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.

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