Kaichou Wa Maid-sama

October 29, 2011

When you talk about a girl having an otaku secret that nobody else should know or find out about, out thoughts will go directly to Haruka Nogizaka, right? Well, there’s another one that fits this bill but other than that, that is where the similarity ends because Kaichou Wa Maid-sama is totally different in all other aspects.

If Haruka is a rich perfect oujo-sama, then Maid-sama’s main heroine Misaki Ayuzawa is the exact opposite. Firstly, she doesn’t have the perfect manners that will make guys swoon over her. Rather, she is aggressive and demanding especially when it comes to boys. Seika High School is a public institution and was just recently opened as a co-ed school. Previously it was an all-boys school. As the only female president of the student council, she makes drastic changes with her autocratic rule to protect the low female ratio at school. Seems noble but when you step on a guy’s pride, you’re going to expect lots of trouble. Secondly, Misaki comes from a poor family. Apparently her dad vanished and left a huge debt so Misaki takes it upon herself to work hard and support her mom, Minako and younger sister Suzuna. Another reason why she enrolled in Seika is because the fees are cheap. Well, she didn’t get picked up by a filthy rich butler and being made his maid-cum-bodyguard-cum-confidante-cum-everything-else. She gets by doing a part time job that nobody else will ever know. A side that will threaten her very image if anybody knew about it. She works part time as a maid at Maid Latte. Doesn’t sound that bad, eh? But imagine her tarnished image if the delinquent boys find out about it. She can no longer push them around nor will they listen to her. Yeah, this seemed like the perfect plan for Misaki’s life but you know, life is never a bed of roses. Till she meets this popular, attractive and handsome hunk, Takumi Usui. You can say her life is going to be more unpredictable and at a drastic pace.

Episode 1
The first episode introduces all these settings. From how Misaki works hard to the top of the student council for the betterment of her female students, to other characters such as Misaki’s friends Sakura Hanazono and Shizuko Kaga to the gentle student council vice president Shouichirou Yukimura and the Maid Latte workers like the owner Satsuki (she’s actually 30 years old despite her kiddie appearance), bespectacled Subaru, college student as part time maid Erika and the one who always gets into the character of her job Honoka (often criticizes Misaki for hiding her maid job from others). Misaki continues her patrol and reprimands delinquents Naoya Shirakawa, Ikuto Sarashina and Ryuunosuke Kurosaki for their sloppy dressing and ear piercings. Then she tells of Usui for bluntly rejecting a girl’s confession instead of doing it more discreetly. She does sound like you mother-in-law, eh? We also see a different side Misaki when she dons her maid outfit. It’s like she’s a totally different person. Super moe and kawaii! This is where her life starts as a living hell. Usui spots her while she takes out the trash at Maid Latte. What are the chances this won’t spread like wild fire in school? Oh, her life is so doomed. Surprisingly Usui is seen waiting for Misaki after she finishes her shift and she tells him why she’s into this maid job due to her financial circumstances. At school, Misaki learns the kind of cool guy Usui is from Sakura and Shizuko (from their perception of course) and it seems he may not like girls because he rejects all confessions though girls are still coming in trying to ask him out. So what are the chances if he doesn’t like girls, will he like maids? Well, that really isn’t related since Usui makes a bold entrance through the front door of Maid Latte, catching Misaki by surprise. She has to serve him as her mind goes psycho wondering if he is challenging her or just fooling around. Misaki continues to work so hard that she takes all the student council responsibilities upon herself when the body couldn’t solve it. She gets sick but perseveres. Usui offers to help but she tells him to mind his own business. Then the worse possible moment as she is taking out trash at Maid Latte, her identity is further busted with the appearance of Naoya, Ikuto and Ryuunosuke. She isn’t feeling well so she can’t fight back. They’re going to get their revenge when Usui tells them off not to touch her (while holding her in his arms!). Apparently the trio apologize and back off immediately. Seems Usui has some kind of commanding presence not only on them but the entire guys at Seika. You better listen to him if you know what is good for you. Misaki wakes up back home with Minako by her side. Next day at school, she is feeling much better but asks Usui why her secret is still safe. He told the trio not to leak it out as this was some sort of his personal entertainment. Plus, he doesn’t intend to rat out her secret. She feels indebted but doesn’t know what to get him. He suggests being his maid for a day. Say what? I think he’s serious. She said anything, right?

Episode 2
The guys at Seika are causing their usual perverted nuisance against the girls. Devil Misaki locks the perpetrator in the gym but cool Usui later kicks the door down to ‘rescue’ him. The school cultural festival is near and Misaki has already set her sights what kind of festival this is going to be. Yeah, one thing is for sure. You can see her hatred for males cropping up. Her student council guys are powerless against her. She has vetoed everything. She has the final say. You can’t disagree. All is final. Some of the other guys confront Misaki about their ideas for the festival like a baseball tournament and even have taken in views from others. However Misaki isn’t budging a bit even if this event is Seika’s tradition. I guess the guys have no choice but to use their last resort: Usui. Though this isn’t what Usui wanted to do, he advises Misaki to listen to the boys. Misaki is further irritated when Usui becomes a regular patron at Maid Latte. To make things worse, the delinquent trio have also become regular customers and a big fan of Misaki. They have become so tame that they seemed like idiots now! Yeah, that’s why they are nicknamed the Baka Trio! Usui even has the guts to lift Misaki’s skirt wondering if she’s wearing any panties underneath! I guess that’s why she hates guys. Then more of Misaki’s ‘injustice’ when she shoots down the guys’ suggestion but quickly approves the girls’. Because of this, the guys plan to do something on festival day itself. On the day of the festival, Misaki patrols the school grounds for any untoward incident. She is horrified when she sees that group of opposing guys dressed in weird cosplay outfits and taking over a classroom. Usui is also taking part and dressed as a commercial pilot. Misaki will not have this nonsense continue and reprimands them outside. But the guys tell her off that she is arrogant ordering them around and that the bottom line is that she hates guys. The guys get up and leave and Misaki notices the cafe shortage of staff. With Usui’s advice ringing in her head, she swallows her pride and makes a u-turn, pleading the guys to help but they aren’t interested. Misaki goes to help the cafe herself. Unwittingly, Misaki uses her maid skills and almost got herself exposed as a professional maid. When Usui helps her out, the guys get interested to see the fun and loads of customers streaming in so they turn back and help out. At the end of the day, Misaki thanks Usui once more. He gets bold by cornering her over the tree and says he has no intention of leaking her secret because she is after all his personal maid. You’d think she’d accept that?

Episode 3
Satsuki gets this idea of turning Maid Latte into an imouto (little sister) event. This doesn’t sit well with Misaki so Honoka gives her an earful about the laws governing the world (WTF?!). Then for the coming Battle Maids theme, Satsuki asks Usui’s opinion for Misaki’s colour. Transparent dress?! Sicko! Later Usui asks the Baka Trio for their opinion. They have their own passionate opinions and got carried away by it. Misaki reprimands Yukimura when he is browsing a confiscated magazine about imoutos. Then she asks Sakura and Shizuko for their opinions and concludes that perhaps Satsuki is trying to create a tranquil environment. Misaki is still having a dilemma about this imouto event as she tells Usui about why Maid Latte is special to her. He notes that she is fine the way she is. Misaki is seemingly doing well in her imouto role at Maid Latte but she has to serve Usui making lots of unreasonable demands. As a maid-cum-imouto, you can’t refuse, can you? When Usui gets up and leave due to her bad mood, Misaki gets into her imouto character to tell him not to. She looks so cute that as though she’s a natural tsundere type! Next day at school, Usui gets another confession call from another girl. Seems he prefers to pay attention to Misaki who used her hands to save a guy from the falling ladder at the library. In the end, he tells the girl that he is a maid otaku fetish. Can you accept that? Later he confronts Misaki and knows that she is hiding the pain in her hand. He helps bandage it at the infirmary. He notices that whenever someone is in danger, she will help out regardless of whether that person is a guy or girl. She affirms it and will help out even if it is him. At Maid Latte, Usui knows Misaki is pushing herself and hopes Satsuki would look after her and not make it obvious. Satsuki also knows how hard she is working and giving all her best no matter what. Usui now knows what colour best fits Misaki: White. Because it’s like moving forward without getting other colours tainting it but at the same time, makes you want to taint her as well. And so Misaki gets the white dress for the Battle Maid and gives her merciless chop on the Baka Trio. They changed their mind to go easy on them after one of them really gets knocked out! Yes, boss!

Episode 4
Famous internet idol, Aoi Hyoudou makes her entrance at Maid Latte. She is Satsuki’s niece and though the customers swarm all over her, Satsuki isn’t impressed. Seems she got ‘disowned’, the reason why she is here. Bratty Aoi continues to selfishly do what she wants at Maid Latte by wearing the maid uniform but this isn’t a place for kids to play. Then when she first sets her eyes on Usui, well, she’s going to make that guy fall for her. Then a pinch when the cook can’t come due to an emergency. Who else can cook? Satsuki is desperate and hires Usui seeing that he can. She has him undergo a little test but he passes with superb flying colours! They’re tasting a piece of Heaven. Next day, Aoi continues to attract Usui’s attention but all she got was the usual boring swooning reaction from other customers like the Baka Trio. Usui doesn’t seem interested in her. Later Aoi spots Misaki in normal clothes when she goes off her shift so she starts getting upset that she didn’t care about her feminine side, what more seduce Usui. Say what? Next day, Aoi tries to get bold by getting close to Usui and says that she only wants him to be hers. Usui then overpowers her, wondering if she knows what that means. Then Misaki comes in and sees Usui over Aoi over the floor. Though he got punched away, Aoi gets slapped for trying to test her limits. Misaki goes on to make her realize that people will one day accept for who she is and find her cute. Then her wig falls off. AOI IS A BOY!!!!! Probably the reason why Usui was immune to her charms was because he knew ‘she’ was a he. Aoi says that though he is a boy, he likes to wear pretty dresses but everyone laughs at him for it. Even after all that lesson, Aoi didn’t change and vows to come back prettier to woo Usui’s heart. Next day, Aoi comes to Maid Latte in his usual male school uniform. Upon seeing Misaki’s casual dress, he gets riled up and instantly takes her out to get some clothes suitable for her. Then Aoi witnesses how Misaki singlehandedly arrest a snatch thief. He thinks her moves were rash. She apologizes for making him worry but that’s the way she is. She is best being herself. A tomboy and a cross-dresser. This world has gone crazy. Aoi decides to make some clothes for her. Next day at Maid Latter, the maids are taken in by the feminine dress that Misaki is wearing, though she doesn’t really feels right. Yeah, I feel the brutish Misaki fits her. Oops. Don’t hit me. She was expecting everyone to laugh at her but for Usui, he’s getting turned on! Oh, that alien pervert!

Episode 5
Satsuki hands Misaki a taser gun since recently there has been reports of stalkers assaulting maids. But Misaki declines since she can protect herself. I hope she’s strong enough when she meets a guy twice her size. One day, Satsuki attends some meeting so Misaki, Subaru and Erika are left handling the shop. But the latter duo had to leave for something so Misaki closes the shop alone. Then she felt someone grabbing her from the back and overthrows him. Turns out to be Usui. Then he tells her that she needs to be more aware of herself because she’s still a girl. After Usui left, he spots a couple of suspicious people running by the back lane. Usui is worried about Misaki so much so he ignores random women on the street asking to go out with him! Can they actually just do that? They see a handsome hunk and go ask him out. Women these days are so bold. Misaki is left alone to run Maid Latte again due to one of many Satsuki’s busy meeting schedules. However this time Misaki gets tied up for real by a pair of stalkers. That very same pair who turns out to be regular customers of Maid Latte. They’re going to make their move on her. Usui’s Misaki-in-danger sense must have led him to jump up to the second floor. He was going to bust through the windows when he saw an incredible sight. Misaki becomes stronger than Wonder Woman as she breaks free from her handcuff via brute strength (amazing!) and takes them out in a single blow! So who’s the scarier one? Yeah, she didn’t need Usui’s help all along. Though he already broke through the window. The stalkers are rounded up and reflecting on their actions. Being the otaku they are, they want to receive their punishment but Usui says Misaki is not for rent. Another reason for her to take out her frustrations. After the stalkers get picked up by the police, Misaki gives the cutest thank you to Usui. Probably it made his heart skipped. Satsuki returns but when she sees the broken window, she collapses. That’s going to cost a lot. Later Misaki gets embarrassed when she learns that the picture of her in feminine clothes is in Aoi’s handphone. And there’s more from where that came from. Poor Misaki has a hard time deleting it. Looks like she’s got a lot to catch up to be technological savvy. Too bad Aoi sent one to Usui.

Episode 6
One day, out of the blue, Misaki gets 5 disciples. I don’t know how this came about but they really want Misaki to be their master and learn everything about her. I don’t know too if they’re clones because they all look and sound the same. It’s annoying enough that they follow her everywhere, taking down notes on everything she does (mostly all the brutish ones). But they crossed the line when they want to follow her to her part time job. Thankfully with Usui’s help, they give them the slip. At Maid Latte, Usui earns enough points to challenge Misaki and beat her to take a commemorative photo with her. The Baka Trio also got enough points and after seeing Usui victorious, get confident of doing the same to beat Misaki but was no match for her. Try again. Next day at school, more annoyance from the ever-following followers. But good thing is that they always support Misaki no matter what. But each time when it comes down to following her to her part time job, Usui is always there at the right place, right time to give them the slip. At the rooftop, Misaki mentions how she is afraid of letting them know of her maid identity as she thinks it will destroy their hopes and image of her once it is blown. She doesn’t want to disappoint those who are good to her. Usui won’t. But he teases her when he takes out that photo. During the struggle to snatch it back, the photo fell off and close to the clones. Usui will go take it back before they see it. How? He’s going to take the shortest and fastest route by jumping down! IS HE CRAZY?! HOW MANY FLOORS IS THAT?! So why is he doing this? Not just because she said so, but also because he likes her! Then he kisses her! OMG! Didn’t see that one coming! Then he jumps off! OH SH*T! He really did it! Misaki starts to panic as she rushes down. He finds him just coming out of the pool. Though he is messed up, the trees broke his fall and more importantly, he has the photo safe in his grasp. Then the disciples come by, wondering what just happened. Misaki is ready to reveal her secret but Usui quickly covers her mouth and cheekily wonders if it is the way he keeps her after school, shocking the disciples. They start dreaming that Misaki is Usui’s cool bodyguard and won’t interfere. Usui recuperates in hospital and reveals that he didn’t want Misaki’s revealed because he doesn’t want more fans. Imagine if more people know about her maid job and love her for it, that will mean more rivalry, right? He wants her to take care of him in a maid outfit but she gets embarrassed and storms off.

Episode 7
Misaki is a little clumsy since that kiss is clouding her mind. To her surprise, Usui is released early from hospital and pays her a visit at Maid Latte. He gets flirty but she pushes him away. Her heart is confused when she gets a call from Sakura. Seems some of the Seika guys are involved in a street fight with the student council of a prestigious school, Miyabigaoka. Seika’s guys don’t want to apologize so the Miyabigaoka’s Hirofumi Koganei expects them to come to their school to do so or else this will turn into a school conflict. Misaki is already having her hands full on how to solve the situation. She gets jumpy whenever Usui’s face gets close to hers. Usui can tell she is troubled so he kisses unsuspecting Yukimura on the lips!!! SH********T!!! His first kiss went to a guy but Misaki feels better now that Usui’s just a sexual harassing moron. Misaki along with the Seika delinquents with Usui head to Miyabigaoka and in Koganei’s chess club, the duo remains adamant not wanting to apologize. However when Koganei calls them ‘flies’, Misaki gets upset and wants him to apologize first. Seeing this is getting nowhere, he challenges them to a game of chess and if they beat him, he’ll take back his words. Only Usui has played chess before and volunteers. Even if this Koganei is some high ranking national professional chess player, Usui didn’t care much about it and soon makes that guy sweating in his own pants. In the end, Usui easily wins and sends him reeling in shame. And no, he did not take back his words after all. Koganei tells the danger Seika is to his student council president Tora Igarashi but he got splashed by water for being too noisy. Next day, Igarashi visits Seika in a grand manner. However he is polite and full of manners when speaking with Misaki. He is here to apologize on his student’s unruly behaviour behalf. My, he’s such a gentleman. Then he witnesses Misaki unleashing her brute side when she overthrows a naughty student. He is impressed by her might and beauty but he is here for another reason. He is here to invite her to join Miyabigaoka’s student council. Everything from her school fees will be taken care of and she needs not pay back anything! Wow. A deal too good to be refused. And Igarashi is dead serious on this. When Igarashi goes back into his limo, we see his true colours. He is interested in Misaki but has some ulterior motive and wants his vice president, Kanade Maki to keep a close watch on her. Maid Latte’s theme today is butlers and only female customers are allowed in. Misaki must be having the joy of her life because she’s surrounded by so many female customers. I hope she’s not into that kind of stuff. Usui notices Misaki quite happy as she mentions how she is a guy at heart. Usui gives her another life lesson when he undresses himself in front of her. Hey, they’re both guys, right? So being topless together won’t be an issue. Because Misaki can’t do it, Usui notes that she is a girl after all. Meanwhile Maki has come back with reports on Misaki and Igarashi is surprised to find out about her maid job. He has a surprise welcoming ceremony all laid out.

Episode 8
Maki visits Misaki at her home and presents her with lavish gifts in hopes of persuading her to join their student council. At first she has no intention of joining but when he mentions that Suzuna’s future can be taken care of as well, Misaki falls into a dilemma. If she thinks her own Seika guys don’t care about her, she gets a pleasant surprise that the delinquent duo stood up for her because she protected them and tells off others who badmouth Misaki. She thinks hard day and night before coming to a decision. She is at Miyabigaoka when Sakura calls her. She hangs up. They feel they’ve been relying too much on Misaki and if they want to snatch her back, they can’t lose to Miyabigaoka. They go rally up some support from the student council to go over to Miyabigaoka. Misaki meets Igarashi and is to reply to his offer when one of the students accidentally trips and spills the drink all over her. After she takes a shower, she finds her clothes missing but Igarashi says he has taken them to the dry cleaners so she’ll have to make do with a revealing maid outfit. She was reluctant to put it on so Igarashi thinks she is injured and wants to come in. Misaki has no choice but to hurriedly put it on. But she’s a pro in wearing those kind of outfits so she’s perfect. Then her fears start to realize when Igarashi asks her if she enjoys dressing up as so and shows a picture of her Maid Latte uniform. He continues to mock her that he felt disappointed in her since she fell for this easily. He takes out a suitcase of money and throws it at her, thinking she’s in for the cash. He overpowers her and says that she is no different than other useless women. However Misaki isn’t going to let this slip by and tells him off about looking down on others. Plus, she is here to turn down his offer to join Miyabigaoka and has no intention of stepping down as Seika’s student council president. Igarashi’s grip is hard so much so she can’t get herself loose. As his face gets closer, Misaki could only call out to Usui’s name. Speaking of the devil, he barges in (man, he took out all the guards stationed outside?). He snatches her away from Igarashi’s hands and they leave. Usui praises her for standing her ground well before descending into his usual teasing. Once they reach the outside gates, Misaki is surprised to see all her Seika friends greeting her. They are glad that she has come back to them. But this isn’t going to be the last time we’ll see Igarashi. He still has something sinister up his sleeves.

Episode 9
Totally a filler episode with no relation whatsoever to the story. If you know the popular Japanese folklore called Momotarou, take heart that this is a twisted version of it using the series’ characters. Of course who else to fit the main hero better than Misaki? Yeah, she looks like a samurai girl. She goes on a journey to hunt and destroy a monster responsible for capturing ladies. Along the way she meets the Baka Trio as the dog, monkey and pheasant and Usui the… Ringmaster? They arrive at the village but they see men fighting among themselves. Seems without women, all the guys didn’t bath nor have anyone doing their laundry so they stink. They really stink, I tell you. Stink so much that they look pathetic. So they take a boat to the monster’s island and along the way meet Suzuna as Otohime, Aoi as the turtle and battle Igarashi and his crew of pirates. When they finally reach the island, they see all the ladies dressing up as maids. Then Misaki gets the surprise of her life when Usui turns out to be the monster because all the ladies address him as their master. Misaki prepares to cut that fellow down but the girls say that she has misunderstood. They came to live on this island on their own as they can’t stand their own lives back there. They are satisfied with everything here and that’s how Usui’s house was taken over. He wants Misaki to go out with him and against her will, they both became a couple and go on a journey. And all these turn out to be Misaki’s nightmare because Usui is letting her listen to this crappy story while she’s asleep on her desk.

Episode 10
Sakura is a devoted fan of the band Yumenishi and particularly in love with their lead vocalist, Kuuga Sakurai. Misaki accepts Sakura’s invitation for a tea party with Yumenishi. Uninterested Shizuko is made to tag along. The Baka Trio are working part time so they can earn and spend more time at Maid Latte but to their surprise see Misaki at the cafe where they’re working. What’s more, the quartet of Yumenishi becoming their blind dates. Misaki is happy seeing Sakura’s joyous face. But it seems Kuuga as he tells his bassist Kou that he is more interested in Misaki. The Baka Trio start panicking when they eavesdrop this. Kuuga invites Misaki to their concert and totally ignores Sakura. Misaki declines but he keeps pestering. Later as Misaki refreshes herself at the washroom, Kuuga and Kou confront her. She asks about Sakura and he merely tells her that he is doing this out of fan service. He doesn’t have any feelings for her and will have to reject her. Kuuga closes up on shocked Misaki but is interrupted with Usui coming in between them. Oh? He’s working here too? Actually he was passing by, heard it all and stole the uniform of one of the Baka Trio. After Kuuga leaves, Usui mentions that he is possessive when Misaki relates the problem she is facing now. Kuuga goes back to the table as Sakura continues to be the eager beaver fan. But she soon realizes that Kuuga is not interested in her because he asks her to bring Misaki to the concert and starts praising her. Sakura tries to hold back her tears while putting on a happy face but she can’t hold back any longer as she stood up. Kuuga wonders if she is mad at him and Misaki too since she did the same. Misaki chides him for his attitude and grabs his necktie and tells him off she will never hand Sakura to the likes of him. Shizuko who has been staying quiet and ignorant all the time blows her top and gives them an earful about being considerate. They leave as cry-baby Sakura finds comfort in Misaki’s arms. She says the next time she falls in love, she wants a guy who pats her head like this. As for the Yumenishi guys, they are having bad service from the Baka Trio. So only now make your useless appearance, eh? I find it odd that the other Yumenishi guys, guitarist Shou and drummer William just sat there like a rock doing nothing! It’s like they’re part of the furniture.

Episode 11
Usui helps Minako pick up her dropped apples. This leads him to Misaki’s house. Oh boy. Not only does he know where she works but now where she lives. She can’t even have peace in the sanctuary of her own home. Usui proves himself useful by fixing the broken floor boards so much so they can be assured that there will be never the same hole at that spot again. Sakura and Shizuko spot Usui and Misaki coming out of the house together and think that they’re a couple. Sakura pesters Misaki to tell everything though she denies that everything is just a misunderstanding. Disappointed? Then they discuss the kind of life he lives and is interested to find out his address (at least for Sakura). So when Misaki gets off early from Maid Latte, she spots Sakura and Shizuko in horrible poor disguises trying to tail Usui to his home from Maid Latte. All the places he went turn out to be true from what Sakura fantasizes! From a high class swimming club to high class boutique and to a super high class restaurant. They think he’s meeting up with some hot chick but she meets someone else and Usui is just eating by himself. Why does Misaki feel relieved? Then as they continue to tail him like stalkers, they see him do weird stuff like playing shogi with old folks and help children cross the street. Just who is this dude? At the end of the day, Sakura and Shizuko got tired and went home. Misaki spots Usui looking at an abandoned kitten in a box. He’s not good with animals so the kitty scratches his face. Usui reveals that he knew they were tailing him all day and led them on a wild goose chase. Now that explains why everything he did was random and unrelated. After learning all Misaki wants is his address, he hands it to her on a piece of paper. See, just that simple if she had just ask in the first place. Usui returns to his high-rise but seemingly barren apartment with the kitten.

Episode 12
It’s the sports festival and for the obstacle race, the first prize is to kiss Sakura! Boo hoo! Which guy would pass up this chance? So leave it to Misaki to save the day. Yeah, she’s going to enter and win it to protect her lips. Not only that, she enters every race and wins. The other guys are no match for her since Usui isn’t interested in participating. Misaki is tired but soldiers on for the last obstacle race. Of course Usui can’t let his personal maid suffer so he too enters the race. With the number of participants and kiss hopefuls reducing drastically, it becomes a three-horse race between Usui, Misaki and Gouda. Gouda plays dirty to knock Misaki off her feet but Usui is there to save her when it matters most. Usui catches up and beats Gouda to the finish line. While he is sulking, Misaki crosses it to take 2nd place. Usui gives the reward to Misaki so Sakura pecks her on her cheek. Gouda is frustrated and thinks he should’ve come in second! Next up is the costume race, an event for those who aren’t sports inclined. Misaki gets this sinking feeling about this race but nevertheless wants to participate to protect the other girls. Of course will Usui not join in? Yukimura is also in since he is glad the school has made events for those without athletic abilities. The race starts with participants picking a random sack and must change into it before dashing to the finish line. Of all the costumes, it must be fate for Misaki because she ended up with a maid outfit!!! But it’s better than those embarrassing weird outfits the other guys have to don. Since the tent is dark, Misaki’s sack got mixed up with Yukimura’s. So he goes out with the maid outfit. Hey, he looks damn cute! Then all the guys start teasing him, stopping him dead on his tracks. Misaki wants to go out to give them a piece of her mind but Usui reminds her that if she goes out without changing, she will be disqualified. He continues about change when someone does his best. Misaki is pumped up, takes off her top and changes into her outfit. Yukimura trips along his way while the others continue to laugh. Then he is helped out by a pirate samurai (Misaki) and ninja (Usui). Misaki tells them off what’s wrong for being serious in this costume race as the trio cross the finish line together. While Usui bandages Misaki’s sore feet, she ponders about bringing up improvements for the costume race at the meeting. Usui commends her for her hard work and kisses her hand, surprising her. And as for that maid outfit, it actually belongs to the Baka Trio. They made it especially for Misaki to wear it when somehow it got lost (they were searching for it the entire day). Imagine their broken hearts when they find it all torn up. All their heart and soul into it…

Episode 13
Gouki Aratake beats up his underlings. But he’s not satisfied as the boss of Seisen Middle School because he hasn’t surpassed the Whirlwind White Demon who was Naoya. So when they visit Seika, they are surprised to see Naoya acting like a moe idiot. Is this really him? Hey, why is Yukimura cross-dressing as a girl? Forced to? Aratake mistaken Yukimura for Naoya’s girlfriend and kidnaps him! Misaki and Usui learn about this and head over to Seisen to rescue him. Guess what? This is where Aoi goes to school. The Baka Trio are still clueless about Aoi’s internet persona as Aoi tells about this school’s gangsterism. There was once a big group before he enrolled and were united but now broken up. Yukimura is being held at an abandoned building. Attempts to tell Aratake that he’s a guy just couldn’t work. He couldn’t believe a cutie like him isn’t a girl! Aoi has a plan instead of barging into the place in their school uniform. That is, to act out a gangster scene. Why does it feel like they’re acting in a film? However their plan backfires when they get unwanted help and advice from passing Suzuna and later Satsuki, Sakura and Shizuko. Yeah, Misaki’s disciples are there too. Aratake waits for Naoya to show up and remembers how he lived up to his nickname. When Aratake was cornered by bullies, Naoya showed up and beat them all up. Then Naoya told him the way to solve things is via violence and when a kid looks up to someone as cool as him, you’d believe every word he says. Aratake’s subordinates begin to doubt Naoya since after he graduated, he went into hiding. They don’t think Aratake fits to be their leader. He punches him. That’s when the calvary arrives. The Baka Trio continue to be their frolicking carefree selves. Brings back nostalgic memories, eh? Then Naoya and Aratake start trading punches. Usui holds back Misaki because this is between those guys. Fighting to them is like a form of communication. Aratake is defeated and everyone welcomes back Naoya. Aratake mentions all he wanted was to be as strong as his hero. Then when he learns that Misaki is Naoya’s boss in school (because she tore out his earring), they bow in respect for her upon Naoya’s whim. They mistook her meido (maid) title for meido of Hades/hell (same pronunciation but different writing). And with everything ending well, there’s a little tiny bit left that they forgot. Yukimura! Yeah, poor guy sitting all alone in the dark totally forgotten.

Episode 14
Misaki is happy because she has been hearing comments on the street that Seika is less scary than before. Hard work paid off, eh? Then odd things begin to happen when her student council members start doing careless mistakes they don’t usually do like misplacing the accounts books or dressing like a delinquent. Then Misaki hears the broadcast playing a rather sleepy music. She enters and sees a guy in a hood, Soutarou Kanou claiming that he is running some kind of test. However he soon hypnotizes her and orders her to embarrass herself in front of others. Seems this guy has a problem with girls because he feels Seika doesn’t need more females. Misaki wakes up at the infirmary with Usui by her side and she’s acting all drunk. She even starts seducing him but Usui is not amused and ties her up. Usui senses something amiss and suspects that Kanou guy because well, he’s acting strange. Who wouldn’t suspect anything from a hooded guy in this kind of heat? Usui confronts Kanou and knows his interesting technique. Kanou uses hypnotism on him but it doesn’t work. Usui grabs his shirt and then lets him go. Later when Misaki learns about this, she confronts Kanou and his grudge against girls. As long as she is Seika’s president, she is bent on increasing the number of girls in this school. Too bad she got hypnotized again. By the time Usui finds out about this and rushes down, Kanou has already told Misaki that she will hate Usui to bits at 5pm tomorrow. Well actually, it isn’t different than before, right? But Usui is testing her patience because he calls her non-stop back home. Even right in the dead hours of the night. He tries to get psychological on her by wanting her to like him! Kanou is on the prowl again. He hypnotizes Yukimura so that he could give Misaki drowsy medicine instead of blueberry supplements. Later Usui finds Misaki half conscious at the rooftop. She gets this weird idea of wanting him to hit her so that she’ll hit him back and feel refreshed. Huh? Of course he would never hit her. She realizes that she hasn’t thanked him properly for what he has done at the festivals. She nods off as Usui notes he doesn’t want to be hated by her and will come to her rescue no matter how many times it takes. Kanou is pretty confident his plans are turning out the way he expected it.

Episode 15
However Kanou gets surprised when Misaki isn’t asleep yet. She stands up and claims that she got infuriated after hearing more and more of Usui’s pervertness. She understands why he hates girls now and tells him to get ready for punishment. Misaki organizes an open house cafe since there will be girls from other schools paying a visit. All the girls will be helping out and for physically demanding tasks, they will have Kanou do it. Much to his dismay because he is surrounded by girls. Kanou tries several times to escape but he can’t escape the watchful eye of the demon (you know who)! Misaki observes Kanou and concludes that though he is avoiding girls, he doesn’t treat them like enemies. Plus, he isn’t allergic to them either. On the day of the school tour, Misaki leads the group of girls but with Usui around, they’re more distracted to him than anything else. Misaki gets an idea and has Usui help out with the demoralized sports club. In no time, all the sports club tussle for Usui’s attention to bring in some recruitment. Yeah, he excels in all of them. Meanwhile Kanou’s phobia in women is starting to creep him out even though they’re being totally nice to him. Kanou isn’t amused when the girls put on a bunny butler outfit on him. He pours his complaints to Misaki. Flashback reveals that his dad told him girls are fragile and easily broken. That’s what happened to his mom when she left home. Although he knows that this is not true, the trauma and fear that he might break them easily still prevents him from approaching girls. But as Misaki points out, he should’ve realized that within the past few days he has been working with them, they aren’t as fragile as he thought. With one of the girls having issues with fear of men, this is Kanou’s chance to stop running away from his problem and help her out. He casts his hypnotism spell on her. In the end, she gives off a laughter but feels she isn’t afraid anymore. Misaki commends Kanou for doing well and as promised, she forgives all that he has done to her. And with Kanou’s part done, now she has to deal with Usui, who wants his reward for the day’s workout. Since a simple thank you won’t do, she pats him on his head. Is that enough? Well, he wants to ‘attack’ her. Of course not! Lastly, Kanou gains respect for Yukimura because he was dressed as a girl all day long and nobody found out he was a guy. Well actually he couldn’t find his uniform and change out of this. From now on, I noticed that Yukimura and Kanou will be always together like an inseparable pair. Though, don’t expect any yaoi BL stuff between them.

Episode 16
Maid Latte takes a trip to the beach. Too bad for those Baka Trio. Their happiness turned into despair when they learn Maid Latte will be temporarily closed for the summer. Satsuki’s younger but tanned sister, Nagisa runs a beach house there. Aoi is here since he got ‘disowned’ again. He is being made to work so he has no choice but to do so, so that he can return home (and cross-dress too). And what the heck is Usui doing here? Well, Satsuki requested his presence and he’d do anything if it involves Misaki. As the girls have fun, they realize that Nagisa’s beach house lacks customers since it is the furthest away. In order to boost publicity, the Maid Latte girls go into action. Serving maids in swimsuits? A definite sure kill. With the crowd coming in, Misaki goes to help. Usui did something sneaky by kissing her back! With this, she won’t have the courage to go out with a kiss mark on her back! Thus she has to wear a t-shirt over her bikini. That night as they celebrate over BBQ, they think of going to the hotspring nearby since Satsuki has free tickets. Wicked Honoka starts spouting haunted stories of the place, causing Misaki to start shivering though she did put up a lousy act to hide it. But she is more afraid of the kiss mark on her back being seen so she passes this one. After everyone has left, Usui finds her sulking and blaming him. Then she realizes Satsuki and gang have forgotten to take the free tickets and takes it upon herself to deliver it to them alone even if she’s afraid of ghosts. While walking through the dark path, she suddenly sees a ghostly like and is scared out of her wits. Turns out to be Usui with a lamp. He locked up the shop and decided to go with her. Noticing that she is breathing heavily and recuperating from the shock, Usui hugs her. It seems to calm her though she continues to call him an idiot. Then more surprise for Misaki when Aoi spots them hugging while he’s walking back from the convenience store. He is irritated that they won’t admit that they’re dating and that she likes him, in which Misaki vehemently denies that they’re even a couple. When Misaki finally delivers the tickets to Satsuki, she learns that these are extra free tickets. Oh, all for nothing. Nothing but shock treatment along the way.

Episode 17
Nagisa still doesn’t like the way Aoi cross-dresses but will allow him to do so if he wins today’s beach volleyball contest. He wants to pair with Nagisa since she was the champion but due to the age limit, he has to find someone else. Seeing how serious Aoi is, Misaki decides to be his partner. But Usui gets worried when the winner will also get to be a beach princess for tonight’s festival. That means lots of people will be taking memorial photos. Yeah, I’m sure he doesn’t want anybody else to do even keep photos of his personal maid. He doesn’t want her to go but she is adamant that she’ll participate. Misaki is surprised that Usui is also participating and is pairing with Erika. Misaki-Aoi hammers their opponent into oblivion. No chance at all! As expected, they progress to the final round against Usui-Erika. Usui is proving to be a hard nut to crack and making Misaki and Aoi running around. Misaki notices this and thinks back at all the times Usui helped her out but unwittingly yells out why he has to be the enemy this time round. Then Misaki trips when she tries to return a serve and her back threatens to hit against the pole. I don’t know how but Usui was faster than The Flash as he uses his body to cushion Misaki’s fall, letting his own body hit hard against the pole. Bruised? Definitely. Misaki feels guilty for obtaining victory this way and in a way follows Usui around instead of joining the congratulatory festival. Usui continues to tease her but lets her know he doesn’t want to see Misaki in costumes that will make other guys happy since it is likely they have weird ideas of their own. That’s the reason why he tried hard to win. Misaki thinks Aoi’s predicament is more important but to Usui, she is more important. We could have the first kissing scene but the fireworks distracted them. They return to the rest and see Aoi happy because she was made the queen of the festival. Everyone takes a commemorative photo. As for the Baka Trio, they are waiting outside closed Maid Latte, lamenting their ill fate for Misaki to return.

Episode 18
Misaki remembers her debt to Usui for the festivals. Yeah, he still wants her to be his personal maid a day. While Misaki is working at Maid Latte, Maki suddenly shows up with intentions to buy this shop. His family runs a chain of famous high class restaurants and after their study, they figure this is the best spot for their target audience. They plan to open an English theme butler cafe. That means they will have to tear down this place. Misaki thinks this is some sort of revenge since Igarashi shows his face but he’s here to support him. Plus, if they have any doubts of the quality of butlers, they are invited to the footman audition next week. Maki wants Satsuki to consider and if she’s unhappy with the compensation amount, he’s happy to renegotiate. As they leave, Misaki confronts Igarashi outside about his ploy. Usui pulls her back before he toys with her. Igarashi asserts that he’s just watching over Maki opening his first shop and is serious. Misaki is also serious that everyone at Maid Latte works hard. Igarashi mocks her if she’s going to be a professional maid once she graduates. He suggests she fights Maki for ownership and a good chance to see how she treats her customers. However there is a catch. No girls allowed at the audition. Will Misaki let this slip by? Of course not. She cross-dresses as a guy along with Subaru (because she’s flat chest. Sorry). The audition is crowded with footmen-wannabes. To cut down the number of participants, since this is a two-member team competition, the first task is to carry one’s partner while running a marathon. The first 50 will pass. Satsuki is grateful that they’re going this far for her but Misaki says that they’re not going to lose even before it starts. Misaki-Subaru of course passes but they also meet the Baka Trio and Kanou-Yukimura who are also participating. Want to take a good guess who that guy in a cat mask is? The next round pits the teams with lots of hard work like moving tableware, pot cleaning and glass polishing. But the next part Misaki dreads because they have 1 minute to change into tailcoats. Subaru couldn’t change in time and lets loose a girly scream. Everyone gets suspicious to hear a girl’s voice. They suspect it’s those cat mask people. Turns out to be Usui and Aoi. However Aoi is disqualified since he is not a high school student. Then attention turns to Subaru and she too is disqualified after she admits she is a girl. The partners will also be automatically disqualified but Igarashi is one of the judges feel that it would be waste to let such talented people slip by and suggests Usui and Misaki form a pair but must meet the requirement. Usui admits his age and gender. Misaki is stutters at first but admits that she is a guy and convinces them by putting Usui’s palm on her chest! Since he comments how flat it is, everyone is convinced.

Episode 19
Thus the second half of the audition continues. They are to set a glamorous table suitable for an afternoon tea and are free to use any tableware and food. Surprisingly Usui is more knowledgeable in setting what kind of food and its position. During the break, Yukimura goes over to Usui and is surprised to see him but Usui feigns he is a different person. Yukimura believes it! Misaki is in a dilemma which toilet to enter: Male or female. Passing Igarashi just gives off a snicker. With the audition resuming, each team are given a number which corresponds to their turn to serve the judge posing as a customer. They are to show their loyalty and elegance in the strictest manner. Well, Misaki-Usui got the one right at the end so there’s enough time. Unfortunately Misaki got surprised with Yukimura’s sudden appearance and in fear that her cover will be blown, she trips off the ring. Again Usui comes to her rescue by using his body as soft landing. Though his hand is injured, he is okay to carry on. It occurred to me that since they have time, why didn’t Usui get it treated at least a bit instead of waiting for everyone else to finish their turn. Of course it worsens lah! Misaki feels guilty and tries not to add to his burden during their turn. With Maki as the customer, Misaki does every physical task in Usui’s place, arousing Maki’s suspicion. Usui remains calm and will do anything his master wishes so Maki wants him to play the violin. Maki wants to enjoy this longer so Misaki’s mind again starts to go into that conflict. Usui seems pale but he soldiers on. She stops Usui and tells Maki about his injury. Maki chides her wilful act for making him stop what he is doing even if he has to will to do so. But Misaki earnestly tells him when there are others who are supporting you, you may want to support them back. She has come this far because of their support and the reason why they’re able to satisfy their customers is because of this atmosphere they have. That’s why she loves that ship and excuses herself. Misaki needs to contact an ambulance to take Usui to hospital (now his hand has swollen a lot). Misaki thanks Satsuki so the latter asks what would she do if the location and appearance of Maid Latte changes. She replies she’ll go anywhere and to her aid if she needs her help. Satsuki thanks her and is fortunate to have such good employees. Igarashi finds Maki spacing out. He thinks about his uncompromising policy and the strict English society rules he was brought up to follow and thought customers would be satisfied with that. He lost his direction after listening to Misaki. Igarashi says that there are other top grade locations and will gladly give part of his land for his shop. Which means Maid Latte stays so he can learn from it too. Satsuki must be over the moon since Maki has withdrawn his proposal to buy over. Meanwhile Misaki pays Usui a visit at his apartment. She makes porridge for him and though it sucks, he still eats it because it was made by her. Yeah, and feed him too since he can’t use his hand. Misaki mentions that she’s quite reliant on him even though she wants to repay his debts, all she can do are these useless stuffs. Usui hugs her and comments she’s sly. He also says he’s reliant on her because to him, she is wonderful. Lastly, Yukimura is devastated that he got disqualified but oddly Kanou passed. Although they were a pair…

Episode 20
Yukimura’s little sister, Ruri dreams of being a princess. But Yukimura doesn’t seem like the person who would fit her criteria. He doesn’t look like a prince. At least she doesn’t have onii-chan complex. Sorry, my bad. So what is her ideal vision of a prince? Usui! Yeah, just like any other girl who sets her eyes on him, they fall in love with him and want to marry him. Ruri is no different. Thus Yukimura wants to regain that princely image she once had of him by asking Misaki and Usui’s help (she only looked up to her brother at that one time since he’s friends with the ‘prince’). Usui meets Ruri on their date while Misaki, Aoi, Yukimura and Kanou spy from behind. He seems pretty boring but still has his charm. Like when Ruri tripped, he didn’t do anything but she is all happy when he helps her up to the clinic. Can’t blame Usui for not being interested in doing this. Yeah, he’s not a lolicon. So much so the other girls think how great he is for this little girl to have a cool brother. Not some pedo guy if it’s somebody else. Misaki gets this conclusion that Usui may turn into a pervert and steal Yukimura’s position as her brother so she has this plan to make Usui the bad guy while Yukimura comes in as a hero to save her. Aoi even has a camera and some extra actors (Baka Trio – but they flop as fast as they arrive) as well. Due to the previous ‘trauma’, they start hiding when Sakura, Shizuko and Satsuki pass by. Misaki acts as a heartbroken princess being tossed away by Usui and enters this love triangle. He plays along but Ruri knows it’s her dumb brother behind it and hates him. Then she runs into a restaurant and causes some kind of havoc. I don’t know how but she made the cabinet fall. If not for Usui holding it and Yukimura covering her, she could’ve been a flat loli. But Ruri still thinks it’s their fault for ruining her day. Yukimura puts his foot down for being selfish. Both siblings then made up and she apologizes. Ruri goes home with Yukimura and notices that Usui’s princess isn’t her but you-know-who. Yukimura also notices that Ruri has shown a little maturity on her side. Later, Aoi dressed as a girl is shooting a promotional video of herself. Since Yukimura and Kanou do not recognize him, he has them help out. Yeah, the Baka Trio are also in. They go on filming but Aoi feels something is still lacking. Flower petals? Yeah, he has the Baka Trio collect them. Like counting sand, eh? He has Yukimura and Kanou get some stuffed toy animals. Aoi comes back in a maid outfit but she scorns them for comparing her with a certain type of maid. As they continue with their antics, Aoi takes out the chip from the camera when an unruly guy bumps into her, causes her to drop it to the bushes below. Aoi leaps to catch it but was grabbed in time by Misaki. Seems she was chasing that snatch thief. Everyone offers to help find the chip but he wants to be left alone. He thinks they hate him because he said mean things to them. But they don’t mind it especially the Baka Trio since they always insult each other (that’s how they talk). They don’t find her words insulting and like people who speak their mind. Then they start calling each other idiots and end up fighting. Truth hurts, eh? Misaki beats them up and could understand why Aoi finds them irritating. But Aoi laughs. As for her chip, it fell into Usui’s hands. Yeah, he’s sleeping on the bench below. Though Aoi has better perception on them, but would they want to be her servants? Maybe the Baka Trio would…

Episode 21
A glutton, Hinata Shintani transfers to Seika. As usual, Misaki turns into devil reprimanding the sports club guys leaving behind their awful stench in the building. They will have to participate in a mass cleaning tomorrow whether they like it or not. Because of Yukimura’s feminine touch (I guess he’s good with this now) of suggesting to prepare onigiri for them, they couldn’t refuse. But now they have a problem to make large servings of onigiris. Leave it to Misaki to think up of something. Later Kanou approaches Misaki and wonders if she’s dating Usui. Denial mode on! This leads to him thinking if she’s not his girlfriend, why did she visit him and make him porridge? She shrugs it off as debt repayment and nothing more. Later Kanou sees Usui. Yeah, another love letter in his shoe locker so he wants Kanou to go on his behalf! No way! Kanou asks that if he finds all this confession troublesome, shouldn’t he get into a relationship? Perhaps a certain demon president? Usui says he is tired of it and it’s troublesome when you get serious about it. Next day, Misaki and the student council body make onigiris. Only Misaki sucks. Is that an iron ball? Anyway all the tired guys stampede for the share of their grub. Till Misaki becomes her demon self, everyone flees for their lives. At the end of the day, Misaki is the only one eating her own onigiri as she nods off. Oh wait, make that another person: Usui. He pecks her on her head. Kanou is further puzzled by their actions and wonders why they have to lie and not take a step further. Next day as Misaki ponders about the mysterious disappearance of her onigiri, speaking of somebody falling out of the sky, turns out to be Shintani trying to bite bread crust! Not wanting to waste precious food? But this desperate? Oh, this guy is transferred into Misaki’s class and he gets off with a weird start. He can smell any kind of food no matter how hidden and wants to eat it! With those puppy dog eyes, I guess the teacher can’t even help but let him do so. Till Misaki steps in. Then he cries like a baby. She even confiscates his precious bag of bread crusts! Then Sakura and Shizuko report to Misaki that Shintani is in trouble. Well actually, more like having fun. Seems the guys are fascinated with his accurate food description and each time he guesses correctly, they give him the snack. Let’s say his record is 100% and he has amassed lots of them, happily munching them away. During that we learn his parents passed away and lived with his grandpa who works on a farm. With his appetite, grandpa jokes his entire plantation won’t be enough this way but he took it seriously and thus the reason why he decided to move back to the place he once lived. Plus, he is here to look for the girl he first fell in love with (wanna bet who that is?). How does he know which girl? Heck, he knew he made this promise line to her: “I’ll follow Misaki-chan forever”. That narrows it down a lot. Fate, huh? Then Misaki starts to remember. Yup, he is that fat kid (how the heck did he slim down after chowing down so much food?! It’s a mystery!) she used to play with. She used to call him You-kun because she misread his kanji name. While Sakura is ecstatic with her past date, Usui doesn’t seem happy with this new rival. Then while Shintani overviews the scenery from a tree, he slips. Misaki calls out to his old name but Shintani as agile as a cat lands on his feet. He could be representing Japan at the world gymnastics championship. He asks her name and once he realizes it is her, he hugs her! Seriously?! Yeah, seriously.

Episode 22
The Baka Trio and other guys are looking forward to their outdoor trip. Yeah, paradise they say. However it turns out to be one boring temple-cleaning-soul-searching trip. As Misaki pointed out, this tradition was probably handed down by disappointed souls who have gone through this utter boredom as revenge. So it’s work, work and more work and no play. But for the girls, they’re interested in Misaki’s love and thus her motivation on this trip is to talk about love topics with her. Shintani seems to be to only one who can stand up to Usui where other guys fear him. Because of his airheadness, that’s why. Misaki finds Shintani searching the warehouse without permission. For what? For food. Yeah, with the stingy temple not generous with the food amount he gets (at least to him), he needs to eat his fill. Then as expected, they got locked in. Shintani’s in a dilemma on what to do because you know when a young boy and girl locks themselves inside, who knows what can happen. There are a few close-call scenes but nothing suggestive like how he wants her to look at him as a man. And as expected, Usui can find Misaki anywhere, any time. He ‘kidnaps’ her and hearing what has happened, he’ll look at Shintani as a man (read sarcasm). After 3 days, Misaki thinks the guys won’t have enough energy to fool around (even the Baka Trio have reached ‘Nirvana’) but her pals caution that the girls will meet a dreaded fate on the fourth day. But it seems Shintani and Usui still have enough energy to ‘fight’ among themselves. Misaki takes them outside to reflect upon their actions so this is when Usui starts calling Shintani, Sanshita (underling). Shintani asks if he’s dating Misaki but he mentions if it was so, he wouldn’t be doing such troublesome things. On the fourth day, it is raining heavy as the girls realize the curse. Seems the guys are so unsatisfied, they have become somewhat like zombies, losing their senses and are going to unleash their pent up desires on the girls. Yeah, they’re going to assault them! Any girl is fine! The girls are placed in a separate area but the heavy rains prevent the teachers from setting up barricades. Misaki fears the worse so she goes out alone to ask the teachers for the next best step while promising the girls she will return. On her way, she meets the guys. Shintani tagged along because he thought it would be fun playing cards with the girls. But do these guys look like they’re going to be just satisfied with playing cards? The guys begin their attack on Misaki so she fights them. However it’s going to be tough because all they need is just one guy to pass through her and to the chick’s den. But with Usui siding on Misaki’s side, the guys cower and run away. Don’t want to mess with him. You can’t beat Misaki-Usui combo. Oh, count Shintani in too. Misaki returns to the girls, much to their relief. Later she meets up with Usui. He corners her and asks if Shintani is special to her. She says that they’re just childhood friends so it’s normal she is on better terms than other guys. Plus, she’s always concerned about him since he’s an idiot getting into all sorts of mess. But she notes Usui is even more troublesome. Probably he took it as a compliment and was going to peck her forehead when his stomach growls. Need so much energy to keep up with that Shintani guy, eh? But the guys are disheartened because Shintani has eaten all their portion! Now they’re going crazy once more! Yeah, they’re hallucinating a sexy meat! Oh, Yukimura. Run!

Episode 23
Erika is down because she accidentally made a promise to a customer that she will date him if he wins Maid Latte’s upcoming Sweets Feast. Misaki assures that she will help her out. Yeah, she cross-dresses as a guy and enters the contest. The Baka Trio are there too but wait, Shintani too? Apparently he heard there’s a food contest. Oh boy. Where’s Usui? He’s in the kitchen making all the sweets. Eventually Erika’s customer bows out and it’s down to Misaki and Shintani. She thinks of letting him win till she learns that one of the prizes include a commemorative photo of your favourite maid. Shintani saw the list of maids and chose Misaki since she bears the similar name to his first love, not knowing that they’re both the same person. Misaki is already damn full but she needs to protect her identity. In the end, Shintani wins. Misaki leaves in a hurry and rests on the park bench. Usui lends his lap for her to lie down and at the same time teases her with his usual stuff. Then in school, Sakura and Shizuko invite her for some sweets buffet. Definitely will pass this one. Misaki learns that Shintani still doesn’t realize that she works in Maid Latte. But to overcome this problem, Satsuki suggests that she accompanies Shintani to Maid Latte, after a while she leaves and returns in her maid outfit but with a disguise so that he can’t recognize her and take the photo. Oh, Usui’s tagging along too in case of anything funny happens. They start talking about the good ol’ days like how he views Misaki as a good girl because always find her cute when she smiles. I’m sure Usui isn’t happy hearing all this. Besides, their conversation is getting too friendly. He taps her feet so she accidentally changes the topic into part time jobs (Shintani is currently working part time as a gas attendant). Shintani wonders what hers is (she claims it’s in the food industry) and thinks Usui may have seen her in it since he is keeping his silence. Misaki panics since Usui may spill the beans and lie. Feeling uneasy, she gets up and leaves. Usui realizes she can’t lie to him that easy. Shintani tells about his past how he was lonely after his parents died but Misaki was always there to encourage and cheer him up. Asserting that she’s the girl that he loves as a kid, Usui takes this as a challenge to him. Misaki just finishes changing into her maid outfit and is calming herself down. She declines Satsuki’s horrible face mask and notices Shintani easily comforting a baby while her mom’s away. Then she goes out and meets him. Shintani gets super surprised to see her and starts hounding her with questions but Usui steps in. He’s dressed as a butler and warns him not to make a move on this shop’s maid and gives him a big lollipop! Then he brings her away and outside. While they’re chatting, Shintani also comes by. He gets excited seeing her wearing the cute dress when Usui pulls Misaki away and warns him if he ever touches her again, he’ll bite him. Yeah, notice Usui’s fierce Doberman against Shintani’s gentle Akita breed? Like he stands a chance…

Episode 24
Thankfully for Misaki, Shintani doesn’t plan to tell anyone her secret job. Sakura pesters Misaki if there’s any progress in her love life. It’s always fun to watch other people, right? Even Satsuki is interested if Usui is jealous now that Shintani knows about her work here. Maid Latte will be having a special anime cosplay event as witches. Since Misaki is unfamiliar with the anime, she has to watch all 40 volumes of Little Maid Witches. Okay, maybe just the important ones. Late one night as Usui gets off from his shift, he is trying to find the cherry tree he once climbed and fell off when he was young. Well, he didn’t find the tree but rolling persimmons. Yeah, it’s Minako and her habit of losing her fruits on the streets. Just like deja vu, she brings him back to her home for helping out. Oh, now another guy knows where she lives. Suzuna instantly clicks with Shintani bringing back all the fond memories they did as a kid. Trolli Cheese Hamburger formation? Suzuna asks if he likes her sister. Shintani instantly blushes and stammers. Once they learn what he was searching for, Misaki also remembers the tree and after he fell off it and got hospitalized, that’s when he promised to forever follow her. Maid Latte is in full swing as the witches. Aoi was probably the one looking forward to it but was denied by Satsuki. Usui comes in as a customer but they notice him different than usual since he’s not with his usual sarcastic remarks. Probably Shintani got to him? Speaking of which, he too becomes a frequent customer at Maid Latte. The Baka Trio take another magic challenge to get their elusive photo of Misaki but once again flop. As for Shintani, initially he wants a spell to beat his rival. But since these kind of things you have to do it with your own strength, he wishes for a spell to find what he is looking for. At the back, Aoi and Satsuki argue about friends and relate this topic of Usui to Misaki. Aoi wants to know what he means to her now. She couldn’t answer. This pretty much occupies her mind for the night. She takes out the trash and sees Usui waiting for her. Apparently he overheard their conversation and wants to know her answer. She throws a punch but he grabs it. He notes that when she is unable to lie, she expresses herself violently. Thus he will use his actions to express his feelings. He pulls her close and hugs her. She tries to break free but he holds her tighter and chants a magic spell for her not to lie. Misaki is ‘weakened’ and confused how could he cast a spell when he’s not even a witch. It’s not that kind of spell. Meanwhile Shintani has found the tree and is happy it has grown really tall.

Episode 25
Shintani wakes up from a dream when Misaki bid adieu when he left for his grandpa’s farm. While the other boys still see Misaki as a merciless demon, to Shintani, she is the gentle girl he has always known her to be. More flashback about his past when he was growing up. Oddly, he is popular with lots of girls but only a certain girl preoccupies his mind. He keeps dear to his heart a notebook that Misaki gave when they parted. Misaki is not amused that Sakura is inviting her to Yumenishi’s school’s cultural festival. Considering what happened the last time, Sakura notes that Kuuga has changed but Misaki isn’t that convinced. Oh yeah, Usui wants to tag along too. At Maid Latte, Erika does some fortune telling act on the Baka Trio’s future on Misaki. Since she can’t see anything, it means there’s no future! Bleak! Totally hopeless. Then it’s Shintani’s turn. She reads his future with Misaki as a paper balloon. While others laugh it off as being deflated, Shintani remains positive as it can be inflated again. Erika adds that his optimistic nature may change the course of events at the end. This interests Usui to take his fortune reading. Erika panics at the outcome so Usui tells her to come honest. Their future? No future at all! I’m not sure if she’s pulling a fast one or for real because her acting is good and is definitely into her role. But she notes that if they insist on being together, they have to confront big trials together. Well, Usui seems gloomy after that. Is he also acting or for real? Misaki tells him is not the kind of person who would believe such crap and even so, would he allow her to go so easily? Then she just realized the impact of what she just said. Shintani watches from afar and for the first time, he has that very concerned look on his face. Starting to realize everything, buddy? Next day in school, Shintani helps Misaki clean the corridors left dirtied by the sports club guys. He gets clumsy and accidentally wets their clothes. Usui is concern not about her getting a cold, but her walking around and letting others see her visible undergarments. Well, she didn’t mind since it’s not really showing. But he won’t allow it and lends his shirt to cover over her. Or else he’ll strip naked. Don’t let that perverted alien do that. Shintani could only watch in pain as they go away together. Usui gives of a “Woof!”. Shintani shortly does the same but with tears in his eyes. He remembers how he was talking with his middle school friends about this Misaki girl. They think she already has a boyfriend and panics at the thought. One of them wonders if he is serious in finding her when he gets to high school and cautions he’ll get more disappointed if he gets his hopes too high. So as Shintani ponders over it, he’ll only think about it when Misaki finds him a bother. Hasn’t she all along? Misaki, Usui, Sakura and Shizuko attend Yumenishi’s school cultural festival. The band makes their appearance, enough to make the girls go crazy and shoving, knocking Sakura off her feet. But Kuuga ‘saves’ her and hopes that the girls will have to be good if they want to follow them. But of course. The crowd separates Misaki and Usui from the duo. Misaki hears comments that Kuuga has changed like he doesn’t flirt with fans anymore. But she is still worried for Sakura so Usui thinks it’s no use thinking too much about it and might as well go have some fun.

Episode 26
The school festival continues. Usui is so hot that girls even tried to pick him up. Have they ever heard never talk to strangers? Unless hot studs don’t count. Basically what we get are a few scenes that have Usui and Misaki spending some ‘quality’ time together. Then they participate in a love trial to see how strong their bond is (because Usui wanted to see how compatible they are) as they need to clear several tasks at each station and failing one means they totally fail. Those who pass will receive an invitation to join the after-festival celebrations. But there’s another catch, they both have to keep holding each other’s hands throughout the game’s duration. The challenges include eating a large bowl of ramen, ping pong match and balloon quiz. Each time Misaki has to put her pride on the line and hide her embarrassment so as not to lose out to Usui or at least show her weak side. Needless to say, they made it. Meanwhile Shizuko is pissed that Sakura had dragged her to wait for Yumenishi’s debut on stage. Yeah, in 2 hours’ time. Which means 2 hours of lecture for Sakura! And when they do arrive, they don’t disappoint. Especially Sakura and the other girls are just mesmerized over them. At the end of the concert, Sakura is utterly shocked that she will be touring the festival with Yumenishi members so much so she is rendered speechless so Shizuko has to explain on her behalf to Misaki. Then Misaki bumps into Kuuga. Though she still has her reservations on him, Kuuga isn’t interested in a mean woman like her anymore. But Misaki can clearly see from his body reaction that he has indeed changed and now likes Sakura for real. But he gets defensive and tells her to go play with her boyfriend instead. Yeah, that self-proclaimed stalker. No, make that weird and perverted alien stalker. He wonders if she is making him suppressing himself but she is left wondering what his words meant. Then Usui comes by and was going to leave the grounds but Misaki still wants to stay back for the celebrations. He is surprised because she’s asking him to accompany her. Truly unexpected. Usui and Misaki are dressed as Romeo and Juliet (part of the prize when they win the love trial). Then in a classroom alone together, she asks if he is suppressing himself when it comes to her. He closes up on her, she starts stammering, not even knowing why she asked all those silly questions. Misaki’s face is clearly red when she takes his hand and says that she’s suppressing herself. Showing her true tsundere side by blaming him for always making her angry and fooling around, she would never have realized it if it’s not for that love trial game: She had always wanted to hold his hand! Woah! In addition, her heart skips when he’s near her, she feels lonely when he’s not around. Why is it she can’t maintain her composure in front of him. Yeah girl, that’s a long way of putting it that you’re in love. Usui responds by saying she’s too cruel and wondering how far she would go to make him suppress himself to be satisfied. He’s always around her because he is interested to see her reactions. And for what he is suppressing himself for, he just can’t put it in words. Yeah, best describe it in action. The moment we have all been waiting for. Finally! They kissed! Though he says he loves her, she says she hates him instead. I guess when a girl says she hates you, means she likes you, right?

Episode 27
There’s a special episode that came out with the DVD as some call it episode 27 but it only lasts half the time compared to the episodes in the TV series. Seems Misaki had accidentally ripped her maid outfit so Satsuki allows her to bring it back home to fix it. Suzuna helps to sew it but she puts in on right after! Ever wanted to feel what’s like to be a maid, eh? After Shizuko delivers some food on to Suzuna that she won from some prize (she did deliveries to cover for her ill brother), then it’s Minako’s turn to put the maid outfit on. Surprisingly how come it fits them? She too starts acting like one. This is followed by Sakura doing another radish deliver for Suzuna (coincidentally her big sis fell ill so she too had to cover for her). Misaki can’t stand anymore of her family members wearing her suit and wants it back. This means, she has to wear it. Now she has to act like one. Minako has her to take a stone outside the garden. But Murphy’s Law strikes. She hopes no one will spot her in the outfit and what do you know? Usui and Shintani are right at her doorstep! Of all the guys, it has to be them both together. Well, better than any others. How did they end up together? Usui had to help out Shintani when his pumpkins are rolling all over the street. And it had to be on the street Misaki lives on. So Usui thinks she even dresses like this at home and that her house has become Maid Latte too. So the guys are invited in as they talk about Usui’s stray kitten he picked up. Seems he hasn’t given it a name since. I mean, he never tried calling it! So everyone comes up with weird names for the cat. How come they are simply giving it names from things within their sight? Toothpick? Fridge? No class! Usui asks for Misaki’s opinion so she suggests Licht, which is a tea leaves brand. He agrees since it has a nice ring to it. Plus, it was given by Misaki. Why would he refuse that? Misaki gets embarrassed when Suzuna points out that she’s still wearing the maid dress when she could’ve changed so Usui teases her that he wants to be served tea by maid Misaki. When Usui goes home, he feeds his newly named cat. However he notes it is just like Misaki because it gets hostile towards him when he tries to pet it, then went into hiding before slowly coming back into his warm lap.

Lala Special
There’s another short DVD episode lasting 12 minutes called Lala Special. Divided into 3 parts, the first part has some of the characters of the show introduce themselves and their role in the series like Misaki and Satsuki. Even the Baka Trio have their screen time but as usual they screw up. The best one has to be Usui because… Specialty: Observing Misaki; Favourite food: Misaki; Favourite word: Misaki. Oh yeah, gotta love him. The second part uses that scene at the end of episode 2 whereby Misaki meets Usui to thank him for helping out at the cultural festival. This time, we have the characters voicing over the scene in their delusional fantasy versions. Like Satsuki’s personal maid love and rewarding affair, Usui’s S&M love confession and the Baka Trio not only had their own version as a group, but as individuals! One is a love triangle, the other an otaku fetish and another about erotism and panties. WTF?! Of course we have Misaki’s version, which is a totally different scene in which she managed to persuade Usui to turn over a new leaf and build a new Seika together. But in the end, will Usui be okay if he’s not a perverted alien? Well, Misaki would allow a little but then again, define ‘a little’. The last part shows a montage of clips from the TV series with some voiceovers over the characters. What they’re trying to say in the end is just an ad to promote their monthly Lala magazine issue and the series’ DVD release. Yeah, go get them.

You Just Maid My Day…
So… That was quite a mild ending, I’d say. As expected, Misaki and Usui end up together. Even if the former still refuses to admit that she likes the latter but that’s the thing about being a tsundere. Misaki sure played that role to perfection. But more of tsun than dere ;). By introducing Shintani late into the series, I thought this guy was going to be a major factor in affecting the ‘harmony’ between Misaki and Usui. The way it is played out, I don’t think it even came close. He felt just like a comic relief in between them rather than a real threat that will turn into some complicated love triangle. Even if he was late in realizing his feelings for Misaki, that even pose a serious threat because of his airhead tendency. His role was somewhat ‘wrapped up’ in the penultimate episode because the final episode wanted to focus more on Usui and Misaki so that viewers would be reminded that it should rightfully be these 2.

After meeting Usui, Misaki’s life has definitely taken a drastic turn. With him around, she is constantly being reminded that she isn’t always the one in charge. Without him, she may have turned into a man-hater. You could say that Usui is God sent. He is quite a cool character despite his laidback personality. He is the only person who could throw Misaki off her feet and pace. She’ll never know what he’s thinking or do next. Listen to all the lines he has to say and throw to her. They are quite interesting and till a point where she is rendered speechless. However Usui’s past remains a mystery throughout the series because I was hoping that there would be some light shed on his mysterious background. For instance there are snippets in the ending credits animation showing a young Usui and probably a lady who could be his mom that left him. None of these are given any prominence in the episodes. Usui’s extensive knowledge in cooking and even the high class lifestyle was never really explained. I did a little research and found out that he’s supposed to be an illegitimate child of a Japanese father and English mother and was adopted by his mom’s cousin. Due to the personal tutoring he gets, that is why he excels very well academically. However after being bored of isolation, that’s when he decided to enrol into a normal public high school in Japan. Though he likes Misaki deep down in his heart, probably the reason why he never took the next step in their relationship was because he enjoyed seeing her cute flustering reactions. And if they’re a couple, you couldn’t do anymore of these, right? Speaking of which, based on my reading up, I read that in later chapters of the manga, they did end up becoming a couple and started dating. So for all those girls who fell in love with him at first sight and have the guts to confess, look elsewhere.

Shintani may be an airhead but he is the only guy that poses a real threat to Usui. I know I did mention that he doesn’t seem threatening to break them up, but because of his airhead personality, he does not really fear Usui. His honest and goody-two-shoes character is somewhat like a thorn and a third wheel that comes between Usui’s personal space with Misaki. The Baka Trio are so idiotic that you can expect their role as losers and comic relief. How can a bunch of delinquents become tame otakus? Yeah, the power of maids. Don’t underestimate them. The other characters are lovable and quirky in their own ways but they don’t leave much of an impact. Kanou appeared as an antagonist hating girls due to his misguided perception but later becomes someone docile. He doesn’t fear girls as much as he does before but it’ll be a long way to go before he gets to interact with them naturally. Yukimura naturally looks good as a girl, he should consider doing part time otaku job of cross-dressing and nobody can tell the difference. Speaking of cross-dressing, Aoi doesn’t do so as frequent as he always did. What happened to his plans to woo Usui? Maybe after finding out he only has eyes for Misaki, he gave up? Yeah, he really gets irritated seeing them still not admitting to liking each other. Satsuki loves voicing out her fantasies especially when it’s about Usui and Misaki. So much so she can’t control her ‘flowers’ rampaging out of control. She’s already 30 years old and still acting like that. Ah well, there’s a child in all of us. Emotionless Suzuna is an amusing character because of her knack (or perhaps very lucky) to win many prizes and bargains from contests and promotional events. It feels like some kind of trade off because if they had money, they would have bought it instead of winning. Keep this up and they can earn a fabulous vacation without Misaki breaking too much sweat like how some people work and save up their entire lives just for that dream vacation. I was expecting Igarashi to do something major because he is still quite interested in Misaki though not in romantic terms. But after that Maki’s-footman-hiring arc, it seems the Miyabigaoka guys have been forgotten. But Igarashi isn’t totally a baddie as there are times he shows compassion though it’s to his own fellows. Even if Yumenishi’s Kuuga seems like a jerk at the start, he eventually changed to somebody better. Not sure if he and Sakura will turn out to be a couple.

Though the main drawing and art of the series caters to bishonen and bishoujo, meaning you can expect almost every guy and girl to be pretty, handsome and attractive. That means even the delinquents here are good looking themselves. However the same cannot be said about the background because at times upon closer inspection, they seem like water colour paintings. But I guess you won’t really notice them if you focus on the great looking characters. But during comical times, they don’t stay the pretty people they are. Sometimes they turn into their chibi mode or just a very simple outline of their bodies. Remember how police draw a white outline over dead bodies at crime scenes? Erm… Something like that but fill the inside with white colour. The Baka Trio, living up to their nickname perhaps are the ones undergoing the most ‘transformation’ when they get moe and such. Yeah, at one point they even turned into a jelly! Of course the various moods of Misaki from being mad to her aggressive devil and yeah, tsundere. For a girl like her, she sure displays lots of mood swings. Thanks to a certain alien pervert. The series also likes to fill the screen with kanji words for sound effects and other narration. I’m not saying that they will be totally annoying like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei in the sense that every scene will have different words that you need to pause and read them all, but it’s enough to make it feel like as though you’re watching a manga. Get what I mean?

Ayumi Fujimura fits her role as Misaki and displaying her various moods. I guess playing tough girls role like Raimei in Nabari No Ou and Mafuyu in Seikon No Qwaser makes her suitable for this character. Nobuhiko Okamoto voicing a laidback Usui feels like a departure from some of the roles that he played like angsty Kashino in Yumeiro Patissiere, nice guy Leicester in Shukufuku No Campanella and the samurai kid Yoichi in Asu No Yoichi. Aki Toyosaki as Satsuki (Yui in K-ON!) and Kana Hanazawa as Sakura (Sora in Mahou Tsukai Ni Taisetsu No Koto: Sora No Natsu) are recognizable since they pull off their trademark lively and genki voices. Though Yu Kobayashi did Shizuko (Ayame in Gintama), I feel with her crazy powerful voice, it doesn’t suit the character. Well, but that’s just my perception. Other casts include Atsushi Abe as Shintani (Touma in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Hiromi Igarashi as Aoi, Kazuyoshi Shibashi as Yukimura, Kousuke Toriumi as Kanou (Gennosuke in Basilisk) and Kaori Ishihara as Suzuna (Reki in Hidan No Aria). When I first heard the opening lines of the opening theme, My Secret by Saaya Mizuno, I heard “Douka, please can you keep my cigarette”. It’s secret. SECRET! How the heck could I misheard that? Otherwise it’s an anime pop song for this kind of genre. However I find both the ending themes somewhat unsuitable because they are rock pieces. Both sung by Heidi (the lead vocal is male, by the way), the first ending theme is Yokan while the second one is Mugen Loop. Partly I think it’s because Usui is the main focus here. It’s like the ending credits animation is dedicated to him. See how hot he is with his shirt off in one scene? Isn’t he manly? Now, don’t go falling for him. He’s already got Misaki, remember?

With quite a number of guys knowing Misaki’s identity, at this rate maybe the entire school will find out about her secret job, eh? But even if they find out about it, I’m sure that they’ll accept Misaki for who she is. After all she has always been a considerate and helpful girl. They may be surprised that she would be doing this kind of job but I’m sure they’ll understand after listening to her predicament. Then perhaps she’ll realize that there is nothing wrong being a maid. What is more important is that she brings smiles to others that she serves. But then again, the image of certain people may not sit well the public. Imagine if the Prime Minister of Japan loves manga… Oh wait, there was one, right? Then again, you can always argue that the contents of the heart matters. But these are a different tale altogether. Of all the types of maids, I guess the best one has got to be Japanese anime maids because you get to do anything to them… XD. I wonder if I can get a personal maid to wish me “Itterasshai, goshuujin-sama”.

Marmalade Boy

October 23, 2011

This has got to be the second oldest anime that I have seen finished every since my anime craze started nearly a decade ago. Yes, it seems at that point I decided to ‘vary’ my anime portfolio and decide to watch something retro instead of always watching new and current animes. And thus, the 1994 production of Marmalade Boy was chosen. If you are the kind of person who likes watching love polygon dramas, then this old anime should suit your taste. For the record, Ranma 1/2 is the first oldest anime that I have watched finished though it was a very, very long time ago. Speaking of which, in terms of love polygon, Marmalade Boy and Ranma 1/2 are very quite similar to each other. The main difference is that Marmalade Boy has no martial arts and fighting sequence like the latter. Yeah, so at the most you’ll ever get to see is a dramatic slap across the face.

Being a very old anime, it is hard to find lots of detailed information around the web. I have stumbled across a handful of fansites dedicated solely to the series on Google but it is either they are already outdated (no possibility of anymore updates) or the site is just no more. I’m sure at that time the internet is just at its infant stage to the public around the world so therefore you’ll have a hard time if you want to find additional information and other stuff due to the lack of it all. Having said that, you must have guessed that means my blog will be very minimal like a ‘skeleton’. Yeah, after spending nearly a year watching a total of 76 episodes of this shoujo romance genre, my memories are somewhat fuzzy for those early episodes. Bummer. Heck, even if it did last a dozen episodes I will still have memory problems. Hence this blog is just what I can remember so far. Barely.

The main premise begins something like this. Miki Koishikawa is your normal average girl living a normal life. All that comes to a crashing halt when her parents decide to divorce. That’s not the weird part as she’ll soon find out. She meets a fine cool and handsome guy her age, Yuu Matsura and you have got to be a crazy girl or homo if you don’t start falling for this guy or at least have some sort of high school girl fantasies. Now here comes to odd part. Yuu’s parents are also getting divorced and will subsequently marry Miki’s parents. In short, they are swapping spouses! The idea of this even happening makes you want to go “what the hell?!”. Furthermore, it’s not like the original spouses hated each other. It’s just that they never found the spark of love that they see in the other spouse, thus the reason for swapping. Miki is vehemently against the swapping because they will be like strangers living in the same house (according to Japanese laws, a divorced spouse may not marry until 6 months later. It’s like a cooling off period). To add to the mayhem, everyone will be living in a big house together and the adults are so happy-go-lucky that you wonder if they’re being responsible or just airheads. What will her friends and schoolmates think? Yeah, it’s going to be tough keeping it a secret. What’s more, a handsome guy like Yuu living with her, I’m sure the critical public has something to say about it. Perhaps in those times, people aren’t so open minded. It gets even more complicated when Miki starts having feelings for him and is so in a dilemma. Yeah, it all started when Yuu nonchalantly kissed her while she was sleeping in the school infirmary. Oh dear, oh my. Why is this happening to me? Not only living in the same house, but the same class at Toryo High School as well. Boy, this secret is going to be sure hard to keep.

If you are wondering how the name of this anime came about, no, it’s not that Yuu sells peanut butter, jam and marmalade jars. It is in an early episode that Miki pointed out, he looks sweet, handsome and cool on the outside but yet has that ‘bitter’ taste. That’s why she nicknamed him by the marmalade fruit instead of those sweet strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Which is true, because you don’t really know what Yuu is thinking. With his deadpan face, on one hand sometimes he acts like he doesn’t care due to his nature of being less open about his feelings as compared to Miki. And when the girl really needs a shoulder to cry on, he’s gladly there to provide it. So how can 2 contrasting characters end up together? Well like they say, opposite attracts. We’re in for a roller coaster ride.

I can divide the entire series into 3 main arcs/seasons. Though in each arc and season it is more or less the same recipe. As mentioned being a love polygon series, there will be lots of other characters with crushes that will come into the fray. It’s not that confusing if you draw a picture diagram of who loves who. Okay, if you’re not familiar with love polygons, your diagram is going to get real messy. Well, love isn’t that easy and straightforward as they say. The first arc is mainly about Miki and Yuu trying to find their feelings for each other with the other characters who like them as their main obstacles. The second arc has Miki and Yuu as a couple but they face challenges in new characters that have feelings for them. Lastly the third arc which I feel is most likely a filler arc (because I can’t find any info on this nor could I see it in the brief synopsis of the manga chapters’ summary) in which our main couple faces the crucial long distance relationship test. And yeah, more characters to come in between them. So will their love be strong enough to stand the test of time and rivalries? I’m sure you’ll know the answer because it’s quite predictable thanks to certain obvious spoilers in the series.

So here is the brief summary of the characters in the first round of love polygon besides Miki and Yuu:-
• Ginta Suou: Miki’s best guy friend. What the heck does that mean? It means he too has a secret crush on Miki after all these years since junior high school. Ironically Miki had a crush on her then and wrote it in a note but saw him and his buddies making fun of it. Actually fact he had to due to peer pressure. No amount of repentance is going to pull him out of this one. Not even shaving his head. What?! That’s it? I guess it must be a big thing back then if one is to shave his head. So yeah, Miki’s feelings for him passed but he kept his feelings inside of him. Till Yuu came along. So poor Miki is always having this eternal dilemma to choose which guy. Can’t have both cake and eat it, Miki?
• Arimi Suzuki: Yuu’s former classmate in his previous school. Yup, she likes him and they once dated for 3 months as a ‘trial period’ but didn’t work out. Woah. Dating as a trial period? It’s like testing the goods before accepting it, eh? Even though they remained friends (at least in Yuu’s eyes), but she is one persistent lady as she doesn’t give up easily on Yuu. Miki, better keep an eye out on her. You’ll never know if Yuu will one day fall completely into her charms. Then again, maybe not considering the kind of guy he is.
• Meiko Akizuki: Miki’s best friend who hails from a wealthy family. Though she is pretty and the most mature of the lot, she comes from an unhappy family because her parents are always quarrelling among themselves over their own unfaithfulness. It can be traumatic for a girl like her. Probably that’s why other than hanging with her friends, she ‘escapes’ into another world via writing. Yes, she’s a writer-wannabe. Meiko is having a secret relationship with her homeroom teacher, Namura. And you know what they say about teacher-student relationship that involves the kind of love that applies to lovers.
• Satoshi Miwa: Another good looking guy and a third year senior of Toryo High. Also the student council president, he only seems to have eyes for Meiko though he is sought by many other girls. His constant pestering really annoys Meiko. Though he is cool and suave in his words, those aren’t enough to win Meiko’s heart. That doesn’t mean he is going to give up on her and so the annoyance continues… Meiko, you have got to be one patient girl, each time telling off that playboy not to follow but he’s just too stubborn.
Tsutomu Rokutanda: Ginta’s loudmouth cousin who has a big open crush on Arimi. Among the guys, he is definitely a loser. Because he is so annoying when he tries to tell off Ginta or Yuu about laying their hands off his gal. Of course Arimi doesn’t have the slightest interest in this jerk and each time she chides him, he goes from one angry dude into one who is reduced to tears over her rejection. When will it get to his head that she is not interested? Maybe that’s why he is so thick-headed and each time he challenges Ginta and/or Yuu to a duel over something (usually over Arimi or to impress her), he always loses. Spell that with a capital ‘L’.
• Shinichi Namura: Yuu, Miki, Ginta and Meiko’s homeroom teacher whom everyone in their class affectionately calls Na-chan. He is in a secret relationship with Meiko and doesn’t mind waiting for her to graduate before making their relationship legal. He is a nice guy but sometimes too nice that it hurts.
• Ryouko Momoi: The other teaching staff at Toryo High. She and Namura were close friends. Yeah, you could say she has a crush on him even though she was dating another guy, Kijima, who turns out to be best friends of the duo. That feeling developed further when Kijima moved to America but unfortunately Namura didn’t reciprocate her love like he did for Meiko. Maybe he’s too dense to notice it.

There are some of the important events that happened (read: that I remember):-
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother: The reason why Yuu and Satoshi are always close to each other (not because they are homo, mind you. But sometimes Miki can’t help think they are) is because Yuu always believed that his real dad is Satoshi’s father, who is no other than Yoshimitsu Satoshi, a great architect. That is the reason why Yuu took an interest in architecture. However when Yuu gets a chance to meet Yoshimitsu in person and reveal that he is his son, Yoshimitsu firmly denies fathering him though he suspects that his mom may have had an affair with a long-time boyfriend.
I saw Arimi kissing Yuu at school: I guess Arimi was desperate enough to win back Yuu’s heart that she ran all the way to his school and kissed him right in front of everyone. Thankfully Miki wasn’t there to witness this shocking event. But you know how fast news travels.
Pretend Love: In order to get their desired pairing (because you can’t wait for kingdom come or something to happen. So what better way than to make it happen yourself), Arimi and Ginta forge a temporary alliance by pretending to be a couple. Yuu particularly isn’t moved but their target is of course the more emotional Miki. Doing so might just cause Miki to be jealous and lead to a breakup. However this plan isn’t foolproof since it comes with other annoyance. Read: Rokutanda. That guy is sure annoying wherever he goes. It’s like Arimi only belongs to him and only him. And they’re not even a couple. The fake alliance didn’t work out after all and most likely they may even have developed feelings for each other.
Scandalous: When Namura and Meiko’s relationship is found out, that guy has no choice but to force a breakup with her even if she is willing to go with him all the way. Namura’s intention is to protect Meiko so he resigns as a teacher and returns to his hometown of Hiroshima to take over his family business. Poor Meiko has to go through a lot of emotional pain and even at one point trying to elope together with him. But sadly, he left her in tears because he thinks this will be the best for her. Yeah, love hurts. With Namura out of the picture, Ryouko takes over his class.

The first arc ends when Yuu and Miki confess their feelings and become a couple with the former finally opening up his heart and mind to her. To top it up, this time they share a ‘legitimate’ and intimate sunset kiss at the riverside. How lovely. Of course now the tough part is to keep the flame alive and a secret from their parents. Seems like a tough job? Well, don’t worry. Their parents are so happy in their own world, they won’t even smell a thing even if it’s right under their noses. I’m not saying that they don’t care about their children, but it’s like they are the kids themselves at times. Most of the times. As we know, love is never an easy ride as there are a few more characters that will come into play:-

• Kei Tsuchiya: A school dropout and piano prodigy (because he is sick of playing piano day in and day out). Makes his appearance as Miki’s co-worker when she first started working at an ice cream parlour called Bobson’s so that she could save up for a trip with Yuu. He takes a liking for her and even goes far enough to take Miki’s school medallion and made up a lie that Yuu had dumped her, causing enough tension between the couple. Though Miki has chided Kei for his immaturity, he tries to win her heart back via extraordinary piano skills at some club. He even wrote a song for her! Is music enough to steal her heart away?
• Suzu Sakuma: The petite and pretty school girl who also works as a model. Fell in love with Yuu at first sight (even if it was just a picture) when Yuu’s mom brought him to audition for a modelling shoot. Oh yeah, she is Satoshi’s younger cousin. It’s a small world after all. In order to get closer to Yuu (because she thinks Miki is too ‘plain’ to be a girlfriend for a hot guy like Yuu. Perasan betul), she has Satoshi to arrange Yuu to become her English teacher, though we know it’s not his lessons that she’s really interested in. To further drive a wedge between Yuu and Miki, she also wishes to conspire with Kei so that it will work out both their ways but Kei isn’t a team player.
Anju Kitahara: Yuu’s soft-spoken childhood friend. She was born with a weak heart and spends most of her time in hospital, a time when she also met Yuu and gradually fell in love with him. However when she realizes that he already has Miki, she tries to accept being second fiddle. She even ‘borrowed’ Yuu on a date for one day just to let out her true feelings and say goodbye. Bad luck strikes when her heart condition worsens and is hanging on for dear life. Yuu is in a dilemma to be by her side or Miki’s but he chose the former. Though she recovered (albeit she remains a weak person), Anju was kind enough to let him go be with Miki. And all this happened right on Christmas. The best Christmas gift ever?

And some of the important highlights in this part that happened (which I remembered so far):-
A couple for real?: It seems the pretend love of Ginta and Arimi has turned those feelings into genuine ones as they start seeing each other. I mean, it’s useless to pursue Miki and Yuu so might as well give up on them and start a new chapter in love, right? Only trouble is that irritating Rokutanda popping just about anywhere, interrupting their date. But after all that pestering and challenging which Rokutanda still always loses, he eventually gives up Arimi and hands it over to Ginta for real. At least he’s not dumb and knows when to give up a losing battle. However all isn’t lost because Rokutanda will eventually go steady with a girl he met at a shrine during New Year’s Day, Yayoi Takase. Though their relationship isn’t given as much screen time as the rest.
Onstage kiss: During Toryo High’s cultural festival, Yuu was draft in to replace the lead singer in Satoshi’s band. The performance was great but even shocker was the fact that Suzu came up on stage and kissed Yuu right in front of everybody!
The first quarrel: Things between Yuu and Miki hit all-point low when Yuu misunderstood seeing Kei’s hug on Miki (his fears even confirmed when Suzu even told him he saw Kei hugging Miki in the streets when the real case is that the latter collapsed due to exhaustion). The strain in their relationship has Yuu going on the much planned trip alone. But quarrelling couples like them always make up in the end, right?
The piano man: Kei moves in for the final kill to steal Miki’s heart with his performance. However Miki isn’t swayed by his immaturity and slaps some sense into him. In the end, Kei admits defeat but promises to be back and win her heart. The meeting with Miki and its aftermath prove fruitful because Kei has quit his part time job at Bobson’s and has returned to continue his piano studies.
The ski trip: As another desperate attempt to break up Yuu and Miki after the failed Halloween party conspiracy, while the gang are holidaying at a ski resort, Suzu puts Miki’s life in danger by telling her to go to some place dangerous. It was at this point when Suzu realizes that Yuu will never be hers when he goes all out to look for Miki in the snow. From then on, Suzu regrets and repents her action as she gives up on Yuu.
Satoshi-Meiko? For real?: While nursing a broken heart, Satoshi steps in to support Meiko emotionally and even helps her publish her writing work which has her win some great awards. Though Meiko remained relatively stubborn at first, as time passes by, it seems that Satoshi’s work has paid off as she starts to lean more on him and let go Namura. And when she kissed him outside her house, it’s a sign that shouts “Hell yeah! Victory is mine!”.
My boyfriend’s back: After a long absence, Namura makes a return. This threatens to ruin Satoshi-Meiko relationship. And it turned out so when Meiko spotted him and wants to get back with him. Very badly. However Namura continues to maintain his cold distance by even lying to her that he is going out with Ryouko. Well, it must be Ryouko’s dream finally come true but why isn’t she happy? The fact that Meiko is going to hate her for the rest of her life, Ryouko isn’t going to have any goodnight’s sleep.
Take a trip down south to Hiroshima: In order to settle things with Namura, Meiko takes a trip to Hiroshima with Miki tagging along. Also coming along on this trip but on a different boat are Satoshi and Ryouko. Meiko is still adamant that she loves him and wants to be with him 24/7. Namura is still adamant that it’s over between them, pushing her away each time she comes closer, each time thinking it’s for the sake of her future. So after with lots of emotional drama and all, we have a fist fight between Namura and Satoshi (okay, maybe Satoshi was the one who is punching and Namura taking all the blows like a punching bag). Perhaps Satoshi was so angry and engrossed in hitting Namura, he didn’t see Meiko coming and accidentally punched her face!!! OUCH! That has got to hurt. With Ryouko clearing up the misunderstanding on her stand and feelings in the end Namura and Meiko are reunited as lovers once more as they embrace under the night sky at the beach. They agree to marry each other but that is only when Meiko turns the legal age of 17 (whereby she doesn’t need her parents’ approval) and graduated from school. So now the tough part is to convince her parents who see him no up. And for Satoshi and Ryouko, I guess it’s end of the road for them. And with the new school term, Satoshi’s graduation means you won’t see this guy around any longer (till the final few episodes, that is).

With Anju, Kei and Suzu temporarily out of the love picture for the time being and the love relationship between Meiko and Namura solved, the final arc is the American arc whereby Yuu decides to take this opportunity as recommended by Suzu’s dad to study abroad in New York in a prestigious school as a step forward in his dream to become an architect. Their relationship is put to test due to the distance and you know, the world of the internet is still pretty much at dial-up. Too young to even know what that is? Yeah, you can’t go on webcam at your convenience. As usual, the new foreign characters that will come into play:-

Michael Grant: Before Yuu’s transfer, the energetic and lively Michael is the exchange student who will be living with them. He speaks good Japanese due to his interest in the otaku world (but he is not a typical otaku like we know today). Plus, Miki and Yuu’s parents take a liking for him. I guess handsome foreigners at that time are what many girls are after, it is no exception that Michael gets chased everywhere by the Toryo girls. His only confide is Miki and this means that he has a crush on her. Other than that, he replaces Yuu as Suzu’s teacher but this isn’t anything important.
Brian Grant: Michael’s older brother who is studying in the same college as Yuu. He has a crush on college mate Jinny but she doesn’t reciprocate his love. More of the brawns over brains type, he gets real jealous each time Jinny gets real close to Yuu.
Jinny Golding: Literally she fell in love with Yuu at first sight and tries every attempt to seduce him in her goal to make him her boyfriend. However Yuu remains loyal to Miki, much to Jinny’s dismay (yeah, he even warns her about talking bad about Miki or else he’ll hate her for good). But be careful of this kind of attractive but impulsive and scheming woman…
• William “Bill” Matheson: Supposedly gay. Well, that is what everyone around him believes. You can say this soft-spoken guy is Yuu’s roommate-cum-best friend in the Big Apple, giving him his utmost support at times when needed. His nice personality makes everyone else gets along with him.
Doris O’Connor: Felt more like the voice of reasoning for Jinny. Felt like a side character who is always tagging along with the rest of the gang. Felt like a backup support for the rest of gang. Erm, how does she fit in again in this love polygon?

Now here are the important occurrences I remember so far:
Telephone, Long Distance Love Affair: Yuu gives Miki a dialler so that she could call him when she wants to talk to him. Due to the different time zone, they often miss each other.
Forced Kiss: When Michael misheard over the phone from his brother that Yuu is going out with another girl (Jinny), Michael gets upset and wants Miki to forget about that jerk and be his girlfriend instead. I guess he got so desperate that he had to go force a kiss on her. Bad move, buddy.
New York, New York: In a surprise trip to see Yuu and ascertain those rumours, Miki along with Meiko takes a trip to New York. I don’t know, can they book air tickets and fly off so fast? Yeah, now it’s Meiko’s turn to return the favour to her best friend.
Americans speak… Japanese?!: Yeah, this is an odd situation. We know Miki’s English isn’t that good but yet for the sake of convenience, every American that she spoke to spoke Japanese. It’s not that Miki hasn’t said real English words though with her ‘Engrish’ accent. Yeah, even the whole college Yuu attended spoke in Japanese. First I wanted to say that the dialogues are directly ‘dubbed’ for viewers’ convenience but I always bear in mind that the Japanese counterpart’s English aren’t so good…
Misunderstood: Miki arrives at Yuu’s dorm but the first person she sees coming out from his room is Jinny (Yuu and the guys are away to study so they won’t get distracted by girls like the last time…). Jinny lies and says she’s in bed with Yuu and their relationship has gone beyond than just kissing and holding hands. (Jinny’s reason for being in Yuu’s room was to search for notes for her due assignment). Now, if a naive girl who comes all the way from Japan hears this, do you think she’d believe it? Well in Miki’s case, she did. Poor heart of hers. After all the roller coaster ride in her love life, she thought she had seen it all and been through the worse. Poor Miki so inconsolable. Not even Meiko can do anything. When Yuu finds out about it, they actually rush back! And Miki is leaving on a flight back to Japan. Good news is that Yuu finally managed to see her. Bad news is that she wants to break up. SAY WHAT?! WTF?! She knows that even if the misunderstanding is cleared up, she couldn’t handle the toll of the long distance relationship. And if that is what she wants, Yuu has to respect it. As for Jinny, after getting a good reprimanding from Doris and a slap from Bill, she repents her actions and went to apologize to Yuu. Nice guy Yuu forgives and doesn’t blame her.
Anju’s back: What a coincidence that she’s in town. This means with Yuu popping up and learning about his break up, she once again enters into a dilemma that she might fall in love with him. She must be doing a good job trying to hold back those feelings.
How can you mend a broken heart?: Miki is definitely devastated back in Japan. All their friends are shocked to learn that the once inseparable pair is now separated. Miki currently takes up a part time job in K’s, a novelty decoration store. Kei is also back and he is more mature now. With Yuu’s absence, Kei and Michael duke it out over Miki’s attention and love though she remains indecisive. It could’ve been a threesome if Ginta was in the fray but he moved on… Michael was too pushy and aggressive in his attempts to steal Miki’s heart though his intentions were good and pure because he wants her to smile again and take away the pain by moving on. However cool and mature Kei tells Miki to stay as herself and if she wants to cry, by all means cry and let it all out. Do things at her pace. This resulted in Miki choosing Kei over Michael. So devastated Michael starts sulking but he can’t hold a grudge or else Miki will really hate him. Those magic words are enough. And yes, Miki starts dating Kei and with his piano skills, Miki starts to feel more relaxed.
Old flame reignited?: However Ginta still couldn’t accept Miki’s break up with Yuu. I mean, you lost out to that guy over her and now that she’s dating someone else, don’t you feel like you’ve been slapped in the face? Yeah, he can’t accept Kei as her new boyfriend. Ginta is so obsessed about this that he neglected his date with Arimi. It is only when Arimi threatened to cut ties with him for good, he felt that there are more important things than to poke his nose into some other couple’s business. So good news and a happy ending with Ginta and Arimi back together again (of course with the help of Miki, Rokutanda and Yayoi. That guy did something useful for once).
American’s love solved: Initially Bill and Anju agreed to see each other but it was so minimal that it didn’t feel like they’re a couple anyhow. Then it is revealed that Bill all the while had feelings for Jinny but was too afraid to say it. So the rumour of him being gay and becoming Brian’s friend was just to get close to her. And when Bill finally truly confesses his love for Jinny, the duo started dating. Brian is left sulking that he is once again at the losing end but I guess he didn’t lose out after all because Doris indicates that she always had eyes for him. And thus, the duo became a couple.
Proclamation of love: Kei was in America for a brief moment for one of his piano recital. He meets Yuu and first the first salvo that he will make Miki his. Yuu doesn’t object because if this is what Miki wants, so be it.
Ryouko-Akira?: Just a side love story which I think doesn’t have much impact on the overall story, Ryouko and a worker of K’s, Akira start dating each other. Do you need more elaboration?
Together again: Yuu returns home for the holidays (because Satoshi pestered him to come home). He joins everyone in a camping trip. There’s this odd silence and awkward atmosphere between Miki and Yuu. That night when Kei (somehow seemingly more desperate than usually) wants Miki to kiss him in order to take their relationship to new heights. However he saw tears streaming down her eyes. This could only mean 1 thing. That’s right. No matter how bad she’s had it, Yuu is all that she can think about. Kei realizes he is dumped but accepts it like a man. And yes, Miki and Yuu return to become the pair that everybody loves them to be.
We could be related: Things are not going to end smoothly yet. It all started when Yuu found a bunch of photos of their parents together during their college days. Then he began to realize that he and Miki are blood related! Wait a minute, he jumped to that conclusion without ascertaining further? It is so unlike him. Though he only confided in Satoshi, he couldn’t tell Miki except the fact that they should break up! WHAT?! AGAIN?! But they’ve just gotten back together! It is already hard on Miki that she couldn’t hear the reason because Yuu refuses to say. Now she’s going through another emotional ride. He thinks it is better this way rather to have the family destroyed if this stuff is leaked out. Say what again? With that, Yuu returns to America quickly with an excuse that he needs to further improve his English. What did I say about Americans speaking Japanese?
Spotting a new look?: Yeah, Miki got herself a new refreshing short haircut as a sign to move on. Can she?
Back to America again: Miki makes another trip to see Yuu in America. Even if he has nothing to say to her, she has. That is her feelings for him. With that, is she prepared to face the truth? And when Yuu spilled the beans on being related, Miki enters into a shock. Yeah, and she thought nothing else could surprise her. Never see this coming, eh? Now it’s Miki’s turn to be the troublesome one. This news of being brother-sister is so much disturbing her, that she wandered into the dangerous Harlem streets and nearly got mugged! It takes a couple of street kids to save her. It also took the same pair of kids to make her realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re blood related as long as you love each other (the kids are siblings by the way). Wow. Somebody younger than her just taught her a lesson in life. So when Yuu and his American pals finally found her, they promise that they will forever be with each other. Hope this one will stay true. It will because we’re reaching the end…
Truth is stranger than fiction: Surprisingly, Yuu and Miki’s parents along with Satoshi and Meiko visit them in America. This time Yuu gathers the gang to tell about the news that has been bugging him since. He thinks that the marriage swapping thingy is to cover this fact as they return back to the original couples that they were. He even tells them that nothing, and NOTHING will separate him from Miki anymore. However their parents laugh it off like as though he was telling the funniest joke of their lives. They clear up the misunderstanding by saying that the earlier baby that they had wasn’t Yuu but one who died stillborn. See, it was that simple, right? They never told them because it would be easier and never thought he would find out. And this means that Yuu and Miki cane return to being a happy couple without the stigma of becoming lovers though related. And yeah, their parents knew about their date all along and just pretended not to notice. So they’re not that dumb after all…
Happily married ever after: Well, it isn’t Miki and Yuu’s. Yet. It is Namura and Meiko’s actually. Perhaps a scene to bring in all the characters of the series to celebrate their legal union. Hey, Suzu seems to indicate some feelings for Kei but that guy isn’t interested.
Montage of kisses: This is the final scene of the series as we see major kissing scenes from those who locked lips. Main and supporting characters. Hey, every guy who has a crush on Miki kissed her. Yuu, Ginta, Kei and Michael. Yeah, she got kisses from all the guys whether it’s by her own admission or forced. I could have said the same about Yuu too but Anju didn’t really land him one. And the last big never-seen-before kissing scene of Yuu and Miki in a wedding dress. All’s well, ends well.

I still prefer Strawberry Jam, though…
Wow. It seemed like a long ride. Yes, at some points I started to feel this love polygon thingy was getting draggy because it is more or less the same thing. Couple gets into pinch and see how couple gets out of pinch. Besides, the main issue here is love and the harem factor is non-existent. What harem?! After watching too many current animes or ones that are in this decade, some of the issues I feel are blown out of proportion and being made a very big deal out of it. For instance about Yuu and Miki’s parent swapping. Nowadays, unless you’re a celebrity, many wouldn’t even care about your private affairs. But the way they show it is like as though it is one big helluva problem. Especially the vice president of Toryo who seems to be against it. However due to the understanding principal, this issue became a non-issue. Then the case about the siblings becoming lovers. I know in many parts of the world, marrying your own sister is still forbidden. But the way I feel that it’s being portrayed here is that it’s although like the end of the world if they go through with it! There was an interesting find that I discovered on the internet recently when I finished watching this series. Initially the author wanted to end the stories with Yuu and Miki as really blood related. However I suppose the editor thought she would be crazy to do something like that since many fans were happy with Yuu x Miki pairing and that’s why the manga and the anime also ended up being them not blood related. You can’t disappoint your fans, right? Imagine all the complains that will be faxed in and the non-stop calls. Hey, Facebook and Twitter was unheard of then.

I know Miki is one amusing naive character but sometimes it annoys me that whenever something dramatic happens to threaten her relationship with Yuu, it’s like she actually believes it! Not just once but many times. It’s like telling us that she doesn’t have a strong faith in Yuu’s love for her. Perhaps it’s not my place to say about teenagers in love her age but after all that emotional ‘trauma’ that she’s been through, she should’ve been a stronger girl in the end especially when learning that Yuu may be her brother. Yuu is a cool guy all the way except for the part whereby he assumed he and Miki are related. Then he became real irritating trying to keep it a secret. We can see his pain. We are in pain too. To this point, it still bugs me why he thought so. I mean, look at it this way. Their parents can even be childhood friends for all we know. So when he saw that photo of them together, couldn’t he just have thought that hey, it may be just a get-together time? There was nothing in that photo that indicated something scandalous. Nothing, really. And besides, the swap also confuses me whose parent is whose. Assuming that the blood relation thingy still stands, does this mean Yuu and Miki are related by the same father and different mother or vice versa? Do you understand what I’m trying to say?

It’s a good thing that we see many of the main and side characters ending up with somebody. Even that loser Rokutanda has a girl to call his own. It may be too early to call anything for Kei and Suzu just yet. So looks like Satoshi and Anju are the ones that end up being singles, eh? Well at least Satoshi had his short fling with Meiko likewise Anju with her single day date with Yuu. It’s better than nothing. Maybe they can get together in the future? Once a love polygon has been solved, you are most likely never to hear anything major from that pair. It feels like they’ve been cast aside. No doubt, this series is all about Yuu and Miki. While many of the characters stay relatively the same throughout the series, there are some that have grown. Kei’s second return to the love triangle sees him more mature and not some childish kid who throws tantrums if he doesn’t get what he wants. Ryouko is able to throw away the love of her past and walk her own path. Satoshi knows when to give up and back out once the inevitable came to be. Of course the main one is Yuu and Miki whereby they learn to accept each other’s love. Like finally. Miki too doesn’t get that family swapping thing bother her anymore because at the end of the day, everyone still loves her and each other. That is what important and counts. Not what other people in society would think about your family, etc.

As mentioned earlier on about the love polygon spoilers, even those who don’t read the manga or have prior knowledge about the series would have known who ended up with each other. I mean, when you see the opening credits animation with Miki and Yuu kissing, that tells you a lot right? Another amusing thing is the head-shaking-dance-cum-posing of some of the characters during the scene. I don’t know it felt odd. Then when the opening animation changed during the American arc, this dance-pose thing was even funnier. And more dangerous. They (the guys) are doing it while driving the car!!! It’s amazing they didn’t fall off! Another big spoiler of the love polygon is the mid-intermission. For the first arc, we have 3 of the characters who are involved in the love polygon jumping over a toy robot. The winning pair will end up successfully jumping over it while the ‘loser’ trips. For the second arc, the 3 characters involved in the love polygon are in chibi form. It’s rather odd because their heads are bobbing left and right! With the ‘prized’ lover in the centre, those at the side wait anxiously or with patience to whom the robot will choose. The winning pair rejoices while the loser is vanquished. Finally for the third arc, it’s like a 3×3 square box. This time around, it doesn’t necessary end up with the actual pair. Unless it has Yuu-Miki or Bill-Jinny pairing (of course the loser will be disappointed as always), all 3 will have that bewildered look on their face (example, when it turns out Michael-Kei-Miki or Brian-Jinny-Yuu). Oddly I noticed that I have never seen a reaction from Doris in any of the combinations. That’s why I always felt that she was just ‘in’ to fill up the remaining boxes.

I couldn’t complain about the art, drawing and animation since it is from that era. However there are 2 major grumbles that I would like to voice out. Firstly, many of the characters look alike. If not for their different clothing, hairstyles and possible body size, I may not have been able to tell them apart. Plus, some characters look like other characters from other animes. For example, Arimi has that uncanny resemblance to Rei in Evangelion while Yuu and Miki look like the grownup version of Akito and Sana of Kodocha respectively. Yeah, animes of the period sure have that one kind look. On another note, this isn’t a complaint but I notice that the author’s art trademark has the characters having broad shoulders. So when they wear certain clothes, it is as though they look a little baggy on them. The second of my grumble is the backdrop and shading. This happens every time something dramatic happens like some revelation or the likes. What’s wrong with it? You see, whenever that moment happens, the backdrop and background scenery suddenly dramatic changes into something that is, how should I put it, out-of-this-world. Yeah, it’s like we’re entering the Twilight Zone! Forgive me if I sound like I know everything but that’s not the case. I feel that the producers want to put focus on the characters and to heighten the tension of that moment (thus taking away the distracting backdrops), but really, suddenly the ground turns black? Suddenly the sky is filled with dots? What the hell are those lines across the screen anyway? Why are we having a colourful background or mono colour one? What are those explosion of colours anyway? There are quite a number of ‘creative’ Twilight Zone backdrops here but if you really want to watch them all, just wait for this moment. You won’t be disappointed. The most ‘realistic’ one has got to be when Miki learns about being blood related to Yuu. The ground actually breaks like as though a 9.0 magnitude earthquake just swept through the land. Really! At this point I thought they were really pushing and overdoing it.

This is one of the few long running series that doesn’t change its opening theme. In fact, it only has one! Entitled Egao Ni Aitai by Rie Hamada, it is your typical dramatic anime pop befitting this kind of genre. There are three ending themes throughout the series. The first one is Suteki Na Serenade by Miho Fujiwara. Sounds like a slow pop with a little hint of Bossonova in it. Of all the themes, I like the very manly second ending theme, which is Kareha Iro No Crescendo by Yasuhiro Mizushima. The third ending piece is another calm and slow pop by Yoko Ichikawa entitled Yoake No Etude. Though there are a variety of insert songs and background music, I need to mention the one very ‘annoying’ insert song of the series: Moment. Each time something dramatic happens, you bet that they’re going to play this song! Nearly in every episode! Even if it took a slight break during the second arc, it was in a different format (instrumental version, that is) before making a full comeback in the final arc albeit not as frequent as it used to. Each time they play this song (usually when the episode is about to end), I would be going “Oh no! Not this song again!”. Then I’ll be singing along starting as always with “Kaze ni midarete~”, jump to the chorus of “Yume ja nai, yume ja nai no, aah, mou~”, and then “Wakaranai, wakaranai no, aah, mou”, followed by “Hanasanai, hanasanaide, ahh, mou” before finishing off with “Kokorogoto dakishime, te-i-te”. Can we stop playing that song already? Oh no! Here it comes again! Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad song but it’s just that it’s played too often. There are other insert songs too (the slow and very sad Saigo No Yakusoku wasn’t too bad either) but they aren’t that memorable probably it wasn’t as catchy as this one. Or rather it wasn’t played as often. Now, there is one thing that really surprised me about this Moment song. It is sung by Ali Project!!!!! I can’t believe it! Yes, after hearing their naughty gothic style songs in Kaibutsu Oujo, Linebarrels of Iron and even Rozen Maiden, it would never have crossed my mind that they are the same group that sang this song! Mind blowing! I could never ever recognize their voice. Not even until now! Was this how they were like in those early days before ending up with their trademark signature style? Absolutely unbelievable. Then another odd insert song that uses the opening theme (though it’s a slower version). The singer was going like “Churu churu churu~” or “Lalala lalala lalala~” throughout the entire song! What a nice way of replacing the lyrics, huh? As for the other background music, some of the orchestra pieces sound so dramatic that it makes you think you’re watching a Jaws movie. Of course there are slow and soothing pieces too.

There was a movie released during the middle of the series’ run. However I didn’t watch it. But I wouldn’t call it so far as a movie because as found out, it is less than 30 minutes! Anyway the movie is supposed to serve as the prequel to the TV anime series and plays as a flashback after Yuu’s kiss on Miki at the infirmary. It’s something about how Yuu fell in love at first sight with a girl and followed her around all day long like a stalker (oops sorry, made that up) till he realizes that she (Miki) is the daughter that his parents are swapping and marrying. Yeah, he too was against that idea but decide to play it cool. There is a live adaptation of the series but it is a production from Taiwan. Just like how they adapted Hana Yori Dango to Meteor Garden, eh? Then I found out that there was a game too but unlike many other dating simulation games whereby the player is fit into the shoes of the guy, this one has you in the shoes of Miki as you try to win the heart of either Yuu, Ginta or Kei.

It was a different and refreshing ride getting to see the kind of anime from this era. And now we have all kinds of drama romance and even animes that deal with incest. They’ve come a long way. Love nowadays isn’t as easy, simple and pure back in those days. Feelings of the heart aren’t the only factor to take into account. Has the trend of the world shifted in such a way that love too has become something very complex? Not that many would understand the true meaning of it anyway. Yeah, maybe sometimes love is like marmalade after all. Looks nice at first but after having a taste of it and if it doesn’t suit you, it does taste bitter. At least now I know what to expect when I am faced with a similar situation of different types of love. From past loves to new loves and loves of others. But when it comes to a harem, that’s a different love and story altogether…

Oku-sama Wa Mahou Shoujo

October 22, 2011

Remember Hollywood movies like True Lies and Mr & Mrs Smith? What do they have in common with this anime that I am about to blog? Their spouses have something to hide from each other! But unlike super-secret agent spies, Oku-sama Wa Mahou Shoujo resembles more closely to that longest running supernatural-themed sitcom in the USA, Bewitched. That’s right, in both cases the wife has supernatural powers in which she must hide from her husband and other Earthlings while trying to live a normal life as a suburban housewife without the tempting use of magic. Sounds easy? Not if you’re a b*tch. Oops, I mean a witch.

In place of Bewitch’s Samantha, we have Agnes Bell who is a 26 year old housewife taking care of a boarding inn under the name of Ureshiko Asaba. And her secret is that she’s not a witch. She’s a magical girl, albeit a clumsy and klutzy. Hey, an aunty magical girl! Oops. Just kidding. But have you seen a magical girl who isn’t young these days? And unlike in the American sitcom’s counterpart, Ureshiko and her husband are in an estranged relationship. Yikes. So where has the love gone too? That’s why when another younger guy comes into the picture, you could say she’s torn between her love and duty. What duty?

If you’re asking what the heck a magical girl is doing in this world in the first place, you see, all magical girls come from the land called the Realm. This particular sleepy countryside of Japan to the people of Realm is called Wonderland. Ureshiko is currently the Manager of this Wonderland and has been maintaining, preserving and protecting how things are since taking over from her late mom, Aphrodite and her successor, Freya. But after 3 generations of more or less the same thing, the Realm people want some change in this artificially created town. Thus Ureshiko is in a dilemma to relinquish her position since only young magical girls can hold the post as Manager and shape the town to their will based on their creativity. Now we know why all magical girls are soooooo young.

Episode 1
We see Ureshiko having problems using her magic doing household chores because she screws up with the vacuum cleaner. Maybe she’s really getting old. She’s being told by the inn’s hostess, Maiko Motohiro to clean up the inn to welcome a new tenant. He is Tatsumi Kagura, a young man and an ex-track and field who is being driven by her senpai Yuuko Ayase to his new lodging. Elsewhere, Cruje arrives in town and is supposed to be the new successor to Ureshiko. Under the alias of Sayaka Kurenai, she disguises a transfer student at a school. A bunch of bullies, Yuuki Katsura and his odd-face lackey, impose their authority on Sayaka but she weaves a little magic to drop their pants! Then she goes on a magic transforming spree by turning the entire school into something more attractive and even flying around, even zooming pass by ex-magical girls such as Yuki Tanishimi the school’s nurse. Ureshiko’s ring is able to detect any use of magic so she transforms herself and heads to school to confront Sayaka. She wants her to hand over the ring (a symbol of the position) but Ureshiko refuses. So ensues a high speed chase throughout the town. Sayaka almost got hit by the truck driven by Yuuko but Ureshiko’s magic saves them from being casualty statistics. Tatsumi spots Ureshiko before the latter disappears. Upon arriving at the inn, they are greeted by Maiko and Ureshiko but Tatsumi feels that Ureshiko resembles oddly close to that magical girl he saw earlier on. Of course Ureshiko pretends not to know anything. Must be his imagination, eh? As she helps him unpack his stuff, she trips and falls into a compromising position. She uses her magic to push him away. Maiko advises the young lad not to mess with a married woman. Later she takes Tatsumi on a little tour of the town and tells him why she loves this town very much. Back home, Ureshiko continues to help Tatsumi pack but being the klutz she is, she falls off as he catches her. Their face is close enough to kiss but she stops him and says that they can’t do that.

Episode 2
Ureshiko meets her other friends. They are also middle-aged ex-magical girls, the married Nori Misugi with a young daughter named Ayaka and the constantly boyfriendless Ururu Kinjou. They support Ureshiko in fighting against Cruje in order to protect this place. Ureshiko has a flashback when she spotted her husband kissing another woman. Sayaka continues to be picked on by Yuuki and his lackey but the other girl classmates come to her rescue, though she isn’t that appreciative. Meanwhile Tatsumi starts working in a publishing firm and under the wing of an editor, Shioya, he takes the new lad around town and possibly a first-hand view of what is expected of his job. One of them includes trying to get a writer to write for them. He is Tamotsu Asaba (the man in Ureshiko’s flashback and thus her husband) but they see him boldly kissing another woman outside his house.  Well, that woman, Kusakabe isn’t only his mistress but from a rival publishing company as well. I guess this is the only way to get rights to his new book. Shioya leaves Tatsumi to handle everything (thanks for being a nice trustworthy senior) and upon entering his messy place, he gets kicked out when he tries to clean up his place but ends up making more mess than before. Probably he was just nervous that’s why he ended up like a klutz. Sayaka is one annoyed girl because her girl classmates are so eager in following her everywhere and wanting to know more about her. Sayaka uses her magic to have them slide down a giant sand dune. WTF?! Luckily they are saved by Ureshiko’s magic. Tatsumi is down and out on his luck when he sees a giant sand dune right in front of him. I’m not sure what he is thinking but I guess he took it as a challenge to face his obstacles and aim for new heights. Yeah, he tried to do a high jump over the dune but after he leaps, the dune is gone and he lands flat on the ground. Sayaka spots him and goes over to introduce herself (looks like she has taken a liking for him). Then Ureshiko back in her housewife mode comes by and even invites Sayaka for dinner. It’s funny to see them talking nice to each other but behind Tatsumi’s back, they’re unleashing and throwing magic against each other! It’s a good thing Tatsumi didn’t notice them. I don’t think he should find out the bitter rivals these ladies are. Sayaka stays and helps Ureshiko cook. During dinner, Tatsumi suddenly gets this idea that the reason why Tamotsu is grumpy and moody was because he may not have a nice hot home cooked meal. He takes a pot and rushes over to his place. Seriously? With Tatsumi gone, Sayaka takes this chance to challenge Ureshiko to a duel over the ring but all Ureshiko is concerned is the stew getting cold. Tamotsu tastes the stew and recognizes this is from Ureshiko. I guess you can’t go wrong with his wife’s trademark cooking, eh?

Episode 3
Yuuki and Lackey make Sayaka do cleaning chores but she holds it in and does it. Another classmate who was also once a transfer student befriends her and helps her out but she maintains her distance. Sayaka has this feeling that there is a presence of another magical girl and she turns out to be Bulga (a magical girl who once fought Sayaka for the rights of this Manager position but lost). She is sent by the Realm’s Council to help retrieve the ring from Ureshiko but Sayaka insists she doesn’t need help. But Bulga starts destroying buildings to lure Ureshiko out. They both fight (wow, Bulga using those temple stone pillars like missiles!) as Bulga tells Ureshiko that she is too old to hold that ring. Ureshiko uses the ring powers to restore the damaged town and this drains her power. Bulga uses this chance to steal the ring but it repels her. Ureshiko mentions that this rings a very great power and that normal magical girls can’t handle it. Bulga flees in fear and defeat. Sayaka witnesses everything from afar. Meanwhile Tatsumi’s publishing company made a printing error so he along with Shioya and the editor, Kashiwada go round apologizing to their readers. From home to home. Man, that’s got to be tough. Along the way, Tatsumi even meets Ureshiko and her buddies. Ururu tries to flirt with him but obviously he has better taste than her. Oops. The publisher’s final task for the day is an appointment with Tamotsu so Kashiwada tells Tatsumi to go buy some sweets since Tamotsu has a sweet tooth. In his house, the ‘interview’ begins but Tatsumi being the rookie could only apologize and couldn’t answer his questions or lost for words. Yeah, if you’re getting fried by a seasoned writer even about the sweets you bought, might as well apologize like a man. It ends with Kashiwada quoting a line from his book so Tamotsu gives in. On the way back, Tatsumi learns about Kashiwada as a once ruthless hell editor who could think nothing of meeting deadlines during his heydays in the big city. But when he neglected his wife, he decided to take it cool and easy retreating to this countryside. Tatsumi comes back to see tired Ureshiko and vows to do his best.

Episode 4
Tatsumi continues to read more of Tamotsu’s books and is absorbed into his world. Ureshiko notices this and decides to pay her husband a visit. A strange silence fills the air, making their positions awkward. She tries to clean up his place but he tries to force kiss her. Of course she still can’t so Tamotsu tells her to get out. With Ureshiko down, Tatsumi decides to make her an energy drink and goes out to town to buy ingredients but meets Sayaka. They end up having ice cream as she gets excited when he promises her to take her to an amusement park. It starts raining as Tatsumi rushes back. He passes by Tamotsu’s house and sees him kissing Kusakabe. Once Tatsumi has finished making his energy drink, he finds Ureshiko is gone and goes out to find her. Speaking of which, Ureshiko is confronting Cruje for another unauthorized use of her magic. Seems Cruje couldn’t wait for Tatsumi to take her to the amusement park and has created one herself. She sends Ureshiko on a roller coaster ride (to prove if she’s young at heart?) but Ureshiko’s superior magic puts a stop to it. They get into an argument as Ureshiko is adamant of not wanting to hand over her ring because she fears Cruje will destroy and change all that she has been protecting. Cruje is upset that she has no confidence in her whatsoever and flees. The conversation takes a turn into one whereby Ureshiko remembers the night of the wedding whereby she couldn’t let Tamotsu kiss her. So sex was okay but a kiss wasn’t? Since she couldn’t tell him a reason, he left. The reason why she can’t kiss him is because if she does, she will lose her magical girl powers! I guess that’s why she’s been keeping quiet. Nobody would believe that kind of answer. Just like how mermaids will turn into bubbles if they tell anyone else about their real identity, eh? She has another flashback whereby when her mom was alive. She was talking about life and all. Of course as a kid, you’d take it real serious when your mom starts saying that she won’t be here one day. So like her mom said, by maintaining the town as it is, probably reminiscence of her will remain. In a way, Aphrodite will still be alive, right? Tatsumi finds Ureshiko sitting in the rain so he goes comfort a very depressed her. The romantic atmosphere is ruined when she remembers that she forgot to take in the laundry!

Episode 5
To see if Tatsumi is worthy of becoming an editor, Tamotsu hands him a research assignment of Shoin Yoshida (some scholar and revolutionist). Tatsumi starts his research via internet and when he returns with all the printouts, Tamotsu isn’t pleased and rejects it because he did what any normal school kid could do and wanted something that only he could do. In short, he failed to live up to his expectations. Meanwhile, Sayaka’s girl classmates bug her to pay her a house visit. They are amazed of her nice big room but when they question about her parents and being a grownup, Sayaka gets an idea. The next day as Tatsumi goes to work, Ureshiko notices he isn’t cheerful as usual and gives him a hint to pay a visit to a local school called Shoka Sonjuku (where Yoshida thought his students). Sayaka feigns sickness so that she could skip school and transform herself into an adult version to meet Tatsumi who is oblivious on who she is. At the school, Tatsumi begins to see the teachings of this Yoshida guy. Ureshiko out on patrol after sensing another magic from Sayaka, sees the adult version talking very friendly with Tatsumi. Probably she got a little jealous and flies off without interfering. Tatsumi returns to Tamotsu with what he has learned and this time the latter is much impressed with his work. Sayaka back to her normal form is happy that she is able to spend time with Tatsumi while the bespectacled guy notices Ureshiko not too happy so he says that she looks better if she puts a smile on, making her feel better.

Episode 6
Maiko injures her back so she decides to give Tatsumi her letter. No, it’s not her will, mind you. They are a pair of tickets to some mambo concert. It’s a shame that it’ll go to waste if Tatsumi and Ureshiko don’t go. Ureshiko becomes like her name suggests, a happy gal as she looks forward to her ‘date’ with Tatsumi. During pool classes, Yuuki and Lackey tries to show off so Sayaka mocks them of being small. They think she is referring to their private parts (when she actually meant their attitude) so they mock her flat chests. I guess this is what made her conscious about her boob size as even in her adult version, Yuuki and Lackey commented on her flat boobs, causing her to be upset. Yeah, even if she is all grownup some parts still remain the same. Adult Sayaka accompanies Tatsumi doing his interview of a famous local potter. As they leave, Sayaka pops the question to him. No, not getting married, but rather if he likes big breasts. Well, he doesn’t have to rush to answer since Sayaka collapses due to using too much of her magic. Oh, look at the time. He’s supposed to meet up with Ureshiko who is waiting patiently for him and so eager to this event. However being the nice guy he is, he can’t leave Sayaka’s side. He rather stood up on Ureshiko than leave this braided girl? I guess there are some things that are more important. Worried Ureshiko goes around looking for Tatsumi and sees what he is doing. So she decides to use a little of magic to help restore Sayaka’s health. Tatsumi gives his handphone number to call him in case she needs anything. Tatsumi rushes back to Ureshiko but finds she is not there. Oh wait. She is. Looks like the concert has already started. I guess to make up for it, Tatsumi starts doing the mambo in the street as Ureshiko joins him in the fun. Yeah everybody, get up on your feet and do the mambo too.

Episode 7
The episode opens with Ureshiko battling and coming out tops with another magical girl, Chane, sent by the Council to retrieve her ring. At the aftermath of the battle, Ureshiko remembers how she and Tamotsu were dating. She couldn’t allow him to kiss but he was okay with it. Then they got married traditional Japanese style because you don’t have to kiss like in those Western ones. And I guess just like another guy who is deprived of kiss, Tamotsu left her after the first night. Yeah, sex wasn’t enough or complete without the kiss. Sayaka calls Tatsumi and invites him to go out to the beach together. Why is Ureshiko looking so concerned and a busybody? However Sayaka’s pals invite her to the beach as well but she turns them down. Then she goes to consult Yuki on love affairs and gets a warning about kissing. She is confident she won’t fall into that kind of trap. Really? Ureshiko visits Tamotsu again and he tries to force kiss her but gets a slap across his face. She wants to end their relationship but he’s not going to have it her way and refuses her selfish request. As Tatsumi meets adult Sayaka at the beach, Ureshiko tails and spies on them from afar. They’re really having a great time together. She loses sight of them when 3 troublemaking guys want to ‘play’ with her. However they pick the wrong lady to mess because with just a twitch of the finger, she uses her magic to have them buried in the sand. Sayaka continues to have a nice time with Tatsumi but those naughty classmates of hers have the cheek to tease them and ruin their moment. When Tatsumi and Sayaka are alone at a secluded area, Sayaka remembers Yuki’s words about getting the right atmosphere. They prepare to kiss but thoughts of losing her powers causes her to freak out as she pushes him away and run away in tears. Meanwhile Chane comes back for revenge and this time with her twin sister, Hermes, their surprise attack got Ureshiko in their grasp (crushed in between a sandwich?). Sayaka notices the magical girls fighting and interrupts them. Chane and Hermes assure Sayaka that they’re on her side but Sayaka doesn’t want any kind of help and will take the ring herself. Sayaka scares them away but Ureshiko collapses into the sea after her powers are drained. Sayaka rushes back to Tatsumi for help. He manages to pull her on to shore but she’s not responding.

Episode 8
Thankfully Ureshiko is still alive and back in her room with Tatsumi by her side. Apparently Tatsumi didn’t do any CPR because Ureshiko still has her powers intact. Meanwhile Sayaka is being summoned by the Council over her delay in taking the ring and gets a good ticking off. She becomes depressed upon returning to Wonderland. She meets Yuki on the way and they chat about this world. Elsewhere Tatsumi goes to Tamotsu’s home but finds Kusakabe there. She takes him outside and tries to seduce him but he doesn’t fall for her charms. At the Obon Festival, Sayaka follows Yuki as she prays for her deceased lover. Then Yuki reveals and transforms herself to be a magical girl, Valentine Valentino. This catches Sayaka by surprise because this means Yuki hasn’t kissed her lover as believed to be. Valentine remembers she was in love with a biker dude. Of course she couldn’t allow him to kiss her and he was okay with that (I guess every guy is like that at first). Her joy turned into despair when he is killed in an accident on the very day she was successfully passed her school entrance exam. Ureshiko senses the use of magic and confronts the user and is shocked to see Valentine. Valentine wants Ureshiko to hand over the ring so that this old world will be erased along with her pain of the loss of her loved one. As the aerial battle rages on, Ureshiko tries to persuade Valentine that all those memories and times spent with her lover were real and not artificial. Valentine breaks down and lets Ureshiko go so this prompts Sayaka to note that Valentine has lost. Upset Sayaka wonders around the festival and we see that Yuuki kid really has turned from his bullying ways into someone who likes Sayaka. I mean, he tried to give her free snacks to cheer her up. Meanwhile, Tatsumi sees Tamotsu and Kusakabe at the festival. Tamotsu wants to talk to Tatsumi and brings him to a secluded area and starts punching him! Seems Kusakabe has made up lies that he tried to assault her. Though Tatsumi asserts that he has eyes on someone else, Tamotsu isn’t buying it. Ureshiko arrives in time to see what’s happening.

Episode 9
Ureshiko goes over to shield Tatsumi. On the way home, Ureshiko is happy to hear that Tatsumi’s concern of her but feels she wants to protect him too. While nursing his bruised cheek, Tatsumi gets a call from Yuuko about her engagement party. Seems she’ll be marrying her childhood friend and move back to her hometown. I guess if she is to wait for Tatsumi to realize her love, she’ll wait till kingdom come. Yeah, she has a crush on him but in life, she has to move on. So with her parting ways, Tatsumi gets the determination to move forward and aim for a higher goal as advised by Yuuko. Meanwhile Freya pays Maiko a visit and she is revealed to be Maiko’s daughter. Her purpose of visit is to tell them that the Council are losing their patience about changing Wonderland. Freya too isn’t happy about their decision as she feels there are important things here she wants to protect. Sayaka in her room is shocked to see her stuffed toys come to life. They are proxies being used by the Council to watch over and communicate with her. They say they will erase this world by force if she cannot complete her mission. The first thing she did was to call Tatsumi and to meet up. In her adult form, she is clearly distraught about the thought of erasing him. She runs away in the rain but Tatsumi catches up when she trips and injures herself. Sayaka knows that she could never have a fulfilling relationship with him as his heart is set on Ureshiko. The reason why she liked him was that he was different from other people who made her shoulder lots of everything. He was kind and helpful. So she wants him to stop be kind to her or else she may fall in love with him again. Tatsumi got her message and breaks off with her. Tatsumi rushes back home and hugs Ureshiko, letting out his true feelings. Meanwhile Maiko and Freya pay the Council’s head a visit. Seems he and Maiko are husband and wife! Yeah, they don’t get along well too. Family feud. Ureshiko takes off her ring and they get ready to kiss. However she remembers her duties is unable to go ahead and ends up an emotional wreck.

Episode 10
However Ureshiko transforms into Agnes to reveal the reason why she can’t kiss. She senses a large magic cloud and heads over to find an army of magical girls being ordered by the Council to have her remove her ring. Even with greater powers, Ureshiko can’t handle them all. Sayaka arrives but to the girls’ surprise, she helps Ureshiko to escape. Her reason is that she wants to legitimately take over as her successor. Really? Bulga fires a shot at Ureshiko to send her tumbling out of the sky before the magical girls are warped back. Tatsumi catches Ureshiko in time. Though he broke a bone, Ureshiko uses her magic to heal him. Ureshiko continues to explain about her duties as Manager of Wonderland and her feelings for him. Dejected Sayaka sits alone in her dark room. The Council chastise her for wasting a golden opportunity but gives her a new mission: Take control of Wonderland within 24 hours or they will destroy it by force. Sayaka seals her magic for that period as a loophole that she isn’t obeying their orders. Then she makes a run for it when the stuffed toys start to besiege her. Run! It was funny to see how they slammed against the door. She bumps into her classmates who are alarmed that fire broke out in their school. Apparently before Bulga and the rest got warped back, she dropped several golden shards around the town. Those shards now become inflammable and start burning several areas. Due to the lack of firemen (they are busy putting out fires elsewhere), the kids and the public have no choice but to fill buckets and put out the fire. Sayaka is unwilling to help till Yuuki decides to barge inside to save a championship flag that he treasures most. Seeing his determination and the rest, she goes into the burning building herself. How is Ureshiko going to solve this problem? Easy, use the powers of her ring to summon a giant rain storm. That should put out all the fire. I guess she still hasn’t lost her touch of controlling large scale magic. But those little household chore ones are a different story. Sayaka manages to find the flag but collapses due to inhaling too much smoke. When she wakes up outside, she is touched to see how concerned her friends are. What’s more, the flag included her name. But since it is all burnt, the kids couldn’t help give out a frustration cry. Ureshiko meets Yuki as the latter says that the world will change somehow and she should be prepared for it anyhow when the time comes. Ureshiko decides to put an end to one of her biggest regrets in life: She flies down to Tamotsu’s house in her magical girl outfit. Hey pal, you aren’t seeing strange things with your wife.

Episode 11
Ureshiko finally tells the whole truth about her being a magical girl to her husband. Now does he believe it? Well, better than never knowing the reason, right? Also a flashback on how they met when she was working as a waitress in this town. It was love at first sight. She thought she could entrust this town to him even if it was an illusionary one. As for the world getting destroyed, well, it’s not his problem. He’ll do what he does best to the end: Continue writing. Ureshiko returns to Tatsumi and wants them to escape this town before it’s completely erased. It feels like eloping. However the moment Tatsumi steps on the train, Ureshiko steps off the last midnight train out of this town. The storm is picking up pace in Wonderland. The Council begin their work in erasing the town but are interrupted by Maiko and Freya. Their attempts are somewhat futile and just delaying the inevitable. Ureshiko protects the town with her barrier but even so, she has her limits and she’s fighting a losing battle. Sayaka is disheartened that the erasure is taking effect earlier as promised but the Council elder claims this is merely just like the change of season. Sayaka rushes out and meets Tatsumi on the way. Hey, how did he? You see, this has got to be the ‘best’ part because once Tatsumi gets off the nearest station, he runs straight back to Wonderland! Can you believe he reaches back home before anything begins? I know he’s part of the track team but even the fastest guy on Earth will take some time to return. It’s like saying that the train ride to the next town is so close within walking distance. They find Ureshiko on her favourite spot on the hilltop. First thing Sayaka did was to slap her to wake her up from her senses of course. At this rate, she’ll be erased along with the town. Tatsumi asserts that he will be by her side no matter what and will not run away. Ureshiko then unseals Sayaka’s powers and then wants Tatsumi to throw the ring as far as possible. This is so that both the magical girls’ power are amplified when they fire through it. The plan works and the entire dark stormy sky turns into a bright sunny one. Ureshiko gives her ring to Cruje so the latter agrees to hold on to it for safekeeping till she returns. Where is Ureshiko going? She is going to meet the Council to settle everything once and for all. Well, she did learn a lesson or two from Tatsumi about not running away, right? And The Council decide to abandon their plan since the ring is already in Cruje’s possession.

Episode 12
Though Sayaka seems happy just holding on to the ring, Bulga, Chane and Hermes aren’t particularly pleased since this means Sayaka won’t be reconstructing Wonderland soon. They dare her to put it on and when she does, they hypnotize her. Ureshiko faces the Council before her. She tries to plead for the old Wonderland to remain but to no avail. However the Council elder chides her for not guiding Cruje properly on how to manage the town. It wasn’t the question of whether the town should be recreated or left original. All she did was had no faith in her and jumped to conclusions that she wanted to destroy and create a new world. She even went to great lengths to try and take a certain guy out of this town to prevent him from being erased. At this point Ureshiko realizes her mistake and that’s why Cruje’s heart is weak and is now easily overtaken by others. The elder shows how her underlings are taking hypnotized Sayaka around town and ‘ordering’ her what needs to be recreated. As punishment for her actions, Ureshiko is sent to a prison in another dimension to reflect on her actions. Yuuki spots Sayaka and chases away the mean-looking Doberman dog and pair of crows (Bulga and the twins in their respective animal forms) thinking they’re harassing her. Sayaka is snapped out from her spell. Yuuki finally confesses he likes her but she questions would he remain the same if this town were to change. Yuuki’s answer seemed to give Sayaka confidence as she rushes off. However Bulga and the twins hypnotize her again. Maiko and Freya talk to the Council elder and he doesn’t seem like a bad person like we all initially thought. The ladies reflect on themselves that they too were wrong for relying too much on Ureshiko and took for granted that she knew how to manage the town since she’s Aphrodite’s daughter. The elder says that he doesn’t need to release Ureshiko from prison because if she deeply thinks about someone she loves, she’ll be ‘released’ from prison. Depressed Ureshiko is visited by the spirit of her mom. They talk about protecting the town as Aphrodite feels guilty for pushing the responsibility on her. She tells a way to get out of this prison. She starts thinking that the only person for her is Tatsumi. Elsewhere, Tatsumi is seeing visions of Ureshiko just about anywhere. It’s like having a withdrawal syndrome. Ureshiko here, Ureshiko there, Ureshiko at every turn and corner. His eyes are sure playing tricks. So probably it’s like a miracle come true when he thinks too much of her and wahlah! Ureshiko comes appearing out and right into his arms. Feels good to be back, eh? Meanwhile hypnotized Sayaka is at the hilltop accompanied by Bulga and the twins as she begins the process to recreate this town.

Episode 13
Looks like there’s one final thing she has to do. Ureshiko transforms to go rescue Sayaka. Bulga and the twins keep Ureshiko busy to prevent her from interrupting Sayaka. Valentine appears and is on Ureshiko’s side. She stalls the young girls while telling Ureshiko to go ahead. Bulga uses her umbrella to aim at Ureshiko but Valentine uses her body as a shield. Bulga becomes afraid upon knowing that she stabbed her for real. Never killed anyone before, eh? With that, Bulga and the twins escape since they just wanted to scare them off. So looks like it’s them who got scared off. But don’t worry. An old hag, oops I mean an experienced lady like Valentine won’t die so easily. She summons Tatsumi to be by Ureshiko’s side before disappearing. Sayaka is snapped out from her spell but realizes that she can’t stop the process. Thus the only hope is to imagine the kind of world she wants to create. She reflects that meeting with Yuuki and seems he said that he would prefer the world as it is now because if the world changes then Sayaka won’t be the Sayaka he knows. Ureshiko puts her trust in Sayaka but still can’t help ponder if she will really recreate a new Wonderland because she doesn’t want to lose Tatsumi. He assures her that they won’t so they both hug and kiss as a bright light engulfs the town. In the aftermath when Ureshiko wakes up, she is now an ordinary lady with no more powers. She meets up with Tatsumi, Maiko and Freya waiting for her. The town it seems remained the same and the only difference is that Sayaka, the new Wonderland Manager used her powers to fix the damage that was caused during the fire. In school, Sayaka’s pals wonder if the fire ever took place because the school is still intact and their championship flag is unscathed. Okay, maybe just a little burnt part. Bulga is cast down at school (new transfer student? She seems like in a daze) while Tatsumi attends the celebration of Tamotsu’s latest book release. Kusakabe is also at the party and seems she admits Tamotsu has acknowledged him and there aren’t any hard feelings between them anymore. But you know what was the first thing he went up to ask Tamotsu? He begs to give Ureshiko to him! Woah! Right in front of everyone! Daring! Tamotsu’s reaction? He punches him not because he’s jealous. But rather not to consider Ureshiko as an object! Of course he then smiles and leaves Ureshiko in his care. I guess that means he got the green light. Finally Ureshiko narrates she loves this town very much and it will never change as long as the Manager managing it understands what it truly means to live.

Magical Middle-Aged Aunty
So a happy ending even if this town is an artificial one? I’m not sure if there are many more other such Wonderlands other than this town because later as I read and find out, the people of the Realm created this Wonderland as experiment on human potential. So it bugs me that if everything here even from the lives are artificially created, do they really pose real emotions and feelings? From this show, they do. It feels somewhat like breeding Sea Monkeys, eh? And I guess becoming Managers of Wonderland, they have this danger of getting too emotionally attached to the town so that’s why they don’t want it to change. Considering that if people coming in from other towns like Tatsumi, once they enter Wonderland, do they become artificial lives too? And he will have to disappear if a new town is recreated? Or those this mean that the entire Earth is one big Wonderland? Now we know why there are so many unsolved cases of missing people.

At first, the Council seem like the main antagonist. A bunch of old guys who just keep rushing to change for a new Wonderland. Sometimes it makes you think that these old guys have some sort of fetish of wanting to see young magical girls run the town and when the reach middle aged and no longer appealing, a new one takes over just to make it fresh and new. If the ring possesses powers to change to town, you just wonder why Ureshiko didn’t use her ring powers to change the Council and the Realm. Yeah, erase those old baldies in the Realm instead. However as I read a little more, I found out that the Council are under some sort of pressure by the higher ups of the Realm to change the town, that’s why they are pushy and trying to get Cruje to change it as soon as possible. You can’t really blame them since they’re just doing their job. It’s like the people of the Realm have this past time of watching Wonderland as some real life soap drama and after 3 successions which brings the same result, I’m sure they’re going to tire of it. It’s like watching a very long running and repeating TV drama. Plus, to them the lives in Wonderland are just artificial and just that. So no emotions attached unlike the Managers who run it. So like I said, like watching Sea Monkeys, right?

With Ureshiko now ‘retired’, I’m sure she can look forward to living a blissful life with Tatsumi. I’m not sure if Tamotsu has agreed in divorcing her because legally that would mean adultery, right? Well maybe with Sayaka in charge, there won’t be such laws even. Ureshiko seems like a confident and mature woman but at times she starts doubting her duties as a Manager and a wife due to the fear that she will lose what she has been protecting all this time. It’s odd that she still gets embarrassed with how short her magical suit outfit is. Maybe she really has grown out of it? Can’t her magic do something about it considering that she is the most powerful magical girl in the Realm? Tatsumi has also grown from a green kid to someone who is more mature. Sayaka felt like a tsundere at times. She isn’t honest about her feelings when being confronted with the obvious. Her frustration mainly stems from the fact that she was given no opportunity to strut her stuff of what she is capable of. If Ureshiko had not doubt her at first, will all these troubles could be avoided? But you can’t blame Ureshiko for not wanting to give up the ring at first because Sayaka sounded like an obnoxious brat when she first wanted her to hand over her ring. I wonder if she and Yuuki will become a couple since she has given up on Tatsumi. But that’s another story. I can’t see any important role Tamotsu played except for the fact that he is a past that Ureshiko couldn’t easily let go off. He’s an understanding guy if you could just provide your reasons. Therefore sometimes, silence is not golden. I’m still wondering why a simple kiss can cause a magical girl to lose her powers. Okay, maybe it’s better than having Kryptonite as one. Even more bugging is the fact that why do guys here want to ascertain their love by kissing their girl? I thought it was more of the other way round. I’m not sure about this, maybe she could just allow a kiss any other part of the body except her lips (no dirty thoughts here, please). Just playing it safe in case, eh? Nori and Ururu felt like non-important characters as they’re just ‘bumming around’ supporting Ureshiko. Well, this shows that they have lost their powers. At one point I felt it could turn into something like Desperate Housewives, magical girl version. Just kidding.

From the look of certain scenes, I’m sure if you but the DVD or Blu-Ray discs, you’ll be able to feast on some fanservice scenes. I’m not saying that the fanservice here are extreme since this is a year 2005 production but you know those bright lights and shadows that conveniently blinds or covers the necessary areas. The other fanservice-y part which I find rather weird (sometimes it made my hair stand on ends) is the transformation scene of Ureshiko and Sayaka. Some of the transformation process like the way Ureshiko kisses her ring or Sayaka rubs her stomach shows it like in a very tempting and seductive manner. Yeah, do they need to wiggle their butt when the skirt comes on? Is that supposed to be inviting? The transformation ends with the so called ‘audience’ calling out to their name. It’s like a WTF moment. I don’t really have qualms about the background music but I have to say that they played too much of the one featuring the recorder/flute. I don’t know it just gets to me. Sometimes it feels like they’re blowing too hard and make it go a little off-pitch. Maybe it’s done on purpose or perhaps my hearing problem.

Kikuko Inoue as Ureshiko was recognizable due to her trademark dreamy voice like Kasumi in Ranma 1/2 and Belldandy in Aa! Megami-sama. Likewise I could still recognize Ai Shimizu (Koyori in Sola, Daniel in Shinigami No Ballad) as the voice of Sayaka even if she doesn’t go into her high pitch mode very often. I know and could identify that Rie Kugimiya is the voice as one of Sayaka’s classmates. However I have a feeling that she voices more than 1 character in this show and if I’m not mistaken she does 2 more. They are Ayaka and Hermes. It is hard to ascertain since it is never listed in the end credits but after straining my ear and listening to those characters’ lines several times, I could safely bet that it is her (I still could be wrong, though). Surprisingly I find the voice of Yuu Kobayashi as Yuki. To me, she fits roles that have crazy loud screaming female voices like Ayame in Gintama, Kaede/Kaere in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Lia in World Destruction. But I guess I have to come to terms that she has a versatile voice and has voice a myriad of characters. Besides, this isn’t her only boys-role voice as she also did the same in Fractale as Clain and Kyou No Go No Ni’s Ryouta. Other casts include Daisuke Kishio as Tatsumi (Suginami in Da Capo series), Juurouta Kosugi as Tamotsu (Akisame in Shijou Saikyou No Deshi Kenichi), Rica Matsumoto as Freya (Futaba in You’re Under Arrest series), Akeno Watanabe as Bulga (Rito in To Love-Ru series) and Atsuko Mine as Maiko.

I’m still wondering why Managers need to be young magical girls. You can’t say that middle aged ladies have past their prime because in Ureshiko’s case she still has it under control. Except maybe she needs more fine tuning when she does her household chores. Well, let’s hope not that they will turn into witches if they overstay their tenure like in some Puella Magi show. So now do we understand why all magical shows, old and new feature cute little young girls and most of them not even hitting puberty? So that the magical girl show in the series always looks fresh and new no matter how stale and typical the plot is! Now do we understand why we don’t often see magical girls kiss others especially their loved ones? Yeah, you can’t save the world without your powers. And if you subsequently find out that the girl you love turns out to be a magical girl, remember it is still much better than any vengeful Super Ex-Girlfriend.

Cosplay Complex

October 21, 2011

It is evident that with the growing popular of anime, cosplaying as your favourite character is a must. If you’re a die-hard otaku, that is. So I guess if there is an anime about cosplaying, I thought to myself why not watch it and see how the cosplaying world is about. After all, we had animes based on the doujin world and for a guy like me, it was deemed an insight. And thus, that is how I came to watch the 3 OVA episodes of Cosplay Complex. For the record, cosplay is made up of the words ‘costume’ and ‘role playing’ whereby one dresses up in their favourite characters of anime, manga, games and such. It’s like bringing 2D to real life.

At first, I thought the word ‘complex’ was referring to a place like a mall. Therefore my impression was that it is going to be a big place filled with cosplaying geeks and perhaps a room the size of several shopping outlets filled with cosplaying outfits, enough for cosplay freaks to live and die in their dream fantasies. Then while watching the series, it dawned to me the word ‘complex’ leans more towards a condition. You know, such as brother complex, sister complex and inferior complex. Yeah, that kind of complex. Hope it isn’t anything that complex either. Don’t worry. It isn’t. What you’ll mainly get to see in this series are a bunch of wacky group of young people practising cosplaying. Sounds like fun? You bet since this is a comedy genre. Oh, with the synopsis bearing the line, “Clothing and costumes will fly…” means that we’ll get our fair share of fanservice. Aren’t some cosplay so?

To sum it up, this series focuses on a struggling cosplay club at East Oizumi Academy. They need to put in lots of effort and practising before they can reach their dream of participating and winning the Cosplay World Series competition. Even the road of cosplaying is a tough one. What makes this club a likeable one is of course the members. They include the president and the only guy, the baldy Gorou Yorozuyo, the stubborn leader of the crew, Reika Aoshima, a pair of sisters the bespectacled Maria Imai and the younger one Athena, the cheerful and clumsy Chako Hasegawa, and newest member Jenny Matel of Italy. Chako has a pair of magical creatures to help her out. For instance, fairy bunny girl Delmo is able to morph into items to help Chako while the little owl Ikebukurou isn’t just hooting around but does the sewing and ironing of the clothes. Wait a second. Magical creatures? Well, if you’re going to add a bunch of wacky characters, might as well throw in these guys too. After all, we’re in for the laughs, right?

Episode 1
East Oizumi Academy is next up for a group cosplay competition. But it seems Chako has forgotten to bring some of her cosplay clothes. Though Maria and Athena seem to have theirs ready. Thankfully with Delmo around, she changes into Chako’s cosplay outfit. Since it’s a Hand Maid May character, Gorou thinks of putting a plug in her ass! Reika hits his head with a basin. Back in their clubroom, Gorou in his own secluded booth in the corner warns of the problems facing the club that will threaten their goal to conquer to cosplay world. They need a sponsor/club advisor and additional members. The peeping guys outside won’t do (man, they’re desperate to peep via ladder outside the window). So Gorou blasts them away with his Intruder Beam. Reika is upset he wrecked the classroom and throws a basin at him. Then he thinks he hears a rat (Jenny in a rat outfit) in the ceiling and furiously stabs it, wrecking the roof. But he goes back after really thinking it’s just a rat. Reika is upset she will have to spend more on reconstruction. Chako along with Delmo and her other owl fairy, Ikebukurou goes back to her dorm and greet Sachiko Arii. She throws a party to celebrate Delmo and Ikebukurou’s 3 month anniversary since moving in here. A short flashback how Chako first met them when they came from some other world at the shrine. She also remembers some nice guy named Kosuke Tamiya who became an instant fan of hers when she first cosplayed. As Reika is doing the budget for her club (you know who breaks all the stuff, right), Gorou enters via window and did a steamy romantic caressing voiceover-cum-act, enough to send Reika paralyzed into his soft tenderness. The moment is ruined when Jenny crashes in and wants to join the club. Next day, the rest are introduced to Jenny, the Italian transfer student. However Gorou thinks of putting up an exhibition match to see if Jenny is worthy to join the club. He picks Chako to go up against her. Initially she was reluctant but after Gorou’s passionate speech, Chako is all for it. Yeah, that’s what he’s good at.

On match day, the club are selling tickets (even renting cameras) to perverted geeks who are so eager to watch a couple of woman battle it out in cosplay match. While Gorou is the announcer, Reika, Ikebukurou and Sachiko are the judges. The competition will be over 3 rounds and the one with the highest overall score wins. First round has the girls dressing up as witches. Jenny dress as a traditional witch but on a bicycle while Chako slips and gives the crowd a full view of her fanservice slip. Jenny has the edge of 23 points against Chako’s 22. For the second match, it’s a video game girl fighter. Chako has problems with her clothes because it’s torn so Delmo offers to help in exchange for dumplings. While Jenny unknowingly dresses as Reika’s favourite character and earns 23 points, Chako comes out as a witch first and then magically transforms to a sexy fighter, earning her 28 points. The third round is supposed to be a robot girl but at the backstage, Jenny is having problems putting on her outfit since her boobs are too big to fit in. Chako helps her out so she feels grateful and will like to return the favour. All the other members have watched this and are touched. Including Gorou, who is soon packing with Reika’s basin for peeping. At the end of the match, though it ends with a draw, the rest mention that they intend to let Jenny join. They were anyway going to let her join from the start. So the competition’s real intention was to make money for the club! Athena starts crying and feeling sorry for Chako when Jenny starts hugging her. She nose bleeds upon seeing Athena’s cuteness and starts rubbing her like a molester. Maria freaks out and takes Athena away. Maria gives Gorou to her instead but she insists she hates men. What about Reika? She prefers little girls. Oh God. Lolicon. Yeah, notice how she spied on Athena at the very beginning when she was changing and totally loved her little naked body? Jenny starts harassing Athena so poor little innocent Athena cowers behind her sister, who starts protecting her and warns Jenny not to lay her fingers on her. Jenny teases Maria that she’s a siscon like her so she denies anything like that. However Athena misinterprets and becomes heartbroken. While Maria tries to dispel the misunderstanding, Reika notes how this club has attracted another weirdo. All that matters to Gorou now is that they need a club advisor.

Episode 2
Coach Kuroba strictly tells his Cosplay Club members that they’ll be going on a training camp at the beach tomorrow. Who the heck is he? Gorou introduces Kuroba to the girls as he is the advisor of the club who has been hospitalized for a long time. The girls are shocked because due to the previous episode, the teaser saw the advisor as a sexy woman. Upon closer inspection, Kuroba is in the picture but at the distant edge. Who the heck can see?! However Clover has to be whisked away to hospital when he starts coughing blood. So Gorou has no choice but to have Sachiko as the new special advisor. The girls shop for their swimsuits. Chako uses Delmo’s help to bust up her own swimsuit when Tamiya comes by. Ikebukurou lets the rest know that he is Chako’s crush, causing her to blush as they tease her. When he learns Chako and co will be at the beach tomorrow for a cosplay conference, he tells that he too will be there the day after for a photo trip and looks forward to meet her.

Next day at the beach, the girls are being made by Gorou to work as part time waitresses in Cosplay Beach House. Though Gorou gives an excuse as cosplay training but in fact he is colluding with the house owner for some toy model in exchange for bringing in the business. The girls work while Jenny attracts the customers. Actually she’s in some outfit while the little kids hang out around her. She’s loving it… They are staying at an old temple and the monk is a real pervert, rubbing his face in Sachiko’s boobs. Reika hits a basin on his head and it will be stuck on his head ever since. Reika doesn’t want to live in this rundown place and is going to a hotel but Gorou restraints her with ropes in an S&M position. Chako and Maria learn from the priest about the local legend of the origin of the festival called River Ceremony. Seems like a twisted version of the Japanese folklore, The Crane Maiden. Why is Gorou the man and Reika the crane trying to kill each other? The girls except Jenny start their cosplay training like speed sewing and speed changing (both in which Chako flops). Then for the body transformation, everyone has a hard time getting into those little Keroro suits so Gorou shows it how it’s done! How the heck does he fit in it?! Put your heart and soul in it?! That night, Jenny sneaks into Athena’s room for a sex romp. However she got the wrong person: Sachiko. She gets more than she bargained for when Sachiko takes this as a wrong signal and starts undressing herself. Yeah, she’s been a lonely widow for a very long time. This is going to leave a mental scar on Jenny for a long time… As Reika soaks in the hotspring alone, Gorou seems to making his usual stalker-like voiceover. Reika gets alerted but in the end she gets turned on, surprising Gorou very much. Oh, don’t forget she dropped the basin on him too.

Next day, the girls continue to work at the beach house. Jenny is out after last night’s horror and goes on a day-long waterfall meditation. Chako meets Tamiya at the house and he is glad to see her. He is here for the River Ceremony tomorrow. Since Chako knows a little about the legend, Tamiya suggests that they go see it together. The hot chemistry between them has Reika vowing to support Chako in her love as Maria, Athena and Ikebukurou also agree to help out. It’s going to be a big mess. Next day as Chako accompanies Tamiya through the forest, she is rather annoyed that Reika, Ikebukuro, Delmo and the monk are following them. Yeah, they even go to great lengths by giving their unwanted support like battle panties, hi-fi set to lighten a mood and a bed in the middle of the forest! WTF?! Then at the flower field, they put up those annoying signboards telling her to kiss so Chako just yell at them to butt out. Though Tamiya didn’t realize what’s happening, at that moment he looked cool so Chako was in the mood and prepare herself to kiss him. However he was so infatuated in taking photographs that he is oblivious of his surroundings. How disappointing. Time to move to the next plan.

At the town festival, the busybodies tell Chako to catch a fan thrown by the priestesses (Maria and Athena) as legend has it she’ll marry the man of her dreams if she catches it. Chako is pumped up to catch it (even getting Delmo to transform into a baseball glove). As Maria and Athena throw their fans, unfortunately Gorou is the one who catch it! Damn! Foiled again. Chako gets disheartened by Tamiya extends his helping hand so that they can go to the River Ceremony. Tamiya mentions a different conclusion of the legend. Seems more romantic and legend-worthy. A man met crane, she turned into a woman, fell in love and got married. To commemorate their love, the crane released her old crane skin down the river and lived happily ever after. He thinks this is the origin of the legend and another reason is to show appreciation for marriage. Chako says she’ll be taking part in next month’s big Cosplay World Series competition. He says he’ll go support her so Chako gets her confidence to do her best. The other members watching also vow to do their best but the mood is ruined when crazy Jenny in a crane suit kidnaps Athena away into the sky to start their new legend together. Gorou says she has reached enlightenment?! WTF?!

Episode 3
The cosplay gang pays Kuroba a visit in hospital. Seems he’s recuperating in time for the Cosplay World Series. Jenny wants to start getting horny with Athena (disgusting licking the stethoscope!), sending Maria into panic. She starts using the defibrillator but Kuroba is the one who gets the shock treatment. His heart stopped! So much for getting better. While waiting for the rain to subside, Delmo teases Chako she is buying new clothes for Tamiya’s sake so he can take snapshots of her cosplay. Suddenly a shy clumsy girl named Tsukasa Tomii overheard their conversation and wants her to take her to East Oizumi. Sachiko pays a visit to her husband’s grave and is surprised to see purple roses on it and before that a lady with blue hair. Gorou is also praying at the site and mentions that it is has been 2 years.

Back at the club room, after Chako and Tsukasa take a shower, Chako gives her temporary clothes to wear. She realizes Tsukasa is into cosplay since she could recognize the cosplay outfit. When Athena asks her what cosplay suit Tsukasa is wearing, Jenny gets jealous and thinks there’s another lolicon rival. Oh, Maria is going to die of another heart attack. Actually, Tsukasa isn’t used to dressing up, the reason she was looking at Athena with those eyes. Suddenly an accessory from Chako’s outfit threatens to fall off so Tsukasa quickly sews it back good in lightning speed. Reika gets suspicious which club Tsukasa belongs to when Ranko Takara barges in. This pretty but arrogant lady says that they are from Shin Takarazuka Academy, the school that won the Cosplay World Series last year. She was bringing Tsukasa her assistant along when she got lost all of the sudden. She slaps Tsukasa for her ‘betrayal’, especially for someone who has never done cosplay at another school. The rest aren’t amused so Ranko decides to show off her cosplaying moves. Her cosplay was so good that she even changed her voice to the character! Chako praises her and imitates her move. So this has Ranko on alert that this girl is able to imitate so after seeing her just once. Then she did a body transformation into a little Keroro suit and she does it good!

I’m sure Jenny wants her to cosplay as some lolicon but Tamiya shows up. Thing is, they know each other as Ranko goes up to hug him and calls him Ko-chan. Oh Chako, didn’t you just felt a woman’s intuition? Tamiya is here to show them the photos he developed during their outing at the beach. He also has those of Ranko cosplaying so Ranko brags his good skills is like as though she’s making love to the cameraman! Chako wants to know her relationship with Tamiya so Ranko coolly says it can’t be described in words and shoots back the same question to her. Chako is embarrassed to say so Delmo says it on her behalf that she is Tamiya’s number 1 fan. Ranko falls into shock. Both girls start to grab confused Tamiya’s arms each and you can tell it’s going to be a cat fight over him. Thus Gorou announces a cosplay battle between both schools at the gym in an hour’s time and the prize will be Tamiya. Don’t tell me this is another way to make money for the club. Ranko says Gorou has never changed and is still pushy as ever. That’s what she used to like about him. Now it’s Reika’s turn to get annoyed. Later Reika confronts Ranko at the store room but the latter knows she called her about Gorou. She tries to deny but Ranko continues to control the mood saying that she’s afraid that Gorou would lose interest in her and that she will snatch him away from her. Amidst Ranko’s steamy molestation over paralyzed Reika, Gorou is heard narrating steamy passionate voice over like as though he’s reading from a romance novel. Oh, wait, he is. Is he? They find him hiding in a box and beat him up. Both girls continue their rivalry. Kuroba hears about the cosplay competition and is on his way to rescue his girls. Unfortunately, he ‘died’ halfway there.

As the competition starts, the judges will be Ikebukuro, Sachiko, the monk (still have the basin on his head. Hey, what the heck is he doing here?! Isn’t he supposed to be stationed at the temple?), a mysterious lady (the one thought to be the cosplay club’s coach) and Tamiya. For the first free-for-all cosplay round it will be a team match between Reika-Chako and Ranko-Tsukasa. However Ranko is cocky and decides to do this on her own. Though Reika-Chako scored a high 92 points, Ranko takes cosplay to a whole new level by changing her appearance into that character! WOAH!!! UNBELIEVABLE! That’s why she scored 100 points. The second round of style pits Ranko in a devilish S&M outfit against Maria’s S&M policewoman. Though Ranko earns 92 points, due to Maria’s authentic bashfulness, the crowd goes wild and she gets full marks. But why is Maria loving it at the end? The third round has the competitors using their creativity in dressing up a model, which is Athena. Now we see Ranko’s other superb skill. She manages to change Athena’s body structure too! Now she’s grownup! I wonder if it’s painful. How many bones did she crack just for that effect? It is for Jenny because she’s not a loli anymore. Then it’s Jenny’s turn as she has Athena dressed in a mourning outfit and as her kid self. Both sides score 100 points so there’ll be a sudden death match as each time must choose 1 member from their side. Chako volunteers to go so the rest give their blessing. Ranko says it’s Tsukasa’s turn to shine but she lacks the confidence and thinks she’ll lose. Ranko comforts her by saying that the seniors will be gone after graduation so it’ll be her responsibility to take over the cosplay club since she’s a real member of the club. She has confidence she can do it.

While changing, Chako once again forgot her clothes so it’s again Delmo to the rescue. Meanwhile Tsukasa doesn’t know what to do so Ranko tells her just do her best. Chako comes out as a stunning bride but it seems Tsukasa hasn’t come out yet. She is still scared of showing herself in public. Chako goes over to extend her hand and support for her to come out. As they both strut their stuff on stage, Chako says that cosplay is fun to make and wear. And the best part is to have others look at them while in it. Tsukasa’s fear subsides as the crowd cheers them on. Sachiko sees the blue haired lady among the crowd and fears that she might be that person. Kuroba finally (and amazingly) arrives at the gym but it’s way over. He missed everything… As the gang meet up outside, Ranko admits that everything has been interesting. Yeah, Gorou has made loads of cash from it and has some new ideas coming along. Though the competition ends in a draw, Ranko and Chako become frenemies. Yeah, till it comes to Tamiya, who is still clueless about the girls tugging over him. Tsukasa thanks Chako for helping her today but she feels it’s no big deal. Both sides vow to do their best at the next Cosplay World Series. As Ranko and Tsukasa ride in their limo back, we see Tsukasa have her own fairy bunny girl, Jirumo. Where the heck was she all the while? Well, she went to get something to eat… And their chauffeur turns out to be that blue haired lady.

Cosplay obsession…
Such a disappointment! The series? Heck, no! I enjoyed it!  What I meant was it was such a shame and disappointment there wasn’t any continuation of this series. There were so many potentials for this series that it seemed like it was wasted by just having 3 lousy OVA episodes. Because of the short nature of the series, there were a few plots left hanging and definitely will have viewers scratching their head. For instance, that blue haired woman. Only appearing in the last episode and the way Sachiko reacted by just seeing her seems to indicate that she must have some connection in her life. Especially the teaser at the end, I’m sure we viewers would love to know more who this blue hair babe is. The short flashback of Delmo and Ikebukurou is much welcomed but it would be better if they expand that a little. Heck, how can you do it with a miserable 3 episodes? But otherwise, this series is fun and enjoyable though it wasn’t cosplaying all the way. Plus, since it focuses pretty much on the antics of the gang, I don’t think it gives any much insight on the world of cosplaying like how Genshikin and Comic Party did with its doujinshi theme. And though we get to see the characters in many different outfits, it wasn’t that tad many. It wasn’t what I had it mind when “Clothing and costumes will fly…”. Yeah, I was expecting something like they would be changing outfits after a few seconds. How the heck did I set my expectations so high in the first place? Maybe the series title has something to do with this mind pre-set thingy… So the club continues their struggle to achieve their goal. With all the practice, I think they’ll get by. Probably they’ll be the underdogs and even steal the trophy, surprising all the favourites. See, how everything is too short for all these mouth-watering potential? Just keep practising because practice makes perfect. But since nobody is perfect…

Gorou has got to be the most amusing and interesting comic relief character. You can’t help his overacting ways and at times feels he deserves to get a basin whacked on his head. Hmm… Maybe that’s how he got bald. Then his tendency to read aloud dirty stories causing awkward moments for Reika is definitely a laugh-out-loud moment. It feels like he is reading from a novel the way he perfectly narrates those steamy lines but sometimes I wonder if it is really his original words deep down from his heart. And that he is the most skilled cosplayer in the club shows why he is leading it. I’m still puzzled (and awed) of how he did his body transformation when others couldn’t. I felt Jenny’s appearance in the series was just to cause some lolicon mayhem. Because that’s what she mainly does. Other than that, I don’t see her doing anything that has an impact on the show. Sure her lolicon fetish really gets to you and poor Athena has to put up with her perverted ways. Each time she does that, poor sister Maria would go into heart attack mode. I guess there is only so much you can (over)protect your little sister from fiends like her. Oddly, Jenny prefers to wear full-bodied animal costumes when she’s not in real cosplaying action. Kuroba also lacks the impact of doing anything memorable because he’s always getting hospitalized, though it serves as a running gag for us. It’s amazing how he just didn’t die. As for Chako, I find that her absent-mindedness in forgetting to bring her costumes and tendency to rip them at crucial points are part of her personality. Where would she be without Delmo? Of course in exchange for favours, she’s got to give lots of tasty snacks for her. A funny thing when Delmo transforms into an outfit or item, you can see a pair of tiny bunny ears sticking out. It makes the item look very odd. Another interesting character is Ikebukuro. This owl has no proper lines but it seems everybody perfectly understands what it says! Say what again? I don’t think Ranko’s superb cosplaying abilities are imitable in real life. Going to the extent of changing her voice to perfectly suit the character and even the appearance, you got to be a shape shifter to do that. She sure brings cosplaying to the next level. She may be obnoxious but if you know her and is a worthy cosplay opponent, she’s quite the alright girl. Just now with another girl in the picture, Chako won’t be monopolizing Tamiya. Yeah, I’d love to see this love triangle played out while seeing how clueless (and annoying in the sense of not realizing the feelings of the girls) Tamiya is. I wonder if there is any chemistry between Gorou and Reika. They don’t seem like a couple and during those voiceover moments, is Reika really paralyzed by just his words or him?

Though my anime knowledge isn’t that high, I couldn’t recognize the various cosplay outfits that the characters put on. From what I read, they are supposed to be of costumes of characters in other animes. Especially the opening scene in the first episode as I found out the cosplaying characters’ outfits are from previous animes that was directed by the director Shinichiro Kimura such as Burn Up, Popotan and Maburaho. So it’s sad that I couldn’t excitedly name the characters the costumes the girls were getting into. There were a handful but I think I have more fingers on my hand :p. If you love admiring real people doing real cosplay, then stay and watch the ending credits. Here, we have lots of real pictures of various people in various cosplaying outfits whether it is solo or group, famous series or more obscure ones. Some look good, some mediocre (in my opinion) while some look quite close to the real deal. But kudos to all of them for giving their best shot. As for the fanservice for this series, I would rate it between mild and moderate. Mainly the fanservice parts are when the girls are changing but at points you could also see their tits. Not much, but there are. Rie Kugimiya was very identifiable as Delmo. One squeak and I was like “Oh, it’s her alright”. So much so this was the voice that Ranko imitated during one of her stints. Ai Shimizu as Athena was also recognizable since little girls role like Sayaka/Cruje in Oku-sama Wa Mahou Shoujo and Mikoto in Mai-HiME suit her pretty fine. Of course tsundere lolis are better left to Rie Kugimiya. But I couldn’t recognize Kikuko Inoue as Ranko because she wasn’t in her dreamy roles like Belldandy in Aa! Megami-sama. Other casts include Sakura Nogawa as Chako (Nemu in Da Capo), Chiaki Takahashi as Reika (Nanami in School Days), Saeko Chiba as Maria (Dokuro in Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan), Akeno Watanabe as Jenny (Rito in To Love-Ru series), Susumu Chiba as Gorou (Kondou in Gintama), Takahiro Sakurai as Tamiya (Suzaku in Code Geass), Masumi Asano as Tsukasa (Risa in Hayate No Gotoku) and Yuki Masuda as Sachiko (female version of Hibiki in Strawberry Eggs).

I haven’t had the thought of going into cosplay yet but given the chance I would definitely love to dress up in my favourite characters. Mostly ladies, by the way. Don’t get the wrong idea that I’m a cross-dresser but the thing is that I find the designs of female outfits to be more beautiful and better looking than most of the male counterparts. Take for the case in point, the ubiquitous school uniform. Notice that there are no 2 school girl uniforms with designs that are the same but as for the guys, it’s usually that black/grey long sleeves blazer or white short sleeves ones. How boring. But true cosplaying also takes up lots of time because it is preferable to make and sew the costumes yourself for utmost satisfaction and appreciation. Then it isn’t just wear and show off as you need to get into the character and act out like as though you are the character. That’s because cosplaying without knowing the character is considered rude. Since my sewing skills suck and the cost of fabric taken into consideration… Ah, I have a feeling I won’t look good in any cosplay outfit anyway. It’ll look like I’m ‘killing’ the character by looking so ‘fake’. Well, I guess there are some characters you can’t really turn 3D and it’s better left at 2D.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

October 16, 2011

At first I was going to give Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica the skip since I’m not into magical girl series. However after reading a few brief statements and comments from here and there over the internet, saying how this show is controversial, I decided to have a look have it. You know humans. If it’s something clean and pure, you wouldn’t want it. But if it’s tainted and corrupted that will make heads turn, yeah, you bet there are going to be lots of busybodies. How unfortunate that I have fallen into this category. At least for this series.

This show was controversial enough to even earn the attention of the legislators and even a threatening warning to ban the series! I guess that is what got me intrigued. What could be so controversial that a magical girl series will even be banned from the TV? After watching the series, though in my opinion I won’t consider anything to be controversial, I’d rather say that this series is not your typical magical girl series. If you have seen many magical girl shows, you would know the happy-happy atmosphere even during tense and ‘dangerous’ times. However Puella Magi Madoka Magica (as it is also known as) is dark, grim and depressing. Yes, you have been warned. Hope is only a facade because what lies beneath it are the shocking and untold truth that magical girls will face as their fate. It is truly shocking, I tell you. So if you’re expecting heroines to defeat the villains with a happy ending, you can forget about it as this show is unlike any other magical girl series I know (that might be a premature statement as I do not watch many magical girl shows). Oh, for the record, this show’s final 2 episodes were delayed not because the legislators successful passed a bill to ban the show, but rather the March 22nd tsunami that hit the area which caused many animes airing that time to be postponed. So it may take a month later to air the final double episodes together but they finished it.

Episode 1
Madoka Kaname runs through a maze-like black and white corridors and convoluting stairways till she opens a door at the end and finds herself in a devastated world. She sees Homura Akemi taking on a giant cog but is overwhelmed. Kyuubey tells Madoka that she has the power to change and wants her to make a contract and become a Puella Magi. Madoka wakes up and to her relief thinks everything she saw was just a dream. After waking her mom up, dress up and having breakfast, Madoka goes off to school. She meets her friends, Sayaka Miki and Hitomi Shizuki along the way and they talk on stuff like being popular among boys and love letters. I don’t know but the classes her looked like glass cages! Anyway their homeroom teacher Kazuko Saotome seems to be ranting on fried eggs. Turns out she’s just been rejected by her boyfriend. Then she introduces a new transfer student: Akemi. Madoka is surprised to see her. She becomes quite popular with some of the classmates. Since she isn’t feeling well, she excuses herself to the infirmary and wants Madoka to lead her since she’s the class nurse. Madoka tries to be friendly like praising her name but she gets annoyed and asks her if her life is precious and that if she loves her family and friends. Of course she does. Akemi tells her to be who she is and not somebody she isn’t or else risk losing everything. Akemi continues to excel very well in academics and sports. During lunch, Madoka, Sayaka and Hitomi talk about Akemi. When Madoka mentions that she dreamt about her, Sayaka laughs it off and starts teasing her. But Hitomi thinks she may have met her before but doesn’t remember. Kyuubey is seen been chased by Akemi. Later Madoka and Sayaka are at the music store when Madoka hears a voice in her head pleading for help. Following it to a section under construction, she sees a badly injured Kyuubey. She is surprised to see Akemi, who wants to leave Kyuubey to her. However she can’t do that because she doesn’t want her to do anymore cat abuse since he’s totally injured. Sayaka uses the fire extinguisher as distraction so they can escape. Suddenly the hallway changes into a different creepy environment. The duo are scared because they’re being surrounded by hostiles (cotton balls with moustache?). Thankfully they are saved by Mami Tomoe who is grateful that they saved her important friend Kyuubey. She then transforms and blasts all the hostiles with her awesome magic infinite gun firepower. The scene returns to normal. Akemi confronts Mami. Mami mentions about not wanting to get in her way to catch the witch that fled and won’t kill her. After mentioning that she doesn’t want to get into unnecessary trouble, Akemi leaves. Mami heals Kyuubey who is grateful towards the duo. He knows their names and has a request for them: He wants to make contracts with her to be Puella Magi (magical girl).

Episode 2
Madoka wakes up thinking it’s another dream but this time sees Kyuubey sitting by. So it’s not a dream. She remembers being invited to Mami’s apartment with Sayaka where she lives alone. Mami showed them a Soul Gem, a jewel born when a girl contracts with Kyuubey which is their power source and proof of being a magical girl. Though Kyuubey is able to fulfil any of their wishes. In exchange, they have to become magical girls and fight witches. The explanation continues with witches who are totally opposite from magical girls. They are born from curses and spread despair as opposed to magical girls born from hope and spread wishes. Plus, humans can’t see them and they hide themselves within magical barriers. So if you’re not careful, you might get lost in their labyrinth and never make it out. Mami wants them to think carefully before becoming a magical girl since they’ll be risking their lives. She thinks their wishes have a chance to be granted since Kyuubey chose them. She also invites them to come with her for a witch hunt to see what they’ll be up against with. They ask about Akemi’s case so Kyuubey mentions that he’s being targeted. The reason why she confronted Madoka was to reduce the number of magical girls being born. You see, killing witches have its own rewards but when the competition increases, there are chances of clashes. Madoka and Sayaka head to school the next day with Kyuubey tagging along. However nobody else but them can see the cat and can communicate via telepathy so Hitomi gets suspicious of their acting. She panics when she thinks they advanced a lot in their forbidden love.

In class, Mami assures the girls that Akemi won’t pull any dangerous stunt to hurt Kyuubey since she’s in public. During recess on the rooftop, Sayaka isn’t sure what her wish should be. But she laments that other people should be given this kind of chance instead of them (flashes of a guy in hospital comes to her mind). Then Akemi confronts them. She asks if Madoka has already become one. When Madoka ponders the kind of wish she has to become a magical girl, Akemi walks away and didn’t reply. Madoka and Sayaka meet Mami at the cafe before their witch hunt. Sayaka brought a baseball bat just in case while Madoka a sketch design of her magical girl outfit. Huh? Mami uses her Soul Gem to trace fainting footsteps of the witch that attacked them earlier. She mentions that a witch’s curse have the most impact around crimes, accidents or deserted places for suicide as they suck life force. The Soul Gem gets stronger as they spot a lady jumping to her death off her building. Mami uses her magic to slowly float her down. They see a witch’s kiss mark on her neck. Then they head inside the building and enter the portal to the labyrinth. With the girls sticking close to her, Mami shows them the veteran she is taking out enemies till she reaches the witch (she’s one ugly mother blob!). Mami pulls off flashy gun moves and finishes the witch off with her big mother revolver. Erupt Finale! The scene returns to normal as Mami shows them a Grief Seed, the witch’s egg. One of the rewards using this is that it replenishes the magic of the depleted Soul Gem. Mami then tosses the Grief Seed towards Akemi and intends to share it with her. However she refuses since it’s her win and throws it back to her. In the aftermath, they help the suicide lady back on her feet and Madoka thinks of becoming a helpful person like Mami.

Episode 3
Sayaka is seen visiting Kyousuke Kamijou in hospital and gives him listen to a rare violin CD she got. Madoka and Sayaka follow Mami on another successful witch hunt but this time there is no Grief Seed. As explained, these are familiars of witches but needs to be taken care of or else they’ll turn into one. On the way back, Madoka asks Mami her wish so the latter explains she didn’t have much of a choice then. Seems she was dying in a car accident when Kyuubei popped up. If given a choice, she would’ve liked to think carefully about it. Sayaka asks if wishes can be grant for other people. Though it is possible and there have been cases like that, however it ended in tragedy as the wish wasn’t clear. Mami continues to warn about doing so because she doesn’t want them to regret it later. Back home, Madoka admires Mami so Kyuubei tries to persuade her to be a Puella Magi by saying that she is the most talented girl he’s ever seen. Their conversation is interrupted when Madoka’s dad calls her to help her mom who is drunk and just came back from drinking with her company. She asks daddy why mom works hard so he replies that though the company she works for isn’t her dream company, the satisfaction to overcome her problems makes it as though she’s living her dream lifestyle. Elsewhere Akemi confronts Mami at the park and the former is bent on stopping Madoka from being a magical girl. Mami knows that Akemi has notice Mami’s incredible power and thinks she’s just jealous. They agree that this will be their last amicable ‘talk’ together.

Next day, Madoka and Sayaka spot a Grief Seed that is about to transform, stuck on a building. Sayaka plans to stay and keep watch and wants Madoka to go call Mami. Kyuubey decides to stay by Sayaka. Once Madoka rushes off, the Grief Seed activates and they get absorbed into the labyrinth. Inside, Kyuubey says if she is able to make a wish, she can turn her into a Puella Magi now but Sayaka still wants to think it over. Madoka returns with Mami and they enter the labyrinth. However following close by is Akemi. She wants to take on this want but Mami doesn’t trust her and ties her up in her spell. As they walk along, Madoka tells Mami that she looks up to her because she herself lacks talent in lots of areas. Mami brushes it off and says that she isn’t someone to admire and was just acting cool. Plus, being a magical girl means you’ll get injured and no time for anything else. She adds she is all alone and has no one to turn to and that being one isn’t good. However Madoka says she isn’t alone now. Mami feels happy that Madoka is willing to fight alongside her. With the Grief Seed starting to move, Mami transforms and blasts the little enemies (doughnuts?) along her way to the witch’s lair. She encounters the witch in the form of a doll and plans to finish it quickly with her Trio Finale cannon (one huge revolver mother!). However another creature appears out from the doll’s mouth and comes up too close to Mami for her to make any counter attack, catching her off-guard. Then it bites her head off!!!! OMG!!! NOOO!!! The girls start to shiver in fear. Kyuubey wants them to make a wish now but they’re too scared to even move. With Mami’s demise, Akemi is free from her spell and goes into action, defeating the witch for good and saves the girls. As they return to their world, Akemi warns them that this is what they’ll get if they become one. Akemi takes the Grief Seed while leaving the duo still in shock and paralyzed.

Episode 4
Sayaka goes to see Kamijou but he isn’t in. The nurses say he is taking lots of examinations in the rehabilitation room. The nurses also mention how Kamijou was an accomplished violinist before the accident. Even if he is able to walk, he may never use his fingers again. Sayaka laments why bad luck had to befall on him instead of her and ponders what would he think if she wishes for him to be healthy again. Madoka still couldn’t get over Mami’s death and cries in front of her family during breakfast. Sayaka and Madoka are still depressed about what happened in school. They feel like they’re living in a foreign land though everything else remained the same. Madoka further breaks down when she mentions she can’t become a Puella Magi and each time she thinks about Mami’s death she feels afraid. Kyuubey mentions that this area was long Mami’s territory but it won’t be long before others will take over. He decides to leave to find others who will contract with him since he can’t force them to be one and regrets that he got them involved in this. Madoka pays Mami’s empty apartment a visit and continues to shed tears of regret that she’s weak. She meets Akemi outside. She is glad Madoka took her advice. Akemi explains she has witness countless deaths like this. Since Mami has no close relatives, it’ll take some time before anybody realizes that she’s missing. Even so, since her body died in the other world, her status will always be considered as a missing person. Madoka is sad that nobody realizes how Mami has been fighting for herself. Akemi adds that Puella Magi enter into contracts for their own wishes so it’s normal to not get noticed or remembered. However Madoka is adamant she will remember Mami and even Akemi. Akemi appreciates her kindness but feels that by being kind, she’ll get into bigger troubles.

Sayaka visits Kamijou and she talks about orchestra music that they both like. However he thinks she’s trying to torture him by listening to music that he can’t even play now. He gets so upset that he smashes the CD till his hand bleeds! He is saddened that he can’t use this hand anymore. In fact he can’t even feel anything with it. Since medical science is not that advanced, it’ll take a miracle or magic to heal it. Sayaka gets her resolve and says miracle and magic do exist. Kyuubey is seen sitting by the window. Madoka is on her way home when she spots Hitomi. She is shocked to see a witch’s mark on her neck. Furthermore, there are lots of other depressed people making their way to a warehouse. Hitomi says that they’re going to a ‘better world’. To Madoka’s horror, she sees the people mixing a deadly potion that could kill everyone. She takes action by throwing the pail out of the window. The disgruntled suiciders corner Madoka as she locks herself in a room. Unfortunately she enters the witch’s lair and is absorbed into the labyrinth via familiars (round-faced cupids?). Floating aimlessly inside it, she thinks this is her retribution for her sins for being a liar and coward. She is going to be torn apart by the familiars when they are slashed away. Madoka is surprised to see Sayaka in a cape as she finishes off the witch and brings normalcy back to the world. Then Akemi confronts them. She doesn’t look very happy. Meanwhile Kamijou realizes he could move his hands. Elsewhere, Kyuubey is seen talking to another Puella Magi, Kyouko Sakura. He tells her that a new magical girl he recently contracted has taken this territory. Kyouko isn’t happy about it but isn’t going to let a rookie take this perfect area under her nose and plans on defeating her.

Episode 5
A flashback sees how Sayaka contracted with Kyuubey and receives her own Soul Gem. Hitomi seems to be her normal self in school. She doesn’t have any recollections of what happened except waking up with a bunch of strangers. Later at a slope, Madoka and Sayaka talk about the latter becoming a magical girl. Sayaka mentions she has no regrets being one but should’ve realized and been one earlier because it would be scarier if she lost both Madoka and Hitomi. Sayaka visits Kamijou and he’s surprised that his hand is healed. He’ll be staying a while in hospital since the doctors want to do more tests on his sudden healing. She wheels him up to the roof where the staffs organize a party for him. They give him a violin and he starts playing. He hasn’t lost his touch and the sound of the strings brings tears to Sayaka’s eyes. Madoka meets Akemi and she has a request: She hopes she and Sayaka can be friends and also it’ll be easier and safer to hunt witches together. However Akemi tells her the harsh truth. With kindness comes naivety, courage becomes foolhardiness and dedication has no rewards. That was how Mami lost her life. Madoka gets upset for her talking back about Mami. She further warns about Madoka’s wish for Sayaka to stay safe: Forget about her. Once someone becomes a magical girl, there’s no hope in saving them. It’s like trying to bring back the dead. The contract requires that they sacrifice everything for a single hope. That’s why Akemi has given up on herself and other girls. But no matter how much she has sinned, she must continue fighting. That evening, Sayaka is going on her first witch hunt patrol. Madoka wishes to follow her and promises she won’t be in the way. Using her Soul Gem, they trace a witch’s familiar down an alley. Sayaka transforms and fights the crayon-sketched bratty familiar with her swords. The familiar escapes but they are prevented from chasing it by Kyouko. She doesn’t understand them of wanting to go after it since it doesn’t drop Grief Seeds. Sayaka believes it will kill someone if left alone so Kyouko tells her off to let it be then till it becomes a witch. Or else it’ll be like killing the goose with the golden egg. Kyouko doesn’t seem to care about other lives except but her own interest. She mocks Sayaka’s crappy justice ideal and they both clash. Obviously Kyouko is more powerful and hits Sayaka away. However due to Sayaka’s wish of healing somebody, she too has regenerative abilities. It isn’t long before they clash weapons again. But of course Kyouko being the veteran fares much better. Madoka starts going hysterical that 2 magical girls are fighting each other when they’re supposed to be allies. Kyuubey notes he can’t do anything to interfere but hints the only one who can stop them is another magical girl. Yeah, he wants her to contract with him now. Confused and desperate Madoka is going to take up his offer but Akemi again cuts in, avoiding Madoka from becoming one.

Episode 6
Akemi knocks Sayaka out in episode 6 and faces Kyouko. She makes a wise decision to back off. Akemi isn’t pleased that she has to repeat many times her warning not to get involved. If they insist, she’ll have to use any means necessary. Sayaka back home heals her Soul Gem with a Grief Seed but Kyuubey says she needs to find another one to purify her partially corrupted Soul Gem. A pure Soul Gem will allow her to do anything without worrying too much on using too much magic. Sayaka notes that Mami didn’t have much trouble with this and wonders if she’s a genius. Kyuubey agrees but also mentions that there is another genius who can surpass that: Madoka. He thinks Sayaka can convince her to be one but she doesn’t want to get her friend involved. Kyouko is playing Dance Dance Revolution at the arcade when Akemi comes up to her. She says Kyouko can have this city since Sayaka won’t be able to handle it. Plus, she’ll handle her personally and wants Kyouko to stay out of it. However Kyouko wants to know who Akemi really is.  Her reply is that Walpurgisnacht will arrive in a week’s time. If Kyouko wins, she’ll leave this city. Madoka sees Sayaka trying to trace the familiar that got away. She is worried about her friend but Sayaka’s words are full of anger. She views Akemi and Kyouko as selfish magical girls not caring for the lives of others. Plus, when she became a Puella Magi, it’s not to hunt witches but to protect the one she loves. Madoka is saddened that her friend has change and all Kyuubey can say is that Sayaka has become reckless and in this state, she won’t be able to defeat Akemi or Kyouko. That night, Madoka can’t sleep so she goes to talk to her mom about wanting to help her friend in need. The more she does things right, the worse she becomes. Mom tells her about the harsh facts of reality but there is one way she can help. But it’s going to be messy. That is, to get things like and making the mistakes for her. But she may have regrets or wanting to give up.

Sayaka learns Kamijou has been discharges so she goes to visit him at his home and could hear him practise his violin. Then she spots Kyouko behind her. She knows all about Kamijou and mocks her stupid decision to contract with Kyuubey for another person. She crosses the line by suggesting Sayaka could make him all hers by smashing all his limbs and making him completely useless. And if she can’t do that, she’ll gladly do it on her behalf. Sayaka won’t forgive her and wants to finish their duel. Kyouko agrees but to do it somewhere else. Meanwhile Kyuubey goes to warn Madoka that Sayaka is in trouble. Madoka arrives on the bridge to see them preparing to face off. Akemi is also there. Since this isn’t what they agreed, Akemi plans to settle with Sayaka herself first. Can’t take this any longer, Madoka grabs Sayaka’s Soul Gem and toss it down the bridge. It lands on a moving truck. Akemi quickly goes after it as Sayaka collapses. Kyouko grabs Sayaka and to her shock, realizes she is dead. Madoka starts crying over what she has done and it seems Kyouko is also pretty clueless on what’s going on. Pestering Kyuubey for an answer, the cat explains magical girls can control their bodies within a 100m range. Which means, in Sayaka’s case, the Soul Gem is the real her and that body is just an empty husk. When a girl contracts with him, his job is to extract their soul and turn it into a Soul Gem. During fights with witches, humans’ body are prone to damage (therefore their bodies are just ‘hardware’). For easier use of magic, he turns their soul into a new compact form (which is their body that they know of). Kyouko is upset that they’ve become something like zombies. But Kyuubey thinks it is convenient as they can fight witches better than in fragile human form as they are invincible (the magic repairs their body again and again). So long they have their Soul Gem. Noticing the surprised look on their faces, Kyuubey is puzzled he gets this reaction all the time. He wonders why humans have problems with where their souls end up. Inconsolable Madoka stops crying when Akemi returns and puts Sayaka’s Soul Gem back in her palm. Slowly her life returns but she is oblivious to what happened.

Episode 7
Sayaka expresses disappointment that Kyuubey never told them this but he says they never asked (which is true). Plus, he thinks it is easier if they didn’t know. Just like how Mami never found out. He then proceeds to demonstrate the kind of excruciating pain she would feel by touching her Soul Gem. Sayaka’s stomach starts to hurt so bad that she can’t do anything but squirm on the floor. Because their body and soul are separated, they are able to fight and thus Sayaka able to withstand big blows from Kyouko. See, this is the price you pay in order for your wish to be granted, right? As Sayaka skips school, Madoka talks to Akemi about Kyuubey’s ‘cruelness’. But Akemi doesn’t think Kyuubey thinks what he is doing is cruel because human values don’t mean anything to him. Plus, he regards this as payment for the miracle. Apparently Akemi knew all of this along and past records show that nobody would believe her even if she said a word. She wants Madoka to forget about Sayaka as she is beyond help and not confuse between gratitude and responsibility. How can Akemi be so cold, she asks? Well, she’s no longer human. Kyouko pays Sayaka a visit and wants to talk to her. Walking along, they talk about reaping what they sow. At an abandoned building, Kyouko tosses an apple to Sayaka but she throws it away. This causes Kyouko to be enraged and grabs her by the collar, warning her never to waste food or she’ll kill her. Once she realizes, she puts her down. Kyouko narrates this place is once her father’s church. He’s an honest guy but one day began preaching differently from the main church. Though it wasn’t wrong or bad, people refused to listen to him and slowly left him. Kyouko couldn’t stand it anymore and made a contract with Kyuubey so that people would listen to him. Next day, many flock to her dad’s church and her life as a magical girl against witches began. But when he found out about her secret, he became upset by the fact that the people didn’t came and believed on their own will but via magic. The ironic part was he called her a witch who manipulated people’s mind. Then he got drunk and mad and ended up killing the entire family and Kyouko is the only survivor. Her wish destroyed her family. Her wish without understanding people made everyone suffer. Since then, she vowed that this power is only for herself. She’s telling her this because she reminded of herself doing the same mistakes. She doesn’t want her to live her life with regrets. Sayaka apologizes for her misconception on her but doesn’t regret making a wish to help someone because if she does so, those feelings will become fake. Since Kyouko couldn’t answer how she got those apples, Sayaka can’t appreciate the things she gives her. Plus, she’ll fight in her own way and if she feels she is getting in her way, feel free to kill her. Sayaka returns to school the next day. Her happiness turns to depression when she sees Kamijou limping his way to class in crutches. Later Hitomi talks to Sayaka. It’s about love. Who? Hitomi tells her a secret that she’s been keeping from them a long time: She likes Kamijou. She wants to be honest with her feelings and have no intention of stealing anything from her. Since Sayaka knows him more than she does, she’s giving her a day’s head start to leave no regrets, whether she wants to confess or not. After that, she’ll confess to Kamijou her true feelings. That night as Sayaka goes out on another witch patrol, she sees Madoka waiting for her. But Sayaka breaks down after saying Hitomi is going to take Kamijou away and that there’s nothing she can do. Akemi and Kyouko watches Sayaka in action taking on a witch. She seems like a heartless and cruel zombie, enjoying every beating she gives the witch.

Episode 8
Sayaka could even give the Grief Seed to Kyouko, claiming that she doesn’t owe her anything and that they’re even. Madoka accompanies a weakened Sayaka at a bus stop. She is worried of her condition. But Sayaka despises her current form in which her useless body is just a lump of stone to defeat witches, a walking corpse pretending to be alive. Madoka still wants to make her happy but Sayaka tells her off to fight witches herself since Kyuubey mentioned she has more talent than everyone. She doesn’t want her sympathy or playing innocent with her lectures. Sayaka runs off and even if those words were harsh, deep down in Sayaka’s heart, she knows she crossed the line and hurt her friend. Meanwhile Akemi and Kyouko are seen discussing the possible appearance of Walpurgis when Kyuubey appears. He’s here to tell them that Sayaka is exerting herself faster than expected and her body is exuding a cursed air. If nothing is done, something far worse will happen even before Walpurgisnacht arrives. He knows Akemi knows about this too. That is, Sayaka’s Soul Gem has become too corrupted. Madoka realizes Sayaka never returned home and goes looking for her. Sayaka is seen spying on Hitomi having a nice chat with Kamijou. Each time she thinks about this, her mind starts growing crazy and she just slashes anything in her path due to jealousy. Then Akemi confronts her and wants her to use the Grief Seed to purify her Soul Gem. However Sayaka kicks it away and intends to be a different magical girl than everyone as she’ll help people without rewards or her own benefit. When Akemi says that she is dying, she’s fine with it since she won’t have to kill witches anymore. Sayaka continues to call Akemi a liar with empty words since she knows Akemi isn’t really here to help her. That’s when Akemi snaps at her that she’s hurting Madoka badly. She admits that she isn’t here to help here but simply doesn’t want Madoka to watch her fall. But if she intends to hurt Madoka anymore, she’ll kill her right now. Before she can do that, Kyouko holds on to Akemi to prevent her from doing her secret technique and let Sayaka escape. Akemi drops a grenade so Kyouko has no choice but to let go as she vanishes.

Sayaka is in a train overhearing a couple of jerks planning to dump their girlfriend. She gets upset the kind of world she is trying to save and turns into a corrupted form. Madoka continues to search for Sayaka but meets Kyuubey at the park. Kyuubey once again tries to convince Madoka to contract with her, saying that her powers may even cause greater miracles or rewrite laws of nature. This means that Sayaka could even return back to her human form again. Madoka won’t mind doing it for Sayaka’s sake and even considers that wish worth her soul. Just before Madoka could accept, Kyuubey is suddenly covered with several bullet holes. Gosh! It’s Akemi with a shotgun! But for the first time we see Akemi showing more emotion than usual. She even breaks down in tears! She’s sad that Madoka plans to sacrifice herself or use her life for something meaningless. She’s trying to get the message across that there’ll be people who will be sad if she’s gone. Akemi gets weak on her knees as Madoka ponders if they’ve meet somewhere before. But Madoka apologizes and goes on her way to look for Sayaka. We see Kyuubey in a replacement form as he eats up his old busted one. Since he has been killed twice by her, Kyuubey deduces that her technique is time control magic and isn’t from this timeline. Akemi on the other hand knows his true form and his scheme. She is adamant to change Madoka’s fate and won’t let his plan succeed. She calls Kyuubey’s full name: Incubator. Kyouko finds Sayaka at the train platform and talks to her. Seems Sayaka is already at her limit and has lost it. She laments her fate as a magical girl. Whenever someone becomes happy, she has to suffer.  Her Soul Gem is now corrupted as it bursts, blasting Kyouko away. Kyuubey narrates how growing young women are called girls. Therefore it’s only proper that for those who are turning into witches should be called magical girls. Oh dear.

Episode 9
Sayaka turns into a witch and absorbs them into her labyrinth. Akemi is there to freeze time while she takes Kyouko (who is carrying Sayaka) out. Once Madoka reunites with them, she is shocked to hear when Sayaka’s Soul Gem turned into a Grief Seed, she became a witch and died. Akemi further explains the inevitable fate of magical girls. When their Soul Gem gets tainted and turns black, they become Grief Seeds and then a witch. Kyouko gets upset when Akemi continues to say about carefully handling and ridding Sayaka’s body or else it will cause them trouble. Is she human? Well, none of the magical girls are. Madoka becomes depressed as Kyuubey pays her a visit to explain things. Now this is an eye opener.He explains the word ‘entropy’. In short, the universe is losing energy as some energy is lost when it changes form. They’ve found a way to harness that energy via Puella Magi using the conscious life form’s emotional power. Though Kyuubey’s species discovered this method, they are unable to experience emotions. They search the whole universe high and low and stumble upon humans who are supposed to have great emotional powers and are a good energy source to counter entropy. So teenage girls are the most effective when they’re in their second growth stage (hence the mahou shoujo thingy). When their souls burn out in the Soul Gems and turn to Grief Seeds, they emit great amount of energy and it is thus the incubator’s job to collect that energy. So they’re just expendables who will die for them? Kyuubey explains the vast different cultures in the universe that consumes energy every moment. Madoka finds it hard to believe this stupid reason has caused the death of her pals and now she thinks he is their real enemy. However as Kyuubey noted, they only make a contract when they agree. What about being deceived? Well, Kyuubey can’t understand what it means and deduces humans regret a wrong decision based on a misunderstanding and tend to hate the other party (which is true). Can you understand all this? Well, same reason why their species can’t understand us. Kyuubey crosses the line when he says there are 6 billion humans and growing each second and doesn’t understand why they make a big fuss over a loss of just 1 life. He insists that their sacrifice is for the greater good. He hopes that in the future Madoka will become the strongest Puella Magi and then the strongest witch so that they can get an immense amount of energy. He departs with a reminder “If you feel like dying for the universe, feel free to call me. I’ll be waiting”. LIKE HELL! NO WAY!!!!

Kyuubey then visits Kyouko who is trying to warm Sayaka’s body with her Soul Gem. She asks if there’s any way to get back her Soul Gem and his reply is none as far as he knows. Madoka skips school because Kyouko wants to talk to her. Seems she wants her help to save Sayaka. She doesn’t want to give up till they’re sure they can save her or not. Sayaka has a theory that though Sayaka has turned into a witch, perhaps deep down inside her she’s still human. She hopes talking to her especially her close friend will bring her out to her senses. Then instead of dropping a Grief Seed at the end, maybe a Soul Gem will appear. Madoka agrees with her plan. Walking along, Madoka wonders if Akemi will help but Kyouko wouldn’t place her hope on it. She feels they’re more like making temporary alliance to defeat an enemy they can’t beat alone. That enemy is Walpurgis, an insanely powerful witch and will be in this town in a few days. They enter a construction area and into Sayaka’s labyrinth. Madoka wonders being useless like herself is a coward so Sayaka assures that she doesn’t need to become a magical girl since she’s surrounded by amazing people like her family with a convenient life. She feels only those with no choice should put their lives on the line. To others it’ll be a game and just screwing around. There’ll come a time when she’ll have to fight no matter what and should save her thoughts for that. Sayaka notices their presence and the girls are moved to the core (in the midst of an orchestra?). And Sayaka is a… Knight-cum-conductor-cum-mermaid? Madoka uses her voice to plead to Sayaka to stop and remember as Kyouko fights off the wheels that Sayaka throws at her. Seems everything fell on deaf ears as Sayaka even attacks Madoka while Kyouko takes a beating. Akemi appears to catch Madoka. Kyouko knows what she has to do and entrusts Madoka’s safety to her. After Akemi escapes with unconscious Madoka, Kyouko powers up and vows not to leave Sayaka alone and be by her side. She pierces her own Soul Gem and a huge explosion occurs. Back in Akemi’s place, Kyuubey couldn’t believe Kyouko tried to save Sayaka. So why didn’t Kyuubey save her? He thinks her fall had a greater meaning and wasn’t a meaningless sacrifice. Seeing that Akemi is the only Puella Magi left to face the Walpurgis, she wouldn’t even stand a chance. To ensure this town is safe, Madoka has to become a Puella Magi but Akemi won’t allow that.

Episode 10
This is how it all began. It’s like a different time and universe. Akemi was a very shy bespectacled and braided new transfer student in Madoka’s class. She has returned after a long spell in hospital due to her heart disease. Yeah, Sayaka is still alive too. Friendly Madoka guides Akemi to the infirmary and she gladly makes friends with bashful Akemi. However Akemi doesn’t excel well academically and in sports so much so some students taunt her. On her way home, she ponders that she is useless when a voice tells her to go and die. She unknowingly steps into a labyrinth. Before she gets killed by familiars, Madoka and Mami step in to save her. Kyuubey tells Akemi that they are magical girls who hunt witches. Once that is done, Akemi is invited to Mami’s apartment whereby Madoka tells her she just became a Puella Magi a week ago while Mami is the veteran. Then Walpurgisnacht comes. Mami is dead and Madoka is the only one left who can defeat it. Akemi knows she won’t even survive but Madoka knows that and as a Puella Magi, she must protect everyone. Akemi wants them to run away together but Madoka is happy that they became friends and that it’s worth becoming a Puella Magi. In the aftermath, we see Akemi crying besides Madoka’s lifeless body, wishing that she had lived instead of sacrificing and protecting her. Kyuubey shows up and offers a contract if she would risk her soul for that. Since he is able to grant her wish, Akemi’s wish is to protect Madoka and redo her meeting with her. The contract is form as Akemi gets her Soul Gem and goes back in time when she’s in hospital. When she is discharged and becomes the new transfer student, the first thing she did was go up to Madoka and proudly proclaim that she has become a magical girl and wants to work hard together. Right in front of class! Akemi undergoes training and witch hunting with Mami and Madoka and though she can’t use her time control effectively yet, she does some tweaking here and there. Then Walpurgisnacht came and the same thing happened. Madoka’s Soul Gem becomes a tremendous Grief Seed. Akemi then went back in time again.

This time she tries to tell the rest (including Sayaka) about Kyuubey’s deceit but Sayaka think she’s trying to pull a fast one. Because Akemi has no other weapons than her time control, she starts ‘stealing’ all sorts of firearms and store them in her time-space (I guess that’s why she’s able to whip out weapons from nowhere). Then the scene changes as Mami, Madoka, Kyouko and Akemi fight Sayaka who has turned into the witch. Akemi reluctantly kills Sayaka and throws them out of her labyrinth. Distraught of what just happened, Mami suddenly shoots Kyouko’s Soul Gem and kills her! She panics at the thought of all of them becoming witches so she might as well kill themselves! Before she could kill Akemi, Madoka kills her. Grief-stricken, Akemi tries to cheer her up and save their strength for Walpurgisnacht. That came and this time both girls are lying defeated, close to death. Madoka uses her Grief Seed to heal Akemi’s and wants her to go back in time to save her from her stupidity of being tricked by Kyuubey. Akemi promises to go back in time and do so no matter how many times it takes. Madoka has 1 more wish before she dies. She doesn’t want to become a witch so Akemi with a heavy heart kills her. The next time she goes back in time, Akemi has become hard-bitten. She casts away her old look and adopts a cold outlook since no one is going to believe the future anyway. She is able to kill Kyuubey just before he is able to make contact with Madoka. Akemi even warns Madoka to turn down any offer of anyone promising miracles. Akemi goes on a witch hunting spree and is resolve she will depend on her own and kill all the witches. It’s Walpurgisnacht again. Akemi is close to defeat. Just like that opening dream scene in episode 1, Madoka is distraught so Kyuubey offers her a chance to change fate by becoming a magical girl. Akemi pleads as hard for her not to become one. Seems it fell on deaf ears because in the aftermath of Walpurgisnacht, Kyuubey mentions her transformation was awesome and destroyed Walpurgis in just 1 hit. Akemi knows her fate will still be the same but as Kyuubey mentions, as the strongest Puella Magi, she will also become the strongest witch and bring destruction to this planet! The best part is, Kyuubey thinks this is not his problem since he has gathered enough quota for his energy collection. WTF???!!! So what now? Yeah, go back in time. Again and again and again. Akemi is seen chasing and firing shots at escaping Kyuubey in that under construction section at the music store. Madoka picks up that badly bruised cat and her eyes meet Akemi’s. Akemi doesn’t mind getting lost in this labyrinth as long as it’s for her sake.

Episode 11
Back to where Kyuubey confronted Akemi in her place, Kyuubey deduces that she repeated this feat countless time in several parallel worlds to change the possibilities so that it’ll suit the way she wants. He also has a theory why Madoka is considered to have the greatest Puella Magi power.  In short, due to Akemi’s multiple time travelling, each time linking the different timelines causes the different Madokas to focus on this one here and thus increasing her power. So thanks to Akemi’s intention of saving her friend, she has raised Madoka into a powerful witch. Well done. Oh sh*t. Sayaka’s body has been reported to be found in a hotel as her friends attend her funeral. Shocked Madoka is paid another visit by Kyuubey at home. She thinks he’s cruel. But he relates the same theory if she ever thought about the cattle that are raised for human consumption. Which is true! However Kyuubey thinks they do not treat humans as cattle as they negotiate and accept them as they are. He then proceeds to show Madoka how humans and Incubators have shared this relationship throughout the ages. Countless girls have made contracts and got their wishes fulfilled but it ends with a curse.  It’s just a repeated cycle but because of it, mankind is able to survive and advance through each era. Now we know why witches were burnt at the stake in the olden days! Now we know why Cleopatra managed to seduce 2 greatest men and contribute to their downfall! Madoka thinks that he betrayed the girls’ trust but of course Kyuubey’s version is that if the wish doesn’t fit within their reason, this gives birth to some kind of distortion. Kyuubey continues that the thing called emotion in their culture is called a mental disorder. But they are surprised when they find humans having their own individual feelings and yet managed to coexist. And if they have never came to this planet in the first place? We’d still be living in caves. Oh my. So humans are able to advance due to Incubators’ technology (besides their imagination and wish of course)!

Madoka goes to see Akemi and talks about Walpurgisnacht she learned from Kyouko. Unlike other witches Walpurgis doesn’t need a barrier to conceal herself. Akemi gets emotional and suddenly hugs Madoka, saying she met her countless times and saw her die each time. She wanted to find a way to change her fate but the more she repeats the circle, the more she feels their timelines are drifting apart. Each time she felt lost but she hang on to the hope of saving her and that is the thing which kept her going. She pleads to Madoka that she wants to protect her. A huge storm is brewing as everyone including Madoka’s family takes refuge in a shelter. This storm as expected is Walpurgis as Akemi waltzes right into it and starts her huge epic battle. Whether it’s firing her infinite bazookas or ramming inflammable trucks into it, in the end she still couldn’t beat it. Kyuubey talks to Madoka about Akemi’s futile attempts in this losing battle. Each time she repeats this, it will bring her closer to despair and thus closer to becoming a witch. Madoka wants to go to her but her mom stops her (even slapping her when she remains stubborn). However after lecturing back about doing the right things, etc, I guess mommy had to let her go and believe in her daughter. Akemi is badly injured and pinned down. She thinks of going back in time but the thought of worsening Madoka’s fate has her in doubts. Her Soul Gem is close to being corrupted when she feels Madoka’s hands over hers. To her horror, it looks like Madoka has done the inevitable. Is sorry going to cut it?

Episode 12
Well, not exactly yet. Madoka finally understands and thinks she turned out this way because Akemi always protected and looked over her all this time. Madoka makes her wish to Kyuubey: She wants to erase every witch, past, present and future before they’re born with her own hands! Kyuubey is surprised that this wish of hers is like a treason against the wish itself and it’s as though she wants to become God! Yeah, even surpass Haruhi. But can Kyuubey ever turn a wish down? Yup, he has to fulfil it no matter what. A flashback sees Madoka in Mami’s room with Kyouko. Mami is saying how she has to fight forever locked in every world, past and future, destroying witches for eternity so much so dying seems to be an easier choice. Madoka doesn’t mind it so Mami says that she’s going to become hope herself. A hope for them all. Madoka transforms and with her awesome rose arrow powers, transports to every world and magical girl to free them of their curse, bearing all of the misfortune herself. Even the mighty Walpurgis falls. Akemi wakes up in space and as Kyuubey narrates, Madoka’s magic went beyond time so space is getting reorganized according to Madoka’s new laws. They see a huge comet supposedly all the despair that Madoka is shouldering. Though the amount of hope equal to creating a new universe was reached, it can also mean an equal despair to end the universe. Madoka fights the despair that is engulfing the planet. The great blast (Big Bang?) causes her life to have no beginning or end anymore. Meaning, there’s no proof or memory left of her existence in a world. Her existence shifted to another plane and became a mere concept. Nobody will be aware of her nor will she interact with anyone as she ceases to be a person in this space. Akemi feels sad that Madoka’s fate is worse than death. However Madoka says she can see everything in all worlds, past and present. Because of that, she got to understand how Akemi struggled so hard for her in different timelines. She is glad to have a great friend everywhere. She’s not afraid of being alone because she’ll be with everyone everywhere forever (that’s scary). Akemi fears of forgetting her so Madoka thinks it’s too early to give up and gives her hair ribbons to her in hopes she won’t forget her when she returns to Earth. Since she has to go meet her other friends, she hopes they will meet again.

Kamijou is seen playing his violin to the judges as Madoka and Sayaka watch. Madoka mentions that this future would disappear and probably not how she wanted but it was necessary to save her. Sayaka is okay is that and is just grateful that she is able to hear him play once more. She is glad that Hitomi ended up with him and is sure she’ll make him happy. After that, Madoka and Sayaka disappear. Seems to be an aftermath of Sayaka’s witch labyrinth from Mami, Kyouko and Akemi’s attack. Kyouko is upset that Sayaka’s fate has to end like this when they just became friends. Mami says their hope will bring misfortune to this world and that they must disappear before that happens. Akemi holds Madoka’s ribbons in her palm but the rest do not recall who Madoka is. At the park, Madoka hears Madoka’s little brother saying Madoka’s name. Talking with Madoka’s mom, she learns that it is his imaginary friend and wonders if this Madoka is anime character (are they trying to break the fourth wall?). Then we see Akemi talking to Kyuubey about all the hypothesis about witches, using humans’ emotion to gather energy, a faster way to gather curses and the likes. Kyuubey is fascinated with  her theories and hypothesis (truths as she insisted) and would be delighted if all that were true since it would be easier to harvest energy but mentions since she is the only one with her memories intact, it’ll be hard for her to prove it. Even if there aren’t witches born in this world, it doesn’t mean there are no curses. The distortions of this world change form and attack people from the darkness. So instead of witches, we have towering white demons (digital men in robes?). Akemi narrates that all the sorrow and hatred will continue in this world that can’t be saved. Yet this world was the place Madoka tried to save. That’s why she won’t forget it no matter on and continue to fight on. Akemi takes on the horde of demons while a faint voice from Madoka gives her the strength to kick ass. That is one pair of badass wings she sprouts! Is she using Madoka’s weapon too? The final end screen quote: “Don’t forget. Always, somewhere, someone is fighting for you. As long as you remember her, you are not alone”. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll keep that in mind. So my life is safe because of Madoka? Oh sure, now that makes sense.

Always Read Between The Lines…
The whole affair is such a bittersweet and sad ending. This is definitely the grimmest and the darkest magical series that I have ever watched and I feel even there are many other magical girl shows out there that I have never seen, I bet that none will surpass this one. Basically everything here is just dark and grim. Part of the whole drama deals with depression, suicide, killings, hatred and very much the darkness of the heart. Probably that is what made is controversial in the first place. I must say that the concept and the story flow were pretty much interesting from how the energy is harvested and the inevitable and sad fate of magical girls. The mechanics of how it works was smooth so surprisingly a dumb guy like me could even comprehend how it all works when all the pieces of the puzzle is put together. So now we know why there are so many magical girl series out there. To help sustain the insatiable energy consumption of the otaku universe! Isn’t that why Sailormoon is such a popular classic? Isn’t that why the Pretty Cure series has so many spin-offs and is still currently running? Isn’t it a wonder why we have so many magical girls in the past like Akko, Sammy, Sally, Emi, Minky Momo and even present ones like Nanoha and Sakura and not get tired of them? Oh! This universe runs on the energy of magical girls! How cruel we all are! Thus it goes to show that everything that glitters is not gold.

It’s a sad thing that Madoka had to sacrifice herself to end the looping nightmare for every magical girl. But it is something she finally had the resolve to do. And plus, she isn’t actually quite dead in the end, because she became God and is watching over every one of us. Another reason why otakus will surely love the idea that their god is a magical girl. I have never known of a magical girl who didn’t become one right till the end of the series. Or at least in another timeline. But we weren’t certain about that till the later part. The way they portray Madoka’s dilemma to become one certainly gives off a tense and desperate feel as you have this uncertain feeling if she is going to really accept to become one or not. Besides, Madoka was once a cheerful girl and after Mami’s death, that’s when everything went downhill. She became indecisive, worried and confused. So much so that she’s the most vulnerable character and she could just die anytime! Though she worries about her friends, but I feel that they grew more and more apart even if Hitomi did not have a part in this, it still affects everyone’s morale. Just like Madoka, Sayaka’s cheerful and happy outlook took a devastating turn after she contracted. She became obsessed with her own ideal of justice and eventually snapped after knowing her best friend will take away her only crush in life. Do magical girls have a life? You play with fire, you get burnt. So her worse fears that she’ll never be with Kamijou came true. She’ll never know whether he is grateful for healing him but I’m glad she managed to get over him in the end and leave him to her best friend.

Kyouko may seem like the antagonist at first but I feel that she doesn’t want others to make the same mistake like she did. Eventually she drew closer to Sayaka because she sympathizes with her but obviously it was too late because the latter had succumbed to being a witch. Akemi gives off an enigmatic feel from the start and you can’t help wonder who she is and why she is close to omniscient, knowing details of just about everything. I mean, if you have lived your life like Groundhog Day, only with some alterations, how could you not predict the next thing if everything in the end ends up being the inevitable? That flashback of how she turned from a girl with low confidence and depended on everyone else to somebody independent, kicks ass and hard boiled was a timely catalyst that shows this transformation of hers on why she is so bent on preventing Madoka from becoming a magical girl. With that, everything starts to make sense. But even if her own doing is the one that caused Madoka’s great power to increase, I’m sure even if she hadn’t lift a finger, I think Madoka would still end up being the next powerful witch. Thinking of which, isn’t that how Walpurgis came about? So the next powerful Puella Magi becomes the next greatest witch which will bring an end to all humanity. How ironic could that get?

It is hard to pinpoint Kyuubey as the villain of the series. Sure, he keeps pestering Madoka to become a magical girl and his words may have some rushing in it. But he did not force her as it is ultimately Madoka (and the other girls) who end up agreeing and making the contract. The offer to grant any of your wish come true is indeed tempting. In addition, he already said that he isn’t human to begin with and his species lack what we know and feel as emotions. So how can something not human understand the way humans think and feel? Definitely spot on. Kyuubey looks so creepy that it makes viewers paranoid if this ever-smiling cat has a hidden agenda in turning young women into magical girls. Besides, he could beat Cheshire cat to any smiling award because it’s like his smirk is a permanent fixture on his face. Have you ever seen him put on another expression? It’s like he is wearing a mask. But on and off, you’d see him blink so I guess the creepy part is just his little grin. To make it even creepier, the way Kyuubey stares at ‘you’ makes it feels like he is staring at your soul! Yikes! It’s as though he wants your soul too! Sorry, Kyuubey, I don’t fit your description as a magical girl since I’m a guy. Plus, I don’t really want to die for the universe. EVER! Kyuubey’s explanation and revelation of how everything works is a definite eye opener. It makes you think about your own case because some of those stuffs really do apply in our real lives. For instance, do we feel pity for the chicken that was slaughtered so that we can enjoy our tasty fried chicken meal? What about girls hitting puberty and adolescent age, they sure are an emo lot, aren’t they? So who is the real baddie here, you ask? I would say that everyone is a villain because of our own inner demons. Each one of us have our own selfish wishes and desires. No, don’t blame yourself yet. That’s normal being human. The girls have only themselves to blame if they become magical girls and then slowly into a witch. Of course from this view, I feel that this is a necessary balance to the world like yin and yang. With light there is darkness. With good there is evil. One cannot exist without the other. And since nobody is perfectly in either category, so you become a magical girl at your high point and a witch at your low point. Just like a rising pop idol becoming really popular before fading to obscurity. Makes sense, don’t you think?

There were just certain things that I thought over about but ended up confusing myself because well, I thought too much. For instance if Kyuubey’s species has the ability to grant just about anything, wouldn’t that make them like Gods in the first place? Maybe it’s their sophisticated technology or something but to even grant time travelling abilities? Even if there are multiple alternate universes, couldn’t they just grant the wish themselves for eternal energy to feed the universe instead of using magical girls? Also it’s like they’re disposable but yet indisposable. Each time when one dies, another one is quickly replaced and retains the memories and knowledge of the previous (perhaps by devouring the dead one). How do they know that one of their kind is down and out? Where the heck do they come from? However this replacement thingy doesn’t apply when Akemi does her time travelling since everybody’s memories are reset except hers. And with the absence of witches in the new rewritten world, it goes to show that evil is still a necessary and balancing force for good to exist. So I guess it isn’t possible if one makes a wish for true peace because somehow and somewhere evil still lurks albeit in a different form.

The action scenes especially when the magical girls go witch hunting, I’m not saying that they are outstanding in the sense that they are jaw dropping and will leave you in awe. But those who fight using unlimited firearms are interesting. I like Mami’s cool rifle blasting action. It’s like use-once-and-throw. And she can pick up the rifle from just about anywhere. Whenever she pulls off this technique, she seems to exude lots of confidence in her abilities as a veteran. I just wish that she had more screen time to show us more of those stunts before her untimely and gruesome passing. Akemi’s one is also not bad. The idea of keeping all her firearms in a different space and then whipping them out at any time proves to be quite useful at lots of times even if they may seem absurd and just impossible. Just like Mami, Akemi certainly know how to kick ass and do it in style. I guess that is what happens if you have gone on lots of witch hunting spree and seen too many deaths. Practice makes perfect? Too bad I just didn’t find Sayaka’s sword slashing any appealing, though. Seems generic. Kyouko’s lance that can turn itself something like multiple nunchukus was also interesting but if you ask me, I’d still prefer the gun totting ones.

Since SHAFT produced this anime, you can bet that the drawing and art will not be your conventional style. The designs of some of the buildings, monuments and structures give a feel that we are indeed in some alternate future. I would say that they are quite creative. Though we don’t have mindless words and comments scattered all over the screen like what SHAFT did in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Pani Poni Dash, the art differs when the heroines enter the labyrinth. You can tell with all the messed up montage and cuttings put together like as though it’s one big nightmare. Be it real time pictures or crayon sketches. Some of you may also have notice this. That the characters resemble very closely to those in Hidamari Sketch. That’s because the characters are designed by Ume Aoki, the author of the art-themed Hidamari Sketch series. So if you think you may have seen Yuno in Madoka or a hint of Miyako in Mami, don’t try to rub your eyes too hard. I just thought I could see that little green bug thing from Hidamari Sketch making a cameo appearance as either one of the messy montage or the familiars. Maybe it did, maybe it did not. Wasn’t paying that much attention anyway. On a trivial note, sometimes when the camera zooms up Akemi’s face at an angle, this kind of scene somehow reminds me of similar ones like Senjougahara in Bakemonogatari, another series that SHAFT produced. Heck, I don’t remember this clearly but I think there was one scene in this show whereby it reminded me of another familiar scene in Bakemonogatari. The one at the bridge top where Madoka threw down Sayaka’s Soul Gem, that scene looks nostalgically familiar to the one in Bakemonogatari’s Tsubasa’s scene at the electric poles with Araragi. But correct me if I’m wrong. It could be another scene or not. Coincidentally, Chiwa Saito was the seiyuu for both Akemi and Senjougahara. Is it really coincidence? Just like in previous SHAFT’s animes, the different end card illustrations from various people fills in the next episode preview instead of scenes from the next episode. Well, I would say that some of the sketches make them look pretty cute.

The voice acting is quite good and each character is portrayed to their utmost behaviour. Aoi Yuuki does a fine job in making Madoka sound like an insecure and vulnerable girl who could only helplessly watch her pals suffer the fate of being magical girls. This isn’t her typical goofy role like Ichigo in Yumeiro Patissiere or the commanding Mina in Dance In The Vampire Bund. Chiwa Saito wasn’t recognizable as Akemi at first since she didn’t put on her trademark voice that I would recognize like Rebecca in Pani Poni Dash, Stella in Arakawa Under The Bridge or Kirie in Girls Bravo. Still, she sounds befitting Akemi’s role as a cold and distant girl that has seen too many same deaths of her dearest friend. Surprisingly I could recognize Ai Nanoka as Kyouko. Even if she didn’t put on her antic-like voice like how she did in Fuura in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei or Koyomi in Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou, she is still identifiable. It feels like she has matured. Kaori Mizuhashi as Mami was cool and calm so I didn’t really thought she was the voice behind characters like Miyako in Hidamari Sketch or Lili in La Corda D’oro. Likewise Eri Kitamura as Sayaka but of course I’m not familiar with her voice even after all these years hearing her as Rin in Kodomo No Jikan, Eve in Needless and Ami in Toradora. Emiri Katou as Kyuubey (Kagami in Lucky Star) is definitely one cool cat. There is no hesitation or doubt in Kyuubey’s words nor did he mince his words. They are direct and straight to the point even if it hurts. But like they say, the truth hurts. Can you handle it? Ryouko Shintani (Milfeulle in Galaxy Angel series) and Yuko Goto (Asahina in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu) are instantly recognizable in their respective roles as Hitomi and Madoka’s mom even if they didn’t go into their usual voice. The opening theme song is Connect by ClariS. Though it may sound like your typical lively anime pop, but I feel that there is a hint of sadness in it. I don’t know, half of the time I see Madoka crying. Are they tears of joy or sadness? My guts tell me it’s the latter. The ending song is creepy. If you are familiar with Kalafina’s style of music like the one in Kuroshitsuji II, then you’d be able to guess how Magia would sound like. Coupled in with the eerie shadowy animation and the pace of the song, I prefer to skip this part so as not to have any nightmares. As for the background music, the majority of them sound grim and depressing. Especially the ones with female church choir-like voices. It gives off a sad feel and sometimes a hopeless predicament for the characters. Truly depressing but befits the scene.

So it goes to show that being a magical girl is not all nice and everything spice. Being dressed in fancy clothes, holding a fancy wand with magical powers to save the world along with a cute magical pet all just seems sugar coated now. Hope is just a reason for them to carry out their magical girl duties. You can sure that my perception of magical girls will never be the same again. With each new or old magical girl, I’ll be suspicious if she really had an ulterior motive or will end up becoming a demon herself. And somehow every white cat that crosses my path seems to remind me of Kyuubey… PLEASE DON’T LOOK AT ME WITH THOSE EYES! Sometimes sacrificing yourself for the greater benefit of the universe as a whole may seem like a noble thing to do just like dying for your country. I’m sure many people won’t mind doing that if it wasn’t the fact that they will be facing a grim death. So yeah, you can bet that I won’t be selling my soul even if it’s an exchange to watch animes for eternity. Once again, would I die for the universe? LIKE HELL! NO WAY!!!

Motto To Love-Ru

October 15, 2011

I guess I’m such a sadist after all. No matter how pitiful or annoying it gets, I somehow find it amusing to myself about Rito’s misfortune, bad luck and troubles. Despite my previous blog on how the first TV series was just mediocre and to watch it for the absurd and silliness, that didn’t stop me from continuing to watch its sequel Motto To Love-Ru. That translates into ‘More Trouble’ and you know especially who. For the uninitiated, to cap what this series is about, it’s about this unlucky high school kid Rito who accidentally gets engaged to a princess of the powerful Deviluke Empire, Lala. A big portion of the series dedicates itself to see how Rito’s normal life gets screwed up by Lala’s inventions and the other zany and wacky characters, thus the trouble he gets into and the main theme and title for this show. Well, life is no walk in the park as they say. Oh yes, throw in all the fanservice and ambiguous compromising situations too. That’s the real reason why we’re watching this series, right?

But unlike the first season’s format which shows an entire episode for a particular story, this time around they have divided each episode into 3 different parts. So I guess in small ‘bite sizes’ it makes viewers have an easier time ‘digesting’ and following through the antics rather than an entire duration. Because of this, it doesn’t feel draggy but at the same time not anything fresh either. You know, it’s the same ol’ thing. Rito getting into trouble. Though not every part sees him going through all the torment, some sections delves a little deeper into other characters. Albeit not much but at least it’s better than seeing the poor kid going through all the suffering in each episode. That would be like getting old fast. Oh wait, has it?

Trouble 01: Once Again From The Beginning
This isn’t a retelling of how it all began. Instead it is a continuation after the first season and OVA. The usual life of Rito and his sister Mikan (don’t forget that baby plant Celine too) with Lala continues. Lala’s twin little sisters, Nana and Momo are visiting him. Rito and Lala are running late for school so Lala makes a mad dash while tagging his hand. Her sudden stop has him flying and landing by Yami’s side. Not amused by his bold actions, she punches him back to Lala. First episode, already things like this happen. Then they pass by the place where they first met when Lala ran away and confessed to him. She takes this chance to confess that she likes him as she feels this is the best place to do it. I guess now they won’t make it to school in time so Lala uses her newly improved warp invention to teleport them right over. As usual, things do not go as expected because Rito finds himself in a dark space. Actually his head is underneath Haruna’s skirt!!! That’s not the horrifying part. The most embarrassing part is that they are totally naked and all their friends and other students there have witnessed their ‘boldness’. So how is this new invention improved? It’s the same like the last time! It gets worse when Lala continues being an airhead, oblivious to her nakedness as she hugs Rito while continuing to confess that she likes him.

Trouble 02: War In The Bathhouse
Rito, Lala, Haruna and Mikan visit the bathhouse and are surprised to see Yami there. Mikan tries to befriend Yami but she’s rather distant and doesn’t want make friends with her. The wall suddenly explodes as a pair of bounty hunters reveal their intention to capture Yami. However all they see is Rito coming through the steam (he’s actually being remotely controlled from by the cowardly bounty hunters). They also planted a bomb on his head and it will explode if taken out by force. The bounty hunters realize Yami’s weakness of not hurting her friends so they got her in a pinch. This means they use Rito to do ecchi stuff on the girls. Mikan goes in search for the baddies and finds them hiding in a dustbin (because they’re so noisy). Lala manages to tweak and control Rito and uses him to ram the bad guys (and ultimately himself). Yami thanks Mikan and they become friends.

Trouble 03: The Sound Of Ticking Love
Yui imposes her strict moral policing in school. This includes confiscating one of Lala’s inventions. Though Rito tries to warn her, she warns him of doing anything shameless. Then she sees Saki in an elaborated dress (apparently to court Zastin) and tells her off. Saki mocks her that she has never fallen in love before. Yui stays back after school when Rito comes to get something he forgot. He advises her to relax a little because at the rate she’s going, it’s going to get tiring. Yui leaves and passes by Yami who is reading a literature book. Yami asks if Yui has fallen in love before, causing her face to go red. She is interested to know more since it’s something she can’t understand after thinking over and over again. It suddenly starts raining so Yui takes refuge at a playground. She sees Rito there too. He lends her his handkerchief so she gives him back Lala’s invention. She initially wanted to give him back earlier but the timing wasn’t good. Suddenly Rito hugs her. Yui’s mind starts to go crazy and her heart racing like crazy. Turns out that he was shielding her from making a noise because that perverted principal Kouchou was passing by. Yui gets upset and leaves (probably it wasn’t what she expected). Lala’s invention then explodes by Rito’s side.

Trouble 04: Warped Into Darkness
Rito and Haruna accidentally touch Lala’s warp invention. Oh no. Yeah, this means they are teleported somewhere else naked. In a dark storeroom, Rito tries hard to control himself from looking. Haruna gets scared and accidentally they had physical contact. Rito suggests covering up using some cloth. Since the door is lock, they’ll have to wait for someone to find them. Both are time are in an awkward situation so Rito tries to strike up a conversation about their parents. Things are heating up as they both get really close to each other. The mood is ruined when Mikado opens the door after hearing some ruckus downstairs. Turns out they are in her underground basement. Lala and Yui also found them and the misunderstanding begins.

Trouble 05: Welcome To The Yuuki Household
Mikan’s teacher, Haruko Mito will be paying a house visit. However her dad, Saibai is too busy with his manga deadline to make it home. It won’t be nice to reschedule again since they’ve done it too many times. However Lala comes up with an idea. Haruko’s intention to pay a visit is actually because she’s a fan of Saibai’s work. At the door, she meets Saibai. Hey wait a minute. Isn’t that Rito in a horrible disguise? And he’s bloody stiff too. This isn’t going to work. Oh wait. Haruko bought it. Rito is bad at lying and Lala’s near slip of the tongue that he is ‘Saibai’s’ lover almost screw the whole thing up. Then Haruko admits that she is his biggest fan and wants an autograph. Rito still hasn’t come down and signs on her boobs! Lala gives Rito drink some herb but it turns him drunk. Not only he rips off Haruko’s top, when Mikan tries to pull him apart, he pulls down her shorts! Have you ever seen a daughter beating up her ‘father’? In school, Haruko must have misunderstood the whole thing and wants Mikan to fight on like she will too.

Trouble 06: Slumber Party
Yami and Haruna are invited to Rito’s house for a nabe party. Then the girls decide to have a sleepover. While Rito is soaking in the bathtub, his mind is running wild on his love fantasies with Haruna. Probably he soaked too long so the girls are going to enter. But isn’t it a little cramped? Don’t worry, Lala’s invention will have the bathtub turn into a huge space like the public bathhouse. Rito starts to panic as he tries to discreetly escape while the girls wash each other. After many near close calls, Rito thinks he is straight home to safety. Just then, Peke wakes up from his slumber and notices Lala’s invention. He fiddles with it and returns the bathroom back to normal size. Now everybody is cramped up together. Yeah, Rito is right in the middle of everyone. You know what this means for him, right? Peke the culprit feigns ignorance and goes do something else.

Trouble 07: Special Love Potion
Yui is sick so Rito is tasked to send handouts to her home. Yui’s college brother, Yuu skips classes just to take care of her. Rito arrives at the doorstep and meets Yuu. I guess just like the other characters, he would love to see some spice in his life. Or in this case his sister’s. He invites Rito in so that he could hand the notes personally to her. Oddly, Rito comes into her room without knocking! And she’s undressing! He deserves to get trashed. After giving her the notes, Rito starts to feel nervous since he is in a girl’s room so his eyes start scanning the room to see if there is something they could talk about. Yui notices this and wonders if there is anything weird in her room. Just when she thinks his serious face could mean something that defines the rest of her life, what he is asking is just if she likes cats since her room is filled with pictures and stuff toys of the feline. She starts panicking and accidentally trips, falling into Rito’s arms. Guess what? Yuu comes in. Woah. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude. How can they pull out from this one? Rito thinks of leaving now or else he’ll make her cold get worse but she says that her cold is gone (did that hugging fixed it?). Then her other friends come in to pay her a visit. Yui wonders what will happen if they spend a little more time alone. From her face, you can tell she was thinking of something shameless.

Trouble 08: Through The Looking Glass
Rito inadvertently puts on one of Lala’s spectacles invention. He gets shocked to see Mikan in her undies. Worse, he can’t take it off. However he doesn’t realize that this is the effect of the spectacles till he sees himself naked via a shop window’s reflection, though he can feel his clothes on. So I guess you can say Rito has the best view from now on as he sees all the colourful and panty styles of his female classmates. Lots of perverts would pay a high price to have this glasses. In class, Run comes up to Rito to tell him that she’ll be in his class from now on since she successfully persuaded Kouchou for a transfer. Run isn’t happy that he is putting on something from Lala. Then he accidentally toggles a switch and this time he sees through the undies. Now everybody’s naked! He can’t take it anymore seeing all the lovely naked bodies and bumps into other girls on his run. Just when he thinks Lala is here to rescue him from this awful visions, Run comes by and wants him to put on her glasses. During the struggle, Run sneezes and changes into Ren. I guess the view just got ‘uglier’. Regretting that you should’ve appreciated females’ body?

Trouble 09: You Are The Lovely Cinderella
Saruyama is love sick. There is a particular girl he likes but couldn’t find. Rito knows who this girl is because it’s his girl version, Riko! To make things worse, Lala wants to help him out and sets them up together! During the date, Saruyama tries to get close to Riko but she is rather defensive and doesn’t let him to get to her. Along the way, they meet several of their friends like Yui (finding it familiar to see this Riko from somewhere) and Mikan and Yami (wondering if his other side has awoken). Then at the park, Riko notices her body is turning back to the original form. Thankfully she makes a run for it before Saruyama lost his control as he tries to hug her and confess his love. By that time, Riko’s already gone. Phew. That was a close shave. However Haruna sees him in a girl outfit and runs away in shock. Boo hoo! Saruyama is heartbroken and thinks he has been dumped but isn’t going to give up, confident he’ll meet her again and making her his girlfriend. Sometimes the truth is just right under his nose…

Trouble 10: Yami Yami Fashion
The gang sees Yami reading a fashion magazine and decide to go on a shopping spree and dress her up. Of course they drag Rito along and he bears the brunt of Yami’s punches whenever something ecchi happens even if it’s not his fault. Yami looks cute and like an ordinary girl. Then they are confronted by punks who want them cuties to hang out with them. They target Yami but Rito steps in like a man to protect her. They get rough with him tells them off that Rito is his target. What does that mean? Who cares because she bashes them up real good. A lesson they’ll never forget. Yami regrets that the clothes they bought her are ripped so she decides to return to her old clothes. In the library, the gang are spying on her wondering if she has given up Earth clothing for good. However Risa and Mio went to ascertain it by flipping up her skirt to reveal the panties she bought at the store. Guess who get punched instead?

Trouble 11: Wonderful Love
While Haruna walks her dog Marron at night, she gets this strange feeling that she’s being stalked. She relates this problem to Rito and Lala who are at Mikado‘s clinic with Oshizu. Lala decides to help out by using her invention to swap bodies. She intends to become Haruna to take the bait and nab the culprit. The plan works out fine but because Lala is in Haruna’s body, she lost considerable amount of strength and is no match for the stalker. Eventually with teamwork, they defeat the stalker and confront him. As he explains, he fell in love at first sight but notes he has no interest in girls. Revealing his true identity, ‘he’ turns out to be a female alien dog who has fallen in love with Marron instead! Because Oshizu is still afraid of dogs, she hits her away, landing her in Mikado’s clinic totally in bandages.

Trouble 12: The Twins’ Escape
Gid learns that Nana and Momo have escaped again so Zastin offers to capture them. Where else can those twins go? Yeah, Rito’s place. Then the rest learn from Zastin that they ran away from home because they don’t want to study. Well, I guess it runs in the family because Lala also did the same. Zastin’s lecture must be awfully boring that it allowed the twins to escape. Taking refuge under a bridge, Nana blames Momo for doing this. Then they start fighting each other by tickling each other’s tail so much so they ended up stripping themselves. We’re not watching hot lesbian sex, are we? Zastin finds them and is shocked to see them in such a position. However as he tries to bring them back, the twins unleash their plant and animal fury that wrecks havoc. Rito goes to save Mikan who has been trapped by the rampaging tree’s branches (why is it trying to take off her panties?!). In the end, the twins call their father to tell him that they’re staying on Earth a little longer. Please define a little longer. Does he have a choice? Even the ruler of the galaxy has to bow down to his daughters’ wishes. The twins crash at Rito’s home while the poor kid is covered in bandages from his heroic rescue.

Trouble 13: Queen Of Love?
Saki is down because of her crush for Zastin. Elsewhere, Rito is trying to run away from Lala because that girl wants him to taste her homemade bento. Who would want to eat something oozing with dark aura? Rito is kidnapped by Rin and Aya who want him to call Zastin to school and create and opportunity for Saki to confess her love to him. Well, does he have a choice? I guess he has to after hearing their little past of how Saki saved them from bullies (especially Aya) and they’ve been loyal to her ever since. Rito manages to call Zastin to school as Saki meets up with him but has a hard time trying to spit out the words. Spying Rito is caught up by Lala who shoves the deadly bento down his throat. In pain, his random helter-skelter causes him to bump into Saki as they end up in a compromising position. Zastin saw her pantsu but proclaims he didn’t see anything (liar!). In the end, Rito gets chased by a very annoyed and upset Saki, a very displeased Aya and Rin, and a very eager Lala. Oh yeah, everybody wants a piece of him. As for Zastin, he just walked away. Yeah, minding his own business.

Trouble 14: Oh Let’s Play!
Run orders some space skunk in her revenge plan to turn Lala into a kid so that her powers will be halved. However the skunk releases its gas on her and turns her into one. Then it escapes. Oh no. Run relates the problem to Lala and Rito. They offer to help look for the skunk. Speaking of which, it is already wandering within their school. Lala gets skunked as Rito goes after it. Everywhere it goes, it turns everyone into kids. Except for Haruna, she is being tasked to take care of the children. Yeah, the high school has turned into a big nursery. Finally Run traps the skunk in the box but falls off the roof. Luckily Lala uses her rope to catch her. Run felt guilty for trying to get her revenge. However Lala pulled too hard and sends Run flying. Looks like even if she did t lose her powers, she can’t control them. As for Haruna, she has to bear with all the naughty kids pulling her hair and clothes. Don’t worry, the effects will wear off soon as Mikado mentions. I hope that doesn’t mean days.

Trouble 15: The Flavour Of Chocolate Is A Sweet Sensation
Yui isn’t amused of Risa and Mio teasing her about Valentine’s Day chocolates. Saruyama is still fantasizing about receiving chocolates from Riko. Back home, Yui tries making chocolates so Yuu wonders if it’s for that Rito kid, causing her to blush but firmly deny it (if course we know that’s not true). Once she’s done, she starts panicking of wondering how to hand it over to Rito. In class, Yui observes how Risa and Mio nonchalantly hand their chocolates to Rito. Later she confronts him but is too tensed up and embarrassed so she screws up her line and yells at him. Later the duo are paired for class duties. Her attempt is interrupted again when Run comes giving chocolate to Rito via her mouth! Rito’s panic has him end up underneath Yui’s skirt. Ouch! Later Yui sees Lala and Haruna handover their chocolates to Rito. Then at the stairways, she finally manages to give hers but says that they’re just friends. Though she continues to fluster, Rito feels happy because he had always thought she hated him. Yui’s heart calms down and she feels glad that she manages to give it to him. Back home as Rito opens his chocolate presents, the one from Yui has a shape of a cat’s face. Though he thinks the chocolates are obligatory chocolates, Mikan doesn’t thinks so.

Trouble 16: Beach Girls
The whole gang are invited to play at Saki’s private beach. Yeah, a perfect excuse for girls in swimsuits and fanservice. This includes Mikado wanting Rito to rub lotion over her body. But Oshizu’s powers were too much and sends Rito touching Nana’s flat chest. Then it’s watermelon splitting time. Saki intends to show off her skills but was foiled by Rito (falling from the sky). With the high quality watermelons wasted, Momo summons a watermelon alien. Ugh… Who wants to eat that? But the alien took it to heart (especially Saki’s mockery) and got upset, going on a perverted rampage. Seriously, can Rito beat that alien with a stick? Well, he doesn’t have to since Yami finishes it off. Everyone has a taste of the watermelon alien and finds it delicious. Eh? Why is it still alive even though it is cut in half?

Trouble 17: Late Night Private Tutor
Rito is in trouble. Another kind of trouble. His grades are so low that he starts fearing Haruna will never love him because she hates idiots. Plus, the makeup exams are tomorrow. After Yami snorts at his low score, she tells him that it would be better studying with someone. Rito finds out Lala scores perfect in her tests and as Peke says, she’s considered a genius. She flunked her earlier exams was because she didn’t understand Earth’s language but has gotten used to it. And yes, Lala becomes Rito’s private tutor, burning the midnight oil. Because they’re working late into the night, Peke started feeling sleepy so with his energy running out, this means Lala’s clothes will vanish. Yeah, she’s naked. Why doesn’t she put on normal clothes? Anyway, Mikan wanted to reward Rito with snacks for putting in effort but when she sees Rito over naked Lala (of course a misunderstanding), she changes her mind and tells him to continue to study harder. What kind of lesson is that? Worse, next day at the exam, he forgot everything he learned! Was Lala’s body that hot to make you forget everything? You don’t need a sophisticated machine or technology to do that.

Trouble 18: Master Of Love
Lala continues to hug Rito in public. Rito continues to not like it. Risa and Mio offer to give tips on how she can improve her love. Oh no. Giving her a guidebook, Lala follows it word for word as she manages to get Rito to go follow her on a detour after school. She tries acting shy (no response), pushing him around (hurts too much) and being tsundere (poor kid ended up so confuse). Then at an alley, she wears a negligee and seduces him. However she stops halfway after wondering what the next step is. Ah well, and you thought she had the perfect chance then. On the way home, Lala feels down that her methods fail. Rito feels tired after being dragged around but notices her tears. Being the dense guy he is, Peke points to the guidebook Lala has been referring to. Understanding what it means, he tells Lala that taking a detour like this is fun once in a while. Lala is back to her happy self and starts hugging him like nobody’s business.

Trouble 19: Yami’s Clinic
While helping Yami out in the library, Rito yet again gets into another ecchi situation. He could’ve been dead meat for sure but Yami suddenly stops and collapses into his arms. Realizing that she has a burning fever, Rito takes Yami to see Mikado. Needing to place her in a recovery capsule, Mikado wants Rito to help undress Yami since Oshizu isn’t around. He can’t handle it and burns out so Lala takes him out. Once Yami is healed, Mikado informs her that Rito carried her all the way here. She wonders why her enemy would do something like this to her so Mikado’s reply that in his eyes, she isn’t an enemy. Yami is reconsidering her thoughts on Rito when he and Lala come back. Picture this scene: A guy accidentally sees a girl getting dressed. What will happen next? Yami’s hair becomes sharp objects to turn it into a house of flying daggers.

Trouble 20: The Antagonist
Everybody is in awe after getting to know Run will be starring alongside in an episode of Magical Kyouko. However Run isn’t too enthusiastic because she’ll be playing the villain’s part. She feels like a side character though this is Kyouko’s show. During the filming, Run gets a little annoyed that the director doesn’t find her performance okay. During the break, Kyouko goes to talk to her and reveals that she is a fan of hers. Yeah, she reads her blogs and has all her CD albums. Whenever Kyouko is depressed, she would just listen to her songs and that is enough to cheer her up. Kyouko continues to be nice as Run feels bad for antagonizing her. Suddenly Kouchou strips himself wanting the ladies to sign an autograph on his body. Kyouko burns him with her flames. Run is shocked that the fire is real and not special effects. Kyouko reveals that she is half human, half alien. This show was made to make the best use of her powers. It’s so good that people think they’re special effects. With that, Run and becomes close friends with her and promise to exchange mails.

Trouble 21: A Strange Haruna
Haruna is acting very strange in school. Very strange indeed. When Risa squeezes her boobs as her sick way of greeting girls, Haruna did the same to her! Not only that, when Yui reprimands them for doing shameful things, she goes squeezing her boobs too! Accidentally she took off her bra and doesn’t know what the heck this is. Then when told about it, she lifts her own shirt to see for herself! Yeah, something very strange about her. Later Haruna sees Rito resting by a tree and goes to talk to him. She confesses that she likes him. Woah! Did I hear that correct?! Even Rito can’t believe it. Has his dream finally come true? He is going to do the same confession but he sees Haruna puckering her lips, which preludes a kiss. Suddenly a couple of dogs start barking outside so Haruna starts going into panic mode. Rito realizes that it is Oshizu possessing Haruna (it’s damn hilarious to see Oshizu panicking on top of the tree even if the dogs are not targeting her and opposite the fence). When the rest find out, they learn Oshizu’s body is under maintenance by Mikado so as she’s strolling in her ghost form, she got scared and was chased by a stray dog. She ended up bumping into Haruna’s body and thought it would be nice to have some fun. Haruna wonders if she really did the confession but Oshizu notes she had no intention to do it. Which means the confession was right from Haruna’s heart? With Haruna back to normal, Risa imposes her boob squeezing greeting to send Haruna into a frenzy. Ah, we sure love the normal Haruna. Why the heck Lala and Oshizu want to join in the ‘fun’ too?

Trouble 22: Becoming Bigger
Risa complains about her flabby waist as she compliments Lala’s perfect body figure. She teases Rito as he blushes. Haruna thinks Rito may like girls with big breasts. However Rito says that it is the inside that counts. Risa twists his words by tempting to show what is underneath her skirt. She is interrupted by the moral police but Risa continues imposing her trademark greeting. Haruna and Oshizu see Nana sulking on their way. Seems Momo teased her child’s body. So the trio decide to conduct Operation Breasts back in Rito’s home. They invite Mikan to join them but she’s smart enough to stay out of this fishy-sounding plan. That operation is on how to enlarge their breasts. They try all sorts of methods like force massaging, tickling and summoning an octopus. Octopus? Yeah, its suction caps are to… Go figure. Since it is not working, Haruna reflects on Rito’s words of inner beauty and that they need to improve themselves one step at a time. Nana decides to improve her inner and outer self so this prompts Haruna to note that she didn’t understand at all.

Trouble 23: Wonderful Life
While Haruna walks Marron, they pick up a homeless stray dog home. However this is no ordinary dog as this is Rito turned into one due to Lala’s machine of swapping his body with a canine. He got chased around town by other people till he is exhausted and then found by them. Marron makes him his little disciple brother and teaches him how to please their master. This includes bathing together with naked Haruna (hey, she won’t suspect a thing) and also shamelessly licking Haruna’s face. Can Rito do it? Obviously he is still too embarrassed. Marron can’t stand his indecisiveness and shows him how it is done. Yeah, he licks here, there and everywhere! Giving in to pressure, Rito finally does his slurping but realizes it to be impossible and runs away. Admit it, you had a nice time. Okay, maybe not. Eventually he finds his way back to Lala and they switch back bodies. Next time he sees Haruna walking Marron, he blushes when he sees Marron licking Haruna in public and even calling the dog his brother.

Trouble 24: The Trance Of Feelings
After witnessing Yami using her Trans powers, Mikan gets enthusiastic to try it out. Lala suggests the body swapping machine. Excited Mikan goes around town doing fun things she has never done before. Yami needs to get use to Mikan’s body since it doesn’t contain her usual powers. But it was enough to give Kouchou another deserved beating for being perverted. Rito sees his sister acting strange but didn’t suspect anything. Since Yami learns she’ll be making dinner, she makes every dish with her favourite taiyaki biscuit. Meanwhile Mikan is being chased by Kouchou who thinks this strange new Yami is totally cute. Yami finds a brush in the toilet and wonders what the heck this is. Rito wonders if she’s not feeling well so he offers to go clean the toilet and wants his sister to go relax. Yami is perplexed by Rito’s kindness though he says it’s because they are family. At the end of the day, both girls switch back their own bodies. So Mikan, it must be tiring getting chased by a dirty old man, eh? But for Yami, it was an eye opener because she was able to experience something important. She envies Mikan for it. And for dinner, Mikan is surprised about the taiyaki dishes she cooked.

Trouble 25: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Rito invites Haruna to his Christmas party at his home. Could you believe it that even a nice girl like Haruna could even start fantasizing romantic thoughts of being alone with Rito? And right smack in the middle of the street. So a short flashback on how Rito and Mikan used to spend Christmas nights together since their parents were always away. So that’s why they would like to spend Christmas with everyone. Rito invites Yami to their party as a surprise for Mikan. And to top it off, Lala brings back their parents to join them. Could have been a perfect night if mommy didn’t ask whose kid this Celine belongs to.

Trouble 26: Troubling Rampage?
Rito wakes up to find Momo’s panties on him! Worse, she’s right next to him. And she’s looking so carefree too. I don’t know what she did last night. Lala left for school early and left Peke sleeping so he could recharge. Since she wants him to bring Peke when he’s done, at this rate Rito will be late for school. Momo gives him some charger for Peke but when he puts it on, Rito’s physical existence is absorbed into Peke and becomes the little suit robot. Since it will wear off in 2 hours, Momo suggests that he will have to act as Peke (actually she wanted to avoid getting scolded by Lala if she ever finds out the truth). Of course Rito is too embarrassed since he gets to feel the sensation of certain body parts rubbing against him. This causes him to ‘malfunction’ by screwing up the kind of dress Lala is supposed to wear or turning them tight. Momo is spying nearby and is getting mixed feelings of jealousy and turned on seeing ‘Peke’ wrapped around defenceless Lala. Rito can’t take it anymore so his ‘malfunction’ affects the other girls around him as they change into weird cosplay outfits. Momo saves the day by putting a replacement badge on Lala to avoid her being totally naked. She takes ‘Peke’ away citing for maintenance since he isn’t feeling well. Momo feels guilty of making Rito going through all this even though she was at fault and took it upon himself for her sake. But it looks like she falls for him even more. Back home, Lala advises oblivious Peke to tell her if he’s not feeling well.

Trouble 27: Lovely Idol
Run wants Rito to be her boyfriend for a day. Seems when she had a chat with Kyouko about boyfriends, Run lied she had one so Kyouko seems enthusiastic to meet her beau. This is so Run doesn’t end up as a liar. Rito is shocked to learn Kyouko as her friend, what’s more her half alien lineage. But when Rito starts talking about Lala, Run gets depressed and thinks he preferred her. Unfortunately they run into Kouchou. Still the same sick ol’ guy as he strips himself just to have their autograph. In the alley, Run takes out an anti-pervert bomb (say what?) that she ordered but upon releasing it, the gas disintegrates their clothes. Oops. Seems she mixed them up. You’re not going to let Kouchou have his way, aren’t you? Kyouko should have used her flames earlier but I guess she didn’t want her real identity to be leaked. Rito leaves to find clothes and help. Run apologizes to Kyouko for lying but she already knows Rito is not her real boyfriend since she started acting strange. Kyouko felt envious then because she thought Run had a boyfriend but now feels relieved. Noticing she likes him, she wants Run to tell her all about Rito so that she could support her. Rito returns with Lala but the latter got so excited of meeting Kyouko and wants to be friends. As for Kouchou, he’s still lying burnt on the public road. What the hell is that? Don’t touch it. It may infect you in some mysterious ways…

Trouble 28:  Pollen Telepathy
Rito takes Celine out for a walk in the park and meets Yui. The old lady mistakes them for a family so Yui starts having weird thoughts that they are married, though she dismisses it. During that distraction, Celine had run off and drank some cola. This causes her to be drunk as she starts spreading spores around. Those infected has a flower grown on their head. What does this mean? Everyone loves Rito! Yeah, the girls just want to get down and dirty with him. Soon, the entire town starts chasing after Rito. Man or woman. Young or old. Yeah, this guy is so popular. The worst part is that Kouchou caught him and starts pounding on him! Oh sh*t! He’s breathing heavily! Oh, the shock! Oh, the horror! He has never been so violated before! Once the flower drops off their head, the spell is over as everyone wonders what had happened. Good thing, a policeman was passing by when he sees Kouchou public indecency. I hope he gets locked up for eternity. Back home as explained by Lala, Celine emits pollens that makes people fall in love. And since Celine loves Rito, her love for him is transmitted through the victims via pollen. So take note, never let Celine get drunk again.

Trouble 29: A Girl’s Feelings
Lala and Rito are supposed to be running some errands. But because there is a new episode of Magical Kyouko, Lala excuses herself while Rito gladly does the chores. Some showy guy is bugging Risa to date her so she saves herself when Rito passes by and pretends to be his girlfriend, cutting off that guy’s interest. As thanks, Risa treats Rito at a maid cafe and toys around with him with the idea of dating her. Then she messes with his head that he should take the lead to seize Lala’s heart and body. Since it’s late at night, Risa has Rito walk her home. Then she makes him come into her room. Hey, her parents are not coming back till late tonight. You know what this means. Then she pushes him onto her bed! She starts seducing him and tells him about her lonely nights. She even offers to ‘test it out on her’ before doing the real deal with Lala!!! OMG!!! Then it turns out that she was just fooling around because he wants to see his cute reaction. Rito leaves and returns home much to Mikan’s ire because he came home empty handed without completing any errand. As for Risa, I guess things indicate her feelings for Rito wasn’t just playing around either…

Trouble 30: Heart Throbbing Email
Rito asks Yui if she could lend a novel called Midnight Date since his dad is using it as a reference for his work (despite the title, the main character is a cat and nothing suggestive). Plus, the bookstores have all but sold out. Mikan finishes the book and decides to lend it but she starts having a dilemma as she has never sent an email to any other guy except those in her family. Yeah, it took her 30 minutes just to compose a normal one. I wonder how many revisions she did. Rito is too tired to answer his handphone and wants Momo to answer it for him, thinking it is another bugging mail from Saruyama. When Momo reads the Midnight Date word, her thoughts that they might be doing something ecchi crosses her mind. Momo ponders the right answer to reply and responds that this should be their little secret. Yui is confused with the answer. By that time, Nana finds out about what Momo is doing and grabs the handphone since she has something she wants to ask Yui. Yui gets another mail and this time it’s about asking her opinion about small breasts. Thing is, Nana forgot to put her name in the mail. This time there is an air of anger in Yui’s reply. Then Celine snatches the handphone away and accidentally snaps a naked picture of Lala. Yeah, I don’t know how but she also sends it. Yui is trying to calm herself down, thinking this is one big prank from Rito when she receives yet another mail. Upon seeing Lala’s naked picture, she blows her top of this sexual harassment!

Trouble 31: All Quiet On The Sister Front
Mikan turns down one of her classmate’s confession, reducing him to tears. Her friends tease her that she loves her brother that’s why she’s not into these kind of things. Back home, Mikan notices Momo getting real close to Rito so she advises him to maintain her distance. She also knows about her bed sneaking activity and hopes she will stop it since Rito is Lala’s fiancee. Momo jokingly invites Mikan to join her in that. That night Mikan sneaks to sleep with Rito as an excuse to catch Momo in the act. She gets more than she bargained for when Rito starts caressing her butt her in his sleep!  Mikan’s butt is a marshmallow?! Pinch his face! Amazingly he didn’t wake up and continued his dream. Mikan decides to return to her room since Momo is not showing up but the lightning strike prevents her from doing so. She remembers when she was small, Rito comforted her during such stormy knights. With sleep talking Rito vowing to protect Mikan, her heart feels at ease. Next morning, Rito is shock to see Mikan sleeping next to him. I guess he never see this coming, eh? Not even his wildest dreams, his sister. Mikan tries to explain but it seems Momo has been watching them all along and things this is part of her sneaky plan.

Trouble 32: False Love?
History repeats itself. Yes, Celine is drunk once more and on a pollen spreading spree. Though they manage to catch her, it was too late as she has spread her pollen to Yami. She ‘borrows’ Rito on a date. Observing what other lovebirds do, she tries feeding him by stuffing 20 taiyakis down his throat! Then she transforms her clothing to something cute as Rito compliments it. Walking along, some fat guy bumps into Rito and he accidentally got his hand on Yami’s boobs. However Yami didn’t feel irritated. Instead, she goes up closer to him feels it’s okay to give in. She wonders if this is the feeling that she’s been trying to understand all the while. She wants to learn more of it and suggests that they kiss. What? Right now? Right here? In the middle of the street? Yeah, she wants to see how deep a simple kiss can be and where it would lead her. Rito tries to shake Yami back to her normal self and that’s when the effects wear off. Normal Yami punches him away for touching her nonchalantly. She questions why he didn’t want to do it with her. He replies that she wasn’t her normal self and it’s not something she would really do. He feels she shouldn’t do things she will regret later. Though she notes he is an idiot for worrying about someone who is after his life, but she doesn’t hate those kinds. For the first time, we see Yami giving a warm nice smile. But that’s just a prelude for her to mention that he’ll die a peaceful death when she kills him instead. So do you prefer Yami in her violent mode of lovey-dovey mode?

Trouble 33: Predicting Love
Rito wakes up to find he is grabbing Momo’s tail! Yeah, she’s in bed with him. Is she enjoying it? Nana isn’t happy that Momo sneaked into Rito’s room again and reminds her that he is Lala’s fiancee. However Momo is happy being his lover. While pondering what good many sees Rito in, she saves Marron from being run over by a truck but they both fell into the river. As they both communicate (Nana’s ability is to communicate with animals), she learns Marron’s master is Haruna. When Haruna finds them, she invites Nana back to her place to dry her clothes. She meets her older sister Akiho who is on her way out on a date. Haruna flusters when Nana reveals she learned from Marron that she has a crush on Rito. Though she has no intention of telling anyone else, she just wants to know what makes Rito so great since to her, he’s just a carefree idiot. Haruna mentions it’s the fact that he makes them feel warm inside whenever he’s with them. Nana realizes that Haruna never told her feelings because she considers Lala her important friend and if she did so, they won’t be able to get along so well like now. Nana leaves but it starts to rain. Lucky for her, Rito comes looking for her since everyone else is worried. Pondering over Haruna’s words, she still doesn’t buy it and calls him a playboy. That night, Haruna ponders if hiding her true feelings means being true friends. The next day in school, Haruna meets Lala and finally tells her straight in the face that she likes Rito. Oh, this is getting interesting.

Trouble 34: I Love You 1
Though Lala is surprised, she quickly apologizes for not noticing Haruna’s feelings and was being selfish all the while. Likewise, Haruna says she doesn’t want to hide her feelings anymore and considers Lala her best friend. Lala is happy that they both share the same feelings for Rito and from now on she’ll cheer on her and herself for Rito. Well, since they both love Rito, it’s no use trying to fight for that guy, right? Yeah, they can share him all they want! Thus after the beach episode, I was wondering where the fanservice pool episode will come. Well, it came in this final episode. Better late than never. So the whole gang gets invited to the pool amusement park and this is our chance to feast on the girls in their sexy swimsuit. Saruyama observes Rito’s casual interaction with the girls and he starts feeling envy that he doesn’t panic around them anymore. He thinks that this is the effect of living with Lala.

Trouble 35: I Love You 2
Run and Kyouko are holding a concert nearby. Oh no, it’s that lecherous Kouchou wanting them to lick their body. Good news is that he won’t be able to do it because some big aqua monster starts to terrorize the crowd. This must be one big horny perverted water monster because the first thing it does with its slimy water tentacles is to grab Run and Kyouko by their sensitive parts and molests them like nobody’s business. Thanks to Kyouko’s flames, they’re able to break free and make a run. But that’s not the end yet. The monster starts terrorizing Rito’s girls. Erm, I mean Rito’s girl pals. So every one of them will have their chance of being sexually harassed cukup-cukup. No girl is spared. When Nana realizes this is some rare aqua pet, Oshizu remembers this is the escaped pet of one of Mikado’s patient. The monster swallows Haruna and Lala while Yami is having a tough time cutting through its regenerating tentacles. Rito becomes a man by diving into the monster and pull out both the girls. However he ran out of energy and can’t pull himself out. After knowing its weakness, Yami dives inside to hammer its pea-sized nucleus. The pool returns to normal but Rito is close on passing out as he sinks to the bottom. His memories flash before him, the time he first met and fell in love with Haruna and also when Lala came into his life. He barely spots Haruna and Lala diving down to pull him out before his eyes closed. In the aftermath, they realize the monster is just the size of a puddle since it is able to grow when mixed with pool water. The owner comes by to apologize and take back his pet.

Trouble 36: I Love You 3
With the uproar over, Rito thinks hard about what Lala and Haruna means to him. Then he goes talk to Lala and confesses that he likes her. Lala is over the Moon but wait! He hasn’t finished yet. Yeah, there is someone he likes for a long time. Lala guessed spot on when she mentions Haruna and her happy reaction all but confuses Rito. I mean, confessions like this would either mean you become sad, upset or jealous, right? Lala wants him to quickly go confess to Haruna so that they can both marry him. Polygamy? Well, once he becomes the king of the Deviluke Empire, Earth rules won’t apply anymore. Lala straps some super booster so that he could jet his way over to Haruna but it was too fast that he bumped into Yami, who subsequently cuts the booster and sends him exploding in the sky after he accidentally has his hands on her butt. Finally Rito is able to meet Haruna alone. She is grateful for saving her. Rito gets his confidence as he prepares to confess. At that time Oshizu spots the duo and thinks of making it livelier but an interruption from Celine causes Oshizu’s magic to accidentally unstrap Haruna’s top as she makes a dash inside. Perhaps Rito was so engrossed in his courage summoning that he didn’t even know Haruna’s gone. So when he finally blurts out “I LOVE YOU!”, it was in front of Mikado, Nana, Run and Kyouko. Yeah, everyone heard it. This has Lala misinterpreting that he loves everybody and it will be livelier if he marries everyone! When Haruna returns, she pushes her close to Rito while asserting that she loves everyone too. And you thought his troubled days are over. Well, it just got worse.

Trouble is his middle name…
Not surprisingly, that is what I expected Rito to get into at the end of the series. It wouldn’t be fun if his troubles were to end, right? Yeah, I’m such a sadist. Better it happen to someone else rather than me. But surprisingly this season seems to fare better than the first season due to the division of the episodes. In a way, it doesn’t make the particular episode boring or draggy though it is pretty much the same thing. I know, overusing the overused cliches in almost every part makes everything stale but I guess due to the randomness and not following any particular plot direction, perhaps it felt less ‘strenuous’.

The only thing that moved forward here is the confirmation of Haruna’s feelings for Rito. That’s about it. As for the other girls like Yui, Risa and even Yami, there are a few scenes that indicate that their feelings are leaning closer towards Rito. We always knew Run and Momo’s open feelings for Rito so that didn’t impact much. Maybe it’s to cater for Rito x Yui fans because we got a handful of ‘close encounters’ and each time the tsundere moral police ends up jumping the gun that it may be something romantic. Even I felt that steamy siscon scene between Rito and Mikan was to cater for fans of this pairing so as not to be ‘left out’. So that kid just about had some nice rapport with just almost every nice bodied girl his age. Gid, Zastin and Ren at least make their appearance here albeit very brief and unimportant ones but it’s better than nothing. I’m wondering if Saki is still continuing to pursue her love for Zastin. After that foul up, there isn’t seem to have any follow up on that. We have more screen time for Kyouko this time round and we see her as a real life teenager rather than someone who exists on the TV screen. As for Celine, she just felt like part of the ‘furniture’. Doing nothing really that leaves any impact except for pulling kiddie pranks here and there. I still wonder what her role is for this series since she only made her first appearance back in the OVA. Kouchou has got to be the most annoying character. I’m not sure but it seems in this season he has a penchant to strip down to his underwear when he wants to pound on a girl. Too bad Rito was the ‘victim’. Haha. But thankfully, it wasn’t a girl.

Unlike in the first season and as mentioned earlier on, the plot and storyline here are basically about the daily lives of Rito and the gang (the hijinks that ensues of course). This means that we won’t see irritating and arrogant aliens either trying to steal Lala away and make her as their bride or extraterrestrial beings targeting Rito so as to eliminate him and have a better chance of taking Lala and claim the throne to the Deviluke Empire. So in this sense the action of ‘thrashing the baddies’ is lessen and replaced with much of the thrashing for Rito and fanservice. Speaking of which, I’m not saying that this season is filled to the brim with mind numbing fanservice but there are enough to keep ecchi lovers satisfied. That’s the reason why we watch this show, right? Some of the mid-intermission is fanservice-y and some just random poses of the characters as they serve as a break and division between the parts in the episode. Loop-the-loop by KOTOKO is the opening theme for this season and is a rock piece. The ending theme is Baby Baby Love by Haruka Tomatsu and sounds like your usual anime pop.

I’m not sure if there will be anymore sequels, spin-offs or OVA to come for this series. But the chances are if it does, it will be more or less the same thing. How far can you run? Stick with the usual successful formula, you can’t go wrong. So if you’re surrounded by a colourful bunch of harem babes including a long time schoolmate crush, an alien princess, a ghost, a busty school nurse, tsundere girl, a transgender idol, an assassin who ‘loves’ you enough to even want to kill you, a loving sister, a pair of twins and some best friends, sometimes it’s best to just suck it in and go along in the ride. I mean, you already have one foot in the grave and in for the trouble, how bad could it get? You’re right. Probably I’ve never been in Rito’s shoes. Don’t ever plan to be.

Zero Vs Zero

October 14, 2011

Yes, yes, yes. I probably had too much free time in between my anime session break to even come up with this kind of versus. As you have seen the title of this blog, I’m sure many anime fans will know which kind of Zero will be featured here, right? Okay, at least to me these characters that share the similar name are the most popular characters with the name Zero. Heck, how many characters are there with the name of Zero? More than zero, at least. Haha. Oops, sorry. A little joke there.

So on one corner we have this Zero guy from Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Rebellion whose real identity is Lelouch Lamperouge or rather Lelouch vi Britannia and in the other corner with have Zero Kiryuu from Vampire Knight. Both hot looking 17 year old guys each with their own dark and complicated past that would certainly make lots of fan girls swoon and drool over them. Unless you’re a fujoshi, that is. So in this little versus blog of mine, here are the comparisons of similarities and differences between these Zero guys:

His other hidden identity
Lelouch: The masked and caped defender of justice named Zero.
Kiryuu: A vampire.

Who knows of this hidden identity
Lelouch: He keeps his Zero alter ego a very heavily guarded secret. But later on, some his comrades find out about it.
Kiryuu: Initially Kaien and Kaname. Subsequently Yuuki.

Lelouch: A very strong believer in his philosophies and stands firm by them. Also the commanding type and with good leadership skills, he is able to manipulate and gain the trusts of others.
Kiryuu: Cold, distant, moody, impulsive and seemingly unfriendly.
But ultimately deep down within their hearts, we know that they are also kind, caring and gentle souls, right? Right.

Hair colour
Lelouch: Black.
Kiryuu: Silver.

Eye colour
Lelouch: Violet (original eye) and bright violet (when Geass eye is activated).
Kiryuu: Light lavender.

Blood type
Lelouch: Type A.
Kiryuu: Type A.

Lelouch: 178cm.
Kiryuu: 181cm.

Lelouch: 5th December.
Kiryuu: 24th October.

Lelouch: Black Knights.
Kiryuu: Cross Academy Guardians.

Offensive ability
Lelouch: His Geass grants him absolute obedience of his victims and they are to obey his command to their best. Also, his intelligence as a brilliant tactician and strategist.
Kiryuu: An anti-vampire gun named Bloody Rose.

Lelouch: Lacking in physical and athletic abilities.
Kiryuu: The temptation to drink blood especially Yuuki’s.

Lelouch: “Checkmate”.
Kiryuu: “What do you want, vampires?”.

The mark
Lelouch: A glowing ‘V’ symbol in his left eye activates when he uses his Geass. He got it when he received his Geass from C.C.
Kiryuu: The mark lines over his neck serve to contain his madness and falling into a Level E vampire. He got it when he was bitten by a pure blood vampire, Shizuka Hiou.

Adopted family
Lelouch: The Lamperouge family in Area 11 kindly sheltered him under their care.
Kiryuu: Kaien Cross acts as his foster father.

Lelouch: Younger sister named Nunally who is blinded and wheel chair-ridden due to an assassination attempt that left her traumatized. Well, if you want to count the other brothers and sisters from the Holy Empire of Britannia like Odysseus, Schneizel, Clovis, Euphemia and Cornelia, it’s going to be one heck of a big family.
Kiryuu: A twin brother named Ichiru whom he believed was dead but still alive.

Lelouch: Ashford Academy.
Kiryuu: Cross Academy.

Childhood friend
Lelouch: Suzaku Kururugi.
Kiryuu: Yuuki Cross.

Family background
Lelouch: The 11th son of the Emperor of Britannia, Charles zi Britannia and the 17th in line to succeed the throne.
Kiryuu: Comes from a descendent of famous vampire hunters.

Family circumstances
Lelouch: His mother Marianne was brutally murdered in an assassination attempt in which his sister was also badly crippled.
Kiryuu: His parents are killed by a pure blood vampire.

Personal life mission
Lelouch: Seek revenge against his father pertaining answers to his mother’s death and to create a better world for Nunally to live in.
Kiryuu: To protect Yuuki.

Lelouch: Suzaku.
Kiryuu: Kaname Kuran.

Love interest
That person he probably likes.
Lelouch: Not that I can think of. And if it had to be one, I have to say she has to be Nunally.
Kiryuu: Yuuki.

Love interest 2
The girl who likes him but doesn’t get her love returned.
Lelouch: Shirley Fenette.
Kiryuu: I don’t remember her name (probably even nameless) but this bespectacled girl fell for him because he saved her from the ‘stampede’ of other crazy fan girls trying to give their Valentine’s Day chocolates to the Night Class hunks.

Usually seen by his side most of the time.
Lelouch: C.C.
Kiryuu: Yuuki.

Targeted antagonist
Lelouch: At first Charles, then subsequently Schneizel.
Kiryuu: At first Shizuka, then subsequently Rido Kuran.

Subsequent power up
Lelouch: Well actually, more like his Geass power went out of control as he cannot “turn off” his Geass anymore.
Kiryuu: After sucking the blood of several pure blood vampires and finally his twin brother, his Bloody Rose powers up is on the same level that can defeat pure blood vampires.

In the end
Lelouch: In order for his Zero Requiem plan to work, he becomes a tyrant to make the entire world hate him and then gets stabbed in front of the large crowd by his accomplice Suzaku disguised as Zero. His death allows people to create a new and better world while piling their past hatred on him.
Kiryuu: Though he plans to hunt down and kill all pure bloods (including Yuuki), he couldn’t so Yuuki leaves the academy with Kaname to forever run from him. Thus giving him a reason to carry on living.

Lelouch: Jun Fukuyama.
Kiryuu: Mamoru Miyano.

From my point of view, I feel that Lelouch is the better Zero seeing that the anime itself is epic. There are so many characters and other plots to keep you on your toes and you will never cease to be amaze with his genius and strategies. While Kiryuu‘s anime series is only half as long as compared to the former, Kiryuu isn’t really the main focus as contrast to Lelouch because Kiryuu has to share the drama with Yuuki and Kaname whereas Lelouch has a very big chunk of just about everything focused on him. So you can say he has more development there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I have zero tolerance (mind the pun) for the latter. But based from my observation over the internet, I find that there are more fans for Kiryuu as compared to Lelouch. Maybe all those hot and sexy picture poses helped, eh? Probably it beats a certain hand over an eye or that mighty confident pose. So next time if you think number one is the best number, try thinking a number that may have no value on the surface but deep down it has lots of substance. Especially if they are being named after a character.


What vampire anime series first comes to your mind? Vampire Knight? Okay, how about something less dark and dramatic? Vampire Hunter D? Okay, how about something without killing vampires? Dance In The Vampire Bund then? Alright, let’s cut out werewolves from the picture shall we? Rosario To Vampire? Hmm…. Think again, no mind-numbing fanservice. Plus, can we leave out the word ‘vampire’ in the title? Trinity Blood, you say? Well, think of something more high school-like and nothing close to the future or apocalypse. Have you guessed it already? Seeing that there are tons of vampire series, old and new, and with the runaway hit of a certain Hollywood teen vampire movie, I guess it’s either you know or do not know about Fortune Arterial: Akai Yakusoku. Yes, this is another show with vampires. But nothing very heavy and it’s your typical high school comedy-cum-drama-cum-romance. Nothing extraordinary. Just add vampires, that’s all.

Based on the adult visual novel of the same name, this kind of simulation games and TV anime genres have recently been so ubiquitous and invading the anime scene each season so much so fans of this kind of genre (like yours truly) really hope that there will be something different and overwhelming. If not, at least something memorable. Unfortunately sad to say, this series isn’t anywhere close to that as I had hoped to be. Sometimes it felt like my brain cells wanted to commit suicide halfway through the series but I persevered in hopes that some super twist will take place. Didn’t happen. Sometimes it felt like I wanted to give up 3/4 of the way but I persevered in hopes that they may have some shocker ending. Didn’t happen. Sometimes it felt like I wanted to scream for the series to give me back 12 episodes and 1 OVA of my life after finished watching the entire series. But that didn’t happen. Okay, so I was partly to blame since I was so eager to watch it before it all even started. So with already 1 foot in the grave, what else more to do? Just sit and ‘enjoy’ the ride. Oh, I wished that ‘enjoy’ word was true…

Okay, here is the story. Your typical male protagonist ‘hero’, Kouhei Hasekura. He is like a frog, rabbit and kangaroo because due to his parents’ work nature, he has been changing schools more than those animals have been hopping their entire lives to keep count. Really. Not kidding. He even said if he were to remember all the schools he has attended, his head will explode. I hope it would so that it will end the story. Didn’t happen. Because of that, he is rather apathetic to life. Anyway, his new transfer school is Shuuchikan Academy, a huge school on the Tamatsu Island that is only accessible via bridge connecting to the mainland. You see, he’s no stranger to this island as he has been here before 7 years ago before this school-hopping craze began.

Episode 1
On his first step into Shuuchikan, he meets the blonde Erika Sendou who is also the school’s student council vice president. She extends her hand to welcome him but upon contact, her heart skips like a thunderous thud. She flusters and obviously denies anything wrong with her and rushes off. Oh, she also leaves the touring of the campus to a guy who happened to pass by: Tsukasa Hachimandaira. How convenient. So Erika is cowering in cold sweat somewhere thinking there must be something odd about this Kouhei guy. Yeah, from viewers’ point of view, it’s called love. Tsukasa takes Kouhei to the Hakuho Dorm where he will be living, also imparting several rules like girls live on a higher floor than the guys and if the boys even think of taking a single step to the girls’ level, Sister Shizuko Amaike will come whacking your head with a frying pan. No kidding. He also meets the pair of sisters, Kanade and Haruna Yuuki. Guess what? They’re childhood friends and though his memories are a little fuzzy, he still remembers them like they remember him. Yeah, they’re so over the moon that their first love, oops I mean, childhood friend is back. Guess what too? His room is directly underneath the sisters’ so it’ll be pretty convenient for them to come down via a convenient trap door anytime if they want to spend some quality time with him.

Kouhei is then handed a handbook of Shuuchikan’s 108 mysterious spots. He has to take photos of them as part of the school’s ritual for newcomers. Like the obedient newbie he is, he goes about snapping shots of the places and on his way, meets a cutie loli, Shiro Tougi chasing her white little bunny, Yukimaru. He helps her catch the bunny so being the grateful little girl, she helps him to his next destination, which is the student council’s building, where he meets Shiro’s serious imouto-con brother Seiichirou “Sei” Tougi and the carefree but popular student council president Iori Sendou. Yes, he is Erika’s brother and she’s not too happy that he’s inviting him in. Since Kouhei is a little dense, Iori tells him straight that Erika likes him. And he claims that he’s just fulfilling his brotherly role for her sister’s happiness. You sure he’s not just enjoying this? Well maybe. Iori’s prank on Kouhei continues when he switches the male and female bath signs. Kouhei enters the female section by mistake and sees Erika in the shower. You know what’s going to happen right? Though his friends know this is part of Iori’s prank, Kouhei isn’t amused and wants to apologize to Erika. When he gets a chance to meet her, she just tells him to meet her at Hosaka Zelkova at 5pm tomorrow. Hosaka what? According to Tsukasa, it’s a hundred year old tree believed to have a spirit of a girl dwell in it, who can cure any diseases or grant wishes. Now it’s a popular confession spot. I see… Kouhei continues to finish the task Kanade gave him and this time round his next spot is the church. Upon entering, he is shocked to see Iori sucking blood from a girl’s neck. Now that’s a scene you don’t see every day. And poor Erika, she waited at the tree but Kouhei was no show. Another embarrassing moment in her life.

Episode 2
By the time Kouhei arrives, Erika is gone and a note which has something rather unpleasant. I’m sure Kouhei is going to find out what it is pretty soon. Next day is the opening ceremony. Iori charms all the fan girls with his charisma, turning them into hopelessly squealing girls in love. Then it’s Erika’s turn. Her speech seems to indicate a certain culprit barging into the women’s bath area. Yeah, even the spotlight is focused on him. Kouhei tries to explain the misunderstanding but I think all the girls already closed their minds to it. In class, all the guys want to know his sinful secret when emotionless and unfriendly Kiriha Kuze walks in late unperturbed by everything that is happening. Before Kouhei’s reputation as the King of Women’s Bath gets out of hand, he goes around finding Erika to clear things up but couldn’t find her. Along the way, he crashes into Kiriha who is carrying a box of student handbooks. He helps her pick up and delivery the box. Back in the dorm, Kouhei finds Kanade running some ‘illegal’ auction selling stuff of ex-Shuuchikan popular students’ items. The auction is called off when Shizuko comes in armed with a frying pan and ladle. That night, Kanade and Haruna have their first tea party in Kouhei’s room. Next day, the mock exam results are out. As expected, Erika takes top place in every one of them except maths, in which she plays second fiddle to Kiriha. However they feel Kiriha is purposely passes the other subjects right at the borderline. Then Yukimaru goes missing so Kouhei offers to help frantic Shiro find her pet. He even gets help from his pals. When he asks Kiriha, she just warns him that nothing good comes out from helping others. When Kouhei finally finds Yukimaru, the bunny is in the danger path of a football. Before it could become a football victim, Kouhei dives to take it out from harm’s way, avoiding Erika from using and exposing her vampire powers to save it. The odd part was how Yukimaru stared ‘happily’ at the football coming right at its face. Iori offers to clean up his bruise but thoughts of him sucking his blood prevent Kouhei from letting him clean his wound. Later Kouhei laments he didn’t get a chance to apologize to Erika but speaking of her, she shows up and they both simultaneously apologize for going too far whether it’s at the opening ceremony, standing up on her or the bath folly. She extends her hand and welcomes him to this school and hopes they will get along. When Kouhei asks if she believes in love at first sight, she seems pretty clueless so he realizes this is yet another one of Iori’s pranks. Meanwhile, Sei gives Iori Kouhei’s data and he seems to know that Kouhei isn’t just an ordinary kid, thus the reason why Erika is ‘attracted’ to him.

Episode 3
Erika and Shiro pay their first time visit to Kouhei’s room. With that, Kanade announces that everyone will go shopping to spruce up his room (another excuse to have a tea party, I guess). So they head to town and do all those shopping and errands. Kouhei feels glad that he has returned to this island but Erika cautions him to be wary of her brother. Back at the school, Iori invites Kouhei to the student council room and wants him to play a game with him to get to know each other better. According to this game, the rules of the card are absolute. One of the cards has Iori needing to stab his own hand. Kouhei thinks he’s joking but Iori really stabs it till it bleeds! But the wound soon heals like as though nothing happened. Kouhei’s mind starts to go crazy as he sees horrifying vision of Iori biting his neck. Iori tells him that they are vampires and now that he knows their secrets, he can’t just leave this place. Sei and Shiro aren’t vampires but their families have been serving the Sendous for generations so they do know about their well-kept secret. Iori wants Kouhei to be part of the student council or else risk having his memories erased. Due to his past, he didn’t hesitate to have his memories erased but is caught in a dilemma when he thinks back about the good times he recently spent with his new friends on this school. Iori leaves it to Erika to handle the rest and advises him that only those with will can enjoy their time here. Kouhei learns that Erika is a vampire as she prepares to erase his memories while placing her palm over his forehead. However she starts crying and couldn’t understand why there’s a person who would easily let his memories get erased. Are the days spent in this school something he can easily let go? Then why did he come here in the first place? Seeing how hurt Erika is, Kouhei vows not to repeat the same mistake again and reverses his decision to have his memories erased. Erika is relieved as he apologizes. But she’d rather have him say that they don’t want to lose more bonds instead. With that, Kouhei joins the student council and the first task Iori gave him is to polish the floors. A school tradition? I just thought he didn’t want to do it and needed somebody to boss around.

Episode 4
Iori tells Kouhei in episode 4 that they are not the kind of stereotypical vampires you see in Hollywood shows. They’re not afraid of sunlight or garlic but they have superhuman abilities, high resistance to illness and immortality. Plus, they have this blood transfusion thingy so they don’t have to sink their teeth in humans if they ever crave for blood. As for Iori, he only goes after people on rare occasions. Is that supposed to be a good answer? To add to Kouhei’s burden, Iori makes him the lead organizer for the upcoming sports festival. At first the committee don’t seem to put their trust in him but after finding that he is the honest to goodness type, they start to be more open. Kouhei works hard and burns the midnight oil to do research so that this will be the best sports festival ever. Like who wouldn’t want to? In the archives, a little intimate moment between Kouhei and Erika but nothing alerting. They see old pictures of previous sports festival events and spot Iori in one of them. Looks like he didn’t change much. After all vampires don’t age and die, right? Kouhei continues to work hard and earning the trust of the committee members. Then he gets an idea after another one of those chat with Haruna and Kanade. He thinks of getting prize sponsors from the shopping district. Shiro helps out as they go to each shop requesting for support. I guess having a cute loli helps. Okay, maybe they are nice people so they didn’t think twice about helping them out. Kouhei learns everyone knows about Shiro and respects her since her family has been running a prominent local shrine for generations. Plus, she has been strictly raised by Sei to befitting of the Tougi family name. Everyone works hard to beat the deadline and put the finishing touches for the festival. Finally everyone chips in to raise the huge welcoming entrance arch. Everybody starts celebrating their success when the arch crumbles and breaks. Oh dear. Looks like celebrations are put on hold.

Episode 5
The sports festival begins in episode 5. Kanade becomes the commentator and makes Kouhei to be her partner-in-crime, I mean co-commentator. So when Kouhei accidentally mentions Erika as a racehorse in a 400m race, once she crosses the finish line, she didn’t stop but ran straight towards Kouhei and gives him a beating. During lunch break, Kouhei notices Kiriha still as distant as ever. He goes talk to her. Seems she is still skipping class though she mentions her reasons of doing so aren’t out of entertainment. But all he wants for her is to enjoy this festival as much as possible. Kouhei is being called by the committee that they don’t have enough prizes to give. Apparently some of the members didn’t do a thorough check and gave away prizes. Can’t ask them to give back, right? That would be like buruk siku. Can’t go and buy them since they are short of time. Kouhei thinks back and remembers about some IOU coupon he and Kanade gave to Haruna for her birthday when they didn’t have enough money to buy her a present. Using the same concept, Kouhei pleads to the sponsors to supply the prizes later. They are okay with it. The festival continues and we see Sei’s over-protectionism for Shiro, shielding her from every mean water balloon tossed at her. For the three-legged obstacle race, Haruna sprains her ankle so Kouhei has to find his replacement. Kiriha comes to his mind. Part of this odd race is that one of the participants has to enter and change into a random costume inside a changing room. Kiriha came out in a cat maid outfit, mesmerizing the guys while their closest competitor Erika comes out in a clumsy duck mascot outfit. She curses that this must be her brother’s doing. With that, Kouhei takes Kiriha’s hand and dashes to the finish line. At the end of the day, Iori is impressed with Kouhei’s hard work that he gives him a key. To his room. NO WAY! Just kidding. It’s to the student council building so he has 24/7 access to it anytime.

Episode 6
Kouhei sees Haruna putting up posters of the student council’s activity of ‘Keep Tidy Month’ in episode 6. This episode also sees flashback of Kouhei and Haruna’s younger days. When Kouhei left, they promised to write letters to each other. Kanade spies on the duo and tries to get them close to each other. On a day Iori unveils a maid uniform for the cleaning committee, Haruna becomes upset when Kanade continues to do good for her but neglects herself and runs away. Haruna and Kanade’s relationship is at its lowest point with the former avoiding her at all cost. Kanade tells Kouhei that Haruna had a weak body so the hospital was like her second home. Kanade became her big sister and promised to look after her. But Haruna got involved in an accident which causes her to lose a year’s worth of memories with Kouhei. She blames herself for this and the reason why the letters stop trickling in. That’s why she did all this in hopes she will be happy. Later Kouhei goes to talk to Haruna. It’s not about not forgiving her but rather she didn’t like the fact she started to care and prioritized her. She thinks Kanade likes him and don’t want to cause any more trouble for her. So the best solution is that they both need to talk and let out their true feelings or else nothing will be solved. The sisters meet at the Hosaka tree. Each letting out what they feel and always wanted to say all the time. All they wanted was for each other’s happiness. In the end, they both made up and are back on good terms once more. Kouhei mentions that memories are important. Haruna tried to take a step forward by accepting the past. There’s no point of being held back by it now since it’s best to make new memories as she is now with an honest and truthful heart. The trio are grateful that the tree granted their wish of seeing each other again so they make another wish that they will continue to make many more fun memories on this island. Back in the student council room, Erika is swamped with girls wanting to join the cleaning committee. Just find the outfit too cute to resist, eh?

Episode 7
Erika rejects the confession of a guy in episode 7. The reason is about a rule. A rule which she can’t say. Something about humans and vampires. Summer is here as Iori comes up with another pool event scheme. Then he purposely tells Kouhei of Erika’s birthday, which happens to be today. How can Iori be so calm when it’s his sister’s birthday? Well, being immortals, I’m sure you’re tired of celebrating it year in year out. The cleaning committee cleans the pool with Kanade in charge. Sei didn’t really want to do it till Shiro requests him to help out. Imouto-con… Kouhei comes back with a surprise basket of flowers for Erika’s birthday, reducing her to tears of joy. But back in her room, her heart starts to throb in pain. A pain she could barely stand up to. The day of the pool event arrives. Shizuko is the commentator and they have lots of weird water games. One of them being the inter-class water tag game whereby the last girl standing will win free lunch vouchers. All they have to do is protect their head band for 5 minutes. Kiriha is slipper as an eel, avoiding all those raging judo guys. The funniest has got to be Shiro. Sei is going to faint seeing his hapless sister getting cornered! However upon seeing how cute Shiro is weakly splashing the water to shoo them away, the guys just gave up! Who would seriously want to own this cutie? With these 2 as winners, the pool event comes to a close and the guys throw Shizuko into the water! Of course sensing this is part of Iori’s plan, Erika kicks him right in too. Kouhei and Erika clean up the pool at the end of the day. Kiriha doesn’t have a happy look on her face when she sees them like a couple. Kouhei and Erika have a personal swimming challenge with the latter beating him to the other end but just a hair’s width. As she pulls him out of the water, they nearly tripped and ended up too close to each other. If Erika’s heart didn’t throb in pain, they would’ve probably kissed. She runs back to her room and the pain is still there. This is more than your average love pang from the way she is squirming in pain. Looks like she needs blood.

Episode 8
Erika wakes up from a horrible nightmare that she is sucking Kouhei’s blood. She accidentally breaks the flower pot from Kouhei. There are rumours in school that a cloaked figure is seen flying in the sky at night. This has to mean vampires, right? Iori suggests that they need to do a night patrol to see if this is true and to partly protect their identity as vampires. Shizuko doesn’t approve their midnight patrol but leave it to Iori to do the smooth talking. So far nothing suspicious has appeared. Hopes of leaving it as a rumour disintegrate when they really see a cloaked figure on the rooftop. Erika jumps up to confront it and to their surprise, it is Kiriha. She is here to find her master and since she isn’t among them, she flees but Erika is close on her tail. Haruna thinks she’s seeing things through her window so she goes out to check. Kiriha loses her pursuer by jumping towards the Moon (she can jump that far?) so Erika couldn’t match it and falls back down. Unfortunately it had to be right in front of Haruna. She starts to remember about seeing something similar in the past and passes out. With her identity busted, there is only 1 thing she has to do. The only way that they have been doing if they ever want to live amongst humans. As Kouhei finds out, that will be erasing her memories. But this won’t be the first time she’ll be erasing Haruna’s memories, but her second. As explained in the flashback, Erika and Haruna used to play together. One day when Haruna got involved in an accident, Erika used her vampire powers to bring her to safety. So whose pool of blood was that on the road? Since Haruna saw her true form, she had no choice but to erase her memories. So that’s the real reason why she lost her memories. Kouhei is upset that she did that just to protect her identity and lectures her about that prep talk she gave him when he wanted his memories erased. He pleads her not to do it but it seems to fall on deaf ears. But don’t jump to conclusions yet buddy. That’s because what Erika had really done was to unseal her memories. Wait a minute? So she didn’t erase but seal? Is this even possible? And I thought once a memory is wiped out, it’ll be gone forever. So it wasn’t erased, just sealed. How disappointing because it feels like a convenient method so that Haruna could remember every bit of her past and make up her friendship with Erika. And since she’s not the kind who would harbour a deep grudge, I guess everything is fine, eh? Oh yeah, what a nice happy ending too.

Episode 9
So will this ruin their relationship with Kanade? Apparently not too. Kanade emotionally hugs Erika for returning Haruna’s memories as she has learned the whole truth from her. See, she won’t even hate Erika because she considers her friend. So how did Erika ever come up with the conclusion that she will lose bonds if her identity is revealed? Anyway Iori realizes that Kiriha is a Dependent of a certain person. To be ascertain, he thinks Erika should ask that person personally but don’t think it’s a good idea since the topic is about Dependents. Shiro is intrigued to know more but her brother’s serious face tells her to butt out of this for her own good. And with Kouhei coming into the picture, Iori makes him and Erika the lead organizers for Shuuchikan’s major event: The cultural festival. Sei sees Kiriha and tells her that he has someone for her to meet. Kouhei and the gang go out to town shopping. He and Erika take a break at the beach. Sooner or later this has to come. Erika tells him about Dependents, those who have made contracts with their vampire master. They are born from drinking a vampire’s blood and share their traits like superhuman abilities and immortality. Only difference is that Dependents must obey every word of their master and cannot go against it. So as deduced, Kiriha’s master is no other than Kaya, who is Iori and Erika’s mom. By the way, that is who Sei brought her to see. Say, Kaya looks like a splitting image of Erika. I guess that’s a plus point of being a vampire. You don’t age and you could look as young as your daughter so much so everyone thinks you could be sisters. Erika continues that she made a deal with her mom that she has to find a Dependent by the time she graduates (thus the reason why she was admitted into Shuuchikan) or else return to the house and get locked up for eternity. However Erika is confident she is able to find a way without getting a Dependent before the deadline. Kouhei offers himself to be her Dependent but she refuses it since he will no longer be human and will force him to obey her every word. This is against her goal of wanting to live as a human and is afraid she would no longer be herself. Even so, she refuses to take on a Dependent even if it is unvampiric and doesn’t want to lose those previous bonds. Meanwhile Iori is at the church. Shizuko sees him and he tells her that the vampire rumour case is closed. When Iori notes that what a vampire needs is the blood of the person they love, it seems like as though he is gunning for her neck. It also indicates that he may have feelings for her. But he backs down like as though it was just part of our imagination. When Erika returns to her room, she’s got that same heart throbbing problem and craves for blood. Looks like those blood transfusions won’t do anymore. And Kaya is certainly enjoying her time with her plaything Kiriha.

Episode 10
Kouhei and Erika continue to work hard for the cultural festival, taking in suggestions and requests from the students. Later Erika is taken to see Kaya. The latter is puzzled why she hasn’t made a certain guy her Dependent yet and reminds her of their deal. She sticks to her guns and is confident she’ll find other alternatives and not listen to her orders. As part of Iori and Kanade’s plan to give the organizing committee a break, they plan to head to the beach tomorrow and later to Tougi Shrine to watch the fireworks. So the usual fun in the sun and sand. But each time Kouhei comes nearer to Erika, her heart beats harder. This prompts Iori to confront Kouhei that she needs blood. Explaining further, if vampires keep themselves from blood too long, they will have strong craving impulses. And that is a very hellish experience if you’re trying to resist it. Since Erika is trying her best to live as a human, she doesn’t bring her blood transfusion around everywhere. That night as the girls change into their yukata and watch the fireworks, in the middle of it Erika’s chest pains start to become unbearable (because cheeky Iori pushed everyone closer to each other so Erika and Kouhei contacted). She runs away and trips but Kouhei close behind. I guess the rest are too captivated by the fireworks to notice a pair of members missing. Seeing her deep red eyes and tears, he hugs her and offers his neck to relieve her pain. She couldn’t resist any longer and sinks her teeth into.

Episode 11
Erika thinks she is cured or at least managed to endure the craving and goes back to her happy mood. However when she sees Kouhei the next day, her impulses are still there. She realizes what he did was real. Dense Kouhei continues to work hard for the festival while Erika suffers in silent. Kiriha pays her a visit in her room and brings a message from Kaya. Nothing new, just a question of why she is hesitating for a person who willingly gave his blood to her. If not, return to the mansion immediately. However Erika remains stubborn of not giving in and questions back Kiriha of becoming Kaya’s toy. She spent centuries searching for her only for her to have her memories taken away again. Erika is afraid the tiny darkness in her heart of what she’ll ask of Kouhei if she makes him her Dependent. Kouhei gets another great idea from Haruna and Kanade for the cultural festival (something about parachutes for the fireworks). He decides to go tell Erika about it but was being told she’s not around. Shiro feels bad that they have to keep him in the dark about Erika (she’s just behind one of the doors). After Kouhei leaves, Erika comes out. But her spasm gets worse. She goes into pain even with the thought of him. Shiro is concern if there is another way round this but as Iori mentions, Kouhei’s blood is special. Because of this, Shiro offers herself to be Erika’s Dependent in Kouhei’s place. For the first time, I don’t think we’ve seen Sei putting so much shock expression on his place. “WHAT?!”. I’m sure he wants to protect his sister but Shiro is big enough to even know about the responsibilities their family have for the Sendous. Sei gets so upset that he grabs Iori by the collar, thinking all this is part of his scheme. Well, just like Sei, he too cares for his sister and wants the best for her. Things indicate that Sei may be Iori’s Dependent because when he tells him to let go, Sei immediately does so even putting on a regretful face. Erika realizes it is all part of her brother’s plan when he brought Kouhei to join the student council. It’s like as though he saw this coming. Erika assures Shiro that she will walk her path in life. While Kouhei is oblivious to what is happening, Erika in pain leaves a goodbye message (a parachute) outside his door. She then meets Kiriha in the rain. So I guess this is her answer, eh?

Episode 12
Yup, she has returned to the mansion in episode 12, whereby she’s been reduced to such a miserable state, locked in a cell. Kouhei finds the parachute outside his room and asks his fellow student council members about Erika. Because he is still so dumb even if Iori tells him she won’t ever be around anymore, he made Shiro cry (okay, maybe she will even if it wasn’t his fault) and spill the beans how she offered to be her Dependent. Isn’t that shocking news, boy? Iori continues to explain the effects of his actions by offering his blood that night. Whenever a vampire drinks a blood directly from a human, their urge for blood becomes stronger so much so blood transfusion won’t help anymore. It’s like taking a higher level drug. Well, Erika did assure them that she’s fine, right? Apparently dumb boy, she obviously said it so that nobody would worry about her. You can even see her body language that she is in pain! You had several times witness it yourself! Dummy! Iori says that there is 1 way she can return to school and will await his wise decision because he has high hopes of him. Oh sure, so do we. Kouhei’s mind become so heavy in thought that even his pals can tell that something is obviously bugging him. They plan a tea party to cheer him up and bring Erika with him but he couldn’t and gave some lame excuse that she’s busy or being transferred to another school. However they don’t buy his story because they know Erika loves this school so much and even if she’s going, at least she’ll finish the cultural festival first. Even if they don’t know what Erika’s real issue is, they ask Kouhei will he be fine with this. Kouhei realizes that there is no point in thinking further about this and promises that he is going to bring Erika back. Well, duh. Finally.

With Iori and Sei’s help, he is guided to see Kaya. She is pleased that he is here voluntarily to be Erika’s Dependent but he that’s not it. He’s here to bring Erika back. Kaya becomes angry that this brat thinks he knows about their kind more than her so she flexes her authoritative power by sending him flying to the next room and then choking his neck. Sei thinks this is Iori’s doing again but he maintains his neutral stand as he is interested to see the result of Erika’s wish and if she could walk her new path in life. Kaya rejects this new path thingy and is going to kill Kouhei when Erika comes in (freed by Kiriha as ordered by Kaya earlier). She still doesn’t want to take a Dependent but wants Kouhei to return. Now it’s Kouhei’s turn to offer his words of wisdom. Among them are, if she’s suffering in both ways, might as well be back at the school she loves; Don’t suffer yourself, share it with us; You can drink my blood anytime; And the finishing quote: I may or may not become her Dependent but that’s for us to decide! Wow. Such terror words. Enough to shock everybody and even the mighty Kaya herself. And here I’m thinking it was something else, but it sounded so ordinary. Oh yeah. How noble indeed, those words are. This time when Kouhei extends his hand to her, she doesn’t experience any chest pains when she grasps it. And funny though, I still can’t believe Kouhei’s words were not only enough to stop a mother vampire from killing him, but she lets them both go as they reunite with their other friends waiting at the school gate. For Kaya, she isn’t giving up yet. Since she can’t depend on Iori, she wants Kiriha to return to school and spy on their progress. The cultural festival gets along and is a success. Kouhei and Erika promise to spend time with everyone with as much fun as possible because what’s important is what they do from here on. Gee, I thought it’s because you only live once or life is too short? At least for Kouhei’s case. If he doesn’t turn into a vampire, that is.

Though there is an OVA released subsequently, unfortunately it doesn’t advance the plot and felt more like a filler. Besides, how much can 1 OVA do to the plot anyway? So in the aftermath of the successful cultural festival, the whole jin-jang gang (including Kiriha) retreat to Iori and Erika’s cabin in the woods as a reward for a good job well done. In the big spacious cabin, the girls decide to take the top floor since they could have an awesome view of the scenery. Plus, Shiro wanted it so badly so siscon Sei had to approve of it. At the river stream, Yukimaru strayed a little but they find him interacting with another female bunny. This prompts a heart-to-heart chat with Shiro and Kouhei about the latter’s promise to show her around the island. Guess what? Siscon Sei’s aura is so dark you could swear he is having the wrong impressions that this Kouhei bastard is going to take his beloved sister away. This doesn’t help when Shiro explained it in an ambiguous way. He’s not going to see tomorrow, says Sei? During the girl’s night time pyjamas party, Kanade tries to make it interesting by wanting the girls to say which guy they think the most. Of course we know who that lucky guy is. While the rest are hesitating. Kiriha is bold to say upfront that she is interested in Kouhei. Rival increased by one. Iori isn’t happy that the guys’ part is so boring and forces Kouhei to deliver a basket up to the girls. Since that guy refuses, the ever sister complex Sei quietly did so. On his way up, he overhears how Shiro is proud of her brother and thinks a lot about him. He must be the happiest guy in the world now, right? And soon the other guys come crashing in and continue the big tea party.

Next day, Iori organizes a doubles tennis match with the winner getting a super nice reward. The pair of Kouhei-Erika wins (as usual, the siscon was taking all the shots, not letting his sis having any fun) against Kiriha-Tsukasa. The reward turns out to be a dip in the natural hotspring. Since Kouhei didn’t score a point, Iori makes him clean up while the rest went ahead. Hey, doesn’t it feel like a penalty him. And why is he singling him out? Once the guys and the girls get into their respective bath section, Iori has that naughty sparkle in his eyes on the gender signs. Oh no. I hope everyone learned their lesson. Apparently not Iori. Hopefully Kouhei. But the girls clearly remembered this incident and though they took precaution, they joked about the same thing happening. And then it really did happen! Kouhei just waltz into the place and this time he not only has a nice view of Erika’s body but all the other girls’ young curvaceous hot bods as well. Wow! Is this the reward Iori is talking about? Lucky or cursed? So which one will he choose to marry now? We’ll save that for another time. On their way home in the train, you can see one big slap across Kouhei’s face. But he’s not alone. Iori’s face is swollen too. Erika notes how ever since Kouhei’s arrival, everything around them changed and is grateful. Kouhei accidentally cuts his finger while opening a can drink. Though Erika doesn’t have that heart throbbing pain, she can’t resist sucking it. And everybody’s watching, you know. Trying to get ahead of everyone? Outside the school gate, Erika holds Kouhei’s hand and causes him to blush. But I guess Kouhei has finally found a place to settle and call home, right? I mean, this has got to be the longest time and record he has not transferred to another school. Already a year, that is.

Bore-tune Arterial
Even if the TV series didn’t end in a bad way nor did it have any suspenseful ending that leaves much to be desired so much so hints of a sequel may be produced if the need ever arises, somehow I felt dissatisfied with how everything went. Let’s look at it this way. The entire series felt like a bunch of everyday activities done by any regular high school student. Only difference is that there are a couple of vampires in the midst. Speaking of vampires, it doesn’t feel that the subject or issue which I thought was supposed to be one of the main themes, stand out very much. About their existence in this world and such if not their role in this series. The act of Erika leaving Shuuchikan for her mother’s mansion didn’t have that kind of ‘threatening’ or tense impression because after all that has happened, you’d get a feeling that this Kouhei guy will do something about it and have a happy ending. It boggles my mind to see that a powerful vampire lord like Kaya could eventually give in to a mortal kid like him. Even if she gave reasons about keeping a close eye on her daughter, but you can’t deny the fact that she lost, didn’t she? To a kid. That’s because Kouhei gets to go back to his pals with the girl in the end. And they didn’t even have to get really physical. Well, aside Kaya’s strangulation. Otherwise, Kouhei’s normal words were just enough to pierce their heart. Okay, so it’s a good thing we don’t see any bloodshed because it won’t look good to see a younger boy fighting an old (forgive me) woman vampire. So diplomacy has its merits. But this one just feels out of place here.

Basically with the way things ended, I felt that there were other things that weren’t really resolved. For instance Kiriha’s case. After being discovered she is a Dependent, I thought Kouhei as the main protagonist would somehow find a way to lift the spell that made her like a loyal to Kaya and free her. Well, that didn’t happen for sure. She’s still Kaya’s Dependent right till the end. Probably an excuse for hanging around Kouhei longer. Another thing which baffles me is this. Shouldn’t Iori and Sei know Kiriha right from the start when they first met her seeing that they know she is Kaya’s Dependent? Why only after she is revealed to be one? I don’t get it. Another thing is, if Iori has been in this school a long time before, how the heck did he return here again? Maybe all the seniors grew up and moved away so they don’t recognize him that’s why he is able to be at this school again since he doesn’t age. And why doesn’t Iori share the same heart throbbing pain and crave for blood? Is it because he isn’t really in love? Shizuko? Not sure. Is it because Sei is his Dependent?

The characters seem one dimensional and don’t seem to have much development between them. Sure, Kouhei and Erika along with the rest grow closer. But I somehow don’t feel the impact of it.  Kouhei as the new guy, comes in, befriends everybody, helps everybody, everybody is happy. So what is the reason that made his blood special as Iori mentioned? I was thinking that there may be a twist to indicate that Kouhei’s a vampire too. Who am I kidding? Erika seemed like a potential tsundere at first and the kind of girl who tries to shoulder all the burden and pain by herself by trying to becoming human. Maybe somebody should’ve told her this that humans aren’t perfect. She should try more often to be herself. Probably that’s what Kouhei is for. I meant as her support not her personal blood bank lah. Iori loves playing pranks and his neutral stand to see Erika’s path in life may seem like he is a caring brother but from another point of view a sadist because he isn’t really there when Erika is in pain and leaves it up to her to decide and take action. Tsukasa, I almost forgot he existed because he didn’t really do much except to make up the numbers. So what is his role really for? And Shizuko too. Too bad I wanted to see her hit somebody’s head with a frying pan! Didn’t happen.

That short arc about Kanade and Haruna getting the latter’s memories back felt like a little distraction which otherwise would’ve made the series a lot shorter. Kiriha is the mysterious beauty observing from a distance all the way. Sure, she takes an interest on Kouhei but it feels more towards his fascination of his personality than a love issue. Shiro has got to be the most moe of the lot. Her very shy and soft spoken nature would sure melt the hearts of every lolicon. I have to say that Sei is the most amusing one. It’s like he has a double face. One face for anything that has to do with his sister and the other serious no nonsense expression for every other thing. I didn’t know his siscon fetish ran that deep so each time he gets that suspecting look on his face or anything, just about the slightest tiny thing that may happen to Shiro. I speculate that this way, she isn’t going to get a boyfriend of her own. Every guy will be instantly rejected! But good thing is that he doesn’t lock up her sister in a room all day long and treat her like a doll. Just feel that he is too overprotective and if she just steps a millimetre out of line or wants to know half an inch about something, he would just put his foot down.

Romance-wise, the harem part isn’t that evident. But obviously it should turn out as Kouhei x Erika. Though some may prefer Kouhei x Kiriha or Kouhei x Haruna. Unless you’re a fujoshi yaoi fan girl, I think you’d prefer to see Iori x Sei or even Kouhei x Iori! Well, there are few moments like that but that’s because Iori as the sporting (some may term it as troublemaker) person, he has this charming ability to liven up the mood. No wonder he is so popular with the other girls. But clearly every main girl here has feelings for him that could possibly go beyond friendship. Just need to see who will take the first bold step…

Even if I had this feeling after watching the first episode that things are looking bleak for this series, the only thing which I like are the opening and ending themes. At least they sound good enough to take my mind away from the story flow and plot. The opening theme is Kizunairo by Lia. Your typical upbeat and dramatic theme for such anime genres. The ending theme is I Miss You by Veil. To me, it sounds like a slow country ballad. The mid-intermissions are random poses of the characters in the series. Even Yukimaru has his fair share. Nothing really fanservice-y. Speaking of which, as a series that is based on an adult visual novel, you’d expect to see some but they aren’t anything that would even turn on elementary school kids. Holy! What am I saying? Okay, maybe the ending credits animation could be considered as one but nothing extreme and just mild.

There wasn’t anything extraordinary or memorable for this series so if they ever wanted to make a sequel, there is a high chance that I won’t be putting it on my watch list. It won’t be fair to say I have wasted my time watching this but I’ll give credit that the art and drawing of some of the sceneries are nice, though they may not be the best I have seen. Otherwise I could just proudly say that this is another one of the many vampire anime series that I have watched for my own useless record and… That’s about it. Are those kind of memories I would want to have? So maybe for the time being, can some vampire temporarily seal my memories of this anime?

Sora No Otoshimono: Forte

October 8, 2011

That thing which fell from the sky, is it still here? Well yes. Tomoki still has it. Whether he wants it or reluctantly has to keep it, that’s a different story. And I believe there’s a fine and thin gray line between that too. After the events that have happened at the end of the first season and the tantalizing teaser at the end of the so called unaired OVA episode, it’s no surprise that Sora No Otoshimono: Forte came out a year after the first season aired.

So what else viewers are really hoping to see in this sequel? The answer to the mysterious Angeloids and “Heavenly” creatures that reside in some floating world right above Sorami City? Well, even if that’s what we would like to see, oh heck, it’s more of Tomoki‘s pervertness, right? Right. Now, that guy’s favourite phrase may contain “peace and quiet is the best” but the way he enjoys peeping (possibly taking voyeurism to a whole new level) may not be so if you’re the unfortunate girl that is being peeped on. Plus, with a bunch of wacko characters that include his childhood friend who secretly has a crush on him, Sohara (still hasn’t lose her touch on her murderous chop. Why not? She’s been doing it so frequent on Tomoki), the ‘scientist’ infatuated with the New World, Eishirou, the massacre-loving student council president, Mikako, the emotionless pet Angeloid, Ikaros, and the currently masterless flat-chest Angeloid, Nymph. Yeah, his peace and quiet days are all but long gone.

Episode 1
If you’re ever interested to read up on the back story of this series, go read my previous blog. Or some other sites that offer the same. I’m just jumping straight into the first episode where everything beings and left off at the end of the first season. Tomoki still has that dream about meeting that mysterious angel. This time she is warning him about the coming of an angel. He wakes up to find Ikaros in a very enticing position so you can tell his erection could rival Eifel Tower. However he can’t ‘deflate’ it fast enough because Sohara is coming. He knows he’ll be dead if she ever sees this ‘monument’. So I don’t understand this odd part whereby he orders Ikaros to blast it to bits. Got to be very painful, eh? Don’t know what happened to that as we now see Eishirou still interested in discovering the New World with all sorts of mumbo-jumbo. Are we interested? In school, Tomoki relates yet another dream of that angel to his pals (about an angel being held in the sky and wants him to treat her well). Nymph suggests a Dive Game, a once popular game back in Synapse whereby they dived into human’s dreams. Using a machine (that resembles like a rice cooker), Nymph opens the portal to let the gang go through and see Tomoki’s dream. Since Angeloids can’t dream, Nymph and Ikaros will have to stay back. In the dream world, the scenery seems unfamiliar to Tomoki. Then they start getting chased by prehistoric animals! Actually, this is Eishirou’s dream. Oops. Sorry for the screw up. Going in for the second time, now they enter a decimated war zone. Mikako quickly jumps into action by blasting away all her enemies! She’s slaughtering everybody and enjoying it! Yeah, this is her dream alright. With no one else to kill, she starts targeting her own pals!

After fixing yet another screw up, the next dream seems to be fantasy-like. Turns out to be Sohara’s but she couldn’t admit it because there are lots of Tomokis outraging the many happy Sohara’s modesty! She covers this up by beating up Tomoki and accusing him of having such weird dreams about her. Now she’s going on a crazy beating-Tomoki spree. So much so that poor kid has flashbacks about his dying grandpa who departed ‘great words of wisdom’ before he dies. That is, to dream big. Grandpa too had a big dream: To get intimate with all the women in the world. Only 2.9 million more to go! WTF?! So finally they enter another world. This time on a floating vessel. Eishirou notices evergreen trees withering here whereas they are supposed to stay green all year long. In the middle, there is a big monument. Though they can’t read it, Sohara feels sickly. When they get back, Tomoki and Nymph get into an argument because the latter insists that the latest dream was his but the former claims his dream is in a field. Later Eishirou is at the giant sakura tree, the place where pillars first fell out from the sky. He seems to have brought back an acorn from Tomoki’s dream but the odd thing was Nymph told them bringing back things from the dream world is impossible because that item will disappear but this acorn did not. Remember that busty Angeloid at the end of the OVA? Yeah, she makes her sudden appearance. Crashing right in front of Eishirou, she claims she needs to kill Tomoki.

Episode 2
Eishirou rushes back to Tomoki’s place to warn he is being targeted but as being told by the girls, he has gone to the mountains. Seems he can’t control his lust whenever Ikaros and Nymph are close by so he decides to purify himself by becoming a monk. Can he? Ikaros does a wide range scan and her results indicate that this type Delta Angeloid is Astrea. Speaking of which, she crashes right at Tomoki’s feet. However Nymph didn’t seem alarm so the Angeloid duo go back to their normal chores. As explained, though Delta type Angeloids are excellent in close combat, they have low processing capabilities. In other words, they are idiots! And yeah, Astrea trips before she could launch a strike. The chief monk sends Tomoki to various training to overcome his worldly desires so we see Astrea’s stupidity by tagging along. She plans on killing him but each time she flops big time so much so you’d think a kindergarten kid could have done a better job. And each time, ending up in inviting fanservice poses that erects Tomoki’s ‘little buddy’. Sohara, Ikaros and Nymph decide to pay him a visit at the temple. Tomoki is seen doing to ultimate purity: Burying his porn mags. He thinks it won’t be a bad idea flipping through one last time but was caught red-handed by Nymph, who beats him up. Nymph decides to show her mature side by using some time machine to bust up her boobs. No change even if Tomoki is an old guy. Always will be flat, eh? With Nymph running of in tears, Ikaros goes to check on him. Getting caught off-guard again reading porn mags, he tries to cover up by saying these are dangerous stuff. Ikaros interprets this as a sign to destroy all stuff that threatens her master’s safety. She burns all the magazines away! Goodbye pin-up girls.

Later at the giant sakura tree, Eishirou asks Ikaros to analyze the acorn he took with a newly planted one. Her results that they are completely the same so Eishirou thinks that the answer to it all lies within the New World. Tomoki is burying and saying goodbye to his magazines. Astrea spots him and tries to seduce him by becoming a porn mag. However he gets turned off by her soft porn. To get his attention, Astrea gets bolder as she takes off a piece of her clothes each time he turns the pages. Just one more page and she’ll be completely naked but in Astrea’s embarrassment, the page is stuck together so Tomoki desperately needs something to cut it open. Too bad Sohara was standing behind him. He’s dead this time. Tomoki continues to live the secluded life. Astrea continues her mission to kill him via poison. However she flops when she sees him eating (she’s always hungry by the way). Due to the compromising position they ended up in, Astrea receives horrifying visions about the 6 Domains of karma in Buddhism. Only this time, everything is perverted. Enough to scare that idiot away. Tomoki gives up and returns him. His despair turns into happiness when he sees a parade of porn mags! Seems it is Ikaros’ doing and she doesn’t mind what it is as long as her master is happy. Yeah, they even go on a night festival parade. As for Astrea, she crash lands near Eishirou’s tent. While her self-repair starts, Eishirou hears her reconfirming her mission. There’s also a little history lesson whereby 11 years ago the dream of a Downer (Synapse’s term for humans) connected Synapse though the council didn’t find it a threat. But a few days ago, several Downers were detected to have entered the Synapse Core which contains Rules. Though no Rules were changed, the council deemed this a dangerous event and ordered the quick termination of Tomoki, which is Astrea’s mission.

Episode 3
Astrea realizes she has spoken too much and starts panicking when Eishirou interrogates her for more. She tries to kill him but as expected bungles her way through. She is tied up by Mikako and threatened but is willing to help Astrea to learn and fight via traditional style. That night, Tomoki and gang are visiting the summer festival when he spots a familiar person. It’s that Rifle Dude!!! Run for your life, Tomoki! Run!!! Too late, he got caught. And yeah, Mikako hatches another plot to do another tournament for this year. Last year was that gunfight (remember that royale battle?), but this year it will be sumo wrestling. Erm… Why does it seem like masked wrestling? The prize? Ten million Yen and a ticket to her family bath house filled with geishas. You bet Tomoki is going to enter this one. Yeah, with panties on his head as his mask called Mask Dupants. Damn pervert. The enemy of all women! He wins each round because he fondled his female opponent’s boobs. Damn pervert! Not only Tomoki’s doing well, but Mikako too. You should see her iron fist grip over Eishirou’s face. No contest. The next match turns into a tag team match with Tomoki-Ikaros against Nymph-Astrea. Ikaros and Astrea got disqualified for using their dangerous weapons while Nymph runs away after Tomoki couldn’t get turned on over those flat chests. Yeah, a walkover. The least favourite one advanced to the finals. He will be facing Mikako in a caged battle. Why is Tomoki’s crotch bulging so big?! Does he have something forbidden hidden beneath it? Turns out to be sesame oil so this proves handy as he is able to slip away from Mikako’s iron grip. Tomoki turns on the tables on Mikako and will this be the first she will get outraged by Tomoki? Sohara who has been the referee in all the matches couldn’t stand it anymore and dives in as a masked wrestler to break all of Tomoki’s bones. In an unconscious mode, Tomoki stood up with his fist punching the air. It’s a sign that he’s dead but with pride. Yeah, all the guys are crying for him. You’re all crying for the wrong reasons. Since the identity of the mysterious wrestler was a mystery, and Mikako couldn’t possibly accept it since she was cornered. This means Tomoki gets the prize, right? Erm… How come he has to face Rifle Dude in a match for the title of undisputed champion? Did he hear somewhere wrong that this is supposed to be first prize? Uh oh. We all know how this will turn out, right? Hey, are guns allowed? Well if Tomoki’s molesting is, then why not? Rifle Guy wins without breaking a sweat.

Episode 4
Astrea is living the poor life and thinks about how her master sent her down to kill Tomoki. Even if she’s an idiot, she knows too well she can’t possibly go back without accomplishing her mission. Don’t worry. Mikako is here to help her. It’s a snowy day and Tomoki’s peace and quiet comes crashing down once more with yet another scheme from Mikako. This time a traditional snowball fight between the genders. Mikako will lead the girls while Tomoki reluctantly becomes the shogun for the boys. The game ends when the general of either side is taken out. Plus, the winning team can do what they want to the losing team all day. Yeah, that’s got to be the motivation Tomoki is waiting for. With the girls building their defence, Mikako sends Ikaros and Nymph to search for hotsprings. The guys execute their diversion and surprise tactic as they bury Sohara, the biggest threat underneath piles of snow. Ikaros and Nymph couldn’t locate any hotsprings so Eishirou helps out by giving Mikako a pick and whenever she digs, hot water gushes out. Night falls and the guys interrogate some of the captured girls (doing perverted stuff of course). They receive news of the girls soaking in the hotspring so the perverted shogun goes to take a peep. Then it goes downhill from here. Tomoki receives report that many of the guys have betrayed them and let loose the girls (that’s because many of them have girlfriends). Tomoki and those losers (those without girlfriends) try to stage a final fight back but are confronted with a giant snowman (it’s Sohara!). Hey, she’s buried underneath it the whole day? This Snow-hara goes on an angry rampage, wiping out what is left of Tomoki’s army. Astrea takes this chance to kill Tomoki but the guy asks her if this is what she decided or her master’s? He is disappointed that Angeloids can’t make decisions by themselves. When Ikaros appears, Astrea panics and flees. As Mikako and Eishirou soak in the hotspring (he is keeping his distance because he knows what’s good for him), he explains the reason why he helped her dig a hotspring was because every time she digs for something, she always struck gold. She goes on saying how she wanted to make cabinet ministers bow down to her due to her massive resources and the times they spent making secret bases together. She asks him why doesn’t he go home and his answer is simple: He has no home. Back at his tent, he sees Astrea poorly fishing and ponders about her mission to kill Tomoki. Until that happens she can’t go back. He laments the fact she has wings but can’t go home to the sky. Astrea undergoes training from Mikako and she continues to stay with Eishirou.

Episode 5
The gang pays Eishirou a visit but are shocked to see him beat a bear with his bare fists! Apparently he needs something to feed useless Astrea. He has them help him out via fishing. But Eishirou has more important things to investigate, asking Sohara to tag along, they dive into Tomoki’s dream and end up at Synapse Core. They take a hang-glider down to the world below called Synapse. Sohara sees a strange wheel invention and touches it, accidentally causing it to fall off Synapse and to the real world below, nearly killing Tomoki. Eishirou and Sohara venture through the town with no souls in sight. Then they see several angel clones coming out of the homes heading somewhere. Upon touching the door of a large dome, they are being transported to several scenes on Earth. Coming back inside the dome, Eishirou thinks this dome is the real world and humanity must’ve been watched the whole time. Then he sees several people sleeping in the capsules. However a pair of Harpies caught Sohara. Eishirou seems confident. Based on his calculations, this is about the time he and Sohara will be transported back. He leaves a message by telling the master of this place that he shall return. Eishirou asks Nymph if he is real so she assures him he is. Eventually the gang couldn’t fish anything and end up eating vegetable soup. Better than nothing, right? Astrea tries to resume her mission but gets interrupted when coming contact into a wasp. Back home, Tomoki ponders the use of that wheel invention and hopes it is something perverted (oh no). It starts moving so he gets an idea to make a new Panty Robo Bike out of it. He hangs out with it and doing everything so often that it becomes like his best buddy. Yeah, doing perverted stuff. It’s amazing he doesn’t get arrested. On another killing attempt, Astrea fails again when Panty Robo molests her. I’m not sure about Tomoki’s statement about defeating the enemy and defending the world. They should be the villains! Soon their friendship comes to a crashing halt when Sohara finds out about it. She’s going to give him her murderous chop but Robo Panty blocks and protects him. It tells him to run while Sohara’s chop disintegrates every part of it. Tomoki gives it a decent burial and was being told by Nymph and Eishirou that it fell from the sky from his dreams. Not that he understands what they’re saying anyway. Lastly, we see the Sky Master completing another Angeloid for his own nefarious ends.

Episode 6
Tomoki and co arrive in school to see a shocking scene: Astrea eating rabbit’s food with the bunnies! Seems she’s hungry. That hungry, huh? The rest get an idea for Astrea to attend school. Tomoki knows his protest will be shot down so he better thinks of a way to make it fun. Yeah, he is going to turn himself into a girl to do perverted stuff on Astrea. Oh dear. Not that Tomoko alter-ego again. He’s having fun fondling her huge boobs during a fake physical examination but if Sohara is around… Astrea is too stupid to follow class so Tomoki orders Ikaros to be her personal tutor. Then Tomoki has to sit for remedial lessons due to his bad grades along with Sohara, Astrea, Nymph (she’s just doing it because she’s bored) and Mikako (she failed her moral subject. Oh sh*t!), Mikako shows Tomoki that he is the least popular in school. Furthermore, several girls mock him about his stupidity. This gives rise to a challenge as Mikako organizes a quiz to see who is the smartest. With random questions being asked, the first person to hit the buzzer gets to answer. A correct one will move up one slot and the person with 10 correct questions will win a trip to one of Mikako’s luxurious private tropical island, indoor pool park for all year and a photo magazine featuring Mikako as the cover. That last prize… Anyway what if one answers wrongly? I think Mikako purposely demonstrates this feat as it will send the contestant down to a pit of something unwanted. In her case, it was octopuses. Fanservice frenzy! For Sohara it will be pigs, eels for Astrea and a container filled with dung for Tomoki. Mikako flops her morality question to slaughter everyone, Sohara mispronounces her English question, Astrea is just too dumb for anything while Tomoki fails another morality test (to peep at girls in locker room). He is already the most hated person among the girls but the guys are supporting him. Nymph is the only one who answers all correctly and is a step away from clinching the title. However the next series of questions are about girls’ size measurement so Tomoki perfectly answers them all! Not only that, he could tell the exact place of what they did and the colour of their panties!!! Somebody hang this perverted stalker! The girls are outraged but he is the same level with Nymph.

The next question decides it all when it is the same question about peeping girls in the locker room. Tomoki has learnt from his mistake and is to answer correctly when he sees visions of angels showing him the ‘true path’. All the guys realize he couldn’t answer because he’s fighting with his inner manliness (WTF?!). They plead to him to just lie for the sake of the quiz but Tomoki would rather die than be a good kid. He repeats his mistake and is sent tumbling down into the manure. Nymph wins the contest and all the guys rejoice. Yeah, maybe she’s not so bad after all. A few days later, Astrea comes crawling to Tomoki’s home and they start challenging each other to a few series of games to see who is the smartest. They’re neck to neck with each other, though you’d wonder how this will prove that they’re smarter. In the end, Tomoki is fine with losing so everyone holds a BBQ part at his place to celebrate the biggest idiot in Sorami. Astrea is taken in by their hospitality so Tomoki tells her to feel free to come eat with them anytime. It doesn’t take long before they start arguing again. Back in Synapse, the angel in Tomoki’s dream, Daedalus is watching how happy her Angeloids are with Tomoki. But she is interrupted when Sky Master comes looking for her. He knows she was the one who released Uranus Queen (Ikaros) and has been accessing Tomoki’s dream. Though he is here not to fight her, he informs her that his second generation of Angeloids have been completed and their capabilities far surpass her first generation ones. He plans to use them to destroy Ikaros and Nymph.

Episode 7
Daedalus tries to warn Tomoki about the second generation Angeloid in his dream but was abruptly cut off. Tomoki sees this new Angeloid, a loli in a nun outfit, Chaos, excitingly beating up Ikaros badly and she thinks it’s all fun and games. Astrea continues to be an idiot and the more hungry she is, the more idiotic. Yeah, she’s eating Eishirou’s fish bait. This is so sad. If that’s not enough, she tried sneaking into Tomoki’s fridge to steal snacks but didn’t find any. Too bad Nymph too wanted to snack. So she gets an idea of eating Ikaros’ watermelons. One or two shouldn’t hurt but what if they eat her entire farm? Now they’re in big sh*t. Remembering the last time she terminated insects that hover near her watermelons, Nymph starts thinking fast to cover up. Oh, Ikaros is already back. Nymph uses some programme to hack and grow the watermelon faster but it turns into a giant monster in which it swallows unsuspecting Tomoki! Now it becomes a perverted melon monster and devours Astrea. Nymph is going to destroy all the evidence and fires her bazooka. When it’s over, Nymph starts accusing Astrea was the culprit! Yeah, Ikaros just unleashes her blast on the entire house. So later Ikaros fixes a meal for them all to eat. Nymph and Astrea leave so the latter teases her for being a shorty without wings but she isn’t amused. Tomoki is sitting alone at the park when Chaos approaches him. She seems to be interested in him and is creeping him out. Nymph ponders about Astrea’s words and her own predicament while assisting Eishirou in his Dive Game. He has been successful in evading those Harpies till now. Nymph is supposed to prepare a portal to transport him back on time but was being whisked away by Tomoki. He takes her to a field and wants to be her master. This brings tears to Nymph’s eyes but he has an order he wants her to carry out first. That is, to self destruct. Say what? Tomoki wants her to teach him to meaning of love as he starts strangling her. Turns out this ‘Tomoki’ is Chaos, second generation Angeloid type Epsilon in disguise. I’m amazed Nymph couldn’t tell apart from his scary face. I mean, his perverted face is scary but this one is outright creepy. So okay, maybe his perverted face is scarier. Nymph is upset that she toyed with her emotions but she has no fighting capabilities to fight back. Chaos mentions she was ordered to take Ikaros’ convertible wing core. But she’s not interested in that so she disguised as Tomoki to learn from her seeing that her master told them they had betrayed Synapse and gone crazy with love. So what is love? She really, really, really wants Nymph to teach her. How can she do so when she’s strangling her? Eishirou is transported into Daedalus’ room as he sees Chaos strangling Nymph via monitor.

Episode 8
Chaos continues to torment Nymph in episode 8 by transforming to her other pals, taunting her before turning into several Tomoki clones and do physical abuse on her. Nymph is under tremendous trauma but is saved when Ikaros appears in time (previously she spotted fake Tomoki with Nymph but saw the real one out with Sohara at a cafe). Ikaros prepares to fire her Artemis cannon but stops when Chaos transforms into Tomoki. Using him as a front, she orders Ikaros to terminate Nymph. Can Angeloids disobey their master? Ikaros walks up to Nymph and throws her away to escape. Chaos is not amused and orders Ikaros to destroy herself. The loud noise is heard throughout town. Sohara wonders if it’s a construction but Tomoki just got up and leave. Nymph needs to go save Ikaros when she bumps into Astrea. She tells her to save Ikaros but the Sky Master orders her to destroy Nymph. She reluctantly obeys but before she could, Tomoki coolly tells Astrea off (he knows where they are due to the explosion seeing that it is impossible for any big time construction in this sleepy town). He wonders if Angeloids really do have to obey their master’s wish and would it be wrong for them to do the stuff they like. He tells Astrea to make her own decisions as he gives Nymph a helping hand while the poor Angeloid cries in his arms. Sky Master orders Astrea to finish off Ikaros since Chaos is just toying with her. Astrea too is having a dilemma with her feelings. Then she realizes that she too likes Tomoki and severs her chains with her master by ripping it off. Astrea faces off with Chaos and her power up is tremendous. As Daedalus explains, due to her powerful combat capabilities, she did not install any processing capabilities because she didn’t need any. Thus, nobody can beat her when it comes to close combat. Chaos learns from her mistake and keeps her distance to pound Astrea. By this time, Ikaros has finished her self-repair and transforms herself into a giant spaceship. Chaos’ iron wings also enlarge and they have an epic sky battle. Ikaros did a sacrificing move that will destroy them both as she sends Chaos plunging deep into the depths of the ocean (Angeloids aren’t programmed to swim). Chaos wants her to explain the meaning of love. Ikaros replies that she doesn’t know but says her reactor (Angeloid’s term for heart) hurts whenever she thinks about her master. It feels like it is breaking apart each time she thinks about it but will protect the master she loves so much. Wow. This is a long time since I saw Ikaros display so much emotion since her emotional restriction was gone in the previous season. Ikaros’ emergency system rescues her to the surface as Astrea picks her up. She asks Astrea if she knows the meaning of love. Not knowing it either, Ikaros feels she is just the same like Chaos and wants to see her master. They come crashing into his house and Tomoki starts reprimanding once more. But he’s glad that they both came back.

Episode 9
Mikako is saying how peaceful it is. At first I was wondering what she meant till her dark aura starts showing! She is upset that with the super battle that has been taking place in the previous episode, she did not have any massacre roles to play! She thinks of taking out her frustration and there is only one guy who can satisfy her. Oh no! Run Tomoki, run!!! It’s the night festival again and that sense of deja vu. Over at Mikako’s stall, it’s that Rifle Dude once more!!! Run Tomoki, Ruuuuuun!!! Too late. Caught. This time Mikako does a yo-yo fishing competition. She does a demonstration by tying a rope to herself then diving down below into the giant pool to scoop up one of the many tied up girls in it. The rule in this team game is simple: The once who catches the bounciest yo-yo wins. You bet Tomoki is in. Yeah, as Tomoko. Pairing up with Eishirou, he happily dives down to grab all the horrified girls he can. He catches Nymph but throws her back and hopes this little fish will grow some more. That feels like an insult. Tomoki is going for Astrea but each time is thwarted by Mikako, whose team is in the lead. Wondering if there are bigger ones than Astrea, they eventually spot it: Sohara. The scene turns into some sort of drama. Tomoki leaving Ikaros to do some big catch in the ocean with a promise he’ll propose to her when he returns. However he never did but never regretted a single thing because it was ‘so big’. In short, Tomoki lost and Mikako wins. In the end, it’s all part of Mikako’s perfect scheme as Tomoki is hang naked upside down outside her window like a dried cuttlefish! Oh sh*t! She’s really satisfied now. Later Ikaros asks Sohara about the meaning of love and she replies it’s the feeling of wanting to be with someone. Then she asks Nymph so based on Tomoki’s character, they start watching his porn videos to have a good idea! Of course he stops them. He feels that since they can shop on their own now, he gives them some cash allowance. Nymph is happy she can buy all the snacks she wants but Ikaros is having a tough time deciding on what to buy for her master. Taking Sohara’s advice to be with him doesn’t cut it because she’s crushing him to the wall. Mikako’s one to take a bath with him only earns her several bumps on the head and Eishirou’s puzzling recommendation has her flying to the store to buy… Watermelons? When she shows Tomoki the watermelon she bought, he is okay with it since it is what she wanted. As Eishirou said, the irony is that Ikaros bought the thing she wanted and not what Tomoki wanted but because of that he is happy. Chaos still pondering about the meaning of love at the bottom of the ocean suddenly understands what it means when she starts feeling pain in her reactor. Thinking back on Ikaros’ words, she slices all the poor fishes and concludes that pain equals love and wants to show it to everyone. Oh dear.

Episode 10
Tomoki is upset that Astrea continues to freeload in his home. Hey, he was the one who said that she could come here anytime, right? Because of the all the bugging, Tomoki makes the toilet his sanctuary. Yeah, it’s like his own personal room. Ikaros has predicted such an outcome and has made a remote control for the bidet. The water pressure becomes great but Tomoki isn’t giving up his throne but eventually gets blasted out through the roof. Next, he makes the closet his safe haven and isn’t going to come out. In view of this, Ikaros has made lots of preparations like food. But since they’re raw and needs to be cook, the whole closet becomes a microwave oven! Oh sh*t! His balls are going to get cooked. Let him out! Let him out! And for bathroom purposes, she also installed a toilet so Tomoki got flushed out. Later Ikaros follows Sohara out to town for errands. They see a magazine about a famous TV couple getting married so Ikaros starts feeling hot about the thought of Tomoki proposing to her. Meanwhile Astrea is learning poker from Mikako. She is going to teach her betting and tests her with a simple maths quiz. The funny part wasn’t Astrea’s answer, but the way she confidently answered it! How much is 1 + 1? Fifty! Oh my. No wonder she drops the subject and has Astrea eat something. I’m not sure of this because Mikako soon leaves when is being told by her subordinate that something has happened. Seems in the background her bodyguards are rushing somewhere like as though they’re going to defend something. Later Tomoki is glad his project that takes half a year to finish is completed. It is his sophisticated peeping tom system that allows him to peep at girls all over town using mirrors! Yeah, and you wonder why there are pipes sticking out of everywhere like sore eyes. He doesn’t need to leave his room to enjoy his voyeurism. Yeah, all that secret digging and cabling sure must have paid off. He is enjoying the fruits of his labour (see those disgusting nose bleeds?) but to his dismay sees Astrea in his room. Oh not to worry. She’s just hungry.

After shooing her away, then it’s Nymph’s turn in his room. She’s disappointed with him (she should’ve seen this coming) and would gladly do a little service if he becomes her master. However she drops the idea and leaves. Now the person he doesn’t want to find out most is in his room: Sohara. He knows he’s dead. But surprisingly she didn’t give him her trademark chop. But instead, she is asking him he does perverted stuff to Nymph and Astrea lately but not Ikaros. She gets up and leaved without saying anything else. Something smells fishy. The girls plot to punish him. First they distract him by faking they’re taking off their clothes in the yard. When he goes to view them, they reflect the blinding lights into his eyes. Tomoki is going to get back at them and strips naked to show his ‘little buddy’ at the girls. They get horrified when they see his ‘bug’. To finish it off, Tomoki puckers his lips as though as he wants to kiss them. Ikaros peeps through and flusters. Her reactor is giving out steam! In the end, Sohara chases Tomoki while Nymph and Astrea destroy his intricate pipelines. But Tomoki hasn’t learnt his lesson yet. Using a new sophisticated system, Tomoki has Ikaros in space holding a mirror. This time all they need to do is to change coordinates and he has a new peeping scene. His final voyeur came when he peeped at Sohara so her chop was superb enough to send his skull cracking into half. A view to die for, eh? Lastly, we see Eishirou continuing his research when he hears over the radio about an impending storm and thinks the worse is to come. Chaos has evolved and now a grownup version. She has escaped from the pressure of the ocean’s depths and is excitedly on her way to teach everyone the meaning of love. Poor seagull didn’t know what sliced it.

Episode 11
Tomoki wakes up from another frightening dream that Daedalus is warning him about evolved Chaos coming and sees the other Angeloids destroyed. On a heavily rainy day, Ikaros falls ill as Nymph stays back to look after her. When Tomoki and Sohara leave, Ikaros do not remember who they are. Nymph diagnoses her and though her self-repair programme is activated, there is a programme that is erasing Tomoki from her memories. Ikaros is able to remember Tomoki but is saddened that she doesn’t want to forget her master. In school, Eishirou tells them about the several strange phenomena that are happening. After Tomoki tells about his dream, Eishirou thinks not only Ikaros is targeted but Tomoki too. Eishirou and Mikako are investigating the storm with Astrea out in the field. She sees Chaos within. Both sides clash with Chaos really wanting to teach her the meaning of love. Eishirou contacts Tomoki and tells him to go to Synapse via Dive Game. He meets Daedalus who gives him a lock that can stop Chaos. Tomoki is upset with all this annoyance but it’s not himself that he is feeling but rather the Angeloids as they should be the ones living in peace and quiet. Ikaros and Nymph arrive on scene and since they can’t take down an evolved Chaos, they need to work together. After studying her attack patterns, they put their plan in motion. It doesn’t go well as Nymph and Astrea got captured. Ikaros plans to unleash her Uranus Queen powers and wouldn’t mind sacrificing her memories of Tomoki as long as she protects him. Chaos is going to teach them what she learnt from the painful lessons of love when Tomoki reappears and says he wants to be with all of them. He willingly becomes Nymph and Astrea master and orders them to live. Their feelings for Tomoki became so great that Nymph is able to sprout new wings while the rest power up. Chaos’ love reasoning gets more twisted as she thinks they all love her for sinking her to the bottom of the ocean and that she’ll repay them with love by killing them all. The trio cooperate to finally bring down Chaos. She feels she is really loved by her sisters because it hurts so good. The love-crazy Angeloid is prepared to meet her fate for the sake of love but Astrea couldn’t kill her. Tomoki rushes to her side and in tears feels sad for her suffering. Then a different kind of pain fills Chaos’ reactor but this one feels warm. She collapses and he puts the lock over her chain. The storm stops as Tomoki praises them all for a good job well done.

Episode 12
Chaos is left in Daedalus’ care. Since Nymph has her wings back, she is able to use her data processing abilities to restore Ikaros’ memories. Tomoki’s peace and quiet continues to evade him since the Angeloids continue to freeload and annoy him. He thinks of staying in his sanctuary in the toilet again when Ikaros comes into ask about the proposal. However Tomoki isn’t amused and reprimands her about knocking the door before coming in and to flush properly! Why is he reprimanding her without his pants on?! Anyway he has a special favour to ask of her again. Yeah, another perverted scheme. After transforming into Tomoko, he becomes the pool water to fondle all the girls’ boobs. Till he touches Nymph’s. Of course they know this is Tomoki’s doing as they drain the pool water out. But Mikako isn’t going to let this go very easily and organizes a wide hunt for that lecher. Tomoko hides in the girl’s toilet and gets amused with, well, the girl’s toilet. After all his perverted antics, he’s acting like he has never been into one? When several girls come in to do their business, he gets this terrible idea to peep but eventually couldn’t do it. Then the worse scenario comes. Sohara and co are going to clean the toilet before going home (apparently they can’t find Tomoki). Noticing a locked cubicle, they think somebody is inside. Tomoko remembers he taught Ikaros about knocking on the door so he uses Morse code to communicate with her! Thing is, Ikaros translated what Tomoko is knocking out loud. Now they are suspicious. Tomoko then meows like a cat but the rest aren’t buying it and this definitely confirms the culprit of you-know-who. Tomoko can’t escape because Mikako somehow put electric barb wires on top and MIBs with guard dogs at the door. Plus, Mikako gives Sohara a saw to saw off the lock! Thinking hard on how to escape, Tomoko remembers the time when grandpa left because grandma found out he was cheating on her. His last parting words, “A good woman washes everything away like a tide”. Tomoko gets an idea on how to escape. To flush herself down the toilet bowl! WTF?! When Sohara opens the door, she sees the most incredible sight ever: Tomoko sitting in the middle of the toilet bowl trying to go down while the water gushes out everywhere. Of course cannot flush out lah! Cannot fit lah! However Sohara isn’t amused and helps push Tomoko down the bowl. Haha! I don’t know how but it really worked. Astrea narrates the workings of the sewerage process till its purification stages. Oh, Tomoki. You’re filled with sh*t.

Back home, Tomoki is in his toilet when Ikaros wants to talk to him. Remembering on the proper toilet etiquette, she pounds the door open and flushes Tomoki down the toilet bowl! Now he got easily flushes down because he is in chibi form! Ikaros flies off to search for him but meets Mikako. She learns about Ikaros’ proposal. Fishing Tomoki out from the ocean (that’s where he ended up floating), Mikako grooms him up nicely and brings him to the church. He is surprised to see Ikaros in a beautiful wedding dress and Eishirou as the priest. They conduct a mock wedding and when they’re about to kiss, Tomoki backs off. He doesn’t remember he proposed to Ikaros. Mikako is having great fun so she has the other girls, Sohara, Nymph and Astrea come into the hall in their wedding dress and wants Tomoki to choose! Of course Mikako hints that he can pick anyone except her because she is already taken by a certain bespectacled guy. Now, the eternal dilemma that every harem guy has to face: Which girl to choose. Tomoki can’t take the pressure and lets loose a crazy scream when suddenly Chaos comes crashing from the roof. Then she happily leaps into his arms. “Oni-chaaaaaaaaan”. Oh dear. Hey, she’s back to her loli body again. But because of that, Tomoki is spared from choosing. As Sohara mentions, she prefers things to stay as they are now. Tomoki isn’t happy that everyone is having a meal in his place. Plus, Eishirou asks him to become Chaos’ master since taking 1 more Angeloid won’t make a difference. Oh yah. Like another one won’t be hard to handle, eh? Good thing Chaos isn’t hostile anymore but this means his peace and quiet is getting further and further, eh? Hello noise and chaos (mind the pun). Nymph is happy that Tomoki is their master so she takes him on flight around town.

Fallen For You…
Apparently that isn’t the end of it because just at the end of the last episode, a movie of this series is announced. From the teaser, seems like more drama and antics. And yes as mentioned, another new Angeloid to come and disrupt Tomoki’s peaceful and quiet days. But from the last time this second season promo was played out the same way, should I be fooled again? I’m not sure, it must be me because anime movies aren’t my kind of thing and even though the film was released back in late June 2011, I still haven’t got any plans to watch it. So far this season didn’t really reveal much of the mysterious New World in the sky. In the sense there is not much development or stunning revelation that will make our jaws drop. We are just given a glimpse of what it is and if not for Eishirou’s persistence and perseverance, we won’t be able to learn a little more especially if Daedalus actually really exists or not. So perhaps the movie could answer and make clear some of these questions. From major ones like the monument in Synapse Core and why it is linked to Tomoki’s dream to minor ones like that little trouble in Mikako’s house when Astrea was over for poker and the reason why Eishirou believes he has no real home to return to. If only if I could kick start myself to watch…

Other than that, every main character in the series seems to be as consistent as they are in the previous season. Mikako still the massacre-loving girl (man, you got to love her when she turns into this mode) and she can ‘kill’ without remorse while putting on a smile. Sohara still your typical girl-next-door who still can’t bring herself to confess her true feelings to Tomoki while playing a tsundere. Eishirou’s fascination with the New World never diminishes and in fact in some episodes, you can still hear him narrate his theories on history of mankind’s discovery and innovation that may lead to the possibilities of this so called New World. And yes, he still lives by the tent near the river. Tomoki is still the town’s number one pervert and numero uno public enemy of women. He really enjoys it and can you entirely blame it all on him when his grandpa is equally bad? While it may seem that the daily arguments and reprimanding of the Angeloids are natural and part and parcel of his life, but I feel that there is a little bit of progress in terms of bonding with Tomoki. Not only he grows to accept them or teaches them to do things on their will, he is willing to protect them and at times feel their pain and suffering. Besides his pervertness, he’s a nice guy. Just that he’s being a pervert most of the time. And his reprimanding is his way of showing his love to his Angeloids. I don’t remember about the last season, but Ikaros’ has displayed an emotion side of hers that I believe I have not seen before even if they are just short bursts of emotion. Nymph on the other hand continues her dilemma of being masterless till Tomoki finally takes her in. All she wants is to be accepted. Newcomer Astrea shows that she may just look menacing at first. But after you get to know her, she’s one lovable idiot. I have another theory why she is quite dumb. It’s because she’s always hungry! Can’t think on an empty stomach, eh? Besides, my guess is that her bottomless stomach is as proportionately big as her boobs :). We may not know much about the Sky Master except that he is one crazy sadistic dude. One thing is for sure that if there are going to be more sequels in the future, he’ll be one bad ass antagonist that Tomoki and co will have to deal with.

With a big chunk of the second season seemingly like fun fillers (well, at least anything that has got nothing to do with the New World and its workings), the fun part is of course Tomoki’s perverted antics. Whether it is some wrestling match or a snowball fight, it’s not the perverted things he does but also when he becomes into chibi mode. In some episodes, he retains this form as much as 90% of the episode and when he is so, you can expect that something funny and hilarious will happen. Yeah, you can say that he is one funny little guy. He never learns to control that beastly side of his. Why should he when he is having the time of his life? Sometimes I think he can transform so freely and frequently between these forms, heck, he may be some kind of Angeloid too! Only not because he’s a guy. I’m pondering over something. If the Angeloids were created not to have emotions or have dreams, seeing that all those who have come into contact with Tomoki ended up disobeying their master’s orders and developing their own feelings and free will, can I say that their technology is imperfect? I mean those people in the sky seem to look down (mind the pun) on the people on Earth. Maybe Tomoki without himself realizing it has something inside him so extraordinary that perhaps he is the one. No, I’m not thinking of his inner perverteness.

At first I thought that this season the producers are going to pull off another unusual feat by changing different opening themes for each opening credit, just like how they did for each and every ending theme for the first season is different. I was convinced after watching a totally full-on Tomoki version of Ring My Bell for the first episode (this theme was also the opening theme for the first season but this time replaces all sexy Ikaros views with Tomoki. Fancy viewing his chest in the opener?). But that isn’t to be when they maintain Heart No Kakuritsu by Blue Drops for the rest of the episodes. Though I remember that at one point they use a different singer to singer (if I’m not mistaken, it was Ikaros’ seiyuu). As usual, all the ending themes are different in this season too. All the seiyuus are retained in the season and the new addition that surprised me was Aki Toyosaki’s role as Chaos. My stereotypical view of her is that she suits perfectly voicing ditzy and airhead girls like Yui in K-ON! and Tomo in Seikon No Qwaser. But when she voices a very twisted Chaos, she seems perfectly fitting and convincing in making Chaos sound like a lost and dangerous Angeloid loli in search for the meaning of love. Kudos to her. Now that Chaos is part of the gang, I hope she’ll learn the correct meaning of love and hopefully Tomoki won’t impose his own version of love on her. My guts say that Chaos will be safe firstly because Sohara is around and secondly she’s flat. Oops. Hey, you got to admit that Tomoki likes busty babes. The bigger the better.

Now with a bunch of Angeloids in Tomoki’s home, you can safely say that his peaceful and quiet days are very much a distant dream. If this continues at this rate, he might need to get a bigger home to house all the Angeloids he ‘saves’ from the Sky Master’s torment. Heck, he can be the new harem ruler in the sky. But even with a few ladies flanking him, it is obvious he will have a tough choice making the call which want he really wants by his side. Can’t have everything? Well, he was able to have it his way by stopping the Angeloids from killing him or each other. On second thought, maybe choosing a girl would be a much tougher decision. So remember when your mother tells you about picking up stuff from the ground? Same thing too if you pick up stuff that fell out from the sky. You don’t know what kind of troubles that will come with it. Unless you don’t mind becoming a hero and saviour of mankind. Otherwise, isn’t it peace and quiet the best?

Usagi-chan De Cue

October 7, 2011

The last time I saw a girl transformed into bunny and fight was Getsumen To Heiki Miina. However in Usagi-chan De Cue, we’re not transforming into rabbit heroes to protect the Earth from alien scums. More like for, erm, how should I put it, the hell of it? Oh, what am I saying? To cut things short, let’s say if you’re an ecchi fan and like short OVAs that do not span more than 3 episodes, sure, have a look at this one.

So why rabbits in the first place? I have a theory. When you think of girls dressing up of bunnies, you think of those sexy Playboy girls, right? Plus, rabbits are supposed to be very good in multiplication. Not the one in mathematics. So what kind of animal would be synonymous with breeding, which means the three letter ‘S’ word? Yeah, no animal does it better like those cute furry bunnies. However, there is only 1 bunny girl in this OVA but I guess it’s enough to satisfy ecchi fans.

Episode 1
Tough girl Mikami Inaba is fighting petite Chou Benten‘s underling, Dekao at the school rooftop. She gets distracted when her friends Haru Matogi and Miku Mizuki come by after hearing she’s in a fight. Dekao dashes forward towards her causing them to break through the rabbit’s shed and falling off the roof. Inaba tries to save a falling rabbit and when she catches it, a bright glow engulfs them. The next thing we know, we see airhead rabbit girl Mimika taking a bath in Haru’s home. He’s been tasked to take care of her and Mimika’s ears (reminds me of Pikachu) has this special waves to convince people that nothing has happened. Of course it mysteriously doesn’t affect certain people like Haru. Mimika doesn’t remember much till the time Inaba saved her and only remember being wrapped by a warm light. She decides to get all lovey-dovey with Haru. Guess what? Miku just came in. Your typical childhood friend-cum-classmate who has a secret crush on this guy. No matter how many times she warns Mimika to get off Haru, she continues to get intimate. So just let them be lah. Oh, the burning jealousy. The next day in class, Mimika continues to be so energetic and clinging around Haru, much to Miku’s annoyance. Miku tries to hint to Haru to go out with her to a new burger shop but that guy is so infatuated with fixing the rabbit shed. On their way to the shop, Chou spots them and is puzzled because he sees Inaba (Mimika actually) alive and has told everyone he killed her. Mimika gets friendly but he doesn’t appreciate it and lets loose a kick. I can’t believe he missed at that close range and kicked Miku instead! Because a strange aura is coming out from Mimika, Chou and his underlings leave. But he notes that Inaba has definitely merged. Mimika continues to be an annoying pest at the shop, wanting the same drinks, spilling hers and even spilling Haru’s drink all over herself. He takes her to wash up as Miku contemplates an indirect kiss from his straw but couldn’t bring herself to do it. Meanwhile Chou (in dog form) reports to his boss about Inaba’s merger and is being ordered to keep an eye on her.

Haru brings Mimika and Miku to the beach and has a nice time looking at them playing with each other till he forgets to set up the tent. Suddenly a bunch of macho men called Sailors of Sinbad start harassing them, especially Miku. Haru tries to save her but gets beaten up. One of the men is knocked out and they see Inaba. She’s back. Chou is also there and it’s part of his plan to lure her out. They attack but Inaba finishes them all. Chou is surprised to see Dekao out of the hospital and now part cyborg. However Dekao tosses Chou away into the sea and starts his fight with Inaba. She is no match for his rain of missiles and not even the jet ski she borrowed could help. However she is ‘saved’ when Chou comes splashing down in the water and short circuiting Dekao. When Haru wakes up, he finds worried Mimika all over him. Not too happy, eh, Miku? Chou is left pondering how and who fitted Dekao with those things. Next day in school, Haru’s class receives a new transfer student. It’s a cat girl named Koshka Nekoi. Seems she has an ulterior motive because she’s being hired by somebody who is entrusting her to take care of things.

Episode 2
Panty shots and boob shots greet us at this episode opener. Mimika and Miku are tied to the board and are being faced by a group of perverted firing squad. “If you’re going to aim, aim properly!”. Then everyone fires. Turns out the girls are shooting targets in the school festival. Amazingly, all the loser guys missed! None hit them!!! Their classmate wants them to enter the Miss Banzai contest but Miku refuses. Till Koshka smoothly persuades Mimika to enter because it’ll give her some delicious memories. A bunch of delinquents enter a tent that reads “Female Breeding Committee Members”. However they get disappointed to see Haru and many animal cages. They’re thinking about girls, right? They take out their frustration by taking it out on Haru but suddenly Inaba appears. They shiver in their pants and runaway. Wow. She must have got a scary reputation. With that over, Inaba suddenly turns to Mimika as she gets all clingy on Haru. Chou reports to his boss and the latter is not happy that Inaba is still alive. Though he swears to get the job done, he asks about Dekao’s upgrade and wonder if there is somebody more powerful behind it. But the boss tells him to stick his nose where he belongs and get the job done or else. After that, the boss talks to his masked underling about the threat of Inaba on their work. Koshka is also there as she plans to reveal Inaba’s true form in public and with her in her combat mode, this will get her expelled from school.

Mimika wants Haru to come with her to the Miss Banzai contest but he can’t leave the animals alone. Flashback reveals how Haru wanted to become a vet and understand the language of animals. Mimika gets upset that he doesn’t look at her anymore and runs away. She comes into Chou and his underlings as they give chase. She’s about to transform into Inaba when suddenly Haru grabs the baddies and tells her not to fight because she’s not Inaba now and go ahead. The headmaster of Saotome school confronts Chou and tells him his role is over and that he is to be his subordinate. Haru takes this chance to escape with Mimika. At Miss Banzai contest, Koshka sexily struts her stuff and since Mimika is late, Miku is forced to step in to cover her. She’s so nervous that the only pose she could do is flip up her skirt?! WTF?! The guys are all so disappointed. Then for the swimsuit parade, it seems Miku is the only one in a nurse outfit. She takes her friend’s advice to do a sexy pose and this time all the guys fall in love with her. Mimika and Haru come running into the crowd as Mimika transforms into Inaba for her entry. Heck, she doesn’t even need to take off her top. Her boobs are so big that it bursts, enough time to change! Wow! Koshka decides to fight Inaba as she mentions that she won’t kill her but defeat her since they’re comrades. As they fight, Inaba tries to get answers about the Board and merged beings but Koshka doesn’t know much and tells her to investigate herself.

Their duel is cut short when Dekao blasts his way in. Man, he’s a full cyborg now! Oh wait. A centaur!!! He’s firing missiles like nobody’s business so Koshka decides to flee. Inaba manages to defeat Dekao with some skirt blinding technique. The explosion was so great that it blasts Haru away and into Miku’s chest. She must have wanted this moment to stay a little longer but Mimika was quick to whisk him away in her clingy, worried mode. Back home, Haru is doing lots of research on the merger. Miku has a different merger in mind. Dirty girl… Upon realizing he’s referring to Mimika, she decides to leave but trips. Haru uses his body to shield the books from falling from her. Mimika overhears ambiguous voices and misinterprets that Haru likes regular girls and runs away from home. She ends up sleeping in the streets but was awakened by Haru. He is here to clear the misunderstanding so Mimika is overjoyed. However he wants to talk to Inaba inside her as he thinks Inaba is the one controlling the switch. He wonders why she is letting her in control so Mimika murmurs so she can use her. Mimika gets disheartened that he likes Inaba more so she runs away again. So emo… Haru wonders if Inaba has her mind stolen by Mimika or the other way round. Then he spots Chou behind.

Episode 3
Inaba is alone thinking about her broken family whereby her parents are always fighting. She thought of being tough and like a gangster but stumbled upon Haru’s kindness. She needs to change herself. Meanwhile Miku also feels the need to change herself or else Inaba will take Haru away. Haru remembers the meeting with Chou. He said something about the welfare department trying to merge the local areas to make them less independent. But strange things happened, and that they merged with animals. They tried to cover up by catching and experimenting on them to make this world normal again. The make it an example, they have this district with no merged beings till Mimika appeared. Chou shows him that he is a merged being and that his job is to hunt down merged beings but is now betrayed. Dekao is an enforcer sent by the department to hunt Mimika. As for why merging happens, when someone loses their mind and humanity, the lonelier they get, the more they can’t handle and thus merged. When Haru comes home, he sees Inaba in his bed but she quickly turns into airhead Mimika. As Haru watches her sleep, he sees her transforming back and forth in both forms. He remembers how Inaba never mixed around. Meanwhile the Board have received a report that merged beings can affect humans with telepathy and won’t lose this world because of 1 merged being. Haru accompanies Miku and Mimika out shopping. For lingerie? Miku starts to fantasize wild thoughts when she learns Mimika slept with Haru. She then snaps by saying Haru is looking after her because he views her as a pet rabbit. She gets jealous that Haru has never thought of her as a girl even though they were always close together. She thinks she knows Haru better and loves him. Mimika tries to extend her hand but she hits it away. Though she apologizes for her actions.

Suddenly the entire complex is being surrounded by Saotome and his underlings. Inaba appears and kicks Saotome and take Haru and Miku to escape. But before her is Koshka who wants to settle their score. Mimika wants Haru to take fear-stricken Mimika to safety. Then it’s bunny vs cat. As Haru and Miku escape via the stairs, it seems there are baddies blocking it but Chou helps them out to make a clear path. Inaba wants them to stop fighting each other since they’re merged beings. But Koshka says they’re not because Inaba has great friends like Haru and Miku. Koshka continues her dreadful past whereby kids taunt her dad a killer, mom committed suicide and her only confide, a stray cat named Koshka became road kill. So she thought if she became strong, she wouldn’t need anybody’s kindness. Koshka gets a call from Saotome that they’ve been betrayed and that Abumidah wants to get rid of them all. An army takes out Saotome and all his underlings. The boss drops a large container into the shopping complex via helicopter. Inside, Dekao now a robotic tank and going way berserk with the missiles. The only way to beat him is to cooperate but they can’t get close. Because of the destruction, Haru, Miku and Chou have to make a u-turn and return to the complex and watch the fight. Koshka did a sacrificing move by electrocuting Dekao and herself. With Dekao destroyed, however the explosion is so great that it blew the ground Miku was on. Haru jumps to save her but Inaba is in a dilemma as she thinks of all the times they spent together. She remembers if she wanted something, she got scolded or beaten up and that’s why she never wished for anything. She hears Mimika’s voice wondering if she’s okay if they die, even if Haru choses Miku over her. She tells her to make a decision that is most important to her and that it is okay to wish for things. Inaba merges with Mimika (Mimika’s facade but with Inaba’s personality) as she dives down to grab them.

In the aftermath, Haru and Miku are at the rooftop discussing how Inaba hasn’t been in school for a few days. He remembers how they were safely on the ground and thinks Inaba has saved them. Though she wasn’t there, her gloves were in his hands. And while he was conscious, she confessed she liked him. Inaba is meeting up with Chou and it seems they have to run away or else the welfare department will come hunting her down since she’s the best existence of a merged being. But she’s not going to live her whole life running and hiding because she wants to go back. And if anybody comes looking for trouble, she just needs to kick ass. So Chou has no choice but to run away with Koshka. Yes, that cat’s still alive. A dog and a cat eloping? Inaba happily reunites with Haru and Miku.

They didn’t say anything about rabbit holes…
Though everything was rather okay, the thing that bugged me was the concept and plot behind the merger of humans and animals. Three episodes are too short to explain everything and even if they did try their best, it feels somewhat incomplete. About the Board’s plan of eradicating merged beings or harness its power was just explained in a hurry. It would’ve been nicer if this part was developed a little bit but then again, I’m in a dilemma if it was, it might get so complicated that it would be a turn-off. Yeah, who needs a plot or storyline when you can cover it with mindless fanservice. Speaking of which, this is what you watch the series for, right? Super exposed panty shots and totally naked boobs galore with no hideous censors whatsoever. And I think they may have crossed the line with the panty shots fanservice because I find that the girls’ skirt as so short that they don’t even need to bend over to show us their slip! Partly it’s because of the low camera angles too but I feel it’s like they’re as good as wearing no skirt at all. The fight scenes were just mediocre and exaggerative to give us some fanservice kicks. Why else would a girl unleash her high kick or flying kick straight at her enemies without minding her own modesty? Okay, maybe Inaba’s a tough girl so she doesn’t care about being cute and all. But still, it feels like you’d focus on somewhere else rather than the baddies’ face getting walloped *wink, wink*.

Mimika is the most irritating character. She’s too emo and very clingy and physical with Haru. And her airheadness tops it all. She can’t really fight and her only skill is to jump away. Well, she’s a rabbit, right? Hey, come to think of it. How did Mimika end up getting such voluptuous boobs? Rabbits don’t have big boobs, don’t they? Mimika’s always cutting in between Haru and Miku. If she doesn’t get what she wants, she thinks you don’t love her. Maybe partly she’s a rabbit so all she wants is just attention from that guy. Speaking of which, shouldn’t Haru find it weird at first when Mimika started living with him? I mean, he didn’t seem alert when Inaba disappeared and in her place is Mimika. And even if he knew it all along, isn’t he worried about Inaba merged with Mimika? Perhaps he views Mimika as his pet rabbit no matter what form she takes, eh? It really boggles me that Inaba can only come out when Haru is in danger. So it makes me wonder if she really controls the switch and why in the world would she want to use Mimika. Though I’m not sure now that both sides are actually merged in the end, would it be weird to have such a mixed being walking around? As for the love chemistry for Miku didn’t work out even if she did mention she likes Haru but it wasn’t in his face and in the end, they’re just back to being friends as usual. I thought the baddies of this series will have some sort of an ultimate showdown with Inaba or Koshka. Especially that masked guy. Unfortunately, all you ever see him is just talking and no action. So the only fights you get to see are low-level baddies and the most Dekao. As for that guy, he must be the coolest one because he gets to undergo massive upgrades. It’s like throwing away your humanity for more firepower. I wonder what transformation he will receive if he returns the next time. Transformers? Optimus Prime or Megatron? Chou and Koshka’s role became unimportant too fast. Chou was betrayed so he betrays while Koshka’s duel with Inaba is so short that this must be the record breaking shonen-type reconciliation. I’m not saying Inaba and Koshka are really pals at the end, but they managed to put aside their differences for their better benefit.

So this old school production doesn’t seem to have any more continuation. It’s highly unlikely since the manga itself ran for only 2 volumes. But even if there was, I would probably be not interested to find out. I mean, you could expect more or less the same thing. You get your ecchi fanservice fill with the girls fighting over Haru, then we have more merged beings in other different animal forms probably sent by the Board wanting to pick a bone with Inaba. And yeah, a boss-fight with Dekao to cap it all. Thankfully, I’m not into rabbits or pets so I’m not rushing to the nearest pet store to get myself one. And if your pet rabbit or cat really does transform into a sexy babe, it could only mean that you’re dreaming or seen too many kind of this anime. I mean seriously, would you like to have your pet and girlfriend combined together? That will be so messed up.

I’m sure we all have our own favourite super hero characters simply because of the awesome powers they hold. Be it the typical superhuman strength, speed, x-ray visions, energy projections and to those more sophisticated like telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance and self-healing, these characters with such powers never cease to amaze us. But how about those characters that don’t have a single power to their name and yet be heroes? Well, technically they seem that they don’t have powers but their power isn’t having any such powers of such sort. Confused?

What I’m talking about are characters who possess nullification powers. That’s right. Of all the powers that we people would love to have, in my opinion the powers to nullify and negate other powers must be the most underrated one. Sure, these characters may not have other cool powers but their ability to neutralize the power of the others makes them a class of their own. You can bet that they are ‘safe’ from any dangerous huge spells and thus in a way make them the ‘untouchables’. So here are the few anime characters with nullification powers that I know of:

Mikan Sakura (Gakuen Alice)

The first anime character that I know that holds this power. In a world where magic powers are known as Alice, of all the cool Alices that she might think she would have, it had to be a Nullification Alice for the 10 year old optimistic, cheerful and good-natured girl. One of the few rare Alices, her power temporarily cancels out other Alices that are in close proximity with her. She first discovered this power of hers when she unknowingly cancels out Natsume’s flames from burning her to death. Initially she was unable to control her Alice causing it to be unstable. But as time goes by, she is able to control and utilize her Alice to its full effect with the help of her friends.

Touma Kamijou (To Aru Majutsu No Index)

Probably the most famous character with nullifying powers. In a world where science and magic constantly clash, Touma’s right hand is known as the Imagine Breaker which allows anything to be neutralized, negated or nullified at the mere touch. And I mean just about anything that is magic, psychic or divine powers. This means that he also constantly cancels out his own good luck and thus his favourite phrase of being the unluckiest guy in the world. First seen when he neutralizes Index’s Walking Church clothes, tearing apart every bit of it leaving her stark naked. A point to ponder: If it is able to cancel his good luck, shouldn’t it sometimes cancel out his bad luck too?

Yuka Minase (11eyes)

Each of the Fragments that are drawn into the Red Night possesses a particular power. Yuka’s nullification power is not known till halfway through the series whereby her screams of despair causes nullifying shockwaves not only towards the enemies but her comrades as well. She is able to unleash this power whenever she sees her loved one (especially Kakeru) in absolute danger. Each time she uses this power, she will fall into an unconscious state. It’s just too bad that she could nullify powers but not her own mental state.

Oboro (Basilisk)

As the descendant and current leader of the Iga Clan, what she lacks in the area of martial arts or ninjutsu techniques, she makes up for her Mystic Eyes that she is born with that neutralizes any sort of ninjutsu to the bearer who looks directly into it. Engaged to the leader of the opposing Kouga Clan, Gennosuke, she is completely torn between her love for him and her duties of her clan and the current war between both sides complicate matters. She used the Seven Days of Darkness potion to temporarily seal her eyes because she fear that she would use her powers against her own clan if she ever saw them attack Gennosuke.

Asuna Kagurazaka (Mahou Sensei Negima)

Her nullification powers are revealed via a trip back in time. In fact, when Asuna was young, she had very strong magical powers. So strong that she could burn down the entire village even if she didn’t want to. In order to ‘distance herself from all kinds of magic’, she made a contract with the demons and thus any magic or spells that come into contact with her will be negated. In exchange for this, she only has 10 years to live. So for all the crazy antics in school like love potion madness or magic fights with Evangeline, now you know why they have no effect on her.

Jeremiah Gottwald (Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Rebellion R2)

A fallen Britannia Knightmare Frame pilot after a fake plot by Zero to save Suzaku. In the second season, he receives a mask piece which is suited in his cybernetic left eye called Geass Canceller that is able to nullify all Geass effects. Unlike other Geass users, Jeremiah does not need to look directly into the eye of his victims in order for it to take effect and just needs to be in a reasonable radius. In turn, the Geass Canceller also works as a shield as it protects him from the effects of other Geass being used upon him.

Yuka Suzuki (Fairy Tail)

It was hard for me to decide whether to list him under here. You see, Suzuki’s power is to nullify other wizards’ powers via projecting nullification waves. He can also throw these waves around and create a barrier as a shield. So technically that is some sort of magic itself, right? No? Confused? Anyway the drawback of using this nullification power of his is that though any powers within the radius sphere of this wave will be cancelled out, powers can still be used from the outside to help objects that are inside the sphere. Get it?

Nothing more, nothing less…
This list isn’t meant to be exclusive as there may be much more other power nullifying characters out there that I am not aware. Hmm… Maybe their powers nullified my memories when I first got to know them. Anyway there are some characters which I feel do not qualify to be put into this list. For instance, Marshal Teach AKA Blackbeard from One Piece. He has this Yami-yami Devil Fruit which gives him the power of darkness. Technically it may seem on the surface that it cancels out all other powers but in actual fact what it really does is that it absorbs other powers. You know, nothing can escape the darkness, the Black Hole. Not even light. As for Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu‘s Yuki Nagato, I feel that her ability to nullify data links is actually just a part of her complicated high skill level that we average humans can’t comprehend. So that’s why it seems like she is able to cancel artificial interface connections.

So remember that even if you don’t have other cool magic effects to begin with, picking a bone with power nullifying characters means that you too will be as ‘hopeless’ as them. Now that is what I call a fair chance and on equal footing. In other words, what a “turn off”. Having such powers is nothing to be ashamed of and definitely it is not a useless power. So technically if with great powers come great responsibilities, would it mean that if you have none, you don’t have to shoulder any? And if there are too many power negations, would this nullifying effect be cancelled out too? Argh! Too much of this nullifying talk has nullified my brain cells already.


October 1, 2011

Because of the live-action film that came out early in 2011, it was one of the few reasons why I decided to take a look at its anime version that came out way back in 2004, Gantz. Though I have never watched the movie, but the main reason why I decided to try out this sci-fi action series was because of the newspaper review on the movie. In a nutshell, it said that the movie was a much ‘tamer’ affair compared to the anime. True enough, without even watching the film version, I could say that the anime series is definitely only for mature audiences considering the amount of blood, gore, graphic violence, partial nudity and strong/crude language that it has to offer. And yeah, at a certain point, it even had sex scenes. Yeow! Definitely not kids’ stuff for sure.

The basic premise of the movie and anime are the same. People who died in an unnatural way are given a second shot at life by being transported to a mysterious apartment containing a black sphere called Gantz. They are forced to hunt aliens for the sake of their own survival within a given amount of time frame. And even with sophisticated suits and weaponry that normal science can’t explain, taking down aliens doesn’t seem to be an easy job. Playing first-person or third-person shooter games seem like child’s play. And while Gantz itself is mysterious, intriguing and incomprehensible, the hunters who are forced to play this sick game have to learn to adapt quickly or else they’d really die for good. Yeah, unlike in video games where you normally have 3 lives, you only live twice here. At least in this anime. And if you find that some of the elements and reasoning here hard to accept, well it’s up to us individuals. Like killing aliens for points. For what? Well, Gantz’s thinking isn’t something everyone can understand.

Episode 1
Cocky and always looking down on the world, Kei Kurono is in a class lesson. He starts fantasizing and undressing all the females including his teacher. His classmate spots his erection and soon everyone teases him. On his way home, Kei takes the subway only to be bugged by an old lady asking for directions. He then sees a familiar face standing next to him. He is Masaru Katou, his childhood friend. Suddenly a smelly homeless drunkard slips and falls onto the rail tracks. Nobody helped him and could only watch. Plus, they even have those apathy comments about him and that others would come to his rescue. Katou couldn’t take it anymore and dives down to save the unconscious drunkard. He shouts for help but the people only returned with their stares. He spots Kei and recognizes him. With the feeling that the world is staring at him, Kei goes down to help as he thinks he’s happy Katou recognized him. The drunkard is heavy as they use up most of their energy to push him up, in which they finally do. Then the train comes. Katou says to run thinking that the train will fully stop at the other end. However it seems this train isn’t stopping. The train closes in and before they know it, both their heads are sent flying! GROSS!!! And the public either scream in fear or have the cheek to even take pictures. WTF?! Soon after, there are no traces of Kei and Katou’s body at the scene. However, Kei and Katou surprisingly find themselves alive but in a room with a big black sphere in the middle and a few other colourful oddballs. They’re supposedly people who have died to. Where is this place? Is this Heaven? Are they really alive? Kei and Katou spot Tokyo Tower outside the glass but were being told nobody could leave this place or even touch the walls. They introduce each other and the motley gang include teacher Masashi Yamada, old cancer patient Gorou Suzuki, gloomy but scary looking Jouichiro Nishi, an arrogant pretty boy, a pair of yakuzas and a dog. Katou remembers the time he used to play tag with Kei and the rest and something made him look up to Kei and wanted to be like him. Seriously? I don’t think you want to if you know his cocky sarcasm inner thoughts. Suddenly they receive another ‘newbie’. Wow. You should see the Sphere reconstructing this babe from the inside out! Unconscious, she clings on to Kei as Katou notice that she has slit her wrists. I’m sure the guys are pretty interested in her seeing that she’s the only female here. Not to mention, totally naked! Then one of the yakuza picks her up to another room and warns them not to come in. Yup, he’s going to rape her. She starts yelling and Katou couldn’t take it anymore and confronts him. Katou is so mad that he strangles the yakuza and would’ve killed him if not interrupted by some funny happy Good Morning song. That song seems to be coming out from Gantz.

Episode 2
I don’t know why the dog was even trying to rape her. It could’ve gotten worse if Katou didn’t lend her his coat. Back to Gantz, they start seeing messages to kill a certain Negi Seijin (literally, Spring Onion Alien -WTF?!). It even has characteristics shown like it’s smelly, strong and loves… Spring onions. Gantz opens to reveal cool weaponry and they are shocked to see a man in foetal position inside. Nishi seems to know what he is doing and putting on the tight black suit. Soon everyone in the room slowly disappears to the outside. As they trudge along, Nishi tells them there are criminal aliens in hiding and disguise. Everyone is scouted by the Japanese Government Secret Agency to go on alien hunting. A kill is worth ten million Yen! Kei doesn’t believe but Nishi mentions he has been approached by someone before his death. Kei starts to remember the old lady. Suzuki doesn’t believe all this and goes off on his own. Along the way he thinks of starting anew his politician life when suddenly a ray from the sky hits directly on his head. HIS HEAD SPLATTERED INTO BLOODY BITS!!! F*CK!!! GORY!!! The rest find the Negi Seijin. Seems like a dork eating spring onions. The yakuzas, blondie and Yamada start bullying and hunting down to poor helpless alien. Kei, Katou and the girl spot them and went after them. Kei is jealous that the girl seems to be paying more attention to Katou and notices she takes a liking for him. Once they cornered the alien, the 4 start blasting him mercilessly till his limbs come off! Katou starts crying because he felt guilty he couldn’t save the alien but the blondie calls him a hypocrite. They notice a passer-by but realize that they must be dead because that person couldn’t see them or what had just happened. Suddenly a giant Negi Seijin (probably the father), comes up behind Blondie and rips his body apart!!! Another bloody death! Woah. Looks like an alien version of Incredible Hulk. He’s very mad. How mad? He’s crying tears of blood! He grabs one of the yakuzas in his sharp grip when that yakuza tries to act tough and fight back. Who’s the weak one now? Yamada panics and fires a shot at their direction. This results in that yakuza’s inner organs exploding out in bits. Eww!!!

Episode 3
Yamada and the other yakuza start firing their guns but the alien slashes off their arms! The yakuza fires several shot to take the alien out with the other arm he’s got before collapsing. But that’s not enough as the behemoth rises and confronts Katou. That guy is still crying that he couldn’t save everyone! I don’t know about this ‘shouting and crying contest’ because both of them are speaking in different language. Are you sure that alien could understand you? Katou points a gun at him but couldn’t shoot. Kei tells him to fire but the lady tells Kei to do it instead. Yeah, easy to say. Couldn’t do it either, eh? The alien attacks as Katou avoids his claws and causes him to fall off the slope. The alien turns to the duo and chases them. The lady blames Kei for causing Katou’s death. The chase stops when the alien is hit by the car (the passengers couldn’t see what they hit). But he got up again and the chase begins. As they run, Kei remembers the ‘coolness’ he was when he was a kid. Nobody could catch him. They are cornered at a dead-end when Kei thinks back the reason he was cool back then was because he wasn’t afraid of anything. He charges towards the alien, slides underneath him and lets himself be the bait to get chased. Katou is still alive and seen lying on the slope when he spots Kei being chased. As Kei continues to think about his past, his suit powers up as he is able to leap a great distance but crashes below. The alien catches up and has him in his grasp but before he could slice Kei, Katou grabs the alien in hopes of buying time for him to run. The alien attacks and injures Kei. Seeing his friend giving up on life, Kei gets furious and his suit once again powers up to give him superhuman powers. Strong enough to break the alien’s arm! Then he takes out his anger by turning him into a punching bag. By this time the alien has had enough and wishes for forgiveness. Hey, he just spoke a human sentence. But he is suddenly being bound by Nishi. He is going to let Kei have this kill and tells him to fire his gun at the alien, which of course will outright kill him.

Episode 4
Kei couldn’t pull the trigger so Nishi mocks him and tries to make him do it. Nishi adds that he is just the same as him and derives excitement from watching others die. Though Kei denies, he gives spot-on examples during time Kei got killed at the subway and other people just watched and how it’s human nature to want to see others die like hoping of dead bodies on the news. Since Kei can’t do it, Nishi uses his trap gun and sends the alien into the sky. He differentiates the gun that they have and the one Kei has will kill but his is to send away though he doesn’t know where. Nishi continues that they can go home and have to go back to that room. The lady lets loose a scream after seeing Katou’s life slip away. However Nishi says that as long as you’re alive and return to that room, every damage taken will be repaired. Dead people stay dead. Kei and the girl desperately try to wake Katou up but he’s not responding. Soon everyone gets teleported back to the room. Kei and the girl are devastated over Katou’s death as Nishi teases her that she’s in love with him. The other survivor who returned seems to be the dog. Because Katou isn’t technically dead, he too is teleported back to the room much to the relief of his pals. Nishi orders Gantz to give their score. Seems it’s like making wise cracks and have its own comments of the performance of the survivors. Wagging tail too much (dog), walking around without panties for too long (the girl whom Gantz calls Big Tits), almost died and what the hell comment (Katou), having too much erection from staring at Big Tits (Kei). Everyone scores zero except for Nishi who scores a meagre 3 points, bringing his tally to 90 points. A note says he will be done with 10 more points. The rest want Nishi to explain their situation since he knows quite a bit so he agrees as long he knows it. Nishi is a normal junior high school student and came to this place a year ago. Things have been happening repetitively like tonight. A number of people who’re supposed to have died are brought to this room. If they die, they get replaced. He has seen lots of people come and go and even crazier nights that this. He survived them all. Nishi goes up to Gantz and shows them the list of dead people and those at the bottoms are the recent dead ones. He says Kei is different than the rest because he knew the importance of the suit and put it on. Katou gets upset why he didn’t tell them in the first place and this wouldn’t have happened. His reply is that the target lets its guard down while they’re getting killed. Plus, he doesn’t care who lives or dies. He calls Katou the biggest hypocrite. He answers their question about whether they’re alive. He says yes as the people who are on the verge of death come here. His theory is that though their real bodies are dead, in here they’re like copies of a fax. He warns them if they return home, they better not tell anyone about this because nobody will believe them. He turns himself invisible and walks out of the door. Next morning, Kei sees himself lying in bed in his room, thinking all this was just a dream. He sees the TV news reporting Suzuki’s loss with his fight with cancer and Yamada’s scooter collided with a truck. Then he sees a report about a pair of high school students that went missing after saving a homeless drunkard in the subway. His worse fears realized when he sees the black suit on his chair. Yup, he isn’t dreaming.

Episode 5
Kei still finds it hard to believe that he is alive back in the real world. Nishi’s words of not telling to everyone else still rings in his head. After Nishi left, the trio are able to get out of the apartment and hail a cab home (now people can see them). Kei borrows the lady his school clothes (since he’s wearing the suit). When they drop her off, Katou asks for her name (why is he blushing). She is Kei Kishimoto. Wait a minute. Another person named Kei? Kishimoto lies around her house and answers a phone call. However it seems her mom on the other line is talking to her as though she’s a different person, saying her daughter’s in hospital unconscious and all. Katou gets an earful from her aunt who is reluctant to take care of her late brother’s children. She soon goes out with her own children. Katou and his little brother, Ayumu watches the news and the latter notices his damaged umbrella at the site and wonders why it’s there in the first place. Kei is in school and his classmate Matsumura tells him his problem of paying protection money. Like Kei cares. Then the delinquent Yonekura comes to collect his money but he doesn’t have any. Yonekura then makes a deal if Matsumura tags Kei, he’ll get all the money from Kei instead. The selfish otaku bastard did so and left Kei in his sh*t place. Yonekura ups the protection money to 50 grand and wants him to bring it to him after school. He is brought to the head of the gang, Tachibana. A senior karate guy approaches them. Acting tough, he wants Tachibana to stop picking on his juniors and return all the money he extorted. However all that toughness was fake because he gets beaten up real badly by Tachibana. So much so Tachibana extracts a couple of teeth from him to add to his sickening collection! Then he turns his attention to Kei, who is paralyzed in fear. He starts beating him up and Kei could do nothing since the suit he’s wearing underneath isn’t working. I’m not sure why at this moment, he starts thinking of dirty thoughts of Kishimoto. As he lies close to being dead, he has an erection (WTF?!). I’m not sure how this works but the suit powers up and Kei suddenly felt confident. He stands up and grabs Tachibana’s fist in his iron grip. After a while, he loosens his grip. Tachibana retaliates by throwing a punch but it backfires and not only loses a tooth but 3 teeth! Wow! It’s like he hit an iron wall! Kei, exuding cockiness now acts tough as he coolly walks away. When he returns, he sees Kishimoto sleeping outside his doorstep.

Episode 6
Kishimoto wakes up but catches Kei staring at her boobs. However she isn’t alarmed. She’s here to return a book he dropped when he lent his jacket. She then leaves but changes her mind and comes into his room to drink and even finish his dinner. After that, she leaves but soon comes knocking on his door again wondering if his place accepts ‘pets’. When Kei realized she is referring to herself, he gets shocked but nevertheless accepts her in. Kei must be feeling lucky, eh? Yeah, she even wants to take a shower. Dream come true for this pervert. But I guess to cool down, he goes out to buy some snacks at the convenience store. Along the way, he sees a bunch of biker gangsters beating up and stripping a guy who told them off for being noisy while his helpless son watched on. One of the gangsters, Tetsuo is a family man as he soon returns to his equally gangster wife and forces himself on her. Meanwhile Katou notices a bruise over Ayumu’s neck. He knows that his aunt abuses him but Ayumu doesn’t mind since they’ve suddenly intruded in her life so this is expected. Kishimoto’s mind is filled with Nishi’s words about being dead or alive and fax copies while she soaks herself in the bath. Then when Kei returns, they watch the TV and soon it’s bed time. Since Kei has no extra futon, she accepts sharing the same bed. Wow. Kei’s mind must be going crazy. He’s really sweating and starting to fantasize that this is his chance to rise into adulthood. Yeah, he bought condoms from the store in expectation of this. So lights off as Kishimoto takes off most of her clothes so as not to wrinkle it. However Kei notices something wrong because she just went to sleep. Then I guess he got the guts to even say that something should happen in this kind of situation: Sex. But Kishimoto gives him a best answer: “I’m your pet. You don’t have sex with your pet”. Haha! Spot on! Kei isn’t giving up yet and replies he once had a dog when he lived with his parents and hugged and kissed it. Kishimoto allows him to do so and the fondling begins. While he’s having a good time, suddenly she starts saying when she was a child, she was energetic and had lots of scars on her body. Including her recently slit wrist. However they’re all gone. When she returned to her home, she saw herself there! She wonders who she is and that there’s no place for her, no home for her to return. She starts crying and apologizing so Kei stops his immoral act. Yeah, lost your chance to lose your virginity, eh? Morning comes, the news is still reporting the mysterious subway disappearance of the 2 high school kids and the only clue is a broken umbrella and porn mag (oh, that Kei). Nishi is at the library doing research as he wonders when the next call will be.

Episode 7
Katou and Ayumu are being punished by their aunt with no breakfast because Ayumu accidentally dirtied her carpet. When she starts getting physical, Katou grabs her hand though he tries to remain cool and wants her never to hit Ayumu again. Kei and Kishimoto are buying groceries. Kei is shocked to see that old lady asking for directions and she is also the cashier. He takes Kishimoto and run back to his place. He tells her that this is a sign that Gantz is calling them again. He gives her his black suit to try and practice and soon leaves for school. Kishimoto wants him to accompany her after school back to her house as she wants to ascertain what her other self is doing. In other scenes, we see the Tetsuo working at a construction site with his biker gangsters-cum-colleagues. A granny and her grandson, Ryouta holding up a train ticket queue due to a few blunders. When Katou goes to school, he sees a classmate being surrounded by bullies. He gives that stare so the bullies take off. The bullies are discussing in the toilet about taking Katou out when a senior gay boxing club member, Onizuka gets interested in Katou. He wants to f*ck his ass. One of the bullies confidently goes to warn Katou about getting his ass f*cked. After school, Katou angrily barges into the toilet, locks the cubicle Onizuka is taking a dump and starts bashing his face till it’s all bloodied!!! He gets even more violent each time thinking about poor Ayumu and being abused by her aunt. Eventually Onizuka is beaten to a pulp as Katou leaves, leaving the other bullies shocked and terrified. Kei and Kishimoto are at a bookstore. We see a lady, Sei Sakuraoka talking to another female and knows she’s being stalked because of her instincts and goes talk to her. Also, a couple of girls spying on a pretty boy model Masanobu Houjou. Masanobu also knows he’s being stalked by a Sadako-like character and heads to one of the girls and is willing to pay if she borrows a bike. She gets ecstatic and persuades her brother for it. Kei and Kishimoto spy outside the latter’s house and they see the other Kishimoto coming out. But she walks pass by them like as though they do not exist. Kishimoto becomes disheartened. Other scenes see Ryouta and her grandma riding in a car to see the former’s mom, Tetsuo going out for a ride and to buy milk and Katou’s fist is trembling back home.

Episode 8
Kishimoto remembers how she was her mom’s favourite and had high expectations to study high. But when she failed, not only her mom cast her aside and called her stupid, her sister Shiori becomes her new favourite. She got so depressed that she slit her wrist. In reality, Kishimoto tells Kei about this and how she has been living all for her mom and being a good girl. But after what has happened, she don’t know what her other self will do and decides that she will live for herself from now onwards. When she starts saying that she’ll love him, Kei gets excited and thinks it is him (he is thanking the stars he still has his condoms). But all that happiness turns to disappointment when Kishimoto says she’ll confess to Katou, the guy she loves. Ayumu notices Katou up and he can tell something is wrong. He says hitting someone is wrong even if you’re stronger. He wishes for him not to die because he wants to live together with him. Tetsuo is out with his buddies when suddenly rival gangsters surround them. He realizes this is a trap. Nishi gets that feeling that Gantz will be calling them soon and thinks it’s about time. Kei isn’t giving up Kishimoto yet and gets this idea to massage her stiff shoulders so that he could fondle her boobs!!! Sicko! Suddenly they start disappearing to that room along with Katou. Kishimoto ditches Kei to go to Katou’s side. Jealous again, eh? Elsewhere Masanobu realizes the pillion rider is the stalker and wants her to get off but she isn’t going to do that. As the highway is jammed, he stops next up to grandma and Ryouta’s car. A sleepy truck driver rams into them and the vehicles go up in explosion. Tetsuo and his gang are fighting a losing turf war battle against the rival. Tetsuo gets stabbed. When he opens his eyes, he sees his buddies in the Gantz room. Along with them grandma, Ryouta, Masanobu and the stalker. As newcomers, they are confused and puzzled. Kei and the rest could only watch and notice how it’s like their first time. The gangsters see Kishimoto’s big tits and decide to take turns to f*ck her. She hides behind Katou. Kei tries to be a hero and tells them to stop but he froze in fear when the gangster returns a scary stare. Ryouta starts crying inconsolably so Katou decides to tell everything he knows, much to Nishi’s dismay. Of course the gangsters don’t believe him and laugh him off. Doesn’t this remind them of their first time too? Then Gantz plays that funny song again and words appear on it, reiterating that they’re dead and their new lives are up to by him. Then it shows them a picture of their next target: Suzuki Seijin. Hmm… Even have characteristics and favourite things too? The weapons draw out as the newbies have a look and are thrilled by its realism. Katou continues to tell them the importance of the suit. Nishi is upset that he gave away everything so Katou replies he wants to survive with everybody. Kei starts panicking because the pack with his name, doesn’t have a suit. He remembers he left it behind in his room. Oh sh*t!

Episode 9
Katou tells the newcomers to put on the suit but each have their own reason not to don it. Tetsuo confronts Katou about him being the leader or something and shoots him down about giving orders. While Kishimoto goes to change, the biker gangsters go peep on her and couldn’t hold it in anymore. They’re going to rape her but could you believe it? That bloody dog beat them to it?! Katou realizes what’s happening but before he could say a thing, Tetsuo reprimands them for doing this kind of stuff. But they tell him off to stop acting like their leader. Finally everyone except the biker gangster trio put on the suits. I wonder how the dog did it. Nishi then realizes Kei hasn’t put his on yet and taunts him. Yeah, after all this time, Kei’s got some problem saying it to Katou he forgot his suit and when he’s got the courage, Katou is interrupted with something. Kei thinks of taking one of the biker gangster’s suits but gets scared on the thought he may get beaten up. Katou then asks one of them to borrow Kei his suit but he isn’t going to. Though he’s not wearing but it’s his. But Nishi mentions that another person’s suit is only a set of clothes and that everyone here are rivals for survival. Kei starts to panic that he is dead meat. Because Nishi is reluctant to reveal anything further, he continues to mock everybody by giving his own views on what he thinks of them. For instance, Katou is a hypocrite and a violence impulse person (remember the time, when he grabbed the yakuza by the neck?). Kishimoto is a useless person and only relies on Katou, he thought Kei had potential but takes those words back and hopes he dies first (and die with dignity?!). Grandma and Ryouta are another bunch of pair that have no chance of survival and would most likely rely on somebody to survive (and it sure ain’t going to be him) and she spoils her grandson to satisfy herself. The biker gangsters are garbage to society and Masanobu just got the looks but the dumb kind. One of the gangsters couldn’t take it anymore and fires his weapon at Nishi, causing him to freeze. Katou realizes it’s a time lag. When the gangster is about to pound him, Nishi fires his gun at him. Shortly, that gangster’s head explodes!!! Pissed off Nishi tells he’ll kill anyone who points the gun at him or slows him down. He orders Gantz to start the mission now and soon everybody is transported outside. Kei nearly got run over by a truck when he sees robotic Suzuki Seijin with several alien birds in front of him.

Episode 10
I’m not sure what Kei is thinking but he thinks of changing the traffic light to red would make him stop? Obviously not. However, the alien just walked pass him. Kei points his gun but it’s only x-ray vision when he pulls the trigger. Kei notices one his bird is pecking on his shirt. The alien stops and asks him if he is Yuzo-kun. Of course he denies. But when Kei strikes the annoying bird of his sleeve, Suzuki Seijin gets upset and starts chasing him. Kei really runs for his life and regroups with the rest over a bridge. While the newcomers are either ‘amused’ with this Suzuki guy, Katou asks if he is dangerous. Kei warns the last time they fought with the Negi Seijin, they’re introduced to a little harmless one but another bigger threat came after them. Suddenly one of the birds gets killed. Suzuki Seijin gets angry and lets loose a deafening scream, causing Nishi to lose his invisibility (he’s the culprit who killed the bird). Nishi is obsessed in getting his final 10 points and fires at the alien but he is swift to avoid. Even if Nishi toggles his invisibility mode, Suzuki Seijin can still track him down till he is stranded in the river and even losing his gun. Nishi orders for someone to do something but the biker punks taunt him that they can’t do anything that they’re just trash. They continue to taunt him till Tetsuo punch him, Haruya. Tetsuo then says he blew off his pal’s head and wants him to apologize. If he does so, he is willing to help him. Kei disagrees about saving him because he badmouthed everyone. Tetsuo tells them that they don’t understand life (he has a kid, so he does). Though he doesn’t easily trust him, he’s going to die if nothing is done. He just wants a word of apology. When the alien gets close enough to fire another blast, Nishi punches him and sends him flying to the wall. Then he realizes his suit is leaking and is ruined. He yells for someone to help him. Tetsuo wants him to apologize but he remains stubborn and will not apologize for those who point a gun at him. The alien gets back on his feet to start chasing him with Nishi running in fear, still pleading for help. Katou decides to dive down and help him. He can apologize no matter how many times later but if he dies, they won’t find out about anything. He wants Kei to tell him how to use the suit (that is, to psyche up). Before he jumps down, he tells Kei that he is the person who wants to return home most (because of Ayumu).

Episode 11
However Katou is too late because Suzuki Seijin gives off another deafening scream that bursts Nishi’s eyeballs and ear drums! Nishi could still stand up as he yells somebody to kill this frickin’ alien. Suzuki Seijin turns his attention to Katou and submerges underwater. Katou draws his gun but Kei knows best that he can’t shoot due to his kind nature (like the last time with Negi Seijin). He starts shooting randomly in hopes of scaring him off as he carries Nishi off. Kishimoto pleads for someone to help Katou but the gangsters tell her to do it herself (yeah, why don’t she?). The biker gangster duo along with grandma and Ryouta decide to leave the scene and go home. Eventually she’s going to help him so Kei offers to help (is he trying to show off?). When Suzuki Seijin gets real close behind Katou and ready for another blast, Kei fires a gun but missed. Katou emerges from the water holding Suzuki Seijin in a strong bear hug. The stranglehold was too strong that an alien bird emerges out from Suzuki Seijin’s head. Kei uses this chance to send the alien bird away into the sky. Meanwhile a ray of light explodes one of the gangster’s head. Terrified Haruya, grandma and Ryouta run back to the rest and tell what happened. The rest gather around Nishi, barely breathing and in pain. They think something is wrong as the last time they were teleported back instantly. Katou thinks this isn’t over yet and that there may be another Suzuki Seijin. Using a tracker that Masanobu also had like Nishi, they are horrified to learn there is another one close by. Kei notices Nishi’s neck broken as the latter in a pitiful voice says how he didn’t hate anyone but rather how messed up society is. They learn how he killed himself by breaking his neck after jumping off the building to commit suicide. Kishimoto understands his situation well because they’re alike and wants him to live. Nishi starts calling for his mom, apologizing and being scared. He was just short of getting 100 points when he breathes his last breath.

Episode 12
Deducting from the recent events, they think if they leave a certain area in the map, they will die and that everyone has a bomb planted in their head. Katou is going to search for the other alien and wants Kei to stay here since he doesn’t have his suit. Kishimoto and Masanobu follow him. They also notice grandma and Ryouta have gone off on their own and will be going to search for them too. After they leave, Haruya holds Tetsuo and Kei to a ransom and wants them to do as they’re being told or else he’ll shoot them. The radar is ambiguous since it doesn’t distinguish foe or friend. Thankfully, they’re reunited with grandma and Ryouta but the next person they meet is Suzuki Seijin. There’s not only 1 of them, not 2, not 3, but 5 of them! Katou tells grandma to make a run for it. The aliens attack as Katou bear hugs 1 of them but the other aliens start blasting him! Kishimoto can’t pull the trigger (now does she understand why Katou can’t?) and gets blasted away while Masanobu just stood there like a rock. The alien bird that Katou is bear hugging emerges from the body and tries to make a run. Katou catches up to it and punches it unconscious. His suit then leaks and is ruined. The other aliens turn on him. Kishimoto manages to fire and kill one of them. Masanobu grabs another one and causes the bird to escape and run away. The others also escape. Then they see the bird Katou punched walking back to the body but died while it’s getting in. They realized that it’s probably trying to hunt grandma and Ryouta. They’re both hiding in a garage but the aliens have found them. Grandma tells Ryouta to run while she stays back to hold them off. Though Ryouta did make a run, he returns to his grandma who has taken quite beating from the blasts. They both embrace each other as the aliens prepare to blast them. Meanwhile Haruya has his hostages take them to an apartment (based on the radar readings from Kei). He wants Kei to enter the apartment and check it out for aliens. Upon entering the top floor, Kei panics when he sees several of the aliens coming out and in the middle room, a large bird man with his back facing towards him.

Episode 13
By the time Katou comes by, seems the alien are having a blasting party. Kishimoto and Masanobu plan to ambush them. When they fire their guns, it seems to have no effect. The aliens start turning on them. When they think they’re done for, the aliens’ head explode. Looks like it was some time lag thingy. Unfortunately grandma and Ryouta didn’t make it. Kei is being pestered by the aliens if he is Yuzo-kun. Annoyed, he answers yes this time. They start talking and laughing about happy things when an alien bird starts biting his neck. Kei tries to hold it in. Then he takes the bird away and gently puts it on the floor. But the aliens aren’t happy. As he walks towards the bird man, he accidentally steps on a little bird. Oh sh*t. The bird man approaches him so Kei pulls out a gun from underneath his shirt and fires but to no effect. He starts firing randomly but the alien and the final boss swiftly evade. Now it’s their turn to fire but luckily for Kei, the floor breaks as he falls through. The apartment starts collapsing and Kei uses all his strength to rush out. Katou and co reunite with them. Kei seems pretty confident that he ended everything by himself (now he’s bragging it). Suddenly the bird man grabs Haruya off into the sky and bites off his head! Then back on the ground, it confronts Kei. Katou realizes it is targeting Kei and wants him to run. However Kei is so pissed off that he is done running and is going to kill that f*cker. The bird man takes Kei on a night flight and tries to tear him apart. Not giving up without a fight, Kei pulls its mouth piece and causes him to be released. During his free fall, he pumps several shots into the bird man and eventually it explodes. Though, the hard landing on the roof might be quite painful. When everyone else catches up, they are relieved he is alright. Soon they are transported back to the room. Hey, that dog survived too. Where the heck has it been? Now it’s scoring time. Of course the dog scores zero (harsh comment from Gantz to “DO SOMETHING, DAMN IT!”). Kishimoto scores 10 while Katou obtains 5 and they deduce 5 points per kill and the more you kill, the more points earn and the higher chance of reaching 100 to be set free. Tetsuo (“biker dude with unpleasant face”) and that Sadako stalker (“disappear too much”) got zero each. Masanobu (“homo”) gets 10 points. The guys panic when they really think Masanobu is gay but of course he vehemently denies. Kei (“errand boy”) gets the largest score with 38 points. The survivors manage to leave the apartment as Katou mentions that they will eventually gather here in a few days’ time. Kishimoto asks Katou if he lives by himself but he replies with his little brother and relatives. She drops the idea and Kei feels all this sucks.

Episode 14
Kishimoto continues to live with Kei and they talk about Katou. Katou comes back from the store to see his aunt slapping and beating up Ayumu for causing another mess. He finds it hard to hold himself when she refuses to stop back and throws her to the cabinet. She kicks them out of the house. Kei is in school and starts fantasizing Kishimoto seducing him. Till his classmate teases him for getting an erection. Kishimoto is at the bookstore and sees Sei looking for a book she ordered but hasn’t arrived yet. Tetsuo tries to sell the gun to some guy for this month’s rental but since he doesn’t want it, he shoots him! He thinks he’s invincible. Katou and Ayumu move into a little apartment they rented. Ayumu seems happy. Katou goes to get some futons and spots a similar discarded white umbrella. He brings it home and carves Ayumu’s initials on it for him. Tetsuo is arguing with his wife because she is upset he didn’t come back last night and was unreachable. Plus, she thinks he’s fooling around with his biker pals and got a call from the construction company saying they didn’t turn up for work and had them fired. He even points the gun at her but she isn’t intimidated, thinking it’s a toy. Of course he puts it away when the baby starts crying. She tells him to get out. Kishimoto and Kei turn in for bed. Because she is constantly talking about Katou, Kei gets pissed off and tells her off to make up her mind. It’s like she’s always talking good about him but at the same time, she’s freeloading in his place. But he crossed the line when Kishimoto starts talking about how naive she is. She thinks Kei is also a great person and very much different from Katou. She apologizes and decides to move out. Tetsuo is being surrounded by rival gangsters. They’re going to pound on him when he takes out his gun. Pondering what the heck he is doing, he yells out to Gantz. A ray from the sky is fired at him. Tetsuo’s face is bleeding like mad when he gets a call from his wife before his head explodes. Remember Nishi’s words about telling this to those not involved in the game? Apparently as I found out, this is what happens: You die. So you’re really never ‘out’ of this game, eh?

Episode 15
Kei is upset that Kishimoto is gone but he gets a pleasant surprise because she comes knocking on his door. She hasn’t found a place to go. Would he reject her after showing him tears in her eyes? Oh heck, the next thing we see, HE’S F*CKING HER REAL HARD IN HOT STEAMY SEX!!! YEOW!!!! (Un)fortunately, that was just his what-if dream. Oh yeah. How could that been even possible. The real Kishimoto is wandering the streets and eating at a fast food joint herself. Kei thinks hard what he said to her last night when the doorbell rings for real. Thinking it’s her, he quickly opens the door but to his horror, sees that old lady! She’s here to tell him she took his advice and found that train station. It’s like she’s giving him a pinch of ironic sarcasm when she mentions to keep going and do his best. He then feels Gantz is going to make another call so he dons his suit and can’t wait to be transported so he could meet Kishimoto again. The usual suspects are transported back to the room and this time there are 9 newcomers (including Sei). The rest include a Buddhist monk, a foreigner judo guy, salaryman, hipster guy, afro guy, sci-fi guy, chubby gun otaku and a taciturn gun expert. Erm… Why is it every time the dog appears, it comes raping Kishimoto? Katou asks if she was with Kei. She lied and says yes but soon cries in his arms. The monk tells them this is a waiting place to determine if they go to Heaven or Hell and wants them to start praying. Kei tells him off that he’s wrong and that everyone isn’t dead but alive. Kei believes he can’t die yet because he hasn’t done important things yet (why do I have a feeling it’s about sex?). The monk takes defiance as a sign of not accepting you’re dead so he and the newbies start praying to Buddha. Katou tries to tell the rest what is going to happen next like Gantz singing and words appearing on it. Of course the newcomers don’t take him seriously till it really happens. Kei is ‘crying’ in the other room so Sei goes to talk to him. She wonders if she’s an otaku because he’s brother was one. Anyway, she knows he has just been ‘dumped’ and indicates that she likes him and she will help out if she needs anything. You what the first thing he asked? HE WANTS TO HAVE SEX!!! At first Sei was reluctant but gave in! They actually have sex in the middle of the hallway!!!! F*CK!!! They’re really doing it!!! Gantz lists 2 new alien targets: Ferocious Alien and Grumpy Alien. Yeah, they look like mean temple guardians. Time to suit up. Kishimoto takes hers to change but spots Kei and Sei in the middle of their unholy act and runs away. They shrug it off and continue f*cking! Well, at least they take it as a sign that they’re feeling alive because sex feels good! Hey, this isn’t turning into a hentai series, isn’t it?

Episode 16
Now Kishimoto’s head is filled with that sex scene. If she doesn’t care for him, why does she look so worried? The monk continues to tell everyone that Katou is a symbol of evil and not to be deceived when the latter tries to warn them and put on those suits. Kei (just finished his sex romp) doesn’t care if they die or not and just wants to kick alien butt. The sci-fi guy asks Katou several sci-fi theories and possibilities. Then they start disappearing. They see the timer now is 30 minutes longer, meaning they have half an hour more than their usual 60 minutes. Katou demonstrates the power of his suit. The judo guy decides to test out. His punches and kicks bear no effect. In the end only sci-fi guy and Sei put on the suits. The monk thinks those disappearing are going to hell but he too panics when he starts disappearing. Everyone is transported outside a temple. The salaryman guy isn’t going to believe all this crap and walks off. Following him are the monk and 2 others. Kei couldn’t be bothered with them. Of course when the salaryman walks out of range, his head explodes. One down. Katou tells them they can’t walk out of the area so they have no choice but to return to the temple gate. Elsewhere a pair of hooligans are beating up homeless people nearby. Reading the radar, the hunters need to get into the temple so Kei starts punching the temple gate to break it, much to the monk’s ire. With Kishimoto’s suggestion, Katou uses the x-ray gun to check if the statues guarding the gate are alive. To his horror, they see bones beneath it. So they’re fighting these behemoths? Big sh*t. Katou is going to fire the trap gun to send them away into the sky but Kei disagrees. He wants to shoot and kill them outright. After breaking the temple door and as he pulls the trigger, both statues start to move. Sh*t is starting very soon.

Episode 17
The hooligans splatter the brains of a homeless guy and are targeting another one. The gun otaku wants to go trigger happy but Kei wants to do the honours instead. Even if the statues are big, they’re swift to avoid the shot. Everyone rushes into the temple with the statues following suit. The monk trips and sprains his ankle. When the green one walks by, he thinks he’s safe but the red one targets him. The green one levitates the others and sends them crashing into the wall or ground. Kei manages to fire a shot and explodes the alien’s hand. Then they notice the monk is being targeted and everyone fires at the red statue’s direction but missed. The monk thinks his chanting stopped the menace but was soon squashed like a bug. RIP. The gang continue to fight the huge statues but they’re quick on their feet. They notice a homeless guy between the statues as Kei and Katou realize this is the drunkard that they saved at the subway. At this time, both statues stop moving like in some defensive mode so Kei and Katou decide to go save the guy. But the hooligans catch up and continue to taunt and mock the poor chap. I don’t know why but Kei and Katou are like hesitating and telling each other to fire to scare them off. Eventually it’s the gun otaku who goes crazy with the trigger. Of course the hooligans who aren’t part of the game think those explosions are just some fancy stuff and didn’t let it bother them. The gun otaku then targets the homeless guy. The statues start moving so one of the guys kick the gun otaku because he thinks he is making those statues upset. Yeah, if you want to shoot something, shoot those giants. The gun otaku nearly got squashed. The battle resumes. Kei thinks of shooting at their feet when they land. Seems they’re not only swift but smart too. Katou gets hit and he thinks he is done (snippets of Ayumu flashing through his head). Kei pulls off a cool sliding manoeuvre underneath the green statue and shoots its legs multiple times. Now he’s shooting like crazy! Seems to work. As for that homeless guy, he got bludgeoned to death.

Episode 18
It’s mind boggling that everyone stares in awe while Kei shoots like a crazy killer. And he’s loving it! Kei blasts the green statue’s legs and coolly walks away while its body tumbles. Then nails the final one in its head, killing it. His eyes seem to tell he really changed into a cold killer. This gives hopes to some of the guys as they rush to target the red one. Kei won’t give in so he charges alongside. In a swing of an arm, the red statue sends the gang flying away but Kei doesn’t easily give up. Everyone else cooperates and fire at the statue (including Katou). However even with its legs and arms damage, it still can move. Furthermore, it is predicting its move, especially Kei. Kei pulls off another daring move and lands on the statue while the rest fire at the other body parts. The statue then grabs Kei and he is going to be crushed. They plan to fire at other parts but the statue is smart, using Kei as a shield. Suddenly part of the statue’s head and other body parts explode. Courtesy of the taciturn gun freak sniping from afar. The statue falls, Kei is free and everyone rejoices in their victory. Kei walks back to the gang towards Sei, snubbing Katou and Kishimoto. The gun otaku revels in firing his weapon at the corpse while Sei asks Kei if it’s okay that they go out together once they return. He agrees. The hipster and afro guy follow the dog outside. They see another gold statue but a smaller one floating down to them. They think they can handle this one by themselves and do not need to call the rest. The hipster is overconfident as he takes it on. Back at the rest, they are shocked to see more of those gold statues in front of them.

Episode 19
Gantz eyes open. Judo guy gets upset and yells “F*CK YOU!!!” and charges straight and them all with his judo kicks to kill them all. Suddenly from the main temple, the mother of all statues emerges: A giant Buddha. Is this heaven or hell? Kei says that this Buddha is his and charges right up to it. He fires at the Buddha’s legs but finds his gun is too small to have any effect. And yeah, he got kicked away. Those without suits take on the smaller statues while the rest as Katou suggests help out Kei. However Kei is stubborn and insists this Buddha should be his and only his prey. The other guys are having a tough time taking out the smaller statues but are saved several times by sniper dude. A non-player, a woman named Yoshino Uehara is arguing with her partner (seems they’re trying to end an extra-marital affair) and enters the battlefield. Oblivious to what is happening, the rest are alarmed to see her in the path of Buddha’s foot. Kei recognizes her as his teacher. Katou, Masanobu and Kishimoto head over to hold the foot. And the couple are still arguing… It’s like watching the drama in pain, eh? Sadako surprisingly goes over to help hold the foot. Kei and Sei are preoccupied with a fast moving statue and they learn that the dog got killed. The statue then flees. When the ground starts to crack, Yoshino and the man run off. But the foot’s pressure has become too heavy for them to escape. It crushes them! Gasp! Thankfully because of their suits, they still survive. The Buddha seems to be targeting Kei and even manages to catch him (Buddha’s face is real pissed!). The rest fire at the Buddha’s legs but the effect to it is like mosquito bites. Kei manages to free himself after he fires several shots into its hand. The gun otaku is showing no mercy, killing a statue even if it begs for mercy. Then he got covered in its blood and he starts seeing terrifying visions. There are eyes everywhere. In panic, he rushes back to the rest but gets caught in Buddha’s palm. Katou tries to save him using his super jump but it’s too late, the Buddha bites off his head! Kei gets mad and psyches up, pulling up another daring move. Plunging straight into the Buddha’s forehead, he fires his shot point blank. The Buddha collapses and Kei appears out from it breathing real hard. Sei hugs him. Kishimoto holds Katou’s hand and says that as long Kei is around, they can go home. Masanobu checks his radar and is shocked to see 2 more targets and the time remaining is 30 minutes. Katou says that they have come this far to turn back and have got to finish this job. He adds that Gantz always attacks them in ways they can’t predict and they have to fight off all his attacks or they’ll never survive. He wants the group to be split into 2, making Masanobu the leader of the other group.

Episode 20
I’m just wondering why those without suits follow Masanobu’s team. I thought it should be more spread out. Katou’s group witness the corpse of the homeless drunkard who got killed in episode 20. Katou starts crying that they saved him for nothing and the kind of f*cked up world that they will return. Kei reminds him that he was the one who told him that he wants to return home the most. Then it hit him that he too wants to go home (for Sei?) unlike just now he thought he belonged in this place. They manage to find that fast statue but it’s still too quick for them. Thankfully the sniper takes it out. Masanobu’s group is inside the temple with lots of statues spewing inaudible words. He cautions those without suit to stay back but the judo guy goes up to one and starts punching. However the statue blocks and even breaks his hand! He is not giving up and knocks it down. He is to deliver the final blow but another statue kicks his head and breaks his neck! Damn his neck stretched! The rest are surrounded. Masanobu tells hipster and afro guy to make a dash outside to tell the others. With Sadako’s distraction, they manage to dash pass one of the statues and meet the rest. Masanobu and Sadako take on the other statues when the main golden statue with thousand arms comes up to them. By the time Katou’s team arrive, they are shocked to see Masanobu and Sadako’s body split into half! Sadako locked lips with Masanobu before they die. Kishimoto becomes distraught at the sight so Kei tells her to get a grip and promises her they will go home together. Katou becomes upset and fires at the main statue’s face. However its face regenerates like as though nothing happened. Kishimoto then see the statue discharge acid. She rushes over to protect Katou and tells Kei to protect him too. Her final thoughts are how she’s happy to be by Katou’s side. The acid splashes onto her body and dissolves her torso, splitting her body into half just like the other 2. Katou and Kei become very angry. Kei jumps over to the statue and fires several shots into its face till it explodes. However it regenerates and this time not only Kei’s feet dissolves but an arm is chopped off! Sei knows she can’t defeat this statue and wants Katou to tell what their next step is. Katou says to take Kei and retreat. He kisses Kishimoto and leaves her body. Sei manages to pull Kei’s body away before the statue splashes another round of acid. Taking refuge somewhere safe, Kei wants Katou to shoot and kill him because he’s already dying.

Episode 21
Katou fires on his leg and successfully stops the acid from further disintegrating. Katou wants Sei to take care of Kei while he rushes off back to the temple to try something. He takes the trap gun but a statue awakes and strangles him. The hipster and afro guy return wearing the suit and with weapons. They think they can sneak up on the statue from behind but it quickly slices off their hands! Sniper guy takes several shots at the statue but even to his surprise, it regenerates. The statue slices hipster and afro guy into several bits and fires a beam at sniper guy. He takes this chance to run but ultimately, he gets shot and it’s game over for him. The statue finds its way to Kei and Sei. Sei tells him to help take a book she ordered at the bookstore, Labyrinth and would like him to fall for her if she defeats it. Sei faces the statue and with her kickboxing background, she is able to dodge its swords. She manages to kick away one of them and splash the acid back on itself. Good thing it doesn’t regenerate. Sei is confident she can beat it but the statue’s beam fires right through her heart, killing her. Then when it goes away, Kei felt insulted that he isn’t worth killing. Katou psyches up and tears the strangling statue. He returns to Kei and is saddened over Sei’s death. After slapping Kei up (he thought he was dead too), he takes up a sword and goes off to find the statue. Confronting it, he thinks that sci-fi guy is dead since he sees his spectacles lying near the statue’s feet. Suddenly the statue says that he is Miyafuji (the sci-fi guy). He doesn’t remember how he got killed but it was when he was standing on the blood of the fallen temple guardians. Probably it killed him then by eating his brains. Katou doesn’t believe him and fires his gun. Miyafuji avoids and starts bragging he is powerful and that no one can defeat him. Katou learns how his gun works while avoiding Miyafuji’s beam. Unfortunately he got 1 of his arm ripped off. He manages to fire to gun to tie Miyafuji down and then send him to the sky. Elsewhere, Ayumu wakes up to find Katou not around so he goes out in the rain to go find him and to his dismay to no avail. While Miyafuji is being sent away, a green alien bursts out of the statue. It’s Miyafuji again and he’s not dead yet. Miyafuji punches Katou profusely like a punching bag. Thinking dearly of his brother, Katou uses all his strength to pick up the sword and slice away all of Miyafuji’s arms and his head. Just then, Miyafuji’s tail stabs Katou in the heart. In such awful timing, Katou dies just as the timer reaches zero. Kei is the only survivor that returned to the room. Gantz gives him 8 points and his tally is now 46. Angry Kei fires his gun at Gantz, ordering him to bring his pals back but it has no effect. Yeah, he lost his source for sex.

Episode 22
Two weeks have passed since the incident. Kei passes by that old lady sitting on a bench and ignores her. He also sees the clone Kishimoto coming by. The next few scenes set the ball rolling for the next stage. A good Samaritan, Daichi Nozaki gets washed away in the river after saving a child (the mom refuses to extend her hand to save him); A lady, Mika Kanda fighting off a stalker but gets stabbed; The bookstore manager, Giichi Furuta chases after a thief but gets hit by a car; That pair of hooligans who killed homeless people, Ryuuji Kajiura and Hajime Muroto are on the run from several MIBs but get shot in the end; A man being chased by debt collectors, Naozumi Saito so he jumps in the train’s path when there is no way out; Yoshino being chased by the wife of the man she has an affair with and gets stabbed. Kei readies himself and soon enough he gets transported to Gantz and sees new faces. Of course some of the familiar faces shock him like his teacher and the hooligans. Kei thinks back the things he did earlier like trying to get the book Sei ordered (it didn’t arrive yet), meeting Kishimoto’s clone. She got scared because she thinks he’s a stalker who not only knows her name but shares her first name. Yeah, he even told his story of how he liked this Kishimoto girl who looks like her and lives with him in his apartment but this Kishimoto doesn’t believe this creepy pervert. Yoshino wants Kei to explain but he finds it difficult. He even knows of her secret affair, surprising her a little. Kei tries to be like Katou and explain the workings of this world but as usual the rest do not believe him nor are they dead. Furuta decides to introduce themselves and how they died to get a better idea of what’s going on. There seems to be 3 who died from car accidents (the hooligans lied), 2 from stabbing, 1 from drowning and 2 from the train. Mika is unsure if she’s dead because when the stalker stabbed her, the book she had protected her (though it’s bloodied). Then Kei gets upset when Saito says he is relieved to be here so he grabs him by the collar and yells he has seen many of his friends died and they couldn’t come back no matter how much they wanted. He throws them an ultimatum, you believe me or not, but if they want to survive, then join him or else he can’t help you. So for now they agree to follow him when Gantz plays that Good Morning song again. Kei is pumped up for Gantz to show him the kind of alien that he is going to kill and rip apart. What’s this? Kurono Seijin? It’s him! Even the characteristics and quotes fit him. Oh sh*t!

Episode 23
Kei obviously think Gantz is setting him up (hey, he pointed his gun at him, right?). Kajiura and Muroto discuss among themselves that they’d play along with Kei before killing everyone as they think if they return alive, it’s like restarting their lives anew. However both of them also have this hidden intention to rid the other. Returning to the rest, Kajiura tries to play it cool and wants Kei to show them proof so they can believe him. Kei suddenly sees visions of Katou being beaten up by the hooligans and goes a little crazy. Likewise, the rest also see visions of their pursuers and attackers. Kei couldn’t take any more of this crap and fires his gun. Though it hit the wall, he realizes there is no time lag. Saito thinks he’s trying to kill them all and anything else he tries to say is deemed unbelievable. Except for Mika who still thinks they should believe Kei. Kajiura comes up with a conclusion that since they saw the power of the suit, they will put it on just in case while they keep watch on Kei. After they get dressed, they immediately get transported to the top of an adult entertainment building. Kei manages to wrest the gun from Muroto’s hand just before they transfer. I’m not sure why Kei has to point the gun at them while telling them to believe him. Who is going to? Furuta tries to be rational with him when Kei reveals those hooligans were the culprits who killed homeless people at the temple. Got any proof? Well, it’s like Gantz really has a grudge against Kei because all the neon signboards lit up saying Kei is a liar and a person who killed his friends. Thanks for that. Saito sees visions of his pursuers and goes crazy with the trigger. Kei uses this moment to escape. Kajiura and Muroto plan to hunt him. They shoot the elevator but Kei uses the suit’s power to escape. The rest continue to debate about their circumstances. Mika wants to believe Kei, Furuta trying to be the rational one, Daichi just observing while the rest are bent on taking down Kei to survive. As they barge into the room, Kei launches a surprise attack by throwing ice. Then he whacks Kajiura and Muroto with his cloth whip. Kei stops when Yoshino points her gun at him but she’s in a dilemma of what to do. Kajiura’s shows his true colours when he takes Mika hostage and if Kei continues to resist, he’ll have to hurt her.

Episode 24
Kei starts to hallucinate Mika as Kishimoto. He’s even hearing things from her like how it’s unfair everyone else died and only he survived. Mika tries to convince everyone that Gantz is the real villain and that Kajiura only wants to kill somebody. Kajiura takes the cloth whip and beats Mika up (luckily her suit protected her). Kei jumps in and takes Mika away to safety. On the way down, Mika said she dropped an important book, Labyrinth. Mentioning its first page contains a beautiful line “There is no labyrinth that you cannot get out”, she relates how she first met Sei at the bookstore. She hopes to repay her and wonders if she’s fine. Kei promises her to retrieve the book. He breaks the window and drops her out (the suit will protect her from the fall). Well, it beats flying down the stairs. Meanwhile the rest confront the hooligans and Furuta interrogates him if they really killed homeless people. Kajiura finally admits it, shocking the rest but Muroto puts up an Oscar-winning display that he was forced to kill against his will. Furuta tries to settle things via talk and shows them the bloodied Labyrinth book and even spouts that first page line. Yoshino pulls out her gun and points it at Kajiura. She feels remorse that she tried to kill her student and even if she returns, she won’t be able to live in peace. Kei has been eavesdropping the whole conversation, surprises Kajiura by jumping on him. However he too knows how to use the suit and hits Kei away. He then takes Yoshino as hostage and makes a run with Muroto. Nozaki asks Kei why he had come back when he had the perfect chance to escape so his reply is that he likes his teacher’s bra! The guys use the power of the suits to fly down the stairs. Yoshino regrets her action as she thinks Kei could’ve used this chance to escape instead of coming back to save her. Kajiura was slightly distracted, allowing Yoshino to pull a gun at him. This gave enough time for the rest to catch up. However they take refuge in the bar. Kei wants Furuta to be the leader since he himself isn’t good with those kind of things. He adds that he once had a cool leader who encouraged and unified them all but is already dead. When the guys barge in, they see Yoshino’s suit badly torn up and she badly beaten up. They see Muroto’s true colour as a cold blooded killer. Kajiura doesn’t feel the need of a hostage and tosses Yoshino back to Kei. In his arms, Yoshino knows Kei gets turned on watching her in class and was happy about it (?!). She apologizes before quickly making a dash to slash Kajiura’s forehead with a knife. Muroto shoots and kills Yoshino, laughing all the way. I don’t know why the rest are so shocked that they allow the baddies to walk away slowly and coolly. And they even miss when they fire! Outside, they are reunited with Mika. Kei returns the book to her and promises to protect her. Furuta continues to talk about Labyrinth so Saito can’t stand it anymore and wants to go on his own. He goes crazy and threatens to shoot.

Episode 25
Saito calls Furuta and egoist and that he doesn’t consider others in his talk. Furuta is upset so he decides to go confront the hooligans walk off. However the rest threaten Saito to help them out. Kajiura’s bleeding (he must really have lots of blood) allows him to be easily followed. Inside a cult centre, the hooligans chance upon a room filled with guns and bombs. As Kei and the rest enter the centre, they are ambushed by Kajiura from the top and Muroto from behind a counter. Nozaki is going to fire at Muroto but Furuta steps in the way as he wants to talk to him thinking he is an underage and just misled. He pleads to him to hand over his gun. Muroto obediently does so but shortly after pulls out a bazooka and fires behind Furuta at Nozaki. The explosion allows Kei to shoot at Kajiura, blowing off his arm. However the baddies run away. Though Nozaki is alright, seems Saito is the one who bear the brunt. Yeah, he’s in pieces. Furuta feels guilty and all this is his fault. He is going to end this as he picks up the gun and is going to deal with Muroto while he lets the rest handle the other one. Mika decides to follow him. Kei and Nozaki see Kajiura laughing like a mad man in a room filled with food. Kajiura says Gantz gave him something good and that he doesn’t feel any pain. His veins on his face are obviously protruding. Furuta and Mika see Muroto in a furnace place. Furuta points the gun at him so Muroto starts his innocent acting again. Kajiura and Muroto start singing the good morning radio song. In a surprise move, they both whip out their hidden gun and fire. Nozaki steps in front of Kei to protect him. Before he dies, he starts remembering who Kei is and warns him that the most dangerous one isn’t Gantz but humans. Furuta is also injured but is still breathing. Sadist Muroto plants a bomb in his mouth and ties the string around Mika’s neck. If she moves, his head will be blown off. To make things worse, Muroto starts hitting her and he’s enjoying every moment of it. Kei is super mad but Kajiura shows his back filled with grenades. Muroto says he is a saint compared to Kajiura because the latter is a psycho woman killer and likes to kill slowly. Kajiura also mentions he is a saint compared to Muroto because he only prefers to kill woman (though he claims Nozaki is the first guy he killed). Furuta couldn’t bear seeing Mika in pain so he on his own will pulls off the pin. Though he dies in the explosion, part of Muroto’s face is badly damaged. Yeah, it hurts like hell, doesn’t it? Kei hallucinates Kajiura as the thousand arm statue that killed Katou. The ‘statue’ mocks him so Kei gets psyched up as he kicks it away, kicking Kajiura as the mad guy detonates himself.

Episode 26
Kei lives but his suit is ruined. Mika tries to strangle Muroto but he manages to grab a gun and shoot at her. Kei arrives and gives his piece of mind while beating up Muroto in invisible mode. Mika is hanging on to her last breath as she feels guilty that Furuta died for him. She never thought people like him still exist, people who lived for the sake of others. She wants Kei to live on. Muroto strangles Kei from behind and breaks his stealth gear. He starts spouting his child abuse history how he was afraid of everything and that everyone will beat him up. Just like his mom who even broke his bones. He blames it on everybody and adults for making him kill. Kei lectures him back about that it doesn’t give him the right to kill and that he didn’t follow orders from Kajiura but just wanted to kill. Muroto replies about the wars in the world like Iraq and Palestine. Armies ordered and sent by the government to kill even though they don’t want to. To kill a terrorist, many innocent civilians are killed. People are murdered every day and that he is no different than the rest. However Kei says he hasn’t killed a single human and those he killed aren’t human anymore, including Kajiura. Kei says though he should’ve killed him earlier but he can’t because he made a promise to Katou and Furuta that they’d go back together as he is part of the group. Muroto doesn’t believe him and continues to beat him up. As he swings recklessly, the fire from the furnace burns Muroto. Kei understands Furuta’s words about the Labyrinth so he dives to push Muroto out of the flames. However he was just faking it because his suit is still working. Kei still has a final trick up his sleeve as he pulls the trap gun and sends Muroto away into the sky. Going up to Mika, she remembers who he is as she saw him at the subway. With 5 seconds remaining, poor Mika dies but Gantz pulls another cruel act as he stops time and transports Kei (carrying Mika on his back) back to the subway. He sees all the events being played over again. From the time Katou jumped down to save the drunkard to himself helping him out. Kei also sees Mika waiting at the platform, Nozaki and Furuta walking pass by. I’m not sure why the hell Kei did this but he went down on to the tracks. Then the train is seen approaching. He reflects the words of all his dead friends who encourage him to live on their behalf. Even that old lady thanks him about finding that train station and encourages him to do his best. So what can he do by himself? He faces the oncoming train and is adamant that he will not die. Gantz resumes the counter and as it reaches zero, Kei shapes his hand into a gun and ‘fires’ at the train. BANG! It’s morning and in Gantz’s apartment, the black sphere disappears.

Are You Still Game?
WTF?! WTF???!!! What kind of a crappy ending is that?! Even though that open ending leaves viewers to their discretion on Kei’s survival, I have to admit that the whole affair of this anime is rather engrossing and ‘addictive’. Yes, I was glued to the screen during those hunting sessions and you can say that I am one of those apathetic people who loves watching people die. Just to get things straight, I DO NOT enjoy watching others suffer and die. The fact that every major character dies except for Kei makes this one of the very few and rare animes whereby you don’t get a happy ending in which everyone goes home together laughing. Plus, I read that the author of this series had planned for everyone except Kei to die! The entire series is one big grim and dark affair. I mean, if you are hunting for aliens, you’d be nervous to do something that you are not familiar with. So partly the engrossing part that had my eyes stuck to the monitor is also you don’t feel relatively ‘safe’ for the characters. Death can strike at any moment and at any corner without prior warning. You’d be on your seat guessing ‘if it is going to be his/her turn to die’. I know that characters will die but the way they show them being vulnerable even if they’re cooperating together doesn’t help ease the tension. Even knowing that donning the suits will only help them so much as it too has its own limitations. Some may say the suits look weird, but if it saves your life, you better start wearing it for your own good. And the only reason I can think of why the suit is tight and nicely fits the respective person is for fanservice purposes… Okay, so it makes the guys look like they have the abs to flash too.

Kei as the main character, many would find him a moody and annoying guy who gets grumpy if he doesn’t get his regular porn (notice all his busty bikini babes pin-up posters on his room wall?). He changes from that kind of person to someone who is more responsible, mature and caring. He may not be perfect but at least he is more humane than some of the characters that show no remorse. Plus, he is the only character here that survives through the several hunting sessions. So if you don’t learn and adapt, you’re as god as dead meat. Katou is a good leader and many would feel that he is being ‘overshadowed’ by ‘too much of Kei time’. However Katou’s little behaviour has me wondering. If he really cares for the most useless people in the world and even cries for them, how come at times he seems to be a violent junkie and beats up those to a pulp without mercy? It feels like each time he enters this mode, he is like trying real hard to control this other version of him, as though he has a split personality. But notice he sheds less tears for the unfortunate as time goes by? Nishi is a character you’d love to hate because of his selfishness and couldn’t care less attitude. You can’t entirely blame him not only because of his past but because he has been through so much of this sh*t, you really get tired of it all. It’s natural too for newcomers not to believe the predicament they have just arrived so it all boils down to that individual on what he/she is going to do. I knew Nishi would die but I didn’t know it was that early. It isn’t even halfway and then he kicks the bucket. Some of the other characters are pretty annoying and useless so much so I just thought that they made up the numbers for ‘sacrifice’. For instance grandma and Ryouta. The spoilt kid is totally irritating whenever he wails and that pair don’t seem to contribute anything beneficial to the team (that I was hoping for) right up till their demise. The monk too is another annoying one. You can tell that his speech and actions have a hint of hypocrite in it. Good thing he died soon or else he could have been a major liability to the gang. And for other side characters, once the character related to them dies, you won’t know what’s going on anymore with them. For instance, Tetsuo’s wife and Ayumu. Speaking of more deaths, it is ‘interesting’ (not meant in a sadistic way) to see and know how some of the characters die in the real world before being transported to Gantz. However, I’m just wondering how Sei died (she rides a bike, so maybe a bike crash?) but for that statue aliens arc, we aren’t being told how any of the newcomers died. Heck, that arc has too many of them so instead of wasting time, maybe just jump straight into the action, eh? And that dog, it really mind boggles me how it survived all this time until the temple guardians. Luck ran out, huh?

As mentioned, Gantz is a pretty incomprehensible being. There are so many questions that you want to ask and know about this black sphere but you’d be disappointed at the end. So I guess to make up for this mystery part, they ‘distract’ you with the action sequences. Who is that guy inside the sphere? Why the heck is Gantz making and forcing dead participants to play in this deadly hunt? How does he select his participants? To where will those be sent away by the trap gun go to? Are they considered dead? On what basis does he gives the scoring? The apartment that Gantz is located, does the neighbours know about this room since well, Tokyo Tower is visible from its room. Has anybody else ever tried to enter this room during non-hunting sessions? Gantz spews sarcastic and cheeky comments from time to time that it makes you wonder if he really is enjoying all this. Maybe. At least in the final arc of the anime whereby he really wanted to see all the participants to kill each other! Another incomprehensible part of Gantz is that when he shows the hunters the aliens they are supposed to hunt. However in each time, there are much stronger aliens appearing later in addition to the ones shown. It’s like it’s part of his surprise to take them all out and wants to see who can realy survive the massacre. The old lady that bugged Kei for directions is also another enigma. At first I thought (and hoping) that she may have something to do with Gantz but at the end, there is no indication that she is related to the game whatsoever. Maybe she is just coincidence to Kei at certain time and place. I must admit that her persistence about asking for directions and even thanking Kei for it makes her creepy and a prime suspect to be related to Gantz. Then some unexplainable things like Kishimoto’s clone. If she has one, don’t you think the others too should also have? So again, how did this happen? Argh, too many questions and unexplained that makes me have a big headache right now. Sometimes I feel that the participants in Gantz’s world felt somewhat something similar to the Hollywood film, The Matrix. However I assure you that both are quite far from each other.

The action scenes may not be the best but coming from an age whereby computer and TV technology is just at its infant stages, they seem pretty reasonable. Another interesting thing is that some of the camera and angle views are from a first person’s perspective. So it’s like you’re looking through the eyes of a person, looking left and right, walking forward, etc. Also, some of the zooming in are smooth and you can really see the non-jerky animation when the view goes around. With the little mixing of CGI effects, you get this feel of a ‘3D’ effect, you know, it’s like when you put several card board layers in a theatre and the difference between the objects cast that kind of 3D effect. Also said earlier on about the amount gore. Each episode never fails to gross you out. Even during transporting scenes whereby you can see the body slowly disappearing from top to bottom and the innards like muscles and bones are clearly visible. If you’re not used to seeing bodies mashed up, parts splattered everywhere and blood soaking the scenario, you might want to prepare a barf bag in case you intend to continue to watch this series. Though this series is definitely all the elements for mature content, the part which throws you off is the mid-intermission because we hear a group of innocent and cheery children’s voices saying “Gantz!”. Hmm… Weird. Perhaps to ease all those tension? Nah. The opening theme, Super Shooter by Rip Slyme has rap elements in it. With half of the words in English and lines like “Die! Die! Die!”, “Beat you up” and “Live crazy”, you can tell what kind of show this is going to be. The ending theme by Bonnie Pink, Last Kiss is a slow piece with a hint of separation.

After finishing watching the series, I was a little interested to know a little more on the progress of the story. I went to the trusty site of Wikipedia to do a little browsing and as I read, the anime series covers only 1/4 of the manga that is currently on-going. Then there are much more shocking revelations that I probably wouldn’t have seen it coming (major spoilers ahead!). For instance, we have more characters (there’s a whole bunch that I am unfamiliar with on Wikipedia. Yeah, more people going to die), more tougher aliens to deal with, other bunch of Gantz players around the world, the resurrection of certain characters like Nishi and Katou (yeah, believe it!), vampires (that’s right, believe it!) and, wait for it, a full scale alien invasion called Katastrophe! Say what?! As far as I understand, Gantz isn’t related to this invading alien force and from where the manga is right now, all the participants of the game are freed and are using Gantz’s weaponry technology to battle against them. Because of this, I also get to know that by scoring 100 points, that participant is able to choose whether he/she wants to be free from the game. And as I have read, Kei manages to do so but he chooses to stay back and play the game because of the other option: To revive his dead pals. So that explains it. Man, that’s got to be a lot of killing. He’s surely a veteran at this stage. So even if God sends his angels on Apocalypse, I guess you don’t need a certain angel’s help because Kei is self-sufficient to kick ass and maybe does it in style. Shoot to kill! Well, with the events that are happening in the manga, I think I’ll just leave my enthusiasm for the series at where the anime ends. By the way, the final arc that Gantz wants Kurono Seijin to be killed is totally an anime-only filler arc. No wonder Gantz is acting unusual as ever. Which gives rise to that crappy ending… Sighs…

I still haven’t watched the live-action film as of to date but there is a sequel to the movie called Gantz: Perfect Answer. Deducting from the second title, I guess we’ll get some answers on what this whole thing is about. But then again, don’t get your hopes up. It’s Gantz you are dealing with. So yeah, when you die maybe this is a test to see if you are worthy of going to heaven, hell or another shot in life. If I ever do really get transported to such a room, I want to have a person like Kei and Katou around. Or at least someone who looks like them. Someone who can cover my ass if I am not good enough to take out aliens. I don’t play enough alien blasting or dragon slaying games to be ready for this. Or maybe I need a busty babe, just in case… And somehow I have developed a fear of taking trains now…

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