Hidan No Aria

February 26, 2012

Loli. Tsundere. Rie Kugimiya. A gun in both hands. Get the picture? That basically sums up what Hidan No Aria is. There must be something about Rie Kugimiya and her tsundere loli roles that fascinate me for a very long period of time. To say that I’m not a fan of hers would be inaccurate because as up till today, Mamiko Noto is still my number one seiyuu anytime, anywhere, anyhow. Year in, year out, seasons come, seasons go, it’s like almost every quarter we have at least Rie Kugimiya voicing the roles that she does best in. And no, that wasn’t a complaint. Thus, it was one of the few reasons (or excuse however you look at it) to watch this series. The other being comedy and how often do you see girls whipping out a couple of guns in their hands? Revi from Black Lagoon? Jo from Bakuretsu Tenshi? That seems like from a long time ago.

In this series, there is a school, an academy called Butei. Think of it as a military type of school but with a mix of your typical high school anywhere else in the world. Here, students learn the basics and specialize in certain areas that would allow them to carry arms to apprehend criminals. It’s like a school for spies, SWAT and super secret service agents. In other words, James Bond and Jason Bourne wannabes should attend this school. Really. So with criminals getting bolder and the fine line of justice blurring these days, do you see the need of such schools?

Episode 1
Kinji Tooyama is a student of Butei. Not a model student whatsoever. It’s understandable that he wants to leave this academy (which is an entire island of its own in Tokyo). And probably this strange turn of events would accelerate his decision to do so. You see, one morning when he is late to catch his usual bus, he starts cycling only to find that there is a bomb underneath the seat. He can’t slow down or jump off because some automated and armed Segway is threatening to blow his brains off if he did. Then a miracle happened. A girl drops from the sky via parachute and pulls off a major stunt in destroying the Segway and at the same time grabbed Kinji away from the bicycle before it explodes. Wow. Don’t try this stunt anywhere, people. So the next scenes replay the events of how it lead to this. Kinji your normal kid, wants to be just that. Apathetic to life. Not looking forward to today’s opening ceremony. Can’t wait for the day he transfers out of Butei. Childhood friend and wife-wannabe, Shirayuki Hotogi pays him a visit, concerned about her ‘future husband’. Makes him lunch, warns him about having trouble with a girl (which insecure girl wouldn’t?), reminds him about the Butei Killer incident and though the original culprit has been caught, a copycat may strike again. But do you think with the bulletproof blazer and guns or swords that all Butei students are permitted to carry to school will make them safe? Kinji checks his mail. Probably checked too long so it would be the day he regretted missing the 7.58am bus. And the rest is history as we have seen. And in between the action of Kinji’s heart pounding chase, we have the handsome teacher of Butei’s Ambulance Division, Tooru Sayonaki explain the basics to the newbies about Butei. And unlike the police, Butei people work for money. Makes them no difference than a mercenary, eh? He signs off with an advice for everyone to be careful and not lose their lives. At least during their stay at Butei. Shows you how rough it’s going to get. Well, if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

So when Kinji wakes up from his unconsciousness, he finds himself in a storeroom and his female saviour, Aria H. Kanzaki over him. Yes, Aria as you have guessed it by a mile is your typical tsundere when she mistakes Kinji for being a pervert. But no time for that because several Segway reinforcements corner them and start firing. As Aria fires her twin guns at them, her flat chests are leaning against Kinji’s face. No matter how flat, when a girl’s boobs are pressed against your face, you’re still going to get stimulated, right? Because of that, Kinji’s dreaded other personality awakens. He becomes cool, cocky but effective. Putting Aria aside, he coolly deals with the Segways himself while Aria is reduced to a sexual-harassment-crying blushing tsundere. She regrets saving this molester and tries to ‘kill’ him. If not her guns, but her twin swords. Something mind boggles me. If she is so petite, how the heck did she keep twin swords behind her back which is seemingly much longer than her body? Aria fails to ‘kill’ him as Kinji walks away. As explained, this mode that Kinji genetically inherits is called Hysteria Mode. He goes into this mode when he is sexually aroused. His physical abilities and intelligence increase many times fold and is able to pull off near-impossible superhuman stunts with deadly accuracy and effectiveness. So if this is such a cool feature, there must be something about this mode that makes him wish he was never born. Kinji thinks his troubles are over but as he enters class, Aria is the new transfer student and wants to sit next to him! The class goes wild upon misunderstanding Kinji did something perverted to her. Well, Aria had his belt with her (he gave it to her when her zipper was ruined during the Segways attack). Though Aria warns she’ll blast a hole in anyone if they start talking trash like that. The day ends even worse for Kinji. Aria barges into his dorm and wants to him to be her slave. So yeah, Shirayuki’s prediction of him getting trouble with a girl did come true.

Episode 2
Slave or personal butler, Kinji is forced to serve Aria to her whims and fancies. Maybe he has to if he wants to live. Normal life getting further and further… Aria wants Kinji to join her Assault Division and do Butei missions but that division is the reason why Kinji wanted to quite Butei altogether. Do you think Aria cares? Join her or else! Or else what? Yeah, he gets kicked out of his own dorm as punishment. So when Kinji returns, he finds Aria taking a shower. Remember his bad luck with girls? It’s going to get a lot worse because SHIRAYUKI IS AT THE DOOR!!! He tries to make an excuse that no other woman is living with him. But you can’t fool a woman’s intuition. Shirayuki remains suspicious and though she passes him his dinner, somehow Kinji manages to persuade her to go home. Thank God. At least no bloodshed broke out for now. Maybe for Kinji because he saw Aria naked when she came out from the shower. In the short period they are living together, Kinji himself notices he has gotten better in evading Aria’s attack! So it did do him some good, eh? Kinji thinks he can get away from Aria when she’s attending her Assault classes but looks like she raked in enough credits to graduate so she doesn’t need to attend them. Aria follows this E-rank Butei on his part time job of taking up odd jobs. This time to find a cat. Not very much credits but that’s the least he could do for his rank. So during the job, we have more tsundere from Aria. Need I elaborate? If she says she doesn’t need friends, why does she need him? Oh yeah. He’s her slave. At the end of the day, Kinji manages to find and rescue the cat. After he manages to lose Aria, he meets his flirty classmate, Riko Mine at a conservatory. In exchange for information on Aria, he gives this gothic loli fashionista some eroges she loves playing. Kinji learns of Aria’s nickname as Quadra because she uses twin guns and blades during her Butei mission in Europe. When Kinji goes back, he tells Aria what he knows about her. Mom is Japanese, dad is half-British, grandma receives the Dame title from the British Royal Family and she is S-ranked Butei, the highest rank of all. She also has never let a person escaped but she mentions Kinji being the first. Let’s say it has something to do with him being perverted. At least to her. Aria also noticed about his other mode and wants him to activate it. Seeing he doesn’t want to go into Hysteria, he agrees to join her. Though he will just be taking Assault as an elective and for just one mission. No matter how long or big, a mission is still a mission.

Episode 3
Riko gives Kinji a coupon for a crane game machine which expires today. Kinji’s old Assault buddies like Goki Mutou and Ryou Shiranui are happy to know he is back albeit he asserts it is just temporary. Aria continues to follow her slave and at the crane game, she sucks in getting the cat (or is it leopard?) plushies she wanted so much so our cool Kinji shows her how it’s done. Because Kinji somehow managed to get 2 plushies, happy Aria gives him one for his effort. Back home, Kinji notices his wall clock slower than his wristwatch. He adjusts his wristwatch and the next morning, he is puzzled he missed his usual bus. Deja vu? Yes it is. However this time the bomb is on the bus! His Assault friends are all on board. A message is relayed via one of the student’s handphone that the passengers mustn’t do anything rash and if the bus decreases its speed, the bomb will go off. And this time there is an armed Lamborghini firing up by the bus’ side if they do anything funny. Aria and Kinji go into action upon learning about the hijacked bus as Aria thinks the Butei Killer has strike again seeing the real culprit was never caught. As the bus heads to Odaiba, the Assault guys make calculations to disarm the Lamborghini when the bus enters the underground tunnel. However it backfired because the Lamborghini fires faster. If not for the bulletproof blazers, they could’ve been dead. Luckily Aria pulls up from behind and shoots the Lamborghini’s tire to put send it crashing. Then pulling off another stunt that nobody should ever do, both of them get on the bus while letting that expensive car they rode crash into the corner. They try to find the bomb and they need to find it fast because the bus is losing gas. Aria finds the bomb underneath the bus while Kinji finds a device transmitter on top. Then another Lamborghini pulls up from behind. Aria manages to fire and send it crashing before its bullets could reach them. Out of the tunnel, Reki of the Snipe Division pulls off an amazing sharp shooting accuracy through the tiny bridge frames as she fires a single shot to loosen the bomb as it explodes in the sea. Later Kinji learns Aria had asked Reki for help for the mission. Kinji visits Aria recuperating in hospital and reports of the incident yield no results in revealing the culprit. But Aria is disappointed in Kinji because she thought she could see him in Hysteria Mode though Kinji denies he has such power. Aria couldn’t care less about his decision to quit Butei because compared to hers, she is in a more dire situation and running out of time. Kinji is still bent on leaving so Aria notes that he isn’t the one she is looking for.

Episode 4
Kinji wakes up from a dream whereby his brother, Kinichi who was also part of Butei helped saved and evacuated a hijacked ship. Though he was the only one who died, society criticized and pinned the blame on him. Kinji sees Aria on the streets and follows her but of course she knows his tailing sucks. Seems Aria is visiting her mom, Kanae in jail. Aria believes her mom has been framed by the Butei Killer and if she can prove her innocence, she can help reduce her jail sentence from 864 years to 742 years! WTF???!!! Aria loves her mom very much and will do anything to free her but Kanae says she can’t do it alone and needs to bring out her inherited strength and the need of a skilled partner. Visiting hours is over so the policemen pull Kanae away much to Aria’s dismay. Kinji felt sorry for Aria so he goes to do some investigation over the Butei Killer and learns how reports printed that Kanae was arrested for crimes as Butei Killer. He also realizes Aria’s term for slave meant partner. Shiranui informs him that Aria is leaving for London tonight. Kinji goes to see Riko and he has to put up with her seduction and flirty ways if he wants to really know what happened to Kinichi. Riko purposely stimulates Kinji to awaken his Hysteria Mode. Even so, Kinji wastes no time in playing with her. With his heightened intelligence, he starts putting the pieces together and realizes Butei Killer’s next target is Aria’s plane. He manages to get on board at the last minute, much to Aria’s surprise. Since the case of Butei Killer hasn’t been solved, this means his first and only mission with Aria isn’t over. Though Aria feels she can handle this alone, she starts to get frightened by lightning. Well, nobody’s perfect. True enough, Butei Killer is on board and makes an announcement that the plane is hijacked. Kinji mentions about the Butei Killer’s method in not using electronic signals as remote control to avoid detection because the killer was on board himself. He also says the Butei Killer is challenging Aria from the start by forcing his own charges onto Kanae. When they corner the supposedly Butei Killer, she turns out to be Riko!!! How can such a cute girl be a villain?! Ah well, I’ve seen such cases before. Riko reveals she is the 4th generation of the famous phantom thief Arsene Lupin and the reason she’s doing all this was because she’s sick that everyone is calling her the 4th instead of her real name. Plus, she’ll be able to surpass her great grandfather if she beats them when their forefathers locked in a similar battle. So it was Riko who had been setting up things like the bomb on Kinji’s bike and the bus and the tampering of his clock in hopes of setting up Aria and Kinji together. Riko also says she was behind that ship incident and right now, Kinichi is her boyfriend. Because Kinji is close to being provoked, Aria faces off Riko in a close range gun firing battle. I wonder how long their bulletproof clothes will last. However Riko has a trick up her sleeve. She can use her hair to wield objects and this distracts Aria, allowing Riko to fire at point blank into Riko’s heart.

Episode 5
Kinji takes Aria away to a room and manages to revive her with some injections. Of course when she wakes up, she thinks he’s trying to do funny stuff on her. Do we have time for all this? Since she continues to be tsundere, Kinji kisses her to activate his Hysteria Mode. Soon the battle with Riko continues as the Assault guys receive word of the hijacked plane. The plane starts descending quickly. As Aria tries to control to plane, Kinji confronts Riko who is a step away from blowing the door for her escape. She wants him to join EU but he isn’t interested. So she bids farewell by blasting the doors and converting her uniform into a parachute! Cool fanservice! Oops. I mean, cool parachute conversion contraption. Seems EU has got a gift for them, a couple of missiles into the plane’s engines. Kinji goes to help Aria pilot the plane. A couple of Japan Air Self Defence Force escort and inform them to await further orders. Because the airwaves were jammed, Kinji borrowed a satellite telephone to contact Mutou. Reading the plane’s instruments, with the leaking fuel, they can last 10 minutes at best. They also let Kinji know that the government has considered the risk of a failed landing at a nearby airport and are preparing to shoot it down. In short, they have abandoned plans to save this flight and will either way shoot them down when they reach the Pacific Ocean. But Kinji plans on landing on an unused island with a flat open ground. With all the calculations, they have to land with precision. And those guys down at Assault have to do something for lighting because it’s damn dark. Somehow they manage to borrow whatever lighting equipments to light up the outline of the island as the plane inches closer. Have faith in the man. Well, it really does seem unbelievable that the plane stopped right at the edge of the island! So it’s perhaps no wonder Kinji must be recovering from this ‘shock’ as he looks out lethargically from his window. Aria mentions this incident proves Kanae was wrongly accused as the Butei Killer, she is here to wish him goodbye and will look for a new partner. However if he changes his mind, he can come be her partner. So I guess that’s it? Not interested? I guess it took him long enough to realize that he really needs her. No point yelling when she’s already flying off in her helicopter. Probably she had already calculated all this because she leaps off from the helicopter and into his arms! I wonder how many broken bones he got. So if you haven’t guessed it by now, The H. in Aria’s middle name stands for Holmes and yes, she is the fourth generation to that famous detective Sherlock Holmes. With one trouble over, another trouble comes. This time Shirayuki is going to slice Aria when she misinterprets Kinji living with another woman. Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned…

Episode 6
Well, it’s his room and the girls are tearing it up like nobody’s business. She how dangerous women can be? And all over for a guy. Not that Aria would admit anyway but will Shirayuki listen? So while the girls duke it out, Kinji just waits outside his balcony while narrating to us viewers that Shirayuki is from the line of Hotogi miko priestess, armed shrine maidens with super powers passed down from generations. Butei who can use such powers are called Choutei, just like how Riko did with her hair. So have the girls decide to calm down yet? All the furniture are good for the junkyard. Aria continues to deny Kinji is her lover and that he is just her slave but Shirayuki misinterprets this as something naughty. She only believes whatever Kinji says so all this could’ve been avoided if he just opened his mouth sooner. Well, she didn’t let him and was too infatuated in cutting down that cheater. But she might not be able to hold on to her sanity much longer since Kinji and Aria couldn’t deny the fact that they kissed. Though Aria assures she didn’t get pregnant (what era is she from?), Shirayuki faints because she can’t handle this much longer. While Butei is preparing for the Adseard Festival, Aria reads up on a book the truth of how babies are made. In her embarrassment, she takes it out on Kinji. Aria is part of the cheerleading squad for Adseard and she is going to train Kinji to control his Hysteria Mode. By hitting him suddenly as and when she likes. Call this reflex training. Is it really working? Nope. When Shirayuki is being called to see her teacher, Umeko Tsuzuri about her declining grades, Aria thinks this is chance to find her weakness. Throughout the day, Aria almost fell into several traps that she thinks Shirayuki has set. As the duo Eavesdrop inside the air ventilation space, they hear Tsuzuri worrying if she had received mail from Durandal, a kidnapper that targets powerful Choutei though he is just a rumour and no one has ever seen his true form. Tsuzuri feels she needs a bodyguard so Aria busts out from her hiding and offers to be one for free. Though Shirayuki dislike the idea, she agrees as long as Kinji be her bodyguard too. And that she also lives with him. Oh boy. This is getting messy. Seems Aria’s objective has changed to catch Durandal and reduce mom’s sentence to 635 years (at this rate of setting her free, it’s going to be a long road) and believes that super criminal really exists. Shirayuki becomes nervous and acting like Kinji’s new wife. You can tell the obvious discrimination in treatment between Kinji and Aria. Then a short flashback how Shirayuki started liking Kinji. Due to her strict rules living at Hotogi, she was not allowed outside the shrine but Kinji sneak her out to see the fireworks. Though she got scolded after that. Even so, she was happy he always came to play with her. Shirayuki accidentally sees Kinji half naked coming out from the toilet. She thinks of undressing herself to even the score. As they struggle, Aria comes back and misinterprets everything. She starts firing at him, causing that poor guy to jump out from his balcony and into the sea below!

Episode 7
Thanks to that, Kinji catches a cold. He thought Shirayuki left him a syrup for his cold when it was actually Aria. In school, Aria wants Kinji to search through Shirayuki’s mail since Durandal sends threatening mails before he kidnaps. But Kinji isn’t interested and notes Aria doing her cheerleading stuff rather than be Shirayuki’s bodyguard. Well, she had Reki doing it part time. More of Aria’s tsundere mood when she hears Kinji mistaking Shirayuki for nursing him and she snaps when he mentions Durandal doesn’t exists because nothing bad has befall Shirayuki for the past few days. She wants Durandal to exist because she wants to save Kanae so bad. If not, show him proof that he exists. Otherwise, he’ll guard Shirayuki himself throughout the festival. Shirayuki sure must like this, right? So they both go watch the fireworks that night and as Kinji goes to buy sparklers, Shirayuki receives an eye-opening SMS. Kinji comes back, they play the sparklers and Shirayuki mentions her predictions about him disappearing. She feared it was Aria but ever since she came into his life, he seems happier. Then she starts getting emotional, wanting him to have eyes only for her. But the build-up to the kiss is ruined when they are distracted by the sound of fireworks by several kids nearby. As Adseard begins, Kinji watches Shirayuki but didn’t think of anything would happen in this crowd. As he takes a break, he receives a farewell SMS from Shirayuki. Then Tsuzuri comes frantically to him, looking for Shirayuki who is now missing. She is asking if she has received any texts recently. Kinji remembers Aria’s words and he realizes his mistake. He calls Shirayuki but she doesn’t pick up. He regrets not protecting her seriously and not trusting Aria who tried so hard to convince him. He starts panicking but Reki fires a warning shot to calm him down before he loses sight of his goal and the effectiveness of his abilities. Reki mentions she saw Shirayuki entering a hangar minutes ago. Kinji suspects something amiss because this is not a place she would go. Rushing into the warehouse and heading down, Kinji sees Shirayuki meeting Durandal (hiding in the shadows). Shirayuki mentions she has fulfilled her part of the bargain so Durandal promises not to hurt the people at Butei especially Kinji. Durandal wants Shirayuki to join him. Kinji tries to stop her but the ground freezes with him. Before he could be dealt with the final blow, Aria protects him and it’s all part of her plan in using Kinji.

Episode 8
Seems Aria investigated how Durandal worked. When faced with multiple enemies, he splits them up and takes care of them one by one. So by removing herself as Shirayuki’s bodyguard, it was a ploy to lure him out. Though Durandal escapes, he starts flooding the area. Shirayuki is tied up as she admits she has to obey Durandal’s orders and keep this a secret or else he’ll blow up the academy and kill everyone. Kinji wants Aria to go after Durandal (because she can’t swim – not that she would admit it) while he picks the locks. The water is rising fast and it took Kinji this long just to pick one. More to go… Shirayuki wants him to leave her because even if she dies, nobody will cry for her. You think he’d believe that crap? When they’re completely submerged underwater, Kinji kisses Shirayuki to go into Hysteria Mode and instantly picks all the locks with ease. Should’ve done this in the first place dude. As they go up to the next floor, the wave temporarily separates them. But it isn’t long before they reunite and with Aria. Kinji’s heightened sense allows him to cut a piano wire trap before it could walk straight into it. Kinji notices something strange about Shirayuki and asks if her lips are okay. She answers nonchalantly so this is a sign Kinji knew this isn’t the real her (because the real Shirayuki will fluster if asked this sort of embarrassing topic). This Shirayuki is Durandal in disguise as she reveals she is the 30th generation of Jeanne d’Arc! So the French heroine got burnt at the stake in her twenties was just a cover up? And to think why my history sucks… From her speech, seems she is Riko’s ally. The real Shirayuki turns up to turn the tables so it’s 3 against 1. Jeanne escapes into the shadows once more with her smoke screen and activates the sprinklers. After Shirayuki heals Aria with her powers, Jeanne shows herself. I wanted to say she takes after Fate/Stay Night’s Saber but there are obviously lots of differences. But she’s a knight. Shirayuki plans on using her forbidden arts and doesn’t want Kinji to look as she fears he will hate her. This guy? Hate her? No way. Revealing her real name as Scarlet Miko, Himiko, she sets her swords on fire and clashes with Jeanne’s icy one. Kinji and Aria plan to strike when they run out of steam and that Shirayuki is probably saving energy for one last attack. Aria and Kinji move in to corner Jeanne and Shirayuki unleashes her secret art, Double Scarlet God of Hotogi to break Jeanne’s holy sword. So Kinji, are you scared after seeing that fiery fire? Well, just like watching the fireworks. Aria arrests Jeanne. They return to Adseard and the cheerleading event went on smoothly. Back in Kinji’s room, Shirayuki points out it was Aria who bought the syrup and not her. Aria makes a statement that she wants Shirayuki to be her slave too seeing that she needs more than 1 partner. Uh huh. Aria already duplicates a keycard to Kinji’s room. Look how happy she accepts it. But when Aria bans anything perverted, Shirayuki feels she is trying to get ahead of the game and mentions she also kissed Kinji. Then they start fighting as Kinji slowly tries to get out from harm’s way. Who knows the same thing happened. Aria starts shooting, he jumps out of the balcony. Splash! So you think having another partner will solve his misery?

Episode 9
Kinji is surprised when Aria wants him to visit the girl’s dorm. Without hesitation, Aria gets flirty with him and pins him down on the bed! But something is amiss! Aria got boobs?! Definitely not her! Why, it’s Riko! She’s back? She wants to do dirty things with him? She hasn’t changed, hasn’t she? With his Hysteria Mode activated, Riko reveals she didn’t kill anybody so the term Butei Killer for her is wrong. She’ll let him in on more information if he makes her his. Though she mentions she hate harem routes, Aria busts in to ‘save’ her slave. Riko distracts Aria with boob talk (something which the latter doesn’t have, I guess) and escapes. They track and chase after her. Up on a rooftop as the girls trade insults (including whimsical attention whore and flat-chested world record holder), Kinji steps in before they can blow each other’s head off. He realizes Riko probable has made a plea bargain, that’s why she is able to return to Butei. Plus, if Aria harms Riko without a valid reason, she’ll be considered to have committed a crime and this means her effort in clearing Kanae’s name will go to waste. Riko starts crying (hope it isn’t crocodile tears. Oh wait, is it?) and understands Aria’s predicament. Seems Riko got expelled from EU after losing to Aria and Kinji. Because of that, EU’s number 2, Vlad of Endless Sin took away Riko’s treasure. She wants to retrieve it and this means for them to team up with her. It’s like becoming an accomplice to a thief… Aria (in tsundere mode) thinks this is a trick by Riko to steal him away to her side and asserts he only belongs to her! Can’t help bring up that kissing incident with Shirayuki, can’t she? As Kinji sits for an exam, Riko secretly distracts him by seducing him. Yeah, a bad girl she admits. Or else she’ll scream that he’s doing weird things. And if he wants his pencil to the test, he has to take it tug at her cleavage. Consider this as training for him to control his Hysteria Mode before they pull off the big heist. The steamy affair is halted when Sayonaki spots them. Riko gives her fully answered sheet to him and dashes for the exit. That poor kid is going to get an earful after this. Riko has got the guts to show her face and share her umbrella with Kinji after his lecturing. Shirayuki happen to pass by and isn’t happy that another woman is sharing her umbrella with her beloved. She tries to throw Riko off about their kiss but Riko isn’t fazed and mentions they have reached second base. Shirayuki is shocked and this allows Riko to pull a prank and reveal her black panties. Kinji carries Shirayuki to the infirmary and somehow they got locked in. Shirayuki starts undressing herself thinking that they need to use their body warmth so as not to lose their strength. I guess she must be getting desperate to get intimate with Kinji before she returns to Hotogi for a while after breaking restrictions during the Durandal incident. Shirayuki is already down to her undies and forcing Kinji to strip but he tricks her he will do it himself as long as she closes her eyes. He escapes by sliding out the window so I guess Shirayuki will have to continue this when she comes back. Next day Aria and Kinji go meet Riko and they are surprised Riko in a maid outfit and a row of maids greeting them.

Episode 10
In the maid cafe, Riko discusses her grand robbery taking place at Vlad’s villa. She can’t do it herself? Well, she doesn’t have data for the underground so this is where the duo come in as they will infiltrate and steal the treasure, a rosary. Aria isn’t happy that first she framed her mom and now they want to steal her rosary. The reason she is doing this is because Riko agreed to testify for her mom (other than Riko’s flirty threat that she’ll do it with Kinji instead). Riko starts weeping that at least Aria could see her mom. She last her parents when she was 8, thus the rosary is a precious memento from her mom. Despite knowing that, Vlad took it away and hid it in a heavily guarded place. I guess it she was pitiful enough to warrant the duo to agree and do the heist. But they won’t get to see Vlad since he hasn’t been back for decades and it’s being manned by a manager and housekeepers. So to get them into task, Riko has reluctant Aria put on a maid outfit, in which she is darn embarrassed to do so (why is Kinji blushing?). Then she has practise lines that maids would normally say to their master. Looks like Aria’s stuttering the first syllable. Can she do it? Man, it’s going to be a long day. Finally when she eventually ‘mastered’ it, she’s like a cross between a lifeless zombie and a broken tape recorder. Now it’s Kinji’s turn for training. Riko wants him to the infirmary without anybody seeing him. On his way, he is surprised to see Jeanne playing piano in the music room. Don’t worry. She’s not the enemy and due to a plea bargain, she is made to attend Butei. Jeanne also knows what Riko wants (her freedom, that is), thus knowing about Kinji’s heist. She continues how after Riko’s parents’ death, she was taken in by someone claiming to be her relative (Vlad) but was imprisoned, malnourished and mistreated. She tried to escape but was caught and defeated in a fight. However Vlad promised he will no longer lay his hands on her if she proves she has surpassed Lupin the 1st (thus the hijacking incident). Jeanne is telling Kinji all this because he views Vlad as her descendant’s greater enemy. Guess what? Her descendents teamed up with Lupin’s to fight Vlad to a draw about 120 years ago. Vlad’s ancestor? No, Vlad himself. Is this guy human? Well, to put it in other words, he’s like a demon. Jeanne proceeds to draw a picture of Vlad’s weakness. Long ago, a paladin from the Vatican placed 4 permanent marks on him. The marks are his weakness. Good. So you have to hit the marks to defeat him. Easy, right? Nope. You have to hit them ALL simultaneously. Sheesh. In that case, shouldn’t the paladin just put up one mark? Why make life so difficult? Worse, Jeanne only knows 3 of the marks. Great. Looks like he’ll have to find the fourth one. Oh, her drawing sucks too.

Kinji hides in the closet at the infirmary when he hears Riko and the other girls coming. Urm… Why is Mutou in there too? Oh yeah, it’s a peeping feast to see the girls change. So this is his training? To control his Hysteria Mode? Kinji wouldn’t want to look but Riko sends him a naughty SMS that if he doesn’t reply what colour her panties are, she’s going to force open the locker! It’s honey gold! Then when Aria comes in and Riko forcefully laying her hands on her, Kinji instantly goes into Hysteria Mode. Ah, I guess I know what this means. Sayonaki comes in and all the girls start hounding him to take their samples or even more. Heck, they didn’t need to take off their clothes in the first place. However the guys are busted when Reki opens the locker. Oh sh*t. Unfortunately we don’t get to see the expected girls-pounding-the-pervert scene because a silver wolf crashes in and attacks them before escaping. Kinji chases it by borrowing Mutou’s badass bike with Reki tagging along. Reki’s sharp observation of the wolf’s whereabouts has Kinji arriving at a building under construction. Reki doesn’t have tranquilizers so she’s going to subdue the beast with normal bullets. This has Kinji remember emotions are foreign to her. As Reki gets into a sniping position, Kinji hunts for the wolf before realizing he walked into its trap. Though Kinji manages to retaliate, the wolf escapes but into Reki’s sniping range. She shoots but grazed its back. Did she really miss? Well actually it was on purpose. The bullet has applied some pressure points on the wolf so it is somewhat temporarily paralyzed. Reki tells the wolf she won’t miss the next shot so he wants it to give up its old master and serve her. Instantly, the wolf becomes tame! Woah! Not only she’s a sharp shooter but she has a thing with animals! She wanted to keep it as a pet that’s why she wanted to go after it. I’m sure she’ll get approval if she keeps it as a Butei dog. But Kinji has bigger problems to deal with when he gets home. Aria (very mad. Very) is waiting and wants the pervert to explain himself hiding in the closet. She thinks he was being horny for Riko so Kinji’s tongue slip has him revealed that it was Aria he is horny for. OOPS!!! Now she’s going to blow lots of holes through him. I wonder if his room is riddled with them already.

Episode 11
Wow. Aria is a natural maid now. All that practise must have paid off, eh? On the day they’re supposed to head to Vlad’s villa to stay for 2 weeks, Riko comes by in a disguise that Kinji recognizes as Kana. Who is she? Well, he’s reluctant to say. I know Riko’s disguise is to avoid Vlad recognizing her. But if Vlad isn’t going to be there, what point is this for? Arriving at the villa, they are surprised to see Sayonaki as the villa’s manager. So is he. Since the housekeepers are away for 2 weeks, that’s why it’s the perfect infiltration job. As they speak, I won’t say that Sayonaki is close to this villa’s owner but as Kinji puts it, some sort like email buddies. Seems Sayonaki frequently borrowed this place to do his research. Yeah, sorry he can’t accompany them because it’s back to his research while the duo make themselves at home. Hey, even Aria takes a liking to wear a maid’s outfit! Yeah, Kinji saw that embarrassing pose she did… As they continue to work in the villa, Kinji can’t help find himself getting stimulated easily by Aria. They also talk about Vlad’s weakness via that horrible drawing and some Kinji-Aria time when the lightning causes the place to blackout. Yeah, it’s her frightened mode getting all clingy to Kinji. A week later, Kinji and Aria report to Riko what their find via communicator. Aria confirms the rosary in the room but she can’t get it easily since Sayonaki is always busy with his research at the basement. Riko suggests a tactic of luring him out. As Kinji and Aria serve him dinner, they notice Romanian roses in the compound. Sayonaki mentions he cross-breed 17 of them and incorporated virtues in each of them. However he hasn’t name them but decides to named them after Aria seeing she can speak the same amount of languages. Back to the ‘meeting’, seems the basement is heavily guarded with infrared beams. So the plan is to have Aria lure Sayonaki out (because they think he’s skilled with women) while Kinji retrieves the rosary. All in 15 minutes. How can a plain flat chest Aria seduce him? As Riko suggested, let him grope her butt!!! Haha, is that a joke?

On the last day of their stay, Aria has Sayonaki accompany her to the rose garden while Kinji prepares to go in, Mission Impossible style (okay, he’s hanging upside down like a bat rather). Yeah, they’ve dug a hole for 2 weeks right down to the basement. Giving visuals to Riko, in turn she gives him complicated instructions to make some crane to retrieve the rosary. Time is up but Kinji needs more time. Aria tries to stall him but she isn’t good in striking up a conversation. Suddenly out of the blue, Aria confesses she likes Kinji and after this, she’ll let him do whatever he wants with her. Yeah, they can do it all night if he wants. This was enough to activate his Hysteria Mode. Kinji realizes that Riko impersonated Aria’s voice to turn him on seeing she noticed about it too. In this mode, Kinji is able to finish his job and even plant a fake rosary. You know, I thought he should have started in this mode to save time and trouble. Kinji and Aria meet Riko at the rooftop as they hand over her rosary, much to her delight. As gratitude, Riko wants Kinji to undo her ribbon. Upon doing so, she kisses him! In his Hysteria Mode, Riko apologizes for being a bad girl. Seems this is a setup. With her rosary back, she has all the cards in her hands. Yup, she used them both to retrieve her rosary so that she can proceed to defeat them both in this showdown. Looks like she hasn’t given up. Once a sly fox, always a sly fox.

Episode 12
Riko continues her explanation. Her torrid life living in a tiny cell eating nothing but rotten meat and drinking nothing but muddy water. The rosary is her descendant’s heirloom and she hid it in her mouth during her captivity all the time. That’s when she realized this rosary gave her powers and used it to escape prison. She reasserts that she will beat Holmes and surpass Lupin the 1st to earn her freedom. Suddenly she is stunned by electric jumper cables. It’s Sayonaki and he’s brought a pair of mean silver wolves with him. This solves that who-let-the-dog-out a couple of episodes back, eh? Now for the moment of truth. Sayonaki reminds weakened Riko that they met 10 years prior. He was a doctor who took her blood and gene samples. The result was though she is Lupin’s descendant, she inherited no powers and is only good for making a 5th. He knew of their plan to steal the rosary and allowed them. Sayonaki starts getting violent on Riko. He forces the fake rosary down Riko’s throat and steps on her! He wants her to sink into despair so he can summon Vlad. And the sign Vlad is coming is that Sayonaki becomes something like the Incredible Hulk. See his rippling muscles? Though Sayonaki isn’t Vlad, he is simply an outer shell Vlad created using genes he had obtained. He is just a personality to pass off as a human. The full Vlad is here. Looks like a big werewolf. Kinji must have learnt quickly from Reki so he fires a shot to paralyze and not kill the wolves. Aria is going to arrest him for framing Kanae. But can she? When Vlad mentions he wants to get Aria’s blood, Aria realizes his true form: A vampire. So he is Count Dracula? Only thing is that he harvested blood of humans and used their genes to evolve. That’s why he isn’t afraid of sunlight, garlic or silver bullets. Yeah, he’s like an immortal with his healing capabilities. Then Vlad picks Riko up and he isn’t going to keep his promise of freeing her because he wants her back in the cell to produce a 5th. Poor Riko is so devastated that she pleads to Aria and Kinji to save her. I guess they were waiting to hear this. Otherwise, why would they stand at the sides, watch her get deservingly beaten up? Aria fires a few shoots into Vlad while Kinji takes Riko away. Kinji manages to steal the real rosary and pass it back to Riko. Though she knows Vlad is strong, she believes the duo can defeat him and tells of his fourth weak spot: Inside his chest.

Kinji rendezvous with Aria as they aim to hit all 4 spots simultaneously. However Vlad still stands and mocks them that a certain b*tch didn’t really know his other weak spot. Disappointed? Vlad counter attacks and the impact was strong enough to dispel Kinji’s Hysteria Mode. Uh oh. Kinji is thrown off the edge but Aria has to be kept busy on her toes because Vlad is swinging like mad. Riko dives down to save Kinji. Remember her cool gadget for fanservice, oops I mean parachute? Yeah, that. Kinji wants to save Aria and Riko gets her confidence back after having Kinji repeat her name several times. Has he ever called her by a number? Riko swoops down in time before Aria is smashed (she got frightened when the lightning flashes). Then she gets horny with her by licking her neck not because she is yuri but rather to activate Kinji’s Hysteria Mode. I guess it activates even further when Kinji lands on Aria’s boobs. Oh wait. Does she even have them? Don’t shoot me! Kinji knows where Vlad’s final weak point is and since each of them have a bullet left in their gun (Aria has 2, remember?), that’ll be just swell. But he wants them to fire at the same spot like they did at first. Kinji’s bullet causes Aria’s bullet to Vlad’s chest to ricochet off into Vlad’s mouth. Yup, his fourth weak point is on his tongue. Vlad experiences violent spasms before he collapses in his own bloody pool. Kinji realizes his weak point while fighting him. He was always trying to guard his mouth when they’re shooting. If he had unlimited healing power, then he shouldn’t need to do that, right? So aiming at the same spots was just to catch him off-guard. Kinji and Aria note to Riko that she has surpassed the 1st because she has defeated Vlad though it was a combined effort. Riko is back to her sneaky ways and the only thing she’ll acknowledge is that they are on par as her rival. Though she escapes, Kinji is sure she’ll be back soon. In the aftermath as Kinji accompanies Aria to buy swimsuits, he thought he saw Kana but dismisses it. Aria is elated when she receives good news that Riko agrees to testify for Kanae that guarantees her a remand. So happy that her bra pads drop out. Kinji doesn’t know what these are so embarrassed Aria slaps him so many times that you’d probably lost count. Hey, it’s better than shooting holes through him, right?

Episode 13
This is actually an OVA episode that came with the DVD and Blu-Ray release. If you’re hoping for fanservice and love triangle romance, forget it. First they lure you with that and then you slowly realize it’s some sort of supernatural horror! CREEPY! Kinji, Aria, Mutou, Shirayuki, Riko, Tsuzuri, even Jeanne along with Reki and her wolf pet are driving up the misty mountainous roads on a stormy day. The radio transmission is screwed and the GPS ran havoc. Tsuzuri are bringing the kids to not just a hotspring trip but a Butei training exercise. They reach the village on a clear sunny day. Trekking to the village, Riko and Shirayuki get into an argument about wanting to do in Kinji even if it’s in the middle of the road. I can see why Riko loves teasing gullible Shirayuki on this subject. She hates to lose out whenever the subject is on him. In the seemingly deserted village, they meet the Landlady who is supposedly Tsuzuri’s old acquaintance and partner who quit Butei long ago because she like her ancestors prefer to run their business in hotspring. She might not look like it but she’s 60 years old! F*ck! Tsuzuri allow everyone to relax today and training will begin tomorrow. So yeah, the usual hotspring fanservice whereby Riko and Jeanne are too focused on Shirayuki’s boobs, leaving that flat chest Aria out in the cold. Till Tsuzuri mentions how childish they are talking about boobs because mature women’s boobs are… Wrinkled? Aria blows her top and starts shooting but luckily everyone have something bulletproof to deflect the shot. Bulletproof soap? Bulletproof shampoo? Bulletproof headphone? Why is everything bulletproof?! Who needs guns then?! Mutou is the typical pervert who is never going to let this chance slip as he begins his peeping reconnaissance while Kinji tries hard not to hear all those ambiguous sounds from the women’s side. Don’t want to enter into Hysteria Mode, do you? Mutou thinks he is about to succeed till he sees Landlady at the top of the fence and his plan is foiled. Later the girls play ping pong (I don’t know the pose and “Heh~” scream they make) and when they go get something to drink, they feel as though like somebody is watching but dismiss it. However in the shadows there is a creepy little boy watching them!!! OH SH*T!!! Is this hotspring haunted?!

The girls realize that Jeanne is missing and soon hear Mutou’s scream. Everyone rushes to where that guy is as they see Jeanne part of the floral statue! But soon Jeanne returns to her normal self though she has no recollections of what happened. They laugh at her for doing such an extreme cosplay. Reki’s wolf starts snarling at something close by. As the girls talk to Jeanne what happened, Riko thinks this is part of Tsuzuri’s training to catch them with their guard down despite telling them training is tomorrow. Then Kinji comes in to ask if they have seen Mutou because that dude suddenly disappeared. Looking for him, suddenly Mutou’s unconscious body comes dropping from the ceiling. And he is put in a weird dress. The rest has had enough and think the adults have gone overboard and prepare to make their move on them. Kinji is supposed to distract the ladies but finds they are not in their room. The place is messy. Shirayuki opens the closet and to everyone’s horror, Tsuzuri and Landlady are tied up and hanging. S&M? I don’t think it’s this horrible. Noting something really amiss, they see a boy nearby and wonder who he is. He didn’t say and runs away. They chase. The boy leads them deeper and deeper into the rooms. Aria and Kinji realize they have been separated from the rest when they enter a room filled with creepy dolls, talisman on the wall and sounds of crying baby!!! F*CKING CREEPY SH*T!!! Then a door slides open and a corpse-like hand is going to grab them!!! Suddenly! Everyone finds themselves sleeping in the MPV. It’s like they just arrived at the village. Though they feel pretty odd, they make their way to the inn but only realize that there are more people in the village now (there were no one around before). They meet the Landlady and wonder if she’s going to come at them suddenly seeing they know she’s an ex-Butei and 60 years old. Landlady isn’t happy that Tsuzuri told her students unwanted things. As everyone continues to wonder what the heck is happening, the little boy is seen still peeking around the corner. Aw, man! Don’t tell me this is going to be another horror loop!

If I don’t do a good review, she’s gunner blow holes through me…
Ah, man. So that is how it ends? So sudden? The OVA certainly didn’t help either. Well, I read an article that a second was being planned. However! Yes, there’s a catch to it. As being said by the series’ author, the development of the second season depends very much on the DVD and Blu-ray sales of this season! Oh damn! That is the harsh truth but really, if it’s not profitable in the first place, why go on and produce something that not only wastes money but lacks popularity? I mean, a dip in sales could mean that the series wasn’t popular, right? So yeah, I haven’t been following up on this and since I haven’t heard anything, which means… Or maybe it’ll take longer. Like 10 years later. Haha! So people, if you love your tsundere flat chest Aria, show your support and buy the DVDs and Blu-rays so we can have more of the goodness that is of Aria. Oh, and perhaps if you’re a Riko fan, do you not want to see more of her cheeky flirt? The silent type, eh? Maybe Reki will get more screen time then. So what are you waiting for? Dig deep into those pockets and start supporting the production of the sequel! Hmm… I do sound pushy, don’t I? As for me, I’m not really a big Aria fan so count me out :).

So back to the sudden abrupt season ending analysis. So sudden that it made me go “THAT’S IT?!” when the end credits start rolling. It’s not like it’s the kind of ending credits which are usually unique to final episodes in most anime series. For example, seeing the life-goes-on of the characters. Basically the ending credits for the last episode of this series is the same as it was you’d see in the first, second and all the other episodes. And there is no epilogue teaser to say or show anything (I wouldn’t count that Kana scene). That’s why I said the ending is very sudden. So what happened to Vlad and Sayonaki? Don’t tell me they disappeared? Oh, it’s the elusive Vlad we’re talking about. Now that Kinji has discovered Vlad’s weakness, I’m sure he is the first person over the centuries and generations to have figured this out, so please feel free to post online on every forum board and websites so that anybody who is lucky (or unlucky) enough to fight Vlad face to face would at least know where to hit instead of gambling and hitting random spots on his body. I bet that will be the last you’ll see of him. But Vlad being a vampire? I thought that was just too much. The final arc was quite focused on Riko getting back her rosary and the battle with Vlad so much so it could make you forget that there ever was a Butei Academy in the first place. That there was a cool sniper girl named Reki. That there was a miko priestess and ‘desperate’ childhood friend named Shirayuki. And do we know anything about the EU in the end aside that it’s some bad organization? None of these were ‘seen’ in the end that’s why it made me feel so, here’s that word again, sudden. Maybe they do really had plans to make a sequel and the ‘suddenness’ was a midway point. Yeah, money is always the issue, eh?

It was amusing to see the interaction between Aria and Kinji. This is what you should look for when watching this kind of shows, right? Two people reluctantly partnering up eventually grow closer. It is obvious that if there were any pairings to be made, it would be these 2. The rest are just for ‘decorations’. Haha! Aria being the tsundere isn’t honest to her feelings till the end. Though she may have called him “slave” lesser, maybe it’s because she calls him “pervert” more. Whatever name she calls, I’m sure she treats him like her partner. At least when the need arises for it. And so for Kinji who has been thinking of quitting Butei, at this rate I think he isn’t going to quit because this single mission to help Aria could turn into a lifelong one. Kanae was sentenced to hundreds of years in prison and by capturing criminals to prove her innocence, as the years are reduced, it feels like they need to continue this till their next generation. And Kinji didn’t come to hate his Hysteria Mode as much as he did in the beginning. At times with his heightened intelligence and abilities (not to mention the personality) it saves his behind and solves cases that his normal mode wouldn’t. It’s good, right? I wish I had this mode too. But he didn’t really get to control it because he just needs to be a little stimulated by Aria and wahlah! It’s activated. Maybe he couldn’t control it ever in the first place. Just that he started liking Aria so it activates faster. Now the next step is to get them to confess to each other… Seems like a long shot even if there ever is a sequel.

Some of the other supporting characters are given their fair share of screen time albeit it is still mainly Aria and Kinji. We get to see Reki do some accurate sniping, Shirayuki unleashing her forbidden fire techniques and the other pals at Butei working together to overcome dire straits. That’s the good thing when you have friends who truly believe in you not just because it is some Butei Law number so and so to always help out one another. It’s hard to hate Riko even if she acts like an antagonist. Firstly, she’s cute! Who could hate such a sexy babe? Okay but seriously, once you understand her pain and past, you will understand why she was so desperate to have her showdown with Aria. Then when she found out all her actions have been for nothing, the despair you see in her eyes just makes your heart sink. Sure, she got what she deserved but getting beaten to a pulp and relishing in her pain isn’t something anyone would stomach. It goes to show that one bad deed deserves another. She lied to Aria at first, right? So how does it feel to have a taste of her own medicine? All she wanted was people to acknowledge her by her real name and not some number. It was amusing and fun seeing Shirayuki trying to get close to her sweetheart Kinji and of course getting worked up and jealous when other women get too close to him. She had her chance but I guess we all know how it will turn out, right? Reki is an oddball in her own way. Though she lacks emotions, letting an enemy wolf live so that she could make it her pet indicates otherwise, right? She is such a mystery and I would have loved to know how she is able to communicate with animals so easily. I mean, communication isn’t just about words. It’s about feelings and emotions too.

The action in this series does not disappoint and they are thrilling enough to make you captivated. Adrenaline junkies should be kept satisfied with the amount of gun firing action the series has to offer. Don’t twin wielding gun girls look cool? Just like Black Lagoon’s Revi or Bakuretsu Tenshi’s Jo. You could say that whenever Butei goes into action, it will be an explosive affair. Who could forget Reki’s precision sniping? This has got to be the best action bit for me and no matter how impossible and exaggerating, it looks totally cool nevertheless. With the adrenaline pumping background music, you can’t help cheer for the Butei heroes and heroines to come out tops. There are some fanservice moments as well but if you will be sorely disappointed and annoyed by the censors. But it’s not like every panty shot is ‘bright out’ because they do let some slip through and let you ‘enjoy’ the view. So here is another motivation for you ecchi fans to buy the DVDs and Blu-rays. Want to bet those scenes are 100% viewable? Possible they may even throw in additional fanservice scenes for your money’s worth. Just don’t let your parents or girlfriend find out about it or they’ll start blowing their top and blow holes through you. But as for the OVA, the fanservice isn’t much and the most you could see is the smooth butts of the girls. However you’d forget that since the horror part will scare you enough to lose your memories on that. The next episode preview is a short amusing section as we have the characters rant away. The best one has got to be when Aria forgave Kinji for his lecherous ways simply because she thought he had a thing for Mutou (the reason they were hiding in the closet doing ambiguous stuff)! Also another good one has to be when Aria loses her memories. Now, you have to have prior knowledge on Rie Kugimiya’s roles in other anime series to understand this one. Okay, not so much on her but her ‘partner’ to her tsundere characters. She’s trying to remember the names of her partners. Yuuji? Saito? Oh yeah, it’s Ryuuji. Who?

Rie Kugimiya as Aria needs no introduction as she’s a veteran in voicing loli roles and is perfect in another one of her trademark roles. Junji Majima is the voice behind Kinji. He also played Ryuuji in Toradora. So get that little joke now? Other casts include Mariya Ise as Riko (Levi in Fairy Tail), Mikako Takahashi as Shirayuki (Ayumu in Hayate No Gotoku), Kaori Ishihara as Reki (Suzuna in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama), Ayako Kawasumi as Jeanne (Saber in Fate/Stay Night) and Kenji Nojima as Sayonaki/Vlad (Tomoya in Clannad). Surprisingly the opening theme, Scarlet Ballet by May’N is quite to my liking. Most probably it’s because of the orchestral strings that increase the dramatic effect. If you know that Australian/British string quartet, Bond and their hit remix song Victory, I’m sure you’ll get an idea of how this piece will sound like. The ending theme is Camellia No Hitomi by Aiko Nakano and is a totally hard rock piece with heavy metal-like electric guitar play.

Life is already tough when you have to live your daily life armed. Having an academy like Butei, it feels like it has made the world even more dangerous. Even the school itself is a dangerous place. Imagine this. If the people at the top are rotten, then it has defeated every purpose to make this world safe. Look at the case of Sayonaki. And if Butei has a habit of making plea bargains and have ex-criminals enrol in the school, isn’t it like a big institute with world class felons? Hmm… Maybe I should take up some self defence martial arts class just in case. Then again, thinking about the time and effort needed to spend for all that just for a little peace of mind makes me feel lazy and lethargic. Maybe I should just hire Aria for a job, eh? Yeah, got to buy more DVDs and Blu-rays of the series before she blows lots of holes through me.

Yumekui Merry

February 25, 2012

Everybody has dreams. Everybody wants to live out their dreams. But when you usually say that, it is in a metamorphic way. What if that really happens literally? Will you be overjoyed? Will you be disappointed? Will you feel that you have got more than you have bargained for? There is somewhat a fine line between dreams and reality. At least that is what I thought when I watched Yumekui Merry. And no, I wasn’t dreaming watching this anime. I know I was up conscious for real seeing this series. Phew. Need to make that clear to myself.

Well, it’s hard for me to summarize what this entire anime is about. I was a little confused in watching the series because it deals with dreams and reality. I’m not saying that there are deep psychological stuffs that only people like Freud can analyze and comprehend, but people like me who don’t even harbour big dreams find it a little baffling and mystifying. All I can say the show is something like this: There are inhabitants of the dream world called Muma. Mumas want to come to our real world. Mumas need real body or vessel to do so. More and more people become victims to these Mumas. It’s up to a kid with special powers and a lost Muma to decipher what is going on, save the day, have the latter get back to her own world. Something more sinister beneath surfaces and it’s more than meets the eye. Get it?

Episode 1
We see a Muma, the protagonist of the story, Merry Nightmare (with a name like that, what do you think of her?) bumming around and awakened from her comfortable sleep. On the other hand, human protagonist, Yumeji Fujiwara is yet in another messy dream. The one whereby cute cats are after his skin. This is no laughing matter. No matter how hard he runs, he gets caught. But he is saved in the sense that time is up. The cat warns him that the next time, their boss will be seeing him. Beware. How could you not take this dream/nightmare seriously if you have been dreaming the same dream every night? Hope he doesn’t get out from the wrong side of the bed. So like any other normal kid in reality, he goes to school, has friends of his own. The ‘wife’ and childhood friend whom he is living with, Isana Tachibana, haiku lover Takateru Akiyanagi, tomboyish Saki Kirishima, writing club president, Mei Hoshino and the onigiri loving guidance counsellor, Ryouta Ijima. Yumeji also has this mysterious ability. By making a hole with his fingers and peeping through it, he can see the different bubble-like colours on people. This is what he perceives as are auras of people’s dreams. Bright happy colours mean you’ll have a good dream and dark black ones mean you’re screwed. And as usual he peeps on himself and knows he’s going to face those darn cats again. Yumeji walks home alone after his writing club meeting (also consist of members like Saki, Akiyanagi and Ijima), a girl drops on him from the sky. No, this is nothing like Sora No Otoshimono. She is Merry and she starts panicking upon knowing her hat is missing, leaving in a huff. Later Yumeji thinks he spots Merry’s hat and when he approaches it, he finds himself in his dream world. How can this happen when he is still awake? The cats’ boss, Chaser John Doe needs a vessel to cross over to Yumeji’s world just like how he can cross over to theirs. Unless you want to become his vessel, better start running. And he isn’t called Chaser for nothing. You can run but you can’t hide. Before Yumeji is done for, Merry appears (she got her hat back by the way). John Doe though she had obtained a vessel but it seems she has no idea how it happened. Before she realized, she was thrown into this world and is trying to find a way to get back. Since John Doe is going the other way, Merry is going to force him to take her home. They fight but Merry is faster and her tiny hand really packs a punch. In the end, Merry wins after managing to crack his mask. He thinks that she may be the one and leaves. Merry is left confused and oddly, he didn’t bring her back with her. So she’s stuck again. Yumeji returns to his real world and it’s like as though time has never passed while he went through that nightmare. Merry is also there and she is rather upset and emotional till she collapses in his arms.

Episode 2
Merry is taken back to Isana’s home and Isana quickly warms up to her. Merry tries to get herself use to living with them since Isana’s dad (who also runs a cafe in the house) approves of her. Late that night, Merry tells Yumeji about Mumas and how some of them want to cross over to this side via a human vessel. And there are many types of Mumas. Like for instance a short distance away, Yumi and her Muma, Serio are somewhat best friends. Merry continues that her body, clothes and hat are authentically hers and she didn’t know how it happened when she got stuck in this world. With some memories missing, all she yearned for was to return home. Then one day she bumped into a Muma when the landscape turned into a dream world (this is what they call Daydream). She fought the Muma who was in the midst of possessing a vessel but each time she was asked the same question of who she was and left without any answer. So she tried searching for more Mumas and John Doe was the fourth. She got desperate enough to want Yumeji to summon him but he doesn’t know how. But it’s snack time as Isana returns with a box of doughnuts. Merry instantly takes a liking and this becomes her favourite food like how Shana is to her melon bread and C.C. is to pizza. Dead in the night, Merry thinks of leaving. Isana’s dad didn’t stop her and asks her if this is something she can or must do by herself. She replies both. Next day, Yumeji’s class gets a new transfer student, Chizuru Kawanami. To summarize her, she’s unfriendly. Elsewhere, Yumi and Serio find themselves in an unknown Daydream and a violent turn of events has got Serio killed, causing Yumi to lose all hope and sink into depression. While Yumeji is confused of Merry’s sudden departure, Merry feels she can handle everything by herself and doesn’t need help. Really?

Episode 3
As Yumeji helps Isana with her chores, he decides he wants to help Merry. Sure, you’ve got to find her first, right? Merry wanders into a park and meets a little girl, Minato Kisaragi who is finding hard to make friends. What caused Merry to be friends with her? Her doughnut. I guess when two lonely people in the world get together, they aren’t lonely anymore, right? Just like fate, Yumeji chances upon Minato playing Kick The Can at the park and this leads to Merry. Oh, she fell on him again. He makes friends with Minato and they play Kick The Can. Yumeji thought he is the master but to his dismay (and Yumeji’s), he lost 10 times in a row! He sucks. Yumeji proceeds to do a little fortune telling on Minato but to his horror, sees her dark aura. Suddenly then enter a Daydream. Minato has her own Muma, Ichima. However Ichima isn’t happy that she made friends with other people because they had a promise that Minato wouldn’t play with anyone but her. Ichima’s true colour is revealed when she wants to use Minato’s body as a vessel. She attacks and won’t forgive the traitor. Of course she is no match for quick Merry. Ichima tries to persuade Minato that her only friend is trouble but she finally realized she already had friends and felt sorry for Ichima who is the one without friends. Merry slaps her to send her back but I guess it was too late for Merry to come along. Missed the bus again, eh? Back in reality, Yumeji gives Merry the title of Yumekui (Dream Devourer) because she eats dreams. Does she? Then she realizes Yumeji’s uncanny ability to tell a Daydream is coming. He offers to help her achieve her goal with this power of his but she refuses. And he was so confident she would say yes. Uh huh. Two things are now occupying Merry’s mind: Going home and doughnuts.

Episode 4
Yumeji still wants to help but Merry feels the more he gets involved, he might really be turned into a vessel and at that point, Mumas don’t need a door that connects dream and reality. Eventually, she reluctantly accepts his help. After the writing club’s meeting, they decide to go for some karaoke but see Merry at the school gates almost courting trouble with a teacher. They invite her to the karaoke too (note: Yumeji isn’t idol material. Keep your hands over your ears at all times). Meanwhile Isana tries to make friends with Kawanami and even brings her back to her place for coffee. Does she really want to open her up that bad? It’s going to take some time and patience. Feels like something is bugging Kawanami. Her body language is odd. Saki notices Mei texting all the while so she teases if she’s texting to her boyfriend. More like an acquaintance who shares the same passion for books. Though she has never met him before, he text her to met tomorrow. Back home while Yumeji and Merry are in some baseball video game challenge, Mei makes an unexpected visit. She is heartbroken that the person she waited, Chris Evergreen for never showed up. Then he notices her strange behaviour. Mei suddenly gets up, starts sending text to her own handphone via another mobile. He fears the worst. Mei returns to her normal self and sees the message from Chris and rushes out to meet him. Yumeji chases after her and realizes that Chris as taken over Mei’s body. Chris notes that no matter how many times they do this, they won’t be able to meet. Yumeji forces Chris to open a Daydream and in a dilapidated cathedral, he sees Mei lying motionless in a coffin. He wants this monster to leave her body but Chris gets an idea that if he can use Yumeji’s body as a vessel, he can meet Mei. Not so fast playboy. Merry makes her grand entrance and after hearing Yumeji’s words, she is resolved to help him and has decided all Mumas like him are her enemy. Merry evades all attacks from Chris and lets him know that she is a Baku that sends all of the bad dreams back to the other side. She lands a punch on his face as he slowly disintegrates. Chris wonders if she could really send him back. Mei wakes up and briefly catches a glimpse of Chris and notes the wonderful person he is like she imagined before he completely disappears. With Merry agreeing to work with Yumeji, looks like she has to live with him and she can start by working part time as a maid in Isana’s dad cafe.

Episode 5
Popular singer YOKATO suddenly quits music and this sends obsessed fans alike (including Isana) into utter shock and depression. Yeah, feeling so empty, eh? Too disheartened to do anything? More like an excuse to send Yumeji and Merry to go shopping for errands. Yumeji learns that Merry has been stuck in this world for 10 years! That seems pretty long. She is grateful for meeting him because he gave her something to do and turned her into someone else. They accidentally bump into a girl, Yui Kounagi (I thought she look like a cross between K-ON!’s Mio and Ritsu). Yumeji tries to save her doll from falling and though he is successful, he got the lowdown view beneath her skirt. And a slap across his face. Seems Yui has her own Muma, Engi Threepiece and the duo are teaming up to find Mumas who are possessing humans. Yui agreed to help her because she wants to fulfil Engi’s dream. Suddenly Yumeji and Merry find themselves in a Daydream, a wheat field. Sword wielding Engi thought Merry is possessing Yumeji and attacks her. She also wants Merry to reveal the whereabouts of her boss, Pharos Heracles. Who? Maybe we’ll have another time for that since Engi is engrossed in cutting Merry down. However Engi notices her sabre isn’t affecting Merry and the latter could even disintegrate it. Engi remembers how her sister, Patti was attracted to some light and left for the other world. Then she tried to go after her and that’s when she met Yui and begged for her to become her vessel in which she wholeheartedly agreed. So when Merry says about sending her back, Engi doesn’t believe there is a way because it is impossible to return. Otherwise, Patti wouldn’t have died in their hands. All those Mumas who were defeated, they perished. This shocks Merry and Yumeji. Have they been doing it all wrong this time? Engi won’t rest until she exterminates every Muma like her and uses the moonlight’s power to regenerate her sword and power up. Merry is cornered so Yumeji needs to do something fast. He becomes a shield to protect Merry from Engi’s slash.

Episode 6
Merry becomes distraught though Yumeji is barely alive. Engi is stunned because it is her principle that she will never get humans involved. Merry is so upset that her awakening powers start tearing the land! Before she realizes it, they’re out of the Daydream. Because dreams and reality are separated matter, Yumeji seems pretty normal back in reality. Phew. What a scare. But when they go home, Yumeji collapses for real. Second round trauma for Merry. She stays by his side while being riddled with guilt. And Isana didn’t suspect anything wrong. Isana meets Saki and Akiyanagi as they talk about Dream Loss, people suddenly losing their interest in their hopes and dreams. The number of cases are rising recently. Like YOKATO. After living together for so many years, you thought at least she’d know something is wrong. Yumeji finds himself in his own dream world and John Doe before him. However he is not here to hunt him. As he has his nekomimi maids heal his wounds, Yumeji learns that Heracles is a Muma but like a lighthouse, his dazzling light is a beacon to other Muma, thus capturing them and expanding his territory. He is some sort of a leader as each Muma is an independent entity and do not act in a group unless they have the same objectives. The light Heracles projected to the world of reality was too alluring and John Doe himself admits that he was drawn to it (hunting Yumeji as his vessel). Heracles has descended upon the reality world and is acting as a guide for Mumas. The number of vessels for them are increasing in this world so if they don’t do anything about it, more Mumas will be coming. John Doe also found out something interesting. Around the time Heracles and his followers descended upon reality, a Muma got involved against his will and was dragged to reality (guess who). For instance the strange things like coming to reality without using a vessel. In short, if Yumeji finds Heracles, he may find something about Merry. John Doe advises him that his strength in the dream is the strength of his feelings. He says he is the ally of truth and the situation for both worlds is now abnormal. Yumeji realizes that John Doe is protecting him from other Mumas while he is being healed. But he signs off with another warning. There is another brutal Muma as Heracles. Perhaps much more dangerous than him. Dubbed Mistleteen, The Sea of Trees, the pleasure it seeks is not the lighthouse but the torment of others. Kawanami pays Isana a surprise visit. She asks her if she has any dreams. Nothing great. She likes to draw (nothing related to manga, mind you). Akiyanagi also comes by to leave a special DVD for him when Yumeji instantly wakes up. Merry in her relief hugs him like a lost kid reunited with her mom. I guess this means more doughnuts for her, eh?

Episode 7
Merry is having difficulties remembering the confusing names on the menu. Because she’s nervous, she trips but luckily Yumeji catches her. So this calls for a trip to the beach to relax? Yeah, I was wondering if this show is going to have any fanservice or not. So the jin-jang gang and surprise package Kawanami even tagging along. So while the others play, Merry confides what is bugging her to Yumeji. She thought she has been sending back Mumas with her own hands but with the recent events, she isn’t sure anymore. Later they go see a nearby filming of a tokusatsu series, Gretcho. They also see Ijima under orders from the teaching committee patrolling the area. Yumeji discusses with Yumeji about Gretcho’s justice concept and wonder if he could still go on fighting if he loses hope. Is it me or are Isana and Kawanami spending awfully lots of time together? And who would have thought Akiyanagi would pull off a seaweed prank to scare the girls. A boy, Masaru happily receives an autograph from the Gretcho actor. As he returns, he enters a Daydream. His Muma, Delga protects him from being attacked and gets wounded. Delga recognizes the attacker as The Sea of Trees. Masaru was in awe when Delga counter attacks to finish off Mistleteen. But that is only short-lived and kills the Muma. When Masaru returns to reality, he loses all hope and dream and doesn’t want the autographed mask anymore. A couple of guys try to hit on Saki but they back off when Akiyanagi comes into the picture. From Saki’s body language, it indicates she likes him. She doesn’t want him to mention this incident to the rest. At the end of the day as the gang prepare to leave, Yumeji realizes Merry isn’t with them. Realizing she’s trying to run away again, he sees her standing in the sea. He insists he will continue support her but needs her to believe in herself. They will prove that Engi is wrong because hopes and dreams are right here, in their hearts. Hey, you don’t have to get all emotional each time he says something like that.

Episode 8
Well, Yumeji somehow sprained his ankle so Merry accompanies him to see a doctor while Isana has been called by Ijima to talk about her future career. Along the way, Merry got distracted to doughnuts so I guess Yumeji is on his own. Engi wakes up from a dream that her sister is running away from Heracles but was killed. She laments if she have stopped her then but Yui is around to provide a pillar of support. Yumeji sees the odd old doctor who is also telling him about the recent event of Dream Loss. To Yumeji’s surprise, he learns that this doctor’s granddaughter is Yui! Grandpa thinks she has brought back a son-in-law!!! While grandpa and Yui’s dad argue among each other, Yui sneaks him out to talk. The medicine she gives him to drink… I thought it looked like some nasty witch potion… Yumeji gets defensive when he realizes Engi is her Muma. But Yui allows Engi to switch places so they can talk. Engi goes down on her knees to beg for forgiveness for the other day. They talk about Heracles and the possibility of sending Mumas home, which Engi still believes it isn’t possible. Yumeji brings Engi/Yui to see Merry at the doughnut shop. Suddenly a circus-like Daydream. Muma Maze Landsborough has finally succeeded in taking a vessel to come to this world and wants to thank his master Heracles for enabling him to do so. Engi reiterates what John Doe has told us. Heracles’ ability to expand his territory by taking in other Mumas. He lights the path and continues to guide ignorant Mumas to this world. Drawn by the pretty light, they will continue to gather. Maze wants the Muma ladies to join him with his master but they are not interested so he unleashes his clown dummies to dispose of them.

Episode 9
As Isana leaves school after Ijima’s counselling, she experiences a temporary Daydream but is snapped out of it when Ijima catches her. As for our heroes, you think a bunch of goons are going to hold them down? Nope. Looks like he underestimated them. Merry couldn’t finish him off when he cries Muma murderer. Her naivety has him to continue mocking her but Engi slashes him. Maze lets them know Mumas live inside a human’s dream. Why are they shock to hear this? I thought they knew they were dream inhabitants? Whose dream? Can’t be alien’s dream so what else, human’s dream lah. Maze further warns them that if he dies, this human he possessed will also die. Engi couldn’t care less and slashes him. She could have finished him if Yumeji and Merry didn’t come between her. They return to the real world. Maze leaving happily and satisfied in his vessel. Furious Engi wants to know why Yumeji stopped her. He says that his dreams were taken hostage and if she was going to kill the Muma, she’d be a hypocrite for not getting humans involved. Engi cools down while Yui pleads not to bully her anymore. Needing a plan for the future, they enter Yui’s Daydream as Engi talks to Merry alone. She wants Merry to punch her since she won’t forgive her for what she has done to Yumeji. Merry purposely misses so Engi insists there is no way of returning. Engi feels her purpose now is for nothing since Mumas taking their vessel’s dream as a hostage means she cannot touch them. She wonders why Merry can still look so confident. She mentions she has someone who pulls her hand. Then they ask about Mistleteen and learn about her unique power to force Mumas that come to this world into a human vessel, regardless of the will of the Muma and human. Letting her be means there’ll be more victims and Engi knows she’ll eventually cross her path. Their conversation is cut short when Isana comes looking for Yumeji. She isn’t amused that he is having a friendly conversation with another girl. As they part ways, Yumeji asserts that he believes there is still a way to return no matter how disadvantaged they become. I mean, making it into reality is what a dream is called, right? A girl, Yoshida collapses and enters a Daydream. A Muma thanks Mistleteen for the help but needs to go see Heracles. However she kills him while Kawanami watches from afar. In reality, Yoshida becomes unconscious and going up to her is Ijima. He starts kicking her like dirt! Looks like he is the vessel for Mistleteen. Mistleteen notices Kawanami spying and lets her know about the foolish dreams humans have. Since Kawanami doesn’t say or react, she hints that her next target is Isana. Back home, Isana tells Yumeji and Merry about her short and weird dream-like experience. To Yumeji’s fear, he sees a dark aura around her. Oh no. Has she become a vessel?

Episode 10
Kawanami is confused. Entering her Daydream, she meets her Muma, Lestion. He tells her they just need 1 more and the preparations will be complete. It doesn’t matter who the next sacrifice is. Kawanami says she doesn’t have any emotions as she has tossed them away a long time ago. Really? If not, it would be hard for Lestion to get his revenge he longed for. Yumeji is also in a dilemma. He never realized the one closest to him was being targeted. He always hoped she could draw without having to worry about dreams or reality. Maybe he was just turning a blind eye? Yumeji goes to see Isana drawing one of those things she sees in her dream. Merry is impressed by it. Kawanami remembers her past where she was loved by her parents. Their sudden demise left her alone, though she was spared by the debt problems her parents left behind. But no matter where she went to seek solace, her heart still easily broke. She felt the more she opened her heart, the more she lost things. Thus dreams are like an empty shell to her and that’s when she agreed to become Lestion’s vessel due to her lack of emotions. Yumeji talks his problems to Yui and Engi. He wants to save Isana but doesn’t know how. Engi suggests opening the gate to the boundary and drag her Muma out and discover its identity. He agrees but will only bring her tomorrow since he doesn’t want to ruin her drawing. Meanwhile Saki and Akiyanagi are studying at the library. Saki learns his haiku stems from a TV programme wanting to make his ill sister who was always in hospital laugh. Though she is fine now, he continued his haiku to share these little sparks of happiness with others. Maze is searching for Heracles when he suddenly finds himself and another Muma and its vessel in a Daydream. He burns down the area (probably killing the other Muma) while Maze runs for cover. In the aftermath, Maze is happy to see him and reports of the annoying bunch of Merry and Engi. However he tells them to leave them alone since there is nothing they can do. Plus, they’ll come in contact with Mistleteen soon. Yumeji returns home and is surprised to see Kawanami. She is acting strange by apologizing for being careless. Yumeji senses something wrong and through his peeping fingers, yeah, another vessel, eh? Surprise? Kawanami is here to warn him that Mistleteen is closing in on Isana. She leaves without saying hi to her ‘friend’ (I guess she was engrossed in her drawing). He chases after her for more details and on whose side she is on but she didn’t answer. As Isana finishes her drawing, Yumeji couldn’t care less who he is up against because he won’t let them touch Isana.

Episode 11
Flashback reveals how Mistleteen and Ijima met. They both share the same passion of tormenting others. Next morning, Merry drags Isana to Yui’s place on a pretence to go to a doughnut shop. Isana finds herself in Engi’s Daydream as the latter swoops down and knocks her out. Drawing out Isana’s Muma, they find a shy and petite Palete (I thought she reminded me of He-Man’s Orko). Palete didn’t really want to make a human her vessel though she was interested and peeked. The next thing she knew, she is stuck and can’t go home. Engi knows this is the work of Mistleteen as she can force Mumas into humans without their will and then bury them both. Though they are still unsure why Isana is being targeted. Merry isn’t sure if her punch could send Palete back and since Yumeji admits he’s a coward, I guess that’s it for today. So Isana wakes up and thinks all that she has seen was just some weird dream. Ijima passes by Kawanami at the stairs. His taunting about her having no future didn’t work on this emotionless girl. However he is looking forward to their revenge. Kawanami feels like warning Yumeji but Lestion warns her that they are solely here for revenge. As Isana completes her drawing in the arts room, she is startled when Ijima comes to take a peek. She thanks him for making her realize her drawing dream so that’s when Ijima feels ready to ‘harvest’ her. Suddenly inside a Daydream, Mistleteen knocks out Isana by nearly drowning her while Palete hides in fear. She notes that Isana is just a mere appetizer and the main dish are Lestion and Kawanami, both whom are just observing from a distance. Yumeji and Merry drop in to Isana’s rescue. Merry is confident of her abilities but was quickly overwhelmed by Mistleteen. She is then going to kill Palete. Yumeji hurries to stop her but was pinned down by Ijima. He reveals his true colours and relishes the betrayed expression on their faces. Then he also reveals Lestion and Kawanami and notes even though they are Mistleteen’s enemies, that doesn’t make them Yumeji’s ally. Furthermore, they have always been watching from the sidelines while letting other Mumas get killed. He is confident they will do nothing here too. Mistleteen gets an idea to kill both Palete and Isana together. That is when Kawanami decides she’ll protect her. However she was told off that she can watch strangers die but can’t leave her friends in the lurch. Kawanami is left reflecting her actions and in a dilemma as Merry gets up and ready for another round. But Mistleteen decides to withdraw today since she has witnessed something interesting. She vows to kill them all the next time. Back in reality, that time will be as Ijima says, after the tests. He’ll be looking forward to the end of the closing ceremony.

Episode 12
Yumeji and Merry bring back Isana to Yui’s place. Engi wants to come up with a plan to beat them next time but Kawanami feels it is impossible without Lestion’s gun. Inside Lestion’s Daydream, he explains he and his comrades once chased after Mistleteen. However they were all killed and he was somehow the only survivor. Mistleteen isn’t an ordinary Muma. She is born from the crevice of nightmare. Humans discard their negative emotions during the day into their dreams and wake up living a happy day again. Those discarded emotions pile up in a place called nightmare rift and thus Mistleteen came into existence. The gun is a keepsake from his comrades and has modified it. He didn’t use it against Mistleteen because there were no bullets. The bullets are made from the deaths of Muma and the despair of humans who have lost their dreams. That’s why he only watched them die. However with a collection of them, only 1 shot can be fired. One more pair and the bullet will be completed. Yui is in a dilemma of not wanting more Mumas and humans to be sacrificed but needs to stop Mistleteen. Engi mentions Merry as another different Muma because she is able to walk in reality without a vessel. She too believes in human dreams but Lestion doesn’t have time for reasoning and will do it his way. Later back in reality, Kawanami tells Yumeji she treasures the moments with Isana. When Lestion fires that single shot of despair, he will die because the gunpowder is his life. That is why he chose her as his vessel since she has no emotions but now she seems to have developed some via her friendship with Isana. Next day, Isana is back to normal thinking that weird dream was just, well, a weird dream. Yumeji and his friends meet after the test. But Ijima is there to say he’ll drop by Isana’s cafe tonight. So the usual suspects wait for Ijima to show up, eager to protect Isana and he did. Just when Isana serves coffee, Engi draws them all into her Daydream. Mistleteen continues to fool around with Merry and Engi. She even shows them a tree that has unconscious Isana tied to. Merry and Engi’s combined effort and sneak attack still did not slow Mistleteen down. Instead, Mistleteen stabs her branch through Engi’s stomach. Merry is pissed off but is still no match for her strength. Yumeji picks up Engi’s sword and charges at her. Well if no one can do it, I guess it’s up to him, eh? Whether it’ll work or not is a different story. Better to die trying than to regret doing nothing, right?

Episode 13
So yeah. The sword breaks upon contact. Same thing. He gets beaten up. However Lestion mentions there is another way. They could fight and win. Now it’s his turn to fight Mistleteen without his gun. As expected, Mistleteen is too strong. But this is part of Lestion’s plan. Previously he talked to Kawanami that he plans to use his life to complete the bullet since he realized Kawanami doesn’t want Isana sacrificed. However she must fire it in his place and not only her dreams will be broken but her heart as well. Lestion dies in Mistleteen’s hands to complete the bullet. Kawanami shoots and soon turns into a vegetable. Did it work? Sadly, it didn’t. Mistleteen continues to mock everyone while Ijima beats up Yumeji for ‘scaring’ him a little. He is going to destroy everyone’s dreams. Merry is back up and fights her but is being swallowed in her Bud of Despair. Inside, Merry experiences despair not of Mistleteen’s illusions, but from within herself. She is sad that Yumeji doesn’t trust her. Yumeji realizes his dream is never to give up and vows to protect everyone. He won’t hesitate or doubt anymore. Quoting a line from John Doe, strength of dreams comes from the strength of hearts, Yumeji materializes John Doe’s saw as his weapon because this is a place where thoughts become power. Because he believes in the weapon (and his heart), it is indestructible and packs a massive punch as he fights Mistleteen. No matter how much blow he takes from Mistleteen, he gets back up, causing her to worry the kind of human he is. Yui tries to break open the bud but I guess it is her voice that reached Merry. For that moment there, you thought she was swallowed by thoughts of despair. And suddenly out of the bud, she had full confidence in Yumeji. Because of that, she manages to destroy part of Mistleteen’s forest and the moonlight heals Engi’s injury. As the revived Mumas fight, Mistleteen absorbs Palete. If they kill her, they will destroy Isana’s dream too. Can they do that? Merry believes in herself and grabs Palete out from Mistleteen’s body (the gaping cross hole that Kawanami fired from Lestion’s gun). She sends Palete back and then lands a blow in Mistleteen’s face before Engi delivers the final slash to destroy her. In that instant, everyone returns to the cafe and Isana is stumped that Ijima is suddenly gone. They give an excuse he went home in a hurry. In the aftermath, Ijima is said to have suddenly quit his job. Akiyanagi wonders what Saki’s dream is but she is too shy to say (she’s blushing. I can guess what it is). Yumeji and Merry talk and the former still have a contract to send the latter back. They also talk about Kawanami, who doesn’t remember them due to her shattered dreams and heart. Though she is living her normal life. Unfriendly and distant. But that didn’t stop Isana from continuing to be friends with her because they are sure she can start afresh. Since humans can dream as many times as they want.

Still dreaming?
That’s what I thought when the anime ended. What is this mediocre unsatisfied ending? Feels like nothing is pretty much solved except for the fact that Mistleteen has been destroyed for good. This in turn leads to lots of questions like how Merry got here in the first place. Does her punch really send Mumas back or annihilate them? What happened to John Doe? Where was he? I thought I would at least see him in the final episode and though it was true, I didn’t mean seeing him in a short flashback in Yumeji’s memory! The intriguing ‘side story’ was the relationship between Saki and Akiyanagi. My bet is that girl likes this haiku guy and we’ve seen enough hints to know that she does so. However what is the point when nothing of it is confirmed or anything of this relationship goes anywhere? Believe me, if this was left out from the series I am sure it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. And what about that Heracles guy? So he’s just in waiting so that if the producers make another sequel, I guess they can use him as the next antagonist. In the meantime, he’s just bidding his time, guiding other Mumas who want to cross over to reality like a lighthouse. That’s it? Well, I’m glad that this ‘nightmare’ series is over.

Then I found out that this anime wasn’t really following the manga. I’m not saying that the overall plot or characters deviate from the original but the TV anime has included some original anime-only characters such as Mistleteen, Kawanami, Lestion, Ijima and Palete. So you can guess that with them around, you bet that the anime will have a slight focus on them since they do not appear in the original manga. In that sense, that’s why I (and perhaps most fans) would consider the TV series to be deviating from the original works. No wonder the ending is so half-assed. No wonder it felt unsatisfactory. No wonder it felt lacking. No wonder many people didn’t like the way things ended and thus some bad reviews that I read here and there. Having a concept about dreams and reality and the thin fine line that becomes the boundary between both worlds is a really fine idea. I just felt that its introduction started out great but gradually the execution starts to falter and doesn’t quite live up to expectations. Instead of trying to find a way to get Merry back or at least understand how she came to be, our attention is diverted to save-Isana-and-get-rid-of-Mistleteen arc.

So yeah, what else can I say about the characters. Yumeji your typical protagonist who never gives up to help those in trouble. Especially when the ones closest to him are hit. His strong beliefs are what fuel him to carry on. Unfortunately the interaction between Yumeji and Merry didn’t have much impact as I would expect in animes that usually focus on a pair of male and female lead characters. It didn’t feel that they were close together as a team. Even though it is the trust and believe that they mention that they had, it still feels ’empty’. Know what I mean? I had hoped that they would provide amusing interactions but Merry was just at times a little grouchy, though her energetic tomboyish behaviour isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Her feelings at times fluctuate between guilt-ridden and low self-confidence so does this show that she possesses more human-like emotions than some other humans? At least I find her obsession for doughnuts funny. Don’t they serve doughnuts on the other side of the dream world? If not, can she just dream about it? And I thought that there would be some chemistry going on between Yumeji and Merry or at least Isana but nil. I know it wasn’t possible but still somehow I was dreaming to see it. Must be imagination. So the only chemistry potential was Saki and Akiyanagi but as I have said, there is nothing much on them and that’s all you’re going to get.

I guess Isana is the only one character who gets involved in the Daydream not to realize that everything she went through was real. Heck, she was out cold most of the time. But still, it’s good to see that she still hasn’t lost her sunny side. There are many other Muma and their vessel characters that got killed off in the series. My guess is just to show us how invincible Mistleteen is. Seriously they don’t make any impact as well but serve as a target victim for Mistleteen’s slaughter mania. Besides, she is really one tough nut to crack and her playful nature feels like a mockery to those trying hard to get her head so much so she can be called the untouchable. Had not Yumeji and co’s dreams were not strong enough, they would not have touched and subsequently defeated her. As for other earlier characters that didn’t die, they become redundant and you may have forgotten about them. Still remember Mei or Minato? So what happened to them? It’s not like they lost their dreams, right? Only their Mumas.

When I first watched the series, I noticed how odd the Mumas eyes are. Then I realized that each Muma had a different pattern in their eyes. So this dispels the thought of why Merry’s oblong shaped pupil was kinda weird at first. You can tell the Muma is possessing the human vessel when their eyes change into that particular unique shape. This had me to think that there must be something suspicious of Akiyanagi. Because from first glance you can tell that his eyes are looking weird. It’s totally black! And that ‘creepy’ smile really goes with it. At the end of the series, nothing indicates that he is a Muma’s vessel. I am making a very speculative assumption that he may be the vessel for Heracles. Hey, if Yumeji couldn’t see Isana being possessed, what are the chances are with his other friends? Sometimes it can be just right under your nose and you don’t know it. The action is fairly entertaining but I won’t go so far as to say that they are awesome or anything more. I mean take for instance Merry. She doesn’t really have any other special skills than to jump, punch and kick. Her brute actions are something that reminds me of those button mashing moves you play in video games. Yeah, all she needs to do is just hit, right? Who says you can’t solve problems with a punch? As far as I remember, Engi can only pull off 1 special move with her sword and that depends on the moonlight. Other than that, she’s just swinging the blade. The other Mumas’ abilities are limited based on their manifestation. I thought in dream worlds, their abilities will be limited by their own imagination. But I guess if everybody is able to think and pull off some fire breathing move, that will be boring, right?

In some of the art and drawing scenes, I noticed that they are drawn and painted in a way that conveys depression, misery, darkness and gloominess. It’s like as though were in the slums. Most of the Daydreams have this sort of feeling but I noticed that some parts in reality are also like that. Are they trying to say that reality is one big world of hopelessness? Another funny thing that I want to note is the background music. They are really odd. Especially the ones with the flute. Perhaps it’s to portray the bizarre and peculiarity of the dream world so that’s why when they are played, it sounded so out of place. The way the flute is played makes it sound mischievous yet enigmatic. Like in a dream world. Of course there are other types of background music ranging from slow strings to action techno music. The opening theme, Daydream Syndrome by Marina Fujiwara is a rock outfit while the ending theme, Yume To Kibou To Ashita No Atashi by Ayane Sakura (the voice of Merry) feels fitting for a techno dance beat (what is the deal with Merry being covered with red petals in this ending credits animation?). On a trivial note, the next episode preview narration sounds very depressing in nature. Feels like lot of negativity in the way they say things. Like as though there is no hope, no dreams, no future. Like as though they are done for in the next episode.

It is best not to get mixed up between reality and dreams. Because if you do, you may get confused and unable to tell the difference of what is real or fake. But sometimes it is really hard to tell them apart. Some dreams look and feel so real and some realities are so dream-like (like when you didn’t expect something good to happen or something really terrible just happened). Sure, there are lots of people living out their dreams, lots of people could only afford to dream and some only wanting to get out of their nightmare. My dream is to continue to watch animes happily ever after. What’s so bad about that? At least they give me motivation to carry on living this insignificant otaku life and something to look forward to every day. It’s a good thing I have never fallen off the wrong side of the bed either. Although I never believed about monsters under my bed, even if there are, all I need to do is to give a good punch and send them back, right?

Kaibutsu Oujo OVA

February 24, 2012

Fuga. I mean, finally. I actually waited for over a year just to watch 3 episodes of Kaibutsu Oujo OVA instead of watching it right after it released so that the events could stay fresh in my mind when I blog on this. Sheesh. The OVAs are not to be confused with the extra episode that was released on the DVD of the TV series way back in 2007. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this new OVA is a total remake or a retelling but I guess with the fans’ dissatisfaction of the TV series, I guess something has to be done, right?

Apparently the OVAs stay more faithful to the original manga and work. That’s because the first thing fans knew the TV series was going to be deviating from the manga was the way the aristocratic Gothic-wearing Hime revived her Blood Warrior, Hiro using some flame instead of her blood. I didn’t read the manga and I only found that out when the TV series ended. But if you intend to watch the OVAs, be warned that you need to know about the storyline and characters beforehand. Certainly 3 episodes aren’t enough to do lots of backstory telling, right? Plus, the episodes are released along with the newly released manga volume then. Randomly watching this without prior knowledge will only end up having lots of questions instead of answers. Like yours truly. But that is only to research about certain new characters and their roles.

Otherwise everything much else about the series is pretty same. Hime and her siblings are supposed to be in some war to kill each other off in order to claim the throne as the ruler of the monster world. However Hime isn’t really interested in that and prefers enjoying her tea. But just to be safe, she and her ragtag team that consists of a petite loyal gynoid, a half-werewolf, a banished vampire and a high school student human as her latest addition, she has to fend off attacks from her rivals who want her dead. Ah, being a princess is never an easy job. And yes, who wouldn’t love Hime’s trademark chainsaw weapon choice? Cut ’em down baby! Fuga!

Episode 1 – Princess Darkness
This episode feels like an abridged retelling. Hime coolly walks into the hospital’s morgue, drops her blood on dead Hiro’s face and whoosh! White smoke for effect? By the time Hiro wakes up, he is alone and in a daze as he trudges out of the hospital confused. Meanwhile Hime and Flandre are faced with Lobo Wildman and his pack of nasty wolves in front of her mansion. The wolves attack but Hime and Flandre defend themselves. See how Flandre swing a giant tree as weapon! Hiro could sense that his master is in danger and rushes over (they’re literally connected by blood, right?). Lobo lunges at Hime but Hiro uses his body to protect her. Great, now he can experience death again. With the distraction, Hime manages to stick her sword into Lobo’s head, killing him outright. Hime then revives Hiro with her blood, introduces herself and one who controls all monsters and those that cannot be seen. So can Hiro be considered an undead seeing he got resurrected twice in the short span of the night? Well, at least he doesn’t look like an ugly mindless zombie.

As Riza walks her way to the mansion, she smells something odd and follows it. Before she knows it, a hand grabs her by the ankle and drags her deep into the woods. Realizing the hordes of dark army, she prepares to fight. Elsewhere, Flandre has awakened from her recharging slumber to go tell Hime “Fuga~”. What? Yeah, that single word means there are many intruders in the mansion. Hime wants Sawawa (Hiro’s over-busty and airhead elder sister) to retire to her room and not come out. I guess it’s a sign things are going to get bloody. Hime goes to look for Hiro but a hand pulls her into the dark room. When she flips the light switch on, the perpetrator vanishes. She sees a huge pool of blood on the floor. Riza comes in all messed up but alright. Hime feels they need to ask Reiri about something and upon realizing the intruders are that kind of vampires, she wants all the electric lights in the outskirts of the mansion to be lit up. Riza finds Hiro in his own pool of blood outside the garden. Good thing he isn’t dead yet. He claims he was attacked while on his way home for dinner. Meanwhile, Hime and Flandre have cornered a perpetrator. Hime suddenly turning on the spotlight in the total darkness while Flandre nails the ugly vampire with her tree log. Reiri explains they are called True Dark Walkers (TDW). Although they are vampires and consume blood, they cannot enslave others and are the weakest kind of vampires around. How weak? Not only they can’t stand sunlight but electric lights and light bulbs as well. Suddenly the place goes dark again. Hime gets a little scratch from a surprise attack of a TDW but is able to cut it with her chainsaw before Reiri turns on the lights. Hime also realize this TDW has taken the other earlier corpse.

As the gang gather to discuss about their circumstances, Hime has an idea what they are after. Showing them the place where she got attacked, Hime’s blood on the wall. However her blood seems to be smeared. She thinks though it may be vampire instinct that it tried to lick it, she feels they are after her special blood. And outside the mansion, countless hordes of TDW and their boss are just waiting to get in. Then all the lights start to go out. Hime and co make a run. Be careful not to let the darkness engulf you because that’s where all the TDW loom. Their hands sticking out from the darkness is a reminisce of some horror show. Riza and Reiri stay back to fight but eventually couldn’t stall much longer and rejoins the rest in a room. They can’t stay in this little spot with spotlights for the rest of the night because a riot squad may just barge their way in. But one of the TDW steps into the light and is unaffected. This is the one that licked Hime’s blood off the wall. TDW Boss confirms that if they take the royalty’s blood, they too will be able to walk under the sunlight. He discloses that there was one case whereby a royal princess was kidnapped and her blood sucked. He too became close to a perfect being. In short, TDW Boss wants to imprison Hime like what happened to her elder sister, Sylvia.

The TDW charges at Hime but she is confident and not budging, even telling Hiro to stay put. The vampire suddenly stops in his attacks. Hime tells off TDW Boss that he didn’t do his homework on Kinesky’s case. When he became a Blood Warrior, he wasn’t able to physically attack Sylvia. She cuts off the TDW’s hand with her chainsaw and dares them to kidnap her for her blood. Morning comes. The entire room is wrecked, cracks on the floor, fissure on the wall. Again, Hime needs to feed Hiro to keep him alive. Ironically she feels her wound is recovering much better when she is giving her blood. Riza wonders if they’ll come again tonight but Reiri dismisses it because among those TDW, only the leader can see how difficult it is to obtain what they seek. She can’t believe he tried to manipulate Hime this way. Looks like TDW Boss and his army left because he knows too well he’ll never be able to best Hime and her team.

Episode 2 – Princess Express
Hiro’s friend, Buchi seems to have dragged him to do some scoop at a railway station. However they got tempted by a little hooded ghost to board an express train that connects the human world and demon kingdom. In short, a phantom train to the netherworld. So looks like Hime and her team have to go save Hiro. Inside the carriage, the boys see ghost passengers and also a little girl. The hooded ghost is the train master and is thrilled that Emile decided to use his services while Emile’s Blood Warriors, Sledge and Keziah watch on. Seems they are transporting a huge goods: Flanders G (yes, that giant gynoid robot of Emile’s). However hot on their trail is Gilliam, another sibling of Hime and Emile. He is firing a photon cannon in an attempt to destroy Flanders. Hime and co wait at the next train station but the trains zoom pass them. Hime and Reiri jump on board while Riza and Flandre are left behind. They catch up with Flandre driving a truck. I wonder how the shorty’s feet can reach the peddle. Gilliam sees Lilian (Hime’s real name which she despises) and thinks she is in cohorts with Emile but she denies. With Keziah coming into the picture, Gilliam explains Dr Franken has changed everything as he is siding with Emile and turning that thing into an ultimate weapon. Meanwhile Emile talks to Hiro and the girl (she is actually the mermaid whom he made his Blood Warrior back in the TV series). He explains Buchi isn’t dead yet but humans’ life are weak here and will be alright if he gets off. But the train won’t be stopping anytime soon. He also tells Hiro to take care of the girl (let’s call her Ningyou for easier reference) and mentions he can sometimes see things in fragments. He goes off and wants Sledge not to let anyone pass this point.

Gilliam wants Hime to make clear her stand since she’s somewhat ‘interrupting’. Flanders awakens and seemingly is going to attack. Gilliam is confident that robots do not attack royalty but as Reiri says, if the doctor has sided Emile, he may have removed its limiter. The cannon is recharged as Gilliam orders another shot. Flanders uses its hand to deflect the beam (costing it that hand too) and fires back via its eyes. However it’s just a recoil. Gilliam is still around and his cannon is already recharged. Taking another shot, this time Flandre drives her truck in its path!!! Thus another deflection. Gilliam’s gynoid, Fratelus is trying to hold down Flanders while Keziah tries to remove that heavy gynoid but he’s not budging. Then Reiri detaches the coach Flanders is on and switches the rail line to separate it and Gilliam from the main train. Riza and Reiri meet up with Hime as they start their search for Hiro. Gilliam fires his cannon once more but Flanders fires back. Both beams meet and cause both sides to be on fire. Gilliam flees on his motorbike thinking this sacrifice is needed. He catches up to the main train and jumps on board. Then he unleashes a Blood Warrior into the carriage. Doesn’t this monster bug look like the one in Starship Troopers?

Hime meets Hiro but feels the need to talk to Emile. She is stopped by Sledge. She confirms with Hiro that he did greet Emile before he said something about seeing things and went to hide. She takes out of chainsaw and is going to prepare to fight. While Riza and Keziah take on the monster bug, Hime and Hiro face off with Gilliam on the roof of the train. Gilliam is convinced Hime and Emile are in league against him. He charges but Reiri interferes. Because she can transform her body into bats, Gilliam’s sword can reach her. He uses a white ash stake to shoo her away. Gilliam’s sword, Sword Being is also his Blood Warrior. Hime is preoccupied with it and got slightly injured. As Gilliam is about to thrust Sword Being into her, Hiro uses his body as shield. Again? Is that all he is good for? Riza and Keziah get pounded by the bug and though they manage to beat it, the bug resurrects. However it soon turns and walks away. That’s because that photon cannon train is heading towards them. How? Fratelus is carrying it with his hands and intends to throw it at the main train. Gilliam retreats thinking this is turning out better than planned.

When Fratelus throws the cannon, Emile is on top of the coach. He uses the power of telekinesis via his eyes (I think Ningyou also did the same) to stop the train and throw it towards Gilliam. Emile collapses as Sledge brings him in. Hime wonders why Emile would push himself so far. Inside the train coach, Hime reveals Emile can sometimes see fragments of the future since young. This was a reason Hime was saved from a car accident though this incident bore severe injuries on him that left him on the verge of death for several days. So Emile did it to protect normal humans. Riza is puzzled Emile’s action for protecting humans he hardly knows but is sure that Hime never runs and fights is because she stands on the side of justice. Hime didn’t answer. Flandre is looking through the train wreckage and sees Fratelus lying on the ground. He is still moving so this means his master is alive, right?

Episode 3 – Princess Island
I’m not sure if Buchi is part of Sherwood‘s team. I know that little lady has got gynoid Francesca and panda Ryu Ryu and if I remember she has a thing for Hiro. So is Buchi just tagging along to film some mystery? Anyway they land on the mysterious Birdcage Island with rumours that people go mentally unstable after a few days. Following which, they are trapped forever. Sounds scary, right? But there is nothing more they can do as the ground starts trembling and everything seen from Buchi’s video camera goes offline. Yeah, Buchi thought he saw something but he’s such a bad and amateur video cameraman that we don’t see anything.

Shortly, Hime and her team arrive at the island since Sherwood invited them. They are greeted by a little hooded ghost proclaiming himself as the hotel manager. Say, doesn’t he look familiar? Could he be that… Along the way, they discuss Birdcage Island’s nickname as Phantom Island because it isn’t on any map. Plus, no one knows when and where it will show up. Sherwood used her calculations and historical data to predict its appearance thus the reason they are able to see it now. Arriving inside the hotel (looks more like a castle), the see Gilliam and Fratelus. However they have no intention of fighting them because Sherwood also invited them. Same case with Sylvia and her team, gynoid Francette and Micasa. Sylvia mentions something about Hime finally being dragged in. Meanwhile a spider goddess, Nakua who was a stowaway on Hime’s boat gets out and sends her spider underlings to do some recon. Night falls as Reiri wakes up from her coffin and meets Nakua. She isn’t happy that Hime dragged her to an island while she was asleep. She can’t go back since she can’t cross large bodies of water. Most of everyone else is enjoying their dip at the hotspring. I’m sure the first thing you will ask when you see Sylvia is, is her boobs the biggest or Sawawa’s. Look at the monstrosity! They note that they have not met Sherwood and oddly no one has seen her yet. Gilliam and Fratelus are walking around when the former gets alerted upon seeing something.

Hime and her team go in search of Sherwood but sees Nakua (they seem to know her as she resides in the Sasanaki Temple). Nakua shows them Buchi’s camera and its footage of panic. Nakua’s spider subordinates found it deep in the jungles but before they can suggest to go search, the hooded ghost informs them that Gilliam has been killed! No, you’re not hearing things. Gilliam is indeed dead as they inspect his lifeless body at the fountain. Well, if he’s so, then his robot butler should self-destruct too, right? Speaking of which, an explosion occurs nearby and it is Fratelus on fire! I guess this proves Gilliam is indeed dead. Nearby are Sylvia and her team. The rest thought she is the culprit but she denies. She plans on going home because it is getting dangerous seeing the perpetrator is after the throne. She pinpoints Sherwood as Hime and Emile aren’t the type who would do this. Keziah notices he hasn’t seen Sledge so Riza suggests a roll call. Now Sawawa is missing too. She’s not in her room. Hime touches her bed and finds it warm. Riza and Hiro are going to look for her but Nakua tells them that she is right there. However they still want to go search for Sawawa. Soon another explosion rocks the boats at the pier. All the ships are on fire and Hime sees Emile watching. Could he be the one? Well, he says she can think what she wants. Emile walks away and Hime sees Sylvia’s lifeless body on the shore. Hiro limps over to Hime and says that Riza has been killed. She revives and asks who killed him. Unconsciously Hiro said “Gilliam”. Knowing what is happening, she decides to go find Sawawa.

Back in the room, they see Sawawa sleeping soundly. She was here all along. Hime explains they have been deceived. Or rather they have made false assumptions. All the assumptions they made in their heads became real. Take in the case when they were told Sherwood was missing, she disappeared. When they were told Gilliam was killed, he was dead. When the mentioned about Fratelus’ explosion, he soon burst into flames. Thus they were too preoccupied with their own assumptions that they ended up making different stories in their heads. So Sawawa was never missing in the first place and Gilliam wasn’t dead to begin with. Once they try to challenge a defined thought that they formed themselves in their heads, they end up not seeing or hearing anything related to it. If a person is continually provided with false information and other people perceive the same information differently, then such a situation will arise. The assumptions made were clearly to restrict their capacity to reason. At that time those imaginary things were close to them, they couldn’t perceive it and slowly they got isolated one by one. They’ll end up as prisoners on this island that eats people. Oh look. There’s a big eye in the mountain. To cut a long story short, everyone on this island is still alive. But they can’t get close to them anymore since they can’t just rewrite their memories according to the situation.

Morning arrives. Everyone seems dead. Yeah, it’s a bloody place. Everyone accept Hime and Nakua (nobody else met her, right?). Hime walks along towards a bridge to meet Sylvia. Hime believed Sylvia was still alive because she knows she was the one who forced the different assumptions on her and would therefore appear before her. They both draw their swords (what? No chainsaw this time?) and clash. Sylvia suggests settling this before Emile destroys the island. How? Using Flanders to pound the eye! I don’t it looked funny. So the ladies injure each other in their duel but Flanders’ pounding was so awesome that the vibration cracked the bridge. Looks like they’ll have to settle this another time. Sylvia falls off the broken piece she is standing on down into the chasm. Soon everyone wakes up from their illusion and Emile tells them they can go home since the problem has been solved. Just like that? So as everyone leaves, the island disappears from sight. Looks like Sawawa was the only one who thought she had fun. If she only knew… Oh heck, she’d never.

Warrior Princess
Well, I don’t know if there are going to be any more episodes. It’s been a mixed baggage for this OVA. It was fun to watch Hime and the gang take on their adversaries but the short number of episodes is unfair and not enough to flesh the characters out. Like I said, you need to have prior knowledge of the series. Perhaps because of that, I was stumped at a few scenes of how it turned out so and so. Like for instance especially in the third instalment, the reason why Sherwood would want to invite her siblings to the island. After 3 episodes, that is as much appearance she’ll get? Don’t see her trying to win Hiro over.

Somehow I do not find Hime as the aggressive and assertive princess she is in the TV series compared to here. She may still be enigmatic, taciturn and putting on deadpan and emotionless expressions but because of this, I couldn’t feel the impact between her relationship and Hiro. It doesn’t leave any impression that Hiro is being overly used as her servant (sorry, that’s how I see him in the TV series). Besides being a shield to take any convenient attacks, I felt he was just like a minor character and doesn’t stand out. The ‘animosity’ between Reiri and Riza is still there though I felt it is somewhat toned down. Maybe it’s because of the lesser number of episodes and Reiri do not mock and taunt her at each time they see each other. Because Sawawa do not make an often appearance, I didn’t feel so much of her airheadness. It’s nice to see some characters that do not appear in the TV series appearing here like Nakua, Gilliam and Sylvia. But the nature of the OVAs does not allow us to explore beyond what is shown. Like Sylvia’s character. She may look alright but does it hide any ulterior intentions? So if you watched the TV series and then the OVAs without reading the manga, you might wonder who the heck this little Nakua is.

Because of that I got a little piqued in interest and did a little research on some of the plots and characters (read: Brief skimming through Wikipedia). For instance how Micasa ended up as Sylvia’s Blood Warrior after Severin’s death (Micasa was Severin’s Blood Warrior in the TV series and this ambitious candidate died in Hime’s hands then), the mermaid’s real name (Madeleine) and how she subsequently became Sylvia’s Blood Warrior, how almost everyone died (Emile succumbed to some illness and some others in some explosion) and Hime was thrown into the future whereby Sherwood and Sylvia are the only remaining candidates left for the throne. Then there are many other characters too and the eldest sibling of them all, Duken who was part in the last war for the throne and the only survivor but wasn’t crowned. Wow. Looks interesting. Maybe they should make a continuation or more OVAs after all.

One of the major differences between this OVA and the original TV series is obviously the art and drawing. In my opinion, I still prefer the original TV version because everyone looks better (Hime was looking hot!). Though this OVAs’ art and drawing look more simplistic but this is how the original manga work looks like. In a way, I thought everyone just looked cutely odd. Another difference is the blood and gore. We see lots of them splatter here and there. The TV series was very much toned down as compared to the manga. I guess when you’re faced with zombies and other unearthly creatures, talking your way out is never the answer, right? And if you want to kill, might as well go all the way. No love lost. The action doesn’t disappoint though I won’t say that there is anything extraordinary. Of course it’s fun to see Hime wielding her chainsaw as always. I noticed that in each episode whenever Hime fights, she tends to get slightly injured on her shoulder. Is this her favourite spot in getting hit? And when Riza gets into a fight, she always ends up messy and bloodied. Maybe that’s how werewolves fight. Like a brawl.

Speaking of fanservice, there is a tiny bit here. I would never have thought of seeing any form of fanservice on Hime herself (there was none in the TV series) due to the nature of this princess but at certain scenes you do get a short panty shot glimpse. It’s a blink-or-you’ll-miss case so if you’re not paying attention, you’re not going to catch something that Hime and Reiri would never have revealed themselves. Ooo… Replaying that scene again… I would also consider there are some fanservice for Riza because the way she hangs her pants so low, it’s like you can almost see her butt! You can actually see her butt line. So much so, it’s dangerous enough that it might threaten to drop down anytime. No need to say anything more about Sylvia. Her monstrous boobs say it all.

I guess with a lot of things in the OVAs different, the seiyuus for the characters are completely different. In a way, it felt odd because I was so used (at least the way I remembered them) to how they were sound. Yeah something like Hime said, it’s hard to rewrite one’s memories. Instead of Ayako Kawasumi as Hime in the TV series, we have Saori Hayami (Musubi in Sekirei). Maybe that’s why Hime doesn’t sound assertive. Instead of a female voicing Hiro in the TV series (Fuyuka Oura, that is), we have a guy taking over, Miyu Irino (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle). It made Hiro sound a little mature. Besides, Hiro wasn’t really panicky in this OVAs compared to the TV series. Mamiko Noto’s role as Reiri in the original is being replaced by Aki Toyosaki! I’m surprised! I couldn’t really recognize her because she wasn’t an airhead like she did in Yui from K-ON! Then we have Eri Kitamura as Riza (Ami in Toradora), Akira Ishida as Emile (Gaara in Naruto) and Ai Kayano as Sawawa (Menma in Ano Hana). For all the “Fuga~” gynoids, they are voiced by Yuka Iguchi of To Aru Majutsu No Index fame (yes, that annoying Index sister). I guess you can’t tell the different “Fuga~” because they don’t say it as often as they do. I still find it hilarious that a single “Fuga~” can mean so much and everyone can understand what they say. Speaking of which, though there is no opening theme, the ending theme is a slow instrumental rock piece and in certain lines you can hear “Fuga~” throughout the song. Uh huh. Word of the series, I guess. The background music plays to the tune of hard rock and definitely suit the action scenes but they may get too loud especially the bass. Or maybe it’s my hardware.

Going through this much hassle even for an underground being? And you thought humans have it worse or complicated. Perhaps there are dealings in which we mere humans don’t understand. Either way if they intend to make a TV sequel, a remake or a continuation with more OVAs, I’ll still be rooting for Hime and her team facing whatever monster troopers they will come across. I think this entire series pays homage to many of the horror characters, at least from the Western movies. And with such diversity among creatures, only one shall rule over them. Fuga…


February 19, 2012

I thought Nichijou was somewhat a combination between Lucky Star and Azumanga Daioh only with lots of exaggeration. Lots of them. With a series name that literally means My Ordinary Life (actually I would have translated it as Daily Life), you would think that this is going to be one of those slow, boring, nothing-much-happens, slice of life drama, right? Wrong! Instead, Nichijou is one of those wacky nonsensical random comedies that will either make you ROFL (roll on the floor laughing) or make you stump going “Huuuuuuh??? What the???” every other second.

The plot may seem simple. Heck, there is no plot! Basically it follows a group of high school students and their everyday lives and their school. The comedy here can range from several minutes long or can be spontaneous and so fast that you may not have time to digest and understand what is happening. So fast that the scene may have already changed by the time you digest and brain could react and instruct your vocal chords to laugh. Sometimes they don’t even relate to each other. That’s where the randomness comes in. Don’t forget the exaggerating stuff too. So if you don’t understand some of the gag jokes, don’t despair, there are some other types of exaggerative ‘action’ jokes that will make you laugh at all the silliness. That’s a good thing, right? Because laughter is the best medicine, right?

Series that run on this kind of comedy genre, the driving factor has got to be the wacky characters. Though there are lots of them, I won’t say there are so many of them for you to keep track like in some series that need an entire encyclopaedia on them. Just enough to keep the variety and the laughs of course. So here is the short list of the main characters that you’ll mainly see in Nichijou and mostly from class 1-Q (perhaps Q is for Queer):

Mio Naganohara – Smart and cheerful girl whose secret hobby is drawing yaoi manga. Oohhh… But very bad at athletics.

Yuuko Aioi – The ‘troublemaker’ of the pack. Though she is energetic and excels in sports, she is lazy in doing her homework and her often ‘saviour’ is Mio by borrowing her work. Has a penchant of wishing people in Malay. “Selamat pagi”.

Mai Minakami – Still waters run deep. She may seem quiet but she is very intelligent. Also, her talents are rather odd (see the entire series and you’ll know what I mean) and especially her odd sense of humour.

Nano Shinonome – A robot created by Professor and acts as her guardian as well. Is worried about other people’s outlook on her as a human. Yeah, she’s trying to be one. Her most obvious trademark is a winding key sticking out from her back like a sore thumb. Very much often always wanting Professor to take it off but instead excuses are given. Since she’s a robot, her hands do come off easily and they hide hidden accessories that Professor secretly added in, much to Nano’s surprise and dismay.

Hakase AKA Professor – She may be eight years old but she creates lots of stuff (most of them useless if you ask me). One of them being Nano. However being a kid, she really acts like one, throwing tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants. Loves sweets and candies and would do anything just to eat them. Oh, loves sharks too. Hmm… At one point I thought this was Pani Poni Dash’s Rebecca’s twin.

Sakamoto – Professor and Nano’s talking pet cat. He tries to act like an adult in front of the girls but easily gets distracted by things he considers fun (he’s still a cat by the way) till the girls see him red-handed having fun in chasing or playing with that stuff. Also always gets blamed by Professor by getting words put in his mouth if Nano reprimands her.

Koujirou Sasahara – I thought he was The World God Only Knows’ Keima! Though he may look and act like an aristocrat, he’s actually the son of a farmer! Heck, he’s even got a personal servant and rides a goat to school! However he isn’t arrogant and you’ll notice his words have such kindness in it.

Misato Tachibana – Tsundere girl who has a crush on Sasahara. Often when she gets embarrassed or annoyed by Sasahara (usually it’s her fault of jumping to conclusions), she is able to pull out heavy gun artillery from the air and fire it at him!!! It’s amazing anyone can survive that.

Izumi Sakurai – The nice homeroom teacher who is always panicking and flustering.

Manabu Takasaki – Another teacher who has a crush on Sakurai but often goes about by thinking too much.

Tsuyoshi Nakanojou – A student who spots a Mohawk haircut simply because this is the only way his hair can grow. Doesn’t believe in the supernatural as he aspires to be a scientist.

Kenzaburou Daiku – The son of the famous Daiku Corporation. Is the founder of the Go Soccer club that rarely sees any activity.

Yuria Sekiguchi – The only other member of the Go Soccer club but is always reading her comic book called Helvetica Standard.

Principal – The headmaster of the school. Semi bald and unknown to many, he is a talented pro-wrestler.

Yoshino Naganohara – Mio’s carefree older sister who is a prodigy in kendo. Often loves pulling pranks much to her sister’s annoyance.

Due to the nature of the episodes in the series, I’ll just blog important points of the episodes (read: I can’t really remember).

Episode 0
* An OVA to start off the TV series sees Mio trying to comfort (and going to great lengths) Yuuko when she scores only 1 mark in her exam! Careful of what you say. She’s fluctuating between motivation and depression easily. Just when Mio thought her random advice was enough to motivate Yuuko to study, she turns her test paper into a paper airplane and sends it flying into the dustbin but it boomerangs and hits her own head. She never learns…
* Professor has a cold but doesn’t want to take medicine as instructed by Nano. Even blaming it on Sakamoto… Must be her traumatic experience in swallowing that bitter medicine before. Nano threatens not to give her pudding so once again Professor blames it on the cat that he says she’s allowed to eat snacks. So Sakamoto tells Nano the plan to hide the medicine in the pudding. It’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone. However Nano puts the medicine obviously on the top of the pudding. The plan screwed for good? Well, she swallows the whole thing without even noticing it.
* Mio, Yuuko and Mai are the only ones at the train station so they start doing cartwheels and rolling over the floor. Hey nobody’s looking, right? So when the train arrives, they are amazed nobody is in it. Mai sleeps on the baggage top while Mio on the chair. To make it like a triple bed bunker, Yuuko sleeps on the floor and realizes she is the one losing out.

Episode 1
* Nano chases a cat who stole her fish breakfast. I guess she can’t stop in time that she crashes into a guy and causes a mushroom-bomb-like explosion. What a way to start things off with a bang. Due to the explosion, several items seem to fall on Yuuko. Including raw fish. Nano wakes up to find herself stranded on a house roof.
* Yuuko goes to great lengths to protect her octopus sausage from being dropped on the floor. But each time she grabs, it bounces off and though in the end it touches the ground, Yuuko grabs it and eats it. Three second rule? More like it touched a lot of things enroute to the ground.
* Principal gives a speech during the opening ceremony but the students aren’t taking well his old jokes. But Mai is the only one laughing so hard. Could it be? In actual fact, there is a twig stuck on Yuuko’s head. Then Sakurai gives her speech and prohibits the entry of goats, much to Sasahara’s protest. Misato blasts him with her handgun! Mio starts fantasizing a wedding with Sasahara (yes, she secretly likes him too) so much so she faints. Then Sakurai wants to know the culprit who put a wooden Buddha statue in her shoe locker. Seems Principal was the one but he did it thinking it was her birthday.
* Helvetica Standard: A grim reaper goes around asking people what is “KY”. Yeah, won’t you get scared when you see a grim reaper? Another grim reaper points out that “KY” is him. Huh?
* Professor turns Nano’s key and her big toe comes flying off! So that’s its feature?! Nano wants her to take it off but Professor refuses seeing she’s cute. Nano laments she can’t go to school like this and would’ve been okay not being a robot. But this has Professor in tears and throwing up a tantrum so the kid tells her to sell herself off to the scrap! And if you’re wondering how Nano got herself down from the rooftop, keep wondering but seems an unlucky guy ‘replaced’ her at the top.

Episode 2
* Mio, Yuuko and Mai play rock-scissors-paper version that has them walk up the steps based on the syllables they say. When it’s Mai’s turn, she says a very long word (probably non-existent) to reach the top of the stairs. What the heck is that word? Spell for revival???!!!
* Mio wakes up late and rushes to school, she notices a weird person in a bear mask chasing her! When the bear takes out a wooden mask, Mio instantly takes out her money and goes on her knees (maybe she doesn’t want to get divine retribution). The bear takes off the mask to reveal… Another mask! Mio is stumped so this time the culprit takes off her mask to reveal herself as Yoshino! Yeah, she was the one who stopped her alarm clock and will treat her to ramen for the prank (heck, it was her money anyway). Mio gives her the best screw punch ever.
* Mai tries to enter that long nonsensical revival spell word for in computer game. DID NOT WORK!!! Hahaha!!!
* Professor suddenly wants to drink milk because she wants to eat roll cake. Where got roll cake? Got. It’s coming out from Nano’s arm!!! Plus, there’s a sweet bun coming out from her forehead!!! Because Nano eats the bun herself and didn’t give Professor any, she sulks and will have some Baumkuchen. Oh, where is that going to come out now! From the fridge… She should’ve put all the cakes in there in the first place…
* Mio lends Yuuko her homework but suddenly realizes she drew some yaoi pictures in it! She goes to great lengths and giving ridiculous excuse just to get it back but Yuuko is holding tightly to it. So desperate that she is willing to buy back her own homework! This serves to make Yuuko even more suspicious as she makes a run! Mio is hot on her heels (so fast that she’s running on walls?!) till she tripped. Yuuko is caught off guard and this when Mio steals back her homework. In the end, Mio realizes she forgot to erase her drawings before passing it up! So what’s the next best solution? She admits she didn’t finish her homework.
* Nano tells Professor to clean up her mess but the latter goes out to play instead.
* Misato is her usual typical tsundere as she tries to get Sasahara’s help for the cultural festival. Yeah, he gets shot and the only injury he got was a little bleeding on his forehead? I guess the next bazooka blast has him decide to go to the toilet to freshen up. You should see how his servant zips up his pants while he is walking! After some deep thinking, Sasahara decides to help her and returns to the classroom to see her putting on a bear mask. The tsundere quickly says that she doesn’t care for him or anything, leaving Sasahara surprised.

Episode 3
* A black cat is freed from its cage and drops out the window.
* Yuuko talks to Mai but there is no response prompting her to think she must have stepped on her toes somewhere. Yeah, maybe she’s still made about her breaking her wooden Buddha statue. Then it’s revealed she had headphones. Yuuko feels relieved but to her dismay, Mai has heard the second half of her confession.
* Yuuko once more forgets to do her homework and decides to ask Mai for help. But all she got was her manga drawing and even Yuuko herself gets drawn into the manga’s continuation! So when Mai gives her homework for real, seems it is a different homework. Yuuko, you’re always screwed anyhow.
* The teacher wants somebody to answer a question. Threatening they will lose their good standing, everyone puts up their hands including reluctant Yuuko. However her hand is cramp and she tries to hide from being picked. Everyone gets distracted by a sound and so they start making jokes but when the teacher made his, nobody finds it funny. I guess with everybody’s hands down, Yuuko’s hand is still sort of up, the teacher picks her.
* On her way home, Nano sees a black cat in a box but couldn’t bring it back since Professor is there. But when she returns, she is surprised to see it with Professor! They both are soon taken in by his cuteness. Calling him Sakamoto because of the name of the box he was found in, Professor ties a red scarf she created to allow Sakamoto to talk. Sakamoto acts like he is the boss so Nano thinks of putting him back where he came from. Better be humble.
* Yuuko and Mai are in an arm wrestling match in which to loser has to buy the winner juice. Mai always wins and Yuuko giving excuses that she was not ready, beginner’s luck, this time is for real. Excuses, excuses, excuses. That is what losers always say. Yeah, but being a sore loser doesn’t end there for Yuuko. She owes Mai 23 juices!!! And later as Yuuko is once more intrigued by Mai’s drawing, she offers one more juice just to have a peek. Do you get it? So do I. Disappointed?

Episode 4
* Sakurai has trouble doing her discipline duty. Like Sasahara eating his steak while walking around with a tray and his frilly thing around his neck, Tanaka’s afro, Haruka Annaka’s large head ribbon and Nakanojou’s Mohawk hairstyle.
* Daiku tries to play Daruma-san with his members but I guess they all left and Sekiguchi is the only one around. I don’t think she’s playing too.
* Nano and Professor are out shopping and see a snowman for sale on the rack. I guess there are other people who want it so this prompts Nano to buy it. So in the end, instead of buying food for Sakamoto, all he got is shaved ice. Yeah, the snowman is melting pretty fast in this weather.
* During a test, Yuuko sees Mai doing odd things like sleeping like in Michelangelo’s ceiling painting and taking off her wig! Each time she bugs Mio to see but she’s more annoyed. Oh, Sakurai is sleeping on her duty… Later Yuuko sees more weird things like a talking parrot.
* Sakamoto isn’t happy that the girls don’t treat him with respect. He tries to stamp his authority to act like their parent but can’t help himself to play with an eraser. Thinking he is caught red-handed by Professor, he feints he was sleeping but soon can’t help play with the fly.
* Yuuko tries to play another of those pranks on Mai but was told never to do it again. But it’s one of those pranks from Mai that catches Yuuko off guard. I guess everything is just a prank, eh? Yuuko’s feelings for her fluster between friendship and love. Love? Yeah, Mai says she likes her. The yuri kind. Oh, that was a prank too. Poor Yuuko can’t tell if she’s making a prank or not anymore.

Episode 5
* Professor acts like a cat girl and Nano finds her cute.
* Nakanojou is at Mt Osore to see if spiritualists exist. He finds one and wants her to summon… A soap? Trying to ask questions that will contradict, eventually Nakanojou wants her to summon Oda Nobunaga. She can’t. She didn’t even try! Then spotting her modern items behind her sign, he gives up. But he hasn’t paid the fee yet so he makes a dash for it. Oh, the spiritualist is fast too.
* Yuuko teaches Mai how to play penalty rock-scissors-paper. But Yuuko is always at the losing end whether she wins or not. Yeah, Mai’s whack is so hard that the word print flew out from the book! Why is she doing this to Yuuko? She’s not interested to play.
* When Nano is out shopping, Professor paints an eye of her Daruma doll in hopes of getting rewarded. However she makes a mess so with Sakamoto’s help, she draws Daruma wearing sunglasses. They have a good laugh till Nano comes back. She hides Daruma and even feigning she is pregnant! Then Daruma drops out. Nano is shocked. “That’s your little brother”. She buying it? No…
* Helvetica Standard: An angel is making toast but it was too powerful that it blasts through the ceiling, killing a little mouse.
* Yuuko teaches Mio how to play Kokkuri-san (something like Ouija Board) and after telling her all the haunting things, cool Mio isn’t interested to play.
* Yuuko talks to Sakurai about her picture drawing in her English test so she suggests to include her drawn picture next time. Mio isn’t interested till she hears them about drawing a cool guy. Taking a peek, it wasn’t the kind of cool guy she had in mind. Worse, Sakurai totally loves it. Mio intervenes to draw what a real cool guy looks like. Yuuko gets jealous and draws her own version though it’s just rip-offs from Mio’s. And Sakurai is just infatuated in anything that looks good. Or weird. Finally Mio draws a naked guy with flowers covering the necessary areas before she realized she just did a big mistake of revealing her secret. To her dismay, that picture of hers became a picture in Sakurai’s test. She’s so dead…

Episode 6
* Yuuko has Mio taste her twice-cooked pork but its hidden taste gets worse that tears is flowing out from Mio’s eyes.
* In class, Yuuko and Mio are engage in some picture shiritori game. But they misinterpret each other’s drawing due to bad spelling and it ends with Yuuko drawing Supermans but was corrected by Mio it should be only 1 Superman.
* As Yuuko is made to stand outside class again (what else?), she spots a deer and Principal trying to catch it. The deer rams its horn into Principal several times! He is one tough old geezer! The life and death struggle between man and beast continues till Principal pins the deer with a German suplex. Yuuko tries to inform the class but decides to say nothing. In the end, she is made to carry buckets of water while standing outside.
* Yuuko and Mai are playing coin football and as usual, Yuuko gets hit in the chin by Mai’s superb flinger flip.
* Nano caught a cockroach with a bowl and is panicking what to do. Yeah, seal up the entire table with the bowl on it and send it to the garbage. No way! Then Sakamoto shows up and is willing to take on the roach but Nano is scared in lifting the bowl up. Then Professor comes by. She agrees to hit the roach. She rolls up the papers and hits Nano’s head! She thinks this is a game? Professor starts crying when she thought Nano got mad at her. Then both girls reconcile and that’s when Nano unknowingly lifted the bowl up.
* Mio, Yuuko and Mai are camping by the riverside. Yuuko trips and spills the curry. Trying to hide it from Mio but eventually you can see how mad Mio is by the colour of her aura. In her attempt to find out ‘the colour of Yuuko’s blood’, she trips over the rice and spills them. ARGH!!! Now their only hopes rest on Mai’s fishing. She catches one but soon releases it! ARGH!!! With only a jelly left, Yuuko thinks of sharing it but it seems Mai is self sufficient with her own food! So it’s up to the duo as Yuuko wins the rock-scissors-paper to have a first go. But she instantly throws up! Could it be expired? Nope, she just choked. See Mio wrestle her to death! Later that night, their rumbling stomachs could be misinterpreted for ghostly sounds! So as not to have a bad ending, they decide to play trump but all the cards are Aces… Mio thinks sake is what adults have at this point (seeing Mai has one) and takes out… Vinegar? Mio is going to drink it anyway when Mai’s sake turns out to be cider.

Episode 7
* In a blimp, King Albert of Fay Kingdom has been betrayed and taken hostage by his subject, Dolph. As usual, guys like him want to rule the world and his loyal facade only hides this intention. The princess is found as Dolph orders his men to take her in. Dolph and his men corner the princess and needs her Wood Cube as the one he got from Albert to activate an ancient weapon. As Dolph inches closer to her, he trips on his own feet and dies! WTF?! All his men panic and start switching sides and side the princess! No backbone… As she has the men lead her back to her father, a guy (let’s call him No. 8) realizes the princess dropped her Wood Cube. Picking it up along with Dolph’s, he tries to calm himself as he lights up a smoke near a window. His thoughts are thinking about the chances he have of becoming the new ruler of this kingdom. Well, it’s not like he has such ambitions or knows how to activate the weapon and feels should give up. The cigarette’s ashes accidentally burn his hands so he drops the Wood Cubes down from the blimp. And it lands right down on Mio and that’s how she got her wood cube as her hair accessory!!!!!!!! WTF???!!! Yuuko sure had a pretty strange and shocking dream!
* Yuuko thinks she won the third prize lottery for 100,000 Yen but as Mio points out, the result was last year’s. To cheer her up, Mio gets her a birthday present: Octopus wasabi.
* Takasaki is in a dilemma. His conflicting feelings of wanting to protect Sakurai and his duties to be a model teacher. So deep in thought that he didn’t even notice Principal passing by. Worried if she has a boyfriend, he accidentally asks her straight if she’s going out with anybody. ARGH!!! But she replies she isn’t. I guess he has a chance now. Pumped up to do your best, eh?
* Helvetica Standard: A tengu steals a grim reaper’s scythe to sell for money to buy food. He trips but manages to get across the river. The grim reaper just flies over.
* Mio, Yuuko and Mai rush for the train but it seems Yuuko was the only one who got on board, making her feel like an idiot.
* Yoshino encounters Nano in the streets and proceeds to play with her key! Then she somehow has Nano’s right hand and teases her! She intends on keeping it and has Nano answer weird trick questions for her to get her hand back (each of the questions is where her hand is: In her handbag). Finally when she gives back her hand, she takes off her key! But Nano is so happy that it came off, she didn’t notice Yoshino putting it back when she goes off to meet her sister.
* Nano, Professor and Sakamoto are playing baseball. Sakamoto fears the strength of Nano and her pitch nearly killed him. Eventually he can’t resist playing with the ball, much to the girls’ amusement. Then another pitch from Nano has the ball flying far away. As she goes searches for it, she sees Mio and co and yearns to become a high school girl.
* Yuuko is having a hard time opening her octopus wasabi for her rice. It’s not budging.

Episode 8
* Nano finishes doing her morning chores when her hand starts blasting off into the sky!
* Yuuko goes all out to impress Mio and Mai with her jokes but they are not reacting not a single bit. She uses all her trump cards and goes crazy when they still do not react. Maybe they’re just annoyed. Hey Yuuko, don’t know where to hide your red face?
* Daiku is surprised that a member turned up and is interested to do some activities. Actually, he’s here to turn in his resignation letter. Bummer. Later Daiku has come up with a way to recruit new members: Don’t do anything. Huh?
* Misato is looking for Sasahara and her friends Websy and Fecchan tell her he’s on the rooftop. Sasahara is writing some poem and gets a bazooka blast from Misato! Seems she is here to return his dropped handkerchief. Yeah, more tsundere. Each time Sasahara replies, she blasts, fires, shoots, drops grenades and the final artillery cannon! Don’t worry, he’s still standing though in a big crater. Still don’t want to admit that you picked it up because you care, washed and ironed it? Volunteer spirit? Oh, Nano’s hand is coming close to hitting her head. I wonder why Websy and Fecchan are keeping the hand.
* Mio, Yuuko and Mai are lifeless being stuck in a lift together. They start playing a lifeless shiritori game till Mio said something unrelated. This has Yuuko and Mio start laughing uncontrollably. Even Mai succumbs to it though she looks like she’s trying to hold it in.
* Sakamoto is giving Professor one of his pep talk but can’t help chase his own tail. As it’s time to sleep, Nano reprimands Professor for eating snacks before bedtime. Professor even puts words in Sakamoto’s mouth saying that cat told her to eat it. Seeing that Nano already brushed her teeth, Professor tells her off that she can’t even get cavities. This has Nano depressed so Professor promise to create a cavity function next time, brightening her up. Uh…

Episode 9
* Mio goes downstairs to see Yoshino in her kendo gear. Apparently Mio is still mad over her prank by putting a knight piece in her Mont Blanc cake. Soon Mio blows her top and hits Yoshino on the head. Then she thought she could find some salvation in her short cake but sees a king piece on it instead in place of the strawberry! So where did it go? Since Yoshino is acting like Buddha, Mio hits her again but in the torso. Mio breaks down so Yoshino sings a happy birthday song for herself.  But she gets whacked again seeing it’s not her birthday.
* Mio, Yuuko and Mai are eating at a restaurant. Mio and Mai’s order came first so they start eating while Yuuko waits. Till they finished and it’s still not here. Yuuko blows her top but her dish arrives. She cools down upon seeing the waitress sobbing.
* Yuuko has a hard time sleeping because of those annoying mosquitoes. She pulls off exaggerated Street Fighter moves to kill them. Then her mom slaps her for being too noisy!
* Professor brags to Sakamoto that she got a winning stick from an ice cream. Sakamoto thinks she’s childish till he experiences the same thing when he finds a super rare crab in his food. Later Nano reprimands Professor for eating this month’s worth of snacks. She threatens to take away her strawberry juice as Professor desperately tries to get it back. Nano doesn’t give in till she mentions she’ll remove her key. But she wants Professor to remove the key first. Professor tricks her to grab the juice from her hands. Nano chases her but trips. Her right hand comes off and reveals a loser ice cream stick. Haha. She installed something like that too?
* Yoshino leaves Mio to do her part time job at the Daifuku Fair. Turns out Mio has to wear an embarrassing daifuku mascot head gear. And it’s not a fair, but a roadside stall. Conned… So Mio either frightens the kids or she gets teased. Yeah, even Yuuko laughed at her. The stall owner decides to switch with her since she’s not doing a good job. As Mio handles the stall, a customer comes up to buy. She isn’t sure of the price and asks him but sees him doing a weird dance and being arrested by the police. So? Give free lah.

Episode 10
* Mai is it while playing Red Light, Green Light with Yuuko and Mio. She is making them stand still in their positions as she sits and watches them! Too cruel!
* Yuuko arrives late for class and decides to sneak in but sees the duster trap on the front door. The back door is lock and the bottom air space also has the duster trap. She thinks the best way is to get hit by the duster and take it like a hero in hopes the teacher will forgive her. She does so and to her dismay the class is empty as everyone is at the language lab. All for nothing… Later Yuuko is pretending to be an invincible alien (paper bag over her head?) when a baseball comes hurtling towards her head. See her squirm in pain…
* Sakamoto is annoyed by the cacophony of Nano and Professor’s trumpet but it seems Professor has not enough air to blow the trumpet.
* Annaka happily goes to the park to try flowing soumen but to her dismay it’s not what she expected. Hardened soumen? Re-used chopsticks? Flowing baseball? Expect her to say “Eehhhhhh???!!!” each time she is dumbfounded. Make that all the time. Then some soumen researcher Egi Masaharu shows up and the woman returns to him like some sort of TV drama. Anyway he failed to find the ultimate flowing soumen and used up all his money on his travels. “Eehhhhhh???!!!”.
* Professor ties a pony tail hairstyle and Nano thinks it makes her look like an older sister. It got to Professor’s head as she starts acting like a big sister though she causes more mess than anything else. To put a stop to this once and for all, Sakamoto mentions how big sisters don’t eat snacks. This has Professor panicking and she reverts back to her kiddie self. Of course Sakamoto was only lying, much to Professor’s dismay.
* Yuuko dreads doing her homework and starts thinking about excuses not wanting to study. Yeah, she thinks about her future including the one whereby she read to the class she wanted to be a frill-necked lizard. WTF?! Then she contemplates of becoming a living national treasure to receive income but doesn’t know what the heck a national treasure is. Because she gets too noisy, mommy gives her a judo throw. In the end, she doesn’t want to think too much and will complete her homework. See, doing your homework is the easiest. But it’s back to square one because she really doesn’t want to do it.

Episode 11
* Helvetica Standard: The landlady isn’t going to leave till the mouse and bird pays up their rent. The mouse feigns sleeping while the bird only coughs up 5 Yen.
* Yuuko just recovered from a cold and suddenly realizes her test is tomorrow. And mommy warned her if she fails, she’ll get killed. For real. Yuuko tries to study but gets distraction into writing poems. Then she gets this idea to get a cold so she won’t have to sit for the test. Yeah, the icy cold bath is a torture. But next morning, she is completely fine! She tries heating up the thermometer and almost burns herself but she seems lively and healthy to mommy.
* The Vice Principal is reminiscing his lonely days when his daughter and grandson pays him a visit. But he gets more than he bargained for when grandson gives him a chocolate ball for him to eat. It’s made out of mud. For his grandson’s love, I’m sure this is what happiness from a mud tastes like. Yeah, he collapses.
* Professor makes a super sticky glue and Sakamoto got stuck in it. The only way out is to put water. Professor goes off to eat snacks but then she herself gets stuck. Now Sakamoto is completely buried underneath the glue. Nano returns and guess what? She too gets stuck! All hopes lost. Professor starts laughing when Nano’s hand came off. I don’t know how they all get out but later as Professor and Nano play Guess-Who, Sakamoto leaves but gets stuck in the glue outside.
* A small miracle: Mio is waiting at the traffic lights when she notices a group of people waiting on the opposite. In a row, their colours of their clothes match the rainbow above.
* Yuuko is going crazy over her English test. Yeah, it’s that horrible picture drawing. What the heck is that? A monster? A monster holding a tennis racquet? Then she realizes she forgot her eraser. Mai becomes her saviour but passes her a pen eraser instead! Yuuko calms herself down to the point of enlightenment but by then, the time is up. At the rooftop, Mai offers Yuuko her umbrella. But it’s not raining. More precisely, it’s raining in her heart. Ouch.

Episode 12
* For once Yuuko is feeling confident she did her homework, a language worksheet. Till she realized she forgot to bring it. She thought she spot it between the pages of a book but turns out to be a Daifuku Fair flyer. Trying the teacher’s desk to see if there is an extra worksheet, all she sees is… A Daifuku Fair Flyer! Curse the fair! She decides to go home and get it but the teacher comes in to start the class. She is made to stand outside class again. So pitiful that some stray dog, Buddy even sympathizes with her by putting its paws on her shoulder.
* Misato is deciding a drink at the vending machine when Sasahara bumps into her. You can guess how this turns out, right? He sort of help her to choose, she doesn’t admit it and fires her gun.
* Annaka tries out a shooting range at the fair but it seems the targets are only caramel or eggplant. Though the stall operator assures her they are fine quality products, she takes a shot but the eggplant doesn’t budge. Then a few shots at the caramel box, it wouldn’t even move! Then targeting the eggplant again, the eggplant splits and Annaka realizes a nail sticking out from it! Cheater! The operator gives her the silent treatment but as she continues complaining, he gives the broken eggplant to her and tells her never to come back.
* Mio and Yuuko are having fun at the amusement park. Then Mio realizes she dropped Yuuko’s wallet. Don’t panic yet. Heading to the lost and found section, Yuuko is relieved that her brown wallet that has a snake skin inside is found. But to her dismay, only the snake skin is there and her 4,016 Yen is missing. In the aftermath as Mio continues to enjoy the ride, see Yuuko’s ‘lifeless’ facial expression. Not too happy, aren’t we?
* Sakurai and a new Daiku Cafe staff panic each other with their blunders.
* Mio and her friends just finish eating at a restaurant as Mai decides to turn her chopstick paper into a chopstick rest. Somehow Yuuko made hers as a crane.
* Professor creates a key so that she could pretend to be Nano. But she easily loses interests and takes it off. Nano suggests swapping roles. But it’s a scheme to get her to take off her key. Professor is not that stupid and won’t do so. This has Nano sulking and eating her snacks. Hey, she’s Professor now, right? Professor now sulks and eats her snack so with Nano returning to her original self, she goes out to buy food but refuses to buy snacks.
* Mio and Yuuko are playing some bored game at a restaurant whereby they can’t use English words. I guess they’re not so interested in playing it as they both use English words as reasons why they’re haven’t violated any rules.
* Yuuko wakes up from her nap in class so Mio comments the Sleeping Beauty woke up without a kiss. Yuuko didn’t understand so this causes Mio to fluster.

Episode 13
* Sakamoto purposely falls for Sakamoto’s trap so he could eat the fish but got hit by the stick. They then see how Nano is looking at a group of high school girls so Sakamoto asks Professor that she may want to go to school. Professor gets scared and doesn’t want her to go but Nano assures her she isn’t going anywhere.
* Yuuko comes to school sick and she is bent on showing a magic trick to Mio. I guess Mio has no heart to tell her how her tricks are already revealed. Too obvious. So she tries to hide them (the wand into a bouquet of flower) or pretend she didn’t see them (the pigeon). Yuuko sneezes and several little flags are seen coming out from her mouth. Eventually Yuuko knocks out halfway doing her cigarette-through-the-coin trick.
* Professor follows Nano to buy snacks. On the way, she sees a Shark Castella stall and throws a tantrum when Nano doesn’t buy. Each time Nano walks away, Professor gets up and follows. When she turns back, she goes down on the ground and starts her tantrum. People must be thinking how weird they are. Eventually Nano gives in as Professor happily munches away.
* Yuuko surprisingly scores 80 marks on her test and she becomes so boastful that it is annoying Mio. Yeah, she’s really rubbing it in her face. Till the teacher announces the class average was 92 marks. Yeah, it ruined the mood for Yuuko.
* It’s raining heavily that night and Professor is afraid of the banging sound the chimney is making and can’t sleep. She drags Sakamoto away from Nano so that she could sleep next to her. But she needs to go to the toilet and Nano is not waking up anytime soon. Sakamoto decides to play the adult and accompany her but she doesn’t want to seeing Sakamoto is small and weak. What an insult! But true… Later Nano did wake up and accompanies Professor to the loo. But Nano is afraid of the thunder so both girls accompany each other over their fears. That’s when Professor asks her if she wants to go to school but Nano says she’ll stay home forever. Then lightning strikes and the power goes out, leaving the girls scared stiff.
* Vice President once again plays with his grandson to forget about his woes but the latter is trying to find his seal so he feels this may be worse than reality.
* Nano isn’t happy when Professor messes around with the laundry. But Professor tells her she can go to school tomorrow and has made her school uniform. Actually this is her plan to eat all the snacks she wants without getting scolded. Yeah, she calls it her ‘wise decision’. Nano is thrilled and hugs Professor as the girls annoyingly reiterate each other’s names repetitively.

Episode 14
* Nano totally digs her new school uniform. Even to a point she won’t let Sakamoto near it for fear his shedding would dirty it. But does she look normal? Well, uh, yeah. If you don’t mind the key sticking out. She also talks to herself like she’s rehearsing talking to a friend and does her stationery and book check. As Nano prepares to head off, Professor learns she’ll be home late and suddenly changes her mind! She doesn’t want her to go to school and snatches her bag! Then her left hand. Professor starts sulking so Nano has no choice but to pacify her by promising to buy lots of snacks. Then rushing her way to school, it hit her. The key on her back… So it’s no surprise that everybody in Mio’s class is staring at her obviously. Look at all those big bright eyes… Nano tries to create an excuse for the key but it sounds so lame that not even a kindergarten kid will buy it. See their flabbergasted faces?
* Yuuko fools around and accidentally kicks off her shoes. It lands on a car roof and the car zooms away. She chases after the car, trips and loses her other shoe. To a dog. Tired and without shoes, Buddy sympathizes with her and puts its paws on her.
* The Go Soccer club has a surprising news.  A kid named Makoto wants to join! Guess what? Makoto was part of the Go Soccer club back in middle school! And Daiku thought he created a unique club in the first place. Makoto was also the MVP and proceeds to demonstrate his superb ball juggling with go stones!!! Erm, I think nobody should try this anywhere. Later Takasaki sees the Go Soccer club recruit poster and reminisces about his own past glory. Yeah, he was once in this club too.
* Mio tries to be friendly with Nano. Mai gives her a wooden Buddha statue. Then Yuuko comes in to deliver Mio’s lunch. Then Yuuko starts asking her about her key as if she’s like a robot. Nano panics but Mio brushes it off since they have to finish their lunch. As Mio prepares to open her package, she is disheartened to see her wrong order. Instead of yaki soba (fried noodles), she got yaki saba (fried mackerel). To make things worse, Yuuko plays a fool. And thus begins the longest feud ever between Mio and Yuuko that instead of feeling sorry for them, you’d feel like laughing all the way. She wants her to go buy again but all she got was an Argentinean Peso… Since it’s Yuuko’s fault she should buy it and Yuuko snaps when Mio calls her stupid one too many times. Mio wants her to apologize on her knees, Yuuko reveals her yaoi drawings. Idiot, idiot, idiot, idiot, idiot, moron, idiot!!! IDIOT!!!!!!! Wow. Best friends fighting. Then things start to calm down when Yuuko says she should be a manga artist if she’s so good. Slowly they reconcile and shake hands. Phew. World War III nearly started.
* Back home, Nano really wants Professor to remove her key since it’s hard for her to make friends but she still refuses.

Episode 15
* Yuuko still can’t shake off the fact that Nano is a robot and plans to test her features like doing some complicated maths calculation. They thought she was faking it so they advise her to use ‘that’. Somehow she took out an abacus and is an amateur! Then as she takes out her drink, they think it’s oil but disappointment again. It’s soup. Mai comes by and gives Nano oil! They think she’s going to drink it but she puts it in her bag. What about the spanner? Will she eat it? Nope. Put in her bag. So as Mio and Yuuko argue about Nano being a robot, Nano felt a tooth loose and takes out a screw from her mouth. Then she realized, Mai had a camera in hand! Oh…
* Kana Nakamura is so infatuated in Nano being a robot that she thinks up of devious ways to kidnap her so she can research her. She thought of drugging her coffee when she comes by the science lab. Who knows, Nakamura herself drank it. Careless, isn’t she? Later she decides to use her taser, Mr Short Circuit when Nano comes in. Unfortunately, Nakanojou took the zap. Didn’t she look first? How now? RUN!!! This kind of teacher…
* Nano continues to pester Professor to take off her key. Same answer. Then she is disheartened to see some pea shooter installed in her hand. She fires at Professor each time she annoys her. Professor asserts robots are cute but Nano thinks otherwise. Then her other hand drops off to reveal a chikuwa. Followed by toast on her head and the cuckoo bird from her forehead. Geez, so many weird installations.
* Takasaki sees Sakurai reprimanding Makoto but he thinks too much since her actions indicates that they are close to each other. Yeah, it’s freaking him out. Suddenly Annaka informs him that Nakanojou has passed out so Takasaki is in a dilemma to follow Sakurai or Annaka. He gives excuses for Annaka to solve the case herself like drawing eyes on Nakanojou or that he’s just taking a nap. Then he finds out Makoto is Sakurai’s little brother that he calms down and decides to follow Annaka.
* A couple of kids push the stop button on the bus so I don’t know why Yuuko had to go off the next stop just to make those kids feel like they’ve helped someone. So back home, she starts tearing furiously all the pages on the flip calendar.
* In another attempt to have Professor take off her key, surprisingly Professor says it can be taken off. Really? She takes a picture of Nano. Yeah, she’s fooling around. (“Toru” can either mean take off or take a photo). Professor continues to joke around while Nano reacts strangely to her jokes. Then she confirms with Professor that she has installed a reaction feature in her yesterday! No wonder she’s so exaggerated in her reactions! She’s going to die at this rate but Professor finds it totally funny! In her final joke, this has Nano blasts off into the sky.

Episode 16
* Yuuko is at the Daiku Cafe and is having a tough time ordering her coffee. Yeah, all those killer terms. What the heck do they mean. Just when she thinks she has made a tough decision, another choice decision has to be made. What the heck is a doppio? In the end, she leaves it up to the waitress and her espresso turns out to be a tiny cup. And it’s so bitter. Just like life. Maybe she should just use the vending machines. Saves lots of hassle.
* I’m not sure if Mio is stalking Sasahara, watching him from the vending machine. Then Yuuko comes by followed by a policeman. Yuuko starts apologizing even if she did nothing wrong. Says a lot, eh? The policeman warns them of counterfeit cases of using fake bills at the machine and somehow Mio’s bag matches the description! Why is Mio so ready to be handcuffed?! Then she bribes the policeman and begs on her knees to let her off! The policeman insists he wants to check her bag but Mio puts up resistance. This is why she doesn’t want to let other people see: It’s her yaoi drawing. Too bad the policeman saw and he got a chop in the chest! Mio goes into kung fu mode as she retrieves all her papers before they reach the ground. Unfortunately, one of them ended up in Yuuko’s hands so Mio did a sophisticated knee busting tumbling move to knock her out. No mercy for an old man too! Not even Sasahara’s goat!!! Four victims instantly knocked out!!! Back home, Mio realizes that one of her pages has been ripped. I hope she doesn’t kill the entire town.
* As Mio, Yuuko and Mai do their homework at the restaurant, Mai and Mio need an eraser so Yuuko has them play a game and guess which hand of hers has it. Mai uses a magnifying glass to burn her hand! Remember that 23 juices penalty? Yeah, seems she still has a grudge on it. Yuuko wants just that if they incur a penalty for this. So attempts to make Yuuko reveal her hands but Yuuko is trying her best not to give in to the temptation. Finally she did so with a simple rock-scissors-paper. But it seems her eraser is of the character type doing wrestling moves.
* Yuuko pays Nano’s home a visit, much to the latter’s surprise but Professor welcomes her with open arms. Trying not to expose the oddities in this house, Nano pleads to Sakamoto not to talk but Professor spills everything without hesitation like how she created Nano. She even demonstrates the usefulness of Nano’s hand with push of a button! Oh, Yuuko finds it totally cool! You can see how Professor and Yuuko click well together because they’re annoyingly childish. Yeah, they even try out each other’s clothes. When Yuuko leaves, Nano desperately tries to cover her robot origins (she’s studying magic?) but Yuuko tells her that Nano is Nano. That is what she came here today to say to her. Happy Nano says she can come here again anytime. Yuuko passes by Sakamoto and for the moment there she thought the cat talked. Must be hearing things, eh?

Episode 17
* Professor caught a crow and has it talk by ‘borrowing’ Sakamoto’s scarf. Seems polite and well-mannered. Poor cat wants his scarf back. I didn’t know he wanted to talk so bad. Professor goes to make another one but ends up making a boy robot named Biscuit #1. His specialty? It can launch his hands. Oh, his head too. At the end of the day, the crow feels he has overstayed his welcome and must leave. Thing is, he took the scarf with him.
* Yuuko and Mio are trying to stack the pack of cards. Yuuko is at the final summit but they need to get rid of all the interferences that will bring down their hard work. It’s really nerve-wrecking. From Mai dangerously flirting through it and Nano’s sleeping bubble touching it. When Yuuko goes for a toilet break, little did she know when she slams the door, the light falls off on top of the stack! Horror! When she returns, she just puts the final cards on it and goes to sleep. Bitter victory?
* Nakamura tries to dig a hole to catch Nano but Nakanojou fell in instead. Then she shaves his hair!!!
* Takasaki sees Makoto balancing the ball and go stones. He accidentally asks the obvious question if Sakurai has a boyfriend. Makoto knows this guy has a thing for her sister so he makes a deal if he becomes Go Soccer club’s advisor, he will completely assist him with Sakurai. Or else, he’ll tell everyone about his crush on her. Takasaki’s dilemma can’t come in a timely manner. Annaka once again is here to say how Nakanojou fell into a hole so Takasaki again gives excuses that he isn’t stuck and to draw back his hair. Till Makoto says he won’t reveal anything did Takasaki decides to follow Annaka. And yeah, just when Nakamura dig more holes, Takasaki and Annaka fell into it. RUN AWAY!!!
* Yuuko tries to withstand all the jokes from Mai no matter how obvious and silly. She has a hard time trying to keep herself from responding to a point she is being noisy. Eventually she realizes this is Mai’s path and gives in.

Episode 18
* Yuuko brings Mio to Daiku Cafe and is confident of seeing her going through the same hellish procedure. However Mio is a total expert in calling her order, much to Yuuko’s dismay.
* Another attempt to capture Nano, Nakamura fills her coffee with rusty ingredients. But the cup is going to overflow as she sips it. Oops… Looks like we have a free period for science, eh?
* More tsundere, weapon blasting action from Misato as she reprimands Sasahara for skipping class duties.
* Yuuko is to rendezvous with Mai but on the train, before she could give her sit for an old lady, she tells her she doesn’t need it. To her embarrassment, a kid couldn’t stop giggling at Yuuko. Then as she alights, the kid follows her and continues giggling. Yuuko’s blunder in asking for directions (she asked a statue instead) has the girl laughing harder and finally pinpointing the Daiku Burger stall she’s supposed to go (well, if Mai only drew a better map). Seems this girl, Mihoshi is Misato’s younger sister and coincidentally, she’s is meeting her at the same place. To add to Yuuko’s embarrassment, Mai comes in with a knight outfit. Trick or treat?
* Mihoshi also knows Misato’s tsundere crush on Sasahara. She’s so easy to read.
* Helvetica Standard: A girl returns to the countryside of her childhood days. Entering a library, she finally finds the book she has been looking for. But the book cover is just a facade as inside it is a gun.
* Professor has made Biscuit #2. What’s different? His power source is biscuits. Uh… Of course Professor has eaten up all the biscuit snacks… Biscuit #2 also can read fast but Nano is reading slowly so that she can be ordinary. Professor throws a tantrum that she didn’t get praised by Nano so Nano tells her that she is already amazing herself, much to her happiness.
* All those underling clones are happily trying to put up an individual performance for the princess. Exuding with confident, the first one up, No. 66 did some hidden ball trick but was sent dropping off the blimp! Now everyone’s confidence is starting to waver. Next, No. 4 tried some comedian stuff but met the same fate. It’s getting to everyone now. No.6 did a quiz but the princess isn’t interested and sends him falling. Before No. 7 could recite the Olympic host cities, the princess drops him! Everyone realizes they’re going to be killed anyway. No. 13 is another comedian but princess didn’t take his duck pants amusing and drops him. Then another guy who also had that same duck joke is scared to go next because we’ve all seen what’s coming. Because the princess’ advisor is snickering, he too is sent falling in an instant! Oh, the duck joker too. No mercy! Now, this is a hopeless situation. No. 8 who was going to do some cheerleading runs away and he thinks he isn’t going to make it no matter how many lives he has. He doesn’t want to participate in this anymore and throws out his pom-poms. The pom-poms fell out from the sky and onto Mio!!! THAT’S HOW SHE GOT HER TWINTAILS????!!! Yeah, another stupid dream from Yuuko.

Episode 19
* Misato, Websy and Fecchan are waiting at a bus stop on a rainy day but Fecchan’s desire to entertain them has her all wet and dirty for real.
* The Daifuku Fair stall operator doesn’t like his Daifuku mascot talking and forbids him from doing so. So when the newcomer had no motivation and did communication via complicating hand signals, he feels it’s okay for him to speak.
* Yuuko coaches Mio in doing high jumps but no matter how low the bar, Mio just can’t jump straight (literally). Yeah, it’s like she’s a human torpedo. Yuuko is patient enough to stick around till she gets this right because Mio always helped her in letting her copying her homework. This warms Mio inside as we see flashbacks of how much Mio sucks in doing physical activities (she was just plain odd). This time she’s going to get it right. But who knows when she jumps, she heads straight for Yuuko’s stomach! Mad Yuuko headbutts her back!!! And this somehow has Mio successfully jumping over the bar. And we call this move Torpedo Jump.
* Mio, Yuuko and Mai are watching the white tigers at the zoo. Suddenly the tigers come up to them. Actually, they’re interested in Mai’s dog.
* It’s suddenly raining so Professor decides to take in the laundry. However she takes her time putting on her raincoat and boots and drops the entire laundry line. She even blames Sakamoto so Nano isn’t going to give her dinner (and Sakamoto too. Poor cat). Still blaming Sakamoto for putting her up to it, Nano then says she’ll give Sakamoto dinner so this has Professor confessing the truth. Oops.
* Yuuko is cocky seeing that only she finished her clay bust assignment. Did Mio and Mai forget? But it’s the start of their bad day as it suddenly rains. With their ‘unhappy lifeless’ facial expressions, the trio take shelter at the shrine. Yuuko thinks of praying for luck but her coin bounces off the donation box. She tries to swing the bell but the wood she is standing on caves in. The bell drops, hits her head, bounces off to Mio’s head (causing her to sink in the steps she’s sitting on) and though Mai was able to evade the bell, the poster behind crashes onto her head because of the vibration from the bell when it hit the pillar. It’s so funny to see the trio not moving from their positions because I feel if they do, more bad luck will befall on them. Just stay like that… With that lifeless face too. The priest thinks they are trying to steal the donation money and accidentally steps on Yuuko’s bust. The shrine nearly fell on him! Man, this temple is breaking apart! So cursed!
* Daiku sees Takasaki and Makoto in incomprehensible positions in a Go Soccer showdown! I guess this is one of those tests to get Takasaki to be their advisor. Heck, I don’t even know those were forbidden techniques. Hitler salute? Handstand? Perhaps I didn’t read the book (if there was one) like Daiku. But their actions are so absurd and outrageous that you probably won’t figure it has anything to do with Go Soccer. In the end, they call it a draw and Daiku realizes the seriousness (or absurdness) of this club because he only created this club to have fun.

Episode 20
* Mio has Yuuko, Mai and Nano over to help her complete her manga work. Looks like the cat is out of the bag, eh? Don’t want to hide forever, huh? However Nano couldn’t handle her yaoi affair so she has to cool herself. While Yuuko accidentally spills ink over a page, Mio reprimands Mai for drawing unrelated stuff. She wants her to erase it but I guess Mai is purposely pissing her off by drawing something else or erase the unnecessary ones. Giving Mai to draw on a new page, she screws up again by drawing her own story! Yeah, she really is doing it on purpose. As for Yuuko, she is trying her best to redraw that blotted face. Nowhere near the original. She should have known better than to ask Mai for help. Yeah, she draws something really unrelated. So at this point, I guess it’s better to just tell the truth, eh? Thing is, she spills ink on the page again to show it to her!!! Mio could’ve forgiven her if she didn’t run out of manuscript paper.
* Yoshino bumps into Misato at the river bank. Seems Misato is talking to her about her feelings for Sasahara but she isn’t listening. Good or bad thing? Yoshino signs off by giving her some crackers. Huh?
* Nano is it and plays hide-and-seek with Professor and Sakamoto. Though the cat is easily found, they go searching for Professor who is confident they’ll never find her. But after hearing comments she will never be found, Professor gets out from her secret hiding and gets emotional, hugging Nano. Oh, her nose snot ruins Nano’s shirt.
* This has got to be the longest, angriest, temper losing, most frustrating blow up and reprimanding that Mio did to Yuuko. After that blot folly, Yuuko is supposed to go buy manuscript paper but fools around and gives excuses not to go buy. Yeah, puns not welcomed. See Mio getting into angry fits and reactions that shows you just how frustrated this girl is. And time is not on her side. Nano couldn’t handle her kind of work and Mai had already left so Mio doesn’t really need to hear more lame excuses (and bad jokes) from Yuuko. Even if Yuuko did buy some paper, it was the wrong kind. She is on the verge of breaking down, calling Yuuko all the words that are equivalent to being a moron when Yuuko (perhaps about to snap too) shows her the manuscript paper she bought. Mio calms down. Phew. Watching her blowing her top was pitiful but indeed too hilarious!

Episode 21
* Yuuko feels today is her lucky day seeing she didn’t get reprimanded by Takasaki for forgetting her homework. Too bad she gets slammed on the head with a book by him (replaying this scene was funny!) and being told to see him.
* Misato’s friends are over for a sleepover party. They start talking about the guys they like so Websy admits she likes Nakanojou because of his Mohawk hairstyle that makes him look like a punk. However her friends dismiss he acts like a punk because he is polite and Websy feels she likes these kind of nice guys too. Of course Websy and Fecchan know Misato’s crush on Sasahara. As for Fecchan, she doesn’t have anyone she likes as she’s not interested in weirdoes like them. See the pain coming.
* Takasaki bumps into Sakurai in the streets on his day off. Yeah, start thinking too much again that this is some date. Then to his dismay, he sees Yuuko and can’t possibly let her know they’re together. His mind goes crazy thinking about the students mocking them by drawing a love umbrella. So when Yuuko greets him, he pretends to coincidentally meet them both in the street and goes away.
* Nano flusters upon seeing a late night steamy movie and tries to change the topic. However Professor is already fast asleep.
* Nakamura has now become a stalker and waits patiently outside the supermarket Nano frequents just to catch her. But she meets Takasaki who is surprised to see her. He notes her cute outfit so she runs away in embarrassment. Back at her place, she tries to tie up her hair to look cute but realizes the embarrassing thing she’s doing.
* Those underling clones are trying to find the Wood Cube when they see an intruder: Mio. She already has one and is asking the return for the other. They don’t take her seriously till Mio punches down No. 22. He goes up to her again but this time her punch kills him! Then the bearded advisor tries to negotiate with Mio as he is holding the other Wood Cube. But her double powerful uppercut kills him (his beard came flying off!) as she snatches and puts on the other Wood Cube. Then geeky scholar realizes this is something bad. By gathering the Wood Cubes, she is able to unleash the hidden weapon from within. Mio demonstrates by blasting a hole in the ground with her palms! Don’t mess with her! Captain tells everyone not to panic but to attack together. But as he leads the charge, he trips and is hanging for dear life over the hole (eventually falling through). No. 82 attacks but is easily punched away. Now the underlings’ morale are at all time low. No. 8 can’t let it end this way so he powers up but his aura is deflected by Mio and is sent bouncing away. I don’t know how far he bounced or if the blimp is one big circle because No. 8 continues to bounce but catches Mio off guard as he pushes her from behind, sending her falling through the hole. As she falls down to Earth, this is how Mio came to be!!!!!!!!! ANOTHER STUPID DREAM FROM YUUKO!!!!!!! Uh huh. I pretty much expected something like this.

Episode 22
* Nakanojou sees a priest as part of his experiment to proof the non-existence of supernatural phenomena. He tries to act like he’s being possessed but the priest gave him some sore throat pills. Then feigning being strangle, the priest thinks he’s just reading too much strange books. Nakanojou goes on a rampage for realism, wrecking the place. The priest kicks him out.
* Mihoshi and Yoshino are walking together. Mihoshi can’t accept Yoshino as a kendo genius but never practises. As Yoshino is distracted by Sakamoto, Mihoshi decides to test her reflex. She is about to strike but hits someone in a bicycle!!! It’s their master! Oh sh*t!!!
* Nakanojou isn’t happy his dad is trying to pass on the daifuku stall business to him. He feels like an idiot when everyone passing by laughs at him wearing the mascot gear. Later he tries to take off the gear but dad knows his intention and has already coated a fresh paint in it. But Nakanojou isn’t going to lose because with his strength and determination, he pulls out the head gear by force even if this means ripping off his hair.
* Helvetica Standard: A boy is happy to see Santa coming into his room. But his dreams are shattered when he gives him a melon bread. Oh, the truth hurts…
* Websy drops her bun and is disheartened she couldn’t eat it. Even if Fecchan is being positive to just take away the dirty parts, she drops her popsicle but it lands on the bun, thus making it still safe to eat. Then her popsicle melts off and onto the road due to the bun’s heat. But Fecchan didn’t lose her positivism and thinks it’s a sign from God not to eat 2 popsicles. She gets this idea of washing the popsicle and eating it but a runaway bicycle goes over it. Splat! Worse, the kendo master steps on it while he is chasing his bicycle. In shock, Fecchan steps and trips on the bun and lands her butt on the crushed popsicle.
* Professor forcefully puts Sakamoto on a leash (more like tied to a rope) and takes him out for a walk. But they encounter a pair of dogs belonging to Mai. They can’t escape since the dogs have them cornered. Both are them are starting to panic and fear the worse. Professor starts crying when Mio and Yuuko come by. After realizing their problem, Yuuko thinks nothing big of it and goes up to one of them but gets bitten in the hand. OUCH!!! Then the other dog goes up to Mio’s ankle and bites it. OUCH!!! The pain is so intense that her screams could blast through buildings! Now the kid and cat are freaking out. As the duo squirm in pain, Mai returns to her dog. Professor chides her for not being around but is calmed down when Mai gives her shark chocolates. Then they run for their lives when they see Buddy rushing in. Yeah, Buddy and its little one sympathize with the bitten girls and put their paws over them.

Episode 23
* Yoshino makes some jam and has Mio try out. But they taste so horrible that Mio is experiencing seizures! Giving her Russian tea to cool down, it also tastes awful. Mio tries to get water but finds out there is a water cut. Hurry! Get the milk in the fridge! WHAT THE HECK IS THIS MILK???!!! Leftover jam from Yoshino… F*CK! So awful that Mio’s life flashes before her! Yoshino still has the cheek to ask what kind of jam it is. Well, Mio may be sarcastic but she was close: Fermented fish. Yuck!
* Sakurai enters Makoto’s room to find an adult magazine. She flusters but gets kicked out. Each time she barges in without knocking, he kicks him out as Makoto comes up with excuses the magazine doesn’t belong to him.
* Sakurai sees Yuuko over her future ambition which she has left blank. When Yuuko mentions she wants to be a teacher like her (I don’t believe this), this makes the teacher cry. Tears of happiness?
* Makoto continues to pester Takasaki to be Go Soccer club’s advisor. But their last duel ended in a draw? Oh, he’s going to tell his love for Sakurai… Takasaki gives in and follows him to the club. But before Makoto could finish relaying the good news, he runs away. Makoto chases and corners him at the rooftop. Then he makes a deal with him by giving him a photo of Sakurai during her high school days. I guess as a guy, this is too good for a chance to pass up. Now he is motivated to get the club going.
* Fecchan accompanies Websy because the latter wants to confess her feelings to Nakanojou. However after seeing him bald, she doesn’t find him appealing anymore.
* Yuuko is having a bad day which includes sitting on wet paint and a couple of kids sleeping on her shoulder while taking a train.
* Mai visits Nano and Professor isn’t happy she is the culprit that let loose her dogs that day. Professor goes to draw her sharks so Mai draws a better one. This is enough to break the ice as Professor warms up to her. Mai gives her shark drawing to her and leaves before Nano could bring out the snacks. Seems Professor exchanged her shark drawing with Mai’s and Mai is happy to get it.

Episode 24
* Nakamura goes over her failed plans to capture Nano. She spots a cat looking like Sakamoto and chases it till she realizes it’s the wrong cat. But the people around her think she’s a thief seeing she’s walking on top of walls.
* Yuuko tells the biggest news to Mio: She saw Sasahara and Nano walking together and talking casually. Mio may appear she doesn’t care but you know she does when she keeps telling Yuuko to tell her what happens next. Because it wasn’t anything much, Mio brushes it off and probably calling Yuuko’ an idiot has her snap as she says the duo were kissing. In the courtyard. Yeah, that’s some wild fantasizing she’s got there. Mio rushes over but to her relief nothing alerting happened. Guess who got knocked out when Mio returns?
* Helvetica Standard: A girl wants her friend to tell her who she likes and will pay a million yen for her. She really did splash the cash!!! Then she goes tell everyone about it! Was it worth the money?
* Yoshino and Misato practise kendo. In the end, Yoshino gives her a knight piece. Mihoshi walks back with her sister. Misato is shock to hear that Sasahara recently came to the dojo recently because that guy is in the acting club in the first place. Misato shows her tsundere side when Mihoshi wonders why she didn’t invite him to join the kendo club. But she’ll do it since she said so. For the first time, Misato blasts a bazooka at her sister when she says to confess to him! Back home, she thinks the reason why Yoshino gave her the knight piece but suddenly thinks of Mihoshi’s words and starts hiding in her artillery gun.
* Sakamoto is sick so Professor notices the nice treatment he gets from Nano. So she too pretends to be sick and wants chocolate. But she’s too energetic to be considered sick. Besides, shouldn’t sick people take medicine? Professor throws a tantrum as she says Nano likes Sakamoto more but Nano whispers she likes Professor more. Now a happy kid, does this mean she can have some chocolates? If she finishes her green onions… If not, she’ll like Sakamoto more. Make up your mind! Okay. She loves them both.
* Mio uses hypnotism on Yuuko but she bites the coin instead.
* Mio’s coin slip from her fingers when she wanted to buy a drink at the vending machine. To her surprise, Sasahara picks it up and she starts flustering. A lot. He thinks this is his lucky day because he forgot his wallet. But when he selects the drink, nothing came out. Thinking this is a prank, Sasahara feels the machine can keep the coin when the cup drops upside down and he just watches the water flow. He drinks the little liquid that it has as Mio notes that though she has no proof, she feels she has gotten closer to him. Back home, Mio draws her manga and remembers how she used to tag along with Yoshino and Sasahara who were in the kendo club. Probably that’s when she started liking him. She is snapped out when Yoshino comes in and teases her.

Episode 25
* Websy and Fecchan tease Misato to go wake Sasahara who is sleeping alone in the class. Of course she did, got tsundere and accidentally broke his glasses. He isn’t mad but is concerned if her hand is injured. Then he puts on the glasses and a lens falls off. Using this as an excuse, Misato holds his arm to guide him and be his eyes since he can’t see well. This has everybody staring at them in disbelief. She is going to follow him everywhere till he mentions he needs to go to toilet. Oh dear. Must she enter there too? Then Sasahara mentions his glasses are fake and he is wearing contacts. The biggest explosion you’ll ever see coming from Misato. And her reason for blowing him up was shooing off a bug on his arm…
* That time when Misato was holding Sasahara’s arm walking around, Mio and her friends saw this and the shock was too much for Mio to handle that she falls into depression. Yuuko tries to cheer her up and give her reasons that it may not be what she seems but Mio suddenly rushes off with Yuuko hot on her heels. Suddenly Mio is so athletic!!! See her swinging on the bars, doing shadow boxing, running in between on coming trains, diving into the river to save a kid! WOAH!!! The policeman recognizes her as the one who jabbed her many episodes back but he went off to catch a thief. Then an old man saw her shadow boxing and offers her to drop by his gym and talk. The kid gives her his kite as gratitude. Mio gives off a heartily laughter at all that has happened and notes how you really don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s why it’s interesting.
* Nakamura saw Nano when she went to chase after Mio during her hysterical mode. But she lost her and lucky for her, she finds herself in front of Nano’s house. She is going to sneak in to steal the blueprints but feels she has been spotted by Biscuit #2. She surrenders but Nano invites her in. She gets paranoid observing her surroundings. Like that sunglasses Daruma toy may be a spy camera. Nano flusters when Nakamura says she wants to know her more but of course we know it’s not in a yuri sense. When Professor comes in, she is confused if this kid made Nano. Professor admits that to her face surprising her. The final shock came when she sees Sakamoto trying to get out from a teruterubouzu cloth. She plans to retreat by giving an excuse to the toilet but when she steps outside, she finds herself stuck in the super glue. Yeah, it covered all over her.
* Yuuko, Mai and Nano observe Mio. It’s like as though she’s acting normal. They plan to cheer her up. As Mio walks back home, she is surprised to see her friends wearing daifuku head gear. They make her play a lottery as she wins a special prize. Going on her way, she remembers Sasahara’s words that the daily life we live is possibly a string of miracles. She is sure it is something like that. Opening her prize, Mio gets all warm inside upon seeing a voucher to stay her friends for eternity.

Episode 26
* Yuuko plans to throw Nano a surprise birthday party. When? Today. WHAT?! That’s why it’s call a surprise, right? Mio agrees to pay for the stuff seeing she hasn’t got a chance to repay her when she lost he wallet at the amusement park. Absent-minded Yuuko was going to tell Nano about the surprise but luckily Mio warned her and the usual stupid remarks. This has Yuuko retaliate by telling her she was dumped by Sasahara. Mio denies that and says out loud that she likes him. Oops.
* Before Nano heads to school, Professor suddenly takes off Nano’s key because she’s making a smaller one. Nano is over the moon but it seems Professor lost it. Okay, Sakamoto stepped on it. Nano sinks into depression so Professor cheers her up that she’ll make a new one quick.
* I don’t know why the vice principal always wants to give trouble to Principal. I mean, he removed his statute bust and replaces it with his own. Then he panics when it’s found out the movers were doing it on his orders. To hide his trail, he has the movers take away this so the mover guys mention how both statues are ugly.
* Yuuko’s little pranks seems to be actually and unknowingly saving her pals from certain accidents like getting hit by a baseball, duster falling on the head and prevent the ants from being stepped. And other ‘miracles’ as well like a rainbow appearing after she sneezes over Sakurai’s plants and causing the Principal to look up that makes his wig return to its normal place. Then she finally sees Nano and though she got her hand loose, Yuuko didn’t notice that and instead tell her that she and her friends will be coming to her house today.
* Mio and Yuuko are trying to break a pumpkin but it is so hard and no matter what they do, there is no scratch on the pumpkin!
* Nakamura sees Sakamoto on the streets and recognizes him as her missing pet, Taishou. Sakamoto is shocked to see his previous owner and flashback reveals that though she isn’t a bad person, she is a lousy caretaker. Poor Sakamoto had to endure all the careless accidents like hot ramen poured on his head, hot water spilling over him and accidentally being caged. Don’t want to relive that horror again, eh? Nakamura wants Taishou to come back badly when she sees Nano. However her priority is to get the black cat back so capturing Nano will have to wait. She mentions to Nano about looking for her black cat so she agrees to help. Nano even mentions that if Nakamura ever finds Taishou, she could visit her. Nakamura is so happy that she says that she could visit her anytime. Even tomorrow. But Sakamoto is not happy because either way he is screwed. Thinking deeply which of his owners are better, he realizes the scales or not even tipping! Both equally bad, eh?
* Back home, seems Professor has made another small key but Sakamoto stepped on it again. Don’t worry. She’ll get to it. Then taking off her key, Nano wonders why it easily came off when she tried to do so herself but couldn’t Professor replies other people can but she couldn’t. Then Nano’s friends come over. Nano thinks of hiding her key but thinking back she realizes they treat her the same. Professor starts pestering for the cake till it dropped. Don’t worry. Mai has another one. Actually it’s a drawing of a shark. It’s okay for Professor. Nano wonders how they knew her birthday was today but in fact it was just coincidence. Yeah, they didn’t know. Just as Nano was going to accept her key, Professor takes it off and puts the smaller one before putting the big one back. So what’s new about this small key? When Nano is happy, it makes the key spin. Uh… But everyone has a good time despite Professor spilling cake onto Yuuko and Mai trying to put a candle on the cake. Everyone gives out a good laugh and you can see proof of Nano’s happiness as her key turns.

My Odd-inary Life…
Hmm… What’s with this slightly unsatisfied feeling at the end? Of course this kind of series without any real plot whatsoever, the best ‘ending’ has always got to be life goes on. And that is what happened for our folks in Nichijou. Only thing is that every little odd thing here is normal. I would have liked to know further about the chemistry and possible if it would amount to any love triangle between Mio, Sasahara and Misato. I would also have loved to know more about the past relationship between Nakamura and Sakamoto seeing that this was a ‘major discovery’ (at least to me) and only revealed in the final episode. What about that intriguing past between Yoshino and Sasahara in the kendo club? But I think that’s all to it and nothing much. I mean, all of the characters are pretty much the same at the end as they were in the beginning. You might think Nano may have changed but if you take a closer look, she’s still the same all along. She may be worried about her outlook of others towards her but that’s just her. She’s always worried about something. So in this context, there wasn’t any deeper context between Mio, Sasahara and Misato because it will always be a one-sided crush, Nakamura was just a lousy caretaker over Sakamoto and Yoshino and Sasahara were just childhood friends. So any hopes of seeing any romance blossoming between Sakurai and Takasaki? Will Nakamura ever catch Nano? You already know the answer.

Though there are some jokes that I do not comprehend, but at least the overall random silliness and wacky antics are enough for an average person like me to enjoy without scratching my head so many time that I could have become bald after doing so. The exaggeration of it all is a contributing factor otherwise this show would ironically be nothing but ordinary, right? With the extensive cast of characters, too bad that some do not get more of the limelight as the main ones would be Mio-Yuuko-Mai group and Professor-Nano-Sakamoto pack. So when the final episode came about, the focus is so much on these two groups that you may have forgotten about Nakanojou, Annaka, Daiku, Sekiguchi and who else that you may think of as minor supporting characters. They don’t really come into the light in the last episode so that’s why in a way, I too feel it was somewhat incomplete. My idea of ending a series (at least for this kind of genre) is perhaps that all the characters would come together and end it in a big bang and flashy way. Okay, maybe not so much the big bang and flashy stuff but at least make us viewers feel appreciated in watching the series. Unless there is a sequel in which I haven’t heard of… Yet.

The characters are lovable in their own wacky unique way. Of them all, my favourite one has got to be Mio. This is especially when she blows her top or in an incredulous expression. Especially her voice when it comes down to these modes, I find her voice to be pretty unique in a way. So when she’s upset, you can feel the frustration in her tone. At the end of the series, I just realized that the yaoi guy she draws in her manga are actually a portrait closely resembling Sasahara! It got me thinking, if she is a fujoshi or a straight person. Or perhaps a bi? Yuuko is the other half of the comedic duo and as mentioned is the typical prankster. Mio sure has a hard time putting up with her but I guess that’s what best friends are for. No matter how idiotic Yuuko is, I guess she has a limit to how many times she can be called stupid. Yeah, that inner switch box to snap serves as the limit if you mock her too many times. Be warned. Even jokers are humans too. Every group has to have one of these jokers, right? And if so, every group also needs to have the quiet mysterious enigma and in this case, Mai. Rarely putting up any emotions and with her deadpan facial expression, you’d never know what is going on in her mind. She’s so random filled with unexpected surprises so much so you may akin her to a whack-a-mole. You’ll never know when and where it’ll really pop up. Get it? But the ‘best’ character should go to Misato. Not because of her tsundere attitude and tsundere excuses for her actions to do lover-like stuffs for Sasahara, but the fact that she is able to pull a bazooka out of nowhere and fire it without hesitation. It’s like she keeps them in some time-space dimension. And being true to nobody-gets-killed-in-this-series, I guess that’s why everybody is just messed up rather than having their body parts and organs splattered throughout the place. Or maybe she’s just firing blanks? Even so, that’s one helluva powerful blast. Can I get one of those bazookas, Misato? Please?

The most annoying character award goes to… Professor! I know she is cute and moe and throwing selfish tantrums and kicking up a fuss are fine for a young kid her age. But she does it too often that I find it irritating. Sure, she’s a genius. But she’s still a kid. I wonder how she lived by before she built Nano. Pinning the blame on Sakamoto adds to her bad points in my book. However it’s not that I hate her character but rather just annoyed. There is a big difference in that. If she was that smart, how come she doesn’t make a machine that dispenses all her favourite snacks 24/7? As said, Nano tries to be a normal human girl but as she will realize, she is better off being herself. Even if this means a key sticking out from her back and her hands coming off anytime, anywhere. Sakamoto may be the most mature of the group but that is until he easily gets distracted and returns to his feline tendencies. Otherwise, Sakamoto is a pretty rational and cool cat. And when their screen time ends in some scenes, a narrator will say how there is peace at Shinonome house once more. What peace? They’re a bunch of noisy trio. Well, at least nobody died so that’s peaceful, right? Say, if their house is named as a research lab, how come it looks more like an ordinary house? Oh well, it’s just a name… I wonder if there is any love blossoming between Daiku and Sekiguchi. In the final episode, there is a hint that Sekiguchi was flustering when Daiku was talking to her in the club room. Unless it has something to do with her reading her comic book, this part remains pretty much ambiguous and nothing concrete. Has Nakanojou given up his path of becoming a scientist because as far as I know in this entire series, he only had 2 segments to which he wanted to prove the inexistence of the supernatural. What about Principal and his vice’s ‘feud’? It’s like the latter always try to hit back on the former with some prank. Then again, sometimes these minor side characters feel like they are used as ‘fillers’ in between the main characters.

I thought this was going to be something unique and different in every episode but I guess I could only say it happened in majority of the episodes. What am I talking about? If you notice that in between scenes (whether it’s within the same gag or on to the next gig), there will be a slightly blurred out picture with slightly muffled out buzzing noise, usually a scenery of the city or the greeneries or certain parts of a space. It’s not just a still picture because from time to time, you can see people passing by or activities going on within the viewable area. Just that the camera view doesn’t change. What does this mean? Don’t know. Perhaps another part of the daily life occurrence? I also thought this would be in every episode but it lasted for the first few episodes. The one whereby Professor and Nano are playing rock-scissors-paper. Usually Nano always loses but there are rare times she wins. In either way, something funny will happen to her hand. Like coming off or becoming a shark. After taking several episode breaks, they somewhat replaced it with Professor and Nano doing some weird dance. Same case with the pair of daifuku head gear guys who are supposed to be skipping ropes while a random character in the series tries to skip them (with hilarious results of course). Then they got bored and go played something else and abandoned this rope thingy and you’ll never see them again. But one section that is always shown in each episode is “Word of the Day”. You are thinking they are supposed to be words of wisdom, right? Well, depends on how you look at it. To me, I find them as nonsensical random what-the-heck quotes that even 5 year olds can come up with their own. Most of them I do not understand but I supposed it’s meant to be funny, right? Hey, I didn’t get that one.

Both the openings are very, very weird. In terms of animation and the song. While the animation is filled with weird mayhem, it is a picture of what to expect when you watch this series. True chaos and weirdly weird weirdness (it’s a new term I just created). Both the opening themes are sung by Hyadain. The first one being Hyadain No Kakakata Omoi-C (see, even the song title is so weird) while the second one is Hyadain No Joujou Yuujou. I feel that hearing too much of these will make you into an idiotic weirdo because you’ll laugh too much or if you try to imitate the lyrics, you’re really going to have more than your tongue twisted and a real maniac once you master this song. Believe me, I tried it because it was a little catchy and amusing but gave up because I realized I was turning into one. Oh heck, I was already one by the way. You know for some series it’s either they fixed the ending theme(s) or they have a new one for every episode? Well, this one has both. What do I mean? For the first half of the series, we have a ‘fixed’ ending theme called Zzz (yes, this is what the song is called) by Sayaka Sasaki. With the children-like drawings animation (don’t forget the weird stuffs in it), this catchy and calm piece actually has 2 other versions. In addition to the original one, it also has a Cappella version and a Bossonova version. They both sound pretty okay too. Then for the second half, the series employs a different song for each episode. At first I thought some of the songs resemble like school chorus (most of the accompaniment is only piano). Then finding it out on Wikipedia, they are indeed chorus songs of elementary and junior high school in Japan. Some are even graduation songs. Other than that, folk songs make up the rest of the ending themes. So it’s either Sayaka Sasaki singing a solo or the seiyuus of the characters doing a group chorus of the songs. The best ending song is the folk song called Green Green because of its lively and playful manner.

It seems that many lesser known or new seiyuus are being casted in this series. Plus, their voice sounds so different than the other roles that I know them that I couldn’t identify them. Not that I could straightaway recognize them but when I think back and compare the other anime characters that they voiced, it just doesn’t match. Mai Aizawa portrays Mio and it is because of her voice that is the main reason why Mio is one of my preferred characters. Her list of other anime roles may not be long and in those animes that I have seen as minor characters such as Ayano in Lucky Star and Natsumi in the Negima series, kudos to her for doing a great job in voicing the many moods of Mio. Still love her when she sounds so frustrated. Oh yeah! Mariko Honda’s resume is much shorter than Mai Aizawa but still portraying Yuuko from a loudmouth to an idiot was also a good job. Her other prominent roles I know her as are Kurimu in Seitokai No Ichizon and Kaya in Omamori Himari. Kaoru Mizuhara as Nakamura (Saki in Kanamemo, Gisen in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls) would’ve been pretty normal if she was just a somebody trying to capture Nano. But whenever she flops big time, you can hear her dopey voice that she screwed up.

Other lesser known seiyuus include Misuzu Togashi as Mai (Minatsu in Seitokai No Ichizon), Shizuka Furuya as Nano (Uruchi Minaya in Maken-Ki), Mami Kosuge as Sakurai (Yukari in Lucky Star), Chika Horikawa as Misato (Izumi Aomi in Itsuka Tenma No Kurousagi), Manami Honda as Mihoshi (Muru-Muru in Mirai Nikki) and Kazutomi Yamamoto as Nakanojou (Chiba in Mitsudomoe). Of course there are veteran ones like Hiromi Konno as Professor (Akira in Lucky Star, Sae in Amagami SS), Minoru Shiraishi as Sakamoto (as himself in Lucky Star), Cho as Principal (Brook in One Piece), Yoshihisa Kawahara as Sasahara (Yasu in NANA), Tetsu Inada as Takasaki (Gorobei in Samurai 7) and Daisuke Ono as the crow (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji). An amusing segment is the next episode preview. Actually it isn’t so much of the next episode preview. We see a still picture of an everyday item (or at least something that is featured in that episode) such as a screw, a frill-necked lizard origami, manuscript, ball or cappuccino. Then we have a guest seiyuu narrating some short nonsense from the viewpoint of that item before closing the series about the next episode, which is just the next episode’s number. There are a handful of popular seiyuus that I could recognize that lend their voice to this section such as Aya Hirano, Yui Horie, Norio Wakamoto, Fumihiko Tachiki and Shigeru Chiba. But as for the rest of them, erm, who are they? ;p.

There is a fine line of what constitutes as normal and weird. But even that depends on the norms of society on what they see deem fit as normal. It doesn’t matter if you are weird or nothing ordinary, as long as you are happy, that is what counts. But not at the expense of others, okay? Thus it is safe to say that everybody in this world is weird. Anybody that is normal is also considered weird in because by being too normal is enough to make you look weird. So the next time if you see a human-like robot, a genius professor kid, a talking cat and a bunch of rowdy high school students, just think that all these are part and parcel of your ordinary life. Besides, being weird is also good because it keeps our sanity in check. Weirdly, that’s how we go on living an everyday daily life, right?

Tetsuwan Birdy Decode

February 18, 2012

Imagine if you are one mind, one body and one soul with a famous idol. YEOW! That would be a dream come true for die-hard fans. But what if you take it too literally? In the sense that both parties occupy the same body but maintaining different sets of mind and soul? Would you really want to be ‘stuck’ in such a predicament? Well, ask Tsutomu Senkawa. He has got that ‘bodily’ experience. So if you have watched Tetsuwan Birdy Decode (or also known as Birdy The Mighty Decode in English), chances are you know what I’m talking about.

This production that was made in year 2008 is actually a remake and retelling of the original 4 OVA episodes named Tetsuwan Birdy (or Birdy The Mighty if you like) that came out in 1996. As usual, all remakes of earlier productions mean that there will be some uplifting in terms of character designs or ‘updates’ to cater for current pop culture. I may have not seen the original OVAs so I’m not sure if they just do some makeover in the characters but I can pretty much guess the plot remains the same or at least close to it. Birdy Cephon Altera is a Federation investigator and her bio-engineered capabilities means she is bred for kick-ass combat to haul super criminals and convicts all over the galaxy. Till she accidentally kills an innocent bystander (Tsutomu) that she is forced to share her body (literally) with him. So it’s an awkward situation for the kid trying to live his normal life without everyone else finding out the secret and mess he’s gotten into while she trying to continue her mission to apprehend criminals. Yeah, it may be tough for a person to be at 2 places at 1 time but it isn’t impossible for 2 people to be at the exact same place at the same time.

Episode 1
Birdy is hot on the heels of an escaping intergalactic criminal. When she busts on board with her robot partner Tute, she is disheartened that the big fish, Geega and Bascillus have escaped via escape pod. Shion Arita is a model in the midst of a photo shoot while her gay manager watches on. She must be famous enough to garner a few fans who would gladly buy several same magazines to admire her beauty. These include Tsutomu’s otaku buddies. Actually Shion and her manager are Birdy and Tute in disguise. It’s already been 6 months since they’ve been living on this planet to uncover Geega and their investigations are bearing fruit each day. Seems Tute has learnt Geega has slipped into this planet’s entertainment industry and working under disguise at Empire Television. They also talk about how this planet houses lots of illegal aliens masquerading and living among humans. Though Birdy makes an uncalled remark of a certain old lady, that lady. Irma pops up and after she apologizes, she hands them some information on Geega. Meanwhile Geega is seen speaking to Shyamalan Satajito about the need to grow Ryunka and he has to be careful since there may be a Federation investigator on this planet. Birdy continues her night patrol as she leaps from building to building. Natsumi Hayamiya spots Tsutomu trying to explore an abandoned building and joins him. Unknown to them, this is where Geega is trying to grow Ryunka in his secret lab. Though they bumped into Geega who is very mad about their trespassing, Tsutomu apologizes and leaves. Soon Geega comes into Birdy and Tute. She gives him a chance to surrender. Hell, no way. Okay, so be it. Fight! At least Birdy can de-stress herself. Since Birdy’s a powerful bio-engineered super soldier so her punches really pack quite a punch. You can see the destructive effects as Birdy takes out Geega’s underlings with ease. Then of course Geega joins the fray as he transforms into his real self albeit slightly modified. He too takes a pounding. The fight is so powerful that the entire building is shaking! Tsutomu and Hayamiya didn’t get out in time and was caught in the midst of the battle. Geega knocks out Hayamiya and uses Tsutomu as hostage. Because of the fog, Birdy couldn’t see well as Geega throws Tsutomu towards her. She realizes too late when her punch rips through Tsutomu’s body. Tsutomu has this unreal feeling and it took him a while to realize that he is probably dead. But he wakes up next morning in his own bed like as though everything last night was a dream. He is puzzled to know that his eyesight has gotten better and doesn’t need to wear spectacles. After he sees off his parents who are temporarily moving away, he goes to school and meets some of his friends: Hayakawa, Sayaka Nakasugi (from Tsutomu’s body reaction, he must have a crush on her), Kazuyoshi Chigira and Ryouta Sudou. Meanwhile Geega is still alive as he meets Georg Gomez and is being reminded to complete Ryunka as their client is Christella Revi. He goes home after school and thinks this is the start of his home alone days. However he freaks out when he hears an inner voice telling him otherwise. He slips and falls unconscious. Next thing he knows, he is jumping from building to building and in a building’s reflection, saw himself as Birdy. He thought he turned into a pretty woman!

Episode 2
A couple of guys are being tasked to transport Ryunka. I guess he was sleepy at the wheel so he slams into a car carrying Nakasugi. Capella Titis watches and notes how the Ryunka they are after won’t get to Geega now but thinks it will make a good host. Tsutomu gets the shock of his life as he experiences high speed velocity running. Jumping up, falling down! He’s going to die of heart attack at this rate. Later in some alternate dimension, he is being explained what happened. During the fight with Geega, he is killed and his body is currently sent to be repaired. Tsutomu recognizes Birdy as Shion but she mentions that is just her cover up while she does her investigations on this planet. Birdy’s superior Megius apologizes for the inconvenience and that he is now inside of Birdy’s body. Yes, Tsutomu is dead and they’ve simply transferred his consciousness to Birdy’s body to keep him alive. This way, he can continue to live his normal life, right? Well, if he doesn’t mind transforming in between bodies and going on high speed pursues. So he tries hard to return to his normal life but people give him suspicious stares because he’s like talking to himself. Sorry kid. Birdy can’t use any telepathy and if that happens, their minds will fuse. In class, Hayamiya finds out from Kanae Kitamura that Nakasugi was involved in an accident. Her girl friends seem gloomy so the guys have the cheek to even say it’s like a funeral. Tsutomu unknowingly commented about cremation burial and turning into ash. This has Hayakawa grab him by the collar. Chigira has to calm them down and suggests that they all visit Nakasugi after school. Bascillus sees Geega and believes Birdy has taken Ryunka and will do the job since Geega’s arm is busted. He also wants to eat her. Tsutomu didn’t turn up at the hospital because Shion and Tute are going to do some shoot at a studio. There’s only 1 body to tag around. Inside, a blaster blasts through Tute’s body (don’t worry, the robot’s practically safe as long as the head is still okay). It is Bascillus and he wants to know where Birdy has taken Ryunka. Of course she doesn’t know what he’s saying. Another high powered fight is on the cards and though Bascillus can elongate his arms, actually his body is already at its limit and rotting. Birdy explains to Tsutomu about Bascillus being a felon and parasite that feeds off the memories and abilities of others. So this body of his actually belongs to an Earthling. Keisuke Muroto has been snapping photos of Birdy since who knows when. The destructive fight brings down some of the sets and Muroto gets caught in it. Bascillus uses this chance to escape. Birdy wants to chase after him but Tsutomu chides her for allowing another casualty. Noticing that he’s just unconscious, Birdy finds out Muroto is a journalist and Tsutomu’s OB from his school. She sees his camera with her mugshot and breaks it to protect her identity. Bascillus goes back to Geega who isn’t happy he failed. But since Bascillus’ body is at its limit, he devours Geega. Tsutomu goes to school and is being reprimanded by Hayamiya for not turning up at the hospital. Then Nakasugi’s car pulls over and she comes out just fine so Hayamiya continues to chat with her. She looks pretty much fine and well even if that accident was horrendous. And Tsutomu still isn’t happy he has to continue co-habitating in her body.

Episode 3
Tsutomu is shocked to see the amount of food Birdy has to eat to recover her energy. Maybe now we know why there’s food shortage in the world. He is also not happy that his normal life is disrupted and since it’s her fault who killed him, he doesn’t want her to go around transforming as she wishes. What about her investigations? Not his concern. Tute also sides with Tsutomu on his argument, much to Birdy’s dismay. Later Tute talks to Birdy that her abilities are declining and was obvious during the fight with Bascillus. This is due to her incapability to reconcile with Tsutomu’s body and she should be thinking how to live with him instead. Birdy kicks up a fuss that he can be Tsutomu’s buddy instead. Well yeah, Tute becomes like Tsutomu’s mom making him a big bento. Meanwhile Muroto is bugging his professor to buy something for him. He notes he should be like Kaori Sanada, who is from the same graduate batch as Muroto. Speaking of which, she is a reporter for Empire Television as she is being told of Shyamalan, a big trading partner for the company. Irma informs Tute that Geega has been ‘fired’ from Empire Television and seems he has not returned to his home. The conversation drifts into one that will have Shion work hard and earn them big bucks. Birdy is soaking in the bath as Tsutomu wants to know what this Ryunka is. Well, she doesn’t know what it is either (blaming Megius for not releasing enough details) but something dangerous. Bascillus (in Geega’s form) is acting weird, sniffing like a dog in public so much so he gets picks up by the police. I don’t know how he got freed. Maybe Gomez bailed him out. He knows ‘Geega’ has lost Ryunka and so Bascillus states his next move is to eat Birdy so that he will know Ryunka’s location. Hayamiya and Nakasugi find Tsutomu eating lunch. Tute suddenly comes by to give Tsutomu his gym bag. He even pecks him on his cheek! So gay!!! Shocked Hayamiya will support him and tells him not to mind what others think. I think she just misunderstood big time. After Hayamiya leaves for PE duties, Tsutomu has a chance to talk to Nakasugi alone. As Tute leaves, he is being attacked by Bascillus. Then Bascillus grabs Nakasugi after mistaking her as Birdy. Since Birdy can’t transform in front of others, looks like Tsutomu has to fight the alien himself. Can he? Oh wow. He suddenly can do high jumps and power punches! Or is it Birdy in the background making his body move? But with Nakasugi knocked out, Birdy gets to transform as she chases after fleeing Bascillus. She finds him at the pool area and another destructive fight begins. I wonder how much it’ll cost to fix the pool, the walls, etc. Eating Birdy is all that is on Bascillus’ mind as Tute appears in time to help out. Noting that Bascillus has eaten Geega, he has acquired better skills and can’t fight him as before. Tute takes a direct hit from Bascillus’ blast. Birdy gets worried but Tute tells her that Bascillus’ memories are in a mess so capturing him won’t do any good do find anything on Ryunka. He allows her to use Elemental Destructor to kill him off for good as letting him free will only cause more casualties. Bascillus is weakening and rotting as Birdy plants the little implant into his body. It gives off a huge explosion that it destroys a big portion of the pool! Birdy doesn’t want to part with Tute because she’ll be alone then but he notes he is beyond repair and goes offline. Tsutomu observes how sad Birdy became as he understands how it feels to lose a partner. Flashback of how Tute and Birdy got acquainted when they’re young and were inseparable since.

Episode 4
Birdy continues eating away happily till Tsutomu reminds her of what happened to Tute. She punches herself and at the last minute transforms into Tsutomu so that he is at the receiving at of his own punch! Next thing he knows, he is in panic mode as he is zooming through space! What’s happening? Seems Birdy has received message about Tsutomu’s body being given approval to be repaired. So it’s off to her home planet (which is as blue as our Earth) and Tsutomu has to forgo a day or two and skip his midterm exams. His friends are studying at the library when Nakasugi invites them to her house party this weekend as celebration of her release from hospital. Upon arrival at Birdy’s planet, she undergoes a search procedure. Inside the capsule, Tsutomu has a glimpse of some of Birdy’s memories. Then Birdy meets Megius and Weegie, who informs her that her mind fusion parameter is green. Tsutomu learns that this mind fusion thingy will cause him to ‘eat’ Birdy and thus making her ‘disappear’. He’s not too happy about it but Birdy is okay since she was the one who killed him. As for his body, it’ll be repaired completely faster than expected. That is, in 3 months time (is that in Earth’s measurement or not?). Birdy’s director, Skeletsu is so happy to see her back that they both engage in a fight. Don’t worry, it’s their way of greeting. But he notices she is not at her usual power so she explains about being fused with Tsutomu. However it seems Birdy is being called to court and they need Tsutomu to keep silent. While the court finishes interrogation with Geega’s small fry, Birdy’s colleagues are surprised Birdy is called to the witness stand to testify. Then a Deity intervened, Nejula Gate Altaria. She takes over the questioning. Her colleagues fear Birdy was summoned to testify was also an excuse to question her since it’s a court case not defined in the laws. First Nejula has Birdy reiterate her other nickname: Berserker Killer. Then she continues the interrogation with Birdy’s chase of a couple of heavily sinned felons (Geega and Bascillus) but let them escaped while she’s taking on the small fry. Plus, she is conducting an investigation not even knowing what Ryunka is. She wants Birdy to tell the court that she killed a civilian on Earth. Words couldn’t come out of Birdy’s mouth so Tsutomu tells her to switch with him. Tsutomu’s appearance surprises everyone as he mentions that though he was killed by Birdy, he isn’t really dead because he’s still here alive. Though it’s inconvenient sharing this body, he was told his body can be repaired and thus Birdy didn’t kill anyone. Nejula didn’t expect the persecutor to defend the murder. She then shows Tsutomu what Ryunka is. In ancient words, it means shapeless death. Using her Bindu powers, Tsutomu sees visions of a recorded past whereby a planet has been horribly exterminated by Ryunka’s devastating powers. He could even feel the fear! Tsutomu is worried that such a tragedy might occur again so Nejula tells everyone that because of Birdy’s slip up, Ryunka was brought to Earth. However Tsutomu defends Birdy because she is trying her best to fulfil her duties. With that, Nejula ends her questioning and will monitor her actions. Birdy realizes that Nejula used this trial to deliver information on Ryunka. Later Megius allows Birdy to continue her investigation but the Earthlings’ safety must be top priority. As for Tute’s replacement, Birdy doesn’t need one because she already has a buddy: Tsutomu. Surprise? Weegie gives her a little item (in the guise of a handphone) that they conserved some functions from the recovered Tute to help her in her investigations. As Birdy shows Tsutomu around Altaria, a sudden explosion rocks the place.

Episode 5
The reports of the terrorist attack may be linked to an assassination against the Union members visiting Altaria. There’s a dispute surrounding the neutral land, Aolis and the silver river separates the Federation and Union and is the neutral zone in which Union members must not be allowed to enter. They also have a picture of the terrorist suspect, which is an Ulugarian. Viewing this as a serious problem, Megius allows Birdy to investigate in the enemy’s land but will only allow her to stay for 2 days. Inside a bar, Birdy disguises as a hooker to get close to the Ulugarian dog and his Altarian eye-patched partner, Wedola. But Wedola knows she’s not an ordinary hooker and points his gun at her. Thinking it would be easier to directly capture the criminals here, Birdy starts kicking. Well, the chain reaction has everybody in the bar start fighting each other! But the suspects are getting away. She catches up and tries to interrogate the Ulugarian but he fights back. Suddenly Nejula intervenes and kills the dog outright. Birdy is upset that she can’t get info out of the suspect. Seeing Nejula doesn’t agree with her views, they both fight. Right now? During the confusion, Wedola’s partner, Nimukay uses smoke screen to allow him to escape. Birdy complains to Megius but he mentions Nejula is part of the Committee that isn’t bound by the laws and also an Exterminator (group of people allowed to kill. Yikes!). Megius then shows a video of a new group called Revolutionary Order led by King Zero. He was once captured by Birdy and Nejula but escaped. He plans to attack the Union’s consulate in 12 hours but will withdraw that if Birdy and Nejula is sent to him as communicator (did he purposely scribbled on their faces?). King Zero talks to his subordinates how some unknown guy is financing his revolution and that his aim isn’t the Union consulate but the Committee. He plans to do it via descending an abandoned satellite that will wipe out everything within a 40 mile radius. Birdy and Nejula oblige King Zero’s demands and enter a building. Hmmm… Feels like deja vu. Like they’ve been into this kind of building before, all doors shut close and the building will explode. That’s exactly what’s happening! King Zero doesn’t learn, eh? Hey, where’s Nejula? Birdy’s all left alone! BOOM!

As King Zero and his subordinates are confident the duo won’t survive the blast, they see Tsutomu lying on the ground. Since the kid saw them, King Zero orders him to be taken out but Nimukay pleads to spare him as he’s just a kid. Back in his base, I wonder why they didn’t tie him up because Tsutomu wakes up, wanders around till he eavesdrops the baddies big time plan. King Zero learns his financer is Gelabu, the Union council general who is supposed to be dead during the terrorist attack. I guess King Zero and Gelabu are happily chatting away so much so they didn’t realize Tsutomu sneaking around and even stole the detonator that will destroy the satellite. Well, eventually he did realize the kid and grabs him. But what surprises him and everyone is that he then transforms into Birdy. Hi, your worst nightmare is back. While King Zero fights Birdy in his mecha suit, Gelabu escapes but comes face to face with Nejula. He feigns ignorance but a tape recorder replays his exact words of his plan to move into the neutral zone once the Committee is destroyed. Looks like Wedola is a spy and has all that perfectly recorded. Realizing Nejula’s reason to be here as an Exterminator, Gelabu commits political suicide. Yes, he kills himself. Saves everybody the trouble, eh? Meanwhile Birdy and King Zero’s fight has the detonator falling into Nimukay’s hands. She is in a dilemma on what to do. To give King Zero or Birdy? Either many people will die or listen to her love? At least she has a conscious so she chooses the former and presses the detonator, much to King Zero’s dismay. Birdy protects Nimukay from King Zero’s wrath and delivers him the final blow before Skeletsu and his men arrive to apprehend the criminals. In the aftermath, Megius informs Birdy how a war was averted since the Union accepted the terrorist attack on Gelabu. But Birdy couldn’t understand how they knew her location when she didn’t relay any information. Skeletsu introduces Wedola AKA Kashugeza, an apprentice of Skeletsu and an undercover investigator. Birdy is not happy that he didn’t prevent the terrorist attack but he mentions by doing so, they couldn’t figure out the Union’s plot. She is about to punch him but Skeletal takes it for him instead. He doesn’t want Birdy to take out her anger on the wrong person as he was just following orders. What about the innocent people sacrificed? It is necessary to save the majority. With the case closed, Birdy flies back to Earth. Tsutomu gets a call from Hayamiya about Nakasugi’s party. He is able to bluff her about his absence out of Tokyo due to family issues. It’s much more believable this way.

Episode 6
Tsutomu’s pals are out to buy swimsuits as requested by Nakasugi. As usual, he didn’t turn up because he has to tag along trying to search for marionnettes at an abandoned building. The place where he got killed. Yeah, brings back memories, eh? So Hayamiya and co visit Nakasugi’s mansion and are at awe over the huge place. During a meal with Nakasugi’s grandpa, Sudou is being somewhat rude that Nakasugi escaped unscathed like as though she was real lucky. Grandpa thinks it’s a miracle but Nakasugi doesn’t want to continue this conversation and drop this accident thingy as it is giving her nightmares. As the kids move to the lobby for the buffet, grandpa remembers how the doctors operating on her were proclaiming it was indeed a miracle. Her damaged lung and brain recovered back to normal that no medical science could explain. While they are having fun, Nakasugi suggests taking a swim, the reason why she asked them to bring along swimsuits. Of course Nakasugi is still recovering so she won’t be joining them. Since Tsutomu isn’t here, she requests Hayamiya to contact him again. Well? No answer. Kitamura talks to Hayamiya how Nakasugi seems livelier now because she was always shy and gives out a gloomy feeling. Noticing that she’s always concern about Tsutomu, they shrug off that she may be interested in him. Maybe. Don’t write it off yet. Shyamalan is talking to Gomez and the latter warns of doing both growing Ryunka and making marioniettes will cause him to only fail in both. He also warns of a certain investigator looking for Ryunka. Meanwhile Muroto and Sanada meet up. Muroto saw the interview she did with Shyamalan but she was rather forced to do it. Something about the need to maintain a good relationship with him (nobody defies him. See what happened to Geega?) or else he will go to another TV station. That’s how powerful he is. After when Nakasugi’s friends left, Tsutomu finally arrives. Better late than never, eh? Oh, he’s got a bouquet of flowers. Does he think this will settle it? They both chat about stuff. Among them housemaid Yoshie Suzuki who has been caring for her since young. Nakasugi also feels odd because she died in that accident. To think that she’s the only one who survived it when nobody does, she thinks she has been reborn and given a second chance by God. She also wants to thank him for sending him to the infirmary when she was attacked by a baddie (that struggle with Bascillus at school). She got a little too close to him so Tsutomu slips into the pool. To watching Yoshie’s horror, Nakasugi dives in to grab his hand. Tsutomu goes home as Birdy teases him that he likes Nakasugi. Meanwhile Nakasugi is taking a bath and after spotting a weird green pigeon at the window, in a trance she crushes it! Bird killer! Yoshie talks to grandpa about Nakasugi. She feels this isn’t the Nakasugi she knows. Telling him of her changed eating habits, clothing preferences and even making new friends when she has always been a loner, grandpa thinks Nakasugi is opening up and is happy for her and that Yoshie is the one who is strange. However Yoshie tells of the final oddity. Nakasugi was at the pool. She has phobia of giant body of water like the sea or pools so she will never approached them. The crushed pigeon resurrects and returns to Capella as she watches the recorded videos via its eyes.

Episode 7
Nakasugi attends a funeral of a person named Nagaya. Recently there have been spates of murders at subways and it is usually done when no one is around. Nakasugi wakes up from a nightmare like as though she’s at the murder spot and when she looks at her feet, it is dirty. Could it be? Tsutomu’s otaku friends are discussing the Song of Curse and Song of Death around these murders but they don’t seem too interested in believing them. As Nakasugi is gardening, Capella comes up to her and hypnotizes her. Birdy is interested in this case and switches over to her body and leaves the house. However she comes into Tsutomu’s sister, Hazumi and she recognizes her as that idol. Shion makes Hazumi laugh her ass off so much with her antics that Hazumi didn’t want her to go! That night, another serial murder strikes. Kitamura is getting scared that the rumours are coming true. Birdy pays a visit at the site where the murder took place and pays her last respects. Muroto was also there and he chases after her upon knowing she is Shion. In the train, he thought he had her cornered but it seems she manages to change back to Tsutomu to give Muroto the slip. Then both their handphones ring. It’s playing that song! Rushing out at the next stop and Tsutomu following his instincts leads him to a deserted parking lot. The perpetrator vanishes once the duo arrive on scene. Looks like it’s another murder. Tsutomu does some research back home and on the site which lists the murder victims, he notices all of them had something in common: Bespectacled females with short hair. Oh, Hazumi fits that description too. She’s having a blast with her pals and I hope she won’t be the next victim… A couple of police inspectors are doing their rounds at the closed subway. They spot a suspicious lady but it turns out to be Muroto in drag! The perpetrator gets ready to pound on another unsuspecting victim when is suddenly kicked away. It is Birdy in disguise as she is surprised to know the perpetrator is a marionette. Nakasugi’s grandpa sees Shyamalan in his office (they’re both partners in grandpa’s marionette business) as he learns the murder suspect is a marionette escaped from this place. He is also shocked to learn the marionettes developed here have combat tools instead of safe keeping. As Shyamalan notes, he has invested a lot in this N Programme. Though the programme is completed, there was a bug. The creator of this marionette seems to be a bespectacled female with short hair. While she is programming it (including that song), she mentions she hasn’t adjusted its eyes yet and wants to hug. However the marionette hugged her too hard and thus killed her. Birdy is fighting the marionette who seems to be calling her mama. Birdy breaks out from her iron grip and makes it go offline. Seeing that the marionette shed tears, Birdy feels pity. As she was about to retrieve it, Capella swiftly takes it away while her pigeon keeps her at bay. She recognizes that person from the Federation. Shyamalan is not happy that the marionette is lost but he needs to look no further as Capella tosses the marionette into his room. She warns him to do a better clean up job if he plays his human-doll game or else his ‘precious’ will be taken away by someone else. Shyamalan laughs and offers her to be his friend. Nakasugi lies floating in her swimming pool. She feels good about it.

Episode 8
Tsutomu’s otaku buddies are part of the abandoned building exploration club and they need to do some video exploration this summer. Specky otaku was so loud that it amazes me nobody was in the library to pipe him down. But Nakasugi was there and she invites them all to her summer villa. Tsutomu had to beg to Hazumi to let him go while she watches the house (hey, she’s temporarily back for the summer) so in exchange, he’ll have to do all the chores when he returns. Tsutomu, Hayamiya, Nakasugi, Sudou, Chigira and specky otaku take a train to the village (seems fatty otaku won some tickets to Akiba Live and thus didn’t come along). At the village, they buy up some grub before making their journey to the villa. Specky otaku is thrilled that this place is filled with abandoned buildings to explore. That night after a good meal, Nakasugi shows them the beautiful stars in the sky. As usual specky otaku is so annoying, clinging onto Sudou just to have a look through the telescope. Next day, the guys venture into their first abandoned building with specky otaku commanding the pack. Sudou’s post is to stand guard outside while the rest explore this dilapidated old video arcade. A policeman passes by but Sudou was smooth enough to make him go away. Tsutomu is shocked to see footprints on the wall and ceiling and tells this to the guys. Though specky otaku feels it’s just a prank, Sudou says the policeman told him that this place may be haunted as he has heard children’s laughter from here. Sudou plays a little prank on them and sends them shivering. Especially that specky otaku who is more annoying than frightened as he clings on to Sudou, admitting he’s a chicken when it comes to ghost. But what the policeman said may be true because Capella is seen watching them from the abandoned building. That night as everybody sleeps, Nakasugi wakes up and sees Capella outside. Capella wants Ryunka to awaken and notes that Ryunka was reborn as Nakasugi just as she wished. Flashback during the horrific accident. Capella took the Ryunka sample and noticed everyone dead except for Nakasugi and poured the sample onto her. Thanks to Nakasugi, Ryunka was able to wake up from its long slumber and likewise thanks to Ryunka, Nakasugi attained a new life. Capella wants Ryunka to fly but was being attacked. Though Capella quickly put up a barrier, she was sent flying away at that impact. And we have a first hand of Ryunka’s horrifying destruction. A big portion of the village nearby got vaporized! Birdy wakes up with a bad feeling. She sees Nakasugi going away and follows her. When she reaches the main road, she is shocked to see the destroyed village. Next day, the entire place is clamped down and the news all abuzz with the sudden mystery. Gomez and Shyamalan know it’s the work of Ryunka but Gomez is puzzled because he thought Geega wasn’t able to raise it. Shyamalan reminds him that there are other aliens so Gomez warns him Ryunka is something he can’t handle. Shyamalan is confident he can. Hazumi is pretty worried about Tsutomu as she can’t contact him.

Episode 9
Though reports say it was a landslide, specky otaku is convinced that it’s a UFO landing because no one is allowed to go near the site. As Tsutomu takes a walk, he sees Muroto trying to bargain with the police officers. Muroto sees Tsutomu and pretends he’s glad to see his relative safe from the landslide. Looks like Muroto owes him one. Tsutomu takes him back to the villa. Hayamiya isn’t pleased he brought this weird senpai back (she’s a fan of Sanada by the way). Muroto shows the guys his UFO pictures and they’re all overwhelmed by it though Hayamiya is convinced they’re all just fakes. Hayamiya takes a walk outside and she thought she saw a lady (Birdy) bathing in the bathroom. As she quickly approaches the bathroom, she is embarrassed to see Tsutomu instead. Eek! That was a close shave. Nakasugi’s grandpa is also here and is relieved his granddaughter is safe. Shyamalan is also with him. Seems he is on a business trip here and bumped into grandpa. Shyamalan’s humility has the guys in awe but Muroto knows better not to be fooled. Later Hayamiya confronts Muroto and wants to confirm the landslide with her eyes because she wants to tell everyone the truth. But Muroto says that people may not want to know the truth and only wants to hear what they believe. Despite so, she still wants to do it. Muroto agrees to let her help out. Shyamalan and his team are at the site looking for traces of Ryunka. Shyamalan is confident he doesn’t need to wear a radiation suit because he feels he is a chosen one by Ryunka. Out of the rubble, they see a baby survivor. Shyamalan believes this baby is also chosen and wants to adopt the toddler. He then unleashes his marionette, Undine from the boot of his car. Birdy goes out to investigate the site and is suspicious to see neither policeman nor rescue team but Shyamalan’s men. They thought they were busted but it seems Muroto and Hayamiya were spotted first. As they make a run, Muroto sees a policeman shot dead. He realizes that they are going to get killed. He tells Hayamiya to escape while he distracts the pursuers. Hayamiya is cornered and those men have no mercy in firing their guns at her. However Birdy’s body armour shields her as she even bends their guns! Woah! She takes Hayamiya away and puts her into Muroto’s hands. Muroto recognizes her as Shion while Hayamiya recognizes her as the woman from the bathroom! Suddenly Birdy is being attacked by Undine who is ordered to kill her. This marionette packs a punch as she is powerful and swift, giving Birdy a run for her money. After all that whacking and pain, Birdy puts her to sleep for good as she pounds her into the power grid. There goes the power lines… Gomez appears to retrieve Undine and Birdy thinks he’s the one who snatched the marionette serial killer a couple of episodes back. He doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She tries to stop him taking the evidence away but Gomez easily twists her arm! Ouch! He tells her that her job is to find Ryunka and not fight marionettes. He even gives her a hint that Ryunka lies within humans and grows with them. Capella is talking to Shyamalan and she believes that he is the only one who fully utilizes Ryunka’s potential and will give it to him soon since he is her only friend (I wonder if that’s sarcasm). Birdy sees Nakasugi dazed in the middle of the forest so Tsutomu requests to switch bodies. He talks and snaps her out from it and she has no memories of what she is doing. She thought he was looking for her and got injured. They both walk back as Muroto and Hayamiya spot them together.

Episode 10
Gomez sees Revi and thinks they’ve overestimated Shyamalan as the only thing he sees in him is deep darkness. Revi finds it interesting and will go have a look at his so called darkness. Shyamalan wakes up from a nightmare that he’s a sole survivor in a devastating war. He wonders aliens like Capella dreams but she denies because everything in the world keeps her entertained and wants him to entertain her using Ryunka. Muroto and Hayamiya see Sanada and plead to her to get a special profile on Shyamalan. Her hands are tied and just like most of her colleagues, they believe that he is tied to the incident at the village. But he’s the boss so there are corporate censorships. However Muroto is a freelance journalist and not bound by it (get what she’s saying?) so she agrees to help him look into it. While Hayamiya eats with Muroto and is bent on bringing the truth to light, she gets an SMS from Tsutomu. He needs her advice on his date with Nakasugi. DATE?! Actually it’s like this. Ever since they came back from the village, Nakasugi has closed her heart, not talking to anyone. Grandpa is worried and talks to Tsutomu in hopes that he could cheer her up since Nakasugi did murmur how she wanted to see him. Hayamiya has always known Tsutomu’s crush on Nakasugi because his face is easy to read like a book. Nevertheless she helps plan out their outing. Tsutomu is the happiest guy in the world when Nakasugi agrees. When he’s asleep, Birdy reports to Megius about her findings. She suspects Nakasugi to be Ryunka’s host. Megius tells her that the Deity has been despatched to Earth after hearing her report. This means that they will kill Ryunka along with the host. That’s why Megius wants her to quickly take Ryunka into her custody. Even so, there is no guarantee that they can extract Ryunka out without harming Nakasugi. Tsutomu and Nakasugi meet up for their ‘date’. Spending time with her, he notices her cheering up so he ditches Hayamiya’s plans and go with the flow. Shyamalan sees Nakasugi’s grandpa and has something very frank to tell him. He is saying something about the suffering of those who have been chosen. That chosen one will always be alone. And Nakasugi is that chosen one. But she is about to make a transformation of being chosen to a chooser. Shyamalan wants to take custody of her and assures no harm will come to her. However grandpa objects to his ostensive kindness and won’t allow him to lay a single finger on his granddaughter. He tells him off never to show his face around again. Well, Shyamalan happily obliges and would make sure that never happens again. He is going to strangle that old man! Because after all, he isn’t the chosen one. And why strangle him? He believes humanity should be cleansed by his own hands. I didn’t expect him to take that too literally. Meanwhile Muroto and Hayamiya take a look at some PMI video of Shyamalan giving a speech of being chosen. Apart from all his photos together with great world leaders and powers, Hayamiya sees Shyamalan as a child and remembers seeing this kid somewhere. Referring back to a photo journal she looked up at Nakasugi’s villa, they see the same exact boy standing amidst a war-torn zone. This site was a result of a terrorist bombing and over 4000 civilians died. Only Shyamalan survived. At the end of Tsutomu and Nakasugi’s date, Nakasugi says she likes him and kisses him. He finally scores! When she returns, she is shocked to see her grandpa’s lifeless body on the floor. Yoshie is even shocked and thinks it was Nakasugi who did it. She starts accusing she isn’t the Nakasugi she knew. Because Yoshie kept on insisting, Nakasugi transforms and vaporizes her instantly!!! F*CK MAN!!! Birdy analyzes the photo Tsutomu took with Nakasugi on their date. Seems what she feared came true.

Episode 11
Megius confirms Nakasugi is Ryunka’s host and looks like there is no other way than to kill Ryunka and also kill its host. Tsutomu just wakes up from his sleep as Megius delivers the other news: His body is repaired. He’s so happy but Birdy is obviously gloomy. She musters up her courage to tell him the truth but envisions he can’t take it. In class, Kitamura tells the gang that Nakasugi’s grandpa has been murdered. Tsutomu rushes down to her mansion to see it being heavily guarded and no one else is allowed to enter. His other pals try to dig for more info on the net and learn that Yoshie is missing and may be the key witness to the murder. Tsutomu manages to spot Nakasugi sitting alone in her mansion from atop a building. He wants to watch her from this spot from now on and protect her. He begs to Birdy to lend her strength. Birdy just couldn’t tell him the truth about Ryunka. She just didn’t have the heart to tell him. As Tsutomu continues his watch throughout the night (like a stalker?), they ironically talk about Ryunka. Just when Birdy got the chance to say the truth, that bugger fell asleep! Right at the crucial moment! As the people attend the funeral, Muroto sees a video of Shyamalan attending it. Replaying it, he notes his smirk on his face similar to the one he survived the war. Next morning as Tsutomu wakes up and gets ready for another day of stalking, oops I mean watching, Birdy finally tells him the truth. As expected, he can’t take it. He knows lots of people are going to die but yet Nakasugi is innocent. My, in such a dilemma, aren’t we? As much as Birdy tries to explain, Tsutomu can’t accept it and is even upset that she used him to get her sample during their date. Then, Tsutomu is able to shut out Birdy and transform back to his body. He is not going to let Birdy have Nakasugi and tries to run the other direction. However he is knocked out by Nejula. Birdy awakens in the capsule as Megius mentions the symptoms of mind fusion have begun. She is also expected to cooperate with Nejula. With Tsutomu getting his own body back, he is ‘kicked out’ and back to his home. Oh, those bad visions are back. Tsutomu gets a surprise later that day when Nakasugi visits him. Somehow she managed to sneak out from her mansion. Birdy and Nejula are at her place but couldn’t find her. Nejula puts the spying pigeon out of commission. Capella notes they have to attain Ryunka quickly but Shyamalan is confident she will come here herself. Nakasugi talks to Tsutomu about her loneliness and how everyone streaming into her house are so kind that it feels disgusting. Tsutomu gets a call from Birdy but he lies that Nakasugi isn’t with him. Plus, he is sure Ryunka isn’t her. I guess he’s blinded by love. Nejula informs Birdy that Ryunka’s disposal has been postponed. There have been disputes within the Federation on how to handle Ryunka. Some want it to use it as an experiment for lost technology and don’t give a damn about casualties from an underdeveloped civilization. Tsutomu suggests Nakasugi that they run. Who knows where. Just somewhere. In that case, Nakasugi suggests that they run around the world robbing banks and should practise escaping now! She is happy that he wants to protect her. But seriously, she mentions that she intends to go to Shyamalan’s place because she feels he respected her and grandpa’s company. Unlike all her relatives who are just out for a piece of grandpa’s wealth. Plus, it’s childish to run away. Tsutomu hands over Nakasugi to a delighted Shyamalan at his luxury cruise. He promises he will take complete responsibility of Nakasugi’s happiness and let her develop as she should. Oh dear. It’s that smirk on his face again. As Tsutomu heads back, Nejula confronts him and warns him another Earthling knows of Ryunka and is trying to activate it. Replaying the voice of Shyamalan through the pigeon, Tsutomu realizes what Shyamalan meant by those words.

Episode 12
Nejula wants to know if Nakasugi is with Shyamalan. He lies again and she knows it’s not his nature to do so. He tries to run off but she tells him he should stay at home if he believes Nakasugi is not Ryunka. Or else heading off will be just like leading the way. So what to do? Stay home and play video games! Shyamalan drugs Nakasugi’s drink and carries her to a room and hooks her up with lots of wires and computers to teach Ryunka how to choose. Can he handle it? Nejula discusses with the Committee and a possibility that there could be some parties who want to see the power of this forbidden weapon. They make it as though Ryunka was stolen so they won’t be held responsible. If they did it directly, they’ll be guilty of treason against the Federation. Sanada has been requested to play a video by Shyamalan throughout the entire network. In his speech, he is talking about that time of evolution again. Now it’s time for another selection. Muroto is watching the video and recognizes the logo on the tea cup that belongs to a luxury liner. Man, his eyes are bloody sharp. Birdy goes back to Tsutomu to tell him that she’s going to dispose Ryunka. Tsutomu obviously is down and he couldn’t care less on what she does. She can do whatever hell she wants. Just don’t come back here anymore. Ryunka awakens. As Shyamalan is in awe of its beauty, Capella instantly flees. Soon Ryunka starts spreading and all life forms in its vicinity turns to stone and crumble. Including Shyamalan. I guess he’s not the chosen one, eh? Wow. Lots of birds, fish and insects died. And it’s like a ghost town for a city once brimming with humans. Now you only see their clothes left behind. Capella’s shield prevents her meeting the same fate. She is fleeing for her life and wonders if she has aligned herself to the wrong side since the growth of Ryunka is faster than anticipated. Muroto calls Sanada and wants her to record everything and warn others. He knows Shyamalan is planning genocide on Tokyo as he wishes for death of others and is somewhat confident he’ll survive (he didn’t, right?). Tsutomu thinks about all the times he spent with Nakasugi and then decides to do something. Can sit around and wait for death to knock at your door, right? Noticing that Ryunka is on to its second phase (it makes selective killing now by only killing humans), they decide to suppress it by firing their Hydrongius System. However Ryunka deflects it and wipes out the city! OMG! It’s like a warzone. You can’t even recognize Tokyo. The Committee decides to shift to purification process. Birdy contacts Nejula to stop the suppression but was told of the purification. She has only 1 hour to stop it before purification begins. Tsutomu runs in the opposite direction of the fleeing and panicking crowd. He bumps into Muroto. In his car, Muroto asks if Nakasugi is the one. The one he likes. He does not hesitate to say yes. He drives pass the roadblock so that Tsutomu could board the ship which is conveniently stopped dead in its tracks by the bridge’s pillars. Shouldn’t the pillars have crumbled? Muroto fights the police officers and risks getting 2 weeks in prison. What is that compared to world destruction?

Episode 13
Tsutomu barges into the ship to find Nakasugi. Meanwhile Birdy pilots her Rairaro plane and was given an updated on Ryunka by Megius. It’s possible to separate Ryunka from the host when it transforms into a Vandeilo spore during the third stage. In this phase, Ryunka can be transferred to another life form after which it will develop within the new life form. If the host’s functions are disabled before it fully matures, it’s possible to capture Ryunka. And Vandeilo stage is within 1 hour. Very close, eh? Nejula volunteers to perform the purification since the Committee can’t do it from where they are. After all, only 47% of Earth’s land will be destroyed. Bad you say? It’s better than the entire planet exploding. Tsutomu finds Nakasugi but she is switching back and forth between Ryunka and her own form. She wants Tsutomu to be with her as she has killed Shyamalan (creepy maniacal laughter she’s got). Ryunka had trouble controlling this body since Nakasugi has always been resisting it but Shyamalan made her let her guard down. Ryunka continues how intelligent life form always wished for the death of others so she travelled among those foolish life forms and destroys them. Her wish is to silence the universe. Tsutomu wants Nakasugi returned but Ryunka blames him for letting go to Shyamalan in the first place. She admits the attack on the village and in no time will consume all life forms on this planet. She wants Tsutomu to come with her. To the ends of the Earth. Or is it to the end of the world? Tsutomu agrees he won’t let her go anywhere else and will always be with her when Birdy slides in to grab him away. He tells her that Nakasugi hasn’t totally disappeared yet or completely taken over since he can hear her voice. He knows he can save her. Ryunka finds them a nuisance and transforms into her main body to seek and destroy. Birdy fights it but is no match for its might. Tsutomu sees Nakasugi within Ryunka’s main body and calls out her name. It reaches her as she reverts to herself and hugs him. She asks if he still remembers. The kiss. Oh yes. Sure of course. Asserting she wants to be with him forever, I guess Ryunka intervenes and adds he can be with her forever alright. Forever by her side to watch humans die. Guess what? He agrees. But it’s a plan to plead to Ryunka to get out of Nakasugi and enter his body instead. Can he? Can. How? Kiss her!!! Birdy is upset he did something foolish but Tsutomu points out that she was planning to do it herself and dispose it along with herself. Ryunka starts activating so Tsutomu wants Birdy to kill him. Oh my. He’s going to die a second time. Here comes that power punch. No regrets, buddy? Ryunka is turned into a spore in which Nejula seals it and takes it away. Before Nejula leaves, Capella tries to persuade her to give her Ryunka. She hints she has friends in the council. But Nejula isn’t swayed and will see her in court. The next day, the city is recovering from the shock. Shyamalan is listed as missing while Muroto and Sanada meet up. In school, seems Nakasugi and Tsutomu are still alive. Nakasugi getting emotional as she is saying farewell to her friends because she’ll be transferring school. Tsutomu also wishes her well but it seems she doesn’t know who he is. That’s because she has 3 months worth of memory lost! Good thing and bad thing. She gets to forget all that trauma she went through but at the same time, all the nice time spent with Tsutomu (and that kiss). I guess only he will only remember it. Hayamiya cheers him up and ‘welcomes’ him back to the loners club. But he won’t exactly be alone because he is again borrowing Birdy’s body. Yeah, I expected this. Since his body was really messed up, it will take a longer time to be repaired. So in the mean time, enjoy the ride. Lastly, Gomez and Revi watch Birdy from afar and though she possesses no threat, Revi finds her intriguing.

Tetsuwan Birdy Decode S2

Well, that isn’t really the end yet because at the end of the first season, it stated the series will be continued. Like taking a short break, 3 months after the end of the first season, Tetsuwan Birdy Decode S2 continues it run in January 2009. I thought the continuation would be about despicable parties trying to continue and activate Ryunka on Earth or at least some development in the relationship between the characters like Tsutomu with Birdy or with his friends but the main focus didn’t really turn out like that.

Episode 1
The perpetrators that were responsible for Ryunka are captured and being escorted on Atola prison satellite. However their comrades stage a surprise attack and free them. A month has passed since the devastation of Tokyo. The place is still in ruins though. Hayamiya drags the guys into her Reporter Club as she plans to do an investigation about the lives of those involved in the disaster as their cultural festival focus. Not interested, aren’t we? She beats Tsutomu up when she hears him talking to himself about her liking funerals (he was explaining to Birdy actually). In the bus, she continues to be mean till she stepped over the line by mentioning Nakasugi. She’s gone, man. Soon Megius contacts Birdy and gives her data on the escaped criminals. They are former Deity Shi Riansharu, former high seated Union member Argazume Tura, former biochemistry researchers and twins Faroid and Tasera Crystal, former battle commander in the intelligence department Gatol Buran, his subordinate Moss Kiri who is believed to lead the breakout operation, and Alterian Valic Niwa who is an intelligence of an anti-government organization. These powerful criminals are the ones who removed Ryunka from the government’s safe and used Geega to deliver them to Earth. They have already infiltrated Earth so Birdy’s mission is to capture them unharmed. Tsutomu is pumped up to join her on this mission because those bastards nearly destroyed Earth. But Birdy has to do her Shion modelling since Irma is her manager. Hey, isn’t that Capella working under her? Birdy has no choice since her rent is at stake. Plus, she won’t get juicy information if she doesn’t do her bit. Valic and his team secretly see Dusk. He gives them a pendant that will have them assimilate as Earthlings on this planet. They have to lie low and mingle with the Earthlings while their comrades inside the government try to prove what their commander did was right. But in the event if they get killed on this planet, their device will disintegrate them and will not leave a trace of their existence. Valic cautions that the one who sealed Ryunka is still on this planet. Birdy tries to run away to sever ties with Irma. However upon learning she won’t be getting information and pocket money (Tsutomu’s allowance won’t be enough to feed her enormous appetite), she has no choice but to stay. Frustrating, eh? Especially if her favourite rice balls is on the line. Irma gives Birdy info about a strange French art dealer Lilo Molelu (Riansharu) who checked into a nearby hotel. She knows he is definitely not an Earthling. Birdy is about to pay him a visit but some guy beat her to it. Not only that, he kills the old fart! By the time Birdy enters the room, she sees him in his own pool of blood before disintegrating. She takes his pendant and flees before the hotel maid returns with reinforcements because she thought she was the killer. Birdy jumps out of the window and transforms into Tsutomu. Why did they have to land right in the middle of the road? See, got hit by a car. However in hospital, Tsutomu is diagnosed to be alright and nothing broken. Tsutomu transforms into Birdy to give those yakuzas responsible for knocking them down the slip. As she leaves, she slips on a ball. The hospital’s male nurse recognizes Birdy and helps her out, noticing she has not changed. Birdy recognizes him as Nataru Shinmyou.

Episode 2
He is her childhood friend as they both have a little chat to catch up on lost times. Looks like the last time they met was 14 years ago and he finds this undeveloped planet to be okay. At least Alterians aren’t discriminated after that terrorist attack on Central Tower. Back home, Birdy informs Megius her findings and shows him the pendant, Virtual Reaction Chip that leaves no traces of evidence. He will also do his own investigations. Next day, Tsutomu is shocked to see several posts on the message board about a female suspect involved in a mysterious disappearance at the hotel. However the drawing turns out to be horrible so you can say Birdy’s identity is safe. After Birdy reluctantly accepts more Shion jobs from Irma (looks like it’s confirmed Capella is working under her), she lets her in on some info that someone inside the federation is helping the escapees. Birdy goes to talk to Nataru to find out more but they’re interrupted by a wheel chair girl, Shouko. Shouko doesn’t like that stupid idol so Nataru goes off with her to prepare for tomorrow. Back home, Birdy wonders why she’s unfriendly towards her so Tsutomu the love expert explains about the jealousy of a girl’s heart. Obviously Birdy has never fallen in love before so she wouldn’t know. The next day, Shouko and Nataru pay a visit to Shouko’s brother, Yuuichi Kagami’s grave since it’s his death anniversary. Nataru gets a call from his dad, Dusk. He goes to see him as the old man wants to know if he’s been coming here while he’s gone. He denies so Dusk thinks it wasn’t him who killed Riansharu. He also warns Nataru not to use that power or else it will destroy him. Birdy visits Irma again (more info = more Shion jobs. Oh, Capella really talking bad behind Irma’s back about her predicament). This time there is a man that looks like a Gapirian and is somewhere at the back of the mountains. Birdy goes off to look for him and it isn’t long before she stumbles on his trail and realizes he is Argazume. She confronts him while he is entering the hotel but he fires at her and makes a run. Though she chases him through the city ruins, he eventually gives her the slip. But he is confronted with Nataru and he realizes he is the one who killed Riansharu. Argazume thought nobody could kill him but Nataru proves him wrong otherwise. With his speed and strength, Nataru won’t let him die easily and rips his arms!!! Seems Nataru has a grudge against those who wanted to experiment Ryunka on this planet since Earthlings and Alterians look similar, thus they couldn’t care less if they all die. Flashback reveals when Nataru is out for a drink with Kagami, Ryunka was activated and vaporized everyone. Nataru was saved by his automatic shield barrier. It’s no wonder he takes it out on Argazume like a punching bag. By the time Birdy arrives, she only sees a pool of blood and the pendant. At a distance, Nataru limps away and notes how there are 5 more left.

Episode 3
Valic gathers the remaining members as he knows they are being targeted. Moss thinks the culprit maybe among them and is interested who is coming after them. Nataru wakes up in his room like as though he has a hangover last night. See all his pills scattered on the floor? Tsutomu follows Hayamiya and co to the refugee camp for victims of the ruins as part of her interview for the cultural festival. They see a bunch of boys bullying weak Takumi but gutsy Marina beats them all up and sends them scampering. After getting to know them, Marina and Takumi take the gang to tour around the place. It’s amazing that the little ones have more stamina and endurance than those high school blokes. Along the way, Marina and Takumi’s closeness reminds Birdy of herself and Nataru. She touches a little bit on Violin Kouyume, somebody who cared for her when she was young. They have to postpone their conversation to another day or else everyone will think Tsutomu is a nut talking to himself. At the end of the tour, Marina wants them to pay for tour fees! Is a coin enough? You got to be kidding me! Tsutomu spots Nataru in one of the tents so opportunist Marina agrees to introduce him if he pays an introductory fee. She can grow up to be a good business woman. Tsutomu talks to Nataru as the latter sees the similarities between Marina-Takumi and himself with Birdy. It’s like as though watching themselves all over again. You know, Birdy always saving his ass from bullies. Ah, those were the good ol’ days. Birdy is glad he still remembers Violin. Hayamiya and the rest continue their interview but one of the comments from the refugee hit a hard note on her. He said how they had so much free time and going around filming without permission it’s like as though they enjoy seeing others suffer. Then they overheard Takumi’s parents are worried about their son because he is nowhere in the camp. Hayamiya calls Tsutomu so they all go look for the duo. Seems they are making a rundown bus in the ruins their new home (because Takumi’s parents are moving out of the camp). They couldn’t find the kids when they see specky otaku and fat otaku coming out from the ruin entrance (they must’ve had a field day filming those abandoned buildings). Replaying his recorder, they see Marina and Takumi running by. Nataru rushes in and just in time because a bunch of hooligans are destroying the bus and threatening the kids. However Nataru gets beaten up and didn’t fight back (maybe he doesn’t want to show his scary side to the kids?). Just before his power activates, Birdy appears and beats the crap out of the hooligans before rounding them up. In the aftermath, Marina and Takumi assert they want to be together forever. But Nataru tells them that even though they’re separated know, they’ll surely meet again as adults. Just don’t forget each other. Nataru thanks Birdy for coming to his rescue again just like old times. Soon Takumi and his family leave the camp. Tsutomu wonders if Nataru likes Birdy but Birdy mentions she likes him. However Tsutomu knows it isn’t that kind of love. Yeah, he’s being that love expert again. Funny, Birdy should’ve know what Tsutomu is talking about or at least what he is getting at since she teased him a bit about his love for Nakasugi in the previous season.

Episode 4
Shion is in one of those jobs from Irma. In a swimsuit with a bunch of other female contestants in a variety show. Oh the things Tsutomu has to put up with. Later Birdy sees Tamaki Saito AKA Kurukuz and forces him to spill the beans on the Virtual Reaction Chip he sold. Then she goes to see Dusk and finds Nataru hanging out at his father’s place. She thought he wasn’t on good terms with his dad. She points out Dusk has helped the escaped convicts so Dusk mentions he was a member of the Izudaruta Alterian Liberation Front. Though their aim was to fight and liberate Alterians, they were the ones who triggered the Central Tower incident. Nataru stands up for his father and mentions that happened after he left the anti-government group. Besides, Dusk had no choice but to cooperate because Valic threatened to bring them down if he ever gets caught. Birdy wants to know the escapees’ position so Dusk gives her see some brief information. Tute (the handphone) picks up signals of Valic nearby so she rushes off. Moss is seen spying outside. When Birdy arrives, Valic has already left the place for good. Nataru views this as Birdy giving them a chance to run so he starts packing his bags. While Dusk waits alone in the hotel, Moss and Gatol pick him up. Maybe Nataru shouldn’t have left his old man alone. He comes back, he’s gone. Dusk is being interrogated by the convicts if he is under orders from anybody. He denies selling them out but they don’t believe him. Moss fights with him and she realizes his legendary arm Bluetooth. Gatol takes over and kills him. Not before getting a little injured himself. Nataru gets a call from Kurukuz about Dusk. A small funeral is held as Birdy attends. Nataru hugs her and apologizes. Nataru meets Faroid at the park as the latter needs a new face for a new identity. But Nataru has him mention the name of his father’s killer. Even so, he starts ripping out Faroid’s arm!!! Then the other!!! That’s got to hurt a lot!!! Faroid insists he didn’t do anything but Nataru says he was the one who released Ryunka despite him just researching on it. Using his powers to transport to the ruins, he drops a concrete slab on Faroid and makes it his grave! What a way to die. Tasera suddenly wakes up and could tell her brother’s passing. Birdy also wakes up to see Nataru sitting by her side. She vows to catch the perpetrator and Nataru thanks her.

Episode 5
Gatol is testing an Entangler cannon. Let’s say the blow up effect is overkill if they’re going to use it for a single person. The convicts are convinced Birdy is the one who killed their members. Shouko learns from a nurse about Nataru’s father’s death. She wants to comfort him since she knows what’s like to be lonely but he’ll be alright. She thinks he prefers to be with Shion but he mentions they’re just friends and don’t see each other that often. Birdy gets a call from Irma but it’s actually Valic. He has kidnapped Irma and wants Birdy to come alone to the ruins if she ever wants to see this old hag alive. At the rooftop, Valic uses Irma as a hostage while accusing her of killing his comrades. However she isn’t aware of what’s happened. Thinking she’s putting up an act, he mocks her that her likes are fabricated from superior genes of Alterians are made to benefit the Federation government. All this talk is so that Valic could stall Birdy as Gatol takes aim with Entangler from afar. Birdy dares Valic to kill Irma seeing that he killed many during the Central Tower incident. Birdy realizes Entangler targeted at her and avoids before being vaporized. Man, that’s one bloody big hole it made. Seeing their plans foiled, Valic fights Birdy but Moss soon joins in. Irma escapes but is saved by Capella. During the fist fight with Moss, Birdy starts weakening though she still maintains an edge over Moss. Gatol orders Moss to retreat seeing she is no match for her in close combat. Tsutomu wakes up from a strange dream whereby it seems events from a young Birdy’s point of view has been replaced by his young self. Next thing Tsutomu knows, he wakes up in Birdy’s capsule and Megius mentioning Birdy being hit by an Entangle bullet. However with Birdy not her usual self, Megius wonders who this stranger is. Then it hit Tsutomu, it is him in Birdy’s body! Confused? Well, what we see is Birdy’s body however it’s not Birdy but Tsutomu’s personality instead. Shocking, eh? Attempts to wake Birdy up are futile as Megius decides to call a specialist. So I guess in Birdy’s body, this gives him a perfect excuse to skip school, eh? But he can’t bum around at home all day. Capella calls ‘Birdy’ to give her job schedule. Tsutomu must be feeling odd trying to fix a woman’s hair and wear woman’s clothes. Nobody is going to believe he isn’t Birdy so Tsutomu reluctantly has to go do the jobs. This include a signing ceremony (specky otaku and fat otaku at the event asking ‘Birdy’ to sign on the shirt and make a human heart shape for a photo!),  modelling in various ridiculous outfits and a TV show contest in which she has to eat a plate of crickets. Is this what Shion has always been doing? Tsutomu complains to Megius that he can’t take it anymore so Megius brings in the specialist, Dr Doore. Confirming that Tsutomu has seen Violin in his weird dreams, this could only mean that mind fusion has begun. Deja vu, eh? At this rate, both their memories will be in disorder and his personality will gradually superimpose on Birdy’s, thus erasing her.

Episode 6
Of course Tsutomu isn’t going to let Birdy die like that and take over her body and be a new life form. After confirming a few oddities with Birdy’s behaviour, Doore is going to have Tsutomu dive into Birdy’s mind to slow the progression of the disorder and end the mind fusion. He will experience her memories by being turned into data. Tsutomu gets into the capsule and gets ready. Doore and Megius assure him that they will pull him out if he is in danger because they’ll be protecting him. Both parties are also able to communicate during the dive. Tsutomu doesn’t experience Birdy’s memories through her eyes. But rather like a ghost following her around. He sees young Birdy and her guardian Violin. Also the news report of the 2nd anniversary of the Akuraba Outer Garden Administrative District’s terrorist attack. Its ringleader Revi is nowhere to be found. It is Birdy’s first day at school but like all Alterians, they are being discriminated. When a kid purposely trips Birdy, she tries to get even but the rest sees her as becoming violent. Megius bails her out from the principal’s office and was being told to control herself and refrain from rash behaviour. Later Skeletsu has Birdy undergo some intensive training with Tute since she is part of the Federation police. Tsutomu feels the training is too harsh but as Megius points out, it’s not because Birdy wanted to become a Federation investigator, rather it has decided she would become one. Birdy is an Ixcioran, Alterians with altered genes that makes them posses super abilities and thus a superior species of Alterians. Since they can’t let such power run free, they are managed from a young age and mostly Ixcioran’s job will be confined to police, military and the likes. Tsutomu laments that she can’t choose her future. Birdy continues her training with Skeletsu and undergoes massive improvements in time and damage taken. On her way to school, she sees a group of aliens bullying a boy: Nataru. Tsutomu upon realizing this kid is Nataru, informs Megius that his father was part of Izudaruta and accommodated the escapees. Everyone backs off upon knowing she’s an Ixcioran. Birdy gets acquainted with Nataru and brings him back to Violin to stitch him back up. One day, Nataru meets Birdy to bring her back to his place since Dusk wants to meet her. She is shown around the place before Dusk brings her to eat with some of his friends. She quickly blends into the gang. Dusk asks her of the existence of Ixcioran’s power so she replies it is to help her friends. However he cautions she mustn’t give in to that power and that she herself must find the meaning of being an Ixcioran. Doing so, she’ll be able to open up her own future and treasure herself. Before Birdy leaves, she gets the green light from Nataru to come back here again because she loves everyone here.

Episode 7
Tsutomu notices how close Birdy and Violin are. But Doore alters the data a little as Tsutomu sees Violin’s true form as a marionette. He is being told Birdy’s emotional desires have altered her memories on Violin. Violin is an elaborated marionette programmed to train Ixciorans but Birdy couldn’t accept this fact and sees her as a human. Birdy continues to spend more time with Nataru and one day she was being picked up by Skeletsu. He tells her Violin is in hospital but nothing to be alarmed since it is her periodical check-up. Birdy sees Nataru following Valic. Skeletsu and Birdy will be heading to Central Tower where she is having her calibration and also a memorial service for the Akuraba incident. As Skeletsu shows her around the crowded place, suddenly security detects an irregularity. Megius tells Tsutomu this is the start of the Central Tower terrorist attack. Though this is the past and not reality, he wants Tsutomu not to be distracted. Soon a wormhole opens and a swarm of Berserker units crash into the tower and start attacking and killing all security personnel. Revi’s voice is also heard as she announced the end of Alterians’ discrimination and their liberation for independence. Skeletsu has Tute bring Birdy out of the tower as he rendezvous with Megius. With Violin informing them Birdy is still in the tower and the intruders are heading towards the underground nuclear reactor, they think the terrorists are going to blow this place up. Violin assures that she will go save Birdy. Birdy takes on a few Berserker units herself but falls through when the ground caves in. She wakes up in an underground area with lots of Berserker units. Then Violin comes smashing all of them to rescue Birdy. However she faces off with a giant unit and gets crushed. Now it’s Birdy’s turn to go berserk upon seeing Violin being smashed before her eyes. She draws incredible strength from it and tears the giant like as though she’s shredding paper! But the fact was she saw Violin’s true marionette form and still couldn’t accept it. Before Birdy passes out, she sees a guy carrying her away but couldn’t see clearly his face. Shortly after, Central Tower explodes. Birdy wakes up in bed and she recognizes Tsutomu. He extends his hand for them to go home. With that, her consciousness has returned and the mind fusion danger has been avoided. Birdy speaks to Tsutomu how Violin put her life on the line to protect her even if she was a marionette or programmed to do so. Even so, she still loves her. Tsutomu realizes Birdy wants to meet the person who saved her that day so that she could thank her but she thanks Tsutomu for saving her too.

Episode 8
Flashback that Dusk and his group stole an Ixcioran baby but to their dismay he was deemed a failure. After losing 5 of their comrades to get it, they want it disposed but Dusk decided to adopt him and raise it like his own son. Shion is having an interview with Muroto. He wants to know her real identity seeing he saw her smash buildings and jumping through the sky. And no, he wasn’t drunk. Plus, he saw her at Dusk’s funeral. Well, she tells the truth about being a Federation investigator chasing a dangerous criminal and that her modelling job is just a cover up. Yeah, who the hell is going to believe that? Shouko’s uncle plans to bring her back to his place but she’s not too thrilled. She goes off looking for Nataru but to her dismay, sees him hugging Shion. Actually Shion tripped on a can so he caught her. When Nataru is talking to Birdy, he gets a call from Shouko. You can tell from her screaming voice for him to be happy with Shion that it’s goodbye. Then she goes missing from the hospital so the duo go in search for her. She is at the train station and upon seeing Nataru come looking for her, she becomes happy. But that soon fades because Shion is with him. Birdy jumps over the trains to the opposite platform to catch up with Shouko (somehow nobody saw that). However Shouko screams Shion getting violent with her. The crowd corners Shion and at this point, Shouko has slipped away. Meanwhile the convicts are split if Birdy was the one who is really trying to kill them. Valic remembers something from his past and thinks there could be another Ixcioran on this planet. Nataru and Birdy search through the building when an announcer informs Birdy to go up to a certain floor because Shouko is waiting for her. But it’s a trap laid out by that brat because all the otakus are waiting for her! She manages to give them the slip when she temporarily transforms into Tsutomu. Then Birdy sees Shouko get into a taxi so she cuts the queue to follow Shouko in another taxi. Yeah, start of a taxi chase throughout town. Birdy laments she could’ve been faster if she ran (unless she wants to risk everyone spotting her). Ultimately, Shouko gets on a ferry to leave Birdy stranded. Amazingly for a girl with crutches, she can go this far. Shouko falls asleep and when she wakes up, she is being carried by Tsutomu out. Then Nataru comes by so she kicks up a fuss again. But upon learning the truth about the ‘hug’ she got embarrassed. She then ditches her crutches to walk into Nataru’s arms. She doesn’t want to return to her uncle’s place and wants to be with Nataru forever. He replies he can’t be with her forever. Nataru takes sleeping Shouko back to the hospital with Birdy accompanying them. They talk about Kagami and how he is a good person. He is sure he would’ve liked Birdy if he was alive and had met. Next day, Shouko’s uncle decides not to force her to come with him and let her recuperate in hospital. Birdy and Nataru have a chat at the park. He catches her when she trips on a can again. Their close proximity has been caught on camera by Muroto. When Nataru returns to his apartment, Moss is waiting in his room and shoots him.

Episode 9
Before Moss can plant another bullet in his head, he activates his power. Woah! He reverses time and undid everything till the point he just stepped into the apartment! Though, he retained his memories of what happened. Then as he walks up to his door, he is fully prepared. He teleports close to Moss but her reflex was fast enough to counter him. Though she got wounded, she still manages to escape. Nataru collapses and he remembers how he told dad he wanted to be an Ixcioran like Birdy. However Dusk said that it’s not all fun because when you gain something, you lose something. Gatol treats Moss and they reminisce about their battlefield days. Tasera then explains what she has found out. About 30 years ago there was a project to develop Ixciorans to jump (teleport). However it was quickly stopped since the success rate was small and lots of test subjects died due to lack of stability. Moss finds Nataru at the hospital. Upon setting her sights on him, she quickly throws a bomb. But Nataru stops time and takes the bomb with him. Time resumes, Nataru is nowhere to be seen so Moss walks away and thinks how amazing his powers are. As for Nataru, he went back so far in time. Back to the days he and Kagami are college mates. He throws the bomb into the pond in which it explodes. This causes a commotion for the students to come and take a look. Ironically, this is where Nataru and Kagami got to know each other and this incident led them to become good friends. Nataru then returns back to his normal time. But he collapses at Muroto’s place. The reporter takes him in. When Nataru comes to, he calls Shouko to assure her of what happened at the hospital was nothing alarming. He also informs her that he will be resigning. Not because about making Shion mad, but rather people tend to be troubled around him. Nataru’s condition worsens as blood is flowing out from his eyes. Birdy visits Nataru’s apartment because he requested her to take some pills he is on. She sees his messed up apartment and knows something is amiss. Valic is watching Birdy coming out from the apartment while Gatol exits the hospital and confirms of Nataru’s resignation. He notes how he is covering his tracks but is confident he will show himself as he is looking for them as they are for him. Gatol and Moss relish of entering an interesting battlefield. By the way, Tasera has already run away because she got really scared by the fact she could be slaughtered like her twin. Like they say, when the going gets tough, she gets going. Haha. Just kidding. Birdy meets Nataru in a car to pass him his medications. He is reluctant to tell what is going on but lets up. Taking off his sunglasses, Birdy is surprised to see his bloodshot eyes. Wanting her to come closer as he wish not speak loud, he then kisses her! Does that tell you everything you need to know? Yeah. Goodbye. Nataru drives off and Birdy is left standing. Tsutomu wants her to go after him since he knows she likes her. So says the love expert.

Episode 10
Flashback when young Birdy spotted Nataru following Valic before she followed Skeletsu to the Central Tower. At a deserted place, Valic suddenly beats up Nataru. Seems he is envious of Dusk and his abilities and yet he left the organization. Tsutomu and his friends are preparing for the cultural festival. He talks to Birdy who is rather quiet recently. Birdy insists Nataru isn’t related to the murders of the convicts. Nataru continues to live under Muroto’s care. Muroto explains he is indebted to Dusk for always selling him cheap books he wanted. So when he saw his son lying on the road, he just couldn’t leave it. Then he shows Nataru a photo of him and Shion together. Irma forces Capella to do another debut job, much to her dismay. Then she receives an email about Capella’s date of trial before the Federation Military Tribunal. The portal opens and Kashugeza is to escort Capella back. However Capella intends to fight back and probably kill him. Irma suddenly slaps, hugs her and tells her she is not that kind of girl because she is kind-hearted. She will wait for her return. This softens Capella’s heart so she agrees to go back without resisting and thanks her for everything. Kashugeza wants Irma to relay a message to Birdy that the reinforcement application she requested was approved. Capella wonders how she was found out so Irma reveals she was the one who reported her. Capella instantly becomes furious and felt like a fool for getting emotional for her. Well, you can kill her when you get back. If you can… Moss and Gatol slaughter several American soldiers (some decapitated!) at the port to steal a nuclear weapon. Tasera contacts Moss and didn’t like their doing (it’s on the news). She wants to live a peaceful life as a human on this planet and will not contact them anymore. Seems Tasera is an adopted child under the name of Ramia and her new parents are showering her with attention and love. As Tsutomu’s friends are going over the photos of the interview they did at the city ruins’ camp, Tsutomu spots a ball onsite. Birdy goes there and recognizes it as Nataru’s toy. Scanning the site, it is confirmed Nataru was here and next to it Faroid’s grave. Birdy becomes depressed but still couldn’t accept Nataru as the killer. When Muroto goes out to the convenience store, Nataru sifts through his photos and sees Tasera in one of them. He rushes out and bumps into Muroto but the latter loses sight of him. Muroto calls Shion (he stole the number from Nataru’s handphone when he wasn’t looking) and tells her about Nataru’s odd behaviour. In an instant, she rushes over to Muroto’s place, shocking that guy and searches the place like it’s her own. After learning his photos were messed, Birdy looks at the photos and sees the one Tasera is in. Seems that place is a children’s protection institution. When Birdy arrives at the place, the nun tells her she has already been adopted. The nun is also bemused because there was a guy asking for Ramia too. Tasera’s fears come true when she sees Nataru at the doorstep. He shows no mercy and decapitates her!!! Nataru uses Tasera’s communicator to contact Valic. He strikes fear in that guy by saying he will kill him last. Birdy arrives too late and realized Nataru as the killer and shows him his ball toy. As Nataru leaves saying he’ll kill every single one of them. Birdy is upset he didn’t arrest them as he is a Federation investigator.

Episode 11
With the cultural festival in full force, Tsutomu, Kitamura and Chigira are the first batch to walk around the place. They take a fortune reading and though Tsutomu’s fortune reads good luck, he can’t help feel sad that the remark of a reunion with a person he wished to meet for so long. Yup. Nakasugi comes to mind. He hasn’t got over it, eh? Later Tsutomu talks to Birdy but she still refuses to believe Nataru is the culprit. But Tsutomu understands her situation because he too was like then when Ryunka was within Nakasugi. Muroto comes by because I guess it’s a tradition for old boys to pay a visit to their old club. Probably he was ranting too much that he didn’t notice Tsutomu going away. But Tsutomu returns as Shion and she knows Nataru is at his place and wants him to take her there. While Gatol and Moss are talking on top of a building, Nataru attacks them in a surprise. Nataru may be weakening but he manages to use his powers to twist Gatol’s arm and puncture an eye!!! But ultimately he is too weak to finish him off as Gatol escapes and Nataru teleports back to Muroto’s room and collapses. While wounded Gatol is hastening the activation of the nuclear weapon, Moss kills him. She reminds him that she hates weak men. Later she meets Gomez and gives him Gatol’s Virtual Reaction Chip as proof he is dead. Seems she killed him as part of an agreement to meet Revi. But Gomez mentions Revi doesn’t want to see her and that she broke the agreement first. Without reporting accurate data on Ryunka to them, they experimented with it. Gomez didn’t want all life force on this planet to be eradicated. Moss threatens to reveal Revi’s location on this planet to the Federation so Gomez dares her to do as she wishes. He goes away and says they’ll never meet again. Birdy wants to see Nataru alone so Muroto has to wait outside in his own apartment. She is shocked to see Nataru’s condition. He can’t be arrested yet since he hasn’t killed them all. Birdy takes him away to her ship whereby she heals him in her capsule. During that time, she has learnt of his body as a failed Ixcioran. Nataru further explains how Dusk used this reason to leave the organization in order to raise him. When Ryunka activated and killed everyone before his eyes, he went back to Dusk and was being told of all these and warned not to use his Ixcioran powers. He believes Ixciorans’ lives should not have been born. They are weapons and not people. Since it’s not over, Nataru teleports away to finish his killing mission. Birdy then gets a call from Irma. Seems Valic wants to turn himself in as he is tired of this game and doesn’t want to be killed by that person. But Valic seems to be in good mood and not worried. Birdy wants to question him over the Central Tower attack so Valic says that a key player in the attack is the one targeting him. Hayamiya is nervous before her presentation to the crowd. She gets a pleasant surprise from Nakasugi who is back to visit them. But Nakasugi starts asking Hayamiya about Tsutomu. Has her memories come back? Well, she flipped through her little notebook and found lots of pictures of her and Tsutomu together (remember that date?). She wonders if anything happened between them. I’m sure she’ll be lost for words on this than her presentation. Nataru contacts Moss and learns Gatol is dead. So he’s targeting her next. Moss is looking forward to a good fight till his life burns out because she loves strong men and will be with him.

Episode 12
After learning Nataru will kill him last, she wants Valic to take her to where Nataru and Moss are. He agrees seeing that being with a Federation investigator is the safest place now. Moss is relishing the fight with Nataru and she guesses right that each time he jumps, his body shield weakens. Using this weakness, she manages to wound him but Nataru’s rage proves too much to handle as he rips her arm. When he is about to slam a concrete slab on her, Birdy arrives and saves Moss. She wants to end this and Nataru to leave it to her so that she can arrest Moss. But he doesn’t believe in her kind of justice. Not anymore. Birdy and Nataru have a clash of ideals. Nataru feels pitiful for them being born an Ixcioran and will therefore kill Birdy because he doesn’t want to see her fight anymore. Both childhood friends trade blows as Birdy tries to convince him but her words fell on deaf ears. The power battle continues throughout the ruins as Birdy makes a run for it seeing Tsutomu feels she can’t fight him. As Moss lies injured, Valic comes up to her. He realizes she killed Gatol and is going to escape. She tells him to hurry up and disappear since she will not live in disgrace. Valic realizes she has started the timer on the nuclear. This has Valic remember the Central Tower attack. He and several of his comrades were supposed to blow themselves up but he chickened out and escaped. Then the part Valic was beating up Nataru, Nataru told him he would blow himself up in his father’s place. Birdy’s fight with Nataru continues as she wants him to come back to her ship and recover back to his usual self. Now he has a change of mind and wants her to kill him with her Ixcioran powers. Then the offer is over. Now Nataru is going to kill her. Make up your mind! Nataru pounds Birdy down through various floors till she is unconscious. Before the concrete could fall on her, Tsutomu transforms back to barely escape the crushing concrete. Nataru is surprised to see Tsutomu. If a fellow Ixcioran’s words won’t do, how about a human? Tsutomu lectures him that Birdy wasn’t only born to fight, but to save lives. Birdy lent him her body so that he could live and vows to protect her. Then Birdy transforms back and at this point, Nataru’s eyes opened. As the structure collapses and Birdy falling down with it, Nataru dives down to save her. The way Nataru carried her reminded her how she was being saved carried away by that guy. After putting her down, he thanks her and realizes he has things he wants to tell her. They both kiss. Nataru says he will meet her again. The use of his jump powers has him going back further in time. To the point when Central Tower is being attacked. Nataru carries Birdy away and brings him to his younger self who is about to blow himself up. He tells him to protect her before disappearing. Valic admits he is still a chicken after all and disarms the nuclear. Meanwhile Hayamiya’s heartfelt presentation moved her audiences as her friends congratulate her. Though they are puzzled Tsutomu never showed up, Nakasugi is confident they will meet again. Megius informs Birdy that Moss’ arrest was meaningful and her testimony is likely to influence the government’s core. As for the secret information on records of Ixciorans with jump ability she requested, it seems there is no such truth. Though Birdy is thinks there is one, at least one successful case, Megius asserts there was none and this case is closed. Birdy sees Shouko praying at her brother’s grave. She relays information that Nataru is doing fine in another country. She gives her Nataru’s ball toy in which she finds it fascinating. Muroto gives an envelope of pictures of Shion and Nataru together so Birdy notes she’ll be waiting for him.

The Cipher OVA
This is the missing link between the first and second season even though this OVA came out after the second season ended. Reports on the aftermath of Ryunka are being reported that the Japanese government tried to use nuclear power. Tsutomu is saddened with the many deaths but as gratitude for lending her body, she can change back to herself anytime. She didn’t hesitate to do that. Irma finds Capella sleeping in a box at the camp and brings her in. She knows she is related to the Ryunka incident and has been abandoned. She offers her to stay here but… I guess the mystery of how Capella ended up here is solved. Since Shion is rather free now, Irma wants her to continue doing more jobs for her and has Capella be her manager and servant. Not too happy to see her, is she? But what choice has she got? Shion continues her modelling and was being told she will have a concert in Kobe next week. Hayamiya receives a letter from Nakasugi doing well living her farm life in Kobe with her distant relatives. But in actual fact, they are making her do lots of hard work though I won’t say they’re mistreating her, I feel they’re still being cold. Since Hayamiya wants to do a report on the city ruins, Tsutomu gives an excuse he won’t be around because he’ll be in Kobe due to some relatives thingy. Knowing his intentions, Hayamiya passes him Nakasugi’s new address. Upon arriving in Kobe, Birdy manages to get permission to go sightseeing till they end up in Nakasugi’s farm. Since Tsutomu was a coward, she purposely brought him here. They see Nakasugi doing farm work so Shion goes to talk to her and get quickly acquainted. Nakasugi is sad that they just got to know each other but they’ll soon have to part. Shion says she’ll come back tomorrow. The next day, Birdy and Tsutomu observe her in her school and farm and notice how she is pushing herself when in fact she’s lonely. Nakasugi didn’t expect Shion to come talk to her again so Nakasugi says everyone by her side have all left. From her parents and recently her beloved grandpa. She felt so heartbroken and lonely but all of a sudden, those feelings disappeared. And with her grandpa’s demise, she too feels that will be forgotten soon. Therefore she just wants to be alone and don’t want to get along with anyone. Shion relates the same experience she had but during that time, she was looked after (that Central Tower incident). She is confident someone is looking after her too even if she’s apart and faraway. Suddenly a marionette attacks Shion and puts Nakasugi to sleep and kidnaps her. Birdy chases her up to a building in town and is taken aback that the marionette resembles closely to Violin. She manages to distract the marionette by temporarily transforming into Tsutomu and then back to herself to retrieve Nakasugi. Because she is protecting her, her hands are tied as she takes a beating. The marionette strangles her with a wire but is suddenly put out of commission by Nejula. She reveals there are some parties in the Federation who believe there are pieces of Ryunka left in Nakasugi’s body, thus sending this marionette to kidnap her. And they will know who the culprits are after they investigate this marionette as Nejula takes a disc from it and confiscates the marionette. Once she mentions those involved in obtaining Ryunka are done for, Birdy realizes she has been used as bait. Nakasugi’s relatives regret treating her harshly. Tsutomu places Nakasugi nearby a tree. She vaguely sees his back before going unconscious again. Her relatives are happy to find her okay. Next time treat her better, okay? Birdy puts up a concert as Nakasugi attends it. Hayamiya waits for Tsutomu who is running late. She sees Shouko in a wheelchair and offers her help. But Nataru comes by after buying some sunflowers before wheeling her off. Tsutomu then comes running in and knows he’s going to be in for a good lecture.

A Bird In The Body Is Worth Two In Hand…
What the heck was that incomplete, unsatisfying ending? Even if it was meant to leave it so a sequel can be made, as of to date, there is none whatsoever. Well, the parting lines at the end of the OVA that says “Bye-bye and To Be Continued” definitely would cause a little confusion. One would normally interpret it as farewell to the end of the series but the story will be ‘continued’ into the second season, which was already aired before the OVA came out. Or if you think too much, “To Be Continued” may be a sign that more of the series is to come. But that hasn’t been the case so let’s stick with the first one, shall we?

Let’s go back to why I didn’t feel satisfied with the way things ended. It felt like it was somewhat hanging though the issues of the current and previous season have been solved. The sudden end of Birdy wanting to meet Nataru again meant that there is nothing to indicate about Tsutomu’s body repair progress. The second season was so void of it that you may have forgotten that this guy was borrowing her body to live. I know it will take a little longer since it was really messed up after he was killed a second time. But I guess Tsutomu got so used with living ‘inside’ her that he doesn’t seem in a rush to get his original body back. Both seasons vary differently in the pace of the story. The first season was about Tsutomu-Birdy trying to find and diffuse Ryunka and save the world from possible annihilation. The chemistry was mainly between Tsutomu and Nakasugi though it felt like a side distraction for the revelation of Ryunka. Then the second season quickly shifts to that of Birdy’s past and her relationship with Nataru. Tsutomu’s buddies seem to be somewhat cast aside and if you ask me if they don’t make any appearance at all, they won’t really have any bearings on the plot. Besides, it’s all about one crazy vengeful guy’s revenge to hunt and kill the perpetrators of Ryunka. So what happened to Nataru anyway? Did he really go to another foreign country or he got lost somewhere in time?

Some of the main characters in the first season also failed to make an impact in the second season and I felt they were just so that you won’t forget who they are. For instance, Capella has been reduced to a comic relief character under the control of Irma. She was such a mysterious and scheming character in the first then all of a sudden, why so like an obedient dog wan? Finally she got whisked off to court, will that be the last of her? The long arm of justice has finally caught up to her, eh? Anybody still remember Hazumi? Tsutomu’s sister not important in the second season, eh? Nejula has always been Birdy’s rival though they belong to the same side. She may have a harsh way of doing things but that’s the reason why she gets the job done. Yeah, sharp and uncompromising. So what happened to her in the second season? Dunno. I guess Birdy didn’t go back to her home planet in the sequel so we don’t really see much of Megius and Skeletsu unless it’s in Birdy’s memories. Gomez and Revi’s roles are even more mind boggling. Having made so few appearances in the first season, even much lesser in the second, it makes me wonder what their roles in this series are anyway. Sure, Revi may be the mastermind behind the terrorist incidents and is just lying low on Earth but I feel she didn’t really make an impact in such a way. The final big boss if ever there’s a sequel made? I’m surely they’re behind the Ryunka incident and have an ulterior motive and my guess is that if they are in the big picture, bits and pieces of the puzzle will be put together and come full circle. I wonder what happened to Valic. Did he really elude capture seeing Moss was the only one apprehended?

Muroto seems like a shady reporter but he’s got a sharp eye for details. Or maybe it’s the producer’s way of telling viewers an important clue? I didn’t like how the series ended without Tsutomu and Nakasugi really coming together. And what’s with that “I’m sure we’ll meet again someday” line? Where did she get her confidence from? It was a waste for her to lose memories over her time with Tsutomu and there may be a glimmer of hope when she had her suspicions about her relationship with Tsutomu. The mind may have forgotten but the body may not? And I thought maybe Tsutomu and Hayamiya would at least hit it off but that never even come close like as though it never crossed their mind or thought about it. A running gag of this series is the pair of yakuza guys and their new car. Yes, it’s always funny how the underling is eager to show his big brother the newly bought car when suddenly, Birdy steps and crashes onto it! I wonder how many money they’ve wasted in getting new cars. It’s definitely not their day. Probably they got fed up of seeing their cars getting mysteriously smashed (perhaps not covered by insurance?) that I think they went into taxi business. Yeah, even though that Shouko-Shion taxi chase was brief, eventually all that thrill has them realizing they forgot to collect the exorbitant taxi fare!!!

Birdy and Tsutomu’s relationship is amusing and platonic though it has crossed my mind but I was sure it wouldn’t happen. The two start falling for each other. What’s with me and love chemistry these days? It would be very odd to see you kissing and loving yourself, eh? Besides, Tsutomu has already got a tough time looking like a mad kid who talks to himself in the eyes of the public. Just food for thought: Birdy’s Federation investigator outfit I feel serves for more fanservice than anything. How can you go through tough blistering body punishing battles without getting a nail scratched? I know her super genes and her auto shield thingy but seriously? Just take a one piece swimsuit, cut it up and paste over the necessary parts. That’s how I feel Birdy’s outfit is like. Not even futuristic space woman cosplay would go this far. Another funny aspect is Birdy’s alter ego as Shion. The fact that she does so many silly jobs on TV, is it a wonder why there are equally silly people who fawn and love her so much? And to think that a powerful Federation investigator would stoop this low on this planet as undercover to get by. Well, something everyone would least expect, right? The other funny thing about Shion is her really dopey voice! Yes, I’m not kidding. It’s like she really sounds like a retard on purpose! “Hai, desuuuu~~~…”. Cute. No wonder she’s got a legion of fans too. Thus the next episode preview of the first season has always been one my favourite sections in this aspect. Shion narrating in her silly and dopey voice makes you really want to smirk and grin. However Birdy does the narration in the second season next preview and this time she sounds gloomy and sad. A totally different turn than the first.

The power fights between Birdy and her adversaries may be exaggerated but they are entertaining enough. Who wouldn’t want to see them crashing through blocks of building or busting layers of concrete with their fists? Even so be warned because the violence of the fights may be quite graphic. Especially in the second season. The part where Nataru gets violent and shows mercy to his targets. You see blood splatter and limbs tearing off and you might want to vomit if you aren’t prepared for the scene. Apart from the gruesome deaths, there are also lots of innocent people dying especially during the activation of Ryunka. It’s one of the few series where the many ‘unrelated’ citizens die to show the great effects and repercussions if you’re trying to play God and fail at it miserably. My biggest complaint of the series is the drawing and art of the series. Especially fight scenes, the details of the characters become so simple that it is annoyingly obvious. True, I’m not pulling a fast one. This is more evident in the final episode of the second season whereby the bad animation was just one long bad streak. So much so I felt the producers wanted to end everything quickly and did a rush and poor job in making everything so cartoonish. Yeah, I too made a silent wish for the crappy animation to just end. Oh God. Just end it, please. Please! But the way Birdy jumps through the city from building to building reminds me of a power version of pakour.

I thought the rock outfit for the first season’s opening theme, Sora by Hearts Grow was funny. Wait till I hear Kiseki by NIRGILIS, the opening theme for the second season. I don’t know. I just feel the tune and the singing was just weird. It could be just me. The ending song for the first season, Let’s Go Together by Afromania feels like a buddy song. The kind of song that you’d probably sing along with your friends when you go as a group to football matches. This rap hip-hop piece isn’t bad actually. Just felt it was a little odd in the sense that it doesn’t fit with the pace and theme of the genre. But then again, it’s just me. The ending credits animation sees a silhouette of Tsutomu skipping by, passing people and finally doing a high five with Birdy. I thought I heard the second season’s ending theme somewhere before. Tane by no3b somehow sounded very closely to To Aru Majutsu No Index II’s Magic World (for your information, I only recently watched this series)! So I thought the latter was a rip off of the former. But that’s just for the main tune that sounded similar. The animation for this ending credits sees young Birdy doing some somersaults and self-training running. No matter how many times she falls and fails, this doesn’t stop her from trying again even if it gets her down. That’s why she’s one tough cookie.

So having to share a person’s body really brings a new meaning to sharing. And you thought sharing your personal space was bad enough. Now you have to fight for time and use of the body. Say goodbye to personal privacy too. What you know, I also know. But it’ll be a great way to escape certain people you want to get away from and learn how to cooperate with each other. Sounds like a nice idea when the future of Earth has too many people to support so you save space by sharing bodies. May lead to other undesirable incidents too. For me, if I ever get killed, I’d prefer to stay dead. And if they really insist in repairing my body, I hope they’ll make it a handsome hunk with six packs. That wouldn’t look like me on the outside but hey, it’s the inside that counts, right?

Koe De Oshigoto

February 17, 2012

You know all those erotic games? If you are just voicing a character in it, will it make you a porn star? Because you aren’t stripped naked or doing anything physical, that doesn’t mean doing a voice job as an eroge seiyuu means it will be an easy task. No doubt you are just voicing the character but as humans, our imagination and fantasies tend to go wild. So if you’re a damn good seiyuu, you can give heavenly pleasure with only your voice! Well, that’s what I thought when I watched Koe De Oshigoto. Yup, there has to be a girl who is voicing those stimulating voices during those sex scenes. You can’t be thinking they are computer generated, right?

These double OVA episodes aren’t about the making of an eroge. At least in the aspect of the voice acting part. Kanna Aoyagi has just turned 16 years old and been made by her sister, Yayoi to work as an eroge seiyuu! Please don’t think this as some sort of pimping. You think this amateur is going to have a hard time and long way to go but I guess everyone has hidden talents :). Why are you looking at me in a perverted way? So basically this anime is perhaps how an amateur eroge seiyuu girl who knows nothing about eroges, undergo when she debuts as one. I just wonder how she would list it down in her resume of job experiences…

Episode 1
Kanna watches in horror as veteran and expert eroge seiyuu, Fumika Warasono does her recording. This is how it’s should be done! Of course Kanna feels she can’t do it. I mean, how can you make a pure innocent 16 year old say such immoral things? We learn Yayoi wanted Kanna to become an eroge seiyuu the moment she turned 16 simply because their small company is poor and it would be troublesome to call in a professional one. This is when Kanna realized this is what big sister does for her living. Not because she’s a crazy sex maniac who plays such games in her room (yes, she brings her work home). I’m not sure about Yayoi’s logic of raising the best seiyuu is one who is nearby, but Kanna initially refused to do it. Even if there is no stripping. How did she change her mind? Kanna heard mommy telling her how life became tough after daddy was gone. Yayoi had always cared for her and worked hard to save up for her college. I guess in a way she feels indebted to her sister’s love and thus agrees to accept this job. So first thing is to learn and say the ‘basic words’ that will often be used in sex scenes. Ahem, ahem. Kanna can’t do it. She has trouble saying that single word, Stammering and hesitating… Till Yayoi puts her foot down and tells her to say it already, when Kanna says it out loud, an employee overheard her. It’s going to be a streak of embarrassment. In school, she has no time to spend with her friends Kotori Makino and Hazuki Nouge so much so they feel somewhat suspicious.

In the studio, Kanna observes Fumika doing her stuff.  Kanna even starts seeing the scenario and became engrossed into it! A staff reminds Yayoi about the implications of using an underage girl so Yayoi gives off that scary look that if her age is ever found out, just use that age misinterpretation which is common in this industry. Seeing how good Fumika was, Kanna is going to do her best and be as good as her. Is she serious? Might as well. So more ‘word’ training for Kanna and though she can say it, there is no emotion. She has to master this fast since the next recording is next week. Now she has to say a word that is used in 90% of all eroges. Make this your favourite word! Fumika demonstrates how it is done, shocking Kanna. So erotic, so stimulating. Kanna asks how she does it. Doesn’t she find it embarrassing? Though Fumika do feel embarrassed, but if she concentrates and put her mind to it, she can hold out. So you’ve got to be one mind with the game character. For homework, Yayoi has Kanna play an eroge as example. So how odd it is to play an eroge on a bright and nice Sunday morning? Kanna is embarrassed watching the sex scenes but gets so warped in it that she almost climaxed! Serious?! Yayoi’s SMS snaps her out of her trance. I don’t know why, she was trying to put the handphone inside her…

Kanna meets her long-time childhood friend, Nagatoshi Hioki. A childhood friend that Kanna once said she would marry when she was an innocent little girl. Says a lot, eh? And guess what? He was the one who wrote that scenario in the game Kanna just played. Yayoi could guess from Kanna’s reaction, she had fun with that game. Haha. Anyway Nagatoshi has written more scenarios and is glad that Kanna will be on this project as a seiyuu. Handing her and Fumika the scripts, seems Kanna did well in a short practice. But as Yayoi notes, the next one is tough because it’s a fellatio scene. You need the sucking sound… So what better way to create that sound than to suck your own fingers. No, they’re not going to use any sound effects for this. Fumika demonstrates the stimulating sucking. I don’t know why but perhaps she wants to be really good eroge seiyuu or overcome this embarrassment quick so much so Kanna starts licking and sucking her fingers in class! Her friends caught her in the act but they are unaware of what she’s trying to do. Since Kanna has a hard time mastering it, Yayoi suggests another method to get a feel: To suck her partner’s fingers. Nagatoshi’s, that is. Well, Kanna wasn’t so embarrassed and as she starts sucking, she herself is so stimulated and into her role that she is just so darn convincing! She can be the new porn star if you like! See all her saliva dripping all over the place!

As the recording starts, Kanna starts her lines but even if they aren’t sex scenes yet, she is nervous and starts fumbling. Yayoi calms her down by forcing her to say that forbidden censored word 10 times. Aloud. Is Yayoi pulling a fast one? But heavens, it worked! Now calmed down, she can even visualize the hentai scene. Then comes the masturbation scene and since Kanna didn’t practise on it, Yayoi has her go out and do running for 30 minutes. This is so that she will be tired and her lines will sound more convincing. Fumika learns that Kanna used to do mid to long distance running, thus the reason why she is energetic after so many hours of recording. Once Kanna comes back, she is tired and this time Nagatoshi will be sitting next to her during her recording. Recording resumes as Kanna slowly gets into the role. Reaching the fellatio scene, Nagatoshi extends his finger as Kanna starts her sucking. She sounds so sensual that it’s perfect. Woah. She’s really into it. Like as though she’s playing the game character. It ends with Kanna climaxing for real. In the aftermath, the team congratulates her on her awesome recording. And this is her debut, you know. Yayoi tells Kanna straight that she knew she climaxed during that scene and the amazing part is Nagatoshi didn’t even touch her. Not even those with wild imagination could do this. Though Yayoi has seen lots of seiyuus in this industry, she has never seen one who could do such a feat and something which Fumika herself couldn’t do. Her verdict? Working as an eroge seiyuu is her talent! Is that a compliment or mockery? I just know she’s going to have a very long streak of red faces.

Episode 2
Kanna plays the eroge she voices and is worried since her name appeared in the credits, will she be ‘famous’ with the guys all over the country? In office, the rest of the production team congratulates Kanna for her awesome work. They include graphics designer Natsumi Harie and Fuyumi Hirobe and guy seiyuu Sakanami Sekikazu. Sakanami is filled with amazement that a high school girl was the voice in the eroge that he admits he is getting an erection now. Till Fumika beats him up. In school, Kanna and her friends notice a classmate, Motoki Kaizu watching them. They thought he was looking at Hazuki but as Kotori notes he was looking more at Kanna. Hazuki also says the kind of stares they get from the guys. Majority of which are sexual fantasies. Can’t help it if they’re this cute, right? Kanna’s friends think Motoki likes her. Though she denies ever being popular with boys, when Motoki looks over at her, she starts blushing. Her friends are convinced that this must be it. Kanna is in class alone and contemplating if Motoki really does like her. That’s because she already has Nagatoshi (I thought she looked to him more as a big brother than anything. But I guess after being an eroge seiyuu, anything is possible). Then Motoki comes in and wants to ask a burning question. A confession? Nope. Is she an eroge seiyuu. Oh sh*t. How the hell does he know?

Poor Kanna thinks her identity is busted and seeks her sister’s help because she can’t possibly face Motoki again. However Yayoi knows that kid won’t reveal her secret. To know why, she has Kanna come to her job meeting tomorrow. They meet the CEO of Studio Kaizer who is employing them for the next project: Yasuto Kaizu. He is Motoki’s father and looks like Motoki is also drafted to help out with the project. Talking things out, so the reason he was staring at her was because he thought he knew somebody familiar when he learnt the person in this project was Yayoi and her sister doing the voice acting. He thought it might be coincidence since Kanna shared the same surname. Also, Kanna will be practising with Motoki till the recording starts. Nagatoshi? He’s busy writing scenarios so he locked himself up in the library. Kanna is uncomfortable spouting hentai lines in front of her classmate and since she sees him in school every day, that makes it even more unbearable. She starts breaking down upon thinking he’ll think of her as a dirty minded girl and can’t do it. However Motoki assures he will never think of her that way. In fact he respects girls who are doing this kind of job because they work hard to say those embarrassing lines with courage. Since she has become one as a high school student, he thinks that is awesome and hopes they can work together. This clams Kanna’s down as they take a look at the scenarios. Curious Kanna asks a question that dumbfounds everyone: Why do girls lick dicks? Expert Sakanami gives his honest feelings on how good it is. In fact he wants to lick it himself but his body structure won’t allow him so that’s why he needs a girl to lick it! The next dumbfounding question Kanna asks is how sperm tastes like. I guess Sakanami is still into it and wants to give Kanna to taste his!!! Punch that sicko out! Thank you Fumika. Yayoi gives a direct answer on how it tastes. Like your finger? Does this mean she has tasted it? However Natsumi takes over and says sperms taste like condense milk! Sweet and delicious! Totally untrue! If that was the case, everybody would have saved their money and used their own sperm for their morning coffee, right?! But Yayoi lets Natsumi go ahead with this false information so that she will really get into her role.

At school, Hazuki and Kotori spy on Kanna and notice how close she is getting with Motoki. They congratulate her for ending her 11 years of singlehood but she denies it. Plus, since they were talking on erotic scenes, she can’t possibly tell her friends about it. They’re getting more and more suspicious… At the studio, Kanna continues to practise her lines. Sakanami totally digs Kanna’s line and admits that he is getting an erection. Fumika isn’t happy about his sexual harassment but Sakanami says those words are compliment. I mean if a guy says that, that means you’re attractive, right? Depends on how you view it. However Motoki didn’t feel any reaction. No, not because he has ED, but rather he pities girls doing erotic lines so it’s hard (no pun) for him to get stimulated. Fumika tests it out on him with her most stimulating demonstration that is guaranteed to cure guys with ED cases. That didn’t turn Motoki on so for once, Fumika felt mortifying and understood what Sakanami meant. Now it’s Kanna’s turn and after Sakanami whispers a secret word to her, she says her fellatio scene lines and it turned Motoki on. Actually it’s the way she said it while looking at him with that gaze. So does she feel happy or embarrassed? Yeah, Fumika wants another try on Motoki. Kanna and Motoki stop by the convenience store. He got her an ice cream. Instinctively, she starts licking and sucking the ice cream like what she practises for her scenes! Motoki tells her he was first embarrassed when she was his partner but not anymore. He wants to help her out as much as possible. Then to Kanna’s horror, she spots her friends across the road. I’m sure no amount of persuasion would change their mind.

Kanna starts her recording and as usual everyone is amazed that she is into her character. Then for the fellatio scene, she is reluctant to suck on Motoki’s finger but with Yayoi giving her the death stare, she better suck up (no pun intended) her courage and do so. However Yayoi thinks this is no good since she is not in her trance mode. After sending Kanna to run laps, Yayoi explains to President Kaizu how inexperienced Kanna needs to enter into a trance state to act out an erotic scene. It was okay with Nagatoshi but looks like she needs a different prerequisite for Motoki. When Kanna returns, everyone chips in on how to turn Kanna into her trance mode. Why is everyone suggesting she do something to his dick for real?! Touch it? Observe it? Smell it? Put it in?! Yayoi suggests a hug till she changes. As Motoki hugs Kanna harder, she could hear his heartbeat and smell his scent and soon enough she enters her trance state. She is in that ultimate mode that she far exceeds perfect! For realism, Motoki has condensed milk on his finger when she’s sucking on it. And in the end, Kanna climaxes in front of everybody! Because of that, the sight of Motoki has Kanna running away in an instant. Faster than The Flash! Her friends know something is wrong so they set them up together alone in the classroom. They both apologize when Kanna suddenly hugs him to thank him because of that, the acting went well. She wants to improve and perhaps teach her everything. This moment of embrace could’ve last longer if they didn’t realize Hazuki and Kotori spying from outside the door. Thumbs up for her proactiveness?

You make it sound so horny!!!
Well, well, well. I guess Kanna do really have a talent for becoming an eroge seiyuu after all. Not only surpassing everyone’s expectations, but to climax herself indicates that she enjoys it, right? I’m not sure if she would ‘upgrade’ herself into real hentai films. She’d be a natural, guaranteed. But that will be a different story. Her voice alone itself is enough to draw out the scenarios so she must be real good. But then again it depends on how wild your imagination is. If she could bring you into an erotic just by making you hear her voice, man, she’s good, right? After watching this series, it is safe to say and reassure myself that I won’t be touching any hentai games ever in my life. I’m not really into that kind of hardcore games but I guess there are many people with wild fantasies that a very great number of such games and varieties are produced yearly. I suppose if you’re an otaku with no girlfriend (3D ones at least), maybe eroges are your best ‘companion’. Haha! So are those behind the scenes making eroges deemed perverts? Well, everyone in the world is a pervert in his/her own way.

There are lots of erotic scenes in this series and of course since they are from eroge scenes, you’d be expecting to see sexual positions and such. However the necessary parts of the scenes are purposely censored out and lines that are erotic are cut out and replaced with some gibberish voice. If you aren’t turned on or at least get an erection throughout the series, either you have ED or have no sex life. Every healthy guy who sees this surely will experience this, right? Yours truly isn’t spared either. No, this doesn’t mean that you should go watch more porn films and play hentai games. This show isn’t meant to get you to buy such games or turn you into a holy angel into a corrupted demon. Just remember, this is how a meek girl goes through her job of voicing erotic roles. Embarrassment is part and parcel of the job. Maybe a few more times she’ll be as deadpan serious like her sister. Numb and immune that it’s really just part of her job. However I must admit that during Kanna’s fellatio practice scenes, I felt disgusted and nearly threw up! Her saliva dripping didn’t turn me on but I could felt my stomach cringing. Even if this is just somewhat ‘digital porn’, nevertheless it really felt sickening. The condensed milk statement made it worse. Somehow now I have fears putting that in my coffee…

So being an eroge seiyuu doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a porn star but with the way society views things, I guess it’s best that most ‘stars’ in this industry keep a low profile. And for Kanna’s case, perhaps it is also best that she be careful of the way she speaks. Sometimes it’s not what she says but the way she says it that could turn something boring into something erotic and received unwanted attention from unwanted guys. Take that ice cream incident as an example. She was licking it like a pro! Like they say practice makes perfect. With each different sexual scene, Kanna gets better and into her role while acting it out. MAKO who voices Kanna in the series did quite a good job in bringing out the embarrassment in her. So every seiyuu has a potential to do eroge seiyuu? And I may not want to rewatch this series a second time because I may get too excited and climax by accident…

Marchen Awakens Romance

February 12, 2012

When we were young, I’m sure most of us guys dream to be the valiant hero fighting off a group of impending evil force bent on taking over the land. Be it taking up a sword or casting spells, our imagination just run wild as we hack and slash, blast and cast our way through hordes of evil swarms while reclaiming the land back to its rightful ruler. And perhaps getting the princess’ hand in marriage at the end. Well, that’s just limited to our minds. But what happens if you can really live out that dream? At least that’s what happened for Ginta in Marchen Awakens Romance or MAR for short.

In the real modern world, Ginta Toramizu isn’t the kind of guy who is good at anything. Weak in just about everything from studies to physical activities, his eyesight is poor and his constant daydreaming makes him the source and laughing stock for bullies alike at school. Yeah, he loves this fantasy dream so much that he actually kept count of how many times he dreamt the same dream! If I remember, it was around over a hundred times. WTF?! Doesn’t he get bored? Apparently not. He gets excited each time and the only friend who never teases him over his tales and eagerly listens to every adventure he had is Koyuki. Love interest? Certainly the duo don’t act in a way that indicates so. Maybe she’s really infatuated with his stories. Maybe he just really needs somebody to listen to.

So one day, something this unbelievable happened in class. Suddenly the classroom turns dark and a funny looking clown gate called Monban Pierrot summons him to enter the fantasy land he has always dreamt of. Too good to pass this chance, right? Besides, if he stays on Earth, he’ll only end up getting bullied. So what else to do? Take off on a new journey and say goodbye to those jerks. Koyuki wanted to tag along too but the number on the dice shows it has only 1 room for 1 person. So Koyuki has to stay back and wait until who knows when Ginta will return from his fantasy trip. And with 102 episodes to the anime, I’m sure it’s going to be a pretty long time and by the time Ginta returns, I guess he can write a novel that spans several volumes. Koyuki can listen to his stories till they grow old! Haha! Oh, did I mention Ginta’s mom is a fantasy book author? Maybe that’s how Ginta got these weird dreams.

So being one of those shonen anime genres, you’ll see how Ginta happily frolicking in the new land, learns of a reviving evil organization bent on taking over the land. So he meets allies, powers up, gets stronger, develops new moves, fights the baddies and ultimately saves the day. And who better than to do it but some kid from another world? Typical, isn’t it? Spikey hair, values friendship close to his heart but a little dumb and rash at times. But along the way, you’ll not only get lots of action but drama as well as there are enough episodes for flashbacks and scenes to flesh out the characters. As usual, my blog is just a simple and minimal blog when it involves long running animes. My favourite source for MAR info is Wikipedia and Marpedia and I’m sure there are many other fansites out there dedicated to this series.

Welcome to MAR Heaven
In this world, Ginta seems to be a super human. What do I mean? He is no longer the weak and feeble kid he was back on Earth. Now he has got enough strength to fight enemies. Well, at least low level ones. The first human he meets in MAR is Dorothy, a beautiful but seemingly scheming witch. He is introduced to the wonders of little ring-like accessories known as ARMs. And you’ll find that there are lots of different types and categories of ARMs in this land. Just think of them as little rings that can summon powerful creatures, weapons or items for battles or daily use. Convenient indeed. If you know how to use them well, that is. Dorothy is on a journey looking for rare ARMs and manages to persuade Ginta to help her look for a legendary ARM sealed in some cave. But it turns out to be a talking kendama? Eh? Babbo is his name and he isn’t thrilled to be awakened from his slumber. Yeah, this little iron moustache iron ball seems to think he’s some sort of gentleman and even if Ginta wants to have this weapon (because Dorothy didn’t want this arrogant talking piece of sh*t), you’ll often hear them arguing and bickering. No matter how much Babbo tries to run away, he’ll eventually come back to Ginta. Well, I guess the only way Babbo is going to accept him (even if he doesn’t admit it) is that he makes Ginta his servant. Like that kid will acknowledge that. So it’s like a love-hate relationship between the duo as quarrelling at the slightest seems to be part of their repertoire but when it comes down to cooperating to defeat enemies, they’re unrivalled. Oh, try to keep Babbo as close since there are many thieves who are out there who wants to steal this rare ARM and sell it for a high price.

In this introductory arc, we see how Ginta ‘gathers’ his allies. The first friend he got is the monkey-faced Jack, whom he saved from a pair of vegetarian wolf brothers. Yes, vegetarian wolves who has been harassing Jack and his widow mom by eating all their fruits and vegetables on their farm. As usual, teach those wolves a lesson real good and they won’t come back as mean parasites but one who will work hard for their share. Who says wolves always have to be the bad guys till the very end? Next is the handsome young hunk, Alviss (the one who summoned Ginta to this world) and his always-by-his-side fairy Belle. This is where Ginta learns of the impending evil that is to engulf the land once more. Six years ago, an evil organization called Chess No Koma (Chess Pieces) invaded MAR. Alviss was part of the counter force, Cross Guard who fought Chess 6 years ago. Though Cross Guard emerged victorious, there were many casualties. Now 6 years on, Chess is on the verge of revival because its leader, Phantom is close to resurrection simply because, he is a zombie, an undead. Wait a minute. If he is a person that can’t die, then don’t you think this war will happen again in the future even if the good guys win this one? What is more shocking is that Babbo was once Phantom’s ARM and massacred lots of people. Alviss wants Ginta to dispose Babbo (though he has no memories prior to his slumber) but Ginta is not going to give up that easily. How then? Fight lah. Though in the end Alviss changed his mind in not disposing off Babbo, he notes Ginta is weak and needs to get stronger if he is going to fight Chess.

Next on the encounter list for Ginta and Jack is Edward or Ed for short, a dog wearing a Santa Claus hat who is Princess Snow‘s custodian. Ed is desperate for help since Snow has frozen herself in a castle to avoid being captured by her evil stepmother bent on world domination. Now this is Ginta and Jack’s opportunity to go save a princess. To Ginta’s surprise, he sees how similar Snow is to Koyuki. Like a splitting mirror image. Well, it’s no surprise too that there is some sort of connection between these girls because from time to time, you’ll see how Koyuki will have dreams of Ginta’s progress in MAR and tells Ginta’s mom of the story. Oh, so nobody is frantic that Ginta went to the other world for real? In the castle, Ginta also meets his first Chess minions, Bishop class Loco and Ian who are ordered to capture Snow. Ian is interested in fighting Ginta but the latter is inexperienced and hasn’t fully learned how to use Babbo effectively. Ed knocks himself out and turns into the legendary Cross Guard hero, Alan. Apparently due to a curse, Alan and Ed are fused within the same body and whenever Ed sleeps thrice, Alan will appear and for Ed to surface, Alan only needs to sleep once. While Alan fights Ian, the distraction was enough for Ginta to free Snow from her icy captivity. Somehow at the angle she falls, their lips met. First kiss? Well, Dorothy’s one earlier on didn’t count because it wasn’t on his lips. The fight is interrupted when a higher ranked Knight Chess, Halloween (and a long ‘acquaintance’ of Alan) appears and orders the withdrawal of every Chess Pieces back for a new order has been issued.

With Phantom finally resurrected, in his flying Lestarva Castle, he is going to declare the second war on MAR. Meanwhile Alan tells the young ones (including Dorothy) more about the previous war. Their previous hero was also a guy from the other world whom they called Danna. He paid the ultimate price by sacrificing himself to kill Phantom and secure victory for the Cross Guards (though the match was a draw). Hmm… Danna looks suspiciously close to Ginta’s dad (whom by the way went missing 6 years when Ginta was still a kid). So Alan has the quartet (Ginta, Snow, Jack and Dorothy) enter his Training Gate to further hone their skills. Though it may be 3 days passed in MAR, it is a much longer time in this gate as 1 day = 60 days inside the gate (in my opinion is the more you use it, the older you’ll get because time runs longer here, right?). Ginta learns of Babbo’s use and with magic stones, he is able to transform Babbo into anything he wishes. Only the mind’s creativity is the limit. During the training period, Phantom has his Chess Pieces launch an all-out war throughout the continent, burning down cities and massacre innocent people. However only Ian seems to be disobeying Phantom’s orders because he wants to get his revenge on Ginta. He meets Alan and tries to make him reveals Ginta’s whereabouts. Alan can’t move from his spot and has to take the pain or else those in the Training Gate will be trapped in there forever should he do so. So when time is up and Ginta and co emerge safely from their training, now it’s Ginta’s turn to show the fruits of his labour and fights Ian with different versions of Babbo: A hammer, a dagger and a Bubble Launcher. How can Ginta not win after training and developing so hard? Well, Ian will give some healing ARM in exchange if they let them go.

According to what has been told to Snow, they need 7 members to defend MAR. Let’s see, Ginta, Jack, Dorothy, Alan and Snow herself. That leaves 2 more, right? Ed? He’s just a mascot, no good for fighting. Oops. Babbo? If you ask me, that kendama and kid are one. Their next member will be Nanashi, the leader of the Luberia thieves. This womanizer has a grudge against MAR because one of its members has massacred a great deal of his comrades. As for Ian, he is ready to accept his punishment for disobedience. But as Halloween notes, he is not going to get punished. But his pawn who accompanied him instead, Gido. Now this is more painful than undergoing the torture himself.

Vestory Arc
After learning of Chess’ invasion, our heroes rush down to the devastated coastal town of Vestory to help the people rebuild the land and chase away what’s left of the Chess Pieces who are still lingering around in some haunted cave. Ginta befriends a local named Tom (unknown to Ginta, he’s Phantom in disguise. Geddit? PhanTOM?). While Nanashi fights Bishop Oruko (a homicidal retard as many would call him) and easily beats him with his super strength and electric powers (and also uncovered the name of his Luberia mates’ killer: Peta), Ginta gets to fight another Bishop psycho, Giromu. Here, Ginta unleashes another version of Babbo, the gigantic and powerfully crazy Gargoyle to pummel Giromu into repentance. Okay, so he didn’t repent but got knocked out. Watching Tom is excited and could hardly wait to fight Ginta when the time comes. Seeing how strong Ginta is, he kills Oruko when that big guy comes begging for help. Chess Pieces can’t be this weak, right? In the cave, Ginta frees the ghosts and not only earns him a magic stone but a key. For what? Only time will tell. While Ginta and co continue to help the people of Vestory, they meet John Peach, who could be the 7th member of the group. But is he? This arrogant, loudmouth bastard seems to claim he is the hero of MAR after a fluke that disposes off a bunch of thieves stealing from Vestory. He challenges Ginta to a race but he blunders in almost anything that his hero status is in doubt. Even if he’s a jerk, he still has a heart because that rare spider ARM he got that sucked up the thieves, he is going to get sucked into it (because the ARM eats its user) till Ginta steps in to save his ass. He may not be the 7th member the gang are hoping for (thank God) but hopefully he has learnt his lesson. Hopefully.

War Games Arc
Just like 6 years ago, Chess have officially announced the start of the War Games. So it’s this simple. A team match. Chess vs everybody else. If Chess wins, MAR becomes theirs and if MAR wins, the land will be safe. All potential fighters are to gather at Reginrave Castle and those who wish to join the War Games have to undergo a preliminary test. Aside from Ginta and co, the people rejoice when they learn the old Cross Guards led by Gaira are also in on this. The preliminary has all participants fight lowly Pawns. Maybe the Cross Guards should retire because none of them except Alviss won. But how can powerful Gaira lose to mere Pawns? Well, there is a wildcard among the Pawns and Gaira was unlucky to have fought with a Chess Knight, Chimera. He could’ve died but came back alive and very much injured. As for Ginta, Jack, Snow, Dorothy and Nanashi, they pass with flying colours. And with Alviss to make it 6 people, are these kids the only hope for MAR? Come on you people, show some faith! Since this is a team match, a member can lose and advance to the next round so long your team wins. Plus, if the captain of the team loses, the entire team loses even if the others all win. So who is the captain of MAR? Ginta of course! Yeah, put all your trust in that carefree kid. The same reason why Luffy is probably the captain of the Straw Hats Pirates. The number of fighters and stage for each match are decided via the throw of the die and the matches are officiated by erm, I don’t what funny little creature is this, but everyone calls him Pozun. So let the War Games begin! On a trivial note, it’s funny for everyone on the entire continent watch the War Games via ‘screen’ through the Sun or Moon in the sky. Wouldn’t it burn their retina? Wouldn’t it be too small to see anything? Oh, and the emblem that Snow created for the MAR team? Though it looks like an outline of Babbo and his long nose, if you have a slightly perverted thought, you can imagine how lewd it looks.

First Battle: Stone Stage
Match 1: Alviss vs Leno Rodokin– With the first stage just in front of Reginrave Castle, Alviss steps in first to show Ginta what he is up against and what to expect. We learn Alviss has a curse called Zombie Tattoo on him and was placed by Phantom 6 years ago. If the tattoo covers his entire body, he’ll become an undead just like Phantom. And that time is very near. Alviss easily beats power-crazy Rook class Leno with his Totem Poles. MAR takes the first lead.
Match 2: Jack vs Pano Rodokin – Plant user Jack seems to have the upper hand and could have sealed the match when he got Rook class Pano trapped in his vines. It was mind boggling to see him climb over her (I still don’t understand why he did that till this day) so in Pano’s panic, she screams out the pervert he is and unleashes her iron ball to hit his crotch. So yeah, aside from that monkey’s reputation falling down to a pervert in the eyes of the people, now he has got his manhood taking a severe hit. Hope there is no long term damage. MAR and Chess are levelled at 1-1.
Match 3: Ginta vs Garon Rodokin – Bishop class daddy Garon sure has his body as hard as steel with the ARMs he is using but Ginta’s never give up will and his trump card of Gargoyle turns the table around and astounds everyone with his power move, friend or foe. Wah… Now everybody wants to fight him. So first victory to MAR!

Before the next battle, Ginta learns that Danna, the former head of Cross Guard is his father. Definitely it is him. See the resemblance in looks and character? Like father like son. Also, Jack has lost his dad in the previous War Games so both kids make a vow to avenge their dads. But at this level? Yup. More training for the duo as Gaira has them power up in his Training Gate. Meanwhile Ian confronts Phantom and wants to undergo some super power up training because he is determined to kill Ginta and Gido’s tormentor. Yeah, poor Gido has turned into a mindless vegetable.

Second Battle: Desert Field
Match 1: Snow vs Fuugi – With Ginta and Jack missing in action (they’re still in training lah), the other MAR members make their debut. In the desert field which seemingly is a stage that is at Snow’s disadvantage because she is an ice user while Rook class Fuugi is a wind user (which means he has geographical advantage), Snow gets her first victory by slamming her Guardian ARM, Yuki onto him. At first I thought it was a snowman with boobs till I realized it was its arms folded…
Match 2: Nanashi vs Loco – Now, how can a womanizer fight a loli? Loco may look like a loli but is actually an adult woman in her 30s. Due to a Darkness ARM that she uses, each time she uses its power, she will become younger and younger till she disappears. Something like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, eh? Loco’s voodoo magic has Nanashi unable to move as she sticks painful nails into her giant straw voodoo doll to translate that excruciating pain to him. Though Loco is puzzled that Nanashi is able to withstand so many nailing, Nanashi fires his Electric Eye to destroy the doll and free himself. Though it is his lost but Loco isn’t happy that she achieved victory this way.
Match 3: Dorothy vs Maira – Maira plans on making Dorothy the first casualty in the War Games but looks like he himself became the first one when Dorothy unleashes her Rain Dog, Toto to devour his amoeba-like ARM and him. I wonder how does a Bishop class guy taste like? So once again it’s MAR’s victory 2-1. Hey, do I see a trend here like in the first battle?

With Ginta finishing his training, the night before the next match, Phantom plans to ‘improve’ Ginta as he lures Ginta out in his Tom disguise. Then he purposely lets Ginta witness himself get killed by Peta (Phantom’s Knight class right hand man) so Ginta is filled with rage and vows to go all out against Chess since he promised Tom he would protect him but failed.

Third Battle: Volcano Stage
Match 1: Alan vs Alibaba – Oh wait. How did Alan join the team if he didn’t participate in the preliminaries? With this round needing 5 members to fight, Nanashi and Dorothy seem unwilling to participate. Till Alan showed up (Ed must’ve slept enough times for him to appear). With the score between Alan and Halloween not settled (they fought to a draw in the last War Games), Phantom agrees to let him in. What about Gaira? They don’t need old geezers! Boo hoo! Anyway with the ragtag bunch of Chess Pieces unwilling to fight the legendary and powerful Alan, I guess Rook class Alibaba decides to go first and show them what he’s got. Unfortunately his genie guardian got smashed in a single hit! Then Alan drags him to the top of the volcano and drops him!!! WOAH!!! What a fiery death he got! Don’t play play with this guy… As always, MAR makes a great start with the first win.
Match 2: Jack vs Pano – Eh? Another rematch? Apparently if your team has lost but you won, only the winner is allowed to advance. So since Pano won the last match, it’s time get his revenge. And he does so with his hallucinating mushrooms. He is sending Pano into a frenzy and made her fall for him! Yeah, Jack looks like a handsome prince charming, doesn’t he? Yeah, she’s all over him and even gives up the match. For once, MAR leads 2-0. I’m not sure if the effects of the mushroom will be on her forever because from now on Pano seems to take a liking for Jack and doesn’t hesitate to hug him lovey-dovey style. Each time, brother Leno can only shake his head and worry for her…
Match 3: Snow vs Mr Hook – Snow is at a disadvantage here seeing the scorching heat is taking a toll on her ice powers. Well, technically the volcano has got to be hotter than the desert, right? Bishop class Mr Hook uses this to his advantage and defeats Snow. Don’t worry Snow, you did your best and besides, MAR still leads 2-1.
Match 4: Ginta vs Kannochi – Bishop class Kannochi puts a curse on Ginta. He will completely melt once the candle on Kannochi’s head burns out. To make things worse, Kannochi swallows his ARM before Ginta could destroy it and set him free. Ginta can’t afford to lose this match or else MAR loses! So how? Use Babbo’s new version, a Holy Guardian called Alice! Wow. He imagined Babbo to be some sexy lady? No wonder Babbo is reluctant to transform into this. Why a lady, I don’t know? Probably a picture of a macho man doesn’t really quit cut it. With that, Kannochi bears the brunt of his Darkness ARM himself as he melts away and wishes Ginta good luck. Well, that guy isn’t so bad after all. He’s just on Chess side because he wanted to feel the excitement of battle and could’ve been on Ginta’s side if he had met him first. MAR has an unassailable lead, 3-1.
Match 5: Alviss vs Rolan – The first Knight to make his appearance in the War Games and this redundant match is needed to confirm Rolan’s participation. Alviss learns that Rolan too has a Zombie Tattoo but Rolan is obsessed to be at Phantom’s side for eternity unlike Alviss who wants to free himself from this curse. Rolan’s power is too much for Alviss so the latter lost (Alviss ran out of magic power and had to give up) though Rolan’s 13 Totem Poles was able to defeat Rolan’s Magma Snake. So final score: MAR triumphs over Chess 3-2.

At the end of the battle, Phantom and his Zodiac Knights make a rare appearance as they are excited to face MAR in the upcoming battles. So no more Rooks and half-assed Bishops from now on. Ginta uses Alice to split Alan and Ed but it seems he cannot heal Alviss’ Zombie Tattoo. Looks like the only way is to defeat Phantom. And yes, more training for the MAR team but this time they’ll be fighting a shadow version of themselves. What better way to power up because like they say, you are your own worst enemy.

Fourth Battle: Ice Field
Match 1: Alviss vs Mr Hook – Alviss has improved from his training that he doesn’t even need to use any ARM to defeat Mr Hook! Wow. But there’s a twist for the losing Chess members. Crazy Knight class b*tch, Rapunzel (who is Giromu’s sister and thinks her ugly face is the prettiest in the world) plays a rock-scissors-paper with Mr Hook and if he loses, she kills him. That’s what happens to Mr Hook. He died with a single slash to the throat. Oooh.. Not something MAR would like…
Match 2: Jack vs Korrekio – Jack is in a pinch. His plants won’t grow because the land is covered in ice. Bishop class Korrekio shrinks Jack into thumb size with his hammer and tries to stomp on him. However Jack outwits him by growing his plants from inside Korrekio’s body!!! Straight out from the mouth! Victory to MAR but Korrekio met the same fate with Mr Hook when he lost the rock-scissor-paper to Rapunzel. Oh dear. She’s killing off members like that just because they lost?
Match 3: Dorothy vs Avrute – The fastest match ever!!! Freaking fast so much so you’d probably miss it if you blink! Dorothy swiftly slashes Avrute with her Ring Dagger but misses his vital points. So quick that he can’t do any counter attack with his ARM that destroys other ARMs. So much for using that, eh? But he isn’t given a sh*t salvation chance by Rapunzel and is quickly killed off since this piece of sh*t got defeated so fast.
Match 4: Nanashi vs Aqua – How the heck can a cute and shy loli end up being a Bishop class under Chess? I think should’ve been much better being a magical girl. Mind boggling indeed. In order to avoid the fate of her other comrades, she needs to beat Nanashi summoning her marine monster guardians. Though Nanashi obviously wins, he fakes he is out of strength and forces a draw. However Rapunzel isn’t blind and knows that she easily lost sh*t to Nanashi and won’t let her off the hook and has Aqua play the rock-scissors-paper game. Though Aqua won, Giromu kills her because he too was playing and Aqua’s hand means she lost. Ginta becomes very upset and jumps into the match.
Match 5: Ginta vs Giromu – Ginta is obviously full of rage so much so he is blinded by it, causing his concentration and synchronization. Babbo refuses to cooperate till he calms down and recollects himself. So once Ginta is back to his normal self, he uses Babbo’s new version, Cushion Jelly to free himself from the crushing abyss that Giromu sent him and finally turns the tables on that psycho by sending him flying into the sky.
Match 6: Dorothy vs Rapunzel – Oddly I don’t know why Alan didn’t want to join this round so based on the rules that if a side has not enough members for a round, only the winner can only have a second match. In this case, Dorothy takes on the insane Rapunzel who is going to kill Dorothy (for insulting her ‘beauty’) and Ginta (for beating up her brother). Ginta would’ve participated in this match but he is just fresh from his battle with Giromu and is tired. And since we haven’t since Dorothy much in action for this round, I guess it’s only right to see her strut her stuff and have our money’s worth of an entire episode worth of Dorothy in battle instead of lasting for 10 seconds. Rapunzel isn’t named so because she uses her Nature ARM that transforms her hardened hair as spikes and drills to fight against Dorothy (sometimes I feel she can’t help take a dig at her ugliness. Probably boiling her blood on purpose). I thought she was like Medusa. But of course Dorothy triumphs with her horrible singing guardian, Crazy Quilt and delivering the final blow with her Zephiroth Broom. Wow. MAR won 6-0!

With the War Games taking a short break, Dorothy returns to Caldea, the birthplace of ARMs with her MAR team tagging along. Dorothy is back to report to the elder that she has found her sister, Diana, whom she is supposed to kill (Diana broke a law of Caldea that is punishable by death but escaped not before stealing and taking a long with her a whole load of ARMS, the other reason Dorothy is on a globetrotting trip). Diana is also the Queen in Chess and Snow’s stepmother. Yes, it’s a little complicating. While the Elder makes new ARMs for the other MAR members, Phantom and his Rooks invade Caldea. Ginta has a short bout with Phantom and both their ideals clash. Though Phantom has the advantage and his powers surpassed those of Ginta’s current level, nevertheless Ginta manages to force a draw as happy Phantom and his Rooks withdraw.

Fifth Battle: Desert Field
Match 1: Snow vs Emokiss – Again the desert level? Now the level is up as MAR will be fighting against Knight class Chess Pieces and Bishops whose powers are close enough of making them a Knight. There are 3 of them and glutton and chubby Emokiss is one of them. Uh… She thinks she is beautiful and has a mirror to tell her so. But the mirror is obviously lying… Though Emokiss powers up each time she eats her candy house, Snow summons her new Guardian ARM, Undine to force her to surrender before the pool of water over her head drowns her. However Emokiss remains stubborn and would rather die than submit so they free her from the water mask as soon as she passes out. MAR makes a good start leading 1-0.
Match 2: Alviss vs Hamelin – The 2nd most powerful Bishop and his flute is causing confusion since he creates several clones of himself. However Alviss is reluctant to use his new ARM because he doesn’t want to use it on a Bishop and manages to defeat Hamelin by immobilizing him. MAR up 2-0.
Match 3: Jack vs Candice – Can’t stand MAR to get anymore victory, Knight class Candice steps in (she wanted to fight Ginta for hurting Phantom back in Caldea. Yes, she’s in looooove with Phantom). Stone user Candice seems to be a masochist because she enjoys the torment Jack is giving her. Okay, she’s a sadist as well since she also returns some pain to Jack. However the ARM she is using when it reaches its maximum point after taking all the pain, it allows her to accumulate enough power to summon a powerful guardian, Gorgon. Jack counters this with his new ARM, Mehitos and lands a draw.
Match 4: Ginta vs Ash – Knight class Ash seems to be a friendly and nice guy. So different from the other Chess members. He loves kids so it’s obviously an ironic situation that he is finding himself to fight Ginta. The reason he joined Chess is so that he could free the world of wars and thus a safe place for kids. But can he do it under Phantom? Can the children’s safety be guaranteed if Chess wins? So it’s a dilemma for the kids watching who wants Ash to win but at the same time, they don’t want Ginta to lose. In addition to his Split Parts (an ARM that allows him to split up his body parts. Think of him as MAR’s version of One Piece’s Buggy), Ash uses his Psycho Space (cuts the opponent’s magic power in half) to fight Ginta and tries to persuade him to surrender. But Ash’s Walking Bomb hits Ginta and Ash is pretty concerned. Don’t worry, Ginta got his Cushion Jelly as protection. In the end, Ginta manages to break his Psycho Space and ARM guardian Death and Ash gives up seeing that he doesn’t want to hurt kids.
Match 5: Nanashi vs Galian – The fated battle. Knight class Galian is revealed to be the previous Luberia boss. Apparently Nanashi had no memories because he placed a seal on it till they meet. So now does he remember? You bet. So flashback time as we see how Galian planned everything out by finding a replacement for himself. And that is Nanashi. That time he was wounded, close to death and had no memories of who he was so when he was taken in, he was given the name Nanashi as it means “No Name”. Galian grooms Nanashi to be the next Luberia boss before he suddenly disappears. Galian was lured by Peta to join Chess seeing that he craved for more power than what Luberia has to offer. So back to the battle, Galian’s Hiraiken is absorbing Nanashi’s electric powers. But with betrayal and revenge fuelling Nanashi, he uses his new ARM to summon a giant eel, Gymnote to destroy Galian’s giant stingray, Torpedine and fry that ex-Luberia boss for good. So MAR wins this battle with 4 wins and a draw. Hmm… They must be getting real good to not even lose now.

With the War Games taking another short break, we see Phantom going to punish Rapunzel for killing off comrades just like that. I thought being brutal was good? Anyway he gives her a chance to redeem herself if she beats Ian. Yes, that guy is just fresh out from some hellish training. She gets to keep her Knight status if she beats him otherwise their positions will be swapped. Rapunzel looks down on Ian and unleashes her attack on him. Just when she thought he is done for, Ian counter attacks and kills her! Thus Ian is now a Knight replacing Rapunzel. And we have a couple of filler episodes that sees Alviss saving Belle from a guy who uses fairy powers to power his ARM and Dorothy with Ginta and Jack go to find a rare ARM  but it turns out to be a trap set by a group of mobs.

Zonnens Arc
In need of more training, Alan once again sends the other MAR members into his Training Gate. This time they will do it in pairs. The ladies really want to pair up with Ginta but fate works in funny ways because they ended up with each other. So who ends up with Ginta? Jack. And Nanashi’s wish of getting paired with either Dorothy or Snow also didn’t come true because he got Alviss. Wow. Two hot guys together. No yaoi moments here… Anyway, there are a bunch of bloodthirsty group of Chess Pieces called Zonnens (each named after the planets in our Solar System) who wants to kill MAR because they’re fed up of Phantom’s leniency and the War Games. They want to fight and kill, something that they enjoy. So with the leader Saturn freezing and causing lots of discomfort to Alan (not again), the other Zonnens sneak inside the Training Gate to kill the other MAR members. Jack and Ginta face off with Mercury and Mars and emerge victorious by blowing them away to the stars with Gargoyle. Nanashi and Alviss got Venus and Jupiter and they combine their powers and intelligence by using the surroundings the turn the tables on the pair. Finally Snow and Dorothy had to deal with Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and though the 3 sisters manage to initially fool the heroines with one of them being able to morph shape, they are still no match when the ladies cooperate. With the gang done with theirs, it is Alan’s turn. He has them send them their magical powers for him to break free from Saturn’s spell, reverses the curse on Saturn and with everybody else appearing out of the gate, Saturn gets a combined clobbering from the powers of the MAR team. Yeah, and it took Ed and Belle so long to call Gaira for help. Can’t blame him, he’s being held back by Zonnen Pawns. But it took him that long? Maybe he’s really getting old…

Sixth Battle: Mushroom Field
Match 1: Alan vs Chaton – I guess it’s about time he joined in the fray or else he’ll lose his edge. But Alan didn’t count something for this most powerful Bishop: Chaton is a cat. So what? Alan has a phobia for cats!!! Yikes! Being too long in Ed has made him so? Cute and annoying, Chaton doesn’t really have to unleash her full power to defeat Alan. Yeah, this legendary powerful guy lost to a cat girl. And it’s only his second match. How disappointing. MAR off to a losing start with Chess leading for the first time 1-0.
Match 2: Alviss vs Kouga – Something is amiss with Kouga. He has no magical powers but yet he is a Knight class. Then with repeated hits and experiments, Alviss deduces that he is one because of his monstrous strength. Each time he takes a hit, he gets up as though nothing happened. And Kouga has a grudge against Alviss simply because… He is handsome! WTF?! Alviss gives MAR their first victory for this when he finally uses his new ARM, A Baoa Qu, a guardian that envelops its opponents in a confined space and unleashes a powerful blast.
Match 3: Dorothy vs Pinocchion – Pinocchion turns out to be a doll given to Dorothy by Diana when she was young. Turns out to be an evil doll so I guess it’s up to her to stop it (seems Diana will turn him into a human if he defeats Dorothy). Pinocchion really sounds creepy with that voice… Anyway with 3 arms and a nose that grows longer into a powerful cannon each time he lies, ultimately Dorothy gets swallowed up by his giant monster whale, Fastitocalon. Pozun is in a dilemma to call the victory since he’s being pressured by the MAR guys to hold on a little longer. Inside the whale stomach, Dorothy meets Diana’s ex-servant, Poko (looks like a weird alien). He was a hard working servant till one day he stepped on Diana’s dress and was forever banished here. Fastitocalon’s stomach juice is very acidic and melts anything upon contact. So be careful. Plus, ARMs cannot be activated unless Poko wishes for it. He prefers this peaceful life inside the whale’s stomach though Dorothy tries her best to break out of the whale’s iron stomach but to no avail. Seeing her try so hard, he allows her to use Toto to break out of the whale and destroy Pinocchion.
Match 4: Snow vs Magical Roe – This magician turns out to be Snow’s babysitter when she was young. However after fighting with her (Snow besting Magical Roe’s Nightmare with her Undine), Magical Roe reveals his mission isn’t to defeat her but was sent by Diana to capture her. With that, Magical Roe forcefully seizes Snow and leaves the tournament. Oh no! So how? There’s this final match to go on so hang in there Ginta! Oh, Magical Roe is considered to have won this match. So it’s a tie at 2-2 and down the wire.
Match 5: Ginta vs Ian – With Ian now a full-fledged Knight, he is out for revenge and Ginta’s head. Ginta is impatient and blinded by the fact he wants to go save Snow but Ian won’t let him leave until they settle this grudge match. Ian uses a Darkness ARM, Demonic Bond to bind both of them and this causes them to have their magical powers drained in the form of blood. So whoever loses all his blood first will lose. Ian mentions his 3 reasons why he can’t forgive Ginta but Ginta couldn’t give a damn about his twisted reasons. In the end, Ginta wins and manages to convince Ian that this won’t save Gido at all. Ian tosses away his Knight status and continues to search for Gido’s perpetrator. And with a close match, MAR wins 3-2.

Tokyo Arc
With a week before the final match, Gaira has all MAR undergoing more training in his Training Gate. But something is amiss. Ginta and Babbo find themselves back in Tokyo! For real? Well maybe. Koyuki is there too so he must be back in Tokyo. But strange things seem to occur because his MAR buddies when they first met, seem to be acting strange. Like Jack is the head of the delinquents, Nanashi the leader of a rival biker group, Dorothy a kind maid to a rich mistress, Alan a private eye detective and Alviss a person who is taking care of a sick little girl called Koyomi in a hospital. None of them have memories prior to their arrival here and it seems a little piece of earring is the source that is impeding their memories. So once Ginta gradually gets his mates back, recover their memories and regroup, Alan deduces that they aren’t really back in Ginta’s world and are still inside the Training Gate. The mysterious lady who has been appearing on and off and disguising herself as other girls throughout the arc (such as Koyuki, Dorothy’s mistress and Koyomi) turns out to be Lillis. During the first War Games, Alan and Gaira’s Cross Guards were saved by Lillis’ tremendous power of her ARM, Plenu Ryunu. As the best ARM user in her village, they begged for her to join the Cross Guards to fight against Chess. She was reluctant though her family gave their blessings. Soon, her village was burnt down and she felt guilty that her absence was the cause her family and village perished. Soon, Lillis vanished from her own Training Gate and never resurfaced. As Lillis further vanish into a portal, Ginta, Dorothy and Alan go after her while the rest take on the undead knights Plenu Ryunu is keeping them busy with. Inside the portal, a seemingly calm and peaceful replica of Lillis village. The reason why she did this to Ginta and co was because she doesn’t want them to experience the pain of war and should’ve stayed in this peaceful place even though it’s fake. Eventually MAR gets to leave the place after they defeat Plenu Ryunu who has been guarding Lillis with whatever amount of magic power she has left.

Reginrave Castle Arc
Remember that Alibaba guy who perished so suddenly? Apparently he is alive because before he was going to be melted by the volcano’s magma, Phantom teleported him away. Yeah, Alibaba has got a new arm. Not an ARM, but a mechanical arm. What difference does it make? He’s only cockier and asserting his position as leader. Now he is under Phantom’s orders and leading a little group that comprises of Fuugi and Loco to retrieve a powerful Hero ARM believed to be hidden somewhere underneath Reginrave Castle. Reginrave Princess has no choice but to lead Alibaba deeper into the underground filled with traps because the useless knight Carl can’t really do anything. Okay, maybe I was a little harsh. You can’t do anything rash when your princess is held hostage. Ginta and Jack chase after them while Loco finds a new cursed ARM that turns its victims into animals. Guess what did Jack turned into? Uki, uki, uki… Ginta turned into a rabbit? But that ARM possession is only short lived. When the gang finally reaches the place where the hero ARM resides, Alibaba can’t use it and thinks it’s all a fake. That’s because he’s not a hero. So when Carl uses it, he turns into some knight hero to save the princess and get the gang out of the crumbling lair. Looks like this ARM is also good only for one use. And yeah, Alibaba may have perished for good this time. Good riddance.

Seventh Battle: Final Battle!
The mouth-watering final is here and will be held in front of Reginrave Castle. It’ll be MAR up against all the best and powerful knights of Chess. Plus, there will only be a match a day and not in succession.
Match 1: Jack vs Weasel – Hmm… Both are plant users. But Weasel is an old geezer with a tree growing on top of his bald head? Don’t let looks deceive you. Weasel was the one who fought Jack’s dad in the last War Games and killed him. So it’s revenge time but Jack’s moves are predictable because whatever he pulls off, Weasel has already seen it during his bout with daddy. Like father, like son. Weasel ultimately plants a large tree that feeds on the suffering of others, Yggdrasil and though Jack tries to draw strength and inspiration to fight on from his late dad, Weasel unleashes a Bird of Rotten Wood guardian that rots and withers any plants his opponents create. To overcome this, Jack summons his second new ARM, Kikazoku Fire (an Arabian midget?) to burn the hell out of that bird. He never used this before because it requires great amount of magical power. Finally he defeats Yggdrasil by destroying the tree on top of Weasel’s head since it’s the source of his powers. That easy? But nobody thought of it before? And to think that his power source was at such an obvious open spot. So you could say Jack’s actions now bore fruits, eh? Only a bald top left… MAR leads 1-0.

Match 2: Alviss vs Rolan – Get ready for round 2, the clash of the bishonens. Literally. Okay, so this match feels like another clash of ideals. Rolan wants Alviss to come on board the eternity undead thingy while Alviss would rather die than to live forever like a zombie. Both are stubborn. Both are good looking and both are determined. With Alviss using his Totem Poles moves as opposed to Rolan’s Stone Cubes and Ailes d’Angel (that allows him to fly and shoot sharp feathers), eventually emotion got the better of Rolan as Alviss coolly handles this one and defeats him. MAR extends their lead to 2-0.

Match 3: Dorothy vs Chimera – You think Chimera must be some kind of a pervert to rip Dorothy’s clothes. Distraction? Okay, maybe for us Dorothy fans but the truth is, Chimera isn’t really a guy. She’s a woman. This match isn’t a bed of roses for Dorothy because Chimera is using Ghost ARMS, the kind of ARMS that are forbidden and horrendous. At points they may look like aliens. As usual, a taste of Chimera’s past how she lost her humanity and turned into a twisted cold blooded Chess Piece member. She was in the midst of marrying the guy she loves although fully knowing he’s part of Chess. But the villagers (Chess victims and were on a witch hunt) took him away. He never returned no matter how long she waited. Then they return and decide to punish all those who are affiliated with Chess, innocent or not. She was held captive and tortured till she could no longer withstand the pain and ran away. She ultimately loses her humanity when she saw her badly scarred face. So that’s when she tells the world to screw it and Peta picks her up as recruitment. Do you think Dorothy cares about it all? Big yawn for her. Chimera also reveals she was the one who turned Gido into a vegetable, prompting angry Ian to interrupt the match. But he gets kicked by Dorothy and a ticking off that he can do anything he wants after she wins this match. In the climax of the powerful, Chimera fuses with her most powerful Ghost ARM, Chimaira and turns herself into a powerful monstrosity but Dorothy defeats her with Toto. Frustrated with everything that has happened, Chimera screws the world, screws Chess and flees. MAR is up 3-0. And oh, congratulations to Dorothy for winning all her War Game battles! Perfect victory!

Match 4: Alan vs Halloween – Another rematch and grudge match between very powerful characters. So we’ve got Alan’s Air Hammer against Halloween’s fire abilities. But shock is Alan upon finding out Halloween is his childhood friend. He never suspected it? Even way back 6 years ago when they fought to a draw? So yeah. Another flashback. Halloween, formerly known as Pump was the weakest boy in town. Always got bullied. Alan, the strongest kid in town, saves him. Strikes up a friendship. However Pump wanted to be strong and crave more power so he stole one of Alan’s ARMs and got chase by a pack of multi-headed dogs. Before the dogs could bite him to death, his fear unleashed some sort of fiery retribution and burnt the dogs. That was when Pump realized the thrill in stepping on the weak. Halloween was also the one who merged Alan and Ed together at the end of the draw in the previous War Games. Halloween got more ruthless over the years and is taking advantage of Alan’s heroic heart to harm the defenceless spectators so Alan has no choice but to defend them and take in some pain. After unleashing wave after wave of powerful ARMs on Alan, Halloween uses his ultimate Guardian ARM, Wakan Tanka (skeleton on wings?). But Alan counters this move with his new ARM, Saint Anger (a pair of giant hands?) to smash them up and sends Halloween flying into the sky. Up, up and away! With the 6 years of grudge settled, MAR has an unassailable 4-0 lead.

Match 5: Nanashi vs Peta – Also another grudge match. At least for Nanashi who is out to avenge his comrades. Prior to the start of the match, Nanashi went back to Luberia to clear his mind but Galian is after him to prevent him from fighting Peta because he knows he will lose his life by fighting this powerfully crazy Chess’ strategist. Since when Galian cared about Nanashi? Maybe it’ll be too boring if he’s no longer around. It was odd to see them in a tag and hide-and-seek game. Catch me if you can! No way! Do you think he should give up just because MAR can afford to lose a match? Not a chance if the pride of Luberia is on the line. So as the match starts, Nanashi can’t lay a single hit on Peta. Actually he did. Just that with Peta’s Blood Body, his body is immune to any attacks as his body will regenerate. Also, all lightning based attacks are reflected back at him. Then Peta uses Blood Syringe to drain blood out from Nanashi, the way he uses to massacre his Luberia mates. Nanashi was prepared to die in this battle but that is if he takes Peta with him. Now it is close to impossible. Besides, don’t you want a kiss Dorothy promised to give you if you return alive? Nanashi could’ve been done for if he had not taken a Holy ARM Alviss gave him (which was originally from one of his close fallen comrades) that allows him to be completely healed and making this comeback to destroy the Blood Body ARM. Peta is pushed to a corner so he summons his Guardian ARM, Body Eye. But Nanashi fights back with Gymnote and finishes him off with his Griffin Lance. With MAR 5-0 and close to perfection, Phantom makes his personal appearance on stage and mourns the loss of his best friend. Hey, even baddies like him do shed a tear. Now there is no one else who will share his immortality dream. Rolan? Maybe he’s not that close. Oh, what about that promised kiss? Dorothy ‘forgot’ she ever said that. Haha! Looks like her lips are only for Ginta.

Match 6: Ginta vs Phantom – The much awaited finals! As the number one Knight, Phantom easily summons several guardians simultaneously for Ginta to have some warm up exercise, in which he easily disposes. Then Phantom traps Ginta in his Phantom Glass and gives him time to break out. If he does not do so once he is done with his storytelling, with a snap of his finger, Ginta will shatter along with the glass. Oh wait. Storytelling time? I guess this is inevitable. So what more shocking revelations can we learn from this flashback? Phantom is from Caldea. Shock! And nobody from Caldea recognized it was this bugger who initiated the War Games 6 years ago? So this was how he became twisted. When Phantom was young, he entered a forbidden room and saw some kind of orb. He was enthralled by it and made regular visits but when his rendezvous was found out, he was being made to put to death and by Caldea’s law, his parents are supposed to do it. However they couldn’t and perished themselves. Since Phantom has no other relatives, he was to be imprisoned for life. Till that day (10 years later, that is) when Diana busted him out and since they both share the same dream of world domination and utmost detest for weak humans. They took along with them almost 800 ARMs and that orb thingy (which could’ve been Babbo). Along their journey across MAR Heaven, they build up Chess, Phantom met Peta and fell in love with a girl named Alma (who says there isn’t romance for bad guys?), Diana became Queen of Lestarva and gave Phantom a Zombie Tattoo as her present so that he can’t die. Because Phantom and Alma’s view differ (the latter accepted the cycle of death and rebirth as opposed to Phantom’s eternity), they both went their separate ways with Phantom finding those who share his same beliefs. And if ever Phantom changed his mind, he should use the key he gave her to free himself. Back to the match proper, While Phantom reveals his monster arm that has lots of ARMs (pun not intended), Ginta manages to break out in time and uses his newest version of Babbo (a magic stone he received from Dorothy prior to the match). I guess everybody is eager to see him pull off what kind of new version he has in store. So are you ready everyone? Can you guess what it is? It is… Puss In Boots! WTF?! What’s so special? With a dried bonito in hand, he is an ARM who can use other ARMs. Uh… Dorothy not looking happy… Ginta manages to rip his monster arm and there is a suspicious keyhole on Phantom’s chest. Want to guess which key fits there? Then it’s the showdown of the strongest guardians. Phantom’s Remrace and Dead Dragon against Ginta’s Gargoyle. Remrace and Dead Dragon combine and coordinate their attacks to best Ginta’s Gargoyle. It’s 2 against 1. However it ends with all guardians destroying each other. With no more guardians left, Phantom and Ginta engage in a physical fistfight! Both sides are already tired. Finally Ginta knocks a good one into Phantom. He better not stand up because Ginta is already at his limit. Phantom is down but not getting up so Pozun is in a dilemma to make the call. Chess supporters threaten but Pozun being the fair judge announces the winner of the battle and War Games to MAR!!! Hooray!!! MAR won!!!

Rescue Snow Arc
As Candice brings Phantom back to the castle, he knows that Diana has already cast him away seeing that his lost has made him ‘useless’ to her. As for our MAR heroes, their next step is to rescue Snow being held at Lestarva Castle. They need an Andarta ARM to transport themselves there so Alan, Nanashi and Jack try to find Pozun. Ginta knew that guy is the only one from Chess who hasn’t left because if he does so, he’ll get clobbered by the Chess members. The trio head to Pozun’s village and learns from his sister Porin how Pozun became the referee for War Games again when his village is being held hostage by Chess. But after dispelling the traps and helping the village to walk on its feet again, Pozun thanks them and gives them his Andarta ring (good thing MAR won, eh?). Meanwhile Ginta, Dorothy and Alviss need to head back to Caldea to have Babbo fixed because since his match with Phantom, all those devastating blows are cracking him up (not a laughing matter, mind you). However they face obstruction from several old enemies: Giromu (revenge for big sister), Kouga (rematch for his ‘rival’) and Pinocchion (wants somebody new to play with since Diana abandoned him. Oh, looks at his upgraded version. He’s on wheels!). Dorothy has to take the long way back to Caldea since her Andarta ARM was destroyed by those pesky losers. I wonder if it’s uncomfortable flying too long on a witch’s broom. It was really odd how Giromu could freeze the entire ocean not only on the surface but the depth as well. But I guess this gives them some sort of ‘platform’ to fight on. Of course Ginta always wins and even if Giromu said he’d repent, he really didn’t.

With Ed’s flying carpet, MAR takes a faster trip to Caldea to repair Babbo. The elders initiate a delicate process to fix Babbo and at this very time, the trio losers once again cause havoc on Caldea. As for Ed, he seems to have this disgust for Caldea ever since learning Phantom was from this place. He thinks that Caldea’s strict laws were the source MAR Heaven went into war. Can you just forgive them? Besides, lashing out at old elders makes it feel that you’re just bullying the old. Like no respect. Like he’s got a big problem with it. He should’ve been better being a ‘useless’ mascot with his incessant worrying of Snow. But you can tell how this is going to end when Kouga gets bombed in Alviss’ A Baoa Qu again and Giromu knocked out by Ginta and a revived Babbo (just in time, eh?). Hope you learn your lesson, buddy. No, you can never get revenge for your sister. And thankfully Ed’s revulsion for Caldea subsides (may not be totally) after witnessing that the kids of this place are just as innocent as kids anywhere else in this kingdom. It’s not nice for dogs to stay stubborn anyway. Elsewhere, Ian is hot on Chimera’s trail. He wants her to break the spell on Gido but she is more interested in obtaining the ultimate Ghost ARM sealed away in some tower (the kind that makes you totally lose your humanity – no more feelings, no more memories). Well, though she temporarily possessed it, it didn’t last. So she goes back to Lestarva Castle to take Gido as hostage while challenging Ian to a duel. But it’s not any much of a match because Chimera was easily defeated. Realizing how she could be with her loved one in Heaven, Chimera breaks Gido’s spell. She even wished them the happiness she had lost. Goes to show that deep down she still has her humanity. Chimera (whose real name is now revealed: Eileen) dies as Ian and Gido head out of Lestarva Castle just as Ginta and co are coming in.

But joining MAR are the odd bedfellows of Chaton and Loco. While it’s easy to say that Chaton is totally infatuated with Alan (who by the way still has cat phobia as she clings to him at every moment possible), it’s weird to see her and Loco together. If boggles me that if Loco despises Chaton so much (because her acts always make Loco bear the brunt), why doesn’t she just leave her? I mean, they’ve been seen together since the final match and travelling together ever since. Each time Loco commenting how she’ll get back at that cat every time she does something irritating. At this rate, I don’t think her entire lifetime will be enough. I guess these 2 need more screen time because… They’re the only Chess Pieces that didn’t lose. Anyway with MAR barging into Lestarva Castle, they have to fight waves of low level Chess Pieces. Ginta, Alan and Ed arrive at a room where Snow is held but faces off with Magical Roe though they defeat him. However they can’t easily free Snow because she is in some Darkness ARM puzzle called Death Cube. One wrong move and Snow will be sent to the other dimension. Magical Roe realized the err of his ways offers to undo the puzzle. But since this is a Darkness ARM, whoever undoes the puzzle will be sent to the other dimension instead. Magical Roe accepts his fate since he got to see Snow smile one last time. And doesn’t it feel like deja vu because as Snow breaks free, she falls onto Ginta’s lips… And all that pecking from Dorothy does not count. Elsewhere Dorothy and Alviss are fighting off against Candice and Rolan respectively (round 3 for the handsome guys? Don’t they get tired of facing each other?). The loyal duo are preventing them from taking a step further into the chamber where Phantom is resting. Rolan may have got Alviss trapped in his cage and Candice using some illusion on Dorothy to turn her into some emotional wreck over Diana, but Belle’s help (with a cat?) breaks Alviss free and Dorothy’s Zephiroth Broom turns the tide on their respective enemies. Just as MAR regroups and is about to take their final step to banish Phantom once and for all, suddenly they are being transported away.

Ghost Chess Arc
Well, something is wrong with Alviss. His Zombie Tattoo is hastening! It’s because of an ARM stuck to his heart called Rondo of Time that is accelerating this process. But if you think about it, he should have turned into one already since his body is almost covered with the tattoo. Unless it’s his strong will in fighting off the transformation. In this arc, we are introduced to the loyal and secret servants of Phantom, the Ghost Chess. Led by Kapelmeister (the one who transported MAR away), Sara Band, Pause, General and the Flat Sisters (no, not referring to their chests but the musical notes they represent: A, B and C). Phantom still wants to make Alviss his and has his final ace up his sleeve via Ghost Chess (he has Rolan and yet yearns for Alviss). MAR infiltrates the lone island city of Bartgain, the place where Phantom and his Ghost Chess are. Nanashi’s makeshift octopus craft (?!) is soon discovered and attack and disperses the MAR to various part of the island. With Ghost Chess initiating attack on MAR, Kapelmeister hypnotizes Alviss away from Snow back to Phantom before calling his underlings to retreat. But it seems Alviss has changed his stance on eternity and wants to join Phantom. But Rolan can’t trust him seeing that they fought so many times so he knows he just can’t let him go to Phantom. Jealous? Oddly after all the persuasion and finally when he wants to come in, Rolan shuts the door. Ironic, isn’t it? But it’s a plot to get close enough to Phantom to insert the key in his chest (Alviss previously asked Ginta for the key as he wanted to end this with his own hands). But Phantom saw this coming and prevented him from inserting the key into his chest. Well Alviss, if you didn’t shout and act so dramatic that you’re going to bring him down, probably Phantom would not have reacted so fast. At this point, Alviss is under the spell of the Zombie Tattoo and becomes a mindless fighting monster, beating up his MAR comrades without remorse. But he managed to eke out a little conscious to tell them to escape before succumbing to the beast. MAR have to retreat and do some planning to get Alviss back. And killing him isn’t part of the plan. With Nanashi and Alan captured, the only hope left is to get an ARM that will grant any wish that resides at Misty Castle, Clavier. Ginta and Dorothy enter the coliseum but the guardian Misty Hadju senses them as evil since Sara put a spell on the guardian to make them ‘blind’. The guardians continue to attack while the duo make a run. But they are saved when a ghost ship from Vestory appears. It is Alma to point out Misty Hadju’s misjudgement and being deceived (what is a ghost ship doing here? I felt Alma’s presence was just to notify Ginta and to save our heroes’ asses). Misty Hadju is free from Sara’s spell so she tells the duo how to get to Clavier (lighting up the torch and looking up at the sky).

So to get Alviss back, MAR fights and gets captured by Ghost Chess. Including Chaton and Loco. Chaton did a cheeky move by making Loco use her voodoo magic to swap bodies with General so that they can fool Pause and free beloved Alan and Nanashi (I can’t believe the Ghost ARM that was supposed to eat Alan and Nanashi’s heart were easily destroyed when Nanashi used the lightning on himself and Alan’s via Loco’s voodoo straw doll substitution. Shouldn’t Nanashi have done his in the beginning? Maybe he was hypnotized). Inside, they find a lab belonging to Kapelmeister as he is dabbling in forbidden Ghost ARMs so that he could make Phantom the perfect being. Then they fight Alviss again but this time Snow uses what she has learnt and train to precisely shoot her ice at Rondo of Time, temporarily stopping the accelerating process. With Alviss back with them, they head back to the coliseum. But they face off with Ghost Chess who are bent on preventing Alviss from reaching Clavier. The other MAR members keep the Ghost Chess members as Alviss alone heads up to Clavier. Loco could have got a head start to Clavier (she wanted the ARM to stop her de-aging curse) if she had not stopped to use her Darkness ARM to save Chaton from harm’s way. Because of that she turned into a baby for good. Poor Chaton felt so guilty that she took it upon herself to take care of baby Loco. Alan even takes pity on Chaton. What a surprise. Even still, the toddler finds her annoying.

As Alviss makes his way inside Clavier, he is bewildered to see another person inside (suspiciously looking like his young self). Since only one can get the ARM, Alviss gives way to this kid. However the kid gets disheartened to see it in a form of dagger and tosses it away. Then Alviss suddenly remembers that it was this dagger he used to summon Ginta to this world via Monban Pierrot after years of mastering it. What he wished for then was for peace on MAR Heaven. Funny how he doesn’t remember it but now. But as noted by Misty Hadju, though this place only can have a single person at a time, but different times intertwine so I guess this unexplainable happened. Meanwhile MAR are still fighting against Ghost Chess. Sara uses a move that eventually absorbs her life and kills her, leaving most of her comrades shock. Everyone doesn’t feel like fighting anymore but Kapellmeister sucks his comrades’ life to turn into the ultimate Ghost ARM and transforms himself into winged demon called Analyse. Of course with MAR cooperating, there is no way such heartless baddie could win. When Alviss return, they lament he couldn’t use that ARM but he notes he gained something more valuable instead (probably it’s his meeting with Ginta).

Heading back to the castle to face Phantom, it’s another round of Rolan-Alviss. Yeah, now he changed his mind and can’t let Alviss be near Phantom. Anyway Candice has taken Phantom and on the run. How far can they get? Though Rolan attacks Alviss, he laments that he is not acknowledged by Phantom and stabs himself with his own rose! Maybe this way he could meet Phantom again. So when MAR has got Phantom and Candice cornered, Phantom resigns to his fate of getting killed. He gives Alviss the green light to stick the key into him. But Alviss hesitates. Don’t tell me he’s feeling sorry for him now? Anyway Phantom is the one who guided Alviss’ hands to insert the key. Phantom becomes a mortal and this frees Alviss from his Zombie Tattoo. Alviss gives Phantom a decent burial by having Jack to bloom flowers all around just like his ideal dream world. Oh Candice, what are you to do now since the person you have been living for is gone?

MAR Heaven In Crisis Arc
Snow is suddenly acting strange. She wants to seal Babbo’s memories as part of Diana’s orders (something must have triggered her to go into this state). Though she soon becomes unconscious and Babbo freed from Snow’s icy prison, Ginta jumps into Snow’s mind via some ARM they found in the island’s lab. Here some shocking revelations of Snow are revealed. She is connected to Koyuki in the real world and thus why they both see each other in their dreams. Then this is all part of Diana and the mysterious King’s plan for something. Seems when Diana wasn’t the Queen of Lestarva yet, she implanted some magic stone into the pregnant Lestarva Queen. Thus Snow isn’t a person who is supposed to exist in this world. Huh? What? I’m confused. Well, Diana wants to open a portal between Earth and MAR Heaven and it seems she needs Snow’s power to do it. And for the research Alviss is doing, this process is something similar to human cloning. Anyway Ginta manages to get Snow back because she is who she is and believes she is a separate matter from Koyuki. Snow comes back, all’s well ends well? So when the gang are ready to depart for Lestarva Castle, they are shocked to find themselves falling from the sky. But don’t worry. They landed safely at Lestarva Castle, which is now safely on the ground. The king of Lestarva (Snow’s dad) is relieved to see them and that somehow he was freed from his captive as the King and Queen had suddenly vanished. So has peace finally reached MAR Heaven? As the gang celebrates, something sinister is about to happen, the mysterious King (in a knight’s armour. Can’t help staring at his weird butt armour piece) makes his move to control both worlds. First, mysterious monuments from Ginta’s world start falling into MAR Heaven. Isn’t that the statues from Easter Island? Isn’t that Eiffel Tower? Team MAR go around to look for clues but King approaches Alan and they fight. Alan is no match for his ferocious powers and was beaten. By the time everyone gets back, Alan is in his final last breath. He has an idea who King is but dies before he could say it. NOOO!!! ALAN DIED???!!! I can’t believe this!!! Imagine how heartbroken Chaton has become. Because of this, Chaton and Loco (reluctantly) go on a knight hunting spree and beat up anybody that looks like a knight in hopes of nailing the real culprit. She’s just turned into a vengeful vigilante, eh?

Ginta and Dorothy head back to Caldea to see the elder but find the floating castle is gone and the place under attack by monsters. After defeating the monster, they realize the elder is inside it and it seems King and Queen have hijacked their floating castle and made it as their new base. Meanwhile Jack, Alviss and Nanashi encounter Pano stealing food. Seems she and her family are planning to stow away and live on a faraway island since Chess has been disbanded and they fear they may receive the people’s wrath even if they have turned over a new leaf. But when Garon and Leno return, they are being attacked by King and are killed. Jack is also injured but not as bad as Snow who took a direct hit. Nanashi wants Alviss to take the rest to retreat while he fights off King. Unfortunately, his powers are too great as Nanashi succumbs to his injuries. Oh sh*t!!! Not another MAR member dead! But that statistic is going up again as Snow lies in her final breath in Ginta’s arms. She manages to confess she likes him and dies. F************CK!!!! Why are they killing off MAR members???!!! In the real world, Koyuki almost drowns in her school’s pool but manages to live on. From this point, she has stopped seeing visions of Snow and pays Ginta’s mom a visit. Ironically, Ginta’s mom also had visions of MAR Heaven all along, the reason why she got to write her novel. Perhaps she is the Queen and Diana’s counterpart? Bet she is. Ginta is obviously down but as MAR’s captain, he can’t let it go to his head. They meet Ian and Gido who are staying at a village Ash once governed. Though the adults hate Ash for being part of Chess, the children aren’t. Seems Ash is trying to help the villagers relocate as there are mysterious portals opening up over the place. Ash’s ARM, Eingang has this ability to seal the portal so he needs Ginta’s Gargoyle power to help seal the next one as each successful seal, the next rip becomes bigger and harder to seal. Ash also tells Ginta how King and Queen are behind this because when Diana announced Chess will be disbanded forever, King proceeded to absorb everyone (disgruntle turned to fear)! Only Ash managed to escape. Diana senses Ash’s Eingang will put a damper to their plans so King goes to stop him. Though Ian challenges King and gets beaten up, King avoids killing him because he has to rush to Ash and Ginta who are close in sealing a portal. Ash fights King so that Ginta could concentrate in closing the portal. Ultimately though the portal is closed, Ash loses his life but leaves Eingang in Ginta’s care.

Dorothy takes Ginta and Alviss to a cave to concentrate their magical powers on Eingang so they can teleport to where Diana is. Alviss takes a break outside but is confronted by King. He then reveals his true face. It is Danna! Say it isn’t so! Well, actually I had seen this coming (thanks to the spoilers in the opening. Thanks guys. That was a big ‘relief’. Read: Sarcasm) but hoped it wasn’t true. And he has Zombie Tattoo over him too! Is that how he survived? So Alviss starts going crazy and in denial about all the trust and bond they made back in the first War Games. Because of this, he couldn’t concentrate and was on the verge on giving up till he sees visions of Phantom and Rolan telling him to stand up and fight. Placing his trust in Ginta, Alviss holds down Danna and uses his A Baoa Qu to blast both of them together. King could’ve finished him off if Jack didn’t arrive (I think he could’ve killed them both if he wanted) so he escapes. Jack brings heavily wounded Alviss back to the cave whereby Alviss uses his last ounce of life to help open the portal (though Dorothy and Ginta managed to activate it, its power wasn’t enough to teleport them). Only Ginta, Babbo and Dorothy will head for the final battle as Jack offers to take care of Alviss. I was surprised to hear Dorothy promising to date Alviss when it’s over. I hope that’s true but that won’t be happening because after they have left, Alviss dies!!! NOOO!!! Not another MAR member! They’re really killing everybody off! In the castle, Ginta and Dorothy face off with Diana. Dorothy traps Ginta and Babbo seeing this is her battle. As both sides unleash powerful ARMs against each other, Diana reveals she wants to purify both worlds because she was sick of all the poverty, sickness and wars that humans had created. Dorothy didn’t give a damn about all that. She just wants the sister she knew back. In the end, Dorothy slashes Diana with her Ring Dagger. I guess when a person is dying, it makes them revert back to their good ol’ personality. Both sisters had a touching moment of sisterly reunion and reconciliation. Dorothy is saddened after Diana dies (well, even if she’s out to kill her, she is still her sister). Later as I found out, Diana’s revert in behaviour was probably due to the fact she was under King’s mind control all the while. But tragedy strikes twice because Danna fires a projection that kills Dorothy!!! NOOOOO!!! Not Dorothy too! Near complete MAR wipe-out! And as predicted, with her in her last breath, she manages to summon her courage to confess to Ginta that she loves him. What’s the use when you’re dead and gone?

Now it’s Ginta versus Danna. He is very shocked to see his dad but feels he isn’t his real father. Danna insists he is but throws a rock at him. He stops it with his powers. Ginta tells him whenever they got into an argument with mom, they always play catch to cool things down. Up till now, he has only playing catch with Babbo. What does this mean? Danna reveals that he is actually the Orb from Caldea and the Weapon ARM of Phantom during the first War Games. When Phantom was defeated and Danna died, Orb transferred his soul into Danna’s body. This explains a lot. It puts a rest to the eternal question of why he turned to the dark side. And because Ginta had always believed in his true father, seems Danna’s soul was residing in Babbo all the while. At that moment, Danna returns and temporarily takes over Babbo. Both father and son cooperate to beat Orb who needs Ginta’s power to open up a portal to Earth. Then Ginta uses Alice to transfer Danna’s soul back into his rightful body as the Orb escapes. Ginta and Babbo chase after Orb who has grown to an enormous size. Now he doesn’t need Ginta’s power to open up the portal. Ginta learns of Orb’s reason in doing all this. You see, Orb was born from Ginta’s world! How? Via all the negative emotions of humans from his world. Those negative emotions were so powerful that it seeped through to MAR Heaven. Caldea’s elder tried to contain this problem by sealing it all in an orb. Ironically as time passes, those negative emotions gained a mind of its own. Orb then showed Diana those devastating images, something that peaceful MAR Heaven lacks. She was convinced and took Orb and Phantom to run and the rest is history. Now Orb’s plan of destroying both worlds is coming close as he transforms into his true form, Tiamat and heads into the portal. Ginta rides Gargoyle to catch up with Orb. A powerful battle takes place but it devastates a big part of the city. Koyuki sees the spirit of Snow and the latter wants them to combine to become a magic stone to help Ginta. With an extra magical stone in his hand, Ginta wishes for all his friends help and power to defeat Orb. This means all the dead MAR members (minus Snow) are revived!!! Yes!!! Everyone in MAR Heaven lend their power to Ginta so that he could fire a devastating and brightest ray of light to finish Orb for good.

Peace returns to MAR Heaven and with the war over, it’s time for Ginta to return to his own world. Dorothy brings him back to the store he first shopped with Jack to find another Monban Pierrot. Before his departure, Ginta and Dorothy share a little moment together and she kisses him on his lips for real! Finally everyone sees off Ginta and Danna. Dorothy this time let out a loud cry that she loves Ginta. It probably would’ve been better if she had said it in front of him rather than to his back and before the portal closes. Ginta returns back to his classroom and Koyuki is relieved to see him. He promises her to tell her everything from the start but that won’t be necessary since she saw visions via Snow (saves us recap episodes, eh?). Koyuki hugs Ginta’s arms on the way home. Erm… I wonder if Ginta has his eyesight back to normal? Maybe his physical and mental strength has improved but I don’t remember him doing any eyesight training in MAR. Need glasses? Don’t see him doing so on his return. Danna also returns to Ginta’s mom and she is so happy her husband is back. After over 6 long freaking years, I wonder if she would yell her head off. Welcome back! The series ends with short clips of what the other MAR Heaven citizens are doing. Alan continues to leave with Chaton and taking care baby Loco. Has he gotten over his fear of cats? Also, Babbo is in their custody. Alviss and Belle continue to live together, Nanashi continues to flirt around with girls (Galian also back at Luberia), Jack continues his farm work and Pano makes regular visits (Garon and Leno giving them the thumbs up!), Ian and Gido continue to live at Ash’s village (children still flocking over Ash), Candice and Rolan paying a visit to Phantom’s grave, the odd pair trio of Giromu, Kouga and Pinocchion are bumming somewhere probably lost, Reginrave Princess marrying Carl much to Fuugi’s dismay (wait a minute, I didn’t know he had a thing for her! And wait too! Alibaba is still alive consoling that heartbroken guy?!), John Peach undergoing self intensive training and Dorothy flying away into the sky on her Zephiroth Broom while her other Caldea counterparts go all over the continent to retrieve other ARMs. Hmm… The last bit in showing those who got revived bugged me. I thought Ginta resurrected everyone but I guess it was for those who got killed by King/Orb. So this means Phantom and Diana didn’t revive. I thought Phantom was powerful enough for Ginta to request his help but I guess not. But Rolan? I thought he killed himself? Unless he didn’t. I was wondering about the other Chess Knights too. What happened to Weasel? He didn’t die, didn’t he? Chimera? She rejoined her lover in heaven for good. Halloween? He flew to the stars and never came back, eh?

The Excitement Has Ended…
Well, it was a nice series to follow and ended rather than continuing without any ending in sight unlike some long running series (I bet you can name a few). As the tournament part occupies half of the series, the good thing about the fights is that they are short and confined to a single episode. Better than lasting for 10 episodes with the match going nowhere. Unless the fights are important, they will last from 1.5 to 2 episodes. With the exception of Ginta-Phantom’s final fight lasting for a good 3 episodes. I’d love to make pre-match guesses on who will fight who (and in MAR team’s case, which members are going to participate). Mostly I am right mainly because of the spoilers in some of the ending credits (thanks guys, that really helped. Read: Sarcasm). But even during the fights, the downside is that they insert flashbacks and back story telling. Otherwise, the battle could have ended very fast. I know everyone especially the MAR team have a variety of their own unique ARMs and moves but using the same method can get tiring after a while. So that’s why the flashbacks and back story are necessary to ‘fill’ the gap between the battles. But the fillers aren’t just confined to within the battles itself. With over 100 episodes, I’m sure it’s not just tournament all the way. In between battles, those fillers serve to take a detour, which in my opinion puts a damper on the excitement of the tournament. For me, I would have preferred for it to go straight all the way without any interruption. One or two episodes are fine but to put in an entire mini arc like the Tokyo or Zonnens one is definitely not what I had in mind.

But overall the flow of the story from a simple tournament to save MAR Heaven turned into something darker and sinister plot like world destruction was gradual and smooth. The bits and pieces of information are steadily revealed throughout the series but with my kind of memory, I need lots of back referring to refresh my memories. Though some issues may raise an eyebrow or two. For example if MAR Heaven had never seen war before, how the heck did Diana got convinced of the need to purify the world? Unless she was totally under Orb’s brainwashing and perhaps the same reason why young Phantom was infatuated with the Orb so much so that he was able to give in to the dark side. The battle scenes especially the use of all types of ARMs, the animation is pretty much using CGI effects. Well, if you placed really high hopes of seeing anything jaw-dropping, you’d be sorely disappointed. The animation and movement of the effects are somewhat stiff so it’s like seeing a plastic toy or wooden product moving. And when they strike or blow, the impact doesn’t feel there. It’s like they are hitting air.

So what else can I say about the characters? They are your typical shonen type so it’s not surprising to see the characters grow especially Ginta. He may still be the same kid at the start in the sense he has a strong sense of belief in friendship and justice, but he grows stronger each moment and learns to cool down and not rush into a fight when his emotions get the better of him. When heroic guys like Ginta give their heroic speech, I know it’s a turn off but it beats To Aru Majutsu No Index’s Touma. There are always 2 sides of a coin so you may be right but the doings of the other party may also be right if you strictly look at it from their point of view. Like purifying the human world. Twisted it may be, but it is how Orb sees it to rid of anymore pain and suffering. Maybe there is no other way either but even with all that, Ginta still loves this world despite its many shortcomings so don’t simply go messing and destroying his world as you wish, okay? But other than that, it is the relationship and bond between Ginta and the rest that are the main highlight in turning MAR into a close-knit team. I wish MAR team could stay together forever but I guess with no evil across the land, their existence is meaningless in a way. Everyone accepts Ginta not because he is the one, the saviour of MAR Heaven, but for who he is. Even Alviss finally accepted him as his true comrade. Not to mention Babbo. He may be acknowledging Ginta as his best servant but we know he meant it as his best partner and friend. This may be trivial but I always prefer Dorothy to end up with Ginta (laugh all you want) instead of Snow/Koyuki. I know, she’s my favourite MAR member because of her rose-with-a-hundred-thorns personality (also I find her very pretty :)). Something about Babbo bugs me. If that talkative ARM can really eat like a glutton, where the heck does all the food go?! Where is his stomach? Because from what we can see, he is just a round ball. Don’t tell me his stomach is located in some other dimension. And if Babbo is so heavy, how can he hop around himself seeing that he is weak in water and instantly sinks. Couldn’t he just ‘hop’ away and out of the water?

I need to mention something about the Chess Pieces. Especially those low ranking Rooks and Pawns that aren’t given much individuality. Don’t you notice that a big majority of them wear some sort of mask and dress in a way that gives us an impression that they are clowns or jokers? I feel that they are too. Some never even taking off their mask (like Fuugi and Leno) so it bugs me how they really live by having something covered every part of their face just leaving little holes for their eyes. Speaking of the Chess rankings, I don’t really feel the difference between Knights, Bishops and Rooks. Though each of them have their own ARM to demonstrate during battles, I feel the intensity of it and their skills don’t make any difference. Sure, they may give our heroes a hard time but once they figure out the trick behind it, beating them is easy. So really, I don’t see how different a Knight, Bishop and Rook powers are and how they got ranked. Halfway through the series, I was confident Phantom was the King. Yes, I really thought that. Why? If the first War Games ended up with MAR in victory, doesn’t it show that Phantom is the final boss and thus the King? Plus, the case of Zodiac Knights, there should be only 12 of them, right? If Phantom is a Knight, shouldn’t that be 13 and not really a Zodiac anymore? Besides, Phantom may be cruel but I feel he hasn’t lost his human heart despite being a zombie. You see, if this War Games was really war, why the heck is he kind enough to give the participants a few days’ break (aside from the fillers excuse)? And when you say war, there are no rules so there should be violence and destruction raging throughout the world. Yet the War Games are exactly like what its other name half suggest: It is just a game. So was Phantom really serious in conquering MAR Heaven or not? And do Orb and Diana really need that long a period to open up a portal to Earth? Yeah, War Games were just an excuse to hide their true goals, if I should say. Another point of Phantom’s ‘kindness’ or rather righteousness to ponder is when he punished Rapunzel for simply killing off comrades. If Chess was a big bad organization, shouldn’t Rapunzel’s act be praised among them? I mean, from a baddie’s perspective, killing off weaklings is punishment if you fail to live up to expectations. However Phantom may be a hypocrite since he killed Oruko himself for being weak.

Somewhere halfway through the series, at the end of every episode, there is a segment called MAR Heaven’s Information Network hosted by Belle and Ed. I guess with these 2 mascot characters doing nothing that would make an important impact throughout the series (aside being annoying and for comic relief), I suppose this segment is where they get some screen time. In this part, we see them ranting basically about what has happened in the episode. Like a very short recap. Also it is to provide more short comic relief with their ‘jokes’. For instance, they may be jabbing or insulting each other but at the end of it, one of them will come up with a comeback line or punch line that will have them both laughing. Other than that, the segment is a total worship altar to let their heart out on all the good stuff for Alviss (Belle) and Snow (Ed). Yeah, praise them for all they want like the idols they picture them in their heads. Even if those stuff never happened. Deluded mascots… As if Belle wasn’t annoying enough in the series already. She gets jealous each time Alviss gets close with some other girl. And worse still, she might think he is gay if he gets too close to Nanashi or any other guy! Since when was Alviss her property? Ed was also annoying throughout the show because he is so useless that the only thing he can do is cry out loud with tears coming out from any hole in his face to his beloved hime-sama when things go wrong or bad.

Throughout the series, the mid-intermission is also another fairly amusing section. The first couple of seasons, it wasn’t anything much because it’s just about Ginta and Babbo before one about Babbo randomly transforming into one of his many known versions. The next type is interesting because it shows a trading card-like picture of the characters and their known ARMs and moves with each character having their own short motto. For the last type, it is a random pose of the characters saying “Waku-waku ga tomaranai” (The excitement never stops – which is the catchphrase of the series). I guess every main and supporting character has their fair share in saying it. Some even having said it several times. Another trivia which I found out is the comparison of Nanashi to Flame of Recca’s Joker. MAR and Flame of Recca are created by the same author so there has been speculations that both characters are the same. Besides, how do you explain Nanashi’s super strength in this world? It’s just like Ginta when he first arrived, right? Their characters are also similar and there is a hint that Nanashi may be from another world, that is he was probably that Joker. Though I watched Flame of Recca anime series but did not read the manga, I am not very sure on this so I can’t really say much. During the sponsor screens, viewers can glimpse a real version of an ARM. Won’t it be cool to have those silver ornaments as collector’s item or accessories?

For the first time (at least to me), a main character in the series has switched voice actors. Ginta was initially handled by Motoko Kumai (Koganei in Flame of Recca, Banba in Kuragehime) but that was for the first 90 episodes. For some unknown reason (which I could not find no matter how much I search), the balance of Ginta’s role was voiced by Kumiko Higa (Irina Woods in Mai-Otome). Though she sounds close but there was an obvious difference. I felt something amiss when I heard Ginta suddenly sounding a little different than usual, then I checked this up and found out about this. I didn’t like it. I would prefer the same seiyuu to stick to the same role till the end because my perception on how Ginta sounds like has been established and all of a sudden, somebody else voiced him. It takes the fun and excitement out of it. Really, I’m not kidding. With an extensive cast in this anime, I guess the best voice acting would go to Rapunzel by Yuko Sasaki (Hitomi Nomura in Piano) because she sounds like a crazy cold-hearted b*tch and Nao Nagasawa as Pinocchion (Majorika in Ojamajo Doremi) because she sounds really creepy wood puppet. As for the rest, they’re rather okay and after listening to them for so long, you’d get settled into the way they sound. The other casts include Ai Shimizu as Snow and Koyuki (Mikoto in Mai-HiME), Banjou Ginga as Babbo (Zaha in Bakuretsu Hunters), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Jack (Shinpachi in Gintama), Saki Nakajima as Dorothy (Chizuru in Bleach, Saki in Hayate No Gotoku), Souichirou Hoshi as Alviss (Kaoru in Ai Yori Aoshi, Son Goku in Saiyuki series), Juurouta Kosugi as Alan (Arlong in One Piece), Koichi Sakaguchi as Ed (Jack the Ripper in Soul Eater), Masaya Onosaka as Nanashi (Haruka in Lovely Complex, Momoshiro in Prince of Tennis), Rei Kugimiya as Belle (Shana in Shakugan No Shana), Mitsuki Saiga as Phantom (Kosaka in Genshiken), Toshihiko Seki as Danna (Mousse in Ranma 1/2), Michiko Neya as Diana (Agnese in Zero No Tsukaima), Ryuuzaburou Outomo as Orb (Crocodile in One Piece), Shinji Kawada as Ian (Shino in Naruto), Miyu Matsuki as Chaton (Yoshinoya in Hidamari Sketch), Sawa Ishige as Loco (Haruna in Negima series), Katsuki Konishi as Ash (Kamina in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann), Susumu Chiba as Rolan (Kondou in Gintama), Kumi Sakuma as Candice (Seina in Gokujou Seitokai), Hiroshi Matsu as Halloween (Henry in Karin), Mie Sonozaki as Chimera (Hazuki in Happy Lesson), Tomoyuki Sakurai as Gaira (Takuro Nakai in Bakuman), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Giromu (Saruyama in To Love-Ru series), Kouichi Toochika as Peta (Neji in Naruto) and Yuko Sasamoto as Pano (Kasumi in Super GALS). Phew. I think I’m already tired.

Some of the opening and ending themes are to my liking. For all the rock opening themes, they are sung by Garnet Crow and her low and muffled voice makes it feel like that there is something stuck in her throat and her voice trying really hard to come out. Oops. I don’t know, that’s what I feel but I guess it is something different and unique as opposed to the many squeaky high pitch vocals I am hearing these days. My favourite ones from her are Kimi No Omoi Egaita Yume Atsumeru Heaven (1st opening) that sets the pace and rhythm for the series, the flute-driven rock piece Yume Hanabi (3rd opening), the samba-like beat of Kaze To Rainbow (4th opening) and Koyoi Katasumi No Eden De (4th ending). Haredokei (2nd opening) and the slower beat Kono Te Wo Nobaseba (8th ending) didn’t appeal much to me. The other ending themes are I Just Wanna Hold You Tight by Miho Komatsu (1st ending), Fukigen Ni Naru Watashi by Sayuri Iwata (2nd ending), Mainichi Adventure by Sparkling Point (3rd ending), the very slow ballad and piano-driven Miracle by Rina Aiuchi (5th ending) and Mou Kokoro Yuretari Shinaide by Aiko Kitahara (7th ending).

With Ginta back to his own world, I hope he won’t get bullied or be the butt of jokes anymore. Not likely because he’s learnt a lot and gained lots of experience from MAR Heaven. Now nobody is going to mess with him. So it goes to show that even if you’re a weak kid, with proper guidance you can still become someone worthy and respectable. Ginta’s case is similar to the story of the Ugly Duckling. I’m sure he had his fill of adventure for the time being so it’s back to his normal school life. But the excitement will never stop as long he has a creative and active mind. That’s where the adventure will continue. But for me, the excitement far from over so it’s time to find my own new romance and adventure.

Kimi Ni Todoke 2nd Season

February 11, 2012

I never expected Kimi Ni Todoke to have a second season. At least not within a year since the first season ended. But it’s a good thing it came out because the second season should finally end it all with the main protagonists officially going out with each other, right? It has to. Or else it wouldn’t live up to fans and viewers expectations.

The second season continues right off where the first season ended. So if you really want to jump into the sequel, it is best that you go watch the first season to understand better how things ended up this way. A brief summary of what this series is about. It’s about how opposite attracts. Okay, not exactly. On one hand, we have the popular, friendly and good looking Shouta Kazehaya. It’s not surprise he clicks pretty well with his classmates and is the object of desire of just about any girls. On the other hand, we have Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma whose looks may make look like she just came out from The Ring movies. So Sawako may be shy and honest but her modesty in correcting people’s misconceptions makes it hard for her to make friends or even approach them. But Sawako’s life isn’t a big horror or tragic movie because with a few friends who stood by her side thick and thin, she’ll be able to get by from all other b*tches and love rivals.

For this particular season, the drama is heavily focused on Kazehaya and Sawako. As we all know, these two are attracted to each other but don’t have the guts to confess those 3 magic words. Each thinks it’s a one-sided love after all. Sigh. Sometimes it got a little annoying and irritating but I guess it’s better for it all to build up rather than to have everything so rushed. So here once more, it’s those yet so close, yet so far moments. Before I thought I could pass it off as another nothing-much-happens (at least for the big majority of the episodes), I happen to find out a new character. Oooh. This might prove something interesting to the relationship of Kazehaya and Sawako. Either it will throw a spanner into the works or propel them further. Or both.

Episode 0
This is actually a recap episode from Kurumi’s point of view. I guess this is her only chance this season for her to take the spotlight before she is reduced to an irrelevant extra for the rest of the series. Boo hoo! No more Kurumi! No more pretty face for this series?! Uhm, what am I thinking? So this episode has snippets and flashbacks of how cunning Kurumi used other girls to secure Kazehaya for herself, to the day she met Sawako, the rivalry and attempts to break them up and of course her scheme exposed and lost. Not before she confessed her true feelings to Kazehaya though she was rejected. Ah, do you remember all that? But as Valentine’s Day looms, Kurumi ponders if she should get Kazehaya Valentine chocolates. Anyhow, it will be the first and last time for her. A little tad sad, don’t you think?

Episode 1
The seating arrangements have changed but don’t worry. Sawako no longer needs to be under the protection of Kazehaya, Ryuu, Ayane and Chizu any longer. Albeit she is still that same girl we know back in the first season. She is able to make new friends though she feels she is no longer that close to Kazehaya. Seating wise, that is. Duh. Sawako also makes Valentine chocolates for her classmates and especially Kazehaya. She even panics upon finding out she put too many nuts in his chocolate. Discrimination? Though she is able to give everybody theirs (even that loudmouth Pin got some), she is unable to give hers to Kazehaya, the person that matters the most. Her mind is bogged throughout the day while Kazehaya eagerly waits to get his. Something must be wrong because everybody got one except him. Sometimes procrastination isn’t good but I guess for Sawako’s case, she’s just summoning up her courage and when she finally decides to give her chocolates to Kazehaya, she sees him with Kurumi. Oh dear. She gives Kazehaya her chocolates. The first and the last. Sawako gets disheartened. Kurumi knows Sawako is spying and confronts her. She assures her it is only obligatory chocolates and makes it clear that Kazehaya rejected her a long time ago. Kurumi proceeds to tease Sawako a little, wondering if she’s hoping for a miracle and have never thought of dating Kazehaya. Of those chocolates are obligatory, she is sure Kazehaya will accept them since they are the only kind of chocolates he’ll accept. Whatever choice she makes, she hopes Sawako won’t regret her decision. With that, Sawako didn’t have the courage to give her chocolates (she thinks her chocolates are too serious to be considered as love chocolates?) and puts it back in her bag and leaves. Kento Miura (I thought Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club was making his cameo) passes by Sawako and takes an interest in her.

Episode 2
The gang are now second year students. Good thing that a big majority of them are in the same class. Even Tomo and Ekko are with them this year. Could it be Pin had a hand in this? Sawako has deep thoughts on Kurumi’s words and wonders if she’s being greedy of Kazehaya. Flamboyant Kento is a new addition to the class and he doesn’t hesitate to be very friendly with her. His no-reservation style shocks everybody (especially Kazehaya) and to cap it, he sits next to Sawako. While Kento volunteers to be the class rep (it makes him stands out more), Sawako is being made the environmental officer due to her exceptional skills in gardening. After Ayane confronts Pin and confirms that he was the one responsible in keeping the class together (I guess he isn’t all that bad), Ayane finds Kazehaya waiting in class. Seems he is waiting for Sawako to finish her gardening. Ayane offers to help him out with his love affairs but he prefers not to have any third parties meddling. Sawako goes back to class and finds Kazehaya waiting. The atmosphere gets a little awkward. Though they manage to strike up a conversation, that itself feels awkward because it’s like as though they’re strangers. Hesitating, can’t say, blush-blush. Kazehaya leaves upon noticing Sawako finds it hard to answer his question of whether he is being arrogant since he considered her as her closest friend. Kento spots them and finds them an interesting odd pair.

Episode 3
Maybe Sawako thinks too much. Yeah, she’s thinking what Kazehaya meant by that. Just be yourself, girl. Seeing how ‘gloomy’ Sawako is, Kento trains Sawako to be more cheerful! With hilarious results! Scarier? Kazehaya starts to feel jealous upon seeing the duo interacting well with each other. He confides in Ryuu about his dilemma but I’m sure that baseball guy doesn’t have a clue to what he’s talking about. Even if he did, it’s not like had a solution anyway. Sawako continues to take smiling lessons from Kento. She still has a long way to go. Oh, she starts calling him ‘Master’! Later Ayane confronts Kento and warns him not to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong but he assures her he is a nice guy and have no ulterior motives. In class when Kento learns Sawako’s notes helped everyone with their midterms last year, he announces that Sawako will have a study session after school. Did she say that? Or was it Kento putting words in her mouth. But the turnout is big! Thanks to Kazehaya spreading the word. Not wanting to lose out, eh? Sawako coaches the class and even class idiots like Chizu and Joe could understand! Amazing! Everyone praises her but what shocks them most is that they saw her beautiful smile for the first time. Eh? I thought she put on this kind of smile before? After class, Kazehaya and Sawako have another of those moments. She thanks him and he praises her for being a good teacher. Oh, and not to let those words he said the other day get to her. Kazehaya leaves but Kento is waiting for him.

Episode 4
Well, Sawako continues to ponder what Kazehaya meant by that. Sighs. Sure, forget about the words he said that day but I’m sure he doesn’t mean to go think about that forgetting part too. Meanwhile Kento advises Kazehaya not to get too close to Sawako or giving her too much attention or else he’ll end up making her an outcast like before. The more you dote on her, the more jealous others will be. Kazehaya isn’t happy he is butting in their private affairs but Kento is worried that Kazehaya may be giving Sawako false hope. Kento also asks if he likes anyone and though Kazehaya replies that he does, he offers his help to make them go on a date. No thanks. Kazehaya meets Chizu on his way back and asks her if he and Sawako are different. Chizu thought he doesn’t realize he is in love with Sawako and takes his question the wrong way and responds that he doesn’t understand Sawako. Next morning in school, there is an obvious distance between Kazehaya and Sawako. Ayane and Chizu go talk to her and learn about the things they talked and that she didn’t give him her Valentine chocolates. Sawako is afraid that by doing so Kazehaya may hate her. Ayane advises her that she needs to step up herself or else this excruciating situation will go on forever. Later Ayane sees Kazehaya and kicks him! She warns him never to avoid Sawako every again or quit making her assume that he is doing so. Then as Ayane and Chizu talk, Chizu thinks of spreading the news that Kazehaya and Sawako like each other but Ayane says that guy isn’t the kind who would be happy if others butt into his business. They can’t tell Sawako to just go out and date him because Ayane doesn’t want her to date him when she still feels inferior and wants her to build up her confidence first. Even so, Sawako isn’t going to believe it if they tell her straight in the face that Kazehaya likes her. Then Chizu remembers the blunder she said to Kazehaya yesterday. She can’t mention it to Ayane or else her head will roll. Sawako returns to class as everyone continues to praise her for her wonderful supplementary class and medicinal herb she planted.

Episode 5
With the midterms over and everyone passed, it’s time for the school cultural festival. They come up with a great idea to have Sadako’s Black Magic Cafe. They can use the ‘herbs’ she grows and also provide fortune telling services. This has got to be a blast. We take a detour as Ayane helps Chizu apply some make for Tohru and Haruka’s wedding, in which Ryuu also attends. After that, Chizu confronts Ryuu and wants him to do a favour. To help talk to Kazehaya so that it will fix her blunder the other day. He refuses. But he will talk to him his way. Not because of her, but because he’s also concerned about him as a friend. At school, Ryuu shoots it straight to Kazehaya if he’s coming clean with Sawako. Kazehaya is confused over how to treat her and up till recently, it was easy being himself. Pin joins them and he too knows about this case. He teases Kazehaya that his ‘wife’ is cheating on him. He denies so Pin thinks he got rejected. But realizing he hasn’t told her his feelings yet, Pin gives his advice to go all out and confess. He thinks he’s the man. Sometimes I think he’s annoying. Kento visits Sawako tending to her plants. He tells her she isn’t a loner anymore and thus doesn’t need Kazehaya as she is able to stand on her 2 feet. This only serves to make Sawako think too much. Sawako stands up for Kazehaya, reiterating his good traits and how they’re able to talk freely without a wall between them. She feels she has changed and is at fault for the misunderstanding. Kento misinterprets this and tells Sawako she should learn to be independent and enjoy life. He ultimately says that Kazehaya likes someone and she should start life anew and fall in love with somebody else. But at that point, Sawako’s mind has gone numb from the shock, unable to hear further Kento’s words. Tears start flowing down her cheeks. Kento apologizes and tries to cheer her up but she can’t stop crying. He then suggests if he could be her boyfriend. Gasp! Oh look. Kazehaya is here too. Double gasp!

Episode 6
Kazehaya’s immediate reaction is to grab Kento and grill him why he made her cry. Sawako instead apologizes that it’s not his fault and Kento was just praising him for being nice and fair to everyone. Several guys happen to pass by and joke if this is a love triangle and that if Kazehaya likes Sawako. Kazehaya admits he does. But the guys find it hard to believe and seeing that Sawako is still crying, they try to cheer her up that what he probably meant that he likes her as a friend. Though Kazehaya walks away, Sawako follows him and tries to clear the air. She acknowledges that she also likes him but Kazehaya feels they don’t mean the same thing and walks away. Sawako is left in tears and oddly both of them are missing from the subsequent class. Rumours spread that Kazehaya likes Sawako so Ayane and Chizu confront Kento again that he may be sticking his nose around again. As they go look for them, Kurumi confronts Kento and wants to know what kind of fight Kazehaya and Sawako had. Pin spots Sawako crying at a corner and nearly got a heart attack upon seeing her dark eye bags! She’s like a tragic ghost! He finds out from her that she got rejected but before he can play counsellor, Ayane and Chizu shoo him away. Sawako explains she has been making Kazehaya treating her extra nice compared to everyone else. Chizu makes her think that if they’re being nice to her by being her friends. Of course not. But it’s that very reason why Kazehaya is acting this way. She tells her to stop being so dense and not to feel inferior to everyone. Wow. Even Chizu can’t stop being teary eyed. Ayane takes over and says that there is no difference between them and that they all love her. Later Ayane talks to Chizu (who is feeling sorry for saying those ‘cruel’ things to her). She feels Chizu said what is exactly needed to Sawako since things have gone wrong because she failed to grasp that one important truth. Anyhow, she is confident Sawako will do something about it herself.

Episode 7
Preparations for the festival is on the way. Ryuu meets Kazehaya about his confession but the latter thinks she wasn’t convinced and thus rejected. He felt hurt. Kurumi was eavesdropping so she later confronts Sawako. Sawako mentions she was rejected so Kurumi tells her that they’re not rivals. She tells her off for being a dunce, never put much effort in it and the kind of side that she’s been seeing in him all the while. Kurumi may have been rejected but at least she made her feelings clear to him. As the class works late for the festival (they’re behind schedule), Pin hauls up Kazehaya for that rejection he gave to Sawako. He gets confused when Kazehaya says that he was the one who got rejected. So Pin’s advice? Just forget about her. After all that crap he’s been spouting about not understanding Sawako, it all boils down to that he’s thinking about himself. So what difference does it make? Sawako joins the other girls in making costumes for the festival. She thanks Chizu for her advice while pondering upon Kurumi’s. Next day in school, Ayane and Chizu try to prevent Kento for making the situation even harder but he starts apologizing and blurts out that on second thought, Kazehaya likes her. Sawako denies it and so happen Kazehaya was there. Everyone else thought it was just a rumour since Kazehaya left with the guys without responding to Sawako. Ryuu passes her and points out that she tends to get her tongue tied. She realizes if this goes on, she may not even be able to talk to him. Ayane was going to punish Kento and sew his mouth shut for good but was interrupted by Kurumi. They’re blocking the vending machine. The girls wonder if Kurumi had a hand in what happened and she wasn’t afraid to admit that she was the one who made Sawako doubt herself to give chocolates to Kazehaya. Upon realizing that Kurumi likes Kazehaya, Kento suggests that if he goes out with Sawako, wouldn’t it solve her problem? But Kurumi slaps him! She doesn’t want to think she lost to that unworthy opponent ever. Ayane tells Kento off that his intentions may be good but his actions have hurt Sawako. So just be a good boy and stay out of this.

Episode 8
Pin approaches Sawako to get a report on their progress for the festival. He aims to be number one this year. He even tells her to forget about Kazehaya before this egomaniac returns to his ‘slaves’ to see how they’re doing! With the progress on the festival making headway, Kazehaya and Sawako can’t help ponder about the things that happened. Ryuu meets Chizu and gives her a bracelet as her birthday present. During the festival, Sawako’s fortune telling booth is a hit! There is a long queue of unhappy people waiting for her to cast black magic on others! Oh sh*t! But the best part is, when they come in gloomy, they leave purified! They don’t hold any grudges anymore! AMAZING!!! During her break, Kento visits her and got honest with her. He never pictured her and Kazehaya to be an item. Though she mentioned there was no wall between them, he feels the opposite is true. Only a wall exists between them. At this point, Sawako’s mind turned off so she didn’t hear his subsequent words that she’d be better off giving up on him, blend in with the class and go out with someone else like him (still not giving up, eh?). But he notes that the only person who can make her cry and sad is the only one who can make her happy and smile. Kento leaves and sees Kazehaya. He thinks Sawako may have the wrong idea but Kazehaya feels that he is right that they are opposites and that it was him who admires her. He beats himself up that he is not the amazing guy she thought he is and is just somebody jealous and short tempered. Besides, she always put in the effort and gives him too much credit. Then at the end of the day after lots of thinking, Sawako has finally made a resolve. She doesn’t care who Kazehaya likes and is going to tell him her feelings. She wants to see all his different kind of faces and wonders what face he’ll put up when she confesses to him. She has so much she wants to tell him and also wants to break down the wall between them. Arriving outside the classroom, she prepares to open the door to face Kazehaya.

Episode 9
Sawako is nervous so Kazehaya starts first by apologizing for making her cry and being inconsiderate of her feelings. Now it’s Sawako’s turn. Maybe she needs to beat around the bush a little longer to blurt out her feelings, eh? Let’s see, his smile, thank you, I’ve changed, thank you, I’m happy, thank you, for being nice, for smiling, for introducing many feelings. Man, it feels like she’s giving an Oscar speech. Finally the moment we have all been waiting for. From Sawako: “I love you!”. Make that many times like a broken tape recorder. For all the missed chances? Kazehaya pulls her in and hugs her. She got very embarrassed but was told not to hide her face. This pleasant moment could’ve last longer if Joe didn’t come in looking for Kazehaya! F*CK! While the gathers gather to continue finishing up the costumes for tomorrow’s costume parade, Pin barges in because he has a wonderful idea and favour for Sawako. Something tells me he has an ulterior motive. Did he bet on some sushi or something? Pin notices Sawako being embarrassed as she couldn’t possibly face Kazehaya tomorrow after what happened due to her secret desires. Pin tells her that everyone (including him) have hidden desires. Yeah, Pin thought he was so amazing giving that advice that he marches over to the boys’ place to deal with Kazehaya. Oh God. As usual he’s being noisy but you know Kazehaya doesn’t really welcome him. Kazehaya SMS to Sawako that he wants another chance to see and talk to her.

Episode 10
While the girls continue their work, Sawako is stirred from her thoughts of Kazehaya hugging her when the other girls make a fuss when they get to know that one of them likes another boy in class. Yeah, seek Sawako for more advice! The next day in school before the parade starts, Kazehaya sees Sawako. Joe could’ve interrupted again but this time their buddies are well prepared to drag him away. Kazehaya has something to say but Sawako wants to go first (before her courage runs out). She was happy when he visited the shrine with her but got scared of how happy she was and didn’t want him to hate her for it. She wants things to be different now and will try to change things with all that she has learnt so that she won’t let down others. As she leaves, Kazehaya shouts out that he loves her. Wow! Right through the crowd! Everyone must be shocked to hear it! But it didn’t bother them because what really matters are just the both of them. The parade starts with the floats and all walking throughout town before ending back at school in front of the judges. Now, Sawako is really dressed up like a creepy ghost character that she looks authentic! Scary! She is bloody convincing as she drags herself up to the judges’ table and handing them drinks (all part of Pin’s idea). Though impressive, the judges feel this is some sort of a bribe. During the closing ceremony, the winners of each category are read out and it seems Sawako’s class won first place in the refreshment booth category! Hooray! Everybody rejoices and gives their thanks to Sawako. However as the announcer continued, due to the bribe given, they received no points thus voiding their win. Pin is extremely shocked and couldn’t accept the results. I think the entire hall has to restrain this raging bull. There goes his hidden desires… His seafood paradise… During the bonfire dance, Kazehaya talks to Sawako again and assures their feelings are the same. She starts crying but this time they are tears of joy. Like a dream but it finally reached her. He wipes her tears as everyone watches in either satisfaction or unbelievable awe.

Episode 11
Sawako’s dad is sad upon thinking that one day her daughter will get married and leave the nest. It’s only a matter of time. As Kazehaya and Sawako make their way to their class’ after-festival party, they see some of their classmates reacting that confession scene! It’s no surprise that everyone hounds them for more information. Not only that, they pray for Sawako to let them achieve happiness with their significant ones. Her black magic that effective, huh? Kazehaya clears the air that it was him who fell for her. Later as they stroll on the beach, Kento talks to Kazehaya not to make Sawako cry anymore. Pin also want to play match-make so he has Kazehaya ask Sawako out on a date. Pin even did a voice over to make it as though Kazehaya asked for her hand in marriage! Whose fault it is if she really gets scared? Oh, she did. But Pin notes that the worst case scenario is that she may say yes. Haha. Must be some marriage joke. Sawako even called her dad to ask her about his thoughts on marriage. That day may be coming sooner than expected. So of course Kazehaya and Sawako meet to have a proper talk and she’s not that stupid not to know that it was Pin who did that voice over. Kazehaya asks her to go out with him. Sawako had this moment recorded in her diary as it constantly reminds her that it wasn’t a dream. It really happened. Next day in school, another long queue awaiting Sawako’s advice. Maybe it’s just coincidence that everyone who sought her advice got together. But Sawako thinks she’s swindling them! She should start charging and hourly rate. In class, Kazehaya is having it tough convincing the guys that he really liked Sawako on his own accord. Ayane wants him to make it clear what Sawako means to him. He bluntly says she is his girlfriend. Yes, everyone is streaming out to notify the good news. Kento is satisfied the way things turned out but notices Kurumi walking away. He thinks nobody would’ve thought a scenario whereby Kurumi would be the one heart-broken and Sawako the winner.

Episode 12
Kazehaya and Sawako are close to each other even doing class chores that it is annoying Pin! WTF?! I don’t know if this is his theory of Law of Equivalent Exchange because for an amount of good fortune to exist, there has to be the same amount of misfortune. He’s just jealous. But there are rumours that Kazehaya and Sawako’s relationship won’t last because he just wants a girlfriend. Sawako goes to find Kurumi because she realized till a while ago, everyone was able to dream and now with them an official couple, she’s like standing on their dreams. Well, there are a group of girls who aren’t too happy that Sawako got the guy. But Kurumi snickers at them. Kurumi in this last bit is dignified, noble and gracious in telling off those girls that they’re just sore losers and taking out their frustration by blaming and harassing Sawako. Still not happy, Sawako arrives on scene so the girls bug her that she may have blackmailed Kazehaya. Kurumi tells them to stop it because Kazehaya already have decided this himself. They threaten to reveal her rumour mongering to Kazehaya but she dares them. If that happens, Kazehaya will realize their hidden intentions because he once said he didn’t like people who rats on others just to get ahead. Plus, if they do something to Sawako, she is bloody sure Kazehaya will never ever forgive them. Sawako goes after Kurumi because she is her rival. What a way to put it and make those jealous b*tches reeling. They still think she’s arrogant but now it’s Ayane and Chizu’s turn to give them a pep talk. Would it be better if Kurumi ended up with Kazehaya? Or someone in their circle? They all like him and it didn’t cross their mind that he can only have 1 girlfriend? There is nothing wrong with unrequited love but nothing noble too. They are regretting because they didn’t act sooner. Before this, none of them had problems with Sawako. Just that all of them liked Kazehaya. Though it hurts, all they want for him is to be happy. It’s complicated. So no reason to go on acting tough and feel sad. The girls end up crying out their feelings. Took them long enough to realize, eh? Even if they’re mean b*tches on the outside, they’re still girls deep down inside. Meanwhile Pin feels like he is the one who masterminded everything and brought them together. He adds that the first one who confesses has the right to fight and become a girl’s true love. The rest do not count so Kazehaya has to fight his best if Sawako’s true love appears.

Sawako meets Kurumi at the rooftop to tell her she has confessed to Kazehaya. No, she isn’t here to brag, she felt Kurumi would’ve done the same thing if their positions were switched, though she denies she would. Kurumi says that she was able to tell Kazehaya her true feelings because of Sawako. Likewise, without Kurumi, Sawako wouldn’t have told him hers. Kurumi is glad that she is her rival. Later Kento talks to Kurumi and seems he has overheard their conversation. He wonders if he had a chance with Sawako. Kurumi refutes 100% because if Kazehaya was going to fall for her, he would’ve done so a long time ago. She notes Kazehaya will never like her now because she did something despicable. Ayane interjects that it would be impossible for her to be with him and she must be thinking she wished she was better off being a guy so that if he knew what she did, it’d be okay. But Kurumi is relieved that this saga can finally end now. Kento is glad that everything ended before he could start liking Sawako. As Ryuu and Chizu walk home, Ryuu throws her off her feet when he says he likes her. Wait a minute. Didn’t he say that last season? Yeah, Chizu knew about it, just that she didn’t expect him to say it. Kazehaya and Sawako go out with each other and finally Sawako manages to give him her Christmas gift (a knitted hat) and the Valentine chocolates. He instantly puts the hat on and starts eating the chocolates and finds it delicious. Hey wait! Shouldn’t it be expired?! Oh well, with the power of love inside it, it won’t expire so fast. I know it’s far-fetched but I would like to think of it that way. See, good things come to those who wait. In Kazehaya’s case, maybe he waited a little too long. But it’s worth it. Sawako mentions that she doesn’t know how to be a good girlfriend but Kazehaya says that being a girlfriend isn’t a job. Just be herself. He hugs her and thought it was only him who had feelings for her and not the other way round. Sawako notes she too had that same feeling.

Special 1: Mini Todoke Theatre: Cinderella Umederella
This is the first of two short specials that come with the DVD and with Kurumi as the heroine. But even if she’s just taking up these roles, is she really the nice, polite and noble heroine the fairytale portrays them? It’s like she’s bossing around dense Sawako in ‘villainous’ roles and trying to make the story go her way or the audience feel pity for her. Not working. Anyway in this Cinderella spoof, Kurumi is of course Cinderella. Or rather Umederella. Or Kurumirella as she wants it. Sawako as the wicked stepmother and Ayane and Chizu as the wicked stepsisters, Kurumi forces Sawako to touch her so that she could feign abuse and made to clean the house (is she regretting this?) while they go to the ball. Then Sawako’s back! Now she’s playing the role as Fairy Godmother. Because Kurumi wants to go to the ball, Sawako gives her a thumb size dress, a horse made out of brinjal and a little pumpkin carriage. Kurumi insists she uses her magic so she starts chanting Buddhist lines! Eventually Kurumi dons the pretty dress and the brinjal horse and pumpkin carriage grow to life size. Kurumi also steal the glass slippers Sawako is wearing. Rushing to the ball, Kurumi arrives and waits for Prince Kazehaya to turn up. However to her horror, it is King Pin! In her disbelief, she twists her ankle and falls unconscious. When she wakes up, Sawako is going to use a defibrillator on her!!! On her face!!! Luckily for her, the brinjal horse uses its body to protect her. The clock strikes midnight so it reverts back to its tiny size. What else to do? Eat it!

Special 2: Mini Todoke Theatre: Snow White Princess Ume
Yeah, Kurumi this time is the super cute Snow White princess (she’s even picky on her name too) while Sawako as the evil queen who bullies her. Kurumi dreams of a happy ending whereby she gets bullied by Sawako by eating a poisonous apple making her fall asleep, in which she’ll be awaken by Prince Kazehaya’s kiss. Inside the room, they ask the mirror on the wall, who is the cutest of them all. Though Kurumi’s mug came out, she still isn’t happy so she proceeds to ask who is the most beautiful of them all. Pin???!!! WTF?! Kurumi then rips a table as warning to the mirror to give her a serious answer if it doesn’t want to end up in half. So the coolest of them all? Kazehaya. The perfect woman to suit him? Sawako. Grr!!! Kurumi kicks the mirror away and forces Sawako to kick her out of the castle with guards hot on her heels. She ends up in a cottage in the middle of the forest. She falls asleep on the bed and when she wakes up, she finds herself tied up Gulliver’s Travel style! Say, all those little dwarves, don’t they look like those imaginary old men from Pin’s imagination? I don’t know how but Kurumi ends up taking care of them. Sawako knocks on the door so Kurumi wants her to quickly give her a poison apple to knock her out and get her kiss from the prince. Well, she doesn’t have an apple. But an apple pie. Its expiration date was yesterday. Since the prince is coming, Kurumi feigns unconsciousness. Then she finds herself tied up like Gulliver again. Worse still, it’s not the prince but Pin! Kurumi actually saw this coming so she got a trap prepared. Pressing a button, Pin is sent falling through the trapdoor. Now the real prince is coming. Kurumi wants Sawako to quickly make her faint. Ghost story? Medicinal plant? That apple pie again? After a dwarf whispers into her ear, Sawako quickly rushes out. Seems the house is going to be torn down. Here comes the wrecking ball! At least this way Kurumi can get knocked out now. Lying on the bed of flowers, Kazehaya goes up to her and their lips inching closer. Then poof! Damn it was all a dream. She’s in hospital with Sawako by her side. She cuts apples for him but Kurumi is cautious if they’re poisoned. Though Sawako assures her it isn’t, when Sawako eats them herself, she collapses! Kurumi’s worst nightmare comes true when Kazehaya opens the door. Argh!!!

Love Delivered…
So I guess that’s the end, eh? Just like how most viewers would have predicted and hoped it would be. Kazehaya and Sawako finally an official couple. Unless they make another season that sees them going through the obstacles of maintaining and keeping their relationship together, that will be another different manner. But for this sequel, I guess I was my usual self. I started out with high hopes anticipating something that will bring in the tension between Kazehaya and Sawako. Then that feeling waned and I thought it was going to end up like something draggy just like in the first season. The ‘barrier’ between them was annoying enough that it want to make you scream “Go ahead and confess already!”. The tension between them was like a time bomb waiting to explode. Then gradually towards the end, what do you know, they actually confessed to each other and all that nervousness that prevented them from doing so vanished. Maybe if you have been so nervous, it’ll hit a point where you’ll even get immune to it.

I have mixed feelings of Kento’s role in this season. Though he is the new character, I felt his presence wasn’t enough to have any impact. Don’t get me wrong here. What I meant was I thought he was going to provide some rivalry and jealousy between Kazehaya and Sawako. When he mentioned that he would offer to be Sawako’s girlfriend, I really thought he was serious. In the end, Kento is a nice and good guy that everything was over before he could really start to have feelings for Sawako. Thus it doesn’t get complicated from the beginning, middle and at the end. But the good thing about Kento’s appearance is that he gives our dense lovers the much needed push to take that step forward. Without him, Kazehaya and Sawako would have continued to be uncertain, doubtful, vague and directionless in their feelings for each other. In a way, Kento did play an indirect role in leading towards this development.

Because of the heavy focus on Kazehaya and Sawako, the other characters are given less prominence. Though most of them provide backup and support to the main duo’s main issue in the form of advice. Ryuu and Chizu’s relationship are just short flashes and it felt like so that viewers won’t forget that they actually like each other as shown in the previous season’s mini arc. Even if Kurumi really had given up on Kazehaya, somewhere in my heart I was hoping that she too didn’t really give up completely and was hoping that she would make a comeback of some sort. Didn’t happen. For a proud and cunning girl, she made a graceful exit by acknowledging and accepting (perhaps not totally) Sawako as a rival and friend. Okay, maybe not so much of a friend but without each other, they wouldn’t have found enough courage to do what they had to. So will Kurumi find herself a new love or stay single for the rest of her life? That will be another story. And I hope for all those girls who yearned for Kazehaya can put this one behind them too. No use crying over spilled milk. It’s time to move on. I’m sure they aren’t thinking of giving Kazehaya are harem, right? Pin is as annoying as he was. He thinks he is so great. But even so, there are times when his advice and words are sincere in helping his fellow students out. With Kazehaya hanging out with Sawako now, I hope Pin doesn’t resort to more ‘blackmail’ tactics of revealing his embarrassing past secrets to do chores for him.

Kazehaya and Sawako aren’t what many would perceive them as initially. He is popular and nice because everyone made him so. He is not perfect and also faces problems that any other guys would especially when it comes to the topic of love. She on the other hand may not be as dense and slow as she was in the first season and is able to make some progress in making some friends (I just wished she showed us more of her beautiful smile this season). Sawako still provides some of the comic relief when she starts believing her actions are the main fault that causes others to think or do so but just like in the last season, it got a little repetitive. After all, this is Sawako’s behaviour. You don’t expect her to change overnight into a totally different character, right? So the best is of course for them to be as they are and take things one step at a time. Yeah, easier said than done. Oh wait. They had this communication problem throughout this series. I hope they don’t misunderstand each other from now on. The opening theme is Sawakaze (a play on the main protagonists’ names) by Tomofumi Tanizawa. I felt it is somewhat similar to the first season’s opening theme. Yeah, the opening credits lasts for only a minute too. As for the ending theme, it’s no longer that drunken-sounding vocal. In fact, it is a nice and slow ballad by MAY’S. It is called Kimi Ni Todoke and not to be confused with the first season’s opening theme which also goes by the same name.

Well, what else can I say. Sometimes just being different from the rest doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll never have a same equal shot as everyone else. Sometimes it is the least expected that catches off everyone as a surprise and takes it all in the end. As this series proves, opposites do attract. But if Sawako wasn’t the ghost character look-a-like, would Kazehaya have fallen for her? If Kazehaya never extended his hand to help her out, would she have developed feelings for him? Though love is never anything easy or straightforward, but if handled with care, I’m sure it will be delivered.


February 10, 2012

Eh… What… The… Hell… ?! Seems Double-J is another one of those short flash animations after Haiyoru! Nyaruani and Hontou Ni Atta! Reibai Sensei. Though there are only 11 episodes, each episode is only as long as 4 minutes! So you can actually finish the entire series in one go. Which is what I did. Due to the shortened nature of the show, most of the time I would be like going “What the hell…”. I know I dread long winded anime plots that go nowhere but this is too short for anything.

Apparently I decided to watch this without even knowing what the synopsis is about. All I know it was a funny show so that was enough for me to hop onto the bandwagon. All I can say it is about a bunch of high school students in a club called Traditional Arts Preservation Club. You know these days as time change and the new generation gets used to modern conveniences that old traditional activities are at the brink of extinction? Yeah, that. So I guess this club is just to keep the flame of that whatever tradition alive, eh? Of course this is where the funny part comes in. Hope it doesn’t gets lost in tradition.

Episode 1
Hajime Usami and Sayo Arima are being invited by the club’s vice president, Aya Chousokabe to join the Traditional Arts Preservation Club. The duo notice toothpicks and they believe they are being made by Maria Sassa and her family. Of course she denies since her family tradition has only been making carvings and incisions on the toothpicks. Uh, that is a traditional art passed down through generations? However our girls could never get the point that she is NOT a toothpick maker. There is a big difference in making toothpicks and just carving them. Hajime is surprised how a toothpick goes through many skilled hands when Ema Houjou, the daughter of craftsman specializing in rain gutters (really. I don’t believe this) isn’t amused that the newcomers do not come from a family background that practises traditional arts. Well, Hajime only has a mom who makes artificial flowers and puts glue on envelopes as a side job. Definitely not a traditional art. Ema thinks they’re mocking their club so Sayo feels she’s looking down on Hajime. The war of words escalates somehow dragging in Maria’s toothpick’s profession. Yeah, they’re calling her Toothpick-san. For the umpteenth time, she doesn’t make toothpicks. But the club president, Ichirou Toba feels a parent’s job doesn’t matter and anyone is welcome to join the club. He reprimands Ema for having a narrow minded thinking and this is perhaps the reason why traditional arts in Japan are on a decline. He invites the newbies to come back tomorrow if they like. Hajime later talks to Sayo about joining the club but the latter isn’t thrilled. Hajime feels she can probably sharpen the ends of toothpicks so Sayo warns that Maria may get irritated and offended if she makes sharpening sound so easy. Hajime agrees to ask her nicely so the next day when they confront her, she tells them it is impossible not because they are amateurs but rather toothpicks sharpening are done by machines nowadays. Shouldn’t everything be done by machines then?!

Episode 2
So Hajime ends up joining the club as she wonders why Toba is always drawing something with an ink brush. As she finds out from Maria, he is preserving manga. But manga can’t be a traditional art, can it? Since it is only developed recently. However as explained, the earliest form of manga was called chouju-giga or as it is known, Scrolls of Frolicking Animals. I went to Wikipedia to check this out and apparently there is truth in the explanation. Toba is from the line of descendents of chouju-giga. Well, there is only 1 still picture of it. In this case, a frog. Nothing else comes after that. Isn’t it no different than a picture then? Maria continues that Toba is trying to bring people closer to this form of manga but knows it won’t be accepted in its current form so he does some tweaking albeit nothing excessive or else it will lose its appeal. Finally Toba shows the girls the original work compared to his tweaked one. Uhm… Why is it wearing boots a belt and has more lines on its back?! But the amazing thing is that the girls couldn’t spot the obvious difference!!! Heck, they even think the blot on the paper was the difference! Blind cows! Yeah, they got so excited that it somewhat turns into a spot-the-difference game. Suddenly a tough guy barges in carrying a naked guy with bad news: The Traditional Arts Preservation Club will be disbanded today!

Episode 3
After that cliff-hanger in the previous episode, we are being told that danger has somehow being averted. Somehow but we don’t know how it happened. What a letdown. And I thought Hajime has joined the club because she narrated that she is still unsure of joining it. Hajime talks to her mom about joining the club and she’s supportive of it. Asking mommy if they have any skills handed down by generations in their family, mom confidently replies they have none and that envelope gluing thingy is just a side job. Thanks for the confidence, mom. Hajime wonders if there is anyone who could teach her a traditional art she can preserve so Toba introduces her to an old guy who does kamaboko pads. More precisely, he doesn’t make them (the factory does) but rather adds the final touch to them. How? Notice the curve shape on the pad instead of being totally flat? Yup. That’s what he does. I don’t know, I’m not an expert but this really affects the taste for a deeper flavour. Hajime gets excited to learn this traditional art to preserve seeing this old guy is the last one who knows the skill. Happy Hajime goes home with high confidence, can’t wait to break the news to mom about her new job. However she is shocked to see her mom carving curves on the kamaboko pads! Isn’t it supposed to be a traditional art? Apparently not because she says their neighbour is also doing it! This is too much! Either that old geezer was lying or the art you could say is safely preserved…

Episode 4
Hajime asks Ema why Toba didn’t join the manga club since the school has one. Ema take this as an insult that she’s implying Toba will leave this club. Maria supports Ema saying that even if there was a toothpick club in this school, she wouldn’t join it. Well, nobody would. Haha! Hey, are you insulting toothpicks? So the best person to ask is Aya. It all started when Aya and Toba came to this school. Aya too drew manga but was too nervous to show it or join the club. Toba on the other hand wants to join the manga club and study alongside them. He shows his chouju-giga and well, anyone wouldn’t feel this is like some sort of manga anymore. That’s not a compliment. I think. Though Aya is embarrassed to show hers, after being persuaded that manga is to be seen, she shows her… Er… Is that a horrendous version of Sailormoon? The duo go show the manga club member her work but his scathing comments that they aren’t looking for those kind of people and that they’re not here to teach how to draw manga has Toba furious. He stomps his foot down and tells him off if there is a certain way to draw manga, every manga will look alike! It won’t be interesting! So true! In his rage, Toba plans not to join this club and quits! How can he do that when he’s not in? Yeah, he has Aya come with him too. Later he regrets getting carried away. Soon after, they joined the same club which is this club. Ema thinks Hajime is being rude when she comments how he eventually didn’t get to join the manga club. Aya continues to wonder about his manga as she didn’t understand the joke behind it. Hajime turns his manga upside down and finds it funny. Stop the insult!

Episode 5
Francoise Sakai, the president of the Comedy Club tells off a member for wanting to skip practice to go dating!!! Love comes second if you want to become a comedian???!!! A comedian doesn’t need love???!!! Is this a mockery of comedy???!!! Later as Francoise walks through the corridors, she suddenly fell head over heels for Toba when he picked up her dropped handkerchief. Remembering she just disciplined a club member, she tries to hold back her feelings so as not to be a hypocrite. She tries to reply a gag like a true comedian but experiences a comedian’s block. I don’t get it but she starts thinking of different buildings and finally blurts out a government office block in Tokyo. Because she took too long, Toba hasn’t got all day and decides to return it to the faculty office. Not wanting to lose out, Francoise tells him to wait 1 day and will definitely come up with a joke he’ll approve. WTF?! Back home, she analyzes where she went wrong and searching through the internet, she finally gets the perfect joke. I don’t get it too. She shapes her body into some Chinese character which is supposed to mean ‘good job’. Next day, confident Francoise enters the Traditional Arts Preservation Club and to her surprise, sees Toba doing that same body shape! The other club girls find it funny. Francoise starts panicking that if she does the same joke, it will amount to plagiarism and a rip-off. Thinking real hard to do a different joke, she finally pulls off a Tokyo Sky Tree tower. I don’t get it either…

Episode 6
Toba gets his chouju-giga manga, about a rabbit and a frog boxing each other, approved by his dad. He is amazed and confident his work will be able to fulfil their family’s goal by winning the Tezuka Award. However he notes there is 1 odd part he wishes to advice him. Doesn’t it seem strange for a rabbit and frog to speak human language? But if you think about it, having them boxing is even stranger, right? Well, daddy is okay with that. WTF?! Later Toba thinks about his father’s rational for the animals to box but not to talk so he asks his sister, Yutaka for advice. But really, she doesn’t care about stuff like that. Well, it’s not like she is abandoning her family tradition, she thinks modern manga looks much different that his chouju-giga. Yeah, slice of life story having females with big eyes is the norm these days. Plus, he doesn’t need frogs! What is she saying?! Frogs are THE symbol passed down by their ancestors. He isn’t going to abandon this tradition even if this means spending his entire life drawing frogs in manga only. Yeah well, even Yutaka finds it hard to believe he’ll protect the family tradition with frogs. Besides, he already went off tangent with the boxing thingy. Toba then has Yutaka read his manga further for the punchline. Scrolling through the rabbit vs frog boxing match, the rabbit nails his Inaba Punch onto the frog’s face as his frog mask comes off! Yutaka throws back everything into Toba’s face! He desecrated it already alright.

Episode 7
Today, Maria, Hajime and Sayo pay a visit to Katsushika in Tokyo where the traditional art of Edo Kiriko (a glass cutting technique) is still alive. While Maria is doing the interview (they just show an old bald man in the background and though he reacts, he has no speech or dialogue whatsoever), it’s like the rest of the girls are being idiots like Sayo thinking Edo Kiriko cuts down brazen lowlifes that plague the streets of Edo. Or they are glass artisans by day and contract killers by night (what the heck is that bunny suit?) assassinating people by cutting ornamental patterns in their bodies. WTF?! Moving on, showing us the beautifully crafted glass, surprisingly it only costs 7,350 Yen. Unexpectedly cheap? Sayo’s punchline? Their day job wasn’t enough to make a living that’s why they work as assassins by night. WTF?! Now it’s Hajime’s turn to be the idiot because when she learns that Edo Kiriko craftsman carves everything like a true artisan, Maria takes it as she is implying that she is not a real artisan since she only carves a part of a toothpick. And she still doesn’t remember she DOES NOT MAKE TOOTHPICKS. And about making toothpicks day and night, Maria is now up to here with the idiots because just like Edo Kiriko artisans, they don’t “Cut’em down with toothpicks” as their night jobs.

Episode 8
The club members go see Shizuma Sanada whose family have been preserving the art of training Varied Tit birds. Yeah, she amazingly trains the bird to do just about anything from opening doors to fetching fortune strips. Because Maria has been saying how this craft has a long history with it, Hajime says that it’s like the other traditional arts they’ve seen so far are fakes. Like toothpicks. Grr… Suddenly wild birds start attacking Toba and though Sanada isn’t sure how it happened Maria feels she’s a natural when it comes to the art of bird training. Yeah, just a lazy theory. So does this mean Maria can summon toothpicks? Don’t push it… Suddenly a guy who trains falcons, Souma comes by to ask Sanada’s hand in marriage. You can tell she’s not pleased. However another kid who trains cormorant fisher, Shima is also chasing after Sanada. Yeah, the guys lock in a battle of insults over Sanada. When Maria tells them that Sanada isn’t interested in both of them, they get the wrong idea and wonder what kind of bird trainer she is interested. Then some guy who ‘came in as the last entrant’ and trains bush warblers, Sanada starts blushing. The guys again got the wrong idea she wants a bush warbler trainer.

Episode 9
Hajime and Sayo look completely different! They are drawn so mature that they look horrible! I beg to differ that they look cute. And that gorilla that has been bugging us in the background, who is she actually? IT’S AYA!!! The next scenes are manga drawings of a group of frogs in some restaurant as they try to convince some big shot frog to try out some meal. He was reluctant and having no confidence at first but takes back his words upon trying the delicious dish of flies. Lastly, Hajime is trying to solve a matchstick puzzle. Asking Maria if she has any (of course not), Hajime than starts wondering what other matchstick equivalent items she could use for her puzzle like pins or cotton swabs. I don’t know how off tangent her conversation went and as Maria was about to lend her some toothpicks, Hajime finally solves the puzzle in her head. She then has a cheek to ask Maria if her family has matchstick puzzles called toothpick puzzles. Absolutely not!

Episode 10
The girls learn Aya’s traditional art is writing fortune strips. Well, somebody has to write them. Don’t tell me you believe God wrote them, eh? Seems Aya has her own ratio she based on when making good and bad fortunes. Depending on the economy, if it is a bad one, she’ll increase more good luck since people want some solace. Noting how some people believe everything in their fortune, she has to be careful of what she writes. For instance, Toba. Too late. He is so happy after drawing a fortune strip that says his manga will get published in a magazine if he submits his work. You can’t blame Aya for being careless because after getting so many bad luck ones, she thought of cheering him up. The girls didn’t have confidence in seeing his manga go through so they prepare to console him. Yeah, to even think of that shows how they don’t believe in him… But a few months later, the girls are shocked to learn his works did end up being published in a magazine. Though, it is in the reader submissions section. Yeah, see all the comments on it… Lastly we see Francoise consulting the divine help of a fortune teller. She laments her club members’ concept of being a comedian differs of those. Instead of stage performances, they attempt to be erotic or do anything to show up on TV. The fortune teller looks into her crystal ball and the result is her members are right! She speculates that modern comedians try to garner attention in every possible way and would’ve agreed with Francoise’s concept if it was in the past. Since times have changed, she should make herself flexible and accept it. Also, she warns her about a disease in her digestive system. Huh? I don’t understand.

Episode 11
Sayo reports to her members that she saw Sanada turning down another guy’s confession. The topic changes when Hajime spots Toba drawing something suspicious and trying to hide it. Adult manga? Seriously, adult manga with frogs? Actually he is experimenting writing a love comedy. Albeit the frog and rabbit are still there. The girls like this kind of thing and are supportive over his work even if they’re just animals (weird for a frog and rabbit to confess to each other, eh?). Don’t sweat the minor details because heck, the entire manga is just weird. They want him to continue before he loses steam. He wants to get rid of unnecessary panels but they tell him he doesn’t need to leave out any and make it as long as possible. He gets fired up to finish it at home but reflecting back at their words, it doesn’t sound like they were very supportive. Yutaka comments he probably was thinking too much. The final scene shows Hajime walking in space while Sayo manning ground control. Hajime is looking at how beautiful Earth is and though so many things are crammed into this small planet, everything is pretty. Everyone on the surface living their normal everyday lives. She feels she wants to ask lots of questions but Sayo doubts anyone knows the answers. Then Hajime feels the wind blowing in her hair although she’s in space. Sayo replies it might be they are right next to each other because she too feels a cool breeze.

What tradition?!
Sighs… So that is how it ended? I won’t say I am disappointed because I had a good laugh in some of the jokes but for the rest I was just stumped. Maybe there is a deeper and hidden meaning to it and since I’m not a traditionalist, perhaps the joke wasn’t able to reach me. There were some of the final scenes at the end in some episodes that just doesn’t make sense. For instance, there was one whereby Hajime and Sayo were talking about some TV drama while diffusing a bomb (she was being told to just use the right side of her brain?), one whereby Hajime and Maria discuss some snack mascot or Sayo trying to give Hajime an apple juice. I know everything is supposed to be random and nonsensical but too much of it and it somewhat took the fun out of it all. Also like the part whereby the club escaped from being disbanded. How on Earth? We want to know how it happened and not just being given some lazy convenient excuse.

I read from many comments that many viewers felt disappointed that they have wasted over 40 minutes of their lives watching this nonsense. Plus, they find that the flash animation to be horrible and of poor quality. To be fair, the length of the series allows the jokes to be spontaneous and the funny part is seeing how the people who are supposed to preserve the traditional art preserve it. Though we get only 1 little insight on the glass cutting, we don’t really see how the rest of the members do it. That’s what makes it funny. And I hope that at the rate they’re going, the traditional art won’t be twisted and screwed up into something totally different than the original. Heck, do they or we even know how the original sounded like. Recording equipments weren’t created back then you know? Also, I find the drawing and art to be quite okay. Hey, I do find some of the ladies pretty :). What’s more, in addition to using 2D flash animation, notice how the backgrounds are real pictures, whether still or moving ones.

I would have preferred to have the series having a slightly longer running time since it would have been better to flesh out some of the characters. But from what I can see, Hajime and Sayo may be newbies in the club and though honest, their words or what they comment usually sound like an insult or something offending and rude. That’s why I guess Maria can never get it right to them that she is NOT a toothpick maker. They’ve been calling her that right till the very end. It’s amazing how she can stand all those offensive remarks from Hajime and Sayo. Toba is one passionate dude but can he really preserve his chouju-giga seeing it went off tangent many times? I guess some traditional arts are really hard to preserve. Hajime’s mom is also one cool lady because she is not afraid to tell the truth and never loses her cool. I wish there were more screen time for characters like Yutaka, Ema, Francoise or even Sanada but given the duration of this series, I suppose it’s not possible.

Surprisingly there are a few seiyuus that I am familiar few albeit I didn’t recognize them. For instance, Chiaki Omigawa as Maria. After hearing her unique voice in roles like Maka of Soul Eater and Hotori in Soredemo Machi Wa Mawatteiru, if I had never found out it was her voice behind the deadpan expressionless Maria, I would never have known it was her. Same case with Ayana Taketatsu as Ema. Her character was quite reprimanding but it wasn’t so much to instantly remind me that she was K-ON!’s Azusa. Emiri Katou who voices Kagami in Lucky Star was the voice behind Sayo and Ryou Hirohashi as Sanada (Kyou in Clannad) but then again I wouldn’t be able to recognize them seeing that I never could. Of course there were some recognizable ones like Yu Kobayashi as Francoise (Ayame in Gintama) and Nobuyuki Hirama as Toba (Ikkaku in Bleach). Lesser known seiyuu Ayuru Oohashi does Hajime (Ayumu in Hoshizora Kakaru Hashi E) and Kanami Satou as Aya. The ending theme of this series is somewhat, how should I put it… Haphazard. Entitled Wani To Shampoo by Momoiro Clover Z, the song is about unable to finish homework and panicking about nothing could be done about it (80 more freaking pages to go!). Sounds energetic and lively but you’ll get addicted to it if you here it too often. As for the ending credits animation, the chaotic and messy water colour effects really make everything so haphazard. Isn’t that somebody trying to absorb a jet, shrine, rocket among many other objects into her mouth? What a meal.

So yeah, what constitutes tradition? Is it something that has been done for over generations over hundreds of years? Time, technology and people’s attitude play an important factor in determining whether a traditional art continues or not. Some die out some don’t. It just takes a little effort in preserving these little miracles and without proper documentation, they’ll forever be lost in time. Animes may not be something new but in a few hundred of years to come, I’m sure it will be called a traditional treasure. So start preserving all those animes and mangas quick!

Amagami SS

February 5, 2012

I’m sure many of us guys would love to have the idea of having a few girls by our side simultaneously. That’s what we call a harem. However if that is not possible, don’t despair as there is an alternative to it. It’s called multi-arc branching. You’ll know what I mean if you watch Amagami SS, the anime that has been adapted from the dating simulation of the same name. Well, to put this multi-arc branching in a nutshell, you can date all the girls you want in mind. But only one at a time and in a different ‘universe’. After every ‘success’ scored with a girl, everything pretty much resets as you restart doing everything from scratch again for the other girl. So is multi-arc branching the new cool to harem?

Our main lucky guy who is going to shag, oops, I mean date the lucky pretty heroines of the series is Junichi Tachibana. However he had a bad spell with love because his supposed girlfriend stood him up on their date on Christmas Eve 2 years ago. Ever since, he has been heartbroken and is wary and a cynic when it comes to the topic of love. However we all know love works in mysterious ways and time heals or sorts of wounds (maybe not everything but the pangs of love is one of them) so you can expect and hope Junichi to believe in the miracle of love once more.

For the TV series, there are 24 episodes and 6 heroines. If you do the simple arithmetic maths, you’ll find that each heroine will be dedicated 4 episodes each to strut their stuff and make love happen (please not this is not anything close to an ecchi series). The heroines are (in chronological order) Haruka Morishima, Kaoru Tanamachi, Sae Nakata, Ai Nanashi, Rihoko Sakurai and Tsukasa Ayatsuji. When a particular heroine is the main focus of her arc, the other heroines (and their supporting friends) too make their appearance albeit on a minor scale and are not directly related to the happenings of that arc. I guess this is to remind us that they still exist or a little ‘distraction’ away from the main dish.

Haruka Morishima’s Arc
In episode 1, Junichi is still reeling from the traumatic effects of his date disaster 2 years ago that he has made his closet his own personal universe recluse. See the stars in his closet? It’s like a mini planetarium. His little sister, Miya tries to get him out so that he can go to school. On his way, he meets his friend, Masayoshi Umehara and they both share a secret passion for… porn. Well, I guess at least he isn’t totally ‘dead’ yet. They also spot the popular and pretty Haruka with her friend Hibiki Tsukahara. Seems Haruka was popular enough to have many guys confessing to her but she rejects them all. During recess, Junichi lost a game to Kaoru and Umehara so he has to go buy bread for them. He helps shy Sae purchase her bread from the ‘unruly’ crowd. On his way back, he drops the breads (because he only has 2 hands to carry all of them) and stumbles upon Haruka. She notices he has lovely eyes. After she leaves, Junichi feels he is in heaven since he got to talk to her. Yeah, she smells good too. After school, he is looking for Umehara and was told by Tsukasa that he may be at the library. Well, he didn’t bump into him but Haruka. He offers to carry all the books on cute puppies that she borrowed. Then they meet Hibiki who is appalled Haruka didn’t even know his name and made him carry this much books. She didn’t mind because she knew she could rely on him as he is a really nice person. When a pretty girl says that to you, you have got to be an idiot not to give love a second chance. And yes, Junichi starts liking her. Now it’s Haruka’s turn to crash on him because as Junichi and the guys play some leapfrog game, she jumps on Junichi! After school, Junichi sees her sitting alone at the fountain and offers her his disposable hand warmer. Finally Junichi sums up his courage to say he likes her. She didn’t panic (because she had lots of prior experience, remember?) and though finding him interesting, she told him no. Because she prefers someone older and reliable. Well, Junichi doesn’t look like the part. Junichi trudges his way back home and returns to his recluse. Maybe this isn’t going to work after all.

Poor Junichi didn’t get much sleep that bags are forming underneath his eyes in episode 2. He goes to the infirmary to see Haruka sleeping there. She’s actually not sick, just borrowing the bed after staying up late watching TV. So she’s a normal girl too. Junichi is visibly down so he asks if they could continue to talk as normal. He starts getting happy when she mentions she is interested in him. But this mixed signal doesn’t mean she has totally rejected him yet, right? Anyway Haruka wishes they both get along. He asks what other traits she looks for in a guy. Tough, charismatic, fascinating, cool… It’s going to be tough to qualify in her books. Junichi is taking out his pro-wrestling moves on Umehara when Haruka wants to join in only to be stopped by Hibiki. Haruka suggests for all of them to walk home together. They talk about Haruka being busy recently running all over school to reject confession (that popular, eh?) so what about cases of somebody confessing twice? Don’t know. Never happened before. Oh, it’s that gloomy feeling for Junichi again. Haruka sees Junichi and wonders if he has a girl’s swimsuit. What? Why would he have that? Anyway she wants to take a swim after seeing the swimming class in action. They go borrow one from Ai and after donning on, Hibiki (the swimming club captain) puts her foot down on non-club members taking a dip. To cheer her up, Junichi suggests looking for books on cute puppies at the library. If Junichi hadn’t chance upon Rihoko, he could’ve got the books faster and not make Haruka fall asleep at the table. But he stays with her and lends her his jacket till she wakes up. Junichi is hinting that he won’t give up and doesn’t care how many times she turns him down. What he is afraid most is not getting a reply. She suddenly kisses his eyebrow and notes that since he is so serious, his eyebrows furrowed. They were kinda cute so she kissed them. Stunned…

Now Junichi must be feeling like at the top of the world in episode 3. While he is talking to Kaoru and her friend, Haruka pulls him away. Could this mean she’s jealous? Junichi gets this weird request he wants her to kiss his eyebrows again. More the better. Isn’t that pushing your luck? But she says it’s his turn to kiss her and find a place suitable for it. Think fast! A kiss is on the line. He brings her to a little shed where nobody will find them. Then she wants him to kiss somewhere else on her body. Gulp. Where did he pick? Behind her knee! Of all places why? Something to do with what he saw in the books filled with little puppies. She agrees. Junichi starts but the kiss is dragging longer than usual. Hey, he’s moving on to some other place! If she hadn’t stop him, who knows where his lips might end up. She asks how does it feel (amazing of course lah!) but seems he forgot something in the middle. She won’t tell him till he figures it out. Over the next few days, he can’t get the kiss out of his head and even had the guts to ask and kiss behind her knees once more. Now, he’s like a stalker begging her. Please. Please. PLEASE! Haruka is at a loss and calls Hibiki for advice. The only way to find out is to try and see. Next day, Haruka surprises Junichi by hugging him on his back. Then she wonders if there is anything exciting to eat so he orders a ramen dish. May look ordinary but he is going to make it interesting with some weird scenario that she’s being kidnapped. They even act out a scene that he’s feeding her. Yeah, everybody’s watching… But Haruka is having so much fun she didn’t mind.

Christmas is coming soon in episode 4. Junichi is made to carry bags for Miya and Rihoko’s shopping spree. He spots Haruka and takes up their offer to go to the toilet as excuse to meet her. They spend some time at the arcade when Junichi realizes the need to ask her out on Christmas. He takes her to the park atop a hill (the place Junichi was stood up). Seems Haruka did meet Junichi before at this place. When he was down, she talked to him and it made him feel better. She realized that guy she talked to was him because that day too left a deep impression on her. Haruka learns of his disaster 2 years ago. Then Junichi gets the courage to ask her out on the Eve. She can’t. Eh?! Rejected? Actually her grandparents from England will return on that day and she’ll be celebrating at home. It won’t be a problem if she invites him, right? Of course! On that day, Junichi is nervous because she’s taking him to a hotel. Sure it’s got a nice pool to have some fun but is this the real intention? Actually they’re supposed to meet her parents here. An hour ago. Oh, now they’re late. Better hurry. But don’t sweat it. Haruka takes Junichi up the elevator (he’s got fear of heights) and mentions that flight delays have caused her grandparents to cancel their flight. Her parents? Since they’re not coming, no point turning up. So they’re both alone?! At a hotel?! Well, she didn’t want to waste it. Haruka takes a bath and ‘warns’ him not to peep. Of course that guy is in a dilemma whether to do so or not. Then the lights go out. Don’t worry, Haruka turn them off herself because she thought it was embarrassing. Why is she clad in only a towel?! But she’s rather upset that he didn’t come to peek at her!!!!! F*CK! Wasted chance! Is it a wonder why men sometimes don’t understand women? But now it gets serious. Haruka starts crying and was worried that he may have started losing interest in her. For the first time, she felt she wanted to keep him but felt lonely, scared and waited all this while. Junichi hugs her and confesses he loves her too. There is nobody else he’d rather be with forever. Ten years down the road, the married pair seems to be lively, dramatic and most important of all, they love each other like as though their flame never fizzled out as it started a decade ago.

Kaoru Tanamachi’s Arc
In episode 5, 2 years ago when Junichi left broken-hearted, Kaoru was there to ‘distract’ him and gave her a ride to the bakery. In present time, Kaoru and Junichi are so close friends that they can act out silly manzai comedies that make them look like a married couple. But still if he sees her pantsu, she beats him up. This lands him in the infirmary as Kaoru visits him and is somewhat apologetic. She wants him to meet her at the flower bed at the back of the campus after school. Junichi’s mind is overflowing with thoughts on what Kaoru meant. Would it be a confession or trying out some wrestling move on him? He is so noisy thinking aloud that he disturbed Haruka in the next bed. After school he goes to the back of the school and this is not what he had in mind. Kaoru wants to hear a problem of her friend, Keiko Tanaka and then voice his opinion. Huh? Why him? She chose him the representative of all boys in their school. Yeah, you should be honoured. Seems Keiko confessed to a guy she liked. He didn’t give an answer and she waited for a month when he suddenly popped up and wanted to kiss. Junichi advises that she should write a letter, take an indirect approach instead of being persistent so if she comes across him, he won’t be able to ask her to kiss again. Kaoru is taken aback by his answer. On the way back, Kaoru invites him to patron the cafe she works. Junichi mentions back then he thought she wanted to confess to him but dismisses it himself. Kaoru hits his arm with her bag. True or not? Look at her body language. Junichi is a customer at her cafe. He orders the cheapest thing: A glass of water. But as she is serving other customers, she starts to become clumsy each time she observes Junichi. Back at the shop, she starts flustering about the feelings she is experiencing and her heart won’t stop thumping.

Kaoru is facing a dilemma that she might be in love in episode 6. In class, Junichi sees a commotion between Kaoru and a guy. She was ready to beat him up but Junichi breaks them apart. Later it is revealed that Keiko wrote him a letter but he passed it around and laughed. She was supportive of Keiko though she knew it would turn out like this but lost her cool when he did that. The conversation topic changes with Junichi asking her if there is someone she likes. She’s not going to admit it. For now. So it’s a no. So what do you call their relationship then? Well, they maintain a certain lukewarm distance. Then on a topic of changing their relationship, Kaoru hugs him and their face got to close to each other (okay, it met) before she pushes herself away. She doesn’t count this one. Junichi plans on getting his revenge on her since she ‘stole’ his kiss by tickling her ribs? Since that won’t make him feel better, he is going to kiss her bellybutton. Previously it was the back of the knee, now the bellybutton? What next? As Junichi kisses it (Kaoru covering her shirt over his head!), Miya spots this unholy act and is stunned. Later Kaoru suggests taking a walk in the park so that he could further show off his manly side. They help a couple of boys bring down a shuttlecock stuck in a tree with Kaoru riding on Junichi’s shoulders. He never felt this sensation before. When she leaves, he never realized there was a cute side to her smile. Kaoru is about to meet her mom but gets disheartened when she sees him hanging out with another man.

Kaoru is absent in episode 7 and Junichi wonders if that kiss was his fault. Junichi suspects something amiss when he learns from Keiko that her teacher called her home but was told she never returned last night. He skips school to go look for her. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. As he whizzes pass several shops, he remembers his outing with Kaoru there. He chances upon the badminton boys and they think it’s his fault for making his girlfriend cry. Oh, she’s at the beach by the way. But when he got there, she’s nowhere to be seen. The only place left is the cafe she works. Yup, she’s there. He waits till she finishes her shift and talks to her. She brings up the unknown man she saw her mom with. She remembers she got into a fight with her because she thought of remarrying. Kaoru doesn’t want a new dad and would rather continue the way things are now. Junichi tries to console her that it’s okay to cry but he got a judo throw. So does she need his help? Well, just stay by his side. After she cools herself down, she calls and talks to her mom. Junichi gives her favourite ice cream to cheer her up and assures he’ll always be by her side supporting her. Back home, he is confused why he is going so far to help her and starts thinking that he might actually be in… Just maybe. Next day Kaoru returns to class and completely recovered. Junichi offers to help carry her printouts so she dumps everything on him. Back to normal, eh?

Umehara and Keiko set Junichi and Kaoru up in episode 8 so that they could talk together. Since he isn’t going to ask, Kaoru fixes the date for them to go out on Christmas Eve. As he waits at the park, Junichi fears she may not turn up. Don’t worry, even if she’s a ‘bad friend’, she isn’t that bad to stand you up. She keeps her promise and shows up. As they make their way up to the Port Tower, they talk about the old memories they had and the crazy things they did. Oh, don’t forget Junichi has a fear of heights. Thankfully he made it to the top. Over a glass floor, they hold hands and watch the snow fall. She starts telling him her feelings and in the end, manages to say she loves him. I guess having 101 good points is still better than having 100 bad points, right? Now it’s Junichi’s turn to make a confession. He wants to be with her forever and also loves her. And they kiss. A proper one on the lips, not the bellybutton mind you. He brings her back to his room and nearly got busted when Miya suspects something amiss but tells him to keep it down while watching his ‘video treasures’. Well, Kaoru found one. She notices his planetarium closet and suggests that they sleep together. Serious?! Serious. How can he sleep like that? Impossible. Next thing he knows, Kaoru is on top of him. They kiss but too long that he couldn’t breathe. Oh, looks like she’s fallen asleep. Just like that? Boring… With that, Kaoru and Junichi’s relationship continue to blossom from now on. Uh… No 10 years down the road finish?

Sae Nakata’s Arc
Of all the arcs, this is the one I enjoyed the most because of the sarcastic and perverted-sounding narrator. Yes, there is a narrator for this arc which makes it fun and turns the dramatic into funny since the previous arc was getting a little tad draggy. Junichi is on his way to school in episode 9 when he spots pretty Sae. Is it her nice body that he got attracted to? During recess, he dropped his wallet after bumping into Haruka. Sae saw it but her soft shy voice couldn’t reach him. She manages to return to him but since she is so shy, she runs away. He can’t keep this off his chest so he decides to go find her and surprisingly, she is Miya’s classmate and friend. If you think Junichi is a pervert, then you can consider Miya one too because she molests Sae’s tender boobs for good luck. WTF?! Junichi later treats Sae to a drink at Kaoru’s cafe as Sae mentions her interest to do a part time job. She has Kaoru help her out to see if there are any vacancies. But bashful Sae whose voice wouldn’t come out even if she screams at the top of her lungs, how is she going to pass the interview? Don’t worry, Junichi will hold a mock interview practice at his home. Seems to be proceeding well till the practice of bringing a drink on a tray. Sae got clumsy and spilled the hot drink over his pants. Natural reaction? Take it off. Then Miya comes in. Let’s say he got more than just being labelled as a pervert. Ooohh. I wonder how many marks are there on his cheek. Though the misunderstood is cleared up, they walk Sae home and also play a game called piggyback rock-scissors-paper. Let’s say Junichi is always the loser and has to piggyback Sae. And he doesn’t mind losing forever since her boobs are pressed against his back. Yeah, this is heaven indeed.

Three weeks later, Sae’s practice has bore fruits. She’s confident in her speech. So long as she’s talking to a VENDING MACHINE!!! Hahaha! To up the level, he has her speak to the cafeteria lady. She flops. To counter this, Junichi has her view all cafeteria ladies as vending machines! Odd but it works! Talking vending machines… The next training is speed changing. Why the science lab? Somebody may walk in. Need to work under stress conditions? Uh… But change into her PE clothes? Then asking her to strip?! Don’t worry, she’s wearing a swimsuit underneath. She slips and falls on top of him. Then Miya comes in. Round 2. Notice both his cheeks with scratch marks? The next training ground is the hotspring. They soak their feet into a pond with those fish nibbling at their feet for therapeutic treatment. Sae is making erotic-like sounds each time the fish nibble so much so Junichi’s mind goes wild and causes him to pass out. With today’s training pass, Sae requests more training so it’s back to his home again. Well, I can guess why there’s another reason why she wants more training. They played some Monopoly game and Sae gets permission from her dad to sleep over. Sae borrows Miya’s pyjamas and Junichi notes how looking at it makes him feel like wanting another sister. But Sae says she doesn’t want to be his sister. This pretty much sums it up, eh?

Because of that, Junichi is bothered by her words and in episode 11, she asks Umehara for advice. Of all people. But Haruka heard him and knows what that means. It means she wants to be his older sister! Unbelievable! Sae seems to have landed a part time job as a waitress in a cafe near Kaoru’s. Junichi and co pay her a visit as customers as she serves them. I guess with Sae totally cute, is there any other reason why Kaoru’s cafe is losing customers? Sae’s like a pro even if she’s clumsy so Umehara teases Junichi that he feels lonely that the student doesn’t need the master anymore. But I don’t think that’s the reason of what he is feeling now. A customer gave Sae some tickets to the amusement park as thanks so she invites Junichi out. After the rides, they go watch a live tokusatsu show, Grasshopper Masks. Sae seems to be a fan of it. During the show, Sae is ‘chosen’ to be the evil squid’s hostage. Yeah, he even thinks she can’t be an elementary first year student for having such a gorgeous body. Junichi can’t stop laughing. At the end, she got a souvenir photo and managed to shake hands with the heroes. During a meal, Junichi’s heart can’t stop racing each time he looks at her. Shy Sae manages to eke out a favour to join the Best Couple Contest during their school’s Founder’s Festival. While waiting at the bus stop, though shy at first, they eventually hold each other’s hands.

But can Junichi do it and confess his love straight to her face? He seems to still have that trauma. But in episode 12, Junichi and Sae are at a cafe (why is he the only guy there?) are trying to finish a large parfait as training to win first place for the contest. The day comes and the participants stream out on stage. I don’t know if this is a joke since Umehara turn up with his life-size fish partner, Toroko. He expects to win like this?! Then a cowboy-lady combo from Hibiki-Haruka team. Junichi and Sae were the last one to come on stage and their bride and groom outfit stuns the crowd speechless. The results are out and the winner turns out to be Hibiki-Haruka with Junichi-Sae taking second place. They won tickets to a private room for a movie. At the cinema, Junichi is calming himself down at the toilet, some cool elderly foreigner (Steven Spielberg?) tells him to sum up his courage and go for it. In English. I wonder if he understands that. Returning to the room, he sees Sae in a stunning sleeveless black dress. She talks about the movie when Junichi realizes that old guy in the toilet he just met is the director of this movie (like I said, Steven Spielberg?). At the end of the movie, Junichi fools around that he is the camera and she the actress. He stumbles and falls over her. She mentions she is happy to spend time with him as he hugs her. After sitting back up properly, Junichi gets the courage to say he loves her and his feelings won’t lose to anyone. Then they kiss. Because Sae puts on the cutest moe face ever, his heart stopped and he died from all her moe-ness. Okay, that was just exaggerating. Later they hold hands at the Christmas tree and Junichi notes that they aren’t just a couple, but lovers. I’m not sure about this ending because Junichi films Sae and Miya in animal costumes. Huh? And wait a minute! No kissing on other body parts? Went straight for the lips, huh?

Ai Nanasaki’s Arc
In episode 13, two years ago when Junichi got rejected, he bumped into Ai who is happy on her way back with her Christmas present to her brother. Two years later, Junichi and Umehara are passing by the park (Junichi needs to find a toilet) when they see Ai jumping from the swing. She thinks they are perverts and threatens to call to cops since they introduced themselves (easier to report to the police, eh?). The guys start panicking but it was just a joke. Who could tell that kind of serious expression she had was a joke. At school, Ai ‘witnesses’ more of Junichi perverts when Kaoru comes up behind that guy and grabs him so he thought of doing the same to her. She also sees him ‘hold up the queue’ at the cafeteria when he can’t decide which lunch he wants to eat. As Ai practises during swimming class, she hears a cat meow. She goes out and thinks it’s Junichi trying to act like a pervert again (he’s looking underneath stairways so he might be mistaken for looking underneath girls’ skirt). The cat is real as Ai teases him if he wants to see underneath her skirt for real. She flips up and of course she’s wearing her swimsuit underneath. Gotcha! Ai knows who Junichi is because she is Miya’s classmate. She advises him to stop being a pervert because she doesn’t want her friend’s brother to be a criminal :). At home, Junichi ignores Miya’s plea to enter the shopping district’s contest to win a grand prize to Hawaii. For his cute sister, please? “You’re even cuter when you keep your mouth shut”. Oops. Because of that, Junichi became a laughing stock in school when words “Win a trip to Hawaii” are scribbled on his forehead. Ai spots this and learns what happened. Ai asks him for a favour to accompany her out shopping later. They got some coupons for the raffles and they won the 6th prize, which is a 500 Yen gift voucher. Well, I guess it’s not a trip to Hawaii, how could he possibly face Miya now? He suggests sharing the voucher since they both won it. As they rest and eat a snack at the beach, Ai seems to be collecting trash as part of the swimming club’s volunteer work to take trash home. She thanks him for the treat as Junichi tries his hand at collecting trash too.

Umehara invites Junichi (Kaoru tagging along too) to see some pretty rumoured chick in episode 14. But Junichi was too noisy at the library and was told to shut it by Ai. Junichi notices Ai studying for next week make-up exams and she has to pass it or else she can’t attend swimming activities. Junichi has great pride in his maths and offers to coach her. Really. Even Tsukasa was pretty much surprised to see Junichi doing so. Seeing that Junichi’s like a kid, Ai wonders if he could reach out to her little brother, Ikuo since they’re both guys and kinda childish. Some reasoning… Junichi is being called by his homeroom teacher, Maya Takahashi that he is slacking lately and coming late to school. His reason? Engrossed in the manga, Beaver Romance of the Three Kingdoms?! True or not, why are his eyes focused on her boobs?! Then when Miya, Ai and Sae are talking on the topic of brothers, Junichi gatecrashes in as he’s looking for Ai. Miya introduces him to her friends but again, why are his eyes fixated on Sae’s boobs?! He even thought how nice if Miya and Ai’s boobs level up to Sae’s! All this boob talk has Sae leaving. As Ai practises swimming, the other swimming club members catch Junichi for peeking. Yeah, I’m thinking he’s really into boobs. Was he really peeking at them? “I wanted to see them, filled with so much energy it’s like they’d explode beautifully like gunpowder any minute!”. Sicko! Then he apologizes to Ai so the rest leave them to talk alone. Ai finishes up as they talk outside. Junichi apologizes for this afternoon’s antics. Actually he was there to tell her that it’d be a good idea to spoil her brother once in a while because back then just like him, all he really wanted was her attention. Ai giggles at his answer and then shows him an Action Belt from Grasshopper Mask. She wanted to give it to Ikuo but he didn’t want last year’s hot item. And since Junichi is like a kid, she thought of giving it to him. Well… Junichi teaches Ai how to play with the toy, including making poses of Grasshopper Mask. She’s pretty convincing so much so a bunch of kids want an encore. She gives the belt to them and they’re very happy. Ai thanks Junichi for everything and when she goes back, she feels much better and thinks Junichi is cute and may be interested in him. Oh, you will be.

Junichi got tickets to the amusement park and is supposed to go with Ai and Ikuo in episode 15. But Ikuo caught a cold so only Ai turns up. After riding several rides, they enter a haunted house. Oddly, Junichi starts seeing visions of Tsukasa. It gets even weirder when they enter a room with a Pharaoh. He lunges at them and the next thing Junichi knows, Ai becomes a miso ramen! WTF?! Junichi feels tempted to ‘eat’ her but he finds himself sucking on her fingers. What is wrong with him? Hmm… I think it was some weird gas Junichi inhaled earlier on. I think. At the park where they first met, Ai is embarrassed that he tried to ‘eat’ her. Then they both ride the swing. She swings faster but Junichi is looking elsewhere…  As punishment, she sits on his lap so he can’t look up her skirt anymore and then KISSES HIM!!! Wow. Not some other body part, but straight to the lips. Next day in school, he is confused if Ai is interested in him. So deep in thought that he didn’t have any reaction to Umehara’s new porn. Junichi is supposed to meet Ai after school but notes she is late. He goes see her at the swimming pool but sees her in tears after an argument with Hibiki. She dives into the pool and he tries to chase her. Yes, he also gets wet. Once he catches her, he hugs her. After calming down and on their way home, Ai lets him know that a junior was selected in her place for a swim meet. Well, she’s got her make-up exam and brother to deal with so her hands are pretty much tied up. But she still won’t give up since she has 2 more years. The reason why she ran away was because she didn’t want Hibiki to see her cry, what more Junichi. However he notes that seeing her different side made him happy. Ai asks if he is free on Christmas and could help out with the swimming club’s oden food cart. Of course. This is the least he could do for causing trouble to the swimming club. Must be that boobs comment.

Ai and Junichi man the oden food cart at Founder’s Festival in episode 16. Why is Haruka trying to steal some oden? Food tasting to make it acceptable to customers? At this rate, she’ll finish everything! Well, looks like Hibiki will have her hands full in making sure she doesn’t do anything funny. The tea club members of Ruriko Yuzuki and Manaka Hiba are causing a ‘commotion’ at the oden stall. Ruriko thinks the swimming club’s fabled oden has fallen in its standards. Ai puts her swimming club’s pride on the line to make the legendary oden. In the end, the duo find it very delicious and this causes an influx of people flocking to their stall to get a great traditional taste of their oden. Another problem crops up when Maya is drunk just having drank sweet sake. Yeah, she’s noisy. Looks like it’s Tsukasa’s job to take her away. At the end of the festival, their oden was a sell-out. Hibiki has them go rest while the others handle the clean up. While they are eating some of their oden, Junichi wonders why she asked him if he was free that day. By bus, she takes him deep into the mountains and they finally arrive at a hotspring. This mountainous area belongs to her grandfather so no worries if they’re trespassing. Ai used to frequent this place when she had muscle aches from swimming practice. Then they go change to take a dip. Wait. They don’t need to change. You can’t soak in a hotspring wearing anything. Yup. Go in naked. Nervous? Well for Ai, she had her towel over her swimsuit so it’s not that bad. Disappointed? They talk about how they did lots of things together even though it was a short time. Finally Ai has something to tell him. Yes, you guessed it. She loves him. She is finding it hard to hide her feelings anymore so Junichi also replies he loves her. Then she suddenly hugs him and her towel came off. She’s not wearing her swimsuit! So they both have their naked bodies against each other. So why did Ai lied about having her swimsuit on? She was embarrassed. But it’s nothing compared to the confession. There’s nothing wrong with them getting very close to each other, right? After all, she loves him very much. Love makes you do these kind of things. I guess the deer will be the only witnesses to their second kiss. So in the aftermath, Ai wakes up sleeping Junichi at the beach. If a girl allows you to use her lap as a pillow, that means they’re officially a couple, right?

Rihoko Sakurai’s Arc
In episode 17, two years ago Rihoko was elated when Junichi asked her out. But it was to buy the girl he likes a present. Though she was disappointed, she felt sorry for what happened. Yes, it’s a one-sided love for Rihoko ever since. Of all the heroines, Rihoko is the sloppiest. I wonder if that’s the understatement. Even if her best friend Kanae Itou takes to trouble to wake her up, she still wants to sleep in. Who else to blame but yourself for being late? She tries to squeeze through a hole in the fence as short cut but her flabby waist means she’s stuck. Lucky Junichi was there to pull her out (yeah, I guess he’s running late too). She blames her thick clothing but as the school bell rings, Junichi slips through the hole. Now what are you going to do girl? Rihoko is also a diet freak. If she could only stick to her diet schedule. She is easily tempted to eat any snacks without remorse and when she is reminded about her diet, she puts it off that she’ll start for real the next time. At this rate, is it a wonder why she’s growing fat? Anyway Kanae must have heard this story of dieting once too often. Yeah, she’s going to slim down enough to slip through that hole. Wouldn’t it be better if she just wakes up early? Meanwhile Umehara and Junichi are in one of their porn discussions and Junichi seems to take a liking for a slightly chubby model that resembles Rihoko. Rihoko comes by to give her handmade cupcakes to him. She doesn’t need it since she’s on a diet. How long would that last? Kanae invites Junichi and Umehara to go skating with them on Sunday. At the tea club with Ruriko and Manaka, Rihoko is tempted to eat choux creme since they invited her. There goes her diet… Ruriko tells her the meaning of its name derived from Hebrew: Love charm. So it’s like a treat you’d give to someone you like when proposing to them. Though it was just a bluff (it’s from a French word that means ‘cabbage with cream’) but Rihoko doesn’t know that. All she is interested is in the delicious choux creme. She remembers her diet and promises to start tomorrow -_-. What Ruriko is concerned about is not only Rihoko’s future but the tea club’s as well since currently the trio are the only ones forming the club and when Ruriko and Manaka graduate next year, Rihoko will be all alone. Plus. Without other members, the club will be disbanded. While Junichi and Umehara are secretly trying to indulge in their porn, they see Rihoko eating choux creme. Junichi reminds her of her diet and she is confident she’ll succeed this time. Hopefully. Better think about it because when the duo pass by the park that they used to play when they’re young, Rihoko tries sliding down but her butt got stuck at the end. And when she weighs herself at home, she thinks the towel is the one making her heavy… Then doing a little stretching, she tires out and decides to start tomorrow… Next day she is running late for school again. She decides to slip through the hole in the fence and to her delight, she manages to pull through! Did her diet work?! Well actually Junichi passed by earlier on and he foresaw this would happen and made the hole a little bigger. Too bad Rihoko got the wrong idea her diet and a few stretches had made her lose weight…

Rihoko is once again a klutz during skating in episode 18. Junichi must have a hard time trying to catch her that he accidentally caught her boobs. Then she slips and falls down, making ‘it’ visible to Junichi. Kanae didn’t think that tactic was bad. I guess she’s trying to play match-make with Rihoko and him. She suggests of using the Founder’s Festival next but on that day Rihoko will be busy with the tea club activities. See how dunce Rihoko is in filling up the application for the festival? So much so she tires out poor Tsukasa! While pervy Junichi is comparing Rihoko’s boobs with the bun he is eating, Ruriko and Manaka make him carry a table top for their kotatsu. They invite him for tea in their club house and you can’t help the way they talk to Junichi it’s like as though they have an ulterior motive for him. They also ask him for help during the festival to carry things since they need a guy’s strength to do so. He can’t turn them down, can’t he? The tea club members discuss their club’s future. Looks grim if Rihoko doesn’t recruit another member. But they have a bright prospect: Junichi. Will he really join? Well, they have a plan. As promised, Junichi helps out the club during the festival. The girls are in their kimono while Junichi and Rihoko are to help distribute flyers. Rihoko asks if he’s interested to join the club but as of now he has no intention doing so. Rihoko doesn’t look worried. Yeah, that’s bugging me. As they spend time together at the festival, they reminisce about their younger days like how Rihoko tried to eat falling snow and Junichi making a snowman with boobs! Maybe his pervertness stamps from here. Then she gives him a pair of knitted gloves as his Christmas present. Though it’s too thin, it fits nicely and warm. Junichi realizes he doesn’t have a present for her but she’s okay with it. In return, if she has anything in mind, she can ask him. Not necessary now but later. Unsure, she calls Kanae for advice. It must be something that even Rihoko would disagree. I bet it’s a kiss or a date.

In episode 19, Junichi are Rihoko are called by Ruriko and Manaka to observe and appreciate the process of making tea in the open air. Then they talk about the prospect of the club next year and Rihoko is adamant she’ll keep the club going. They let Junichi and Rihoko mix tea. It’s understandable it’s tough for him but Rihoko too? I guess all she knows is just eat and eat. Haha. Oh, here’s another bad habit from Rihoko: She can trip even there’s nothing at her feet. As Junichi and Rihoko are at the cafe Kaoru works at, Rihoko keeps staring at Junichi’s cake.  Well, you want it or not? Diet? Heck, you broke it so many times it doesn’t actually matter. Anyway Rihoko has finally thought what she wants: To go to the shrine with him on New Year’s Day. You sure that’s it? And yeah, you can have the cake you’re tempting to have. Junichi bluffs her by saying that Kanae is around the corner. This alerted Rihoko for a moment before realizing she’s been had. He cheekily presses her cheek when she looks the other way and in retaliation, she bites his finger. So what about the diet? She’ll be okay if she works out more. Easier said than done. Well, back home she starts doing some pumping (even that was after Kanae’s reminder) but gave up after the count of 2. That was freaking fast!!! While Junichi is taking a bath, Rihoko is at the doorstep. Miya wasn’t around to answer the door so Junichi had to do it himself. Then his towel came off. Surprise! Junichi makes tea for Rihoko and Miya and it seems his tea making skills may even surpass Rihoko. She has some cheese souffles for them. Isn’t that filled with calories? Don’t worry, she put less sugar in it… Oh dear. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? As midnight looms, Miya the kid falls asleep. Junichi gets prepared to go out but it seems Rihoko can’t resist and sleeps with Miya! What to do? Shrine trip cancelled. But it might be a blessing because they visit it the next morning where there is no crowd. They remember their younger days how Rihoko used to doze off in the middle of homework. Not only that, she took snack breaks more frequent than studying. So are you convinced why she can never slim down? At the shrine, they have their luck reading (Rihoko’s love is forecasted to be uncertain – depends how you interpret it) and Rihoko writes her wishes: A successful diet, new members to join the club and her feelings will reach Junichi some day. Boy, that’s a lot.

Well things are pretty much the same for Junichi and Rihoko in episode 20. No advancement in their relationship. Even Kanae is starting to think Junichi is dumber than she thought to be. Oh, Rihoko is still at her diet. And still breaking it. Back to square one as always. Junichi thinks of dropping by the tea club (is this a sign?) and learns that Ruriko and Manaka were out trying to recruit Haruka into the club because of her leadership skills. If they win in a contest, she must join them but they lost badly. While Haruka easily summoned a litter of cute puppies while Manaka couldn’t summon a dragonfly. By the way, there are no dragonflies in winter. Besides, isn’t Haruka also graduating with them? Ruriko feels like promoting Rihoko as the new club president but doesn’t have much confidence. So they have this idea of Junichi joining the club and become the new president. Though he’ll just be the figurehead. They’ll throw in Rihoko as a bonus item too. Haha! On the way home, Rihoko’s concern of the club is genuine and she feels she has been taking her seniors for granted and the thought of them graduating never seemed to cross her mind. At least it doesn’t seem very real to her. She needs to do something to repay their kindness. Junichi goes to see Ruriko and Manaka and tells them about Rihoko being lonely after they graduate. This is a chance for them to strike. Mentioning Rihoko is popular among the guys (think not!) but they think Junichi and Rihoko match each other perfect. They try to persuade him with all the things he has done with her and recently he has been visiting the club often. Ruriko hands him the registration form but he got ‘scared’ and leaves. For Valentine’s Day, Rihoko gives Junichi choux creme (because of that Hebrew word still ringing in her mind). Yeah, she had some herself too. Don’t get too disappointed when you weigh yourself later. Too bad Umehara is left out this year because girls like Kaoru and Tsukasa don’t give obligation chocolate as their policy. As the season passes, Rihoko continues to work hard for the club and soon graduation day looms and though Rihoko apologizes for not being able to find new members for the club, the seniors are okay with it and thank her for the wonderful years they had. Rihoko becomes emotional as they hug her and assure they will always look out for her. Then Junichi comes in and he has a surprise. He gives his registration form and looks like he wants to join the club after thinking the tea club won’t last with her around (hope that wasn’t sarcasm). Plus, he wants them to graduate with no worries. Spring arrives as Junichi and Rihoko make arrangements to recruit new members. Ruriko and Manaka pay them a visit to see how they’re doing. Rihoko narrates she is confident that the tea club will grow popular and her feelings will reach Junichi someday. And yes, she still continues dieting. And her tripping.

Hey wait a minute!!! Rihoko’s arc ends just like that without them being a couple?! Wow. This is a surprise. You could say it’s such a ‘sad’ ending for her. I guess there were tell-tale signs. If Junichi and the girl don’t become a couple on Christmas Day, you can forget about it even if you’re way past Valentine’s Day. That is nothing. Plus, Rihoko should have reworded her wish of her feelings reaching Junichi some day. Yes, some day. Looks like today is not the day. Neither is tomorrow. But some day. Some day. What do you expect when Rihoko is being such a slob (although she looks cute when she’s eating food because she looks like a squirrel munching). If she can’t even stick to her diet (or even close), how can she expect a guy to stick to her? And she doesn’t even seem very worried and care-free. Even if it was a cause for concern it was probably because her friends reminded her so she doesn’t want to be seen as a liar. So is she serious? Yeah. Some day…

Tsukasa Ayatsuji’s Arc
A year ago in episode 21, Junichi is still feeling the pangs of love on Christmas Eve. Bust buddy Umehara cheers him up for them loners to hang out at his place for some gaming and porn mag reading party. What else? They even made a vow to find girlfriends and have a fun Christmas the following year. So it’s that time of year again as Tsukasa once more volunteers herself to be the head committee for the Founder’s Festival. To help lessen her burden, Junichi surprisingly volunteers to be her assistant. Junichi works hard with nice Tsukasa guiding him by his side. Helping her with some stuff at the store room, they got accidentally locked in. While waiting for help, they clean up the place and talk about their motivation in joining the committee. Tsukasa, she wants to bring happiness to others while Junichi thought it would be his first step for change so that he wouldn’t run away or feel scared each time this season comes around. At the end of the day, Miya and Sae came by so the duo are lucky not to spend the night alone inside the store room. Would it? On their way home, they chance upon Tsukasa’s older sister, Yukari. However Tsukasa doesn’t seem too happy to meet her though Yukari is rather friendly. Tsukasa quickly takes her away. Next day in school, Junichi is having trouble trying to appease the unhappy crowd with their demands. Can’t take the pressure? He goes to find Tsukasa for help as she is handling supplementary swimming lessons (why the heck is Haruka peeping?!). Later that evening, Junichi finds a dropped notebook in class and browses through to find the name of its owner. Meanwhile Tsukasa has just finished her lessons and finds her notebook missing. She rushes back to the classroom unchanged and sees Junichi looking through it. Upon finding out that he has read it, she pulls his tie and jerks him! WOAH! That sure caught Junichi by surprise. I always suspected Tsukasa was more than meets the eye but I didn’t expect she had this dark personality!

Junichi apologizes in episode 22 and pushes her off, accidentally touching her breast. Then she forces him to come with her to the shrine. With that evil stare, he can’t refuse. Oh, what has he gotten himself into? He tries to explain why he did so but looks like Tsukasa feels it’s a shame that she’s going to lose a classmate! But upon knowing he saw was just schedules and memos, she quickly got embarrassed that it was a misunderstanding. However it’ll be okay if he doesn’t tell anyone this, right? He wouldn’t. I assure you. Using that breast touching defiling excuse is enough to make that guy sweat. Or else he’ll never come back alive. Next day in school, Junichi is puzzled to see Tsukasa putting up her angelic side. He tries to talk to Umehara about it but was caught by Tsukasa. Did he forget about the ‘threat’? Blame yourself if you get killed! But she’s not going to do that. Rather, she’ll have him work his butt off for the festival. And so Junichi works hard like a horse till late one night he sees Tsukasa trying to paint away graffiti on a structure. He wonders why she’s working so hard so she replies it’s to protect her image as the committee chairman and this will lead her to have good recommendations that will get her into college. It’s all about herself, eh? But Tsukasa is amused by Junichi’s behaviour. Knowing her kind of character, people would’ve stayed as far as possible but instead, he continued supporting her. Junichi says because it’s fun and fulfilling. He’s not lying. Tsukasa orders him to go home and get some sleep. Junichi has a feeling that she doesn’t want to go home because she’s been staying late at school finishing work for a few days. Because of that, she falls ill the next day. Junichi pays her a visit as Yukari ushers him in. She is surprised to see him but nevertheless thanks him for the banana and energy drinks. Next day, Tsukasa is regains her health back and it’s back to more committee work (Hibiki and Haruka discussing the possibility of wearing daring outfits for the Miss Santa contest?). Later that evening, Junichi hears Tsukasa’s cries. A dog urinated on her feet. Don’t ask. Junichi carries her to the wash area and she’s embarrassed that people might see them so she calls out Junichi a pervert as she thought he’s groping her butt. Wouldn’t that attract people instead? Back home, Tsukasa finds Junichi a curious person and can’t concentrate on her homework. She thinks she is interested in him. You don’t say?

In episode 23, Maya sees Tsukasa about the festival and suggests she should cut down the activities since they are behind schedule. But she’s confident everything will go well. Tsukasa nags to Junichi about the lecture she got and tries to come up with a solution but couldn’t. Junichi suggests asking their class for help and though they are reluctant, everyone eventually agrees to help out. But a group of girls aren’t happy that they’re stuck with this job and they start accusing Tsukasa she is slacking and that they’re made to do this because she’s flirting with some guy. Junichi tries to explain that all they did was work but was made to shut up. Then Tsukasa snaps. She gives out a creepy laughter and goes into her superiority mode. She makes those girls eat humble pie like how they do nothing but complain and there is nothing about them that’s better than her. Wow. Right in your face! Later at the shrine, Junichi sees Tsukasa burning her notebook. She doesn’t need it anymore and have something more important. She wants Junichi to be her boyfriend, be with her forever. What?! So fast? He’s surprised as I am. Think twice before you get into a relationship with a cunning and manipulative woman. Oh what the heck, just say yes. As proof of the ‘contract’, she wants him to kiss her. Sealed with a kiss, eh? I don’t know if this is a joke or what because Tsukasa’s nose is bleeding. Junichi comments that she could get excited sometimes and he got a slap. In school during PE, Junichi notices those girls are bullying Tsukasa by ganging up on her in dodgeball. But Kaoru steps in to be on her side and even pulls Keiko into it. Junichi must have run finished his 10 laps in record time to even go join them. The bullies give up and leave. That night Junichi knows Tsukasa is staying late for work again and goes to see her in the classroom. She instantly hugs him for her much needed recharge. He suggests they should ask the class for help again but she thinks she can do just fine on her own. But when he mentions it’s not like her, she gets violent with him yelling back what he knows about her. He gives his honest answer and knows she is giving her best for the festival. That’s why she should apologize and ask for everyone’s help. Or else they’ll have to scrap some events. Another slap across his face. That’s for talking like as though he knows everything. She runs away in tears. But surprisingly, Tsukasa swallows her pride, apologizes to her bullies and politely requests their help. They refuse and this brings Tsukasa to tears. However the class is staring and at this rate, they’ll be seen as the villains so they drop the b*tch attitude and agree to help her. Later Junichi sees Tsukasa about her sudden change in character. She says that stubborn girl that he once knew no longer exists anymore. Eh? She has a split personality?

The day of the festival arrives in episode 24. As everyone helps out, Junichi can’t help think about Tsukasa’s answer on her split personality. Though she denies anything near that, she didn’t divulge on anymore further details. Tsukasa and Junichi patrol around the festival as Haruka goes bold with her daring Santa outfit for the Miss Santa contest. Want to bet this is the clincher that she’ll win the title for the third year running? (Spoiler: She did win. Again). Tsukasa changes into her Santa outfit and hands out presents to everyone. Meanwhile Junichi feels gloomy though it’s good news that Tsukasa casted away her dark side. Don’t tell me you’re a masochist. Then he sees Umehara with a lighter and thought he is going to burn himself! Actually he’s just burning his old love letters. Junichi is down and is filled with regret but Umehara comes up with advice that motivates Junichi to go on. And you wonder why he doesn’t have a girlfriend of his own. During the after-event party, Junichi talks to Tsukasa in an empty room. He hugs her from behind and says he loves her. He goes on reiterating the good and bad days they spent together including her good and bad personality. He likes them all and doesn’t want to hear her say a part of her has disappeared. But this only serves to upset Tsukasa as she gives him a 3-hit combo! Step on his feet, punch his jaw and knee kick in the gut! Emotions got the better of her as she explains she was trying hard to get rid of that side because of what he said. But Junichi is glad that the Tsukasa he loves still exists. He hugs her. Drunken Maya spots them from outside. Maybe she drank too much. A male teacher thought he heard somebody screamed but Maya ushers him away. Looks like she knows what’s going on and decides to leave those lovebirds alone. Once Tsukasa calms down, she tells him about her past. It was a big shock to her when she found out Santa Claus never existed and that it was her parents that put the presents under the tree. Then she thought she’d become Santa and though not the real deal, at least she would bring happiness to other people. That’s why she became part of the committee and thought she could make everyone’s Christmas happier through her own efforts. She has been attending the Founder’s Festival since young (it’s open to the public as well) and before she knew it, her goal to bring happiness to everyone changed into one of satisfying herself. Junichi notes that Christmas comes around every year so why not bring happiness to everyone. Including him. Not a bad deal. So for their first step to happiness, I guess the gust of wind was just a prelude for them to kiss and Tsukasa’s turn to say “I love you”. Unlike the first kiss, this isn’t a contract, but a promise. And that mini scene of 10 years down the road is back. Junichi and Tsukasa are married and have a cute little daughter. They visit the festival as they tell her this is the place where they made their promise. Since Junichi is happy, he gets a peck on his cheeks each by his ladies. They wish everyone in this world can be as happy as them on this day.

Risa Kamizaki’s Arc
Eh? There are more heroines? Well, Risa is actually a secret character in the game. So I suppose there is no harm giving her an episode to hog the spotlight. Starting right off at episode 25, Risa confesses to Junichi in the storeroom that she likes him. Guess what? He likes her too. So they become a couple right at the start and end of story. Hah! Just kidding. Risa will do anything to make him happy and wants him to kiss her. However the bell rings so they have to postpone it same time, same place tomorrow. Dang bell. But it’s something that Junichi looks forward too as he makes his way there during recess. Before they continue where they left off, they talk like how Risa has been watching him for a long time (stalker?) and she wonders if he prefers girls with big boobs. It’s an awkward situation for him but it’s okay to her. Yeah, she’s even working hard to make them big. How? That’s a secret ;p. Junichi wants to introduce her to his friends but she disagrees. Instead, this tryst will only be between both of them and nobody must know of it. I guess they can’t forever meet in the storeroom so Junichi meets her at the park where he got stood up 2 years ago at night when there’s no one around. It may not bring pleasant memories but he’ll remember it as the place he had his first date with Risa. With Founder’s Festival around the corner, Junichi wants to tour the festival with her but she seems reluctant. Later alone, Risa really does want to go around the festival with him but she has a reason why she can’t. It seems she has done horrible things to all the girls that have gotten close to him. Each time she sees one of the heroines getting real close to Junichi (see her stalk from just about anywhere, the bush, the pillars…), she calls them, shows them a fake photo that Junichi has a girlfriend. Either this news sends them into shock, agreeing to lay him off so as not to give a wrong impression, or in Tsukasa’s case, doesn’t give a damn about that jerk (yeah, see her true colours too). Though Risa felt bad for deceiving those girls, at least he ‘protected’ him. She notes if that incident did not happen 2 years ago, she could’ve confessed to Junichi normally and all these never would’ve happened. Hmm… Something just bugged me. If Risa was able to intercept the heroines at the crucial time Junichi first helped them, doesn’t it feel like she’s traversing different universes and time of the different arcs? Like Junichi helping Sae at the vending machine or helping Tsukasa with the committee work or visiting Kaoru at her cafe, all these could only happen at a single time and in a single arc, right? But yet here… So mind boggling.

Meanwhile Junichi meets Makihara at the park. She is the girl that stood him up 2 years ago. Junichi wonders why she is able to speak so casually to him when she asks why he didn’t turn up at the place they’re supposed to meet 2 years ago. Junichi is confused because he was waiting at this park all the time. Makihara mentions that a girl told him that he wanted to change the meeting location so she waited in front of the cinema for him. So I see that Risa girl was partly responsible for his traumatic heartbreak. During the festival, Junichi meets Risa back at the storeroom. Risa starts saying she has no right to date him and knowing the truth will only make him hate her. Junichi asserts that he will love her no matter what. So okay. Risa spills everything. However it wasn’t entirely her fault. The reason she lied about changing the meeting place was because she heard Makihara intended to dump him right there and make a joke out of his date invitation in front of her friends. Risa was one of the girls Makihara invited. Of course Risa couldn’t do it because she truly loved Junichi. Either way, Junichi ended up hurt on that day and she felt so guilty that she decided never to confess her feelings to him. But 2 years on, she observed he has moved on and getting friendly with other girls. Then she started thinking, what if Junichi gets hurt again by another girl? That’s when she decided to become his girlfriend and protect him forever (I thought this made her sound over-possessive). She showed the doctored photo because she did not trust any other girls and ended up hurting them, the reason why she doesn’t want anyone to know they’re dating. Risa’s love for him went as far back as elementary school. She was the new kid in town. The school had strict rules about leaving food on one’s tray. She couldn’t handle milk so Junichi the hero drank it for her. It may seem normal but to her, it was something special. Risa apologizes for everything and can’t go with him for the festival. It was a short period but she felt happy to be his girlfriend. She hopes he’ll find a wonderful girlfriend next Christmas. But Junichi isn’t going to accept this crap because it’s like she’s going to give him another lonely Christmas memory. He’s sick of that. He hugs her and says he likes her. He suggests that they go apologize to everyone together and after she came clean with him, he understood how much she loves him. He wants to wrap this up so they can date with no regrets. However Risa wants to do it alone as this is a mess she created. When she’s done, they can go tour the festival. And sign off with a kiss.

Miya Tachibana’s Arc
Oh. So the little sister too has her own episode, eh? Well, I guess it’s for those imouto-con fans. Anyway episode 26 sees Miya trying to wake up Junichi for school. Sleep head doesn’t wake up. And when he does, it’s too late and he even blames her for not doing so. Maybe he was so deep in dream land that he didn’t even remember hearing her. On their way to school, Umehara shows Junichi the latest and hottest porn mag and Junichi is ever so grateful to his porn buddy. How can he act so happy in front of his sister? I know boys will be boys but it’s so disgusting. Miya talks to Ai and Sae about Junichi’s bad habits and asks for their opinion. They find him interesting. What? They think Miya likes her brother a lot since she is worried for him and his future. Yeah, she’s worried he’ll graduate without a girlfriend, talk about porn, oversleep and spend his time in his mini planetarium. But her friends are confident that won’t happen and he’ll do just fine. Miya thinks deep and wonders if Junichi is a different person in school and at home and decides to spy on him. Herald Stalker Number 2. Yeah, she spies on him getting friendly with the heroines. Look at those jealous eyes… Oh, looks like Miya isn’t alone stalking. Risa is doing the same too. Looks like they have the same goal. They stalk from behind trees, stairs, walls and doors to see Junichi getting pretty well with the heroines’ friends too. Wow.  Thanks to stalking expert Risa, Miya is able to spy on bog brother. The stalkers have a little chat and it seems Risa has always thought of Miya as her little sister and allows Miya to call her her big sister. But she disagrees seeing that they’re not blood related. Risa is disappointed and I’m sure her true intention is so that she can get close to Junichi and if his family members accept him, she scores, right? Confused Miya wonders why Junichi is so friendly with many of the girls but yet can’t land a single girlfriend. Then it hit her. That night she confronts him with those suspicious eyes. She asks him if he is gay!!! Plus, she saw him getting close with Umehara about the porn book and was convinced he is one. Junichi vehemently denies and that he likes girls. To top it, he admits he likes perverted stuff. Ah…

Next day Miya and Risa go out together so Miya relays the good news that Junichi isn’t gay. Risa suggests Junichi’s girlfriend should be someone who has been watching him for a long time (hint, hint) and feels Miya should call her big sister. Again she turns her down seeing Risa is her friend. Disappointed yet again. Suddenly a guy from Miya’s neighbouring class shows up and confesses his feelings. But… Miya turns him down. Talking to Miya over it, Risa feels she can consult big sister any time but Miya is not interested and leaves. There goes her plan again. Miya feels confused and perhaps this is what Junichi feels because she too isn’t into love and that kind of stuff. Miya picks up a stray kitten home but Junichi feels she should put it back since their parents do not allow pets and that mother kitty may be looking for her offspring. Miya doesn’t want to leave it alone at the park again so Junichi agrees to help her search for its parent. However they couldn’t find the mother so Miya starts getting depressed. Junichi allows Miya to let the kitten stay for tonight and will try to convince their parents. But then the kitten’s mother show up and the felines happily reunite. Miya is shocked to see the mommy biting the child and thinks it was her fault. But Junichi points out that was just playful bites, a form of expression of love. As they head home, Miya asks if Junichi would look for her if she got lost. Of course he would because she’s his precious little sister. Feeling happy, Miya jumps on his back and gives him a playful bite on his neck! Yikes. That scene looked like she’s a vampire trying to suck his blood. Back home as Miya takes a bath and notes even though Junichi is a slob, pervert and uncool at times, she now understands why he gets along well with many girls. She is confident he can get a girlfriend of his own. Till then, he can play with her. Then Junichi walks into the bathroom naked. Oops. Maybe she should take that last sentence back. So they didn’t end up in an incest relationship, eh? Disappointed or good thing?

Short Animations
These couple of specials come with the DVD and each heroine will be dedicated around 5 minutes with Junichi. Thinks of it as something extra and like a ‘dessert’ after the main course (the TV series). The setting takes place days before Christmas and the festival. And if you keep your eyes peeled, notice how Risa is spying at them at a corner? It’s a hit-or-miss scene so better be quick to spot her!

Haruka – Junichi and Haruka are at the family restaurant as Haruka orders the deluxe Shining Lovers Parfait. It is Junichi’s happiest day till he spots Kaoru coming to serve them the parfait. Worried about her seeing them together, Haruka suggests to hide under the table! Kaoru delivers the parfait and is surprised Junichi ordered this and wonders which lucky girl he brought along. Guess who? Umehara! Haha! No wonder both girls give out a good laugh. After Kaoru leaves, Haruka returns back and was totally amused by his ‘interesting excuse’. Yeah, she totally enjoyed it. They finish the parfait together and though Junichi felt it was delicious, he also felt he lost something… Hope those 2 don’t think he’s gay.

Kaoru – Junichi is surprised to see Kaoru selling Christmas cakes in a sexy Santa outfit. She is as much surprised to see him. Junichi learns she holds 5 part time jobs and his answer is the same as her stepdad’s: They feel she doesn’t need to work. Because Junichi’s eyes are straying to a lower area, Kaoru catches him in the act and forces him to buy a Christmas cake as penalty. Is 2,500 Yen considered cheap and selling at a loss? Plus, she wants him to pay her back with his body! OMG! His body?! Use his body and help her sell the Christmas cakes, that is. In no time, the cakes are sold out. They both had the same idea of asking each other out for Christmas but got embarrassed when they spoke the same time. They drop the subject as Junichi goes away. She thanks him and is looking forward to Christmas with him.

Sae – Oh, that annoying but ‘likeable’ narrator is back! Anyway Junichi is depressed and locks himself in his mini planetarium. Why? It’s his birthday and nobody is at home to celebrate it. No birthday cake, no birthday presents, no birthday celebration, no… Oh wait. Somebody is at the door. It’s Sae! She’s here to wish him happy birthday and hands him his present! How thoughtful. How did she know it’s his birthday? Miya told her. Now the duo are alone in his room. Heartbeat getting faster… Junichi opens his present to see an album. Not just an ordinary album. But an album filled with photos of Sae in cosplay outfits! YEOW!!! Super sexy! Enough to turn Junichi’s mind into a runaway berserk train. Unstoppable. Apparently Sae asked Miya about Junichi’s fetishes and came up with this. I see. Just when Junichi is getting to the juicy part, Sae flips and tries to prevent him from looking. The struggle has him fall on top of her boobs. Best present ever, eh? Does he like it? Of course! Now, which present is he referring to? Junichi escorts Sae home as he is surprised to learn those photos were taken by Miya. I wonder what that sister is up to.

Ai – Because she wasn’t able to go to the swim meet, Ai seems depressed so Junichi has this plan to cheer her up by talking to her. At the place where they first tried to find the cat, Ai remembers this as the place he tried to peek up her skirt! But noticing Ai is still gloomy, Junichi feigns that the cat is here so when she starts looking, he ‘attacks’ her by placing his hands inside her skirt pocket!!!  Skinship, says he? Well, she doesn’t think so. Yeah, it’s so nice and warm he doesn’t want to take it out. And just by moving his hands, it was enough to tickle Ai. Ai needs that pervert to take his hands out because he has to go home and do some chores. How? Step on his feet. That will teach him. She then asks him to accompany her for errands. With that, Junichi is relieved that she feels much happier.

Rihoko – Junichi notices 2 things: The tea club is getting awfully peaceful these days and Rihoko is getting fat. What?! Yeah, it’s that diet lie again. Rihoko notices Junichi drop a nail clipper and proceeds to take off her socks. Uh huh. She wants him to cut her toe nails. She felt ticklish and like a queen. I’m sure she can get use to this. Junichi flusters when he thinks he saw Rihoko’s panties. Well, if you don’t make a fuss then she wouldn’t have notice it too right? Junichi continues cutting her toe nails as she sings some toe nail anthem, supposedly some major festival song. WTF?!

Tsukasa – As Junichi and Tsukasa walk home, she smells sweet and freshly baked melon bread and goes to buy them. But her cunning behaviour has the seller giving her lots of free extras. See what a cute smile of a girl can do? Since Junichi’s hands are full, he can’t eat them. So don’t. Eh? Okay, she’ll feed him. Okay. But she’s just teasing him! And loving it. Each time he is to take a bite, she pulls back and eats it herself. Devil woman. So when Tsukasa finally feeds Junichi for real, she force feeds him! He has to bite the next one even before he finishes swallowing! It’s a torture! You can’t say no when Tsukasa is making that evil stare, right? So poor Junichi has to eat all the heaps of melon bread as appreciation for the seller’s kindness. And somehow that sweet taste of the melon bread became bitter…

The Guy Always Gets The Girl In The End. Sort of…
A happy ending for everyone? Well, this could only happen in a multi-arc branching format. It was fun while it lasted but just when I thought the series has ended for good, I read an announcement that a second season has been given the green light (currently in the midst of its run at the time of this blog). Wow. I wonder how the sequel will play out. Will it be a continuation for the heroines or will it be the heroines’ friends will take centre stage this time or perhaps new characters all together? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves shall we? We’ll cross the bridge when we get there. So for this series, some of the arcs were enjoyable and some close to boring but in the end, it is a happy ending for the main characters. Well, except for Rihoko but her arc didn’t have a bad end either so I guess it still counts as a happy ending.

As mentioned, I particularly enjoyed Sae’s arc the most because of the funny narration. I guess the narrator is only unique to her arc. It would have been too repetitious if we had the joking narrator in every arc. To me, Kaoru and Ai’s arc was the least I enjoyed because there wasn’t anything unique. Rihoko’s arc wasn’t considered that boring because the way things were going in her arc, I was really curious to actually know if they would end up as a couple. They did not so it was a surprise. Haruka remains my favourite girl of the series because she’s pretty (of course!) and the liveliest and sporting one among them all. Man, I would really love to have such a girlfriend. Tsukasa’s one was the most surprising one. I guess that’s why they leave her the last one, eh? Her opposite character was a surprise and shock to anyone who gets to know her so it was quite interesting in a way to see how Junichi could change Tsukasa or she changes herself to fall for him. Her character is probably the most dangerous one and could even surpass Kaoru as being the bad girl of the series. While Kaoru’s actions lean towards playful (and the fact that Junichi knows her for years so it’s like he knows every bad vibes she pulls), Tsukasa’s was just cunning and sly. She has a potential to be a yakuza head or a con woman! But all the heroines in this series are lovable because of their unique personalities. They may have nice personalities but at the same time they are not perfect. Like Haruka may be bubbly and spirited but she is also insecure and fickle, Kaoru sporting and ‘bad friend’ personality but can be unpredictable at times, Sae soft and polite but too much of it can be detrimental to interact with others normally, Ai humble and calm but needs to smile more often, Rihoko a clumsy slob (yes some find that a moe point) which makes it both her good and bad point, and Tsukasa her angelic side that makes her a tidy, polite and systematic lady as opposed to her dark devilish side. Risa may be a stalker but all she wanted was to protect Junichi from getting traumatized again.

When I first looked at the drawing and art of the characters, I had this familiar feeling that I may have seen this kind of character design somewhere before. I couldn’t put my finger on it so I did a little research and found out that the game’s creator, Enterbrain was the same one who created Kimikiss Pure Rouge. No wonder the girls here look familiarly pretty. Furthermore, Amagami SS as I came to know was a spiritual successor for Kimikiss in the sense that though the character and the story may be different and not related, the themes, styles and design are somewhat similar. So you can’t really call it a direct sequel whatsoever. Just like in Kimikiss, this series lacks fanservice. Unless you consider some parts like Ai in her swimsuit and that hotspring event, Kaoru exposing her belly, Haruka in a towel and Sae’s hotspring training trip to be one. Even so, I would consider this mild and nothing ‘stimulating’. Please don’t get the wrong idea about me. Oh, there is perhaps one part you may consider as fanservice. In the ending credits animation, there’ll be a scene in which the heroine will be totally naked but with the necessary parts covered. One of the amusing segments in the series is the next episode preview. Though we have the characters ranting away, sometimes unrelated to what is going on in the next episode, my favourite one was whereby Junichi was dreading the fact that Umehara would become the heroine for the next arc! (It was the start of Ai’s arc and with the title labelled as “Worse”, it’s no wonder Junichi may have gotten the wrong idea, eh?). When the series ended, I happened to notice that there was still a next episode preview! But… It was a preview of the start to Haruka’s arc. So to say, love is looping? On another trivial note, each of the episode titles comes in exactly four hiragana or katana letters. Which means it will be only one word when translated to English. Easy to remember?

Rina Satou was the voice behind Kaoru so initially I had this feeling that she would pop out and become To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Misaka and do her trademark lightning zap! Who am I kidding? Though she may sound close to that character but is just less tsundere. The girliest of the girliest voice award (if ever there was one) would definitely go to Hiromi Konno who did Sae. Her voice is so soft-spoken that it feels as though she has something stuck in her windpipes and the way she talks is akin to whispering. But this role is so much different from her bratty roles like Akira in Lucky Star, Hakase in Nichijou, Maria in Skip Beat and Letuchaia in Kiddy Girl -and, all of which are somewhat ‘noisy’ lolis. Ryoko Shintani was recognizable as Rihoko since she sounded close to her other ditzy girl roles like Milefeulle in Galaxy Angel series and Himeko in Hime-sama Goyoujin. Besides, her voice is unique enough for me to recognize ‘a hundred miles away’ ;). As for the other casts, they include Tomaki Maeno as Junichi (Touya in White Album, Fujimoto in Kobato), Shizuka Itou as Haruka (Hinagiku in Hayate No Gotoku), Yukana as Ai (Eriko in Dragon Crisis, Teletha in Full Metal Panic), Kaori Nazuka as Tsukasa (Shizuku in Kampfer, Yui in To Love-Ru), Takuma Terashima as Umehara (Teppei in Princess Lover), Kana Asumi as Miya (Poplar in Working, Yuno in Hidamari Sketch), Mai Kadokawa as Risa and Keiko (Illya in Fate/Stay Night), Risa Hayamizu as Maya (Kumiko in Gokusen), Yuu Asakawa as Hibiki (Motoko in Love Hina), Hitomi Harada as Manaka (Himeji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Izumi Satou as Ruriko, Yuki Matsuoka as Kanae (Orihime in Bleach), Aiko Igarashi as Yukari and Jouji Nakata as that pervy narrator (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou).

I prefer the first opening theme, I Love by Azusa. It is catchy and light which fits the pace of this series. However I wish this theme would have remained throughout the series instead of being replaced by the slow-moderate pop ballad of Kimi No Mama De also by Azusa. Though the second opening theme doesn’t sound horrible but I felt it lacks the hip-hop-like appeal that captivated me. As for the ending themes, each of the heroine’s seiyuu does a take of that for their own arc. The songs they sing reflect the personalities of the heroines. For instance, Tsukasa’s Nageki No Tenshi had that darkness ambience (heck, her ending animation had even dark aura coming out!), Kaoru’s Kitto Ashita Wa had a hint of sadness, Rihoko’s Koi Wa Aserazu is carefree and happy while Haruka’s Kimi No Hitomi Ni Koi Shiteru a lively rock beat. Sae’s Anata Shika Mienai sounds as girly as ever and her very soft voice somehow felt like she was whispering in her singing. I thought you need to turn up the volume to hear what she sings. Erm… And also this song resembles very closely to School Rumble’s first ending theme, Onna No Ko Otoko No Ko. Of all the ending themes, Ai’s Koi Wa Mizu-iro is my favourite because of its catchy hip-hop swing-like rhythm. Not to be left out, Risa and Miya also have their own ending themes, Koi No Yukue and Suteki Na Aruhi respectively. Each of the ending credits animation ends with the heroines smiling at the viewers.

Perhaps it is to tell us that love is like a double-edged sword. It can hurt and it can also heal. Sometimes it goes the way we want but most of the times it takes us on an unexpected journey of discovery. Junichi was able to bury the demons past of his and overcome his fear of Christmas when he truly falls in love again. Yeah, six times over. Oh, make that seven if you include Risa’s arc. Yeah, the wonders of multi-arc branching of getting the girls without hurting the feelings of the other. I also dream of having my own 2D harem and multi-arc branching events and stories. But each time, I still end up being a loner on Christmas Day every year. Well, there is always next year to look forward to. And the year after next… At least I’m not afraid when Christmas comes around.

Hourou Musuko

February 4, 2012

What are little girls made of? Sugar, spice and everything nice? What about little boys? Snips, snails and puppy dog tails? Well, today’s world isn’t as straightforward as it seems like in the past. Okay, maybe there were many cases too but people weren’t that connected around the globe or that informed. What am I talking about? When you hear the word ‘cross-dressing‘, what is your first opinion when a person does so? It’s either you accept or you reject these kind of people. So in the case of the anime series, Hourou Musuko (also known as Wandering Son), we look at issues of cross-dressing, the prejudice and discrimination that comes with it. Okay, perhaps not that deep but at least this series is trying to address this problem as many of the people today increasingly open to declare they are LGBT (Google it if you don’t know what it means).

Shuuichi Nitori is a middle school boy facing this problem. With his effeminate looks, he wants to be a girl. Yoshino Takatsuki, the tall tomboyish girl who is also the same age as Nitori, wants to become a boy. It’s like swapping genders, eh? But here’s another thing. Nitori likes Takatsuki. He confessed but was rejected though they remained best friends. Well, even if they both did become a couple, there wouldn’t be any big issues, right? Just wondering which one is the boy and which the girl. Add in a few of their friends into the fray, and you’ll have a mixed bag of romance, drama and slice of life as the protagonists wade through life trying to find their identity. Oh, there’s that dreaded thing called puberty too.

Episode 1
It’s the start of the new school term and the main characters are eager to start their schooling life. We are introduced to the other characters, many of which are in Nitori and Takatsuki’s class. They are Makoto Ariga (another boy who secretly wants to be a girl and shares the same cross-dressing passion as Nitori), Saori Chiba (the girl who likes Nitori and possibly the one who encouraged him to cross-dress in return for his love but of course it backfired), Kanako Sasa (the energetic but friendly petite girl), Chizuru Sarashina (often calling herself as “Chi” and is not afraid to dress either as a boy or a girl when she feels like it because of her free spirited and unconventional behaviour) and Momoko Shirai (Sarashina’s childhood friend who always suck up to her). As the class introduces themselves, one of the boys shamelessly asks Nitori if he and Takatsuki once dated before. He gets whacked by Chiba’s textbook on the head. Scary. Don’t mess with her. She’s got that unfriendly ‘I-don’t-want-to-be-your-friend’ look on her face. Looks like that girl still harbours some feelings for Nitori. Later Takatsuki bumps into Sarashina. The latter invites her to join the basketball club due to her height. After school, Nitori cross-dresses and goes out to the city while Takatsuki meets Hiroyuki Yoshida AKA Yuki (another transsexual woman who loves dressing as a guy and supports Takatsuki’s desire to be a boy). Nitori feels anxious since this is his first time dressing as a girl in a crowded place as he only does so at home. He looks pretty convincing. You can’t even tell if he’s a guy. When Nitori goes home, he sees his sister, Maho and her friend Anna Suehiro in their room (both of them are models). After they leave, Nitori gets attracted to put on Maho’s dress. Of course the girls return to the room since Maho forgot her handphone. The sight of her brother in her dress is most unpleasant. She forcefully tries to take it off him seeing it will stink for her photo shoot tomorrow but he pushes her away. Nitori felt hurt so he runs out of the house and runs to wherever his feet take him. Along the way, he encounters Takatsuki. He starts crying because he can’t stand anymore of this. They talk about Nitori trying hard to be a girl and perhaps be more like Sarashina. When he goes home, Maho apologizes by giving him her fried shrimp.

Episode 2
Next day in school as Sarashina dresses in a girl’s uniform, a girl asks her if she was the one who dressed as a boy before. Next thing she knows, Sarashina is in Street Fighter mode and shoves the girl! WTF?! Momoko tells her everybody is watching so she runs away in embarrassment. What… The… Hell? As Nitori and Takatsuki walk up the stairs, they chance upon Chiba coming down. She calls them filth. And you’re not hearing things when she narrates that she hates everyone. Man, this girl has got an attitude problem. In class after drawing lots for their seat arrangement, the gang decides on a leader via rock-scissors-paper. They hear a ruckus Momoko trying to tell off Chiba for badmouthing and insulting Sarashina, though Chiba is just speaking her mind that she’s weird. Chiba was even ready to hit her but stopped short. During recess, Nitori goes to Maho’s class to give her forgotten bento. Her classmates note how girly he looks, much to Maho’s annoyance. Then more trouble for Chiba when several seniors call her. Something about her not snubbing them but she just tells them she did but they ignored her and leaves. After school, Sasa walks home with Chiba and Takatsuki but notices that both girls aren’t on good terms. Sasa got so upset that she tells them off she’s not talking to them anymore. Takatsuki thinks of buying the hatchet but Chiba doesn’t want to. Does she hate her that much? Well, Chiba throws back the same question to her and leaves her speechless. Back in Takatsuki’s room, she remembers the events 9 months ago that led to this. Chiba visited her and asked about her feelings for Nitori. Seems she had forced some information out of that girly guy about his confession to Takatsuki. So why was she here if she’s the last person she wants to see? To yell at her? To tell her off she hates her? Well, Takatsuki didn’t do anything wrong so she thinks she’ always playing the victim and making her the baddie. So yeah, Takatsuki hates her just as much. Takatsuki tries to find Sasa but she’s not around. Looks like she’s ‘hiding’ at the infirmary and not going to class and is taking her point of not talking to those girls seriously. Takatsuki goes up to Chiba and suggests that they all walk home together. Sarashina likes the idea and soon everyone one of them joins them walking home. Everyone else is having fun buying and eating ice cream except for, you guessed it, Chiba. Then she reveals she actually snubbed her seniors so Sarashina laugh so hard and loud. Sure finding it funny, eh? Well, it may be the much needed ice breaker for her so Sasa agrees to accompany her to go apologize to them tomorrow.

Episode 3
Sarashina again is laughing so hard and on the other hand Takatsuki is in shock so much so she’s just lying on the floor like as though it’s the end of the world for her. For the upcoming cultural festival, the class is taking suggestions and what to do. Surprisingly Chiba comes out with a suggestion of not just a normal play, but a gender bender play. Boys play the girls role and vice versa. Interesting. Walking home, Sarashina is thrilled with her idea but Chiba continues to be cold and decides to split herself from the gang. Sarashina starts liking her much to Momoko’s dismay because she always gets attracted to weird things. Chiba and Nitori are in charge of writing the script. As Nitori burns the midnight oil, he can’t help think of his own case and Takatsuki’s, though he thinks that they’ve already decided they should be friends. Next morning, seems Maho got sick. Nitori has caught some too but it’s not that serious as he makes his way to school albeit he rests at the infirmary. Surprisingly Takatsuki is also there. She asks him a weird question if he ever wanted to wear a bra. She doesn’t want to and wished her chests were as flat as his (probably it has something to do with that incident at the beginning). Nitori gets more ideas for the play so he writes it down in his notebook. Later Riku Seya (Maho’s boyfriend) sees Nitori and wonders if he can come visit her later. Makoto notices something different about Seya and that is his voice is breaking. They fear this puberty period among the boys will put a damper on their dreams to become a girl. So he gets this idea of recording their voices now before they forever lose it. But why change into girl clothes? I guess for realism. Then they take turns recording their voice over the handphone with their slightly modified girly names. Nitori doesn’t know what name to use so Makoto suggests using his sister’s. Well, she heard it and isn’t too pleased. Then they have a visitor. Maho seems to panic so Makoto opens the door to see Seya. Yeah, he is pretty shocked to see girly Makoto. But even more shocking, he sees Maho trying to force Nitori out of his girl clothes! He is disturbed upon seeing her undressing her brother! Note, when Seya first met Nitori cross-dressing, he thought he was a girl and blushed. Nitori and Makoto are kicked out of the house so Seya thinks her fever must be making her act weird. Maho thinks he must have caught her illness since they kissed yesterday. Next day, Nitori and Chiba present their script to their homeroom teacher, Manabu Saisho. He is impressed but thinks they should read each other’s story. Since both are saying the other’s script is better, Saisho suggests combining the good points of both scripts. Seems impossible, eh? But Nitori won’t give up yet as he and Chiba work together at the library, only to receive taunts from other boys that he is ‘cheating’ on Takatsuki. Chiba suggests doing so at her house and promises she won’t do anything funny. You mean something funny happened to last time? Nitori comes up with the idea of Romeo and Juliet with a twist. Romeo wants to be a girl and Juliet a boy. But Chiba can’t help think it’s just like Nitori and Takatsuki. She won’t allow Takatsuki to be Romeo if Nitori plays Juliet. Meanwhile Sarashina checks whether Takatsuki is wearing any bra by groping her boobs, much to her annoyance. Back home, she laments with this kind of chests, she can’t wear a boy’s uniform. Next day as she heads to school, Nitori notices her wearing a bra.

Episode 4
For the pool lessons, Sarashina is once again bold wearing a bikini instead of the usual school swimsuit. As Chiba and Nitori work on their script, Nitori isn’t paying attention to what Chiba is saying (“The people in the mansion are committing mass suicide”) due to the many distractions so Nitori thinks it’s better for them to meet at his home. When Nitori goes home, he sees Maho and her friends. As he continues on his script, Anna gets a little naughty by taking a peek at his work. Till he made him cry. Oh, you just made a girl, oops I mean a boy cry. Takatsuki visits Yuki who is currently living with her boyfriend Shiina. Saisho asks for Nitori and Chiba’s progress but the latter tells him they have nothing to show him. As Chiba visits Nitori, Makoto is also there. He asks if she still likes Nitori because he’s pretty sure Nitori still likes Takatsuki. I’m sure she doesn’t have nice things to say for him being nosy. One of them being they’re both being stubborn and dumb. So she asks if Nitori likes Takatsuki as a girl or a boy. She thinks it’s the latter so he can be a girl and thus the reason why he wrote this play. It’s the same case for her because she wanted to be Juliet. As Chiba leaves, Makoto notes how she controlled herself and didn’t embarrassed Nitori as bad as he thought. Nitori gets a call from Takatsuki asking him to accompany her tomorrow. Both of them cross-dress and over lunch they talk about… Bras and boobs? As Nitori dresses back into his boy self, Takatsuki mentions about the voice recording he did. She says she is willing to give him her name but in return he has to give her his. Nitori wants her to be Romeo for the play because he wants to be Juliet. That’s because he sees her as a boy. It’s a play not about him but them being stars, a play that represents his wish. Takatsuki is surprised but apologizes that she never realized this was so important to him and will do her best to make this play a success. Nitori goes home. Maho gives him a weird ugly handphone strap Anna bought when they were at a karaoke joint. She thinks Anna hates him or something. In class, Saisho asks for volunteers to help with the script. The first person who put her hands up is Takatsuki. Soon the rest of their friends all join in (I guess Momoko didn’t want to be left out). Then Nitori gets a call from Chiba to meet her at a place because she wanted them to meet alone before everybody else starts working on the script. Acting out Nitori’s script, Chiba seems like a natural. She then says she wants her to have her name. However he tells her he already had that talk with Takatsuki. He goes on saying how he liked Takatsuki, got rejected and yet he still wants to become a girl and wear pretty clothes. And it’s not because of Takatsuki. Chiba asks his next plan since he won’t become a girl by just waiting around. Sure he can swap names but that won’t be the same as swapping places. Unless he undergoes a gender surgery. Nitori hasn’t thought that far yet so Chiba says she can’t bring herself to like Takatsuki and never to talk about her when she’s around. For a very long time, Chiba rushes down to the church and makes a deep prayer. One, for her teacher to have brains (and pox?) and two, let Nitori be Juliet and her to be Juliet not Takatsuki. Desperate, eh? I guess that’s only when people only go to church.

Episode 5
As everyone gathers at Chiba’s place, she still puts up that long face. I guess even mommy is used to it. Fumiya Ninomiya visits Chiba. Who is he? Chiba’s girlfriend. Not! Her childhood friend. When he sees Nitori he instantly recognizes and points out to that kid who loves to cross-dress. Now the secret is out. Takatsuki defends Nitori. Sarashina is absolutely thrilled and pesters him with questions about his fetish so Takatsuki tells her she shouldn’t be forcing answers out of people. Takatsuki leaves so Sarashina suddenly feels so bad and dramatically apologizes. Well, it’s not her fault as Chiba points. It’s Ninomiya’s. Now he’s being made the scapegoat. Well, Ninomiya sure has feelings for Chiba and he’s not amused that girl sees something in that cross-dresser. Ninomiya also tries to act a little girly in the bathroom and he thinks he is way cuter than Nitori! So the gang work on the script as the days of summer pass and eventually came to an end. As they play the fireworks, Nitori notes that even if he is not a couple with Takatsuki, with her around, he’ll be okay since she’s the person who understands him the best. In school, the roles of the characters are drawn via lottery. Yeah, looks like Chiba’s chances are determined by luck now. Good news: Sarashina and Takatsuki pulled out roles as friars each. Even better news: Chiba gets the role of Romeo. Bad news: Yup, you guess it. Nitori didn’t land the Juliet role. It’s Makoto. Bummer. I guess she didn’t pray hard enough to God, eh? Haha, just kidding. Makoto isn’t confident in his role and thinks of giving it to Nitori if he sees him since he suits Juliet better but Chiba tells him off she hates spineless people he can ease that guilt by doing so. Yeah, it’s that rotten attitude again. Though Makoto tries to tell her the world doesn’t revolve around her and Nitori, she responds by saying she’ll kill everybody! She’ll kill off every single character there is! Chiba thinks of revising the script and putting in some doom and gloom. Well, Saisho thinks it’s too late now and wants to talk this over after school. Chiba feels that it was okay when it was just them working on the script but feels everyone else ruined it. Later Nitori and Makoto talk and the latter dismisses the fact that Chiba told him he wanted Nitori to be Juliet. Makoto felt he really wanted to do this role even if people laughed at him. As Nitori and Takatsuki go around handing tickets for the festival, they see Anna modelling in the streets. She sees them and finds out Takatsuki is a girl and wonders if she’s Nitori’s girlfriend. Amused, she snaps a picture of them with her handphone. Maho’s class has finished a poster using Maho as a model for a maid cafe. Nitori’s class rehearse their lines for the play. Chiba is a natural and is very into her role. Hey wait. Aren’t those lines in the script or not? Makoto later apologizes to her for screwing up but she is adamant in doing a perfect job on stage or else she will feel miserable again. Then seeing their other friends working hard, Makoto vows to do a better role of Juliet. He’d better.

Episode 6
The day of the festival is here. Chiba gets into her dress early. Ninomiya comes to see the class and Chiba isn’t thrilled to see that talkative guy. He finds out Makoto will be playing Juliet and though not what he expected (he thought it’s going to be Nitori) he finds it interesting. Maho isn’t pleased with her maid job. Till her modelling idol, Maiko shows up. However she couldn’t read the atmosphere that she is here on disguise so everybody in the cafe finds out. Yeah, she’s quite popular and this becomes an autograph session. Yuki is also here at the festival with Shiina but she dresses up so well as a guy that you can’t tell. Sarashina suggests checking out the haunted house before their play. Before Chiba leaves, Ninomiya hands her a bouquet of flowers. He thought of giving it at curtain call but thinks it’s weird for him to walk around carrying it the entire day. Chiba makes some sarcastic remarks that she’ll accept it since the flowers have done nothing wrong but she feels like puking each time he makes his insensitive remarks and never ever do this again. She’s not joking. Makoto has this idea of erasing his nervousness and letting his voice out by entering the haunted house with Nitori. But the ‘ghosts’ seem so lame it’s not even scary. Then they hear the voice of their other friends as they all start shouting and screaming while running through the dark corridors. Yeah, even the ‘ghosts’ become scared. Sarashina dashes out first and comes face to face with Maiko. Yup, she’s her biggest fan. But not Anna. Uh huh. She didn’t like her because she looks mean. The truth hurts. She starts fawning over Maiko so much so she forgot all her lines! Don’t panic, let’s go over them one more time. Yuki and Shiina visit Takatsuki but learn Nitori as the narrator instead. As the play starts, Makoto is still nervous. What more, words of other people expecting to see Nitori in the role kept increases his anxiety. He is about to give up and cannot proceed. Till he sees Chiba’s face. He makes a recovery to restart the play again. Maho feels she wants to see her brother’s play but as Maiko advised, they would only distract everybody. You mean, only her, right? The play ends with a success and to a standing ovation. Except maybe for Ninomiya. He’s just clapping lethargically. Like he’s doing them a favour. Saisho is reduced to tears over the play’s success as the class hold a little celebration. Makoto is glad everyone saw him as a girl named Juliet. Chiba passes the bouquet of flowers to him and says it was from some anonymous guy who sees him as Juliet. So when Ninomiya wonders what happened to the bouquet, Chiba’s response? She feels like puking… As for Makoto, her mom can’t help tease how cute he was. Stuttering on stage, that is.

Episode 7
As Nitori reads out a book, the girls in class start laughing because it’s like he’s reading about himself, a pretty boy. Nitori goes home to see Anna waiting in his room. He asks her for advice to make his skin pretty like hers. Seems there’s a pimple on Nitori’s nose. When Maho comes in, she misinterprets that she’s interrupting something. Following Anna’s advice using facial cleanser, wiping it gently and turning in early (it’s only 7pm!), he wakes up next morning to find his condition worse than before. Yeah, another pimple on his face. Nitori continues to follow Anna out to get tips on how to beat the zit. Nitori is also scouted to join the drama club. Takatsuki and Chiba chance upon each other in the toilet. Though Takatsuki tries to remain friendly, Chiba isn’t. Yeah, b*tchy mode on. Whatever they talked about, Chiba asserts she hates her. Later Chiba quits the volleyball club to join the drama club, leaving a somewhat bitter taste in Takatsuki’s mouth since it was the former who invited her to join this club. As everyone gathers at Nitori’s house for a group study, I guess Maho is envious and spews out how Anna and Nitori are dating. WHAT?! WHAT?! WHAT THE?! I thought I was hearing things just like Makoto did but Nitori himself confirmed he really is going out with Anna! Shock! So from what it seems was a simple outing to help his skin problem, led them to visit the karaoke joint where she got that ugly handphone strap for him just to see the manager’s face (he’s ugly too). Then in the karaoke box, that’s when Nitori blurted out he likes her and wants to go out with her. Nitori and Takatsuki pay Yuki and Shiina a visit. Yuki thinks they should become a couple when Nitori reveals and surprises them all that he’s in a relationship with Anna. On the way home, Takatsuki suggests they stop doing this together since Anna may not like it. When she says goodbye, Nitori felt a distance in her words. Well, I have an idea what that means. Even when they have normal conversation, there is distance in her words. It must be fate for Takatsuki and Chiba to meet each other in the toilet. Chiba ignores her like she doesn’t exist. Desperate to fix the relationship between them, she says that Nitori is going out with Anna. Look at that surprised look on Chiba’s face. Must be news, eh? Over the next day, Chiba is missing from class. She is not only skipping school but thinks of quitting! So serious ah?! Luckily her mommy is nice and understanding, trying to talk to her about her future. Well, she could be somebody’s mistress. Is she joking? Takatsuki feels guilty for causing Chiba to act so and visits her to make up. Has it ever worked out before? Well, since Nitori isn’t in love with either one of them, there’s no reason for them to fight, right? But that doesn’t mean they should be friends. Admitting she has always been anti-social, Chiba feels she’s doing this so as not to hurt Sasa. But Takatsuki says she is here on her own free will. Chiba loosens up a little and mentions to drink her tea before it gets cold.

Episode 8
The new school term is here. Most of the friends are split up into different classes and Takatsuki spots a longer hairstyle. Well, looks like Chiba is back in school too. Though Nitori continues to go out with Anna, Maho feels he should break up with her if he wants to continue dressing like a girl since Anna is a normal girl. Takatsuki ponders about Chiba’s words if she really wants to become a boy. She is still hesitant to put on a boy’s uniform and feels others think she just wants attention like Sarashina. Nitori wanted to ask Takatsuki for some advice on Anna but feels she is still distant. So she seeks Yuki’s advice. The best answer if Anna will love or hate his cross-dressing is if asks the person himself. Yuki gets a shock when she learns it was Takatsuki who rejected his feelings. On Nitori and Anna’s next date, Nitori reveals his desire to wear girl clothes and possible the ones she is wearing. Wondering if she finds him disgusting but she knows he likes cross-dressing ever since the first time she saw him doing so in his room with his sister’s dress. She even encourages him to dress as a girl on their next date because she sees him as her little sister. Nitori talks to Makoto about this and he feels sorry for Chiba since as a couple he thought they would be doing stuff like kissing. Too bad Chiba overheard them so she tells them off she doesn’t care about Nitori anymore. In class, Shinpei Doi wonders who that attractive hot chick (Yuki) Nitori was with the other day so he says it’s his friend. Oddly, a naughty kid like Doi wants to be friends with Nitori. Has he changed? Why is he holding his hand?! Anna helps Nitori to apply some make-up. Because Nitori asks her if she wanted to kiss him, this throws her off her pace and accidentally messes his face. She asks him the same question but he is unsure. I don’t know, if Nitori isn’t wearing a wig, he doesn’t convincingly look like a girl. Along the way, they bump into Takatsuki and Chiba. Seeing those 2 together is as rare as seeing a dog and a cat together. At the karaoke box, Chiba and Takatsuki excuse themselves to the toilet. The former thinks Anna is a nice girl so she gets a rebuking remark that she’ll accept anyone’s invitation if they’re nice. But Chiba also came along, right? Then about Takatsuki wanting to be a boy, she cautions there are lots of indecisive boys out there. Back in the room, as they place their drink orders, Chiba wants to order beer! She’s serious. Anna takes a swipe at her rotten attitude. Takatsuki tries to calm the duo and explains that Chiba likes Nitori but Chiba feels this is uncalled for and blames Takatsuki as the one who led him on. Chiba continues that Nitori and Takatsuki used to go out (of course that did not happen) and though she loves him, she was turned down. End of story. So where’s her beer to drown her sorrows? Nitori suggests singing together but Chiba wants to do a solo. Anna is impressed of her exceptional singing. If she could only sound this lovely in normal conversation. At the end of the day, Anna wants to exchange numbers and email with Chiba but she has neither. Nitori wonders if they can go back to the way it they used to be.

Episode 9
Takatsuki is seen talking to Anna. She is asking for her permission to hang out with Nitori. No problem. I guess it’s better safe than sorry and make it clear that you’re not messing with other people’s boyfriend. Takatsuki goes to school in a boy’s uniform, making others turn their heads. Another Sarashina in the making? Speaking of her, she’s bloody ecstatic to see Takatsuki in one. She gets called by Saisho about her stunt that only Sarashina can pull off. When asked if she likes girl clothes, she replies she doesn’t like them at all. Another fateful meeting between Takatsuki and Chiba at the toilet. The latter just fixes her collar. Later Takatsuki invites Nitori to go out on a date with her. Okay, let me rephrase that. She wants him to accompany her to Yuki’s place on Sunday. However Nitori lets her know he is busy. In class, Nitori gets an SMS from Doi that he wants to meet that hot chick this Sunday. I don’t know why he agrees but come Sunday, Nitori has Takatsuki as his ‘bodyguard’. WTF. Takatsuki lets Doi know that Nitori already has a girlfriend. And it’s not her. During the train ride, the coach rocks a little, causing Nitori to fall into Takatsuki’s chest. As they arrive at Yuki’s place. Yuki wants to know what Doi wants from this transsexual. Yes. Yuki used to be a man before becoming a woman! OH SH*T!!! Doi is sure shocked upon learning that so he just tells her he is here to say how pretty she is. Man, you can tell from his face how he’s feeling. As they leave, Doi wonders their screwed up relationship or if their family is with the mob. Takatsuki advises Nitori not to listen to Doi. In class, Doi talks to Nitori that he should try being a girl and wants to see it. Back home when Nitori’s family are all out, Nitori dresses as a girl as Doi enters the room. For that moment of suspense, I thought he was going to rape Nitori!!! Though with that unenthusiastic look, Doi comments he really looks cute and should come to school like this. Hey, Takatsuki did it, so why not? Nitori and Maho are forced to go over to their grandparent’s place and Maho is not happy because this interferes with her date with Seya. When they arrive, their grandparent’s friend mistakes them both to be lovely girls! As they stay over, Nitori remembers the talk with Doi after that demonstration. He was like trying to find out his likes and hobbies and apparently knew about his hobby of dressing as a girl because he read it once in his diary a long time ago. Hey! That’s privacy invasion! Nitori goes to see Sarashina working as a waitress for some advice. She is very frank with him. People may think he is a weirdo and pervert. But the ultimate decision lies in him. Though she thinks he is cute cross-dressing, she feels if he doesn’t want to attract unwanted attention, he shouldn’t do it at school. Nitori visits Takatsuki and wants to borrow her girl uniform as he wants to wear it to school. She thinks Doi put him up to this but he insists that he wants to do it though Doi may have did play a little part in that. Since nobody said anything about Takatsuki as a boy then, what difference would it make? Maho gives Nitori a hairpin from Anna and teases that both idiots can match each other now. As Nitori heart pounds and his mind thinking deep, he finally makes a resolution. Next day, the teachers are very shocked to see a cute transfer student girl. Wait! Isn’t that Nitori? Or someone that looks like him? Nope. Nitori admits it is him. This causes the entire school to be abuzz. Everyone is shocked, including Nitori’s friends. Never in their wildest dreams would he turn up in a girl’s uniform. He is taken to the infirmary and his mom soon came to take him home.

Episode 10
Nitori’s family has a talk and mom wonders if he’s doing it as a penalty game. She even thinks Maho was the source since she used to dress him up like a girl. Daddy and Nitori take a walk as he tells son that before Maho was born, their grandparents make a bet if their first born would be a boy or girl. Grandma lost the bet when Maho’s loud crying made her think she was a boy. Then when it’s Nitori’s debut to the world, they thought it was a girl. Perhaps they’ve got their positions mixed up. Maho got so sick about this that she wants to skip school. In school, Sarashina, Takatsuki and Nitori were called to see Saisho and he thinks the gender bender play influenced them though Sarashina disagrees. Nitori replies that he had always wanted to do this. Nitori and Seya went to see Yuki and tell her about what happened. So why come to see her? Maho may want to stop coming to school. After that embarrassing stint, can you blame her? In school, a couple of boys tease Sarashina and Nitori that the cross-dressing weirdoes have formed their own club. Momoko doesn’t want Sarashina to hang out with Nitori anymore because everyone will think she’s a freak. Sarashina doesn’t mind because she really thinks she is one! What’s this Sarashina’s comment that she won first prize in a freak contest in their class? Did they really have that? Nevertheless Momoko pulls her away from him. The nightmare begins when other boys start bullying Nitori by locking him out of the classroom (Saisho is a wuss) and Doi even comments how he was a moron to come to school so. Wasn’t he the one who encouraged him? Meanwhile a guy confesses his feelings to Takatsuki but she rejects him outright. His friend chides her for rejecting a nice guy like him but she ignores him and leaves. Chiba accidentally eavesdropped and mentions that she’s a girl after all. She was happy when a guy confessed to you. That’s not a compliment because as she continues, it’s only going to get worse because she’s pretty cute right now. Meanwhile Anna is being consoled by her classmate. Probably she doesn’t know where to put her face now. She didn’t really think Nitori would pull off such a feat. I thought she was okay with his cross-dressing? Maybe privately and not openly. Though she understands his reason to cross-dress, she worries about his future and wonders if he’s going to be the same when he grows up. For the upcoming school cultural festival, the class suggested the gender bender play. Sasa was against it since it will make Nitori a bigger target but I guess majority wins (even Doi agreed to it). Maho’s class is going to do another maid cafe but this time the guys will be the ones putting on the girls’ outfit. On an outing with Seya, she gets close to him. Appreciating what she has? Nitori remembers how his last meet up with Anna, she just wanted them to remain friends (can take the pressure?). Then on the way home with Doi, he tells him how he stopped dressing as a girl ever since so people won’t make fun at him. Then for the first time, he got angry with Doi for reading his diary out loud to everyone and wanted to laugh at him when the class wanted to do the gender bender play. Well, he agreed to do so because he wanted to. He signs off with the classic “I hate you”. For once, Nitori has got the balls to do something that leaves Doi very much stunned. And I’m beginning to fear that Doi might be some trap fetish because he’s kicking the road barrier in frustration! On a day their grandma pays a visit, Nitori’s hair has grown longer and it seems he has grown taller than Maho.

Episode 11
Takatsuki has cut her hair short, surprising Chiba. Well, summer is going to be hot. Is that really her reason? Anyway Doi is ad-libbing Nitori’s script and the class went into delirium. Later Nitori meets Doi and requests his help to write the script. Doesn’t he hate him? Well, sort of yes. But he’s better at writing the script. So does he actually mean he doesn’t hate him? Doi’s buddy passes by and thinks the duo are forming some sort of gay comedy act. Chiba invites Nitori to her house since she has more dresses for him to wear. They can invite Takatsuki too. Oh, and her class is doing some boring exhibits on the town history. Only Sarashina was bloody eager. Yeah, Chiba’s in her group. In her room, Nitori puts on a dress and a hair piece. Chiba notes how cute he is and starts caressing and fondling his head. She says he has always been a special boy to her. Then Takatsuki comes in. Chiba wants her to put on a dress. Reluctantly she just put it over her clothes and she looks horrible. But the girls laugh it off and they continue chatting on friendly terms. Wow. They must be really on good terms to have a friendly conversation. Nitori reads Doi’s script and is impressed it’s good. Doi suggests he comes back to class as he won’t force anything on him (ever since Nitori pulled off that girl uniform stint, he has been attending class alone in the infirmary). Everyone works hard for the festival and that day soon arrives. Maho couldn’t get enough of Seya in a maid outfit so she has her friends snap a pic of him and one herself when she could no longer hold it in. Nitori, Chiba, Sasa, Sarashina and Momoko visit Makoto and Takatsuki’s class doing a planetarium. They may be creative in using the revolving disco ball as stars but it looks kinda cheap. They also have a special feature in which they can make a wish on a ‘shooting star’. Nitori at first wishes for his voice not to change and to become a girl. But he changes it and hopes for the play to be a success. Later Makoto talks to him and he apologizes for always being jealous of him ever since they know each other because Nitori looks and can act cute unlike him. However Nitori truly believes that Makoto is also cute.

Ninomiya visits the festival but nobody seems to recognize him. Why? Because he is dressed as a girl! Woah! Meanwhile Anna has been forced by Maiko and Tamaki to visit Maho’s class. Anna didn’t want to come because she doesn’t want to face Maho after breaking up with her brother. However Maiko thinks that is a separate issue and that they are friends. But it’ll be a different matter if she stole Maho’s boyfriend. Anyhow, Anna manages to slip away and ends up in Nitori’s class. The ex-couple go talk as Anna apologizes for the mean things she said. She mentions Nitori is her first boyfriend (surprised?) and it’s the same for Nitori (Takatsuki rejected him so that’s not counted, right?). She was happy when he asked her out and was the first time anybody did that. Even though she’s pretty, she has always kept her distance from both boys and girls and only Maiko was the one that wasn’t afraid of her. Though Nitori looks like a shy boy, he speaks his mind and even if he looked like a girl, she didn’t feel he was one. Thus she always viewed him as a boy. So when he came dressed as a girl, she got confused, freaked out and couldn’t handle reality. But Nitori says that he still loves her and this is how he is so it might make her uncomfortable. Chiba and Takatsuki are watching from above their classroom. Chiba notes how Nitori’s voice is changing. She initially though he was special and different from other boys but came to realize he was just ordinary. Takatsuki replies that she thinks everyone including herself is special so Chiba feels her answer is kinda lame but that’s how she is. As the play is about to begin, one of the girls requests Nitori for her lines. He reads it out to her when she notices his change in voice. But he isn’t fazed and doesn’t mind it. Nitori steps into the spotlight as the lead character of the play “I Am A Girl” to the applauding crowd.

Still Wondering Some…
Oh, it ended just like that? Why do I get that unfulfilled feeling in the end? But even if you ask me on how to end it, I guess I will be at the cross-roads too. Basically it’s about life going on and facing reality as it comes. Whether Nitori’s dream of becoming a girl will be a reality is yet to be seen because I suppose for now he just takes things as they are. He’s got lots of good and supportive friends around him even if many of the rest ridicules and shuns him. There are many factors that lead to one in realizing his or her own sexuality. Would Nitori been a normal boy if he wasn’t given the girly experience from a younger age? Would it be a non-issue if he was born as a girl in the first place? It’s all about acceptance and finding a place that we are comfortable in. This series tries to touch and explore these issues and since the characters here are still high schoolers and it’s making a fuss, imagine what it will be like in the adult world. Sure, you can do anything you want but can you really? Freedom has its limits still.

All the while Nitori was confused and afraid to let others know about his cross-dressing for fear of society’s perception and its impact. When he finally got the courage to do that, that was what exactly happened. Takatsuki didn’t go through the torment as bad as Nitori simply because females have a choice of donning skirts or pants, right? But when a guy wears a skirt, that has got to be more than an eyebrow raiser. But they both share the same ideal and the difference in their gender and society’s norm is what set them apart. Sarashina is the liveliest of the bunch and her answers are honest, frank and in-your-face. She may be annoying and loud but that’s how she is. She is not afraid to speak her mind and do what she feels like doing and perhaps of her weird character, people tend not to treat her occasional cross-dressing as an isolated case but rather but of her weird behaviour. If everyone was like her, I don’t think we need rules anymore. I just don’t know how Momoko sticks around her for so long if she sometimes gets embarrassed by the funny things she do and hanging around other ‘weirdoes’. Well like they say. Opposite attracts and birds of the same feather flock together. Hey! An oxymoron. Initially Chiba was a girl that everyone would love to hate. Her b*tchiness makes you feel like you want to slap her. She’s making it like as though the whole world is against her. But you can’t blame her because she’s sour, grumpy and full of detest after the boy she likes is a cross-dressing freak and interested in another cross-dresser. Her remarks and words can sting your heart if you’re not careful. But sometimes her sarcastic remarks are the source of the witty lines that make you chuckle. Even if she sounds full of hate, noticed she never once raised her voice? Takatsuki didn’t want their them to stay on bad terms always so she tries to make up but I guess in a way Chiba feels guilty for awakening Nitori’s cross-dressing ways and it’s better that she openly hates everyone instead of putting up a fake nice front. Though she loosens up a little in the end and is friendlier with Takatsuki, it still remains to be seen if she really has bury the hatchet and thrown away her grudge for good. Maybe not. You don’t know how deep a woman’s grudge can run.

The other character that is probably second to Chiba’s irritable attitude would definitely go to Maho. It’s normal that brothers and sisters don’t get along with each other but each time they interact, she puts on her moody and full-of-complaints outlook. Like she’s not too happy of him being her brother. Hey, if you have a little brother this cute, he can rival you as a model! Nice girl Sasa loves her friends to be on good terms with each other. After all, that is what friends should mean, right? If Makoto had cross-dressed, he might have got worse attention than Nitori simply because he isn’t cute as him so it’s obvious he’ll get easily picked on given his timid demeanour. And that talkative Ninomiya guy? Has he awakened to the thrill of cross-dressing even he himself noted Nitori’s gross ways? Well, so long as nobody finds out. Initially I was having these thoughts that Doi might have some ulterior motive on Nitori. For a guy who has a naughty reputation in the past suddenly gets friendly with Nitori, encourages him to dress as a girl, mocks him when everybody else does, then goes back on his word, you’d think that he had some sort of trap fetish as I feared. Yeah, that one moment I thought Nitori was even going to get raped by him. Thinking back, perhaps it was his frustration that upon learning Yuki was once a guy, he took it out on Nitori by persuading him to cross-dress so that he can see the reaction of others. Though I feel that Nitori too had long wanted to cross-dress to school, just that he needed that little push for him to do so.

For the chemistry and romance part, I don’t feel the impact anywhere near. I feel the romance section was just secondary and something to support the cross-dressing and transgender issue that this series explores. Nitori and Takatsuki never became a couple and eventually remained as friends. When Nitori surprisingly had Anna as his girlfriend, something tells me that deep down in Takatsuki’s heart, she likes him because she was a little uncomfortable to hang out with him and her interaction with him slightly changes. It’s in her body language. Of course when Nitori and Anna were dating, it doesn’t feel like they’re a couple too simply because Anna likes anything that is cute and perhaps was viewing him like a little brother. Though she did mention that she viewed him as a boy. As a boy, not a lover or boyfriend. There is a difference in that. As we know the love triangle between Nitori, Takatsuki and Chiba, it doesn’t feel intense. Chiba never gave up on Nitori but I’m not sure in the end if she is still pursuing him even after he and Anna broke up. I also would like to know if Ninomiya is still bent on Chiba. Although Chiba gave lots of stern warnings never for that jerk to pop up in front of her again, but I don’t think he’s the kind that would easily give up. Though Maho and Seya are going steady, it would be nice to see their relationship being fleshed out more instead of making them as ‘side distractions’ from the main plot. The other couple that are doing fine is Yuki and Shiina. After that revelation that Yuki was previously a man, I can’t help but wonder if Shiina is actually gay, bi or erm, straight? Living with a woman who was formerly a man is equivalent to a man and a woman living with each other, right? So technically there are no issues, right?

I need to mention about this series’ drawing and art. They are simple and look like they are done via colour pencils. Yes, it’s not your conventional Japanese anime art and animation so watching this kind of different illustration is somewhat refreshing. It’s like as though a still picture has been brought to life with animation. However a downside of this kind of drawing is that I had a hard time trying to distinguish one character from another because some look quite close to each other. For instance, I got confuse between Takatsuki and Ninomiya, Sasa and Maho. It’s hard to tell them apart visually unless I hear their voice or if not, observe their behaviour. Of course there are others that stand out like Sarashina (who else is the noisy one and making those eager-beaver expressions?), Makoto (specky kid) and Momoko (permy hair).

Because I have a hard time trying to differentiate the characters, so much so I couldn’t even recognize some of the seiyuus I know that my ears should have picked up after listening to so many of their roles in other animes. For instance, Aki Toyosaki as Momoko (Yui in K-ON!), Nana Mizuki as Maho (Kotoko in Itazura Na Kiss), Saeko Chiba as Sarashina (Dokuro in Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan) and Yui Horie as Anna (Kotori in Da Capo series). Maybe I was trying too hard to tell the characters apart that I didn’t notice these familiar voice actresses. Once I found out and upon listening to them again, I went “Gosh, it IS really them! How could I miss it?!”. Yeah, that. However, I only recognized Kazuya Nakai as Saisho because he still sounds like Zoro from One Piece without that boisterous swordsman attitude. Kousuke Hatakeyama makes his debut as Nitori and currently this is the only role he has. He did quite a good job making Nitori’s voice as one who is feeble and worried about his cross-dressing. Nitori’s sound may not make him idol material but the monotonous and dull voice certainly fits into the character. The other main supporting casts seem not to have a long list of anime roles to their name or are newcomers. So you can say that they are relatively unknowns. They are Asami Seto as Takatsuki (Amelita in Dog Days), Yuuichi Iguchi as Makoto (Kanazawa in Durarara!!), Yuuka Nanri as Chiba (Nao in Mai-HiME), Yoshino Nanjou as Sasa (Kokoro in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Seya (Kazunari in Ro-Kyu-Bu) and Kaoru Mizuhara as Ninomiya (Gisen in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls). Other ‘old hands’ include Takako Honda as Yuki (Hone Onna in Jigoku Shoujo series), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Doi (Hibiki in Vandread) and Keiji Fujiwara as Shiina (Ladd in Baccano). I like both the opening and ending themes. I find them catchy and enough to sing along. The lively pop opening theme is Itsudatte by Daisuke while the lovely piano-driven moderate pop ending theme is For You by Rie Fu.

Maybe cross-dressing will become something accepted in the next few generations when more people are becoming well informed and aware. But as for now, it is still pretty much a taboo and forbidden in certain places. What defines a boy and a girl isn’t clear cut these days. If a guy puts on a skirt, does it really change who he really is? But ironically sometimes it is the other party who changes the most. Especially friends and family who can’t accept cross-dressing and the likes are tend to react in a way that they perceive in their eyes as the norm of society. Well, I guess you can’t really apply the term clothes maketh a man here now, can you? Then again, who are we to judge others. Remember, what is most important is not the outside but the inside that counts.

30-sai No Hoken Taiiku

February 3, 2012

In today’s world where everyone is busy pursuing their own interests or building and climbing the corporate ladder, many people do not have time to spare for good ol’ love. As such, this means people are delaying dating and marriage to much later in life and in some cases do not even have the thought of doing so. This in turn would lead to zero sex life, right? Well ironically, people these days are so well informed and done away with age-old taboos that some already have lost their virginity during their teenage years! Get what I mean?

Even if people are becoming more open and bolder these days, there are some that still lack the ‘courage and urgency’ of losing their virginity. I hope that sentence won’t cause any misunderstanding. 30-sai No Hoken Taiiku (Health and Physical Education for 30 year olds) is a short anime series that aims to guide 30 year old men who have no romantic and sexual experience. And you thought leaving it to nature and instinct was sufficient, eh? Yeah, there are guidebooks for dummies just about everything these days so why not on this topic too. But seriously, men need to be coached in romance? I’m a guy and as most guys will think, sex solves everything! Aha, but women do not think otherwise and you know the complexity and complications when dealing with the other gender, right? So yeah, maybe it’s not so bad after all having a guidebook on the dating your girl the right way. But we certainly don’t need it for the sex part…

On to the plot of this anime, Hayao Imagawa has reached the big three-o. And yes, he is still a virgin. Amazing for a guy to hold on to it this long, eh? I guess in line with the ‘make love and not war’ motto, Imagawa one day finds himself in the ‘care’ of a couple of Sex Gods. Yes. Sex Gods whose duties are to see Imagawa lose his virginity while guiding him how to get there. So if you’re thinking that this series will have lots of sex and naughty scenes, be assured that this is a safe ‘guidebook’ and there is nothing explicit. Even so, they’re properly censored out. On purpose. As Imagawa takes on the arduous first step to date the girl he loves and at the end of it all get lucky with her (wink, wink), the series also provides useful insights and tips to viewers on the do’s and don’ts in dating and maintaining such relationship. Get your pen and paper ready.

Episode 1
Imagawa is bent on losing his virginity tonight. To his blow-up doll, Momoko. Does that even count? Well it doesn’t according to Daigorou. Yeah, the sudden appearance of a naked Sex God beside Imagawa gave him the jump. Daigorou proceeds to do his God Mode by giving tips of sex positions but Imagawa kicks the pervert out. But you can’t get rid of God that easily. Daigorou appears annoyingly just about anywhere to ‘help’ Imagawa. That poor chap has no choice but to ‘accept’ God’s help. Daigorou vows to help Imagawa lose his virginity and wants him to let out his reserves for what they are designed for. He gets kicked out again. Next day Imagawa leaves his dorm, Cherry System and the landlord, an old fart is happy that Imagawa is still a virgin. At work, Imagawa has got a fat obese colleague, Ginga Hoshi who is asking him how it went with Momoko. Imagawa gets back to work but finds his mouse pad as a pair of breasts! He can’t let go of his hands and it’s all part of Daigorou’s plan (see his mug annoyingly pop up on the computer screen?). Imagawa must start fondling the breasts within 2 minutes or it will explode! As the time ticks, Imagawa felt good in fondling. Now try sucking. No way! A lost girl, Natsu Andou comes asking for directions so Imagawa accidentally superimposes the boob pads over her and gets a massive nose bleed. Oh, the pads explode too. Back home, Imagawa asserts he is satisfied with having Momoko but Daigorou won’t back down since he is appointed his sex guardian. He will continue this till he dies. Meaning, he can’t go back to heaven if he doesn’t lose his virginity. I guess Daigorou tries to nail it to Imagawa that he offers himself for him to lose his virginity!!! And he’s bugging Imagawa to do it! His butt starts sucking Imagawa and just about anything! Don’t ask. It’s God’s butt anyway, it’s going to be one hell (heaven rather) of an experience. So Imagawa gives up and since he mentions he just wants to *censored*, Daigorou says to leave his entirety to him. Looks like stormy days are ahead.

Episode 2
Imagawa suddenly finds a loli in his bed wanting to untie her bra. Er? What the? Till Daigorou intervenes that he is doing it the wrong way. Since Imagawa doesn’t hate her, Daigorou says to *censored* her because if it’s not hate, then it’s love, right? Of course he can’t do it because he’s not a lolicon. By the way, who is this girl? Oh, she’s a boy and Daigorou’s little brother, Macaron. Fuuuu… Yeah, almost lost his virginity to another guy. Imagawa ignores Daigorou when the latter thinks he should talk to girls more often. Daigorou kidnaps Momoko and will only give her back if he listens to him! Why is God becoming a kidnapper?! At the blind date, Imagawa finds the three ladies (a very tall one, a very fat one and a very little one) to be very ugly. Daigorou pokes his eyes with his God fingers and tells him not to judge a book by its cover. He must remove the biasness and learn to know their insides (besides, all 3 ladies are being sloppy and rude too). Imagawa takes up his advice and suddenly sees the beautiful side of them! Wow! Yes people, this is what we should all do. Then Imagawa takes more enrichment lessons to power up like cooking and flower arrangements. During a class, Andou sits next to him and they both fluster and apologize for the other day. Imagawa starts falling for her upon seeing her beautiful smile and laughter. He is overcome with happiness but Daigorou feels experience is needed for one to succeed and it’s better for him to get dumped. Next day, nervous Imagawa tries to ask Andou out but he blunders his lines, “Please combine with me”. Suddenly an aura activates from Andou! It’s called AK Field (Achi itte Kochi konaide Field)! She goes into this mode when she refuses people and her aura becomes so powerful that it blasts Imagawa. He doesn’t know what hit him.

Episode 3
Imagawa is depressed over the rejection so it’s God Mode time to explain rejection after confession. But since Imagawa’s confession was half-assed, it’s going to be tough for him. Imagawa and Hoshi are to perform maintenance at a library. They are greeted by Wada who gives them the cold shoulder and ultimately insults Hoshi over his profuse sweating. Imagawa see Andou working here too. Imagawa continues his depression mode at home and the what-ifs if he had not slipped up. Daigorou suggests getting her email address. He practices hard in the toilet and after feeling he is okay to do it, he gets out of the cubicle only to bump into Andou. They easily exchange emails without much hassle. Till Andou realized she’s in the men’s toilet. AK Field activated! When Imagawa goes home, the landlord could smell a woman’s scent on his handphone! He gets into a creepy mode and tells him that if he can’t protect his virginity, how can he protect a woman! Daigorou and Macaron congratulate Imagawa for obtaining Andou’s email. Well, God knows everything right? Apparently Daigorou placed a wiretap on him! How cheap! Then they proceed to God Mode for lessons on how to kiss and *censored*. Macaron demonstrates on Momoko but he becomes a wild beasts and stabs through her! Her face is scary? Imagawa is hesitant to ask Andou out for a movie so Daigorou got annoyed by it and threatens to ask her himself and make her his. Even Macaron wanted to do it. This spurs Imagawa to go ask Andou himself and surprisingly she agrees.

Episode 4
Though the duo attend the movie together, at the end, Andou excuses herself. Imagawa is complaining to his Sex Gods (who are too busy preoccupied with their handheld consoles). Daigorou thinks he is busted but Imagawa feels she just went home early. Seems Andou too have her own pair of Sex Gods. Pi-chan and her sister Ku-chan (this weird sister has no proper dialogues and likes drinking Tabasco, among other weird thinks). Pi-chan chides Andou for throwing away such opportunity and since Andou hasn’t send Imagawa a thank you email, Pi-chan wants her to send him one right away. The message seems plain so Pi-chan types another and sends it herself (asking him to invite Andou out again). To further help Imagawa lose his virginity, Daigorou brings a special speaker: Hoshi! That fat guy has done it with Miss Bulgaria?! At the age of 18?! Fuuu… Anyway, do you feel motivated by his speech of stars, heavenly bodies and connecting hips? Man, this guy is experienced. Pi-chan and Ku-chan are also giving their own God Mode explanations to Andou. They’re using stuff dolls to demonstrate certain positions. Imagawa and Andou are having a nice dinner together. After every 10 seconds of talk, they look away from each other. This synchronicity is due to their Sex Gods telling them they should look at each other while speaking but not more than 10 seconds as it will cause the other party to be nervous. At the end, Imagawa asks Andou to go out with him again but she rejects. Busted again.

Episode 5
This episode starts off with a theatre play of army fingers. If you have a ‘wild’ imagination, you can guess pretty much what it means. But the ‘war’ ends in failure and the ‘cannon’ not firing because Imagawa is too depressed. Leave it to Daigorou for another God Mode on what to do when you’re rejected twice. Imagawa doesn’t want to give up but Daigorou mentions he has to wait 3 months (or up to 6 months) for a chance for another challenge. Andou too is depressed and as Pi-chan found out about her rejection. It’s not that she doesn’t like him, she just can’t do it. She accepts her fate to be a virgin for life. It’s that finger theatre again and this time it’s a success! How do girls do it? Yeah, I’m curious too. Pi-chan and Ku-chan brings Andou to a store filled with sex toys. Andou activates her AK Field but Pi-chan seals it with her God seal. Pi-chan is surprised to see Daigorou at the store. Seems they both know each other. Flashback time. Seems Daigorou used to do pranks on Pi-chan when they’re young like flipping her skirt. Well, he enjoys seeing her reaction probably why Ku-chan never got the same treatment. During that time of argument, Andou escaped. Depressed Imagawa goes home and the landlord is happy that he can smell the scent of woman over him. To alter a famous quote from Shakespeare: To doutei (be a virgin) or not to doutei, that is the question! Macaron dresses up as a girl and plays as Imagawa’s wife but he is no mood. Then in the middle of the night, Imagawa crawls out from his tent scaring the daylights out of Macaron to proclaim that he will wait for 3 months for his revival.

Episode 6
Daigorou and Macaron agree to help him to shape up within 3 months. But Daigorou can’t guarantee Andou will fall for another man in that period. Do they have a spell that will make her not get a boyfriend then? They hit him and tell him off that Andou would never fall for that kind of weak man. Besides, this is part of his training too. Over the days, Imagawa undergoes intensive courses that will improve his image. Basic hygiene, fashion, skincare and dieting. Three months later, well, it doesn’t seem he changed much. Not from the outside at least. His Sex Gods are confident that he’ll pass but Imagawa thinks they want him to see him get busted again. Imagawa sees Andou and manages to ask her out again because he loves her no matter what. With that done, Daigorou wants him to push her down and *censored*. Pi-chan and Ku-chan are also watching but Pi-chan thinks she won’t give in that easy. Andou’s AK Field activates and after 3 months of hard work, it all goes down the drain as he gets ‘beaten up’ by Andou’s Iron Maiden. So what to do? Daigorou and Macron pray to God! How ironic! But Imagawa fights back and questions what is it that she doesn’t like about him. Though Andou says it’s not his fault, she just wants to be left alone. As her field is increasing, Imagawa uses all his determination to hug her and says that he loves her the way she is. This returns Andou to normal. He needs her to properly tell him that if she hates him, then he’ll give up for good. In tears, she denies hating him and said something that shocks everybody. They never expected her to say *censored*, didn’t they? And soon, Imagawa and Andou start going out.

Episode 7
Imagawa is so over the Moon that he doesn’t give a damn about what Daigorou has to say. As Imagawa and Andou meet up for another date, Daigorou dressed as a woman intervenes as Imagawa’s elder sister, Eclea. WTF?! Yeah, it’s part of his plan to make them *censored*. Imagawa has a bad feeling about this. Eclea invites Andou to Imagawa’s place to celebrate their youngest sibling’s birthday. But not so fast! Pi-chan disguised as Andou’s bother, Saburou Tama stops them. Eclea takes Imagawa and Andou and run. At the gates of the dorm, the landlord suddenly becomes Incredible Hulk! He becomes protective of Imagawa’s virginity and will guard it from those who will take it from him! The Sex Gods realize he is the legendary one that the honoured God of Sex let him graduate. With the situation increasingly becoming dangerous (not to mention landlord’s continual ‘growth’), they decide to head to Andou’s place. Eh? A birthday plan for Ku-chan? Pi-chan comes clean with Andou and reveals the sibling and birthday plan was fake so that they could get them to bring them their house. Plus, it’s not Ku-chan’s birthday and they’re both twins. Why is Andou so shock in learning all this? So yeah, they both have Sex Gods trying to trick them into *censored*. The Sex Gods leave the duo alone. Imagawa can’t stop fantasizing naughty thoughts on Andou so he passes out without even touching her. This must be a record. Later as Andou and her Sex Gods take a bath, Pi-chan becomes a pervert after giving excuses to see the colour of her nipples.

Episode 8
Imagawa is nervous in asking a kiss from Andou so much so he ends up asking how to spell kitsutsuki (woodpecker). Daigorou and the landlord are having a drink together. They must be so drunk that they start showing off their virginity holes in their arse. Those disgusting naked poses… Even in the middle of the restaurant! Macaron insists Imagawa practise kissing with him and since he is so cute dressed as a girl, Imagawa can’t help himself! But his ugly lips puckering was a turn off! Pi-chan and Ku-chan are dressed as lips to demonstrate to Andou on how to cute. They are so clumsy and cute that Andou is laughing more than paying attention to what Pi-chan has to say. Because of that, pissed Pi-chan does a force kiss on Andou! OMG! Is that her first kiss? The next scene shows Wada and Hoshi handling a comic booth. This segment seems to show the bad habits of Hoshi and serve as warning to us on not what to do. This may not be a dating scene but at least lessons like fiddling with your hands, being pessimistic and looking at the body do apply to dating scenarios. It ends with Wada and Hoshi upon browsing through each other’s book, find it well done and instantly make up. Imagawa escorts Andou home after another outing. He can’t bring himself to say the ‘k’ word and ends up with that woodpecker line instead. Frustrated Andou pulls him instead and they end up falling with Andou over him. Finally Imagawa says he wants to kiss her and their lips finally met, much to the pleasure of their watching Sex Gods. I see, they have no privacy at all…

Episode 9
Hoshi and Wada are at a love hotel. Wada seems to choose a room filled with sadistic items. Oh yes. Wada is a sadist and starts cracking the whip on him. He never saw this coming, didn’t he? Imagawa and Andou have a date at the zoo today. But Imagawa isn’t pleased that the Sex Gods are coming with them. Just hope they don’t get in the way. While Macaron and Pi-chan are excited watching some of the animals (if you have a ‘wild’ imagination, you can understand those sexual innuendoes they’re talking about), Ku-chan communicating to animals in her odd way, Imagawa starts fantasizing about Andou so Daigorou grabs him on the head and tells him off if he has time to hallucinate, then he should go *censored* her. Besides, he also brought an advisor here. Who? Wada? Not just Wada. It’s Spanking Wada. See her in a dominatrix outfit? And Hoshi must be loving it… Yeah, he is her pet and star pig. I hope the other people don’t get freak out by the sight of this. Daigorou suggests the duo to do soft S&M for a start but this is too much for Andou to take. Imagawa assures her that he isn’t a pervert (oh, really?) so Daigorou mentions something about the size of his *censored*. There is even a chart to compare Imagawa’s to other average people and of course Daigorou himself (which is off the charts!). Andou must have misconstrued so she mentions about eradicating the world’s poverty. Huh? Later Pi-chan and the Sex Gods frequent a karaoke joint to discuss points to make their targets *censored*. But the rest ignores her and do what they want, ordering food and beer without her permission. Till it made her snap. Man, she can be a serial killer. In the end, Pi-chan is the one who becomes drunk, all over Daigorou (poking her fingers into his nose?) and also blabbing how she too wants to fall in love but has already fallen in love. I think she’s really drunk rather than serious. Disgusting…

Episode 10
Daigorou is sick. Really? Gods can fall ill? Macaron is preparing porridge to but on his head. Don’t ask. It’s a God thingy humans can’t understand. Andou and her Sex Gods get word of Daigorou being sick. But it seems Macaron has also caught his fever. Andou feels she has to cancel her date tomorrow to go nurse them. But that won’t be necessary since Pi-chan will take care of it. While nursing the duo, Pi-chan gets a call from Andou saying she wants to break up with Imagawa. WHAT???!!! With the lovers back, Pi-chan chides Imagawa for having an affair despite having a girlfriend. However that ‘affair’ is supposedly Momoko and it was Wada who suggested he should break up with this. So it’s a misunderstanding? But Andou is not happy he has an artificial girlfriend. Imagawa refutes that they are both different so having Momoko doesn’t count as an affair. But you know women, the slightest thing about the other woman would send them into a frenzy. Even if she’s just an inflatable. The heat is getting intense (Daigorou and Macaron won’t get better with all this noise at this rate) when Pi-chan also collapses. Yeah, she caught the fever too. Soon Imagawa leaves on a journey to the Sahara Desert as he is afraid to contact Andou or she contacting him. He is surprised to see the landlord there. Apparently he received a challenge from the virgin king of the desert. They had a match and landlord won. Landlord proceeds to ask Imagawa if he wants to succeed this virginity power. I guess his motivational speech of sticking to be a virgin has Imagawa agreeing to his plan to be “Like A Virgin”. Foooo! Is he doing a Michael Jackson or Madonna? Meanwhile Andou is disturbed with thoughts of Imagawa and his blow-up doll. She starts fantasizing a competition that she would be better than Momoko like cooking, cleaning and swimming but in the end, she loses out in all of them. Yeah, even Momoko extended her hand to her and assert she is not his affair, but his float thing. Uhm…

Episode 11
Fifty years ago, the landlord (looking so much like Daigorou) was in an intense battle with some Goddess. She is tempting him with all the moves that would easily make a man lose his virginity in seconds. But landlord summoned the power of all the virgins of the world and unleashed his Makito Chin Ken Final Technique: Virgin Ball to defeat the Goddess. And this was how he became a legend. Now he is passing that technique to Imagawa who is learning quick. Meanwhile Pi-chan tries to persuade Andou to come out from bed and stop eating snacks. But she has the shock of her life upon seeing Andou. Macaron gets a call from Ku-chan and informs Daigorou he is going ‘shopping’. When Pi-chan comes over, she is shocked to see Daigorou naked! Solar power? WTF?! Pi-chan is at a lost on what to do with Andou so Daigorou hugs her. Imagawa may be able to summon the virgin power of only a Prairie Dog, but the landlord is impressed and is confident he’ll be the new Virgin King. But to start things off, Imagawa is now the Virgin Prince and dressed in black. Macaron and Ku-chan come by to tell him to stop doing foolish things and go home. But Imagawa mocks Macaron for being a virgin and becoming a Sex God when he doesn’t even have hair down there. As Imagawa messes with Macaron, Ku-chan must have drank lots of weird sauces and probably the mayonnaise suddenly powered her up! Yeah, she starts talking properly! She rescues Macaron from Imagawa’s perverted clutches and easily dispatches Imagawa and the landlord! Power! She signs off with an advice: “To be a virgin is not immature, but it’s just inexperienced”. Man, that must’ve hit the mark because Imagawa starts reflecting on his actions. Yeah, who wants to be a virgin forever? Daigorou and Macaron are waiting for Imagawa’s return at the airport. Hey, why is Pi-chan getting so lovey-dovey with Daigorou?! Macaron is shocked to see the fat blob Ku-chan dragged over. Well, that’s Andou. After all that eating and staying at home… She breaks free and tries to run but Imagawa returns in time to confront her. He came back to apologize and make up but she isn’t confident since she is fat and ugly. However he still loves her because she is who she is. Then he gets a punch. That’s for making her worried when he was gone. She wants him to stay by her side or take her to wherever he goes if he loves her. He promises that he would. All’s well, ends well?

Episode 12
At God Hotspring… Imagawa and Andou (back to her usual body size) are nervous… Sharing a bed for 1 night… But too nervous that they started apologizing to each other. When they return to Cherry System, the Sex Gods congratulate them on their graduation. However they quickly apologize that they didn’t manage to do it because they got nervous. The annoyed Sex Gods punish them and remind them that they can’t return to Heaven if they don’t *censored*. But the duo are unfazed so they get kicked out and aren’t allowed to come back till they do so. So the Sex Gods are discussing the fact that they’ll be returning to Heaven in a few days and some law in the God Handbook they can’t reveal info to their targets. Macaron and Pi-chan are crying their hearts out because they don’t want to leave but as Daigorou and Ku-chan say, it’s their job to get their targets to *censored* and if they make that kind of face, those 2 won’t be relieved and *censored*. Daigorou gets a call. Ku-chan also the same. Imagawa and Andou talk at the park and somehow feel sad they’re going to be separated. Hey, even if they are annoying Sex Gods, they are THEIR annoying Sex Gods. Imagawa will think of a way to make them stay but needs to talk to them first. When they go back, they see the Sex Gods totally naked and only cardboards and hay covering their modesty. Seems they have got a call from Heaven they have been fired for lack of progress. What does this means? They have become humans! Thus they’ll be staying with them for a while. Imagawa and Andou have another round of talk. Though they somewhat feel relieved, they suggest throwing them a welcome party since they’re like family. So as Imagawa helps Andou out in preparing the food, Pi-chan is wondering what they need to do living as humans. But Daigorou reveals the truth as it’s time for them to return to Heaven. The part they got fired was just a lie and the call they got was to inform that the duo will get married in due time and to return to Heaven immediately. Macaron and Pi-chan wasn’t told the truth because they might make that sad face. Soon the Sex Gods disappear as Daigorou wish the love birds happiness. And yeah, Imagawa and Andou got married and have a son, Daigorou. No, not the reincarnation of that Sex God but rather named after him. Oh, the irony. When little Daigorou sees a photo of daddy and mummy’s ‘friends’, he felt excited and wants to meet them. Heh. Daddy feels he shouldn’t…

The 30 Year Old Virgin… No More!
Well, I’m not sure how long time passed before Imagawa and Andou got intimate and *censored*. But they eventually ‘graduated’ and got a kid, right? Don’t tell me they got a kid from a stork. So it goes to show that one shouldn’t rush in to lose one’s virginity. Time will have everything played out nicely. Okay, so maybe in today’s world people are already start losing their virginity when they hit puberty. Even without the Sex Gods around, I am sure that Imagawa and Andou will nicely come together. They may look impatient trying to push them into doing it but I guess it’s part of their job. So B Gata H Kei’s Yamada may want to change her Sex God and get these as her guide so that she could experience her first time. On second thought, maybe not. But perhaps the Sex Gods also did do some good for Imagawa and Andou. We see how he changed from someone with low self-confidence and she who is too shy and afraid. They may have strayed a little because of the initial fear of rejection but see how Imagawa has learnt to truly love Andou for who she is regardless of her outer appearance or personal behaviour. See how Andou’s AK Field never activated anymore?

It was sad to see the Sex Gods leaving because they’ve been so long together, pestering and annoying their targets that they really seem part of the family. I wished that they would be together somehow in the end but I guess they would be a hindrance to Imagawa and Andou when they become a family. Daigorou has got to be the coolest character in this series. He doesn’t flinch and is calm and cool even if the going gets tough. So having him as your Sex God, you’ll either love him or find him annoying. I’d really like to know the chemistry between Daigorou and Pi-chan after that. It was surprising to see Pi-chan suddenly turned from one who is disgusted to someone totally fawning over him. Maybe she’s just tsundere. Ku-chan was an airhead for the majority of the episodes till that mayonnaise thingy. Then she transformed into some cool woman only second to Daigorou. A point that is bugging me is if the Sex Gods are knowledgeable in *censored*, there was a part whereby it is hinted that they are virgins themselves (remember how Daigorou tried to demonstrate his virgin hole?). You only gain experience in the area if you do it lots of time, right? But who am I kidding? They are Gods after all. They don’t need to do such act to gain such knowledge. On a trivial matter, I wonder if Hoshi and Wada are doing well together. That is, if they are still together. Whatever happened to them? They seem like a fitting S&M pair. What about the landlord? Has he found a new disciple to pass on his virgin legend?

Throughout the series, there are lots of words that have been purposely censored out. When they do this, a difference voice narrates some gibberish to cover that censored word. It may seem funny at first but it is done too often so much so it takes the fun out of it. I mean, if this series is about Sex Gods trying to make their targets get intimate, what is the point if they censor such ‘crucial’ words? The censoring isn’t only restricted to the dialogue. Some of the words on screen (especially topic titles) are also purposely blurted out. I remember one title in which the entire line was blotted out! That bad, eh? I guess it’s up to viewers to use their own imagination to catch the right word. Well, if you’re naughty enough, I’m sure you can ‘see’ those censored words clearly. Another censoring is Momoko’s eyes. I’m not sure but perhaps she resembles some real blow-up doll that they need to censor out her eyes. Say, I wonder if Imagawa has given up on Momoko? Maybe he doesn’t need her anymore seeing he realized the real one is better. That is a sign that a bachelor virgin has graduated to the next step of becoming a responsible family man, right?

The opening theme is Koi No Doutei (A Virgin’s Love) by Kanon x Kanon and sounds like your typical lively anime pop. The ending theme is a rock piece by AiRI entitled Learn Together. I thought it was by Milktub seeing that this is their trademark rock style but I guess I can say they are still related to the sing since they’re the ones who wrote the song. An amusing thing during the ending credits is that as each passing episode, you’ll see the different growth stages of Imagawa and Andou as they gradually make their way towards each other. From crawling toddlers to walking elementary kids to rebellious and puberty-hit teenage years to finally their adult self getting married. I guess what they’re subtly trying to imply is the steadily growing relationship between them which could and should also be applied to real life relationship.

So have we learnt lots from this? Well, there are many things in life that we can’t learn through textbooks and the only way of gaining knowledge is to experience it firsthand. So yeah, this series may not be comprehensive for single guys to date woman (or to get lucky with them), but it’s a start. Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. And with that little push, it is often more than enough for people to take their own step and chart their own path and destiny. You know what? I’m already pass 30 years old (and counting), still a virgin (believe it!), got no girlfriend (seriously, what kind of girl would like an otaku who loves watching anime harem series?), so should I start looking for one? Well, do 2D girls count? No rush or hurry then. I’m confident everything will fall into place nicely in time. Maybe like in another 10, 20, 30 years…

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