Top 11 Bishoujos of 2010

December 29, 2010

Hehehe… I’m sure you know what this means after reading the title of this blog, eh? A few more days before this year is done and the last blog of the year has always been dedicated to listing down the top bishoujos of anime that I have watched during the year. It may not be from the current year since I prefer to watch many seasonal animes after they have finished their run first. Because of that, I am ‘delayed’ in watching those current shows for the year. But no matter because there’ll always be next year.
If you noticed the title too, that there is an odd number. Instead of ten top bishoujos, now it has been increased by one to eleven. The reason being is that to commemorate the fifth running year of this special blog session, I decided to add an extra slot as part of the celebrations. What celebrations?! Well, in my own way of course. I have watched more animes this year so the list of candidates seems to have increased by a little more. And besides, there are two ‘1’s in eleven, right? So it’s like double winners, get it? Hahaha… Oh, never mind. So let me get the ball rolling by announcing the Top 11 Bishoujos of 2010. In alphabetical order as usual. Drum roll please…

1) Chitose Mihara (Kobato)

Chitose Mihara

2) Chizuru Mochizuki (Nyan Koi)

Chizuru Mochizuki

3) Hime Makita (Sora No Manimani)

Hime Makita

4) Kiyono Amahara (Chu-Bra!!)

Kiyono Amahara

5) Mai Tokiha (Mai-HiME)

Mai Tokiha

6) Mikoto Misaka (To Aru No Kagaku No Railgun)

Mikoto Misaka

7) Ooshima (Umi Monogatari ~Anata Ga Ite Kureta Koto~)

Ooshima

8) Suigin Tou (Rozen Maiden)

Suigin Tou

9) Sylvie van Hossen (Princess Lover)

Sylvie van Hossen

10) Ume “Kurumi” Kurumizawa (Kimi Ni Todoke)

Ume Kurumizawa

11) Yamada (B Gata H Kei)

Yamada

So there you have it, the final list that stands on the final blog of the year. Congratulations to those who have made the cut. Bravo! As always, as not to be left out, the other candidates considered include (in no particular order) Octhavia (Tears To Tiara), Miyabi “Kyouju” Oomichi (GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class), Chizuru Akaba (Seitokai No Ichizon), Shizuku Sango (Kampfer), Nora and Chloe (Spice And Wolf), Tominaga (Doki Doki School Hours), Yuki Morikawa (White Album), Karen and Sakuya (Sister Princess), Ruiko Saten (To Aru Kagaku No Railgun), Sayaka Okiura (Kobato), Hitagi Senjougahara (Bakemonogatari), Aria (Seiken No Blacksmith), Kuchinashi (Needless), Q-feuille (Kiddy Girl -and), Lia Dragonell (World Destruction), Anri Sonohara (Durarara!!), Kuesu Jinguuji (Omamori Himari), Kyouka Kanejou (B Gata H Kei), Yuki Souya and Akiko Ogasawara (Taishou Yakyuu Musume), Elizabeth Middleford (Kuroshitsuji), Yuri Fuyude (Wandaba Style) and finally although I didn’t get to see the movie at all, but I guess the poster and screenshots of her was enough to captivate me: Natsuki Shinohara (Summer Wars).
Some may call it a drag, but I think I call it loyalty because there are a couple of bishoujos that I still love even after all these years. Easily spotted throughout my previous blogs. Yeah! Mai Tokiha and Suigin Tou! Another round of applause for your girls for staying in my heart all the time. And thus another big picture to honour them:
Mai Tokiha
Suigin Tou
So there you have it, the top 11 bishoujos for the year 2010. So my hopes for the New Year will be to watch more animes (what else but of course) and in return of not just being captivated by the storyline or artwork, but those pretty 2D girls. Yeah, perhaps more of them. Lots and lots more of them! Wohoo! Sheesh. Hope I don’t sound like a womaniser. Three cheers and Long Live Anime Bishoujos!

Seraphim Call

December 27, 2010

Another old anime I recently watched, Seraphim Call really has the looks and feel of animes released at that time. How long was this show? Right before the turn of the new millennium, 1999. Woah. That does seem like a long time. But the timeline of the story is set in the year 2010. Hey, that year just passed and back then when they imagined all those hi-tech and revolutionary inventions like flying cars and robot guards, seems a little odd and old now. Well, all that didn’t really happen, right? The progress of science for humanity is still a long way off.

This anime may be old school but considering the style that it presents, it is way ahead of its time. For instance the visual and camera angles shown are of your non-standard types in certain episodes and the plots in some of the stories are intriguing. As for the story, this series is a compilation of different short stories of the 11 girls living in the fictitious and futuristic city of Neo-Acropolis. Skimming through the synopsis itself is interesting. Each of the 11 girls have their own dreams, desires and sadness in their hearts. With each episode focusing on a particular girl, the final episode will have them all gather at the city’s tower to see if their dreams and desires will come true. Plus, 11 average girls each with their own unique talents join together to make the world a better place. Now, this I got to see how.

Episode 1 sees the city heavily cordoned and barricaded by the army and police while its citizens evacuate. High school girl-cum-genius inventor, Yukina Kurimoto wakes up late and misses school when she gets a message from Sergeant Takayama. Seems some master time coordination function box Yukina invented 3 years ago has been stolen and being used for evil. There is a bomb planted at Central Point and it will go off around 3pm exploding its surrounding areas. Only she has the DNA pass code that can disengage the bomb. Because Yukina is nervous, I guess she takes her time cleaning and preparing. She calls Takayama again but soon becomes nervous and faints. When she wakes up, she borrows her brother’s bike and rides to the place. She diffuses the bomb like a pro, one second before it explodes. Then she wonders if it’s okay to do it quickly since they haven’t had a commercial break yet! WTF?! Breaking the fourth wall?! It turns out she was just dreaming! In reality, Yukina arrives at the place but in a giant mecha. The police want to confirm her identity but she’s too shy (she’s got androphobia – afraid of men). She only allows the commander to see her face as his officers turn away. When he gets a glimpse of her, he notes she is cuter than the picture. This curiosity has all his men turn around and look. Yukina starts panicking and collapses. She is brought to where the bomb is and Takayama using a computer interface, has her friend wake Yukina up. “The Earth Defence Force wants you to create a subterranean tank!” But it sure woke her up. Yukina does her stuff and diffuses the bomb, much to everyone’s relief. Since they’re gathering around her, she says there is 1 thing left to do before passing out. There’s only 5 seconds left on the timer! NOOO!!! Actually what she meant was to apologize to Takayama for hanging up so she creates a robot version of herself to do just that.

Tanpopo Teramoto wakes up and greets all her various stuffed toys in episode 2. She notices one (us viewers) and decides to call it Margerine. This unique episode has us viewing scenes via the eyes of Margerine from start till finish. Tanpopo attends home class via computer interface. Before she leaves for gym, she notices Margerine’s amber eyes. She proceeds to make up a story for it like how Margerine Von Calorie-Half is a prince in the Land of Dreams. He protected the world that was filled with dreams but some evil queen resented him and cursed him into a stuffed animal. That’s why when people grow up, they forget their dreams. But once a year during the full moon, he gets to return to his normal self. He can’t let anyone else see him or he’ll turn back into that animal and may never return to his true self again. There’s a princess he fell in love with and if she kisses him in his toy form, he might just turn back. After Tanpopo returns from gym, her friend Chihiro pays her a visit. She introduces Margerine to her. Then Chihiro was about to tell her secret that she likes someone when Tanpopo’s older brother comes in to hand Tanpopo crayons. Is he the person Chihiro likes? Chihiro wants to continue their talk earlier on but Tanpopo is busy drawing Margerine and wants her to talk with her stuffed toys first. But Chihiro says she can’t do that because they’re not kids anymore and leaves. Tanpopo goes after her but when she returns, takes out her sadness in front of Margerine. Crying and wondering why everyone forgets. She tosses Margerine in her sorrow. That night she gets an apology message from Chihiro so Tanpopo also apologizes to Margerine before she sleeps. Next morning a police officer comes into her room and starts scanning. Detecting Margerine as the transmission source, he mentions about some illegal filming activity and then unplugs the cable to prevent peepers from watching further. Are we viewers the crooks?! I no lolicon lah! Anyway whoever that suspect may be, was caught and apprehended. And that was to make us viewers feel equally guilty, eh?

Chinami Ouse wants feedback from her friend Noriko about the Saint Nore cake she made in episode 3. Her reply is never to make it again because she’ll grow fat if she eats them all! A criticism-cum-compliment. It’s damn good, by the way. Later she meets her divorced mom Toko who is working as a nurse. They also meet up to have dinner with her dad and younger siblings. Though divorced, seems they’re conversing on very friendly terms. So did marriage ruin all their happiness? Back home, Chinami tells her dad that she doesn’t want to continue studying. He wonders why since it was her dream to go to France and study making pastries. She says baking is a mere hobby as she has decided to work after graduation to help out her dad and siblings. Dad says he can change his ways but Chinami sticks by her decision. Old leopard don’t change its spots. Toko takes Chinami to a posh restaurant and is introduced to its chef, Somiya. Chinami can tell he has French pastries background because his menu do not serve cheesecake, which is a creation of Japan (Really?! I didn’t know that). Chinami learns that Toko likes him and has been seeing him.

Early 1 morning, Chinami asks her dad about mom remarrying and he doesn’t mind and is even supportive. Even her siblings are all for it since they’re divorced but Chinami doesn’t seem happy. Noriko sees Toko and talks to her about it but Toko mentions she isn’t remarrying though she loves him. Noriko thinks she has to remarry to show Chinami that she truly loves him because Chinami works hard for the family and got sick. Dad has another round of talks with Chinami and she’s still against it because she wants things to stay as they are. He mentions how everyone will grow up and lead their lives in their own ways. This has her to question the meaning of having a family. He replies that a family supports you while you search for your own happiness. Later Noriko chides Chinami for holding a selfish challenge to Somiya in which mom will decide which cake is better. If she wins, mom will not remarry. On challenge day, all three have a taste of the duo’s cake and in the end Toko declares Somiya the winner. With that, Chinami decides to go overseas to study. She too felt Somiya’s cake was better and that Toko didn’t lie to her.

Hatsumi Kusunoki in episode 4 seems to refuse to be an art model for Miyabi Sakakibara because she has to be naked among other things. This episode jumps back and forth between snippets of Miyabi begging Hatsumi to be her model, the process of drawing her and Hatsumi’s rush to the museum when her painting’s out. Miyabi is persistent in making athletic and tomboyish Hatsumi as her subject that she titles Flying Angel. This includes becoming her trainer (she can run as fast as her because she was once a runner!) and accompanying her to bathe and an embarrassing stint by writing large words on the field “Hatsumi is beautiful!”. Can’t take it anymore, Hatsumi confronts her and throws down an athletic challenge. If she wins, Miyabi must stop pestering her for good. Miyabi agrees and has chosen a swimming contest on 1 condition: They must be wear bikinis (nobody is going to watch them, by the way). Hatsumi’s flashback reveals during her birthday, the boys teased her that she doesn’t look good being feminine. That’s when she cast away her girly side. Though in high school now, others did opine she may look good if she turns a little feminine (people are sure hard to please). During the time Hatsumi was admiring a painting at the museum, she met Miyabi and that’s when her pestering started. As the swimming challenge starts, Hatsumi leads and is going to win. Miyabi feigns leg cramps and this allowed her to win. Hatsumi felt she cheated but Miyabi says she never asked for help. Furthermore it was her who threw the challenge so which is more important, her leg or winning? This showed she hesitated and soften her resolve to win. Hatsumi is dumbfounded so Miyabi says not to lie about the angel inside and will show it to her. After giving her to look at herself in a large size mirror, Hatsumi agrees to be her art subject. On the day Hatsumi rushes to the museum to see Miyabi’s work, it turns out to be… IT’S LIKE PICASSO!!! She’s been had? And you thought Miyabi’s intense and strict concentration was going to make something really good out of it.

As Shion Murasame and her twin sister Sakura have breakfast in episode 5, their servant Matsumura shows them a love letter from Shoutarou Nakazawa, a renowned violinist. But the name to which sister it is addressed to is burnt out. Both sisters think it’s for each other so when they open and read it, it’s your typical I-wanna-be-with-you and please-meet-me. In the end it isn’t clear who it’s supposed to be for. That night Shion reminisces the times how both sisters were always close together. She then uses a Virtual Possession Simulation System whereby it recreates artificial reality based on the various data inputted. Shion assimilates as Sakura and goes talk to Shion about the letter. Sakura thinks Nakazawa suits her but Shion insists and thinks Sakura wishes to be the one and even going further with him. Sakura doesn’t deny that. Back in reality, Shion talks to Sakura to confirm about her suspicious feelings on the letter. Sakura denies it and insists Shion suits Nakazawa better in comparison. We see Sakura waking up from the simulator and is confronted by Shion for using the device. Shion questions is she the real sister or just graphics recreation. She wants to stab her with a knife to prove if it’s the latter. She couldn’t. Shion adds that Sakura was more interested in the man in the letter. Sakura denies but explains if Shion fell in love and left her, she’d be happy with that. Sakura takes up the knife and slashes.

Next we see Shion waking up from the simulator and is confronted by Sakura. I don’t know which is reality and simulation anymore. Sakura thinks she’s using it to escape reality and to find something about her. But she says she was finding out about herself. Adding they’ve been doing everything together since birth and know everything about each other. Is this an illusion? No, because they share the same feelings and memories. Shion says never to leave her and to stop talking about the letter. Sakura replies she has Matsumura burnt it. Sakura too doesn’t want her to leave her side. Shion realizes she has always been watching over her. Now we see Shion waking up from the simulator. At the park, both sisters meet and wonder if this is real or an illusion. To ascertain it, they test it out. How? THEY KISSED!!! They’re real alright. Ah, sweet reality.

It’s Sakura’s turn in focus in episode 6. Like a rerun of the previous episode, this one has it from Sakura’s view and her speeches and opinions in place of Shion. From the morning they meet, learn about the love letter, reading it and the simulator part. Sakura’s simulator is called Dreaming Dream Simulation System. After Sakura wakes up from the simulator, she sees Shion. They talk about love and Sakura mentions since she’s weak, if someone were to love her, it might change her feelings. Shion wants her to stop thinking about those things because she can’t accept the thought of a man touching her skin. Then the part Sakura caught Shion using the simulator and wonders what she’s trying to find out about her. Sakura mentions she’s always watching her from behind and unless she does so, Shion can’t do anything. Now the part Shion caught Sakura using her simulator and wonders if this is a dream and wants her to stab Shion with a knife. Shion mentions herself incapable of loving but Sakura replies she can’t kill. The person she wants to kill is herself for having those mean thoughts and feelings in the dream. She takes up the knife and slashes. Finally the part at the park whereby the twins confirm reality by kissing. A change of scene at the construction site. Not sure which of the twins this grownup lady is. Her colleague reports Nakazawa’s stalking on her but she doesn’t mind and makes it an exception for him to continue. So are both twins part of this lady because both pictures combined to form an overall pic? Not satisfied, I did some research over the internet. I realized that the letter was actually addressed to the twins’ mother (that grownup lady)! Plus, the knife slash was real because Shion’s hand was injured.

Mathematician Saeno Hiiragi ponders the impossible question of turning a square into a circle with the same area in episode 7. She takes her students to the Academia to see her mentor Professor Rozenkrantz. Note he died 5 years ago. On the walls of Academia, it has become a tradition to write answers on never ending problems on the wall. Saeno says if they enter a secret passageway, they can meet Professor as long as she has that pi book with her. Flashback sees Saeno following Professor around solving math problems. It’s Professor’s job to check people’s theories and point out where they are wrong. He did that for the past 20 years! A job that pinpoints where you did wrong? I think lots of people would like that kind of job. Another flashback when Professor found a secret passageway and saw the pi book on the floor. What amazed him was some brilliant never ending maths equation (f*ck maths!) and he realized it as the Godel Theory. Something about the theory of incompleteness and thus a vicious cycle (f*ck maths!). He follows the equation from wall to wall, room to room and meets the person doing it: A young girl. He talks to her as they chat about logic, process and the infinite value of pi. Before he could return her pi book or ask her name, she rushes off to help her mom bake apple pie (is this supposed to be a joke cue?).

Back to the first flashback, Saeno reveals that girl was her. When she was young, she loved reading at her father’s study and accidentally found an alternate plane there. She got hooked on maths and pursued it. She was under Professor’s tutelage and became a maths prodigy. But she didn’t feel the thrill while she was at Academia and returned to Japan to teach English. She said something about defying him and never saw him till his death. Then she mentions about time slips and alternate planes (f*ck science fiction theories!). If the you of 5 years ago met me who was 10 years ago was the data of me leaving that data 10 years ago (F*CK!!!). Don’t know if I even got that sentence right. In present, Saeno finds the passageway and opens the other door (there were 2 doors after solving some logic puzzle) to meet the Professor. He tells her about the endless process and calculation and that they are all part of an endless equation. This it is a process of solving the equation of who we are. It is possible for a square to become a circle as long as the process is endless. If there is an alternate plane that mirrors reality, there must also be a similar portal to reality. He is confident she knows where to take the pi book to and leaves. Saeno appears in front of her young self at her father’s study and gives the book to her. So it was herself that got herself interested in maths. It gives a whole new meaning to the saying “What goes around, comes around”. The front page of the pi book states: This book has a beginning but no end. Just like the universe, eh? For you anime otakus, it’s like Naruto, Bleach and Once Piece, eh? As usual, I did my internet research and came to understand the ending better. Saeno went back in time to an alternate reality of herself when she was young so that she could give the updated pi book to her young self and continue the progress of the theory’s solution each time the paradox of the time cycle happens.

Rich girl Ayaka Rindou makes a police report of her lost robopet in episode 8. But she finds it when Rafflesia, her giant chameleon is seen climbing a building nearby. Back home, her dad isn’t happy she bought something expensive. Since she isn’t listening and pesters him to buy new clothes, he tells her to find a job and learn the value of money. Though reluctant, she accepts when dad agrees to do so. Ayaka cleans up a ramen store but when the owner returns, he is shocked to see his store remodelled into a 5-star restaurant! He isn’t sure if this is his store! “Don’t worry. Daddy will pay them!”. She even makes the customers adhere to her strict and polite dining manners! The store owner has her do delivery instead and on her way she spots the police chasing a couple of jewellery thieves. She decides to go help because her secret identity is the defender of the world! Note, many ordinary citizens know this. She summons her 4 servants who are also in this world protecting thingy. They slide down elaborate pathways and into grand Rindoberg machines and rendezvous with Ayaka to chase to thieves. Then an accident involving a bus load of innocent passengers. Ayaka and her servants help them to safety before the fire gets them. They resume the chase. When 1 of the servants captures and lifts the car, 1 of the stupid thieves uses his machine gun and shoot at it. One of the cables snap and he was flung down. Unfortunately there were trees to break his fall so he escapes. The car is left dangling and causing the Rindoberg to be unstable. In order to regain stability, the car is released but flung into an office: Ayaka’s dad. He almost got flat. The final thief makes a run on boat but is forced to return to land. Then with the help of Rafflesia, Ayaka manages to capture him. The policeman arrives so Ayaka returns to her normal clothes and thanks those mysterious saviours. Then it hit her the ramen delivery and manages to complete her task. Should be awfully cold by now. When injured Ayaka’s dad comes home, unsure of what has happened, Ayaka happily comes to hug him. She says how she loves working and had so much fun today and can’t wait to go back working tomorrow. Oh God! He can’t believe it and faints.

A girl is seen sneaking into a coin fountain and picking up a coin in episode 9. Lulu Sanjou is part of a production crew recreating a documentary for the Legend of Kasumi Kurenai, whom everyone yearns to be. Legend has it at this fountain if you lie in it on a full moon night and randomly pick a year 2008 coin, your love will come true. Lulu truly believes in the legend but a female crew, Yakko thinks it’s fantasy. Because of that Lulu doesn’t like her. On the way to the next location shot, the person to play Kasumi got held up. Needing a replacement, the production manager thinks of using Yakko as substitute. This doesn’t sit well with Lulu because she feels she insulted Kasumi. They go to various locations interviewing people, learning the things Kasumi bought and recreate those scenes. Lulu’s still upset Yakko is making fun and insulting Kasumi though she says she’s just speaking her mind. During the break, Yakko talks to her and wonders if she’s chasing Kasumi’s ghost. She thinks it’s better for Lulu not to meet her. She relates her own experience. She once pretended to be like her but it got hard so she quit. Lulu thinks she failed and was giving excuses to justify her inadequacies. Lulu is adamant she won’t give up. Flashback reveals that Lulu believed all this because the boy she liked went out with another girl. In her depression, that’s when she heard about the Kasumi legend. The night scene has Lulu recreating a scene whereby Kasumi rode her bike and stopped just before the edge of the pier. She starts but by the time she realizes it, she overshoots. Luckily she is saved by Yakko who saw this coming as both ladies landed safely in the water. Yakko consoles her and mentions how the person she was that time crashed into the tetrapods below and was severely injured. She chickened out and braked earlier. Lulu can’t believe it and starts crying. After Lulu is discharged from hospital with nothing serious, she sees Yakko. Before Yakko leaves on her bike, she tells her rather than living up to expectations of others, she became a person she wanted to be. Thus she should strive to be the best that she can be. In turn, Lulu notes how she used to believe in the legend and wanted to be the Kasumi she admired so much. So yeah, Yakko is Kasumi.

Kurumi Matsumoto secretly draws a manga called Real Blue under the pen name Kurumigawa Subaru in episode 10. About some guy who went to an island, got saved by a mermaid, went to live on the island under a family who took him in and the ‘mermaid’ turns out to be a pretty girl living in the home he moved in. Kurumi wakes up due to the annoying and excessive comments of her editor Yamakawa. Later to her shock, her parents tell her that the son of dad’s best friend, Satoshi is going to live with them. They request her to treat him as her brother but she’s not amused. Her manga is the usual young teens living together and those near love-like bloopers between a boy and girl. Even her best friend Misaki has comments on it. Because of that, Kurumi has writer’s block attributes Satoshi as the cause. One day Kurumi and Misaki see Satoshi taking photographs of the sea. He says his dad did so to show people reality but he thinks otherwise. For instance, they are looking at the same ocean but may look different from their own views. He wants to find out about that through photography. The manga continues with the main protagonist wanting to find some sapphire called Real Blue because it’s the bluest of the blue. He heard this legend from his grandpa who was in the Japanese army fighting against the Russians. Then some Russian gave him that stone but their submarine was sunk and the stone at the bottom of the ocean. Thus the reason why he wanted to see it for himself.

Misaki wonders if Kurumi is in love with Satoshi sine they’re living together. She disagrees. If that’s the case, would it be okay of her to make a move on him then? Just like manga material, eh? Misaki’s joking too since she mentions she isn’t influenced by manga. Kurumi is disheartened that her parents will be away for a night. This leaves her and Satoshi alone so she feels a little awkward. She notices him reading her manga. He comments the contents are all borrowed, nothing real, plot mundane and thrown together without given much thought. In other words, it’ll be cheap if it becomes predictable like falling in love straightaway. Upset Kurumi dashes back to her room and rips her manga work. The manga continues with some deaths (not sure who), some fantasy imagination (hair become like tentacles?) and some narration about perception. It got messy (from my perception). There was never a thing called Real Blue. One day Satoshi gets a letter from his dad requesting him to return and live with him. Kurumi and Misaki see Satoshi off at the train station. His parting words were about the reasons he took photos. The pic he took may not reflect what he’s seeing at that time. But it doesn’t matter and it’s open to interpretation to whoever sees it. Later Misaki reads the manga and it seems it got better with the unexpected complication and twist. Kurumi puts a letter in a bottle and throws it into the ocean. So the manga also ends on a happy note and that the Real Blue does exist.

Urara Tachibana does a soliloquy play of her life in episode 11. A play of her life by herself, for herself. She is seen talking to Mr Door who is always locked (providing her something to lean on) and a squirrel. On a bridge, a boy gives her a CD that she was just about to go buy before rushing off. Back home she talks to her mom and how it’s been 7 years since her dad’s passing. He was the one who designed Neo-Acropolis. They talk about dad and that boy but Urara insists they’re just (childhood) friends and doesn’t have a boyfriend like her other friends because she still likes her dad best though she knows he’s never coming back but will always wait. She gets upset of what her mom says and yells she hates her before leaving abruptly. She meets her friend Ah-chan at the fast food joint. Urara is surprised she did bold things on her first date. Ah-chan asks if she would like to do those but Urara disagrees and don’t want to do those sort of uncomfortable things. Ah-chan leaves. As Urara watches some Star Wars spoof movie with that boy, he confesses he likes her and wants to go out with her. Urara seeks solace at Mr Door but gets startled when she hears the door unlock and runs away. She later gets a call from him but can’t give him an answer though he keeps pestering. Ah-chan talks to her and Urara learns he may be going out with another girl. She thinks it’s okay since it’s got nothing to do with her.

Urara is entranced by somebody playing the piano and he even promised to teach her. But she gets a call from Ah-chan that he has left for Austria to be a great pianist. When Urara comes home, she sees her mom collapsed and sends her to the hospital. The doctor says she needs a place with clean air. Urara prays at her dad’s alter and wonders if he’ll be lonely if she goes away. Suddenly she hears her father’s voice comforting her. Finally! Another voice! I thought I was going paranoid only hearing her lines. Plus, at least another character appeared and though in spirit form, at least it’s better than nothing. Urara wants to stay like this forever but he doesn’t have much time left. Mentioning her problems are part of her growing up, he’ll always be watching her wherever she goes because the door has already been unlocked. Back home, Urara writes a letter and mails it, proving she’s gotten over her daddy-complex. Then she opens Mr Door and walks through, arriving at Neo-Acropolis. Urara takes her bow to the applauding audience. Well, life is like a play.

It’s snowing at Neo-Acropolis in episode 12. Urara meets Yukina as she talks about her inventions. Since her mecha broke down, Yukina takes a train and meets Tanpopo. In order to help get over her androphobia for the time being, Tanpopo makes up a story in which Yukina is the princess. Back home, Tanpopo connects to Kurumigawa’s homepage and chats with her about her different Real Blue ending version. Kurumi mentions it’s her recent change of perceptive so Tanpopo thinks she’s in love (by the way, Tanpopo thinks she’s a guy). As Kurumi leaves, she sees Chinami and follows her because she gets her manga material by observing her. Chinami knows she’s following and they both chat. Kurumi tries to hit on her by saying “I love you”? Chinami has Kurumi take off her glasses and notes how cute she is. Chinami meets Hatsumi at the cafe and talks about Kurumi’s confession. Hatsumi then meets Kasumi and wants to know about expressing oneself and envies her while mentioning about her nude art modelling and felt like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. She says it changed her as previously she was a shy person and wanted to cast away her weak side. Kasumi replies it’s the other way round. Accept her weakness and stop pretending to be strong.

Kasumi calls Saeno and realizes an answer to some seemingly complicated maths question posed long ago (f*ck maths!). Saeno is impressed and graduates her with a diploma. Oh yeah, diploma available via phone. Saeno then calls Ayaka in her Rindoberg about the screening party by the Murasame twins. Ayaka interfaces with Sakura and wants her to reveal her evil deeds. Sakura gets a little sarcastic with Ayaka about her post as the leader of her secret world protector and reveals that their plan of just projecting faces of beautiful people over the sky via Yukina’s invention. Sakura talks to Shion as they make preparations for the event since tonight’s conditions are right. And it has stopped snowing too. All 11 girls meet at the city tower as images of their faces are projected on to the Moon. Shion narrates “There are only stars in the sky. There are no Gods or angels. Me watching the stars in the sky is reality, the angel is within me. What do dreams and desires mean? Dreams and desires will never come true. The only thing that means anything is reality and I will create it. There is no such thing as eternity because no matter what I do, I won’t exist in the 22nd century. I’m not afraid of being alone or dying but rather abandoning my true self”.

Forgive me if I have high expectations of something grand to happen or some unexpected twist at the end. But I have got to remind myself that this show was created more than a decade ago so a normal ending should not eclipse the other unconventional points of this unique series. So by projecting their faces on the Moon, what does it really mean? How does it contribute to “making the world a better place”? Besides, not all of the girls I find have unique talents in my opinion. For instance, what the heck is Tanpopo’s special talent? Talking to stuffed dolls? Urara’s? Doing a play by herself perhaps. Chinami’s? Baking pastries, I guess. Yeah, many other talented bakers can do that too. What about Kasumi? Actually she doesn’t have anything special that I can see of because it was the people who made a mountain out of a molehill. Ayaka is the most amusing character I find because she provides lots of comic relief. Not to say her episode is full of it but you can tell she’s that kind of girl the way she behaves. Miyabi was equally amusing during her ‘stalker’ mode.

Besides the main girls, some of the supporting characters play a major role in helping that girl with their dilemma or bringing out her true character and their points are worth pondering over. For instance Chinami’s very understanding dad. He never yells or raises his voice when his daughter becomes slightly stubborn. Satoshi’s words of perception motivated Kurumi to do a better manga and end it with a bang. Each episode has subtle plot structure that it makes you think a bit. For instance Shion and Sakura’s episodes wasn’t about which of them Nakazawa was better suited for, but rather to discover and understand what the other was thinking and feeling. Hatsumi’s episode wasn’t about just being an art model, but the rediscovery of her feminine side. Kasumi had never liked the idea of people turning her into a legend but because of that she was able to re-examine herself and instead of being carried away, live the way she believes. Kurumi’s episode isn’t just an inspiration to other mangakas to think outside the box and be creative because by looking at things differently, it opens up a whole new picture (which is worth a thousand words, right?). Saeno’s episode was pretty confusing because just the sight of those maths equations and time paradox thingy were enough to make my head spin faster than Earth. Though I just understood the basic gist of it, I’m sure those with higher intelligence would comprehend them better than me.

As mentioned the unique visual styles of some of the episode even if the drawing and art don’t seem appealing in today’s time. How often do we get to see animes from the eyes of a stuffed toy then? You only move when the owner moves you so it’s like a static view for most of the part. How about back to back episodes that seemingly mirror itself? You might miss important details if you skip certain parts thinking this may be a replay of the previous episode. If you thought Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuustsu messes with our heads by messing with the chronological order, how about one that messes with different time lines in a single episode? Don’t worry, it’s not that complicating so you won’t get lost if you really pay attention. What about an episode that puts the main girl in focus in the background and instead make a secondary character taking up equally if not more screen time than her? I may have never seen the 60’s British Thunderbirds TV series but I later learned that one of the episodes is a total parody of it (make a good guess which one). So for the final episode we also have a few visual styles like comical chibi modes, 1 or 2 fanservice scenes (very mild, I tell you) and well, views from different angles (characters conversation shown via spoon’s reflection?). It was all just amazing and mind blowing considering that this production is made in 1999.

Another unique thing about this series is the ending themes. Each of the ending themes are different and sung by the main girl in focus of that episode. Another amazing feat. Even if the pace and beat of the song doesn’t match the girl’s personality or pace of the series, at least the lyrics do. For the final episode, singer Ancy sings the ending theme entitled I Love You. The opening for each episode is fixed and is quite a lively piece. It is called Pray by Yuko Sasaki. As for the background music, surprisingly some of them are quite good whether they are just casual or grand-sounding. This is quite an old show close to all of the seiyuus are unknowns to me. Except for Ayako Kawasumi who voices Kurumi (hah, I was able to recognize her voice after all at first go. Wow. She’s been in this industry for years just to think about it) and Yuko Kaida as Lulu.

I would recommend that not only anime lovers should give this rare and old series a go, but other people as well. Don’t let that yuri sister kissing put you off. That’s just a very minor and small part. They may not be very thought provoking but the surprise ending in some of the episodes may give you something to ponder about and to rewatch them again if you want to better understand them (unless you’re the kind of person who has seen too much of endings with twists and find such genres to be predictable). As each of us have unlimited dreams and desires, it is impossible to fulfil them all or sometimes to even attain them. The girls here may not have them come true but it took them some on a journey of rediscovery and some putting their talents to good use. Even that I feel half the battle is already won. We’ve heard the joke that we should go to bed because our future depends on our dreams. There’s no harming in dreaming of what you desire, but if you don’t wake up, that’s what it’ll always be (I think I said something like this somewhere in one my blogs). So what about my dream and desire to watch anime forever or even to create my own anime series? Yeah, you keep dreaming, baby.

Seraphim Call

Fate/Stay Night

December 25, 2010

I don’t remember why I didn’t want to watch Fate/Stay Night when I had the chance to many years ago. Even if the local TV station did air it and even repeated its run, I was still reluctant. Till a few months back. I really don’t know. Maybe because something in my gut told me that I shouldn’t miss out this action-cum-romance-cum-thriller series. Even if I needed a reason, probably it was Saber. Yeah, love her outfit design.

Based on a game of the same name, the setting is Fuyuki City in Japan and our hero protagonist, Shirou Emiya who is an amateur mechanic, though he has basic sorcery skills and only uses them to Trace objects like reinforcing them. As usual, he gets involved in a battle of the Holy Grail between 7 magicians known as Masters and their 7 classes of Servants and the last one standing receives that said cup that will grant the winner a wish. There’s just a basic gist of it. There are several terms and jargons in this series like Noble Phantasm (powerful artefacts or abilities) and Command Spells (a spell that will force a Servant to perform an action and each Master is limited to only 3) or rules like each Master can only summon 1 Servant. But for a person like me, if I don’t think so much, I could get by enjoying the story without having figuring out what is what. Just accept it as it is! And that Master-Servant term doesn’t make it sound like some S&M play!

So yeah, episode 1. The previous Holy Grail war 10 years ago resulted in a great fire over Fuyuki City. Perhaps much worse than the one in England. Young Shirou is supposedly a survivor of it. Back in the present, another Holy Grail war is taking place so Rin Tohsaka tries to summon a Saber (considered an all rounder class) but summons Archer instead. Meanwhile we see Shirou, the adoptive son of the late magician Kiritsugu living up to his ideals to become a man of justice. That means he can’t turn anybody down if they’re in dire need of help. Since he is living alone in his big mansion, you can’t help that his childhood friend Sakura Matou and homeroom teacher-cum-guardian Taiga Fujimura always pays him a visit to do chores and such. Recently on the news there have been spates of gas leaks and murder sprees in the city. More reason for Shirou to be a hero of justice sooner. Rin and Archer go around the city in search for other Masters and their Servants.

In episode 2, Shirou and Sakura go to school. More characters introduced like Shirou’s best friend and student council president Issei Ryuudou and Shinji Matou who is Sakura’s elder brother and archery dojo vice captain. You can tell this Shinji guys is the kind of jerk everyone loves to hate because of his narcissist and arrogant attitude. How the heck did he and Shirou became friends? After school, Rin and Archer come face to face with another servant, Lancer (because he loves using lance as his weapon, duh). As the servants battle it out, it seems the school isn’t totally empty yet because Shirou has been made by ass Shinji to do his part to clean the archery dojo. See what I mean when he can’t turn down help? Seeing that there is a witness other than the participants to the Holy Grail, Lancer shifts his attention to Shirou and chases him. In short, Lancer kills him. How can a main character be so when he dies as early as the second episode? Thanks to tsundere Rin of course. Yeah, she uses her magic crystals to bring him back. Why does she pity a normal guy like him? Because she likes him. I’m guessing that as well. Must be. So Shirou still shocked over everything goes back home. But he gets another chance of dying because Lancer is back to finish what he started. Why didn’t he do it properly the first time? As Shirou fends off Lancer’s attack, Shirou’s magic accidentally summons Saber who calls him her Master.

Saber instantly takes on Lancer in episode 3 and though Lancer uses his ultimate move, it still wasn’t enough to beat Saber. Lancer makes a wise move to withdraw. Saber then senses Archer nearby and attacks as Rin summons her Servant to disappear though Saber wants to hunt him down but is stopped by Shirou. Rin learns Shirou as an amateur magician so it’s understandable that she can’t comprehend how he summoned a Servant she wanted most. Because Shirou knows nuts about the Holy Grail war, she takes him to see Kirei Kotomine who lives at a church to tell him what that kid needs to know. Kotomine is also a moderator in the current Holy Grail as his dad was in the previous one. So he lays down the rules and the Master-Servant thingy. Then something about the Servant is free to join other Masters if the Master can’t control the Servant and that the Master need not die to be out of the competition, just the Servant. Kotomine adds that the previous winner of the war wasn’t a fit Master and this caused the city to be engulfed in flames. So if you’re planning to let everyone wipe each other out while you stay in the shadows and take the final glory and beat the weary one left standing, that doesn’t mean the Holy Grail will acknowledge you as the true winner. Since Shirou was deeply affected by that great fire, he has no choice but to join in order to prevent another such catastrophe. As the gang leave, they meet a little Russian loli, Illyasviel Von Einzbern AKA Ilya and her Servant, Berserker. Man, are you going to really face up to that monstrous tank?

Another battle in episode 4 with Saber taking on Berserker but is injured. Rin’s magic could do no help. Shirou tries to be a hero and pushes Saber away from Berserker’s cleaver and ends up getting killed. Again. So everybody is so shocked that a Master would sacrifice himself for a Servant, Ilya doesn’t like it too and withdraws (possibly she has taken an interest in Shirou. Why are more girls flocking over to him? Is this a harem anime?). Yeah so Rin has the honour of carrying Shirou back to his place and something about Saber’s wounds can regenerate and have some of that transfer to Shirou to bring him back alive too. Of course Shirou tells Rin he is not interested a single bit about the Holy Grail but rather to stop evil people from doing evil things. Rin hopes he won’t say that to Saber because it is every Servants’ dream to obtain it so by not wishing so might be considered an insult. After more ‘advice’ from Rin and she leaves, Shirou goes see Saber in another room. She doesn’t like his fighting style because she believes Servants should be doing the main fighting but Shirou asserts that one doesn’t need a reason to save others. Even if they’re both loggerheads, they have to accept that they’re both Master and Servant tied down to a contract. Well, she’s not considering another Master, is she? Don’t worry, that thought has never crossed her mind. Better start understanding each other.

Because Shirou feels bad about locking Saber away in another room while he eats with Sakura and Fujimura in episode 5, he brings her out to meet them. Oh, do they need another woman in this house? That distant relative thingy isn’t going to cut it either. Fujimura challenges Saber to a duel but her cockiness is just for show because Saber beats her flat even if she cheats. Though Saber is allowed to stay, both ladies decide to stay for the night just in case. Ahem, ahem. So next day the girls are very assured that they can leave Saber alone with him and don’t need them staying. Shirou heads to school while leaving Saber behind. She insists of being by her Master’s side in case of any attacks but he assures her that he will use his Command Spell to summon her if he needs to. She can actually sit there the whole day? In school, Shirou learns that a female member of the archery club has been missing but the school is trying not to make a big fuss about it. Shirou stays late after school and bumps into Rin. She isn’t happy that the idiot came without his Servant and attacks him. What’s a guy to do than to run? Hey, how is hiding in a classroom and reinforcing a desk going to help him get out of this mess against Rin’s German chanting spells?

Their battle is interrupted when they hear a scream in episode 6. Shirou uses this excuse to go investigate and postpone their fight. They see a girl unconscious and her mana sucked out. At this rate, she may die. Rin concentrates on healing her when a spear is thrown her way. Shirou uses his arm to block. Shirou goes to investigate and in the woods sees another Servant, Rider (does she always like doing sexy poses? Maybe must be her outfit). Shirou is attacked and badly wounded and you may think he’s going to die again because he refuses to summon Saber and bring her into this mess. Luckily Rin was there to shoot Shirou free and Rider makes her escape. Rin also mentions that there is another Master in their school and is using a barrier if activated will drain the life of the entire school to strengthen the Servant. The duo head back to Rin’s place and she proposes a truce between them. She learns about him and his dad before having Archer escort him home. Archer mocks Shirou’s fighting style because that kid doesn’t believe in killing people which makes it impossible to win the war. Even if their ideals clash, it sure made Shirou think real hard about it. But what are the chances of this numbskull changing?

Shirou gets another howling from Saber in episode 7 after learning what happened and not summoning her. Saber wants to follow Shirou to school but Shirou disagrees. Good news: At least Saber doesn’t become a transfer student to be close to Shirou and causing his classmates to go gaga over the new pretty girl. Rin mentions some reverse psychology trap that Servants won’t attack him if they don’t see Saber with him. Yeah sure, like that will help since Shirou is like the weakest among the magicians so far. In school, Rin and Shirou discuss about destroying the several spell marks around school to delay the barrier’s activation and force the Master out of hiding. Shirou uses his ability to detect them (some in unlikely of places: Boy’s toilet) while Saber destroys them and they did a pretty good job destroying many of them. As they leave, Shirou feels something strong coming from the archery club. It’s mind boggling how come they missed this big place. Shirou is shocked to see a large spell drawn on the wall. Then Rider comes in and her Master is no other than Shinji.

Shinji doesn’t want to fight him in episode 8 but wants to offer an alliance. However Shirou refuses. Think about it. If everybody makes a pact with everybody, then there’s no fight, right? Plus, Sakura doesn’t know anything about it due to some family tradition of leaving magic to their first born son only due to the thinning heirs of their family’s magic capability. Something like that. Noting that Shinji is the Master that Rin is detecting, before he parts, Shinji tells him about another Master who lives at the top of the Ryuudoji Temple, supposedly a witch. So happens this is where Issei lives and when Shirou asks him if anything weird has happened recently, he mentions his dad the head priest brought in a woman to take care. Shirou goes back to tell this info to Rin and Saber. He also learns Servants are past heroes summoned and depending on the Master’s personality, the Servant summoned will be according to his/her evil or good nature. If this guy hasn’t got a handful of problems to deal with, here’s another one to add. Why, it’s Rin inviting herself to stay at Shirou’s place! Oh great! More women in his household. So it’s no wonder that Sakura feels ‘threatened’ when this model, smart and pretty girl comes living with him. Hey, they’re allies, right? Yeah, even Shirou knows this will turn out problematic. First problem arising: Saber wants to sleep with Shirou to protect him better. Like hell he’ll allow that. Not even when Rin says one don’t have to treat Servants like humans. Like hell he’ll listen to that. So Fujimura won’t allow another immoral act but smooth Rin manages to convince and change her mind via words rather than action this time. Because Shirou still won’t allow Saber to do anything, that night she goes off alone to the temple and comes face to face with a Servant: Assassin.

Both Servants trade blades in episode 9. Saber is surprised Assassin freely tells his true identity: Kojirou Sasaki, a famous swordsman. Meanwhile Rider enters the temple and is faced with lots of undead creatures. She easily disposed them and faces the witch. Rider knows she can’t beat her so she retreats. Assassin pulls off his Tsubame Gaeshi move but Saber is able to evade it seeing that they’re fighting on steps and this didn’t give Assassin enough room for his foot for his technique. Saber is going to use her ultimate move as her invisible sword starts glowing and causing a tornado. Shirou has realized Saber’s disobedience and is on his way to the temple. He sees someone watching the duel from the bushes (Rider) and yells out. This catches the attention of Saber and Assassin. Assassin decides to withdraw since his mission is to protect the temple gates. Saber collapses since she used too much energy. When she wakes up in Shirou’s home, another round of argument because that guy doesn’t want her to get hurt by going off herself and she isn’t happy he’s treating her as a woman rather than a warrior. Though Saber accepts Shirou’s decision to fight alongside her, she decides to train him in swordsmanship.

I guess he’s using this excuse to skip school, huh? Shirou undergoes intensive training in episode 10 but still loses out to Saber. Of course the shape he’s in. Kept count of how many times he died and nearly? During the break, Shirou learns that Saber wants the Holy Grail to redo something in her past life that she failed to complete. Shirou goes out to buy groceries when he runs into Ilya. Don’t worry, she’s not here to fight him. At the park, seems Ilya really does take an interest on Shirou and she’s acting quite close to him as though she has onii-chan complex. When Shirou gets home, he learns that Rin was being offered an alliance by Shinji but she rejected him (yeah, he was rejected by her when he previously asked her out. Got his ego dented again, eh?). My guts tell me Rin likes Shirou though she gives an excuse she made an earlier pact with him. Later Rin has Shirou strengthen his reinforcing ability of creating a weapon out of nothing. Since Shirou isn’t at an advanced level yet, she makes him start with lamps. But he’s not doing well either since he’s breaking every of them. The last thing Shirou needs is another sarcastic criticism-cum-advice from Archer. He says at his current form now, if he can’t defeat somebody, might as well imagine something in his head that he can defeat that person with. Oh sure, it’s always so much easier to fantasize your own victory.

More practice for Shirou in episode 11 whether it’s Saber’s sword or reinforcing lamps. Yup, he’s still pathetic. Later Rin shows Saber a shed filled with metal objects. Something about Shirou’s ability isn’t reinforcing but creating things out of nothing. Shirou gets a call from Shinji to meet him at school. When he arrives, he sees lifeless bodies of the students and the barrier has been activated. You can say he is the culprit behind this. Shinji’s intention is to show arrogant Rin who is number 1 and let her know her place. That means to defeat Shirou right here right now. Shirou is upset that Shinji would go this far to hurt innocent people so he fights back. Now Shinji turns into a chicken and could’ve been toast if Rider hadn’t come to his aid. Rider kicks Shirou out of the window and he could die (again) at this height so with no choice, he uses his Command Spell to summon Saber. Continuing the battle, Saber takes on Rider while the Masters duke it out. Shirou corners Shinji and wants him to give up his Command Spell and Rider once again has to come to that jerk’s rescue. She unleashes her Noble Phantasm to escape by stabbing her own neck. Wow. That power decimated the entire floor. When the duo get back, yet another argument because Saber isn’t happy Shirou is trying to fight alone. Hasn’t he learned anything all this while? Well maybe this time it could be his changing point because he would fight alongside Saber for now on though he is adamant that what he did then was right.

Obviously Shinji has turned into a crazy psychopath in episode 12 because he just wants to kill everything. With news that those students are taken in for treatment and their lives aren’t in danger, Shirou and Saber head into town to find Shinji and Rider. Shirou is still injured and falls asleep at the park. He wakes up with Saber by his side as they talk about his wish for winning this Holy Grail war is to repay for those who died in the previous war by ensuring no one else does rather than preventing more victims as Saber speculated. Then Rider attacks them and leads Saber up a building. Like Master like Servant, Shirou is stubborn to listen to Saber’s advice to stay below so he rushes up the building using the old fashion way stairs. Huff and puff, dude. Unknown to him, Ilya and Berserker are there too. At the rooftop, Rider rides a Pegasus (her real identity is Medusa) to fight Saber as she builds up her power for her ultimate move. Saber thinks it’s okay to pull off her Noble Phantasm move since Shirou isn’t around as her sword starts glowing till it is revealed to be a gold sword, Excalibur. As its powers build up, Shirou appears. Dang. Saber swings her sword and the ultimate beam hits charging Rider and kills her. Coward Shinji flees but Shirou can’t go after him since he has to attend to Saber who really collapses this time.

Back at Shirou’s home in episode 13, Rin says that Saber has used up most of her mana and will disappear if it isn’t replenished. There are 2 ways to do so. Either get it from the Master (Shirou don’t know how so he can forget about it) or kill other people and drain their mana (wanna bet he will object to this method?). Shirou sits by Saber and sees her dream. OMG! Saber was King Arthur of Britain! King Arthur was a woman! History rewritten! Shirou sees her pulling out the sword from the stone and leading her army and people to victory. But he notes the sword in the dream looks different than her Excalibur. When he wakes up, probably another of those criticisms from Archer has Shirou taking a walk to town for fresh air. He bumps into Ilya again. She tells him that she knows Saber is on the verge of disappearing and was there when Saber-Rider’s battle took place. Then she hypnotizes him unconscious. He wakes up tied up in Ilya’s room, a large mansion located in the forest some distance away from the town. Ilya gets to the point. She likes him and wants Shirou to be her Servant. This isn’t play time, girl. But I guess she’s pretty serious because if he refuses, she’ll kill Saber and Rin. Of course he couldn’t answer a yes or no but says she shouldn’t take this killing thingy as a game. She is unfazed because she already killed a Master. And that was Shinji while he was escaping then. He is shocked to hear that and since he still does not agree to be her play thing, Ilya leaves for her killing mission.

Rin, Saber and Archer go in search of Shirou in episode 14 and find themselves outside Ilya’s mansion. It seems too easy when they sneak in, free Shirou and then sneak out. When they reach the front door, Ilya is waiting for them. She has been watching them all along and orders Berserker to kill them all. Rin orders Archer to buy them time while they escape. Is he serious taking on that behemoth? Like he’s got a choice. Archer must be Shirou’s personal advice guru now because he imparts more of them before he escapes. “You are not one who fights but one who creates”. Archer summons a pair of swords to fight Berserker though it doesn’t seem to be doing much damage. Not even the explosion he created from his sword and bow made any scratch on Berserker. Then he uses his Unlimited Blade Works technique to put up a good fight but in the end Berserker kills him. We know that is true because the Command Spell on Rin’s hand vanishes. They have to continue running through the forest as not to waste Archer’s efforts. Ilya orders Berserker to heal himself quickly and catch up to the rest. What’s this about Archer killing Berserker 5 times? How many lives does he have?

Saber is still weakened as the gang take refuge in an abandoned hut nearby in episode 15. But they’re not out of the woods yet. Rin mentions the only way for Saber to replenish her mana is to establish a connection between them. That is, Shirou has to give part of his magical circuit to her. Though this will deter Shirou to be a full fledge magician, he doesn’t care about that and wants to save Saber’s life. Part of the ritual is to have close skin contact and it gets a little steamy here. Thankfully this isn’t hentai though we got a bit of yuri (Rin getting a little physical with helpless Saber) and romance (Rin kissing Shirou. On purpose or what?). Morning comes and Saber is back to her normal self. Both Master and Servant back away seeing that they’re in a position that would easily lead to misinterpretation. At least they’re not naked. Back to business, Rin comes up with a plan to surprise attack Berserker and finish him off before he has any chance to counter attack. Ilya and Berserker arrive and only see Saber and Shirou. The fight begins but as expected Saber doesn’t have a chance. Rin then jumps out from the tree she’s hiding and freezes Berserker’s arm and weapon with her magic crystal. But he grabs Rin with the other hand. Rin still has some tricks up her sleeve and uses her remaining crystals to blow his face up. Well, nothing much happened. Well actually Berserker (whose real identity is Hercules) did die but came back to life. As Ilya explains his Noble Phantasm gives him 12 lives! Oh sh*t! More than what a cat has. Now he has 7 lives left. How are they going to kill him 7 more times?

What else more to do in episode 16? Just attack lah. Can’t be singing a lullaby, right? Saber has no choice but to use Excalibur but Shirou uses his Command Spell and force her not to use that move. Remembering Archer’s words, Shirou imagines and traces a sword like Excalibur and cuts the arm Berserker is grasping Rin. Noting there’s some flaw in it, he traces the same sword but with more focus now. Recreating another Excalibur, Shirou and Saber use it and thrust it into Berserker. The awesome part was that the sword was so awesome that it killed Berserker 7 damn times in a single strike! Wow! Berserker’s death leaves Ilya shocked and she’s no more that arrogant pushy loli now, eh? Okay, maybe not because things are going to get more complicated. Back in Shirou’s home, it seems Ilya decides to stay with him! She really makes it seem she has onii-chan complex. How the heck did she snuggle close in his bed while he’s sleeping? Beats me, but the thing is since Shirou allows her to stay seeing she is no longer a threat (yeah, loli without her giant are never threatening. Ever heard of yandere potential?) and this doesn’t sit well with Rin and Saber. More women in the house? What more a loli and you can’t blame them if Shirou gives in to his lolicon side. Back to the story proper, Saber and Shirou talk about the former when she was King Arthur. Something about a scabbard that made Excalibur invincible but was stolen. Meanwhile the witch, Caster (another Servant) is talking to one of Shirou’s teacher, Souichirou Kuzuki. Noting that Berserker is gone, their only threat would be Saber and Lancer. She plans on summoning the Holy Grail but they need someone who has the lineage of magicians. Her ideal person is Rin but they know her tough character to refuse so I guess the next ideal target would be Sakura.

Episode 17 begins with Saber’s flashback as King Arthur. Some of his subjects note she is a cruel king who will sacrifice a village to ensure victory and doubts her capability to rule over her people. As Shirou and co have dinner, more news report on the gas deaths. Shirou, Rin and Saber discuss about this and Ilya wants in. She provides them valuable information that Assassin’s Master is Caster whose real identity is Medea (a mythological Greek witch). How can this be? Well, Caster’s class as magician allows her to summon another Servant. Simple. Plus, she killed off the Master who summoned her since she is powerful enough to begin with. Her current ‘Master’ at the temple is just an ordinary human. They investigate this and once it is confirmed that Kuzuki is that said person, Rin proposes to ambush him. However Caster protects him. We learn that Kuzuki isn’t interested in the Holy Grail war or anything associated with it. He’s just doing this because he loves killing! So I guess all those recent deaths must be his doing. How did this cruel guy become a teacher without anyone suspecting? Or is he moonlighting as a teacher? Saber attacks but with Caster casting a spell on Kuzuki’s fist, he’s practically invincible. Rin also attacks but fails. Though Shirou’s tracing of a weapon makes him fare on par with Kuzuki. Caster suggests that they form an alliance. No deal, baby. Caster mentions of summoning the Holy Grail using a magician’s body as a vessel and has somebody in mind. The gang thinks they’re after Ilya who is sleeping at home and rushes back. Saber reaches back first and sees Sakura collapsed on the ground. Sakura wakes up but is possessed by Caster as she stabs Saber with a dagger, supposedly to seal her Noble Phantasm. She challenges Saber to come to the temple if they want to rescue this girl.

A flashback starts off episode 18 regarding Caster. Right after she killed her Master, she’s like so lost without direction soaking in the rain. Kuzuki picks her up and treats her. He allows her to do anything and if she needs help, he’ll do so. Is that how she followed him? In reality, Shirou, Rin and Saber head to the temple but notice a different route to its actual entrance. Inside, they see a mini city created by Caster. They are faced with Assassin but he lets Shirou and Rin pass as his wish is to continue his fight with Saber. Assassin reveals his Kojirou identity is just a fictitious character and thus does not crave for the Holy Grail but to have a worthy duel. Rin heads ahead when Shirou offers to face Kuzuki. Rin see Sakura clad in tight sexy black leather outfit in the middle of the arena and the process is taking place. Caster mentions that she can let Sakura go anytime but wonders if she really wants to go. She whispers into her ear and childhood memories of her and Rin flooded her mind. Not sure about the part that Rin and Sakura were being separated when they’re young. Sakura screams in pain and the magic she emits start attacking Rin. Rin initially evades but concludes that she has to attack to free her. She does so and is successful in stopping the summoning while holding unconscious Sakura in her arms. Did Rin allowed herself to get stabbed by Sakura? Caster seems unfazed seeing that she only needs 1 magician as a sacrifice. Either one lah.

Saber and Assassin’s duel continues in episode 19. Assassin pulls off his Tsubame Gaeshi and Saber also unleashes her technique. In the end, Saber is victorious and Assassin has no regrets and dies. Shirou is getting punched left and right till he falls off and down to where Rin and Sakura are as Saber makes her entrance. Caster thinks of letting Shirou live if he lets Saber be her Servant. Suddenly a knight in golden armour appears and he isn’t happy Caster said something like that because Saber belongs to him. He starts raining the thousands of swords at Caster and Kuzuki but Caster uses her body to block and gets pierced in the process. Obviously not enough to shield Kuzuki because he too got sliced by some. Caster is happy that she fulfilled her mission of protecting him and as she dies, Kuzuki soon follows. With Caster gone, the surroundings start crumbling so everyone leaves, including the knight. Back home, Saber reveals that knight is of Archer class and she fought with him during the last Holy Grail war but didn’t win. He proposed to her then but she outright rejected him. Shirou thinks if a Servant wins the Holy Grail, he/she can remain but Saber thinks otherwise. She’ll die once that happens because she wants to return to her time and land to redo the process of choosing a suitable king for her people. Saber adds that in the previous war, Kiritsugu was her Master but he used his Command Spell on her to destroy the Holy Grail, causing that huge fire. Shirou goes to see Kotomine so the letter reveals that a Servant who drinks from the Holy Grail can remain in this world albeit in that current Servant form. Shirou mentions about the 8th Servant so Kotomine will investigate it.

In episode 20, Shirou is on his way home and reflects on things. He realizes he is in love with Saber. I saw this coming since he first summoned her. Shirou talks to Rin about the Servant wishing upon the Holy Grail and Saber’s wish to fulfil her duties as king. Shirou thinks of taking Saber out on a date tomorrow and this causes Rin to laugh out loud. She couldn’t believe it either. But he’s serious. Saber doesn’t understand what that means so Rin defines date as “A secret meeting between lovers”. Oh yeah, that really (re)defines it. Shirou and Saber blush. Annoying Ilya wants to date Shirou but Rin knocks her out so the lovebirds could be spend time uninterrupted by a third loli force. The date includes a visit to the aquarium and plush toy store. By now we should understand why Saber’s favourite animal is a lion, eh? At the end of the day at the bridge, the duo talk about reasons for fighting. Shirou feels she should do things for her sake now considering that was the past. Saber is still bent on returning to her time opposing to Shirou’s desire for her to stay here. Upset Shirou has had enough and tells her to do as she pleases and storms off. Usually girls do this kind of reaction but a guy? He goes back to sleep but is awaken by Rin when she’s concerned that Saber hasn’t returned. Not the case of getting dumped, eh? He rushes to go look for her and sees her still standing at that same bridge spot. She stood there for hours without moving? She was confused when Shirou gave her the freedom to do as she pleased and eventually couldn’t decide on what to do or where to go. Shirou takes her hand and that her obvious place to go is his home. Suddenly they see the knight and he’s not too happy that Shirou is taking his property. So he considers women as things?

They both attack the knight in episode 21 but with the snap of his fingers, Shirou gets impaled by his swords and left bleeding. Saber also gets her arm pierced. The knight reveals his true identity as Gilgamesh, the only king of all heroes and the world when it was still one. Gilgamesh produces another blast to severely injure Saber. Weakened Shirou gets up and traces Excalibur to fight him. Gilgamesh mocks him that his duplicate that can never be as good as the original and that this Excalibur sword is based on some legendary sword that he is about to use on him and destroys his Excalibur easily while injuring Shirou even further. Shirou isn’t giving up yet and traces another powerful weapon. It starts glowing so Saber feels it is Excalibur’s scabbard and wants him to put the sword into it. A mighty blast occurs and wounds Gilgamesh so he retreats. Shirou collapses and Saber realizes he is her scabbard. Shirou has another one of those Saber’s dream. This might be confusing because we see Saber fighting with herself. Or at least someone that looks resembles closely to her. Oh wait, that is King Arthur’s daughter?! King Arthur was killed by his (her in this case) own daughter?! History rewritten once more! Shirou wakes up with Saber by her side. But she walks away since he insists she staying by his side. Then he grabs her hand and holds her close. He says he loves her and kisses her. The moment that we’ve all been waiting for. Hooray, applause! Hey, he kissed the king! Was a king. So she’s feeling more of a woman now, eh? Next day Shirou goes to see Kotomine but he isn’t in. He senses something and heads underground but to his shock sees several corpses. Then he gets pierced by a familiar lance. You thought the producers had forgotten all about Lancer, eh?

In episode 22, Rin informs Saber that she has found out about Lancer’s Master. He’s dead. And a pretty long time ago. Which means, he’s got a new Master. They discuss that there is something amiss since based on the rules, one can’t be a Master by stealing Command Spells so it has to be one from the previous war. Since Shirou hasn’t returned, Saber goes to find him at the church. She sees him lying in his own pool of blood and Lancer in her way. They both duel till Kotomine shows up. Then they talk about summoning the Holy Grail and that great fire 10 years ago and if Shirou wants the Holy Grail to redo it and save everyone but he replies he doesn’t want it because it will be meaningless for those who have died. He tosses back Shirou to Saber (who partially heals him) and asks if Saber wants the Holy Grail, she has to kill Shirou. Though she wants the Holy Grail but declines to kill her Master because she wants him more than that cup (realized her feelings for him?). Kotomine isn’t too happy with the outcome and summons Gilgamesh. He was Kotomine’s Servant in the previous war and was allowed to stay in this world by feeding people’s soul to him (those corpses). He further reveals how he was defeated by Kiritsugu when then cup appeared before him. He touched it and that’s when the fire occurred because he wished for everyone to die. He states the fire would’ve happened even if he didn’t win. Yup, so he started the fire. Plus, the Holy Grail is nothing more than a weapon of mass destruction that destroys everything except the winner in this sick game. Kotomine leaves and lets Gilgamesh and Lancer to clean up the mess. However Lancer sides on Saber’s side because he too has he beliefs. This gives them time to escape but eventually Lancer gets killed by Gilgamesh. Outside, Saber further heals Shirou. She explains the scabbard is inside him and it was Kiritsugu who placed it inside Shirou and saved his life during the fire. He didn’t need the Holy Grail, the reason he wanted to destroy it. Saber realizing that she doesn’t need the cup now, she agrees with Shirou to go destroy it.

When they return home in episode 23, they see wounded Rin close to death. She was attacked by Kotomine who was here to take Ilya for his plans to summon the Holy Grail. She tells them he is at the temple to perform that process and gives Shirou her dagger that is believed to be able to defeat Kotomine (she wasn’t strong enough, the reason she didn’t use it on him then). Shirou returns the scabbard to Saber’s body before heading to the temple. They are faced with Gilgamesh, who is still bent on making Saber his and seeing her expression when he makes her drink from the cup. As both Servants fight, Shirou heads deeper to see Ilya hanging in mid-air and being used in the midst of the unholy ceremony. Kotomine blabs about his twisted belief about humans’ value in the face of death and that he loves humans more than anyone else. While summoning the black ooze to bind Shirou, he continues to mock him. He is happy when he found out a descendent of Kiritsugu is alive and will have another chance to kill ‘him’. In addition, he reveals he was the one who killed Kiritsugu because he couldn’t stand that magician for defeating him and sparing his life. He mentions Kiritsugu’s mistake was he thought he could stop this war by destroying the Holy Grail. Kotomine is going to give Shirou the same fate as his adopted father. Meanwhile Saber and Gilgamesh trade power blows with their ultimate sword, Excalibur and Ea respectively. No matter how many times Saber hits away his swords, Gilgamesh still has the upper hand (he’s got lots of swords to pick from, right?). He thought Shirou is a goner since he has defeated Saber. But she mentions of her strong connection with Shirou so she gets back up and counterattacks him while mentioning how he ruined his own country when he criticized her country destroyed her. Gilgamesh gets serious to wipe her out now.

In episode 24, Shirou traces the scabbard, Avalon to break free from Kotomine’s grasp. He dashes forward and stabs him with Rin’s dagger. Remembering he gave it to Rin 10 years ago, he realized how weak he has become before breathing his last breath. Saber is also successful in cutting down Gilgamesh so he too has no regrets that she’s defiant till the end. After rescuing Ilya, Shirou, thinking back how much he loves Saber and will not taint her pride, orders her to destroy the Holy Grail as his last Command Spell vanishes. Saber is glad she is able to fulfil her oath to him and tells him 1 last thing before she disappears: She loves him. Well, it took 24 episodes, eh? Life returns to normal for the living. Sakura still makes Shirou breakfast, a new rivalry breaking out between Ilya and Fujimura and Shirou meets Rin on his way to school and have a short chat. Shirou reminisces the times with Saber and the things that’ll stay in his heart even if he can’t catch them. But he believes they can be together even if they’re far apart and may reach what he aims for if he sets his goal far enough. Saber wakes up by her subject, Bedivere’s side, right after a war. Mentioning a dream she had that provided her invaluable experience, she wants her to take her sword and throw it into the lake. Bedivere does so and returns so Saber says her slumber may be longer this time and closes her eyes… Maybe she wants to continue her dream?

I suppose that kind of ending is kinda okay. Shirou wasn’t able to live with Saber like he had hoped for but he can’t be selfish since he has to live up to his dad’s ideals of being a man of justice. With the Holy Grail gone, I’m guessing there won’t be any more wars in the future. That means no more summoning of Servants so the possibility of Shirou every becoming a Master to summon Saber would be totally impossible. Like he would wish for another of such bloody war. There are a few questions that still bug me. About how Kotomine did manipulate and got himself into this war. Isn’t there supposed to be a moderator? Or he was just manipulating it all along? How the heck did the Holy Grail came to be in the first place? If it was a mass weapon of destruction, shouldn’t all civilization have ended and left the ‘winners’ intact each time? Seeing that this is the 5th war already.

However it isn’t so much about the Holy Grail or whether or not it could grant one’s wishes. It’s mainly about Shirou and Saber and their growing feelings for each other. You could have told that this kid started to have feelings for her when he disallowed her to enter any fight. I mean, you wouldn’t want to send your loved ones to a battle and end up getting hurt, right? Shirou always sees Saber as a woman first before a warrior but it’s the other way around for her. In that sense, it was really problematic for them but ironically they were the last Master and Servant left standing. At least they did confess their love to each other in the end. I’m not sure about Rin because she’s tsundere and with Saber finally gone, maybe she has a brighter chance? Just my wishful thinking. And there’s Ilya and Sakura to deal with. Ilya seems pretty docile after she lost Berserker. Not sure if she’s still interested in Shirou because she seems more preoccupied quarrelling with Fujimura than jumping into Shirou’s arms. Then again, she’s still freeloading, I mean staying at his place. Sakura? She seems happy just doing her daily chores for him. Isn’t she sad that her brother’s gone? Well, I never did sense any closeness from those siblings.

Too bad there’s lots of deaths and blood in this series. It was sad that all the Servants had to die but then again, they were past heroes or evil beings whether real or made up so it doesn’t matter if they’re gone because they don’t need a second life. But for Saber, at least she wasn’t so obsessed about redoing the wrongs in her life anymore before she bites the dust. Seeing that she was summoned again for the 5th Holy Grail war, would it mean that she first had this ‘dream’ when she got summoned during the 4th one? And trying to return to that dream is like wishing for a 6th one, eh? Then there are some original Masters like Caster and Lancer’s. We don’t really get to see them because they’ve been disposed off. The point? I wonder how they could be participants in this war if they were so weak and got killed a long time ago. And that no emotion Kuzuki guy who really enjoys killing, even when he met his fate he’s like got no problem with it. Play with fire, get burnt, eh? He knew it was going to come like this.

Another little thing that bugged me was some of the classes of Servants that don’t seem to actually live up to their class name. For instance Archer’s class should have indicate that his specialty would be long ranged attacks but here in this anime, we see him having a penchant to fight close combat. There are times he does use his bow but that is just limited as compared to the swords he drew. As for Saber, as far as I know her class is an all-rounder but so far I’ve seen her only pulling off tactics using her sword. I mean, even her class name suggests that but even so I thought at least the class would use other types of arsenal as well. Then for Assassin, his class here felt like he was a traditional swordsman more than anything else. Doesn’t really conjure an image of that stealthy hitman. And Rider, she’s like riding her winged animal just before her defeat otherwise she was like a fighting ‘M’ class. Gilgamesh’s class as an Archer is another eyebrow raiser. But if you think about the floating swords he pulled out from his dimensions, then it may seem like as though he’s firing long ranged weapons, right? Maybe they should rename classes or add new ones like Thief, Paladin, Hunter, Knight, Mage or Cleric. Sounds like an RPG game, eh? Though not mentioned in the anime, I read somewhere that Archer’s real identity is supposed to be Shirou’s alter ego in another parallel world. Wait a minute. As mentioned Servants summoned are supposed to be past heroes, real or fake. But a parallel world? He was a hero there? No wonder they seemed alike but yet so different.

The action and the fight scenes aren’t too bad either. But I’m not saying that they’re exceptional but if you’re the kind of person who likes some sword swinging action, then I guess this one isn’t too shabby either. The power fights may be a little exaggerative but hey, there are magic elements so you can’t discount that there will be sorcery in play to give the Servants a little edge during battles. I may not remember some of the special moves and techniques the Servants pull off since I don’t want to hurt myself thinking and interrupt my enjoyment of the action. There are a variety of background music ranging from fast and dramatic (Unmei No Yoru – which I think is the elegant main theme used especially in battles. Yes, there are several variations of this tune too) usually employing orchestra voices and instruments, to slow and calming pieces to dark and gloomy ones to even casual and light.

I remembered another reason why I wanted to watch this show. There was this (in)famous line that Shirou said and has been used as a butt of jokes across the internet. “People die when they are killed”. Erm… Seems nothing wrong grammatically, right? But if you think about it, it’s like stating the very obvious, which makes it very funny and hilarious. Said when he was returning Saber’s Avalon, I guess many viewers find it too curious to pass it up. Yeah, you mean there may be other things that will happen to people if you kill them? And if you don’t die when you are killed, that shows that you haven’t been killed, right? What am I saying here? Another thing is Rin’s casting spells which are all said in German. I’m not proficient in the Deutsch language but it felt like you know, just like how Japanese talk in their ‘Engrish’…

I have never played the game before but browsing nonchalantly through Wikipedia and other sites was enough to give me an impression that his is one heck of a game considering the various scenarios it has. Not to mention a few video games spawned after that too. Then there are lots of other adaptations as well such as the manga and a light novel called Fate/Zero which chronicles the events of the 4th Holy Grail war before the current one. Before the release of the movie Unlimited Blade Works in January 2010, there was a reproduction of the TV series into 2 episodes. From what I understand it is a condensed recap of the series with a few additional footage and the likes. How can they put an entire 24 episode series into a 60 minute episode each? Well, just cut out most of the unnecessary parts, duh. I don’t know. I’ve never seen it so I can’t comment further which parts were unnecessary.

If I were to summon Saber (by accident or on purpose), probably I would do the same as Shirou in the sense I wouldn’t want to send her to the battlefront lines. I’d rather keep her safe and have her serve me as an anime cafe waitress. Hey, it’s still that Master-Servant thing, right? What a waste to put such a beautiful face to combat and stain it with the blood of others. Hope she won’t slay me down like some of the fate of the other Masters. Hmm… Saber in a maid outfit… She’ll definitely look good and moe in that too. Maybe if I win the Holy Grail, I can have that wish come true. Can I continue this dream then?

 

Fate/Stay Night

Sora No Otoshimono OVA

December 24, 2010

This was supposed to be the unaired 14th episode, Sora No Otoshimono OVA. Because it was deemed ‘too dangerous’ to be shown on TV, it has been scheduled to be released via DVD. However, that too changed and was excluded from the DVD and that episode was replaced by a Director’s Cut version of episode 13 instead. Wow. How dangerous could this episode be? But I guess to serve as an ‘appetizer’ for the second season aired in October 2010, this 14th episode was eventually released a month before the sequel. And as usual, my curiosity to know how dangerous it was has me to go see it.

The events of this OVA takes place right after the TV series ended. Meaning, Nymph has been freed of her cruel master in Heaven as her chains connected to him have been severed by Tomoki and co. Now without a master to obey, she is temporarily staying at Tomoki’s place and is curious to know what is going in his mind. Seriously?! You don’t know? I’ll forgive her because she doesn’t really stay with him. Those who know Tomoki’s perverted character would instantly know what he’s thinking. In this OVA, he wants to peek at the girls’ locker room. Has he ever changed? Will he ever change?

Apparently not because remember the last time he used that metamorphosis machine to turn himself into a girl? Yup, he’s using it again but this time he becomes the floor so he has a nice time viewing all the unsuspecting girls changing. With Ikaros handling the machine, tsundere Nymph isn’t pleased with what they’re doing but nevertheless seeks for Tomoki’s orders to help out though that guy has none for her, making her a little sad. Tomoki hasn’t had enough yet so now he transforms into his girl version, Tomoko. However he can’t barge into the changing room because childhood friend Sohara is there! She’ll recognize him and from the last experience, the ‘slaughter’ was indeed painful. Tomoki quickly conjures up a plan and in an instant before Nymph could suggest anything.

That plan is to have the girls visit the indoor pool owned by Mikako. If you’re wondering why Eishirou is wearing his school uniform, note that these are the only set of clothes he has. Poor guy. Remember, he lives by the river in a camp. While we see Sohara and the Angeloids aren’t able to swim, Sohara wonders where Tomoki has been. You could’ve guessed he is already in action peeping at the sexy swimsuit of the girls swimming from underneath the pool. He’s quick as a fish! He’s causing a nuisance with his perverted actions and peeping so much so you wonder why the pool water don’t get stained with his nose bleeds. So when they are able to round him up, Tomoki gives his twisted reasoning for doing so. Girls can expose their half naked bodies here in broad daylight? What the hell do you want him to do if he can’t come here to admire their bodies? I’m sure there are 1001 reasons to counter that statement. Tomoki is pretty confident in continuing his voyeurism and jumps into the middle of the pool since he knows Sohara and the Angeloids can’t swim. Annoyed Nymph uses her hacking ability to hack and lock Tomoki’s brain so that he can’t swim. So if he messes around, he’ll drown. Serves him right. As Tomoki lies on the floating board (it’s hilarious that in his chibi mode, he’s shorter than the float!) lamenting his fate, suddenly his perverted light bulb gives him another idea. Oh no.

Ikaros takes control of the pool’s wave currents and the strong currents send the girls in the pool swirling out of control. Eishirou throws a rope to have them grab on but even if they’re holding on dearly for their lives, their bikinis are coming off! Tomoki’s determination has him jump into the pool even if he can’t swim. He’s experiencing both Heaven and Hell because since the pool goes around in a circle, he gets to see those sexy bodies from below every time he flows back to the same point. Otherwise he’s struggling to breathe while making his rounds. After several rounds and having enough, he thinks it’s okay if he drowns here. In the afterlife, he sees his perverted grandpa and was ready to go to the other world with him but that dirty old guy wants him to go back as there’s a whole life ahead of him. Yeah, a whole perverted life. Tomoki wakes up as Ikaros pummels his stomach to get the water out from his lungs. Noticing that he is alone, Ikaros mentions that everyone is in the changing room since the pool is closed. Oh no. Not another perverted scheme.

Thanking grandpa for giving him another twisted chance in life, he goes into to peek but this time he has morphed into a panty and is darn excited which girl will put him on! Oh yeah! Of all the girls, why the hell she has to be Sohara?! He has to control his urge because if he transforms back now, he’ll be in big sh*t. Oops. Too late. He turned back and got his face over Sohara’s erm… Let’s just say her lower body area. We all know what’s coming. He knows too well. And I don’t understand what Eishirou’s narration thanking Tomoki has given them a hope and dream. What hope and dream?! What noble death?! By the way, Tomoki is seen crashing like a missile into the asphalt outside, badly beaten up. That’s got to hurt real bad.

On their way home, Tomoki is miserable because Sohara destroyed his metamorphosis machine. Nymph suggests some gel that would allow girls to peek at them. Tomoki begs her to give him but she won’t unless he orders her since she has lost her master. Then he changes his mind and doesn’t want it. He tells her that she is free and to decide herself whatever and wherever she wants to go. He leaves dejectedly. In class, Tomoki has that dream again whereby the angel wanted him to rescue her but she changed her mind and went back to sleep. She hopes he won’t forget her. He wakes up once class is over and asks Sohara about her dreams. Seems like she was getting married to Tomoki but that pervert starts by squeezing her boobs! In her embarrassment, she lands Tomoki her trademark murderous chop.

Later Eishirou calls the gang to witness yet another of his experiments to head to the New World via a hang glider. Nymph wonders why he keeps trying though he failed many times. He replies he has a dream about flying in the sky and is certain he will succeed one day. Nymph thinks it’s wonderful to have dreams since Angeloids are incapable of that. Eishirou is confident there must be something for her too but she is sad that Tomoki doesn’t allow her to be her master and wonders if she’s being hated. Eishirou thinks that is Tomoki’s way of showing his kindness. Soon Eishirou begins his flight and he flies a considerable distance before landing safely (for once). Nymph wishes to stay with them so Ikaros is okay with it since Tomoki will always be her master.

Erm… So where the heck was the ‘dangerous’ part?! If you consider those underwater peeping of Tomoki having a nice full view of the girls’ bodies then I think that wasn’t anything close to any red alert level. Just moderate. In fact, you don’t see the girls baring their breasts or any visible tits like what most fanservice OVAs would do. Sure we have lots of fanservice shots but even if the ‘dangerous’ ones do come by, they are ‘censored’ using frogs. Frogs?! Well, if you consider them in a way they look good both on land and in water. So how did the producers come to a conclusion for it to be ‘dangerous’? Maybe they’ve watched too much of such shows so it screwed up their minds. Like ours. Haha. We’re so immune to such fanservice already.

This particular OVA though has Nymph accepting Tomoki as her new master, but it’s mainly about Tomoki’s perverted antics. That’s what this show is all about, right? Right. Of course it was too short to see any new kind of developments but you can guess it’s still pretty much the same. You know, Sohara still harbouring that secret crush on Tomoki, Mikako the sadistic daughter of the local yakuza (too bad we don’t get to see her sadistic side here) and Ikaros the ever obeying expressionless Angeloid to Tomoki. Unlike in the TV series, we don’t see Eishirou spewing his fascination lines on the discovery of his New World. He’s still pretty much interested in that I assure you. And it was pretty funny to see Tomoki existing in his chibi form for around 70% of the episode. It’s like his other permanent form.

As a teaser for the sequel entitled Sora No Otoshimono: Forte (just ended it’s run at the time of this blog, by the way), there are scenes at the end of the OVA that gives us a glimpse of what’s more to come. Seems to be more dangerous in the sense of action rather than fanservice this time. Who is this threatening and seemingly powerful third Angeloid, type Delta Astrea crashing down with thunder from the black hole above the sky? A dangerous battle is about to begin? If Tomoki still thinks of anything perverted of this busty new Angeloid, I’m thinking he’s going to get a hell out of a beating from her seeing that she’s really mean looking and the sexy suit is just for distraction. So yeah. I’ll be hoping to catch the sequel though I know it’s going to be more or less the same thing. Fanservice, more of Tomoki’s pervertness, fanservice, Tomoki’s perverted side, fanservice and more fanservice. Okay, other than that, probably more developments for the returning characters as well with new ones and answers to the questions that have been floating around since the first season. And yeah, more fanservice.

Sora No Otoshimono

Kobato

December 20, 2010

Doing good deeds have its own rewards. You know that wonderful feeling of helping others before yourself? Well if you watch Kobato, then I’m sure you get the picture. Not to say that this anime sets the standards of doing good to others but at least it makes you think that in today’s world whereby everything is focused on me, me and me, it’s good to know that there are nice and kind people around whenever help is really needed.

So let’s meet the titular character, Kobato Hanato. She’s a sweet and perky girl whom every guy would dream of having her as their girlfriend. Just kidding about the dream part. Even if she’s so, Kobato is rather naive simply because she is not from our world. Is she an alien? Only time will tell. But Kobato is on a mission. A mission she must succeed in a limited time if she wants her wish of going to a certain place fulfilled. And that mission is to heal the hearts of others whether they are depressed or down. Another condition to that is she cannot and I repeat, CANNOT fall in love with those she has healed. It’s going to be tough seeing that romance is one of the theme for this series other than comedy (oh yeah), adventure, drama and fantasy. Just how many hearts she has to heal? Well, she is given a little glass bottle and once it is filled up with little colour-like balls called konpeito (candy), her wish will be fulfilled. Seems like an easy job, huh? Considering how Kobato is an airhead, you’ll doubt she’d ever get the job done.

But don’t worry, Kobato has a trusty or rather foul-mouth and aggressive stuffed toy dog companion-cum-teacher-cum-guardian named Ioryogi. He too seems to have his own motive for using Kobato to fulfil her wish. But even no matter how klutzy and dumb Kobato may turn out to be, after roasting her with his trademark mouth fireball, this food loving dog acknowledges her efforts even if he tends to criticize and show no respect to that Dobato (a derogative nickname Ioryogi gives her which literally means stupid dove) most of the time. Thus it is fun to see the interactions between the duo especially when Ioryogi snaps due to her naivety and foul ups. Whether it’s giving her a rundown on things or just an assessment of the things she did for today (he even give points by painting it on her cheeks). What a weird combination if I must say. And yes, since stuffed toys do not talk in this world, Ioryogi has got to play one whenever Kobato comes into contact with other humans.

As seen in episode 1, Kobato and Ioryogi arrive in this world so the latter puts her to a test to see if she’s fit for the mission. She screws up. Giving trash to crows? She’s going to get more than just pecking. Then she almost strays from her mission when she follows a couple of shady guys who want to take advantage of her. So when Ioryogi unleashes his fireball on to them, they reveal their true colours as they’re going to beat her up! Thankfully if not for Kiyokazu Fujimoto passing by, she would’ve been toast. However Fujimoto seems to be the kind of guy many would keep their distance simply because he is unfriendly. Even if he’s that stubborn and indifferent, never judge a book by its cover. So off he goes to his part time job while Kobato goes around helping, I mean creating more problems. After breaking plates, she volunteers to help part time and even creates the most delicious nabe dish ever! Even if she doesn’t know what the heck she’s putting in! That night she encounters a Granny trying to pacify her crying baby grandson but to no avail. Kobato starts singing and not only stops the baby’s cry but attracted others as well. I don’t know, I find that song (Ashita Kuru Hi) to be sort of out of tune when she’s singing solo. Kobato becomes an instant hit and is mobbed by the rest to sing. So after Granny thanks her, Ioryogi is pleased she passed the test and gives her a bottle for her to heal wounded hearts. A long journey always begins with the first step. That’s a lot of steps to go…

As Ioryogi lay down the rules in episode 2, Kobato is still kinda dense. Going around asking people if they needed healing? I don’t mind her helping others in need but considering her limited time, it’s like she’s ‘goofing around’ assisting others in tasks that don’t seem to heal the hearts of others. So by distributing free tissues, she chances upon the Yomogi Day Care Centre run by bespectacled Sayaka. And you know her helpful behaviour, she soon helps out with the centre, meets the kids and is surprised to see Fujimoto also working there part time (this guy holds lots of part time jobs). But he isn’t thrilled to see that klutz. So you can tell Fujimoto is always being mean to poor Kobato even if she tries her best so much so you just feel like slapping the guy to wake him up and appreciate Kobato’s efforts. Since Sayaka can’t afford to pay Kobato, the latter is just glad to help out as a volunteer. That evening Kobato spots one of the Yomogi kids, Toshihiko sitting alone on a swing. She learns how her mom is always busy and thus always late to pick him up. This causes the other mothers to gossip she may be neglecting her child. But Toshihiko believes she is doing her best and so Kobato praises him that he has such a wonderful mother. He is brought to tears and hugs her. That night at the playground, Kobato is surprised to see her first konpeito in her bottle. As Ioryogi notes, she has healed Toshihiko’s heart and without any ulterior motives. I guess you can’t blame her for getting carried away with her first candy. Leave it to Ioryogi to bring her back to Earth…

Thank goodness Kobato’s vagabond days of staying at the playground are over. In episode 3, Sayaka introduces her a proper place to stay. An apartment building run by the generous Chitose Mihara and her twin daughters, Chise and Chiho. While rushing in the rain (because she’s late to Yomogi), Kobato bumps into a girl, Mutsumi Tadokoro who cleans up Ioryogi after he gets dirty. On another rainy day, a kind baker Hiroyasu Ueda of Tirol Bakery offers her an umbrella. While looking for hearts to heal at a convenience store, she notes her umbrella she borrowed missing. Mutsumi was there and offered hers instead before chasing after a boy she seems to have a crush on, Katsuragi. Then another day, back at the same store, Kobato sees her borrowed umbrella and also Mutsumi. As the girls chat, Mutsumi gets disheartened when she sees Katsuragi walking with another girl. After needing to know what’s to be done, Kobato approaches Katsuragi and wants him to share his umbrella with Mutsumi. Mutsumi was passing by and isn’t happy to see what’s going on. Eventually he gives in to Kobato’s advice as Mutsumi learns that he was just accompanying that girl who forgot to bring her umbrella home. Nothing more. Mutsumi feels better and the next day, Kobato gets another konpeito in her bottle.

Kobato is darn happy in episode 4 because she gets to sleep on futon now in her empty room courtesy of the twins. While taking a walk, Kobato spots a lady, Kohaku admiring the green leaves. Seems Ioryogi knows who she is. She is someone from Heaven and she too recognizes Ioryogi but of a different name: Iorogi. Then later Kobato spots Kohaku walking back with her lover Shuuichirou Kudou home and becomes a busybody tailing her back. She sees her using her powers to water the plants. Both girls talk about the pain in Kohaku’s heart and since they’re so dense on what it is, irritated Ioryogi has to spell it out that she’s in love. Kohaku is worried that Shuuichirou as a doctor is always working so they rarely have time together. Kobato thinks of having them go on a date at the amusement park. It’s kinda weird to see Kobato getting her ‘worldly knowledge’ from the bookstore. Attempts to get tickets to the amusement park flop (because you need money to buy them, silly) and even if she tried lottery, she got an alligator stuffed toy. Then she bumps into Fujimoto doing his newspaper delivery job. She notices he got tickets to the amusement park and begs to exchange it for the alligator. Kobato presents the tickets to Kohaku but she doesn’t think she can go because Shuuichirou is always busy, etc. But Shuuichirou heard it all so he agrees to go. As the duo have their date, Kobato and Ioryogi are being visited by a floating rabbit named Usagi. Though it can’t speak proper words, Ioryogi translates and learns that Kobato has just 4 seasons to complete her mission. That’s just 1 year. Oh boy. She only has 2 konpeito. She’s going to have to work real hard. Kobato ponders why she didn’t get a konpeito for healing Kohaku’s heart. Ioryogi mentions she wasn’t hurt to begin with but Kobato is glad to see Kohaku happy.

In episode 5, Kobato thinks of reading a children’s story book A Firefly’s Light to the Yomogi kids but needed some practice. While doing so at the riverside, some guy, Soutarou Mori wanting to stop it. They notice him sitting dejectedly alone. Later as Kobato heads to Yomogi, it seems there are thugs trying to harass Sayaka to pay her debts and even get rough on Kobato! Fujimoto has his hands full but if not for Toshihiko crying wolf that the police are coming, the thugs would never have leave them alone. Afterwards Kobato sees Mori sitting at the same spot alone but he refuses any help. When she returns home and learning that Fujimoto is her neighbour (you know how much she annoys him and now this), she finds out that Mori was a famous author wrote that book, which happens to be his last. She confronts him and wishes him to go watch the fireflies together. That night, she learns that Mori wrote the story while his late girlfriend Naoko Niimura drew the illustrations. She had always wanted to show him this place where the fireflies are but he was always giving excuses that he’s busy meeting deadlines. Then one night she got into an accident which opened his eyes but it was too late, she was gone. As they walk deeper into the forest, they see the beautiful sparkles of the fireflies and this brings back nostalgic memories to Mori. You can tell his heart is healed not only because he isn’t seen at his usual place but Kobato has got another konpeito.

As Yomogi are set for their day field trip in episode 6, Kobato picks up a threatening call from Okiura. He wants her to tell Sayaka that he won’t put off the deadline to pay off her debts any longer. When Kobato tells Fujimoto about this, he wants her to keep quiet and not tell Sayaka. Meanwhile Ioryogi goes to do more investigation by visiting his bear buddy Genko (partly he loves eating his baumkuchen). After Ioryogi leaves, he is confronted by another old wolf pal, Ginsei. He isn’t happy that Ioryogi isn’t going back to the other world and thinks it has something to do with that girl but the latter warns if he touches Kobato, he’ll kill him. Kobato and the kids are having fun at the park. Which kid wouldn’t love playing hide and seek with Kobato since she’s so dense she probably couldn’t find anybody no matter how hard she tries. This is going to take long. I guess she needs indirect help from Fujimoto to find them. As it’s time to go home, they notice one of them is missing, Marina. Fujimoto and Kobato go search for her. Thankfully they find her sleeping near a tree. Yeah, Kobato took too long to find her so it’s no wonder she fell asleep after tiring herself out to find a four leaf clover. The gang have their group picture taken when they spot many four leave clovers. Must be their real lucky day. Ioryogi is on his way home when he meets another old acquaintance in his pigeon form, Zuishou. He tells him Genko’s findings. The former chairman of Yomogi, who was Sayaka’s dad passed away 2 years ago, was tricked into making some loan. And one of the swindlers is a relative of Sayaka. Ioryogi fears that Yomogi may be closed sooner if things get complicated.

As usual Kobato is clumsy while painting the furniture at Yomogi in episode 7. More of nuisance, is she? But that doesn’t mean Fujimoto should say cold words to her. Still, she is bent on cheering him up. Seeing that Fujimoto is a university student, Kobato notices he forgot to take his report and decides to return it to him. If she knows what a university is in the first place. Meanwhile Chitose meets Sayaka to offer some help in paying her debts since she too wants to protect this place and her daughters once attended Yomogi (having twins to play hide and seek is handy when you don’t know which one is it). Kobato eventually gets there and after spending time searching here and there, she bumps into a guy, Takashi Domoto whom she earlier spotted talking to Fujimoto. Nice and gentle Domoto offers to help Kobato look for that cold guy. Along the way Kobato notices Domoto’s helpful behaviour with the other students. So when they finally find Fujimoto, well let’s just say he’s refusing to help a couple of girls. Kobato is upset that he is harsh on them, gives his stupid report and leaves. She reflects on her words so Domoto talks to her. Domoto insists that if he wanted to help others, he would’ve turned other people’s help down (no spoon feeding, I guess) so he is envious of that strength Fujimoto has whom he also feels isn’t afraid to be hated by others. But Kobato thinks there is nothing wrong helping others because they look so happy when Domoto helped them. That night, Kobato gets a shock of her life when she receives another konpeito. Ioryogi says she must have healed Domoto’s wounded heart of being worried of what others think about him. The next day, Fujimoto thanks Kobato and even if it does seem cold, at least he said it. Plus everyone else thinks he is a kind person so poor Kobato is confused on what a strange person Fujimoto is.

Kobato finds a stray kitten in episode 8 and brings it home. But the twins say their apartment has a policy of no pets allowed since previous tenants complained about the noise. Calling it Milk, Kobato brings it to Yomogi and though the kids are happy playing with it, one of them, Yuzuru is allergic to cats. Another round of dressing down from Fujimoto that if she does things half heartedly or for personal satisfaction, she is no better than the ones who abandoned it. Kobato and the twins go door to door to see if anybody wants to adopt Milk but there were no takers. Finally their efforts pay off when Granny offers to take Milk in so that her grandson could play with it. That night on the rooftop, Kobato sings that lullaby to sooth Granny’s baby to the twins (still sounds off to me). After she thanks Fujimoto, she notices she receives a couple of konpeito for soothing the hearts of the twins when they felt the sadness of parting with Milk.

As Kobato hands out posters for the summer festival in episode 9, she meets a girl Natsuki Mizuhashi who lends her handkerchief to Kobato. She runs off when her classmate Yukino Morikawa comes by. After learning that the girls are from Seinan All Girls School (because that’s where Sayaka and Chitose studied before) Kobato decides to poke her nose. Making an unauthorized visit, she meets Yukino and later Natsuki who is cleaning the pool. After Kobato returns her handkerchief, Yukino excuses herself saying she has a part time job and doesn’t join them cleaning the pool. Kobato visits Natsuki and learns she and Yukino were once best friends but drifted apart. Then she visits Natsuki and learns she’s working to buy a camera because she’s interested in photography. Another flashback when the girls were best friends forever material and bought handphone straps for each other. One day Yukino and Natsuki meet each other so Natsuki chides her for trying to act like a professional photographer when she’s not. Kobato goes to talk to Yukino but she wants to be left alone. Natsuki goes home and realizes her handphone strap is missing and frantically searches for it. Kobato chips in and they finally find it in the dumpster. Finally Kobato brings her to see Yukino. Both girls reconcile and become friends once more. Kobato is rewarded with 2 more konpeitos. Hmm… The bottle still looks very empty…

On a sunny Sunday in episode 10, Sayaka is doing her book-keeping but finds she is still short on what she needs to clear her debt. After Kobato helps her air the futons, Sayaka shows her photos of Fujimoto when he was young. He was an orphan and was taken in by Sayaka’s dad to live with them. He was unfriendly and never mixed with the other kids. Sayaka noticed he loved playing the organ. One day while they were growing sunflowers in the garden, a ball came flying and hit one of the kids. A couple of guys climb in to retrieve their ball and accidentally ruin the garden. Though the guys apologize, Fujimoto saw how Sayaka stood her ground even if she was trembling. After fixing the wounded sunflower, Fujimoto then played the organ and cheered the kids up. Sayaka mentions how Fujimoto take up many part time jobs to help pay the debt and since he aspires to be a lawyer, burns the midnight oil with his studies. She’s afraid he may end up getting sick. After Kobato leaves and a visit to Kohaku, she returns and his happy to see Fujimoto. She starts spilling out how he looked cute when he was young and loved playing the organ. Too bad Chitose and the twins really want to hear more much to his horror.

Kobato wants to help out with Sayaka’s debt in episode 11. So upon Chitose’s recommendation, she finds herself helping out Ueda and his assistant Yumi Oomura at Tirol. Kobato notices Yumi’s fingers have lots of band aids. She works hard and surprisingly doesn’t screw up probably Yumi is there to guide her. Closing time, Ueda wishes Yumi not to push herself hard since her injuries haven’t healed yet. Yumi thinks Ueda has got some problem and it may have something to do with her. Kobato asks him directly and of course he doesn’t give her a direct answer. Then Sayaka pays Tirol a visit. Yumi mentions about her ex-husband which makes Sayaka a little uneasy. Kobato decides to play detective to find out about Ueda’s problem. Would it be more effective if she doesn’t go around announcing to strangers that she’s a detective? She and Yumi tail Ueda into a cafe and see him meeting with a woman. Yumi panics that he may be on a date and since they’re noisy, Ueda spots them. When Ueda catches up to them, he explains he was conducting an interview for a new part time since Yumi hasn’t got time to rest. Yumi says that she’s happy working with him even if she doesn’t get to rest and the reason she got her injuries was because she was trying to bake him a cake so that she could help out. He tastes it and finds it delicious. Ueda offers to practice baking with her. With that Kobato earns more konpeito as she is happy how both employer and employee think alike.

Ginsei pays Genko a visit in episode 12 as we learn the 4 realms of Heaven, Hell, Spirit and Human. Each world is not allowed to interfere with the other and only the Human realm is ignorant about the existent of the other realms. Ioryogi wanted to take something from Heaven and waged war against God. But he and his team were unsuccessful. As punishment they were transformed into their animals form and Ioryogi bearing the worse (because he’s a stuffed toy). Until Kobato’s wish comes true, Ioryogi can’t return to the Spirit World and will remain in that form. The usual antics at Yomogi and since Fujimoto only really listens to Sayaka, he has no choice but to go to university with Domoto. As Kobato and Ioryogi are resting at the playground, Ginsei suddenly attacks him and steals Kobato’s bottle. Ginsei and Ioryogi confront each other and the wolf doesn’t understand what he sees in her. Listing Kobato’s bad and good traits that she puts others before herself, Ginsei thinks of breaking the bottle so no wishes could be made. Ioryogi begs on his knees not to do so. Noting how much he has changed ever since being with that girl, Ginsei puts the bottle down and disappears. Ioryogi has to play like a stuffed toy when Fujimoto comes passing by. He soon returns it to Kobato who is looking for Ioryogi.

Autumn arrives in episode 13 and Ioryogi reminds Kobato of her mission. Well, her bottle is half full. Not bad, eh? Not. At Yomogi, Toshihiko and Yuzuru are fighting over the limited toy blocks. Kobato tries to quell them but eventually Fujimoto has to put his foot down. Because the kids say he can throw away the toys, this upsets Fujimoto as he just leaves. After telling Sayaka about it, Kobato gets an idea. She brings them to a giant ginkgo tree whereby they collect its leaves to make art. Toshihiko and Yuzuru make up when several construction workers arrive. They say they’re going to cut down the tree tomorrow after receiving complaints from the neighbourhood. Early next morning, Kobato goes to the tree and spots Kohaku there too. Then she hears comments from passers-by which made the tree insignificant or they don’t care about it. Kobato deeply cares for the ginkgo so Kohaku uses her powers to translate what the tree is saying (hey, trees are living creatures too). It is grateful to Kobato though it has resigned to its fate. Kobato got desperate that she tried to dig up the tree?! Kohaku stops her and tells her about the same case of a fuji tree she met. Then they start singing Ashita Kuru Hi that the tree crashes down. No, it’s not their horrible singing, mind you. As Kohaku mentions, the tree was happily sent off by Kobato’s song. And Kobato gets a konpeito because of the soul of the tree. Hmm… If she does this to lots of other trees, maybe she can fill up her bottle. Back at Yomogi, Fujimoto is seen carving pieces of that ginkgo tree into more wooden toy blocks. So how useful trees are?

Yomogi are helping an old lady pick sweet potatoes in her little farm in episode 14. They notice a kid stealing some but he escapes before they could do anything. Though the gang roast some of the delicious treats back at the centre, Kobato picked too much so they have to give some away. Sayaka requests Kobato to accompany Fujimoto as she wants her to know the neighbourhood better. Who wouldn’t refuse a free treat? When they give some to Granny, they see the potato thief, Keita and this time Fujimoto catches him. They learn he has run away from home and trying to return to his old place since his mom got a new job and moved. But he doesn’t remember it well. After giving vague hints of where his house might be located, they search for it and finally find the house but abandoned. As they talk, Keita mentions how his grandpa is always scolding him and thus the reason why he left his home thinking that grandpa hates him. But we all know it’s because he loves Keita very much. Fujimoto and Kobato related their experience with Sayaka and since Keita stole the potatoes so he could roast them here (because that’s what his family usually does), Fujimoto thinks he should take some responsibility and hand some back to his family. They accompany back to the train station whereby Keita’s grandpa is searching for him (earlier Fujimoto called him after noting the phone number on Keita’s bag). They are both reunited and as usual he scolds Keita but he knows it’s for his own good and that his family still cares.

Sayaka collapses one day at Yomogi in episode 15 so Kobato rushes to find a doctor and manages to get Shuuichirou. He diagnoses that she has a small stomach inflammation. She should rest and eat well for if this happens again, it may be fatal. As Fujimoto watches over Sayaka, Kobato takes care of the kids as they plan to fold 1000 origami cranes to make Sayaka feel better. That night Kobato seems a little down so Ioryogi thinks her memories may be coming back. Kobato learns from the twins to make porridge in order to help Sayaka recover. Fujimoto smelt something from the kitchen and to his horror sees Kobato making her… Poison? You know that could really kill instead of heal. Fujimoto teaches that klutz how to make one. Kobato starts crying (partly of his usual cold words) so he shows that he isn’t a cold hearted ass as he comforts her that Sayaka won’t die. Sayaka has a taste of it and finds it delicious (Fujimoto’s cooking of course). Kobato ponders why her konpeito hasn’t increased yet so Ioryogi sarcastically mentions how she was sent to heal people’s hearts but let others did it instead. Next day Sayaka is up and all better.

Kobato gets an idea to hold a bazaar so they could raise money in episode 16. But Fujimoto being the pessimistic meanie shoots her down. Not until Sayaka steps in. As the kids bring stuff that they don’t want to sell, Kobato draws up posters for the bazaar (not that her drawing is god anyway). That night, Kobato sees the person who made that threatening call to Sayaka, Okiura, her ex-husband. He tells her to prepare to move out as he will close down the day care when the time comes. On the day of the bazaar, Ioryogi leaves as he promises to bring back something she can sell. It is starting to rain and the sad part is that the bazaar is going to be a failure since nobody is showing up. Then Chitose and her daughters arrive after hearing it from Kobato. When she mentions that there were no posters announcing of their bazaar, Fujimoto thinks it’s the doing of that guy. Kobato decides to run into town and tell everyone about the bazaar. May sound foolish but in the end, streams of people start flooding Yomogi! It’s turning into a lively affair and it’s starting to be sunny too. Anybody who went around shouting about the bazaar may be deemed an idiot and embarrassing but you know, Kobato is one and doesn’t care about that.

As Kobato continues with her bazaar announcement in episode 17, she accidentally steps on returning Ioryogi. He looks messed up. This was what happened. After Ioryogi left, he went to Genko’s place for his usual baumkuchen. Since that doggy is eating into his profits it’s understandable that he only gets a box free. Even that Ioryogi is complaining he’s being stingy. On his way home, he gets hit by a football, flown away on a sheet (like a magic carpet), got pecked by crows and fell into a pond while trying to protect his precious box. Then he got lost and found himself at an amusement fair. To make things worse, some staff thought he was a prized doll and made him a prize for a shooting gallery. Panicking Ioryogi avoids all the shot so much so he became a very wanted target as he is the only one left standing. Soon everybody tries to shoot him down including a double shotgun-wielding granny known as Sniper Okana-chan! Oh sh*t!!! Even if everybody fires together, Ioryogi doesn’t fall. He finally did when a little boy shoots him. Just as the staff goes to pick him up, Ioryogi uses this chance to escape before being seen. That’s when he chances upon Kobato. He gives her words of encouragement about the bazaar like never give up no matter how tough it is. She is shocked to see the good response when she returns to Yomogi. After the bazaar as Kobato walks home, Ioryogi mentions how he is going to savour every bit of the baumkuchen but realizes the box is missing. To his horror, Kobato says she has sold it because he did mention he wanted to bring back something to sell so that baumkuchen must be it, right? ARGH!!!! All the hard work of protecting it gone. Punishment time.

It’s winter in episode 18 and Kobato’s bottle is about 4/5 filled. She notices a debt collector under Okiura standing outside Yomogi. Though he doesn’t do anything, this is scaring away the parents and preventing them from sending their kids over. Fujimoto can’t press charges or call the cops because he isn’t doing anything. Since Kobato’s attempts to learn more about Okiura from Fujimoto are futile, she and Domoto try to persuade the underling to not close down Yomogi. Like he cares but he suddenly experiences stomach discomforts and collapses. They call the ambulance and accompany him to hospital. Fujimoto calls Okiura to inform him about this but the latter isn’t moved and remains on closing down Yomogi. When Kobato and Domoto return, as usual Fujimoto gives her the cold shoulder. Then at the park, Domoto listens out to Kobato as she ponders why Fujimoto is angry at her. He says that she is honest, kind and always trying her best so she feels better.

Even if it’s Christmas, Fujimoto acts indifferent to her in episode 19. This scene has become so typical. Domoto accompanies Kobato and they see Fujimoto doing his part time job selling Christmas cakes. Yup, the same heartless bastard. Kobato still thinks that what she said may have angered him. She gets to know from Chitose that Fujimoto was always alone on Christmas Eve. Flashback reveals that he made dinner and was expecting with high hopes mom to come back. Since she didn’t, he decided to go fetch her even if it’s snowing heavily. He waited outside the train station but she never turned up. He was so sad that he cried out so loud. Ever since that day, his mom never returned and was soon adopted by Sayaka’s dad. Then after the Christmas party for the Yomogi kids, it takes no genius to figure out how Fujimoto treats poor Kobato. So it’s no surprise that she cried when she poured out her sorrows to Domoto. She doesn’t know why but every time she thinks of him her heart hurts (could it be love?). Domoto knows what present to get her. He confronts Fujimoto and wants him to bring a letter to Kobato. He tells him straight that his (stinking) attitude is hurting her and wants him to go to Kobato while he fills in his part time job. Since he’s not a total devil, he rushes over and quickly states how it was never her fault. Then they open the letter and it seems cheeky Domoto has brought Kobato her present: Fujimoto. She realizes he helped them to make up. Kobato starts singing as the snow falls while Ioryogi mentions that he will have to part with Kobato when spring comes.

Since Valentine’s Day is approaching in episode 20, Kobato thinks of holding a Valentine party to cheer Sayaka up but needs to take lessons to make chocolates. Surprisingly Fujimoto encourages her though overall he is still the same. At least he learnt his lesson. Now if you’re familiar with CLAMP’s works, you would have already recognized some of the cross-over characters from their other series. While Kobato is working at Tirol, she happens to bump into the dimension travelling group from Tsubasa Chronicle: Syaoran, Kurogane, Fay and Mokona. Since Sakura isn’t with them, I’m guessing it must be after the Shunraiki arc. At the park, Kobato learns more about these travellers and it’s amusing to see the gang tease Ioryogi and Kurogane that they’re alike because they both are voiced by the same seiyuu. Kobato offers them to temporarily stay at her place. In order to help pay for their stay, Fay suggests Syaoran and Mokona accompany Kobato while he and Kurogane do something else. As Syaoran and Kobato chat about the former’s travels, when he mentions about the person waiting at the end of the travel, Kobato gets a short snippet of her memory, possible the place she wants to go and person she wants to see. Hmm… Looks a lot like Fujimoto. That night Mokona signals it’s time to leave for another dimension (no feather?) so Fay tells Ioryogi to keep an eye on Kobato as she seems at unease and though people from other world could only watch over her. As Yomogi have their Valentine party, the kids asks Kobato whom she will give her chocolates to but she spaces out. Ioryogi is visited by Usagi and he knows Kobato’s time is running out.

Kobato leaves some chocolates for Fujimoto on his door in episode 21. While she is playing with the Yomogi kids, Okiura shows up and insists he wants to talk with Sayaka. Fujimoto is hot headed while Okiura remains cool. He tells them to evacuate the place and to get their priorities right. Is it the kids that they want to save or this ‘box’? Sayaka agrees to close the day care but wishes he will postpone it after graduation. Kobato thinks of going to talk to Okiura. That night Fujimoto confronts his underling (the hospitalized one) and from what I understand, the real culprit is Okiura’s dad and that Okiura is playing the bad guy to protect Sayaka. Because he felt indebted to Kobato, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone anymore or make a big fuss out of it. Soon graduation day passes and Kobato still don’t understand what made Okiura and Sayaka’s relationship turned sour. Chitose replies that they probably loved each other so much that it led to misunderstandings. Kobato goes to Okiura’s office and since she wasn’t allowed in, she really waited in the rain just for him to show his face! She really does have lots of patience considering she doesn’t have much time left. So finally Okiura shows up and I guess Kobato’s earnest feelings reached him if he really cared about Sayaka. He mentions he no longer has the power to stop his dad so Kobato is relieved he doesn’t hate her and collapses. Meanwhile Fujimoto faces Sayaka and tells her the truth. He wants her to be happy and that she has to be by his side though she isn’t ready to forgive him. Then Okiura comes back with Kobato in his arms. When Kobato wakes up, she wants Sayaka to go after Okiura if she still loves him. She does so and they both reconcile and embrace. Though Kobato is glad it turned out this way and secures another 2 konpeitos from the healed hearts, she notices Fujimoto’s disturbed look.

In episode 22, Kobato helps Sayaka pack up their stuff from Yomogi. A lot is going through Fujimoto’s mind that he almost got run over by a truck. Kobato, Sayaka and the kids watch Okiura’s underling demolish Yomogi. He mentions how Okiura won’t be showing up for a while as he is trying to deal with the higher ups. Meanwhile Ioryogi is meeting his other pals and he is thinking of kidnapping Usagi. However Genko scoffs his idea off that they don’t want to bear the brunt again. Perhaps God was trying to teach him the meaning of patience so Ioryogi assures them he won’t do it. Sayaka tells Kobato that she realized she has been a burden to Fujimoto and wants her to be by his side and tell him to do the things he likes for his sake. Fujimoto got into an accident during his delivery job but luckily it wasn’t serious and just got his arm broken. When Kobato and Domoto go fetch him, he walks off. Kobato follows him and tries to cheer him up but looks like his bad mood is back because he tells her off that he doesn’t need her pity and she’s a nuisance. That hurt Kobato’s heart very much though she wants to tell him how much he misunderstood. Then Usagi appears and Ioryogi pleads to give her at least 1 more season and will do anything but Usagi refuses.

Kobato refuses to be down and since Chitose did mention it, she is glad to be by Fujimoto’s side in episode 23. Okay so in a way I guess she’s being more of a nuisance than help because of that boating folly that got him wet. So he tells her straight that he wants to be left alone since he hasn’t got a chance to relax with her around. But that was just for a brief moment and it won’t be long Kobato starts following him again. Then when they return, Kobato receives a flower from Usagi and know what that means. Next day she packs her bags and tells Chitose that she has to leave. When Fujimoto learns about it, he rushes out to find her. Oh, now he cares. At the playground, Kobato shows her bottle to Usagi but it isn’t enough. Ioryogi pleads that Kobato is a pure human and did her best and doesn’t want her existence to be erased. Kobato has accepted her fate and thanks Ioryogi for everything. Just then Fujimoto comes by and gives them a brief reprieve. He questions her about her sudden departure. He gets more shock when Ioryogi starts talking to him. Kobato takes off her hat and a crown is seen floating on her head. Ioryogi explains her soul doesn’t exist in this world and was given a chance by the higher ups to be reborn in this world. However she chose to spend her time with Fujimoto rather than fulfilling her contract and thus it will be annulled. Teary Kobato has no regrets spending her time with him whom she considers special. Fujimoto can’t believe all this is happening and doesn’t want her to leave. His will is so strong that it broke Usagi’s barrier to teleport her away and fill up the entire bottle! His 1 heart can do that?! Must be a very wounded heart. However even though this means her contract has been fulfilled, Ioryogi remembers the discussion he had with Kohaku: Though Kobato’s wish has changed, her contract didn’t so it’s more like a curse now. Ioryogi pleads to Usagi to let her stay in this world but it’s still a no-no. Kobato feels the warmth of his konpeito and soon disappears to the place she wants to go.

In episode 24, not only Kobato’s presence has been erased from the Human world, but in the memories of those she met as well. It has been 3 months since the demolition of Yomogi as everyone resumes their daily life but something is bugging Fujimoto as he can’t put his finger on it. On a rainy morning, a konpeito fell off from his shirt and his starts remembering who Kobato is. He goes to see those who met her but they still don’t remember her. Till he meets Kohaku and is told the truth. Long ago, Kobato got into an accident in the Human world and died. Her wish was to cross time and be reborn next to the person she loved most. She accepted the trial to have that wish and was granted a temporary soul. Kohaku also mentions how she and Shuuichirou parted many times but they will always meet and be together since they have the same soul and their hearts bonded even if their previous memories were wiped out. Four years passed and Fujimoto is now working as a lawyer and handling an inheritance case. While having a look at the mansion at the countryside, he sees a piano and starts playing, bringing back nostalgic memories he spent with Kobato. The supposed owner comes in and she looks like Kobato! No memories of Kobato, though she heard him play Ashita Kuru Hi. Fujimoto gives back the konpeito to her and wants her to sing that song again. She does so and slowly her memories came back. Revealing her wish to be next to the person she wanted to be with most, teary Kobato hugs Fujimoto who welcomes her back. We have a glimpse of the lives of others Kobato touched like Sayaka and Okiura operating a new day care together, Domoto becoming a doctor while Ioryogi watches Kobato from a far and the rest of his pals still stuck at the baumkuchen house.

It was a good thing Kobato and Fujimoto were reunited. It would be totally a bittersweet ending if she hadn’t since she was working hard in filling up her bottle (excluding the frolicking parts but some are a blessing in disguise I suppose). I’m not sure if the place and person whom she wanted to be is Fujimoto in the Human world or in some other time-space because it sure looked like him (at least from his back) and Kobato looked like a little girl then. But Fujimoto from I can see at the end has sure changed. He doesn’t seem unfriendly or cold anymore and for that last few moments, he smiled more than he did in all the other episodes combined. You don’t know the value of something once you have lost it. Sure he was a friendly guy who doesn’t want to burden others but that doesn’t mean you should show your grumpy face to others, especially to a cheerful girl.

Kobato’s enthusiasm and positivism is something that all of us should be emulated. Not her clumsiness but I guess nobody is perfect. That girl never gives up and strives to do her best with a smile. Thus it’s like her favourite catchphrase each time you hear her say “Kobato, ganbarimasu!” (Kobato will try her best!). Perseverance is another of her strong point even if they seem hopeless from our eyes. While Fujimoto’s cold attitude may be seen as a factor to break her spirits but in fact in a way it makes her stronger. As mentioned her relationship with Ioryogi is most amusing. May seem like a trend in almost every episode when he gives her a taste of his fiery fireball but it never gets tired. And sometimes he paints scores with his paintbrush on her face for the task’s assessment. Due to the subjectivity, usually she won’t score full and even scores negative marks! But that damn dog has given himself a full 100 in the end, eh? While I understand that Ioryogi wanted to take something from Heaven and used Kobato for it, whatever he wanted to obtain doesn’t seem important anymore and made Kobato’s one a priority. Definitely time could even change somebody like him. I thought his other animal pals would have some sort of an impact but rather than revealing details of their Spirit world and what they did to end up in this predicament, I felt that they were mere side characters and nothing else.

When somebody like Okiura is being presented as the initial bad guy but later revealed the culprit to be somebody else, I should have seen it coming from miles away and across the ocean. Shame on me. You know this kind of genres, the bad guy isn’t really the bad guy. I guess with the demolition of Yomogi, the long standing issue between him and Sayaka has been resolved. I hope. That’s what his dad wanted, right? I may not have seen nearly every CLAMP’s work, but most of the supporting characters are crossover characters from other of their work. For instance Chitose and her daughters and Ueda are taken after the ones in Chobits and Kohaku from Wish. Perhaps I could identify more if I read or watch their works (like that will happen anytime soon). And thus the drawing and art sure do remind me of Tsubasa Chronicle especially some the characters who are tall and lanky. So if you keep your eyes peeled, you can spot a few trivia signs of other crossover characters whether they’re in the form of a company’s logo or advertisement. Oh notice this too? As each change of season, notice Kobato will change her outfit too?

The opening theme is sung by Maaya Sakamoto, Magic Number and is quite a lively pop piece that fits the personality of Kobato nicely. Both the ending pieces are slow and calm ballads and are sung by Megumi Nakajima. However I find the first ending theme, Jellyfish’s Confession to be a little odd sounding. Since the animation here shows Kobato’s bottle, I thought the konpeito in it would increase each time she earns them. But all we see are just 2 of them floating and bouncing inside them. Like a wallpaper, eh? I prefer the second ending theme, Watashi Ni Dekiru Koto but the odd part is that it appears very late at episode 20 and it’s a shame it only lasts for 4 episodes. That’s like after 4/5 of the series, eh? Kana Hanazawa sure did a good job voicing Kobato. She brings out the lively character in her and not only ‘soft speaking’ girls like Sora in Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~, Anri in Durarara and Kusano in Sekirei. Tetsu Harada is equally convincing in his Ioryogi role (Gorobei in Samurai 7) especially when he blows his top or starts getting loud. Other casts include Tomoaki Maeno as Fujimoto (Kouta in Nyan Koi, Touya in White Album), Fumiko Orikasa as Sayaka (Rukia in Bleach), Chiwa Saito as Kohaku (Kirie in Girls Bravo), Shinichiro Miki as Okiura (Creed in Black Cat), Hiroshi Kamiya as Domoto (Nozomu in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Series) and Houko Kuwashima as Chitose (Tomoyo in Clannad). With the abundance of casts in this series, there are other seiyuus also making their cameo appearance voicing the side characters like Aki Toyosaki, Ayako Kawasumi, Jun Fukuyama, Marina Inoue, Misato Fuken and Tomokazu Seki among others.

Considering the amount of sadness in the people’s hearts all over the world, I think if there was a job that requires what Kobato is doing, we’re going to need a much bigger bottle to heal them. Yeah, touched by a Kobato, you could say. I wonder if those hearts that Kobato has healed, will they ever be broken again? Where would the konpeito filled with healed hearts go to and for what purpose? Maybe that is something we should leave for another story. So what did I learn from his anime? No, not rabbits floating down from the sky or dogs breathe fire or wounded hearts are made out of candy. Kobato is a funny girl! Haha, just kidding. When you are sad and down, there’ll always be something or someone to come cheer you up in your lowest point. Well, almost. I wonder if Kobato would come heal my broken heart if I watched a sad anime? Who am I kidding? I’m too happy watching my animes.

Kobato

I’m sure every island has a tale of its own. So by mixing it with magical girl elements, what do you get? You get Umi Monogatari ~Anata Ga Ite Kureta Koto~. Now I’m not really into magical girl animes these days but it never occurred to me it was so till I was watching it. But unlike ‘heavy’ magical girl themes, I find this one to be a little mild. Firstly, the transformation scene is so short that it hardly lasts around 5 seconds. Secondly, the costumes they transform into aren’t that elaborate. Heck, I was straining eyes to see what the difference was. Actually it isn’t that hard, just that I thought it would be something very fancy. Nothing like that. Hey, no magic wand? And lastly, how often do you get an old turtle as a magical pet? More like advisor here if you ask me.

Other than that, this series is your typical good versus evil whereby our heroines have to put a stop to the evil that has awakened that is threatening to swallow the world and plunge it into darkness. Sounds typical, right? Another thing is that I found out that this anime wasn’t based on a manga (though currently it has one and is being serialized in manga magazines), it is actually based on a pachinko game! I don’t know the details because I’m not a fan of those vertical pinball gambling machines. Hmm… But a story based on it? Yeah well, like animes adapted from simulation games I guess. Just amusing.

So as we see in episode 1, Sea dwellers Marin and Urin decide to return a beautiful ring believed to be dropped by a ‘sky dweller’. That’s their term for land dwellers. Well, if you live in the sea, then the top of the ocean is like a sky to you, right? Seems the sky (land actually) have many bad rumours among the sea dwellers though Marin is still persistent to go return it so reluctant Urin decides to follow. Looks like she has siscon. Upon reaching the surface, the town is in the midst of a summer festival as they hear a miko sing a beautiful song of the island. Kanon Miyamori is being made by her mom, Miyako (looks young enough to be her sister!) to do some fortune telling part time job. Must be a family tradition. Kanon is upset because recently her boyfriend Kojima dumped her and she threw the ring into the sea. Kanon’s dark aura is enough to scare anyone away! As Marin and Urin try to find out who the ring belongs to, Kanon heard them and is disheartened to see the ring. She tries to smack it to the ground! Before she could throw it away to the sea, Marin stops her. Though Kanon has negative thoughts whenever she thinks about the ring, Marin thinks her flounder-cum-boyfriend (in Japanese, flounder and boyfriend sound close to each other) has to be a kind person to give such a beautiful present. Then Kanon spots her ex-boyfriend, Kojima with a new girl. She is totally in a rage and throws the ring into the woods. Urin thinks the sky dwellers are mean as the sisters go search for it but to no avail. The perverted guys are staring at Marin because of her sexy swimsuit… Urin Wants to forget about searching and return home but Marin insists on continuing because she thinks Kanon has a beautiful heart too and shouldn’t lose that beautiful ring.

Night time as Kanon finishes her part time job, she is surprised to see Marin still looking for the ring. Then the fireworks startle Marin and Urin (who is searching elsewhere). After getting use to the loud noise and noting how beautiful they are, Marin felt Urin must’ve been afraid too. She and Kanon go look for her. Urin is running scared and slips down the forest path up the shrine. She spots the ring lodged between a stone coffin and its narrow gap so she tries to get it out. Though she is successful, she accidentally breaks a seal on the coffin. A voice tells her to open its lid and when she does so, this causes dark aura to hover over the island. A storm starts picking up as Urin cowers in fear while a lightning strikes a nearby turtle statue.

In episode 2, Marin and Kanon find Urin as the sisters emotionally reunite. Marin thanks Kanon and hugs her, saying she loves her (no yuri thoughts here). But Kanon says she isn’t into that (told ‘ya). Then the statue turns into a walking and talking moustachioed turtle in a hat! I thought he was going to change into Master Roshi! Marin recognizes him as the legendary turtle who went to the sky and never returned, Matsumoto. A bright Bermuda Stone floats from Matsumoto’s hat to Marin’s palms. This proves that she is the Priestess of the Sea who has been chosen to defeat Sedna. But Kanon thinks it’s an elaborate scam to buy those fake stones so she leaves in a huff! Matsumoto explains the evil Sedna who was sealed in the coffin has been released to the world. She has the ability to truly plunge people’s hearts into darkness. Her ability will truly awaken if she reunites with her other half which is sealed in the sea. Matsumoto transformed his body into stone and slept in preparation for this. However Marin alone can’t seal Sedna as they need the Priestess of the Sky if they want to truly defeat Sedna. Kanon meets Miyako who teases her about her evil aura and fate to be a fortune teller.

At the beach, Kanon sees a red haired lady and her freaky movements freak Kanon out. She is trying to capture Kanon as she runs but gets bound by her hair. Matsumoto, Marin and Urin arrive on scene. Upon the turtle’s advice, Marin uses the stone to transform (not much difference in clothing except her hair grown longer). Marin fights the lady who is the servant of Sedna wanting to feed on Kanon’s evil aura to Sedna. Kanon still thinks they really went this far to sell those stones! Then another bright stone floats from Matsumoto’s hat into Kanon’s palms. Matsumoto can’t believe this evil aura girl is the Priestess of the Sky. Kanon is reluctant to fight or get involved so guilt ridden Urin reveals that she broke the seal and pleads for her to save Marin. Kanon also felt she was responsible that this wouldn’t happen if she hadn’t thrown away her ring. With that, Kanon transforms (her miko outfit looking more like cosplay) and together they both attack the enemy. Before their spell could kill her, Marin stops it and thinks she has met her before. As she hugs her, she turns out to be an octopus friend from the sea. Freed from Sedna’s spell and returning to the sea, Matsumoto says she was transformed into a soldier of Sedna. He also notes the impossibility of purifying it rather than killing it. Something that has never happened till that. He adds it was their ancestors that sealed Sedna ages ago and are destined to meet. Kanon is still unhappy all this happened especially she almost lost her first kiss to an octopus. Marin returns Kanon’s ring so she leaves and says they won’t meet again.

Kanon wakes up next day in episode 3 hoping to forget those events. When she comes downstairs, she is shocked to see Marin, Urin and Matsumoto watching TV drama with Miyako! Miyako even wants Kanon to listen to Matsumoto’s advice! Kanon doesn’t want to be a fortune teller so she mentions of her dream of going to university and moving away from this island to a new city life. Marin and Urin are happy to see a little ocean in their home (the toilet bathtub actually) so they soak themselves in it so much so Kanon can’t bath in peace. As the sisters borrow and don Kanon’s clothes, they go help her with her part time job. Kanon spots an annoying friend of hers, Suzuki and goes into hiding. Suzuki is looking for her so Marin takes her in for fortune telling. Their conversation? Let’s just say Suzuki just can’t keep up. Suzuki mentions Kanon’s evil aura stems from when she’s young. She played an evil tree during a play and traumatized everyone. Scary. But she notes Kanon also took up dirty jobs that no one else would do and hate those around her to quarrel.

After Suzuki leaves, Marin says how she wanted to be Kanon’s friend but she dismisses it. Kanon doesn’t believe her and feels she’s the same like all those people who became close to leave her in the end. Kanon runs away but Urin catches up and chides her attitude. Teary Urin says if she doesn’t want to be the Priestess of the Sky, then let her take her place so she can help Marin and then return to the sea. But she can’t because she has no powers. Then a pair of lolis, servants of Sedna confront them. One of them tries to kiss Kanon! To take her evil aura lah. Marin senses the evil and rushes to the scene to transform and fight them. Though she tells Kanon to run away, she’s having a tough time handling them herself. Kanon reflects on Marin and Suzuki’s nice words. Seems she took the dirty jobs because she didn’t want people to hate her but didn’t think they would think of her like that. Kanon decides to join the fight and with their combined powers, purifies the lolis (a pair of puffer fish) and sends them back to the sea. Later Kanon visits Suzuki and gives her a discount coupon to her fortune telling. Though she hasn’t decided on becoming a fortune teller, she knows she doesn’t want to go to university now. For now, she’ll work on becoming pure.

Sea dweller Warin thinks of going to save Marin and Urin in episode 4 since they haven’t returned for days but Sam thinks they’ll be alright. Warin also felt an ominous aura ever since they left for the sky. Because Kanon still has bad memories of this island, the sea and the ring, she wants Marin to keep it. She is reluctant so Urin decides to keep it instead. In order to purify the Priestess of the Sky faster to prevent Sedna’s revival, Matsumoto gives Kanon a treasure map to the maze-like Kagerou Island cave. Marin follows her but Urin isn’t allowed to since Matsumoto thinks she’ll be a hindrance. But Urin decides to go save her sister after hearing legends that the cave has dead pirate spirits from Miyako, though it was a joke. Marin and Kanon reach an area in the cave whereby a sunken pirate ship sits. As they have bento on it, a mysterious figure suddenly approaches them. Turns out to be Sam and Warin. Though protective Warin is happy to see Marin, she isn’t with the sky dweller and has her suspicions and thinks Marin has been tricked, etc. Because of that Kanon and Warin don’t get along. Sam though doesn’t think this cute girl could be evil. Due to Kanon’s bad experience with guys, this made her snap, blaming guys for being irresponsible and kicks Sam away. Her evil aura is absorbed by a skull as it turns into a pirate lady. Proclaiming to be Sedna’s servant, she orders her undead pirate army to take Kanon. I think Sam’s a flirt because he thinks the pirate lady is cute too but gets hit away! Urin and Matsumoto arrive. Marin transforms to fight them but Kanon can’t seem to transform. Water starts gushing into the cave as the sea dwellers get swept under. Warin wonders why Marin is trying so hard to save Kanon and goes to protect her. Then it hit Kanon how much Warin loved Marin. She is then able to transform and defeat the enemies. As they swim ashore, it’s revealed Matsumoto’s hidden treasure turns out to be an exchange diary with Utsushima, the first turtle he fell in love with. Once you read it, you’ll be able to get your pure heart back. Seriously? She’s not a turtle or in love lah… Warin and Sam return to the sea as Warin is confident leaving Marin and Urin in Kanon’s hands.

Kanon makes a necklace for the ring Urin is carrying in episode 5. People are arriving on the island to watch the solar eclipse. Matsumoto is stumped at Kanon and Miyako selling fake charms but it’s a sell-out since all the ladies buy it like hot cakes! Matsumoto warns Kanon to be careful as this period her heart may engulf in darkness and will never love again. Kanon is still sore about her breakup with Kojima. Marin assures her everything will be alright. She’s so friendly with Kanon that Urin felt left out. During the partial eclipse as the gang watches the phenomenon, Kanon panics when she gets a call from Kojima but didn’t answer. Urin teases her when suddenly Marin felt cold and starts chiding Urin for being useless. However her body is moving on her own and not under her control when she did that. Poor Urin runs away in tears. Kanon and Marin go search for her but Kanon bumps into Ooshima, Kojima’s new girlfriend. Hey, note the meaning of their names. Big island, small island. Haha. Ooshima is b*tchy and arrogant but felt she lost out when she sees Marin’s proportions. Ooshima seems to know about Kanon’s rings because she was the one who chose it. Kanon and Marin leave to continue their search. Marin ponders this feeling since she and Urin have never argued before. Kanon gives her words of comfort about loneliness and being sisters but Marin felt colder as the eclipse continues. Urin is on a rock as she takes off the ring. As the eclipse nears completion, she puts it on her finger. Suddenly it starts emitting evil aura.

Urin notices she can’t take the ring off in episode 6. Then she sees a little crying girl separated from her mom. She’s saying how she hate mommy because she’s paying more attention to the baby then her. But when mommy arrives, they are happily reunited and the girl’s happy again. This has Urin to think that sky dwellers are self centred. The eclipse seems to be lasting longer than usual and swarms of dark butterflies fly to the island. Miyako is trying to catch them in hopes of selling at a high price to collectors but is soon confronted with a twintail lady. Matsumoto believes she is Sedna’s servant and is after Miyako’s evil aura (like mother, like daughter – we all know where Kanon inherited it from) and tells her to make a run. Marin starts breaking down when they are being confronted by the twintail. To Marin’s shock, she can’t transform so Kanon suggests to run. The ring on Urin’s finger absorbs into her body as the butterflies engulf her. Marin and Kanon arrive at the cliff and hear the miko sing. The eclipse clears up and Marin’s heart feels better. When they reunite with Matsumoto and Miyako, they plan to search for Urin but see her coming out of the woods. Relieved Marin rushes to hug her citing she’ll never leave her but Urin seems lifeless and indifferent. Everyone goes home to eat. Matsumoto is surprised to learn that Marin is the one who can’t transform. Urin excuses herself as Kanon notices a dark butterfly mark on Urin’s finger. As Marin washes Matsumoto’s back, the turtle wishes Urin to return to the sea and let Warin and Sam take care of her since Marin’s priestess job may be a handful. But Marin insists that she will stick by Urin’s side. That night the twintail visits the house and Urin confronts her. Noting how she rejected Sedna’s power, Urin absorbs her powers instead. The twintail reverts into its original form: A yellow turtle. Then Urin tells Marin she’s returning to the sea alone because she can protect herself and also has the power. She’s sick of staying in the sky and tolerating sky dwellers and blames everything on Kanon. She disappears right after exiting the door, disheartening Marin.

After realizing Urin’s departure, they stumble upon the yellow turtle in episode 7. Matsumoto recognizes her as his daughter, Ichikawa. Hey, I thought he was a statue for hundreds of years? Miyako throws a celebration feast but Marin wants to go save Urin. When Kanon tells about the butterfly mark on Urin’s finger, Matsumoto fears the worst. That mark is Sedna’s mark and she may have possessed Urin to release her other self sealed in the sea. Speaking of which, possessed Urin is already unsealing the tomb. Marin jumps back into the save to save her. Matsumoto tells Kanon to find Porterius ring that will enable her to breathe underwater. He wants Ichikawa to aid her while he follows Marin. They search the house and since Ichikawa doesn’t know how it looks like, it’s trial and error. You know Kanon’s family with has lots of fortune telling stuff so this is going to take a while. She’s going to drown at this rate testing each suspected item. Kojima happen to come by since Kanon isn’t picking up his calls but she tells him she’s busy. Then it occurred to her how her famed pickles tasted good throughout the generations. She finds the ring in the pickle pot. Meanwhile Ooshima is trying to seduce Kojima and confess her feelings in an underwater boat ride. But they suddenly see Kanon diving down in her swimsuit. Since Kojima is complimenting it, Ooshima is bent on destroying her for running her crucial moment. Marin and Matsumoto meet Warin and Sam just outside the sea tomb. Marin is desperate to save Urin but a monster squid attacks them. Marin can’t transform and takes a beating. She could’ve been squid chow if Kanon didn’t arrive in time to save her. Because Marin is breaking down, Kanon handles this and even manages to purify it. Then they head into the tomb but the seal is already removed and Urin enclosed in a cocoon. Marin tries to persuade her not to take such powers but she blasts them away while noting she’ll take Marin back from Kanon.

A flashback of Marin and Urin happily playing together in the sea when they’re young in episode 8. The gang wakes up a distance away and Marin still wants to do her rescue mission. She hasn’t accepted the fact Urin had rejected her and is still hoping she is waiting to save her. Upon Matsumoto’s advice, Warin accompanies Kanon back to the surface. She learns about the life of the sea dwellers from their birth and how close Marin and Urin are. Kojima stops by Miyako’s house since he’s concerned about Kanon. Ooshima tries to act like a nice girl to avoid that school swimsuit girl version of Kanon to eternally embed in Kojima’s heart (haha). However she ends up having to help him search for Kanon. Not that she likes it. So when Kanon does return, she sees a bunch of miscalls from Kojima like a stalker. Then an unknown surprise call turns out to be Ooshima. “GO AND DIE, school swimsuit girl!”. Another problem… Kanon meets Ooshima and it seems the latter wants the former to properly break up with Kojima. Plus, Ooshima isn’t really dating him. Flashback reveals Kanon and Kojima’s argument stemmed from some exam ranking. Kanon took his remarks of his falling grades as an insult that she’s smarter than him. She even tells him to dump her. He went off without saying anything. Ooshima isn’t happy Kojima is persistent with that stupid girl. Seeing them at the fireworks display then was a setup so Kanon could see them easily and also she lied about choosing the ring but it was Kojima instead. He has always thought about Kanon. I guess Ooshima is really in love with him that she’s brought to tears that she has to suffer this kind of bad joke. Why does she have to have sad memories just to like him? Why isn’t she good enough for him? Why does it have to be her? That’s how love works, baby. Kanon too cries seeing that she still likes him but Ooshima says she won’t lose to her yet. Stubborn Marin decides to go back and save Urin but there’s an evil barrier. Upon contact, it tries to suck her in. Warin manages to pull her out. She chides Marin for not thinking straight and should focus on getting her priestess power back. She suggests going to Kanon’s place since she has evil aura and yet can transform. Insult or compliment? Like fighting fire with fire, eh?

When Marin returns to the surface in episode 9, she pleads to Kanon in tears to help her transform. After identifying the possible cause, Kanon takes her to Suzuki’s place whereby she suggests doing yoga. Marin is a natural while Kanon is having a hard time keeping her balance and posture. Suzuki tells Marin how everyone avoided playing with Kanon when she was young but Suzuki didn’t find her to be so. As Kanon and Marin continue their yoga at the beach, they see Ooshima (looking at the dark sea calms her heart?). She plans to confess to Kojima and wants her to stop her half hearted attitude and face her without hesitation. Release all her evil aura at full power and attack? Must be mocking her magical girl transformation practice she spotted. Later Marin chances upon Kojima at the bus stop. He tells her about the time they first met when he first moved to this island and lost his way. He noticed Kanon was always alone and unwilling to get close to others. Gradually as Kojima interacted more with her, he developed feelings for her and even confessed out loud at the library. In front of everyone. Shhh! Keep your voices down. Kojima tells Marin the meaning of the island’s song: Sung to suppress separation and sadness suffered by the islanders. Also the coexistence of light and shadow. Marin reflects the events that has happened and so does Kanon who is elsewhere. Kojima and Marin head back to the beach as Kanon shows up. Before he could confess, antennas swiftly wrap around Kojima and drag him into the sea. Both Kanon and Marin are now able to transform. It seems a pair of Sedna servants has Kojima in their hands. They plan to kill him so as to taint their hearts.

As they tighten their grip and start blaming Kanon for everything in episode 10, Marin thinks Urin can hear her. She pleads for her to stop and return to her side. This causes Urin to slightly snap out of her spell. The servants also lose grip and fall unconscious. Both priestesses go save drowning Kojima but manage to escape to land before the darkness in the sea engulfs them. Sedna controls Urin once more and awakens in her body. Wow. Now she has giant butterfly wings. She spreads her darkness throughout the entire ocean making it red and turning every sea creature into her underling. Why do they all look like teenage girls? I wonder what happens if all planktons did turn into her servant. Overcrowded… But Marin’s determination is so great that she purifies them all. When Kojima comes to, he thinks Kanon and Marin were mocking and laughing at him. He has had it with Kanon and is through falling in love. Marin notes he is possessed by Sedna’s darkness because this isn’t his true feelings. Ironically, those who are very pure are vulnerable to Sedna’s darkness. And you though being 100% pure would make you safe. Ooshima stumbles upon Suzuki (also possessed) so the latter scorns her. However Ooshima isn’t moved and even challenges her to use lines that have more impact and lose her footing. Here’s one: Kojima hates you. Oh sh*t. That really did have an impact. I guess Ooshima isn’t that pure after all seeing she didn’t get possessed. After Suzuki left, Ooshima is glad to see Kojima but he tells her not to see him and that she’s a bother. That really hurt her heart and you can’t help feel pity even if she’s a b*tch.

Kanon and Marin return home to discuss how to defeat Sedna but to their surprise see Urin. But they realize it isn’t her because of her butterfly wings. Sedna via Urin wants to swallow everyone’s heart with darkness and ‘thanks’ Kanon and her evil aura for calling out to her (showing her ring as proof) making her feel guilty. Because Marin still wants Urin to return, Urin slightly returns to herself for a little while. But she notes how she still doesn’t want to come with her. Noting her darkness powers aren’t enough, she flies away. Matsumoto decides to tell them how to reseal Sedna since she has no real body and can’t be completely destroyed. The method is to use Spear of Radiance and thrust it into Sedna’s core. Since this unprecedented event has her possessing Urin, she might also be sealed or worse, killed. Marin can’t accept that and breaks down. She can’t leave Urin alone and wants Kanon to seal her with Urin if she has too. But Kanon tells her to get a grip and won’t do that because she’s her precious friend. Kanon brings them to a small shrine on a cliff. It’s believed that if you put small stones into it and pray, the sea will wash away your sorrow. After memorizing the Spear of Radiance, the girls still have no intention to kill Urin and will separate her from Sedna. Just then, Ichikawa is consumed by the sea’s darkness and turns into her lady form. To make things worse, Warin and Sam appear to kill both priestesses.

The possessed trio try to convince Marin to return to Urin in episode 11. Blaming Kanon and Matsumoto, they try to get rid of them. Wow. Matsumoto can really fight and hold his ground! He’s pulling off punches and stances! Don’t mess with this turtle. When Marin sees how painful they are, she purifies them. But it has no effect. Instead the darkness becomes intense as the trio turn their attack on Marin. But with combined powers of Kanon, they manage to purify the trio and the sea. They bring them back to rest at Kanon’s home but they see Miyako also possessed by the darkness as she doesn’t care anymore. Marin, Kanon and Matsumoto return to the sea tomb but sense the evil weakened and Urin not around. Returning to Marin’s home, they see Urin sleeping, much to Marin’s relief. Urin tells about her scary dream and voice in her head telling her Marin hates her. When she mentions about defeating the sky dwellers with her, Matsumoto realizes Sedna still possesses her. Urin spots Kanon so she panics and escapes. Returning to the ruins of the tomb, Urin is disheartened Marin has sided with the sky dweller. Sedna’s voice propels her to turn to the dark side. Both priestesses combine their powers to purify Urin but it seems she’s absorbing their powers. Because of that, they return to their normal selves and are no longer priestesses. Urin lets the darkness engulf their heart. As they lay helplessly, they see visions of not only their sorrows but other people’s as well. Then they realize the hearts of darkness are the countless sorrow the islanders threw into the sea. That is Sedna’s true identity: Darkness made from thrown away feelings and not one who could turn light into darkness as Matsumoto believed.

Sedna tells Urin that unless Marin accepts the darkness, she will disappear like the rest. In episode 12, Urin is unable to feel sad as Sedna mentions she’s been released from her everlasting sorrow. Urin approaches Marin as they both embrace and then takes the latter away. Urin says it would’ve been better if they’d never met so she won’t see her so sad. When Kanon comes to, she tells Matsumoto Sedna’s true identity before searching for the sisters. Urin brings Marin to the coral reefs and is going to make Marin hate her and accept the darkness. However Marin will never do so even if she loves someone else or hates her because Marin simply loves her very much. Emotional Marin hugs her but Sedna is trying to resist. Urin still has a little light in her heart left and feels she is the only one who can seal Sedna. Each time she thinks of Marin, this causes Sedna pain. But it’s risky since Urin will disappear too. Kanon holds back emotionally wreck Marin while trying to convince her little sister to do things together again. Seems Urin too wishes the same causing Sedna to desire the same thing. The girls hug and in the end Urin and the rest of the ocean is purified. In the aftermath before the sea dwellers return to the sea, Matsumoto mentions the rule of both sea and sky dwellers aren’t supposed to meet. But since both priestesses are special, perhaps 1 day the rule may change. Urin returns Kanon’s ring as Marin and Kanon hug each other. Kanon finally manages to say “I love you” to Marin. Lastly Kanon tells Kojima she’s transferring to another high school and manages to eke out her confession that she likes him. Not sure if Kojima was being a doofus not hearing it properly because he wants her to say it again! Her pals and Suzuki even heard it as cocky Ooshima believes the competition has just started.

If you buy the DVD, you get an extra episode 13. A year has passed and Kanon returns to the island. First thing Miyako did was to put on the fortune teller gear on her! Didn’t she miss her? Money more important. Meanwhile the sea dwellers have their own sea festival. Sam selling sea grapes, Warin doing limbo dance (are the fishes perverts? How the heck can they clap?), Matsumoto doing a butler cafe and Ichikawa a maid cafe as father and daughter fight over Urin as their customer. Urin goes to see Marin who is doing fortune telling. Did Marin adopt the evil aura from Kanon? Kanon finishes her fortune telling job and sees Suzuki. It isn’t long before Kojima and Ooshima come by. Ooshima hasn’t changed a bit. Still arrogant and telling Kanon off to give up her long distance relationship, bla bla bla. The sea dwellers spot a lost dugong calf and decide to help look for its mom. Sam the self proclaimed leader of the dugong search party gets into sorts of troubles while Warin is like why-you-so-like-that. Urin spends quite some time with the dugong so it’s no wonder it feels attached to her. She feels like a big sister. Kanon has got a boat licence, rented a boat and invites Kojima to go diving. Ooshima invited herself though she has lots of complaints. Seems Kanon took up oceanography to learn more about the ocean. As the duo dive, they spot a mother dugong stuck between the rocks and help free it. Urin and the calf wander too far and almost got sucked in by the undersea current. They are holding on tightly to Marin. The calf gives out a cry so its mom comes swimming to it. Marin uses her little powers to bring everyone to safety. As the dugong family parts, Marin and Kanon think they may have spotted each other from a distance. When Kanon and Kojima return to their boat, he asks why she took up oceanography. She replies to protect this ocean for the sake of the girl she can never meet again. Kojima is confident her feelings will reach her.

I’m not sure how many specials are there but they come along with the DVD. Entitled Marin No Kore Naani, each special lasts around 3 minutes and are nonsensical fillers. The only one I have watched is called “Apron”. Yeah, the girls donning their apron and trying to help Kanon make bento for Kojima. So we get all sorts of apron types like Kanon apron over her swimsuit and the ultimate one from Ooshima, naked apron because she is kiasu. Sam in an apron? Each have their own ideas on what ingredients to put in like Urin putting in total opposites such as salt and yogurt for pudding while Marin freaks out every time a sea creature is suggested. Like sacrificing a comrade, eh? Then they need some eggs but it seems the only one they found are turtle eggs. Wait a minute. That old bugger… He’s still going strong. In the end Ooshima just mixed everything in so the bento looks like a killer that made Kojima want to die rather than eating that sick fusion.

I guess the ending was rather okay for the TV series. Good triumphs over evil. Until the next time. However something still bugs me about Sedna. If she is made out of the islanders’ sorrows and its manifestation, then what was sealed in the coffin in the first place? If all that about Sedna bringing darkness to the world is just what Matsumoto misbelieved, then it just doesn’t add up, right? Why was she trying to feed on Kanon’s dark aura when the sea is full of all those sad thrown away feelings? So is Sedna gone for good? Not if people still have sorrow and hate. Overall the pace of the story is calming and slow so much so during tense moments and the fights, I don’t feel that there was any threat that would ‘move my heart’ or any sort of rush. There are also funny times during the initial episodes when the characters turn chibi and Kanon’s evil aura and habit of making money but those are minimal. Then when Urin got possessed by Sedna, it nearly became a tear jerker due to the amount of tears the girls shed in almost every subsequent episode. If it didn’t end on a good note, I would’ve classified it as a tragedy. It was sad that Marin and Kanon couldn’t even meet in the final episode though they came close. But I’m sure they have their memories to go by.

The tear jerking part can be mainly contributed to Marin. At the start she was the cheery and helpful sea dweller who loves everybody and does good. Then when she realizes she lost Urin, she became an emotional wreck and could think nothing but saving her sister. It’s the opposite for Kanon. At the beginning she was reluctant to get involved in fear she may be lonely again. But she gradually opens up and ironically though she is the one with evil aura, is the rational one among the priestesses as they battle against Sedna. It’s like switching roles. You can’t blame Urin for turning to the dark side because all she wants is to be with her sister. She gave in to the darkness at the weakest moment. Though she was the one who unsealed Sedna, in the end it was her own heart that helped sealed her back. I thought Matsumoto was just going to be a side character providing lip service and bumming around but he made me have second thoughts after that close combat quarters. At that point I thought he may even pull off some Dragonball move, no? So never judge a book by its cover. I wished he had more scenes doing just that. Otherwise Ichikawa felt really more like a side character. Probably one with the easiest dialogue lines going “Kyuu~” all the time and the only time she spoke was in her human form. Even that was just briefly.

I have to admit that the most amusing character has to be Ooshima as she provides most of the comic relief due to her b*tchiness. I never get tired of her when she’s really acting up every time she’s talking to Kanon. You can never get Kojima’s heart no matter how attractive you are, girl. As for Sam, it still bugs me if this guy is a womanizer. To him, every girl he meets is cute. His flirt isn’t just limited to just any girl but even to the sea creatures. The island’s miko is still a mysterious character. I thought she would be Sedna because she’s always standing on a cliff singing and if she’s not doing so, she’s talking in a rather strange accent. Another thing that I’m pondering is Matsumoto don’t really worry he has to hide from the sky dwellers. Normally, one would freak out if they see a talking turtle but it seems he didn’t take any measures to hide this (at least not many islanders come into contact with that turtle). Maybe he’s more focused on defeating Sedna.

Aki Toyosaki who is the voice behind Ooshima proves that she can voice girls who aren’t just ditzy or airhead like Yui in K-ON! or moe ones like Uiharu in To Aru No Kagaku Railgun or Lisa in Seiken No Blacksmith. She sounds pretty damn convincing sounding the arrogant b*tch Ooshima is. Congratulations. However I find Miyuki Sawashiro’s role as Kojima to be unfitting because it made the guy sound like a girl. I know she has voiced male roles like Shinkurou in Kurenai but I felt a guy should have taken this role better. Other casts include Kana Asumi as Marin (Yuno in Hidamari Sketch series), Minako Kotobuki as Kanon (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Yui Horie as Urin (Kotori in Da Capo), Houko Kuwashima as Sedna (Sango in Inu Yasha), Junji Majima as Sam (Aoki in Kodomo No Jikan), Yukari Fukui as Warin (Sara in School Rumble) and Rokuro Naya as Matsumoto.

In line with the calming pace of the series, both the opening and ending songs are slow and calming. You can close your eyes and imagine the vast blue ocean if you want. The opening theme is Violet by Marble while the ending theme is Toumei Na Inori by Masumi Itou. During the ending credits animation, I was thinking when would that prince-like character would show up. Then it occurred to me that it was just a story Marin and Urin are watching. I guess that’s how sea dwellers have bad perception of sky dwellers because from what it seems the prince, a sky dweller and his love, a sea dweller were very much in love but in the end he married a sky dweller. So sad Urin had to be comforted by Marin. Another odd thing I want to point out is the background music of the series. As far as I am concerned, all of them are calm or jazzy. What is wrong? During fight or tense scenes, such music are played! It’s like as though there’s no sense of threat or danger whatsoever. It feels a little weird that a battle is taking place but they place this kind of soothing or jazzy piece. Like I’ve said, probably everything was done for the calming theme of the series.

On a trivial note, the next episode preview segment has Marin spouting short informative details about the ocean or the creatures in it. Like you know, male seahorses do actually give birth instead of the female. In the end, Marin always tells viewers that she loves everyone. We should do that too in real life. Each of the episode title has the word “heart” in it, referring to the situation of the hearts of the heroines in that episode. On an unrelated note, when I first heard Urin’s name, it conjure thoughts that she was named after… Let’s just say it has something to do with pass water… And if she was the elder sister and her little ones call her “Urin nee…”, well, it certainly looked like it, doesn’t it?

So I guess based on this series, everyone has a little darkness in their hearts. Throwing them away may be a good thing as I have always thought since it’s better to feel happy than to be sad. But in place of your happiness, your sorrows have to go somewhere, right? At least in this anime. Thus it’s like a never ending battle between the light and darkness. For darkness to exist, there must be light and vice versa. Call it yin and yang. Though I may not have taken a liking for the ocean after this anime, going around spreading happiness to others may not be my specialty. Especially if I have to use stones to transform myself and fight possessed beings. So I guess I’ll have to watch more animes and increase my happiness levels and keep my depression at bay. Anime-tachi, aishiteru! (Animes, I love you!).

Umi Monogatari

Wandaba Style

December 18, 2010

It has always been man’s dream to land on the Moon. Oh wait. They’ve already done that back in 1969. So I guess the next step is for man to establish a new civilization. From this point of time and the technology available, seems like a long shot, isn’t it? So what are the chances of even putting up a first live concert? Like a dream, eh? But sometimes it is those same dreams that makes the impossible possible. So landing on the Moon isn’t just leaving your footprints on the surface but footprints in history and in the hearts of the people. But a concert? Using a bunch of ex-idols who have no astronaut training whatsoever? And behind them all is a brainy rich kid whose inventions could put modern scientists to shame? You’ll have to watch Wandaba Style to find out.

As episode 1 opens, we see the so called genius but sleazy manager, the agro haired Michael Hanagata telling his superior (always having a hand over his mouth?) his new idea that will boost TV ratings. He has gathered a former nursery song singer Sakura Haruno (no relation to the one in Naruto), former enka singer Himawari Natsuwa, former folk singer Ayame Akimo and former rock singer Yuri Fuyude to form a group called Mix Juice. But his superior isn’t excited because the new craze now is to go to the Moon. A young rich genius kid, Dr Susumu Tsukumo and his assistant Kiku #8 are planning to just go there as he rents a couple of airplane carriers. Apparently he doesn’t believe men has already planted the flag there back in 1969 and he plans to leave his mark there. Well, even as of today, there is that controversy that Neil Armstrong ever did land on the Moon. Meanwhile the ex-singers are trying to gather people to attend their Mix Juice debut concert. You can tell that they’re way past their prime time because the situation they are in now seems pathetic. Like Himawari working at a construction site, Ayame doing street performances (she sees fairies in the form of little green macho men with wings?!), jealous Yuri trying to disrupt a rock concert of a rising rock idol and Sakura trying to sell her underwear via online auction (it’s fetching a high price! Perverts!).

Tsukumo plans to go to the Moon using a high speed catapult because he believes the traditional way of blasting fossil fuel with carbon monoxide will cause damage to Mother Nature. How considerate! In addition to being a genius, he’s eco-friendly too. After meticulous preparation and calculation, Tsukumo launches Kiku into orbit in his Wandaba machine, surpassing the speed of sound. However due to some measurement conversion difference and discrepancy (Tsukumo uses the old Japanese metric system by the way), Kiku is thrown out of orbit. Ah well, nobody’s perfect. Kiku has no choice but to orbit the Earth and Moon before landing back in 7 days. In that period, Hanagata appears before Tsukumo and offers him to take his Mix Juice girls in. He agrees. Meanwhile Mix Juice arrives at the shopping complex rooftop for their concert debut and all 4 can’t get along with each other. Their manager Hanagata makes the unpopular fallen idols go out to stage. Since there’s only 1 microphone, they all fight for it and end up tearing each other’s clothes. Naked. So the end result is that the audience got visuals of naked fanservice instead of hearing their voices. How embarrassing. Back in the dressing room though they vow to continue, Hanagata throws them jerseys and brings them to Tsukumo under the excuse that they’ll perform a concert on the Moon. Sakura teases Tsukumo as a kid so he throws a fit. While doing so, he notices the cork of the champagne bottle blasting off so he decides to send them to the Moon in his Wandaba Style. At the end of each episode, you’ll get to know the number of days for the deadline to reach the Moon via Kiku’s Countdown Corner. And for a start, it is 83 days left.

Kiku is falling into orbit in episode 2 and the re-entry burns up her clothes leaving her naked. And she’s cheerful about it? Why? Since she mentions the satellite as her sisters, this should give us a hint that she’s a machine. Meanwhile the gang are in Guam to catch Kiku. Hanagata and the girls just wanna have fun. They also meet Ichirin, a scooter-like robot-cum-bodyguard-cum-talkative-good-advisor. Not sure about the ‘good’ part, though. Tsukumo assigns the girls to catch Kiku while he and Ichirin scoot away! Oh, the sh*t they’re going to face! Kiku crashes into them so much so it causes a tsunami! They’re riding the wave! Back in the base, they learn about Kiku being a satellite and her naked body using the solar energy to recharge. Sakura teases Tsukumo as a boy and thinks he has such fetish. Back to business, Tsukumo will have the girls go to the Moon via carbonation like the champagne cork. After having them enter Wandaba Mark II (looks like a giant bottle) in an elaborated set up, Tsukumo fills it with lots of carbonated water and food. He asks the girls for their weight but they are reluctant to tell. You know, girls… Hanagata has the details as their manager and would gladly tell for a price. Tsukumo agrees and uses their weights in his calculations. Then it’s lift off. Everything seems to go according to plan till they reach orbit. The capsule goes off course as Kiku says the weight was heavier than expected. Seems Hanagata lied about their weights due to some showbiz thingy where nobody actually says what they are to be popular. Tsukumo ejects him. Good riddance. Then a little chaos ensues. Tsukumo learns Yuri has acrophobia (fear of heights) and Sakura has achluophobia (fear of dark) while Himawari is feeling ‘sea sick’. To add to their misery, Kiku explains they’re on an eternal flight between the Earth and Moon! Tsukumo realizing that they have no aptitude to be astronauts, will find a way for them to get to the Moon and wants them to come onboard his Wandaba Style. Like they haven’t been into enough trouble already. Kiku’s countdown = 76 days.

Hanagata prays at a makeshift grave of the Mix Juice in episode 3. But he’s just putting a fake front because he’s happy he’ll gather a new bunch of New Mix Juice! He’s already starting auditions! Too bad Tsukumo says they’re all doing fine (arguing, that is) because they’re returning home soon as they didn’t really deviate from the satellite orbital path. Bummer. When they touch down, they aren’t happy to see Hanagata. Plus, they’re tired of going through this and can’t work together anymore and retire to their respective rooms. Tsukumo whispers his plan to Hanagata. Something about the stratosphere and he’s happy he’s going to make some money there. As Mix Juice rest, they pick up their CD album and start listening to their song. Then it’s Wandaba time but the girls can’t hear Kiku’s announcement. Tsukumo sets a series of mechanism (moving floors?) that forces the girls to their designated positions. This time they’re in a space shuttle powered by helium gas. Hanagata rushes off to tell his superior to broadcast the breaking concert at the stratosphere. He is however not convinced because the previous attempt at Mt Fuji flopped due to thin air so with the stratosphere having thinner air… You go figure. But Hanagata is adamant it will work because… THEY DON’T NEED OXYGEN! WTF?!

At the stratosphere, Kiku cues them to get along and get ready to sing. But this causes them to remind of their sour relationship. Soon it turns into another all-out argument. During the heat, one of them slams Kiku into the window. It breaks and causes the air to be sucked out. They would’ve been goners if Kiku’s butt wasn’t there to plug it albeit not enough. At the same time, Hanagata has his crew broadcast the live convert but they see Kiku’s butt! Sakura convinces the others to use their jerseys to block up the remaining gap. When the crew switches to inside the capsule, they see the girls stripping! Though the gap is block, the capsule is running out of air. Kiku unleashes the emergency replacement air and enables them to start singing. However all of them start to have high squeaky voices! They sound like chipmunks! Yeah, it’s helium air. The broadcast is cancelled, Hanagata in tears because his show flopped and Kiku’s countdown is 60 days.

They continue to float in orbit with squeaky voices lamenting their fate in episode 4. Sakura takes out on Yuri whom she blames since she has fainted from acrophobia. Hanagata does another prayer for the ‘departed’ Mix Juice as he thinks their career is over after that embarrassing stint. But Tsukumo isn’t going to lose his precious pilots yet so he and Hanagata enter a rescue capsule to rendezvous with the girls in space. Hanagata and Mix Juice aren’t on talking terms as usual. They start arguing of wanting to go back to Earth when their voices return to normal. Hanagata makes a total u-turn having confidence in them to sing on the Moon. Yuri wishes to sing there at least once because they have the music and if they want to quit, they can do it anywhere. She wants to be number 1. Tsukumo’s plan now is to use Earth’s rotational power of 16,000 kmph to swing them to the Moon. After that technical lecture of stationary satellite, the girls get into Wandaba Mark IV and with a cable attached to it from Earth, after getting enough velocity, the cable is cut and their capsule on its way to the Moon. Kiku starts feeling sleepy because her inner batteries are low so she goes offline. Tsukumo realizes the moon eclipsing the sun so at this position they’ll go off course to Uranus. That’s 12 years! Sakura blames Yuri so the latter takes responsibility to get them back. They strip Kiku to her undies and let her drift outside in hopes the sun will recharge her power. Yuri shows her maturity and shuts the rest up as she receives Tsukumo’s commands to release air from their air valve to change their orbital path. Since she’s slow, she has to redo it several times. The other girls chip in but they fail. The air in the valve is almost used up and they only have 1 last chance. When they start singing, Tsukumo gets an idea. They will press the button according to the song as timing. Hanagata says “You can die singing!”. Like hell they’ll die! They’re successful as Kiku is recharged and guides them into re-entry while Tsukumo wonders what went wrong since his theory is perfect. Kiku’s countdown now stands at 62 days.

As the girls chill out and complain about their astronaut job in episode 5, it’s Wandaba time once more! However they’re whisked to a giant experimental facility in the guise of an amusement park. As Tsukumo said, all the rides here are experimental. The girls try out 1 but felt bored by the end of it. Hanagata disagrees with their attitude and wants them to scream more. Why? Because the owners of a famous amusement park are trying to find performers to promote it and want to see whose scream is better. A new idol group, Tricolor is seen as their competition so Hanagata tells them to win even if they die! Under his advice, Tsukumo activates dangerous obstacles during Mix Juice’s ride to make them scream (seems fake). In the end, the owners feel Tricolor’s final scream made a big difference. Hanagata isn’t taking this well and shows them how it’s done. Telling Tsukumo to up the blast, Hanagata is really blasted into orbit. Tsukumo agrees with Hanagata that the girls are weak at the finish line when they could’ve won. The girls disagree and blame him that he is the one who is so and his inventions for screwing up at the last minute. Upset Tsukumo tells Kiku to let them test the world’s greatest roller coaster.

As the girls being the ride, they start to have that bad feeling because of that Wandaba time theme song! Tsukumo explains his linear motor principle in which Wandaba Mark V converts energy of the future. Some force continuously attracting the car and causing acceleration. Hanagata is falling from orbit and crashes into the electricity supply causing the entire park to blackout. The girls are relieved when the ride stops at the end of the rail but this means they will slide back! It’s dangerous since they’ll crash into the starting wall like crash dummies. Tsukumo is bent on saving them and rushes there on his trusty Ichirin. I don’t know how but he’s using Ichirin to stop the speeding car! Serious?! And no serious damage too?! Probably his determination got it to stop just before the wall. A few more inches, the professor and his robot would really be flat. Notice how the girls were really screaming for real all the while? In the aftermath, the girls thank him and note how his invention nearly worked. But Tsukumo seems gloomy and acknowledges that he himself is weak at the finish line again. Kiku’s countdown = 55 days.

Mix Juice saw a glimpse of their future working in dull and prospect-less jobs in episode 6. Seems they’re stranded on the beach with Kiku and Ichirin. This was what happened. When Tsukumo locked himself in his room due to depression, the girls gained weight by eating and sleeping since there’re no launches. Realizing how fat they’ve become, the start running and bump into 1 of Tsukumo’s inventions, a warp machine. Since it uses manpower (running like hamsters in wheels?), the gang test it out and the next thing they know, they’re in the future. Kiku notes it’s a time machine instead. So in order to go back to the past, they run in reverse. Well theoretically… It worked! However they’re thrown back to when Tsukumo is much younger living with his scientist parents. The gang see his carefree dad and strict mom. Tsukumo wants mom to cancel tomorrow’s space launch to the Moon due to some error her calculated since dad will be onboard. But she doesn’t listen and slaps him since he is persistent! That night as Kiku has nostalgic memories meeting her predecessor prototypes, she sees her own self which is still work-in-progress. Mix Juice go give young Tsukumo hope to go to the Moon so he agrees to test all his experiments but as expected, failed. At least the girls fared worst in the future.

Next day, the tired Mix Juice note how today is the launch. Tsukumo’s dad was never mentioned in history that he landed on the moon. That could only mean 1 thing but Yuri notes that they can’t change history. As the launch begins, it starts off well. Tsukumo’s fear is realized when the error occurs. However dad tells him to be a good boy and listen to mommy before all contacts were lost. Mom is still indifferent so this upsets Tsukumo. She tells him that sacrifices are necessary for scientific progress. Tsukumo vows he’ll beat her to the Moon and go there with his own methods. Tsukumo fixes the time machine and tells them to throw it away once they return to the future. He was trying to overcome distance, not time. Plus, he believes the fun in the journey not just the destination. Kiku hugs him and thanks him for everything. When the gang return to the future, the girls encourage Tsukumo to send them to the Moon. He gets his confidence back and is ready for his next experiment. Then the girls realize his dad is still alive. Due to the misaligned orbital path, he could only come home in 5 years! He’s living a carefree life in Canada now. And the girls thought they started to feel sympathetic for him. Meanwhile a pair of MIBs are observing them and contacting their superior that they’re on the move. Kiku’s countdown is 14 days. Wow! That’s a big jump!

Another failed experiment in episode 7 to land on the Moon. Mix Juice confronts Tsukumo who is busy designing his next experiment. He fails to notice their ragged jerseys so they bug him to make them new clothes. Yeah, their clothes ripped to pieces when they make sudden movements. For much needed fanservice, I guess. Then they fear the familiar music. It’s Wandaba time! Meanwhile Hanagata makes a shady deal with Tsukumo’s mom, Furoku. He also hears Wandaba time song but to his horror learns that he will be the one going to the Moon! Mix Juice finds themselves in front of Tsukumo’s clothes-making machine. Since each has their own style of what to wear, they start arguing. Tsukumo’s machine obtains feedback from them and creates a mix of their style with a hint of futuristic design. They like it and thank him but they soon want him to make new clothes for Kiku too. Though reluctant, Tsukumo gives in and it seems Kiku’s new clothes are the same design as her current one. Then Ichirin rushes in to show them a live broadcast. They see Hanagata on the moon! Hanagata who was reluctant to do anything decides to have his fun to become more famous. He even gets a call from his mom! Do they have reception on the Moon? Ichirin reports back the findings and it seems no craft has left Earth’s orbit. Which means the broadcast is fake! Tsukumo explains the tricks and other scientific stuff people use in movies or to train astronauts to make it look like Hanagata’s on the Moon. He also notes the broadcast as a failure as there’re many dead giveaways. Like the way the camera and Hanagata fall like as though it had Earth’s gravity. And the handphone call. That’s impossible, right? But it managed to determine his location. Speaking of which, they are surrounded by an army of MIBs. Tsukumo decides to ‘welcome’ them by firing missiles as distraction and then rides on Ichirin tagging Mix Juice along to where Hanagata is.

Hanagata remembers the time he wanted to become a singer but got so nervous on stage that he vomited! Thus he decided to be a manager and rake in the money from there. Then his suit ran out of air. As he lies on the ground, he spots the Moon up in the sky! Not to mention the ant he saw on the ground! Tsukumo and the girls arrive and explain that he has been deceived after revealing the props and tricks. Suddenly the spotlight is cast on Tsukumo. Furoku broadcast this and tells the world how Tsukumo is the one deceiving everybody while slandering and damaging the country’s scientific achievements. She will forgive him if he apologizes to everyone for his lies and shows her team’s preparations to land on the Moon. However Mix Juice stand firmly behind Tsukumo and will go to the Moon with him. Furoku makes a challenge to see who will land on the Moon first. If she does, she will take everything he has and he will have to do everything she says. Her son is unyielding and will make her regret doing so. Now Kiku’s countdown has increased to 55 days.

Tsukumo continues to work hard and Mix Juice notice his dirty white lab coat in episode 8. They decide to buy a new one via online shopping but realized they can’t afford it. So they choose to strip him and wash it instead. Hanagata is made to do another space experiment with Furoku. This time he has to sign a contract. Though he’ll get loads of money, if he fails he will die! Her MIBs forcefully make him stamp his thumbprint! Because of that, Hanagata goes to see Mix Juice and wants them to ride Furoku’s rocket but they turn him down citing their tight schedule and don’t want to betray Tsukumo. With his life on the line, Hanagata manages to convince Furoku to delay the blastoff till midnight. While Himawari is washing Tsukumo’s coat, Hanagata appears and tries to persuade her to do a solo debut because she has something different from the rest. But the only condition is to ride Furoku’s rocket. After that, he’ll announce the disbandment of Mix Juice so this would make her not breach her contract with Tsukumo. Himawari is in a dilemma. Because she is taking too long, Yuri goes looking for her but stumbles upon Hanagata. He too tells her the same thing! Then Ayame goes looking for them but Hanagata finds her first and the same solo speech with her at the diner. Finally he approaches Sakura and you can guess what he told her. What is that stupid threat that if they don’t come, he’ll haunt them?! That night as Tsukumo watches the news, he sees Hanagata hosting a broadcast of Furoku’s launch. He introduces Furoku as the main sponsor and the 4 pilots. The Mix Juice girls are surprised to see each other. But Hanagata says that Mix Juice has been disbanded and they are now known as Rocket Girls. He adds that they were the ones who decided to come. Sly… No choice, they enter the conventional fossil fuel burning space shuttle as it blasts into orbit. Furoku takes a little detour to hit Kiku’s sisters and Tsukumo knows she is purposely doing this to piss him off. Tsukumo calls Kiku to launch Wandaba Mark VI. Then Ichirin comes in with a bunch of white lab coats and it seems the girls did break their bank to buy it. Kiku’s countdown: 21 days.

Furoku’s team reach the Moon in episode 9 and it seems with her resources, a concert stadium has already been built. Mix Juice still feels guilty for breaking their promise with Tsukumo and wonder if they could perform in their spacesuits so no one could see their faces. Hanagata ticks them off about showbiz and the likes and since they’re still reluctant, he’s going to perform himself and be popular. The girls reflect on their trials and harsh life so they decide to perform. As Furoku broadcast her success to Earth, Kiku pleads to Tsukumo to create a little sister to send to space but he isn’t interested. Noting how humans aren’t interested in the sky and only what’s in front of their eyes. Mix Juice debut concert begins as Hanagata does all the backstage work due to lack of staff (heck, he’s the only one). Tsukumo uses his telescope to zoom in on the Moon. He is glad Mix Juice arrived safely and is performing. Then he broadcasts their performance to the world. Hanagata’s supervisor is trying to get Mix Juice debut CD to be broadcast and thinks Hanagata has done it. After the performance, the girls and Hanagata congratulate each other but Furoku mentions they aren’t going back to Earth. Well, the contract states of going to the Moon but nothing about coming back so there’s no breach. Yeah, they’re stuck, much to their dismay. Sorry, Hanagata. No reception to call your mother on the Moon. Tsukumo also realizes this since there is no capsule for a return trip but he decides not to rescue them since the girls’ agreed to her plans on their own free will. He sets his target to Mars since the Moon is conquered, much to Kiku’s dismay. Why do we need a countdown now that Furoku has touchdown on the Moon? Yeah, 14 days left.

In episode 10, Mix Juice is trying to persuade Furoku to change her mind but she’s adamant to stay and willing to be a sacrifice for progress in the name of science. Hanagata too thinks of going back home but since they’re stuck, might as well do some promo videos! WTF?! Furthermore, he thinks Tsukumo will come and save them but the girls think otherwise because they’ve betrayed him. Hanagata goes off alone, falls into a crater, briefly got abducted by aliens and comes into contact with a large diamond. He sees a little octopus-like blob and emotionally gets attached with it. Meanwhile Furoku shows them a little rocket. The girls think it’s their ticket home but it’s just enough to carry data and a guide post to the next people who will come to the Moon. After Furoku tells them to accept their fate, the girls fight each other to see who gets to ride on it back home (probably it had room enough for 1 person) but it took off since you know, you can’t wait for their argument to end. Kiku and Ichirin plead to Tsukumo to go save the girls but he is still stubborn. Ichirin tells Kiku to pack up and take the white lab coats with them. Before Ichirin leaves, he gives Tsukumo a few words of advice. The Moon is the closest satellite to us and we don’t know anything about it. If he’s trying to get there first and nothing else, then he is no better than those who have the same intention who are just to show off. Kiku and Ichirin are going to save the girls by themselves in Wandaba Mark VII but before they blastoff, they’re surprised to see Tsukumo onboard. After his long speech about different theories on how planets were formed, in short, he is going with them. Ichirin’s words must have got through his thick skull. Glad he changed his mind. As they blastoff in a capsule tied to a very long elastic rubber band tied down to Earth (seriously?!), we see Tsukumo’s dad returning and watching from afar. It seems he was the one who made Ichirin went through all that.

As Mix Juice resigns to their fate of staying on the Moon, they decide to sing one last time when they see a capsule come crashing their way. They are happy to see Tsukumo and co. They’re going back. Tsukumo confronts Furoku and wants to make peace with her and return with them. But she insists on staying. He tells her he doesn’t care about being 1st on the Moon anymore because the more important thing is that they don’t know anything about it. The next step is to see whether humans can live here and it would be a waste for her to end it here. She agrees and they shake hands. They don’t have much time since the rubber band is breaking. Then they realize Hanagata isn’t around but the girls are happy to leave him behind! Devils! So when Hanagata sees the gang leaving, he hurries up to catch them and I can’t believe he ‘swam’ faster than the capsule! That desperate, eh? Luckily Kiku and the girls form a human chain to grab him in as the capsule springs back to Earth. Must be a really long rubber band. When they land, Mix Juice has become popular as the media mobs them. Furoku thanks Tsukumo and leaves in her car. Dad is in it as he tells her how their son has surpassed them and to recognize his achievements. Why do we need Kiku’s countdown of 7 days for anyway?

Hanagata is back in his home in episode 11 spending time with the water loving blob he brought along from the Moon, Sachiko. He mentions how the girls don’t need him anymore since they’re famous. Speaking of which, they have legions of fans and are on the road to stardom. Mix Juice decides to pay Tsukumo a visit and hold a celebration party for their success. They try to call Hanagata but he doesn’t pick up. He must really love Sachiko, playing with it and taking it to the ocean as he notices it grows bigger each time it absorbs water. Then he gets a call from the girls and is forced to come to show his gratitude for being rescued. He leaves Sachiko to play alone but promises to be back. As the party starts, Hanagata is having the time of his life! Drunk and passed out! And he didn’t want to come… Lonely Sachiko grows into giant size and wrecks havoc on the city. The jet fighters’ missiles are ineffective. Tsukumo’s party is interrupted when they get reports of the rampaging monster and it’s heading their way. The girls want Tsukumo to defend his lab but since it has no weapons, Tsukumo plans to use a previous Wandaba craft and send it back to space. Using Wandaba Mark III, the plan is to grab Sachiko and let the craft fly into space while they abandon ship. The plan goes accordingly as everyone jumps off. Till it’s Hanagata’s turn. He realizes the monster is Sachiko and it came for him since he never came back. He is going to save it. The craft loses grip as Sachiko falls into the ocean. Tsukumo says at this point they have no choice but to electrocute the sea and blow it up. But Hanagata still wants to save it and extends his hand (he can pilot the craft?). But Sachiko pushes him away. Hanagata isn’t going to let it die alone and jumps down to die with it! Then an explosion occurs. However both are still alive as Hanagata says his farewell to Sachiko. They’re going to catapult it back to space. Hanagata does the honours and becomes inconsolable. Pitiful. At least he has a heart. Tsukumo ponders Sachiko may have come from a faraway place and has decided on his next experiment.

The Mix Juice girls are getting more famous in episode 12. But you know, so famous that they have differences and start arguing among themselves again. Yeah, they even have look-a-like groupies now. Except for Ayame because she has her Mr Fairies. Because they need to write a new song and have been starring at each other’s face for too long, they think of taking time off from each other. Meanwhile Tsukumo after getting inspiration from Sachiko has decided his next experiment is to venture into space like a spore. Using Wandaba Mark III, he, Kiku and Ichirin are floating above the Earth’s orbit. Ichirin and Kiku are against Tsukumo doing such an experiment as a human’s body isn’t built for such space environment adaptation. However he states he is never returning. Eventually Hanagata and Mix Juice all gather at Tsukumo’s lab and are surprised to find Tsukumo out in space. Then Kiku did the honours to Wandaba them all onboard. At that speed they’re screeching against the orbit on the cable, they should’ve been toast! Tsukumo uses a combination of his past experiments like Earth’s rotational power and carbonated power to propel him on course. He is set for this journey when he learns Hanagata and the girls are onboard. He decides to send them back and change the coordinates though they want to journey with him. Tsukumo learns this was all part of Kiku’s plan because she doesn’t want him to bite off more than he can chew and wants him to continue experimenting. Kiku asserts her love for Tsukumo so the rest tease their lovey-dovey affair and it’s getting hot. And I mean, really hot. Yup, they’re approaching the sun.

Using its orbit to swing back to Earth, however they enter a meteor field and it damages the capsule. After doing calculations, they have 1 chance but the timing must be accurate and they need someone behind to handle the controls. Hanagata volunteers himself to stay back and be a new legend since the capsule will be on course with Halley’s Comet. Mix Juice gets emotional and finally love their manager and thinks of staying back instead of him. Their emotional group hug is disrupted when Tsukumo forces them into the emergency capsule. He’s going to leave Kiku to pilot the craft. However Kiku mentions that she will only be back in 27000 years! That’s around 74 years! Tsukumo’s going to be a grandpa! Too late, Kiku has set her course with Halley’s Comet. When the gang crashes back on Earth, the girls still think they can go save Kiku so Tsukumo says that all he can do now is to keep going forth with his Wandaba and the girls should do the same with their own Wandaba. They have a Wandaba? He meant their singing. They hope they will come to their concert some day. As Mix Juice conducts their National Tour, a space craft comes crashing nearby. Looks like it’s Tsukumo all messed up but he has successfully rescued Kiku! Hooray! Their reunion is short-lived because Tsukumo wants them to come on his next Wandaba Style. Not again! Hey, I thought they’d follow him anywhere.

So are they going to hold another concert on the Moon again since the final conversations seem to be indicating so? It was a good thing that the gang still stick together at the end. Hanagata wasn’t such a bad person after all. Perhaps the meeting with Sachiko changed him, eh? At first he was a guy would not hesitate to do shady stuff for money and usually bearing the brunt of it (still does at the end) whether it is some unfortunate event or being blown away into the sky. What would we do without this comic relief guy? Hey Tsukumo, ever noticed how he is being launched to space? Perhaps he should consider this method of being sent to the Moon as well. Just put on a space suit with lots of oxygen. Hanagata grows into a manager who cares for his Mix Juice girls and didn’t care about his road to fame anymore. Though the Mix Juice girls are still quarrelling right at the end, at least their relationship is much better off as compared to the start. But their overall personalities still remain the same like Sakura’s mouthing off and smart alec behaviour usually gets others annoyed while Yuri may still have that stubborn pride as a rock singer and act tough. Don’t think Ayame will ever be cured of seeing her illusion Mr Fairy friends.

Tsukumo’s long standing rivalry with Furoku was perhaps the reason he was rushing to get to the Moon. A big chunk of the series seems to focus on just getting there but after Furoku did it with Mix Juice, the Moon mission doesn’t seem important anymore as the couple of last episodes threw in an alien life form and an eternal journey to the final frontier. It was a good thing that mother and son reconciled but I’m wondering if she would be continuing her own experiments after that. Tsukumo may not be successful in many of his experiments but at least he made a few friends along the way. Kiku’s love for him is unconditional because he put lots of effort into creating her so I guess it’s natural for a satellite to return the love to her master even if machines aren’t meant to have any sort of feelings.

An eyebrow raiser I find was about the time trip inconsistency. When the Mix Juice girls return back in time to see Tsukumo, didn’t they have an effect of the future by meeting young Tsukumo? And if that young lad had met the girls when he was young, he should at least recognize them when he first took them in for his Wandaba experiments, right? Or was it because he knew of it and accepted them when Hanagata offered him that contract? The seiyuus of Mix Juice sings both the opening and the ending themes of the series, The IJIN-DEN Tensai No Hosoku and Moon De Go! Go! respectively. I’ve got this feeling that both songs felt like a mix between all-girls group and surfer music from the 60’s. Must be the way they play those guitar riffs. Except for that insert song they sing all the time. Really does sound like an all-girls group pop song.

I guess on a subtle note they are trying to hint on the eco concept. Tsukumo’s ideas may seem ideal on paper but if they really do work, don’t you think those guys at NASA would have already figure it out? Don’t tell me they got those ideas from a bunch of manga artists. Besides, it won’t be economical or cost wise to do so. Yeah, it’s all about the money in the end. But if you still want to save money on paying astronauts, why not hire a bunch of idols as experiment subjects to do the job? Saves a lot. Just get ready for the incessant screaming. You don’t need to go to space to conserve and save the Earth. You can still do so like switching off the lights when you’re not using them. But ironically when I think about Tsukumo’s eco-friendly methods, it was just confined to going to space because I noticed his futuristic island lab isn’t. There are lots of mechanical stuffs, you know. I wonder what powers them. Don’t think hamsters or carrots did the trick.

On a trivial note, when I first heard about this anime many years ago (yes, I knew there was such an anime but did not have the chance to watch it due to many ‘circumstances’), the name of the series made me ponder what the show’s significance is. I mistakenly thought it has something to do with the Wonder Bra! Gosh. They sure do sound alike. Well, the series does have its fanservice moments after all (why do the girls wear the same coloured undies)? So what the heck does Wandaba mean? Definitely not found in any dictionaries. Probably just some catchphrase Tsukumo came out with. Even that background music went “Wandabadaba Wandabadabadabadaba…”. Something like that. Funny.

If you’re an idol way past your prime, doing crazy things may just bring you back to the spotlight. Whether for good or bad reasons, that’s another story. And though still costly today, you need to be multi-billionaire if you want to go up to space as a tourist. I think before we humans try to live in space, we should try living on Earth first. That means respecting Mother Nature and the likes. Man was made to be grounded for a reason and if God wanted us to fly, He would have given us wings. Oh, oh! I have a suggestion for Tsukumo that he might find useful to get to the Moon without hurting Earth. Built a long suspension bridge from the Earth to the Moon! It’s like making a staircase to Heaven ;p. Oh, it’s that sound, time to find my Wandaba!

Wandaba Style

For those who are familiar with SHAFT’s work, we all know this Japanese animation studio’s unique production in many of the animes they produced in terms of visuals and the gags they used especially for words filling up the possible space onscreen and the end card illustrations illustrated by different people. So in another versus blog, this one sizes up between the black comedy of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei against the supernatural occult comedy Bakemonogatari.

Series’ author
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kouji Kumeta.
Bakemonogatari: Nishio Ishin.

English name of the series
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Goodbye Mr Despair.
Bakemonogatari: Ghostory (a portmanteau/blend of Ghost Story).

The plot
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: A teacher and his students discussing, debating and poking fun about the aspects of life, world culture and language wordplay.
Bakemonogatari: A third year high school student who finds himself getting mixed up in all sorts of apparitions and myths.

The main guy
Note that they are both voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Itoshiki Nozomu.
Bakemonogatari: Koyomi Araragi.

His character
Refers to the main guy’s personality in general.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: The world’s most negative and pessimistic teacher and his favourite line is “I’m in despair!”. Tried killing himself many times but was unsuccessful.
Bakemonogatari: Will go all out to help those who are possessed by apparitions. An ex-vampire though with some of its side effects still lingering. Because of that, he can’t die due to self healing attributes.

His visual trademark
What you’ll notice about the main guy’s appearance.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Always wearing a hakama and kimono with still patterns.
Bakemonogatari: His ahoge (hair antenna) and his eyes portray the emotions that he is going through.

Near death experiences
They almost died. The poor main guy, that is.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: (Selected) An episode in the first season where he nearly died due to carbon monoxide poisoning (for hibernation purposes), an episode in the third TV series whereby the girls squeeze him to death to keep him warm, also another episode in that season how the girls each take a piece of him for wealth distribution.
Bakemonogatari: A brutal assault and then a bloody confrontation with Kanbaru’s Rainy Devil to free her from her possession, the snake that was strangling Sengoku almost suffocated him, the monster cat girl almost sucking Araragi’s entire life essence.

The girls
Somehow it does look like a harem…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: (Selected) Kafuka Fuura, Chiri Kitsu, Abiru Kobushi, Matoi Tsunetsuki, Kaere/Kaede Kimura, Harumi Fujiyoshi, Nami Hitou, Maria Tarou Sekiutsu, Kiri Komori and Meru Otonashi.
Bakemonogatari: Hitagi Senjougahara, Mayoi Hachikuji, Suruga Kanbaru, Nadeko Sengoku and Tsubasa Hanekawa.

Their unique characteristic
Refers to the girls’ distinctiveness that establishes their personalities.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Each of the girls’ names is derived from social issues which set the nature of their behaviour.
Bakemonogatari: Each of the girls possesses item(s) that represents and symbolizes a certain animal believed to be in apparatus form.

The main guy’s family members
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Majiru is Itoshiki’s nephew. Rin is his younger sister while Kei and Mikoto are his older brothers.
Bakemonogatari: Karen and Tsukihi are Araragi’s younger sisters.

Mysterious characters
Can’t comprehend the way they think. There seems to be an aura of mystery about him/her…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Fuura. You should tremble in fear the ideas she give for staying positive.
Bakemonogatari: Meme Oshino. An expert in the apparition field who lives in an abandoned school building, helping Araragi and the rest solve their apparition problems.

Split personalities
More than meets the eye.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kaede/Kaere can turn from a yamato nadeshiko (ideal woman) to one who sues for just about anything.

Bakemonogatari: Hanekawa can turn from a model and studious student to her alter ego which is a mischievous cat girl.

Speechless characters
Characters that don’t really utter a word.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Meru.
Bakemonogatari: Shinobu.

Yandere characters
Girls that have the potential to turn yandere and kill our main guy and leave the whole place a bloody mess.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Chiri.
Bakemonogatari: Senjougahara.

Stalker girls
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Matoi.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru (initially).

Fujoshi girls
Yaoi fan girls… Ironically notice how they are also both athletic?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Harumi.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru.

Lost girls
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kanako Oora – Seems to be staring into space. So she’s like perpetually lost in thought.
Bakemonogatari: Hachikuji – Can never get to her destination.

Old acquaintances
Refers to the character with past relationship with the main guy.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Ikkyuu – the self proclaimed ‘old friend’ of Itoshiki that turned out to be a ‘one day friend’ instead.
Bakemonogatari: Sengoku – Araragi’s childhood friend who calls him “Koyomi onii-chan”.

Class reps
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Though Usui is the real class rep, due to his ‘lack of appearance’, Chiri is viewed as the class rep.
Bakemonogatari: Hanekawa.

Girls with bandages
Do they turn you on?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Abiru – Due to the injuries she sustained for pulling animal tails.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru – she bandaged her arm to hide her hideous monkey paw which actually turns out to be a Rainy Devil.

The Miyuki Sawashiro factor
There is a character she voiced in both series. Notice both characters are the hyper active kind.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Maria.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru.

Temple
I remember an episode with a temple shrine in it…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: There was an episode in the first season whereby the class takes a field trip to Kyoto and at a temple whereby a monk enlightens about the use of previews.
Bakemonogatari: In an episode of Sengoku’s arc, Araragi and Kanbaru enter the temple shrine area to find several dismembered snake carcasses all over the place.

Catch you while you’re falling
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: At the end of the opening theme of Ringo Mogire Beam, Itoshiki is seen catching Fuura falling from the sky.
Bakemonogatari: In one of the early scenes of the first episode, Araragi catches Senjougahara when she falls off from the stairs after slipping on a banana peel.

Text visuals
Words that filled the screen.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Notice the words on the blackboard in the background always changing at every turn? In Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, the beginning of each episode has a non-related nonsensical “The Story So Far” narration with words filling up the entire screen.
Bakemonogatari: Kanji words flashing across the screen. At the beginning of each episode, words will start building up usually narrating a particular incident as each screenshot passes by till it fills the screen.

Number of episodes
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: The first season spanned 12 episodes, followed by 13 animes in the sequel called Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. 3 OVA episodes called Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei were released before another 13 episode TV series Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is aired. Then 2 OVA episodes of Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bangaichi were subsequently released.
Bakemonogatari: Though there are 15 episodes in total, only the first 12 was aired on normal TV. The remaining 3 episodes were released via ONA (original net animation) approximately taking 7 months to complete the series.

Episode titles
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Each episode is named in reference to a piece of literature.
Bakemonogatari: Each episode is titled and focused on a particular girl in that story arc.

End episode follies
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: In Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, random nonsensical ranting with helter-skelter piano playing the background while in Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, a Zetsubou Sensei Drawing Song becomes the norm.
Bakemonogatari: Karen and Tsukihi talking really fast while posting quizzes to viewers.

Opening and ending themes
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: There are many opening and ending pieces throughout all the seasons in the series. They are usually sung by the some of the main cast of girls in the series or do a duet with Kenji Outsuki in a weird and wild rock piece. You can say they’re disturbing. Some ending songs are sung by Hiroshi Kamiya though it leans more towards ballad.
Bakemonogatari: There are 5 different opening themes each dedicated to a particular girl in focus of that story arc. They can range from pop to rock to rap. There is only 1 ending theme and is sung by Supercell: Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari.

Background music
The main background music I noticed played.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Most range from dramatic to casual.
Bakemonogatari: Most range from jazzy to eerie.

Conclusion
Because Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has a longer history with more episodes, characters and skits, it seems to fare better in these areas as compared to Bakemonogatari. However the former has no real story plot so the stories randomly go everywhere in each direction but yet nowhere. Even if you don’t watch certain episodes or watch them randomly, you’ll still be able to enjoy it without losing much. The latter series on the hand has a proper plot and flow to the story so in this sense it keeps viewers intrigued with the few apparitions it has to offer. Also Bakemonogatari experiments with lots of visual styles and approaches. Mainly it’s because it has shorter number of episodes and I have watched it more recent as compared to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei who also did some of visual experiments but that was limit to certain episodes as a vast majority retains its typical drawing and art technique. Overall both series are not that bad since both have their own sense of humour and parodies. Maybe more sequels should be made or else I’ll be left in despair and be possessed by a weird apparition.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bakemonogatari

B Gata H Kei

December 13, 2010

You might be forgiven if you think B Gata H Kei is a hentai anime series. Take a brief look at the synopsis. The main protagonist, who is a new first year high school student, is sex-crazy and sex-hungry so much so her current must-achieve goal is to have 100 sex partners! You read that right. One hundred freaking guys for casual sex! Normally it would be ‘normal’ if it’s a guy, but a girl to have such thinking? So if you’re not open minded and turned away just by reading that line, then I guess it’s safe for you to do so. Otherwise, this romantic ecchi comedy doesn’t come close to being a hentai series but instead is filled with lots of sexual innuendoes.

So everybody, I’m sure you’re interested to find out who this girl is, eh? Meet Yamada, the freshie of Takizawa High School. She’s got the hot looks, she’s got a great body and she’s got the popularity to make everyone’s head turn. The perfect and ultimate dream beauty that every guy loves to have as his girlfriend. But as we know, she is bent on entering adulthood by losing her virginity in her quest to achieve 100 sex partners! Though sex may be all on her mind, Yamada is quite picky and choosy to whom she decides to do her first time with. Being a virgin herself and with too much thinking that if she did so with an ‘experienced’ guy who might get ‘disappointed’, she decides to lose her prized possession to a well, virgin. Yamada also has a chibi alter ego of herself. Dubbed Erogami-sama (literally Sex God), she serves more like the advisor, narrator and voice of rational to Yamada whom she never listens to as she tries to guide her to her first time. Perhaps just a figment of her imagination? Nah… So in addition to one’s conscious mind of an angel and devil, we’ve got a Sex God too. The mind sure is sure getting to be a crowded and complicated place.

So in episode 1, we learn just about that and how perverted Yamada out with her best friend Miharu Takeshita, just before her first day her high school starts, accidentally bumps into an ordinary normal-looking guy at the bookstore, Takashi Kosuda. She decides that this guy will be her stepping stone to achieve her goal. You know what was the first thing she asked? “Are you a virgin?”. Seriously?! Unless you’re a pervert, a normal guy’s reaction is to run away in embarrassment. She should’ve asked his name. Duh… As Yamada laments her unfortunate luck where that virgin might be, it seems fate has brought them together because they’re classmates! She tries to close the gap with him via various tactics but it backfires. Then a desperate move as she forces him into a dark room. Now her mind goes blank. She doesn’t know what to do. What else? She bares her top! Flasher! She realizes how embarrassing it is and runs away. Eh? Later Yamada and Kosuda are made to be library committees for the class. Yes, another chance for her to close the gap. At the library, she fakes stomach pains and wants him to rub it. Both sides panic so Kosuda backs out to go call a nurse. After getting their physical examinations checked, Yamada tries to hint by showing off her perfect body measurements but he misinterpreted she hates him because she walks by using the paper to cover her face. Takeshita advises Yamada to study together so that they can get close. She thinks the best place to do so is at his house. You know why lah. After hiding his umbrella so she can walk home with him, Yamada meets his sister, Kazuki. She loves teasing her brother. Enough said. So when he brings back a pretty girl… She leaves the house so they can be together. As usual, Yamada is at a lost what to do so after snuggling up real close to him, I guess any guy would take it as an inviting signal. Then Yamada so his ‘little buddy’ bulged. She gets freaked out by the sight of it and decides to go home suddenly, leaving Kosuda stunned. She got so ‘traumatized’ by that, she’s cowering herself in fear in her own bed!

Wait a minute! Wait a minute!!! What the heck was that?! If that girl is so hard-up for sex, then why in the world did she get freaked out by something like that?! So it’s true only that though she’s got sex on her mind and nothing else, that’s about it, nothing else. So does she know what even sex means?! Because of that, you’ll notice this sort of trend. Yamada turns into a typical tsundere who can’t help turning her attention to Kosuda and making him her first sex partner (although you and I know she’s falling in love, but she’s oblivious to that). Every time her heart wants him to do it and make a bold move and when he finally summons his courage to do so, she chides and yells at him for doing something so rash. WTF?! Typical tsundere. At this rate, is she going to even lose her virginity? Of course Kosuda is also starting to fall for her but the mixed signals she is sending is definitely confusing him. More fear than anything else. Oh yeah, that guy too has a Sex God of his own. Another chibi alter ego of himself. More monotonous looking and sounding and usually pops up when he gets an erection. Yamada also has a cute popular little sister, Chika. She knows of her sister’s unhealthy fetish and can’t always help comment to herself about her ways.

Yamada gets a dressing down from Takeshita in episode 2 as the former pleads for further help. With that, they invite him to join them at the pool. There, Yamada tries to seduce him but is forbidden by Takeshita to do anything perverted. Better keep a leash on the lecherous being. Kosuda also meets Takeshita’s mature and older boyfriend, Daisuke Matsuo. Since Kosuda and Matsuo instantly click (because they have the same interest in literature), Yamada starts getting horrifying conclusions of something yaoi! Then Yamada brings Kosuda to ride the giant slide. He’s so scared that he’s hanging on to her for dear life. Yamada misinterprets this as something more romantic and feels good. So when she finds out about his fear, she calls him pathetic. That night as they attend the fireworks festival and the girls in their yukata, Matsuo advises troubled Kosuda on what to do at times like these. So when he hugs her, she forgives him. Staying true to be a tsundere, Yamada tells Takeshita that she isn’t really in love with him but just using him to do her first time. Then later Yamada must be really thinking ahead because she bought loads of condom boxes! In school, Yamada to her horror sees Kosuda talking to another girl, Mayu Miyano. Her thinking is that no other girls would be interested in talking to this ordinary Joe. What’s more horrifying is that she is an F-cup compared to her B-cup! A rival! Too bad Yamada has to drag Takeshita into this mess of finding out Kosuda’s relationship with Miyano by waiting outside Kosuda’s house. They learn Miyano is Kosuda’s neighbour and both families frequently come over. Yeah, childhood friend. Beat that, girl! We can see Miyano has a secret crush on Kosuda, but he’s rather oblivious to it. At school, Yamada decides to confront Miyano and tell her off her place. But she got distracted by her own talk that it ended up Miyano asking Yamada to be her love advisor for Kosuda!

Episode 3 begins with a flashback of Miyano. She was saved by a bunch of bullies when she was young by a boy. It turned out to be Kazuki. Ever since, she has been timid when it comes to matters of love. As the school prepares for the cultural festival, Yamada is curious about Kosuda’s camera and thinks he may be taking ecchi pictures of Miyano. She learns he is from the photography club as he invites her to follow him to take photos for the festival. She was thinking of some grand place but to her disappointment it turned out to be the park as he snaps pictures of sceneries in which he prefers. Then when he invites her to see the development of the photos in the dark room, perverted thoughts instantly come to Yamada’s mind. Yeah, what a better place to pound on him. She already unbuttons her top but I guess she was too slow so much so she startled when she heard a photography club member calling Kosuda and tripped on the light switch. Though the member soon leaves, Kosuda tries to switch on the lights but didn’t know he is pressing on Yamada’s boobs! Can’t he tell the difference? When Yamada goes home, Kosuda offers to ride her home. Yamada’s class will be doing a haunted house for the festival. Before that, she sees the developed photos Kosuda took at the park and is astound by its beauty. Yamada plays the ghost in the haunted house in hopes that she will be able to use the darkness to her advantage and make a force kiss on Kosuda. And perhaps more than that. Too bad he didn’t show up because he was in the bathroom. Then she gets to remind Kosuda of her worth by agreeing to the suggestion of her pals, the petite and annoying Mami Misato and Aoi Katase, to enter the 17th Miss Takizawa Contest. Yamada is bloody confident since she is leading. Till a mysterious pretty transfer student, Kyouka Kanejou slowly catches up. Her popularity is in danger! In the end, Yamada wins by a slim margin. At the end of the festival, Kosuda realizes he wants to dance with Miss Takizawa Yamada after all but has to wait in line. Looks like a pretty long queue. It was worth the wait as they finally dance.

Christmas Eve is near in episode 4 so Yamada is surprised that Chika brings back a guy back to their home! Even her sister has made progress. Kosuda wants to ask Yamada out for a date on Christmas Eve but the other guys beat her to it. Though we know there is one person in her heart that she would go with. Then alone with her at the library, after several hints, he manages to do so. While Yamada thinks of where Kosuda will take her, Kazuki volunteers to help out Kosuda draft his date plan. Not sure whether she’s been on 1 herself but it sure looks she’s having fun with the suggestions. On that night as they meet, Yamada almost screws up by tagging the wrong person and shooting her seductive eye power at the incorrect target. Kosuda feels Yamada might be mad and in no mood to kiss, so to minimize that he gives her a present, an earring. She just turns and walks away. Analyzing what that gift means, she thinks he wants to penetrate her! She swiftly takes him to the love hotel area and scans for rooms which offer the best deal! Didn’t she find a suitable because she’s already ran out of them. That’s when Kosuda decides to do it now. Finally the kissed! But Yamada runs away in embarrassment. She calls Takeshita for advice and thinking that she’s going to do it with Matsuo, Yamada is back to her ero self. She takes Kosuda to a park famous for couples making out. As usual, she tries to lead him by unbuttoning her top and sitting on his lap. She gets irked by his indecisiveness and forces his hand on her boobs! Just before they could manage another kiss, they spot a nearby couple making out and think it’s some kind of art! But that’s not the worse part. In the bushes, they notice lots of peeping toms snapping their cameras at the unsuspecting love birds. They’re in a dilemma to continue or not. In the end, they give in to their embarrassment and let this golden opportunity slip by and head home disappointed. So after a year, Yamada’s still a virgin, eh? Doesn’t look like she’ll be reaching her goal any time soon. Pray for a miracle, baby.

Yamada is acting bloody confident like as though she’s already experienced in episode 5 after that deep kiss that Takeshita finds it annoying (like all of us). Takeshita meets Miyano at the grocer and decides to learn from her to cook some dishes. Takeshita notices Miyano’s unrequited love and a very nice girl. So nice that she really thinks she should be Kosuda’s girlfriend instead of that perverted someone she knows. Miyano shows the chocolate cake she already made for Kosuda but is too shy to give him. Since Yamada is still her friend, I guess she showed this to her in hopes that she will put in more effort. Yamada tries to make her own Valentine chocolate but as we all know, she’s better off making poison. Kosuda hopes to receive chocolates from Yamada but he never got any though he waited throughout the day. Miyano has baked many Valentine cakes and chocolates (creepy!) for Kosuda so much so she is pondering which one to give him. When she has decided and summoned her courage to do so, she sees Kazuki at the doorstep. She panics and gives it to her. It’s over. Well, there’s always next year. That night Yamada decides to give her chocolates to Kosuda at his place but she panics and stuff it in his mailbox. He retrieves the anonymous chocolates and since it’s soggy, Kazuki feeds the fishes and the aquarium starts foaming! She thinks some girl must really hate him! Next day in school, Kosuda wonders if those chocolates were from Yamada. Though she didn’t admit it, Kosuda mentions that it tastes good because a lot of effort went into making it. One night, Yamada got a visit from Erogami-sama that her sexual power is declining since she can’t seduce Kosuda! Oh the horror! Then she got this weird idea after hearing Misato about wearing no panties so without thinking further, she goes to school without wearing them and starts feeling embarrassed and acting weird. No turning back now. She even gets reprimanded by Takeshita for not using her common sense (has she got any when it comes to sex?). Yamada asks directly if he likes girls who don’t wear panties. Of course he doesn’t know how to answer that causing her to be depressed. When she’s about to leave, the wind blew up her skirt and Kosuda saw that ‘heavenly place’. Now she’s upset that he saw it?!

It’s the new school term in episode 6. Chika is a student at Takizawa attracting the attention of the guys. A big chunk of Yamada’s classmates are in the same class as her. Miyano is also in their class and so is Kanejou. Now Yamada has a rival because Kanejou is stealing away her spotlight. She’s so pissed that she intends to buy a shotgun from the internet?! Well mannered Kanejou continues to excel in studies, music, sport and home economics. Sure puts that perverted girl to shame but her jealousy isn’t going to make her give up yet. She’s going to try and stand out more than her but it backfires. It doesn’t help since she notices Kosuda having his eyes on her. Then it’s revealed that Kosuda thought he had seen Kanejou somewhere as he shows them a magazine she was in on the front cover. He entered the competition in which the winner would have his shot on the front page but he lost out to the one who took Kanejou’s picture, her brother. When Kanejou returns to her oversized mansion (creepily filled with pictures of herself), we see her darker side. Seems she is putting up a nice front and is plotting her revenge against Yamada for her humiliating defeat during the Miss Takizawa Contest. She is successful in making Yamada writhe in jealousy. She plans to steal Yamada’s boyfriend and then dump him. In order to get closer to Yamada, Kanejou invites her to her mansion. Yamada remains suspicious of Kanejou’s intentions and she finally sees Kanejou’s true colours after she tells her that Takizawa only needs 1 queen. Kanejou throws her a challenge and asks Yamada directly her boyfriend. Since she really doesn’t have one and can’t name Kosuda, she deceives her asking her to find it out herself. That night Kanejou enters a room filled with heavy security and we learn the person she is anxiously waiting the return is her brother Keiichi who is in England. She has a room filled with his pictures and stuff! She’s so bloody obsessed that you may classify her an extreme case of onii-chan complex. So bloody obsessed that she intends to lose his virginity to him! Even her maid Ichihara tries to talk her out of this forbidden love thingy but she is adamant that her feelings will reach him.

The class have pool lessons in episode 7 so I guess the other guys must really feel blessed to see several beauty queens in their swimsuits. As usual, Yamada and Kanejou are at each other’s neck so they suggest a swimming competition. Yamada plays dirty by making a distraction for a head start. But eventually Kanejou catches up and though it is a close one, Kanejou wins. Perhaps Yamada is getting desperate and drags Chika to use her feminine charms to counter Kanejou. So when both girls meet, they see nothing wrong with each other and become friends! Later Kosuda manages to ask Yamada to go out somewhere together for the summer vacation. However to their dismay, their schedules don’t match. During summer, Yamada decides to go stalk, I mean visit Kosuda but learns from Kazuki that the family has gone on a family trip. With Miyano’s family. Her mind starts running wild of what he may do to that bespectacled girl (who is the one to say?) so she decides to hitchhike there. Unfortunately, she got picked up by a bunch of tough military men! It’s a miracle she didn’t get raped. She got involved in some war game and I don’t know how she was the only survivor as the captain allows her to keep the rifle and his parting advice before his ‘death’ to try her best and get it if she wants something. Yamada reaches Kosuda’s family trip spot that night and sees him together with Miyano (preparing to take pictures of the stars). After Miyano leaves, Yamada unleashes her fury on confused Kosuda. The usual argument before learning what he is really doing. Then he takes photo of her as Yamada realize he was taking pictures of the stars to show it to her but that isn’t necessary now as they admire the breathtaking starry sky.

A class trip to Kyoto is in store for the class in episode 8. Kazuki knows Kosuda has kissed Yamada even if he never said anything about it as she gives her opinions on what a girl wants. As the class ride the train, Yamada is upset Kosuda is taking pictures of the other classmates (he needs to keep record of this trip) instead of her. So Takeshita suggests taking a photo of them both but stupid Misato comes between them and spoils the shot. Expect the usual things done on field trips. The public bath to midnight confession tales to more sightseeing. A funny thing happened at the shrine whereby the class are supposed to meditate and achieve enlightenment. The monks are supposed to hit their head if they have any impure thoughts. For instance, one of the monks fell for Miyano’s clumsiness and Yamada is so focused on her will to have sex with Kosuda that the monks view this as some sort of new enlightenment of new heights! The last event before their return is a boat trip. Yamada and Kosuda are so deep in their thoughts that they got left behind but managed to sit on one all to themselves. As usual, they are hesitant so Yamada can’t stand it anymore and rocks the boat, literally. On the way back, Yamada is totally pissed that nothing happened (has it ever since last year?) while Kosuda thinks she’s mad. As Yamada alights the train, Kosuda manages to call her but gets stuck between the doors (is that possible?). He couldn’t finish his sentence that he likes her because the train starts pulling away. He thinks he has managed to confess to her and would accept whatever reply but Yamada didn’t understand what he meant with that incomplete sentence. At school Kosuda wants to talk to her at his club room but she didn’t turn up. Then he sees her at the shoe locker area but she didn’t answer and runs away instead. Kosuda gets depressed that he has been rejected by her.

While Yamada ponders the meaning of love in episode 9, the boys of her class have a popularity poll of the polls. Seems Kanejou and Yamada are tied and way ahead of the rest so the tie breaker rests on Kosuda. He starts to panic because either one he choose will have an unfavourable outcome. In the end, he shouts out loud that he loves Yamada! This causes Yamada to get really embarrass as she approaches him and ticks him off. But the guys think it’s manly because he confessed by accident and got rejected instantly! WTF?! Miyano also heard that and her worst fear comes true. Kanejou is also not happy because it means she has lost a second time to Yamada. Takeshita tries to persuade Yamada to reply or at least apologize for avoiding him. Kosuda-Yamada confession has become the talk of the school so much so their homeroom teacher, Akai, makes them both the committee members for the sports festival (she was more like jealous than anything). Then at the reference room, Yamada manages to apologize to Kosuda though she remains the tsundere she is. He says his confession is real and would love her reply. Since she starts acting aggressive, he starts crying! Can’t blame that poor guy. She replies that she never said she hated him. Ah well, I guess that’s good enough. So when Takeshita learns about this, she spells it out directly to Yamada that she’s in love with him but did not realize it. The shock was too much so I think she tried to kill herself!

Meanwhile Keiichi has returned. He is so charming that all the girls just swoon at his presence. Either he’s too good or they’re just really weak. As the sports festival begins, the girls in Yamada’s class are being made cheerleaders. Matsuo is also there so Kosuda gets much needed advice from him. Yamada and Kanejou are still at war and are fighting each other although they’re on the same team in the kibasen event. Then for the borrowing race, Misato got the task she really wanted: A cool handsome man. So happens, Keiichi is visiting at the festival when Misato takes him away and wins! She’s clinging to him like a leech! Till Kanejou blasts her away. Kanejou is happy to see Keiichi but he spots Yamada and greets her. He is going to kiss her hand as greeting but she shoves it away and tells him not to act like he’s so close to her. To Kanejou’s horror, it is not the shame she did to Keiichi, it is the interest she notices Keiichi has developed on Yamada! That’s because he’s tired of getting things the easy way and hard to get Yamada is surely someone that pumps his adrenaline. Later Kosuda approaches Kosuda and manages to ask her out on a date. Yamada gets her high spirits back and returns to her cheerleading mates.

Yamada is an hour early for their date in episode 10 and blames Kosuda for being late (he is held back by circumstances by helping those in need). Though he manages to meet her, it seems Keiichi is also there. He invites them for tea as apology for that incident. While Yamada excuses herself, Keiichi tells Kosuda straight that he likes Yamada and plans to ask her out since he thinks Kosuda’s case is unrequited love. So when Yamada returns, she turns down Keiichi’s offer. Why? She tells him straight that he’s not a virgin! Well, hot guys like have done in lots of girl, right? Wrong. Keiichi says that he’s still a virgin. There were many women who approached him but never lasted long (thanks to Kanejou who exterminated them all! Woah! Dangerous woman!). Yamada thinks this is a trick but it seems too good to be true. Because of that, she is having a dilemma while Kosuda is obviously depressed when he found out his worth to her is his virginity. Kanejou wakes up from a nightmare that Keiichi confessed to Yamada. It turns into reality when he did mention that to her. Oh the horror! Back to dreamland for her. Takeshita gives Yamada another dressing down that she needs to give more thought on Kosuda’s feelings but Yamada isn’t the kind to think a lot so she ‘breaks down’ and ‘resets’ herself that she still wants a virgin!

Kanejou approaches Miyano to obtain more information about Kosuda. Disheartened Miyano thinks that she too is after Kosuda (Miyano also has a Sex God – more like a magical girl fairy!). Kosuda goes to Miyano for advice and though it breaks her heart she says the time will come when he’ll know Yamada’s feelings. In class, Kanejou tries to talk to Kosuda in hopes that he’ll fall for her but isn’t working and thinks Yamada has seduced him properly. She invites him to her mansion as she tries to seduce him but just like Yamada, she panics and screws up (though she manages just to lift her skirt). Hey, even Kanejou has her own Sex God! Looks more like a noblewoman. Ichihara saw her unholy act so Kanejou goes to dismiss the misunderstanding and to keep it a secret from Keiichi. Yamada who saw Kosuda entering Kanejou’s place, climbs into the window to get him! Kosuda knows he is f*cked by that carnivorous aura she projected! By the time Kanejou returns with advice from Ichihara on how to break him, Kosuda is already gone. When Yamada learns what Kosuda and Kanejou chat about, she gets upset and pulls out her rifle and shoots him (she still keeps that?). She wants him not to be indecisive because she’s still ‘on the way’. To liking him, that is.

Kanejou’s family is planning a Christmas party in episode 11 as Keiichi plans to invite Yamada. Not that Kanejou is pretty fond of the idea but she decides to do so and show Keiichi how close Yamada and Kosuda are in hopes he will abandon his pursue for her. The entire class and their teachers arrive and are awed by the vast mansion. There are other important and influential people at the party so it’s no wonder that some of the classmates feel out of place. They’re out of the league. Yamada of course thinks of using this party to find a secret room to have sex with Kosuda. Keiichi makes his grand entrance but his approach to Yamada is interrupted when irritating Misato comes clinging on to him! She wants to instantly marry him?! This allows Yamada and Kosuda to sneak away. Kanejou is in her secret surveillance room trying to find their whereabouts when she spots them preparing to do it on her bed! We’ve seen so many times how Yamada screws up but she was close to doing so and sends ambiguous signals when she accidentally unzipped his pants! Horrified Kanejou is in a dilemma to record and show this to Keiichi but decides to ditch the idea as she doesn’t want him to find out about her secret obsession and surveillance. Kosuda takes this as a sign to undress her and fondle her boobs! Luckily Kosuda found the painting to be disturbing and shuts the bed curtains. Kanejou decides to find Keiichi and show this proof but since she couldn’t, she has Takeshita follow her instead. Yamada-Kosuda’s romp is really steaming up and getting hot. They would probably have gone further if Kanejou didn’t make her noisy entrance. Hiding in the closet, Yamada fakes a cat meow. Though Takeshita knows it’s her, Kanejou pretends that it’s her family tradition to keep pets there and orders Takeshita to return to the party. Kanejou is going to slowly torture the duo but suddenly she finds Miyano coming out from her secret room. How did she? Well, she got lost. But how? Who cares, her secret is busted so much so she fainted. This allows the duo to escape. When Kanejou comes to, it seems Miyano understands her obsession because of her own case with Kosuda. Though she may not own lots of those posters of him. Kosuda wants to continue where they left off but Yamada feels they shouldn’t rush and be desperate (she’s the one to talk) and to go on a date tomorrow. Lastly, Misato got a court summon for trying to register her fake marriage with Keiichi!!!

While Kanejou ponders how for the ecchi duo went on her bed in episode 12, she gets more disheartened to hear Keiichi can’t wait to propose to Yamada! Sob, sob! And I guess Kosuda and Yamada are so desperate that they ask straight to Kazuki and Chika respectively on how to have sex without failure! Yamada texts Kosuda to meet her at dawn. After lots of nervousness and fumbling that we’re used to by now, finally Yamada blurts out she wants to have sex. No Kosuda, you didn’t hear wrong. They manage to summon their courage to rent a room in a love hotel. Still nervous of making the first move, they start by watching a sex video. Kosuda remembers Kazuki’s words (probably it was her unfulfilled desire of how she wants to get treated by a guy) and takes the lead. Yamada is in continuous embarrass mode while Kosuda may just explode into his wild side anytime. After a little kiss, he strips her and puts his face in her boobs! Now the long moment they (and we) have been waiting for as they’re both naked and let’s just say start banging pelvis. Yamada’s hand accidentally hits and breaks a controller. This causes the bed to spin uncontrollably as Kosuda falls off. As a result, he fractures his leg and has to be hospitalized for 3 days! Aw man. Are they cursed never to have sex?! Even Kazuki thinks he’s such a sad case to have this misfortune befall. Yamada pays him a visit and as usual hearing some random patients’ talk, gets an idea to dress as a nurse and get naughty with him. But it isn’t smooth sailing as Miyano is there visiting him. After she leaves, Yamada becomes her tsundere self but the real nurse comes in. I can’t believe the nurse didn’t notice the big bump under the blanket. Yamada once again is embarrassed because her face is so close to his crotch. Because of his erection, she hits it! OUCH! When the nurse leaves, Yamada proceeds to play doctor. Putting her stethoscope on his crotch! Instant revival! Then it’s Kosuda’s turn on Yamada but the mood killed when the nurse returns.

Since Kosuda’s family will be away visiting their other relatives on New Year’s Eve, Kosuda will be home alone due to his fractured leg although he has been discharged. You know what Yamada is thinking, right? Last chance for the year. On that day, Kosuda’s classmates pay him a visit before heading to the shrine. But Yamada didn’t leave with them. Yeah, she’s lurking in Kosuda’s house. When Kosuda takes a bath, Yamada barges in clad only in a towel! They take turns to scrub each other’s back and because the situation is causing Kosuda to be very turned on, he can’t hold it in anymore and is really going to pound on her. Unfortunately too much blood when to his head so he collapses. Oh God, not again! Lastly we see all their friends praying at the shrine. It’s such a sad case when they all wish to have boyfriends/girlfriends. Except for Takeshita and Matsuo who are praying Yamada won’t ask weird questions. As for Kanejou and Keiichi, they’re wishing to give their first time to you-know-who. And Ichihara hopes their wish won’t come true. Yamada and Kosuda visit a nearby small shrine and it won’t take a genius to figure out what they wish even if they don’t show us the slightest hint. Don’t worry, the road ahead is long.

So another dry run for the sex-crazy Yamada. No such progress in the end. But the good thing is that though her thoughts may be clouded with sex but along the way she gets to learn and develop her true feelings for Kosuda even if she’s short of admitting it. She may still be thinking about reaching her goal of 100 sex partners and using him as a stepping stone but I think she’s really drawn to him. She didn’t care about her looks or popularity anymore. It’s funny to still note that Yamada is so hard-up to do her first time but panics when she really has a chance to do it. Not to mention harbouring bold thoughts and schemes of making Kosuda losing his virginity to her. So who is the wolf and who is the sheep? It’s normal for Kosuda as he is around that age to be thinking about stuff like that. It could’ve been easier if Yamada wasn’t so tsundere. Poor guy gets confused on what she really wants. That’s why it’s no wonder why men usually say they can’t understand woman. Kosuda isn’t the aggressive type and probably his fear of making the wrong move to piss Yamada off (hey, that’s like just about almost everything, eh?) made the development of their relationship more of a bumpy ride. It was never dull to see the duo trying to pull it off and the sexual innuendos. Even though I knew how it will all turn out in the end (screwed up, that is) but I can’t help to really root for them to make it happen. It’s not that I’m a sex-crazed person either but you know the annoying feeling when it doesn’t work out when they’re so close but yet so far. Come on! Do it already!

I thought Kanejou and Miyano would at least play some prominent role in the end. Something like a love triangle or the ecchi duo’s secret tryst discovered. Seems Kanejou has lost her eagerness to outshine and avenge her humiliation when Keiichi returned. Though Keiichi notes he isn’t giving up on Yamada but his presence throughout the story never felt that he was a threat that could break apart Yamada and Kosuda. It’s a strange thing that both rich siblings have sparkling stars around their face. Except when Kanejou unleashes her dark aura. The same case goes for Miyano because I was hoping that she would blurt out her feelings for Kosuda to give a little tension but in the end, her shyness makes her an absolute no-threat too. Takeshita and Matsuo must be the most level-headed supporting characters in the series. I wonder how Takeshita ended up being Yamada’s friend because each time she has to tell her off her perverted ideas. More importantly, it’s a wonder she can stay a friend to this sex fiend. So she’s really a true friend. Misato is equally as annoying as Yamada and she too really wants to have a boyfriend. The difference is that she isn’t tsundere and more in-your-face honest. She’s somebody that you should ignore. Just like Takeshita’s case, her best friend Katase must be real tired in retorting her every line. And you wonder why they still stick together.

A sign that makes its frequent appearance in each episode is obviously the Demon Seal brand with a mug of a demon on it. I’m not sure if the Demon Seal Condoms actually exist in real life but they serve as necessary censors. In one episode, they even have a song on it! Maybe if you buy the DVDs, some of those seals will actually be ‘missing’. Of course you won’t see the seals at every scene. That will be tad irritating and would serve as a de-motivation for the fanservice purpose. It’s sometimes best to tease a little and do away with the seal for mild scenes and those that are not provocative. I guess the seal is a subtle reminder to us all that if you’re really going to do it, remember to practice safe sex. If you want to talk about teen pregnancy issues then I suppose that’s a different case. That’s why carry a box loads of condom as utmost precaution :). The use of steam coming out from the characters head has 2 meaning. It’s either the characters panic and are screwing up doing the ecchi thing or a couple of really ‘satisfied’ lovebirds. Yeah, feel the heat of the romance. And ironically for a perverted person like Yamada, she doesn’t experience any nose bleeds. An indication she has sex on her mind but isn’t turned on enough? Even Kosuda at least has this experience.

Yukari Tamura portrays Yamada to the utmost perfection. I couldn’t imagine anyone else voicing a child-like squeaky voice for this girl. Like how she voices characters such as Rino in Gokujou Seitokai or Sakura in Da Capo series. I thought she would double up as Erogami-sama’s voice but they used a different person instead. Rumi Shishido is the voice behind Erogami-sama (Menou in White Album) so I guess she sounds close enough. Initially I didn’t recognize Yuu Kobayashi as Kanejou. Her unique ‘crazy’ voice is definitely identifiable if she goes out loud screaming like how she did for Ayame in Gintama, Lala in School Rumble and Kaede in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. But upon hearing closely, I managed to recognize her because you know Kanejou’s fake politeness. Other casts include Atsushi Abe as Kosuda (Touma in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Yui Horie as Takeshita (Kotori in Da Capo), Kana Hanazawa as Miyano (Anri in Durarara), Tomoaki Maeno as Keiichi (Fujimoto in Kobato) and my favourite Mamiko Noto as Kazuki. Both opening and ending themes, Oshiete A To Z and Hadashi No Princess respectively, are sung by Yukari Tamura. Because of her voice, it makes this anime pop suitable and cute.

Though today’s society has become more open about sex, but there is still discrimination if a girl is sexually active as compared to guys. Many would have their reservations and stereotypic views that she must be a bad girl if she turns out to be so. For example, if a guy sleeps with a hundred girls within a week, he is deemed a legend but if a girl sleeps with 2 different guys in a span of a year, she is called a slut. Using an online forum comment to illustrate this example further, if a key can open many different locks, then the key is considered useful and resourceful. But if the lock can be opened by many different keys, then the lock is regarded as useless, right? Oh so true! So for those who feel this is another one of those crappy sexual innuendos-filled comedies or that in a way insults woman, go be a monk or priest and lock yourself up in the mountains away from civilization for the rest of your life. Nobody here got raped, right?

But if you ask me if I really want a girl like Yamada, I’m not really sure. Kinda yes and no. No, I don’t want her tsundere and hot-cold behaviour and yes, I would be lying if I said I don’t harbour any typical fantasies of every other normal guy. So for a girlfriend-less otaku like me who still keeps gluing his eyes to the idiot box happily watching 2D anime girls, what are the chances of me picking up one in real life? If I use those corny pick up lines, I’d just get a slap across my face. Maybe I’ll just stick to 2D. However if there is really one who would love to ‘wash liver’ with no strings attached, who am I to refuse? What would my Sex God say about this?

B Gata H Kei

Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!

December 12, 2010

Have you ever felt that so down and depressed in life but the next moment experienced a sudden unknown burst of energy that makes you want to go all out and do the things you want with utmost positivism? You can thank those invisible Juuden-chan (Charger Girls) doing their job of recharging those whose feelings have reached rocked bottom. Well, at least that’s how it’s supposed to be in Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!

Adapted from the manga of the same name, we have a parallel world right next to ours, Life Core, where the Charger Girls reside before discharging (no pun intended) their duties from the well-developed Neodym Corporation. Seems like an easy job, eh? Well, we all know the amount of ‘energy’ needed to recharge a human. So I guess it’s ‘fitting’ that the Charger Girls recharge us using a huge plug called Refreshers. If it doesn’t kill you, it must be good, right? But hey, they stick those big Refreshers into our backs for that electrifying and refreshing feeling, isn’t that a little dangerous? Nah, they know what they’re doing. So these are the antics of the Charger Girl of the 2nd Division, Plug Cryostat and her ‘misadventures’ with her other colleagues as they go around recharging people. And if you intend to watch this series, be warned that there are explicit uncensored ecchi and fanservice elements. Erm… That’s what we are here for, right? Me, I’m watching more of the comedy. Bah, who am I kidding.

As seen in episode 1, Plug tries to recharge a depressed person but screws up and fries herself. At Life Core, Captain Pulse Trans ticks her off for her failure. Let’s see. Destroyed a suit, check. Wasted ludicrous amount of electricity, check. Ruined a Life Checker equipment, check. This is definitely coming out from her pay! Plug goes down to Earth to search for depressed people but doesn’t find any. Ordinary people can’t see her but can still feel her so she goes into stealth mode (like a ghost through walls). At the family restaurant Sunday Mama, part time worker Sentou Oumi sees her suspiciously floating and bats her away thinking she’s a burglar! Her suit isn’t broken because Sentou’s sister, Hakone and childhood friend, Iono Tomonaga can’t see her. So why is it that he and only he can see her? When Hakone mentions about making tonight’s dinner, he dismisses it so Plug senses her depression. That night in Sentou’s room, Plug explains the recharging thingy and levels of depression in which serious cases may lead to suicide. Sentou doesn’t believe her though he did say their mom died and his dad a workaholic. Since Plug is obsessed watching a controversial perverted magical girl anime, Miracle Witch Sweet Milly, she gets hit by his electric guitar! Electric equipment abuse!

Plug follows Hakone to school to determine her depression source. When she follows her home, she realizes the cause is Sentou who won’t allow her to do anything which makes her feel useless. Plug goes to tell Sentou about this. He doesn’t believe but bats her away after learning she peeped on Hakone while she’s bathing. When they return, they see a note from Hakone that she intends to join mom. They find her atop a building under construction. As Plug prepares her charger, Sentou rushes to save Hakone but his appearance startles her and causes her to slip. He manages to grab her hand but is too weak to pull her up. Plug then recharges Hakone and she’s filled with energy that she does acrobatic stuff to safety. Hakone also gives her piece of mind that she wants to help out. The siblings reconcile as Sentou agrees to take turns making dinner. Next day Hakone is much better and goes to school with Iono. Plug has got another reprimanding for handing in her report late but decides to see how Sentou and Hakone are doing. She sees naked Sentou changing. Here comes the pain…

In episode 2, before Plug could recharge another depressed guy, her colleague, Arrester Blanket beats her to it. Seems she was sent by Pulse to adjust the balance in this area due to Plug’s slip ups. They start arguing though Arrester remains cocky. Each time Plug tries to recharge a target, Arrester always beats her to it. Plug can’t take it anymore and punches her face (well, it’s better than getting hit by a baseball bat). Arrester sees a depressed target, Akihiro and notes she recharged him over a year ago and the number of increasing repeat targets. However her shift is over and she decides to head back because she doesn’t do overtime. Depressed Plug goes to see Sentou for advice. He guessed correctly she got scolded by her colleague. He thinks that what they’re doing is like recharging the victim but the bully-cum-source is the same so the problem is repeated. It’s like putting new batteries into toys. Plug isn’t happy with his theory and they end up arguing. Iono obviously has a crush on Sentou and summons her courage to give him tickets. But she sees him crazily beating the air (Plug actually) so she backs out. Plug follows Akihiro home and learns how he is stressed out from his entrance exam. His family encourages him but this is his 4th time taking it. She is in a dilemma to recharge him in fear he may turn abusive and turn on his family. On exam day, she follows him but he makes a detour away from his university. At the park she sees him smoking and deciding to give up. Arrester shows up and is going to recharge him. Plug restrains and pins her down (wire caught between her legs?!) and tells her it’s all about the timing. Akihisa gets up and leaves but notices the charm he dropped. As he picks it up, Plug uses Arrester’s face as a launching pad to recharge him. Akihisa gets his energy back, realizes his mistake and rushes back to the exam hall. While Plug is happy the way things turned out, Arrester tells her the harsh facts. It’s just their jobs to recharge people and collect their salary. She thinks Plug isn’t suited for this job. Arrester flies away thinking that her way isn’t wrong. She passes by Sentou at Sunday Mama and falls in love with him at first sight. But Sentou hits her away with a baseball bat, thinking it’s Plug. Strike! Ouch! Another victim fallen to Sentou’s bat.

Arrester wakes up in her own room in episode 3. Seems Plug brought her back after she got stuck by Sentou. However Arrester starts feeling that his baseball hit felt good! Plug is disheartened to learn her salary will be reduced by 10% for the next 3 months since Arrester reported her inefficiency. Arrester is called to Pulse’s room. She makes her the supervisor to Plug because as Arrester said herself, Plug is and idiot and herself talented. But Pulse notes that Plug has something she doesn’t. Because Plug is so obsessed watching Sweet Milly in Sentou’s room, she ignores him and got hit by his bat as a result. Don’t pay attention to the wrong thing. Arrester comes looking for Plug and when she enters Sentou’s room, he instantly strikes her! When she wakes up, she wonders why Sentou can see and touch them even if their stealth mode is on. She decides to report this to Pulse but Plug pleads her not to. Because Arrester continues to be cocky, Sentou isn’t pleased and mocks her, putting her on the same level as an idiot with Plug. He challenges her to a duel so if he wins, she won’t report to her higher-ups. The competition is to find the most depressed targets within 2 hours. Both are given basic devices to find and lock on targets. Sentou is having a tough time scouting for 1 when he realizes he has been relying on the tool. He decides not to use it and uses his instincts and previous experience to find targets faster. In the end Sentou wins 8-6! Arrester couldn’t accept the results and thinks he cheated. He mentions his method of observing the target’s expression and then looking deep within their eyes. Arrester can’t believe he lost so she starts crying like a little girl! Sentou mentions she too has a cute side (causing her to blush) and she lost because she isn’t used to using that tool and suggests doing it fairly again someday. Plug seems to have snapped a shot of Arrester crying and plans to use it as blackmail by showing it to her other colleagues-cum-pals. As the girls argue over it, Sentou can’t stand them anymore and strikes them both with his bat. So it’s confirmed Arrester really felt good getting hit by it. Masochist! Later back home, Arrester tries to hit herself with the baseball bat but it just hurts. Then she strikes Plug just to find out how she felt about that! Right in front of her other colleagues! Murderer!

Iono couldn’t give her present to Sentou in episode 4. On the way to school, Hakone wonders when is she going to confess to him. Iono says she prefers to remain as friends for now and notes Hakone more energetic than before. Arrester isn’t too pleased to know she has a rival so she and Plug discuss this in Sentou’s room. Arrester being tsundere, Plug the idiotic teaser and Sentou the full of angst teenager, yeah Plug gets another hit. He tells them to go to work but it hit Arrester she will be naked during her transformation (though it lasts 0.01 seconds). She does so but Plug is showing slow-mo replay of her transformation! Because they continue to argue, Sentou bats them out. Iono stays late at her student council room and forgot to lock up. Next day there was a break-in and not only the funds were stolen but Iono’s present to Sentou. She becomes depressed as Plug follows her. Sentou goes talk to her and decides to be with her because she doesn’t want her to be depressed. Till he said she can tell him anything because she’s like a little sister to him, did Iono got upset and ran away. Back home, Iono is resolved to give up on Sentou so Plug can’t recharge her now or else she’ll really do it. When Hakone finds out what dense Sentou said to Iono, she gets upset and calls him an idiot. Plug also agrees and does the same but she gets batted instead.

Next day Plug and Sentou try to search for the robber (Plug got the pics from the CCTV). Each time Sentou got the wrong person, he bats her! In the end they couldn’t find the culprit. Arrester isn’t happy the duo are cooperating like this and goes on a recharging rage. One of the targets is the robber so he gives himself up at the police station. Seems he felt guilty and depressed for stealing. With the case closed and Iono getting her present back, however she is going to throw it away when she gets an SMS from Hakone. She says how Sentou has been looking hard for the robber to make her feel better and to forgive him. At that point, Plug recharges Iono. Feeling much better, she rushes to Sentou’s place. She asks what is her to him. Pointing that Hakone is her little sister, Iono is his childhood friend. She quickly pecks his cheek and hugs him, saying that she’ll change that status into something else. She gives him the keychain present in which he hangs it on his guitar case. As Hakone and Iono go to school happily, Arrester is hitting herself with a bat wondering how things turned out like that.

The gang head to the beach in episode 5 as Sentou drives Tenchou (Sunday Mama’s manager) car. Why is Tenchou obsessed about filming Hakone’s little boobs? Lolicon! Plug and Arrester also follow since it’s their day off. Since the Charger Girls continue to be a nuisance to each other, Sentou beats them up. Never leave home without the trusty bat. You just never know when it might come in handy. It’s kinda freaky when the other girls see him beating up air. Plug notices a lady she recharged before and wants to follow her. Arrester disagrees since this isn’t their jurisdiction. Plug may be an idiot but she’s not dumb because she threatens to upload embarrassing pics of her up the internet. Arrester lets her do as she pleases. Plug follows her and listens to her conversation with her mom on her handphone. Seems she has writer’s block and becomes pissed at the end of the conversation. She drifts alone on a boat to the middle of the sea and her depression level suddenly becomes very critical. Arrester tries to get close to Sentou as she talks to him. She fantasizes spending happy days with him. How? By getting hit by his bat!!! She receives word from Plug about the writer lady’s dire situation. There is no power source in the middle of the ocean to recharge her. When Sentou finds out, he wants to help because he’s grateful to them for recharging Hakone and Iono. Sentou’s idea is to drive the car off the cliff! He pulls off this crazy stunt as he leaps out in time into Arrester’s arms. Plug gets the power source she needs to recharge her. The writer becomes inspired to write a new story which later becomes a hit. One thing that bugged me was, you know electricity and water don’t mix, right? How the? What the? Ah, never mind. As for Tenchou, she’s devastated to find her car ended up in the sea. Sentou apologizes and will pay for it (can he with that kind of part time job salary?). Arrester then recharges Tenchou. She doesn’t mind about it anymore and will get a new one. Arrester studies her data and notices Plug’s. Though she has low number of resolved cases, she has no repeaters of recharging targets except for the recent one. She realizes that this is what Pulse might have meant. Since Plug pesters her to show the data, they get into an argument. Sentou tries to stop them but also gets dragged in so in his upset, you could’ve predicted what’s coming. It’s a solid hit!

A Charger Girl is badly burnt and swiftly brought to the emergency room in episode 6. Reports reveal that she got electrocuted while recharging a target due to a backfeed effect. The target is a young boy named Kenta Kajiwara. They list him as Class Z and no one is allowed to recharge him. Plug tries to find out more from her other colleagues and seems he is depressed due to being traumatized from being bullied and locks himself in his room not wanting to go to school. She wants to help him out no matter what. Then they get news of a new suit which is supposed to be more resistant. However Arrester notes this suit is not to recharge him but to gather data on the Class Z. Because of that Plug becomes gloomy so much so Sentou didn’t feel like batting her away and lets her sit in his living room. When she hears him say how he doesn’t like to let opportunity slip away, she gets an idea. On the night Arrester’s supposed to gather data in the new suit, Plug pleads to let her do the job instead. Arrester knows she wants to recharge Kenta and won’t let her. Plug threatens to reveal crying pics of her so she eventually gives in. Arrester makes a final check on the suit but to her horror the data reveal it to be just like an ordinary suit. Plug doesn’t listen to her to abort mission and flies to Kenta who is sitting on top of his house roof. She notes how he wants to go back to school badly and starts recharging him. But the backfeed effect starts to overwhelm her and though in much pain, Plug doesn’t give up and continues recharging. Arrester tries to tell her to stop but she kept going. Even her arms are on fire! In the end she is successful as her other colleagues pick her up and send her to the emergency room. Pulse reviews the data and notes the failure of the new suits. What saves people’s hearts is not technology but the hearts of others. She hopes Rouden-chan (Leakage Girls) won’t make a big fuss about this. As Plug is rushed to the emergency room, Arrester shows her how Kenta is doing well and returning to his normal school life. She wants her to get better because the only good idiot is an energetic one. An insult or compliment? But Plug closes her eyes…

Arrester confronts Pulse in episode 7 and isn’t happy about the research department’s mistake on the suit. But Pulse says the same to her because Plug got hurt by the suit she wasn’t authorized to use. She wants her to keep quiet on this since everyone has been properly compensated. Arrester visits Plug in hospital and she’s her usual cheery self. She has to stay in bed for while her arms are being healed. As they chat, Arrester blames her for her blackmail so Plug has 1 last request if she wants those pics totally erased. That is to have her dressed as a maid and comply with her every whims and fancies. This includes going to Earth to buy manga (putting up with perverted otakus taking pics up her skirt), bringing all kinds of food, buying a mecha model on her behalf and washing her body. No matter how pissed and embarrassed she is, she has to go through them all. After Plug sends her to get a drink, she writhes in pain and rings the nurse to bring painkillers. Looks like she’s still hurt. When Arrester returns, she sees Plug’s friends happily chatting away. They are fascinated to see Arrester in a maid outfit. They tease Arrester and Plug like love partners. Arrester realizes how friendly they all are and how similar to Plug. Just when she’s getting friendly with them, when 1 of them mentioned how they saw the video of crying, Arrester’s aura becomes evil! Oh sh*t! Now she’s truly mad! Her eyes red as Terminator! Plug is in deep sh*t! Her friends cowering in fear too! Looks like she has already shown them those videos previously Furthermore her schemes to record Arrester doing errands in her maid outfit has been discovered! I don’t know what horrifying retribution Arrester did but it seems Plug will have to stay longer in hospital. WARGH!!!

Plug is released from hospital in episode 8 but Arrester knows she’s in no shape to return to work. The mere touch of her hands sends her into excruciating pain. Arrester tries to persuade Pulse not to let Plug return to work. But they’re so noisy arguing, she just couldn’t care anymore. Plug tags along though Arrester only allows her to find targets while she does the recharging. Though Plug doesn’t like it a bit, she has no choice. She goes to visit Sentou but isn’t home. While watching Sweet Milly, Sentou returns from shopping and isn’t happy she barged in. Yeah, his bat hasn’t tasted action for so long and is going to give it to her! But he backs down upon seeing her hanging arms. When he finds out, he massages them to make her feel better. Plug starts to have strange feelings in her heart and wonders if he’s being kind due to her injuries. Since she’s daydreaming, Sentou has to punch her to snap her out as he points a possible target. They follow him and once his status confirmed, reluctant Plug is going to contact Arrester but Sentou wonders if it’s okay letting someone else do it. Plug regains her confidence back as she and Sentou team up to recharge that guy in good timing (Sentou swings her to him!). Looks like she can use her arms again. Though successful, Plug realizes the cable attached to her suit ripped. This means Sentou saw her butt! How embarrassing! At the end of the day Arrester meets up with Plug and learns what happened. She is horrified she was with Sentou because she did stop by his house as she wanted to see him badly but was out. To make things worse, Plug rants the ambiguous massage Sentou did on her so Arrester beats her up. Meanwhile Pulse is in an emergency meeting on Kenta’s case whereby large amount of electricity shouldn’t occur. In addition to Plug and Arrester who’re involved, they think they can’t ignore another person: Sentou.

In episode 9, Plug is happily working overtime recharging people much to Arrester’s dismay. It feels good to be back. They are called to Pulse’s office and are introduced to Reika Galvani and Kuran Shunt of Neodym’s Audit Division Special Cases Section, Leakage Girls. They mention during Kenta’s case, large amount of electricity was wasted but there were no trace of electromagnetic disturbance afterwards. This could only mean 1 thing: They smuggled electricity. Plug and Arrester are not happy with their accusation but are shocked when they hear them mention Sentou’s name. Leakage Girls decide to follow and observe the duo on their job routine. But they decide to give them the slip. Though they manage to loose them, it isn’t long before Kuran captures Plug. Arrester’s mindless wandering has her bump into Sentou. Reika appears and Sentou notices Arrester frightened. He stands up for her and doesn’t like Reika treating others like objects. “An enemy of Arrester is my enemy as well!”. Charming. He is preparing to bat her away but other people see him as a maniac swinging his bat and call the police. Arrester takes Sentou and run. Then they receive a message from Leakage Girls that they want to have a calm discussion. They mention they have Plug in their custody but Plug fakes a damsel in distress to work up Sentou. Arrester wonders if Sentou’s speech was a confession but notices the determination in his eyes to go save Plug.

As they arrive inside a building, Arrester lets Kuran chase her. But it’s a trap to lead her to Sentou so that he can bat her unconscious. Then Reika goes to where they are so Plug manages to break free of her chains with her strong determination. Reika confronts Sentou and wonders why he’s standing by a failure like Plug. He mentions the number of lives she saved and has seen it with his own eyes. He and his closed ones get to continue living because of her dedication that made her go so far that she was even willing to burn her arms. Something that no salary could match. He tells her off not to call her a failure if she doesn’t know a thing about her. Eavesdropping Plug is brought to tears so Reika decides to use a Collector Ring on him. Think of it as a stun gun and its shock is identical to the one how Plug almost lost both her arms. That’s when Plug dives in to kick the ring away. Arrester and Plug hold Reika down so Sentou could bat her. As they celebrate their victory, when he learns they did this just to piss them off, it’s their turn to get batted. Sentou profusely apologizes to the Leakage Girls so they continue with their investigation: To lick some paper. It turns out negative so it clears their name since they don’t have electromagnetic signatures found at the scene. With the tension over and Plug returning to her airhead self, she gets another bat from Sentou who was worried sick about her then. He is going to give Arrester another one so she happily receives it! Reika and Kuran are watching how they interact and are interested in watching him further. Why are they blushing when they see him bat?!

Christmas is near in episode 10 on Earth but no such festivities at Life Core and it’s work, work, work. Leakage Girls approach Sentou and tell him about Houden-chan (Discharger Girls) that may be connected to the recent events. They have the ability to steal energy out of targets and convert it to their own (thus like smuggling). Therefore this causes the requirement of large amounts of recharging and increase in targets, which is life threatening. They want Sentou to contact them if he has any leads or notice strange occurrences like people getting suddenly depressed for no reason. Plug happily recharges people when she thinks of giving Sentou a present but horrifying thoughts of being batted comes to mind! Seems Arrester also has a present to give him: A bat! But is undecided to do so. Meanwhile the loli we’ve been seeing wandering around here and there since the beach episode, Rona Elmo, is seen at a field. She watches a boy picking a flower to give to his girlfriend. Rona gets upset and zaps their energy by snapping her fingers, leaving them lethargic. Plug asks Arrester about giving presents and hinting to a certain someone. She replies the act of giving presents to that special someone is what counts. Plug becomes excited and goes off so much so she doesn’t listen to Arrester. Leakage Girls chase a Charger Girl, Grape Hugmoon as suspect for electricity theft. They manage to arrest her and make her spill info. This leads them to confront Rona in town that night. They want her to come with them quietly but she laughs it off and refuses. Leakage Girls decides to take her by force. This causes a blackout in the area. Sentou is nearby and senses something so he decides to check it out. When he arrives, he sees a large crater in the ground and the Leakage Girls badly beaten. He also sees Rona and the next thing we know, he is unconscious.

Though Sentou is back home in episode 11, Iono and Hakone know something is wrong with him because he’s acting gloomy. Plug and Arrester visit Reika and Kuran in hospital and are told about what happened. Then a meeting with Pulse that the number of targets in the area has increased and the suspect is confirmed to be Rona. They are warned not to approach her and leave her arrest to the Audit Division. Meanwhile Rona is upset that nobody else except Sentou could see her so she starts draining people’s energy. Plug, Arrester and their other colleagues arrive to recharge people but they panic as there are too many depressed targets. Furthermore when they recharge, that person doesn’t become energetic instantly. Though it’ll take 10 more times, the effect is that they’re just barely at pass level. Plug uses her timing method and watches people’s mood before recharging them. Flipping an unsuspecting girl’s skirt? Though it takes longer but it’s better than recharging 10 times so her colleagues try her method out and it worked. This goes to show how everyone is a pervert. Arrester finally understood that Plug’s success and non-repeat rates were due to her treating targets as people and not objects.

Plug decides to visit Sentou since she’s nearby but to her horror sees him gloomy. Worse, he can’t see or touch her anymore. He gets a call from Hakone is checking up on him so he lightens up a little. Plug sees an opportunity to recharge him but Rona stands in her way and malfunctions her Refresher. Plug blames Rona that she was the cause of all this but she never meant for it turn out this way. Flashback reveals when Sentou first saw Rona, he tried to catch her when he found out what happened. Rona thought it was fun since he could see her and played tag with him. But when he caught her, his energy got drained and became gloomy. When Rona says how people are like toys to her and drained their energy because it’s amusing, Plug chides her. Rona gets teary eyed saying how she’s lonely and no one could see or play with her. The Audit Division surrounds the house but Rona escapes as they are hot on her heels. When Arrester arrives at Sentou’s place, she becomes hysterical upon finding out what happened to him. Then they receive word from their colleagues that they need help as the number of targets is rising. Plug tells Arrester to take care of Sentou while she leaves to return to Life Core to retrieve a new suit. She remembers her task of recharging people and thinks that’s what Sentou would probably say to her about her job.

The Audit Division are badly defeated by Rona in episode 12. Rona spots Kenta among the crowd. Meanwhile a WTF moment when Sweet Milly and arch nemesis Bloody Silica ended their battle. No need to fight anymore because they’re in love! WTF?! Yuri kissing?! Arrester got so desperate that she even tried to bare her boobs and kiss Sentou. Hakone and Iono barge in. They know he’s down. Iono slaps him to sense while they relate their own depressed periods and how they felt someone pushed them forward. Sentou gets his energy back, apologizes, thanks and hugs them. Arrester feels she knows what her job really is now. The lights start to flicker and they think it’s Plug. Since Sentou still can’t see Arrester, she uses electricity current to lead the way. When Plug returned from Life Core in her new suit, she saw depressed Kenta at the river bank and tried to recharge him. Though her suit can withstand the backfeed effect, he still remained depressed. It gets worse when Kenta starts walking into the river and Plug can’t do anything to stop him as Rona happily watches the events unfold. Then Sentou suddenly gets hold of Kenta. He wonders how Sentou knows about him. He says through someone who is always watching him and is beside him even now. Sentou continues to offer positive words of encouragement. Arrester thinks it’s the perfect time to recharge him but Plug notes the higher power needed to do so. That’s when their colleagues arrive to help out. They do their Refresher Series Mode by stacking and linking all their Refreshers to recharge Kenta. They need to do it fast since Sentou and Kenta are losing their positivism. Rona isn’t happy her fun is ruined and is going to interrupt but is held back by Reika and Kuran.

After recharging to 700%, they start recharging Kenta. The backfeed effect takes place but it seems Sentou is absorbing them. In the end both guys return to their normal self. Kenta reunites with his friends and it seems Sentou can see the Charger Girls now, much to their delight. But Rona still isn’t happy and is going to destroy everything so Sentou knocks her head and scolds her if she’s lonely, she can come over to play with him anytime (nothing hentai lah). Rona starts crying and hugging him like a little girl. In the aftermath, reports indicate the electric theft mastermind has been captured and arrested so the case is closed. Rona was just an innocent kid as the culprit used her to steal electricity by telling her how fun the parallel world is. Plug and Arrester fantasize giving Sentou their presents. Arrester’s sick fantasy of letting Sentou show his love by hitting them with her baseball bat present! Just sick. But in reality Sentou has got a bigger problem because Rona is happily sticking to him like a leech. She’s a good girl now and all lovey-dovey with him. Arrester’s got a new rival. Then everyone goes into Sunday Mama for the Christmas party. Since Plug ate Sentou’s cake share, he bats her. After all this time, it has to end with a strike.

Don’t worry if you need more recharge. That’s because if you buy the DVDs, you’ll get special bonus features each lasting approximately 6 minutes each. Yeah, more fanservice and ecchi stuff to ‘recharge’ you perverted viewers. All the specials take place at the secret hotspring: Juuden Open Air Hotsprings. Iono, Hakone and Sentou are working there part time to help out the hotspring hostess run by Tenchou’s look-a-like sister. In Special 1, we see the 2nd Division Charger Girls soaking in the hotspring. We are briefly introduced to them all including Plug and Arrester. Plug isn’t happy with her description as a failure and small boobs. Because of that, she goes on an extreme rampage molesting Arrester and her other pals’ boobs like a perverted monster. When she senses the arrival of a bigger breast, she instantly takes her molestation to her. Turns out to be Pulse. She’s scared sh*t that she peed! Needless to say her salary got reduced… In Special 2, Arrester cosplays as Sweet Milly in front of perverted guys in the hotspring. It was lame till Plug unleashes a horny monster octopus to do ecchi tentacle rape on poor Arrester (to relive some hentai episode in Sweet Milly), turning on those guys. The controller then broke so the octopus gives Plug the same treatment. Her other pals in different cosplaying outfit come to their rescue but ended up getting tentacles violation. The perverts are so turned on that the hotspring turned into bloodbath colour.

In Special 3, while Sentou is sleeping, Iono comes in to seduce him with her semi-naked body. Too bad he’s tied down. After that tantalising kiss and licking, Hakone comes in and sees this. Sentou had better wished she’d taken this for a misunderstanding because it seems Hakone is joining in too! After stripping down to her lingerie, both girls flank and seduce him. Plug and Arrester are spying from above. Flashback reveals how Plug used a new Pink Refresher to recharge weary and overworked Iono and Hakone. But it resulted in them using their greatest desire to recharge their energy. But Rona removes the effect and saps their energy, putting them to sleep. When Sentou learns that they and the new Refresher are the cause, he bats the trio into the sky. Why is Arrester feeling afraid? In Special 4, Reika and Kuran are making out via heavy hot yuri sex at the hotspring! Yeow! Deep tongue kissing and fondling! Plug, Arrester and Rona are watching in excitement that they fantasize what dishes and food look good on them and ultimately themselves. Reika and Kuran continue their steamy stuff (so much so it needed bubble sensors!) and the trio watching their every move in baited breath. Then the climax at the waterfall when they realize the pair is just a full 3D movie projection test. The real ladies are standing behind them and since peeping isn’t a good thing, they take out their Collector Ring to arrest them. The trio got so scared that they, let’s say the hotspring water turned gold colour.

In Special 5, Plug and Arrester are in a naked battle due to something trivial we don’t want to know. Milly and Silica act as chibi referees and censor for their bottom part (hey, this is ecchi but not hentai). As the fight begins, Arrester has the upper hand (not sure if her larger boobs gave her advantage). Plug fondles Arrester’s boobs when the latter suddenly grabs the former’s head antenna (I think that’s what it is). This renders Plug paralyzed. Then the sadistic nature in Arrester awakens as she proceeds to torment Plug by licking and toying with her antenna. Plug is knocked out and in the end Arrester revels in this newfound feeling she’s never felt before. Sentou isn’t happy they messed up the place he just cleaned and hits them away with his broom. Looks like Arrester prefers this and is back to being a masochist. In Special 6, the Charger Girls continue their party at the hotspring. Sentou continues to work part time but is blindfolded as precaution. Leakage Girls invite to buy him drinks after his shift. This doesn’t sit well with Arrester and Rona (who wants to play with him. Again, nothing hentai). Plug’s colleagues are fascinated to see this guy who can see and touch them. Remember, Hakone and Iono can’t see them and all they see are strange silhouettes thus wondering why Sentou needs to be blindfolded. Suddenly someone pours a special potion into the hotspring and the Charger Girls become visible. The guys below are having a nice view time of the floating naked girls, Since then the place became a legend and people start coming here to worship them. WTF?! Eventually Sentou’s blindfold slipped so he too has a nice view of the girls. Total fanservice!

It has been a fun ride from start to finish. Though I won’t say that I am totally recharged after watching this anime. Not that I really want to go out and look for more mindless ecchi animes like these. With a nice happy ending, I guess it still bugs me why Sentou can see and touch those girls. Something to do with his body structure or wait, don’t tell me, he is somewhat related to the parallel world. The most hilarious part of the series is of course Sentou’s batting. It’s like a trademark in this series so when an episode is totally void of it, it felt like something is missing. Call me a sadist but wouldn’t a normal guy grab the nearest stick and whack something he thinks is threatening? At this rate, he could turn into a professional baseball player. Each time he hits the Charger Girls, it’s like he’s hitting them not only to take out his frustration but to correct them. So now you know why some people hit and bang their electrical appliances to make them work, eh? I’m not sure about Sentou’s inner pervertness because there are times when he starts fantasizing how cute the Charger Girls and Leakage Girls are in their tight suits. But he usually snaps out of it. Other than that, Sentou is a nice guy once you get to know him. Is it me or do I find him to resemble closely to Bleach’s Ichigo Kurosaki? Another weird thing about him is the drawing of his nose. They’re like a grey shaded oblong…

The other interesting thing is the interaction between Plug and Arrester. These 2 with totally contrasting characters are sure a weird combination. It’s fun to see them argue sometimes. Plug may be a failure if you consider achievements as your source of data. An airhead and naughty at times, her unconventional method and take her job more than a just a job makes her a success that everyone else should emulate. People aren’t toys. They have feelings too. While Arrester may begin as a cocky supervisor, eventually she began to see the good side of Plug. Can’t say the same for her tsundere and masochist ways. Have you ever seen a woman who gets so happy when she’s beaten up? I felt Hakone and Iono’s role were redundant after being recharged. Though they serve as an important point for Sentou to regain his positivism back, but for the rest of the episodes, it’s like it could do without them. Too bad we don’t get to see more of Tenchou’s lolicon on Hakone. If she really did violate her, I guess Sentou will be adding another one to his batting list. As for Rona, what can I say? She provides loli moe-ness (partly she’s voiced by Aya Hirano). With Rona joining Sentou’s pack, I guess he has a full house now. With girls he can and cannot see. Big possibility it could turn into a harem. Like he cares about that. Another mystery in the series is a shady guy always seen watching the events in his room filled with monitors. He has no dialogue whatsoever but just grins at the end. A possible villain if a sequel is ever produced?

So if this recharging thing is like a job and they get paid to do it if they meet their quotas, who is paying them and what for? Because they did mention how energy needed to recharge people on Earth is taken from their parallel world. And was the electricity smuggling to sell it back at a higher price and the cycle goes on and on? There are so many depressed people in this world so it almost feels like their job is never done, considering the repeat targets. Well, we humans do go through our own phases of ups and downs. Don’t passers-by feel odd that the next person who is gloomy suddenly becomes happy? Yeah, it’s a mad world out there. Don’t blame you if you see a guy seemingly swinging a bat mindlessly. I guess the subtle theme here is about energy. No matter what kind of energy it is, we must not waste them. Whether it’s the energy of our behaviour or the energy in the electricity that powers our appliances, use them wisely. Wasted energy can never be regained.

I need to mention about Sweet Milly too. In each episode, we are shown short clips of Milly’s ecchi misadventures. It makes you wonder what kind of magical girl show is this. Not only shown at hours convenient to be shown, in each episode she gets beaten up and her clothes ripped close to naked by a monster or Silica. It makes you wonder how she turned into a magical girl if she’s that weak. And each time she gets bound by tentacles or the likes, she makes ambiguous sounds like as though she’s enjoying it. Milly also isn’t the brightest in town because we’ve seen snippets of her finally waking up early for school but it was the winter break or the time she tries to rip-off people by selling Christmas cakes by jacking up prizes if customers pay more in return for her smile. Milly has a pet assistant called Vich (at first I thought I heard Bitch!) who has an acid tongue and does not hesitate to chide Milly with vulgarities and profanity for being a slutty and useless whore! Silica as the villain may be no better herself since she uses magic to enhance her H-cup boobs when she’s as flat as a washboard. So they became lovers instead of rivals in the end? Just totally sick. What they hell is television teaching children these days!

In addition to the explicit fanservice, I also learned a new word and a disturbing type fetish: Omorashi. Literally someone who gets sexually aroused by holding their pee or getting their panty wet! There are even followings in real life (heck, even a game show)! Regret reading up and finding more about it because it made me feel disgusted. Yup, this series has lots of them. Usually when Sentou bats the unfortunate girls, we see those yellow liquid gushing and flowing down their legs or the colour of the lower region of their tight suits darkening. It was funny each time it happened but if I think about it real closely, it is disgusting. This isn’t only limited to the fear of Sentou’s batting but for Arrester case when she is sexually stimulated. Like a dragonfly landing on her tits, she starts wetting her tight suits instantly. Gross. It gives a whole new meaning and perception to ‘take a leak’.

On a trivial note, keeping in line with the fanservice theme, the mid-intermission shows the characters in random antics while the slot machine is being played in the background. I guess we viewers are lucky because each time it hits jackpot (usually triple Sevens) the next scene will be changed to an ecchi fanservice pose of the girls in the series. Be sure to catch them fast or it’ll be the case of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. The next episode preview is also amusing. Before narrating what comes next, we here the characters (usually Plug and Arrester) ranting nonsensical stuff. For instance, Arrester’s fake mourning of Plug’s death which allows her to take her place and be the new heroine in focus. Just another mind boggling thing to ponder about. Remember that electricity and water don’t make good friends? There are few scenes where we see recharging takes place close to water. Logically, such electric shock could kill us outright! Sure we may think it’s energy from the parallel world but electricity is still electricity and where there is flow of current, it’s bound to be dangerous near water. So people, remember to keep your electrical stuff away from water. And don’t try sticking any plug points into any part of your body. You won’t feel recharged but painfully shocked instead. Those suits the Charger Girls wear, at first I thought the cable connecting to the rear of their suits are electrical recharge points sticking out from their butts! What was I thinking?

In reality, though we don’t have those Charger Girls to recharge our energy, we have lots of different forms of motivations to help us get back on our feet. For otakus, probably playing H-games and eroges. Hahaha! But even if they really do exist, the sight of their busty and sexy figures in tight suits would probably energize lots of men. Just like in this series how a simple skirt-flipping-panty-revealing trick could spark a slight interest in men. Boys will always be boys. For me, I don’t need any Charger Girls at the moment as long as I have my favourite animes with me. That’s my Refresher and recharge. Now, back to watching more anime. Ecchi ones got ah?

Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!

Taishou Takyuu Musume

December 11, 2010

If I am not a baseball enthusiast or have any sort of interest in the sport, then why the heck did I watch Taishou Yakyuu Musume then? Hmm… Must be the cute girls playing baseball. Who am I kidding? They look pretty average. Please don’t take that as an insult. This series somehow reminds me of an earlier all-girls baseball anime series, Princess Nine. Actually I have never really finished watching that series so I guess the only similarity that had me linked to this show was 9 females batting and running around the pitch. That wasn’t an insult either. So if it’s not the girls, I guess it must be the comedy then. What else?

Instead of modern day Tokyo, the setting is during the Taishou era (circa 1925 before the Second World War) where Japan has recently begun to embrace western civilization from their clothing to technology and daily lifestyle. At least some of its citizens. Back then as we know, many ordinary women did not have much liberty in society what more playing baseball which is deemed to be a man’s domain and the only gender that plays that game. So this is the story of a bunch of high school girls defying the norm then and going against all odds. Through baseball, that is.

Like in episode 1, Koume Suzukawa is happy her parents gave her a sailor school uniform and are embracing the western culture. So happy that she starts singing about the town (?!). But it’s all just a dream because her dad is still the Meiji type and wants her to wear kimono. Koume rushes to school (Touhou Seika Academy Girl’s Secondary School) because she got up late. She gets reprimanded by a stern elderly teacher Ooguchi for not acting lady-like (girls aren’t supposed to run?) but a young foreigner teacher Anna Curtland also rushes in and in a way ‘saves’ her. During recess, Koume’s friend and classmate, Akiko Ogasawara wants her to join her in forming a baseball team. She also asks her other classmates if they’re interested. Waiting at the school gates, seems there are 3 girls interested. But Akiko doesn’t know much about baseball considering her interest in forming a team. They head over to a nearby stadium to learn more about the game. On the way, they learn their opponents will be the boys from Asaka Middle School. Upon arrival, they see the scary and hellish training so it’s no surprise the newbies fled because they don’t want to be killed! Akiko now only has Koume to rely on. Before she knows it, since when did she join her?

Next day the duo continue to recruit female members but none of them wants to join. Class rep Yuki Souya pays Koume a visit and shows her a baseball glove. She says about the money needed to buy its equipment and also sizes of the equipments are made to fit males. Next day I guess Koume wants to tell Akiko she wants out but is interrupted by Noe Kawashima. She thinks playing baseball on a whim will harm her grades. Akiko has no plans laid out for their victory so Noe can’t approve playing baseball just to be put to shame. Akiko reveals during her father’s party, a guy told her girls do not need academic records or social activities and are more fitted to be in the household. OMG! He really thought so?! So why baseball? That guy’s a baseball player. Akiko must’ve been so hurt by that statement so it’s understandable she cries. Noe decides to join them and think of a plan to beat the boys, much to Akiko’s relief. Yuki also joins them and shows them some baseball equipment she got. Her visit to Koume’s place was a sign that she had joined them but I guess Koume wasn’t that smart enough to understand that indication. The quartet practice a few throws.

The girls get their gear fix in episode 2. Koume gets up early 1 morning and lies to her dad she has supplementary class. She meets her other baseball mates as Yuki brings Anna as their coach. She does a few demonstrations like throwing a pitch (too hard and fast that it hit right at Koume’s head) and batting (broke the window!). Ooguchi is searching for the culprit so the girls pretend they’re doing literature in the field. Didn’t she notice the “How to play baseball” book? Twins Tomoe and Shizuka Tsukubae are cleaning the church they live in. As Tomoe takes out the trash, she spots the girls playing baseball. Shizuka knows she’s interested but Tomoe feels too shy to ask. Shizuka asks her friend and newspaper club member Noriko Owari about Tomoe’s interest in baseball. She thinks martial arts enthusiast Tomoe likes a member in the baseball team.

As the gang scout for more members, Anna notices Tomoe’s throw during PE. She confronts her and requests her to join but Shizuka disagrees citing their newspaper club short of members. Anna apologizes and leaves. But Tomoe isn’t going to let her challenge of being able to see the ball go and requests a test. Outside the field as the girls watch, Anna pitches an orange as Tomoe perfectly slices it with her sword. With everyone in awe, Tomoe requests to join the baseball club. Shizuka seems not too fond of what happened so she too wishes to join! Siscon? Akiko is excited that they need 3 more people so Tomoe says she can bring in 2 more. They are Kyouko Sakurami (a petite underclassman who sucks up and looks up to Tomoe) and Noriko (she was threatened to pay back her 1 Yen debt if she doesn’t join! Money is worth a lot back then). With 1 more member to fill the spot left, Yuki meets an old friend, Tamaki Ishigaki. Tamaki seems the kind who prefers to do things alone and aspires to be a writer. Though Tamaki feels she doesn’t fit in and not good with people, she accepts Yuki’s invitation to try out. Upon Tomoe’s request, they put Tamaki to a little test and it seems she’s good. Yuki explains she and Tamaki used to play together with the boys in elementary school. Koume and Akiko are excited about Tamaki so she flusters and tries to get away. When happy Koume returns home, she gets reprimanded from her dad who thinks her supplementary classes are a result of her slipping grades.

Koume slips out early 1 morning in episode 3 bluffing her dad once more it’s for reading sessions (man, she’s getting good at this). She bumps into a guy. After she leaves, he picks up her dropped handkerchief and has fallen for her. The baseball girls learn their club’s name will be Oukakai. Something about westernizing in Japanese society but it’s just a pretence to play baseball. Of course Ooguchi wouldn’t allow it but after the principal, Barbara McGregor hears both sides, she allows it on a few conditions. They won’t receive any club finds and if their grades fail, the club will be disbanded. As for their club room, the only one left is an abandoned shed. The girls fix and clean it before beginning their practice. Lots of fumbling, trial and error, hurting and more practice. After Anna announces their field positions, Noe announces their accepted practice match with Asaka next Sunday. There’re few conditions like the place will be Asaka’s home ground and the winning team will select an MVP and go on a rendezvous (read: date) with 1 of the losing team’s members.

During class, some guy arrives at the school gates and shouts for Koume to date him! Now she’s the talk of the school. After getting an earful from Ooguchi, Koume meets the guy at the gates. She doesn’t know him and wonders why he is doing this. He shows the handkerchief she dropped and thinks she did it on purpose. He says it’s fate too? Huh? She’s not too enthusiastic about it. He introduces himself as Tomochika Takahara, a member of Asaka’s baseball team. During match day, we learn the guy who told Akiko about women’s place, Sousuke Iwasaki, is actually her fiancee! He doesn’t know why she’s cold towards him recently. Get a hint, pal. As the match begins, the girls make lots of fumbling because they’re amateurs, what else. Don’t expect them to turn on seasoned players at first go, eh? (Besides it’s only episode 3 lah). The girls lost badly 11-0 so Kyouko is inconsolable as she thinks it was her fumbling that was the turning point and cause of their lost early in the game. I thought it was more of because they played in their school uniforms and kimono. Can they run in that? Iwasaki confronts Akiko. He notices that there’s some misunderstanding and wishes to apologize if he has done something rude. Akiko doesn’t say anything. You got to remember hard yourself because you’re dealing with a woman. Before he heads back to practice, he decides to cancel that rendezvous thingy. Takahara is so devastated with that. There goes his dream date with Koume. Phew. Dream on.

On a rainy day in episode 4, Noriko wants out because she doesn’t have the time to juggle with baseball and newspaper club. Akiko has been absent from school for a few days so Koume pays her a visit. When she leaves, she learns from Akiko’s driver, Matsuzaka that Akiko may be hiding her pain and not telling everyone about it. Next day, Koume and Noe go visit Kyouko but she locks herself in her room. They think they’ve to find another player. At home, Koume gets a surprise visit from Iwasaki and Takahara. Iwasaki wants to know if there’s something wrong with Akiko. He realize himself as the cause but he still can pinpoint what (how dense can he get?). Koume notes they would forgive him if that humiliating loss was due to lack of experience but not because they’re girls. After they leave, Koume goes over to Akiko’s place and chides her for keeping to herself. Koume suggests that to overcome this gloom, they must make the boys acknowledge they’re on equal terms with each other. They must challenge them with the same level of determination because they practice every day and are aiming for the Nationals. Akiko gets her confidence back and arranges for everyone to meet at the club room by 6pm. Koume is tasked to get Shizuka and Tomoe. She then ‘uses’ Tomoe to lift Kyouko’s spirits to join them. Very sly of her. Shizuka is really freaking out when Tomoe hugs Kyouko. When everyone gathers, they reconcile and renew their determination. As everyone gets into the hype of a new history that will be created for them, it hit them that they’re a member short.

Yuki brings some western clothes so they can train better in episode 5. Since they’re a member short, Anna has them do basic training like running laps. They’re so exhausted that they think they’re going to die at this rate! Back home or at school, everyone’s so tired. Thinking that they need to find the last member so they can resume real training, Noe thinks they need a sprinter. Upon Noriko’s advice to look at the track field, they observe a girl Kochou Kikusaka. She has a fast start but her speed decreases as she nears the finish line. They approach her to join their baseball club but she thinks she’s not that fast and runs away. So more running for the girls and they still tire out. Thinking of other ways like reducing the number of players to 8 (do you want to lose respect from the guys again?) or just increase their training speed and find an average ways. Koume gets advice from a ‘professional runner’ (a rickshaw puller) and brings a pair of rickshaw to the club for training! Having a test competition, Koume goes up against Tamaki but it got out of control and rammed into Ooguchi’s choir club. Reprimanding time… It’s a miracle nobody got injured. With that idea tossed aside, it’s back to running more laps. They’re really going to die at this rate. Kochou is also Kyouko’s room-mate. She applies lotion on Kyouko’s aching muscles and asks if it’s fun playing baseball. Next day Noe requests Kochou to tryout their club. She exceeds their expectations as fast sprinter so the girls plead her to join. Her answer: She runs away. Well, she’s a sprinter. During class, seems Anna is her English teacher so she hints about open and closed doors and opportunities. Kochou later gets permission to leave her track club and requests to join the baseball club, much to the girls’ delight. Now they can start batting but Anna has them start off by running laps. Eh? Well, it did show that they lack the stamina they needed, right? Aww man… Start running!

Though Anna thinks the girls are ready to play real ball in episode 6, she has to leave to Nagasaki to tend to her sick aunt. She leaves them a list of teams they can practice with but everyone rejects them. Koume on her way home sees a bunch of elementary kids, Taro and co, having no proper place to play baseball (they got chased away for breaking windows and causing nuisance at a small field). She invites them to play at her school anytime though their opponents will be Oukakai. Their first match begins and they lost horribly simply because of the messy defence, Tomoe trying to hit a homerun but got called batter out like mad. At the end of the day the girls feel dejected that they lost badly to a bunch of elementary kids. Noe has taken notes of their play so she comes up with a strategy for improvement the next day. After a week’s practice, it’s rematch. The girls fare slightly better, enough to give Taro’s team a run for their money. Though Taro’s team catch up and win, the girls think their lost is mainly contributed by the non-communication of Koume and Akiko. Noe orders them to live together like newly weds to improve their communication. Akiko stays at Koume’s place as she observes her. She tells Koume how she and Saburou Kitani (a worker at her restaurant for 4 years) get along very well like newly weds. Another rematch day, the girls improve a lot and the match was too close to call. Anna returns and is impressed of what she saw. It doesn’t matter who they practice with as long they get experience and hone their skills. When Koume returns home, her dad tells her that her fiancee will be Saburou, shocking her. With that, Koume and Saburou become clumsy and fluster each time they communicate with each other.

Rumours that a pair of street batters are going around at night beating baseball players at their game in episode 7. Honestly, how can anyone hit a baseball in pitch black? Street lights weren’t that bright then, you know. It’s revealed to be Tomoe and Koume since the former wants to see whether she can go up against the secondary boys. From her talk, I think Tomoe likes Koume. Anna and Noe want Akiko to develop her own curve magic ball. How? Work it out yourself! Akiko practices and tests her magic balls but it turns out to be straight balls. She gets suspicious of Koume and Tomoe so 1 night she finds out the truth when she spots Koume sneaking out her house. She joins Koume and decides to be the street pitcher. Taking on a baseball player, Akiko is going to show him her magic ball, but he hits it away because it’s a straight ball. Noe has Noriko scout valuable info of Asaka’s game to develop a strategy. I guess she was cute enough that they gladly lend their score book! During practice when Tomoe and Akiko eventually found out about each other’s night rendezvous, they argue over Koume! Too bad Koume had to choose one of them. To settle it, that night both tag along. Before they can jump on a baseball player, several street batters appear. Yeah, it’s the other Oukakai girls (minus Noe). They had the same idea. But they start running away when the police show up because getting caught means immediate expulsion.

As they hide in the bushes, they meet a couple of real thieves and chase after them. Kochou sprints ahead but the thieves get cocky since it’s only a girl and decide to take her on. Now it’s her turn to run away. Noe has been cooked up in her room too long studying and thinking of strategies and thinks she needs some fresh air. She sees Kochou being chased by the thieves. Yeah, she must’ve stayed up too long. When Kochou regroups with the rest, the girls surround them. However they take an old man, Yahachiro Ogura as hostage. Koume has an idea. Using a UFO line as a distraction (they really fell for it!), Akiko throws her straight ball. They dodge but Tomoe behind hits it back, knocking out 1 of them. Then Akiko throws another ball. This time it curves though it hit that thief’s crotch. Ouch. They have to run once more since the police are on their tail. Next day, rumours that the street batters caught a bunch of thieves spread in school. Akiko is disappointed that everyone is talking about street batters but none about the street pitcher. Well if she had only been more successful… The Oukakai girls are called to the principal’s office. Seems Ogura returned the bat they dropped. It has their club name on it. Barbara makes a hypothesis that those street batter girls will not appear anymore. So that’s the end of that. Everyone is excited of Akiko’s magic ball so she decides to show it off. However to everyone’s disappointment it’s a straight ball. Fluke?

While the girls are in another practice in episode 8, Sousaburou Yoshimura from Kokusai Cinema Inc is thrilled after watching them. He is here to seek a substitute for an actress of a current movie being shot here since she threatened to quit as she’s unhappy. After listing several conditions like pretty, intelligent and a school girl (why are the girls so perasan?), the final condition is to be able to swim. However only Koume can do so. She declines citing her strict parents and school regulations. Noe makes a deal with Yoshimura to make Koume accept that part. After smoothly pleading the Barbara for permission, before Koume knows it, Noe hands her the script and has her setup for the movie the day after tomorrow. Seems Noe also talked to her parents so they allow her since it would be an honour starring in a movie as a rep of her school. Koume becomes more locally famous but Tomoe is sad as she worries Koume may forget about her so Shizuka gives her words of encouragement. Tomoe gives Koume a charm and wishes her all the best. Koume wants mom to help with her lines but since she’s busy, dad orders reluctant Saburou to do so. Next morning, lots of people gather in front of the restaurant to catch a glimpse of their local star. Even Takahara is so excited to go see Koume but luckily his intrusion was hindered by the guards. As the set, Koume puts on the clothes as her friends and locals wait for her appearance. Koume and Noe learn that Koume’s role is just to dive into the river since the main actress can’t swim. He did say he wanted a substitute actress. Remember all her lines were futile. Noe pleads to Koume to just do the dive since she already made a deal with Yoshimura. The noisy crowd want their local girl to debut during the filming and when she does, they’re disappointed with her role of just diving down the bridge. The deal Noe made was to allow her to see baseball footage. Yoshimura hints that he likes her. When the movie is released, seems everyone laugh at Koume’s short part. Koume locks herself in her room so Saburou gives her words of comfort. She decides to forget and get over it.

While looking at notes of pictures of Noe’s baseball strategy in episode 9, Koume stays up late so it’s no surprise she’s running late for school the next morning. When her mom comes into her room to clean up, she sees a picture of Takahara. The girls have been practising hard enough to beat Taro’s team thanks to Noe’s strategies. Anna decides to go announce a formal challenge to Asaka. When comes home, her dad calls her. He shows the pic of Takahara and thinks she’s going out with him though she already has a fiancee. Without mentioning her secret practice, Koume starts apologizing and pleads to let it pass. Both sides talk differently in terms of meaning. Koume isn’t please with her dad’s persistence so they argue. She doesn’t talk to him the next day. After another practice to shorten their reaction time, that night Koume meets Saburou. You can tell that guy likes her. He mentions he eavesdropped this morning’s topic so she apologizes. Both also talk with different meaning. She says she’s serious and won’t turn back so he understands and will support her from the sidelines. Asaka gets the challenge letter but word of it reaches its principal. He is thinking of a proper reply as this will tarnish their school’s name. Barbara seems to know Ogura well as they watch Oukakai practice. Anna brings the bad news that their challenge has been rejected. It even states that women shouldn’t taint the sacred baseball ground! That night Akiko calls Iwasaki and chides him for being a coward but he says he accepted their challenge him. She refuses to believe anything he says anymore.

Next day Iwasaki meets his principal and wants to know why he decided on their behalf and that their club hasn’t been consulted over this matter. Seems he has this thinking that a woman’s place should be in the household. Then Ogura comes in and pulls some strings. After hearing both sides, he tells off the principal that he’s running away from these girls. He wants him to give them a proper reply. Ogura must be 1 hellava big shot because that principal starts panicking when he threatens to cut off all ties! Anna brings the good news that Asaka has accepted their challenge and the match will be during summer break. Akiko thinks of a summer training camp and invites them all to her summer villa in the mountains. Koume goes home and encounters Takahara. He wishes to make a bet that if her side loses, she goes out on a date with him. Before Koume could say anything, he leaves and looks forward to the date. Saburou was walking by and heard them. That night Koume wonders why Saburou is depressed so when her mom tells her about her fling and future date with Takahara, she goes after him. Koume catches up and scolds him for jumping to conclusions. She tells him straight that she doesn’t like that Takahara guy at all. Plus, she already has him. Saburou realizes the baseball match she’s talking about and she also realizes everyone’s misunderstanding. She wants Saburou to keep this a secret from her parents. The duo spend some time together so Saburou wishes to make a bet that if he could call her by her first name if she wins. She thinks he’s teasing her because she doesn’t intend to lose.

The girls reach Akiko’s villa in episode 10. Noriko also tags along. Due to last night’s storm, they have to stay at the assembly hall. That didn’t damper their spirits to practice hard. Kyouko decides to use this camp to get closer to Tomoe. During night time, the girls have study lessons as part of the deal to be academically adept. However Tomoe starts off with a pillow fight and soon all hell breaks loose. Seems like a mild one rather. As they continue to practice, Kyouko tries to do stuff to impress Tomoe like laundry but she wrecked her shirt. Akiko knows Tomoe’s jealousy so she purposely helps Koume with her homework and rubs it into her. Kyouko uses this chance to help Tomoe but she too isn’t that smart. Then at the hotspring probably the heat got to her head that she collapsed when the moment she has been waiting for Tomoe to scrub her back arrives. She has a nightmare that Tomoe left her for being useless. She was so noisy that it woke up the other girls! Kyouko gets depressed as there has been no progress with her Tomoe after a week. Well, there’s another week left to the camp.

Anna organizes a kimodameshi (test of courage). Kochou fixes the lot to help pair Kyouko with Tomoe. The first pair Noe-Noriko is so scared that the slightest sound sends them running back in a flash screaming. The next pair, Akiko-Shizuka also runs back since arachnophobia Akiko spots a spider on Shizuka’s head. This leads to a chain effect to Yuki-Tamaki. They pass by Kyouko-Tomoe. Anna is acting as the ghost and is tired of waiting for the girls but they’re no-show. She fell into the river. When she picks herself up and looks like a water monster, Kyouko instantly runs away in fear. What about her beloved Tomoe’s promise to protect her? Hell with that! Tomoe’s faced down on the ground because Kyouko stepped all over her during her escape! Later Kyouko sits alone by the rock thinking how useless she has been so Anna tells her to come to this spot tomorrow as she’ll find what she’s looking for. Next day she sees Koume and Akiko running by. Anna says that though they both lack in what others are good at, they didn’t give up and continue to do their best. Kyouko realizes so she apologizes to the girls for the troubles and vows to work hard. With the remaining days left, the girls practice as Kyouko improves and is complimented by Tomoe.

The girls show the fruits of their practice that they beat Taro’s team 10-0 in episode 11! Day before the match, stupid Takahara boldly meets Koume’s parents and tells them straight that he plans to propose to Koume! He even reveals their baseball match. Koume’s dad is shocked and goes confront Koume. He blows his top for lying. Saburou wishes he let this one pass but he too isn’t happy he knew about this and also lied. Koume continues to practice and so do the other girls. Match day, Koume leaves her house and her dad is still mad but tells her to do as she wishes. As the girls gather, they note Akiko hasn’t arrive yet. Anna calls her house but was told she got sick. Feeling suspicious, Koume heads to her house but was not allowed to enter or see her. The Asaka guys arrive and brought a neutral umpire, Satou. After learning they’re a few members down, they agree to delay the match. But strict Satou is bent on following the time rules and if a side doesn’t show up with enough players before noon, that side forfeits.

Koume gets to know from Matsuzaka that Akiko got into a fight with her mom last night when she found out about the baseball match. She is locked up in her room and even guarded by a judo bodyguard outside! Matsuzaka wants to help Akiko because he notes how happy she is with what she is doing now. Matsuzaka fakes an illness so the bodyguard leaves his post to get his medicine and this enables Koume to get Akiko (she was tying bed sheets to climb down the window? How long is that going to take?). Cars that time don’t really fly so no matter how fast Matsuzaka steps on the peddle, it’s still ‘slow’. He almost hit a peddler but as he avoids, the car crashes. Thank goodness the girls are alright. He tells them to go ahead while he cleans up. The duo arrive right on the dot when the match is about to begin. Taro and his pals, Barbara and Ogura watch the match. Oukakai makes a good start stunning their Asaka counterparts with all the lessons and strategies they’ve learned. Akiko is now able to pull off her magic ball. The match goes on with the girls leading and in high spirits while the guys just utterly confused. Then an Asaka batter, Yanagi, notices Akiko’s magic ball and concludes the girls’ strategy to cause their batters to mishit. They devise a strategy to counter that. Anna also knows Akiko’s magic ball has been found out. She warns the girls not to rest on their laurels yet as it’s about to get harder.

Koume’s dad is still upset over the incident in episode 12 and has cut ties with her daughter. Saburou suggests they go cheer for her but he isn’t listening. The Asaka guys’ counterattack is working and they make a comeback to take the lead. Akiko devises a comeback strategy, that is to throw her fluttering magic ball. It’s risky since Koume may not catch it. They try and almost turned the tables but the guys are still better. Ooguchi’s choir girls want to watch the match so much that they ditch her class to go watch. As the match continues, Yuki got her arm injured while catching a ball. Though it isn’t bad, Satou suggests forfeiting the game but Yuki wants to continue playing. She notes how this may be their last chance to play against boys. The Asaka guys notice how the Oukakai girls have train so hard and decide to return the favour and not show disrespect by giving all they’ve got and treat this as a final tournament match. Ooguchi chides her choir girls if they’re really part of the choir club because she wants them to use their voices to cheer on the girls. So she finally accepts them. Tomoe hits a homerun for her team to catch up. Noriko tells the girls that she knows why Asaka know what pitches she throws. It’s the way she holds the ball in her gloves before she throws. Using this, they manage to confuse the guys and Akiko uses her fluttering magic ball to batter out Yanagi. Koume’s turn to bat but she’s down 2 strikes. Then she hears a familiar voice cheering for her. It’s her dad! He cheers her not to give up and show them her guts! Saburou and her mom are there too. The final face-off between Akiko and Iwasaki. It was a very close call between out and safe as Koume makes a final dash. She was just inches away from the base and thus out. The girls don’t blame her because she tried her best. Asaka wins with a slim margin 9-8. Iwasaki truly apologizes to Akiko so both sides reconcile. The girls hope they could be more honest with each other. In the aftermath, Koume dons a sailor school uniform as she walks home hand in hand with Saburou. She allows him to call her by her first name.

I guess it was okay at the end. I have mixed feelings on whether it was appropriate for the girls or the boys to win. If the girls do win, it would felt a little exaggerated because unless they’re really true prodigies of the sport, you don’t expect them to win at their first try, right? Having said that, prodigies don’t need to train hard, right? And that would mean a real shame to the boys who have been playing baseball longer than the girls. So I guess it is a fitting score that Asaka wins by a slim victory as to also reflect the hard effort the girls put in. So whether or not they will continue to play baseball or disbanded would be another different story. It would be better if they continue to play other teams but at least they’ve achieve their goal (Akiko’s rather) of playing with Asaka and came close in beating them.

In many sports genre animes, character development is vital. So when a short series that is only a dozen episodes long and doesn’t last twice that length, I felt there wasn’t much room for it. The only big improvement is the girls’ baseball skills. Not that I’m complaining or really love animes with character development in it, I just thought that teamwork in a sports genre would mean we will see how the characters interact and bond over the episodes, right? Koume and Akiko’s relationship are like that and just, well, like that too in the end. Yuki and Tamaki are close friends but that’s about it. I thought Kyouko had given up on Tomoe when Kochou came into the picture as she is shown quite close to her. But that camp episode felt like it was supposed to remind us that she still has that tomboyish twin in her heart. What about Shizuka’s fondness about her sister. But that’s just my assumption since she jumped straight into following her twin to join the baseball club. And Tomoe’s infatuation with Koume? What happened to that? As long as they’re friends, it’ll be fine. At one point I thought there was going to be mild yuri but hey, they’re from an all-girls school. So with the limited number of episodes, we don’t see further insights of the other characters. Like Tamaki, Shizuka and Kochou who are just there to fill up the places. Noe’s role is always the brains and strategy developer of the team, Anna the encouraging foreigner coach and ever gentle Yuki’s initial role of introducing baseball equipments and other stuff seem to make her ‘presence’ fade with the passing of each episode.

If I think about it, Iwasaki isn’t such a bad person after all. Though he had made stirring comments about women’s place, he is sincere in apologizing and owns up to his mistake. He’s just probably dense when it comes to such matters though he means no ill intentions. If he said that in today’s time, I’m sure he’ll be slapped with lawsuits from woman activists. And if they had properly talked about it, all this could’ve been avoided. Which I think it’s good that it happened because it got to bring out the potential in both sides and change their mindset not only about baseball but the fairer sex is much as capable of doing what the guys can when they put their mind to it. So with Koume and Saburou now really a couple, I guess Takahara has to give up, eh? He was really an annoying jerk always having this thought that Koume likes him but other than that, he’s quite an okay person. I wonder what happened to the possible chemistry with Noe and Yoshimura. See, not enough episodes to develop on that. As for Ooguchi, I guess many viewers hate her for opposing the Oukakai girls because of her stern nature. Eventually she opened her eyes that sometimes strictly sticking to tradition may not be the best answer. Same case for Koume’s dad. There are good and bad points for opening up to the west. It’s best to see which mix brings out the most desirable results.

This might be trivial because I notice the permanent pink blush on Koume’s cheeks. It makes her look like a life size doll. Seriously. Sometimes I can’t help stare at them. It felt like a funny distraction but no big deal. Another little funny thing is the peddler who sells natou. It’s the way he says “natou, natou, natoooouuu~”. Kinda reminds me of the old newspaper guy in my neighbourhood. Good thing about this show is that you don’t see the players pull off exaggerated and impossible moves. Even if it’s Akiko’s magic ball, they’re still believable. The comedy factor may not send me rolling on he floor laughing like mad by they do provide the necessary comic relief and antics of an all-girl baseball team. Like Noe’s constant big ‘X’ reminder of Tomoe never to hit a homerun during her turn, levelling the passengers in that rickshaw race that made it as though Yuki was overweight and Matsuzaka thought he would be the first person Akiko would hug when he came to her rescue but she hugged Koume instead breaking that old man’s heart.

Though I didn’t turn into a baseball freak, but I realized that while I was watching the teams play, I found myself cheering on both sides in the exciting play. Although I still don’t understand the baseball strategies and other terms, it wasn’t about being a guy or a girl anymore. It was about playing baseball and giving all their best. That’s what got me engaged and glued to the screen. So people please remember, never look down on those deemed to be not good at certain things. They might just rise up to the occasion and beat you at your own game. After watching anime genres with sports that I have no interests in that involves a group of girls, a group of girls in kendo, a group of girls playing mahjong and now a group of girls batting and pitching baseball. What are the chances of me watching a group of girls playing beach volleyball? If there was one anyway. Beach volleyball? A fanservice all-girls team sport series? Come to think of it, it’s something that this series lacks. Well, as long as they look cute and pretty…

Taishou Yakyuu Musume

Kaichuu

December 10, 2010

When was the last time I watched short ONAs (original net animation)? Anyway Kaichuu is just that and there are only 2 episodes released via webcast. Adapted from a one-shot manga that ran in a magazine back in 2006, the web release was to commemorate the second volume of this high school romantic comedy archery manga. A promotion stint, I guess.

Episode 1
The opening narration states something about Fudou, the “Child of God” (Kami No Ko) that rocked the archery world when it first made its debut. However that person who did that move suddenly vanished from the scene. At the West High Archery Dojo, there have been talks about the new transfer student. The guys think it will be a cute girl but the girls would prefer to be a handsome stud. The mystery is put to rest when the new transfer student turns out to be a girl, much to the guys’ delight. Very cute indeed. Oh yeah! However, when she introduces herself as Gonzaburou Sasaki AKA Gon, it then occurred to everyone that she is a guy! Hell, a cross-dresser!But why? Why, oh why?Gon says that she is a girl on the inside. I suppose that’s what counts, right? Hey, don’t judge a book by its cover. Why is everyone losing motivation? And yeah, notice how flat she is? For easier reference, I’ll just refer this he as a she. Because she looks cute like a girl ;p. Gon’s eye comes into contact with Tatsuya Tachikawa and the latter has a chilling feeling down his spine when Gon blushes at him! Oh sh*t… At the archery dojo, Tachikawa is also a member and it seems the captain isn’t taking practice seriously but insulting the members as a talentless bunch. Tachikawa got into an argument with the captain about this when they’re being interrupted by a new member wanting to join the club. It’s Gon. She’s so enthusiastic that she’s already in her archery gear. Not that Tachikawa is happy about it.Later Gon talks to Tachikawa about his worn out bow. Tachikawa says how the bow was passed down from his grandpa. Ever since his demise, there isn’t anyone to carry out the Eishin style. But Tachikawa promised him that he become better to inherit it and teach others this style. That’s why he wants to practice enough to be on par with the “Child of God”, though he feels that he can’t shoot that well now. Gon starts swooning over his manly dream so I guess it was freaky enough for Tachikawa to interpret those wrong signals. The next day, Tachikawa realizes his bow is missing. To his horror, Gon brings shows his broken bow she found as he wonders who would do such a despicable thing.

Episode 2
To make matters worse, the captain mocks Tachikawa for crying over a worn out bow. To add salt to injuries, he insults his grandpa for using such a lousy style. Tachikawa is infuriated and punches his face. As a result, Tachikawa got kicked out from the club. Gon walks back with Tachikawa that night and realizes the trouble and burden he is shouldering. The bow broke, he got expelled, the kind of trouble grandpa wouldn’t want him to be in.Next day, Tachikawa gets news that Gon is challenging the captain to an archery contest. If she wins, he must reinstate Tachikawa back into the club. Otherwise she herself will quit the club if she loses. Both contestants are on par with each other but the students are more impressed with Gon since she is able to evenly match the captain. Tachikawa has a feeling he has seen Gon’s bow somewhere when the club’s advisor, Murakami sensei recognizes it as the “Child of God”. He notes the way she is holding the bow and is currently in his feminine form now.After the captain learns who he is up against, his next shot is totally off the mark. The captain is still cocky and continues to mock Gon on his cross-dressing ways but Gon is unfazed and fully concentrates on her next shot. It hits bulls-eye and wins! Teach that cocky captain a good lesson he’ll never forget. Tachikawa is amazed and thanks her in his joy. He says he’ll someday he’ll pull the bow like she does. Embarrassed Gon replies that long ago it wasn’t cute to dress as a boy and it was embarrassing when people know that she was him. But because of Tachikawa’s sake, she could do her best. In short, she wants Tachikawa to kiss her as a reward!Oh sh*t! Now he’s got another set of problems to deal with.

Strike right at your heart!
Erm… Ah… Umm… What can you expect more if a web episode lasts approximately 5 minutes each? It was enjoyable in the short term sense. So yeah the legendary Fudou guy happens to be a cross-dresser but is that the major concern when it comes to archery skills? Other than that I guess it is rather freaky and disturbing if she really falls for Tachikawa. Even if she’s a girl in his heart or stuck in a guy’s body, it’s still rather weird. At least we know Tachikawa is a straight person. Imagine the confusion and rumours that will spread if they were to become a couple.

I’m not sure if there will be more episodes released in the future but the opening title did state that it was a beginning. The drawing, art and voice acting seem to be pretty decent (considering the incredibly short duration of the series so I guess it wasn’t that costly to produce either), so perhaps if the reception is good, it will turn into a full length anime series adaptation. Furthermore, I later discovered that Kaichuu was also adapted into a manga after that one-shot serialization though the story slightly differs. Though this short ONA won’t make me have any interests in archery, but if it does turn into an anime series and a romantic comedy genre, you bet that I may actually consider watching this.

Kaichuu

Sora No Woto

December 6, 2010

Everyone has been saying how Sora No Woto is the military version of K-ON! Okay, if you look closely to the characters, sure they have that uncanny appearance to the all-girl high school rock band. At first it bugged me since the official English translation of the title meant Sound of the Skies. Now, ‘sound’ in Japanese is ‘oto’ so what the heck do they put ‘woto’ instead since there is no such meaning? My guess is that the ‘wo’ hiragana/katana is rarely used so it is set in a way to make viewers of the language not to forget that uncommon word. Just guessing.

Instead of the hustle and bustle of the modern Tokyo life, the setting here is a quiet and sleepy countryside town named Seize (pronounced say-iz) based on a real life town of Cueca in Spain, located at the very edge of civilization in Helvetia (that’s another name for Switzerland for those who don’t know. Like me). And another big war has recently ravaged mankind so it’s no surprise to see the many ruins and scars of war left behind. So we have a group of military girls playing music in this peaceful town in a nutshell, isn’t it? Well, only the newcomer to the Clocktower Fortress, Private 2nd Class Kanata Sorami, a 15 year old girl who is being newly drafted to serve the 1121st platoon in the said town. She is a bugler and has exceptional pitch in identifying the slightest sound and could even give its accurate pitch! However, the same couldn’t be said about her music prowess. Just like K-ON!’s Yui, eh? Note how similar they look and behave? Only difference is Yui is more airhead than Kanata. While I’m at this, let’s just size up the rest of the look-a-likes. Sora No Woto’s Sergeant Rio Kazumiya resembles to K-ON!’s Mio, 2nd Lieutenant Filicia Heideman to Tsumugi, Private Kureha Suminoya to Azusa and well, the leftover means Corporal Noel Kannagi has to be Ritsu. Is this an alternate world? Oh yeah. I also saw a chart whereby if you mix the K-ON! girls with those in Strike Witches, they really do look like the ones here! A new way to create anime characters, eh?

Episode 1 starts off with young and orphaned Yui dreaming how she met a beautiful blonde bugler and is taken in by her. In present, she departs from her male comrades while riding the train coach and is taken by Major Klaus to her designated post. Eager to start her new duties, Kanata finds the town in the midst of preparations of a festival. Like a country bumpkin, she is awed by the several sights of the town. Then she gets caught in the middle when the festival begins. Everyone is splashing coloured water everywhere! Well, just join in the fun. Drenched and her green military outfit now dyed in orange, Rio picks her up. After cleaning up, Kanata hears the sound of Rio’s necklace and identifies the sound as A-flat. An owl soon steals it and Kanata could’ve fallen to her death from the fortress if Rio didn’t stop her. Rio leaves for the festival’s main procession. We learn the legend of how this town was nearly destroyed by a fire breathing winged demon. It took all the maidens and trapped them in the underground maze. But they didn’t give up and called each other using the golden horns given by the angel. They got out and with the help of a spider-like being, defeated the demon. But fire spewed out after cutting its head and this threatened to burn the town down. So the villagers continue to pour water on them every day till the fire was put out a year later. To honour their sacrifices, this is how the water spraying festival started.

At the same time while Rio is performing the ritual, Kanata heard the sound of Rio’s necklace and follows it to a canyon. In her attempts to retrieve the dropped necklace, she fell into the river below. She sees a giant fossil of a winged creature. When she resurfaces, she notes how she doesn’t want to be alone and blows her bugle. The people at the procession (which is near its end) are of course startled as they think it’s the sound of the golden horn. When Kanata wakes up, she is back at the Fortress. Though Rio got her necklace back, she tells her not to do something that reckless again. Bringing her to the top of the tower, Rio who is a pro trumpeter blows her trumpet and Kanata is awed by her beautiful melody. She decides to train Kanata to become one. However she is so horrible that the townspeople even shook their heads! Yeah, she probably needs more air. It’s going to be a long road, Rio.

Kanata is introduced to the rest of her platoon members over breakfast in episode 2. The gentle and big sister of the pack Filicia, the seemingly cocky gunner Kureha and the sleepyhead pilot-cum-mechanic Noel. Wow, such colourful characters. Why not? This looks like a dull town, isn’t it? You can tell Kureha isn’t fond of the newcomer but has been tasked by Rio to show Kanata around the base. So a little geographic lesson like Seize is the at the edge of Helvetia’s border in which beyond that it is Nomansland (no-man’s-land, geddit?) and protocol like the telephone hotline in their base is the only line connected to the Capital (it rarely rings but in the even if it does, it’s either big news or big sh*t). After showing her around the places, Kureha takes her to the garage and introduces her to their huge Vector-class Zero Autonomous Tank Walker, Takemikazuchi. Seems to be one of those old relics from the war and it’s always being fixed due to lack of parts. Later on a rainy night, Kanata thinks she spotted some ghosts in the barracks. Oh, why is Rio and Kureha panicking? Since the duo firmly believe ghosts do not exist, what better way to confirm that as Rio orders Kureha and Kanata to thoroughly investigate it! Bummer. Trekking into the abandoned and dilapidated section, Kanata realizes this was once a school music room. Kanata hears Kureha’s woes how they’re just a tiny army always neglected since their supplies always reached late and never get to do real missions. But Kanata notes how she loves it. Then the ‘ghost’ turns out to be the owl but it scared the daylights out of them as they make a dash out. Kanata tripped so Kureha fired a shot. Thankfully the owl fainted due to that fright and didn’t get killed. Or else they could’ve had owl meat for dinner. Just kidding. As they cage the owl, Filicia calls the owl Shuko and it becomes some sort of their mascot. Well, their emblem has an owl, right? Rio sometimes takes over Kanata’s morning trumpeting duties. Or else the townspeople will complain… Kanata gets closer to tsundere Kureha when the latter finds her a chair of her own.

In episode 3, Kanata may still need lots of practice with her trumpeting but she sure makes a good cook. Filicia takes Kureha and Noel to the nearby town of Treize to receive their much needed supplies. Rio has Kanata undergo intensive trumpeting training. During break, they learn each other’s reasons on why they join the army (Kanata thought she could learn music for free?). Suddenly Kanata starts to develop a fever so Rio panics. Since their medical supplies are low, Rio takes drastic action by heading into town. She seeks the help of the local priestess of the local town’s Orthodox Church, Yumina. She treats Kanata’s malaria though it won’t be life threatening. Yumina leaves after giving instructions to Rio on how to treat Kanata. Kanata dreams of the blonde trumpeter again as she played a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. When Kanata wakes up, she tells that to Rio that she heard that song long ago and wanted to play it herself. The song that seems to resound from the sky. Rio takes her to Takemikazuchi and starts it up. She plays that Amazing Grace song, which is probably the complete version of it. With that, a few senpai advice for her kouhai like how no one is useless and someday she’ll be in a position to protect someone.

Kanata and Noel are given a mission to buy items in the list in episode 4. They stop outside the glassware shop of Naomi. Kanata is fascinated by a little glass sculpture of a dolphin. Apparently from what they said, that mammal is already extinct! As they continue to buy more stuff (they trade in Yen?), they bump into a couple of orphaned kids from the church, Seiya and Mishio. They are under the care of Yumina. However Seiya does not have favourable views on the soldier girls so he says harsh words on them and reiterates his hate towards them before running away. The duo’s next destination is the big glass factory run by the owner Carl. Seems Noel is trying to make the perfect lens for Takemikazuchi but all the while it has failed due to some distortion error. Not that I can understand Noel’s technical explanations. Kanata learns how the glass industry thrived during the war because the military had high demand for it. Noel likes machines but sometimes feels they hurt people and wonders if they are scary so Kanata comforts her by saying the people who use the machine to kill is even scarier. Probably it’s Noel habit to suddenly just fall asleep just like that. Kanata observes Carl and his assistant make glass and learn valuable insights like probably why her trumpeting isn’t good because she’s trying to force the sound out. She gets inspired and thanks him. She rushes out on top the cliff and starts blowing her bugle. Now it really does sound beautiful. Goodbye to needless headaches. As they return to their fortress, Noel tests the new lens and finally it worked. Kureha notes how happy Noel is that this is the first time she sees her smiling.

As the girls are having mock simulation in Takemikazuchi in episode 5, Klaus arrives to bring them some letters. From Kureha’s body language, we can tell that girl has feelings for that guy. Filicia announces an excursion tomorrow at the border of Nomansland. Kanata, Kureha and Noel are to trek by foot to examine several observation devices from the old era. Oh yes. They have to carry heavy backpacks too! OMG! They can’t even lift it up, how can they walk?! Yeah even Rio talks big and tries to show them how it’s done but she looks so uncool in her own struggle. Well, you can’t disobey your commander’s orders, can’t you? Sure they can give up but I don’t think Rio will allow it before the excursion even starts! The trio slowly trek to designated points while watching the breathtaking scenery. Unknown to them, Rio is following and keeping an eye on them from a distance. They decide to stop by a river and have fun for a break. When it’s time for food, they return to find their backpacks plundered and their rations gone. Oh dear. They journey to their next goal and even if Kanata wanted to pick some bayberry fruits of the tree, Kureha insists they finish their mission. Rio decides to go pick some but encounters a wild boar. The trio finally reach the last post and see the overwhelming but catastrophic view of Nomansland. Several ruins of the last era’s war machines lying to waste and rust in the desert. Then Filicia appears saying how she just wanted to show them this as every maiden on the fortress have been here at least once and carved their names here. And she shows them 1 more surprise, the much deserved hotspring for them to rest their weary bodies. Rio is there too but she looks a little messed up. She’s got some bayberries as the girls enjoy their bath and dinner. It was definitely worth the trouble.

Kanata gets her first salary and day off in episode 6. Unknown to Kanata, the rest knows that their salaries are always delayed so it seems they’ve been making extra cash from… Gasp! Something dubious? We see Filicia in a sexy black sleeveless gown, Rio, Noel and Kureha in some Smooth Criminal-kind suits doing some illegal trade with a group of mobsters. The trade doesn’t go well and both sides took out their guns. OMG! Why is Kureha and Noel carrying heavy chain machine guns?! In the end those foolish men didn’t learn their place and got shot!!! Their pair of accomplices outside got scared and decides to flee and to hell with the goods. However their getaway car is crushed by falling rocks so they run as fast as their feet could carry them. However it’s revealed that all this is a setup to deceive those duo and the shot mobsters aren’t dead. After making an agreement to split the profits they see the crushed car but note that this isn’t part of their plan. This was what happened earlier. Kanata went to Naomi’s place to buy that glass dolphin but doesn’t have enough money. She pleads to Naomi to reserve it for her. Then she meets Mishio in the street market as she is looking for a box. Mishio didn’t want her help so she runs off. Then Kanata meets Yumina and was told Mishio was finding a precious memento from her late mom which she believed to be in the market. Dejected Mishio sits on top of an abandoned building located precariously over the edge while thinking back the happy times she spent with her family. She got startled by a gunshot sound and slips. This is followed by several machine gun shots. She is hanging by the edge but was luckily saved by Kanata who came in search for her. Kanata manages to pull her up before the gutter breaks and falls, causing the rocks below to collapse onto the car below (remember that scene?). The duo feeling guilty decide to compensate for it. Of course it’s not enough but Naomi says she has already been ‘paid’. Then Mishio spots her box in the car. She returns to the church as it reveals inside the box a pair of precious hair braids her mom left her while the priest tells Kanata her sad story of how she became an orphan. Kanata returns back and helps Rio dry her hair as they talk about fate and meetings.

Episode 7 begins with Filicia’s past. Back when she was with her comrades, she seemed like an anxious person. During the war, her comrades were killed in an ambush right in front of her eyes though she was the only survivor. In the heat of summer, seems this town too has a similar tradition to honour the departed souls like Japan’s Bon Odori festival. As they’re cutting wood, Filicia accidentally skims the skin of her thumb and relives horrifying memories of the war. She remembers the time she spent with her comrades and her senpai’s words of the wondering what humans are fighting for since they’re going to completely perish eventually. During Filicia’s lonely wandering and trying to recover from the shocks of war, she fell into some ruin and I guess the effects of war is so great that she starts talking to a dead soldier corpse! That soldier seems repentant that he is unable to protect and how war has left many miserable and that there is no reason to continue living in such conditions. Filicia disagreed and got the will to continue living and shouts out for help. Thankfully she was saved by that blonde trumpeter, Princess Ilya, who apologized this wouldn’t have happened if she arrived half a day earlier. Back in reality while the lower ranked girls play sparklers, Rio and Filicia talk it out. Rio feels she shouldn’t bear the burden herself. Later they sail their lanterns at the river. Kanata could feel Filicia wasn’t her usual that day so she becomes emotional and says she was worried and how much she loves her. Filicia hugs her and also the rest. Then she tells Rio her meaning of being here is to not let those girls suffer those emotions she did.

The platoon has a Mission to Initiate Action for Maintenance of a Direct Line to Headquarters for Extraordinary Emergency Situation in episode 8. Phew. That was sure a mouthful. If they fail, the entire platoon will face disciplinary actions. So their job is to make sure the phone line is working every 6 months because nobody knows when it will ring. And if nobody here picks it up, yeah, some wild imagination of what happened will go through the head of whoever is at the other end of the line. Excited Kanata volunteers to stay by the phone all day. Plus, this is Kanata’s first time answering a phone. Hey, seen anybody here holding handphones? Filicia and Kureha are going to the Capital to rush some documents. Naomi comes by and talks about the ceasefire agreement between the warring sides still having difficulties. Rio leaves her trumpet music book for Kanata to keep her company. Then it started to rain so Kanata is in a dilemma to leave her seat to keep the clothes hanging outside. She eventually saves the clothes. Luckily the priest, Seiya and Mishio came by to help. They learn of her mission and agree to help her practice by using the good ol’ tin cans and string. As Kanata practices with Seiya, Mishio got a little playful as she tries to catch Shuko. The inevitable happens as everybody starts tripping everything starts falling. Even the phone. Oh no! Luckily Kanata saves it.

When Yumina comes by, she sees the messy place and some of them in compromising position. Like the old priest in the bunch of clothes. Panties, that is. Yumina reprimands the trio for fooling around. Yumina has Kanata change into her spare clothes since her uniform is all wet. That night Kanata has the urge to go to the toilet but decides to hold it in. The phone line isn’t long enough to reach the toilet. I don’t know how long she held it in (call it bloody dedicated or just naive) but Rio returned so off she goes. During that, the phone rings so Rio picks it up. She isn’t happy with the person on the other line who feels she hasn’t forgiven him but wants her to save Helvetia. Kanata bumps into Noel just outside the toilet door. You know what? Noel was sleeping in the toilet the whole day! And what a good sleep she had! WTF?! Since Kanata fell and is in a sitting position, she can’t get up or else she’ll wet everything. Then Kureha and Filicia just return to see Kanata in that position and help her up. Oh no…

While picking planted potatoes in episode 9, they hear Rio’s jazzy trumpet play. This causes Kanata to be slightly down. That night, Kureha, Kanata and Noel discuss something may be wrong with Rio because she ate the green peppers she hates most. Then Kanata sees a picture of Klaus in Kureha’s desk so Kureha tells her this person she admired who is also known as the Desert Wolf or Miracle Klaus. After the trio fall asleep, Filicia talks to Rio and wonders if she regretted hanging up that call from her father. During that night as the storm is picking up, Klaus stops by to hand them a newspaper (apparently such print media is rare too) and Rio a message. The peace talks are going nowhere. Klaus notes that if Ilya was still alive, things would’ve been different. Then Naomi rushes in because Seiya is missing. The platoon goes all out to search for the missing kid. Kureha and Klaus then learn from Mishio that Seiya is trying to save eggplants they planted at the riverbank. The duo go save him but he is still adamant in wanting to save the eggplant. Klaus picks some of the ripe ones for him. The violent river current flowing at a dangerous speed. Soon help arrive as they manage to take Seiya to safety. However their only path is crumbled by the river so Klaus and Kureha take refuge in the hut below. Kanata believes that some miracle will happen but as Rio and Filicia reveal that this Klaus isn’t the legendary one Kureha looks up upon to. So happen he had the same name and uncanny resemblance. He couldn’t tell Kureha because she was so excited when they first met and got caught along with it. When the situation gets worse, Kureha discovers that this Klaus isn’t the one she admired because of a missing mark on his chest. Noel has an idea to pull them out to safety. The other platoon girls and townspeople use Takemikazuchi to fire a cable and pull them up just in time before the bank os washed away. Klaus is going to tell the truth but Kureha insists that he’s the person she has always admired. Next day it’s the clear blue skies. Before Klaus leaves, he tells the rest he was afraid of shattering Kureha’s dreams of admiration of him than anything, the reason why he was able to pull off amazing stunts.

In episode 10, Kanata learns from Kureha about Ilya. She died 2 years ago. Though she was also a famous tank operator, she was assigned to the royal guard but decided to dedicate herself to travel around the country to enhance national influence. During 1 of her trips, she died while trying to save a child from drowning. Ilya was also to marry the Emperor of Rome to improve relations but that would make her third in line for the throne. Practically that was like being hostage but when she died, everything fell through. Yumina comes by to request Kanata and Rio to help check on a frail old woman living by herself deep in the mountains, Jacott. They see her trying to build another house in hopes that her son will come back. But can she do it since winter is coming? She is confident she will so both girls decide to help her. Meanwhile Filicia has heard that the Roman army on the Eastern border has been mobilized. As Rio and Kanata go around town, the latter learns about Rio’s late half sister (Ilya) whom she admired. Rio felt she wanted to run away from it all and end up lost here. Kanata denies it because it allowed them to meet. As they stay with Jacott that night, she remembers how she met and fell in love with a man. They bore a son but she found out he was already married and conveniently his wife couldn’t conceive. He took the child back but promised her he will return one day. Filled with nostalgic memories, Jacott rushes out into the snow that night after seeing illusions of her beloved one. She never returned as Rio and Kanata only saw her footsteps in the snow the next morning. A narration about pain and lost. Back at the fortress, Rio shows them a photo of Ilya and tells them the truth (Shuko also in it?). Rio plans to leave the place to help improve relations between the warring sides. After learning Kanata has also met Ilya, she hands over her trumpet to Kanata. No matter how far they’re separated, the sound will echo and reach out.

As Kureha and Kanata patrol the snowy land in episode 11, they encounter an injured Roman scout solider, Aisha Aldola. They bring her back for treatment but when Noel sees her, she starts panicking. An expression you’ll never see in her. Seems Noel had a traumatic past. She was a child genius who used her abilities to make destructive weapons that killed many under the feared Colonel of the Helvetian army, Hopkins also known as the Demon of Vingt. Filicia decides to keep her here rather than sending her back to the Capital though Kureha opposes. However Aisha speaks Roman so you can tell both sides can’t communicate. And really, she’s speaking Roman (German actually as I found out later)! Though they can’t communicate well, when Aisha realizes this is Clocktower Fortress, she is relieved that she has arrived. Though she is suspicious, gradually Aisha opens up when she learns Kanata plays the trumpet. She too plays that Amazing Grace rendition. Then Naomi and Yumina come by. Naomi mentions that a majority of the Helvetian army is on the move and if it is connected to Aisha, it’ll be big trouble. Fortunately Yumina speaks Roman as she translates for the rest. Aisha can’t tell about her mission but is here to see the Angel Fossil because her grandmother was a maiden of this fortress (the one Kanata saw underwater in episode 1). She got captured and heard stories from it. Aisha wants to see the Angel that destroyed the world though Yumina insists that it was a demon instead. Their fortress is surrounded by the 9th Independent Mobile Division led by Hopkins. Noel goes into trauma mode and is paralyzed by fear. Filicia, Kureha and Kanata greet Hopkins while the rest hide at the abandoned section. Hopkins asks Filicia of an escaped Roman scout in which she denies. So he has this fortress under his control and his army search every inch of the place. When Aisha learns of Noel’s name and her nickname as the Invisible Reaper, Noel goes hysterical and runs out. Kanata picks up the telephone’s call that a large Roman army has appeared at Nomansland. The guards corner Aisha and Noel still in trauma. Aisha gets shot.

Though Aisha is still alive but deeply injured in episode 12, Hopkins kicks away the telephone and orders his troops to convene at the border. Filicia pulls out a gun at him and orders him to have his men stand down. As they hold Hopkins hostage, he reveals how they’ve been following Roman soldiers mobilizing at the rear of Helvetia. Since the Archduke didn’t do anything and remained passive, they decide to give him a little ‘push’. Hopkins continues to mentally torture Noel as the Witch of Helvetia causing more trauma for her so Filicia has him thrown into the underground distillery. But soon he escapes with a hidden knife in his shoe to cut himself loose. Aisha tells the gang the Romans’ different version of the maidens of this fortress when Kanata hears the faint sound of a ceasefire code. Noel is still traumatized by the fact she had a hand in killing lots of people with the machine she revived then and notes how Hopkins wants to fight till no one is left. The rest lift her spirits by asking her to save more lives then. Even Aisha knows that they’re both the same doesn’t want her to blame herself anymore. As Hopkins return to his men and orders a commence attack in 10 minutes, Naomi confronts him about the ceasefire. He isn’t amused and has her arrested. Kureha who was against Filicia’s plan finally gives in. The girls activate Takemikazuchi and blasts out of the garage. Hopkins orders his men to go after it but the townspeople prevent them in support for their soldier girls. He has no choice but to reconvene at the rear. As Takemikazuchi swiftly dashes across the plains, Hopkins men try to stop them but were no match by the old technology. Yeah, old is gold. Takemikazuchi is one tough mother! Eventually Hopkins gets hammered by it! Serves that guy right!

Yumina narrates the Romans’ version of the story of how God sent an angel to pass judgment but was injured. The maidens took her in despite knowing she came to destroy them and hid her under the valley with the strength of the spider-like creature. To prevent her blood from spilling, the maidens took turn embracing her head and as gratitude she bestowed them a golden horn. But when the townspeople discovered the angel, they set the valley ablaze and the maidens devoured by it. At that moment, angels appeared from the sky but a miracle happened. The townspeople were saved upon hearing the sounds of the golden horn as the angels disappeared. The maidens in their final breath used the horn to save them. Meanwhile both sides are metres away from a bloody battle. Takemikazuchi arrives in between as Kanata plays her ceasefire code. But commanders of both sides order their reluctant men to continue. Then when she starts playing Amazing Grace, everyone stop and listen. A famillar side ordering both sides to lay down their weapons. Declaring herself the daughter of the Helvetian army and second in line to the throne and fiancee to the Emperor of Rome, we see Rio representing her father, the Archduke of Helvetia, to convey a message from the Roman Empire. A peace agreement has been signed and both sides are to disengage immediately. Those not willing to obey will face the might of the First Helvetian Royal Guard. After showing the signed treaty as proof, soldiers from both sides rejoice as they don’t have to fight anymore, much to the delight of the 1121st platoon girls too. In the aftermath and spring time, the girls are waiting for the new recruit but get a pleasant surprise when they see Rio return. Requesting to resume her duties and command of this platoon, Rio mentions how the Roman Emperor is a pretty understanding guy as he granted her wish to return if she stopped the war. The girls rush to hug their beloved Sergeant as Filicia welcomes her home. Their fortress is going to take time to be repaired, seeing the hole Takemikazuchi left.

There is an extra episode for those who buy the DVD. Dubbed episode 7.5 because it takes place between episode 7 and 8, we see Kureha recording a shameful event that recently happened at the fortress. It started when Yumina paid them a visit and Kanata almost found out about the illegal wine distillery in the fortress. Because Kanata kept pestering Rio whose body language indicates she really does have something to hide, compound with Yumina’s curiosity, Filicia decides to hold a war simulation via water gun using dyed water and if Kanata wins, they’ll tell her everything. Rio’s team consists of Filicia and Kureha while Kanata’s team Noel and Yumina (yeah, she’s joining too). Rio’s team is going to finish their opponents for good but are caught offguard by Noel’s creative machine gun invention! Run for your lives. When Filicia ‘sacrifices’ herself, rageful Rio shoots Noel (she ran out of ammo then) and Yumina. Kanata confronts Rio in the forbidden room so Rio tells her how they’ve made their money through this wine distillery. She also tries to play guilty mind games on Kanata like how she had her share in it like the cash and good food she ate. The final face-off ends in Kanata being the winner as she emotionally embraces ‘dead’ Rio. Later after bath, it’s revealed that Yumina was weak against alcohol and initially drunk when she first sipped their tea (the reason why she was enthusiastic to join the war). Filicia has Kanata promise to keep this a secret but it seems Yumina is now even drunk! She’s drinking alcohol on her own! Oh God! So I guess what better way for the gang to join and let Kanata have a taste of alcohol. I suppose the shameful incident was how everyone got drunk and acted rowdy and wild. Including Shuko! Except Kureha who is able to hold her cup was the only one who is still sane after many rounds. Eventually the horny girls decide to do some skinship with her and the rest is history. Thankfully this incident passed without any commotion simply because Yumina didn’t remember anything. Thank God. And Kureha’s advice about drinking and getting drunk? Well, I’m sure she went through lots of embarrassing torment and has to go on living remembering it.

Then another OVA came out in late September 2010. Many call this episode 13 and it takes place after a year Kanata joined the 1121st platoon. Her bugling has very much improved but she gets ‘reprimanded’ by Mishio when she mentions her dream of just playing the bugle. When Kanata receives an important letter from the Roman Emperor delivered by Klaus, Kanata goes around town looking for Rio so that she could affix her signature and Klaus return it as soon as possible. Kanata meets various characters like Yumina, Naomi and Maria to learn about their dreams and other unexpected stuff like Mishio likes Seiya and Naomi and Carl were once married thus their daughter Maria came to be. When she finally finds Rio, they talk about those dream stuff and the devastating effects of war on mankind. The letter turns out to be a world map and may not be accurate since the expansion of the Nomansland desert encroaching especially towards Rome. Rio then shows Kanata her dream. They fly up in a hot air balloon and looking at the breathtaking horizon, Rio wishes to seek a land that nurtures new lives and to fly far ahead to the unknown even if it’s the end of the world. It’s that time of year again where the citizens prepare for the festival to honour the fire maidens. Kanata has been chosen to do the honours this time and before she leaves, she hopes to follow Rio because she believes her dream is the same as hers.

Ah if everyone could have just agreed to live in peace in the first place, wars would never have come, right? Of course there are those power crazy people who would even kill for their so called ideals. I’m not sure if war is necessary to bring advancement and technology to mankind but I know for sure that it won’t bring any glory to us just as what Hopkins believed in. Say, what happened to that guy in the end? Who cares? I hope he gets court marshalled or thrown into prison for his atrocities. I don’t know what Rio did or said during the negotiations but I guess it was bloody effective for the peace agreement to be signed immediately. Was that the reason why her dad called her? Was she the key to the final jigsaw puzzle after Ilya’s death? Looks like it. But it’s better than running away from her responsibilities to a secluded area of the world. Eventually her past has caught up with her. But I’m really glad that the girls of the fortress are back together again. It would’ve been totally like a bad aftertaste in the mouth if she hadn’t return.

The interaction between the characters especially the girls of the fortress are the main focus of the series. Though the show is too short to flesh out their development but it is enough to know about their characters. Each of them have their sad tale and affected by the scars of war. Like Noel who has always been putting up a monotonous face, when she remembered her frightful past, her facial expressions contorted to ways that you would never thought you’d see this sleepy head to. Filicia is always smiling even though she holds the pain of losing her comrades in her heart. You can’t have a lively platoon if your higher up is gloomy, right? Kureha seems to be the liveliest one in the pack. Probably as a comeback for Kanata. Is it me or did I notice that her admiration for Rio diminishes when Klaus took over? As for Kanata, she’s filled with lots of hope and positivism for a newbie. As she gradually learns the ways of the fortress, in no time she’ll be a true member just like the rest. Just like how we see her trumpeting improve. I thought I could see a little military brass band here but I guess that’s just wishful thinking.

I have mixed feelings about the drawing and art of the series. The characters seem to be drawn in a simple matter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I feel it lacked some details. But compared to the art of the background and sceneries, they are much more breathtaking and astonishing though they may not be the best. Because of that, I tend to note the obvious difference. Sometimes I just didn’t feel like paying attention to the characters and rather focus my sights on the background whether it’s the buildings and roads of the town or the lush mountain greeneries or even the sky. The animation for the spider-like war machines is fluid and smooth. I felt that they were like living beings especially when Takemikazuchi came alive during the final episode. The military uniforms and vehicles seem to take after German designs of World War II. So don’t go thinking the producers are pro-Nazi or whatsoever.

Surprisingly the opening theme, Hikari No Sentritsu by Kalafina is quite upbeat and to my liking though it felt like a song for a traditional festival. Even the animation here depicts the fortress girls like the story of the town’s legend. The ending theme is also upbeat but leans more towards pop. Entitled Girls Be Ambitious by Haruka Tomatsu seems to be of my liking too with its jazzy feel. Even the insert song caught my attention. Sung during the festival in the first episode, the lyrics are totally in French. Servante Du Feu, I think that’s what it’s called. Nice mix of the string instruments if I should say. The other variety of background music are mainly jazzy, slow and classical pieces or those that project an orchestra feel so it’s quite pleasant to the ears too. I’ve always thought Amazing Grace was a song played during funerals only due to its sombre feel but I never realized it could be a music for peace too! It could’ve been any other song, just that perhaps it was the song Ilya loved.

I’m sure this series tries to subtly hint the bad and devastating effects of war. But even up till today man still fight among themselves for the most pathetic. Everyone suffers with war. So why don’t we give peace a chance? I am thankful that I live in a country that isn’t ravaged by or in the midst of war. It would be very troublesome indeed because I won’t get to watch my favourite animes anymore :p. If I have to be in Kanata’s place, would a harmonica or recorder suffice? I mean, those are the only wind instruments I can play. That would be more like cacophony echoing through the skies then.

 Sora No Woto

Sister Princess

December 5, 2010

Imagine if you had 12 sisters. What?! Twelve little sisters? You might be considered a pimp running a prostitution house. Or a harem that is too good to be true. At least it happened in Sister Princess. Hard to believe, eh? Based on a serialized novel series of the same name, it was adapted to an anime series way back in 2001. Because of that, I feel (though I may be wrong) that this show is one of the early pioneers that has set in what you see in many of today’s animes that has big brother complex. Wow. That’s a dozen of sisters. Hope they don’t bring the house down.

Given the feel of the harem setting, you’d expect to see the sisters fight for the attention of their only and beloved brother, right? Wrong. In fact, every girl here is friendly and helpful to each other. Something all of us should emulate in the real world. No catfights, b*tch slaps, insulting admonition or the likes whatsoever. Not the slightest competition or rivalry even if they assert how they’d love to be with their brother. Just wow. So can I still call this a harem? Don’t really know. At least the condition of being surrounded by a bevy of girls is fulfilled. And because of the mildness of it all, where the heck is the fanservice? What fanservice? Should I even expect anything like that from a year 2001 production?

As seen in episode 1, our lucky brother-to-be is Wataru Minakami. He has just failed his entrance exam but is surprised to learn he is accepted to a high school by recommendation and is ‘sent’ away by his butler, Jiiya, to Stargazer’s Hill West University on Promised Island. Probably it was an excuse to kick him out of the house. On his way to the island, Wataru meets Tarou Yamada (a talkative rich kid) and Mami (supposedly tasked to keep an eye on Wataru). Wataru slips and falls into the sea while trying to save his precious camera when he gets off the boat but is saved and gently treated by a nice girl, Karen. He then casts away his specs (because she said he looked better that way). While shopping for clothes, he meets Sakuya who flirts with him for a short while before leaving. Then sitting on a tram up the hill, he chats with a clumsy girl, Kaho, who gives him words of encouragement. Realizing he’s late for school (because his watch is broken), he rushes there and barely makes it. He sees Karen playing piano as she asks him out to shop for a present. They decide on a watch when Wataru spots a peeping little girl, Hinako. Karen recognizes her and takes her away. Due to some contract error for a cheap place to stay, the house is handed to Yamada so Wataru wanders to a large mansion, Welcome House. He goes in and is surprised to see Karen, Sakuya, Hinako and Kaho welcoming home and calling him their brother. Karen gives him the watch as his present.

In episode 2, Wataru still thinks having 4 sisters at a time is a dream. He eats breakfast but finds it too spicy. But the sisters claim they didn’t make it. While wandering outside, he sees a tree with lots of cuts and a hump in the soil which reveals to be a bone. He gets freaked out upon knowing something is in the bushes and runs away. He then sees a figure on the rooftop and continues to panic till his sisters come and ask what’s wrong did the figure disappear. Wataru goes to complain to the real estate agent but the shop is now an antique dealer as that agent has gone bust. He tries to swap with Yamada but he remains suspicious. He tries to get off the island but the boat is broken and the waves violent. Thinking the nice sisters are in danger, he rushes back to protect them from the ghosts but gets scared at the slightest sound. The sisters help him out. The ‘tension’ is diffused when the ‘ghosts’ turn out to be 4 more girls claiming to be his sisters. They are Haruka (sword master in a kimono), Mamoru (skater girl), bespectacled Marie (has a large dog Mikaeru as her pet) and Chikage (fortune teller with tarot cards). The new sisters dismiss claims that they’re the ones who made breakfast this morning when they hear ghost-like sounds from the top. Mami who is secretly living in the top of the mansion (because she’s sick of camping out in the cold) goes to check it out and gets freak out upon opening the door where the sound came from and seeing a hand protruding. Wataru alone goes to investigate the noise and also experiences the same thing but sees 4 girls lying in the room begging for water. When they regroup, the also claim to be Wataru’s sisters and the ones who made breakfast but got a taste of their own spicy medicine and were ‘out of commissioned’. They are Shirayuki (the cook), Rinrin (computer and gadget freak), Yotsuba (detective wannabe with her “Checki” catchphrase) and Aria (slow talker). Mami is trying to leave the haunted mansion but is spotted so Wataru guesses she is his 13th sister.

So you’re going to guess the trend of the show is going to be like this. Wataru spends his time bonding with his sisters as time goes by, some episodes focusing on a particular sister and her quality time with Wataru. With a little adventure here and there, like they say, all’s well, ends well. See, can we all just get along pretty fine with each other? Since each sister has their own version of how they call Wataru as their big brother, it was confusing of who said what. What more remembering all of their names! It’s supposed for users to straightaway identify which sisters is talking to him, I guess. Eventually I remembered them all since they said it quite a number of times. Talk about repetitive memorization. Hey, it works on me. Other things you’ll notice in each episode is every damn old man on the island looks like Jiiya, the other inhabitants of the island seem to be clones because just like Jiiya’s case if you see them there you’ll see them anywhere, Wataru always taking photos of his sisters (don’t worry nothing suspicious), Yamada trying to hit on the sisters but fail, Mami’s spying on Wataru and her amusing email message she gets from her mysterious superior (the sound of a moo and a picture of a bear throwing garbage at her sleeping bear avatar?), Wataru narrating in his email to best friend Akio Yamagami what he’s been through with his sisters in that particular episode and Yamada and his Garuban or Gasovar mecha antics for the finish. It’s like the TV show of that series he is narrating parodies what he desires in real life and always ends with some sharp rebuking line from the lady character (at least for the first half of the show). Oh, and notice that huge native statue right at the top and middle of the island?

In episode 3, Wataru thought he could get a reprieve in school but seems all his sisters attend the same school (because it’s the only school on the island). Karen is in the same class with him. As usual everywhere he goes, he sees them. Lots of close encounters and helping out with his sisters. Yamada tries to hit on the pretty babes but they all turn out to be Wataru’s sisters so he gets envious in a way. One morning Wataru tries to leave the island but due to circumstances he can’t. Karen comes to pick him up but he laments that everyone can’t leave him alone. Karen says how she’s alone and wished for a brother so when she found out she got one, she was happy and wanted to make him happy too. She believes the rest also felt the same way. Too bad he made a girl cry so I guess he has to reflect on his words that they knew him but he knew nothing about them. He returns to the mansion where his sisters happily greet him so he decides to tolerate this lifestyle a little longer. In episode 4, the usual troubles have Wataru think of leaving the island again but Kaho comes in with a distressing message. A note by Hinako to go look for her missing teddy bear. Wataru has no choice but to help her look but the problem is she doesn’t know where and only knows how it looked like in her dreams. Better hurry or you’ll look bad making a loli cry. They both search and ask high and low but couldn’t find it and return to the mansion. That’s when an old jogging guy came by to return a large box he dropped (did he?). Inside is Hinako’s large teddy bear. Kaho and her sisters are happy and thankful so Wataru decides to stay with them together now.

In episode 5, Rinrin teaches her sisters how to send SMS texts and creates handphones for them so they can email Wataru (after ‘extorting’ him for cash, that is). Wataru seems to want to keep his email pen pal, Aiko a secret from his sisters. Of course the sisters spam and flood him with emails eagerly waiting for his reply so he gets pissed off that they need not do this when they live so close together. Their reply: He’s obsessed with his online friend that he has no time to look at them. He regrets his actions and read each of their heart warming and honest-from-the-heart messages and replies them all. In the end, Wataru learns Aiko is Akio. He did this because it’s Wataru’s fault for not noticing his sub address. He apologizes but is glad Wataru replied and hopes to continue remaining friends.

The gang enters a play contest to win a huge mysterious prize in episode 6. Because Wataru doesn’t know what to do, he leaves it to Yamada so he takes his chance to be the director, the sisters as actresses and Wataru the props. However the sisters are reluctant to carry on the play with only princesses and without a prince. It’s settled with Wataru playing the prince. The script? They can make it up as they go along! Some plan. On performance day, Wataru is nervous and scared stiff. The play is totally made up and pathetic from the start. After all princesses appear on stage, it’s Wataru’s turn but he’s still nervous. After remembering Mami’s words that a man shouldn’t run away, he gets a little courage but that’s just it. Chikage then throws everyone apples so the princesses eat them as though they are poisoned and fall into an unconscious state. Wataru is in a pinch because he has to choose which girl to kiss! In the end he shouted he can’t just choose one, prompting an applause from the crowd! Oh yeah, that’s what a harem is about! They didn’t win in the end but only an effort award. When they return home, not sure how but they receive the mysterious prize anyway: A train. I don’t know if being the main character surrounded by a bunch of girls means it has to be a win-win-win situation.

In episode 7, the sisters help Sakuya dress up as a bride. When she goes to ask Wataru how does she look, he avoids answering, making her a little sad. The other sisters talk about their ideal dress, cake and ceremony so they start making their own dresses. Even Mami helps them so much so they neglect cooking for Wataru. Sakuya soon takes Wataru to a nearby chapel and play mock wedding. Till the kissing part, Wataru hesitates, She asks what if she wasn’t his real sister and if she isn’t, she can’t stay with him forever and wants to spend the lost times with him. They’re interrupted when the other sisters appear in their wedding dress so each take turns playing the mock wedding. Yamada wants to be the groom but Mami made him the priest instead. In episode 8, Wataru goes for a walk with Marie but it suddenly rains so when they rush home, Marie develops a fever. Wataru goes to town to get a doctor. Though it’s nothing serious, it’ll take a few days to subside. Over the few days, the sisters help nurse her as Wataru stays by her side. But 1 night it got so bad that he rushed out to the dock just to find a seashell (Marie once told him a story if they get a pink seashell from someone you love, one will get well. Plus, she wanted to go to the beach with him). Since it’s stormy, there’s no boat. But surprisingly Mikaeru pops out from the sea to hand him a pink seashell. He rushes back and puts it in her hand. Next day, Marie gets better but Wataru has fever. Though he is okay later, he goes to talk to Marie, She thanks him and tells about her dream of walking with him on the beach. They see a thin strip of land opening from the sea connecting the main land since it’s low tide and seashells scattered everywhere on that opening.

The hot summer is here in episode 9 and the gang eat flowing soumen and go shop for swimsuits for their pool. I guess Yamada is so hard-up to get into some action with Wataru’s sisters, not only he gatecrashes by eating all their soumen but volunteers to clean their pool. Then he finds out they’re going to wear their swimsuits and rushes to buy one but unfortunately all male swimsuits are out. The girls did lots of preparation and decoration in setting up before playing in the pool. I don’t know how Yamada eventually got his swimming trunks but his presence was snubbed by the sisters. Wataru after seeing Mamoru swimming alone and reflecting on his past summer he spent that was never near any water, he asks her to accompany him to buy his swimsuit and wants to learn how to swim. In episode 10, Mamoru teaches Wataru to swim but since the other sisters want to play and serve as distractions, Mamoru teaches him alone at the school pool. They continue their lesson throughout summer but Wataru notices he didn’t improve and gets depressed. Mamoru hands him goggles to help him swim better (should’ve thought about this in the first place) but Wataru still has his doubts. Of course this makes Mamoru depress too so he decides to do more thinking. Suddenly Aria falls into the pool and struggles. Wataru in his instinct quickly puts on his goggles and dives in though his doggy paddling is pathetic and reaches the float first instead of Aria. He realized he just swam quite a distance. The sisters help teach him swim and cheer him on. As for Yamada, he’s trying to learn swimming via video lessons of some American guy Bob Stanbacks but can’t get pass the simple first lesson of dipping his face into a basin of water. Just keep envying…

Wataru and his sisters take a 2 days 3 nights sea cruise via submarine Rinrin created in episode 11. Yamada wanted to tag along but gave in to the fisherman’s plea to help do some work because it’ll attract girls. The usual bonding like drinking Haruka’s tea and taking pictures while Mami is seasick. Rinrin gives Wataru a hug when he thanks her for everything. The sea suddenly turns turbulent and to make matters worse, the steering wheel broke! Everyone did a Dutch Boy by using their hands to plug the leak! Serious! I don’t know but it was successful. When the storm’s over, Wataru finds the submarine stranded on the rocks and only Mami around and the rest missing. In episode 12, Wataru tries to head back to the submarine but stepped on a sea urchin as his leg cramps up. He opens his eyes and is relieved to see his sisters around him. Seems there is a villa nearby though no one is living in it but the supplies are fresh and even have electricity. They decide to use the place and have so much fun that Wataru begins to wonder if they’re ever interested in going home. Wataru can’t sleep that night and sees Chikage on the beach. She’s supposed to use the stars to tell their location. She questions why he wants to go home so bad and that compared being together with everyone, everything else is minor. Next day as everyone continue to have fun and play with sparklers that night. Till the fisherman shows up and surprises Wataru as he wants them to clean up after playing the sparklers. Even Yamada is there as he’s helping him collect wild grasses. Then it hit Wataru they had always been on Promised Island all the while! All the sisters knew about it Chikage thought he had told Wataru that morning. Apparently he was sleeping then. They leave a thank you note and head home. They then realize they haven’t completed their summer homework. Meanwhile Jiiya is at the villa taking down the note as he says how Wataru forgot the time he came here during his break. He will be waiting for him next summer. This is his summer villa?!

In episode 13, Wataru goes around helping and observing his sisters. He reflects and narrates their personalities and how each of them changed him in a way and made him realize or learn things. At the end of the day, he wonders what he can do for them. He puts up a fantastic fireworks display for them to watch. They thank him but he soon realizes he forgot to do his own homework. Mami can’t finish hers and Yamada who barely finished his thinks of coming over to help the sisters with theirs (or at least 1 one of them) but they’ve already completed it. The 2nd semester starts in episode 14. Wataru announces if his sisters have anything they want in mind, he’ll gladly help out. Karen requests a burnt light bulb above the angel painting to be replaced. She and Wataru go to several shops before managing to find the rare bulb. On the way back, Karen decides to return a lost kitten she saw earlier. She scoots off herself and ends up chasing the kitten. Wataru spots the other kitten it was supposed to reunite with and decides to go look for Karen since she’s taking too long. When Karen finally catches the kitten, she realizes she is lost and feels sad thinking this is some sort of retribution for being greedy. But soon Wataru finds her and the kittens reunite once more. In her happiness, she touches his hand and Wataru experiences some flashback. On the way home, Karen says the best gift to her is to be with him. They fix the bulb back home as everyone admires the painting. Mami wants Wataru to buy her lots of stuff but backs out after sensing the other sisters staring at her. They have a wonderful dinner after that.

While the gang has a sketching assignment for autumn in episode 15, Aria loses her ribbon gift from Wataru to the wind. She along with a kind old man that can seemingly perform delightful magic, search for it throughout town. When they can’t find it, Aria follows a butterfly to a dead end alley and appears in another world with lush greeneries. The duo continue searching but the ribbon is nowhere to be found so they return to the original world. That’s when she saw her ribbon stuck on a tree branch. After retrieving it, Aria gives the old man her head ribbon as gratitude. Wataru who has been looking for Aria the whole time finds her. But he can’t see the old man! Wataru is puzzled to see Aria’s head ribbon tied to the tree branch. As everyone finishes their sketch, Aria’s sketch suddenly turns out to be a sketch of Wataru and the old man behind him. Tree spirit? It’s the sports festival in episode 16. Wataru hasn’t decided which even to join. He notices Kaho down and gloomy. He learns she joined the cheerleading club so she could cheer for him since she’s clumsy. Because of that, Wataru decides to enter the relay race. During sports day, Mamoru sweeps all gold medals for the athletic event, Wataru and Haruka paired together in a 3-legged race, Chikage won first place in an event that was not shown to us but hinted something ‘dangerously flirty’, Karen and Sakuya borrowed Wataru in a borrowing-race to win first spot. Kaho remains clumsy during her cheerleading. During break, Wataru encourages Kaho to cheer him on. The final relay event has Yamada off to a great start to pass the baton to Mami and then Karen. Wataru as the anchor trips, causing the rest to pass him. This has Kaho to start cheering for him with all her heart. At the end of the day, Wataru thanks her and though he didn’t win, her cheer made him get up and finish the race.

Wataru picks up Haruka from her archery dojo in episode 17. She invites him to a dance event. Along the way they pick up a hair ornament but Wataru sprained his ankle at the escalators. Haruka nurses him like feeding and bathing him. As a result, they missed the dance event as he feels responsible for it. Wataru seeks Yamada’s advice on what to give a girl in return but Mami says to think about it himself and not rely on that girlfriend-less loser (so true!). Wataru takes Haruka out to the autumn festival where she has the happiest time of her life. Meanwhile an uncle is looking for his lost hair ornament, a precious memento from his wife. Some of the sisters like Rinrin, Yotsuba and Marie help look for it but to their dismay it couldn’t be found. At the end of the day, Wataru-Haruka and the uncle accidentally meet each other. When they learn about the hair ornament, Haruka returns it back, much to his delight. As a reward, the uncle allows them to have a dance event all to themselves because he was that event’s organizer and hall owner. Much to Wataru’s relief, the dance is western and not traditional type like he initially thought (because he sucks in it). They dance their heart out.

In episode 18, Wataru wakes up from a dream of being separated from Chikage. However he is in spirit form! He can go through walls! I hope this doesn’t mean he has turned into a substitute shinigami. Just kidding. The sisters except Chikage are oblivious and think he is asleep. Wataru wants to return to his body but Chikage has him remember some memories. Wataru wakes up in another world whereby Chikage is by his side and is happy they can live together without anyone interfering. Suddenly they’re being chased by a Grim Reaper and it kidnaps Chikage. Meanwhile Yamada pays the sisters a visit and is horrified to see Wataru’s lifeless body and thinks he’s dead. He tries not to let the sisters know and pretends to play chess with him. But he’s having a hard time trying to distract the bugging sisters. Wataru enters a castle to see Chikage tied to the throne. While fighting the Grim Reaper, the next thing he knows, he is in a chapel with Chikage in a bridal dress. She says he lost his life while trying to save her. She shows him a pendant in which serves as proof that they can be together even if their bodies rot and become spirits. When they reincarnate, they can be together again. But Wataru still wants to return because he has sisters and that was the reason he saved her. She gives him the pendant and says she has already told him her feelings. Wataru wakes up in his body much to Yamada’s relief so the latter takes this chance to flee. He sees Chikage holding the pendant but she says she can’t give it to him yet.

Shirayuki makes bento for Wataru and the sisters in episode 19. Since Yamada didn’t get any, he tries coaxing her to make more in hopes he could have leftovers but Shirayuki misinterprets to make ‘nutrition for the heart’. After shopping with Wataru for ingredients, she makes a sumptuous French cuisine and large servings of bento. Some find it too excessive but couldn’t have the heart to tell her to reduce the portion. On a holiday as the gang head to a frozen pond to ice skate, seems Shirayuki even had a kitchen trailer tagged along! Everyone watches in awe as she displays her culinary skills. Shirayuki makes lots of pizza dishes so poor Wataru have to stuff himself and couldn’t tell her he is full. Till he hit his limit that he does so. Yamada takes this chance to have the food but was stopped by Mami. Back home, Wataru feels guilty that he may have broken Shirayuki’s heart and goes apologize to her. But she’s not upset, just that she thought he would never leave some (seriously?!). Next day, Shirayuki makes extra big bento for everyone. So as not to be left out, she even prepares a little bento for Yamada. Well, it’s better than nothing. His hungry days are over.

The gang are preparing for their Christmas party in episode 20. Sakuya takes Wataru out to town as ‘distraction’ for what the sisters will give him for their present. Wataru then shops alone for a present for his sisters. He gets an orgel (music box). Sakuya’s duty of taking Wataru out seems like a daily affair till Christmas Day. Alone together at the town’s Christmas tree, Sakuya says there is only 1 person she wants to be with year after year. She whispers in his ear and causes him to blush. Guess who that person is. When they go back, Wataru is amazed of the decorations. The sisters give him a surprise birthday present. They line up and sing a choir song. Wow, Aria’s voice is beautiful! Some hidden talent she’s got there. Other than that, in my humble opinion, the song isn’t that spectacular ;p. But Wataru finds it as the best present in his life. After dinner and exchanging gifts, Wataru hands over the orgel to his sisters. Part time job weary Yamada trudges in and is happy that he gets to enjoy some Christmas food. After putting a star on their Christmas tree they found in Yamada’s bag, they head outside to enjoy the snow.

Rinrin and Yotsuba cooperate to observe and collect data from the sisters and Wataru to make a secret invention in episode 21. After Wataru answers 100 questions, he enters Rinrin’s room to find she has made a life-size version of herself, Mecha Rinrin. She wants the robot to be Wataru’s support since he isn’t good at doing anything by himself (not meant as an insult by the way). But it overheats when it starts moving and causes a blackout. After fixing the problem, Rinrin works hard to repair Mecha Rinrin. She shows it to the other sisters and tests it by doing household chores. Since it’s too powerful, it ends up almost breaking everything. Sakuya pretends to be a robot to get flirty with Wataru. Soon Mecha Rinrin malfunctions and it’s back to the drawing board. Wataru learns that Rinrin plans to study in USA in this field and thus the reason why she created Mecha Rinrin to support him when she’s not around. This has Wataru to ponder that nothing lasts forever and one day, the festival will end and everyone will start walking. Though it’s a good thing but it feels kinda sad.

The sisters’ precious belongings start going missing in episode 22 as they suspect a thief. Everyone relies on Yotsuba to figure out the culprit. Kaho then accidentally broke the orgel (initially Mami broke it but hid it) so she and Yotsuba took it for repairs but due to the handy craftwork, it’ll take 3 days. Soon everyone finds out about it and Mami starts panicking this is becoming a big fuss. Yotsuba disguises herself as Cute Girl Thief Clover as distraction and tells Wataru she has stolen the orgel and wants him to take better care of Yotsuba for 3 days and will return it by then. Wataru knows she is Yotsuba and decides to play along. Yamada tried to play detective but he was so lame. Because the orgel is taking longer than expected to be repaired, Kaho delivers a message from Clover telling Wataru to come to the island’s peak since she has Yotsuba in her hands. There, she challenges him to find her by giving him puzzles on her whereabouts. He chases her throughout town and by the end of the day (it took that long?) he corners her back at Welcome House. I guess his words that he won’t allow anyone to take Yotsuba because she’s his precious sister were convincing enough to let Clover ‘free’ Yotsuba. By that time guilt-ridden Kaho spills the beans and soon followed by Mami. The old guy who fixed the orgel returns it to them, delighting everyone. Wataru advises them that they shouldn’t hide things and made everyone worry. Kaho, Yotsuba and Mami apologize. Everyone finally has their precious things returned and Chikage reveals the culprit to be the squirrel Aria wanted Wataru to bring back from the wild earlier on. Chikage seems to be getting along well with it and calls it Salamander (?!). Don’t feel like teaching the culprit who stole her tarot cards a lesson now, eh? Wataru and Mami receive an email indicating that Akio is coming to visit them. Wataru is ecstatic. Mami isn’t.

In episode 23, the sisters prepare for Akio’s arrival and Wataru is excited about his visit. Akio arrives in style by gliding down a motorized para-glider. He gets acquainted with the sisters quickly. He refuses Wataru’s invitation to tour the island because he has a ‘date’ with Mami. But under Akio’s instructions, Wataru and his sisters are to pay a visit to the island’s Promised Park, an amusement park that nobody knows existed since living on the island for 1 year. Wataru rides every ride with his sisters. Akio confronts Mami and reminds her of her initial mission: To make Wataru to leave the island. Due to her failure, he’s going to make his move. He thinks Mami like Wataru has been corrupted by the soft side of this island. Though Mami and Akio are real siblings, Mami chides Akio that he doesn’t know anything about her or Wataru and that the latter is a much kinder person. That night Akio enters Wataru’s room and tells him the reason of his visit. He passes Wataru an acceptance card. Seems there was a mistake in his entrance exam grading. Wataru can now return to Tokyo as a 2nd year transfer student and be Akio’s classmate.

Though Wataru has a sleepless night and in a dilemma over his choice in episode 24, Karen sees him and tells him about her bad dream and doesn’t want him to leave. Next morning, Sakuya spots Wataru’s acceptance letter on his bed. Karen, Haruka, Chikage, Marie and Rinrin notice Sakuya acting strange and learn the shocking truth. As part of Akio’s plan, Mami is supposed to encourage Wataru to go back to Tokyo but since he was running late for class, she didn’t make it. During recess, Mami sees Wataru and tells him that she is Akio’s sister but he doesn’t believe her. Wataru decides to return to Tokyo. At the pier, Wataru has trouble telling his sisters that know of his departure. Since he can’t say it, Akio tells them Wataru is coming with him to Tokyo tomorrow. Though Wataru says it’s to see the school he was supposed to be enrolled in and will be back soon. The next day as the sisters are supposed to go on a picnic, Akio tells them to head to the park first and they will catch up. Chikage gives Wataru her pendant. Karen, Sakuya and Mami see Wataru off at the pier. When the other sisters learn that Chikage gave her pendant as a sign of farewell, all of them rush to the pier. The old fisherman is cleaning his boat filled with foul graffiti (Akio sprayed all over it last night) and hears the sound of a speedboat. He realizes this is Akio’s doing. By the time the other sisters arrive, Wataru and Akio already left in the latter’s speedboat and could do nothing.

Wataru dreams of meeting a little girl dressed in yellow in episode 25 but she shed tears before disappearing. Akio wakes him up and he is now back in his home in Tokyo. Akio puts a pair of glasses back on Wataru and tries to brainwash him about their future and becoming chosen elites (I hope nothing yaoi). A gloomy atmosphere befalls Welcome House as all the sisters miss their brother dearly. Some pouring out their thoughts and feelings. Even some of the island’s residents mention that since Jiiya went back to Tokyo, Promised Island may be finished. Not even Yamada is happy with the Gasovar sets he got for free. Sakuya can’t wait any longer and decides to go pick up Wataru herself but there’s no boat. Jiiya sees Wataru and admits that he was all the old guys on Promised Island. He apologizes for hiding the truth about his sisters and bringing him there. Wataru isn’t pleased with his selfishness and tells them leave. On the day Akio takes Wataru to finalize his transfer, Mami comes by to stop and bring him back. Efforts to persuade him failed as Wataru listens to Akio. Though he suddenly remembers the promise he made with the girl in yellow back on the island, he says he isn’t going.

What Wataru meant was he isn’t going to enrol in the school. Now it’s Akio’s turn to despair! And so in episode 26 Wataru happily returns to Promised Island because he has learned a lot from his sisters and feels it’s time he do something for them back. However when he enters Welcome House, his sisters are nowhere in sight. At the pier he regrets losing everything but meets Karen who is happy he is back. Then like true siblings 6th sense bond, the rest felt Wataru’s return and rushed to happily welcome him home. He continues to spend quality time with each of the sisters. During dinner, he realizes Mami not at the table so he tells his sisters that Mami isn’t his real sister though he doesn’t regret it. But the sisters already knew about it and Wataru got embarrassed that he was the only one who didn’t know. Again. They read a farewell note from Mami that thanks them for treating her like 1 of their sisters. But Wataru says to wait for her as he believes she will come back. As Wataru takes a group photo with his sisters, we see Mami and Akio watching from afar. Though Akio still doesn’t understand why Wataru threw away his future for something this ‘cool’, Mami says he’ll understand if he stays on the island. She teases him by calling him her An-chan. Wataru remembers he has to go thank that girl and at the park, meets the girl in yellow. When Wataru was young, he came to this island and met his sisters. But he had to leave so he made a promise with her that he’ll return and be a cooler brother. In order to make him remember that promise, she appeared in his memories. She thanks him for keeping the promise and not to forget as she is inside everyone. She disappears into the wind. Next day in school, Wataru’s class receives a new transfer student. It’s Mami! Yamada is taken in by her beauty and wants to marry her! Too bad he slams into the podium. But there’s also a new transfer student. It’s Akio and he wants to find out about true coolness. Lastly we see Jiiya in the villa, holding in hand a diary he planned hardships Wataru would face but has grown up beyond expectations. He throws away the unneeded key. He is going to bring the diary to the cemetery for commemoration. The girl in yellow died?

Can I consider that as a happy ending? Let’s see, Wataru returns to Promised Island and gets to reunite with his sisters. Mami and Akio are also back on the island so I guess there’s nothing bad, right? However there are several questions that still bugged me. For instance, was Wataru’s initial entrance exam failure a deliberate act by Jiiya to send him back to the island? What is the significance of having Wataru and the sisters stay on the island? The residents did mention it will be over if Wataru doesn’t come back, right? And what is this elite thing Akio really wants Wataru to join him with? He is so obsessed about having Wataru by his side that he even sent his sister to do the job. Some dream about becoming high corporate figures and rule the world or create an ideal world of their own? Another mystery is the girl in yellow. Throughout the series, she appears briefly in some of the episodes but her presence does not give us much hint except she has something to do with Wataru. Is she his real sister and the 13th one? Though her face revealed in the final episode to closely resemble Karen’s, but I’m not really sure it’s her either as this wasn’t confirmed. Which brings me to this point. Does Wataru really have 12 sisters? If you think about it, it’s quite impossible to have a dozen sisters with such a close age gap. Twins, triplets, quadruplets? But they all have such contrasting personalities. Unidentical twins? Maybe. But it would be better to believe that they are sisters though not blood related. Just like how many siblings in many other animes have this sort of relationship.

Wataru has definitely undergone a big change. Since the start of the series, he was someone who didn’t want to accept the dozen sisters he have and tried to leave the island no matter what because he doesn’t want to shoulder whatever nuisance he deemed his sisters are. Slowly he learns that they can’t be that all bad and opens up as he accepts them for who they are. And in return the sisters’ love for him grow fonder and fonder as the days pass by. Just like Mami, she was unhappy with her mission but as she learns the true character of Wataru and his sisters, she felt like she had become part of the family. Among all the sisters, Chikage is still the most mysterious one. I’m not sure how true her past life with Wataru is but most of the time you see her alone instead of joining in with the rest of sisters, reading her tarot cards and predicting the kind of future will befall on them. Considering Rinrin’s inventions and her penchant to ask Wataru for funds, it bothers me how that kid gets his monthly allowance. You know how much mechanical parts cost, right? Yet Wataru have no qualms (though it’s more of no choice) about parting his money to her each time she starts requesting for ‘donations’. Sometimes I always thought that Sakuya might end up being the one with Wataru because she is quite flirty. Maybe she’s just cheeky, that’s all. Though at points she sounded serious that she really wanted Wataru to be hers.

Yamada isn’t such a total loser if you consider him as a whole. Maybe he just wants a girlfriend. Other than that he tries to help out and is a hardworking person. You can contribute his little proud attitude as his role as a comic relief character, in which he is. Akio isn’t such a bad guy overall. Though he is made to be seen as a ‘villain’ by whisking Wataru away from his sisters and his detest for Promised Island, it goes to show that in the end he didn’t force him to enrol in the Tokyo school and even tries out as a transfer student in Wataru’s class. It never hurts to try out, right? Hmm… With his good looks and suave talk, he might just rake in the girls… Despite Jiiya’s old looks, that old butler sure has lots of energy impersonating lots of characters around Promised Island. What hardships he planned for Wataru? Was he such a softie when he was a kid?

At first I didn’t really pay attention to the voice acting but then I stumbled upon something shocking (at least to me). I never actually realized Nana Mizuki was the voice behind Aria! OMG! I could barely recognize her voice in other animes like Fate in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha and Touma in Minami-ke series but she is bloody convincing and different as slow talking Aria! It would never have crossed my mind if I didn’t by chance read the seiyuu list. Another one is Natsuko Kuwatani as Karen. Because of my perception of her as the high pitched Suisei Seki in Rozen Maiden, I couldn’t recognize her in any other roles than that. Other seiyuus that I recognized are Yui Horie as Sakuya, Ayako Kawasumi as Chikage and Kappei Yamaguchi as Yamada. As for the rest, they’re not well known enough for me to identify with. Doesn’t ring a bell. Oops. Sorry.

It doesn’t matter the colourful and different personalities of sisters Wataru has. He treats them equally and with lots of love. So should I recommend that everyone should watch this anime to get along with their own family members? Miraculously there hasn’t been a single jealous quarrel throughout the series and that’s how things should be. Some people have only a sibling and they don’t get along very well. What about Wataru who has 12 sisters and only recently met them and even in the span of over a year, they made so much progress like as though they’ve been together for years. If I put myself in Wataru’s shoes, I don’t think I can be a good big brother like him. Probably there’d be lots of nagging from them wanting me to get off the idiot box watching animes and spend quality time with them. Hell, like that would happen! I’d rather have a harem of 2D girls than a dozen sisters with onii-chan complex.

Sister Princess

Air TV

December 4, 2010

The reason why I stayed away from watching Air TV was because I read it was a tragedy. Sure, at least towards the end or when the story is building up but other than that at times, a little comedy that will make people like me laugh. And so I have finally watched another one of Key’s visual novel adult games after my fair share of Kanon and Clannad. Those who have watched would definitely identify with the trademark visuals and art from the character designs to the backdrop and even the general flow of the story.

Basically I don’t really feel any harem factor here. Not because there are only 3 main heroines but rather the tragic development of the story. Though the story flow is similar to that of Kanon and Clannad, the main guy helping the girls with their issues, but it feels the lack of the romantic chemistry or that sort of feel between the characters as compared to the other 2 series. In Air TV, we have Yukito Kunisaki, a poor traveller who makes his living via road puppet shows. Not that he’s going anywhere big time although he really can use magic to make the doll move by its own. The entire series is set entirely in summer at a quiet seaside town as Yukito is trying to search for the girl in the sky with wings. Sounds like an angel, eh?

So in episode 1 we see him just arriving in the said town. No money, no food. Not even a ramen set he’s craving for. He lets the kids watch his puppet show but they aren’t amused. Maybe Yukito needs other ways to attract customers rather than asking the kids to pay up for watching his show whether they want to or not. His payment? They kick the doll away! I guess he’s so hungry he fell asleep. Thank God it’s seagulls perching on him rather than vultures. He wakes up and meets Misuzu Kamio who takes a liking for him (she also trips a lot). She buys him a peach drink he doesn’t like. After finding his doll, Yukito is irked Misuzu is following him. Seems she wants to play with him (nothing hentai lah). Since he’s hungry, he has no choice but to follow her home for food. She even offers him to stay no matter how much he refused! I guess he has to. That night her mom Haruko returns. How does she know? She crashes her bike into the shed! Haruko is the lively and cheeky Kansai accent mom who wouldn’t hesitate to do comebacks on Yukito. Initially she doesn’t want him around but allows him to stay on 2 conditions: He sleeps in the shed and be her drinking partner. She learns Yukito is a traveller and wants the freeloader to babysit Misuzu. Plus, she wants him to correct her each time she says her catchphrase “Gao~” (she thinks she’s a dinosaur?).

Next day after Yukito accompanies Misuzu to school, he sees a weird looking dog that goes “Pikopiko” instead of the normal “Woof”. He decide to show his puppet show to it but the dog steals it so Yukito chases it all over town and ends up in a river. He meets Kano Kirishima, who happens to be able to communicate with that stray dog, Potato. Why do all the people he keeps meeting are weird? Kano is fascinated with his doll and asks if he wants to use magic before parting. Yukito picks Misuzu up after school and arriving at an old train station, they meet Minagi Tohno, Misuzu’s classmate. Minagi’s a genius and astronomy club president. Not so sure about the genius part because she’s saying she’s sunbathing though it’s evening. Yeah, just kidding. They’re interrupted by the dashing in of a girl, Michiru who is infatuated with Minagi (Yukito was sent flying). Michiru and Yukito don’t like each other and after she calls him a pervert, they both get physical and fight! Since it’s getting late, Minagi takes Michiru away. At the beach, Yukito wonders why Misuzu is always facing to the sky. She says she has been doing that since young because she has a feeling her other self is over there and the thought of it sounds wonderful. Being able to see so far with everything below insignificant, one can discover a feeling towards others. Yukito notes it was the beginning of summer as short as a star’s twinkle but as long as eternity.

Yukito says the person he is looking for may be Misuzu’s other self in episode 2. There’s a girl with wings flying in the sky. That was a story his late mom told him. Back home, Haruko buys Yukito an ugly sloth doll. She tells him Misuzu once thought chicks turned into dinosaurs, thus her habit of saying “Gao~”. Next day Yukito accompanies Misuzu to school and continues his puppet show using the sloth. The kids aren’t amused with the freaky show and leave without paying. Yukito spots Potato and I don’t know why it’s trying to imitate the doll’s moves. Does he love it? Yukito happen to run his puppet show outside Hijiri’s clinic (Kano’s sister and only doctor in town) so she isn’t amused. After learning he does this for a living from town to town, Hijiri hires him to do odd jobs. Cut bamboo trees? As extra incentive, she will allow his puppet show in front of her clinic. Yukito bumps into a woman buying loads of rice sacks for her rick-loving daughter and helps her. Then a little girl Shino Saika is taken in by the sloth and hugs it. She seems lost. Yukito and Misuzu help her find her way home and leave the sloth with her after learning she’s going to be hospitalized soon. Later Misuzu tells him how she had a strange dream that she was in a sky and a world she had never seen before. She couldn’t tell how far everything was because everything extended endlessly.

Next day Hijiri has Yukito deliver her bento to Kano (he thought it was for him! Better not take a bite or else the doctor’s knife will end up across his throat). After making Potato stay put at the bush, he delivers it to Kano at the rooftop. She wonders if he can fly (of course not) and says she can use magic but only when she grows up. She also wants to fly in the sky. On his way back, Michiru greets him physically and cheekily steals his doll back to Minagi. She sews the doll for him and knowing he’s hungry, gives him a rice coupon. On the way back with Misuzu they stop by a shrine but nobody is around. Misuzu wants to play but that guy ignores her request. Eventually he had to watch her catch fish at the river and also joins in. When he learns today is her birthday, he tells her to go home first. He is trying to earn money via his puppet show but seriously would anybody be around at this late hour? A guy happens to pass by and requests to see it so Yukito struts his stuff. Though impressed, he says the kids won’t be fascinated by this. He gives his cake he was supposed to give for his relative but wasn’t home then as payment. After Yukito and Misuzu eat the cake, they watch the fireflies. As they head back, they see Kano stumbling her way and follow her to the shrine. She chants some words in which a bright light starts emitting from her.

They’re shortly transported to a grassy plain before back to the shrine again in episode 3. Kano regains consciousness and has no memories of what happened. Worried Hijiri comes by and misinterprets the scene of Kano in Yukito’s arms. She’s going to kill him! Luckily she tripped over tripped Misuzu. Luckily the misunderstanding clears up. Yukito decides to go back to the clinic to demand the pay Hijiri forgot to pay him today. Inside, he hears weird conversations from the sisters (Hijiri telling off someone?) so he leaves. Next day, Yukito helps Kano find missing Potato. He learns Kano tied a bandana to her hand because someone told her she could use magic when she grows up. Yukito remembers he left Potato at the school and they still find him sitting there quietly! Can’t believe it! He makes Potato acknowledge that it’s magic that he was able to know where he was! On the way home, Kano says how her mom died when she was young and Hijiri took over her role to support her. She feels useless. She wants to see mom so she could apologize but Yukito thinks it’s better to thank her since without her, she won’t be here. They talk about Yukito’s mom and how she’s looking for the girl with wings. Next day, Yukito learns Misuzu’s fascination with dinosaurs and her dreams of going back in time. Though she can’t explain why, she wonders where her dream is going. Later Yukito gets another whacked greeting from Michiru because she’s mad he wasn’t here yesterday (I thought she wanted him to leave? Tsundere?). He shows them his doll show so Minagi gives him a reward: Rice coupons. Argh! Sick of rice already! Yukito tells Minagi of the winged girl he’s searching. She says she once had a picture book of it and thinks there’s nothing wrong looking for her. That’s because everyone has their own special place they’re trying to reach. That night when Misuzu is pestering Yukito to play cards, Hijiri barges in and tells them Kano is missing. They go look for her. Following Potato, they see Kano at the shrine. Spewing weird words and a different look in her eyes, when Kano faces Yukito, she starts strangling him!

In episode 4, Misuzu manages to break them apart as Kano lay unconscious. Hijiri treats Yukito’s neck bruise back at the clinic. She reveals how it all started. During the 1st summer of their mom’s death, she and her dad couldn’t tell Kano mom died. Then wandering into a shrine, they see a shining feather. They touched it and put it back. Ever since, Kano has been acting strange like hating bright lights and talking nonsense. One night she almost could’ve lost her if she didn’t make it in time to stop her from slitting her own wrist. She concludes Kano wasn’t herself and had a split personality. So she gave her that bandana and made up that magic stuff to hide her scar. This was also the reason she decided to be a doctor and cure Kano. She thinks the root of the problem was Kano wasn’t mentally ready due to their mom’s death. Unknown to them, Kano was conscious and heard them. Next day Yukito spots Minagi and her mom (the one he helped carry sacks of rice). He notes how they’re both similar but she says she’s just a fragment of her dream. That evening Yukito finds a note from Kano. She says she’s going to fly to the sky and thinks everyone will be happy this way. She apologizes for always relying on her sister and will help Yukito find the person he’s looking for. They rush to find her and at the shrine, they see her unconscious and her bandana taken off. Yukito sees the shining feather, picks it up and feels uneasy. Putting it on Kano, they see visions and hear the voice from a woman Shiraho.

Long ago when she gave birth to her son Yakumo, the villagers think the birthmark on his hand was a bad omen. Shiraho received a shining feather from the sky and believed it to be a talisman from God. Soon war came and Shiraho’s husband was taken away and never returned. When she learns someone is looking for the shining feather, she left the village. She arrived at another village (the one in the present) as the kind priest allowed them to stay. Soon people started dying of an epidemic and blamed them for bringing the plague. The priest thinks Yakumo’s sacrifice is inevitable to calm to Gods of the land. Shiraho is unable to kill her own son so she hastily kills herself. Young Kano is seen meeting her mom in the clouds. As they chat, she thanks her for everything. Mom tells her she doesn’t have wings so be happy where she is now. Back in reality, Kano comes to. The feather disappears along with her wrist’s scar. Relieved Hijiri hugs her. Kano thanks Yukito but he says she did it with magic. Then she lets her bandana drift away into the sky.

Yukito dreams when he was young in episode 5 as his mom told him ‘she’ wanted to cross the ocean but mommy couldn’t take her. Misuzu also tells him of her dreams whereby she was flying in the sky but her body hurt all over. She also heard voices of people were trying to lock her up. After Yukito does his usual non-paying show, he goes to see Minagi and Michiru. The usual spat between you-know-who resulting in Yukito falling over Minagi’s bento. Since Minagi’s father was the previous station master, she had the key to the station for him to take a shower. She gives him and Michiru a bottle of sand particles, a precious gift she got from her dad. Then she takes them to the school rooftop for stargazing. Oh, did I mention she’s the only astronomy club member? She mentions how Michiru likes him because she’s always talking about him. Yukito denies but Minagi knows it’s true because they’ve been living together all the while. She notes his travelling habit and wonders if he has ever stopped to share his happiness with someone else. Yukito accompanies Minagi home. He notes her height. She’s proud of being tall as it makes her closer to the sky. Upon reaching her home, Minagi’s mom greets them. Minagi introduces him as a new astronomy club member but Yukito gets a shock when her mom calls Minagi “Michiru”. Back home after Yukito gives in to Misuzu’s pestering to play cards, she becomes clumsy with them. She starts crying hysterically but luckily Haruko was there to calm her down. Haruko tells him this happens every time she’s about to be friends with someone and has been like this since young. Yukito decides to leave the house to give some space between them though he’ll still accompany Misuzu to and fro school.

Next day, Misuzu tells him that Haruko is actually her aunt and was forced to take her in. She views herself as a nuisance, the reason why she always plays alone. Yukito sees Michiru depressed because Minagi didn’t come to the station so he cheers her up by blowing bubbles. Later as he goes visit Minagi’s home by himself, he is surprised her mom didn’t recognize him. She even says she doesn’t have a daughter and shuts the door! As Hijiri explains, she has a mental illness and thinks her first daughter Minagi is her dead second daughter. She visits her from time to time to check her condition. But it got weirder the same time her fantasy second daughter disappeared, she forgot all about Minagi. To her none of her daughters ever existed. Then learning from Minagi, she was supposed to have a little sister named Michiru. Because Minagi is closer to her dad, mom was lonely and chose to continue dreaming when Minagi wished she had a sister. But last night she dreamt that she miscarried Michiru and this caused her to face reality. As a result she doesn’t recognize who Minagi is. She notes this is the end of her dream as ‘Michiru’ and that her own wings have forgotten how to fly.

Since Yukito is staying at the station in episode 6, Minagi also stays with him and brought her kitchen stuff too! Michiru is happy that she turned up all thanks to the wish she made on the sand bottle. As Yukito accompanies Misuzu, she tells him of her dream this time in a forest where a guy describes to her the ocean. At the station, Minagi tells him how she and her dad often used to come here. Ever since mom’s miscarriage, their relation was strained. Eventually he left the family and married another woman in another town. Next day Yukito learns from Hijiri that Minagi’s mom is slowly recovering her memories. Now it’s all up to Minagi. Yukito tells Minagi that he’s leaving town and asks if she would like to come see the world as well. She agrees so on their way he stops in front of her house and tells her to decide on what she wants to do. Minagi goes in to see her mom. She recognizes her as Minagi as both ladies embrace while tears well up their eyes. That night at the station, Yukito learns from Michiru that she’s going to leave soon. She says there’s a sad girl in the sky always having sad dreams. She has tattered feathers but mysteriously powerful and contained lots of people’s dream in it. Michiru was given 1 of her feathers because she wanted to comfort someone. Though she doesn’t want to leave, “the stars will disappear once the sun rise”. She notes she is a fragment of a dream but a fun one though she can’t be born in this world. She starts breaking down so Yukito hugs her. Next day he learns from Minagi how she first met Michiru at the station soon after dad left. She feels guilty all this started by her own sin of wishing for a little sister. Minagi takes Michiru to see her mom. This is the first time Michiru has been into her home. Though reluctant, after Michiru says her name, Minagi’s mom continues to be friendly with her, making her feel happy.

That evening Minagi keeps Michiru’s sand bottle. Then Michiru disappears. Rushing to the school rooftop, they see her standing on the edge. Michiru insists on going back because the girl with wings continues to have sad dreams. She’s going back to give her fun memories they both gave her. That’s why if she they her, she wants them to give her more fun memories and release her from her sadness. Minagi is still reluctant to part but Michiru says her memories will still remain even if she wakes up from her dream. Minagi sends her off with a smile as Michiru turns into a feather and flutters away in the wind. Next day Minagi tells Yukito she’s visiting her father because his wife has got a child and this means she’s got a little sister. Guess what is her name? Yeah, looks, sounds and acts like a mini version of Michiru. Yukito says even if her wings can’t fly, it’s proof her memories from the days when she did fly. He goes back to Misuzu’s home but sees her unconscious on the floor.

Though Misuzu says she got dizzy and tripped in episode 7, it wasn’t anything serious. After looking at her pathetic picture diary (filled with nothing but what she did with Yukito), he wants her to write what she wants to do. She wishes to go to the beach with him. When he tells Haruko about this, he is appalled of her carefree attitude. He remembers the story his mom told him. She had a dream. A dream of the sky and then going back in time. That dream is killing her and she will forget everything. In her last dream, she will die and always be alone. To make matters worse, Haruko decides to go on a trip herself and leaves Misuzu in Yukito’s care. When he tells of the story his mom told, she didn’t believe him. Yukito takes weak Misuzu to the beach. But she starts having her fits so they abandon the plan. Back home after telling him of yet another dream, she says those dreams aren’t coincidence. She is going to continue having them in hopes of learning something and maybe help the sky girl. Though Misuzu gets up from bed, she falls since she can’t move her legs. Next morning after telling Yukito another dream, she says she gets weaker after each dream. He tells her not to think so much about her other self and focus on getting better. When he leaves the room, he sees violent visions. So real that he actually felt getting slashed and collapsed. Furthermore, he sees a slash mark on his back.

Since Misuzu continues to have painful dreams, Yukito thinks of leaving or else they’ll both die. She wants to come along but he tells her straight he’s trying to get away from her. Remembering the past whereby he did his puppet show while his mom provided background music and made everyone laugh. She told him how she wanted him to save her this time. There’re lots of unfulfilled wishes in that doll. Mommy and her mom before her sealed all their powers in it before they withered away. So that 1 day someone would release their wishes. She intended to become 1 of those wishes and he has to decide on how he wants to use them. Though he can forget about the girl in the sky, he’ll meet her someday. If he ever wants to save her, put all his heart into the doll. In present, Yukito gets a group of kids to watch his show and feedback on how to make it more interesting. He returns to Misuzu and the doll is now like his helper, able to do several tasks. He realized he wants to be by her side and would’ve been happy watching her smile. Wishing if he could redo everything again with her, a bright light starts emitting from the doll. Misuzu wakes up but Yukito isn’t in sight. The scene changes to the 5th year of the Shou Calendar 994 AD. A winged maiden Kannabi No Miko or Kanna for short, drops onto Lt Ryuuya.

In the palace in episode 8, Ryuuya thought winged maidens are messengers of God but she says this place is similar to a prison. They also meet Uraha (Kanna’s servant) who teases them for being close to each other. As they continue to live in the palace, Uraha and Ryuuya seem to love teasing Kanna. One night Kanna can’t sleep so Ryuuya talks to her. She mentions about dreaming of her past sitting in the darkness. She was scared and lonely but remembered seeing warm light in a human form and chased after it but disappeared. Ryuuya thinks it’s her mother so she wishes to see her. One day Ryuuya learns Kanna will be moved to the north to pray for the crops fertility though everyone else will remain. Uraha decides to take Kanna and run away from here as she can’t bear to see her in pain anymore. Ryuuya agrees to conspire with her. Since he is Kanna’s loyal servant, he has her order him to take her see her mother as an excuse to escape. The trio leave the palace that night. Ryuuya senses guards hunting Kanna. He interrogates 1 of them but he says they’re doing this under their captain’s order. Ryuuya is going to kill him but Kanna stops him. Chiding him for a disgusting method, she makes him vow never to kill as long he is her servant. They journey for a month (Kanna learning to juggle bean bags but suck big time even with all the practice) and during their stop, they watch a village doing a festival as belief their wishes will reach heaven. Kanna notes she has wings but can’t fly and wonders if their wish will reach heaven. Ryuuya believes they can as long as they pray with all their hearts. Entering the mountainous forest supposedly where Kanna’s mom is held captive, they are confronted with warrior monks. Ryuuya fights them but due to his vow not to kill, he gets slashed in the back. Eventually he wakes up in a cafe and at a safe distance the monks won’t come after them. Kanna feels guilty of making him vow that. Since he reminds her that he is her loyal servant, she orders him not to die. They enter the prison where Kanna’s mom is. Kanna shows her white wings and she is happy mom recognizes her. But mommy orders Ryuuya to take Kanna and leave immediately.

However they’re bent on freeing her in episode 9 so mom tells Kanna not to touch her because she’s tainted. Outside, they’re attacked by a hunting army and a couple of arrows hit Kanna’s mom. She unleashes her true powers and kills the entire army. Before she dies, she passes down an ancient prayer to Kanna, the dream of the stars. She wants her to live as a common girl free from the winged race fate. Kanna is inconsolable when mom passes away. They leave her body as it is like how she wished. While resting on their journey back, they talk about living together as a family probably near the ocean. But they are soon surrounded by soldiers. Kanna strips herself, spread her wings and kisses him. She gives her last order to Ryuuya: To live happily for the rest of his life. The soldiers fire their arrows as Kanna takes several hits. Ryuuya and Uraha hear chants and realize the monks are trying to place a curse on Kanna. Kanna got bound and then disappeared into thin air. As dawn breaks, Ryuuya is going to kill those responsible for Kanna’s death but Uraha stops him. She says Kanna doesn’t want him to become a bloodthirsty murderer as she can still Kanna’s faint cries. They are picked up by a couple of monks and taken to a prelate named Chitoku. He tells them how Kanna may be the last winged race who has watched over this temple. They also pass down dreams of the stars to every generation and provide human with knowledge. Due to the powers they possessed, they’ve been taken by high position people and used in wars. Kanna’s mom was tainted by the curse from the ones she killed. Those soldiers that were sent to kill Kanna were done under the orders of the Imperial Court to unify the religious faith of the country and eliminate the winged race.

Uraha decides to learn sorcery and stay at the temple. As time passes, Uraha uses her magic to see Kanna’s dream. They see her in pain and crying over Ryuuya’s lifeless body while thinking everyone has left her. To make things worse, her curse is compounded from her mom’s. Her curse will also kill anyone that comes close to the winged race, the reason the scar on Ryuuya’s back never healed. He realizes he will die within the year. Though the curse of imprisoning Kanna will wear off in time, Kanna’s soul will return to Earth and be reincarnated. But putting her soul into a human body is like putting an ocean into a jar. So Kanna will suffer reincarnation after reincarnation and die without knowing happiness. Uraha suggests a way to save her and that is for Ryuuya to have a child. His descendents will find a way to save Kanna so Ryuuya and Uraha marry. As time passes, Ryuuya compiled a book about the winged race so his descendents will find them useful if they find Kanna and Uraha will teach them magic. Back in the present, Yukito wakes up but he can’t seem to remember much. We see Misuzu getting along with a crow.

Misuzu calls the crow Sora in episode 10 and sees Yukito sitting at the beach where she always looked at the sky (gone back in time?). She brings Sora back but Haruko won’t allow it to stay (after pecking her eye of course). Next day Sora follows Misuzu to school. It causes a little havoc, meets Potato and Kano. Depressed Misuzu can’t seem to make friends but decides not to give up and do a picture diary. At the beach, she sees Yukito asleep with all the seagulls over him. She sums up her courage to talk to him and that’s when he woke up and saw her. She brings him back to her home and the scenes of how Yukito and Haruko met. Haruko talks to Sora and thinks of giving Yukito a chance since Misuzu doesn’t throw fits when he’s around. On a day when the relative came to give Misuzu her cake, Sora sneaks out. Haruko spots it on the road and takes it to the shrine (even the crow freaks out at her reckless riding). She tells Sora her sorrows like Misuzu’s belief in chicks-turning-into-dinosaurs and how Misuzu’s dad forced Misuzu’s care upon her. She throws away a plush dinosaur toy into the grass (supposedly to give for Misuzu’s birthday). Next day, Sora goes back to the shrine and tries to move the toy. Saika is praying with her mom when she sees the dinosaur move by itself and thinks it’s God. They put the dinosaur back in the shrine. Sora encounters Minagi who wants to take it home but it flies away. On a night when Misuzu has her fit in front of Yukito the first time, Haruko’s trip was actually to go see the Tachibana family (Misuzu’s grandparents) to negotiate and formally adopt Misuzu. Then the scene where Yukito decides to run away from Misuzu. Feeling lonely, Misuzu throws her fit till she falls asleep and hopes never to wake up. Then the scene Yukito realized Misuzu’s importance and wants to be with her. He remembers everything now. He used to be a human called Yukito. Sora turns into Yukito. He tells her never to give up as the embrace. He is sure she will find her goal because she’s a strong girl and will always be by her side. He then disappears.

Morning comes in episode 11 as Misuzu tells Sora how Yukito came back and gave her something important. As Misuzu and Sora take a walk outside, it seems Haruko has returned and manages to get custody of her. Though Haruko tries her best to be like her mother, Misuzu still prefers to play be herself. But slowly she opens up and both ladies bond. After Haruko cuts Misuzu’s hair too short, Misuzu thinks it’s like starting all over. The next morning, Misuzu doesn’t remember who Haruko is so Haruko takes this chance to restart everything as her mom. Haruko got a wheelchair to wheel Misuzu around town when they come into the relative, Keisuke and is Misuzu’s dad. He isn’t happy the way she handled Misuzu. He notes her not good with crowds, the reason he left her with Haruko in this quiet town. The adults argue so Keisuke wants to take Misuzu back. Haruko pleads to give 3 days to spend with her before letting Misuzu decide whom to follow. She tries her best again and 1 hot day as she wheels Misuzu to the beach, Misuzu wants to go home. She doesn’t care so Haruko got upset and left her in the middle of the road. Misuzu tries to move herself but fell off. Haruko came rushing back and regrets her action. Bringing Misuzu home, Haruko laments her fate of not being able to be a mother. But after she ‘saves’ Misuzu from a cicada, they started bonding and happily did things together. By the 3rd day, before she hands Misuzu back to Keisuke, she brings Misuzu to the beach. After handing her over and a short distance later, Misuzu starts throwing her fit. Keisuke is at a loss as Misuzu reaches her hands out to Haruko and starts calling her mother. Haruko rushes to her and they both emotionally embrace. After a long talk, Keisuke agrees to leave Misuzu in her care. Sora witnessing the events finally understood the person Misuzu was with the entire time was her mother.

In bed in episode 12, Misuzu starts writhing in pain. She says her wings are painful. Haruko remembers Yukito’s words that she’ll forget everything and die in her final dream. She tries to make her feel better by taking her to the summer festival tomorrow. However it starts pouring but Haruko still brings her there in hopes the festival is on. It isn’t. She curses God. She then spots the dinosaur at the shrine and has Misuzu take it. She is successful so Haruko gives it to her as her present. That night when Haruko went to sleep, Misuzu continues her picture diary and fell asleep on it. Next morning Misuzu wakes up and though she tells Haruko she dreamt her final dream, she feels fine. Haruko is relieved that what Yukito said was a lie. Misuzu tells of her dream that she has white wings and soaring in the sky. Though it’s a sad dream, but that’s the end of it and she’ll always be with her mom. As they go out for a stroll, Misuzu has Haruko and Sora stand at a distance. Misuzu tries to walk from her wheelchair to them as the goal. When she reaches halfway and says she already did her best and wonders if she can rest now, Haruko realizes she has been in pain all the while. Haruko fears the worse and doesn’t want her to reach the goal line because their happiness has just started. Misuzu says she did what she wanted and this summer had more happiness than her entire life. A summer where she met Yukito, lots of things happened though it was painful but she didn’t give up. Happiness was her goal and she’s not alone. Haruko still wouldn’t allow it but Misuzu grabs her. In her dying breath, Misuzu thanks Haruko before sleeping forever.

In the aftermath, Haruko talks to Keisuke about the nice things of being a family. Then she talks to Sora and wants it to fly because the sky is somewhere people can never go as they don’t have wings. He has to fly in their place and send their dreams and wishes back to the sky. Haruko leaves Sora as the crow narrates how it is looking at the sky ever since. A sky filled with colour of sadness. The blue colour that stretches into infinity and the girl who went back to that infinite world who is alone even now. That’s why it is going on a journey to find her and bring her back one day so that she’ll have a new beginning. Sora flaps its wings and flies away. After that story narration of Yukito’s mom, we see a couple of familiar looking kids at the shore. The boy says he wants to know what lies beyond the coastline, something which the girl felt she wanted to know too. Looking back and waving back at Misuzu and Yukito sitting at a distance, they leave while walking hand in hand. The boy notes how they’ll suffer a cruel fate for the rest of their days and they themselves are given a new beginning.

I don’t know why they need to show a recap episode 13. It’s a summary and abridged version of the entire series. New scenes? Nope. New revelations? Nil. New insights? Didn’t learn anything? New perspective? Same old, same old. Unless you don’t want to watch all the episodes again. But there are 2 special episodes called Air In Summer but this is an extension of the feudal era arc and is set during Ryuuya, Kanna and Uraha’s escape and journey to the see Kanna’s mom. With additional scenes and more footage, the episodes here are more light-hearted as we see the trio in their antics as they complete their quest.

Episode 1 begins with the trio escaping from the palace in the stormy night but pursuers are hot on their heels. Ryuuya creates a diversion by making the guards think Kanna fell into the river before making their escape. Then that scene Ryuuya interrogated a soldier and nearly killed him but was stopped by Kanna. As they journey through the countryside, the cute antics between them as they tease Kanna. Like pouring water over her head to cool her down, saving her clothes from a monkey but Ryuuya gets called a pervert and Kanna learning to juggle those little bean bags. Still flopping big time no matter how many times she practice. They reach a lively market as Kanna acts like a noisy kid. Her ignorance of the way things work in the world could really give her away since she acts like a princess. Thankfully Ryuuya is always there to take her away. When Uraha goes off by herself, Ryuuya is left to babysit Kanna as she got herself into a pathetic fight with a chicken! They meet a pitiful beggar so upon Kanna’s request, Ryuuya gives him his fan though he still has his reservations he may be a fake. When Uraha returns, she gives Kanna a walnut as a gift. As they’re resting at an away spot, Kanna tries to open the walnut with her teeth? When she leaves to gather firewood, Uraha tells Ryuuya the checkpoint down the market path with soldiers stopping young girls and inspecting their backs to see if they have feathers. Ryuuya notes they can’t take the main road anymore. When he doubts that he’ll keep his no-killing vow, Uraha tells him about the night they fled, Kanna was worried and wanted to go after him during his distraction stint in fear he may get killed. She questions back what he would’ve done if Kanna ordered him to kill that soldier. He replies he would’ve gotten mad and scolded her instead and that adults have to set a good example to kids. That night, Kanna wants to show Ryuuya something embarrassing.

No, she’s not stripping. But rather she wants to show him her bean bag juggling in episode 2. He’s not interested. He gives in after her incessant pestering. She still sucks by the way. She’s throwing it to the universe! Spending more time searching and retrieving? Dawn breaks and finally though she could juggle for a short while, Ryuuya says she did try her best. Waking up Kanna is hard. Ryuuya thought she was having a horny dream. “Please spare me. It won’t go in… No more, please”. She was just dreaming of eating… Eventually she wakes up after Uraha forcefully takes away her head pillow. While reading a map, Ryuuya finds Kanna can’t read. Uraha says she doesn’t want to learn. Flashback about some hell training Uraha tried to make Kanna memorize 200 poems in a night! There’s 4500 of them! Kanna burnt 6 volumes of it to make breakfast! Then they see a corpse of a monk died from emaciation. That night Ryuuya has trouble sleeping so Kanna talks to him as he reveals his past.

He doesn’t know who is parents are nor seen their faces. He was picked up by a strict travelling monk, travelling from one place to another. One day the monk got killed by bandits in a single sword slash while crossing the mountain path. They spared Ryuuya because they think he’s not worth killing. Ryuuya was alone and did what he could to survive like stealing and getting into wars though he has a change of heart later in life. But Kanna thinks the monk was great and his prayers answered because Ryuuya was spared. He realized he was saved then and wonders he might have gone a different path. Kanna wish he hasn’t because they would never have met. Then Kanna starts undressing for real and lets him handle the rest. Seems all this are part of Uraha’s plan. She was told he would tell the woman he love about their past. Ryuuya isn’t interested so Kanna thinks he prefers men! If not impotent! He has no choice but to move in on her. Now she’s trying to resist! Ryuuya knows Uraha spying and calls her out. When she appears, he backs down. That night when Kanna wakes up, she tells them she had a dream she was in strange clothes and in different shape and form. But she was with her mom and kind people beside her. She was happy. They wish that happy dream will turn into reality. Kanna starts juggling the bean bags and is successful though just a little longer. Next morning the trio continue their journey through the mountains.

Okay, that was really a tragic end to the TV series. I was a little confused about certain stuff and went to search for answers on the online forums. Well, let’s just say that many people had their own interpretations and versions of it all. Some said Misuzu/Kanna’s curse was broken on the 1000th summer (the setting of the present in TV series) when Yukito wished upon the power of his doll to be with Misuzu just a little longer. There are some who believed Yukito and Misuzu are reincarnations of Ryuuya and Kanna. I would believe that Yukito would be the descendent of Ryuuya but it bugs me about the time he had a scar on his back. If all Ryuuya’s descendents are cursed then I suppose all his children lived short lives when they come into contact with Kanna’s reincarnation. I mean, when Yukito turned into a crow, he starts losing his memory about his human self when he continued to spend time with Misuzu till her death. And those kids at the beach in the end some say are reincarnations of Yukito and Misuzu since the curse will be broken and he mentioned they will live a new beginning. Well, Yukito did exist in several forms at the same time at certain points, a human and a crow. Come to think of it, Sora does make cameo appearances here and there before this revelation.

Though the girl in the sky is most likely to Kanna, I felt this entire series was never about her. Did they find the girl in the sky? I don’t think so. It was all about Misuzu trying to find her happiness and ultimately Haruko to accept Misuzu as her own child. Initially she didn’t care for Misuzu even though she was forced upon the role because she was afraid she might grow fond of her and lose her if ever her real parents ever came to take her back. It’s the fear of losing someone close to your heart. Eventually both ladies changed and become stronger characters than they started off. It was really sad to see the main character died and though Haruko puts up a positive face in light of Misuzu’s death, but these life changing experiences definitely done them some good. Unlike in shows of this genre, Yukito as the main guy was reduced to a minor role and didn’t make his ‘real’ appearance in the final couple of episodes. Then the other characters like Kano, Potato, Minagi and Michiru felt like they serve as ‘fillers’ due to their short arcs and once that’s done, we don’t really see them again. Not directly at least. Sadly, I thought there could’ve been more character development for them rather than being tossed aside once their arc is over. I thought they would all come together somehow in the end and would be related to the girl in the sky because they did mention something in relation to her.

Thinking back now, most of the scenes do make sense like Misuzu’s dreams are actually the time when Kanna lives and vice versa. Kanna has got to be the most amusing character because of her childish behaviour even as the last winged race. No wonder Ryuuya and Uraha likes teasing her. There is also a movie length feature of this series as an alternate retelling but I didn’t watch it. There are obvious differences like the characters but having experience the tragic feel of the TV series, I don’t think I want to go through another heart breaking moment. Heck, I didn’t even play the game (by the way, as I found out the main character also dies in the game’s good ending). Though the opening and ending theme (Tori No Uta and Farewell Song respectively) are sung by Lia, the techno feel and beat made me thought it was from Kotoko (I found out she was an ex-singer of a band related to Kotoko). There are a variety of background music and some of them worthy and suitable for the scene it was tailored for. As mentioned that the art and animation is just like other Key’s game-turned-anime production, but I feel the scenery is quite astonishing. Sometimes I’d also feel the heat of summer with the brightness.

The subtle theme of this series is the sky (hence the title Air) and some of the characters share traits of it like Michiru’s fascination to bubbles, Minagi’s astronomy club and Kano’s wish to fly. But as endless the sky may be, it can be daunting and scary as the vastness overwhelms your tiny self and you have no firm ground to land your feet upon. How long does eternity last when you’re trapped seeing the same painful dream. If all it takes is just a wish and desire for one’s happiness, it sounded so simple enough but yet so complicated. But enough of me being poetic since I don’t want this to end on a sad note (partly I’m not good with it too). So the next time if you get up feeling your body aching everywhere and everything inside hurts like hell, it may just be you aging and getting old, that’s all :p.

Air

Linebarrels Of Iron OVA

December 3, 2010

Seriously, 2 OVA episodes of Linebarrels Of Iron? But more importantly, seriously why the heck did I watch this anyway? It isn’t as though I loved the mecha TV series. Probably it was because I felt more ‘complete’ if I were to finish watching what I started. Yeah so, both OVAs came out way back in August 2009 and it slipped my mind because as I’ve said I wasn’t interested in the series. But of course a change of heart (somehow) and since the episodes are more light-hearted and do not have any real impact on the storyline, what the heck, there is no harm in trying.

Episode 25 – Pretty Girl Genius Scientist Rachel-chan
Part 1 – First Visit To Japan, Rachel-chan
If you remember that American scientist and Pani Poni Dash’s Rebecca-look-a-like, Rachel Calvin, this episode is definitely dedicated to her since she just played a supporting role in the TV series. Now she’s got the whole damn episode on her. Heck, even the opening theme is filled with nothing but that blonde loli! Enough to convert non-believers into Rachel-obsessed fans-cum-stalkers. Why, the opening even lasts longer than usual. Approximately 2.5 minutes! Isn’t there anything else better to show than Rachel? Oh wait. This is Rachel’s episode…

I guess the time line here is when she first arrives in Japan looking for JUDA Corporation. I know it’s one of those ironic cliches whereby geniuses aren’t really as smart as they look. In her case, I don’t know but she got lost somewhere in Japan. How the heck did she slip out of the airport and end up in some rural place of Japan? How did she get pass the reception of Satoru and Reiji who are waiting for her at the airport? Maybe the place card isn’t big enough. While Satoru has that silly grin on his face, it is unusual that this got slipped right under the nose of serious Reiji. So back to Rachel. Yes, she’s lost. Her ambiguous map of JUDA’s location in Misaki Town (literally the entire map of Japan) got eaten by a deer. She’s going to teach it a lesson by unleashing some sophisticated technology via her sophisticated suitcase. The deer is too stupid to understand all that. Rachel is too stupid to understand she’s dealing with a deer. Oh dear. Till she encounters a bunch of them. I don’t know how they violated her but she seemed bloody messed up after that. To show even further how ‘dumb’ she is, she tries to use her exclusive credit card to buy food from a takoyaki roadside food stall. No money, no talk. Then in the toilet, she got her ass sprayed by the toilet bowl just because she can’t read Japanese and blames their technology. So who’s the dumb one? At that point I thought she might do Becky’s trademark “Hauhau~” cry…

At this rate, you can guess poor Rachel has walked from one point to the other point of Japan. First snowy then hot summer. Probably she hasn’t got anything to eat so it’s affecting her intelligence. How? She tries to use her credit card to buy stuff from the vending machine! In her frustration, she kicks it and though the noodles came out, it’s pretty messed up. So no food for the scientist. Adding to her misery, she later got her precious credit card steamrolled by a tractor. So people, learn this valuable lesson never to always rely on that plastic card. I guess God has had enough fun of punishing this loli so as Rachel sits dejectedly outside a convenience store, she is picked up by Aika Hasegawa. She calls the JUDA’s boss, Ishigami and he is glad she is found. Just what do you know, he has a board filled with markings of Rachel sightings! Apparently she was spotted all over Japan (meaning she walked the entire country!). Everywhere except Misaki Town. Just bad luck. Rachel is treated to a nice hot meal and then a nice hot natural bath in the hotspring as she breaks down partly besides of being a kid or scared, is glad to have found her way back to civilization. As gratitude, Rachel uses her modified suitcase to give Aika a massage. Those hands made them look more like a molester… And yeah, Reiji and Satoru are still waiting at the airport… Come to think of it, for such a genius girl like her who invents and maintains giant robots, she can’t carry or create a decent GPS?

Part 2 – Room Exploration Time, Rachel-chan
I thought there was some emergency when Aika barges in to wake Rachel up. I didn’t understand what she meant at first but soon realized that since they have 10 minutes of footage left, Rachel and Aika decide to explore and make footage by visiting the rooms of the other JUDA members. So much free time, eh? Shouldn’t she be researching on the robots? Along with their crew of 3 mecha humanoids, they pay a visit to Kouichi first, who is trying to practice his cool summoning lines. Lame. Like that loli is ever interested anyway. But he shoos them out for invading his privacy thingy. Then it’s Satoru’s turn but he’s sleeping. After rummaging through his stuff, they close up to see his sleeping face. Till he realizes and blows his top and kicks them out. Next room then. It’s Miu as she is doing yoga (fanservice cue for showing off her assets and curves). Miu gets frightened when she realizes she’s being filmed. To make things worse, they rummage through her lingerie closet and as expected, she blows her top and kicks them out.

Next are the twins, Shizuna and Izuna. However they are not in as they are visiting the graves of their late parents. Heading to the next room which is Reiji, they see him getting ready to smash a watermelon with a bat. They did a wise move by not intruding any further and head to the next room. Don’t want to know what he’s doing either. Then it’s Emi’s room. Seems Ogawa is helping her do manicure, pedicure and all those womanly things to make her look beautiful. Ogawa seems too close to Emi. As they chat, Rachel felt she’s being treated like a kid (though she acts like one) so Aika did say in order to be a full-fledge woman, she needs to have a little bit more chest. Is that an insult? Yeah, everyone else in the room has superb proportions. Rachel leaves in a huff but decides to get over her frustration by taking this perfect opportunity to check Ogawa’s room. Thinking they’ll get awesome money shots from Ogawa’s mysterious life, they open the door and hear something growling. Before we viewers can see what it is, Ogawa grabs Rachel by her head and you can tell her tone means that Rachel is in deep sh*t. So deep that she’s sweating profusely. She beats up the rest of the crew and destroys all those hard earned footage. I don’t know if Rachel got beaten up too for peeking into her room without permission. Maybe not. Who ever in their right mind would want to whack a loli. Maybe Ogawa…

Episode 26 – Shadows of Iron
Despite its title, this episode feels more like a fanservice episode. Yeah, it’s swimsuits and the beach. Taking place after the events of the TV series (meaning Ishigami is already dead), we see the gang enjoying themselves at JUDA’s spa resort (that’s what the HQ has been turned into. Hey, no more fighting, right?) as relaxation and reward for saving the world. Why is there a large statue of Ishigami that resembles the one in Brazil? Kouichi’s pals like Risako, their little sisters and that ex-bully Furuya even joins them. As usual the gang love seeing the development between Kouichi and Emi, which is going nowhere by the way. Unless you’re Risako of course. She’s not too happy about them being close. Kouichi goes to help Miu but she fumbles so he saves her and they land in a compromising position. Jealous Risako decides to help out with the foodstuff even though she’s not required to. You know why lah. We see Reiji turning himself in and serving his jail sentence at his own will while Jack waits for the day he’ll face him again. Yuriannu visits a grave while Sawatari and his gang are fighting against some mecha gang. Seems he’s going to take over the world himself. But he is suddenly attacked by a beam. To his shock he sees Linebarrel.

Yajima gives Emi permission off her yakisoba job to do something important. Kouichi gets advice from Shizuna about his love problems with Emi (seriously, of all people, that tsundere?). She just tells him to say it straight to Emi that he likes her and be honest to his feelings. Then she mumbles something that indicates that she too has feelings for him. Kouichi is whisked away by the guys and place in the sauna room with Emi. How can he start talking if they’re watching? After all that hesitation, before Kouichi could finally spill it out, Sawatari barges in. Looks like he has lots of injuries over his body. But for Emi’s case, she might have seen something more horrifying than Sawatari’s wounds. Yeah, Kouichi’s towel happens to come off at that very time… Soon several Linebarrel clones start attacking the area so with the first half of the fanservice and love antics done, it comes down to the adrenaline kicking action that we’ve all been waiting for. That’s what this show is supposed to be about, right?

As our heroes gear up to take on the menace, Rachel and some mumbo-jumbo that I can never understand tells me that due to some Dimension Peeler and Hub Dynamo that was destroyed, due to some distortion and proliferation, Linebarrel became synched and appeared as echoes (the clones) burned into space and time and been cast into this world like shadows, thus having the same abilities as the original one. The Factor heroes take on the fake Linebarrels as non-combatants prepare the rest for evacuation. Kouichi was sent flying during one of the attacks so Emi quickly rushes to him. Before a clone could smash Satoru, Reiji arrives back in time to save him (he’s on parole?). Well, he’s not amused that the saviours of the world has turned into wimps so he struts his stuff by taking on lots of them, though he notes it isn’t enough to beat them.

Kouichi wakes up with Emi by his side. He can’t seem to summon Linebarrel so Emi thinks of going back to basics. Yeah, touch her boobs. Since it doesn’t work, she wants him to put both his hands on a boob each. And if that doesn’t work, probably touch everybody else’s boobs (?!) and come to worse case she touches his! Is she that desperate? Kouichi calms her down and gets his resolve to win this battle. A clone just found them but before it could smash them, the real Linebarrel protects them. Now one with Kouichi, it’s time he takes over the lime light and kick ass. After taking out the small fries, a final echo Linebarrel appears through the worm hole. This one is much larger. Satoru thinks of providing backup but Reiji thinks there is no need because as long as that Linebarrel is an echo it can’t beat the one Kouichi is piloting. Kouichi’s Linebarrel powers up though they can only last for 10 minutes. But cocky Kouichi thinks half that time is more than enough. Why? Because he’s the ally of justice! And how it ends is up to viewers’ discretion. They end the show when the exciting final boss is just about to get started? Well, Kouichi has to win, right? Understood lah.

“You’re still the worst!”
Actually it’s not that all bad since it’s been a long interval since I’ve watched the TV series. Sure it’s funny but that’s about it. A little something extra to make us laugh via the characters of the series. Rachel was pretty amusing with her own episode. I would really love to watch her and her ‘intelligence’ if they make more episodes on her. Maybe they should make some on the other characters like Miu and Ogawa. Oh heck, who am I kidding? The romance part still isn’t going anywhere though seasoned viewers would most likely bet Kouichi should end up with Emi. Just like Doumoyouji said, if they both don’t make it clear between themselves, it’ll cause lots of complications to others. Seeing just about any other girl has some sort of feelings for that main guy, why not? Other than that I think the quality of the animation and the art isn’t any better at all. Especially the characters’ blush, they’re like haphazard lines all over their cheeks. WTF?! The 3D animation of the mecha fights are standard Gonzo and their typical work. Enough said. End of blog. Woah! Seriously, that’s all I’ve got to say? Yeah, I’m the worst!

Linebarrels Of Iron