Twin Spica

February 26, 2011

Space, the final frontier that still fascinates men. Perhaps travelling to another universe or making contact with other extra terrestrial life forms may be far fetched for some so even getting the chance to go up to space and stare down at our little blue Earth would suffice and seem like a lifetime dream to many. Not to say that watching Twin Spica gave me any motivation to head to space nor is it a show about living or travelling in space, it showcases the trials and tribulations of a group of young students trying to attain that dream of going to space that so few have achieved.

Episode 1
As introduced, Japan was launching its first manned spaceflight mission. However during the blastoff, something went terribly wrong, sending the rocket named Shishigou crashing down on the town nearby, Yuigahama. The disaster plunges the town into fiery chaos of hell and many lives were lost and affected due to that tragedy. Among them is a girl named Asumi Kamogawa. She was just a toddler in her mom’s arms when the rocket crashed. Though Asumi grew up unscathed physically, her mom Kyouko has been lying in coma for the pass 5 years, leaving dad Tomorou to singlehandedly bring up Asumi all by himself. Tragedy strikes again when Kyouko passes away 5 years later without gaining consciousness. Perhaps Asumi was young and didn’t know the implications of bringing her mother’s ashes around. But she meets a mysterious man wearing a lion mask. He calls himself Lion and they get acquainted. Viewers can tell Lion is a ghost because only Asumi can see him (I hope this isn’t meant to creep anybody out). Nobody else (hope no one thinks of her as a weirdo). Not even her elementary school teacher, Yuko Suzunari. Viewers can also guess from Suzunari’s flashback that Lion is Takano and was Suzunari’s fiancee before that tragedy took away everything. So that little lion trinket she holds dearly must be the reason why he wears that lion mask in his ghost form. Soon Tomorou gets upset and slaps Asumi for bringing Kyouko’s ashes everywhere but all she wanted was to bury her mom at the prettiest scene because she always felt she was lonely. Suzunari gets a call from Asumi. She relays a message from Lion to open the trinket. Suzunari finds an engagement ring inside as she catches a glimpse of Lion unmasking himself as Takano before disappearing. The next day as Asumi calling out to Lion but he is nowhere in sight, she is determined to be a rocket pilot when she grows up.

Episode 2
Many years have passed and Asumi is now a young teenager trying to take the entrance exam of the astronaut training course. Lion is still around as she continues to talk to him and he offers her advice. However Asumi couldn’t tell dad about her dream of enrolling in the course due to financial constraints. Furthermore, Tomorou has been working late and taking up more shifts lately so Asumi feels she has to do the chores. She remembers how she read out her dream of becoming a rocket pilot during parent’s day at school. Her dad was supportive so Asumi promised to give free seats to him and Lion on her rocket when she becomes one. One day Tomorou found Asumi’s application for the course and he is upset. Asumi assures him that she won’t enrol in it nor leave him alone since they don’t have the money but Tomorou slaps her and says that isn’t what he is asking. He is upset because she hid it from him and stopped talking about her dreams. One snowy night Asumi goes to see her dad during his shift and he hands her a lump sum of money and also his life savings for her school fees. He has been working overtime to make her dream come true because her happiness is his happiness. Tomorou still holds that free ticket she gave him close to his heart. With that, Asumi successfully enrols in the training course. One small step for Asumi to take her closer to her dream.

Episode 3
Asumi finds her childhood friend, the grumpy bespectacled Shinnosuke Fuchuuya also enrolled in the same course. You can read this guy like a book. Though he may say he’s not doing it for her, he actually cares about her and probably the reason why he followed her taking this course. Since there were too many successful applicants, they are being taken in bus loads to the space academy whereby they will undergo another test to trim down the number of students. They meet a laidback and easy going guy with no eyebrows, Shuu Suzuki. After changing, all candidates have to enter their designated rooms with random numbers on their door so it’s vital they do not forget it. The test seems to be of a closed environment adaptation test as Asumi is being put into the same room with Kei Oumi, a cheerful and nice girl and Marika Ukita, a total opposite, cold, unfriendly and distant that some viewers may want to classify her as b*tch. Asumi remains positive and tries to make friends with Marika but the latter refuses. Kei is upset by her f*cked up attitude though Asumi doesn’t mind. Fuchuuya and Shuu are put together with another guy (can’t remember his name because he isn’t that important). In this closed environment, candidates will be locked in for a week and the necessary supplies. Within a week, they are to complete a project stored inside a safe that can only be opened if they key in their room number. So yeah, many already failed because they don’t remember or keyed in the wrong number. But for Asumi, she breezes through because she remembers her room number (0350) to be the distance of her favourite star: Spica. Fuchuuya’s team is also successful (can’t stand that other pessimistic guy) with their room number 2960 (I can understand Fuchuuya remembering it as owl (fukurou) but a Sagittarius for Shuu?). Seems inside the safe, there are lots of little domino blocks.

Episode 4
Surviving candidates need to stack up all the domino blocks within a week in anyway they can. Seems like a daunting task but you have a whole week to complete it. The girls start placing the dominoes and even if Marika is uncooperative and doing it her way, at least they’re making a start. Several days pass and everyone seems to be making some progress when the room suddenly decompresses, causing all blocks to scatter and throwing some candidates off their feet and experiencing some kind of sickness. Because of that, some gave up and call it quits. I guess that’s another way of narrowing the field. However the shock of the ‘tremor’ causes Asumi to relive those painful memories.

Episode 5
Flashback sees young Asumi being assigned to draw a family member at school and it has been several weeks since her mom passed on. Asumi drew her mom but her classmates laughed at her because she drew a mummy (no pun intended). But to Asumi, that is how her mom looked like because all she ever saw was her wrapped in bandage. Kids can be real cruel sometimes. One day as Asumi is sketching by the river, she accidentally falls in. She could’ve drowned if Fuchuuya (he’s still a grumpy kid then. Has he always been like this since birth?) wasn’t passing by to call for help from Tomorou, who in turn called the ambulance. During that, Asumi had an out-of-body experience as she was on her way passing the River Styx (Sanzu River in this case as the Japanese believe). She met Takano but couldn’t recognize him since he isn’t wearing the lion mask as he advises her never to say her name aloud or else she’ll be part of this world. On her way, Asumi met a blind women (Kyouko) and safely guided her to the river so that she could cross to the next world. Before Kyouko heads off, she realizes the child is Asumi and tells her to carry on living. Asumi soon wakes up in hospital.

Episode 6
Back to the test, Asumi is still in shock. Marika remains the heartless b*tch so Kei got so upset that she slaps her and is ready to pull out to end Asumi’s suffering. But she soon picks herself up and they continue and finish the job. But for the boys, that loser guy threatens to call it quits and fail the whole team because he can’t stand it anymore so Shuu gives him a warning, or else. Better suck it up, man. You’re in for the ride. They spot a camera watching them and realize they’ve gotten themselves too focused on the dominoes since this is an adaptation test. Even how, Asumi and Fuchuuya’s team pull an all-nighter, taking turns to finish lining up the dominoes. In the end, their hard work pays off as they manage to stack all the dominoes and pass the test. Phew. Must be a tiresome job. Asumi shows her success to her mom’s grave, where she also meets Suzunari who tells her to believe in her dreams and not to get discouraged. As the teaching staff go over the new students for the inaugural course, one of the teachers, Takahito Sano seems to have that suspicious look on his face when he sees Asumi’s resume.

Episode 7
Asumi leaves for her space academy in Tokyo as she bids farewell to Lion (he’s not tagging along?). Seems she’s having a little tough time. Getting her skirt stuck in the train’s door, getting a little lost before finally finding her way to the dorm she is staying in. She meets the nice dorm lady, Ringo Sakashita who shows her Asumi’s room. Kei is glad to meet Asumi at the school and it seems Marika is also there. I don’t know a bunch of boys are trying to hit on her but she just ignores and warns them. I think those guys should go look for other better ones. During the entrance ceremony, Shuu seems to be a top student for the test as he gives his speech. Short, sweet and to the point. After school, Marika still despises Asumi’s friendliness, making Kei angry. When Asumi comes back, she sees her dad waiting for her at the dorm and takes her out to eat since he couldn’t make it for her entrance ceremony. Asumi comes back late to the dorm but finds Kei and Marika (reluctantly) waiting there as they were worried and went looking for her (including the guys). Asumi gets emotional as she cries tears of joy that she isn’t alone.

Episode 8
Exercising is always important for an astronaut so it’s no surprise that the demon instructor Nishida has them run several laps till they’re tired. Except Asumi who kept running like a Duracell Rabbit. Yeah, thanks to all that running with Lion she did when she was young. Meanwhile Marika seems to be coughing from an illness that she doesn’t want anybody to know. After school, Asumi goes to see Sano for a lesson he doesn’t understand but he feints being busy. After Asumi leaves, we see his upset face. Looks like he has some grudge against her and Tomorou. Next day, Asumi and her friends visit the space resource centre located within the school grounds. They are astounded by some of the exhibits like the rocket model and spacesuit. In the evening, they see Marika running by herself so Asumi joins her and tries to be friends with her. Not that she accepts her yet but I guess telling her to do as she wish would also mean that she’s at least opening up her heart a little to her, right?

Episode 9
Another flashback. We see young Takano and Marika playing together in her room as he even wore that lion mask. Seems Marika has always been confined in her room. Meanwhile Suzunari is losing her motivation of being a teacher and thinks of quitting (but her resignation was rejected) while her parents want to see her get married and settle down (she’s still holding Takano dear in her heart after all these years). Then the school organizes a hiking trip up the mountains. The kids are divided into groups and are supposed to find 10 markings along the way to earn some medal. So far only 1 has been able to do so. Asumi hears the sound of Lion’s harmonica and rushes off by herself. Suzunari who was in charge of her, goes on a search. Asumi finds an abandoned rocket fort in the woods after following the tracks. Suzunari and Fuchuuya continue to search and she’s turning hysterical by the moment. The kid is even more composed than her. She calms herself down and remembers Takano’s words about the secret rocket fort he built by the discontinued tracks. She manages to find Asumi sitting inside the rocket and crying all alone because she followed the harmonica sound but couldn’t meet Lion. Fuchuuya sees the elusive medal (meaning Takano must’ve been the only kid to find all the marks) and Suzunari reads a note by Takano of his dream to become an astronaut. Because of that, Suzunari gets her motivation back to continue being a teacher. Asumi finds that final elusive mark and we see young Marika writing her name and Lion’s on the rocket fort.

Episode 10
The gang gets into the spacesuit for a fitting test but it seems Asumi is so petite that it’s like the suit is wearing her! Then they undergo another training that they need to swim wearing their spacesuit. As usual, Marika chides Kei for complaining and warns Asumi for being too nice as it will cost her life. Marika doesn’t intend to go to space together with them. Marika observes how Asumi is doing her best whether working part time in a cafe or facing her fears to go swim (as pointed out by Fuchuuya, she has fear of water because she nearly drowned). Because Asumi couldn’t swim well, she nearly drowned again so Marika dives in to save her. Elsewhere the teaching staffs are having a meeting over their slashed budget allocation. Due to the new custom made spacesuit they ordered for Asumi, the cost has been increased and this would mean their salaries will be cut. Sano takes this opportunity to suggest that Asumi leave the school on her own accord to cut expenses. He tries to convince them that she won’t make it and thus unnecessary to order the suit. However Toshiko Shiomi is against Sano’s idea because he doesn’t think body size and grades are that important for going up to space and believes the school’s financial position must not be a reason for a student to leave. The head agrees with Shiomi’s idea and wants everyone to hold it in while doing their best. Later Sano confronts Shiomi and wonders why he has high hopes of Asumi. Shiomi replies she has the eyes that Sano once had but lost. Meanwhile the head approaches Sano and hints to him about making Asumi leaving on her own accord.

Episode 11
The students learn that they will be split into groups for a marathon practice tomorrow. Sano calls Asumi and tries to make her loose confidence that she won’t pass because she is Tomorou’s daughter. What does that mean? Tomorou was the one responsible who caused Shishigou to crash! Asumi sinks into depression and even skips class! Her attitude is bothering Kei but what upsets her most is that she’s keeping her troubles to herself. For the first time, Kei blows her top to Asumi. The next day, Asumi is missing for the marathon so Kei feels guilty she may have been to harsh. Asumi is at the train station, thinking of going back to Yuigahama and giving up her dream. Kei, Marika, Fuchuuya and Shuu are reprimanded by Nishida for skipping the marathon. However the quartet gets suspicious about Sano because he seems to know Asumi is missing. Asumi returns to her home and finds a letter addressed to her. It is Suzunari’s wedding and it is today. Outside the chapel, Asumi sees Lion and she feels guilty that her dad caused that accident because he could’ve been the one standing next to Suzunari. Lion comforts her and says that not 1 person is only responsible but everyone who was part of it. But she still feels sad for him so Lion thinks of going to Tokyo.

Episode 12
Another flashback. This time we go back to the aftermath of the Shishigou crash and Kyouko’s death. Tomorou has been designated to head the Accident Research Committee’s bereaved family section and has to go round apologizing and compensating those affected. It’s a tough job because one of the wives of the deceased scorns him that it won’t bring her husband back. Furthermore, she blames him and the organization for causing a horrendous scar on her daughter’s arm, Kasane Shibata (she is the same age with Asumi). Mommy even forced her to show her arm against her will to prove her point. Not only Kyouko’s grave has been vandalized with graffiti, Kasane has become a subject of ridicule by the other cruel kids who tease her monster arm. One day Asumi meets Kasane and they both became friends. She learns about Kasane’s tragedy but Asumi remains positive and continues to play with her. But Kasane soon finds out that Asumi’s dad is Tomorou so she avoids seeing her. Though this doesn’t stop Asumi from coming to Kasane’s door, each time to be given an excuse by her mom that she can’t see her. Then the cruel boys tormented Kasane by trying to reveal her arm. I don’t know how horrible it was but it was enough for them to change their interest while leaving poor Kasane in shock. Asumi tries to comfort her but Kasane doesn’t want to be friends with her anymore. Soon Kasane’s family will be moving to another town. Asumi rushes to see her off at the train station and gives her a maple leaf. Kasane didn’t say anything though she realized what she wanted wasn’t a kind father nor a beautiful body, but a friend. It was too late to apologize as the train leaves. Tomorou finds the grave cleaned while grown up Kasane still holds that leaf dear to her and uses it as a bookmark.

Episode 13
After another round of talk with Lion and a short visit back to her home (Tomorou wasn’t in at that time so Asumi had to climb in via toilet window), Asumi gets her confidence back and returns to class tomorrow. Sano seems happy that Asumi hasn’t turn up but to his dismay that little girl shows up late in his class. The head learns of Sano’s ‘failure’ but he is okay with it since he didn’t expect that much. He mentions Sano was part of the ‘big mistake’. Sano remembers the time when he designed Shishigou perfectly but was rejected as the chief favoured Tomorou’s. Later the quintet has been given punishment laps for missing the marathon. Kei wants Asumi to promise that she won’t leave the school till their graduation ceremony and they will always be here for here. Then they all make a promise pact to not give up till they graduate as Asumi also pulls Marika into the pact. But when Kei asks Asumi about the thing bugging her and Sano may have been the culprit, Asumi dismisses it so Kei feels she’s still hiding something. That night Asumi happily talks to Lion and thanks him but Ringo sees her talking to herself. As for Sano, he’s still not looking very happy about Asumi.

Episode 14
Kei confronts Sano about Asumi as she thinks Asumi isn’t the kind who tells on people. However Sano tells her off that she should worry about herself because the places for going to space are limited. Thing is, their confrontation was right in front of the other students. Because of that, a teacher tells off Sano not to say anymore things to demotivate the students and there are students boycotting his class. Sano has had enough and plans to resign. Shiomi goes talk to him as Sano reveals how his design of 10 years was scrapped as the chief favoured Tomorou’s for its safety. Though Sano was dropped subsequently before the Shishigou accident, he was always been associated as part of the death team since he and Tomorou worked on the same project at the same time. He is still upset over that after all these years. Shiomi reveals Tomorou was also dropped shortly after Sano. More shockingly the budget for the development was drastically cut and the parts of Shishigou that were proudly thought to be all-Japanese were actually from foreign countries. Anything more remained a state secret. Shiomi takes over Sano’s classes as Asumi notices a book with a picture of planet Earth Sano was always looking at with a smile. She goes after him and shows him the book and believes he was also looking at the same thing like them all. He admits there was a time like that for him but couldn’t see it anymore. He tells Asumi not to lose sight of it. Asumi wonders why adults put on sad expression and sheds a tear for him because she still believes everyone will be able to see it.

Episode 15
Marika remains the same unfriendly b*tch no matter how Asumi tries to be sociable with the loner. Asumi meets Shuu on his part time job one night as he invites her out on a ‘date’ with him to the rooftop of his dad’s building and watch the stars. Marika continues to be rebellious to her dad and it seems her coughing has become more intense (see lah, don’t want to eat your pills. Can’t blame her. She’s sick of it). As the friends discuss the meaning of their names, once again Marika gets upset upon their pestering. Now it’s Fuchuuya’s turn to go talk to her as he hints she would understand better after revealing he and Asumi were born in Yuigahama. Marika looks up the internet of the incident and learns about Kyouko’s case. During another running exercise, Marika collapses for real. She dreams when she was young, she was never let out of her house. She was given a chance to do so by a kind personnel. But when it’s time to go back, she ran away and to a top of the building. She saw the beautiful stars. She wakes up in hospital and with no serious injuries, she is discharges as Kei and Asumi pick her up back to their dorm. Marika enters the storeroom and feels nostalgic upon entering it before falling sleeping there so Asumi lets her be. Lion takes a good look at her. Next morning as the girls head to school, Marika doesn’t seem hostile but though she still keeps her distance. Fuchuuya notices Shuu observing Asumi as the latter even wonders what kind of guy she likes. However Fuchuuya says that Asumi liked someone during junior high. But he died of an illness thus Shuu is no match for someone who is dead.

Episode 16
The final episode for another full flashback. Asumi continues her jogging stint with Lion when she is in her junior high years. Unknown to her, a dying boy, Takashi Shimazu has been watching her jog pass by for quite some time. Because he is sick, he rarely shows up in school and when he does, he meets Asumi and both became good friends because they share the same interest in space. Since Asumi is blushing, I guess it’s safe to say she likes him. I’m not sure if Shimazu can see Lion to or just acting like he could. However even if they remained as good friends, the other nasty students start spreading nasty rumours that they’re dating so Asumi felt she was like a bother to him. She avoids seeing him. One day as Asumi goes to school, she learns that Shimazu has passed away. She left him a book but to her surprise, sees a sketch of her and Lion jogging. Finally Lion passes to her his sketchbook and it is revealed that he has always sketched her when she jogged by. She felt a deep pain in her heart and hopes to meet him in space one day.

Episode 17
Marika’s dad wants her to quit what she’s doing because it’ll be bad for her but Marika becomes a rebel child refuses to listen even after all that threatening. Asumi found a picture of Marika smiling in the storeroom (it dropped out from a book) and her friends proceed to have a look at it. This upsets Marika (looks like she’s back being the tundra queen) though Kei asserts it wasn’t Asumi’s fault as they were the ones who saw without asking. Marika rips the picture. The students are to undergo survival training in which after being briefed on what to do, they are put in a round orange capsule each. After some time, the capsule starts moving so the candidates sure know they are being moved to a different location. After the rolling stops and the signal for them to exit from it, they find themselves in the woods. Now this is where the survival training begins. With the limited amount of supplies, they have to make use of what they have and get themselves to the indicated goal. Asumi is doing a fine job camping and making provisions by herself but Marika is having a hard time because her illness is taking a toll. She’s coughing out blood! Meanwhile Lion arrives at the old rocket fort he once built by the tracks to find out more clues about Marika and himself then. So it really was him then who met young Marika? This is getting confusing.

Episode 18
Everyone struggles to find their way to the goal especially Asumi who is going around in circles (she doesn’t have a compass). She improvises to mark her direction and find her way. Marika’s body is at her limits and soon collapses. Asumi passes by a capsule with bloodstains (Marika’s) but doesn’t find anybody there before leaving. Meanwhile Lion is reminiscing the past as he sees the space rocket drawing of his name and Marika carved on it. He enters the house and remembers the time he played with her. However he dismisses the fact that the Marika he knew and Asumi’s friend are different people and just coincidence due to their age difference. Plus, he heard rumours that young Marika was sent overseas to undergo treatment but died. Then he picks up the music box and underneath it he is surprised to read Marika’s full name. The instructors who have noticed Marika’s non-movement has sent a rescue team. Marika remembers a flashback how she overheard her dad talking that she didn’t want this Marika. It was heartbreaking for a kid and probably the reason why she grew up so cold. Marika wakes up in hospital and it seems Kasane is by her side. She is here visiting her mom in hospital but so happen to pass by and heard Marika calling a friend’s name (Asumi) that they both know.

Episode 19
As Marika tells Shibata about her past with Asumi, Asumi continues to trek and find her way to the goal while keeping herself headstrong. Kasane still considers Asumi her friend all this while and wanted to apologize but couldn’t make up with her because of the circumstances that they part. Marika also wishes to the same and now feels she can’t go to space alone. She also reveals herself as an unwanted child. She had someone who was her sister as well as her mom and had the same name (?!) but she died and though she is here now, nobody looks at her. Kasane gives her words of encouragement and to do her best. Soon Nishida arrives to pick Marika back. Asumi manages to find her way to the goal and reunite with her friends. However when she learns that everyone except 1 has arrived and that missing person is Marika (because she asked if there were any injured person and that capsule she found with bloodstains on it and they answered negative), she quickly rushes back to go find her. Shuu restrains her and assures her that injured person should’ve been rescued since the tag they are wearing are transmitters. But Asumi’s heart still isn’t at ease so while the trio aren’t looking, she turns back and heads off back into the woods.

Episode 20
As Shuu, Fuchuuya and Kei turn back to search for Asumi, Marika also slips away (I guess Nishida closed and eye and allowed her to do so) to return to her capsule in hopes Asumi will be there. However she isn’t so Marika walks along to search for her. The trio lost Asumi since she’s a pretty fast runner as Shuu realizes Asumi is a great person because she managed to find her way without using a compass and even did markings on her path. However they didn’t find her even if they followed them. Meanwhile Asumi has been washed ashore the river bank as she sees Lion by her side. He starts playing his harmonica and the kids follow it there. Marika reaches first and becomes worried to see Asumi lying there. At least now she knows the importance of her being a friend but the weird part is that the girls suddenly turn into their young selves as they reconcile and make up. Soon the trio turn up (also in their young forms) as they narrate their dreams of going to space. Finally they see Lion playing his harmonica as he unmasks himself and says he has nothing further to teach Asumi and disappears. Asumi thanks her mom for giving birth to her. In the end, the quintet sit together by the river side while Asumi plays a horrible rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the harmonica, much to everyone’s laughter.

To Infinity And Beyond
Is this how the anime series ended? Then I can’t say that I am very satisfied. I guess 20 episodes weren’t enough to do justice to the series as some viewers have claimed. Otherwise this series would have been quite a heart warming slice of life and touching show. I felt it could have ended better. Maybe a short glimpse of how the characters continue their lives together at the school and perhaps other minor supporting characters on how they’re doing as well like Tomorou, Suzunari and even Sano. But I don’t think that’s possible since their roles have already being ended like Tomorou continuing to do his late multiple shift construction job, Suzunari’s wedding and Sano’s departure after his resignation. I know it’s a good thing that the 5 friends are finally together in the end but I have to wonder why Lion finally chose this time to move on to the next world. Maybe he has seen Asumi’s resolve so I guess he has nothing more to teach her. But why hang around even after his death or does he know about his destiny about putting Asumi’s dream into motion? Does he have some kind of regret to linger in this world?

I find the pace of the series rather calm. There weren’t any intense scenes besides the horror crash of the Shishigou, which is toned down. The intensity of the drama and tension isn’t the kind that would make you hold your breath either. Nothing that nerve wrecking that would make you chew your own nails. The scenes of getting slapped or coughing out blood doesn’t constitute to be intense if you ask me. So if you’re not into this kind of drama, you may find this series hard to sit through. The main focus of the series is of course revolving around the characters though I feel that it is mainly on Asumi and Marika. It isn’t about them fighting for a place to go to space but rather the bond and interaction they made that makes them stick together.

Throughout the series Asumi has become a strong girl. She may not be perfect showing signs of vulnerability during her time of weakness but overall I guess she is a very nice girl to begin with. She cares for her friends, puts others before herself, resourceful and positive little one. If only many others would pursue their dream in such a respectable way. On the other hand, Marika has learned to accept friends around her (maybe after that consistent bugging/pestering). Like they say, no (wo)man is an island and no matter how hard she tried to isolate herself, all that loneliness builds up and explodes. Her past is the most intriguing one because I was scratching my head when her other self was being explained. I’m not sure if she had a twin because if so, they couldn’t be of the same age as Lion did meet her when he was young and alive. So I thought it was her mom with the same name. Then I read someone’s comment that Marika may have been a clone of the original. However she inherited the illness as well and thus the reason her controlling father wasn’t too happy about it and always kept talking about the other Marika. Well, that makes sense but hey, woah! Some science fiction in this show? A little odd I think. Marika and Sano may be seen as villains of the series because of their personality but they can’t be blamed entirely since the Shishigou accident did affect everyone. Sano’s villainy was probably mainly due to his misguided resentment.

The other characters are pretty okay themselves. Fuchuuya remains the grumpy kid who is always on the lookout for Asumi even if he isn’t honest with his feelings and calls that girl and idiot whenever she gets into trouble or goes off by herself. I really think he was born like that. Shuu may be laidback but among the gang, he is the one who is most mature with his rational thinking, cool and has keen observation about the others. Kei is always complaining about the harsh training but as they say, no pain no gain. Other than that I think she’s quite a cheerful girl and something Asumi and the rest can depend on. I still find it weird that Lion being a ghost sometimes experiences certain sensation that only humans would. For example, being tired. There was a point whereby Asumi even outlasted him during their usual jogging stint! He was like so out of breath. I mean, we see him floating and gliding around randomly so why the heck does he need to actually run? Maybe to show Asumi he can do it? And since he can appear at places randomly, does he really need to walk or climb over to get there? Otherwise, he provides Asumi with lots of advice and training in her quest to be a rocket pilot. I thought Kasane making her appearance at the end would mean that she would finally get to meet Asumi and make up but I guess it was just a prelude to get Marika to realize that she’s not alone. That’s why I felt the series ended rather prematurely. So some other characters like Ringo were pretty forgettable and didn’t make any long lasting impact (in my opinion, of course). I find that some of the kids here are realy nasty children. I know it the age of innocence but don’t they have a conscience when they bully others? I hope they don’t grow up to be bad people.

There wasn’t any real chemistry between the characters. Fuchuuya’s concern over Asumi is just that even if most of us would love to assume this guy really loves that petite girl deep down. Maybe he can be called tsundere. Otherwise there aren’t any other indication to show us that this kid really does like her. I’m not so sure about Shuu’s case because in my opinion that guy is rather fascinated with Asumi as compared to the feelings of love. Even that flashback of Asumi and Shimazu indicated that they were just mere friends. Perhaps closer than ordinary friends but fall short of anything that would constitute a couple. Suzunari’s love may still be lingering over Takano-cum-Lion after all these years but eventually she too had to move on. So I guess everyone’s first love in this series is space.

One trivial thing I found annoying about the flow of the series is the tendency to switch to flashback modes in between. About 1/4 of the series has episodes dedicated on flashbacks of the past. Though it is a little irritating, I realize they are necessary in order to give us a better understanding of how a certain event came to be. If it was shown in a chronological order, it wouldn’t make much sense to be shown first because by the time it reaches that point, many viewers (like yours truly) would have forgotten how it turned out like that. Another odd thing I find about the series is the number of students attending the space academy. Even after the initial tests to downsize, it still feels that there are quite a number of them that made it. And the fees for attending such courses are exorbitant, you know. So reality check, you can’t just rely on your dreams to go to space. Thus it’s a little mind boggling to think that Asumi’s dad’s job was enough to cover her school expenses even with all those overtime shifts (perhaps he was an ex-engineer so his life savings helped). Not to mention the government’s budget allocation on this. Now we know why the economy is in deficit. The opening theme, Venus Say by BUZY is a lively and funky piece but I just find some of the diction for the lyrics to be a little Engrish… The ending theme, Miageta Goran Yoru No Hoshi Wo by BEGIN sounds a little odd. Imagine a guy singing a slow ballad. I think the harmonica version Lion plays sounds better. Some of the background music are easy to the ear as they are calm and tranquil. There was a 7 episode live action adaptation of the series back in 2009 but I didn’t see it. I read it to have some changes from the manga, just like how the anime deviated slightly at the end.

Sometimes when disaster strikes, even if the amount of sadness and loss are overwhelming, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise. In this case, without the Shishigou disaster, Japan would probably have never gone into doing lots more of careful research and development. Asumi may never have found her dream of becoming a rocket pilot or meet other people whose lives are affected and changed by that encounter. We should all learn from the past mistakes so that we could move forward. This doesn’t just apply to space-related stuff but to just about anything else. I’m just thinking that if Asumi meets and gets acquainted with lots of people, she has got lots of free tickets to give out for her rocket ride. She’s going to have to pilot a huge rocket. Wouldn’t that look funny? A little astronaut piloting a large rocket. How about giving the whole world free passes then? I’d love to see the Earth from space too because I’m tired of looking at it from Google Earth.

Seikon No Qwaser

February 25, 2011

Initially I was reluctant to watch Seikon No Qwaser because it borders very closely to being porn and hentai. But after seeing a few funny pictures, I thought that hey, maybe the comedy factor would overwhelm the explicit fanservice elements and without a second thought decided to give it a try. Let’s just say that it didn’t turn out so.

If you want to watch this series, be very mentally prepared for the over-the-top fanservice (unless you’re into this kind of genre). The only reason why it wasn’t classified as a hentai was because nobody ended up having sex. If a series uses fanservice as its main driving force, who needs a plot, right? So I didn’t really care much about it but just needed to know just a little bit in order to understand what is going on. Humans who are able to master and control a certain chemical elements are called Qwasers. In order to power up or fully utilize that power, they have to drink Souma – breast milk. Aha. So you’re darn right if you’re thinking that this is where the fanservice is. An excuse for fanservice. I mean, if you’re watching this show, you’d be watching tits sucking rather than the storyline, right? So who cares about the good guys, Athos, against the baddies, The 12 Adepts, in a race against obtaining some painting with Virgin Mary that is hard for me to pronounce, spell and remember: Theotokos of Tsarytsin. Say what again? I don’t know what’s so good about this Icon but I believe it gives the holder God-like powers. I think. Yeah, who cares about the plot anyway. We’re here to see the girls getting their boobs sucked, right?

There are three types of episode versions. First, the ‘normal’ TV version whereby it is heavily censored. Second, the webcast that has minimal censoring and third, the DVD release which is totally uncensored. I have watched all three versions for the first few episodes and came to this conclusion. The breast sucking fanservice is disgusting in my opinion because in a way it shows the sucker (the one who sucks lah) sucking on the tits so passionately and the suckee (the girl whose boobs are being sucked on lah) moaning like she’s enjoying it or in pain (I think it’s more of the former). If you watch the censored version, those sucking scenes (and other fanservice scenes that are deemed too ‘dangerous’) will be cut out and replaced with other annoying scenes so much so you don’t know what the heck is going on and will throw you off your feet. But watching some fanservice scenes are disgusting so it’s like you’re in a catch 22 situation. Thus, the fanservice elements are a necessary evil and it is better to watch them uncensored not because you’re a pervert but rather to see the bigger picture better (no pun intended).

If you’re still bothered about this Souma-sucking thing on how it works, let me give you a little illustration. Imagine the Qwaser as a car. Souma = fuel; Maria Magdalen (the woman who aids the Qwaser in his/her battle and provides the Souma) = petrol station; Boobs = petrol pump. The better Souma you drink means the more power the Qwaser has = The better fuel you pump in means the more power you have for your car. So now do you get it? In order for my little blog to fully work, I of course have to do a little reading up on the plot so that I can follow better. Sighs. And what did I say about just watching this show for fanservice? I guess it doesn’t matter because anybody who watches this show will be deemed a pervert anyway. So the story setting: In the school of Eastern Orthodox, St Mihailov Academy, Tomo Yamanobe, the daughter of the previous late dean Yuudai Yamanobe, to sum it up in a word: Slow. But that’s not the only thing you’ll notice first about her. It’s her humungous boobs! Maybe that’s where her brains went. However she’s always being persecuted and ostracized by other fellow students led by the current dean’s daughter, Miyuri Tsujidou and her second-in-command delinquent girl Hana Katsuragi. Thankfully she has her best friend, the tomboyish Mafuyu Oribe to stand up for her but would that be enough? For reasons that that I couldn’t care to know, these 2 have always been that way since who knows when and looks like they only have each other to lean on. It’s a cruel world. Their lives are about to change when they meet silver haired Russian kid, Alexander Nikolaevich Hell AKA Sasha, a Qwaser who controls iron. And they get deeply involved in battles among Qwasers, Athos and The 12 Adepts over that said Icon. So are you still interested in the storyline or just the tits?

Episode 1
So the first episode introduces some of those main characters and others like the nun of the school’s church, Teresa Beria and the father of the church with an eye-patch, Yuri Noda. Mafuyu and Tomo first meet Sasha when they see him lying unconscious on the road during their way home. But he soon disappears. Currently the school is being terrorized by mysterious killings of girls. Unfortunately Mafuyu got kidnapped by the culprit. This heralds Sasha and Teresa into action to repay Mafuyu and Tomo’s kindness as they defeat the menace who is also a Qwaser. Sasha becomes a transfer student in Mafuyu’s class and he’s not afraid of standing up against Miyuri and co even if he himself acts cold and distant.

Episode 2
Mafuyu and Tomo has Sasha stay at their place and I guess the only reason he’s doing so because they make good Borscht meal which is his favourite and Tomo has a striking resemblance to his beloved late sister Olja, whom he believes was murdered by a top Qwaser. So the girls learn about this Tsar’s Crowning thingy, you know The 12 Adepts’ mission, bla bla bla. Eventually Mafuyu’s other friend, Ayana Minase turns out not to be that serial killer Qwaser culprit but one of the Adepts as she holds Tomo to ransom to demand Mafuyu reveal the whereabouts of the Icon, something that Mafuyu herself doesn’t know. And yeah, Sasha-Teresa team up to battle but Sasha powers up further when he sucks Tomo’s Souma and kill off the villain (Ayana tried to suck on Tomo’s but I guess it was too much for her).

Episode 3
Sasha seems to be quite fond of Tomo because of her boobs and striking resemblance to Olja. But wouldn’t that make him a pervert too? We still see Sasha having nightmares of Olja being killed no other by the Qwaser of Gold. In school, Sasha protects Mafuyu and Tomo from Miyuri and Hana’s bullying at the school pool and even teaches them a little lesson. Meanwhile another Qwaser, Ekaterina Kurae AKA Katja arrives in Japan with her copper mannequin called Mama. Don’t play with this loli. Upon arrival, she bumps into Miyuri and Hana and the former taking an instant liking for her because Katja acts like a cute loli. While Miyuri takes her out shopping, she sets up a scene whereby she has Hana violate her and thus blackmails her into becoming her Maria. Note how Katja is a sadistic loli while Hana becomes a masochist b*tch. It’s always like this. Katja exacts some perverted sadistic punishment on Hana, she on the other hand can’t stand it but wants more. It’s like she fears every punishment she is going to get but looks forward to them. Sick girl.

Episode 4
Mafuyu and Tomo forcefully take Sasha (including Teresa) for shopping as punishment for ignoring her house rules. While trying out new bras at a shop, Tomo and Teresa got kidnapped. Mafuyu and Sasha go in search of them but it turns out the culprits aren’t Qwasers but perverted voyeurs who want to film their boobs. Though the voyeurs are easily defeated, Katja makes her appearance before Sasha and battles with him. She is powerful enough to be on par with him and could’ve finished him off if Teresa and Mafuyu didn’t come between them. It’s revealed that it was just a test and though Katja is an ally of Athos, it’s not like they’re going to like each other. Katja returns to Hana’s place and makes it herself the queen of the place much to Hana’s chagrin but I guess she’s got to give in after she exacts more punishment-cum-training on her.

Episode 5
Teresa is having a nightmare that her mother-like nun, Wilma was raped and killed by the Adepts when she was young. Heck, all the nuns in the orphanage got raped and killed leaving Teresa the only survivor. Of course Teresa’s horrifying past comes back to haunt her when the Adepts sent that Adept, Croa AKA Gas Chamber and the Qwaser of Chlorine to finish Sasha. As usual, Tomo becomes his hostage and Teresa is having a hard time trying to become Sasha’s Maria and fight off the menace. Ultimately with the little indirect help from the Copper Qwaser (Katja), Sasha is able to improvise and kill off Croa for good. In the end, Teresa decides to live with Mafuyu, Tomo and Sasha. The house is getting crowded.

Episode 6
Mafuyu decides to find that Icon herself but after searching Yuudai’s inventory and came out fruitless, she decides to do so at Miyuri’s mansion. Seems Tomo, Sasha, Katja and Teresa tag along too. However Miyuri won’t let her do it for free and has them dress up as maids. As they tour Miyuri’s extensive family treasure and art collection, Katja tags along because she’s interested in obtaining some Faberge Egg that Miyuri possessed. Unfortunately that Egg is the very same goal that a group of military men storm in and take the gang hostage. The soldiers decide to have fun and do perverted stuff on the girls. The funny part was when one of them was going for Sasha. When he is being told he is a boy, that solider gave the thumbs up and said “No problem”. Holy sh*t! A bi! Katja remembers her horrible past of being raped before so Miyuri stands up for her and decides to humiliate and strip dance in front of the men for her. Seeing how Miyuri is trying to protect her and in pain against her will, Katja sucks Miyuri’s Souma and summons Mama to slaughter the entire platoon.

Episode 7
Miyuri and Mafuyu trek to the mountains to the former’s mansion as promised so the latter can continue her search. On their way, they are being attacked by several low level Qwasers. However Mafuyu slips and falls off the cliff but is saved and nursed by a girl named Elizabeth AKA Lizzie and her master, Shinichiro Otori. Both girls get quickly acquainted but of course those villainous Qwasers show up again. It’s amazing that Miyuri has been wandering lost all the while as she happens to bump into Lizzie. We should know by now that Lizzie is a Qwaser of Titanium as she sucks Miyuri’s Souma and finish them off. After Otori and Lizzie part with Mafuyu, Mafuyu’s pals reunite with her and think they have found the Icon Yuudai has hid, they realize all this was just a wild goose chase as it’s a painting of young Tomo and Mafuyu together. Meanwhile Otori and Lizzie arrive at St Mihailov to search for the Icon, which they believe is hidden here. Plus, Otori warns some guy Friedrich Tanner about not interfering and Otori was also known as Phoenix, an ex-Adept who was also responsible of Olja’s murder. Friedrich wants him to return to his former position but Otori isn’t interested.

Episode 8
Otori becomes a teacher at St Mihailov and is popular among the girls. The house is going to get noisier when not only Otori and Lizzie turn up for dinner, but Miyuri who invited herself and the shy and soft spoken class rep, Fumika Mitarai. The Adepts sent another one of their member, Yuu Kuchiba, the psychotic Qwaser of Oxygen to St Mihailov. Meanwhile Yuu has kidnapped Hana to lure Katja out. Though they fight, Katja is no match for her as her Mama becomes rusted due to Yuu’s power. She is saved when Teresa intercepts with a range shot. Elsewhere, Sasha unbelievably receives a suspected love letter from Aoi (Yuu’s twin brother) and goes to meet her while Mafuyu and Tomo spy like busybodies.

Episode 9
Teresa has been kidnapped instead as we learn Aoi wants Sasha’s help to stop Yuu and Hana manages to drag wounded Katja back. So they have to stop that mad kid and rescue Teresa before anything else happens. During the fight at an abandoned building, the floor caves in, sending Sasha and Mafuyu falling below. Sasha sucks Mafuyu’s Souma to power up while Katja sucks Hana’s to restore her Mama and repay her debt. I don’t remember about Aoi and Yuu being the same body due to some experiment from the Adepts but Sasha has to eventually stab and kill them in order to save them.

Episode 10
Tomo becomes sick so Mafuyu and Sasha go out to hunt for a Qwaser and do battle. Unfortunately for both sides, they do not know who they’re fighting with since it’s dark and by the shape of that weapon, you can tell the other side is Lizzie. Meanwhile some perverted molester comes looking for Akari when it is actually Tomo (he might have misread her name). He is Joshua Phrygianos and an inept Adept wanting to kidnap her so he could no longer be the laughing stock of his peers. But he couldn’t stand Tomo’s clumsiness and proceeds to cook for her and maybe a chance to even get lucky with her! Seems like a good and nice guy but eventually he has to escape when Sasha and Mafuyu returns after their stalemate battle.

Episode 11
The Adepts set loose another one of their members. Seems a pair of pink haired lolis, Eva Q and Eva R, having fetish for S&M play kills people who don’t admonish them, with their mercury powers. Back in school, Mafuyu gets the usual persecution by Miyuri and Hana but Mitarai stands up for her. We learn Mitarai has always had a secret crush on Sasha because she watched him showing kindness to a cat at their school. The loli pair show up in school and get into their weird fetish with Mitarai. Sasha and Teresa take on them but their attack have no effect and must destroy the main body which is Eva Silver. Speaking of her, she disguises as a new teacher in Mafuyu’s class and proceeds to teach S&M play to them! I can think of a few horny classroom teachers but this one is very bold and even got physical, targeting Mitarai. Mafuyu tries to buy time for Sasha and Teresa to arrive as they’re being stalled. Eventually he arrives and prepares for a showdown.

Episode 12
Sasha sucks on Mitarai’s Souma to power up and defeat Eva Silver. Even if her boobs are small, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have Souma, right? So it’s not the size that counts. In the aftermath though the incident is covered up, Sasha has become popular among the girls. However Eva Silver is still alive (she was able to repair herself) and takes Mafuyu hostage. She is going to get her revenge and her powers upgraded (including new loli slaves). During the battle, Sasha powers up to new heights by using the iron in his blood and with the indirect help of Katja and Otori, Eva Silver is killed off. But the strain on Sasha is too much as he collapses.

Episode 13
Due to that, Sasha has lost his memories and thinks he is a girl courtesy of Katja! This hotspring episode is the funniest though filled with fanservice. As part of their plan to have Sasha recover his memories, the girls take him to the iron-filled hotspring (except for Miyuri who feels left out and went on her own hotspring trip with Lizzie). Nikuma, Athos’ tactician and dubbed the Hell’s Dairy Cow is being roped in to help with Sasha’s case. Not even Katja can stand up to this towering fraulein! Nikuma gives her evaluation and assessment of the girls’ breast and Souma (the funniest when was on to Teresa! Squirting and drinking her Souma directly into her mouth?!) with her extreme molesting. Too bad Mitarai sinks into depression after comments of her flat ‘washboard’. Then they have everyone smother Sasha in their boobs. However the plan backfires as an earthquake occurs and causes geysers to spout. So much so Sasha got traumatized and quotes he hates boobs!

Episode 14
Miyuri becomes some sort of magical girl called LiliKamen to save Sasha from molesters. Then Hana and Katja take her under their wing and undergo weird training to save an airplane. I don’t understand what kind of development this is when Miyuri takes on the baddies that turn out to be Hana and Katja themselves. Her killing intent is so powerful that she even surprised Katja and got blown away in the end. Miyuri collapses and when she comes to, finds herself tied up by an Athos Qwaser, Tasuku Fujiomi who proceeds to do perverted stuff on her body. But he got whacked and taken away by his Maria, Mutsumi Sendou. What the heck is this filler episode for?

Episode 15
Sasha’s still that little girl and while wandering on the streets, bumps into Lizzie. Some cosplaying girl finds them cute and has them cosplay in front of excited girls alike. Then in the changing room, an Adept sniper (Qwaser of Plumbum) starts sniping at them. During the attack, when Lizzie pulls out her weapon, Sasha regains his memories and both sides realize that they fought each other that time. Mafuyu comes in to see both of them preparing to face each other off. The sniping Qwaser is going to take this chance to snipe Sasha but was killed by Otori. Then they find unconscious Tomo in his hands and Teresa siding by his side.

Episode 16
Lizzie is shock of Otori’s actions because this would mean she would be torn between fighting Sasha and keeping her friendship with Mafuyu and Tomo. Sasha also has a flashback how he was treated nicely by Olja in a facility specializes in drawing out Qwasers’ power and probably she was the first person who taught him how to suck boobs. Then they escaped but it was short lived as Aurum, the Gold Qwaser found them, killed her and gave Sasha that scar and challenged him to become stronger and go after him. I guess Mafuyu felt pity so she lets him suck her Souma before their trip to rescue Tomo. Sasha fights Lizzie once more and then Teresa while Mafuyu goes ahead. Inside, she sees Tomo but it isn’t her who has awakened but Aurum who is using her body as his vessel.

Episode 17
I supposed having boobs so big that you can even suck it yourself! That’s what Gold Qwaser did as he becomes his own Maria. As Mafuyu gets tied up, she learns that the Adepts’ target has always been Sasha. They sent 5 Adepts as sacrifice for him to grow stronger so that he could unlock the Tsar’s Crowning and become the perfect sacrifice. Sasha spares Teresa (who got herself controlled by Otori so that she could be killed by him) and Lizzie to go face Otori. Sasha powers up to heavily wound him but before Otori dies, he tells Lizzie to fight on Sasha’s side. She is devastated by his death. Katja uses her long range attack (what hentai pose is that for Hana?) to disintegrate the Egg but Aurum escapes taking Tomo’s body with him.

Episode 18
Tasuku and Mutsumi become new transfer students at St Mihailov. While Tasuku is being his perverted self and got what he deserves by getting hit where it hurts most from a random girl he tried to hit on, Mafuyu learns from Mutsumi that the latter was Sasha’s previous Maria. Later Tasuku lures Sasha into a battle with him on the rooftop as his goal is to learn to location of the Sword of Maria, another item that is needed to complete Tsar’s Crowning while Mutsumi ties up Mafuyu in the infirmary and starts getting horny with her. Yeah, she’s a bi alright.

Episode 19
Sasha manages to defeat Tasuku’s magnetism power to go rescue Mafuyu. By that time, Mutsumi has backed down as we see strange markings over Mafuyu’s body which turns out to be Sword of Maria circuit. Elsewhere Tomo wakes up in the Adepts’ base and Joshua is in charge of her as he also thinks highly of her. Tomo then meets a little girl, Astarte one of the many candidates and the highest ranking Maria. We are introduced to the other Adepts: Jita (Joshua’s sister), Milk (why is she always wearing a gas mask?), Wang Chen (Chinese guy) and Georg (Friedrich’s brother). Then some dispute between Jita and Georg so Wang Chen is going to punish Jita as she was the one responsible for starting the fight. Joshua begs for clemency but fell on death ears. Till Tomo and Astarte intervene and since Astarte pecks Tomo, the Adepts decide to protect Tomo as Astarte’s kiss is considered a blessing.

Episode 20
Sasha learns that the school’s infirmary nurse, Urara Oikawa has data about Athos along with Yuudai’s research on Tsar’s Crowning. She gives him a key to Yuudai’s research. Miyuri holds a birthday bash for Katja and invites everyone. During the party, a monster attacks them. When they subdue it, they learn it is Lizzie. Later Friedrich tries to persuade Katja to come to their side by giving her the Egg and make her their imperial queen. Katja is in a dilemma so much so she ignores Hana’s horny and masochist pleas. Sasha and Mafuyu unlock a hidden path believed to open the path to Tsar’s Crowning and all the data they have gathered were just dummies.

Episode 21
As Mafuyu and Sasha search for the Aquatic Sanctuary in the middle of the school’s lake, Tasuku and Mutsumi follow Jita and Milk. Before you know it, they engage in a battle but since the former duo underestimated their opponents, they lost. Meanwhile Hana is disheartened to find her beloved Katja missing. Then Friedrich kidnaps Mafuyu to draw out the Sword of Maria in her body. Sasha arrives on the scene but sees Katja on the enemy’s side and sucks on Mafuyu’s Souma. Say, isn’t Mafuyu’s breasts getting bigger from the process. It’s ridiculous that her boobs are sucking the Souma out of every woman in the world! WTF?!

Episode 22
That huge power unlocks the Aquatic Sanctuary as Georg and Friedrich approach it. Tasuku-Mutsumi once again battles Jita-Milk while Lizzie takes on Wang Chen. Both matches end in a stalemate. Hana confronts Katja because she can’t believe she prefers to be sullied by some other guy than her and even slaps her master! Hana is going to get some serious punishment because she was just playing along and don’t intend to be their imperial queen. I suppose the brothers got greedy as they start drinking all the Souma. Their plan backfires and they turn into a huge ugly monster since they can’t control the Souma and have consumed much more than their limit. Think of it as becoming poison. Too much of a good thing is bad. Our heroes combine their powers as Sasha delivers the final killing blow. Then Aurum appears (possessing Tomo’s body) to claim the spoils and looks like he had everyone did the work for him so he rewards Sasha by showing him Olja’s corpse lying in a coffin.

Episode 23
The gang learns this is where Yuudai hid the Icon as they see the painting. Aurum is going to have his Tsar’s Crowning complete and fuels Sasha’s anger for revenge. Katja’s Mama rots by Aurum’s power. Hmm… Tomo’s big boobs prove useful not only for replenishing Souma, but to stop Sasha’s attacks! Then Sasha sucks Tomo’s boobs to successfully awaken her and chase out Aurum. Sasha uses his body to shield Tomo from Aurum’s attack. Sasha sees vision of Olja who tells him to go back to his precious ones waiting for him. I guess Mafuyu become so emotional that her circuit got activated and partly revived Sasha. Don’t worry. He’s the hero so he can’t die. But it isn’t over yet as Aurum possesses Mama to fight back. And in with great acrobatic and agility, Sasha sucks all the girls’ Souma to gain lots of power to trap him inside the painting. One isn’t enough, so why not have all? “Take all my powers!”. The gang realize Yuudai didn’t hide this out of egoism but rather so that people won’t get that power. Yeah, you know what happens when it falls into the wrong hands. Mafuyu and Tomo are happily reunited as the gang heads home.

Episode 24
In the aftermath of it all, Mafuyu is disheartened to learn her boobs shrunk! Proud Miyuri takes this chance to have the gang experiment with her breast enlargement products but it ends with disastrous results. Why did Lizzie join in if she thought it was better of her to stay flat (Otori’s views, by the way). And yeah, Katja’s S&M play on Hana not forgotten. Since Yuri gives Sasha a day off, he manages to give her tickets to the movies. At the end of their fun day, Sasha tells her that this is farewell since his mission in Japan has ended. They both confess to each other (she loves him, he loves her boobs?!). He sucks her boobs as final parting gift? And yeah if you have been waiting for this moment because now is the time they both share their first kiss! Finally a mouth somewhere else other than boobs. He gives her his cross and promise he’ll be back someday but till then, Mafuyu had better stay single. After that boobs-filled ending credits (oh gosh), we see (polite) Sasha in a new mission infiltrating a school with his new Maria. Is that Hana?

Got, Milk?
Oh. What? Oh what?! It’s already over?! Thank God! I didn’t believe I could actually make it sitting through all those episodes of boobs sucking, breasts squeezing and molestation. So what about the plot? Heck, my blog is so bare and simple that I think I left out lots of details. Not that I care anyway. So after that super final boss fight, it still got me thinking what the heck happened to those other characters. I mean, the remaining Adepts, Mutsumi and Tasuku and the few others. It pretty makes their role much redundant, eh? The final episode seems like it tried to tie things up but that is between Sasha and Mafuyu, not so much the other characters. So is Katja leaving for good after she gave Hana her last sadistic rites? So is Lizzie just bumming around seeing that her beloved master is gone for good? Basically I think this entire show is mainly focused on Sasha and Mafuyu. We can see how Sasha turns his attention from Tomo to Mafuyu gradually and that final episode confirmed that they become a pair. Though Sasha is still that tundra boy but at least he has learned the value of those important to him. He comes to accept those around him as with Mafuyu. Sometimes I feel that Sasha’s squeezing of other girls’ boobs is just an excuse to cover up his pervertness rather than to test and evaluate their Souma. Reminder to all you guys, never try this to your girlfriends even if it’s a kind gesture to check for breast cancer. Heck, that isn’t the right way either.

There were probably lots of other things I would love to say or ponder such as the nature and role of Yuri and Teresa and minor supporting ones like Miyuri, Mitarai and Astarte (what the heck happened to her anyway? Did Tomo and her become close friends?) but I got too lazy to comment further. Just leave it as it is. Some of the things also didn’t connect like the part how Lizzie turned into a monster and went on a temporary rampage. I just thought some of the characters would make at least some kind of impact at the end but I guess I was just thinking too much. Like Joshua’s meeting with Tomo. In the end, it’s like his role was just to become her butler after all. Heck, he didn’t even appear in the final showdown. So to some up some of the other characters: Tomo the cheery bimbo, Hana the sicko masochist sadist, Katja the high-and-mighty sadistic loli, Miyuri the prideful rich bimbo whose boobs is second largest after Tomo, Mitarai the don’t-call-her-flat-ever, Teresa the soft spoken nun turned slut and Lizzie the small boobs complex (“Big boobs are stupid!”). Oh, it has to come back to boobs eventually. That’s what this show is about, right?

Sure yeah, boobs are the fanservice theme of the series. So I tried a little reasoning of why they did so. Hey, it was shown over TV, right? Albeit it won’t be prime time and in the wee hours and dead of the night. You know how they say art is subjective? Yeah, maybe boobs here are a form of art. I’m sure a certain people would know how to appreciate such ‘beauty’ in all kinds of ‘form’. The softness, the size and all. Perhaps they are also trying to tell us to appreciate them? Oh, who am I kidding? Anyhow I still find it distasteful. Besides, the way they portray boobs are as though their existence are more than just for ogling or sucking. Just as Aurum demonstrated that he can refuel himself (defies logic, eh?) or even stop a shot. Oh, how can we not realize the importance of the various roles of breasts.

There is an OVA episode dubbed episode 10.5. Ruru Shiizaki sees Katja taking out her sadism on Hana in school one day and isn’t happy the other girls look up to her. However Katja keeps her cool and even gives her a ‘warning’ that she herself has her own fetish. After that physical examination check (I don’t know why Sasha was bent on spying on girls’ boobs and although he got a warning from Otori, the duo were sent flying away by Teresa and Urara’s anti-intruder mechanism), Ruru goes home to see her mom obsessed riding some machine she bought doing some boobs detoxification. Yuri informs the gang about some shady organization called Mannyuken doing boobs detoxification and wants them to investigate but they’re not interested. Except maybe for those who wish to have their boobs size increased. Maybe that’s what Hana is thinking as she heads there only to see Ruru’s mom forcing her daughter to undergo a boob detoxification treatment. The master of the organization personally sucks her boobs. Hana hears him say Souma and thinks he’s a Qwaser so the master gets suspicious and has her undergo the treatment. I don’t know if she’s enjoying herself. Just then, Katja busts in to save everyone after concluding that Ruru still holds her mom dear to her. She snaps when the master couldn’t believe a flat chest like her is a Qwaser. All the victimized women hail Katja as their queen. In the end it is revealed that the master is a fallen Qwaser and due to his obsession of sucking Souma, has rounded up women to do so but his scheme is put to an end after he is apprehended and his organization dissolved. Ruru doesn’t think badly about Katja anymore and becomes her friend and whispers a request that her mom wants a boob detoxification from her (well, Katja did mention that back then).

I’m not sure how many Picture Drama Specials are there but I have watched a handful of them lasting around 2 minutes and less. Half them is dedicated to Katja-sama’s Corner, in which the great almighty Katja talks to us viewers that she deems as a slave, masochist and lowlife while we seemingly view her in awe and probably become like Hana herself, wanting more of her pain. The other half is reserved for the other girls and also shows from the viewer’s viewpoint but this time the viewer is supposed to be Sasha. Seems he is like a naughty and perverted boy wanting to have a go at the girl’s boobs. I know, it’s for fanservice purposes. So far I have only seen Tomo, Mafuyu and Mitarai (Sasha was the name of that cat she gave and thus perhaps ‘qualified’ as Sasha).

I’m not saying that the action sequences are so awesome (probably because the fanservice spoiled it all) but there is one interesting bit during the battles among the Qwasers initially. Though just a short line, viewers can learn the different chemicals and their reaction when both Qwasers meet and thus the possible outcome when the chemicals meet. I guess this is the only educational part out of the entire series filled with mind numbing fanservice and plot that I don’t care to follow closely. Wait a minute. I’ve reiterated that many times. Other than that, the other annoying thing during the battles was the loud background music. I don’t think it was my audio configuration. All the opening and ending themes are rock based. The first opening theme, Errand by Faylan suits the pace of the series with its upbeat pulse while the second opening theme, Baptize by Yousei Teikoku sounds very dramatic with all the choir voices coming to play. The first ending theme, Passionate Squall by Ayumi Fujimura, Aki Toyosaki, Minori Chihara, Aya Hirano and Yoko Hikasa (seiyuu of Mafuyu, Tomo, Teresa, Katja and Hana respectively) sounds a little weird. But the ending credits animation is even weirder because we see those 5 girls dancing around and about via… Bathtub? The second rock pop ending theme, Wishes Hypocrites by the same quintet shows more fanservice (girls in wet clothes, breathing heavily, inviting poses, you get the idea – hey, what do you know? Sasha and Mafuyu kissed here. Naked).

Surprisingly, such a series has a few star studded casts. Many of them are recognizable and I’m not saying that their voice acting was fantastic (maybe it was all those boobs fanservice that redirected my attention) but they do suit the characters’ personality. For instance, Aki Toyosaki’s voice is best suited for ditzy girls like Yui in K-ON! So it’s no surprise that she did Tomo. Kana Hanazawa’s shy and gentle voice suits Mitarai like she did with Sora in Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~ and Kusano in Sekirei. Veteran Ayako Kawasumi’s arrogant tone fits Miyuri (Nodame in Nodame Cantabile) while Aya Hirano’s superior complex Katja fits her just fine like Kurumi in Kimi Ni Todoke. Minori Chihaya as Teresa was recognizable because it reminded me of her role as Nagato in Haruhi Suzumiya. Likewise tomboyish girls role are suitable for Ayumi Fujimura’s Mafuyu like she did for Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama and or tough girls like Raimei in Nabari No Ou. Yuko Sanpei as Sasha too must have been a veteran of voicing boys’ role like Renton in Eureka Seven and Fuuta of Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn. Initially I couldn’t recognize Ai Shimizu as Lizzie because she didn’t put on her trademark energetic squeaky voice like she did for Mikoto in Mai-HiME and Sherwood in Kaibutsu Oujo. Another surprise is Youko Hikasa as Hana because she’s the voice of Mio in K-ON! Holy! That is how Mio sounded like if she’s a masochist?! And yeah, Yukari Tamura’s short cameo appearance as Eva R was definitely identifiable.

The next episode preview is one of the most amusing sections. The monologue ranting of the character lasts over a minute (after the few preview clips, viewers will only see a still photo shot of a random character) and some are quite nonsensical. The best and my favourite one is Teresa’s. She was saying about how she wants to reward viewers to suck her boobs but was only joking. Why? She loved to joke once in a while but given the nature of her character she can’t do so! Nikuma’s breathy and passionate speech about spreading her ‘love’ is also another one that broke me into a smile. Then there’s cocky Katja getting pretty arrogant about over-dominant so much so she choked on her laughter! And there’s the one Hana scorning her master’s S&M but eventually gives in.

I think the reason why they made Souma as the important power up factor for Qwasers was probably a subtle hint to tell us that mother’s milk is good for us. I’m sure the natural breast milk would beat any man-made formula in the supermarkets out there. Milk is also rich in calcium and is also good for your bones, reduces the chances of osteoporosis and prevents hypertension. Young children should drink more milk as it helps in their growth as well. Unless you’re lactose intolerant than that’s a different story. Hey, after so much fanservice, I guess it’s no harm for a little nutrition advice. But definitely drinking milk to enlarge breasts is a myth like many desperate high school girls love to believe. No matter how heroic you are, I don’t think anybody in this real world would accept a superhero that sucks Souma to power up. That just won’t cut it and you may be slap with an energy drink instead. Maybe I should once in a while enjoy a good glass of warm chocolate milk. So, Got Milk?

Sasameki Koto

February 19, 2011

Initially any anime that is bound to be yuri, I would firmly stay away. So it was the case of Sasameki Koto (Whispered Words) but after reading a few ‘neutral’ reviews about the show that yuri lovers and non-yuri people alike would enjoy the show, I was a little hesitant at first but decided to take up that advice and have a little go. After all, it won’t really change me into a yuri fan, won’t it? And surprisingly, this series isn’t as bad as I thought and though yuri is a main theme, I would consider it mild and nothing that provoking. In fact, it is quite enjoyable because it has many funny and comical moments that made me laugh out loud. So yeah, it was a good thing I got to catch this show.

Sumika “Sumi” Murasame as the main female protagonist is not only best friends with her classmate Ushio Kazama. She’s also secretly has a crush on her. But Kazama too likes girls so why doesn’t she return the favour? You see, Kazama likes only cute girls. How do you define cute? Well, we know Sumi won’t ever fit that description because she’s taller than your average girl and a bit crude due to her karate dojo background at home. And so, this one sided love has been going around for as long as they know each other. Love works in mysterious ways. Love itself is weird sometimes.

Episode 1
Kazama reveals to Sumi and their other lunch buddy, Kiyori Torioi, about her new crush. Yeah, it’s a girl alright. A librarian senpai named Chizuka Nishikigi. Did I mention that Kazama also works with her? I can tell where her fascination came from after doing shift duties together after some time. Of course Sumi wants her to give up since it always ended the same. Being naive Kazama getting heartbroken in the end. Sumi has sure seen too many of it. And sure enough one day, that fateful heartbreaking pain rears its ugly head once more. There is always a guy who comes to borrow books. Chizuka likes him but on that day to her horror she finds out that guy only had his eyes on Kazama. So the reason he talked to Chizuka was to find out if Kazama has got a boyfriend. Kazama wanted to apologize but Chizuka was so sad, so angry that you can tell their friendship is over when she gives that “I-hate-you” piercing stare. Kazama too was so hurt, so sad, so tearful and it’s up to best pal Sumi to come to her comfort and rescue, lending her a shoulder to cry on and walking her home. Either way, Sumi too must feel sad because of her own love and her best friend’s. But you can’t be down forever so Kazama goes back to her usual happy self the next day.

Episode 2
Kazama’s new crush seems to be a cute girl, Akemi Yamasaki, modelling in a magazine. Who says she’s given up on cute girls? Once again Sumi laments her uncuteness but surprisingly her classmate and vice class rep, Masaki Akemiya, walks up to her and tells her that he thinks she’s cute! If only Kazama was the one who said that… So one night while accompanying Kazama to a convenience store, the happen to see that model girl coming out. Clumsy Kazama tried to go after her but she tripped. This leaves Kazama to chase Akemi on her behalf. Then her wig fell off! Woah! Hey, doesn’t ‘she’ look like Akemiya? It is him! That shy guy is a cross-dressing freak?! As Sumi and Akemiya talk, they discover that Akemiya do have a crush on Sumi and since he noticed her fetish on girls, he thought he would cross-dress to catch her attention. Then when his little sister found out, she took and sent photos of his cross-dressing to the magazine as a joke. And the rest is history. Though Sumi rejects him, but I’m sure he isn’t going to give up too as she would for Kazama.

Episode 3
Sumi and Kazama came to class and to their surprise, see a pair of girls kissing! Looks like they’re not the only yuri in town but due to the position and sunset angle, they couldn’t recognize who. Because of that, Kazama becomes obsessed about getting her first kiss and would even consider to practice with somebody! Too bad Sumi is out because she’s tall and that would put a damper on her mood. Bummer. Just how obsessed is Kazama about this? She even thinks of practising it with that science anatomy figure! An ugly thing like that will do as long as it is shorter than her?! WTF?! Because of that, Kazama returns to her home dojo and lets some steam loose with some super hot kicks. Even her dad and brother students are surprised of her return seeing that she quit karate some time ago citing reasons of being uncute (you know why and what for lah). One evening, Kazama calls Sumi to meet her and they find themselves in the same situation as the mysterious yuri kissers. The classroom, the sunset, only 2 of them alone. Sumi is freaking happy that her wish may come true when Kazama mentions she was going to allow Sumi to have a practice kiss on her because she thought Sumi has some other person in mind. Bummer… And how do they practice? Kazama wears an Ultraman mask! Oh sh*t! But heck, even if feels indirect, it’s better than nothing. How does it feel, kissing plastic? Unknown to them as they’re making out, the mystery yuri kissers, Tomoe Hachisuka and Miyako Taema are watching them. Role reversal now. Back home, Sumi’s practice kicks have gotten much more furious so much so her family begins to wonder if there’s something wrong with her. Obviously. Kick harder, girl. You’ll need to lose all that accumulated frustration.

Episode 4
A little commotion at the corridor has Sumi discover who the mysterious yuri kissers as because Tomoe whispered in her ear that she saw what she did last evening. Sumi confronts them and it seems their intention is to create an all girls club where yuri girls like them can flourish without prejudice. Of course Sumi isn’t interested till devilish Miyako shows her handphone pic of their kissing tryst. They know of Sumi’s crush. Kazama is interested in joining them till she mentions she won’t join unless Sumi is in. What else to wait for? Jump in lah! However in order to form a club, they need 5 members so they go in search of the elusive 5th girl to make their dreams come true. Kiyori? She told them bluntly she isn’t joining. Sumi comes up with a plan using Akemiya. Unless he wants his cross-dressing antics to be exposed, he had better do what she says. That is, to cross-dress and go up to all the cute girls Kazama thought of as cute and confess to them! Holy sh*t! Just to see their reaction?! Good news is that all of them are straight. Too bad the emotional discomfort Akemiya got for every rejection. Even being labelled as a pervert! Scary. For the poor girls lah. Sumi decides to switch his wig to make him look like Akemi. When Sumi left Akemiya alone, suddenly Kazama chances upon Akemi. It gets worse when Sumi has Akemi join the club and even arrange for ‘her’ transfer! But in the end their plans go up in smoke because the teacher rejects this stupid club. Feeling relieved eh, Akemiya?

Episode 5
Tomoe and Miyako become Sumi’s reluctant study buddies as they visit her house and are being treated nicely to Sumi’s caretaker, Noe Hayasumi. Miyako becomes a mischief herself trying to draw moustache on Sumi’s beloved pic of herself and Kazama while Tomoe hasn’t given up on establishing her dream club. As for Kazama, she’s disheartened about the mysterious disappearance of Akemi! Then the girls head over to Kazama’s apartment to study and find her entire place is strewn with magazines all over! Seems her brother Norio is working as some sort of writer. Kazama prepares to cook dinner for them and her brother and gets dressed in a maid outfit. Moe! Same with Tomoe. Double moe! This has Sumi and Miyako in a heated competition to cook better for their loved ones. The results of the showdown? Disastrous! I don’t know what they put in but the pot actually exploded and stained the books! Yeah, the walls too. Kazama is pretty cool about it but Sumi feels embarrassed and tries to leave. Kazama wouldn’t let her (see her red Terminator eyes?). I guess with a little persuasion from Tomoe, Sumi decides to stay. Unfortunately things didn’t get better because another ‘explosion’ occurred. So when Norio comes back, they had extra takoyakis he bought after taking into account food fanatic Kiyori was with them. Sumi prints out the picture of the girls and puts it on her desk.

Episode 6
Kazama and Chizuka’s relationship are still strained, though Chizuka feels sorry and wants to make up, Kazama still can’t see eye to eye with her. Sumi and the rest probably figure out why Kazama initially likes her. Yup, she’s a dojikko (clumsy girl). Thinking that as an appeal point, Tomoe decides to make Sumi into one and starts her off by slipping on a banana peel as practice! WTF?! Even the crowd is encouraging her to slip! Unfortunately Akemiya was the one who accidentally stepped on it. Sumi tries to be a little dojikko but it didn’t work so she let out her frustrations by defeating a huge dojo challenger. Her brother students are useless, aren’t they? Later Kazama decides to stay at Sumi’s place for the time being, citing her brother won’t be home. However Sumi knows she’s lying. So several close moments that Sumi has always craved to be like bathing and even sleeping together. I guess it’s too much to handle. Yeah, Sumi actually nose bleeds and collapses after being given a chance to wash her back. But the girls get to talk out their problem so much so Kazama got her confidence back and decides to face Chizuka. They make up and are back on good terms. Sumika must be knocking her head and feeling like an idiot. Yeah, her chances of being close to her taking another step back. And poor Akemiya has to bear one of her frustrations because she is like threatening to reveal his other identity to Kazama.

Episode 7
Sometimes little sisters can be quite the devil. That goes for Manaka, Akemiya’s little sis who is quite obsessed in taking photos of that guy cross-dressing. However one day she issues Sumi a challenge letter for dumping her brother. Not that Sumi was bothered to even read it but she’s so bratty that you’ve got no choice but to listen to her. Manaka wants Sumi to date Akemiya and manages to convince her to do so after using crocodile tears and pitiful tactics. Date, yes? But girl? WTF?! I’m sure Sumi didn’t see that coming as Akemiya turns up dressed as a girl! So the duo head to places Manaka planned for them like the cinema, restaurant and clothes outlet. Oh yeah, Manaka’s spying on them. Must be her plan to see some moe action. How can Akemiya be so cool acting like a girl?! He and Sumi were put into the same changing room and when he’s undressing, he was like acting so embarrassed?! I wonder if Sumi had felt goosebumps since the start. She couldn’t take it anymore and runs away. However she bumps into a group of 3 fat otaku camera guys (part of Manaka’s plan). Unfortunately for them, Sumi takes care of them but they love her torture! Akemiya takes this chance to jump in and save her like a manly hero. He femininely lures the sickos away to a dead end and then reveals his true gender. But the fatties don’t believe a ‘girl’ this cute can be a guy! Believe it! They start harassing and chasing him so it’s up to Sumi to save his skin. At the end of the day, Akemiya heads home with Manaka, advising her never to do such things again. And when Sumi turns on her handphone, she is disheartened to see many miscalls from Kazama! Yeah, she turned it off at the cinema and must be regretting the fact she could’ve hear the angelic voice of crush while having to undergo this tormenting date. Seems Kazama herself too is pretty worried that she couldn’t contact Sumi.

Episode 8
When some classmates ask about Tomoe and Miyako’s yuri relationship and the latter duo unafraid of admitting it out loud, this has Azusa Aoi to snap at them for doing such scandalous things. She even chides class rep (Sumi) for not doing anything. Oh, now she’s involved too? To make things worse, Tomoe notices Aoi’s hobby on yuri and kisses her! She becomes embarrassed, slaps her and runs away. Oh, Sumi has to go after her. She’s the class rep, right? She catches up as the duo talk as Aoi believes that girl’s love should be done discreetly. Sumi learns she is a big fan of an author named Orino Masaka. Sumi starts panicking. Why? That author is actually Norio’s pen name! She must never find out! Because of that, she has to play along that she likes all those hardcore yuri stuff so Aoi quickly gets acquainted with her. Then she tripped and this has Sumi fall in an awkward position on top of her. So happen Kazama was looking for them and saw this. Uh oh. Sumi tries to clear the misunderstanding but to her dismay sees tears rolling down Kazama’s cheeks! Sumi starts wondering if Kazama did actually have a crush on her all this while. Sumi didn’t have time to clear it up as she’s being rushed back to class for an emergency. Yeah, a discussion on what name to call Tomoe. WTF?! Here’s another surprise, Tomoe is actually 2 years older than them seeing she took time off school back then. Later as the girls do a study session at Sumi’s place. Sumi and Kazama aren’t talking and the atmosphere awkward so Tomoe purposely splashes water on them so that they could have their time to talk things over. Kazama reveals she probably cried after seeing Sumi charging on Aoi like a violent man. Is that supposed to be a relief? Then Aoi comes by to show her newsletter of Orino fan club. She joins them and Sumi and Kazama are in an awkward position trying to keep Norio’s identity a secret. Tomoe learns of her writing capabilities and wants her to join her all girls club, in which she refuses and leaves. Kazama goes back and gives a copy of Aoi’s work to Norio for him to see. Inadvertently she commented something about his popularity… Need to work harder, bro.

Episode 9
Aoi approaches Sumika to request for her help for her doujin work. It’s pretty funny to see Sumi and Kazama communicating in weird exaggerated hand signals that don’t make sense! Is that what is says for not letting Norio’s identity to leak?! Aoi didn’t notice because she’s too busy fantasizing. At the same time, Tomoe invites the gang to the beach for the summer holidays and you bet Sumi is going to tag along to see Kazama in a swimsuit. Aoi works hard day and night on her manuscript (fantasies of Sumi included) to reach her dream of publishing her works at the largest all girls only doujin convention. So one day after school when Aoi eagerly seeks Sumi’s help, the latter apologizes that she forgot citing studying for exams as an excuse. Heartbroken Aoi goes home and cried so loud that the entire neighbourhood could even hear. Moreover shocking her worried parents downstairs. I guess she spent the whole afternoon crying that she fell asleep. When she wakes up, she is surprised to see Sumi sitting next to her. Earlier Tomoe noticed Aoi’s depression and has Sumi come along to apologize and settle things. Sumi agrees to help her out for the yuri convention but to her dismay the date of the convention is just the next day after the beach trip. Can she be at both places and keep both sides happy? Let’s find out if Sumi is Super Sumika! Haha.

Episode 10
Apparently Sumi decides to stick around to help finish Aoi’s work before rushing to join the rest at the beach (that deluded ‘accidental’ fanservice fantasy must be her motivation to keep going). Tomoe and the rest have arrived at the beach and they’re glad to be alive because the car they drove is a total wreck! Holy sh*t! I don’t want to know where Tomoe got her licence. Tomoe decides to start things off with a blast (cue for the car to just explode) but I guess their trip didn’t materialize so they have to take a train home. Meanwhile Sumi and Aoi fold tons of papers of the latter’s manuscript. The night is still young so I guess Sumi isn’t worried yet. Then as they’re putting it together, Aoi notices a little spelling mistake. Although Aoi is okay with it, Sumi can’t let it slip so she reprints that entire page again! Then their photocopy machine breaks down! All the nearest stores have some sort of trouble with the machine! Finally when they manage to get one and return home, Sumi trips but manages to save herself by landing on the bed. Unfortunately causes the manuscript on Aoi’s bed to scatter. Finally Aoi’s mom comes in to hand them some drinks but she slipped on a paper and spills on them! Aoi becomes distraught, upset and it’s round 2 of crying and heartbreaking frustration. Mommy tries to comfort her but Sumi realizes what needs to be done and puts her feet down. They’re going to complete it and salvage what they have for the convention. On that day, they did a miracle and managed to finish it so much so they fell asleep at their booth. Kazama pays them a visit and Sumi is surprised to see her as she buys a copy of Aoi’s work before leaving. I wonder if that’s the only sales they made.

Episode 11
To make up for the failed beach trip, the gang visits the pool park courtesy from Aoi’s parents. Sumi and Kazama plan to keep Norio’s secret but it seems only Sumi knows Aoi well. Kiyori then split the gang into groups based on their bust size. Which means reluctant Miyako and Aoi has to follow Kiyori. Away from their precious ones. This does Sumi and Kazama a big favour as they manage to spend their precious moments together. After chasing off a bunch of loser guys from hitting on Kazama, Sumi becomes so happy of spending time with Kazama (note the vast different treatment Sumi gives for Kazama and Tomoe) that she challenges Tomoe to diving and swimming races but flops in them all, either embarrassing herself pathetically or completely lose out. Sumi then teaches Kazama how to swim. When Aoi sees how Sumi is having a nice time with Kazama, she becomes dismayed. But all isn’t lost as when the girls regroup for lunch, Sumi promises to teach Aoi how to swim. On the train ride home, Tomoe advises Aoi poetically about the love relationship. Aoi realized that Sumi and Kazama liked each other but neither knew of each other’s love. Back home, Aoi gets inspiration to write a new yuri novel based on the duo.

Episode 12
It suddenly rains on a hot summer afternoon at school. The girls stumble upon a hidden note in a book at the library and to kill time, they decide to follow its clue to find that mysterious thing. First it takes them to the science lab as they find a key to the boy’s locker room inside the anatomy figure’s liver. Sumi uses Akemiya to open the locker since that guy thinks he’ll be acknowledge as a real man this time. Unfortunately lots of stinky rubbish fell over him when he opens the locker. The next clue has them stumped about a German person. After looking through past students, they realize it may be from the music room because it has portraits of German classical composers. Behind one of the portraits (Bach), it hints the ‘river’ which is the school’s little creek. The girls get into their PE outfits and start searching for the thing in the creek, slipping and getting drenched. Their odd activity attracted lots of onlookers. Finally Sumi finds the thing which turns out to be a message in a bottle. Inside it, a paper that has them to write their names on it for successfully finding the goal. Seems it was a game prepared and left by former students. Even if it is nothing much, they had the fun of their lives and wonder what kind of treasure they should leave for those in the future who are interested.

Sumi follows her family back to her hometown in the remote mountains in episode 13 to visit the graves and the summer festival. Because there is no signal for her handphone, Sumi can’t call Kazama, vice versa. Kazama feels lonely unable to reach Sumi as the bespectacled one spends time with her countryside family. The way one of her little cousin, Sayaka, said things, it indicates that she likes Sumi. I don’t know, that’s what I felt. Not only her, her cheeky young cousin too, Teru. He tries to show off but slipped off the tree branch and into the river. Sumi dives in to save him. But as a result, her handphone got wet and malfunctions. She goes crazy unable being able to call Kazama (who on the other hand is worried that Sumi might get involved in some accident). She uses the good old fixed line telephone from the house to call but Kazama doesn’t pick up due to the unknown number. Sumi tries calling Kazama’s house but couldn’t remember the number because she has always relied on her handphone. Haha! A subtle warning about relying too much on them! Evening comes as Kazama decides to give another try calling Sumi. As Sumi is off to the festival then, Teru who was being punished and grounded, heard Sumi’s handphone rings (it’s suddenly working now?). He rushes off to find Sumi while taking her handphone along. Good thing he’s a fast runner (or perhaps the festival is a stone’s throw away) and that Kazama tried many times. Sumi finally receives her handphone and both sides are relieved to hear each other’s voice. When she returns, both girls study together at Kazama’s place. I think this episode serves to deepen the relationship between Kazama and Sumi because the other characters don’t actually appear. And it’s the last episode!

Pssst… Whisper Words Of Love
Am I supposed to happy at how this series ends? Well, they didn’t confess to each other face to face about their feelings which means I don’t have to be in agony seeing both of them kiss (that Ultraman mask practice doesn’t count) which would ultimately lead to inevitable sex. That would be pretty much the yuri I can’t handle. So yeah, it’s pretty much an okay ending. I guess it is sometimes good to maintain status quo so as not to ruin the wonderful friendship they have now. Whether or not they will be able to take their relationship to new heights and possibly become a dating couple is another matter. I won’t be there to find out. Don’t want to know. But I somehow get to know that there are many types of same gender loves. Those that are bold and unashamed of letting the whole world know, those who prefer to treat it as a private matter, those willing to ‘turn into’ the other gender to be loved and those who don’t realize they have for each other.

Surprisingly this series is quite enjoyable mainly because of the many antics that we see from Sumi. She’s quite an amusing girl. At first she is mainly calm and looking like the intelligent type but gradually we see her comical side and even her yuri desires for Kazama. At one point especially at the pool, she was going gaga and her yuri-ness was going to step over the boundary and hence a shadow reminding me of that totally annoying yuri Kanako of Maria+Holic! It’s funny to see her loud rebukes, panicky mode, silly frustrations, incredulous and unbelievable reactions and crude actions, among the many faces and moods that she displays. She’s got an active mind and thinks too much about those stuff but it seems she can’t keep it silent in her head because her actions would outright display it. It makes me really laugh. There are times when she’s sad and shed tears too and to say that she’s not quite feminine isn’t totally accurate because Sumi herself is a nice person if you look at her other side. Okay, she might be a tomboy at times but she’s always there for Kazama when she needed her most and she won’t leave a friend behind as in Aoi’s case, tries to help her out. The pacing of the episodes don’t feel bored and some are quite heart warming if I should say since they show the slight love tribulations of the girls. Even if the last few episodes threw in a filler and non-related item-searching event or a little tension of separation between the main casts, each of them serves as development between the growing feelings of Sumi and Kazama.

I’m wondering if Kazama is still interested with other cute girls seeing that she and Sumi have gotten close together. Though it is never revealed outright that Kazama may have feelings for Sumi, but there are many instances in the series which points that she does. Like holding her hands or looking worried when Sumi is with someone else. So perhaps her fetish for cute girls serves as a distraction because she thought Sumi isn’t into same sex love? Though Aoi came into the picture quite late and threatened to become a third wheel between Sumi and Kazama, I never felt that Sumi was going to switch and fall for Aoi. There may seem strong tendencies but my guess is that she’s just helping out as a friend maybe because she felt sympathy for Aoi who has no one to share her yuri passion with. Tomoe is the oldest one of the group and the most mature though her only silly antic is to form an all girls group (okay, maybe that car bust up incident too). Tomoe is sharp and knows what is going on her surroundings. She offers advice when needed to. Miyako is annoying brat and total opposite to Miyako. They’re like yin and yang. If not for her funny mischief like giving other people nicknames, she would’ve been an irritating one hiding behind her loli popularity just to make use of the boys. Only Tomoe can ‘control’ her. What can I say about Kiyori? Apart from joining the gang because it looks fun, this honest-to-goodness girl is never seen without some sort of food in hand, especially bread. She’s got a bottomless stomach. And for Akemiya, he still continues to hold his cross-dressing a secret. Sometimes I wonder he should have been born a girl since he has got the cute looks. I guess it’s okay since only Sumi knows about it. Some of the other minor characters are amusing itself like cheeky but bratty Manaka. Could’ve had more screen time on her to see her antics. Then those student brothers of Sumika. Why do I get a feeling that they are rip-offs from Ryu of Street Fighter fame? Why do they look like clones of each other?

The next episode preview is one of my favourite sections because it is also funny and amusing. A mix of animation and yonkoma style, the characters are drawn in chibi form as we see Sumi talking or interacting with the items or people that serves as a hint to appear in the next episode. For instance the skeleton model, the banana peel, the fat otaku trio, the car (it was flying in the preview!) and the confrontation between Beethoven and Bach. Both the opening and songs are sung by Natsumi Kiyoura. The opening theme, Kanashii Hodo Aoku is surprisingly calming and slow so much so it’s those kind of songs you want to make you lie down on the grassy hill slope and close your eyes and feel the wind blowing through. The ending theme, Niji-iro Pocket feels like pop beat but the chorus part felt like she’s singing to that Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So tune. Ayahi Takagaki must be credited for displaying the various voice and moods for Sumi. Normal tone at first, then loud one minute, screaming the next. I wouldn’t have known she was the one who played Noe in True Tears, Hiiragi in Hanamaru Kindergarten, Otome in Da Capo II and Megumi in Special A. Chiwa Saito was surprisingly recognizable when she voiced Miyako because she reminded of Rebecca from Pani Poni Dash when she’s doing her loli squeal. Aside from Emiri Katou as Kiyori (Kagami in Lucky Star), the rest of the other casts don’t seem to have a long list of anime roles to their name (sorry, not meant to belittle). They include Megumi Takamoto as Kazama (Misaki in White Album), Hitomi Harada as Tomoe (Nori in Hidamari Sketch x Hoshimittsu), Mayuki Makiguchi as Aoi (Eriko in Kimi Ni Todoke) and Ayaka Shimizu as Akemiya.

So it goes to show that sometimes you can’t judge a book by its cover. No, I’m not talking about cute looking girls may turn out to be lesbians but rather to myself. Even if the series is labelled yuri, I shouldn’t write it off without giving it a try or at least put some thought into it. And no, I haven’t turn into a yuri fanatic but in the future if there are yuri themes, I won’t be so stereotyped. Mild ones like this with lots of funny moments overshadowing the yuri part is okay while hardcore ones still disgust me definitely and I will want to leave that out. As long as you’re in love, it doesn’t matter who you are in love with you as long as they both truly love each other. So for those who are strictly anti-gay or anti-lesbian, don’t take it to heart. After all, it’s just a little crazy thing called love. Having said that, would loving 2D girls count then?

“It always feels like, somebody’s watching meeeeeeee…”. You know that song from Rockwell? What has it got to do with To Aru Kagaku No Railgun EX OVA? Well, you’ll soon see. After all that short special episodes from the DVD, I guess it’s high time they came out with a full length OVA. Well, this one lasts around 34 minutes (longer than your average OVA, heh) and the story seems to take place after the Level Upper incident. The one whereby Level 0 people downloaded some song onto their handphone, listen to it, gain some power but fell into coma due to its side effect. Yeah, that one.

It Always Feels Like…
It begins with the words onscreen “Somebody is watching you”. That tells a lot, eh? Then we see Shirai going to take on some punks but they were apprehended no other than her beloved onee-sama. She takes Misaka away before crazy fans could swamp her and leave Antiskill to handle to rest. However Misaka has this unsettling feeling. Not only that, it’s like electricity flowing backwards within her body. Then at the restaurant with Uiharu and Saten, Misaka tells them that she has that disturbing feeling of being stared. Ecstatic Saten thinks it’s that urban legend called Someone Watching. I hope she doesn’t mean us viewers, right? I don’t believe this show has broken the fourth wall joke before. Apparently Saten tries to explain what it is till the frightening climax but nobody is afraid of her screaming voice. Maybe for Uiharu, she’s panting… Some website that urban legend is?

So over the next few scenes, Misaka has this being stared feeling till she figures it might be that Touma guy who happens to pass by. She gets incensed by his playing-dumb thingy and probably any reason would’ve made this Biribiri girl take out on him if not for a pair of Antiskill officers on patrol, reminding them about their curfew. Then another outing with Shirai, the horny lesbian thinks she’s being too over self conscious due to her childish fetishes and she even joked maybe it’s due to a man! However Misaka gets that feeling again and yells for the perpetrator to come out. Shirai gets worried and goes to see Uiharu and Saten to request their help. Uiharu finds over the internet a board posting on a chat site, seemingly one of the victims is giving her piece of mind. Shirai guesses it is Kongou due to the familiar initials. She hopes Uiharu and Saten will keep this a secret from Misaka or else that girl will go off running on her own.

As Komori takes Saten and Misaka to the bath house to relax, Shirai and Uiharu question Kongou but find out she was just posting on the site to cheer up the victim and ward off the perpetrator. But her friend did mention the feeling of electricity flowing backwards through her body. After Misaka finishes her bath, she finds herself suddenly being transported to several places including in the midst lessons in her classroom, the changing room and on the streets with Saten, who is worried this is happening quite often though she brushes it off. Each time experiencing that scary feeling. In the end, it’s like waking up from a nightmare in bed in cold sweat.

Shirai and Uiharu continue to work overtime but they do not find any leads. Till Shirai thinks that the culprit may not be an esper. On a Sunday, Misaka gets up early to look for the culprit. Shirai and the rest have their plan in order. Misaka follows this sensation to the alley in hopes of catching the perpetrator but to her surprise meets that Antiskill pair. Then Shirai appears as she explains. Believing that Someone Watching is a real crime and not just an urban legend, seems one of the Antiskill pair, Asako Jounan was once a skill development from Nagaten Jouki Academy. The staring torment Misaka felt were simply electromagnetic waves since electric-type espers are sensitive to such phenomena related to their power. No matter what kind of wave, they process them subconsciously whether they like it or not. Thus the effect is like as though they’re being stared at. As proof, she shows some research thesis she wrote about and took out a suspicious machine hidden in her suit. She further explains that after experimenting with other espers, she used the commotion surrounding the Level Upper incident to target Misaka. She was able to approach Misaka easily due to her position as Antiskill in a heightened security period.

Misaka is convinced she is the culprit but Jounan unleashes a temporary sound and vision numbing device to escape. She steals a boat and plans to escape from this city but to her dismay Misaka is seen on the bridge ahead as she does her trademark electrifying move to send the boat flying in the air. Wow. With such accuracy, she’s pretty confident the boat will not squash her and land just metres away. So how do they know where she’s going? Seems somebody was watching her too. Thanks Saten. In the aftermath, Misaka treats them all to cakes and it is further revealed that when Jounan was a director of that Academy, she felt the pressure to produce Level 5 espers. Since she couldn’t, she got fired and decided to get revenge on Tokiwadai who produced several of them and in a way targeted Misaka (probably she was more well known than the rest). As they praise each other for their hard work, research and deduction, Uiharu mentions how Shirai has always been spying, tailing, trailing, following and monitoring Misaka 24/7. Uh oh… From the bath house to the showers to even when she’s sleeping. More like a stalker, eh? Uh oh… Hey, the massage on Shirai’s shoulder seems to be getting harder… Did Uiharu do that on purpose? Urm… Misaka realized that she was partly responsible for those staring sensations even though she knew it was impossible for the perpetrator to enter their restricted dorm area. “Prepare yourself you damn pervert!”. It’s that electrifying feeling she always gets. From the way she’s ‘screaming’, I think she’s enjoying it.

Zap! Zap! ZAP!
Ah well. I guess this OVA was pretty okay. Even if I had a hard time understanding the explanations about the truth behind those staring feelings and had to rewind and replay those parts numerous times, it still didn’t take the fun out. It was intriguing to find out who was the offender and I had several guesses but they were all wrong. The guilty person may be an unknown but I guess it’s better than somebody we all know well enough.

For this one-off OVA, they even had a new opening and ending theme, Future Gazer and Special ONE respectively. I guess it’s a trend since fripSide did the openings in the TV series while ELISA the endings so the respective songs they sing here are pretty much the trademark tune and pace you’d here in the TV series. I find the opening credits animation to be a little amusing. Among the antics seen from the quartet, we see them swapping uniforms from each others school, Saten flipping up her skirt revealing her shorts (because she’s dressed as Misaka) and trying to do Misaka’s trademark power move.

I’m not sure if they will have a second season but the sequel of Index was in the midst of running while this OVA came out in late October 2010. Misaka and co have got to be tired after appearing in both sides of the series. Haha, what am I saying? I haven’t watch the first or the second seasons of Index yet but if they ever do a sequel of Railgun and more OVAs of it (hopefully unrelated and funny), I’ll definitely won’t give it a miss. So Shirai, maybe you want to sing this song from Phil Oakley for your eternal wish to Misaka: “We’ll always be together, together in electric dreams…”.

Zombie Loan

February 12, 2011

I am not a fan of horror genres whether it is Hollywood movies or animes. However I decided to give Zombie Loan a try after thinking they were created from Peach Pit, the same authors of one of my favourite animes, Rozen Maiden. Really? That was the only motivation and reason that I ever needed just to check this out? Sometimes I don’t understand myself :p.

So the plot? I wasn’t really following it closely to understand in detail what is going on but at least I have a gist of the basic premise. We have a bespectacled girl named Michiru Kita. To call her a weak person isn’t accurate because she’s always being ‘used’ to do errands for her buddies. Michiru possesses something that others don’t. She has Shinigami Eyes that allows her to see people who are going to die! It’s a reluctant power she has so unless you want to know if you’re going to kick the bucket soon, don’t go near this person. Just joking about the last bit. You see, when people are about to die, a black ring is formed around their neck. The thicker it is, the nearer their time is up. And yeah, after meeting a couple of hot guys, you can definitely tell her life will change. For worse or better, it’s up to you to decide. Though, I always feel it’s the former. And did I mention hot guys? Yeah, if you’re one of those bishonen fans, this series is filled with lots of them to drool over for. Why didn’t they have any bishoujos… Don’t get the wrong idea…

Episode 1
Michiru bumps into those hot hunks, Shito Tachibana and Chika Akatsuki while buying bread for her buddies. Then she sees black rings around their neck. In her attempt to warn them about their deaths, she tails them outside and to her horror, sees them exchanging their right hands! Coming right out from a zombie movie, eh? Well you know what they say, all witnesses shall perish. Good for Michiru that they decide to handle a monster stray dog first. Chika’s sword and Shito’s gun take out the canine but Michiru runs away after saying something about their black rings. That word caught their attention so the next day in school, those guys (supposedly popular in school too) whisk Michiru away, much to the surprise to her friends because who’d ever think that ‘gopher’ would stand a chance with a bishie like them. The duo take Michiru to an agency called Zombie Loan or Z-Loan for short. After explaining to her about her Shinigami Eyes, Michiru gets more surprise when she learns the duo are already dead! So they’re like living zombies. Then they decide to make use of her ability by taking her out to the streets to find other people with black rings. Of course lots of mistakes because most of them are just fashion necklaces. During the break, she further learns that they are hunting down zombies and that although they are zombies, their very existence makes them much different than your average zombies. Hmm… Hot and cool looking, able to think independently, having special weapons. Yeah, I can see why. When Michiru returns home, she is horrified to learn a black ring around her own neck. Are you sure somebody didn’t play a prank by drawing a thick line with a black marker pen?

Episode 2
It’s normal for a person to become a worrywart after learning your own days are numbered. That’s what Michiru is feeling. Then there’s the case of missing students from her school. Chika and Shito try to take her along to investigate but she insists of staying in her room. Michiru gets a call from her friend’s mom that her daughter Yumi is missing so Michiru heads to school and meets up with the duo. Mysterious ghost-like hands start to grab her but the boys defended her but left her behind because of their usual argument. Lost Michiru is brought by the school nurse to the infirmary where she sees Yumi sleeping. The nurse starts acting weird because she’s commenting how delicious Michiru is. That’s when the guys break in and reveal the nurse as the source and culprit. But she takes Yumi and escapes. Though they manage to catch up, Michiru sees a black ring around the nurse’s neck. The boys are having a tough time so Michiru takes a blow intended for Yumi. Chika then stabs the nurse to kill her. As Michiru is lying in her own pool of blood, Z-Loan’s other staff, Bekkou (the manager and ferrymen) and Yuuta (his androgynous assistant. Looks a little like Rozen Maiden’s Sousei Seki) appear but they mention Michiru’s wounds are too deep to be healed. After living a big part of her life dull, uneventful and filled with loneliness, you’d think she would want to just go to the other side. But no, she reflected on her short life and yelled out how she wants to live. It’s natural for humans that they don’t want to die. She wakes up in Z-Loan office and the ring disappeared from her neck. Seems that Chika and Shito took on additional debt to save their lives. Michiru returns home to settle things with her guardians by leaving them a large amount of money from her late parents’ inheritance and leaves the place. She borrows Chika’s sword to cut herself a new shorter hairstyle.

Episode 3
Michiru feels glad to be alive after realizing those friends of hers who always used her for errands are friends indeed. They’re not totally ill hearted. Currently, Michiru has to work at Z-Loan office and learns more weird stuff like Yuuta’s talking hands named Ken Ken and Kon Kon. Since Michiru has nowhere to live, a little girl named Shimotsuki Kuze takes her on her limo to the dorm she’ll be living in. Shimotsuki is also the head of this dorm. Apparently Michiru has met 2 conditions to live in this dorm. One, she has housing problems (due to her parents death and inheritance thingy) and two, she is an asset to the academy (otherwise she will be evicted if she is no longer one!). The place seems rundown but hey, it’s better than nothing. Couldn’t be expecting a 5-star hotel, right? Walking along the dilapidated corridors, she meets another dorm resident, a lively girl, Koyomi Yoimachi (note, Chika and Shito also live here). Though she finds her room to be facing the graveyard, this doesn’t put her down as she starts cleaning her room. After finishing and returning to her room, she finds the gang have prepared a welcoming party for her. Michiru learns from Chika that her Shinigami Eyes were the reason they decided to take on additional debt and bring her back to life. Call it long term investment and asset but I guess that means she has to work extra hard for them to repay them. And she thought they were being nice and kind. Obviously got ulterior motive lah… Later as Michiru is alone with passed out Koyomi, she tries to wake her up but suddenly it’s like she’s got a different personality coming alive. Calling herself Yomi, she begins to kiss and fondle Michiru! Ah, that’s where that poor girl’s first kiss went. Koyomi returns back to normal the next day but the rest of the Z-Loan gang decides to use her other half’s ability to channel words from a woman as part of an investigation they are doing. Not that I can make anything out. That night, Chika works part time at the convenience store (forced to by Chika who is bossing her around). They chased after a thief he steals a magazine but they bump into Chika’s old friend, Reiichirou Shiba.

Episode 4
Shiba comes to Chika and Michiru’s rescue after the latter duo are being surrounded by a pack of … Zombie rats? I don’t understand the explanation about using sound waves from his mp3 player to drive them away. The return to Z-Loan office and find a new middle aged guy, Sawatari Otsu, will be working with them. Seems Shiba is in the office as well but Shito doesn’t like his face the instant he sees him, he points his gun at him. Chika tries to calm his partner down and that Shiba is no threat but Shito isn’t convinced. This causes some friction in Chika and Shito’s relationship. Oh wait, they’ve always been like that. Moving on, they look at photos of gruesome murder scenes. It baffles everyone till Shiba’s wisdom and wide knowledge enlightens them of its connection. Later as everyone dines at the sushi shop, Bekkou thinks of having Shiba to work temporarily with them on this case. He accepts after finding it interesting. After everyone has left, Chika and Shito are still loggerheads. Michiru tries to cool things between them and learns that they aren’t really friends and their partnership was created during an accident 6 months ago. They have each other’s right hands to control their weapons and they can’t stray too far from each other or else it will rot.

Episode 5
Yuuta discovers some butterfly website connected to their case and informs the rest of the guys. Shiba manages to enter the website by keying in a password as they find an event to be held on the same day. They are running out of time and have to make a move. Koyomi drags Michiru out to the mall to shop. Michiru spots the thief from the convenience store and he has a black ring. They follow him and inadvertently got involved with a group of people who mistaken them as part of their members because of the clothes they bought spotting the butterfly design. The group converge at a restaurant to discuss the next victim of the butterfly. Michiru speaks up about the importance of human lives and this causes the rest to think she is against them as they target to rid of her. Yomi awakens and at the same time, Chika, Shito and Shiba arrive to take care of the pests. After Yomi helps Michiru, she reverts back to Koyomi but falls asleep. The gang leaves her there while they continue their search. In a building, the find that thief holding a woman hostage and proclaiming himself as God. Chika and Shito unleash their weapons to beat him when he falls to his death. After guiding his spirit, Chika is disheartened that they didn’t receive any monetary rewards so Bekkou explains that they didn’t get the right zombie. Otsu comes back with his investigation about zombies that tried to attack them but burn up soon after. Thinking that his is the work of the butterfly, the use Yomi’s ability on a dead woman to reveal a message from the butterfly himself. The go meet him and are shocked to see Shiba there.

Episode 6
So yeah, Shiba is the mastermind and culprit behind it all. I mean, how can somebody know so much and connect the pieces of the puzzle with much ease, right? Not to mention he has a black ring around his neck so he must be a zombie. Flashback reveals that genius Shiba was so bored with life that he jumped off the roof. He made a contract with a mysterious woman, Carmella to become a zombie. So being undead is more interesting? Upset Chika decides to fight Shiba alone. They fight as he reveals his plan about setting up that thief into believing he was the butterfly. Then they talk about freedom and since Shiba isn’t listening to Chika, he lets himself go off Chika’s grip and falls from the building but is caught but a fearsome Shinigami. Back at the dorm, Chika sinks into depression. But asking for somebody to sleep with him (Michiru?) is just crossing the line. I guess he forces himself into Shito’s room (he likes collecting weird and rare items. Isn’t that Colonel Sanders?!). They discuss about death, where zombies go after they die. Next day, Michiru is taken to a funeral for the zombies as they pay their last respects for those victims of the butterfly case. They talk about there are those who shed tears for those die and Chika has a family he can’t return to now because he’s a zombie. The longer one takes to repay the loan, there’ll be renewal charges and even so, being too long a zombie will make one lose human emotions.

Episode 7
Shimotsuki thinks it’ll be good for Z-Loan people to take time off once in a while so the gang heads for the hotsprings. Not exactly what they hoped for because it’s abandoned as it is believed to be haunted! Damn. The usual fanservice and Yomi molesting Michiru while soaking in. Michiru and Shito go out to get some food and on their return trip are attacked by a wolf-like creature assumed to be a zombie. It attacks Shito but Michiru decides to fend it off instead of running back to call for help. They return and tell the rest about this. Michiru learns the different pricing of zombies. The more dangerous it is, the higher the reward. Before embarking on the search for it, they decide to take another dip in the hotspring. However waiting for Michiru isn’t Yomi’s molestation, but that wolf creature. Chika and Shito barge in to attack but were stopped by Yomi and it escapes. Furthermore, Shimotsuki explains that it isn’t a zombie but a living human being holding onto too much angry dead Gods soul. They find the wolf hiding in its cave as Shimotsuki approaches and seems to purify it. She takes a liking for it and brings the tame creature back as her pet on their ride home. She even calls it Pochi! Meanwhile a Chinese guy, Toho, plans to vandalize Shito’s room of all his prized collectibles.

Episode 8
As expected, Shito is bloody upset that someone has messed with his things. But Michiru finds the dorm being visited by Chika’s dad, Yuri and Chika’s little sister, Momoka. Another weird pair. Yuri is so annoying wanting to bond with his son (he’s like so gay too) while stoic Momoka is being indifferent playing with her handphone and unheeding to Chika’s attention. Though the trio are odd, Michiru is glad that he has a family. The father and daughter soon leave at the end. Meanwhile Shito confronts Toho and the latter cautions him he isn’t supposed to have friends because he is a real monster. Later Chika and Michiru see Shito at the graveyard. Chika tries to comfort him but it results in the guys fighting each other. Michiru then notices a beautiful comb in Shito’s room. Soon they get another zombie hunt job from Yuuta. Elsewhere, a doctor, Yoshizumi is doing experiments on a live corpse while his supposed golem creations, a young speechless girl (what an ‘apt’ name she has: Life) and a huge masked chainsaw guy). Michiru fails to find any black rings and after given a gum by Shito to improve her eyesight, she mentions about the comb, causing him to get angry. Bad boy for making a girl cry and how ungentleman-like. Chika chides him for being rude so they both end up in a fist fight till Michiru yells for them to stop. Shito walks away but he gets pierced in the chest through the back by that chainsaw guy.

Episode 9
Toho arrives at Z-Loan office as the rest learn he is from the Xu Fu mafia and that Shito is kidnapped. Chika tries to get rough on Toho but his spell was powerful enough to subdue him. Shito wakes up chained to a bed in a room while Life seems to take a liking for him, cuddling up closely to him. Since her intelligence is questionable, Life tries to force feed Shito and even sleeps with him and combs his hair. Shito remembers the comb belonging to a woman he lost and loved (I’m guessing it’s his mom). Chika and Michiru get into a little argument when paper spirits start to attack them. Luckily they are saved when another friend of Chika, the eye-patch bike riding Sotetsu Asou arrive in time to save them. He is also a zombie living at their same dorm but he prefers to go on adventures and only returns to extend his loan. They return to the dorm where Michiru notices that Koyomi may have feelings for Sotetsu. Next day at Z-Loan office, Bekkou reveals that Shito didn’t die on the same day with Chika. Seems Shito was a zombie long before meeting Chika. He is hundreds of years old and his current schooling data, etc are all fake. Thus he is some kind of immortal no matter the kind of wounds he takes and been handed down by generations, thus the perfect monster and disgusting beauty Toho described. Bekkou only reveals as far as his responsibility of Chika and Shito’s hand swap during the accident and remains the rest as secret. He offers the rest a handsome reward to retrieve Shito. This excites money face Chika as he drags Michiru to go search for his buddy with Sotetsu. Yoshizumi is happy that he has Shito and messes with his wounds while revealing his plans to trade Shito with Xu Fu to exchange info on the Corpse Release Spell to make better golems and overcome the problems plaguing humans: Death.

Episode 10
Otsu bumps into an old friend, Nogi but the latter seems anxious and evades any topic relating to Yoshizumi and makes his haste exit. Seems he is working under Yoshizumi and bringing him a pair of eyeballs as requested for that doctor’s twisted experiments. Michiru, Chika and Sotetsu arrive at some train station to find the Shinigami, Zarame, supposedly to know where Shito’s whereabouts. But they are shocked to find he has turned into a chibi version after losing his power core while out on his reaping duty. Michiru takes an instant liking for this cute creature and from now on, it feels like Zarame is like a pet following them around on Michiru’s shoulder. Where has that fearsome guy gone to? Seems Michiru is the only one who understands Zarame’s gibberish. Yeah, she has Shinigami Ears too. Haha, just kidding. Our heroes arrive at a warehouse and take out zombies but are being told by Toho Shito isn’t here. Toho has to return for some business so he reluctantly tells of Shito’s real whereabouts. Meanwhile Shito seems to have bonded with Life as she is quite fascinated with his comb. He also realizes his right hand rotting. When Yoshizumi comes in, Life cowers in fear and was even thrown against the wall. Yoshizumi notices that Shito has some special treasure inside him when Chika and co arrive. Otsu and Yuuta are also there as they take on a group of zombies. Panicky Nogi thinks everything is over but Yoshizumi is unfazed since he is confident his experiment will be completed. Carmella then appears before him and tells him that his eternal life isn’t possible and is going to die. She offers to help him out. Chika has rushed in ahead of the gang and manages to find Shito chained in the room.

Episode 11
The usual teasing and hand swapping thingy by Chika but Chika leaves Shito chained. It is Michiru guided by Zarame who found Shito and free him. Chika faces off with the chainsaw guy but the rest soon catch up and combine their powers. However the chainsaw guy falls flat before the gang could finish him off or when Chika managed to pull Shito up from the edge he was hanging precariously on. Otsu meets Nogi as the latter spills the beans how Yoshizumi is trying to create an ultimate golem called Phalanx. Something about other golems will stop moving by themselves after sometime but this Phalanx will keep itself moving by absorbing those around him. Yoshizumi realizes what Carmella meant and decides to give his own body to merge with Phalanx and serve as its brain. The gang enter the room and have a hard time fighting against the released Phalanx trying to absorb everything. Eventually Nogi planted an antidote into Phalanx. Seems he predicted that Yoshizumi would go crazy and created this in secret. This causes Phalanx to fall apart (that easy?) and the guys finish off Yoshizumi for good. As Chika is ecstatic over the reward he receives, Shito plans to take in Life and care for her but she is shot in the head by Nogi who plans to clean everything up. Enraged Shito punches him. Though Zarame mentions via Michiru that golems have no soul so it cannot be truly alive, Shito doesn’t believe it and later does a proper burial for her. Back at Z-Loan office, Bekkou turns into his true ferrymen self (gosh! Looking quite gorgeous) as he heads off for some WFO (Wheel of Fortune Organization) Management Office officer’s meeting.

Episode 12
As the gang parties in Shito’s room, annoyed Shito eventually thanks Michiru. Koyomi reveals the real season about her and Sotetsu. Something about one day she got drunk and found herself naked in bed with Sotetsu. He acted the same way he always did with her so she couldn’t ask him straight in the face. Bekkou meets his old friend, Hakka who is now the new president of WFO. Meeting with the other ferrymen, they discuss about the Akashic Record Reform Committee (ARRC) and believe they may be responsible for stealing a portion of the Akashic Records. Then Hakka announces that he has created another group opposite Bekkou’s Z-Loan team. He calls his Alive-Loan or A-Loan for short. That doesn’t sound good. So Hakka introduces his A-Loan members to the rest. They are Toko Touma (the sophomore girl), Zen Inubashiri (might be petite but he is their senior) and Shuuji Tsugumi (laidback guy). Aren’t they just mirror images of the Z-Loan trio? You can tell Chika and Shito won’t get along to these blokes because, well Chika can’t believe a little guy like him is a third year (“Use formal language, damn it!”) while Shuuji broke a new and rare collectible Shito bought. And there’s this competition to rake in 10 million Yen in a month and the loser will be closed down. Hey, what do you know, A-Loan’s office is right opposite Z-Loan! Competition is getting tough so get your asses moving! Meanwhile Carmella introduces an ARRC member, Chitose, to their new recruit, Shiba. Hey, he’s still alive and now a Shinigami? Chitose doesn’t approve of the newbie, citing lack of places so Shiba slashes Carmella! Just then, Hakka comes in and as Carmella revives and her wounds heal. But Hakka takes out her life force and shows it to Shiba! Explaining to that false reaper a shoreman’s body created by this core and if it’s crushed, the shoreman disappears.

Episode 13
A-Loan team seems to be doing a far better job, beating Z-Loan to hunting and guiding zombies due to better ‘navigation’ (Shinigami Eyes) and weapons (two swords and machine gun?!). Z-Loan team is down but eventually have to pick themselves up. Meanwhile we see Carmella in a chibi form since her core has been taken away. Hakka returns her core so she reverts back to her normal form and lives. We also learn Shiba was the one who took Zarame’s core, the reason why that Shinigami is still in his chibi form. Hakka uses his body-stopping power on Shiba to show who is boss. Zarame teaches Michiru how to use her Shinigami Eyes effectively and soon bumps into Undertaker who has just finished his meeting with Otsu. As they chat, Undertaker isn’t happy that his repayments have to be increased due to the competition and had to be dragged in. He admits people like them are weaklings but Michiru remains positive because she wants to protect them. When Z-Loan trio return to the office, they see Shimotsuki. She plans to go into debt to help them out after hearing about things but Bekkou is weighing in the possibilities. They also meet Lyca, that werewolf boy. He has been thought to speak and disciplined (okay, maybe not so perfect yet). Shimotsuki lends Lyca to Z-Loan for assistance instead of money. Michiru asserts that she will be stronger and will protect them both. The Z-Loan trio leave office and bump into their A-Loan counterparts. As they stare in a face-off, both sides Hakka and Bekkou’s team prepare to continue their battle.

Will It Become A Non-Performing Loan?
Uhn… So that’s where the anime just ended? At another climax? You see, the first 11 episodes as I found out later were shown on TV and the final 2 episodes as OVAs. But in both cases, the story doesn’t really seem to end at that point. Interested people can of course continue reading the manga but for people like me who don’t even pick up books, what are the chances? It leaves quite a number of development and potentials left hanging. Ending the anime with a looming clash with Hakka’s side that includes Shiba, Carmella and Shito against Bekkou’s team, who has Otsu and Sotetsu on his side, just doesn’t cut it. They introduce new characters like the A-Loan trio and Hakka as the new antagonist and that is how it all ends? I also felt some other characters didn’t make an impact even though they had potential like Toho. I thought he would reappear again after making his little exit but I guess if not for that story arc, he was pretty forgettable. Same case for Chika’s dad and sister. And there I was thinking their short presence would herald something big, shocking and ‘twisting’ at the end. Must be my imagination. Lyca? Too bad he only spoke in the final episode. What does that amount to? Though the story can be divided into small and short story arcs, somehow I didn’t feel excited of each advancement. Maybe it’s because it was horror themed. The action was also okay though sometimes I feel it’s of low quality.

Speaking of the characters, sure we see them grow a little in this short span of the series but overall they are still pretty much the same character. Shito has learned to open up a little and at least have a human heart while Chika still cares for others even if he does this job for money and remains an uncouth lad. Michiru has come to accept her surroundings, no longer weary or lost the will to live and turn her cursed ability into an asset. She sees the guys at Z-Loan as her important family members. I wonder if the inheritance left by her parents has got something to do with everything that has happened. I guess Zarame has been relegated to be Z-Loan’s mascot character. It’s pretty odd for a once ferocious Shinigami to tag along on Michiru’s shoulder and do nothing but guiding. Bekkou and Shimotsuki are mysterious themselves mainly because the series isn’t long enough to flesh out their character. But my guts tell me that characters like them are usually more than meets the eye. Just like Koyomi’s split personality.

The horror part may not be enough to scare normal viewers what more seasoned horror lovers. Don’t worry, I didn’t get freaked out either. Thus the parts that I love are the comical and chibi parts peppered throughout the series. Usually shown when Michiru is surprised, shocked, rebuttal statements or doing some other silly antics. If they showed this all the time, I think the series may lose its point. So I guess it’s worthwhile that they do this from time to time. I didn’t like the opening theme, Ookami No Nodo by The Birthday. It’s more like punk rock and you can hear the hoarse singer screaming throughout the song. Enough to kill zombies. The ending theme, Chain Ring by MUCC is also another rock piece and though there is no shouting, it still doesn’t appeal to me.

So if they are going to produce a sequel, big chance is that I may not be interested to watch it even if they advance the plot, characters and tie up things seeing that I am not a fan of this genre and the story didn’t captivate me enough. I don’t know how long it will take to clear up all their debts because it must be one heck of a big amount taking into account the number of zombies they have hunted down and safely guided. If they ever wanted to go for quantity over quality, they may need to do it Resident Evil style. Michiru having Shinigami Eyes isn’t a bad thing because seeing a black ring around people’s neck is better than seeing dead people. Oh wait. They all are. And considering the never ending output of anime, maybe I can take a Z-Loan to extend my life and watch animes forever. Never mind. I don’t know how to kill zombies anyway.

Dragonaut The Resonance

February 11, 2011

People who go to space are called Astronauts, right? Then there’s the Russian version called Cosmonaut and the recent one from China named Taikonaut. But all those ride a space shuttle during their journey to space. What about those riding dragons? Why, they are called Dragonauts of course! At least that is what I deduced when I read the title’s name, Dragonaut The Resonance. Why don’t we call them Dragon Riders instead? Because it would sound like a fantasy medieval theme, which isn’t because this series is more of a futuristic sci-fi genre.

Twenty years ago, an asteroid named Thanatos destroyed the planet Pluto. Shucks, it has no chance to even get demoted to a dwarf planet. However Thanatos is actually an extra terrestrial life form and is currently ‘stationed’ at Pluto’s orbit. So you guessed it, it’s targeting Earth. To counter that threat, ISDA (International Solarsystem Development Agency – yes, the solar system word is joined) initiated the D-Project to counter this threat by cultivating Dragons from the eggs found in the ocean depth. There are quite a few number of terms to learn such as Resonance (the process of compatibility between humans and Dragons), Communicators (Dragons taking on a human form) and Actualization (Dragons returns back to their original form) but they’re manageable since they’ll be mentioned quite often.

Episode 1
Of course we have a main protagonist. He is Jin Kamishina. But his life took a drastic turn 2 years ago when a space shuttle to the Moon exploded into flames killing all onboard including his mom and sister, Ai. Miraculously, Jin was the only one onboard that survived. Not to mention unharmed with no wounds whatsoever. But his survival is some sort of a curse because he has become very lonely while his dad has been turned into a scapegoat and been blamed for human error as the cause of the crash. What has he got to lose? So one night he encounters a strange creature going berserk. He could have died, should have died after being attacked like that but was saved by a mysterious girl known as Toa. She even has time to do some serious ass kicking on the creature. So once that is over, after Jin wakes up from his unconsciousness, he and Toa had a little chat and for the first time in 2 years, he felt he wasn’t alone. Hey, wait a minute. It just took a hot chick to say that to lift his spirits? Have no other girls who felt pity for this guy came forth to offer their comfort?

Episode 2
Members of the ISDA’s Lindwurm Unit, Sieglinde Baumgard and her Dragon, Amadeus, knocks Jin out and takes him back to ISDA for interrogation for the accident 2 years ago. Why now? ISDA’s commander Baisil Sakaki tells him the truth about Thanatos and wants him to join as a Dragonaut. That kid isn’t buying it even if he’s being told that a Dragon was the real cause of the space shuttle accident as it crashed into it. Not even if he’s being shown a real Dragon sitting in a large tube like as though some sort of science experiment. That’s because he is still bitter that his dad’s name has been tainted. Jin is reunited with his old friend, Kazuki Tachibana who has recently joined Dragonauts and is glad to have his own Dragon, Gio, Resonated. Kazuki is happy to see his old buddy but everything seems to be too fast for Jin. Soon Jin runs away to meet Toa but their meeting is short-lived when ISDA sends its members, including Lindwurm Unit’s Akira Souya and her Dragon, Machina, to hunt him down. Jin comes face to face with Kazuki again but this time the latter is pointing the gun at him though his hands are shaking. Unable to pull the trigger, his mentally unstable colleague, Keiichi Amagi does the honours. Luckily Toa uses her body as her shield. Thankfully hot chicks like her don’t get to die yet because her wounds just healed! Then she takes Jin away and kisses him, reassuring him he isn’t alone. However Amagi’s Dragon, Spirytus, soon goes out of control as the Lindwurm Unit, including unit leader Raina Cromwell and his Dragon, Howling Star, move in to take Album, the name ISDA gave to Toa. Toa then takes on rampaging Spirytus and wants Jin to close his eyes. Apparently he didn’t so he saw Toa’s true Dragon form. Yeah, I got that one figured out right when she first appeared.

Episode 3
Toa and Spirytus’ battle is going out of hand and there are too many public witnesses. So ISDA’s head, Kiril Zhazhiev (does this old guy always where some diving suit?) requests the help of Gillard Army led by Major Garnet Maclaine (can’t… avert… my eyes… away from her… oversized boobs…) to quell the menace. Too bad they failed. During the fight, Toa emits a shockwave that awakens Gio from his container. Following his instincts, he breaks out and goes to save Toa. Jin rides on his back so when Kazuki sees this, he is heartbroken that his Dragon chose somebody else other than him. Sakaki orders Spirytus to be killed and make Jin and Toa their top priority. Raina and Howling Star kill him. Jin and Gio catch up to Toa so she mentions she can’t be with Jin anymore after he saw her true form. As for Gio, he claims that he is born to protect Toa. Their chat is cut short when Howling Star’s attack reaches them, sending Jin and Gio crashing into the ocean below. Jin doesn’t believe all that crap Toa said because he is adamant that he wants to be by her side. Well, after getting kissed, why not? With Toa and Gio missing, Sakaki orders his team to withdraw.

Episode 4
As we are introduced to more characters like ISDA’s research scientist Yuuri Kitajima and journalist Kou Yonamine, we see ISDA having a meeting with Gillard Army about the recent events. Jin and Gio wake up washed ashore on the beach and Jin suddenly could hear Toa’s voice. Her singing actually. He notes her location on the Moon so Gio agrees to go there with him to find her. Thus the duo fake in-fighting to let Akira and Machina capture them back to ISDA base whereby they break out and steal a space pod to head to space with Gio. Akira questions Jin about him being able to ride Gio without doing any Resonance (Dragons must completely abide by their master they have Resonated with absolute command) but Jin doesn’t care about all that crap and just wants to find Toa to get some answers. Meanwhile Kazuki is depressed that his precious Gio has sort of abandoned him so I guess a lady takes pity of him after getting teased and beaten up. She is Widow, a Dragon who lost her original master.

Episode 5
Hey, there’s artificial weather on the Moon! Jin and Gio search for Toa but couldn’t find her so Gio abandons him since he couldn’t fulfil his part of the bargain. Toa is indeed on the Moon but she’s depressed but they missed her. So when Gio later sees some fluke proof that Toa is on the Moon, he goes back to Jin. However he has been captured by Garnet while Kiril has announced to the world about the truth on D-Project. Garnet sends an encrypted video only Dragons could hear to lure Gio. He busts in and faces off with Garnet but she and her men have some CSS stuff to weaken and suppress Dragons from using their full ability. Jin isn’t just a damsel in distress and manages to break the CSS computer so Gio rescues him and they both escape. Garnet unleashes a couple of Agathions (Gillard Army’s self made Dragons, I guess) to stop them but were easily defeated as Gio and Jin re-enter the Moon to continue searching for Toa.

Episode 6
Lindwurm Unit has been tasked to retrieve Album from the Moon. As Toa takes refuge at a cafe, the store owner tells her to be true to her feelings, though Jin and Gio did came by and asked her about Toa but she feigns that she doesn’t know. Meanwhile Kou meets up with Yuuri (ambush with a kiss?) and tells her about the findings he had on Amagi. Like a rare fibre thread in his room with a certain perfume that could only belong to Garnet. Lindwurm Unit arrives on the worm and the Dragons begin their search. Toa too starts searching for Jin and Gio but just when she finds them, they are intercepted by the Lindwurm Unit Dragons. Gio takes on Howling Star but the former starts to have doubts when the latter mentions that he will be a hindrance after Jin and Toa are united. Jin is taken by Sieglinde and Amadeus, who explains the basics of human-Dragon relationship/rule. Akira and Machina offer to take him in to the space port but it was just a ploy to let them escape and let Jin reunite with Toa.

Episode 7
To cool things down, Jin, Gio and Toa chill out at the nearby pool park, courtesy from the kind cafe owner. The guys are feeling a little odd about all this. Guess who came to the pool too? Yeah, it’s the Lindwurm Unit guys too. Their mission to take the trio in discreetly turned flashy causing destruction and panic among the public. When the gang is sent crashing underground, they get separated. Jin offers his kindness towards injured Sieglinde (possible turning into a love triangle in the future?) and we see a little about her past, how she was a genius but because of that, people isolated her and she was lonely. The gang are reunited when the other Dragons combined their kicking powers and break a wall, only to send water gushing in as they make their escape to higher ground. Gio Actualizes and busts Jin and Toa out with Sieglinde. Later they leave her on a park bench where emotional Amadeus soon reunites with her. Back on Earth, Kazuki’s hatred for Jin has been growing at a steady pace so he vows to get Gio back from him. Widow agrees to take him to the Moon.

Episode 8
Jin tries to convince Toa and Gio that the three of them could live a normal life together. However Toa remembers she has something to do and leaves them while they’re sleeping. After all that trouble, she just leaves, like that? So another search but this time Jin comes into Kazuki and Widow as they attack the former best buddy. Kazuki is filled with rage and even if he wants Gio back, Gio punches him and takes Jin away. Kazuki still couldn’t believe it and thinks he is Gio’s master and not Jin. Get a hint, pal. Toa goes to see Raina and agrees to turn herself in to ISDA. When Kazuki comes in to ask about the capturing of Gio, Raina tells him to worry about himself because he will face punishment when he returns to Earth for coming to the Moon without permission. Still not happy, Kazuki has Widow go tell Jin and Gio about Toa’s capture and bring them to Kazuki. Kazuki brags to Jin how it feels to have someone precious taken so he agrees to help get Toa in exchange for Gio. Jin is in a dilemma but I guess to Kazuki that means he agrees. Widow easily infiltrates ISDA shuttle and forcefully takes Toa. When they’re reunited, Toa feels reluctant to go with Jin. She reveals the truth that she was the one who crashed into the space shuttle that killed his family. As proof, she takes out half a bracelet inscribed with words “To A”. Shocked Jin matches it with his other half as it reads “From Jin To Ai”.

Episode 9
A short flashback reveals that Sakaki’s daughter, Laura was also one of the passengers killed in that space shuttle accident 2 years ago. In present time, Lindwurm Unit captures Jin, Gio and Toa as Kazuki lies that he was brought here on a special secret mission by Sakaki. However as they leave for Earth, they are being attacked by Garnet’s army. She is upset that Raina’s data gave to her earlier on was fake. The Dragons Actualize and fight the army but it was a diversion to have them stray from the main ship as their target is to capture Toa. Garnet fires her main cannon at them but they are saved with the appearance of Virtra Unit’s leader Itsuki Habaragi and her Dragon, Otohime. Gio breaks free from his chains (that easy?) and wants Jin to help him. But that kid is still shocked over what he has learned so Gio slaps some senses to him that he had better protect Toa. After thinking all the times spent with her (hmm… Maybe the kiss too), Jin gets his confidence back as he and Gio team up to beat the Agathions. Garnet retreats to cut losses. But the space shuttle is burning up upon re-entry so Jin uses Gio to shield it and successfully enter Earth’s atmosphere. Back at ISDA HQ, Toa is taken to see Sakaki as he shows her the large Dragon in the tube, Raum, which Toa recognizes as her comrade while Jin is imprisoned.

Episode 10
Gio and Widow are imprisoned on Tartarus Island, believed to be the graveyard for Dragons as the CSS force field prevents them from leaving. Meanwhile Yuuri explains more of that Resonance thingy and reveals that Toa is Jin’s master. They may have Resonated when she crashed into the shuttle and saved him (the first time they contacted). Elsewhere, Garnet returns to Mars and Prince Asim Jamar to report of her failure. He seems to be interested in capturing Toa now and reveals he has planted a spy in ISDA. Toa breaks free of her capture and tries to enter a room filled with Dragon eggs (it’s her mission to retrieve them). But she’s stopped by scientist Kasuga Nozaki who won’t let her lay a finger on them and then taken out by Amadeus. Meanwhile Akira and Machina do a distraction to free Jin. They’re helping him because they believe he can change the relationship between humans and Dragons. Yuuri learns that Nozaki is suspending all tests on Album so her assistant, Nanami Hoshi suggests they do it secretly on Tartarus. On their way there, the Gillard Army surrounds them. Yuuri realizes Nanami has betrayed them and is a spy from Gillard as she decides to take Album.

Episode 11
While Jin, Akira and Machine seek refuge in an abandoned house, Yuuri swims towards Tartarus to make contact with ISDA about what happened. Kazuki is getting a lecture from Sakaki but he decides to let him off the hook because he doesn’t hate his actions. Toa is captured and taken to Asim on Mars. Asim ignores her pleas of the consequences of capturing her as he wants to see her true form. Thanatos sends a fourth original Dragon towards Earth. Dubbed Ostrum, it makes it way quickly to Earth and on its way, attacks obliterates the entire L-3 space station that Virtra Unit is on. Only Itsuki and Otohime are able to escape alive.

Episode 12
Ostrum seems to have become a Communicator when he arrives on Earth. Most probably it was his brief contact Itsuki’s brother, Yuuya at the L-3 base. ISDA knows having Ostrum is a bad thing and has the entire city evacuated. Then Ostrum starts to attack and kills a group of innocent evacuees. Raina and Sieglinde face off with Ostrum but his power is far too great for them to handle, even if Akira returns to aid them. Meanwhile Kou takes Jin to Tartarus but upon arrival gets ambushed by Kazuki. Still hating him, eh? Jin is able to knock him out and goes to see Gio. However Kazuki activates the controls to open the floor so that Jin could fall to his fiery death. Gio manages to Actualize to save Jin and escape from this island. Meanwhile Yuuri confronts Nozaki about Ostrum’s true appearance. Nozaki gets rid of Raum by disposing the tube to the fire below. Then Ostrum appears and wonders why Nozaki is siding with the humans and his reply is that he is doing this on his own will. Ostrum and Nozaki fight and the latter Actualizes. Yuuri recognizes him as the third original Dragon, Atrum, whom she discovered 2 years ago shortly after the shuttle accident but suddenly disappeared.

Episode 13
Ostrum reveals he is being sent by Mother, (Thanatos is what humans refer as) to eliminate all Dragons born on Earth as she doesn’t want humans raising her offspring. Their battle continues but Nozaki loses out when he tries to protect Yuuri. Toa begs for Asim to let her out even if it’s showing her true form but he isn’t giving in because he senses she still has defiant eyes. Ostrum senses Gio and attacks him but the recovered Lindwurm Unit go to his aid. Desperate Kiril is trying to request Gillard Army’s assistance but Asim is delaying things. Nanami who feels guilty for her betrayal tries to free Toa but gets shot and killed by Garnet. At that short moment, Jin heard Toa’s voice and is certain she is on Mars. Jin and Gio try to head to Mars while the other Dragons hold back Ostrum. Itsuki and Otohime soon join the battle and she is about to fire some Type-X warhead on Ostrum but when Ostrum fires back and causes the warhead to fall off Otohime’s hands, Jin and Gio turn back to take the warhead and send it up to space with Ostrum, destroying him. Jin returns down to Earth since Gio is slightly injured while Sakaki brings forward D-Project’s schedule and into the next phase.

Episode 14
Raina offers Jin to become a Dragonaut but he refuses because all he wants is to save Toa. Having a girl is better than shouldering the fate of the entire planet. They talk about potential and believe in one’s own strength. Yuuri learns that she first Resonated with Atrum/Nozaki right after the crash. Nozaki felt guilty and responsible for the deaths of those in the accident so he severed ties with Thanatos and decided to live among humans while letting the remaining eggs to hatch safely. Akira tries to convince Sieglinde to come with her but the latter doesn’t want to betray her friends. The spaceship Avenir is to about to launch into space as Jin and Gio prepare to head to Mars with Akira and Machina agreeing to tag along. However they are being attacked by super angry Kazuki (f*ck! Not this annoying bastard again! Can’t he just die?!) and Widow. Even if Kazuki has given up on getting back Gio, he now wants to kill Jin. The attack causes the rail to launch Avenir to be damaged so Machina holds it up to safely complete its run and launch to orbit. Kazuki got distracted and was sent flying off Widow’s cockpit. Kazuki and Widow are engulfed in an explosion and hopefully that will be the last we’ll see of him. Hopefully… Jin-Gio and Akira-Machina continue their journey to Mars.

Episode 15
Our heroes storm into Asim’s palace. Toa pleads to Asim once more to release her after finding out that ISDA plans to attack Thanatos. Earth will be destroyed if they do so but Asim doesn’t care about all that. They talk about mankind and love that exists in people’s hearts. Asim doesn’t believe all that but decides to put it to a test by having a ‘welcoming party’ for Jin. The gang keeps advancing no matter the number of guards or Agathions faced and finally enters the throne room where Asim and Toa are. Garnet fights Gio as Asim fires some projectile into Jin who is trying to free Toa. Asim starts beating Jin up so Toa couldn’t take anymore on what she sees. Her yell to stop starts cracking the glass she is imprisoned in. This distraction is enough to have Jin return the favours to Asim. After Gio knocks Garnet out, Jin and Toa are happily reunited but Asim seems to have gone insane.

Episode 16
It is revealed that Garnet is a Dragon that first Resonated with Asim 15 years ago. Asim orders Garnet to show her true powers as she stabs Gio in the stomach. Though Gio manages to break free and escape with the rest, they seek temporary refuge at a nearby abandoned facility. So happens there is a hotspring so the gang soak in. Can they really relax at this time? Machina notices a mark called Stigmata on Toa’s back when she was healing Gio. It’s a sign that a Dragon is about to die. Toa knew this from the beginning and doesn’t want Jin to know. After they talk about the relationship between humans and Dragons, acceptance and believing in each other (something Akira and Machina feel Jin and Toa had proven), Akira gets this idea of having a simple wedding ceremony for Jin and Toa. They are interrupted by Asim, clapping his hands, finding it all too amusing. Garnet suddenly jumps down and slashes her sword across Akira’s body. See lah. Fool around some more lah. Some more on enemy’s ground. Akira utters to Jin and Toa to start a new human-Dragon history before she dies. Distraught Machina goes berserk and red markings appear over her body.

Episode 17
Machina attacks just about anyone while the other Lindwurm members head to Mars. Gio tries to reason with Machina but she says that she is reverting to her true form (Dragons are originally such violent creatures, if that is what she meant) since Resonance has been broken. Asim rides on Actualized Garnet to the surface where his army has arrived. Jin and Toa ride Actualized Gio as they take out their foes while Asim continues to mock them about their love lecture. Eventually it’s Gio against Garnet when Machina intervenes. Garnet fires onto Machina as she and Akira fall into the abyss. Gio suddenly powers up causing all the Agathions to run away in fear. Asim orders Garnet to charge into him but Gio’s power is so immense that it destroyed Asim’s cockpit. Garnet reaches for Asim and with him in her arms, they vaporise. Jin and Toa could have been fried too if Howling Star didn’t fly in to save them. Gio’s power continues to burn the entire planet so much so burning Mars can be seen back down on Earth! At daylight! Raina wonders if this is the true power of Dragons. Likewise, Kou thinks a Dragon can only defeat a Dragon.

Episode 18
It has been a year after those events. Jin, Toa and Gio are living their happy life in an isolated backwater town. ISDA is under the command of Gillard Army and Sakaki is convinced that all Dragons are dangerous and must be disposed off. Since the Dragonauts oppose to this, they are being hunted down. And it looks like Laura is in charge… Raina, Howling Star and Amadeus are captured and taken to Tartarus, and Itsuki and Otohime soon after. Kou and Sieglinde manage to find the trio living their normal life and the German girl isn’t happy that they are oblivious of what is happening. Toa is worried that such action may anger Thanatos and lead to Earth’s destruction and that Thanatos will leave the solar system quietly if they hand back the eggs (which was the spawning ground for them). Speaking of them, Yuuri and Nozaki has moved the unhatched eggs to a secret lab. When Sieglinde questions Toa’s feelings for Jin, she replies they may have been created during the Resonance and she decided to trust her feelings. Toa hugs Jin but all the Dragons senses something from Thanatos.

Episode 19
Laura’s team burns down the house Jin and co are staying. But the gang have foreseen this and have already escaped, on their way to Tokyo. They take refuge in Sieglinde’s Japan’s ‘extra mansion’. Sieglinde’s dad, Wilhelm agrees to shelter them temporary as they come up with a plan. Jin learns more about Sieglinde that her only solace was her grandpa (looks like Amadeus) and her dog (whose name is Amadeus). Her mom died after giving birth to her. Wilhelm wanted to help her not because as a successor to the Baumgard empire but as his daughter. Jin feels he should tell his feelings honestly to her instead because he might not get another chance considering the dangerous mission they’re about to embark on. Back at ISDA, other scientists are researching a way to destroy Thanatos and have developed an anti-Thanatos factor. Something like a cancer cell that kills the cells of the Dragon. However it won’t work on Earth-born Dragons and only original ones (that means it has to be Toa, Raum or Atrum). Back at ISDA, Sakaki sees Stigmata over Laura’s back and comments she is a convenient tool. And yeah, apparently that hate boy Kazuki is still alive (including Widow). Oh boy. What’s with that underwear-like patch over his forehead? Early next morning, the gang leaves for their mission.

Episode 20
On their way trekking up a hill, Gio suddenly goes missing. They rendezvous with Yuri and Nozaki in a submarine as they plan to attack Tartarus. Guess who Jin and Toa meet when they set foot on the island? Damn Kazuki guy… Now we know why he can’t die. Until he kills Jin. That’s what he said. Nozaki and the rest sneak into the island and find Raina and Itsuki. The Dragons have been taken to be tested some Aegis System (some super CSS system no Dragons can stand up to. Not even Thanatos, as they believe) upon them. They try to take out the power supply but Laura stops them. Nozaki fights her to buy the rest time. Sieglinde does her hacking to cut power supply so the Dragons bust out and reunite with their masters. Jin and Toa could’ve been toast if not for Howling Star and Otohime intervening. The rest head back to Nozaki but Laura just leaves. Seems Laura is Raum. Widow is shot out of the sky by Gio. Jin is happy he is back but he shoots down Howling Star and Otohime.

Episode 21
Gio is doing this because he believes Jin can’t protect Toa and reveals her death. Gio also reveals that he is the successor of Thanatos. Another shocking revelation but no time for that as Laura in Raum form attacks them. However Gio takes her down and wants Toa to come with him. She refuses and wants to be by Jin’s side so Gio gives up for now but will return. Heavily wounded Laura is healed by Toa as they also come into contact with Sakaki (his helicopter was shot down during the attack). Sakaki doesn’t feel any attachment to this Dragon and his view that she’s just a tool pisses Toa off. Soon Sakaki leaves with Laura on a boat from ISDA. In the room, soldiers barge in as they have orders to take him in. Laura springs into action to give Sakaki time to escape. Jin and Toa reunite with the rest as Jin tells the rest about Thanatos’ successor. Later Sieglinde confronts Toa because she feels she is hiding something. Toa reveals her death and Gio probably became Thanatos’ successor to extend her life. She didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to ruin the life that they had. Teary Sieglinde says how she felt envious of them back then.

Episode 22
The next morning on the beach, the gang finds Sakaki washed ashore. They interrogate him about Raum and Laura and realized he was plotting revenge against the Dragons that killed her daughter and stole her appearance via Dragonauts. But the others have other opinions on their Dragon partners. Laura has been captured and being tested upon the anti-Thanatos factor, which is working. Kazuki is witnessing the experiment and even explains to Widow about Laura and Raum. Something about Raum in that tube Nozaki destroyed was just an empty shell and when Raum Resonated with Sakaki, something went wrong which prevented it to keep its body in some hyperspace when they take human form. The Stigmata appears on Nozaki’s back as he reveals to Yuuri that he, Album and Raum were sent to guide the eggs back to Thanatos and that their lives are limited and disposable. Gio finds Nozaki’s secret base and launches an attack since his goal is to retrieve them. Luckily the other Dragonauts come to his rescue. Jin tries to persuade Gio to stop and again, Kazuki-Widow interrupts. Widow is going to kill Toa for making Kazuki miserable but is fired upon by Gio. Then Widow uses her body to shield Kazuki from Gio’s shot and takes heavy damage before they escape. Suddenly Thanatos appears right above Earth as Gio tells Jin to hand Toa over as this is the only way to save her.

Episode 23
Sure, Toa’s life can be saved but she won’t return to Earth anymore. Gio decides to give Jin 1 more day to spend with her. Meanwhile Gillard Army unleashes an all out attack on Thanatos but failed miserably. Do they seriously think they can easily destroy something like that? We also see the souls of Akira and Machina commenting on the human race as imperfect and always fighting. Then something about Resonance that makes Dragons understand what it is to have a heart. Jin spends the next whole day out with Toa (dressing up as several characters? Include Sieglinde?). In the Ferris wheel, Jin reluctantly hands Toa over to Gio. Meanwhile Kazuki is still being the b*tch he is and not even sensitive to Widow’s injuries, mocking and splashing water on her! Who is the heartless one? Widow knows that she is dying and before she disappears, tells him that he likes Jin and shouldn’t continue hurting himself anymore. Then it made him realize, but it’s too late. Next day Kazuki meets Jin at the beach and he starts punching the latter, this time blaming Jin for Widow’s death, losing everything and becoming alone again. How idiotic can this guy get? Even at the end of it all he reveals all he wanted was to protect Jin and doesn’t want Jin to end up like him who lost Widow and unable to tell his feelings or apologize. It’s sad that he realized it this late but no pities from me. But at least he doesn’t hate Jin anymore and is on his side. They are being approached by Sakaki who takes them to the lab to save Laura and send them to space to rendezvous with the rest. As he frees Laura, he gets shot by a scientist. Laura takes him out as they both lie by each other’s side and before their last breaths, Sakaki realized that Laura has always been calling him ‘father’ and proclaims that he loves her. Nozaki appears to absorb the anti-Thanatos factor inside Laura.

Episode 24
The gang fires Aegis System into Thanatos (their objective is to try and talk to it and not attack it) and this transports them inside it. They see Akira and Machina, but they are just one of the many minds and souls absorbed into Thanatos. They also reveal that Thanatos has grown tired of the humans’ foolishness and decides to wipe the entire race out to prevent anymore contamination of their race. Everyone returns back to the ship except for Jin, who is taken by Gio to see Toa (just her shell, that is). Jin realizes that what Gio meant Toa can live longer is to merge with Thanatos (also a deal he made in exchange for becoming Thanatos’ successor). He doesn’t want that because that would mean all the memories and time spent together are for naught and they would no longer be their selves. Gio tries to kill Jin to free him from his pain and unite with Toa forever. Garnet and Asim seem to have also being absorbed by Thanatos as they confront Toa about eternal life but Toa wishes to be with Jin even if it’s just fleeting moments. They talk about life and death and Resonance for the 3 original Dragons sent to retrieve the eggs that upset Thanatos. Toa is beginning to merge with Thanatos but her love for Jin is strong so she manages to break free and reunite with him. They kiss and vow to be together. That’s when Thanatos decides instead of destroying humans, it will merge them all. Is that supposed to be worse than death? Since Thanatos is awakening, the inside starts shaking so Gio allows Jin and Toa to ride him to safety outside. Thanatos in its true form is much before and resembles like a serpent coiling around the Earth. It launches lots of Ostrum Dragons. 6 billion of them! 1 for each human, I guess. Better start taking them out. That’s 2 billion per Dragonaut, right? Jin still has something to say to Thanatos and flies towards it.

Episode 25
The Dragonauts protect the citizens from forced assimilation. Jin, Toa and Gio are having a tough time reaching into Thanatos’ core. Nozaki sacrifices himself by detonating the anti-Thanatos factor he has at the mass Ostrums to pave a way for them to enter. He wants them to deliver their feelings to Thanatos. Inside, Gio meets the original Ostrum (he’s still alive and not an absorbed soul?) and they both fight. Ostrum refuses to accept that Resonance changed them unlike Gio who is grateful that it did to him because he knows what love is. In the end, I guess it was the difference in hearts that allowed Gio to defeat Ostrum for good. Jin and Toa go ahead but come into Garnet. Still talking about that love thingy, Garnet uses an illusion to test Jin. Seems he is onboard the space shuttle with his mom and Ai. The accident didn’t happen and they live a happy life. Jin realizes all this is fake and snaps out from it. They continue that their love is not due to Resonance but their own free will. That very source of power of love causes all the Ostrum clones down on Earth to deactivate and the Stigmata disappearing from Toa’s back. They encounter the core of Thanatos’ mind and you bet the power of love has managed to convince her to ponder about the meaning of love on her travel to the next planet after spending too much time alone for God knows how long. She explains that she may return someday but believes they won’t disappoint her. Jin and Toa reunite with everyone back on Earth. Gio sees off Jin and Toa before he heads back to space as the lovebirds assert that they are not alone. So he’s not going to stay with them? Perhaps that’s what being a successor is all about.

Episode 26 (OVA)
There is an OVA episode that viewers can watch if you buy the DVD. It is more of a filler and I’m not sure about the time line. But I’m sure it has no relations whatsoever with the TV storyline since Akira and Machina are alive while Kazuki still spots that villainous hairstyle. The first half features the gang in a school theme. It has Howling Star as the star (pun intended). A newly transferred student that gets involves with fights, love and secrets of the school. Seems like snippets of one helluva epic movie, which actually turns out to be one! Howling Star is definitely ecstatic about his leading role, but the reactions of ladies’ seem to indicate otherwise. The second half has the entire gang stranded in some house due to a storm. The Dragons can’t transform and after the lightning strikes some machine, the Dragons’ personality changes. Amadeus is a lazy and rude guy (much to Sieglinde’s shock!), Howling Star a scaredy cat, Gio telling jokes, Widow laughing at them, big bully Machina bossing Garnet to skip ropes and Toa dressing in a sexy cat outfit to seduce Jin. Otohime isn’t affected because as Sieglinde pointed out, her character is too normal so it has no opposite effect. She sank into depression. Sieglinde, Raina, Akira and Kazuki decide to fix the machine as they make their journey across the room filled with traps. Sieglinde manages to fix and restore order. Everyone returns to normal in the end except for Jin who wants Toa to say more of those moe lines. Pervert! Looks like his otaku switch got turned on and there’s no way to turn it off soon. And as for the old guys like Sakaki, Kiril, Nozaki and Kou, I don’t get the joke that they’re fishing far away in some cave for hours and in the end, don’t even have a single catch.

Dog Gone Naught – What Nonsense
So the power of love conquers all, eh? Is that what they are trying to say? Is this supposed to be an underlying theme of the show? An eternal extra terrestrial life form that no humans should compare or based its values or thinking with ours, just agreed to think about this crazy little thing called love? What the heck, I was never following the entire plot anyway. Not only the human race is saved, the threat of Thanatos is gone and more importantly Jin and Toa get to be together as they always have. It was hard for me to sit through the first half of the series because it was more or less something like this. The gang runs away, gets chased, gets captured, busts out and the whole process repeats again. Then after the Mars incident and the 1 year time skip, I somehow felt a little interested. Probably I knew the series was going to finish and thus end my agony. Haha!

There were many loopholes in the plot that I didn’t understand or couldn’t be bothered to learn more. Such mind boggling things include the time whereby the gang damaged the pool amusement park and the public was sent evacuating. How come there were no police or authority to look or investigate into the damage facility? It felt like the whole darn place was abandoned after that. Another one is Garnet. If she was a Dragon, why the heck was she trying to experiment and discover the secret of Resonance? I thought it should come naturally or at least understood when she first Resonated with Asim. How the heck did Jin, Gio and Toa manage to live a whole year peacefully without anybody being able to trace their location till Sakaki decided to rid of all Dragons? What about Amagi’s case? After the initial episodes, it was like he wasn’t important anymore. They did mention that this guy didn’t have the qualities of being a Dragonaut but was yet given his own Dragon which eventually went berserk. What about the reason Gio first decided his role was to protect Toa? I think if I continue to think more, I’ll end up having to rewrite the whole series’ script. Each episode starts off with a flashback of several years back to help us understand the past or implications that will happen in that or future episodes. This went on until the 1 year time skip. Nothing more to tell, eh?

I think many viewers will agree with me that the most annoying character has got to be Kazuki. He just doesn’t know when to give up his hatred for Jin. In my opinion, he has got to be the real villain of the series. He was so mad about Jin taking away his Gio, it didn’t occur to him that Widow was there for him all the time no matter what. She was willing to do anything for him but to that kid, revenge was all on his mind. Even if Gio told him straight in the face that he isn’t his master, it still didn’t get through him. Instead of spending time feeling resentment, why not use it to improve himself with Widow or at least appreciate her? That’s why he’s such a dumbass. Even if he returned to the right path at the end, the damage is done and perhaps to let us viewers know we shouldn’t hate and be like him. It’s too bad he didn’t get killed off earlier on. Could’ve saved everyone lots of trouble. Speaking of deaths, I thought many of the characters were going to die after killing off Akira and Machina. But no, they had to bring them back at the last few episodes even if they aren’t their real selves so as not for us viewers to forget. Nozaki’s sacrifice felt a little rushed and it’s a good thing that Sakaki came to realize that even if this Laura is a Dragon, she still viewed him as her father. Nanami’s death was also a little surprise because I thought she would have a chance to make up with Yuuri but I guess her role is insignificant. Toa in the early episodes, I felt she was like one of those high school girls in love. First she met Jin, wants to be with him, then decides to go off alone and leaves him, when she gets captured, she really wants to go back by his side and then a few obstacles keeping them from seeing each other.

The fansevice element is probably the large boobs that some of the females have. Especially Garnet. It makes me wonder even if that is possible. Perhaps spending too much time in space means no gravity and in a way stretches them? Haha. Just kidding. But seriously, even if she has really big boobs, Garnet can really move swiftly like an assassin. Just distractions, eh? The amusing part which I look forward to is the next episode preview narrated by the trio operators of ISDA base, Ryouko, Megumi and Saki. First the rant about unrelated stuff and when they realize they are short on time, they really summarize the next episode in a line or two. Thanks, girls. That really helped a lot (read sarcasm). Since this series is produced by Gonzo, you can see their trademark mix of 2D and 3D computer graphics. However I find the CGs for the Dragons when the Actualized to be a little lame. I don’t know, I felt it doesn’t bring them to life and their movements were like, say, toys. Not to mention that their designs somehow bring back memories of Digimon and Zoids.

Probably my other reason for watching this show is the several famous casts lending their voices. With got the entire SOS Brigade from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu scattered throughout here. We have Daisuke Ono taking the lead this time as Jin (he was Koizumi in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu), Minori Chihara as Toa (Nagato), Tomokazu Sugita as Howling Star (Kyon), Yuko Goto as Machina (Asahina) and Aya Hirano as Garnet (Haruhi). Though there is nothing wrong, sometimes I feel that Yu Kobayashi should’ve voiced Garnet instead of one of the ISDA operators. Not to say Aya Hirano is unsuitable but you know, it is my stereotypic view that Yu Kobayashi better voices crazy women. Not that Garnet did go crazy all the time anyway. Other seiyuus include Nana Mizuki as Sieglinde (Oboro in Basilisk), Miyuki Sawashiro as Akira (Shinku in Rozen Maiden), Junichi Suwabe as Gio (Atobe in Prince of Tennis), Tetsuya Kakihara as Kazuki (Natsu in Fairy Tail), Saeko Chiba as Widow (Natsuki in Mai-HiME), Jouji Nakata as Sakaki (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou) and Cho as Kiril (Brook in One Piece). Some casts play more than 1 role like Yuko Goto as Ai and Miyuki Sawashiro as Laura. In my opinion, the opening theme, Perfect Blue by Jazzin’ Park featuring ATSUMI and first ending theme, Rain of Love by Yukari Fukui do not suit the series. Perfect Blue may sound like pop but its calm and soothing pace doesn’t feel right. Same as Rain of Love, though it has that melancholic feel. But the second ending theme, Flight or Flight fits nicely because of its rock theme. It was a surprise that Yu Kobayashi sang that song since I couldn’t recognize her singing voice. I know, I can recognize her when she goes crazy.

Maybe another fundamental theme is about the relationship human has with other species and among ourselves. It all depends. Sometimes we easily click with certain people but do not get along with others even if we spend donkey years with them. Some are like roller coaster rides. Once best friends can turn into enemies and then the whole friendship thingy patched up again. Another thing is that we shouldn’t take our existence for granted. Some alien life form may decide to play God and wipe us out. So it goes to show here that sometimes it isn’t about fighting fire with fire, maybe a little diplomacy and dialogue would do. Now if we could just get our own kind to do the same and stop all the unnecessary wars.

Code Geass

February 5, 2011

Finally after all this time pondering and waiting for reasons unknown, I am glad that I have managed to watch this series. Just like how many viewers gave their double thumbs up for it, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is one heck of an epic anime! Very epic indeed. Epic is the word for this show alright. Now I have no regrets and can die happy. Just kidding about the dying part. Unlike a big majority of animes that are adapted from manga, this series is purely an original anime created by Sunrise and the characters designed by CLAMP.

I just don’t know where to begin in this blog of mine because there won’t be enough space to put down everything. However do not despair because the Random Curiosity site has detailed episode summaries of the series. There is also Wikipedia for more information. That’s where I go when I don’t understand what is happening or need to read again and understand better what happened in that episode. This series is a good mix of drama, action, sci-fi, mecha and psychology. A little romance and comedy are still present but it isn’t overwhelming as the ones I mentioned earlier.

For the setting, it starts off on an alternate history note. Imagine if Britain never lost its power or cede its dominance that gave birth to the various countries known as Commonwealth today, instead it has expanded its influence so much so Japan has become under its territory! It’s a good thing that didn’t happen in real life or we wouldn’t have anime and manga today because otakus are busy fighting the oppressors instead of dreaming up plots and themes for their shonen and shoujo work to meet tight scheduled deadlines. On second thought, would that be any better? Anyway back to the story. Since Japan has lost the war in 2010 to one of the 3 super powers of the world (the other being Chinese Federation and EU – Europe Universe, that is), it has been renamed as Area 11 and it citizens called, well, Elevens. How would you like it if you’re being labelled as a number?

Our main character is Lelouch vi Britannia, a castaway prince of the Britannia throne, living a secluded and refugee life in Area 11 under the care of the Ashford family and taking the surname of Lamperouge with his blind (via psychological trauma) and wheelchair ridden sister Nunally. Lelouch is a smart person in the sense that he is a great strategist and real time tactician. But would that be enough of a reason for him to skip school as and his classmate Rivalz Cardemonde to go play a game chess at some high class area? That’s when his life is about to change. Of course with a country being occupied, there will be factions of resistance group trying to free their beloved country. Kallen Kouzuki/Stadfield (she’s a half-Japanese half-Britannian) part of a small resistance group has stolen a truck transporting something that the Britannian army wants. Treating it as a terrorist response, the army goes into full scale offensive and that’s when returning Lelouch gets caught in the crossfire. He meets his childhood friend, Suzaku Kururugi, the son of the late prime minister of Japan, now working as a Britannian foot soldier. However the superior on the ground decides to massacre just about anyone innocent or not, Elevens or Britannians and blame it on the terrorist. Suzaku was shot for disobeying orders. Before Lelouch could meet the same fate, a mysterious girl appears out from the truck. C.C. (pronounced shi-tsu) offers to grant Lelouch the power of the kings, Geass, the power to give absolute command to others. Well, it’s either this or you die. He accepts the Geass after agreeing to fulfil her contract. With the new powers, Lelouch looks in the eye of his would be executioners and tells them all to kill themselves. YES SIR! BAM! They shot themselves without question.

Lelouch then decides to rebel fight against the viceroy of Area 11, Third Prince Clovis la Britannia. Using a stolen Knightmare Frame, he give out orders to Kallen and her resistance group on the whereabouts of their enemies. Though they remain suspicious, but his strategies are making them win. So even if this unknown guy is suddenly commanding them, at least they’re making headway and it’s safer to put their trust in him. However Lelouch has to back down when a white Knightmare called Lancelot comes attacking swiftly, putting a damper on his plans. Unknown to Lelouch, Suzaku isn’t dead and has been treated for his wounds and is piloting Lancelot. Likewise, Suzaku doesn’t know the mastermind behind the resistance’s victory is Lelouch. Lelouch manages to enter Clovis’ HQ and under his guise to order a ceasefire when the Britannian army corners the terrorists. Lelouch uses his Geass on him to reveal the truth about his mother Marianne’s murder but is unable to get the answers he is looking for and shoots him! No mercy even if that prince begged for his life!

As news of Clovis’ death reaches the public, Lelouch returns to his Ashford Academy, he discovers that Kallen is leading a double life as a student of this academy as well. Of course she suspects him (from the same voice) but Lelouch’s smooth plan and foresight has her allay her suspicions of his identity (Lelouch used his Geass on Sayoko Shinozaki, Nunally’s maid to impersonate him at critical moments). We also see some of the other friends of Lelouch in this academy like Milly Ashford (the fun and loving granddaughter to the founder of this school), Shirley Fenette (has a secret crush on Lelouch) and Nina Einstein (xenophobic of Elevens). Then news of Clovis’ murder is caught. To everyone surprise and especially Lelouch’s, it is Suzaku! He is to be brought to justice and used as a scapegoat to rid of Honorary Britannians (Japanese who become Britannians). Lelouch needs a plan to save him without getting his identity exposed. With the help of Kallen and her resistance group leader, Kaname Ougi, Lelouch masquerades as the masked rebel known as Zero. He boldly appears in front of the convoy led by Jeremiah Gottwald and declares that he is Clovis’ true murderer. Then he uses Geass on Jeremiah to make him free Suzaku and go on a daring escape. In the aftermath, Zero offers Suzaku to join forces with him to overthrow Britannia but Suzaku refuses as he believes such a method is wrong and will change Britannia from within.

In most of the initial parts of the series, you’ll see Lelouch/Zero gaining allies in his fight against Britannia. It’s amusing and contradictory to see a Britannian fighting against his own country just to avenge the unjust death of his mom and to create a safer world for Nunally and on the other hand a Japanese fighting for the Britannian army. At times when Zero and Suzaku clash, they won’t be aware of each other’s identities. Where Suzaku lacks in brains and strategies as compared to Lelouch as a leader, he makes up for his tip top and fit physical and athletic abilities as a soldier. Also, there are limitations to Lelouch’s Geass as he will gradually find out. For instance, it can only be used once per person and must be made via direct eye contact.

C.C. mysteriously returns to keep tabs on Lelouch’s progress but much to his dismay. After all, as she mentioned, they’re partners in crime. After Suzaku has been pardoned, he meets Third Princess Euphemia li Britannia who is to be Area 11’s vice viceroy. After stopping an internal fighting between Britannians who are trying to take out Jeremiah, he pledges his loyalty to work with her to prevent more people of losing their loved ones (she lost her brother as he did lose his father). Meanwhile Second Princess Cornelia li Britannia replaces Clovis and is on the hunt for Zero and bring down the number one criminal high on Britannia’s wanted list. Lelouch is in for more surprise because Suzaku is transferred as a new student in his class. Then Cornelia sets a trap for Zero and Lelouch and his motley resistance fighters takes the bait. Though Cornelia’s tactics are superior, Lelouch is in danger of having his identity exposed if not for C.C. disguised as Zero acting as distraction. Soon, the largest anti-Britannia resistance group, Japan Liberation Front (JLF) takes a hotel hostage. Euphemia along with Nina are inside it so Cornelia cannot move rashly. Zero takes this opportunity to sneak in and use the Geass on the generals to kill themselves and save everyone while announcing his group called the Black Knights, allies of justice that champions the weak and protect them against from those with power.

Soon after, Cornelia sends her army to Narita to destroy the remnants of JLF. Zero and his Black Knights counter attack and help out JLF in hopes of capturing Cornelia alive (Lelouch was being told by Clovis that Cornelia may hold answers to Marianne’s murder). Zero once again encounters Lancelot and nearly got his identity exposed if not for C.C.’s touch. Well, at least some horrifying memories streamed through Suzaku’s head, allowing C.C. to escape with Zero. That’s when Zero’s plan of causing a large avalanche to bury Cornelia’s army. Black Knights retreat while having JLF and Britannia to duke it out. C.C. is introduced as Zero’s acquaintance to Kallen. Zero and Black Knights go see Taizou Kirihara of the Six House of Kyoto (an underground group of people opposing Britannia) and Princess Kaguya. Taizou is an acquaintance to Lelouch and Suzaku when they’re young so when he learns Zero’s identity, he understands why he can’t reveal it to the rest of his Black Knights but wants them to put their total trust in him. When Lelouch returns, he learns Shirley is greatly saddened by the death of her dad. He was one of the soldiers buried alive during the attack in Narita. Oh dear…

As Cornelia’s army tries to catch the fleeing generals of JLF, Zero and Black Knight are also on standby. Shirley is suspicious of Lelouch lately and follows him to witness that epic battle. Zero detonates the bomb he planted on JLF’s ship, making look as though they killed themselves when Britannian army starts to board it. Then another surprise attack by Lancelot has Zero ejecting from his mecha but becomes unconscious and crash lands somewhere near Shirley is. She is going to avenge the death of her father when Zero’s helmet fall off… Hey, doesn’t this guy look familiar? While Ougi finds unconscious Viletta Nu (Jeremiah’s assistant) at the site, Lelouch meets his match when he discovers another Geass user, Mao. He has the power to read minds and because of that, he can’t win. Not even if he is thinking several things at a time to distract him! Amazing. Anyway this Mao is looking for C.C. and played on Shirley’s feelings that Lelouch is Zero who killed her dad and even convinces her to shoot him. Good thing she isn’t a good shooter. Seeing the grief that he had brought upon her of his actions, he uses his Geass to make her forget about him! With her not remembering anything, Lelouch has his friends play along that they got into an argument and not on talking terms. Seems Shirley isn’t the one who has amnesia. Viletta too (she was at the site with Shirley and discovered Zero’s true identity but before she could report it, Shirley shot her). She is living with Ougi currently.

C.C. explains that she was the one who gave Mao that mind reading power but he was unable fulfil her contract and thus couldn’t turn it off. He couldn’t stop hearing voices of people around him and the only one he couldn’t read was C.C.’s, thus the reason why he seek her. Though Lelouch and C.C. did manage to lure Mao out and trap him, it was a mistake they didn’t kill him and let the police to take him in. That’s because he returns to torment them as he takes Nunally as hostage. Not wanting to raise an alarm, Lelouch and Suzaku join forces to find Mao before their time is up. In the end, Lelouch even used the Geass on himself so that Mao would be fooled by his thinking and Suzaku delivering the final blow. But it was ultimately C.C. who shot him. That’s when Lelouch learns of Suzaku’s dark secret: His dad didn’t committed suicide. That was just made up as Suzaku was the one who killed him! Dad wanted to go ahead and fight resisting against Britannia to the bitter end but had he lived and went on with the war, Japan would’ve been torn to bits.

The remnants of JLF known as the Four Holy Blades convince Zero and the Black Knights to rescue their leader Kyoushirou Toudou from Britannia’s capture. After their success, Toudou and his Four Holy Blades are absorbed into the Black Knights while Euphemia announces that Suzaku will be her personal knight. I guess this raise some eyebrows because you know, a non-pure blood Britannian holding such a post? On another mission, Toudou faces off with Lancelot and reveals its pilot to be Suzaku, shocking Lelouch especially because he was going to entrust Nunally in his safe hands. Well, you know what they say about keeping your friends and enemies closer, right? Zero orders the capture of Suzaku at the Shikinejima military base but the interference of Second Prince Schneizel el Britannia by bombing the place with his floating ship Avalon to sacrifice Suzaku to kill Zero, has the entire place in chaos. The next thing Zero knows, he is on a mysterious island and Euphemia on his side. She knows his true identity ever since the hotel hostage incident, the way he thinks and such. Suzaku is also whisked to that island but with Kallen. So when both sides meet, they fall into a crumbling pit, in which Zero and Kallen steal and escape in a prototype Knightmare. Soon, the exiled Japanese government is attacking the Kyuushuu island with the help of the Chinese Federation. Britannia is having a hard time and Suzaku’s Lancelot is out of power. With that, Zero and his Black Knights step in to help fight against the invaders and drive them out.

Euphemia declares a Special Administration Zone (SAZ) for Area 11 near Mt Fuji whereby Elevens get to be called Japanese once more both sides will have equal rights (hoping to bring back the peaceful days she spent with Lelouch and Nunally). This puts a damper on Zero’s plans because this would mean his Black Knights will be rendered useless. Everyone is taking up this offer as Euphemia requests for Zero to join in this programme. On commemoration day, Zero appears but wants to have a private chat with Euphemia. He admits his lost and is ready to go along with her plan when he jokes about his Geass to kill all Japanese. So happens his Geass went out of control and poor Euphemia as hard as she fought against her will, eventually succumbed to his Geass and orders the Britannian army to slaughter every Japanese on sight! Oh sh*t!!! The place turns into a bloodbath scene as saddened Lelouch has no choice but to order his Black Knights to intercept and make it seems as though this was a trap by her to kill everyone off. Lelouch faces off with Euphemia and shoots her right in front of enraged Suzaku. He takes her back and has her treated but it is too late as she passes away. Zero takes this opportunity to announce the United States of Japan and with Area 11 revolting against Britannia, Zero plans to take down Britannia by collapsing Tokyo. Zero’s strategies give his Black Knights the upper hand against Britannia as they also take over Ashford Academy and make it their HQ.

A weird looking boy name V.V. (pronounced vee-tsu) appears before Suzaku and tells him the truth about Geass. Now he is really mad and out for revenge. In the final attack, Zero manages to wound and capture Cornelia but to his shock, she doesn’t know anything about Marianne’s murder though the way she said things made her aware that there was an attack eminent on that day. Then V.V. kidnaps Nunally to Kaminejima. When Lelouch receives news of her abduction, he suddenly leaves the Black Knights to Toudou’s command and abandons the battle scene. The Black Knights are at a loss without his guidance and suffer heavy defeat and casualties. Zero arrives on the island but Suzaku and Kallen also tailed him. C.C. is trying to stall mad vengeful Jeremiah and they both get sunk to the bottom of the sea. Suzaku fires a shot at Zero’s helmet and sees his true identity, shocking them all. Both friends now become enemies as they both draw out their guns against each other.

Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Rebellion R2

The end of the first season definitely ended on a cliff-hanger. If I saw this back then, I would definitely by unsatisfied as there were so many unanswered questions left hanging. Thankfully it didn’t end there because a year later, a second season called Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 resumes from where it left off. Well, a year from the aftermath of the Tokyo war. Uneasy peace returns to Area 11 as Japan has lost yet again, twice to Britannia. So in this sequel we can expect more plot and more characters.

But wait! Something feels amiss at the start of the sequel. How and why is Lelouch living a normal high school life? He has a little brother called Rolo Lamperouge and Viletta has become a teaching staff at Ashford Academy? Woah! What’s going on? The first episode feels like history repeating itself and deja vu. Why? Lelouch once again decides to ditch his studies and go play a game of high stakes gamble at Babel Tower, this time with Rolo. Then the terrorists strike. But they aren’t just any ordinary terrorists. They are the remnants of the Black Knights led by C.C. and Kallen to retrieve Lelouch. As usual the Britannian army goes to engage the terrorists and at the same time slaughter everyone regardless of being a Britannian or Eleven. When C.C. comes into contact with Lelouch, that is when he regains his memories and returns to being Zero and commands his perpetrators to kill themselves. His back! And it feels good, doesn’t it?

We learn that following the events of the cliff-hanger at the first season finale, Lelouch was captured by Suzaku and brought to the Emperor of Britannia, Charles vi Britannia, who is also Lelouch’s dad. Suzaku is willing to sell out his friend and wants Charles to admit him into the Knights of the Round (elite soldiers under the direct command of Charles). Charles is also a Geass user as he uses it on Lelouch to alter his memories and implant fake ones. He also did this to his school pals thus Rolo and Viletta are posing to keep a watch on Lelouch to prevent his memories from returning. So now it all makes sense. As the attack on Babel Tower continue, Zero does his usual strategy and kills the current governor of the area and slick move has his team seek refuge at the Chinese Federation’s consulate where he meets Li Xingke, a strong military officer. After Zero announces his return and the formation of the United States of Japan, Lelouch goes back to school. But Rolo believes that Lelouch isn’t all that innocent. In fact they confront each other in a secret operations room underneath the school. Lelouch learns Rolo’s Geass power to stop time, though it has its own limitations. Lelouch manages to convince Rolo to spare him and even hand him over C.C. (Viletta and Rolo’s other main mission is to capture her). Note, C.C. is impersonating as Zero at the consulate so this dispels the fact that Zero and Lelouch are the same person.

Since Cornelia is missing since that aftermath, I guess her personal knight Gilbert Guilford gives Zero an ultimatum to show himself up or else he will execute the captured Black Knights, which include Toudou and Ougi. Zero appears right before the time is up and challenges Guilford to a battle. No one can match his strategy as he confuses the Britannian army as a diversion so that his team could free the captured Black Knights. Rolo is about to kill Lelouch for betraying him but in a very pre-planned setup, Zero takes a sniper bullet meant for Rolo (that soldier was under Lelouch’s Geass). Another round of smooth talking manages to soften Rolo’s heart and convince him to fight on his side. Now one threat is settled. With the appearance of Zero, Suzaku returns from his EU battle to resume schooling at Ashford to investigate Lelouch. To test him, he wants Lelouch to talk over the phone to the new Area 11’s viceroy: Nunally. He’s in a bind because if he acknowledges her, it would mean his memories have returned and if he doesn’t, oh well he can’t because he would never lie to her. Hey, wait about that Zero thingy and all? Luckily Rolo uses his Geass to stop Suzaku’s time to give Lelouch a little breathing space and tell Nunally to play along that he doesn’t know her.

Zero and his Black Knights plan to capture Nunally who is onboard a vessel. He meets her and is trying to convince her that Britannia is using her but to his shock, she reveals she volunteered for it. To make things worse, she plans to revive Euphemia’s SAZ and wants him to join. The vessel under heavy attack and damage is going to crash into the sea but it couldn’t break Lelouch’s heart more when Nunally starts calling Suzaku’s name to save her. And indeed he came to her rescue. As SAZ is announced, many Elevens are suspicious seeing what happened before. Lelouch falls into depression and is thinking of abandoning it till Kallen slaps some senses into him. When you’ve got great powers, comes great responsibilities, you know? Zero makes a deal with Britannia for SAZ. He will deliver a million Elevens for to SAZ in exchange to be exiled. On the day itself, Britannia expects the Elevens to rebel but instead gets a shock when everyone suddenly dresses up as Zero! Hey, they did mention Zero is more of a symbol than a person. Which means they’ll all be exiled? A million Zeros, where do they go? Fortunately the Chinese Federation prepared a giant floating island for their escape. At least any bloodshed and massacre are avoided.

The Black Knights now have their own island called Penglai in Chinese territory. Then Zero learns that the empress of China, Tianzi is forced into a political marriage highly orchestrated by the Eunuchs, to the First Prince Odysseus eu Britannia. Xingke starts a rebellion on the wedding day but Zero beats him to it and takes Tianzi as hostage. Zero and his Black Knights are ready to rendezvous with their Indian allies so the Eunuchs are prepared to forgive Xingke if he returns Tianzi and gives him a powerful mecha, Shen Hu. During the fight, Kallen is captured and Zero is adamant to bring her back. Xingke is also quite a strategist as he forces Zero’s team to hide inside the Emperor’s Tomb in hopes they will stop firing. But it seems the Eunuchs don’t care about Tianzi and just fire away. They even request Schneizel’s army to help but that prince is smart not to fire any shots so as not to get blamed. Upset Xingke goes against them and goes all out to protect Tianzi. Sometimes it’s never good to gloat your treachery. Since the Eunuchs were careless in revealing their evil intentions, lies and showed disrespect towards Tianzi, Zero has broadcasts their statement throughout the Federation and its citizens starts revolting. Britannia pulls back as Xingke kills off the Eunuchs but Kallen has been handed over to Britannia. In the aftermath, Zero and the Black Knights form an alliance with Xingke and his army. Lelouch returns to Ashford and it seems Sayoko is the one impersonating as Lelouch while he is out on his conquest. However, other Round Knights, Gino Weinberg and Anya Alstreim, have enrolled in this school. Because Sayoko has been making Lelouch like a playboy while he’s gone, Lelouch now has an impossible task of dating every girl! Did they notice how ‘Lelouch’ was athletic or say funny lines? So unlike him.

Cornelia has been searching for the Order of the Geass to clear Euphemia’s name. She meets one of the researches and learns that Charles may be destroying the world because he wants to kill ‘God’ with his brother, V.V. who by the way sends Jeremiah, now an agent of the Order with Geass Canceller to randomly cancel out people who are infected by the Geass. One of them is Shirley as she vividly remembers who Zero is and who killed her father. Jeremiah goes in search of Lelouch and they meet. When he learns of Lelouch’s revenge motive, Jeremiah pledges his alliance to him because Marianne was a person whom he greatly admired. Meanwhile Shirley runs into Rolo and when he finds out he knows about Nunally, he uses his Geass and kills her! Lelouch finds her lying in her own pool of blood. He tries to use his Geass and order her to live but it is of no use as she confesses how she had always fell for him even if she forgets him. Gosh, I can’t believe that she would actually die! When Lelouch learns Rolo’s role in Shirley’s death, he doesn’t blame him but instead issues a secret order to a few of his Black Knight troops to go on a Geass hunt. With Jeremiah on his side, they are able to find the place and confront V.V. Zero and Cornelia team up to beat V.V. but that immortal kid starts dying due to his heavy wounds because Charles took his immortal code at the very last minute.

Zero is transported to a place called Sword of Akasha as he meets Charles there. He is immune to all Geass effect and not even bullets can kill him. C.C. is also there and reveals her wish to die (being an immortal is a pain). He feels Lelouch can’t grant her wish unlike Charles. Lelouch is transported to C’s World whereby he sees her past on how she obtained Geass of making just anyone to like her from a nun. She got bored and targeted the nun since she is immune to any Geass. Soon C.C. got tired of being tricked and killed the nun and thus inherited her immortality, hence the never ending cycle continues. Lelouch realizes her true desire and will be the one to grant it. He returns to Sword of Akasha, attacks the place, rescues C.C. before escaping and trapping Charles there. But upon returning to the real world, C.C. has lost her memories and is now a frail girl. Other developments include Kallen having a chat with Nunally but was interrupted by Suzaku who is going to interrogate Kallen by using a drug to reveal the truth about Lelouch but can’t bring himself to do it because he’ll be no better than Lelouch. Ougi meets up with Viletta to confess his love for her but they’re intercepted by Sayoko.

With some of the countries forming the United Federation of Nations (UFN), Kaguya as the head requests the Black Knights to liberate Japan from Britannia (one of the conditions to join this federation is that the country must give up their army and the Black Knights are their only might). Lelouch gets another surprise when Charles manages to escape from Sword of Akasha and declares war on him. The world is now divided into Britannia or not (EU has weakened it seems). So it’s either he wins everything or loses everything. Lelouch gets desperate since this will involve Nunally and calls Suzaku to meet him at the shrine. Suzaku still isn’t going to forgive him even if he begs or even spill the beans about using Geass on Euphemia. Though he reluctantly agrees in the end, Schneizel and his men appear and arrest Lelouch. He learns of Zero’s true identity and makes it as though Suzaku had sold him out. However Lelouch is able to escape via Guilford, whom he has used his Geass on. Then the final battle for Japan begins and Tokyo is the battleground once more. Zero uses some device to blackout the area to give his team advantage. Some of the Round Knights are transferred here to fight like top ace Bismarck Waldstein and bloodthirsty Luciano Bradley. Nina, who is working for Britannia under Lloyd and Cecile, has developed a powerful FLEIJA cannon and wants Suzaku to use it since Lancelot is being equipped with it. He is reluctant to use it till his Geass effect to live kicks in. The blast was enough to create a massive crater over the crater. Nunally was one of the many victims caught in the blast during when she was being evacuated. Lelouch becomes frantic and loses his mind, prioritizing a search for Nunally but to no avail.

Lelouch sinks into depression and even chides Rolo that he hates him and had planned to have him killed but always fall short. Ouch. Schneizel meets the Black Knights and reveals the truth about Zero. They are shocked to find the number of people, dead or alive, being used by Zero’s Geass. Ougi agrees to betray him but in return wants Japan returned to them. Zero is called by his men and it’s a trap to capture him. He has gone crazy and is ready to die but Rolo uses his Geass for them to escape. He still forgives Lelouch even if he hates him because for someone who had no family, the time he spent was real. Each time Rolo uses his Geass, it takes a toll on his heart. With Lelouch at a safe distance, Rolo dies so Lelouch decides to drag Charles to hell with him. What’s he got to lose now, after his real sister and fake brother are gone? Suzaku himself is at a lost after firing FLEIJA and confronts Schneizel (seems Nina too realize the err of her actions and sinks into depression). He wants to make him the top Round Knights in exchange for assassinating Charles and install him as the next Emperor. Lelouch heads to Kaminejima and enters Sword of Akasha to face Charles. He destroys the exit and plans to spend trapped here for eternity together. He interrogates why he never protected his mother, when Marianne suddenly pops out. That is no illusion. Seems she was hiding in Anya’s subconscious all the while.

We learn Charles made a pact with V.V. and Marianne the same with C.C. to create a peaceful world and promised they won’t lie to each other but Charles realized V.V. lied when he denied his hand in Marianne’s death. I’m not sure about the world with no future they wanted to create but they needed C.C. to complete it. She left the Order when she found out about their plan. V.V. noticed how Charles was getting close to Marianne and killed her. Before Marianne’s death, she used her Geass to cast her consciousness into Anya who was a witness then. After that, Charles altered Nunally’s memories and sent her and Lelouch to Japan as political hostages. So the plan right from the start was to obtain C.C. ‘God’ as Charles was referring to in this world seems to be the collective unconscious minds of humanity. Suzaku and C.C. (she has regained her memories) arrive at that time as Lelouch disapproves of his parents’ plan to force everyone into some dead future and uses his Geass on ‘God’ and dissolve his parents. C.C. is spared because she didn’t agree to their plan. A month later, Lelouch makes his public appearance and announces himself as the new Emperor of Britannia! After playing God, he wants to be king, eh? Will anyone acknowledge him or take him serious? Easy. Just use his Geass on everyone to acknowledge him! And another surprise as Suzaku becomes his knight, the Knight of Zero!

Lelouch is serious in reforming Britannia as he abolishes all the aristocracy systems. Some of the other Round Knights do not acknowledge him and try to fight him but got killed by Suzaku’s new and improved Lancelot. So now it’s “All hail Lelouch!” rather than “All hail Britannia!”. Lelouch then wants to join UFN but Kaguya cautions this will cause him to have the most votes (voting strength depends on a country’s population) and this would make Britannia having more than half of the votes and thus automatic majority. Can you call this democracy? Lelouch then forces them to make a vote by using Suzaku and even takes them hostage. During it all, Schneizel who is previously in hiding, destroys Britannia’s capital with his new floating fortress Damocles equipped with FLEIJA. Then he tells Lelouch that he has a better person to stand as the next emperor of Britannia: Nunally! OMG! She’s still alive! Apparently she was saved in time during that blast by Schneizel. She declares Lelouch and Suzaku her enemies. Where has all that lovely feeling gone? So another epic battle of minds between Lelouch and Schneizel is at hand. The Black Knights are supporting Schneizel while Nunally wants the task of pressing the button of FLEIJA. Though Lelouch’s plan manages to destroy lots of Black Knights troops, some manage to get onboard his Avalon but Lelouch and C.C. escape. Nina surprisingly is helping Lelouch and due to some technical timing or whatsoever, manages to tone down a FLEIJA shot. This also allows him and Suzaku to break into Damocles. C.C. goes up against Kallen to buy Lelouch time but is ultimately defeated. Then Gino fights Suzaku but was enough to damage Lancelot so when Kallen takes over, he defeats him.

Schneizel knows Lelouch is trapped within Damocles and sets it to self destruct while he escapes. He also plans on abandoning Nunally. However Lelouch is able to outsmart Schneizel with a pre-recorded video of himself and uses the Geass on him to be a faithful follower of Zero. Lelouch confronts Nunally. She amazingly breaks free of Charles’ Geass and now can see. Lelouch reluctantly uses his Geass on her to hand over the FLEIJA button. A few months down the road, Emperor Lelouch unites the world under his tyranny. He plans to publically execute some of the Black Knight members caught. However another deja vu because Zero is seen appearing in front of them. Actually it is Suzaku in disguised (Suzaku faked his death after that battle) as he swiftly runs up to Lelouch and stabs him! This was actually all part of Lelouch’s Zero Requiem plan to have everyone’s hate concentrated on him so much so Euphemia’s massacre seems miniscule and even forgotten. His last words to Suzaku tell him he has to don this mask forever and this serves as his punishment. Lelouch collapses into Nunally’s arms as she and some of the Black Knights realize his plan while Cornelia and the rest initiate a rebellion as a sign for the people to rejoice the end of Lelouch’s tyranny. Lelouch dies smiling as Nunally is overcome with emotion. In the aftermath, the world indeed has become more peaceful as efforts are no focus on poverty and hunger instead of war. We see how some of the characters are doing like Ougi and Viletta married and C.C. continues to travel alone. Ougi becomes the Prime Minister of Japan and Nunally the Emperor of Britannia.

You Play With Fire, You Get Burnt
That was sure a tragic happy ending. Tragic because Lelouch had to die but happy because of his actions and sacrifice, the rest of the world doesn’t have to fight anymore. It was such a sad thing he had to go but I in order for the show to live up to its epic billing, I guess this was necessary. This isn’t a fairytale, you know. I thought at least many of the characters will die in the end seeing after characters like Euphemia, Rolo and Shirley (didn’t expect her to die!) passed on. There were a few characters that I presumed to be supporting roles, but got killed off so quickly the moment they make their first appearance like one of the Round Knights and Valkyrie Squadron. Then when Nunally presumably got killed, I was thinking that everybody was going to die. After all, what is there left when Nunally isn’t here anymore. So when they brought her back and even some of the characters that got killed like Cornelia and Guilford, it got me thinking that maybe there shouldn’t be any more deaths. But for a show like this, deaths weren’t limited to the main and supporting characters but the others in the background such as innocent people. We see even women and children got shot and slaughtered!

I have to admit that this series is very interesting so much so that it got me glued to the screen for every episode! For both seasons! Not many anime series can retain my interest and attention. Even if there are mecha action and fights which I am usually not fond of, it never got to me as I am basically in awe of the whole thing. Even if I don’t remember the different types of mecha or their special moves, it didn’t bother me to enjoy them. That’s unbelievable even to me. Not to mention that some of the plots and revelation are a little confusing, I had to go read up from other blog sites just to get more information or understanding better. Never have I did so much intense reading up during and after the series ended. Even if there are small fillers such as Lelouch’s mask getting stolen by the cat Arthur, the Ashford Academy throwing their usual cultural even with C.C. obsessed in making the biggest pizza or a little diversion of Kallen’s biological mom trying to use the Refrain drug to relive her happy past, each of them serves as an advancement to the plot. There may be too many characters in this series but since each have their own role to play (big or small), they don’t feel redundant at all. Kudos and many thumbs up to this series! Hmm… Have I ever praised a series this much before? Maybe I must be under Lelouch’s Geass! Even if the Geass user is dead, the effect still holds as long as the condition still exists like for Schneizel, he’ll forever support Zero as long as he lives.

Lelouch is a great character in terms of generating great strategies and a leader. It’s just too bad that the Geass power he obtained caused him to be isolated from the rest and he has to hide beneath that mask. It was very noble and heroic of him to take in all the hatred. Even if the truth of what he did will never be known to the rest, that’s what you call an unsung hero. At first you’d thought he turned into one of those power-crazy megalomaniacs when he became the next Emperor of Britannia and was just the same like the rest but that’s when he caught us all off guard. Eventually we see lots of change in many of the characters. For instance, Nina towards the end isn’t xenophobic anymore and has greatly learned to accept others as compared to her appearance in the first season whereby she was distrustful especially to those who are Elevens even if they are Honorary Britannians like Suzaku and her hatred to avenge Euphemia’s revenge has subsided after she herself turned into a ‘murderer’ after unleashing her FLEIJA cannon. Viletta isn’t a woman who seeks to climb up the social ladder nor seek fame and status anymore but rather the true heart of a person and she found that in Ougi. Ougi too turned from someone who lacks confidence into someone more competent. Likewise, Suzaku held highly to his principles and could’ve turned into a monster and did unspeakable things just to uphold them but most of the times, such principles are always in the grey area. It’s ironic that he felt guilty about killing his dad and always put his life on the line in hopes of getting killed as atonement. Till Lelouch cast his Geass on for him to live. At least he won’t recklessly throw away his life.

I have watched all the picture dramas from both seasons and though they may last 5-6 minutes on average each, they tell us a little more on the thoughts of the characters and some of the situation that happened in between the episodes. This series is quite popular enough so much so it has spawned several short spin-off manga such as Nightmare of Nunally (Nunally receiving the Geass power) and Suzaku of the Counterattack (with Suzaku as the main protagonist this time). It has been adapted to other media as well such as light novels, drama CDs called Sound Episodes, artbooks, internet radio broadcasts and video games. If you notice the Pizza Hut logos peppered throughout the series, it’s because they sponsored this show in Japan. So each time I take a bite out of that cheesy and chewy dough, it reminds me of a certain green haired woman…

The voice casting is stellar as each voice is played to their roles perfectly. Jun Fukuyama (Watanuki in xxxHOLIC) gives a commanding portrayal of Lelouch and nobody else could be more persuasive to play Zero as him. There are many other casts over the 2 seasons, some even taking up various but minor roles. Hey, you couldn’t tell the difference, right? Some of the seiyuus are Takahiro Sakurai as Suzaku (Yuri in Kyo Kara Maoh), Yukana as C.C. (Honoka in Pretty Cure, Rinslet in Black Cat), Kaori Nazuka as Nunally (Nadeshiko in Inukami), Ami Koshimizu as Kallen (Tenma in School Rumble), Norio Wakamoto as Charles (Onsokumaru in 2×2=Shinobuden), Junko Minagawa as Cornelia (Ryoma in Prince of Tennis), Norihiro Inoue as Schneizel, Tetsu Shiratori as Lloyd, Kikuko Inoue as Cecile (Belldandy in Aa! Megamisama), Mitsuaki Madono as Ougi (Dr Clive in Hare+Guu), Yuuji Takada as Toudou, Ken Narita as Jeremiah (Sesshoumaru of Inu Yasha), Akeno Watanabe as Viletta (Chachamaru in Mahou Sensei Negima), Fumiko Orikasa as Shirley (Rukia of Bleach), Sayaka Ohara as Milly (Rika in Honey And Clover), Omi Minami as Euphemia (Rika in UFO Princess Valkyrie), Saeko Chiba as Nina (Chika in Ichigo Mashimaro), Kazato Tomizawa as V.V., Takahiro Mizushima as Rolo (Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome), Yuko Goto as Anya (Mikuru in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu), Hikaru Midorikawa as Xingke (Tamahome in Fushigi Yuugi) and Satomi Arai as Sayoko (Shirai in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun).

There are a few lessons one can learn from watching this series. Firstly, actions and consequences. For every action that one has done, there will be some sort of chain reaction and consequence as a result of that act. Once done, cannot be undone. You are responsible for your own actions and must have the will to live with the changes even if it’s an undesired one. For instance when Zero thought it was okay for his plan to kill normal foot soldiers. But what happens when one of them turns out to be a father of a close friend? Could you live with that? For every action that Lelouch initiates, it brings more and more misery to the rest so much so it seemingly threatens to go out of control. And so it is true that he creates and destroys worlds. At least he finished what he started. Secondly, the effects of war are never good. For whatever reasons it may be, a country’s honour or liberation, it is ultimately the people that suffers. Why can’t we get along in the first place? What is this glory of conquering nations and to unite everyone? So it took a high school kid’s sacrifice just for the world to open their eyes and really unite? If that is the case, then I think it was worth it. A life sacrificed to stop even more possible bloodshed.

I guess there may be other things that I would like to say but I probably would have forgotten about them since I’m still amazed at this series. If the leaders of the world could watch this show and come to realize the betterment of the human race, I think that would be okay. Or maybe, they’ll get the wrong idea and try to emulate and build more mecha to enhance their military power! If you ask me, I don’t really want to be bestowed any Geass power because I don’t think I can shoulder the responsibility and results of my actions. While the world is out there trying to fight poverty, hunger and displaced people due to war, conflict and natural disasters, what am I doing here watching my animes happily? Maybe I’m under a Geass spell to begin with.

Ichiban Ushiro No Daimaou

February 4, 2011

From the promotional poster and name of the series, I’m figuring Ichiban Ushiro No Daimaou is going to be some naughty harem with lots of fanservice. Hah. What was I thinking? Let’s see. The guy in the centre as the main protagonist and the supposed demon king, check. Flanked by a bevy of pretty girls, check. Magic, sword play, romance, action and fanservice, check. Oh heck. What more do I need to believe so? Sure it had the elements needed for a harem and fanservice series but not as close as I have said in my first line.

Episode 1
Our main guy here is Akuto Sai, someone who yearns to become part of the highest order of magicians so that he could contribute back to society. Doesn’t seem like anything motivating for a harem show, eh? We see him making his way to Constant Magick Academy to begin his dream. At the train station he bumps into first harem girl, I mean, Junko Hattori. After they exchange conversation and found they both share the same ideals, the samurai Junko pledges her friendship and to serve him to achieve his goals. At school, he is being led by homeroom teacher Mitsuko Torii to get his physical check up and future occupation read by some crow called Yata Garasu. Guess what he read Akuto’s job? Demon Lord! Oh sh*t! Can that be a career? He’s not joking! Yata Garasu’s prediction always comes true, you know. Because of that, the students start to fear him (it’s really that bad if you see the way they react upon seeing him) and there goes his dream of contributing back to society. So how bad is this Demon Lord thingy? Well, 100 years ago, he tried to destroy the world and brought war and chaos along with it. Enough said. Mitsuko isn’t afraid like other students because if ever there’s a point Akuto dies, she’ll gladly use his body as an experimental subject! Some teacher.

So Akuto goes to class, tries to dispel the fact that he is dangerous but the other students don’t buy it and cower in fear at the back of the class instead. Rumours sure spread fast. Seems Junko is in the same class and is ignoring him. Another classmate, Hiroshi Miwa, who was enthralled by Akuto’s speech and soon-to-be self proclaimed lackey for Akuto, decides to elect him as class rep. But he declines and prefers to take up cleaning duties. In this school, cleaning duties mean destroying anyone in their path. WTF?! Now everyone’s fears are confirmed. Junko is upset that he toyed with her feelings and challenges him to a duel. He tries to talk to her but yeah, but would she believe him? During an attack, Akuto’s arm suddenly emits a bright light followed by an explosion. That night Akuto tries to go to apologize to Junko but he starts off on the wrong foot by trying to climb in from her window. What would everyone think if they see him? Oh, too late. He runs for his life and stumbles upon an airhead girl, Keena Soga. Proclaiming him her prince, she protects him from Junko’s wrath but you know hell hath no fury like woman scorn so Akuto once again unknowingly unleashes a powerful magic, causing a large crater. Junko is knocked out, Keena over-apologetic and it gets worse when another girl, a Liladan android observer, Korone makes her appearance. Wow. That’s fast in gathering his ‘harem’. Haha!

Episode 2
Korone heals Junko and since she said she would like to have a word with the school’s headmaster, Keena panics and turns invisible to escape. Next day as Akuto sees the headmaster, the latter says that even if he is to be the Demon Lord, he is still a student in his school and has requested from the government for someone (Korone) to protect and observe him. This means 24/7 surveillance and Korone is sure a weird girl. I’m not sure if she’s really just observing or flirting or trying to seduce him. Next day, Akuto meets a popular girl’s dorm head, Fujiko Etou and to his relieve, she doesn’t believe that he’ll turn into a Demon Lord. As Korone follows Akuto to just about anywhere (even to the men’s toilet!), Akuto requests Etou’s help to make up with Junko. Not wanting Korone to be tailing him, Etou suggests a way to shut that Liladan down by pulling its tail. Guess where her ‘tail’ is? Akuto and Korone trek up the mountain side as suggested by Etou but they’re being attacked by a demon dog. Akuto subdues it with his power and turns it back to a cute harmless puppy. After pulling Korone’s tail, Akuto meets Etou, she suggests him joining the disciplinary committee of the student council and gives him a pair of magical pills and a gun. The pills allow those being shot with it to understand feelings of each other better. Akuto then reactivates Korone and chases after invisible Keena. He recognizes her bird hairpin because he remembered he gave to her when they were young. Etou calls Junko but it seems Etou has some ulterior motive as she lies to her how Akuto threatened and forced her to do things. Junko plans to confront Akuto. With her plans set in motion, we see Etou’s plan of making the Demon Lord as her slave and she has a creepy jar containing her dead brother’s head!

Episode 3
A short flashback how Etou was close to her brother. When he died, he was told he was a weakling and brought shame to the family’s name. In present, Akuto goes see the student council and meets its members: The president, Riri Shiraishi (what’s with the witch hat?), the vice president Michie Ootake (bat girl), treasurer Kanna Kamiya (wolf girl) and secretary Arunuuru (“Guga!”). Riri announces Akuto’s admission as the disciplinary committee and this send shivers to some of the students because they think it’s the end of their school. Akuto has to put up with Korone’s observation and seduction while rice-loving Keena makes herself at room. Later he goes to an abandon barracks and is surrounded by a couple of guys who wants to beat him up. Seriously, they want to take down the future Demon Lord? He uses his magic to bring pain to them so Junko who has witnessed his brutality thinks it’s part of his plan for world domination and fights him. He tries to use the pills but it’s empty. Junko then escapes and decides to gather those to fight against him. Junko announces her intentions and since she has given special permission, she and her followers will be given only an hour to bring down Akuto. He runs for his life till Junko corners him. She was going to strike him till Keena interrupts. Spewing stuff like Junko likes him, etc. This causes her followers to be upset that they got dragged into a lover’s quarrel as they turn against her. Junko admits her fault and they both team up. But before they can attack, Keena throws rice to everybody. Hey, it was enough to make them all happy. Rice? So it’s revealed that Keena took those pills from Akuto back then and used it to mix it with her rice. Etou bemoans her fate because the effect of the pill has lots of girls trying to get a piece of her. Her sexy bootylicious body…

Episode 4
Another short flashback as we see Etou’s brother trying to complete his last mission but found out the truth when he is confronted by a blonde guy and realized his intentions. Akuto can’t seem to control his magic yet and another powerful one causes a huge crater. Could’ve killed somebody. Mitsuko suggests that Akuto confine himself in solidarity at a place to meditate. Seems Korone and Keena couldn’t leave him out and enter with him. They find a map inside a wall when Keena can’t hold it in and needs to relieve herself! Etou is outside plotting revenge against Akuto and to make him swear allegiance to her but after hearing the ruckus, she transforms to her goody-two-shoes face to open the door. When she sees the map, she takes it and leaves. She shows it to her brother but he doesn’t remember anything. Remembering during her brother’s funeral, her sad mom told her how the government used undead magic to interrogate him and it was revealed he got scared, ran away and committed suicide. Note that the dead don’t tell lies. Then Etou meets Eiko Teruya who knows what Etou is up to and she too has her own motives. Suddenly the map is displayed all over school and the culprit reveals to be Keena who wants those interested to participate in a pirate treasure hunt. However those who participated got injured and Riri wants Akuto to announce and ban the treasure hunting. But they start accusing him of conspiring with Keena and to make things worse, planted the dangers. They start throwing things at him and Eiko throws herself at him (?!) and wants him to go on a hunt himself to prove that he isn’t the one behind it. Akuto makes his trip as Hiroshi, Korone and Eiko tag along. Why is Eiko getting up so close to him? Upon entering the first point, Korone decrypts a code which says it is for Bouichirou Yamato. Whoever that is.

Episode 5
As the gang search for Bouichirou’s tombstone, they are suddenly being attacked by a whirlwind of bats. Akuto fires the gun to disperse the bats. They stumble upon Bouichirou’s grave and find a sound recorder revealing a clue. Etou is watching the gang when Keena barges in and wants her to follow them. Junko too is on her way there after learning it from Keena. After the gang dispatches a row of armoured knights, they find a video recorder that reveals more clues. This leads them to a hotspring and as they soak in, Akuto learns that Eiko is after something the previous Demon Lord left behind. So happen Junko is soaking on the other side and when she sees Eiko, she warns Akuto she is an agent sent by the government to see if he could fight his destiny. The girls start fighting but a giant wolf turns up but it fell asleep soon after. Eiko got upset seeing that Akuto went to save Junko first and leaves in a huff. Keena and Etou arrive and after giving her the items, she activates something that transports them to another place. Riri is waiting for them and it seems all this was a game set up by the student council and the first one to get here wins. All the dangers that they faced were just the other student council members in disguise. However Etou rushes in to the building first as Riri reveals that this place was the base for the previous Demon Lord and can’t let a future one come into contact. Etou puts in all the items and starts activating. A dragon, Peterhausen awakens from his slumber and asks those who can control him. If not, die. Memories of the truth flow through Etou’s mind and reveal her brother activated the device but found out the blonde guy was just using him so he erased his memories and got killed by him. Riri fights Akuto and Junko though Akuto says he won’t be the Demon Lord and just wants to save Etou. He charges straight to Peterhausen, fights him, beats him and saves Etou. Peterhausen pledges to serve Akuto as his master and Etou too decides to do the same. Riri gives him a kiss as a reward. So how can we believe he is not going to be the next Demon Lord?

Episode 6
Korone is being contacted by her superiors and if she fails her mission, she will have to take responsibility. But this wouldn’t be called a harem series if not for a beach episode. I guess Akuto needs a break trying to run away from Korone’s harassing and seduction. What difference does it make since she’s there too. Yeah, Korone even tried to get Junko involved in making Akuto ‘hard’. Akuto and Junko have their time together but as usual were interrupted by annoying Korone. She apologizes but mentions she didn’t have any intention of hurting anyone. Later Hiroshi tells Akuto about a legend from his hometown. A monster will appear to cause havoc and a hero will come forth to defeat it. That same person will also defeat the Demon Lord. Hiroshi is upset that Akuto doesn’t understand things because he is strong. Riri approaches Etou and Peterhausen to inform them about some news. The school intends to protect Akuto and since Peterhausen’s existence is illegal, there are no laws on how to deal with him (so no action to be taken). Those higher ups are using the Liladan to seduce Akuto and some big shots are trying to start a war, the Ministry of Magickal Intelligence, CIM08. However Riri intends to go after those who will use Akuto as a tool for dark magic. Etou couldn’t contact Akuto so she sends Keena to find him. When she does, she can’t remember what it was. That airhead… She gets drunk and seductive. Akuto notices the hairpin and thinks they really met then. As Keena was about to kiss him, Akuto gets a good kick from behind courtesy of Korone. Suddenly somebody shoots Korone.

Episode 7
Hiroshi is being told by Yata Garasu that his future occupation is a hero. After injured Korone leaves via some dimensional door, Keena finally remembers and tells Akuto that Korone will lose her job as observer if she fails. Lots of people are looking up to Hiroshi of being a hero especially his little sister Yukiko. So when she confronts Akuto and the gang and hears that both don’t want to be Demon Lord and hero, she gets upset and runs away. It’s like telling a kid Santa Claus never existed. Hiroshi and Keena go search for her. At the lake, he tells her there’s a shrine built by his grandpa whereby one can prove oneself to be a hero by pulling out a small sword stuck to a rock. Suddenly a villain-cum-flasher (not to mention his annoying dancing), Mr X, unleashes a monster from the lake. He tries to screw Yukiko so Hiroshi goes to save her but gets beaten up. Akuto and Junko arrive in time to face him off but Akuto gets beaten up). Mr X needs to keep him alive so that he could lay the blame on him for destroying the village. Hiroshi wakes up inside the cave and sees the sword in the rock and pulls it out. He is then given powers and transforms into a superhero called Brave! Oh, now we have a super sentai. Mr X plans to sacrifice the girls but Korone appears in time to save them and put a stop to this rogue from the Ministry of Magickal Intelligence. The monster wrecks havoc on the village but Brave saves the day. Then he is going to kill Mr X but is stopped by Akuto. Brave backs down and quickly reverts back to Hiroshi before the gang suspects anything. Later Korone explains the ministry doesn’t know anything about CIM08 and she’s using that info to blackmail them and return to her job to observe Akuto. She reveals she tried to seduce him because he seems inept at relations with woman. She wants Akuto to marry Junko. Korone initially misinterpreted he liked Keena but showed no progress. Junko gets flustered and runs away. Korone says her feelings for him and had really cared for him. But it seems she was just teasing him after all.

Episode 8
Eiko meets that blonde guy. He mentions predictions of the future have changed due to Akuto so she suggests targeting Junko. As airhead Keena spends more time with Akuto, Etou is trying to control monsters for her and Akuto to rule the world. But the monsters seem horny… She then finds a monster egg. Monsters have been rampaging recently and Brave is the only one that stands in the way of making the people the food for the monsters. Akuto discuses with Korone and Hiroshi about God, High Priest post and the system. Akuto tries to convince Keena to come to class since she’s been skipping loads of them and prefers to spend time hanging out with him. Junko sees how physical Keena gets with Akuto and has that uncomfortable look on her face. Keena, wanting egg for her rice, steals Etou’s monster egg and when Akuto finds out about it, it’s too late as the egg turns into an enormous double-headed chicken running wild and attacking anything in sight. Though Etou claims she can control this creature, it attacks her instead. Then it flies off into town. Hiroshi transforms into Brave to stop it and saves a popular TV idol, Yuri Hoshino. She gets captivated by his bravery and kisses him. Akuto reports this to Riri but she intends to overlook it. However she notes the monsters are reacting to him. Just as Keena decides to go back to regular classes, Akuto’s relief is short-lived because tomorrow is the start of a long vacation! Haha! Meanwhile Junko uncomfortably tries to ask Korone about that marriage thingy but Korone mentions she has already notified her family for a marriage interview. Say what?!

Episode 9
Junko goes to invite Akuto to come see his family without telling him what it was. Hiroshi is also invited while the observer will tag along because of her job nature. Akuto later overhears the headmaster talking to that blonde guy who is the leader of CIM08, warning the former about monsters becoming active lately due to an irregular guy. On a train to Junko’s village, since Junko is too embarrassed to mention about the political marriage, Akuto tries to assure her but even his choice of words make it seem ambiguous. Will take responsibility? Upon arriving, they meet Junko’s sister, Yuuko who turns out to be Yuri. Yuuko was bitten by a monster before so the mark on her neck sometimes makes her want to go crazy. Akuto meets Junko’s dad and he approves of the kid. Even if everyone celebrating, Akuto hasn’t got a clue what he’s gotten into. That night she perhaps tried to give him her body so he realizes everything. She starts crying and leaves. All those peeping ninjas aren’t happy Akuto made her cry and are out for his blood! While getting away, Akuto bumps into Eiko as he tells him that Keena will be assassinated by her dad who is also her family’s head. Eiko withdraws when Yuuko arrives. Her monster mark is causing her pain but Akuto wants to go after Eiko. Though Korone wishes to stop him, she decides to let him go and purposely makes him pull her tail. Meanwhile the assassination squad is instantly killed by that blonde guy, Bouichirou, before they can take Keena out. He asserts that he was the one who gave her that hairpin. Akuto arrives to save Keena as Bouichirou explains she is the law of identity. Something about being able to control Gods if she makes contract with someone and obtaining an immaterial body. Something about the Gods want to be ruled too but Bouichirou was rejected by them when his intention was to free them. The Gods feared that and their only option was to eliminate Bouichirou or Keena. Akuto vows to protect Keena’s freedom and powers up to a demon. Keena runs to his arms as Etou arrives with an army of monsters under her command.

Episode 10
As the monsters rampage the city, Eiko finds her dying dad who wants to publicly condemn Bouichirou but Eiko stabs him and takes over his place as High Priest. Then a mysterious guy from CIM08, 2V, decides to cooperate with her. Junko learns from her dad that their family is under the command of Eiko who will lead her army to defeat the Demon King holed up at the school. He gives her the family sword, Sohaya. No one has been able to pull it out of its scabbard but it can be done when one tries to do as the sword desires. Akuto fights Bouichirou but is no match for his sword. Etou takes him and retreat so that they can call Peterhausen. Headmaster stalls Bouichirou for them. Akuto sees Riri as she warns him that if he intends to destroy the system, she’ll stop him. With Yuuko/Yuri going to the battlefront, this is generating lots of publicity. Brave assures that he will protect her. Eiko seems to want to send to sisters to battle so that she could obtain Sohaya after their deaths. Akuto rides Peterhausen and takes it to the skies. Junko tries to take Akuto down herself but is confused with her feelings. He promises to take care of her once the battle is done and leaves her on the ground. Akuto-Peterhausen battles Brave and their ideals clash. Peterhausen is losing his mana aside from it being cancelled and consumed by Brave. Then the empire sends an aerial aircraft, Black Crane to attack the Demon Lord. It fires lots of shots into Peterhausen though he is recovering his mana. 2V uses his puppet who is one of the crews onboard Black Crane to take over the helm and crash into Peterhausen.

Episode 11
Bouichirou is losing a girl that looks a lot like Keena to the Demon Lord and he soon turned into a lone time traveller. Brave stops Bouichirou from finishing off the headmaster. He reverts back to Hiroshi and plans to aid Bouichirou since he needs power to defeat the Demon Lord. There’s a big possibility Akuto is still alive because the monster mark on Yuuko’s neck is still there. Riri goes up to Eiko and reveals to the world that she killed her family head. As much as Eiko orders her to be taken out, Riri’s elastic body gives her the advantage. Meanwhile Keena and Etou are running away from a rubber man sent by 2V. They come into Bouichirou as he kidnaps Keena. With Michie’s help, Etou manages to get back to her lab and get her potions and end that rubber guy’s harassment. Eiko orders Yuuko back and this doesn’t please Junko because Eiko plans to glorify Yuuko’s death for saving her commander. Riri and her other student council members face off with Junko and beat her. Eiko uses Yuuko as hostage but Brave comes to her rescue. He then disappears with her along with Bouichirou who still has Keena in his arms, agreeing to help Bouichirou out. Eiko barely escapes from Riri’s punches so 2V proposes to work together thinking the Demon Lord is killed and Eiko’s family has been disgraced. No deal. They beat up 2V but he’s just a puppet and the real self somewhere else. Akuto then revives from the wreckage (partly thanks to the headmaster for reducing Black Crane’s impact). As Akuto prepares to leave to save Keena, Eiko confronts Junko and wants her to take out the Demon Lord. Junko decides to betray her in the name of love and pulls out Sohaya. She wipes out her underlings but Korone stops her from killing Eiko because she must live to atone her sins. Eiko tries to escape but is horrified when she bumps into her semi-cyborg dad. Peterhausen tells Akuto a Demon Lord is created by altering mana in his body. He is killed off when he is weak and then waits for 100 years. Since the Gods perpetuated this, Akuto thinks that humans aren’t the only ones who do as they please.

Episode 12
Akuto faces Brave. With their clashed ideals, they fight. Akuto purposely gets himself hurt by Brave because he knows Hiroshi isn’t someone who is capable of cruelty. Brave’s identity to Yuuko is exposed but she doesn’t care since she still finds him cool. Akuto plans to take out God since they are the ones controlling the mana in Yuuko’s body, even if it means sacrificing himself. Bouichirou has arrived at God’s place, slaughtering all the guards and plans to control God because he isn’t fond of His idea of wiping out humanity. As he starts the process, he sees Keena’s other half, Rimu, who tells him no matter how much he tries, it will not work because that is not his role. Then Akuto arrives and it’s a rematch. He finally beats him. Akuto learns the Demon Lord is something the Gods created as a proxy to destroy humans. He is going to kill the God who is acting as a server connected to the terminal and there will be a time people will realize God is just a system. The place starts activating and floats in the air. Akuto is going to end this and sacrificing himself is part of the plan. Riding Peterhausen, they charge in and face numerous defensive mechanism attacks. Akuto buys Peterhausen time fending off the attacks as the dragon tries to connect and gain control of God. Then God opens a hole in space-time but Akuto’s emotion and fear has him unable to use his mana to wipe it out. Keena had followed them and learns what is happening. Peterhausen is going to help regulate Akuto’s mana to the last moment but that will mean sacrificing himself. He gives a piece of his tooth to Keena. Keena sees Rimu, who tells her about her purpose. She wants to put a rest to Bouichirou’s soul whose wish was happiness for the woman he once loved (the reason he tried to control the Gods). She decides to rewrite history. In the aftermath of the large explosion, Akuto is reunited with the rest. Seems everyone’s memories except Akuto and his pals got altered that Akuto defeated the Demon Lord. Junko renounced her house to be with him, Yuuko’s monster mark is gone and she is flirty with Akuto, Korone continues to stay with him, Etou plans on making the Demon Lord rise again and surprisingly Arunuuru spoke! Akuto visits Yata Garasu once more, whose prediction of his future occupation is: Demon Lord! Here goes another round of havoc again! Let the fear sink in again! Deja vu? Hey, everyone’s memories got altered, right?

Demon Lord Is Not A Job! It’s A Curse!
Uh huh. So it ended just like that? The world is safe again till the next Demon Lord comes about. Looks like Akuto has to take that unwanted honour again. Plot wise, I never seriously followed it. So when they started talking about trying to get rid of whoever that God was or some system, I was at a lost. I didn’t want to crack my head at all the revelations at the end. Even if there were some plots that I didn’t understand such as if Bouichirou did give Keena that bird hairpin, why was that flashback it was Akuto seen giving it to her? Unless Bouichirou looked like Akuto when he was young. No way. He’s a person who lived for a very long time, right? I may not remember much, but what was the implication of a kid been shown abandoned by his mother in the first episode? That’s supposed to be Akuto, right? Or is it supposed to be somebody else? It also certainly felt that things didn’t really end yet because that 2V guy escaped so it’s an indication there will be some kind of development if the producers ever wanted to create a sequel.

I guess if you have seen too many kinds of anime, you can guess the kind of characters they are. Akuto being the lead character he has got to have his own set of principles to follow. He’s got to do certain stuff and solve problems even if a big majority of the school has an unfavourable view on him. He learns of his power, controls them, powers up, gains allies, fights enemies and saves the day. What more do you expect? Hiroshi getting the powers of Brave felt like a side distraction. Having dual personalities sure clashes with his ideals and his loyalty to Akuto. Therefore I think it was a good thing he cast away his superhero image and be who he is. With Peterhausen gone, I wonder who will replace him seeing this Demon Lord thingy is like a system a cycle. And the rest of the other students who shiver with fear upon learning that Akuto is the Demon Lord, have they ever heard of never judge a book by its cover? But if they truly fear him, don’t you think they should have transferred out from this school? So he isn’t that bad, right? Well, until he crosses their path or makes some speech that they’ll always never fail to misinterpret as something evil. Even if Yata Garasu’s predictions are never wrong, people shouldn’t believe everything they hear. Especially coming from a crow. Oh wait. Didn’t a certain octopus predicted with 100% accuracy high profile football matches?

Even if this show was meant to be a harem, I never did feel it was one. Though Riri may be one of the 5 main girls supposedly to be Akuto’s harem, she was never with him for most of the part. Sure, she was the only one who kissed him but among the rest, she was the one who spent the least time close to him. Korone may be always seducing and teasing Akuto but that’s just about it. I also felt the other girls didn’t have a certain impact towards the end. Etou may have become Akuto’s self proclaimed servant halfway but she didn’t do much in the end except calling forth some beasts which didn’t do much either. I thought Junko would at least be the main girl like in most harems and the focus among the other girls but she was just reduced to a tsundere and wasn’t directly fighting side by side with Akuto. Though it isn’t clear but things indicate that Akuto may end up with Keena seeing the focus was on her although Junko did say she was willing to marry him (but hey, things can change in the future, right? It’s not like they’re getting hitched right away). I mean, observing the ending credits show the girls kissing Akuto and Keena having a second go should have at least given me a hint. Eiko couldn’t be part of the harem because she’s a bad girl while Yuuko has her eyes set on Hiroshi. Hey, even a lackey has got to have his own girl. Mitsuko? She’s only interested in his dead body. So in the end, it didn’t really feel like a harem show like I hoped for. Hey, why do I have an impression or expectation that this should be one? As for the fanservice, they are quite mild and in some cases, it’s like blink-or-you’ll-miss-it. Nothing over the top. The action is okay too, nothing special or that flashy.

If you buy the DVDs, they come with short extras (but filled with lots of fanservice) lasting around 3 minutes each called Mo Hitotsu Omake No Daimaou (Another Extra Demon Lord). Special 1 sees Junko and Etou facing off in some pool challenge. Over Akuto, I guess. Etou plays dirty when Junko gets off to a head start. She unleashes her potions of purple slime and monsters. But the monsters turn horny and the girls turn on each other. They take their battle to new heights as Etou uses a more powerful potion, blasting everyone away. In Special 2, Yuuko helps Junko to write a love letter in a scroll, telling her feelings she’s too embarrassed to tell Akuto. But Eiko steals it so Junko chases her throughout school. Unknowingly, she dropped the scroll onto Akuto as he reads it. Junko catches up and challenges Eiko and beats her (more of her clothes were ripped?). When she realizes the scroll isn’t with her and finds it with Akuto, she gets embarrassed after realizing she ran throughout school naked. In Special 3, Akuto finds Keena and Korone has eaten all the rice in the cafeteria and it will soon be lunch time. Korone proceeds to have herself and Keena wear naked apron to cook the rice. Korone purposely gets clumsy to do yuri and stimulating stuff to Keena so Akuto has to hold back the lunch crowd as they misunderstood that he’s taking over their food.

In Special 4, because Akuto accidentally activated a mysterious rice cooker, the entire school is under blizzard so he, Keena, Etou and Junko have to take refuge inside the gym storeroom. Etou takes this opportunity to get close to him giving the naked body warmth as an excuse. Keena joins in and so kiasu Junko eventually has to so as not to lose out. Then Korone comes in and misinterprets their indecent orgy. Poor Akuto gets slapped by Junko. In Special 5, Korone types her report on Akuto. This includes his inability to control his mana, causing it to explode over Junko and the poor girl chased after him through the corridors naked and the time Akuto became a preacher to lecture Keena into attending class. But she turned invisible and escaped. He managed to catch her but was seen as a molester turning on a hapless naked girl. So in the end, Korone tears up her report and decides to take Etou’s advice to sexually seduce Akuto. In Special 6, Kanna, Michiru and Arunuuru ate cookies from Etou. Of course she laced it with black magic rituals so it enhances their sex drive. Guess which guy they targeted? Yup. Poor Akuto has lots of love bites and it took Korone’s pail of water splash and Riri’s punch to knock them out. Akuto returns home and to his horror, Junko and Keena have also eaten those cookies. Gosh. They sound like girls who can’t hold back their desire anymore. This is going to be a long night even if the effects only lasts an hour. When Riri finally finishes her meeting overview, she accidentally bites the cookie. Dang.

I guess the most amusing part is the mid-intermission whereby we see bored Akuto watching TV with the random antics of the girls going about. With the country-picking banjo serving as the background music, by the time it reaches the second half of the mid-intermission, he abruptly switches it off. Yeah, don’t want to watch anymore of their silliness, eh? But for the final quarter of the series, the mid-intermission is replaced by fanservice pose of the girls. And I was beginning to think if this show was lacking the fanservice stuff by showing chibi and short comical mid-intermission skits rather than the sexy babes. Not that I’m sooooooo interested in that but after seeing a girl who has no qualms stripping naked, one who doesn’t hesitate to shamelessly seduce, another who prefers cladding in sexy lingerie in her dark room and a samurai lass who gets flustered half the time, I should’ve expected something more or less like that.

Who says being a Demon Lord is easy? Unless you’re one helluva powerful dude, you’re going to face lots of opposition and resistance. But in a way they are necessary for heroes to exist. It’s like yin and yang, light and shadow. I’m still wondering why they titled the series as so. Is he Demon Lord the furthest behind in terms of his development of relationship with girls? Perhaps if I became such a Demon Lord with my own 2D harem ladies, that won’t be such a bad thing. Do you consider otaku being a future occupation? Just maybe then the title would’ve been renamed Ichiban Shouganai No Daiotaku (The Most Useless Big Otaku).