After having watched animes that weren’t on my watch list, I decided to give Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann a go. Because of the mecha elements, I must say that I was biased on not to watch it. But I won’t say that after watching this show I felt a sense of regret for being a stereotypic prejudice guy. The series doesn’t suck nor is it that bad but my enjoyment level was at an okay level. Hey, that is not bad already for a guy who dislikes mecha stuff.

Another thing I supposed that got me watching this was one of the main characters, Kamina. After randomly reading great stuff from all over the internet from time to time, so much so some even turned his character into something that is worship worthy, watching him the first few times I could understand why he is likeable. To sum it up, Kamina is the kind of guy who is passionate, energetic, lets his fists do the talking, has unsurpassable confidence (in what he does at least) and lots of words of wisdom-cum-encouragement. Who wouldn’t love this guy with his trademark pointy sunglasses. He is definitely a character to watch.

The setting is in the fictitious future whereby men have been driven to live underground, never knowing what the sky is. How is that for always having a ‘roof’ above your head? Even if those who have defied tradition and head above ground, death usually awaits them as the wild desert terrains are ruled by beastmen and their mecha called Ganmen (like limbs sticking out of their face or a being without a body).

Episode 1
So it begins as we see Simon of the underground Giha Village and his little mole pet Boota, digging his way to who knows where. As long it is not up. So do you think it’s safe being underground? Not unless you mind the constant earthquakes. However defiant Kamina is always going against the chief’s orders, wanting to break through and escape this enclosed prison like his dad did. They’ll get their chance pretty soon because a Ganmen comes crashing down under as it battles a hot chick (read: dangerously scantily clad sniper woman), Yoko, supposedly from a neighbouring village. As the trio battle the Ganmen, they find a Ganmen in a form of a head. Kamina calls it Lagann and has Simon pilot it since it was his find. Even if Simon is low on confidence, I’m sure this trademark speech will have everyone in awe: “Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in me who believes in you”. Wow. Guess that works, eh? At least from a psychological point. Using Simon’s little Core Drill, they pilot the Lagann and defeat the Ganmen as they burst out to the top for the first time seeing the breathtaking view of what it is like to be on the outside. Thus, they take it as an opportunity to leave their village and go on a lifetime adventure. Better to live with dangers than the same old mundane life, right?

Episode 2
The trio head for Yoko’s village, Ritona. I supposed they need to adapt to life on the surface. However it’s back to mecha busting business when 3 Ganmen come looking for their prey as revenge. I’m sure Simon realizes now that the massive earthquakes are caused by the Ganmens’ stomping and the reason it killed his parents. Another reason to power up and fight. With Kamina by his side and Yoko providing back up from afar, I’m sure you can tell victory will be in their hands and will leave the beastmen running away with tails between their legs. Oh wait. Those monkeys don’t have any tails. Since Kamina was victorious in defeating the Ganmen’s chief, he takes over his Ganmen and calls it Gurren. Hey, it even has his trademark shades too.

Episode 3
Kamina, Simon and Yoko went out hunting. There are lots of weird animals here. It’s either they freak you out or laugh out loud at those absurd combinations. Grape hippo? Beaver bat? Oh, this is what it is called evolution, eh? Or is it mutation? Anyway, they meet a formidable enemy, Viral of the Human Eradication Army. Since Viral is putting up a tough fight, Kamina and Simon try out something new. So yeah, both Gurren and Lagann can combine to make more powerful moves and techniques (hence the title name lah). So much so this even surprises Viral as they beat him and take his Ganmen’s helmet. This isn’t the end of Viral yet and you can count on him coming back to threaten our heroes. And being a typical shonen genre, you can also expect Gurren Lagann to power up in the future episodes. Be amazed. Be awed. Wooooh!

Episode 4
The trio along with mechanic Leeron (gay guy?) head out to seek the Ganmen’s base. Along the way, they meet the Black Siblings, brother Kittan Bachika and his sisters, Kiyal, Kiyoh and Kinon. They too are rebelling against the beastmen. As the gang stop by for food, they find that their hunt were actually beastmen (cute little furry balls?). They are able to combine their Ganmen and do some serious pounding but do you think that will be enough to defeat Gurren Lagann? Unfortunately Gurren Lagann draws power from their fighting spirit and will and since Simon and Kamina are dead hungry, they’re losing power fast. The funny part was how Boota snapped off his little tail and butt to give Simon and Kamina the little extra power they need to beat the enemy. It’s mind boggling that a little meat like that could power them up to the max. Must be that good, eh? Why not just cook that little guy. WE DON’T EAT OUR OWN COMRADES! Maybe as emergency food… Just kidding.

Episode 5
The quartet (the Black Siblings parted ways of course) stumble upon another underground village after fooling around. Seems the people here worship Ganmen and they can have no more than 50 people. Anything more, they draw lots to see who the ‘lucky’ one will go up to the surface. Kamina has his suspicions on the head priest. Then a Ganmen comes crashing down. Guess who comes to save the day? However Kamina learns that the head priest was piloting the village’s Ganmen that they worshipped. He thinks he could’ve used his powers to better use. We also learn that this place cannot sustain more than 50 people at a time, thus the reason the priest made it into some religious rule that everyone blindly follows. At the end as the gang leave, the priest’s adopted son, Rossiu Adai along with 2 other kids picked by the lottery, Gimmy and Darry follow the quartet on their journey.

Episode 6
While fighting and chasing a Ganmen along their way through a fog, they stumble upon a hotspring inn and are greeted by bunny girls. They are also reunited with the Black Siblings sisters. However Rossiu remains suspicious. As everyone takes a dip, Kamina and Simon chat till they realize the girls’ section became awfully quiet. In actual fact, they have been captured and this hotspring is one bloody big Ganmen. Simon manages to board his Lagann but Simon’s Gurren got stolen. Yoko is so pissed off that she blasted her way to free herself and the rest. Then it gets all chaotic as both sides fight each other. Naked. Why the heck is Bootan sticking onto Kamina’s crotch?! Natural censor? He must really love that place for the duration of the action. I don’t know how but everyone fits into the Lagann to escape. Rossiu manages to get back Gurren and pilot it to defeat those beastmen thieves. Even if the merging of Gurren Lagann in the end defeats the hotspring Ganmen, another shot sends them reeling. Look who is back? It’s Viral.

Episode 7
Viral is backed by one of the 4 Divine Generals serving under the Spiral King Lord Genome, Thymilph. Oh yeah, Thymilph’s large Ganmen, Dai Gunzan is also his fortress. Freaking huge. So more power battle and it’s like David and Goliath. Can they really win? They’ve always been beating all odds, right? At certain points they may get their ass kicked and almost crushed but that is a cue for our heroes to have their allies turn up in style. He is Kittan and returns piloting a Ganmen he stole. Soon more human allies with stolen Ganmen appear to aid our heroes like that guy from Yoko’s village, Dayakka. Finally their improvisation lands them victory when they trap the giant base and sent the ground underneath it crumbling into the ravine.

Episode 8
Their plan now is to take Dai Gunzan under their control like how Lagann does with Gurren. The newly formed team of Dai Gurren Brigade celebrates their being and that night as Yoko and Kamina chat, the former kisses the latter. Oh yeah. He’s going to pay her back 10 times more when it’s over. However, Simon has been watching and becomes distraught and heartbroken. Looks like he’s got a crush on her. Next day the Brigade begin their assault but Thymilph and Viral are well prepared for them. Though Kamina and co was acting like a decoy to allow Simon’s Lagann to fuse with Dai Gunzan. But Simon’s heart is still reeling from the events he saw so Kamina had no choice but to rush over there to give him a good punch and make him come to his senses. Now he says this: “Believe in yourself. Don’t believe in me who believes in you”. Thanks bro. I feel a lot better with that modified encouragement. As Kamina returns to Gurren, he is suddenly pierced by Thymilph’s Ganmen. Everyone is shocked that Kamina may be dead and Simon becomes furious and rips almost everything apart. Well, Kamina is still alive and merges with Simon to unleash their Giga Drill Break to kill Thymilph and his minions. However at the end of it all, Kamina passes away due to his injuries. NOOO!!! IT’S A LIE, RIGHT?! How can a cool hero like him die?! NOOO!!!! This is a real shocker! How is he going to repay Yoko?! And I was starting to like him…

Episode 9
Though Dai Gunzan is now under their control and renamed Dai Gurren, everyone is depressed over Kamina’s death (I still can’t believe it), especially Simon. Kittan becomes the temporarily leader of the Brigade while Rossiu takes over handling Gurren. As Simon wanders alone, he spots a capsule being thrown off a cliff. Using his Core Drill to open, he finds a human girl named Nia. Sounds like an airhead. The way she is amazed and knows nothing about the outside world shows us how cooked and locked up this poor soul is. They manage to escape back to base when Ganmen came attacking. The rest of the Brigade intend on interrogating her, put her nice personality would make anyone’s heart melt. How can she be a spy of the enemy? At that time, another of the 4 Divine Generals, Adiane attacks them. Nia rushes out to try and stop her as everyone shockingly learns she is the daughter of Genome.

Episode 10
Adiane backs down but upon her return, she learns Genome doesn’t care for Nia and has abandoned her. Viral decides to serve under Adiane to avenge Thymilph’s death. Kittan tries to use Simon to get more info out of Nia as Nia tries to understand this Kamina guy she has never met before but everyone talked about. Lots of clash of emotions but it got Nia interested to know more about them. Soon Adiane returns to finish what she began. She has Nia in her clutches. Eventually Nia’s reasoning with Adiane falls on death ears because that scorpion lady doesn’t care about anyone else. Simon couldn’t start up Lagann and just rush out to save Nia while his other comrades head out in their Ganmen to her rescue because she stood up for them. Adiane’s mecha, Sayrune takes on everyone with ease. Not until Leeron manages to make Dai Gurren move again and she could’ve been flattened and stomped upon if Viral didn’t rescue her. In the aftermath, Simon remains gloomy and thinks he can’t be like Kamina.

Episode 11
While Simon is still depressed, the Brigade receives a distressing but suspicious call from a village under attack by Ganmen. However it is a trap set by another one of the 4 Divine Generals, Guame. Everyone is imprisoned and will be publicly executed. Nia agrees to go along with the armadillo provided he spares Simon. Nia learns the shocking truth how Genome created ‘dolls’ and once he got bored, he throws them away just like her. Everyone else is digging but to no avail. Simon doesn’t give up but after reflecting back on Kamina and his believing speech, Lagann appears from the rocks as they bust out and go save Nia. Guame retreats to his mecha, Genber to attack. But Simon with renewed confidence, now truly believing he is himself and not Kamina, eventually defeats Guame though he manages to escape. Later, Nia shows Simon the many other capsules and gives them a proper burial. Kittan makes Simon the leader of the Brigade and will attempt to head to the beastmen’s capital, Tepperin.

Episode 12
What the hell is this fanservice beach episode for? Apparently Leeron needs to make adjustments to Dai Gurren to cross the ocean and while he is at it, the rest take the opportunity to play. After Leeron adds the neccessary adjustments (just putting large paddles?), they continue their journey but encounter Adiane’s large battleship, Dai Gunkai. The Brigade heads out into action but finds the water to their disadvantage as their mecha aren’t suitable to fight underwater. Adiane takes Nia as hostage and Yoko seems to take pot shots at Nia. However she was targeting Sayrune’s shoulder and causes its arm to fall off and Nia into safe hands. Then the final showdown between Gurren Lagann and Sayrune with the former using his drill powers to kill off Adiane for good. As everyone celebrates their victory, Viral is washed up ashore lamenting yet another defeat.

Episode 13
Rossiu is out sick while Nia tries to help out by cooking for everyone. The final of the 4 Divine Generals, Cytomander attacks Dai Gurren with his Dai Gunten. Yoko temporarily takes over Gurren as the heroes battle the aerial menace. Of course Viral is back and is vengeful than ever. He shockingly learns that Kamina is dead and all this while he has been losing to a kid and a woman. Of course as a warrior, he is still bent on fighting on equal terms with Simon. Their fight is interrupted when Cytomander holds Yoko hostage. He wants Viral to finish Simon off but he backs down, enraging the bird man. Meanwhile Dai Gurren uses the rocks to drive itself up to Dai Gunten and give it a good flying kick. Simon uses this chance to save Yoko and escape. Back in Dai Gurren, we learn that Rossiu’s sickness was due to Nia’s food poisoning. He couldn’t have the heart to tell her cooking sucks when he first tasted it. As for the other crew, get ready to dig in. Yeah, there are more servings so finish up. Can’t say no to a cute girl, eh? But Simon and Boota enjoying it? Elsewhere Cytomander brings Viral to Genome for his execution but Viral wants to know if humans are inferior to beastmen. Genome takes him to a chamber to see lots of beastmen in capsules. Something about them being imperfect and they have to go into hibernation in order to preserve their bodies. He shows Viral a little drill in his hands as Viral becomes determined to know what humans are.

Episode 14
A month has passed and it is the 6th day Dai Gurren began their invasion on Tepperin. They clash with Guame and Cytomander’s forces and expect another big massive mecha brawl. During the battle, more Ganmen appear but they seem to be holding up the flag of Dai Gurren Brigade. Yay! More comrades. Looks like Kamina’s legend has spread far and wide. Cytomander meets his death when his Ganmen is send spiralling down onto Guame’s base, Dai Gundo. However Dai Gundo’s armour is thick so Guame is okay inside. Dai Gundo starts spinning Tepperin to make it an impenetrable hurricane. Too bad for all those new comrades. They died while charging straight into it. Simon and Rossiu counter this by using Gurren Lagann to dig underneath Dai Gundo and drill right through it and killing Guame. As everyone gets ready to invade Tepperin, towers start falling off and it is revealed that Tepperin is one freaking huge Ganmen.

Episode 15
The gang has massive problems trying to get even close to this massive machine. Eventually they crash their badly damaged Dai Gurren into it to send Simon and Nia into Genome’s throne room. Simon faces off with Viral but the latter is overpowered. To Viral’s shock, he learns Genome hasn’t given him a powerful body but an immortal one so he could live forever and tell tales of his legend. Now it’s Genome’s turn to fight as he enters his Lazengann, somewhat similar to Gurren Lagann but faster and more powerful. Simon is not willing to give up and even tries to take control of Lazengann using his Lagann but failed because Genome saw that coming. Of course Simon’s determination is greater and powers up to drill through Lazengann. Then Genome gets out and the fight turns into a fist fight. Though Genome is overwhelming, the turning point came when Simon struck his Core Drill into Genome’s chest, blowing a large hole in his body. Before Genome dies, he warns them about the spiral powers and that if a million ‘monkeys’ rise up to the surface, the moon will bring forth a messenger from hell and spell doom to the world. Even if they don’t know what that means, it doesn’t stop the fact that they have won as Tepperin collapses and all Ganmen under its control seize to move. OMG! They finally manage to do it! And without Kamina!

Episode 16
Because of that, I guess this episode is some sort of a celebration because it is a damn recap episode! Yeah, gather your memories people! Clips and scenes from important events and narration that felt that it was like some sort of movie preview only it lasted for 24 minutes. And yeah, who are those people writing down the short plot narration as the video rolls by?

Episode 17
Seven years have passed in episode 17. Man and beastmen alike are living together in peace on the surface. The kids have all grown up (except for Boota who surprisingly remains that little fart he is). Simon and most of his Brigade form the new government of Kamina City over the remnants of Tepperin and is experiencing rapid development. Wow. All that in just seven years? Simon is the commander while Rossiu the secretary and second-in-command. Yoko has left the city because she isn’t into all that politics and administration. Gimmy and Darry are part of the Grapal Squads, Ganmen models that are taken after Gurren Lagann. Simon proposes to Nia but she turns him down because she took his words too literally that they will become one. Dayakka is married to Kiyoh and is expecting their first child. Viral is part of the rebellion against the government and ironically he claims to be protecting humans that do not want to come out to the surface and prefer to stay underground. Simon isn’t fond of this tactic to force humans out of their comfort zone but Rossiu exclaims this is necessary to keep count of the population if it ever reaches a million. As they ponder the meaning of Genome’s last words (seriously, it took them 7 long years and still not understand?), the events of it start to unfold right after Dayakka and Kiyoh’s daughter are born. I guess that signals to be the millionth human, eh? Looks like Nia becomes that messenger of hell and is from some Anti Spiral thingy and doom to all mankind with some Human Eradication System.

Episode 18
Simon goes around looking for Nia. When he finally does, she explains something about the spiral power brings forth destruction of the universe via evolution and his Core Drill is the symbol of the Spiral Nemesis, bla bla bla. Not that I understand nor interested in. Rossiu revives Genome’s memories as he is now some sort of talking head in a capsule, spewing things about this spiral thingy too. So basically there is this clan called Anti Spirals who fear the destructive powers of the spiral and thus a battle was fought between them and Spiral Warriors that Genome was once part off. The Ganmen created were weapons used to fight them. However they lost and had to head back to their home and their most powerful weapon Lagann was sealed underground. Anti Spiral conquered the universe and implanted some device in which if the spiral population reaches a certain number, some life form extermination system will activate. This is so because that certain number will awaken that spiral power within. Why bother doing this when they could just wipe everyone out if they’re that fearful? Because of that, humans were driven underground and Genome played the bad guy to keep them there. Knowing the rebellious nature of humans, they would still try to go to the surface even if being told the whole story, A to Z. Like Kamina. So everybody’s fight for freedom was actually their doom? Well, their sudden rapid development within the last 7 years is proof of their infinite and expanding power. Leeron’s calculations have him foresee that the Moon will crash into Earth within 3 weeks. It is made worse when Nia announces it publicly and sends everyone panicking. As a taste for what is to come, a few weird ships come attacking the city. Nicknamed Mugan, its energy field nullify attacks and when destroyed, becomes little bomb explosives that do much damage. Simon with Gimmy and Darry improvise to take out the Mugan by shooting all the explosives before it hits the ground. But that is just short term and won’t work if there’re lots of enemies. A group of angry people gather outside the government building. Rossiu tries to calm them down but was pelted with things. Thinking he has to make someone responsible for this, he orders his troops to arrest Simon.

Episode 19
The people are rioting. Those ungrateful bastards. Rossiu puts Simon on trial and the verdict is he is to be executed. Some fair trial he got there. Simon is thrown into jail and Rossiu takes over his position. After a brief visit by Nia (something about absolute despair), Mugans appear to attack other cities and is moving towards Kamina City. Simon manages to persuade Rossiu to let him pilot Gurren Lagann to defeat the menace. However as security, Kinon volunteers herself to pilot Gurren by strapping bombs to herself in which will explode if Simon plans to escape. Rossiu announces about the public evacuation to the underground shelters and those in Kamina City to board a large ship called Arc Gurren. Simon takes on the Mugans but was thrown off guard when Nia appears to bid him goodbye. Luckily Darry and Gimmy appear in time to help do some ass kicking with new weapon technology created by Leeron to avoid the bombs to fall and explode in some shield before it reaches the ground. When it’s over, Simon returns to Rossiu and hands over his Core Drill to him before being sent off to prison. Kittan isn’t happy how Rossiu has changed and put his sister’s life in danger but Kinon stood up for Rossiu. As for Simon, he sees Viral in the same cell. Fate has always got to make them meet, eh?

Episode 20
Two weeks left before the Moon crashes into Earth. Meanwhile Simon gets into trouble when a chicken beastmen fights him as revenge for his fallen Cytomander and blames him for being stuck here. Till Viral steps in as both sworn enemies duke it out. We see Viral’s body heal from all sorts of wounds. The chicken guy doesn’t want to lose out and once again comes between them and got knocked out. By that time the guards have arrived and the onlookers point their fingers at the duo, accusing them of ganging up and beating the poor beastman. Simon and Viral are thrown away in an isolated cell. Elsewhere, Kittan learns the shocking truth that when the Moon collides into Earth, it will cause everything from the surface to the underground to burn for at least a year. Thus, the reason Rossiu is stocking up Arc Gurren with supplies worth 365 days to be able to live in space while waiting for Earth to cool down then and that they can’t save every human on this planet. Playing Moses, eh? Nia appears before Simon and mocks him but a familiar shot comes between them. It’s Yoko and she’s back.

Episode 21
Flashback reveals that Yoko is working as a school teacher in the countryside under the name of Yomako. Seems she is quite popular among the kids and able to hold her class together. Anybody would’ve felt afraid if a teacher coolly throws a warning shot via a chalk that barely misses your face. Yoko always helped a weak kid, Nakim from being bullied. That includes climbing up to the top of the tree with him to give him words of encouragement (because some bullies put his precious bag there). Yoko watched the news of Nia and Anti Spiral’s emergence and one day the community needed to evacuate but a little girl was missing. She is crying alone at the lighthouse when a couple of Ganmen take her hostage and want the people to give up their food in exchange for her safety. That’s when Yoko goes into action and reveals her true self to save her. That’s when she decided to return to Kamina City. She frees Simon who in turn frees Viral and offers him to pilot Gurren. After all this time fighting against it, he finally gets to ride it. Kittan passes back Simon’s Cored Drill as Gurren Lagann blasts off into space (Rossiu had no choice but to move his Arc Gurren and abandon those unboarded as they are under heavy attack from Mugan).

Episode 22
Seems that even in space, Mugans are waiting to destroy Arc Gurren. No escape. Absolute despair. But Simon and Viral arrive in time to protect the ship. Cannons start surfacing on the Moon aiming at Gurren Lagann but Simon uses some long drill to catch it and fire it right back to destroy them. Two large Mugans then appear and things starting to look bleak. So another merging as Gurren Lagann merges with Arc Gurren to form a bigger and badder machine, Arc Gurren Lagann! With its new spinning powers, it drills a hole right through the enemy. Now with the Mugans out of the way, they are planning to stop the Moon from crashing. Seriously? Serious. Impossible is never in their dictionary and have always miraculously get through it no matter what. Suddenly a face appears on the Moon and it hit them it is one giant Ganmen. Seems it was Genome’s flagship called Cathedral Terra when he fought against the Anti Spiral. Simon plans to stop it by entering the Moon’s core. Inside, he is stopped by Nia. Though she remains adamant that she is Anti Spiral, Simon points out the ring she is still wearing. He realized the reason she appeared before him from time to time was to ask him to save her. With that, Simon strikes into the core and prevents the Moon from inching closer to Earth as it transforms into a ship larger than Arc Gurren. Nia mentions that though the eradication system has been stopped, she will return and report to the base of the Anti Spiral. This means war. Nia returns to her normal self for a short while before disappearing. Simon vows to come after her. Arc Gurren Lagann returns to Kamina City as peace is restored to Earth.

Episode 23
A week has passed. Everyone plans to take the final battle to the Anti Spiral (somehow they’ve located their location via Nia’s ring). We learn more about those spiral stuff like since beastmen lack the ability to reproduce, this doesn’t give rise to that spiral factor and thus not a threat to the Anti Spiral. However Rossiu is missing. Seems he went back to his old underground village to reunite with his head priest and kill himself to atone for his sins. Kinon noticed he was acting strangely and told Simon about this as they go find him. Eventually they manage to do so and Simon gives Rossiu a good punch in the face to make him open his eyes. Just like deja vu how Kamina did it to Simon. After that pep talk, Simon forgives Rossiu as Rossiu and Kinon hug each other. Rossiu encourages Simon to leave Earth and promises to manage this planet in his absence. In the end, the rest of the Dai Gurren Brigade decides to do what they do best as they prepare to warp through space in Chou Ginga Dai Gurren (Cathedral Terra renamed. Sounds better like this, eh?).

Episode 24
The gang arrive and they see a large hologram of Nia and are soon trap in their mini universe. The Anti Spiral launches their own battleships, so large that it even dwarfs Chou Ginga. Why do they look like hands and feet with faces on them? Though the gang have it easy taking out smaller enemies, those large ships are immune to their attacks, even Gurren Lagann’s. The only way is for Gurren Lagann to merge with Chou Ginga but Simon and Viral will have to wait since it takes an awful lot of time. While doing that, I guess the producers take this chance to ‘kill off’ some of the characters (okay, maybe I should have rephrased it as dying honourably) as the fighting gets real fierce. At least their deaths are not in vain because they manage to destroy a large amount of enemies and it made the rest ever determined to bring down Anti Spiral. As they are seconds away from merging, suddenly they are being pulled in by the ocean. A sea in space? Well, it’s beyond my imagination that’s for sure. Because of that, everyone starts losing their spiral power.

Episode 25
As everyone is pulled into the bottom, Genome reveals that this Death Spiral that absorbs spiral powers and this place is some sort of graveyard where all spiral rebels fought and lost (lots of Laganns floating around). Boota shows up in Viral’s cockpit to give him a boost of spiral energy. The gang decides to destroy this Death Spiral Machine but they have to do it fast since the ‘ocean water’ is seeping into the ship and the pressure is getting immense. Yoko initially wanted to do the suicidal job but Kittan decides to do so in her place and gives her a goodbye kiss. Kittan manages to fire a missile into the barrier and drills his own drill version into the machine, destroying it. The spiral power comes flooding back to everyone as Simon is now determined as ever. Heck, he has got his own version of Kamina’s sunglasses in the shape of a star! The merger is complete and we see the totally awesome, totally badass Chou Ginga Gurren Lagann! All behold the mighty mecha!

Episode 26
The fight back begins. A voice of the Anti Spiral tells them about the destructive powers and effects of the spiral. Haven’t we heard this before? Anyway Simon isn’t going to care about if he will end up destroying the universe because all he cares now is saving the girl he loves and protecting the universe. His way. Anti Spiral launches some multi-dimension space bending thingy but Simon is able to flush them out and destroy the main ship. Suddenly Simon (and everyone else) becomes trap in Anti Spiral’s illusion. It shows them the alternate world they desire. Something as long as they have intelligence, they can’t get out. Even Boota temporarily transforms into a human form before succumbing to this illusion. After all, the only thing good about this is that we get to see Kamina again. Not just recycled flashback scenes but at least he is there to guide Simon to snap out of this fake dream. Dang, it was good to hear this guy after a long demise. It is obvious which Kamina Simon would choose. The cool one or the scaredy cat one? It’s so obvious. With renewed determination, Simon leaves the dream world and along the way the other comrades too snap out to follow Simon’s glowing Core Drill in the sky. Meanwhile Anti Spiral is interrogating Nia who has fully returned to herself and is siding on Simon’s side. Anti Spiral cannot believe she is defecting although she is made by them and is going to drain her life force. Before that could happen, Simon and co appear right out from her ring and he kept his promise to come save her.

Episode 27
The final colossal battle is at hand and even if Anti Spiral can’t believe the gang actually got out of the dream, this doesn’t mean he can’t put up a good fight. Gurren Lagann merges with Arc Gurren and then with Chou Ginga to form TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN! WOAH! How big and menacing can this transformation get?! Anti Spiral also decides to fight on their equal terms so as to put more despair in their defeat. More pounding, more drilling, more power fights and more bashing all of galactic proportions so much so their fight opened some space-time hole and the whole Earth get to watch a free show of good versus evil right out from the sky. Better than having 3D TV anytime. I don’t know about the possibilities of grabbing galaxies and using them as weapons but heck, that’s what Anti Spiral did. And more talk about both sides ideal. Something about path to extinction, something about how Anti Spiral’s race closed off themselves and didn’t evolve (that’s why they look like simple looking orang minyak) and something about the endless human heart. At the end of it all, our heroes defeat the menace with a drill right through its body with a big bang. Hey, maybe that’s how the universe was created. With that, all previous spiral rebels are freed and chant Simon’s name. As peace returns, a week later Simon and Nia gets married. However the moment they kiss, Nia’s body starts vanishing but they both have no regrets and confess their love to each other (she was an artificial life form created by Anti Spiral so this was expected). Simon passes his Core Drill to Gimmy and before leaving on his own journey. Twenty years down the road, we see lots of the gang really old. Rossiu is still the leader and maintaining the peace among all spiral races. Yoko is now a headmistress, Gimmy and Darry lead the Dai Gurren team, Viral the commander of Chou Ginga and Simon wandering around as a nobody with little Boota. That pet still hasn’t changed in size, eh?

You Better Believe It!
Oh well, I guess that’s about it. As expected our heroes has got to win. Whether or not their spiral powers will go spiralling out of control and bring destruction as feared is another story. I was hoping Kamina would make a return or revived somehow. Just like how some animes bring back dead characters under miraculous circumstances. But I guess that was just wishful thinking. And probably not to make Kamina get too ‘lonely’ for a while, they ‘sacrificed’ some of the gang. So when Kamina died, I was like going, oh, he’s gone, what’s there more to look forward to? However I suppose this whole show isn’t about Kamina. Though it may start out like him being the star and main hero, it’s all about Simon. We see him transform from someone with low self confidence and always hiding behind his brother’s shadow to turn into someone who leads his own destiny and saviour of mankind and the spiral race. Who knows? Things could have remained the same or the events that have taken place may have turned out differently if Kamina was still breathing. It was a little bittersweet that Simon didn’t get to live the rest of his life with Nia. But at least they were reunited and get to exchange vows. I’m still wondering about Nia’s originality. If she was something that Anti Spiral made, how did she end up being Genome’s daughter? Perhaps he adopted her?

With the vast amount of other characters, I should say that they are interesting in their own way. Especially that guy who looks like a clown, Attenborough. He’s some trigger happy fellow who loves firing missiles. I thought he should get killed off seeing everything he does is like a joke but it’s a miracle he is still alive in the end. Sorry that I couldn’t even remember the names of the other Brigade members. Initially Yoko was cool when she fired her sniper gun but as the series progresses, I felt she didn’t sort of have that impact anymore. Rossiu was on the verge of repeating the mistake that his home village did by putting a number and counting every citizen known. But when you’re in that position, it is a tough responsibility to shoulder and I’m sure he has thought of every way possible to reduce the negative impact. And once-villains like Viral and Genome aren’t as bad as they were. If everyone put their powers together and work for a better tomorrow, everything will just turn out fine. Boota was cute in his own way and probably as the mascot of the series, even has his own pair of round shades on all the time. It bugs me how long that little pig mole lives. I mean, even at nearly 50 years of timeline from the start to the end of the series, not only it remains a little creature but still living. How long do such creatures live anyway?

The mecha fights I would say are just destructive and power packed. Sometimes with projectiles flailing across the screen, making the view a big mess and clutter. So much so that everything would have been smashed if there were buildings around instead of the emptiness of the desert. Lots of power fights with power moves and techniques that I myself couldn’t remember but it was fun to see them pull off such a feat. The drawing and art may be cartoonish at times especially during comical scenes. Sometimes when the characters have that absurd look on their face or the scene gets exaggerated, it reminds me of the same in another series, Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai or FLCL. Well it shouldn’t be a surprise because both these animes were animated by the same company, Gainax, so their trademark style is still there. The mid-intermission’s drawing feels like coming out from an American comic book perhaps because of the lines, shading and colour tones used to portray the random poses and mugshots of the characters and Ganmen in the series. I guess with the different types of Ganmen, I should say that the designs of them all make them unique but since I am not into mecha, it isn’t like I’m star-struck with them. Of course the best looking one has got to be Gurren Lagann and its other subsequent forms. If there were other bigger Ganmen, I’m sure there’s a big possibility of another super merge on the cards with more power ups and ‘face lifts’.

This series is quite popular that there were 2 films produced. I read the first movie was some sort of compilation of the TV series from the start right up till the fall of Tepperin. Yeah, like a recap lengthened. My guess the second movie is also another compilation of the events after that. Yup, it is. There were also several short clips called Parallel Works released. Each is animated by a particular animator in the series and is actually music video clips of the characters in several alternate themes like medieval, pachinko or feudal Japan. I saw a handful of them only and then gave up because it wasn’t that interesting. Some are just plain weird. A big majority of the music in the series are rock and R&B based (don’t you feel like jiggling when you hear “Row! Row! Fight the power!”). The heavy rock opening theme Sorairo Days by Shouko Nogawa definitely suits the theme and pace of the series. However I just find her singing voice to be more pop-ish than rock. The first ending theme by High Voltage entitled Underground is also another rock piece but somehow I feel the second ending theme, Minna No Peace by Afromania sounds more suitable to be a football club anthem. I don’t know, that’s what I think.

If Kamina had lived, I guess you could compile a list of his quotes so much so it could rival of those in Gintama. Man, he could’ve been a great motivational speaker! Too bad the series is short and his life was even shorter. Sigh… I just love his believe in yourself lines. Hey, Naruto, take a note on this guy and believe it, dattebayo! Haha! So great that some of his quotes that they used it as the titles of the episode (if you pay close attention, you’ll notice them). Well, at least for the first 8 episodes till his death. Then the episode titles are taken over by Nia (up till Tepperin’s fall) followed by Rossiu (till the end of the extermination system) and finally the final few episodes by Simon. Even the font styles of the episode titles match them like the doodle and scratchy version for Kamina, the flowery version for Nia and computerized one for Rossiu. The other phrase of the series said in nearly each episode is “Who do you think the hell I/we am/are!”. That says it all.

It was hard for me to follow and understand fully about the characteristics of the spiral power and effect so I just accepted things at it was as it goes by. The plot got a little too much for me to handle after the Brigade freed the human race of underground imprisonment halfway through. Well the Dai Gurren team has always been best at fighting so when it comes to ruling and running a country, they weren’t so effective. So when they put plots like Moon crashing into Earth and the existence of Anti Spiral, I was like, yeah, this is going to be more than just mindless mecha action whatsoever. Except for scientist Leeron, the rest of the Brigade are at a full lost (like yours truly) when he starts explaining all those terms and jargons on what is going on. At least he does put it in simple layman terms at the end. It goes to show that they really walk the talk with their fist. To hell with theories. Just smash through everything!

We can learn lots of subtle lessons from this series. Like fighting spirit and love is the ultimate and mysterious power that we draw to keep on going. So never underestimate the power of love. True power also comes when one fully believes in yourself. Of course if believing in others work well, then I suppose that would be fine too. Losing someone irreplaceable seems like throwing a spanner into the works. But because of that, it thrusts us out of our comfort zones and makes us improve and push further ahead. But having said all this, I think I still prefer to hide in my underground (read: my room) and continue digging up more animes to watch. Why risk myself saving the world when somebody else could do a better job? Who the hell do you think I am? Uh oh. I think I need to believe in myself more.

Here is another versus blog between two animes with sci-fi action element, Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo (Sora Kake Girl) and Kiddy Girl -and (Kiddy Girl). As we know that when mankind has successfully reached the capability of living in outer space, I’m sure there are new problems and issues to deal with like aliens and rebellion within our own kind though they call themselves by a different name. I may not be a total fan of this genre or even these series, but after watching them I thought that there were a few similarities and contrasts between them.

Other related anime
Sora Kake Girl: Well due to the near similar name, sometimes this show may be confused with Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo, though they are not related at all.
Kiddy Girl: The spin off sequel to Kiddy Grade.

The main location of where the series takes place.
Sora Kake Girl: An outer space colony just above Earth, Kirkwood.
Kiddy Girl: The renamed headquarters of GTO (Galactic Trade Organization) formerly known as GOTT (Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs) on the planet Aineias.

The main heroine trio
Good things come in threes…
Sora Kake Girl: Akiha Shishidou, Itsuki Kannagi and Honoka Kawai.
Kiddy Girl: Ascoeur, Q-feuille and Di-air.

The airhead
Notice that they both have pink hair, dense and reckless? But yet kind and cares?
Sora Kake Girl: Akiha.
Kiddy Girl: Ascoeur.

Her main skill
Sora Kake Girl: Akiha assists Leopard in releasing a powerful blast called Soul Shouts.
Kiddy Girl: Ascoeur is able to teleport and later the ability to bend space.

Her weapon
Sora Kake Girl: A Golden Gun.
Kiddy Girl: A multi-purpose comb.

The loli
Notice how carefree they both are?
Sora Kake Girl: Sakura Shishidou.
Kiddy Girl: Di-air and Letuchaia.

You know that cute little creature that makes viewers go aww…
Sora Kake Girl: Imoko.
Kiddy Girl: Tama.

Mecha factor
Refers to the machine that they pilot.
Sora Kake Girl: QT-ARMS called Starsylph.
Kiddy Girl: A guard robot named Typhon.

The ship they ride in
Sora Kake Girl: Leopard’s Brain Colony.
Kiddy Girl: Mistral.

Other allies
Sora Kake Girl: Leopard, Nina Stratoski, Kazane Shishidou, Takane Shishidou, Ul, Bougainvillea and Mintao.
Kiddy Girl: Trixie, Troisienne, A-ou, Un-ou, Tweedledee, Tweedledum, Hiver and Sommer.

Other friends
Not involved in the missions they undergo.
Sora Kake Girl: School classmates Julio Surre and Neneko Okura.
Kiddy Girl: Alisa and Belle.

Sora Kake Girl: The Brain Colonists such as Nerval, Xanthippe, Benkei and Aleida.
Kiddy Girl: The G Society with Geacht’er and his Shadow Workers, Shade, Torch, Rubis, Saphir, Pauki and Letuchaia.

Twisted goal
Well, it isn’t the conquest for the universe.
Sora Kake Girl: Nerval wants to enslave all of humanity so as to ensure their eternal peace.
Kiddy Girl: Initially Geacht’er’s mission is to destroy GTO and bring back glory to his Nouvellese clan. Later it is revealed he just wants to destroy the universe because his tormentors denied him his existence.

The police
Sora Kake Girl: ICP (Inter Colony Police).
Kiddy Girl: GTO.

Crazy girl
Whether it’s her voice or character that made me think so.
Sora Kake Girl: Xanthippe.
Kiddy Girl: Saphir.

Girl turned bad
Sora Kake Girl: Nami Shishidou.
Kiddy Girl: Q-feuille (the part when she lost her memories and became Geacht’er’s sister).

Split personality
Sora Kake Girl: Leopard has a dark side.
Kiddy Girl: Q-feuille was brainwashed by Geacht’er as her little sister.

Formerly known as
Sora Kake Girl: Aleida was once known as Kagura Shishidou.
Kiddy Girl: Ascoeur’s real name is Lise-lotte while Geacht’er’s is Alfred.

Fake alliance
The enemy seems to have desert their side for a moment but in the end it’s back to the usual adversary.
Sora Kake Girl: Benkei and Tsutsuji Baba – after they were abandoned by Nerval when they crashed into Earth.
Kiddy Girl: Saphir – a trap to lure and capture Ascoeur but seized Q-feuille instead.

Ghost-like creatures
Sora Kake Girl: Existenz of the Terra Abduction.
Kiddy Girl: Ex-ES Members at an old GOTT building.

The maid
Sora Kake Girl: Imoko.
Kiddy Girl: Koa.

Sora Kake Girl: Itsuki fake her own death so she could go undercover in Akiha’s school. Imoko also tried to do a kamikaze into Cathedral Ventisca but of course that didn’t work out.
Kiddy Girl: Trixie and Troisienne died during G Society’s invasion during GTO’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

Sora Kake Girl: Bougainvillea and Mintao’s bad luck always have them getting injured.
Kiddy Girl: A-ou and Tweedledum were injured during G Society’s invasion and is out of commission for quite some time.

Fanservice episode
Sora Kake Girl: Episode 8 whereby everyone relaxes in a hotspring inside Leopard’s Colony.
Kiddy Girl: Episode 13 whereby the heroines are sent to an all-female resort planet for an investigation.

Filler episode
Sora Kake Girl: Episode 9 turns the entire series into an alternate reality with its baseball theme.
Kiddy Girl: Episode 2 in which Ascoeur and Q-feuille go to great lengths just to get some pumpkin pudding.

Frozen in time
Sora Kake Girl: Humans are put into boxes and become supplementary parts for Nerval, thus there is no need for memories or plans.
Kiddy Girl: Eclair and Lumiere sacrificed themselves frozen in space and time to stop a planet filled with inflammable energy that could destroy the entire galaxy.

Gloomy scene
Sora Kake Girl: Akiha sinks into depression when she thinks Imoko has died.
Kiddy Girl: Ascoeur and Q-feuille sink into depression after Trixie and Troisienne really died.

The all-powerful power
Either it repels the controlling evil force or powers you up.
Sora Kake Girl: Anti-QT and Soul Shouts.
Kiddy Girl: Di-air’s kiss.

Sora Kake Girl: Orbital Cafe Enigma – the place in Akiha’s dream where she always meets Kagura.
Kiddy Girl: Touch N Go – the place Ascoeur and Q-feuille work as part time waitresses.

The Jun Fukuyama factor
The characters he voiced in the series.
Sora Kake Girl: Leopard and Friedrich Otto Nobleman AKA Fon.
Kiddy Girl: Tweedledum.

Quote of the series
Sora Kake Girl: “I have control!”.
Kiddy Girl: “Pokyuun~”.

Number of episodes
Sora Kake Girl: 26 episodes.
Kiddy Girl: 24 episodes.

Well, there may be more of other stuff than this but at this point of time I just couldn’t think anymore. So maybe if you want to add them add, feel free and be my guest. I can’t say which of the series is better since I am not a big fan of the genre or the show. The most interesting thing in Sora Kake Girl is of course Leopard and his obnoxious character while Q-feuille is a cutie and was probably the reason why I watched Kiddy Girl (even if I haven’t watched its predecessor anime). Both have their funny moments and their own plot to build on. Because of the sci-fi factor, the terms and jargons are a real put off to me since I couldn’t remember them and thus ‘impedes’ my ability to further understand. Yeah right. Like I would even if I did. But we all know one thing for sure. It will take a pink hair girl and her friends to save the galaxy rather than an organization with corrupted, shady and dishonest bastards sitting at the top.

Kuroshitsuji II

March 19, 2011

Remember that talented butler that can do just about anything, if not everything? No, I’m not talking about Hayate Ayasaki but rather Sebastian Michaelis. That’s right. So when Kuroshitsuji II came out last year, the main motivation that tempted me to watch the sequel was to see what awesome, jaw dropping and unbelievable stunts that demon butler could pull off just to satisfy the orders, whims and fancies of his bocchan (young master), Ciel Phantomhive. Uh huh. Not the drama, the horror, the very mild yaoi or even the plot.

Oh who am I kidding. Even if all I wanted to watch were Sebastian’s acrobats, even I had to know what is going on in order to fully comprehend and enjoy why he does so. Based on the events that happened in the first season, it never occurred to me that a sequel would be so soon (actually 2 years later) and the way it ended with a cliff-hanger, things indicated it was left up to viewers’ discretion to think what happened to Ciel. You know, he found the culprit who sullied his family name and was ready to have his soul eaten as part of the contract. Did he or did he not?

Episode 1
So it was quite a little surprise to see that there is a new butler and master taking place. Could this be a new plot and story after all? The new butler is Claude Faustus and you can tell by his emotionless face that he may share the same abilities that Sebastian does. Of course he serves his master, Alois Trancy. Though Alois may seem carefree, he looks like a very cruel kid. Abusing and then blinding one of the eyes of his maid, Hannah Anafeloz! And he’s enjoying it! Though he also has triplets servants (yeah, they look the same alright), Alois is more infatuated with Claude. Just like Ciel, Alois has some sort of dark past (see the bruises on his body?). So painful that I guess the only way to escape was to make a contract with a demon. His contract with Claude is not in his right eye, but on his tongue. Claude also has a catchphrase similar to Sebastian when he acknowledges his master’s orders: “Yes, your highness”. I love this scene when Alois’ uncle plans to visit his nephew. Claude can be seen tap dancing before going into action of setting the table. Incredible! Not a flaw when all the utensils are in the air and land perfectly in place! When the uncle comes, we learn that he is suspicious of Alois. He has reservations about his legitimacy because his nephew was kidnapped soon after birth and his brother (Alois’ dad) went on a crazy search for him. Suddenly one day Alois just appeared out of nowhere claiming to be the heir of the Trancy household and soon his brother died a mysterious death. Remember that annoying Druitt? Yeah, he’s back (accompanying Alois’ uncle) and more annoying than ever. So this proves that this sequel isn’t another spin-off story. After dinner, the uncle leaves and Alois I guess for fun, throws all the money he has so that money-faced uncle starts scrambling to get everyone on them. Money talks, eh?

During that stormy night, a mysterious visitor pays a visit to the Trancy’s mansion. Alois thinks it would be interesting so he lets the heavily cloaked man in to stay. In the guest room, Alois is interested to know the contents of his luggage so the man makes a deal to show him the basement. There, the finds a little box labelled “New Moon Drop” but suddenly Claude attacks him. And tadah! That guy is Sebastian! He’s back. In the suitcase is unconscious Ciel! Alois seems to take an interest on Ciel and commands Claude to capture him. Sebastian makes his escape when he knocks out the lights. Alois cowers in fear and orders Claude to stay with him while the other servants are ordered to hunt down Sebastian. At a safe distance, Sebastian opens the little box to reveal Ciel’s family blue ring. He puts it on his fingers and Ciel wakes up.

Episode 2
I thought in the previous season, many of the characters died. Apparently not because Ciel’s servants, Meirin, Bard and Finny are still alive. Even Lau and his doll Ranmao. With Ciel back, we see him opening a newly built bridge. To bring moe into this episode, Elizabeth is back and is hounding Ciel to go on a hunt to find the legendary white deer. I’m sure he has learned not to make his fiancee cry. And Lau is taking bets whether they find it or not. A funny part was when Ciel and Elizabeth stopped for a break and lunch. Sebastian was going to prepare the exquisite delights but finds the food in the basket has been replaced by livestock! After reprimanding the 3 servants as the culprit, Sebastian manages to make mouth-watering and sumptuous dishes with what he has. In a flash! Just wow. As they continue, storm starts to build up. It gets worse so Ciel wants to call off the search but Elizabeth remains stubborn. As expected, she gets into trouble and clings on for dear life on the boat while the strong currents threaten to wash her away if she slips up. Ciel orders Sebastian to hold the dam while he goes save Elizabeth (because he feels it is his responsible – sometimes this kid can be a man too sometimes). However Sebastian breaks it instead, causing water the gush in. Ciel manages to grab Elizabeth and the next time he opens his eyes, he is in the arms of Sebastian. After Elizabeth comes rushing to hug him and apologize for everything, Ciel learns Sebastian did so was to change the shape of the river to its natural path so it will never flood again. Then the gang spots the white stag. Well, not really. Turns out to be formation of white rocks on the surface that looks like one. So all is well, ends well.

Episode 3
There have been cases of women suddenly bursting into flames. Yikes! The Queen has Ciel to look into it and since Scotland Yard’s Randall refuse to give Ciel any information, he goes to Undertaker. The only clues are ashes of the victims but their ashes seem to sparkly shine. At the funeral of the recent victim, Ciel notices the same glittering substance coming out from the wife of the photography shop, Margaret Turner (looks more like a fat, old and ugly version of Saber). Further investigations reveal that all victims had 2 things in common: They are newlyweds and have taken their photos at Turner Photographers. When they head to the photography shop, it seems Margaret has run out of control. She’s burning everyone (including her husband) by sprinkling the substance and snapping flashes of her camera! At least it saves them the trouble of needing to reveal the culprit. I’m not sure about the workings about magnesium and how they cause this so I’m not going to think further. As Margaret goes on a rampage, that gay Shinigami makes his appearance. Hello, Grell. Still loving our Sebastian boy? Hey, he’s got his chainsaw back. Surprisingly, Ciel doesn’t know who Grell is. Ciel follows Margaret up to Big Ben (that famous London clock tower) and reveals she was doing this just to find her elusive happiness as mentioned by some guy with gold eyes. Seeing young girls get married got her jealous? No wonder she became fat, old and ugly. Sebastian and Grell team up to put a stop to her before she finally perishes by her own flames. Later Ciel learns that there have been previous cases but the Queen requested the Trancys to investigate it, thus the classification of information on it. Sebastian tells Ciel about the Trancy’s head who died 3 years ago and was taken over by his son, Alois.

Episode 4
Ciel and Sebastian board a train on yet another case sent by the Queen. They observe lots of weird stuff and people on it. A guy infatuated with reading train schedules, a priest with a tattoo, and archaeologist, a temperamental Japanese guy and his wife who loves offering her food. Seems there is a panicky guy onboard with a bag of ransom money to secure the release of his kidnapped son. Then the people starts panicking when they learn there is a serial murderer onboard (though chained and under heavy security) and what they thought to be cholera breaks out when the Japanese wife and inspector starts acting pain. Ciel then recognizes the kidnapper to be one of the train wardens because of the scar on his hand. The kidnapper goes to the last coach and disconnects it but Sebastian was fast enough to make him spill the beans about the bomb in the train will go off if it ever stops. Sebastian kicks the kidnapper away and rushes to the runaway train. Believe me, he can run faster than the train. Meanwhile Ciel finds the kidnapped boy hidden in the mummy case but he was taken hostage by the serial killer (so much for tight security). As the train is headed for a broken bridge, all the weird characters chip in to plan and help do their part. But they are dismissed by Sebastian because he alone will be enough. So much for the anticipated teamwork. Sebastian rips off the roof of the dining coach (where the bomb is) and throws it away. Yeah, saves time of dismantling it. Then he uses his bare hands to stop the train to a grinding halt just inches before the broken bridge! AMAZING!!! When everything is settled, one of the passengers in the train is revealed to be Claude. He invites Sebastian and Ciel to the Trancy’s household.

Episode 5
We learn that Ciel has lost his memories. So it makes sense why he doesn’t remember things that happened in the previous season. So how far has he forgotten? Let’s just say he still thinks his aunt Madam Red is still alive. Wow. That’s really far. That prince Souma and his servant Agni make their appearance here and the prince becomes some emotional cry-baby because he can’t stand it that Ciel doesn’t remember him. Plus, Sebastian did tell the others about Ciel’s memory lost and to hold it in and play along. As the whole jin-jang gang are invited to Trancy’s mansion for a party, during the ball, a woman accidentally spills on Ciel’s clothes. She takes him somewhere to dry his clothes. She teases him and takes off his eye-patch before running off. Ciel gives chase and his head starts to hurt after experiencing fleeting memories at the basement (events of the first episode). Outside, Ciel meets that woman again. He knows she is Alois in disguise. Claude and the triplets servants appear and so does Sebastian. Alois wants Ciel to be his and warns him if he doesn’t, all the guests in his mansion will die. Has Ciel really cared for anyone before? I don’t really remember but even if he did, now isn’t the moment. Yup, he refuses Alois. Alois orders Claude to capture Ciel while Ciel commands Sebastian to protect him no matter what. Clash of 2 absolute orders. Somebody has to fail, right?

Episode 6
Hannah appears to put up some sort of entertainment for the guests but her weird armonica instrument is hypnotizing the guests into mindless zombies and causing them to turn on Ciel’s acquaintances. Of course they put on a good fight. Sebastian fights the triplets and beats them when sounds of the armonica reach outside. Sebastian rushes towards the mansion with Ciel in his arms. Just when the gang are being overwhelmed, suddenly the attacks stop because Sebastian is seen countering the armonica’s demonic sounds with his glass crystal. Holy! He’s damn good so much so the armonica itself is destroyed! How can a man-made demon instrument beat the real demon himself? Everyone returns to normal and applauds Sebastian’s performance (don’t they feel any pain after getting hit then?). At that time Alois and Claude comes in to make their presence to everyone. Sebastian and Claude are given one last chance to get it right by their respective masters. Outside at the lake, both demon butlers duke it out. Imagine, fighting on water so much so they make Jesus walking on water look like child’s play. And the way they use their kicks to create strong current waves, they have got to be the demon versions of Moses. During the fight, we learn that Sebastian is unable to eat Ciel’s soul because it became void. At the cliff-hanger of the final episode in the previous season, Sebastian was about to when Claude snatched Ciel away. However Claude could not eat Ciel’s soul because it was incomplete (he forgotten his memories so in a way renders the ‘flavour’ of the soul incomplete). So both butlers make a pact in some blood-dripping-rose ceremony. Sebastian will make Alois Trancy as the target for Ciel’s revenge so that his soul can be completed.

Episode 7
Ciel and Sebastian are invited to Trancy’s household again. Ciel initially rejected it but changes his mind to go after he found clues (made up, that is) about his parent’s murder. He intents on killing Alois. Upon arrival, Alois has prepared for their servants to fight on a giant chessboard while they watch. And yeah, Druitt is there too. Wouldn’t it be unfair to have Sebastian against Claude, Hannah and the triplets? Err… Is Sebastian seriously going to take them all with just a kitchen knife? But heck, we get a feeling Hannah is a demon because Claude pulls out a demon sword, Laevatein from her throat! Same feeling about the triplets because they got impaled in the head by Sebastian’s spear and are still walking fine afterwards. Their fights take a break when it is tea time. But even so it is still a battle for the butlers as they try to outdo each other to make their master’s the most delicious dessert ever. Druitt has a taste of both and goes into total ecstasy so much so he has to excuse himself to the toilet. As the butlers resume their battle, Alois takes Ciel to tour the mansion. I mean, you’re going to get bored seeing demons who can’t die fighting each other. It’ll last for eternity! Inside a room, Alois challenges Ciel to a sword fight. Ciel thinks he could cheat and stay ahead but Alois too knows what he is thinking. Alois is going to strike Ciel who is pinned down on the floor but Ciel surprises him by grabbing his blade. The butlers sense something amiss, stop their fight and rush to their masters. When they arrive, they see Ciel has stabbed Alois, though just the side of his stomach. Alois is writhing in pain and begging for mercy. Heartless Ciel is going to kill him anyway but is stopped by Claude. He slaps the butler. Claude tastes the blood from Ciel’s hand and experiences ecstasy so much so he couldn’t hear his master’s order, like in some sort of trance. Sebastian takes Ciel away and escapes so they’ll have to finish their fight some other day.

Episode 8
Though Alois survives that ordeal but his wound is quite serious. He doesn’t want Hannah to change his bandages and only Claude. Alois isn’t happy when Claude seems to indicate that he prefers Ciel’s blood to his. Later Alois throws up a tantrum and orders Hannah to take him to Ciel. Flashback reveals Alois’ real name is Jim McCain and was a poor orphan living along the rural area with his brother Luca. Alois wished the entire village would die because he is sick of them getting bullied every day. Luca believes Alois could do so and bows down while saying “Yes, your highness”. The next day, everyone in the village really died, making Alois really happy. As they scavenge the dead for their belongings, Alois becomes dismayed when he sees Luca’s lifeless body. He lost everything. His parents, everyone he knew and now his brother. Now he is truly alone. Many years later, Alois and several other young boys are gathered to the Trancy’s head. This old guy is some sort of a shotacon. I mean, paedophile. What difference does it make? The head is disgusted with Alois and rejected him. Then Alois heard about some process to summon a wish-granting ‘fairy’ and that’s when he met Claude but couldn’t find a reason to make a contract with him. Alois used his sex appeal to win over the head and soon contracted with Claude. That was when Claude told him that the village was destroyed by Sebastian from orders by Ciel, thus his interest in that kid peaked in him so that he could hunt him down and make him suffer as revenge for Luca. In present, the carriage crashes as Grell is here to take his soul. Hannah fends him off while Alois crawls away. He could’ve been a wolf’s meal if Claude didn’t appear to save him. Alois is happy to see him and wants him more than anything else. But Claude is disgusted by his affection and kills him! Oh sh*t! He can do that?! Claude takes Alois’ ring and seems to have put his soul into it for he thinks there is still use of him. Later Hannah goes over to Alois’ lifeless body and takes out his eye (revenge?) but seems to be grieving over him.

Episode 9
Ciel receives another request from the Queen. This time, victims seem to have one of their eyes gauged out and the culprit closely resembles the traits of Alois, believed to be already dead. During their rounds, they come under attack so Sebastian puts Ciel in a crate (seriously?!) while he handles the menace. Turns out to be a new Shinigami Ronald Knox (lawn mower as his weapon?) and William. Ciel starts to remember life in a box (no pun intended) and remembers some of his lost memories though they’re still hazy. Annoyed by Sebastian ordering him, he busts out and runs off looking for his butler. But he sees a person that resembles closely to Alois and turns his attention after him. When the police come by, Ciel is shocked to find that the police arrest him as they think he is Alois! This doesn’t help since Hannah is there and mentions about that mental trauma thingy. Yeah, she has her lost eye done in by Alois to make her case. I’m not sure about psychiatrist’s treatment that time because to rid of Ciel’s confusion, they have him undergo some torture. Later all the doctors in the facility are killed by Claude who masquerades as a doctor to plant fake memories into Ciel’s mind so much he thinks he is Alois. He uses Alois’ ring and reveals Luca made a contract with Sebastian to burn down the village. Sebastian could’ve arrived and saved his bocchan if not for Hannah stalling him. Though he manages to defeat her, he arrives too late because Ciel orders Sebastian to get out of his sight. Because in reality Sebastian is contracted to Ciel and cannot disobey him, he has no choice to leave, much to Claude’s delight. Claude takes Ciel back to Trancy’s mansion as his new master but Sebastian isn’t going to let this slip through his fingers. Woah. Is he going to transform into his true self? Too bad, we can’t see what it is either.

Episode 10
Sebastian can only watch from afar due to that order. While Claude serves Ciel, he is annoyed by the latter’s orders and tries to have him make a new contract with him but he refuses. Gay Grell wants to take pictures of his Sebby-chan but Grell can even tell his demonic aura means that he is in no mood to play. Sebastian has Grell uncover details about the Alois’ village that burnt down. They discover a lone woman survivor who witnessed the village’s massacre and survived because she was the only who showed Luca kindness. Before she could reveal more, she was taken out by the triplets (of all times, now?). Sebastian and Grell team up once more to kill off the triplets for good. Their Cinematic Records show that they were present when the village burnt down. Then Sebastian becomes totally enraged when he sees Hannah embracing Ciel. His demon aura is burning bigger! Ciel wants Claude to clean up some mess he made instead of Hannah. In his room, Ciel feels of returning to his own mansion when Hannah tells him to look into her mouth. Ciel sees an eye inside and freaks out and faints. Not only that, he saw himself from that eye of Alois. Meanwhile Sebastian confronts Claude outside. Both sides dissolve the pact they made and begin to fight. They hear Ciel calling Sebastian from atop a clock tower. However Sebastian isn’t violating Ciel’s orders because he is now Alois who has taken over Ciel’s body as he taunts him that he will fall over if he doesn’t come.

Episode 11
As Hannah appears before the butlers and explains that they will have to traverse the maze of his heart to reach him. Ciel imprisoned in his mind goes through the memories of Alois. Though Ciel starts to remember events that have happened, Alois is struggling to keep him in control. Both butlers begin their question-and-answer task in which a correct answer will enable them to stamp on the card and move on while a wrong one has a trap befall on them. Seems the truth of each question has been modified to what Alois deems to be true and has given Claude a head start. The more Ciel starts to remember like his revenge being completed, the maze also slightly modifies towards Ciel. Some questions reveal important points like the reason Sebastian couldn’t eat Ciel’s soul then was because Claude ripped his arm then. The mark of their contract was on it so at that moment, the contract was void and a chance for Claude to steal Ciel’s soul. Also, the reason Claude killed Alois was because he was just using him as a tool to obtain Ciel. This answer devastates Alois though Claude is sent back to the beginning of the maze. As Alois cries in Hannah’s arms, it is revealed that Luca actually contracted with Hannah then (the triplets were her servants). She found Luca’s soul to be different from the rest (he was the first person who thanked her for destroying the village) and has grown attached to him. So when Luca’s wish for the village to be destroyed was met, Hannah ate his soul though she felt sad about it. Thus she wanted to serve Alois because he resembles closely in a way to Luca. Hannah wants Alois to make a contract with her so that he could be reunited with Luca inside her. At that time Sebastian and Claude reunite at the final hurdle and Ciel takes back his body. Claude thinks it is over when Ciel sees Sebastian but instead he orders him to eat his soul but until then be his butler. Sebastian gladly obliges. Alois quickly takes control of the body as he finally realizes the one who truly loves him. He is going to make a pact with Hannah as the butlers do away with their hostility and race up the tower. When they reach inside, Alois mentions all he wanted was Claude’s love before fainting. Hannah reveals she has made a new contract with Ciel and Alois.

Episode 12
Hannah has the butlers row then to an island. Hannah makes them fight a duel to a death using Laevatein with the winner having the rights to obtain Ciel’s soul. Both butlers take their battle outside since both aren’t making headway in the cave. Ciel and Alois are chatting and the latter apologizes for using him for his own selfish reasons. The battle ends in Sebastian favour when the rock Claude lands on gave way and allowed Ciel to stab him. Sebastian mentions Claude has been played by Alois without realizing it all along so in his last words, Claude acknowledges Alois. Seems that was what Alois wished for when making the contract with Hannah. Alois realizes Claude has been defeated as his soul disappears. As Sebastian goes to claim Ciel, Hannah reveals something shocking before diving down the cliff with Ciel. Sebastian dives down and underwater tries to kill Ciel. Hannah washes up and lies next to Claude’s lifeless body. Noting that she, Claude, Alois and Luca can be together forever from now on before the waves engulf them. Some time later back at Ciel’s mansion, Sebastian continues being his butler. Looks like Ciel’s eye has turned demon-like! It is revealed that a condition of fulfilling Alois’ wish, Ciel’s soul must not be attainable by either butlers and thus be reborn a demon. As a result, Sebastian cannot eat his soul but must continue being his butler because of the contract he made. Sebastian goes around handing farewell gifts to all the characters they know and hands the mansion to Ciel’s servants. I’m not sure where they are going but a place where humans and demons are equals, Sebastian with Ciel in his arms jumps off the cliff into the darkness unknown.

Better The Devil You Know
Gosh. The ending was such a tragedy for everyone even if Ciel didn’t die in the end. The twist that Ciel became a demon actually caught me off guard. Though this season is shorter, it is darker, grimmer and mainly focused on Sebastian and Ciel. There weren’t any developments or improvements in their relationship as it all boils down to a competition to devour Ciel’s soul that the demons find it ‘tasty’. It was such an ironic situation that Ciel has been lifted by his curse of getting his soul devoured but in exchange it is Sebastian who is cursed into having to be his butler forever. And he became a butler and did every chore to perfection and utmost satisfaction of his bocchan just to obtain his soul in the end. And now all the tasks he seems to do, he’s got that unsatisfied look on his face. Each answer of “Yes, my lord” brings that depressing look on his face. Each time obeying his master’s orders, knowing the fact that he will not attain his soul. Forever. Man, that has got to be a long time. Maybe they could make another contract between demons like how Sebastian and Claude did? Yeah, like Ciel would want to do that. Why go all the trouble of doing something yourself when you have someone to do it for you whether he likes it or not. Even if Ciel has lost his memories or recovered them, he never changes and is still the same cold kid.

Alois himself have a pitiful past but I feel that he and the others who died got the other better end of the deal as they get to be together whether or not it turns out to be true but at least they don’t have to carry on something that lasts for eternity. At first Alois seemed like an ungrateful bastard because he didn’t appreciate all that Hannah did. Even if he was never fond of her in the beginning, he never kicked her out so it probably showed that he still needs her. All Alois ever wanted was to be loved after being alone for a big part in his life. Hannah may seem gentle but she herself is sly and made those butlers fight among themselves over Ciel. In the end, it was all for her love for Luca and Alois. As compared to Sebastian, Claude seems more like a perfectionist because he does criticize Sebastian’s work whenever he slips up a little like those little stains (barely naked to the human eye, that is). He is also crueler than Sebastian since he has no qualms in abandoning his master for the sake of his ultimate goal.

As for the other characters, I felt they were redundant and could have been done without in the first place. However I guess the few filler episodes in the first half of the series was meant to tell us that they’re still around. They didn’t do anything much to contribute in this season because as I have said, it is mainly about Sebastian and Ciel. Souma has been reduced to someone who is seen crying for every time he makes his appearance while Tanaka doesn’t appear in his chibi form. Ciel’s servants didn’t get to show off their skills or put them into use here but heck, we know what they are. New characters also don’t make an impact like that Ronald guy and that comical inspector that turns out to be the late Abberlain’s twin brother. Other minor supporting characters that appeared in the previous season such as William, Undertaker and what’s-her-name-again maid to Elizabeth made cameo appearance but were forgettable. Some minor characters like those weirdoes on the train and the lone survivor of the slaughtered village made me think that they would play some role somewhere but it all went up in smoke because it was either just hullabaloo in the end or got killed off. Because of that I always kept wondering what happened to them in the end. Not that it had any significant bearings to the story. Grell is still the one providing the most comic relief but it’s too bad Sebastian can never be his forever. Considering borrowing him? On second thought, don’t make that ‘cheated’ butler mad.

There were certain events that I don’t understand such as the New Moon Drop and how it could recover Ciel. Unless it was just the soul of Ciel trapped in the ring placed in that box. Then the case of the human combustion, I wonder how that woman got to shower magnesium just about everywhere in the city. What about the man with the golden eye she mentioned? Who is he? Also the secret contract that Sebastian and Claude made to make Alois the enemy of Ciel for him to seek revenge. What is in it for Claude when he agreed to let Alois be the target? I’m sure he is going to say Ciel’s soul will be his after and if he gets his revenge because Sebastian too is after it and won’t hand it to him. Maybe both are just playing along and so yeah, even in the end that pact is severed. As the casts of the characters from last season were retained, it is delightful to see Aya Hirano taking up the role as Hannah. After hearing lots of her roles, I guess it’s no surprise that I could recognize her. However in a way Hannah seems to remind me of another character Aya Hirano voiced in another anime: Garnet of Dragonaut The Resonance. Don’t both characters almost look similar? Just that Hannah isn’t a badass nor has oversized boobs (though Hannah herself is quite busty). If Aya Hirano doesn’t bring the surprise, I guess it is Nana Mizuki’s turn to surprise me because she was the voice behind Alois. I admit I haven’t been hearing her voices lately but to hear her voice this character it sure was sure unexpected. And Marina Inoue as Luca? Not that I’m familiar with her roles as young boys in Hayate No Gotoku’s Wataru or Yakitate! Japan’s Kanmuri, you know.

There was an OVA episode released back in October 2010 and is called Ciel in Wonderland. Yup, it’s a parody of Alice in Wonderland. In this first OVA that features characters from only the first season and the plot bearing no relation to the story. It all began when Ciel spots Sebastian sprounting rabbit ears and tail. He follows him and ends up falling into a rabbit hole. Thus his adventure as ‘Alice’ begins like meeting door mice Elizabeth and her maid. They have a tea and Elizabeth grows into an inconsolable giant after eating a weird cake. Next, Ciel meets his servants as nonsense-spouting boat rowing people. A giant puppy causes a wave and makes Ciel fall into the water. Somehow he didn’t drown and finds himself in a wagon on shore. Since he is wet and there is not clothes, he has not choice but to dress in that girly dress as seen in the first season. Turtle Druitt spots him and takes a liking, trying to hit on him. They started dancing as a large crowd gathers. Druitt spins too much and has Ciel thrown faraway into the sky. He crashes into the palace of ‘Duchess’ Souma and his ‘maid’ Agni who is obsessed of making curry bread with black pepper. Grell as the Cheshire Cat is creepy yet hilarious. Ciel has a taste of Agni’s curry bread and soon turns into a giant wearing the Eifel Tower, crumbling the palace down. Then he meets the lizard police Abberlain who persuades Ciel to eat a candy.

I don’t know what happened to that candy thingy because in OVA 2 (which was released in March 2011), Ciel continues his journey through the grass. Probably he shrinked. So this chase over Sebastian has gotten Ciel into a whole lot of mess and humiliation, eh?. Yeah, now he is one hell of a white rabbit. Ciel meets the Lau the caterpillar and his Ranmao the mushroom. Ranmao shoves Ciel’s face into her boobs which turns him into an adult, then a toddler before to his normal self. When Ciel mocks him he doesn’t know where Sebastian went, Lau decides to show his true powers. I’m not sure if that means Ranmao sprouting wings and taking Ciel to soar in the sky. Ciel falls from the sky into the woods to meet Grell the Cheshire Cat (oh no! Not again). Ciel wants to which direction to take since the path splits to either Mad Hatter or March Hare. Grell goes on ranting about his homo preferences till Ciel mentions about wanting to meet Sebastian simply because he is his butler. Then the woods open a path of those filled with dead trees so Ciel heads straight into it. He ends up at the tea party of Mad Hatter (Undertaker) and March Hare (William). Ciel is tired of Undertaker’s magic tricks of showing bits of memories via his overflowing tea and oversupply of sugar cubes. Demanding to know where Sebastian is, the make him take a quiz but since it is a trick question, they end up laughing at him. Ciel decides to go meet the queen, speaking of which, the carriage arrives and the trio servants bring him over. He arrives via flying train (like Galaxy Railways) and the next thing he knows he is in some sort of trial in the queen’s chamber. The Queen of Hearts (Madam Red) declares Ciel guilty and wants him executed on the spot. Off with his head! Ciel objects and demands to do a proper trial. They call forth several witnesses that include Elizabeth, the trio servants, Souma, Abberlain, Ash and even Madam Red herself. Each saddened that they lost something and pinpointing the blame on Ciel. Finally Undertaker shows him more of his memories via his teacup (footages from the TV series). This causes Ciel to be in doubt of his identity and that he doesn’t remember in the first place. Thus Madam Red pronounces him guilty and wants him executed. Ciel maintains he is innocent but the rest demand him to show proof. Then he hears the sound of Sebastian so he affirms his own identity and orders Sebastian to get him out of here. Sebastian crashes down from the roof to carry Ciel off in his arms while dispatching the guards. On the way out, he mentions that Ciel didn’t need proof and all he needs to do was just give an order. Back in the real world, seems Sebastian is reading a storybook to sleeping Ciel.

There is another OVA called Welcome To The Phantomhive Family. Elizabeth’s sister pays a visit to Ciel’s mansion. A big portion of the viewing angle comes from the eyes of the nameless, faceless and dialogue-less sister. Nameless because will never know what her real name is. Faceless because we’ll never get to see her true full face. And dialogue-less because you’ll never hear her even huff a single breath. She is shown around the mansion with great hospitality by Sebastian like the several rooms and the other characters occupying it as guests for tonight’s ball. During tea, she accidentally spills tea on her dress so Sebastian is ordered to give her a new change of dress. I can’t believe that Sebastian can swiftly do the job of changing a lady’s dress even blindolded! Later we learn that this ‘sister’ is actually an assassin hired by some family to assassinate Ciel and Sebastian. As she meets up with Elizabeth in a room, a sleeping gas knocks them out. Seems like Druitt in a mask kidnaps her. Ciel and Sebastian learn of it and the former orders the butler to rescue her. Druitt is with the lady on his cruise ship ranting about his destined love. Probably something we’re not interested to know. Sebastian crashes the party so Druitt threatens to take their own lives. Grell busts in and warns him that lady isn’t to die till tomorrow. A short battle ensues and ultimately it is Druitt who is thrown off the ship. Then William comes by and reprimands Grell for mistaking this lady to die since he got the wrong person due to the slight difference in their name’s spelling. Then back at the mansion, she is given some time to rest. But she wakes up and sneaks into Ciel’s room and finds him sleeping. She takes out her dagger but is quickly interrupted by Sebastian. He knows before hand who she is. She tries to attack but Sebastian’s grip is too strong so she drops her knife. Ciel wakes up and sees her. He apologizes for all that has happened and invites her to follow him. In a room, seems that everyone is throwing her a surprise party (though Sebastian notes that this may be a false date that she fed to Elizabeth but this is a special day not only for Elizabeth but the Phantomhive family as well). After Sebastian sings her a happy birthday song (leaving out her name), the ball starts as Sebastian dances with her. She wonders why he didn’t kill her so he mentions about his job as a butler to gracefully oversee this ball and not taint it with blood. Plus, Ciel did order him to treat her with hospitality. Sebastian ‘warns’ her that if she returns to kill his master, he will show no mercy and kill her but if she returns as a guest, he will offer his best hospitality. She agrees. At the end when she leaves in a carriage with Elizabeth, she gives up her assassin job and throws her knife out. Better this way. You don’t want to know the odds you’re going against with a demon butler.

The whole TV series can be summed up as one gloomy affair even if there are light hearted moments, the dreary feel of the atmosphere, music and plot stands out more. But still I give Sebastian the thumbs up for entertaining me with his super stunts that no other ordinary butlers can pull off and those poetic narrations he gives during the next episode preview. Yeah, he wouldn’t be much of a Phantomhive’s butler if he couldn’t do just that. I must say that he really does have a penchant for using kitchen knives as his arsenal. Why not? Light and easy to carry about hidden beneath the suit. Otherwise you may be mistaken for a ninja if you threw or wield a kunai. So Hayate, maybe you can learn a thing or two from this butler to serve your oujo-sama (who am I kidding? Due to the difference in genre, I’m sure he too can pull off unbelievable feats). And about my wish about having a butler? I think I would prefer a cute maid instead. No yandere kind please. “Kuromeido (Black Maid) at your service, goshuujin-sama!”.

So uh… What exactly is this? If you ask me, I think I would sum up Prism Magical: Prism Generations as an ecchi magical girl. However this is a very short OVA with only an episode lasting approximately 16 minutes. I read it was produced as the company PAJAMAS SOFT’s 10th anniversary and reading the short synopsis seemed a little interesting. A seaside town with some kid named Raika enjoying his life with his childhood friend Ibuki, the maid Yuri and rival Puchihime. The amusing part is that Raika’s dad is a magical girl! Oh man, this has got to be something hilarious. Even more outrageous is that Raika is forced to be a magical girl and don a costume of one! And some battle to save his school against other magical girls, yeah that seemed typical. How many guys actually dress up as a magical girl? Unless you’re into that cosplaying fanatic.

The OVA opens and hardly tells us that this is some sort of magical girl stuff because they prefer to focus on Puchihime’s bouncing boobs. She’s naked. Why? Because the girls are in the hotspring, courtesy of Yuri’s family. Puchihime rubs salt into the A-cup girls about her boobs. Then they hear a commotion. Seems bodyguards Bob and Michael have sent peeping Tom Takeo flying into space. They have also apprehended Raika but he asserts he was trying to stop Takeo. Would they buy his story? Though Ibuki says Raika is a pervert but she believes he isn’t the kind to lie.

This has Puchihime to impose punishment no. 3 on blindfolded Raika. That is, to wash her back. He has to go with that option because punishment no. 1 is death by execution and no. 2 is never to be reborn in this world. Oh, there’s no. 4 in fact. Letting him wished he had died. I guess with the vast difference, it’s no surprise to see how anyone would go with any other options. Because he is blindfolded, Raika couldn’t do his job-cum-punishment properly and accidentally fondles Puchihime’s boobs, earning her wrath. He is then ordered to wash Ibuki’s back but as usual, he touched her boobs and was sent flying. Then it’s Yuri’s turn but she insists of washing her master’s back instead since it is her duty as his maid. Raika panics and tries to run away but Puchihime uses a towel to grab him back. Inadvertently, this causes his blindfold to come off as the girls panic when he starts to open his eyes. They start slipping on a soap and ended up in a very tangled and messy position. I’ll leave it to your imagination of who’s touching who. It was enough for somebody to yell the he came here to violate their virginities. That’s what youth is all about.

Raika wakes up on Ibuki’s lap in the house (now everyone’s fully cloth. Finally). She teased him about his sudden erection which shocked her. However she notes that it would fine if it was just the two of them. The build-up to their romantic moment vaporizes when the rest comes barging in. See lah. Next time want to kiss, kiss faster. Puchihime’s little chick comes to inform her of something so she has to excuse herself to attend to something important. The rest soon learn about the appearance of a strange magical girl nearby. The trio transform into their magical outfit and my, Raika sure do look like one because he looks girly to begin with if you ask me.

As they approach the detected presence, they see a couple of magical girls fighting each other. Oh wait. Actually 2 grown men in magical girl outfits! OMG! OMG! ZOMG! Before they could take on each other, they are taken out by Puchihime and Raika. Turns out they are their respective dads! I know, it’s bloody embarrassing to have your dad dressed as so. Though they reason that they came because their fatherly love has them worried about them, their ruse is exposed when a camera falls out. Yup, they snapped nude photos of them in the nude. Lots of them. Not only do they cross-dress but voyeurism too? The quartet combine their Magical Force Impact powers to send the failures flying into the sky. Raika wishes to shake hands with Puchihime but she asserts that they are enemies no matter what. Everyone goes back to the hotspring as they meet up with a couple of other girls. Puchihime ‘lost’ to their size and they enjoy seeing the voyeur photos.

Guys Can Be Magical Girls Too!
Okay, so this was just passable. If anything else, I think if the OVA gets lots of welcoming reception, perhaps they will produce more OVA episodes or even turn it into an anime series. Otherwise, for those wanting more of this series, there is just only the game in which this OVA is based on. Ecchi scenes weren’t anything new for those who are used to see these kind of things and is considered mild. I guess the only interesting part that made me laugh were their cross-dressing dads. They look so hilarious, so gross that any magical girl would turn over in their grave. There were probably reasons for this but I think I don’t want to know.

If I watched this OVA without reading the earlier synopsis, I wouldn’t have understood nor connected the plot. This OVA doesn’t seem to show how the plot was so and may leave you a little confused on what this is about. Heck, do you really care after seeing those fanservice stuff for half of the running time? The henshin scene, little mascot animals, magical girl chants and powers are pretty typical recipes for what a magical girl series should be. At least I know that unless you are androgynous, cross-dressing as a magical girl is a big no-no. Those muscular arms, hairy legs and chest, deep manly voice. Ugh… Unless you want to be a laughing stock. But hey, that’s why we keep dreaming.

KissxSis TV

March 12, 2011

I never thought of myself to watch that incest and ecchi series again. Because I found the ecchi parts of the OVAs of KissxSis to be somewhat a little hard to stomach, I thought of letting it go from my watch list. Then somehow I got this crazy idea that if the OVAs were adapted into a TV series, maybe those disgusting ecchi parts will be more toned down. Just like how they did for Kyo No Go No Ni. Well, I was wrong. In Kyo No Go No Ni’s case, the drawing and art differs from the OVA and they even used an entirely different voice cast. But for KissxSis, not only the production company was the same, the drawing and art including the voice cast were the same for both TV series and OVAs. Which means, you can expect more or less the same thing. Must be pretty popular this series, eh?

And yeah, I read that the TV series was supposed to be a retelling of the story from OVAs. Actually, I don’t see how different it is and in fact could be quite similar. It’s about this Keita guy. He’s got a pair of older twin step sisters, Ako and Riko whom aren’t actually blood related. Because of that, this gives rise to them having some sort of an incest relationship. It doesn’t help since both their parents are supportive of them pursuing a lover’s relationship. The girls are the ones trying to make a move on Keita, who isn’t too fond about their advances but as time passes, he too starts getting attracted to them. Can’t resist your hot sisters, eh? So really, how is this an alternate retelling? Perhaps just throw in a few bunch of characters but other than that, everything else still feels the same. Just feels like something to give fans a weekly fix for three months instead of waiting for months not knowing when the next anticipated OVA will be released.

Episode 1
Thus the episode begins with a short flashback on how Keita’s twin sisters protected him from a pack of mean doggies. I guess it’s the time of innocence when all siblings get along well with each other. But when you grow up, you wonder where it all disappears because Keita is embarrassed when his sisters give him a peck on his cheek each and his pals are utmost jealous he’s got a pair of hot twins to himself. As usual we see the usual tussle over Keita like fighting over his underpants. WTF?! Riko even has the cheek to rub it over her face! Eww! Even if Keita put numerous security locks in his room door, mysteriously his sisters can actually break in and sneak into bed with him. Must be the power of love! I don’t know, but they can be good lock pickers. There’s supposed to be this meeting between parents and teachers but since Keita’s are busy over some neighbourhood meeting, he trashes the note away. Of course the sisters picked it up and suddenly conjure an evil plot. They plan to head to Keita’s school and this is like opening Pandora’s Box. Why? Because all the other boys start going crazy and chase after them. That popular, eh? So when Keita spots the ruckus, he confronts them and tells them off for doing such bothersome things. His pals aren’t happy he coldly shoots them while the sisters apologize and regret before leaving. Then he saw the PTA meeting notice and realized. He apologizes for being inconsiderate and they make up. When they come home, their parents restate their support of them to get married (especially passionate daddy. Something about being a true man. Huh?) so Keita isn’t happy and the sisters peck his cheek once more.

Episode 2
Keita is having a hard time concentrating on his books because Ako’s nice and sexy body are distracting him. She’s helping him by being his personal tutor. Riko feels left out because she can’t do anything to help. She can’t cook but she offered to take care of his urinal. WTF?! Perhaps Ako being a tutor isn’t effective enough so much so Keita fell asleep. Too tired or just boring? So what does she do? She strips her top and now he’s wide awake! Definitely effective. However he flops in the test because he can’t remember what he learned and only remembers her boobs. Damn. But Ako comes up with an idea. She writes important points all over her body! It’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone. While Keita has a nice time ogling it at, he at least can learn some of the words and formulas he sees. And it worked! He scored high marks! His pals are suspicious that he may have some secret fling to become this successful. For the next study session, Ako plans to give him a kiss for every correct answer but since he thinks it’s some sort of punishment, she gets upset and changes the rules that he has to kiss her for every wrong answer. At first Keita seems to get it all right but you know, nobody is perfect. So it’s punishment time as Ako waits for his kiss. It wasn’t the lips locking that disturbed me. It was the part they used their tongues to… You figure it out. I’m sure their steamy affair could’ve continued but Riko comes between them as she has finally made some drink for Keita (after all that attempts). Let’s just say she needs more practice. A lot more. When Keita returns home with good news that he scored highly, he gives Ako a big thank you hug.

Episode 3
Another flashback that sees how the siblings nonchalantly kiss each other when they’re younger. But not now because Keita thinks it will disrupt his exam preparations. Because of their persistence, Keita bans kissing in his room. Ako continues to make midnight snacks for Keita. Riko doesn’t want to lose out and tries to make some sweets but as expected with disastrous results. In one of her attempts, she decides to seek daddy for answers but he is not in his room. She spots a naughty adult video cover on his desk and gets inspiration. Oh no. That smirk tells it all. But good thing is that it didn’t turn out anything naughty because she made a chocolate lipstick and put it over her lips and wants Keita to have a taste of it. Seems too hard to resist and probably getting to taste the chocolate was just an excuse to continue their kissing. So normal kissing won’t do now as they ‘graduate’ to different positions and even tongue to tongue. Gross. But they seem to enjoy it. It could have gotten a lot steamier if Ako didn’t barge in a put a stop to their unholy act (she was initially slowed down by Riko’s traps). Ako gets even upset when she finds out that ‘no kissing’ notice has been taken off (it fell off by accident) so this means Keita won’t have any midnight snacks for a while as she breaks the chocolate lipstick. However Riko gives him an extra chocolate lipstick she made. So in school, Keita decides to have that sweet taste again but it wasn’t the same because it felt like the Grim Reaper came to take his life.

Episode 4
The sisters have a little flashback during the time Keita starts becoming rebellious. Like not getting excited seeing them in their new school uniforms. They even tried to date other boys in order to get over their brother complex but it didn’t turn out well. Then they were watching him doing some run practice. Keita fell but get up to catch up and win the race. That was when they started to have feelings for him. As Ako talks about her love for Keita, her homeroom teacher, Yuuzuki Kiryuu mistakes that she may have an incest relationship with her brother and vows to correct her. Later after Keita finishes his study at the library, he passes by the shrine and sees his sisters praying. He prays for his exam’s success as they remember back then Keita prayed to marry both sisters! He was pretty adamant that he could do so and accepted kisses from them both. Keita also remembers soon after he was saddened that the laws in Japan do not make it possible for all 3 of them to get married so I guess that’s where he starts losing his innocence. There seems to be quite a number of wishes other people make at the shrine, including those whose wishes are to date Ako and Riko. Keita thinks back when the sisters felt they should resign to the fact that they may have to date another guy. So he goes back an offers a large offering while praying that he won’t hand over his sisters to some strangers. Oh, now he wants to keep them, eh? It made them happy as they walk home holding his arm.

Episode 5
Keita’s pals are thinking of something perverted. Since Keita isn’t showing any interest, they think he gets his satisfaction from his sisters. He refutes and asserts he loves girls with big boobs and accidentally fondles those of Miharu Mikuni. It was bad she misinterpreted and got into accidental misunderstood positions with this guy in previous episodes, and now this. Because of that, Ako and Riko are suspicious about the hand slap mark across his face. He tries to take his mind of it but I guess he can’t escape thinking about boobs. He decides to go to the library to do so but it seems Miharu is part of the library committee. She has this uneasy feeling that he might do something perverted on her. She also has a hard time trying to excuse herself to the toilet and holds it in, looking for a chance to go when he’s not looking. Eventually she manages to do so but Keita chases after her after learning she dropped her student ID. As expected, she thinks he’s aiming for her and they fell into a compromising situation. To make things worse, Keita’s sisters are heading towards his school to give him an umbrella on this rainy day. It could’ve been sh*t if they ever see that. But at the skin of their teeth, Keita escapes from his sisters’ detection and even drags Miharu along. It’s got to be hard trying to hold it in. Another close shave at in the class locker so Miharu couldn’t stand it anymore at the end of the ordeal and does it standing (?!). They have to make a run and hide in the gym storeroom but the teacher soon locks it. Their only way out is a window high up so Keita suggests Miharu sit on his shoulders and try to reach it. Unfortunately all that shaking causes her to release all her fluids onto his head!!! GROSS!!! Even gross when Keita uses his handkerchief to wipe the floor and smell his hands! What is wrong with his guy?! Then they manage to crawl out after finding a low ground window. Keita promises not to tell anyone but accidentally saw under her skirt. She’s not wearing anything underneath. Ako and Riko spot Keita at the riverbank and call to him but think they’ve got the wrong person because Keita’s face is all bruised and swollen!

Episode 6
The siblings head for Akihabara and the sisters are a hit with the otakus when they don those cat ears. It all started when the sisters tried to Google some porn for research but no matter how much they search with whatever keywords they use, they’re always blocked. It was then they decided to head to Akihabara to buy an eroge. They have to do it without making Keita suspicious. Ako distracts Keita with some cosplaying while Riko goes to buy the eroge. During changing, Keita and Ako see Yuuzuki cosplaying too! Her secret fetish busted. Consulting her imaginary shogun Kanetsugu, she decides to get all the goods she came to buy and retreat. Riko spots a last eroge on the shelf and grabs it. Unfortunately, somebody else also grabs it. It’s Yuuzuki! She tries to give an excuse of confiscating this evil product. When the siblings regroup and learn of Yuuzuki, the sisters are suspicious about her actions in this area as a teacher. Both sides argue so Yuuzuki notices Keita and misinterprets he approves of the incest relationship (because he said he was happy to hear when his sisters told him that they love him) and is the root of the problem. She drags Keita away to have a private talk. Somehow they ended up into some love hotel that seems to have that feudal military theme Yuuzuki is obsessed about. It’s hard to concentrate when the next door is making ambiguous noises. Yuuzuki tries to persuade him but he isn’t fazed and says his sisters are the best. Of course they get into a compromising situation and all in good timing, Ako and Riko find them. At the end, they meet Mikazuki (Yuuzuki’s little sister and Keita’s underclassman) who makes up a story and covers up for big sis that Yuuzuki was here to buy her those stuff since she is underage. And back home, both sisters continue their otaku fetish as Mikazuki takes photos of embarrassed Yuuzuki as repayment for bailing her out of that difficult situation.

Episode 7
One of Keita’s friends, Toda plans to go to the pool as summer break from their studying. This means, Keita, Mikazuki, Ako and Riko are invited to come along. Yuuzuki (fresh from her broke financial state for another Kanetsugu-sama thingy) spots the gang and decides to tail them and if possible, stop their unholy activities (at least that’s what she thinks). Too bad she had to fork out more money to pay for the expensive entrance ticket. After the kids have their fun, Ako and Riko head to the toilet. Seems they are coming Yuuzuki’s way so she has no choice but to lock herself in a cubicle. As she eavesdrops on their conversation, the sisters get suspicious when they hear a suspicious noise coming from the cubicle and thinks it’s a peeping Tom. They flush her out till she’s soaking wet. Yuuzuki reveals her intentions to correct them but the sisters think she has some sort of pent up desires. Why are they shock to learn she is a virgin? Anyway Keita has an extra jersey so he lends them to Yuuzuki for the time being. Back home, Yuuzuki’s thoughts are filled with Keita. She’s supposed to wash the jersey but gets this sick idea of wearing them. Then she starts fantasizing horny stuff about Keita and even gets turned on! Her dream ends when she wakes up in the morning to find she slept throughout the night wearing just the jerseys and nothing underneath. She thought of giving it back like that but couldn’t because she realized she just wet the pants!!! Another sicko!!!

Episode 8
Keita and his sisters go to the festivals as both sisters tussle to spend some quality time with Keita. During a parade, the sea of macho men separate the gang so Keita and Ako end up together. They have their fun time together till at a booth when a chick jumps into Ako’s yukata. I guess she takes this opportunity to have Keita take it out for her and at the same time let him feel her body but unfortunately it was Riko who did the honours. Then they soon get separated again with that parade and this time Keita ends up with Riko. She takes him to the back of the stalls and hints of doing that with him. Yuuzuki was there and spots them. She chases after them but was beaten by that parade. Seems Riko got swept away by it too. Keita learns Mikazuki as the Miss Mikoshi of the parade (she thinks she’s sexy?) and I don’t know why, the parade now seems to chase after Keita. Miharu is at the festival too and she’s waiting at the long queue for the toilet after she spots Keita earlier on. Too bad that parade caught up and she has to make a run. Keita is reunited with his sisters in the secluded forest area. When the fireworks start, the chick got loose so Keita goes after it. Miharu is at her limit and is taking a dump at the woods. Yeah, Keita so happen to bump into her. She panics once more and pees standing… I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know if that look on Keita’s face was supposed to be surprised or in awe. He returns to his sisters as they are puzzled to see his bruised and swollen face. Deja vu?

Episode 9
Keita continues to study hard for the exam. Riko makes him a headband as motivation while Ako makes him a special meal. Of course Keita once again gets distracted when Riko starts teasing him by putting his foot to her sensitive part under the kotatsu. I think they both enjoy it but have to put it on hold when Ako comes back. Soon Ako finds out because they are making funny faces and gives them a good smack after she overturns the table (really!). Later the sisters research on Google about lucky charms and one of them includes pubic hair. Yikes. After embarrassingly making Ako announce in public about her pubic hair, it seems that the fact she can count them actually does get to her. Riko suggests that they combine their pubic hair and it give it to Keita as a lucky charm as they think giving him both would make him throw away one of them. So I guess they have to pull it out themselves unless they want Keita to do it for them (Ako really went of tangent with that fantasy). Riko teases Ako to be a pervert of late but in her own case, she did admit she herself was a pervert from the start! After putting the contents into the charm, they hope to keep it a secret from Keita (got that entwining feeling inside?). They give it to him and make him promise never to open it. Seeing they put great effort into it, he thanks them before kissing it, sending the sisters into a panic blushing. Next day as he leaves for school, Keita hangs the charm on his bag and plans to show it to everyone. To their dismay, Ako and Riko start getting this breezy feeling down there and may have regretted doing so.

Episode 10
Bad luck strikes Keita because he is down with a flu and his exam is just around the corner. The sisters pretend to call in sick and take turns to nurse Keita back to health. This includes kissing him or sucking his saliva (yucks!) so as to pass the flu to them, licking his nipples when he is sweating (super yuck!), licking the inner parts of his ear (how gross can they get?!) and licking the rest of his body. I guess for Keita’s case, if you can’t beat them, join them. Yeah, might as well enjoy it since they’re at it. Soon Keita is feeling much better but Ako and Riko now caught his flu. His pals are suspicious about the treatment he got to suddenly become better. On exam day, it seems Yuuzuki is invigilating Keita’s batch and once more her minds starts going berserk. But she recomposes herself and lets the students start their exam. Ako and Riko remember the time they were on their way to sit for the exam but Ako became panic upon learning she forgot her exam ID. Keita ran all the way to give it to them (Riko too forgot and left it on her desk but was bloody confident she didn’t lose it) and gave his support. After the exam, Keita returns home to surprisingly see his sisters sleeping together. Thinking how cute they are when they’re asleep, he thanks them for everything and pecks them before his paranoia made him realized that this may be a prank and thinks they’re awake. Apparently not so he leaves. Well actually they were awake the whole time so after he left, they become emotional and fluster as they wonder why they didn’t react to him then. What a wasted golden opportunity. Boo hoo!

Episode 11
Keita wakes up from another weird dream. Can’t blame him because his sisters are clutching his crotch while they’re sleeping! Indecent. But it’s D-Day because today is the exam results announcement. Keita and his sisters make their way to school but it seems they encounter bad omen everywhere. From pun words of failing, black cats, a murder of crows to even the shrine bell they prayed fell off! Though they keep positive, upon seeing the board, it seems Keita’s number is not among the successful candidates! Say this isn’t true! Even his pals passed. Why is fate so cruel? Ako and Riko are as shocked as well so much so they take it out by raising their voice at poor Yuuzuki passing. Depressed Keita heads home to find his sisters had worked hard to make a surprise celebration but I guess it’s understandable nobody is in the mood for that. Ako and Riko apologize for everything (see lah, always distract and seduce him lah) but Keita too apologize that he didn’t live up to it after all that hard work. He is prepared to make it next year and so as not to put the food to waste, they celebrate his success for next year. I hope this doesn’t give rise to counting your chickens before they hatch. Later Miharu comes knocking on their door. She hands over a document bearing Keita’s name (somehow her dog had it in its mouth and tried to bury it in her home garden). Inside it, a slip that says Keita has passed his exams. Seems Keita was one of the few successful candidates on the waiting list. Yuuzuki was slow to put it up on the board but those who passed in this manner will also be notified via post. Keita is ecstatic and hugs Miharu. For once she didn’t panic but congratulates him. When Ako and Riko are shock to see their embracing so when Miharu realizes what is happening, she runs away in panic. Back to her old self. Hey, did she pee while running? Is it even possible for humans to do that? Ako and Riko learn the good news as the siblings feel relieve and hug each other.

Episode 12
Keita receives his graduation scroll in episode 12. After the ceremony, he goes to thank Miharu for saving his life. Then his sisters come by to receive his second button but to their horror, seem he has gotten all his buttons taken away by his underclassmen. Is he that popular? Because of that, they decide to have a ladder lottery to decide which item to get in replacement. Mikazuki is also in while Miharu got caught up in the pace of it all. Three out of the four items seem horny. So Ako thought she would have a better chance of scoring with Keita. Unfortunately it backfired and all she got was his uniform collar. Next is Mikazuki and she gets Keita to flip her skirt. Thinking that all those horny incest has made Keita immune, the sisters are in for a big surprise because when Keita flips Mikazuki’s skirt, she has her panties down! You could say he saw the ‘universe’. Then it’s Riko to give him a kiss in front of everybody. Surprisingly she passes the chance up and couldn’t do it. Which means, Miharu gets the ideal one: To do “XXX” with Keita in the gym store room for 5 minutes. What the hell is “XXX”?! A deal is a deal. The duo are locked in the store and it sure brings back wet memories, eh? Both of them talk it out as Miharu finds it hard to tell him that she’s going to the same high school with him. At the end of it as Keita is going to shake her hands, they both slip and he fell on top of her. I don’t know how but it made it look like he tried to undress her. That’s when the 5 minutes is up and the girls open the door to their horror. They think he tried to finish it in 5 minutes!

Sister Act – Incest Version
So I guess they’re not settling for that yet so back at home the sisters are going to have their own ‘graduation’ ceremony with Keita. When he’s asleep, both girls dress in sexy babydoll lingerie enter his room to do horny molestation on his body while masturbating themselves!!! Sickos! I can’t believe he is still sound asleep even with all that stimulating ruckus. I suppose his meat stick wasn’t big enough, they start fighting over it. Is that the thing which controls his dreams? Anyway Ako and Riko spot his second button in his shirt as Keita sleep talks about how he tried to save this button for his sisters but is unable to choose between them. Ako and Riko decide to back down for now and wait till a time he will choose on his own. They peck his cheek. The new semester arrives as Keita walks to school hand in hand with his sisters.

Curiosity got the better of me as I went to watch the OVAs that I didn’t watch earlier on. Seems even before and after the TV series ended, there were more OVA episodes released. I don’t know how many there will be but I think the series must be that popular to release limited OVAs with each new volume of manga released. So this OVA 3 as some may call it lives up to its steamy and horny reputation. When Keita goes off for special classes, Ako and Riko enter his room and stumble upon a porn mag in his bag. Slut sisters! They think he is into this sort of incest and threesome when the mag was actually snuck into his bag by his friend. Ako confiscates it but it was just an excuse to have a look. Though embarrassed, she’s masturbating while going through it! She could’ve gotten high if Riko didn’t come in and find out what that pervert is doing. They decide to do a practice threesome in Keita’s room (because it has got his smell) using blankets, a marker pen and teddy bear. By following the mag, Riko takes the lead and plays it cool while Ako panics and flusters during the act. Riko gets stimulated by the marker pen and the teddy bear’s nose for Ako. It got so shock that they started pinching each other’s nipples and licking each other’s tongue! So shock! So stimulating! So steamy! So good! Can’t stop! OMG! Too hot! Too lewd! Too disgusting! No matter how tired or embarrassed, they kept going on. In the end, let’s say they enjoyed it so much that they stained the marker pen and teddy bear. Must be feeling real good, eh? Even Ako says she’d die of sexual frustration if she doesn’t get to do it with Keita. Must really be that pent up. When Keita returns, sly Riko leaves the mag in Ako’s hands and leaves. In a pinch and panicking, Keita comes in and finds out she has the mag in her hands. He delivers a big blow when he says she is more perverted than he thought. Later Ako and Riko argue about it. It got worse when daddy suggests they shouldn’t just fight over Keita but kiss each other as well. This earns him a double punch. And Keita’s curiosity has him looking through the mag. Interesting, eh?

Then in OVA 4, the siblings head to the hotspring. The taxi driver left them stranded outside a penis museum. Keita and Ako fluster and panic while Riko is excited. The atmosphere gets awkward on their way back because their heads are filled with horniness. Keita is suspicious about his sisters’ invitation to join them at the mixed open air bath but gives in. Of course it has to be another one of their perverted schemes. In the bath that is small enough that they got their legs tangled, Ako gives Keita drink sake under guise of cola. Riko also wants to have a taste of it, gulps it all down and collapses. Ako’s plan to do pervert stuff on drunk Keita backfires as he licks Riko’s boobs instead! Ako manages to distract him to do deep tongue kiss. Disgusting! Then he is going for in between Ako’s legs! Too bad he passes out. Frustrated Ako takes them all back and decides to go to bed when she sees Keita’s erection. She drinks up the sake and plays with that meat stick till she passes out! Sicko! Later that night Keita and Riko woke up and outside the balcony Riko manages to convince Keita to kiss her! Another deep one too! Then she puts his face in her boobs. This causes him to remember how her sisters used to comfort him this way a lot. Till he released he is caressing her boobs for real. Riko teases him to suck and lick her boobs. He does so and I can’t believe he is actually enjoying it! Riko is totally in ecstasy! Or is it pain? Either way, it looked to stimulating. I’m amazed the way she screamed didn’t wake anybody up. However Keita passes out in the end of that ‘ordeal’. The next day on their bus ride home, the sisters are bloody disappointed that Keita forgot all the steamy affair he did last night. Boo hoo! But why is he getting this sexually excited feeling? The body doesn’t lie.

I have got to hand it to them that they manage to make those lewd and horny scenes without crossing the border and making this show into a hentai genre. Sometimes those scenes were pretty funny to watch that it made me laugh how on Earth it could happen this way but at the same time so disgusting that it send shivers down my spine and even made my stomach cringe. I guess that is what you call having best of both worlds and heaven and hell collide. I’m sure if they don’t have brother complex, they would’ve slept around with about 100 guys already. Hah. They’ll beat B Gata H Kei’s Yamada anytime. It’s amazing that they could think up of that stuff and boldly do it on him. Especially the part they’re masturbating. Some sort of practice, eh? If the real one won’t do, then in the mind also can. Yeah, that sexual gratification is all in the mind after all. I know in the end all they want is to express their love for Keita but doing those kind of stuff? Yeah, they’re at that age. Why not use your feminine charms to the max. Even after all that, Keita must be one heck of a patient guy, tolerating their visits night after night. He must have got immune to their advances as well. If he was as perverted as them, I can clearly see what kind of turn this anime would be. But that would be no fun, right? The challenge is to do something you desire against the other’s will instead of having an ‘easy victory’.

From my point of view, The OVA contains more horny scenes as compared to the TV series. However if you ask me they’re still both horny. I thought the TV version would lessen such scenes and although it wasn’t so, they didn’t go all out either. You can tell that Ako, Riko and Keita remain more or less the same characters if you have watched the OVA. Even if Ako and Riko did back down from another of their horny attempt, my guess is that it won’t be long before they resume back to their usual antics once more. I’m thinking was it that innocent young Keita who was unashamed to express his feelings and love for his sisters back then, awakened the horny side in them. Keita’s pals remain the losers and stooges they are and provides a little distraction and comic relief especially when it comes to their deprivation on the other sex. Sometimes I felt that the other characters weren’t necessary and serve to make it so that this entire series isn’t just about the siblings (like what they did for the OVA). Miharu happens to be a girl at the wrong place and the wrong time. Each time always ending in some compromising position with Keita. Each time she thinks of Keita, she starts having this feeling of wanting to rush to the toilet so much so it becomes her reflex-cum-trademark. Mikazuki seems to be an annoying cheerful loli while Yuuzuki self undertaking duty to correct the siblings seems shady itself. I mean, why always target them? Does she have some sort of unfulfilled desire? She’s also rather weak and indecisive at times (having relied on her imaginary Kanetsugu is proof of that). Can you believe Ako and Riko are more assertive than her?

The mid-intermission show random poses of the girls in the series. Not all of them are in stimulating poses or outfits but most of them are. The opening theme, Balance Kiss by Ayana Taketatsu and Yuiko Tatsumi (voices of Ako and Riko respectively) is your typical anime pop music giving that somewhat similar feel to the opening of the OVA as well. The same pair sings the ending theme, Our Steady Boy. The thing I find odd about the animation is the strange dancing by Ako and Riko. It feels a bit robotic if you ask me. Not the kind of dance anyone would consider to have that infectious feel like Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu’s Hare Hare Yukai. By the way, don’t Ako and Riko look a little different here as well? Unless you’re paying attention only to the incest and horny scenes, you may want to take note that there are a few other trivia to spot. For instance from animes like Mahoromatic (when Yuuzuki was cosplaying), Fight! Ippatsu Juuden-chan (the TV programme the siblings were watching), Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (a poster on the wall) and K-ON!’s Azusa (when the sisters put on those cat ears at Akihabara and go nyan~) or Yui’s guitar (displayed at the shop’s window).

Probably in the future when the siblings are all grown up, maybe they’ll change their sexual preferences. Just maybe. Now that he has managed to get into the same high school with his sisters, I wonder if he can concentrate on his studies since they’ll be bugging him for most of the time. You can’t blame Keita for turning into a pervert in the future. Even if he doesn’t know it, he has got his own little harem here. Aside his sisters, Mikazuki’s admiration and reluctant Miharu are unwittingly part of it whether they realize it or not. Yuuzuki could be drawn in too if he hands over his jersey or dress up as a shogun. Don’t even mention those nameless underclassmen that went after his buttons. Man, this guy has got lots of love coming at him. Sometimes love can be so one-sided. Would it be morally wrong to ask him to share the love? Hmm… Was the reason why I couldn’t remember history dates and maths formulas were because I didn’t have an effective ‘study aid’? On second thought, please do not ask your sister or girlfriend to do that.

Early Reins

March 11, 2011

Have you ever seen an anime’s setting fully on the Wild West? Well, Trigun may have them but it has futuristic elements. Has anybody heard or watch Early Reins? Don’t blame you if you haven’t because this rare single OVA is quite a year 2004 production and it has all the gunslinging action of the Wild West. Only difference is that this is a Japanese anime production so it’s like a mix between both sets of worlds but without all those fantasy or imaginative elements added in.

Welcome To The Wild, Wild West
The beginning starts off with a spoof background music from the famous cowboy flick, Magnificent Seven. We see Sheriff Candidate, Margaret running late to board a train but eventually manages to get on. Heck, trains aren’t that fast that time so if you hop on while it is moving, you’ll still be fine. A big chunk of the 43 minutes of this OVA is set on this particular train as the drama unfolds. What is a western cowboy flick without a train hijack? There are no airplanes at that time lah. A group called the Heaven’s Hill Gang suddenly takes control of the train and the passengers hostage under the pretence that its leader, Jack, wants to meet the respected war hero Colonel Spencer on board. I guess that’s when they let their guard down and the train fall into the hands of the baddies.

The gang has all the men and soldiers moved to the last cargo with the other passengers but remained Spencer and 6 other women with them. Other than Margaret, the rest include a mysterious eye-patch gunslinger Laura, ranch worker Caroline, good doctor Janet, saloon singer Helen and feisty rich kid Alice. While trying to detach the last coach, a soldier takes the opportunity to wrestle and snatch the gun from a member. Then both sides start firing. Though the baddies manage to detach the train, they lost 3 men in the process. Returning back to the main coach, the men starts to have their ‘body search’ on the women. Alice wouldn’t allow such heinous thing and slaps them only to be retaliated with a punch. How ungentlemen-like. Well, these guys are bandits after all. Laura signals to Margaret when to move into action. Laura distracts a man by asking him to strip her. During that, she whips out her gun and starts shooting. Jack follows suit but his shot ricochet and hit Spencer’s arm, leaving Margaret pretty much shocked. Laura realizes she has never killed anyone before and guns down Jack right in the forehead before anything else could happen.

As Janet treats Spencer, Laura decides to handle the last baddie at the train engine. Margaret insists on following so Laura decides to be the decoy while Margaret takes him out. However Margaret instead of killing him, orders him to throw away his weapon. Like he’ll listen. Only after the train engineer intervenes to throw him off guard, did Margaret fire at him. First kill. When they rendezvous with the rest, Laura mentions about Jack planning to meet up their comrades. Taking out a map, they see the next stop with another interchange to an abandoned mine whereby the rail was discontinued. They can’t stop the train and run on foot because they’ll be like sitting ducks. Upon reaching the point, the bandits realize the train isn’t slowing down and thinks Spencer has screwed up. They start attacking the train on their horses while Laura shoots some of them down. The train reaches the intersection point and heads towards the canyon, providing them a brief reprieve.

Spencer suggests to hand over to them the military weapons on board as this is what the bandits are after and he will take the blame that he killed their comrades to let the ladies go. However they refuse to give in. As everyone heads to the cargo section, they see the several weapons being transported. However as Spencer mentions, it is the weapons only that is being transported and most of them do not have the ammunition to go with it. After making several adjustments to the coach and little ammunition they have to fight back, they notice several sacks of gold worth $100,000 (that’s lot of money at that time). Seems it was found at the Confederate’s armoury and the Confederate army deserters are planning to take them back. The reason it is travelling on a passenger train was because the supposed secured one was just a decoy. However their info got leaked.

As the train comes out of the canyon, the bandits charge in for another onslaught but this time the ladies are well prepared. Let’s just say that they put those men to shame. Even a rich girl can learn and fire a Gatling gun and chalk up some kills. However their numbers are overwhelming so some of them manage to board the train. There was a pretty funny scene whereby a couple of baddies thought they can barge in through the roof. But they were surprised when the girls below were waiting for them and wasted so many shoots on them like it was overkill! Some bandits begin using dynamites but our gunslinging heroines put a stop to them and make the dynamites explode with them. The engineer needs to stop the train, seeing that it is reaching the end of the line but a dynamite has damaged the braking leverage. The only way is to use a brake at the end of the passenger car. Laura and Margaret head back on their way, planting some bullets into the baddies as they make haste. With Caroline’s help, they manage to stop the train. I won’t say it’s perfect because it toppled on its side. But it’s better than crashing head on and killing everybody and to escape with a little injury.

It isn’t over yet as the bandit boss and his henchmen have got Laura in a pinch. Before he could shoot her, Margaret tells him to remove his filthy boots from Laura’s arms. The boss gets cocky seeing Margaret hasn’t drawn her gun. He plays along by throwing away his gun but it was just a bluff. However I guess he underestimated her because Margaret swiftly took them all out. She’s got a real talent to be a gunslinger and as she said, it was all thanks to Laura. Like she has awakened the beast in her, eh? At the end of the day as everyone sits and await rescue, Margaret learns that Laura is a thief and thus the reason she knew about the Heaven’s Hill Gang was that she too planned to do the same. And she would have done it smoothly without those intervening blokes. Laura is to leave in her hidden wagon with a sack of gold but Margaret won’t allow the ‘baddie’ to leave and fires a warning shot. Both ladies face off in a Mexican showdown as the rest could only watch on. Margaret hears the click of the gun but it isn’t from Laura. Turns out to be Spencer as he takes Janet hostage. Seems he told the Heaven’s Hill Gang about the gold and joined forces with them so they would take the blame and deflect any suspicions by putting on an act. Spencer is unhappy that politicians are acting like as though they own the world and telling what to do because being a war hero isn’t enough to put food on the table.

Ordering them to throw away their weapons, Margaret obliges with his orders but tells Laura to throw her guns away. She did just that and it was expected of that low guy to fire back on them. But before he could pull the trigger, Margaret snatches Laura’s gun in mid-air and fires a shot to shoot the gun off his hand. She unofficially arrests him. He sure met the wrong group of ladies to mess with. As rescue is seen coming in the distance, Margaret returns Laura’s gun and the latter says that the next time they meet, they’ll be enemies. Laura dashes off with her gold leaving Margaret and the rest behind in her dusty trail. Hey, she’s riding off into the sunset.

I have to admit that it was fun watching this one off OVA seeing how Margaret and Laura team up to pull off their gunslinging stunts and rolling acrobats to make the baddies eat the bullets. The action was rather okay but I guess it is better than having to pull off exaggerated moves. At least this is more down to earth. However I don’t find the other girls having an impact on this short series. It felt like they were just minor characters. Sure, they have their little share of screen time using the weapons and taking out the baddies, but that is just about it. And I thought I would see them all using their own expertise into doing some team work to defeat the bad guys. Who am I kidding? This OVA was too short for any character development so what was I thinking hoping that the ladies would turn out into some Magnificent Six group thingy.

So it goes to show that quantity doesn’t necessary mean quality because no matter how many bad guys there are, they can’t even seem to take out half a dozen of women on board a train. It is either they are just useless idiots or they really underestimated women too much. Even the final boss was taken out pretty easy in my opinion. The way the series ends seem to feel like if the producers ever wanted to make a series out of this, they could do so but so far I don’t think I have heard of anything about it. There seems to be promising developments of it. The ladies with their own personalities and past like Margaret’s late dad was once an ex-Sheriff so perhaps it could be interesting to see more about that. Also, I’m sure that Margaret and Laura would cross paths again in the future. But alas, that’s just where it all ends.

Seeing Margaret to become a Sheriff is like trying to find a black cowboy. There are, but very rare. If she keeps this up and not lose her path, I’m sure the west would be more in order. But I guess that didn’t happen because you’ve got notorious robbers like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids and dark western flicks like Unforgiven. It sure brings back memories when I was watching some of those cowboy movies when I was young. I’m not into that now because I still prefer my animes that have high school comedy and romance to classic western cowboy movies. Definitely would go for a maid than a cowgirl anytime. They don’t have to be sharp shooting gunslingers to take a direct shot at my heart. <3

What kind of living things dwell under the bridge? Trolls? Okay. Homeless people and beggars? Okay too. But what about weird people? As in, weird people with weird appearances and personalities. Why would they live there? Heck, I don’t even know why but I’m sure you’ll all agree with me that all the residents in Arakawa Under The Bridge are a bunch of wacko beings. Having said all that, I’m sure you might have guessed that this is going to be one big funny comedy that will tickle your bone. If you get the weird jokes here, that is.

Our main protagonist is 21 year old university student Kou Ichinomiya. Son of the famous Ichinomiya Company, a world class organization and just the mention of this company would either send you in awe or shivers down your spine. Thanks to the strict teachings of the Ichinomiya family, Kou has never been indebted to anyone. Anyone. That means no help from others and thus eliminate the need of returning favours. The family is so proud of this tradition that they even have a tie with the words “Never be in debt to others” sewn on it and handed down through their generations. And Kou sure has learned it the hard way since young from his dad, Seki that even if he is being helped by others, he must return the favour quickly and of the same value. Imagine young Kou trying to take care of dad who is acting like a baby just because he spent those years raising him as an infant. Wow or just plain scary.

Episode 1
Till of course that mishap at Arakawa Bridge dramatically changed his life. How? A bunch of naughty kids somehow managed to steal his pants and hang it high upon the bridge. Don’t ask me how that even happened. He tries to climb and retrieve it, dangerously flinging with public nudity violation laws. A nearby girl named Nino, who is fishing, offers to help but he turns her down seeing that this will cause him to be indebted. Kou manages to get his pants but the pillar starts to fall (because it was under construction). The iron pillar is pulling him down and causing him to drown. Thinking this will be his end, Nino dives in to save him. He’s alive but he’s indebted. Of course he tries to return the favour immediately by offering her a house but she turns him down. Why? Let’s just say she’s from Venus. Hey, that’s what she said! Kou would soon learn that logic of his world doesn’t apply here. Since it’s pretty hard to get Nino to spill what she wants, Kou experiences asthma (it runs in the family too if they encounter such situations). Well, she does have a request he can repay: She wants him to be her boyfriend. Say what? Being the man of his word, he has to agree to it. I’d like to see how money can’t buy me love. Nino takes Kou to his home: Atop one of the bridge’s supporting beams! Expect the unexpected, pal. Then she takes him to see the chief of the place. Chief as his name is one thing, but a kappa?! Furthermore a guy in a kappa suit?! There’s the zipper, you know? But Chief thinks he’s a real kappa! Is he? Not that Kou would believe. Everyone here is a psycho! As part of the rule to live here, new residents must be given a name by Chief and he decides Kou should be called… Recruit! Or Riku for short. Well, it’s better than Naite Toreta, right? Later Riku tries to borrow warmer futon from Nino (she had a hard time remembering her lover’s face even if it’s just a day later!). He enters her home and finds a super nice and warm luxury bed! So Riku decides to head back to his home and retrieve some stuff. Just when he thought Nino was a normal girl, he is shocked to see her going to sleep in her bed’s drawer!

Episode 2
Riku comes back with furniture for his new home. Nino comes in to give him eat some fish she caught. Why? Because they’re lovers. Do you need any other reason than that? He tries to strike up a conversation but finds it too weird. Even her answers. Later he is in a dilemma about seeing Nino bathing in a metal drum. His mind starts going crazy about seeing her naked even though they’re lovers but decides to use this chance to teach her common sense. However she was wearing a towel so no need for all that. Then it’s Riku’s turn as Nino helps him wash his hair (she’s having fun making it spiky). Later all the residents of Arakawa gather to hold a welcoming party for Riku. He meets other weird residents including Shiro (a guy who can only walk on white lines or else his wife will turn into a chicken!), Hoshi (a musician with a mask of a star) and a pair of Metal Brothers (can’t take of their helmets or else the military will detect their special ability). Riku introduces his real name and his qualifications but the residents want to know who he really is and not what he has. That Sunday everyone attends the Mass at the bridge’s church. After learning that each resident holds a particular job here, Riku meets Sister. Not exactly a nun. But a huge battle-scarred guy with military thinking! You’d forgive Riku for thinking this trigger happy cross-dresser would be from the underworld. The Mass last less than 5 seconds and I don’t know what was going on. Anybody did anything bad raise their hands? Riku doubts Sister’s identity when he points the gun at his head. He is going to test his love for Nino. But to our relief, the gun shoots out a rose instead. He wishes for him to make Nino happy. So you’ll think he’ll be alright? Like hell he will be!

Episode 3
Seems Hoshi has a crush on Nino so he’s not happy that Riku is her lover. So Hoshi summons Riku to the confession room inside the church and even has Sister with them to prove that Riku is a liar. Hoshi’s interrogation seems to backfire because as Sister as a natural lie detector mentions, Riku is telling the truth. All this is causing Hoshi to be even more paranoid. Because Hoshi continues to attack Riku, Riku gets the determination to prove that he is Nino’s true lover and will take her out on a perfect date! Riku plans his date to the last detail (even reading shoujo mangas!) before starting off with a cool arrival in a sports car and a bouquet of flowers in hand. Well, Nino doesn’t seem impressed. Even after spouting out their romantic plans for their evening, Nino thinks he came up with such a wonderful play! Riku isn’t accustomed to losing so he tries to persuade uninterested Nino. Her reply? She thinks he has a sequel for his picture drama thought up already! Riku tries to think from her point of view and let her pick the place they should go. Okay, Venus is out of the question. Anywhere as long as it is within the atmosphere. Nino points out the river’s estuary because she wonders the grass boat she made earlier on will reach the ocean. Before they start their journey, Riku wants Nino to put on a dress. At first he thought she would mess up but surprisingly she wore it perfectly and looked stunning!

Episode 4
The duo continue their walk to the estuary as Riku tries to explain what a date means. This includes trying to keep their distances so much so it felt like a mix between hide-and-seek and tag. I don’t understand that ritual at the end to celebrate the completion of their distance. After that they try princess embrace but it looked so lame. As they’re talking, Nino spots her grass boat stuck in the middle. Riku tries to go free it but slips. Luckily Nino pulls him back out. Because of that little splash, the boat made its way to the ocean so Riku tells Nino to stay together on Earth. On another Mass, Riku seems to be more familiar with all those secret moves now. WTF?! Suddenly a little blonde loli comes hugging Sister. She is Stella from an orphanage Sister once ran in Great Britain and has come to see him. Sister needs to make a call to Britain about this so he wants somebody to look after Stella for the time being. Everyone was quick enough to have something to do or run away so obviously Riku is stuck with this undesirable task. Riku tries to play nice but Stella wants to brawl with him. He soon learns that she really wants a fist fight and experiences first hand pain from her flashy but powerful techniques! This loli can kick ass! Nino thinks Riku lost on purpose! To make things worse, Stella is no angelic little girl because she has a sinister side and has Riku become her underling! Yeah, even the Metal Brothers became her underlings. Later Riku accompanies Sister to get dairy products from the farm for Stella’s welcoming party. Wait a minute. There’s a farm under the bridge? Riku meets Maria and she’s no nice lady either. A verbal sadist… Don’t be deceived by her smile! Not even Sister can stand up to her! Each time she makes a counter joke-cum-insult that Sister can’t return, Sister’s scar will gush out blood as sign of defeat.

Episode 5
Maria continues her insult towards Sister and she’s enjoying it. So much so Sister had to throw a grenade so that he could hide inside that hole! Riku alone goes to get some vegetables from the farm run by a dangerously clumsy girl, Piko. Apparently her traps for invaders never work and she always falls for her own trap. Riku mentions he doesn’t like green peppers so Piko becomes so emotional that she accidentally slaps Nino instead of Riku! She’s real clumsy alright. Riku notices she plants lots of cucumbers and realizes that Piko has a crush on Chief. Later as everyone gathers for Stella’s welcoming party (she’ll be staying here onwards) but Chief decides not to rename her since Sister gave her that name, much to Riku’s dismay. Then Riku is hesitant to eat some monster fish Nino caught. He learns it is her job to catch fish. Maria proceeds to attack Riku by calling him a gigolo and such, making him to put on that crazy expression. He learns even the other residents have roles like Hoshi in charge of music events and the Metal Brothers responsible for heating the baths. Hoshi decides to rub salt to Riku’s wounds by singing him a gigolo song and challenging him to come to his concert that Nino always attends. He gets so cocky so Riku too can play that game because he is a first class violinist and pianist. He challenges Hoshi to a musical duel to see who has more charm in Nino’s eyes.

Episode 6
The battle begins. I don’t know about Hoshi’s tuneless song but everyone’s cheering him on. Then it’s Riku’s turn and his violin skills are of high quality. Hoshi is stunned so it is Riku’s victory. He gives him a choice, either give up his musical job or Nino. But he tells just to give up Nino because he can’t even be a gigolo. Hoshi breaks down and sings a gigolo song. Later Riku teaches the Metal Brothers how to swim using Styrofoam boxes since Nino’s methods are ineffective (who can hold their breath that long). Nino notices Riku good at teaching. Later Riku sees the Metal Brothers warming up a metal drum bath for Chief, who has caught a cold even taking a warm bath. I’m not sure about the effectiveness of the kappa juice medicine he gave. Riku decides to become a teacher and use this chance to invoke some common sense on these weirdoes. When a passer-by wonders why people leave under the bridge, Riku just let it be. So it goes to show that he too has been ‘consumed’ by the common sense of these weirdoes.

Episode 7
Riku begins his teaching job with the Metal Brothers as his students and Nino sitting in. It’s going to be tough since they lack lots of common sense. Then Hoshi comes by and tries to cause trouble. He asks if Riku’s class and his concert are held at the same time, which would Nino choose. She answered without hesitation: Riku’s class. Total defeat! Taking Nino’s advice that people won’t learn things if they’re not interested in, Riku makes his lessons more interesting by demonstrating a model rocket made out of a plastic bottle. Seems to be going well till Stella comes in, acts like a gangster and starts causing nuisance. She’s demanding 100 trillion yen as protection money? Thinking that she may be lonely because his classes ‘stole’ the Metal Brothers away from her, he tries to get her involve with his lessons by having the gang write their wishes on a piece of paper and launching it on the rocket. Stella takes this opportunity to show off her writing skills, impressing the Metal Brothers. So is Stella going to be a good girl for real? Well, if Sister says so. Next, Riku bears the brunt of Piko’s clumsiness. She has to complete the harvest before winter because she won’t be around then. She plans to get a driver’s licence but Riku is definitely against it. Then Chief comes by and they talk about change of pace once in a while. This has him putting on his old hairstyle. Just by turning the plate over his head, his wig can become long?! Anyway Piko is so in love with him more than ever. However Piko starts to worry because since she thinks Maria and Nino has never seen this hairstyle before, they might fall in love with him! Sure, if you ask her what she sees in Chief that makes her fall in love with him, it’s not his looks but rather his natural way of living. So don’t judge a book by its cover.

Episode 8
Flashback reveals how Kou aspired to be like his great dad but later he told him off that he could never be like him and shouldn’t set an obscure goal. Back at the bridge, Kou’s company secretary, Terumasa Takai and his assistant Shimazaki pay him a visit and are shocked to see him living under the bridge. Riku has no choice but to lie that he’s using some business plan to generate electricity using the river’s currents. He even has Sister, Maria and Shiro to dress and play the part of his employees but do you think it will work out? Maria becomes a sadist wanting Riku to beg for helping out while Sister is just pointing his gun at suspicious people. However Shiro seems to be a natural because he was once an employee before. It gets worse when the others show up. Hoshi trying to hit on Shimazaki and Nino proclaiming she is Riku’s lover. This sends Takai into shock. Takai stays at Riku’s place for the time being. The funny part is when Hoshi tries to bring Nino to show her that Riku may be a gigolo homo and gets the shock of his life when he sees Riku and Takai holding each other’s head, their mouths wide agape open and their face close to each other! Actually they’re just checking for cavities! Oh, the shock for Hoshi. Hoshi can sense that Takai too wants to break Riku up with Nino so they both plot to do so. They believe they haven’t kissed so Nino shocks them all by kissing Riku! Takai remembers how he was so dedicated serving Kou 10 years ago that his wife divorced him. Kou cheered him up that he is free and from now on he is living for himself. Thus Takai gives his blessings to them and wishes for Nino to stay by Riku’s side. As for Hoshi, he’s so heartbroken that he has become a starfish. Sister too is happy for Nino because thanks to him, he’s able to see her smile (after all that stalking surveillance on Riku, that is). Riku is so happy that he thinks he’s a blue bird and tries to fly but falls into the river. Meanwhile Shimazaki returns and reports to Seki about Kou. Seki isn’t going to let Kou soil the family’s name. And as for Takai, he saw images of that old geezer doing his sick bonding with pictures of Kou so it’s understandable he doesn’t want records of this anymore.

Episode 9
Hoshi is still heartbroken so Stella decides to show off her cooking skills and forces Hoshi and Riku to come along with her. When Hoshi starts spouting about Stella’s unrequited love (Sister likes Maria), Stella starts to transform into a large muscular hulk! Oh sh*t!!! Both guys become so scared that Hoshi had to eat whatever Stella cooked. Isn’t that the top part of his star head? Cannibalism! Maria then gathers her underlings to go up against Maria. Riku tries to warn Maria but the sadistic latter assures Riku will protect her. Say what? Oh now Riku has to fight off that hulk. I guess talking is out so Riku pleads for Maria’s help. The face off begins and Sister can’t interfere or else he’ll be killed. Stella is going to unleash her special move but it seems quick Maria has a knife to her neck already. Flashback reveals how Sister and Maria met during a war. Before Sister could reveal more, he was given a ‘warning’. In the end Stella lost and cries like a little girl. Maria comforts her and they are on good terms. But to Riku that means trouble because the deadliest female tag team was born. Later Riku sees a young musician entering Hoshi’s home trailer. He couldn’t believe that guy was Hoshi. Hoshi starts telling his past to uninterested Riku. Something about he was a poor lyricist and depended on someone else. That time he had a mask of a crescent moon and came to the riverbed to sing his trash lyrics. Nino was listening then and unlike the Moon he deemed himself to borrow the light from the star to shine, she believed he was singing his own songs and shining like a first magnitude star. So I guess that caused him to change his appearance and crush on Nino but the rest of the story like meeting Elvis Presley and John Lennon are pretty much bullshit.

Episode 10
Riku wakes up one morning to find that everyone is doing a mock fire drill. Isn’t that a real fire? For realism, I guess. Riku is appalled at Chief’s solutions in handling the fire. It doesn’t help that everyone believes in the kappa wholeheartedly. Each time Chief finally uses his common sense to seemingly extinguish the flames, it turns out to be another lame attempt. Meanwhile Seki is going to teach his son a lesson so he sends someone to survey the land. Riku starts panicking upon learning this and goes to inform Chief and Sister. No, it’s not a nuclear fallout as Sister assumed but Ichinomiya Company has bought over the land. Sister and Chief seem to be pretty cool unlike nervy Riku. Then an official went up to Riku’s home and gives him an evacuation notice since construction will begin in the near future. Riku tries to warn everyone but as everyone gathers at the Mass, Sister notes there is 1 who doesn’t attend. An official knocks on Maria’s farm house door. He gets taken in by her beauty but she starts teasing him a government pig. When the official returns to Riku, he’s like a broken cry-baby! I don’t want to know what the S-Queen did but he’s emotionally disturbed and profusely apologizing. Chief thinks of moving to some other water source but Nino puts her foot down and disagrees because she’s tired of being chased out and being separated again and wants to stay here.

Episode 11
Riku must be having lots of his mind. But Hoshi’s usual mocking got him fired up to save everyone and not be weak in the eyes of Nino. He calls Takai (the sound of his handphone sent him into delight) and a meeting with his Goes Company staff. Riku has since left the bridge for 3 days as more surveyors start to gather. One of them looked so much like Riku that some of the gang mistook him for Riku and subject him to their usual abuse. Nino is worried that she may forget how Riku looks like. Meanwhile Kou and Takai are happy that their plan will be a success but Seki with reports from Shimazaki thinks otherwise. What the heck is that scene Takai wanting Kou to call him his papa?! Too gay if you ask me. Riku returns (the gang got the wrong person they’re glad to see back at first – Takai) and informs the gang about his plan to redevelop the place. But they are unhappy and each express their own wish what should be included. Suddenly Riku gets a call from a construction company he has engaged to redevelop the area. Seems they are pulling out. They are afraid of going up against Ichinomiya Company. Even if they are successful, the long term implications will be far worse. Yeah, who’d go up against a fearsome giant? They think Riku doesn’t fear his dad because he is his son but Riku thinks otherwise. He fears daddy more than anyone else. He remembers Seki gave him his handphone number. A privilege since only a handful people have access to him. But Seki cautions if Kou is qualified and worthy to take away his precious time. Because of that, Riku has never called his dad and has phobia dialling his number. When he manages to connect, somehow he dialled the wrong number.

Episode 12
While some of the gang reprimand Riku for that blunder, Nino stands up for him because she believes everyone has something they fear. Hoshi starts to get cocky so Maria sets her sadism in motion. Saying that people’s wish will come true upon wishing a shooting star, this means Hoshi has to jump off the bridge so that Nino could make her wish come true! Now Riku is laughing and teasing but he doesn’t have the last laugh because Maria takes off Hoshi’s star mask and puts it on Riku. Since it fits, wouldn’t it be better with 2 wishing stars? Oh sh*t!!! Hoshi and Riku start arguing and playing mind games with each other so Maria kicks them off. It’s a long scary way down! Not once, but several times! Hey, they’re many shooting stars, start making your many wishes! Oh Maria… Poor Riku and Hoshi… As Nino makes her wish for everyone to stay together, Seki gets a call that his reconstruction project has been suspended. He is not happy and no matter how he ‘blackmails’, the person on the other line isn’t swayed. Though their funds will be cut, the person responsible will now fund them. Doesn’t he feels and sounds like Chief?

Seki is displeased with the developments and decides to ditch all meetings and go confront his son himself at the river. So it’s like deja vu because those same bunch of naughty kids manage to steal Seki’s pants and hang it up on the bridge. Like son, like father. How could he even have let it happen, it’s a wonder. Nino was fishing and her rod caught his pants. Seki refuses to accept it for he is still steadfast in remaining debt-free. Hey, even his underwear has those trademark no-debt lines sewn to it! Seki realizes who Nino is as he hears her speak about the similar situation she first encountered with his son. Meanwhile Riku’s torment continues because Maria wants him to show gratitude to the rope that tied him from the bridge! Seki is watching his son and realizes he is unaware that they have been saved. Seki leaves and gives his pants to Nino when his handphone starts ringing. He doesn’t even want to answer it since the pants belong to her. As Seki walks away, he looks at his locket and wonders if his son can shoulder this burden and if so, to show it to him. Nino takes out the handphone and it took her a while to answer it while rushing to find Riku. Seems Riku has gathered his courage to make his first call to Seki. Not realizing Nino is at the other end, he pleads that he wants to stay with Nino forever. Then he realizes Nino was standing behind him. She replies the same wish. Later Riku gets a call about the project’s suspension as Seki gets picked up by a policeman. Even if he’s in the lockup, Seki isn’t cowed (the policeman is, by the way) and still exuding his usual confident self. Later he is bailed out by Shimazaki.

Episode 13
If you noticed some of the other Arakawa residents who haven’t made their real presence felt to viewers yet, this episode introduces them. First up is Last Samurai. It all started with one of Nino’s usual bad hair days after waking up. Then everyone decides to go to the barber which happens to be Samurai. Not good for Riku to get involved with another weirdo. Faster than the eye, Samurai gives redoes everyone’s hair before Riku could finish his sentence. Then with Sister as the customer, Samurai starts striking him with his sword while Sister just evades. Is he here for a haircut or what? Next is a bee named Jacqueline totally in love with a yakuza parrot-head, Billy. Though Billy seems cold and rejecting her confession, but it is just a reversal as it is his kind of tough love. In the next part, Stella and the Metal Brothers wish to go to the amusement park but they can’t leave the river. Riku decides to make an amusement park on the riverbed itself (I’m sure Riku saw it coming if he leaves the designing to that Takai guy, it will all be his expression of love for Kou). However Riku has never been to one so 3 days passed. Luckily the others knew about his plans and constructed one already. Really? Don’t hold your hopes too high. As Riku takes the kids, they first encounter a horrible and ugly squirrel mascot (Chief in disguise) so Riku gives permission to beat him up. Next they ride Maria’s merry-go-round but the sadist actually put real horses in it. Then the 3D theatre where they watch some Star Wars spoof but it turned out too real because Sister’s bullets nearly hit them. Finally the roller coaster ride. What ride? It’s that torture device, iron maiden! At the end of the day, Riku remembers his dad did bring him to an amusement park though it was on a mall’s rooftop but he felt happy. Riku wishes to make happy memories with everyone as they go see the parade. The girls are stunning in their wedding dresses but the guys spoil it all in those horrible and ugly mascot outfits! Cover your eyes! Don’t have to remember this! A mysterious final scene shows an Amazon lady happy her secret treasure is safe.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them!
If that ending felt like a cliff-hanger, then consider it as the end of the first main course because a second season came out in October 2010 and I bet there will be more crazy stuff from the residents living under the Arakawa Bridge. The term weird here depends on from which perspective you are looking from. If you are part of the general society at large then those who do not fit or act beyond what is deemed to be the norm would be considered weird. Thus in Riku/Kou’s case, we have seen him changed from someone who just follows his family’s tradition blindly into someone who is more open and willing to accept (why not? After spending a long time with these weirdoes, anyone is bound to change and become like one of them). You could say his meeting with Nino changed everything and gave him freedom. It wasn’t so much about trying hard not to be in debt to anyone anymore but rather someone who is trying to find his own place. And I can say he does fit perfectly fine with the rest of the gang here. Obviously anyone would panic upon seeing the odd nature of the residents but once you get to know them, they’re pretty much the nice people they are. Okay, maybe not. I should know a few whom I should stay away from…

I’m not sure if Nino understands the meaning of having a lover because she still displays her own blurness when it comes to that. But even if her feelings for Riku doesn’t reach the over-romantic type, at least she cares for him and the rest of the others. Both Riku and Nino are each other’s pillar of strength. He gets by the river with her and she gets by learning some common sense from him. Hmm… Maybe I should take back what I said for that one. However I don’t think Riku could’ve managed to carry on if not for Hoshi. These 2 are like eternal rivals. Riku is the kind of person who hates to lose so I guess with a little nudging-cum-teasing-cum-mocking from that star-head, Riku finds new determination to beat that loser at his own game. The other characters are likeable too, simple because they are… Weird in their own way. Who wouldn’t get frightened at the sight of Sister pointing his gun at you or little Stella turning into a behemoth when she is in fight mode. To me, I think Maria may be the real boss of the river since you know, nobody actually really could stand up to her. Sister could never beat her, Stella got tamed by her which means her underlings like the Metal Brothers and Hoshi would naturally be under her command too, right? As the saying goes, birds of the same feathers flock together. Even if it seems that weird people gather around and live at Arakawa Bridge, the important thing is that they are together and happy about it. It’s a place they call home.

I was hoping Seki’s appearance as an antagonist was a way to teach his son something. Maybe about the cruel world, nobody owes you a favour in life, it’s a dog-eat-dog-world out there or maybe his version of tough love. Because he actually adheres to his principles strictly and does not break them, in a way he is respectable and it is no wonder that many people fear or look up to him in the corporate world. He is where he is today because he deserves it. But imagine if your son, your successor is going to sully your name and throw away everything in your empire you have built with your bare hands and from scratch by hanging around a bunch of weirdoes doing stuff that so called ordinary people can’t comprehend, well, it’s understandable he’d want to put him to a test to see if he’s got what it takes to go all the way in what he believes. And though every first step is the hardest, there will be many steps for Kou/Riku ahead of him. As for that Takai guy. He’s just so gay. That’s all I have to say about him. If he loves Kou so much, I wonder why he just didn’t move down the river with him.

This series being animated by SHAFT, you can see their trademark visuals such as close up on Kou/Riku’s eyes when he experiences certain emotions and the different camera angles shown. At the end of each episode just after the ending credits, there’ll be an Arakawa One Shot Performance, whereby a character will try to perform something to entertain the judges (I guess the roles vary among the characters as they take turns to be judges or the contestant). I’m not sure if they’re trying to do something funny or something that will impress the judges but to me they seem lame but in a funny way. Usually most of them flop so the judges don’t really give them a good score. Is this what people here do for entertainment? Another thing is the next episode preview. It isn’t so much about what they have to say, but rather the live-action scene whereby we see a person actually dressed in a kappa suit doing various stuff by the river bed! For instance, walking the dog, smoking, eating noodles, wrestling a sumo fighter or even striking down a samurai! Hey, where can I get one of those kappa suits? And of course, the end card with different illustrations by different illustrators at the end of it all. Some really do look funny. One more thing to note is the background music in the series. How should I put it. They have this peculiar feel to it and in some ways felt odd when played during certain scenes. They may range from casual blues to light funk to jovial pickings.

The whole theme of the series may be weird. Weird is the subject of everything, from the characters down to the plot. But who are we to judge others weird and consider ourselves normal based on our stereotypic and prejudicial views? So if you don’t find the jokes and comedy about this show funny, most likely you’re a weird person yourself. And if you do (like me), you’re a weird person too. Thus everybody is a weird person in their own ways. Next time you see bridges, don’t quickly assume that there are weird people living underneath it. Even a large house housing many residents can have lots of weird people. Think Mahoraba, Maison Ikkoku or even Hidamari Sketch. Come to think of it, I’m thinking why they use a bridge is perhaps a subtle theme for everyone to build bridges to connect and not walls to divide. So should all of us start living under the bridge or at least make bridge-like structures as our homes? That would be funny. No, weird in fact.

Hanamaru Youchien

March 4, 2011

Aww… How cute. I guess that is what most people would say after watching Hanamaru Youchien (Hanamaru Kindergarten). What is this show about? The daily antics of the kindergarten teachers and pupils. Especially a little pupil who is in love with her teacher that she wants to marry him! Woah! Sounds like forbidden love, eh?

You would be forgiven if you conjure thoughts of fanservice, ecchi and horniness but this series is rather mild. After the horny and dirty minded loli in Kodomo No Jikan and the naughty trio in Mitsudomoe, one would have already thought that another series revolving kindergarten children wouldn’t be an innocent affair after all. Hanamaru Youchien isn’t close to that and it is rather funny and fun to watch even for the whole family. So it’s good news you don’t have to lock up yourself and watch this alone away from those unwanted people you never want to find out what you’re really watching.

Episode 1
We see newly graduate young adult Tsuchida getting to work late on his first day. Not a way to make a good impression. On his way, he meets a little kindergarten girl, Anzu, waiting for her mom who has forgotten something. Yeah, leave a child all alone on the streets, will ya? Tsuchida tries to talk to her but Anzu thinks he is hitting on him! Like in those drama shows! So that’s where her love for him blossomed. Like he’ll ever believe it. So he leaves once her mom, Sakura, is seen coming. Sakura takes Anzu to her first day at Hanamaru Kindergarten as Anzu quickly makes friends with Hiiragi (weird eyes she have) and Koume (shy girl). At the start of the entrance ceremony, Anzu spots Tsuchida (he’s working here as a kindergarten teacher) and is happy to see his loved one. Rumours soon spread among the teachers and kids that Tsuchida tried to hit on her. Yeah, they may be thinking what this kindergarten is coming to. What have children become of these days. Later the wind sends Koume’s ribbon stuck high upon a tree so Anzu climbs up to retrieve it. She got it but as expected, she slips. Luckily Tsuchida was there to catch her and provide them with a futon for soft landing. This settles it. Anzu is more in love with him now. Geez. Don’t want to be viewed as a lolicon, eh? Tsuchida also learns that Sakura is Anzu’s mom. She was his senpai during high school. Why does she look young? You see, she fell in love with her art teacher and got pregnant then, dropped out of school, never graduated and followed her husband to America. Tsuchida gets to know the other teaching staff like Nanako Yamamoto (possible love interest), Kusano (athletic one) and Kawashiro (slightly geeky). Back home, Anzu’s family is a nice and cosy one. When daddy gives Sakura a goodnight kiss, Anzu refuses to get one from daddy and would like to get one from her loved one. Next day in school, Anzu is really all over that game maniac Tsuchida so much so Sakura gives the thumbs up to support them till they’re married. Oh boy.

Episode 2
Tsuchida is feeling the pressure and tension of taking care of his pupils that includes Anzu and her friends. Must be fate to put them together, eh? Because he can’t attend to everyone’s whims and fancies, he must’ve overlooked the fact that he gave Anzu and co permission to explore the school grounds by themselves. They find a giant slide, supposedly a trademark of the kindergarten but were too afraid to go slide down. Tsuchida gets a little reprimanding for letting the kids out of his sight. But the headmistress is excited in knowing what kind of class Tsuchida will have since oddly the pupils take after the personality of their teacher. Kusano requests Tsuchida to play with her class so his own class soon joins in. Then everyone rides the slide as Tsuchida slides down with Anzu. In the end, Anzu happily tells her mom that the most wonderful thing happened: Tsuchida addressed her without an honorific. I guess it wasn’t the slide then. Kenji from another class tries to show his knowledge by boasting details that no kids their age would probably know (darn. I think he’ll put me to shame). However Hiiragi counters all his ‘facts’ with her more. This leads to Tsuchida to think that Hiiragi is a walking encyclopaedia. Man, she would put me even more to shame. Well, her father is an astronomer so I guess she spends her time reading books. Now I really feel ashamed. Kenji isn’t going to throw in a towel yet and challenges her to prove the existence of rumours of a ghost at a nearby park. But the teachers put their foot down on them doing something dangerous. But Kenji doesn’t listen and goes to the park alone that night to prove it, eventually running scared. Tsuchida and Hiiragi get a call from Kenji’s mom that he hasn’t returned yet so they go look for him and find him at the park. The ghost rumour is discovered to be piles of rubbish. This place is special to Hiiragi and her dad as they come here to watch the stars. Next day, Kenji decides to become Hiiragi’s student and calls her his master! Much to her dismay.

Episode 3
Noticing Tsuchida’s crush on dense Yamamoto, Hiiragi notices the love triangle as she and Koume decide to help Anzu out to win over Tsuchida. This includes trying to make him lunch. How can Sakura let Anzu do the cooking herself? The power of love she says? Tsuchida isn’t that dumb to taste so when Anzu tasted it herself, let’s just say it’s a miracle she didn’t die. Tsuchida learns of this love triangle thingy and advises her that adults have to be mindful and can’t just tell others upfront that one likes the other. However he notes children fall in love in their own way so happy Anzu hugs him. But soon Tsuchida goes to play with the other kids (especially the boys who share the same interest with his video games) so Anzu wonders if he really is an adult. The next part sees Yamamoto going about in her daily life, interacting with the people at Hanamaru Kindergarten and her thoughts of those she meets ranging from Koume to Hiiragi (she likes wearing weird outfits, doesn’t she?) and deeply-madly-truly-in-love-with-Tsuchida Anzu. Tsuchida tries to ask Yamamoto out to the amusement park but he panics when the boys caught him for confessing. His slip up is made worse when Yamamoto misinterprets and wants him to take Anzu out instead. When Anzu learns of Tsuchida’s confession, she confronts Yamamoto and asserts she likes Tsuchida. She replies she likes Tsuchida too and all of the rest alike. Before Anzu knows it, she gets caught up in reconciling. Depressed Tsuchida goes out with drinking with Kusano and Kawashiro and learns that Yamamoto is very dense when it comes to matters of love. So much so she could enter the Guinness Book of Records if you must say. Not only that, everyone else in school knows of Tsuchida’s love triangle. We see Yamamoto quite popular among the other people in the streets (including delinquents?). But you know, she’s just thinking they’re just being friendly. Even when her dad calls for being worried about this Tsuchida guy who may have hidden intentions, she said he’s just a helpful guy and then men doesn’t seem interested in her! Call the Guinness Book of Records, please.

Episode 4
Anzu’s fairytale romance with Tsuchida has been shot down because he thinks it is unrealistic. Like telling the truth about Santa Claus, eh? Anzu decides to play going on a date with Tsuchida in kindergarten in. With the help of Hiiragi and Koume, they get to have a nice tropical drink (milk actually) at a ‘cafe’, ‘drive’ around and ‘watch the stars’ at the park. Of course each plan to get closer seems to backfire and when it’s time for that much anticipated kiss, playtime is over. Heartbreak… Later on a day whereby Tsuchida takes a day’s leave to attend a relative’s wedding, Yamamoto takes charge of Tsuchida’s class. However rather than being hostile, Anzu becomes helpful and assists Yamamoto in task and even volunteered to do some because Tsuchida said to give their full cooperation. Well, in a way she’s listening to his words, right? When Tsuchida returns, he finds that both of them are quite friendly with each other so much so they won’t let him in on their conversation because it’s a girl’s secret!

Episode 5
That doesn’t mean Anzu has given up on Tsuchida. When he turns down another date request, Anzu suspects he is seeing another woman so she along with Hiiragi and Koume play detective to spy on him. Detective Conan anyone? However they get distracted by little stuff and almost lose track of him. Unknown to the trio, Sakura is also tailing them to keep an eye. Seems like Tsuchida is doing pretty normal stuff. Having a drink at the cafe (looking at the cute waitresses?) and reading adult magazines. However Tsuchida gets into trouble when a pair of yakuza confronts him. Sakura has to step in to save the hapless guy but it is revealed that Kumichou (yakuza boss) was just trying to reprimand him for not throwing his rubbish properly. Yakuza doing community service and committed to the environment? After Sakura makes her excuse to get away, the trio confront Tsuchida loitering alone at the park. He learns of their concern as they head back together to get some taiyaki. In kindergarten, after Yuu Kobayakawa helps up Koume who tripped, she starts to fall for him. Hiiragi and Anzu try to help her out as they observe Yuu and gather data on him (oh, Hiiragi…). I love Hiiragi’s strayed explanation why Koume should confess to him now because Yuu may soon be moving away, get abducted by aliens or the coming of Second Impact (Evangelion parody!) or even the Ishbal War (Fullmetal Alchemist parody!) Oh, Hiiragi, you crack me up. They also tried having her write a letter and setting up a proper place and time so she could talk to him. However due to Anzu’s odd advice, Koume spewed “I want you to hold me!” (at least that’s what Anzu learned from her mom!). She manages to thank him as they both go out to play together.

Episode 6
Hanamaru kindergarten plays in the pool. Too bad Anzu’s loli body is no match for Yamamoto’s busty figure. It’s understandable that Tsuchida is often distracted to the other side rather than keeping his eyes on Anzu. I don’t know about that horrible synchronized swimming the trio did but it flop big time. Tsuchida saves Anzu so she thinks he’ll come to her if she’s in danger. Tsuchida gets a distressing call from Anzu and she’s really in danger! She’s surrounded by… Sharks?! Oh, it’s Hiiragi wearing fins. Tsuchida isn’t amused and reprimands Anzu for doing something like that. Then an accident that almost unties Yamamoto’s top. Anzu not happy with that smirk on his face. Back home, Yamamoto’s sister, Mayumi’s hopes of seeing her sister moving ahead in her love life hits another brick wall because Yamamoto mentions Tsuchida’s praise was on her bikini rather than herself. Is the Guinness Book of Records here yet? Anzu must be pretty alert whenever some pretty woman comes looking for Tsuchida. Turns out to be his sister Satsuki. Seems she is reprimanding her brother for being irresponsible like forgetting to leave the key in the mail for her. She wonders if he is suitable to be a kindergarten teacher so Yamamoto invites her to stay and observe. Anzu looks forward to get acquainted with her future sister-in-law. As Satsuki plays with the class she sees the unfavourable side of Tsuchida like falling asleep while reading storybooks and talking to the boys about video games. Not good impression. But she also sees his kind, caring and considerate side. Satsuki then made lunch for him and probably summoned up lots of courage to tell her true feelings she could cook for him every day if he comes home but since he wasn’t listening (the food must be that good, eh?) so she blows her top. Satsuki goes to Tsuchida’s apartment and finds the place a filth and starts cleaning up. Feels like your mother, eh?

Episode 7
For the summer vacation, Sakura and Anzu head back to their hometown and have Tsuchida, Yamamoto, Hiiragi and Koume tag along. On the train, they joke about the girls being Tsuchida’s love/harem. Haha. That may be truer than you think. They visit Tsuchida’s parents and looks like Satsuki is also there. I’m sure mom is pretty disappointed that she won’t get to see any grandchildren yet. Anzu reveals herself as Tsuchida’s future bride among other embarrassing activities they did together. The gang learns that Tsuchida once had a crush on Sakura during high school (she set him up on a date but obviously he didn’t go) but she had her eyes on her art teacher. Later Satsuki wants to surprise Tsuchida with her cooking but it seems he guessed everyone else except her, causing her to become upset. That night Satsuki couldn’t sleep and after accompanying Anzu to the toilet, they talk about Tsuchida. Next evening, everyone visits the shrine for the festival. We all know what they pray for, right? Anzu must be so excited that she shouted out aloud about her wish. Because Tsuchida is trying to organize the kids to hold hands so as not to get lost, Satsuki becomes a little upset and runs off. Flashback reveals how she got lost at the festival and was crying alone but Tsuchida came and found her. Because of that, Tsuchida seems to know where to find Satsuki as they reconcile and watch the fireworks with everyone.

Episode 8
Back from the holidays, the class is assigned to write what they did over summer. However a boy named Aoi didn’t get to go anywhere and instead told how his parents work as fishmongers. He wanted to help out but his dad didn’t let him because he’s too young. One day Anzu, Hiiragi and Koume pass by Aoi’s parent’s shop and manage to convince them to help out. It is quite effective. I mean, who wouldn’t want to resist buying fish from a bunch of cute kids. Besides, nobody ever thought of child slavery, right? So when Aoi sees his pals helping out, he too wishes to help out. Though his dad is reluctant, eventually he gives in seeing how much fun he is having and how happy he is. In the next part, Tsuchida’s kindness to help a little girl, Hinagiku, will lead him to yet another trouble. Her sandals broke so he helps her home. Turns out she is the daughter of that Kumichou! Oh sh*t! You can’t refuse his hospitality! However the yakuza listen to Hinagiku and apologize for trying to scare their guest. You can guess that Hinagiku takes a liking for Tsuchida so much so she transfers herself to Hanamaru Kindergarten the next day and makes a marriage proposal to him! What will Anzu say about this? First she’s got Yamamoto as rival, now this. Tsuchida follows his pupils’ ideas to make Hinagiku dislike him such as reading adult magazines but she’s not budging. So when Hinagiku learns of Yamamoto, she confronts her about Tsuchida. She realizes Yamamoto is on a different level and couldn’t beat her (though that teacher is still dense). She decides to withdraw her marriage proposal but Anzu tells her that she shouldn’t give up because if she does, it’s over. Because of that, Hinagiku decides to stay for the time being and do what it takes to be his right woman. She’ll also postpone the marriage proposal and wait till she is older. As pointed out by Hiiragi, for helping out Hinagiku, Anzu’s love rival is back. Darn. Didn’t think about that, eh?

Episode 9
An editor named Hanamaru is in a slump to finish his Panda Cat manuscript. Mayumi is his assistant and tries to get the office to extend the deadline. As Hanamaru is taking a break at the park, Anzu, Hiiragi and Koume spot him and notice he has a crush on Mayumi (the reason for his slump) and try to give him advice on how to confess to her. Taking advice from kids? Then they cheer him up with a Panda Cat dance before leaving. Mayumi sees Yamamoto shopping with Tsuchida and notices that guy’s feelings for her but of course her sister is still oblivious. Likewise Mayumi cancels a dinner Yamamoto set for her and Hanamaru to go help the latter. Hanamaru gets inspiration and manages to finish the manuscript. Back home, both sisters talk about the other’s guys. Mayumi knows Tsuchida wasn’t just hungry when he wanted to have dinner with Yamamoto and Yamamoto knows the movie invitation Hanamaru made to Mayumi was because he likes her. The sisters are so alike. Realizing the other’s secret crush but oblivious to their own. Good example of the pot calling the kettle black. In class, the kids are to write their future ambitions. Guess what Anzu’s is. Koume wanted to be lots of things but I guess she can’t handle multi-tasking or choose which one. Hiiragi again has to be very amusing because her ambitions seem to include being an astronaut to a Jedi on her way defeating Darth Vader! May the force be with you! Later the teachers discuss why they become so and each has their own reasons. Later Kusano invites Tsuchida to sleepover at her place and he finds her fetish for macho men! She’s viewing videos of one flexing his muscles repeatedly! To hell with the plot!

Episode 10
Koume’s brother comes to visit her. Both siblings are very close and he is worried since the kindergarten is organizing a sports day she would end up last in the race and cry. The gang have Koume train and practise under Kusano and come sports day, after all the other events, the foot race begins with Koume taking the lead but trips halfway as the rest zooms past her. Holding her tears back, she picks herself up. As the crowd starts cheering her, she begins to lose confidence. Her brother then goes up to the finish line and calls for her. Koume gets the determination to run pass the line and into her brother’s arms. Back home, he gives her a medal for putting great effort. I like that part whereby some specky kid thought too much attention was given to Koume’s training, etc. So he’s going to show the fruits of his secret training. In the end, he still ended up last after all. Try harder next year. The next part has the teachers get together for dinner. After that, Tsuchida joins Yamamoto, Kusano and Kawashiro at the karaoke (are they singing Shaman King songs?!). I guess everyone got a little bit drunk so Kusano and Kawashiro encourage Tsuchida to confess in which he did. Before Yamamoto could say anything, everyone was so happy that Tsuchida confessed and celebrated that the scene nearly turned into a musical (Yamamoto too joined in). But he got depressed the next day because he passed out without hearing her answer. Anzu and Hinagiku are shocked to learn about Tsuchida’s confession but since he was never given an answer, they still have hope. Upon Kusano’s advice to ask Yamamoto directly, when he finally summons his courage to do so, once again he is disappointed she thought he was referring to a favourite manga line. Because of that, the next morning as Anzu and Sakura are going out, they see Tsuchida sleeping in the garbage pile, losing all hope and motivation. He even thinks of quitting his job! Leave it up to frustrated Sakura to give him a good wake up call.

Episode 11
Tsuchida remains depressed yelling in the rain caused him to be sick. Since he is staying home, Anzu takes the trouble to come over to look after him. However she ends up causing trouble and has to be looked after instead. And Hinagiku got pretty shocked to learn that Anzu slept over at Tsuchida’s place. Next time choose your words better and not make it sound ambiguous, okay? Tsuchida brings tired Anzu back to her home as he learns Sakura is quite busy helping her husband with his upcoming art exhibition. He has him help her out writing manga scripts. She learns of his depression of his confession to Yamamoto and wants him to cheer up since this will affect his pupils. Next day he is resolved to go confess and even bought a bouquet of flowers. But he gets cold feet outside her apartment. He bumps into Mayumi and she knows what’s going on. Mayumi goes to meet Hanamaru at the cafe and tells of her sister’s density. Hanamaru too wished Mayumi would notice it (her density) because he too has bouquet of flowers for her. Tsuchida goes to see Yamamoto at kindergarten and finds her writing letters of her pupils’ report to their respective parents. He asks her from a third person perspective if a man likes her and wants to ask her out. She replies though she is happy, she doesn’t think it’ll work out as she won’t have enough time and energy to juggle between her pupils and the relationship. Tsuchida then goes off as he thinks for a guy who has nothing, he is out of Yamamoto’s league. He goes back to see Anzu has cooked for him. Don’t worry, it has improved a lot. Then she wants him to tell an interesting story in which he makes up a story of a Clumsy Prince falling in love with Dense Princess and being attacked by a fake giant Panda Cat. Don’t the prince and princess remind you of a certain someone?

Episode 12
As Anzu’s house will hold a Christmas party, Anzu falls asleep while praying to Santa. I guess in dreams, dreams are granted as she becomes a (sexy) grownup. She gets distracted along the way and couldn’t recognize grownup Hiiragi and Koume who put her on the bus. Then Tsuchida comes in and both couldn’t recognize each other, though she has a feeling of seeing him somewhere before. They get off together and dance in the snow. She realizes who he is as they kiss. Back in reality, everyone arrives for the party while Anzu is still in her dreamland. Later the gang visits Anzu’s dad’s art exhibition. They see a painting of Anzu and Sakura. Sakura reveals that the painting was drawn from the inspiration Tsuchida. When Sakura was down in her love for her art teacher, Tsuchida gave her words of encouragement: “The power of love” and had Sakura pursue him till where they are now. So it is those same words that Sakura told to Anzu to pursue Tsuchida. In other words, like a boomerang or reaping what he sows, eh? After they leave, Tsuchida wants to spend time with Yamamoto but seeing he has to take care of Anzu, he gets discouraged and leaves. Anzu isn’t happy because he is giving up and wants him to confess. Though Tsuchida gives excuses of the implication since Anzu likes him, Anzu says it will be over if he does because she wants him to be happy. He gets his confidence back and rushes back to Yamamoto. He maybe a loser, but he is what he is. Probably his build-up speech took too long so once again Yamamoto misinterprets he is talking about work. Oh God. No true happy ending. Try again next time. Next day in school, Tsuchida and Yamamoto put up the play of Clumsy Prince and Dense Princess and all the kids are quite excited about it.

The Age Of Innocence
So it isn’t anything much and you thought Tsuchida would finally get an answer after all this time but I guess it’s best that they remain the way as they are and take things one step at a time. There isn’t any much revelation or development in the show and in some cases you can watch certain episodes as standalones if you know a little of the background and characters. The comedy and the few parodies are entertaining itself. So if you want to see this show, see it for the cuteness and the easy and relaxing plot that doesn’t have anyone trying to crack their heads. Unless you’re the kind of person who prefers mindless macho action, I guess watching this show is enough to make anyone go “Aww… How cute”. I know I did that a few times but there are certain points it became a little annoying.

One thing I need to mention that is obvious in the series is the frank and honesty of the kids. No matter how absurd or silly they may think or say, you can see that they are not shy or afraid to voice out their opinions of what they think. When we become adults, we have to be so mindful and careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings so much so we can’t be honest with ourselves anymore. It’s nice and cute to see Anzu unfaltering love for Tsuchida but whether she’ll change when she grows up or still remain by his side is another different story. Though it is funny to see her getting a little alert when some girl comes into contact with Tsuchida or he looks at other girls, nevertheless she is helpful and cares for others. She doesn’t hesitate to help others even if it they are her rival because I think she will hate to see others depressed more than anything else. Even if it does contradict the rational and rules of love in society, she does want to see others happy.

Hiiragi is another amusing girl. I like her explanations on stuff and sometimes they really go exaggerated. Maybe she reads too much. I know that some of the characters are given their due screen time (because the entire series doesn’t just focus on Tsuchida and Anzu) but I just wished she had more because I’d really laugh whenever she starts explaining. Tsuchida needs to work harder from now on but I can see he’s doing a fine job. Except in the love area of course. He’s popular with the kids but the only girl he has his eyes on doesn’t seem to notice it. I really can’t believe Yamamoto being so dense that I think if anybody would just go up to her and spell each and every word that he likes her, she’ll still not get it. Same case to Mayumi. It must run in the family, eh? There I can’t say anything much about the other characters because they don’t really change much. You can pretty guess what kind of personality they have after a short while. I thought Satsuki may have brother complex but I guess it wasn’t that extreme. I still find it odd that Kumichou and his yakuza gang are a good bunch of people. They just look unruly, that’s all. Gokusen, anyone? Maybe with Hinagiku, she’ll keep the gang in line.

The drawing and art of the characters can be considered cute and seeing the little ones interact may make you go “Aww… So cute” and all warm inside. Hey, I think I’ve said that before. The odd part is that the kids are so small that they are shorter than the adult’s knee and especially Anzu who climbs and crawls all over Tsuchida like as though she’s some sort of agile monkey. But you know, that’s all part of being cute and adorable. Hmm… In a way the character designs to resemble a little like Potemayo… Another unique thing about this series is that there are different ending songs for each episode. From slow pace to pop beats, the seiyuus of the series sings them, some doing it more than once and some doing a duet. The ending credits animation itself is interesting and the art differs in each one. They can range from simple crayon drawings to the standard style. Even the theme differs. There is one like a futuristic space battle of good-versus-evil, a horror clip and an old French drama! The opening is fixed and sounds lively and cutesy. Entitled Aozora Triangle by the seiyuu of Anzu, Hiiragi and Koume.

Watching this show somehow brings me back memories when I was attending kindergarten. Oh wait. I can’t remember much. If such a case do happen in real life, I can imagine all the negative implications surrounding it. Perhaps society isn’t ready to accept something like this yet. But even so, would it really be morally right? We all know that there are many kinds of love and kids do say the darnest things. At that age, children are still at an early stage of learning and exploring. Well, it’s just a good thing that Anzu considers Tsuchida to be her future husband. At least, it’s better than being called a lolicon, right?

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