayu turns on her horny side, I mean her underwear pro side as she tries to extract the measurements that will suit Haruka since she isn’t wearing a comfortable bra and would be damaging to her breasts in the long run. The ‘molestation’ is in progress when Sae and her pals come in. Yup, definitely misunderstood. Now they think she has gone from prostitution to lesbianism! Later Nayu apologizes to Haruka and Nayu but they don’t mind and just told her to make up by treating them to ice cream.
 
While kids Nayu’s age would be in a dilemma over what toys to play, in episode 2 Nayu is in a dilemma to wear which set of undies to school. As they ponder which club to join, Nayu learns Haruka’s family runs a restaurant and she has 3 little brothers while Yako’s family runs a kendo dojo. But Yako seems upset when they brought up the topic of her mom so Haruka thinks she may have a fight with her. They change into their gym clothes so Nayu gets a nice view of all the underwear variety. She is pleased that Haruka is wearing an appropriate bra. When it’s her turn on Yako, she just ran away. Seems she isn’t happy with the bra that her mom gave to her to wear this morning. Perhaps she got a little traumatic and jumped the gun and declares that she isn’t going to wear one for the rest of her life. Well, being a flat chest is tough. Nayu thinks of a way to help her out because she doesn’t want her to hate bras. She tried going to the handicrafts club but they can make anything except underwear. Duh. So Nayu burns the midnight oil by making Yako a no-cup bra. She really put her heart and soul in it and she’s got the proof to show via her bandaged fingers. Yako didn’t accept it no matter how Nayu plead so Haruka couldn’t take it anymore and gives her a piece of her mind. They learn that Yako’s reluctance to put on a bra was because she’s a flat chest, the reason why she got into a fight with her mom. Nayu fidgets with Yako’s little assets and concludes that her boobs are growing and pain at the slightest touch is proof. She wears Nayu’s homemade bra and finds it comfortable.
 
Nice breezes that lifts up girls’ skirt to reveal their underneath is a dream for guys. Nayu too. However in episode 3, a guy named Hiroki Komachi isn’t fond of Nayu and it seems has a bone to pick with her, blaming her for his bitter experiences. Each time he tries to confront her, either he gets ‘paralyzed’ by the sight of her panties or just plain bad luck by bumping into other things and losing her. The trio go to check out the handicrafts club and the teacher in charge Tsukamoto seems pleased that they are trying it out. Sae and her pals are in this club and as usual they aren’t happy and think Nayu is sucking up to the teacher. So when Nayu mentions about making underwear, of course this gets negative reactions. How could you display something embarrassing? What are the first thoughts conjured when you display them? Of course Nayu seems disappointed so Haruka and Yako try to cheer her up. They suggest by forming an underwear club. Next day, Komachi finally gets to face Nayu. He just tells her that he isn’t going to lose to her. However Nayu doesn’t remember who he is. Too bad he has to remind her that she is somebody who has always beaten him in grades during elementary and cram school. So that’s what it’s all about? Nayu goes to see her homeroom teacher Ookuma about forming an underwear club. He suggests her assistant homeroom teacher, the busty Tamaki Mizuno to be one but she’s rather embarrassed. However Tsukamoto shoots down Nayu’s idea once more thinking such a club would be very indecent. The rest of the day, Nayu becomes depressed (no molestation or peeping) so Haruka and Yako try to help things out to recruit members for the club but it seems everyone they asked has already joined a club, not interested or don’t think it’s embarrassing. At the end of the day as Nayu ponders is it’s embarrassing to like underwear, Komachi confronts her. I guess she’s desperate to ask him to join her club. A big no! Komachi advises her that if she shares her vision of underwear with everyone, maybe she can recruit members.
 
It’s Haruka’s turn to be gloomy in episode 4. Seems the boys are staring at her boobs and even did rankings on the top busty girls in their schools. No prize in guessing who comes out tops. Isn’t it natural for boys at their age? But then again… Nayu invites Yako and Haruka to her home to help out with her plans to form her desired club. In her room, they test samples from her abundant underwear collection and give their opinions. To allow potential members to get interested, Nayu suggests a fitting, meaning stripping down to their undies to show everyone. Of course all girls only. Then they learn Keigo isn’t Nayu’s real brother. Just that her mom remarried but soon her parents perished in an accident so Nayu now lives alone with Keigo whom she regards as her brother. On the way back, Yako discovers Haruka’s depression about the boys’ boobs ranking. She tells Haruka not to mind but Haruka lets her know that she’s afraid to stand in front of the crowd in her undies even if they’re girls.
 
During the class rep meeting, Komachi is surprised to see Nayu as the class rep. Then they go see Mizuno and suggest having a room for the underwear club’s demo. Because Nayu spots Mizuno not wearing an appropriate bra, she goes into her typical molestation mode and offers her advice. A kid advising an adult about underwear? "You need to learn more about underwear. Underwear protects your body!". Before the demo, Nayu finds Yako trying to put tissues in her bra to prop herself up so she suggests wearing a thin pad instead. It seems there are quite a number of girls gathered for the demo as the trio start their demonstration. Then they hear a commotion outside. Peeping toms. Komachi is trying to make those perverts leave when Mizuno and Tsukamoto come by. The other girls disperse upon knowing there are boys peeping. Tsukamoto reprimands the lot and asserts she will not allow any activities pertaining to the underwear club. Now Nayu is really depressed so Haruka and Yako take her to the lingerie store to cheer her up. They see an underwear in which the underwear expert herself doesn’t know. Then a girl their age, Kiyono Amahara, tells her it is used for sex and chides her for wanting to form such a club when she don’t even know this.
 
Nayu continues to be depressed in episode 5 and relates the incident to Keigo. He explains how underwear ignites a male’s fantasies and that boys and girls her age are starting to be interested of the opposite sex. He reminds her of grandma Youko’s words that love and underwear have an inseparable relationship and advises her to be careful when explaining to people about it. Underwear and love in the same line? I’m sure horny thoughts are conjured with that. Komachi then visits Nayu and it seems he feels guilty for ruining her underwear club dream and will do anything to make up for her. Nayu doesn’t blame him and doesn’t want to pursue the case further so this ticks Komachi off because he wonders where all those dedication and passion went. So he tells her if she can’t form an underwear club, form an Underwear Appreciation Society (UAS) instead. Nayu still has her doubts so Komachi says she’ll help her to form one. He just realized he got into a mess but being a man of his words, he can’t back out. Being a society means that Nayu’s pals can join too unlike a club in which students can only join one. Nayu makes Mizuno their advisor. She didn’t know how she got into this mess either.
 
Haruka and Yako have a sleepover at Nayu’s house while Mizuno pays a visit. Mizuno recognizes Keigo and it seems she has a crush on him when he was her senpai during their schooling years and she still has those feelings. So you could say this advisor thingy was a blessing in disguise. We learn a little past of the Hayama siblings like how Keigo went ‘missing’ during his final high school years because of the sudden death of his parents and though Youko took them in, he takes responsibility and care of little Nayu by doing the chores. Nayu tried to help around the house and one day she was inconsolable when she soiled grandma’s panties. Youko who was an underwear designer too, comforts her by saying how underwear exists to protect a girl’s body. Since she can’t be with her because of work, but she’ll always protect her with the underwear she made. After dinner, Mizuno leaves while the little ones sleep together. Next day as the gang talk about forming the UAS (including a very embarrassed Komachi), Kiyono makes her entrance and wishes to join the club. Komachi knows her since she is his classmate.
 
Seems Kiyono is quite a bold girl herself. In episode 6, Yako spots her even teasing to show the guys what is underneath her skirt! Of course a ‘disaster’ was averted when a teacher came by. Kiyono has her own set of beliefs and opinions of underwear as she imparts them with the rest. Her purpose of joining UAS is to do research on underwear befitting of a true women. That’s because to her, underwear is like a weapon (OMG!) and it would be a waste and meaningless if nobody is allowed to see it (ZOMG!). I guess her ‘refreshing’ view was enough to make even Nayu a little red. Imagine the others. Komachi must have exploded by now. Kiyono is also like a rebel because during spot check, she’s like doesn’t give a damn when Tsukamoto reprimands her for wearing make-up. For UAS first meeting, Nayu has the gang assemble parts of a bra. I didn’t know a bra has 70-90 components! Then the topic turned into some sort of argument about bras when Mizuno tries to advice Kiyono about not putting make-up, which leads to Kiyono giving her minus 30 points for being a woman (all other insults included). Komachi trying to ignore all that by reading maths. The circumference of a pi is… oppai (breasts)! Kiyono asks if Mizuno has a boyfriend and you can tell by that over embarrassed reaction. Kiyono proceeds to show them a magazine filled with raunchy lingerie. She continues that women need to be presentable to the ones they loved. While Nayu thinks protection is an underwear’s priority, Kiyono thinks design comes first. Then they ask her if she has someone in mind so Kiyono starts blushing though she denies any. The debate is put on hold as everyone breaks for snack time.
 
Komachi is still embarrassed to touch a bra in episode 7 and probably hanging out at UAS for too long that he starts visualizing other girls in underwear. Not a good sign. More misunderstanding when his male classmates show him a Playboy magazine so he ticks them off. Thing is, he seems pretty knowledgeable about the underwear and all so the girls start thinking he’s an underwear maniac. Elsewhere, Nayu gets a love letter in her shoe locker so they ponder what kind of guy the sender is. Or maybe even a girl! Then the usual UAS meeting and since Kiyono does her daring stint of showing of her slip a little and crazy Nayu going into underwear checking mode, Komachi can’t take it anymore and decides to quit the society. While the girls are figuring a way to apologize to him, Komachi accidentally meets Keigo at the mall. He pours his problems out over a cup of coffee. Since Komachi was too loud, the other customers heard his embarrassing tribulations. Keigo says Nayu is looking out for him in a way. He recalls this morning when she asked him if boys looked at underwear in a dirty way (you bet) and she was so fixated about underwear that she didn’t give a thought about Komachi’s feelings since she felt he was the one who motivated her to form the underwear club. Meanwhile Nayu goes meet her secret admirer but it turns out he got the wrong shoe locker. Disappointing or relief? Later Nayu goes to talk with Komachi. Though he agrees not to quit (giving an excuse that they can’t handle it by themselves), he also tries not to see underwear in a dirty way. Komachi goes back to his class as the girls want him to tell off the boys for bringing in another Playboy magazine. They show him the erotic stuff so he tries to hold it back in but the boys think he has turned into a man and considers him their master.
 
Even the UAS has a chance to go for a training camp in episode 8. Mizuno’s feelings for Keigo must be stronger each day to a point where she starts dreaming erotic stuff between them. Keigo also tags along since he’s the only one who can drive even if his driving is a bit rusty. As usual the ride is never ‘boring’ when the talk descends into underwear and padding (at least not to Komachi). They arrive at the inn and it seems a sign outside it changed their UAS name to Under Fellowship. It was done on purpose by the inn hostess to prevent misunderstanding from passers-by. Then they go buy Mizuno a swimsuit since they ripped her school swimsuit after trying to do extreme makeover. Then Komachi thinks he could get some rest in the hotspring but as usual the girls were too loud on embarrassing topics so he fainted. I don’t know if the girls actually carried him back and put clothes on him. No sleeping peace for him too because just next door the girls do up Mizuno and has her do several model pose. Till Keigo comes in. That night the hostess comes in to offer her greetings. She tells them how she was an apprentice under Youko and is grateful that because of her she took an interest in underwear and began doing her own research. The next day the gang plays at the beach. Komachi is reluctant because his brother packed some manly trunks for him. Nayu pesters him and accidentally his towel fall off. Both got the surprise of their life. On the return trip that evening, Komachi notes they haven’t do anything related to UAS. Nayu starts the ‘meeting’ now but couldn’t come up with any ideas even if it’s for the upcoming cultural festival. So Komachi has no choice but to give his rousing suggestion like to teach the people how to appreciate underwear, its function and history. Sounds pretty good. Thing is, everyone fell asleep! Not because it was boring but too tired. Komachi sure sounded more like a responsible prez then Nayu. Hehe.
 
Yako seems pissed for an incident this morning in episode 9. Seems she wasn’t embarrassed changing in front of her kendo sparring pal, Kouta. Either she spent too much time at UAS or she turned into tomboy mode during kendo. That guy is obviously embarrassed so he didn’t like it and they got into an argument about her boring bra so she beat him up. During pool lessons, Haruka seems to feel a sharp pain in her heart and talks to Mizuno about it. Yeah, the signs of love, baby. Then for the fireworks festival, the girls get ready as they dressed in their yukata. Yako gets an SMS from Kouta and thinks it’s an apology but instead a mock about her flat chest. At the festival, Mizuno must be thinking of erotic things with Keigo so she herself got lost when she was the one to advise everyone to stay together. Yako then spots Kouta at the festival and is in a dilemma so Komachi (in some mask?) tells her men are stubborn creatures that are hard to go apologize to. During the goldfish scooping event, a goldfish got into Haruka’s yukata so Nayu takes her away to adjust her clothes. Nayu notices her adult underwear and thinks there is someone she likes. Haruka is close to confessing who she loves when Mizuno comes by. Elsewhere, Yako meets up with Kouta and they both apologize and make up. When everyone regroups, they find Nayu missing and start searching for her. Eventually they find her accompanying a lost kid till his mother comes by. Keigo then gets a message that he has been selected for a job in Kyoto. That’s a bad thing because it means they will have to move and since Nayu has just made great friends…
 
While planning what to do for the school cultural festival in episode 10, of course whatever activities relating to underwear will definitely be shot down as Komachi pointed out. Imagine the huge crowd it will be attracting. When they learn Kiyono is dieting to do a photo shoot and that her mom is also an underwear designer, Nayu gets enthusiastic to help her out. This includes helping her to pick a bra that will prop up her boobs but it isn’t enough. At least to Kiyono. I’m not sure the very over-dramatic drama club wanting Nayu’s help to design underwear but Haruka and Yako quickly take her away because if they start talking about underwear, she’ll never stop. The quest to help bust up Kiyono’s boobs include massaging it and observing what Mizuno eats. Though Kiyono scoffs off Yako’s silly boob enhancing ideas, I guess she was desperate enough to try them. Using a vacuum cleaner on them? Watching tons of macho men magazines for stimulation? In the end, it didn’t grow an inch. Keigo continues to be silent about his job transfer as Nayu and co go visit Kiyono’s photo shoot. They meet Kiyono’s young mom, Reika. During the shoot, Kiyono seems to be stiff (also she saw ‘that’ person here). Then the crew realize her bra is a little size bigger. Upset Kiyono storms off so Nayu and co go talk to her. She has an idea to create their own underwear by decorating it with sequins, beads, ribbons and other accessories. The shoot continues and Kiyono is a natural. It is a huge success in the end as Reika thanks them and wishes Nayu to congratulate Keigo on her behalf but Nayu is unsure what she’s talking about. Then when the girls left, Kiyono learns about Keigo’s transfer. Kiyono’s photo shoot comes out in the magazine with special thanks to the UAS noted. Then the drama club enlists UAS’s help to design appropriate underwear for their play’s costume and they agree since this way they get to be involved in the festival. Nayu is happily telling Keigo about this back home and about some big project Reika mentioned so he drops the bombshell about his transfer.
 
UAS not only has a hand in designing for the drama club, due to lack of members, they are also requested to help out in acting in episode 11. After school, Kiyono visits Nayu and hints of their move to Kyoto but leaves when Nayu accidentally spills tea on her dress. Next day, Nayu takes on more requests to make maid clothes for a class doing a maid cafe. Her pals worry about it since they don’t have time but Nayu doesn’t mind. Komachi then learns from Kiyono about Nayu’s future. He walks back home with Nayu and asks about her transfer. Surprised, Nayu pleads not to tell anyone else and will do so herself after the festival. On the day of the festival, Tsukamoto calls upon Mizuno and Nayu. Seems she is not happy with Kiyono appearing in the magazine as their school name is also mentioned. Noting that they are helping with the drama club and indirectly participating in the festival without permission, she decides to cancel the play. But Mizuno stands up for Nayu, pleading her to take a look at all the effort they have put in creating the costumes. It seems Sae and her pals were probably the ones who tell on them. Not only that, they see their old elementary teacher, Tanihara, and tell him about Nayu’s case. Tsukamoto inspects the costumes and notes how well they’re made when Tanihara comes in to apologize. He starts chiding Nayu for still doing this kind of dirty stuff when he expected better of her. That’s when all her friends stood up and tell him back how they’ve learned a lot and that nothing is to be ashamed about. Even Tsukamoto is on their side. She tells him to take his leave. I don’t know if b*tch Sae felt guilty about that because she was seen chasing Tanihara. In the end, Tsukamoto will allow the play and overlook the magazine matter though she doesn’t intend to recognize UAS. The play goes well and as they party, they ask Nayu’s plans for next year. That’s when she informs them about her transform, shocking Yako and Haruka especially. Mizuno also finds out from Keigo and their transfer will be in a month. Her lost love found and lost again.
 
But Haruka isn’t very happy. In fact she is very upset Nayu didn’t tell her about it in episode 12. She felt ‘betrayed’. Apparently this isn’t the first time Keigo got the transfer offer. He initially refused since Nayu was very young. Thus a very gloomy episode. So gloomy that UAS is temporarily inactive. So gloomy that Komachi finally felt peace and quiet in studying but can’t help wonder this empty feeling. So gloomy that Yako couldn’t concentrate on her kendo match that she lost to Kouta. So gloomy that Haruka isn’t talking to anyone. So gloomy that Mizuno’s apartment got burnt down by fire. Wait a minute. What has that got to do with it? Ah well, she’s just unlucky. Nayu is absent from class to help pack to move. Yako tries to persuade Haruka to talk to Nayu but the latter just want to be left alone. To help lift the gloom, everyone helps Nayu and Keigo to pack. Except Haruka. Upon Kiyono’s suggestion to force her to come, Yako calls Haruka late that night and tells her she WILL be coming so that they can send Nayu off with a smile. Next day at the park, Nayu and Haruka take a boat ride and after all that talk, it’s safe to say they’re pals once more. On the day Nayu and Keigo leave, her pals see her off at the train station. Except for Kiyono who is in a photo shoot for a magazine. Nayu gives them farewell gifts to commemorate their friendship: Panties. What else did you think it was? So a teary farewell, won’t forget those precious memories, bla bla bla, you get the idea. I know it’s rude of me but I was smirking when they tried to chase the bullet train! In the aftermath, Yako and Haruka aren’t ashamed to show and teach other girls about lingerie if they come for advice, Komachi seems to be handing out leaflets about UAS and gets pretty good response from potential members. So he has got over his embarrassment, eh? But the best surprise the gang has is the return of Nayu and requesting to join them once more. Seems she’s staying as Keigo mentioned he’d visit her on weekends. Yay! Reunited and it feels so good.
 
I thought it would have been easier in the first place if Nayu suggested that she would like to stay behind and avoided all the unnecessary heartache. But I guess she was always thinking of Keigo and don’t want to be separated from him. Keigo is such a nice big brother and I’m sure he understood how much Nayu’s friends meant to her. Besides, she’s quite an independent girl. Just needs lots of restraining from checking out other people’s underwear. I hope she won’t continue this bad habit when she grows older. Perhaps it’s fine if she’s young but imagine what others would think of her, a dirty old woman. Anyhow, checking them out is still a no-no. Do not ever attempt to try this anywhere. Too bad I won’t know how Mizuno will ever get to be with Keigo unless she’s planning on long distance relationship. If she can confess to him in the first place. Perhaps her apartment got razed was a blessing in disguise and though she’s staying at one of her teaching colleague’s place, she did say she’ll come over once in a while to Nayu’s place to help out. That means all contact with Keigo isn’t totally lost.
 
So what are your thoughts on underwear now? Think they are dirty perverted stuff? Unless you’re the kind of person who doesn’t wear one, let the first person who has not sin cast the first stone. To put it in another way, possessing exceptional skills in swordsmanship doesn’t mean you’re a bloodthirsty slasher. It’s how we utilize and perceive things. Sure lingerie is a taboo topic in many countries so the likelihood that establishing an underwear club would get shot down immediately without further consideration. But if you’re open-minded then there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Hmm… Maybe I should have second thoughts about stepping into a lingerie store alone.
 
Yako and Haruka may not be too comfortable about the lingerie subject when they first met Nayu, but apart from their blossoming friendship, they’ve learned lots of valuable lessons about underwear which are important to make sure their bodies grow the right way. Hey, they’re still at a growing stage so it isn’t just what you eat but what you wear as well that is important. Komachi too has become more receptive towards the subject, initially viewing Nayu as his rival. Probably he underwent too many embarrassing and nose bleed moments so I guess he’s kinda ‘immune’ to it at the end. Haha. Good thing he isn’t perverted in nature. If he was, their friendship and interaction would definitely veer off to a different direction. Kiyono may look a little obnoxious with differing views from Nayu but she isn’t totally bad herself, sometimes helping out her pals discreetly. It’s ironic that she feels underwear as a weapon for seduction but when being asked about the topic if she has anybody in mind for that goal, she blushes. At first I thought there would be more revealed about Sae and further developments about her but in the end, she still disliked Nayu. I even thought they’d become friends and join UAS! Just wishful thinking, that’s all. Gradually she turned into a minor character so much so I almost forgot about her near the series’ end.
 
As you may have well know the fanservice level in this series isn’t at an ‘alarming’ level but the show is peppered with them. From the scene changers and even at the end of the ending credits of each episode you’ll get to see different design and colours of underwear. Yeah, probably to make viewers to stick around and watching rather than skipping it like I always do (no, I’m not a pervert!). In my opinion (or my standards. Haha! And again, no I’m not a pervert!), they are nothing provoking or turn on. As for the mid-intermission not all of them are with fanservice element though a majority of them are. Need I say more? In some of the episodes, I notice several animals, a puppy, a tortoise and a goose seen bumming around in the school grounds or other places. I’m not sure if they’re mascots for the series but I guess to provide extra cuteness to the series and probably for small comic relief.
 
So remember people, underwear isn’t meant to be looked upon as one’s fantasies as it could play a vital role in protecting your body. For those who turned into a pervert after watching this show, then that’s just sad because you’ve misunderstood the whole thing. However if you see a naked person running around in his/her underwear, then that’s a different case. Or maybe he/she wants to show his/her love for underwear… Liking underwear doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a pervert just as liking women doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a womanizer (though it’s often true in both contexts). So don’t think badly of us who love watching ecchi fanservice harem animes or play eroge and H-games with lots of beautiful 2D girls ready to give endless panty shots and boobs close-ups service. Perhaps that’s just an excuse to carry on such a despicable hobby…
 

Chu-Bra!!