Uhm… What is it with the ridiculously long title? First it was a certain sister, then a particular brother and now, childhood friends. If you think Ano Hi Mita Hana No Namae Wo Bokutachi Wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don’t Know The Name Of The Flower We Saw That Day) is a mouthful to pronounce and remember, thank goodness we can just shorten it to Ano Hana (literally means, That Flower). Phew. Yeah, the title was so long that by the time you finished reading it, it will be next week already (please read the sarcasm). Next time, please keep your titles short, okay? Easier to pronounce and definitely easier to remember.

Anyway the plot of this series revolves around 6 close childhood friends whom have drifted apart when one of them dies in a drowning accident. Jinta Yadomi, who is affected by the death of Meiko “Menma” Honma, is now a withdrawn and hikikomori because instead of going to school, he confines himself at home, play video games, bum around, eat, sleep, repeat same process. If only life was this good. Maybe ‘too good’ for him so much so the ghost of Menma visits him one summer. Yeah, “I see dead people”. Just kidding. Only ghost of your past, present and future visit you on Christmas. Childhood friends visit you during your summer vacation :).

Seems Menma isn’t able to pass on to the afterlife till her wish is fulfilled. The problem is nobody can remember what it was except that a condition of it is the need to have all of them to gather. So together along with their other estranged friends, Naruko “Anaru” Anjou, Atsumu “Yukiatsu” Matsuyuki, Chiriko “Tsuruko” Tsurumi and Tetsudou “Poppo” Hisakawa, not only they have to help and find Menma’s wish, but resolve their own problems of hidden and lingering feelings, bitterness and internal conflicts so that everyone can move on. Life is indeed one big drama.

Episode 1
Jinta is playing his video games when he thought he is hallucinating because Menma is getting all clingy around him. You’d be wondering if Menma is really a ghost because there is physical contact between them. However everyone else including Jinta’s very nice dad (he never scolds or reprimands his kid even if he’s being lazy or does nothing) can’t see or hear her. Menma is acting like she’s still alive. Heck, she’s full of life and vigour. To the point she wants Jinta to make an egg soup, which he only made for himself and dad. Since Menma is still hanging around, Jinta feels she is an incarnation of his stress. Summer heat getting to him? Yeah, she’s still around. She reminds him that she wants her wish granted but don’t remember what it is. Just great. So Jinta has to figure it out himself, eh? He is then visited by Anaru who is reluctantly here to pass him notes from school. Jinta couldn’t care less of going to school so she too couldn’t care less if he turns up or not. Menma wasn’t happy that Jinta didn’t manage to ask Anaru the wish but that guy tells her that b*tch has changed. Well, Menma didn’t like it too when he badmouths his friends. However he notes that everything has changed since then. Menma follows Jinta out on a shopping errand. As she fools around standing on top of a fence, she trips and falls. This brings back bad memories to Jinta as he rushes to save her. Well, Menma’s alright but Jinta got his face on the road. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko pass by. Yukiatsu mocks the loser Jinta is because he failed his high school entrance exam, he has been bumming around since though he managed to enter a lower grade high school (Yukiatsu and Tsuruko are studying at an elite high school). Not only he doesn’t turn up for class, he keeps calling Menma’s name. This upsets Jinta as he runs away. But isn’t it true? Though Tsuruko feels Yukiatsu was being harsh, she mentions that he too is the same. Jinta reflects that he is the one who has changed the most and all the bad things are coming back to him. Remembering the good ol’ days whereby he was the energetic leader of the Super Peace Busters Association with his buddies. Then one day, Anaru asked if Jinta liked Menma. Since the group can’t keep secrets, Jinta is caught in a dilemma. With peer pressure and without thinking, he denies ever liking that ugly girl. Oddly, cry-baby Menma smiled instead. Though Jinta felt guilty, he thought he could apologize to her tomorrow. But tomorrow never came. Everything from there went downhill ever since. Menma visits her family. She sees her mom praying to her alter and though glad that they still remember her, she can’t help see the sadness in mom’s face. Jinta is overcome with guilt and runs out in the middle of the night to find Menma to apologize to her. He thought he was so stressed up and created a vision of her for him to apologize. He has a hunch where she’ll be. Back at the original hideout base of the Super Peace Busters, the place seems like someone is making it his camp when it should’ve been abandoned a long time ago.

Episode 2
Actually, Poppo is temporarily living here. There is a big map on the wall that indicates his travels around the world. Yeah, after saving up from his part time job, he goes trotting around the world. That’s his dream. What about school? Screw that. Oh well… But seeing the many places he went, I’m just wondering what kind of job he does to earn enough money to go travelling. This big guy is excited to learn that Jinta could see Menma’s ghost but is disappointed he can’t see or hear her himself. Anaru is hanging out with her friends, Aki and Haruna. They are badmouthing Jinta. So happen Tsuruko was sitting nearby and she couldn’t take any more of it and storms out. Anaru thought she forgot her notebook and chases after her to return it. But she was being told off she doesn’t want to be seen with someone who is easily influenced by others. Like how she was always copying Menma. Menma tried to stop the girls from fighting but you know, they can’t see her. Anaru blames herself if she didn’t ask that question on that day, things might have turned out differently. As Anaru goes to her part time job, she is surprised to see Jinta looking for an old and rare video game, Nokemon (what?). The reason he is buying the game is because after a little ‘brainstorming’ with Poppo, they thought this is Menma’s wish. You’ll never know if you don’t try. He goes back to play the game but nothing much happens. Next morning, Yukiatsu is jogging when he meets Poppo. He tells him about Jinta’s ability to see Menma. Yukiatsu asks for more detail on what Jinta said about Menma. Jinta gets a rude (or pleasant however you look at it) awakening when Menma appears before him in a towel! Don’t get your hopes up and though Menma may appear to have grown up, a certain part hasn’t. Then Poppo visits him and they remember about the need for everyone to gather. Anaru remembers how much she hated her specky looks and curly hair. She wanted to be like Menma (because she likes Jinta). In a way, though she likes Menma, she also hates her. She gets a surprise visit from Jinta and Poppo. They are here because she has an extensive collection of games and manga. See a cabinet filled with games and mangas all systematically labelled? While Poppo reads some of her manga, Jinta and Anaru play that Nokemon game to achieve some rare character. Jinta finally got it and the kids rejoice. Having fun are we? Anaru wants Jinta to come back to school as thanks for helping out. Menma is glad to see them happy together but notes this wasn’t her wish. Jinta also notices that Menma is having fun herself and though his trauma isn’t gone yet, if there is still tomorrow, maybe he could take his time to apologize. Oh, now he’s procrastinating?

Episode 3
As Poppo is taking a leak in the woods, he got spooked when he thought he saw the ghost of Menma! Menma wakes Jinta up to remind him to fulfil Anaru’s promise of going to school. Surprisingly he did. But it must be one awful ordeal to get there, eh? Along the way, he bumps into Anaru and her friends. Because Haruna mocks Jinta about showing up, he changes his mind and leaves. Menma looks around Jinta’s house and finds an altar of Jinta’s deceased mom. Jinta makes his way to the hideout and was being told by Poppo that he too see dead people. Okay, at least Menma. He thought his piss was perfect to enable him to see her? WTF?! Because his vague descriptions match how Jinta currently sees her, Jinta decides to go home. Upon returning, he finds Menma trying to make steam bread cupcakes. Back in those days, Jinta and co really love and look forward to his mom’s bread because they were so good. Then when she got hospitalized and couldn’t bake anymore, Jinta went into sulking. Can’t blame him because probably he’s too young to understand. Nobody makes them good bread like she does and if she’s gone, who will? Menma learns that Jinta went to the hideout and the ghost Poppo saw. I know Menma was a slow girl but to think she thought that ghost was Menma, what makes her then? Or is she pulling a fast one? Tsuruko reluctantly accompanies Yukiatsu to buy some stuff. Later that evening, Poppo hands Jinta a flyer that they’ll be having a BBQ to help find Menma’s wish. End of Summer Search For Menma Association? Menma wants to come because she is excited to see her own ghost. Say what? That evening, everyone except Yukiatsu gathers. Tsuruko is confident he’ll show up. Anaru tries to make up with Tsuruko but the latter is acting somewhat stuck-up. Not to say that she is, but what do you expect her to say? What do you want her to say? Anyway Anaru admits that she is easily influenced by others around her (looking at Jinta’s way). As everyone is having sausage BBQ, Menma is brought to tears of seeing everyone together. Poppo feels this is so nostalgic, Menma might just come back. Well, she’s right under your noses… Then Yukiatsu pops up with more ingredients. Then he says he too saw Menma. And recently too. At the creek. This has Poppo and Menma excitedly rushing down to catch sight of the ghost. Menma is serious in wanting to see her own ghost, eh? With Jinta left behind, Yukiatsu tells him that he too can see Menma and not only him.

Episode 4
As everyone searches and calls out to Menma, Anaru talks to Jinta about giving school a second chance. He’s not interested. A little argument ensues and this has Anaru almost slipping off the cliff. Luckily Jinta grabbed and pulled her up. Phew. Don’t need another tragedy. Anaru feels Jinta loves Menma so much that he can see her even if she’s not there. And if he can, please be kind to her. When everyone returns from the futile search, Yukiatsu mentions the faint voice he heard from Menma not to cause a ruckus and perhaps she doesn’t want them to cause a commotion over a little wish. Of course this is not what the real Menma intended. Everyone seems to agree but Menma yells that she’ll be their friends no matter what. If they could only hear her. Yukiatsu mocks Jinta that he can’t forget about Menma and leaves. Jinta also does the same. Tsuruko asks Poppo about the Menma he saw and though he couldn’t see clearly, it matches Tsuruko’s guesses of the clothes she was wearing. Menma tries to cheer Jinta up back home (maybe the Menma he saw was Menmario or Menluigi? WTF?!) but he’s no good. He feels Yukiatsu has taken Menma’s wish and twisted it. Meanwhile Tsuruko sketches a picture of Menma. Next morning, Jinta gets a surprise visit from Tsuruko. She says that anyone can cook if they understand the recipe and finds it hard to believe Menma made them. But because of so, she wants him to do her a favour. Anaru is hanging out with her friends when she thought she saw Jinta with Tsuruko. Her eyes weren’t deceiving her. She follows them and confronts Tsuruko on what she is up to. Seems Jinta is waiting for Yukiatsu to pass by the route he normally jogs. He tries to ask him about the Menma he saw but Yukiatsu gives him the cold shoulder. Till he says the real Menma said the Menma he saw is fake. This got Yukiatsu’s attention as he points out the loser dog he always was. Even back when he was the leader of the group, he never acknowledged him as one. After Yukiatsu goes off, Tsuruko commends Jinta for having guts. Yukiatsu is obviously upset back home. He calls out to Menma and is going to show them all. That night all the friends except Yukiatsu gather at the base again. Menma tries to cheer Jinta up that she herself doesn’t know why she is here and perhaps it wouldn’t be strange if there’s another Menma. Tsuruko gives each one a mug since her family’s collection is expanding too much. Poppo discusses about Menma wanting them to gather. She probably doesn’t want them to forget about her but even so, that’s not possible. They can’t. Menma gets emotional and hugs Poppo but all he feels is something heavy coming over him. He excuses himself to take a piss. Uh huh. Menma also wants to take a piss with him! Then they return and exclaim they saw the ghost of Menma! Menma herself too. Everyone goes out to look. Tsuruko confirms with Poppo about the ribbon Menma had on her dress. At a distance, looks like the other Menma is running away. Tsuruko couldn’t take any more of this and yells out that it won’t work because he’s too big and no matter how much he shaves his legs. The fake Menma trips and it is revealed to be Yukiatsu.

Episode 5
Jinta tries to help Yukiatsu up but the latter is not taking it well. The guys get into a scuffle as Tsuruko tells the rest to not get involve because this may be his last chance. Yukiatsu mentions that he was the one responsible for Menma’s death. So it’s odd that Jinta could see her when it should’ve been him, whether she’s cursing or haunting him, he should be the one to see and hear Menma. And since it’s his fault, maybe that’s why she isn’t here anymore. Jinta tells him as what Menma says, she is grateful for the hair clip. Back in the base, Tsuruko reveals that it was a hunch that she thought Yukiatsu was cross-dressing as Menma. Because he made her go shopping for presents for his girlfriend she never saw. Then he bought that one piece white dress that Menma always wore during summer. Yukiatsu remembers back then when Jinta called Menma ugly and ran off. Menma went after him and Yukiatsu followed. He confessed he liked her and tried to give her a hair clip. But Menma was surprised that she made an excuse to go after Jinta before he ‘disappears’. Yukiatsu was heartbroken with the rejection and threw the hair clip away. Though he has a replica of it, the original one is being kept by Tsuruko. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko just miss a train. So as they wait, Yukiatsu notes how she is her usual self. She replies would it be better if she starts calling him a cross-dresser. In any case, she doesn’t want him to use her to maintain his self-esteem. They see Anaru and her friends coming out from a train on the opposite platform. Anaru was forced to come along with her friends to a karaoke bar with a couple of middle-aged guys. One of them notices Anaru not having fun and makes an excuse to ditch the group. To her surprise, he takes her to a love hotel. She tries to refuse but he is forcing her. Yukiatsu so happen to come by and pretends to call his friends over so the jerk leaves. Yukiatsu sits the train back with Anaru. He tells her it was just painful watching her. He’s the one to say. He suggests if she wants to date him but she thought he was in love with Menma. Of course she can’t even if Yukiatsu points out that she likes Jinta. Even so, she isn’t sure if she really is in love with Jinta in the first place. She continues that it was hard to talk to Jinta after Menma and his mom’s death. Though she was happy that she managed to enter the same high school with him but he can’t forget Menma. Yukiatsu notes that they are being left behind. Poppo is having dinner at Jinta’s home. He has been thinking that Menma hanging around isn’t a good thing because it means she can’t attain nirvana. Poppo thought Menma is around (due to Jinta’s body reaction to her) so he bugs her to appear because he wants to help but was told to stop. Menma is crying because she too wants to talk to everyone and doesn’t know anything about nirvana about her wish.

Episode 6
Jinta surprisingly prepares himself for school as Menma hugs him. Menma prays at Jinta’s mom alter and wonders what nirvana is like. In school, Jinta is expecting that nobody could care less about his return. He gets more than he bargained for because the school is talking about Anaru. She is being called by the principal because a PTA member saw her at a love hotel. In class, Jinta hears the comments of other students whispering among themselves. How Anaru is into prostitution and maybe she’ll return the favour if they ask her too. Jinta notices Anaru scribbling words of “Help me” and “Stop making stuff! Shut up! Die!”. He too can’t take it anymore and stands up right in the middle of class to tell off everyone to look at him! Since they can see her anytime, they should be looking at him more since he doesn’t come to class often. And though Anaru has that love hotel face, she will never stoop to anything low as prostitution. He goes on ranting about her personal likes so embarrassed Anaru takes him out of class. The duo skip class and though she thanks him for standing up for her, she felt it was too much to say she had the face of a love hotel look! But she can’t go home now so she decides to temporarily stay at the hideout. See, if a woman tries to clean up a man’s place… Hear all the screams? Poppo gets this idea to visit Menma’s house to get an idea of her wish. Only Anaru and Jinta tag along since the rest are busy with their exams. Menma’s mom, Irene is happy her friends came over. After praying at her altar, they are being shown Menma’s room. It’s empty. A couple of Tsuruko’s classmates are asking her to pass a love letter to Yukiatsu but she tells them off to do it themselves since they’re in the same class. They chide her for being stuck-up just because she is always by his side. They think she likes him too. Then the said guy pops up and the girls run away in embarrassment. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko ride the train home together and talk about Jinta. He still feels he is always ahead of Jinta though the latter always got the better of things. If only he didn’t called them to gather on that day. But Tsuruko points out that it was Menma who did so because she wanted advice on something. Irene was kind enough to give them her daughter’s diary. Seems Menma’s stuff are packed in boxes and stuffed away in the closet because daddy feels it’s not right to dwell on her forever. Poppo wants to read to diary together at the base but Jinta feels they should wait a little longer. Back home when Jinta tells Menma they went to see her mom, she confiscates his food! She is not happy he did it because it would remind mummy about her and cause her to be sadder. She wants mummy to forget about her even if it’s for a while. Jinta thinks she is lying because she was happy that they didn’t forget about her. He scolds her for worrying about others and should think more about herself. I’m sure Jinta didn’t get turned on by Menma. Heck, the atmosphere is impossible. So why is he suddenly nose bleeding? Maybe his anger burst a blood vessel? He goes to the base and is surprised to see Anaru (he thought she went back home). She misinterprets his nose bleed was his horniness in seeing her body and starts throwing things at the pervert. Yeah, he got time to comment she’s a virgi- Oops.

Episode 7
While Anaru complains about her mom, life, etc, Jinta feels that she shouldn’t ditch school. Like he’s the one to say. But who better to give advice than the person who does it himself? Anaru thinks he shouldn’t brood about Menma when she trips and falls close to Jinta’s face. In that awkward moment, Poppo returns with dinner and saw. Then he runs away. Then Anaru collapses on Jinta. Well, it didn’t get messier than this. The trio start reading Menma’s diary. Seems pretty monotonous. “I have fun playing with everyone today”. Till an entry that states they paid a visit to Jinta’s mom at the hospital. Wanting her to get better, they decide to make a rocket-type firework after seeing a poster (because you need something to send it to heaven when you write to God). They did make the rocket but failed miserably. Maybe they followed Menma’s ‘detailed instructions’ on how to construct one. They think this rocket thingy is Menma’s wish. Meeting with the rest, Yukiatsu has researched several stuffs and it seems doing it the legal way may be hard (need to be over 18 years to handle gunpowder, need licence, bla bla bla). On the way back, Tsuruko wonders why Yukiatsu didn’t tell Jinta about Menma’s instruction to gather then. Menma told him to keep it a secret. Jinta finds out trying to make such a rocket is expensive. 20,000 Yen, baby! So how? Jinta decides to work part time. Finally he does something. He is a quick learner working at Anaru’s part time place but needs work on his greeting. So with Jinta leaving home early and sleeping early, Menma is totally suspicious. Then a guest comes by the house and asks his dad if his son has quit school and is working part time because she saw him. Daddy hears this the first time but allows Jinta to do what he wants since he is responsible for himself. But this doesn’t sit well with Menma. She goes to the base and hears Anaru talking about Jinta doing manual labour (a quick way to earn hard cash). Then she goes over to the road construction site and sees Jinta plying his sweat through the night. Jinta almost trips so Menma moves the light. The other workers are stumped if the wind changed the light’s direction. At least nobody thought this road is haunted. Back home, Menma bakes lots of steamed bread for him and asks about his school life. Obviously he lied and says it’s good since it made him feel alive since it’s better than staying at home. Though, he doesn’t mean it literally (because Menma’s dead). But Menma feels alive if Jinta’s feeling alive. Yeah, staying alive! Jinta, Poppo and Anaru go see the fireworks meister and to make down payment for his services to make the rocket. It may be a long way to go but still, they are serious. However he can’t accept their request. Previously he bragged about them to the festival supervisor and she refused it. Jinta is willing to go talk to her directly but the thing is, she is Irene. Yup, she’s praying at Menma’s altar, thinking how foolish her friends are.

Episode 8
Jinta and co go see Irene. As Irene talks, she slowly breaks down and feels that they’re just having fun as an excuse to make Menma happy. That they are acting like nothing has changed. Then she grabs Tsuruko’s hands and gets emotional that Menma isn’t the only one who hasn’t changed and wonders why they all keep growing. Menma’s brother, Satoshi come in to see this heartbreaking scene so Jinta and co decide to leave. At the shrine, Yukiatsu feels they should stop all this. He wants Jinta to get real and everyone was just being nice to him. Unlike him, he never forced his pain onto others. Back at the base, Jinta notes how he was surprised none of them changed much. Besides, ‘all of us’ will never be possible anymore because Menma isn’t around. That’s why he is going to grant Menma’s wish himself. Jinta continues to push himself to work hard till he collapses. Anaru wants him to stop because he’s just hurting himself. But he wouldn’t listen. Anaru hugs him from behind and be frank with him. When Jinta said he didn’t like Menma then, she felt happy. But the way he ran out was an indication that he liked her. She hurt Menma and things ended up like that. That’s why she couldn’t forgive herself for liking him. Since Jinta is still going, Anaru gets desperate. She wonders if she will really disappear if he grants her wish and won’t he care about that even though he loves her. Jinta just leaves and let Anaru cries her heart out. Back home, Jinta couldn’t contain his tears so he had to lie that it was the Dog of Flanders show he watched. Even if his lie sucks, Menma was convinced. At least she looked the part. Jinta notes by losing Menma, Irene continued to hate them and his friends continued to wallow in guilt without salvation. Only he was being saved by Menma. Next morning, Jinta follows his dad to clean his mom’s grave. Dad starts apologizing because he couldn’t tell why his son was apologizing. Was it his part time job or going to Menma’s home? Parents know everything. But he plays it cool.

Tsuruko calls Yukiatsu that she received a silent call from Jinta’s house. But at that time of the call, wasn’t Jinta on his part time job? Speaking of which, Yukiatsu also gets the same silent call. That night when Jinta is covering Anaru’s shift (she can’t face him so obviously she didn’t turn up for work), Satoshi pays Jinta a visit. As they talk, Satoshi reveals how Irene never left the house since Menma died. It’s like she doesn’t want to meet anyone. He felt embarrassed and disgusted she is his mom. Though Jinta feels it is tough on the parents when their child passes on, Satoshi feels his mom doesn’t seem to see him as her son. When Satoshi was young, he could hardly remember Menma. Menma told him to protect the house because she’s part of the Super Peace Busters that will protect the peace of everyone. However he feels his household is somewhat dreary. Jinta meets his friends at the base. They are asking if he called their homes. Since it wasn’t him, he notes it must be Menma. That’s when Yukiatsu grabs him by the collar and wants him to let him see Menma. Poppo restrains him as Jinta looks back and sees Menma. Tsuruko wants him to stop this Menma make-believe. Yukiatsu is about to punch Jinta as he mentions that what they did to Menma won’t go away for the rest of their lives and there is no way she would forgive them. Suddenly the diary drops on the ground. There is a fresh writing saying that Menma had fun with all of them today at not to fight. Everyone recognizes her handwriting and realize Jinta has been telling the truth all the while.

Episode 9
You know, Menma should’ve done something like this a long time ago. If she can’t directly communicate with them, move things around. So the non-believers become believers when they witness invisible Menma baking steamed bread. She tries writing but it seems the pen doesn’t work though it has ink. Does this mean she can only write in her diary? As the friends return home, Anaru thinks Menma has forgiven them but Tsuruko thinks otherwise. Maybe she appeared because she hasn’t. Yukiatsu feels Jinta wants to keep Menma for himself so he vows to make Menma attain nirvana. So save those paycheques for the rocket. Menma continues to support Jinta at his labour job and also hang around with him and his friends. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko go see Menma’s father. It seems that he isn’t against the fireworks. He lets them know ever since Menma’s passing, time has stood still for Irene. But he wants to bring her back to the present and thus doesn’t want her to remember such things. Yukiatsu goes down on his knees to beg and also confess he loved his daughter. On the way back, they meet Jinta. Yukiatsu asks Jinta to describe the Menma he sees. He is surprised that Menma is grown up. About her being beautiful, Jinta was careful not to make that ugly statement again and says she’s just cute. And kind of too. Menma not happy… The fireworks meister finally agrees to help them out and has them do the easy parts in creating the rocket. Anaru note show happy Jinta is and realizes she couldn’t best Menma then, she couldn’t win Menma now. She takes a breather away so Yukiatsu goes talk to her. He says that he was serious when he was asking her out to date him. Of course it’s impossible for Anaru. Tsuruko happened to pass by and heard their friendly talk. She doesn’t seem too pleased. As Jinta goes off for his job, he starts thinking if it would be a good idea to send Menma back to heaven. Is he chickening out now? Menma hops her way back home and something below the bridge caught her attention. Did she fall over? When Jinta returns, he doesn’t see Menma around and panics. He starts running around to look for her when he spots her down by the river just fine. He rushes down in haste and this causes him to slip and fall. Though he is alright, Menma got emotional because it was dangerous he might lose his life. Anyway Menma wanted to show him a koi she found. Before she could enter the water, Jinta’s trauma kicks him and tells her to stop. He will go and catch it instead. He wants her to stay here forever.

Episode 10
Jinta leaves an invitation to Menma’s family to come and see the fireworks tomorrow. The pair of girls who like Yukiatsu confront Tsuruko to tell her off that she’s acting like he knows the guy bloody well. To prove that she does, she starts ranting his bio-data and likes. Including his cross-dressing fetish. Yukiatsu is not happy if she spreads that around (I thought he dared her previously?) but Tsuruko tells him that she’s hurt. Irene isn’t pleased that Menma’s friends are doing this and is adamant she won’t go. However Satoshi says he will. Then he tells her does she know how tall he has grown. As she breaks down, her husband says everyone is sad over Menma’s death. That’s fine and they should all be sad together. Yukiatsu and Anaru meet at a café. Anaru relates how she was supposed to be closest to Jinta if Menma isn’t around. But they grew distant instead. Then they got closer again but it’s because of Menma. Yukiatsu gets a call from Tsuruko. She calls him a coward. She thinks he is chickening out at the last moment to send Menma to heaven. He’s scared of it so he ran away from Menma to be with Anaru because he doesn’t want to think he’s the only pathetic one around. She continues she remembered what Menma said when she called them on the phone. Something about she wants them to do for Jinta. After she hangs up, Yukiatsu needs a favour from Anaru. Something that she only can do. That night the friends gather at the hideout for a rally to say goodbye to Menma. Menma is given the honours to do her speech (in writing of course). Because everyone is just snacking around, Yukiatsu suggests some kind of entertainment: Recreate the scene on that day. Jinta is against it so Yukiatsu makes Anaru start off. Poppo got no choice but to play along and this pressures Jinta to react. Jinta blurts out he likes Menma and runs out but was stopped that the same thing will happen if he runs away. Jinta then sees tears rolling down Menma’s cheeks.

Anaru is inconsolable as she walks back with Tsuruko. Tsuruko knows Yukiatsu put her up to this. Flashback reveals Anaru didn’t want to go through it since they already know the answer but he said she’ll keep losing to a Menma that shouldn’t exist and stay lost forever. Anaru says Tsuruko doesn’t understand how it feels to get the person you love to notice you but she begs to differ. Tsuruko likes Yukiatsu but he was always chasing after Menma. But he never chose her and if Menma goes to heaven, Anaru will be his replacement. Anaru disagrees she is one because she won’t date Yukiatsu no matter what as she still loves Jinta. Menma wonders if Jinta would marry her had she really grow up. He says she could stay here and not go to heaven. But she disagrees and wants to go to heaven to be reincarnated. By doing so she can talk to everyone again. Menma remembers talking to Jinta’s mom on her deathbed. She is talking about the being reborn so there is no sadness. Menma believes her when she said when one reincarnates, one may not necessarily be born human again. But there is just one thing that concerned mommy. As the day gets darker, everyone helps to set the rocket. Tsuruko has cut her hair. When Satoshi comes by, delightful Menma hugs him and he felt strange. A familiar scent. During the setting up process, Jinta is in a dilemma if he should stop all this. He thinks he should before it’s too late. Just when he decides to, the meister lights the fireworks as it displays a beautiful flower in the sky (Irene is watching at a distance in a car). But to Jinta’s shock, he still hears Menma playful joy behind. And soon it hit everyone else that Menma hasn’t gone back to heaven yet.

Episode 11
Satoshi thanks them for doing a lot for his sister before being picked up by his parents. Back home when Menma falls asleep, Jinta gets a call from Yukiatsu to meet at the shrine. They are discussing that the rocket blast wasn’t Menma’s real wish. It’s not that she didn’t go to heaven because her wish was different but were they considering her feelings when they did so? Everyone felt that they were only thinking about themselves. Anaru wanted not to grant Menma’s wish but because she couldn’t stand Jinta caring about Menma. The same case for Yukiatsu. After all these years, his love for Menma was still strong and he couldn’t bear to see (ironically he couldn’t) Jinta and Menma together. Tsuruko calls them horrible so Anaru tells her off that she too is the same. Especially hiding something she wants to tell Yukiatsu. Both girls started getting physical. Tsuruko reveals that it was just like the other day. Anaru and Yukiatsu planned to check if Jinta had feelings for Menma. Anaru admits she is jealous of Menma but because Tsuruko loves Yukiatsu, she was also jealous of Menma and tried to make her go to heaven. Yukiatsu is surprised to hear this. But Tsuruko insists she wasn’t jealous. She knew from the beginning she was no match for Menma. If she went to heaven, then Anaru will be Yukiatsu’s replacement. Therefore the one she has always been jealous of was Anaru. Back then when Tsuruko found out about the plan, she told Menma about it but Menma did not want to scold them because she loves everyone not just Jinta. After Menma’s death and through time, Tsuruko thought she have come to understand Yukiatsu. But with Menma showing up again, look who is by Yukiatsu’s side again. So yeah, if Menma goes back to heaven and Anaru hooks up with Jinta, you do the maths. Ultimately, they couldn’t send Menma back to heaven with these feelings. Now it’s Poppo’s turn to get emotional. He’s saying he needs to make Menma return to heaven or else she’ll never forgive him. He reveals he saw Menma died on that day but was too scared to do anything or even run away. He then started living in the hideout, skipped school and went on a world tour with hope he would change but he keeps coming back to this place. He begs Jinta to make Menma go to heaven. Just when Anaru is determined to send Menma back to heaven and couldn’t care less about Jinta, Jinta notes her two eyelashes. This causes everyone to burst into laughter and tease her. With the ice broken, Jinta admits he was happy that he was the only one who could hear and see Menma. But she wasn’t like that. She wanted to talk to everyone and not just him. That’s why she wanted to go to heaven and reborn. They decide to call Menma over and seriously discuss with her. Yukiatsu acknowledges Jinta as the group’s leader since he’ll be the one who’ll bring Menma over.

When Jinta gets back, he is horrified to see Menma weakened and lying on the floor. Of all times. Yeah, she’s starting to feel strange. In his arms, Menma remembers the promise she made with his mom. She told Menma how Jinta was acting tough because she ended up in hospital. Though she’s happy to be reborn, she wants her son to laugh, be mad and cry more often. That’s when Menma promised that she’ll make Jinta cry no matter what. After thinking for so long, she had no idea how to do it. That’s why she called her pals to gather to help think of a way (because she admits she isn’t smart). But it didn’t turn out well and thinks it’s her punishment for keeping it from him. Jinta disagrees it is so because he would still go whether he kept it a secret from him or not. With Jinta crying, I guess this means her wish is fulfilled and time to say goodbye, eh? Menma notes that she prefers him laughing than crying. Jinta carries her on his back and runs all the way back to his friends. But upon reaching the hideout, suddenly Jinta couldn’t see and hear Menma anymore even if she’s standing right behind him. He starts to panic and this has everyone alerted. They go out to search for Menma, thinking she’s playing hide and seek. Menma feels the need to say goodbye properly to everyone so she gathers up her last strength and start writing. When the friends couldn’t find Menma, they start seeing pages from Menma’s diary beneath a tree, a letter to each of them. Inside, Menma’s earnest and heartfelt thanks and how she likes their kindness (Tsuruko), hardworking (Yukiatsu), funniness (Poppo), steadiness (Anaru) and to Jinta the I-want-to-marry-you type of love. Nobody can hold back their tears after reading those touching words. Jinta yells out that since this is a hide and seek game, if he doesn’t find her, this will never end. Suddenly, everyone hears Menma’s voice. Yes, everyone. Then they see her leaning against the tree. They are so happy to see each other. Menma wants them to end it by reading their letter. They shout aloud that they love her. Jinta thanks everyone for granting her wish and confesses he loves Menma. A complete emotional Menma says she wants to be with everyone and play with them all. That’s why she’ll reborn again and be together. Menma disappears with a smile when everybody shouts that they’ve found her. In the aftermath, Jinta goes to school with Anaru. Yukiatsu and Tsuruko are going out together while Poppo tries studying during his break during his part time jobs. Jinta narrates they’re becoming adults every day. As the seasons pass, different flowers bloom on the side of the path. The kind of flower that waved around a little, prick a little if touched, smelt like a faintly green sunny scent. Though he doesn’t know the name of the flower, he knows it is still blooming somewhere and will continue to grant its wish. On the wall, the last message carved by Menma states “Super Peace Busters will be friends forever”.

I Still Don’t Know The Relevance Of The Flower I Saw In This Show
Oh my. This is just too sad. Even if the ending could be considered a happy one, I still felt sad that everyone couldn’t be together. A note of warning though. Trying hard to hold back your tears is only going to make it worse. Unless you’re the kind of emotionless sadistic bastard that enjoys seeing the pain and suffering of others. Personally, I too wanted Menma to stay at the end and have everyone living happily ever after even if Menma would remain a ghost. I even dared thought of a possibility that a miracle would happen. In the sense that she gains a physical body and continues to live with her pals. However that’s stretching it and though this series is supernatural, I don’t think it will reach that length of absurdness. But look at it this way, Menma couldn’t realistically be with everybody forever. She is dead in the first place. She can never return to the present time even if her wish to reborn and talk to everyone served as a hope for everyone to move forward. Basically Menma’s appearance was timely because the friends that should have been friends for life started drifting far apart to the point that they could even hate each other. It was totally sad that they could only see and hear Menma for a brief moment but I guess it is better never to have to. Well, seeing is believing.

Though Jinta was the leader of Super Peace Busters, it is actually Menma that held the group together. Whether it is for good or bad. Bad? Well, because of her, we see love triangles forming among themselves, right? Only Poppo was the one that didn’t take any love interest among the group. Menma may be slow but I find that at certain points, this made her quite cute. Especially the part she confiscates Jinta’s food! Maybe because of her slowness, it never dawned to her that she should just move things about to convince others that she is really there. It could have been a lot easier. I mean, Yukiatsu and the rest were demanding for proof and Jinta could have easily told Menma to do something to make it seem like things are flying in the air. Instead he just kept hoping that they’ll believe in his words. Get real. If you saw something that is rarely seen by others, it’s natural that they want to see proof of existence, right? The odd part of Menma being a ghost was, it never felt like she was one. She could interact and touch objects like as though she was a live human being. Especially her physical contact like hugging Jinta. It’s like she’s an invisible girl. So it kept me wondering if there was more than meets the eye. It would be tad odd for others to see Jinta talking and interacting with himself. Like a mad kid. Perhaps too many video games? Oddly if Menma touches others, they will feel a change in air pressure but when she touches other solid objects there is no such thing. There were several instances when she moves physical objects and other people thought it was just the wind or some accident. Menma also do not display ghost-like abilities. I believe I never see her walking through walls or even fly. Yeah, she walks.

Menma’s return was a chance for the friends to bury the ghost of their past and reconcile with each other. Notice how everyone gradually started calling each other’s childhood nicknames instead of their real names? I just wonder why Menma chose to return many years later instead of shortly after their deaths (by the way, where the heck was she during her death and her return? Perhaps time runs differently for the human and spirit world). Maybe when they are kids, they are too young to understand things and are unlikely to even comprehend the appearance of the ghost. They had a hard time losing a friend and now their friend returns as a spirit. That’ll be too much for a kid to handle. For the many years that they have been going on living their separate lives without Menma, perhaps growing distant and then making them gather is good since there is a ‘cooling period’. It is just unfortunate that everyone had to live with the guilt, despair and gloominess. So by getting over their past and reconciling with each other, they are able to move forward once more. Menma may not be physically here but she’ll always be in their hearts as long as they remember her. With that, Super Peace Busters will always be the six of them no matter when, what, how or why. Whether or not Menma will reborn is a different matter. All we know is that she is set free as with her friends.

You thought little kids in love was just child’s play and nothing serious? It is as complicated as if they were teenagers or adults. The love triangle was basically the source of everything that happened. The jealousy and envy long kept in their heart finally exploded out in the final moments. Anaru was easily influenced by those around her only because she was insecure about her feelings for Jinta. Even if she was the ‘closest’ to him, she was in fact as distant as the rest. I think she was the most emotional one, crying the most. Tsuruko was also like Anaru but she didn’t disclose her love and nobody knew of it till recently. Yukiatsu’s cross-dressing fetish as Menma was perhaps the only way he could get ‘close’ to her seeing he knows that Menma would choose Jinta over him. His words may initially sound harsh and cold towards Jinta but they are somewhat directed and a reflection towards himself. Poppo may be the liveliest and mature among the bunch but that I feel is because he is trying to put on a mask and hide the guilt he had for seeing Menma die. Helpful and eager to get Super Peace Busters back to its original state, it wouldn’t help if everyone else was sad, gloomy and bitter, right?

The one who has it tough is definitely Irene. She never got over Menma’s death though initially she seemed calm. It’s odd that if Satoshi said she never left the house, how did she become the festival supervisor? You need to meet people if you’re in this kind of position, right? Unless she’s doing it through proxy via her husband. So eventually she too has to move forward because if she continues to wallow in the past, she might even lose Satoshi. Not through death but perhaps he would walk out and disown her. Jinta’s dad is an amazing character. He actually never scolds or forces Jinta to do anything! I’m sure many kids would like to have a father like him. I don’t know what his job is and he looks and sounds a little effeminate, but never hearing him raise his voice or hitting his son, it makes you wonder if this is the case of spoil the rod and spoil the child. Even Jinta himself is confused if he should get scolded in situations that normally should. Maybe it’s because of daddy’s ‘soft approach’, Jinta turned into a lazy bum. He even got a choice of not attending school! Well, it’s not one of those high class schools so I guess if you want to turn up, it’s your business. At least he didn’t do drugs or turn into a life of crime. Maybe so long a lazy bum that Menma had to step in and remind him of her wish. But really, he’s so traumatized by his past, forcing things upon him would only make things worse. After all, kids his age have those rebellion and raging hormones in their genes.

Since this is a tear jerking drama, I guess the most dramatic voice acting are mostly during arguing scenes that would normally have the characters start yelling at each other or crying scenes that also want to make you weep. Newbie seiyuu Ai Kayano (Roman in Sket Dance) is cute in her role as Menma. Other casts include Miyu Irino (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle) as Jinta, Haruka Tomatsu (Lala in To Love-Ru) as Anaru, Takahiro Sakurai (Shito in Zombie Loan) as Yukiatsu, Saori Hayami (Ikaros in Sora No Otoshimono) as Tsuruko, Takayuki Kondou (Oishi in Prince Of Tennis), Kaoru Mizuhara (Gisen in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls) as Satoshi and Fuyuka Oura (Jita in Seikon No Qwaser) as Irene. I think this is the first time that I have heard an ending theme from another anime being used again. This series’ ending theme is Secret Base – Kimi Ga Kureta Mono (10 Years After Version) sung by the seiyuus of Menma, Anaru and Tsuruko. The first time I heard this song was the first ending theme for the TV series of Kyo No Go No Ni back in year 2008. Not too sure why they would reuse this song again but I guess the lyrics fit the flow and theme of the series. Oh, see all the petals of flowers floating in the ending credits animation? Is this the flower that they’re talking about? The opening theme is Aoi Shiori by Galileo Galilei and is a nice moderate pop piece.

There are several trivia in this anime if you keep your eyes peeled. Many of them in the form of anime posters because Anaru works part time in an anime and games shop. So it’s eye candy for you to spot animes like Sekirei, Hourou Musuko and Working!! among the many posters displayed on the shelves and walls. Then there was one scene whereby Jinta was watching TV. I instantly recognized that show as Seikimatsu Occult Academy. Ironically he was watching a supernatural horror series when ghost Menma suddenly pops up! Scared the daylights out of him! Of course there are those that are a parody of popular ones such as Pokemon and Digimon (Dojimon in this series). There are some real life places used in this show. For instance the unique bridge that you see here is actually the Chichibu Bridge in Saitama prefecture. I’m not sure if this is Jinta’s fashion statement because I notice he always wears shirts that has two or three big kanji words on the front like “Fire Mountain” or “Not Careful”. It’s like he’s trying to make a big statement.

Losing a childhood friend during one’s childhood days can prove to be traumatic. Sometimes we don’t see what is in front of us and we get stuck in the past because we are unable to overcome it. That is what friends are for. True friend sticks by you and go through every good and bad times. Even if they’re dead. I may be lucky not to experience such events in my life but it will be some time for me before I get over the sadness of this story. The sorrow and grief of the series affected me so much so that I too could feel the pain in my heart. Just thinking back about everything in this anime could easily bring back all those heart-wrenching moments. Excuse me while I grab another box of tissues.

Maria+Holic Alive

March 24, 2012

Dear mother still up in heaven,

Oh God. That lesbian is still alive. That nose bleeding perverted lesbian pig still lives. I thought she have died from a massive nose bleed that a sequel wasn’t possible. Actually, the season ended with an abrupt cliff-hanger so I suppose that means there will be a continuation whatsoever. So I guess we’ll have to put up with more of Kanako Miyamae’s disgusting habits in Maria+Holic Alive. Yeah, I guess that is what “Alive” means and refers to.

A basic recap of the series. Kanako loves girls and is allergic to boys. That line tells a lot. That’s why she enrols herself in the Catholic missionary high school, Ame No Kisaki so that she could find her female romantic partner. Unfortunately her roommate is a cold hearted cross-dressing boy (Mariya Shidou) with an equally sarcastic but emotionally deadpan maid (Matsurika Shinouji). Thus Kanako’s dream is very much a distant dream. Add all the odd characters and friends in her life, you can say that the dream is still pretty much elusive. All she gets are abuse, her common sense challenged daily and frustration that would drive anyone up the wall. Ah well, that’s all part of being alive, doesn’t it?

In contrast in my previous blog of this series, I will be referring to Mariya as a ‘she’ instead of a ‘he’. It makes my life so much easier because for most of the part, Mariya looks, sounds and acts like a girl. So why not? This means Mariya’s equally cross-dressing twin, Shizu I would be referring as ‘him’. Confused? Not to me :).

Episode 1: The Forbidden Women’s Dorm
Has Kanako become a polite and kind lady? In your dreams! That’s right. She’s just dreaming till Mariya rudely wakes her up. Mariya further teases the yuri pig by dressing in an air stewardess dress causing her to further nose bleed. What a way to wake up to a bloody day. To start the day off, Kanako gets an idea to run with a piece of bread in her mouth like in shoujo mangas. However she trips on Yonakuni and got lost in the thick mist. She ends up at the abandoned First Girls’ Dorm. During lunch, she tells her friends about it and it is said that a couple who confesses to each other under a legendary magnolia tree on their lucky day, eternal happiness will be granted upon them. This was also the tree that Kanako’s parents met under. It is decided that they will go to watch the tree blossom tomorrow. Back in her room, Mariya and Matsurika caution Kanako about her attempt because the dorm is laid with traps. Because the boys and girls dorm were located next to each other, there were perverted attempts to get over. Thus the girls laid traps over traps till the place is filled with them. So much so no one comes in, no one gets out. Due to this, the first dorm was closed and now abandoned. Mariya warns about the harsh trials one must endure to see the tree and many failed by even getting past the front gate. Surprisingly Mariya supports Kanako as the cross-dresser leaves the front charge to her as she would like to also see the tree. Kanako, Yuzuru Inamori, Sachi Momoi and Nanami Kiri get ready to enter. Her friends see her determination so they decide to go along with her. Sachi picks the lock to open the front door. Kanako goes in first but an arrow is fired at her. Ryuuken Ishima pushes her out of harm’s way (banging her head into the glass). She too would like to join their journey after learning about it. Oddly as they trek through the corridors, they feel the place is neatly maintained. The first trial is to soak in very hot bathtubs. The longer you soak the more coins you get. I don’t know. That’s what the rules said. Kanako’s fantasizing has her drop into the bathtub. Saves everyone the scalding, eh? Yeah, she got a bunch of coins too. Thanks Kanako.

Next trial is to play a slot machine and summon somebody. Just exactly who? Matsurika?! She makes it clear Mariya has no hand in this and was paid handsomely (in a gem stone) for this part time job. Seems God and Yonakuni are watching everyone on a big video screen. The next trial is strikeout in which one must pitch through a window with numbers on its glass. Ryuuken flops so with 10 coins, Kanako can ‘summon’ the deus ex machine Matsurika to do the job. All Matsurika did was go up close to the window and break each one of them with the ball. The next amusement, oops I mean trial, is a super speed treadmill. Kanako tries running on it but ran out of steam. She wants to use 10 coins to summon the deus ex machine but since Matsurika isn’t paid over time, she goes off. Kanako continues to beg Matsurika for help but was slapped by Sachi. She reminds her of her mission to rediscover the memories of her late parents and must try harder. After going through more trials that resemble so much like amusement, finally they are up against the final boss: God. Behind her lies the door to the tree. Nanami gives her strawberry rice cake since God requested it. God purposely drops the key and goes off. As they unlock the door, not only they see the tree but Mariya and Matsurika inviting them to tea underneath it. Kanako understands the secret of the jinx that eternally ties couples together. It doesn’t matter which side confesses. Just making it to this tree means going through a lot together. If they don’t care deeply for each other, they’ll give up halfway. Suddenly Kanako learns that there is a secret emergency exit which serves as a shortcut to this place (otherwise safety regulations for the building can’t be approved!). Kanako is appalled of the suffering she went through. Everyone knew about it but after hearing Kanako’s determination to charge through the front, they just followed her. Mariya surprisingly has nice words for Kanako. At least she now knows what her late mom felt. But that is just a cue because she has to go back the way she came! God is showing her the way in… NOOOOO!!!

Episode 2A: Playing The Forbidden Game
It’s June and supposed to be the hot summer but it’s raining like cats and dogs. Why? Because God says so. Kanako is not only stuck in her room with Mariya and Matsurika, but Ryuuken and God as well because they are here for Mariya’s tasty sweets. To liven up the mood, Ryuuken suggests playing Romance of the Three Kingdoms card game. Huh? See how obsessed Ryuuken is in the topic? She knows just about anything about its generals. Of course Kanako is the only ‘dumb’ one and feels left out. Kanako tries to change the subject and suggests they should talk about something current instead of in the past because well, everyone in the Three Kingdoms are pretty much dead. Ryuuken laments her inconsideration of others so God takes out some simple Moe Concentration card game that even idiots can easily play. Then Mariya takes out her personal card game set: Fun with Law: Criminal Law Set 2! It even comes with narrated CD! Now everyone can have fun learning about law! Matsurika shows her personal cards. However they turn out to be gemstones and serve more as her wish-list with suggested retail price. Even Yonakuni has his own ESP cards! This causes Kanako to throw a tantrum that she wants her own cards too. But she may get more than she bargained for because Touichirou Kanae comes in and is willing to answer her distress. Her hives are breaking out… Kanako is screaming in terror… Then Mariya’s snack finished. This means God has no reason to be here and stops the rain. The sun suddenly comes out! WOAH!!!!!

Part 2B: Secret Reception
As Kanako reluctantly cleans up the room, she is upset that Mariya and Matsurika don’t give a damn about her. Yeah, Matsurika is playing her handheld game… Kanako tries to tell them off that if they don’t keep clean… But when she swipes the window pane at Mariya’s side, she is surprised to find it squeaky clean. She then realizes the different ‘gap’ between their cleanliness even though they’re in the same room. She requests for ‘Overseas Development Aid’ but Mariya refuses. This has Kanako fantasizing her own personal maid (why are they all girls from Infinite Stratos?) and starts throwing a tantrum. In view of this, Mariya already has someone prepared to help with her cleaning: Kanae. See how Kanako collapse… Maybe she overworked herself…

Part 2C: Rewards of Bashfulness
Unlike her friends, Kanako couldn’t tell Nanami had come to class with a different lens as reward for the mid-term exams. Sachi also bought herself her own reward: a screwdriver. Huh? Yuzuru thought Kanako was being mean when she asked about the former’s reward. Turns out to be chocolates. Kanako tries soothing her that they are cute though those little bits are expensive. Beats Matsurika’s gems, eh? Kanako goes back and wants a reward from Mariaemon (Mariya + Doraemon) so she was being told off that rewards are reserved for those who work hard and then succeed. Because Kanako starts throwing a tantrum, Mariya has just the thing prepared: Kanae! Get ready for father time! I’m sure Kanako would be grateful for any reward that will free her from these circumstances.

Episode 2D: Do your best Touichirou!
Kanae is thinking how to properly respond a handphone SMS. Seems recently he has been getting lots of SMS from Mariya to help Kanako. Since he teaches Japanese language, using emoticons may be improper but decides to use it to keep it short and trendy. However he is in a dilemma on what emoticon to use to avoid unwanted misunderstanding. Finally he settles for a chick.

Episode 3A: Greed’s Tremor
God warns Yonakuni about getting fatter than he is now… Too late. Kanako thinks she has been looking for love in the wrong place and decides to dress up and head to the big city to find one. But when she finds she can’t zip up her skirt, she tries to make excuses to rational her weight gain isn’t so. Thinking back, she blames Mariya’s high calorie sweets that caused the problem. However she is made to go back further into the root of the problem. From patissieres to the basic ingredient of sugar cane. Kanako tries dieting and only eating shiitake mushrooms since this will cause her to salivate and in turn reduce the amount of water in her body and thus her weight (WTF?!). Because Nanami is talking about chewing marbles (instead of stones like what boxers do for training), Kanako is tempted to steal Sachi’s marbles. During the meeting between class reps, starving Kanako is disheartened to learn that Ayari Shiki will be discussing the cafeteria menu! Actually everyone is giving such high class names that Kanako couldn’t imagine what those dishes are. And even if they do, the way they explain in detail makes Kanako want to have a taste of it. She finally couldn’t take it anymore and sees Shiki’s hair as croissants and pounds on her. Kanako locks herself in her room and turns it into one big sauna in hopes of reducing her body water. Looks like the heat fried her brain. Yeah, she’s like a psycho person in a strait jacket walking around with 2 iron balls chained to her feet! Honoka is talking to her friends about seafood so Kanako overheard that and loses control. She wakes up in the infirmary and her instincts have her attack the school nurse, Tonomura after mistaking her boobs as melons! Amazingly she can still nose bleed. How many fluids does her body contain? After 3 days without proper meal, that night, her stomach is growling like mad. She creeps out of the room in search of food! Suddenly a loud scream is heard. Ryuuken wakes up and rushes to the scene. To everyone’s horror, they see Kanako up on the ceiling like that monster from The Thing trying to swallow Yonakuni! In the aftermath, Kanako is being reprimanded by Mariya and Matsurika. Though she has bitten Yonakuni, assaults on pets are considered damage to property. They also tell her to do her diet properly by exercising and reducing calorie intake. Even so, Kanako has the guts to say doing it by the book is boring! Kanako gets serious in her dieting and avoids all the late night sweets. She is happy that she is able to fit into her skirt but only to be told walking around in those clothes in Ame No Kisaki is forbidden. Plus, they won’t let you leave the campus just to have fun. Kanako is so disheartened over her suffering that she starts eating all the sweets to make it up for her misery in this prison. But of course, one can always apply to go outside with a reason to study at a friend’s place. I wonder what will be her reaction once Kanako finds out about this…

Episode 3B: Do Your Best Touichiro!
Kanae blames the rain that makes his clothes rather tight. Mariya and Matsurika start selling him some fantastic diet which actually turns out to be one big pyramid scheme. And that father is so convinced with Mariya’s smooth talk and conviction. I guess there are lots of gullible people who would still fall for this ‘business model’.

Episode 4: The Captive Maiden
Kanako is in the midst of a trial for biting Yonakuni. God is the judge while her friends Yuzuru, Sachi, Nanami and Ryuuken are the jury. Mariya is the prosecutor while Matsurika is the defence lawyer. Either way, Kanako is screwed. Mariya and Matsurika also put up a convincing performance to make the jury feel that they are having a hard time going against each other. So with both sides arguing what Kanako did during her assault (they have ‘video evidence’. More like clips from the previous episode), they call in witnesses to give their testimony (even that seaweed creature in Kanako’s bag makes its appearance. Oh, don’t forget Kanae too!) and it seems Nanami’s reasoning is always against Kanako, much to Sachi’s dismay. Yeah, she’s bad at reading the atmosphere and merely wants to speak the truth. The twist and turn of the trial turns from one that is trying to deliberate Kanako’s actions as sudden or pre-mediated to one that accuses Yonakuni as the culprit to make Kanako attack the dog in self defence. During this period, Kanako has got the cheek to worry about her status as this series’ main character. If she gets labelled as a criminal, the show might be cancelled! However when she starts fantasizing the beautiful female prisoners and jail wardens, she thinks going to jail isn’t as bad! WTF?! However she feels her priority is to keep her status as the main protagonist of this show (she can always work as a jail warden during her summer vacation. Like anyone would!). Kanako gets up and decides to reveal a secret that no one else had heard before. But then the alarm clock rings and God decides to leave to watch a certain anime that only airs at this time of the week. She leaves the deliberation up to them because, no one can simply deprive and interfere with God’s once-a-week enjoyment. Oh sh*t! Yonakuni hops along with God and hey, shouldn’t the injuries be healed in a few more weeks? The dog is walking fine, though… In the end, the jury finds Kanako guilty to the charge of property damage and looks like Matsurika already has made the necessary preparations for her punishment: Kanae! A sermon from him till morning! Hell begins now! Kanako comes back exhausted (Mariya and Matsurika can’t help make dirty comments) and to her dismay she learns today is exam day! Kanako set the new record by becoming the first girl in Ame No Kisaki to fail all her subjects so much so an emergency meeting was called. That bad, huh?

Episode 5A: Sullied Sisters
Kanako refuses to believe that she is that stupid and gives some lame excuses. So desperate to tell that she is not stupid, that she explains her elder sister who has gotten into the worldly renowned California Institute of Technology to be a REALLY STUPID SCHOOL! WTF?! Plus, her sister is the really idiotic one! I wonder how her imagination turned so malicious. I wonder why Mariya and Matsurika have to put up with this. So they substitute Kanako by talking to a stuffed bear while the real nympho is tied and gagged in the closet. Thank heavens. But even so, Kanako still isn’t repentant. I guess Mariya will have to put her foot down and make sure Kanako does a collection of make-up questions from every teacher (I guess they were really serious in this grave matter) and do nothing but study for the next week and pass all subjects in her make-up exam. Mariya goes to the Archery Club early and meets some of the members, Banri Tsumugi, Chifumi Satsuki and newbie Komachi Yamaki (a self-proclaimed Mariya devotee who joined the club just to be close to her). Kanako still hasn’t learnt her lesson as she spies at the Archery Club. She is dismayed that Mariya is fooling around with a bevy of beautiful maidens. Unfortunately her fantasizing of Yuzuru has God catching her in the act of not studying. When Mariya and Matsurika return to their room, they don’t see Kanako around and think she has escaped. But God mentions since she assumed the chairmanship of the committee to deal with Kanako’s failing grades, she has increased her studying time. In short, Kanako is sent to a place where time flows differently. Though it may be a week here, but Kanako will be spending a year studying!!!

Episode 5B: Mischievous Fingertips
When Kanako comes back, she has longer hair, grown 2 centimetres taller and sporting an accent?! And she wants everybody to give her their study skills?! But it seems that Kanako isn’t the only one who changed. Ryuuken sports a very weird hairdo too. Her class table has been decorated by Shiki with rhinestones, resin and those flashy stuffs. Seems Honoka was the one responsible for the hairdo and her close buddies also don outrageous hairstyles. Why is there a cat in the hair? Honoka offers to do Kanako’s hair and because her hand is touching the back of her neck, the usual bloody geyser from her nose… Honoka continues to do Kanako’s hair even if she’s passed out. Yeah, you could say it is one hair-raising style! Anyway, Kanako managed to scrap pass the make-up exams. Ryuuken invites Kanako to play her personal card game. Since it is based on Japan’s historic battles, as Ryuuken mentions the interesting thing about this game is no matter how hard the players try, they can’t change history! Furthermore, Mariya announces those cards on sale and there will be an official tournament tomorrow morning. Participation is compulsory as God adds. The lowest ranking student will be punished to watch continuously the long running three-story series, Legend of Japanese Heroes box set. All 165 episodes on 45 DVDs!!! FUUUUUU~!!! And without blinking!!! I guess you know what this means for Kanako. She is so desperate to buy those cards that she is knocking on the store’s door in the wee hours of the morning. Nobody’s home… Now does she appreciate Japanese history?

Episode 6A: Heart Pounding Mission: School Scramble
These are the events that happened while Kanako was away. So much so Matsurika ‘hijacked’ the series and calls it Matsurika+Holic. Ryuuken is looking for Mariya but was told by God that she is away visiting her family. Fumi Kumagai talks to Tonomura about using card battles as teaching supplement to learn Japanese history. Mariya notes that she understands her intention to include fun in her teaching, she feels it will not convey her feelings to her students. Mainly because of the cheap card materials. Mariya suggests to let her handle the printing job and they can bang out 300 starter packs and 1000 five-card booster packs! Then we see her analyzing in how to make sales and profit with these cards to the extent of selling it to the boys’ school of Mihoshi No Mori as well. Kanako’s friends are worried about her absence so they decide to brighten things up on her table by putting a flower and her picture. Does it give a feel that she’s dead? Elsewhere Ryuuken’s followers comment about the hairpin she got from Shiki so Honoka takes this opportunity to do her hair. The sales of the cards shoot up (thanks to God forcing the girls to buy) and for Mariya and Matsurika, it’s like printing money since they only incur printing costs. Seems Mariya and God are in a little dispute over the official rights for this Sunday’s tournament so Mariya assures she’ll handle it so God would like to talk about the prizes, penalties and God’s royalties. What God’s royalties?

Shiki finishes decorating Kanako’s table as suggested by Kanako’s friends. Kanae was passing by and saw this. He misunderstood that Kanako had passed away. He happens to pass by Mariya and Matsurika and since both are talking ambiguously, Kanae is convinced Kanako went to heaven. Well, Kanako did depart to somewhere else not on this Earth. Kanae further misinterprets Kanako committed suicide over her make-up exams. Then he got the cheek to even think he should consider the happiness of girls in front before him and will bring forth their true smiles. Mariya and Matsurika can tell from his eerie gaze so they excuse themselves. Next thing we know, Kanae is stuck in a pit hole at Mariya’s mansion. Shizu’s butler, Rindou (also Matsurika’s twin) was the one who dug the spot and even thought of burying the father completely by planting a tree! Of course Shizu reprimands him and takes Kanae inside. But Kanae upon looking at Shizu, starts having that sort of feeling in his heart. I guess being a shotacon is fine for him too, eh? He can’t take the pressure anymore and dashes out in a bathrobe. Though Shizu is clueless, Rindou notes that the stare the father gave him is not the kind generally given to men. Kanae meets Mariya and Matsurika on his way out (they’re coming back from club activities). Before Mariya could finish asking, he tells them he has no right to stare at her. Actually what she wanted to ask was why he was coming from her house in a bathrobe. Walking through the corridors of the school, he chances upon Maki Natsuru. He somewhat takes a liking of her scent and sees her shaken face. Oh no. This guy is starting to think he’s fallen in love with her. Natsuru meets up with Shiki to tell her Kanae is a pervert who walks around the campus in a bathrobe. Don’t tell me he is falling for Shiki too? All these events are actually what Matsurika is typing an SMS message to her father what has happened over the week! Kanae sees Kanako with that outrageous hair-raising hairstyle. If she dyed it blonde, she may have looked like MAR’s Rapunzel.

Episode 6B: Matsurika’s Journal
Kanako is in the midst of being erased as Matsurika asserts her presence is not needed in Matsurika+Holic! Though the second half nearly become so Touichirou+Holic. Mariya chides her about wanting to take over the entire show and that her little journal section wasn’t enough. Oh, Kanako is close to complete erasure!

Episode 7A: The Real Swimming Competition Full of Pretty Girls
Mariya and Shizu are challenging each other to… Who is taller? Surprisingly Shizu beats Mariya by 0.3mm! However Rindou starts spouting some embarrassing details that we users aren’t going to hear. With the exams over, Kanako is looking forward to the swim meet. Oh God. Girls in swimsuits. Double trouble. She’s looking forward to flying tops and all. Sh*t. She should have been taking exams for the entire month. When that day came, as usual, Kanako’s nose bleed turned the entire pool into a blood pond. Why does she have so much blood? In a blink of an eye, everything was over. Kanako laments that Shizu and Mariya switched places for the kibasen. She heads over to Mariya’s mansion with intentions to apologize to Shizu for the flying top incident. Really? Why is she sneaking around? But she gets caught in a trap. Yeah, courtesy of Rindou. Rindou brings the ‘victim’ inside the house and as we are being told, these are traps he set intended for Mariya (they’re in some sort of war since young?). Rindou loves the battlefield and survival games but Mariya would’ve been happier if he didn’t turn the entire garden into a trap loaded battlefield. The loggerheads are bickering so much so Kanako got annoyed to at least let the VIP out of the net (she’s making me laugh). Kanako soon apologizes to Shizu and he forgives her. However Mariya cautions her of being too kind because Kanako’s the kind that’ll start getting cocky. Still, Shizu stands up for Kanako as she may have her reasons. Mariya wants Kanako to go back to the dorm while she’ll be staying here. Because come tomorrow, she’ll understand.

Next day in school, Kanako sees the swimming teacher, Ayano Enjouji. She wants her to redo the flying top incident because she finds it electrifying and wants to see it again! She even brings Mariya! Is her secret going to be revealed?! Fortunately not because it’s just a dream. Kanako is in despair when Mariya touches her but is surprised that she didn’t break out in hives. This could only mean this person is Shizu. Since it’s Mihoshi No Mori’s swim meet, both twins switched places. Because of that, Kanako is looking forward to the entire day with doing whatever she desires with Shizu. Unfortunately, this isn’t a dream. Yeah, Matsurika pinched her cheeks hard to confirm this. Then suddenly Shizu runs up to Kanako to confess that the swim meet was a lie. Shizu convinced Mariya to switch places just to see her. Her heart pounds when he thinks of Kanako?! You can’t be serious?! Could this finally be her romance? However Enjouji tells them Kanako’s lips are hers?! WTF?! Love triangle?! Then poof! Kanako wakes up from her dream in class. Haha! A dream twist in a dream! Kanako is desperate for Shizu to stay here and if an accident won’t happen at Mihoshi No Mori’s swim meet, she’ll make one! She makes all the necessary preparations from getting the best seafood from Honoka to give to God so she can get the emergency exit key to the First Girls’ Dorm. And a change of clothes to avoid being identified as Ame No Kisaki’s student. She takes this life and death mission seriously that she wants her pals to deliver her rosary to her younger sister in the suburbs if she doesn’t return! Once at Mihoshi No Mori’s pool, she is thinking how to involve Mariya in an accident. Because she thought for too long, Rindou sees her and she is surrounded by guys! Hell time! Rindou thought she is the judge for the kibasen. I don’t know how Kanako ended up putting on her swimsuit and in the middle of the pool, but the guys start converging at her from all sides when the game starts. Death becomes her…

Episode 7B: Rindou’s Journal
Rindou narrates his love for survival games and setting traps to ensnare Mariya. But the traps always catch unintended victims (remember Kanae’s case too). So why is Enjouji caught one now? Looks like a dream from Kanako. Apparently Matsurika forced this dream twist to get back her segment…

Episode 8A: Sullied Innocence
Kanako is disheartened to find that even for summer vacation, there is a special class only for her. Yeah, her failed-every-subject incident must be really infamous. But learning that summer classes have always been voluntarily attended, if she could just get several students to attend class voluntarily, she’ll have her beautiful harem for summer. All is not lost! I think she just lost it. But after asking a few of her friends, seems they are all going back home to help out with their families. They have a future to think about and it’s not like life ends once high school ends. So much so Kanako believes in the Mayan Prophecy that the world will come to an end in 2012 and that the moment to live is now! Kanako is annoyingly singing to herself Sachi’s birthday song (which is tomorrow). She ponders what kind of present to give her and takes out a photo album filled with secret shots of Sachi! She even has a few sets on other girls! Stalker! It’s no surprise why Kanako gets beaten up by the sadist, eh? Mariya confiscates the book and still Kanako isn’t repentant. Sachi is so popular that they are having her birthday celebrations at the church during the summer holiday (Matsurika quoting she’s even generous and kind towards industrial waste like Kanako). Everyone is thanking Sachi for the ridiculous aid that helped them out (don’t ask). Even some gay Frenchie. Who the heck is that?! Before Kanako’s turn to give Sachi’s present, she is being called out by Mariya. Outside, she confiscates the gift and opens it to find a devilish babydoll dress. What was she thinking? Increase her cute appeal? I think Mariya would do a better job by returning it. Returning to the church, Kanako compares everyone’s outrageous gifts. She is sure Sachi would accept her ‘thought that counts’ but that will make her the villain in the eyes of others. When it’s Kanako’s turn, she wraps herself as Sachi’s present! But after seeing everyone’s presents that made Sachi smile (and Mariya’s words of forcing her perverted hobbies unto others), Kanako apologizes for not getting any present and runs off. At the park, Kanako thinks back about the days when Sachi helped her out. She has been the kindest one to her since she stepped foot in this school. Sachi then finds her and says she got her present. That photo album? Apparently Mariya gave it to her with an excuse that Kanako wanted to capture brief expressions of hers which will never be repeated again. Sachi will treasure this album, not knowing the real secret intention behind the album. Kanako wanted to confess but was stopped by Matsurika. She didn’t have a proper present and if she told the truth, what would happen? Would it make anyone happy? Even if Sachi would, will everyone else be happy? That’s why they feel Kanako must learn a lesson that there are things that can’t be resolved with just a mere apology. As punishment for trespassing against Sachi, Mariya hereby revokes Kanako’s speaking rights for the next episode! A background character without any lines! Oh yes! For once Kanako will shut up!

Episode 8B: Matsurika’s Journal
Mariya and Shizu trade each other’s homework but to Shizu’s dismay, his share is several piles compared to just a single compilation. Mariya helps out by reading aloud some of the questions but they sound so much like riddles. Yes, Mariya is just reading it. To make up for the injustice, Shizu has her answer a riddle. Something to do with bread (pan) and frying pan. Both put on a serious face and play poker as they can’t come up with the correct answer. The servants aren’t of any help because Rindou said some random line while Matsurika reads a stupid line to come up with a punch line.

Episode 9: The Precocious Fiance
Tota Hanabusa came all the way from Osaka to Ame No Kisaki to see his true love. At the gates, he has a spat with Kanae and the father is losing. He gets labelled as a dangerous animal with a Lolita complex! He’s trying to argue his way out that difference in age has nothing to do with love? The chatter stops when Ryuuken comes by. In the cafeteria with her friends, Tota is praising the beautiful girls in this school except for one: Kanako: Yeah, her mouth is fully covered! No yapping for this episode! In view of Kanako’s no-speech, Rindou, God and Yonakuni take the liberty to do some commentary and narration on Kanako’s behalf. Oh, how screwed up will it be? Yeah, the commentary will always be distracted with something else like jet fighters, helicopters and Geronimo. What? As Tota introduces himself, he also confidently mentions himself as Ryuuken’s future husband. Him calling Ryuuken so casually has Kanako her blood boil but she is taken away by Mariya because her friends decide to leave the love birds together. But beware. Kanako isn’t going to yield just yet. Ryuuken and Tota stroll around the campus and we learn that this guy is obsessed with stag beetles and has the tools ever ready to catch them. So is here to see his fiancée or collect beetles? Ryuuken learns Tota has visited her parents and was told she wanted to go to a different university and can’t come home (they are against it). Tota believes her place as his wife should be at home because he’ll do the work and savings to get that modest but happy life he wants to make. Ryuuken reminds him that he’s the only one taking this fiancée thing serious because all this was just a joke by her grandparents over drinks. Tears start welling in Tota’s eyes. He is seriously in love with her but laments she can’t say the same for him.

Meanwhile Kanako has gotten herself loose (except the mouth piece) and is trudging closer to the duo like a crazy stalker killer/ninja! She has that murderous aura! However she was distracted by Shiki and Natsuru. She tries to hold her nose bleed after fantasizing about Natsuru’s short skirt. Unfortunately she can’t and at a safe distance, she lets the blood flow. Now the mask is so tainted… Though she would love to take the easy way out by having Shiki take her to the infirmary, her priority now is Ryuuken and that obnoxious kid. The only thing in her heart is destruction and nothing will stop her from destroying that love till nothing is left! Dangerous. When she finally catches up to them, Kanako challenges Tota by showing him a stag beetle. However she instantly lost. And on home ground. How can you beat this expert? However Tota praises Kanako for trying to give her credit. He apologizes for saying mean things to her and lets her keep the beetle because it suits her (he put it on her face?). Then he gives a good luck charm to Ryuuken for her studies. He knew she was taking the university exam (because she’s his fiancée) and came here just to give her this. He decides to head back to Osaka and promises the next time they meet, he’ll be a better man. Say Kanako, you should learn a lesson or two from this kid. Tota passes by Kanae, apologizes and hands him a stag beetle. Later when Kanako’s mask has finally been removed (oh God. The yapping has begun), she is lamenting her tanned skin when she was out looking for stag beetles and only put mayonnaise as sun lotion. Come to think of this, vegetable oil does fry stuff, right? Anyway Matsurika suggests fighting fire with fire by using mayonnaise. Kanako is happy that they’re all in this together but gets beaten up because Mariya and Matsurika certainly aren’t as stupid as her. Go suck the mayonnaise yourself!

Episode 10A: The Holy Man’s Scapegoat
Matsurika gives Kanako a rosary and even though it’s from that cruel maid, I guess Kanako would be happy to receive from any girl. Till she learns the rosary belongs to Matsurika’s father. Worse still, it’s cursed! Matsurika’s dad immediately SMS her to tell the wonderful news of how he felt so light and liberated suddenly. Oh Kanako… Ever since, Kanako has been having nightmares in her sleep. This leads to sleep deprivation and she could use less trouble when Kanae comes barging in to help her problem. She’ll do anything he says as long he doesn’t touch her. Lying on the bed, Kanae has her count legs of an octopus to fall asleep. Octopus has only 8 arms, right? Yeah, it always worked for Kanae because he dozed off before 8. Not for Kanako. Next Kanae tries hypnosis but since Kanako mentions a capybara, Kanae misinterprets it for her hidden desires and will surrender himself to her! The trauma was horrifying enough to knock Kanako out. Ah well, at least she can sleep peacefully now. Mariya is grateful to Kanae so she gives him the cursed Rosary. Yeah well, he accepted it without second thoughts. Ever since, he feels very heavy and has nightmares of a little girl visiting his room. You know what? He thinks she is the fifth love of his life! Get real!

Episode 10B: Banquet of Lewd Dreams
Though Kanako’s curse is gone, she is asking Mariya and Matsurika for any other variety of cursed items. Why? She can’t get over that little girl who always visits her in her dreams and thinks other cursed items will have a sexy woman figure. So that’s why… Is that all she ever thinks? Matsurika first hands her the air stewardess’ cursed panty stockings (resulting in a scenario in which the stewardess calls the need of a girl who is constantly being mocked by others and also yuri), then a nurse’s cursed nurse cap (trying to make the nurse read an eye test but find out a word is missing so she uses her own body to make that word) and a female manga author’s cursed G-pen (drawing yuri images till she nose bleeds). Finally it is revealed those items aren’t actually cursed but belong to collectors with a certain taste. Oh Kanako, you’re so screwed…

Episode 10C: Forbidden Relationship
Kanae laments the cursed rosary but ends up coming up with a pun. “Aku No Jujika” can both mean “Evil Cross” and “Business Hours Open At Ten”. Also, “Noroi” can mean “Curse” or “Slow” (though different writing). Kanako comes up to Kanae and would like him to return the rosary because she misses the little girl. Great. Not only human girls will do. Is she so desperate to even want a cute spirit girl? Kanae misinterprets that if Kanako knows about the little girl, this must mean a love triangle. God and Yonakuni come by and the former is surprised to see the rosary in the father’s hands. She lets them know it belongs to her but lost it through time (just how old is she?!). This rosary used to be her favourite because it comes with a ‘lovely friend’. While Kanako panics upon God’s advice that some things are better left unknown (God’s childhood days, that is), Kanae thinks his fifth love ended pretty quickly. Did it even start?

Episode 10D: The Nape In Summer
Kanako loves the summer and when the girls don the yukata because of the ‘destructive power of the nape that peeks right on the edge of the yukata’. Oh God… She starts getting delusional but when the moment comes, she is disheartened that nobody tied up their hair so it’s safely hidden behind it (phew). Because she still can’t let the topic of napes go, Nanami lets her know that 70% of Japanese women wash their napes first. I guess the other girls fall into the remainder 30% as they state the other parts of the body that they wash first. Does it really matter? I don’t want to know. It ends with everyone watching the fireworks.

Episode 11A: The Younger Sister’s Juicy Secret
Miki, Kanako’s younger sister drops by Ame No Kisaki for a visit. Kanako laments she needs to do special homework for the summer holidays (because of her miracle epic fail) instead of having bikinis and drenched see-through shirts. With Miki coming into the room, I guess Kanako would have pounded on her own sister if she hadn’t said the sensitive subject of her becoming bigger. Kanako realizes Miki is here because her friends actually sent the rosary (remember that incident back in episode 7?). Then Miki hands Mariya the graduation essay of Kanako as she reads aloud her embarrassing dream of wanting to become just about everything. But the one she wanted to be most was a princess. So she once liked boys? Embarrassed Kanako takes the book away and runs away. In class, she is guarding it tightly and though her friends pretty much wanted to see it, they start narrating their own embarrassing dreams. Well, sounds noble if you ask me. As Kanae enters the class, he sees Kanako clutching the book and her sorrowful look has him think that she is torn between the gap of her dream and reality. He decides to make her believe in her dream when he remembers his own dream that never came true. Yeah, he wants to be a wonderful groom. In this state, he’ll never achieve it. So how? He tells her that dreams don’t come true and be strong like him. Er… You’re touching her hand. Later Kanako sees Miki strolling on the campus grounds. They talk about the good old days when they all came together at Ame No Kisaki as a family after mom died. Miki wanted to find out more about this school and ran away once but Irene (the director of Ame No Kisaki then and Mariya’s grandma) welcomed her and that is when she first met Mariya who was tasked to take care of Miki. An Archery Club member spots them and brings them back to the club room. Kanako sees how Miki interacts well with everyone and feels jealous. The girls think Miki should enrol in this school and be the Archery Club’s manager and cute mascot. Miki further explains how she first saw Mariya pulling her bow and was captivated. She was inspired ever since.

Kanako stand this anymore and takes Miki away. She warns Miki that she can’t think about Mariya and it’s definitely no good. To make her understand, she blurts out Mariya is a boy. So happen Mariya and Matsurika are there. Kanako realizes the sh*t she’s in because there is no way that cross-dresser would forgive her now. Especially since she’s smiling, there has to be something sinister underneath, right? Kanako right away gets down on her knees to beg for apology and to let Miki off the hook. Mariya plays it cool and brushes that nonsensical talk. This is Mariya’s way to cover for Kanako but I guess Kanako was dumb and pushing her luck that she tries to convince Miki that she doesn’t break into hives when she touches Mariya and that she is not a boy. If she had shut the f*ck up and let it slide, this would not have happened. Miki takes Mariya’s hand and touches Kanako. It’s breaking out! Miki would like to have a private talk with Mariya. Mariya admits he is a boy but Miki says she’ll enrol in this school since her dad wanted all his daughters to study at Ame No Kisaki to begin with. She’ll join the Archery Club and once she does, she wants Mariya to date her. This is not a threat to keep her identity a secret but rather she was in love with her for a long time. Mariya feels she is just upset that the person she thought was a woman turned out to be a man. At a distance, looks like Matsurika and Kanako couldn’t contain their curiosity and eavesdrop on them (Kanako tied up of course to prevent from doing anything destructive). Kanako witnessed the moment Miki’s heart got shattered and decides to cheer her up. But this was a giveaway that she was spying on them. Miki notes that Mariya avoided dumping her and pretended nothing ever happened but to Matsurika, she just dodged the entire thing to prevent it from becoming into a messy relationship drama. Soon Miki departs and promises to come back as a student of Ame No Kisaki next year. After all, this is the place her parents met and where she found the love of her life.

Episode 11B: Matsurika’s Journal
Are you curious what Matsurika’s dream was when she was young? An oil tycoon. Hah! I thought it would be something like world destroyer or conqueror.

Episode 12: Kanako’s Birthday
Kanako has been banned from using the public bath due her tainting nose bleeds. But she has to study in a room adjacent to it and hopes she can finish it before 31st August. It’s her birthday. Kanako tries to give hints to Mariya and Matsurika about that special day but I think they’re just pretending to be dumb by giving loads of other important events that happen on that day (including Malaysia’s independence!) and making a pun out of it (8/31 = Vegetable Day: Ya (8) Sa (3) Ichi (1), get it?). Even if Kanako hints a birthday, they go on ranting birthdays of famous people instead. Would it be a surprise that nobody remembers this lesbian’s birthday? So desperate that she tries to hint it to her friends with puns but I guess it got twisted somehow. This including going to great lengths to write that date on the ground with her blood! Finally her friends conclude it could be her birthday since she’s acting so weird. Sachi suggests a surprise party and asks Kanako if she’s free on that day. Of course she is. Kanako thinks this is a sign she’ll throw a surprise party and becomes happy. And that I mean starting her delusions. Ryuuken also got the hint and asks Kanako the same. I guess kind Shizu was the only one who remembered Kanako’s birthday and calls Kanako about her plan on that day. Wow. She must be super delusional by now. Even Kanae thinks of celebrating it with her on behalf of her brother (in the previous season, it was said that her brother died of some composer disease. A lie obviously). Yeah, Kanako isn’t looking forward to his birthday bash at the church. I mean, she’s got Sachi, Ryuuken and Shizu to choose from, why would she choose that father’s letter over the girls?

On her birthday as Kanako eagerly waits, the only invitation she got was Kanae’s letter and a direct mail from the Yuri Friends Monthly magazine to meet at an event in Tokyo. She walks around hoping that there would be a surprise at the corner but nothing came up. Finally entering the public bath and finding nothing, she breaks down and contemplating if she should accept Kanae’s invitation. She’d rather go to the Yuri event. However not giving up, if they’re not going to surprise her, she’ll surprise them! Waiting in the public bath can be tedious. But when she starts fantasizing, ah well, there’s the nose bleed again. Mariya and Matsurika find her ‘frolicking’ and tease her about the birthday bash she’s supposed to go. Kanako spots a hole in the wall that fits her rosary. As she puts it in, the water starts gushing out and the trio start falling deep into the sewers. Deep underground, Kanako laments spending her birthday like this especially spending time with the cross-dresser. But Mariya wishes she would stop blaming others. Firstly it was her fault that she is spending her birthday alone because she told everyone she was free on today when her friends asked her about her plans for that day. As for Kanae, Mariya understands she doesn’t want to be invited by him but he still wanted to celebrate for her out of the goodness of his heart. He could be waiting at the church and who hasn’t responded yet. She has trampled on the goodwill of everyone else. Kanako decides to head over to the church to apologize to Kanae. Then she’ll go to the Yuri event. She never change, eh? I don’t know how the seaweed got here but it suddenly multiplies due to the hot water. Run for your lives! They come up to a dead end but with a familiar slot machine that will summon somebody. Kanako inserts a coin and out comes Rindou! He takes the offensive to let the ladies through. Then they are confronted with the seaweed in Kanako’s bag. Mariya and Matsurika get tangled (fanservice cue?) so Kanako could press ahead. When she arrives at the church, she is surprised that everyone is there singing her happy birthday. How come Rindou, Mariya and Matsurika are there too? Did they find a short cut? Or did Kanako take the long way? Shizu lets her know that when they found out they were planning a surprise party on the same day, Mariya suggested they all get together and throw her a big party. How sweet and considerate of Mariya. After all, birthdays only come once a year. Mariya gives Kanako her birthday present: A peck on the cheek. Holy sh*t! The hives! THE HIVES! Lastly Kanako narrates that though she hasn’t find the love of her life yet, she has met so many people who are dear to her. I hope she doesn’t mean it in a perverted way.

Kanako+Whore-lic: Bloodied Maria
Well, it was a pretty hilarious and chaotic run for this sequel. Once again the ultimate yuri love Kanako wanted so much eluded her again but that doesn’t stop her from continuing to have lewd and wild fantasies and delusions. As the main protagonist of this series, she is someone that you will both love and hate at the same time. Her sickening delusions are the source of comic relief. You want her to shut up and stop dreaming but at the same time you want her to do so, so that she could receive the ultimate punishment that would all make us laugh and say “You deserve it!”. Okay, so we are all sadists and no better than her. But really, she hasn’t changed or learnt from her previous lessons whether it is a few episodes ago or in the previous season. How low has she sunk I wonder. The same ol’ yuri pig who will continue to live a life of hell and trials so long as she keeps up what she’s doing. Not only high school girls suit her taste, but as seen from this sequel, convicts and spirits. My guess is that the next time she’ll even go for female animals… That is what you call desperate case.

This series loves using cliff-hangers for dramatic effect. Just when you think something big is going to happen, it turns out to something insignificant. Like the swim meet was perhaps just a dream in a dream. Something to torment Kanako? I remember when the first season ended, it also ended in this manner. Something to do about the rosary pendant before an abrupt end. So where was all that in the second season? Also, the series loves breaking the fourth wall. Since when Kanako is concerned about her character appearing regularly in the show? Though she has an episode that strips her of her speaking role, it felt good but at the same time empty. Our ears may get tired after hearing too much of Kanako’s delusions but lacking it would defeat the purpose of why this show is funny in the first place. Hmm… Maybe Matsurika should really have a spin-off series herself.

I notice that in this season, Mariya wasn’t the prankster and sadist she was back in the first season. No doubt she still does abuse Kanako for her own amusement (and for her own good). Even if she was reprimanding Kanako, it is mainly to make her realize her own stinking attitude. But still that bloody b*tch doesn’t learn… Mariya may not totally be an angel as she has her own ulterior motive especially the sale of those personal card games. But I suppose it’s just to make a profit. Otherwise, she still maintains her polite and graceful manner in front of the rest (Kanako is always an exception). As for Matsurika, she is still cruel as ever with sarcastic comments not only for Kanako but sometimes towards her master as well. In this sense, she is by far the coolest character to me in the series. If she was a master and not a maid, she could’ve been much worse. Though Kanako’s friends do not make much impact, at least they do still have their fair share of screen time. Whether it is Sachi’s helpfulness or Nanami’s inability to read the atmosphere.

This time round I felt Honoka, Shiki and Natsuru’s screen time and role in the sequel were reduced. In the previous season, Honoka was the one responsible in making that creepy seaweed bag Kanako’s possession. Here, she is reduced to a tsundere. If I remember, Shiki is Mariya’s cousin and there is some sort of rivalry between them. In short, they don’t like each other and you can feel sparks will fly if they ever cross paths. That doesn’t seem to happen here except for just a short little moment during the cafeteria menu discussion. Kanae is somebody who thinks too much. Too much for his own good. Heck, you can see words coming out from his head each time he speaks from his mouth or head. He’s got this dilemma of being in love with the girls and trying to uphold his integrity as a priest. But often he is always being used by Mariya and Matsurika to ‘punish’ Kanako. Each time Kanae comes close to Kanako, she’ll start yelling and screaming random words like as though she has become a broken down machine or a mad woman. And each time Kanae tries to decipher the meaning of those words. He’s got extensive knowledge but what’s the use when it’s not rightfully applied.

It’s nice to bring about some new characters like Tota and Miki. We get slightly deeper insights on some of the characters. But I feel that they serve just as teasers. The other little bits of information like the probability Kanako may once liked boys, the Miyamae sisters, the mysterious past of God and the battle between Rindou and Mariya serve as interesting bits. Perhaps more will be revealed if there are future sequels? But the plot about Mariya and Shizu switching genders and school didn’t come into prominence much. In the previous season, it was some game to see who will take over the directorship of that school. Maybe that’s just it. So far you can say their identities are still a closely guarded secret and won’t be busted anytime. Even if Miki is added to the list of those who knows Mariya’s true gender, I don’t think she’ll go rant about it. SHAFT productions usually have that weird feel in their art and animation. The sequel retains its trademark visual styles and though it may have a variety of other drawing styles (usually during Kanako’s wild delusions), I won’t say it is as much as some of their other works such as Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Bakemonogatari. As usual at the end of each episode, there will be a short segment called Omake (Bonus). They are short and random nonsense that does not have anything to do with the main series. Sometimes you want to laugh out loud, sometimes you just want to scratch your head and go “Huh? What was that all about?”. Of all the Omake shots, the best one has got to be the parody of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. So is it possible to make a free contract with Kyuubey?!

As the casts of the sequel are retained, once again I would like to take my hat off to Asami Sanada who is the voice behind Kanako. She does a good job and especially hilarious whenever Kanako goes into fantasizing mode or just screaming in horror. From one minute she can be experiencing heaven and the next a hellish torment. Her character is so noisy that it even annoys others right in the dead of the night! Yu Kobayashi to me always has that crazy voice and though she doesn’t make Mariya go screaming and blowing her top more often, her voice can switch between angelic and demonic with ease. Marina Inoue doesn’t need to put in extra effort to put up with Matsurika’s deadpan and emotionless character. But I guess that’s what makes her character cool. For the first opening theme, Mousou Senshi Miyamae Kanako by Tomokazu Sugita (voice of Kanae) sounds like a tokusatsu-like theme for Kanako. Only difference is that it is singing about the delusional warrior Kanako is. Make that very. The second opening theme is surprisingly annoyingly infectious. Entitled Runrunriru Ranranrara by Yu Kobayashi, it is crazy and wild. The song fluctuates between cherubic and devilish. That’s why Yu Kobayashi does a pretty fine job with it. Sometimes it sounds so funny (it has a little Arabian tune to it) that I can’t help myself from laughing and sing along the ‘catchy’ chorus. Of course the animation is a crazy mix as well. Among them we see include Kanako drawn as a pig and we have Mariya dressed as Alice In Wonderland skipping by. An episode when Matsurika hijacked the show, not only she sings in her deadpan voice, some of the faces of the characters are replaced with Matsurika’s mug! It’s like wearing a mask over your face. The ending theme, Dou Ni Mo Tomaranai by the seiyuus of the Ame No Kisaki girls, sounds like a video game song or at least a song fit for a detective series. The special ending song for the final episode, Don’t Mind Don’t Mind by Yu Kobayashi is yet another crazy piece to end this crazy series. Plus, there is a short segment at the end which previews the Maria+Holic Movie. Another one of those nonsensical Omake? Well, it must be since I haven’t heard anything about it till today.

Perhaps if Kanako was more refined in her approach and not a wild horny beast desperate for romance, I’m sure her yuri dream will go well. I think her late mom in heaven would have long turned in her grave seeing the embarrassing antics of her daughter. With so many nose bleeds, the school may need loads of fresh paint. So many nose bleeds that Kanako could have been a frequent blood donor (better not get a blood transfusion from her or else you’ll get the HIV – Happy Idiotic Virus). Too many nose bleeds that it puts the most perverted anime guy to shame. But if it makes her happy, why not? Of course not! There’s a limit on how happy you can be.

PS: My mother is still alive and doing fine as always :)

Toradora OVA

March 23, 2012

Gosh, it felt like a long time since Toradora came out in late 2008. I guess with the advent of Blu-Ray discs, they decided to re-release the TV episodes at the end of December 2011 in this format complete with a box set. And in the mean time, throw in an all new episode. Whether it’s for old times and nostalgic sake for the fans or a shameless way to make extra few bucks from a past popular title. Either way, people who have watched the series then would welcome any new episodes so hence I decided to watch Toradora OVA for the former reason.

From the way this episode is played out, I am thinking it must be taking place somewhere in between the series instead of after the TV series has ended. That’s because Taiga is still wearing their same school uniform as opposed of a new one we saw at the end of the series while Kitamura is still in school instead of heading to USA to study. Plus, there weren’t indications that Ryuuji and Taiga had gotten that close either. It’s like they’re still just friends. The focus of this OVA is bento. You read that right. Those Japanese boxed lunch perfect housewives wannabes would devote themselves in preparing every morning for their loved ones. Don’t get the wrong idea that Ryuuji is some kind of housewife wannabe or that he is gay. Because he always makes meals for his irresponsible single mom, Yasuko and Taiga herself, it is natural he takes pride in what he cooks and prepares. So much so he has his own dignity and confidence in his housewife abilities. No kidding.

As the OVA starts off, we see Ryuuji and his pals preparing to have one of those boring lunch time meals in class. Till Kitamura shows up to reveal a super huge bento pack. The guys start laughing. Is this a joke? This attracted the attention of the girls as Kitamura opens the bento to reveal a sumptuous meal fit for a king! Both genders start laughing even harder! Seriously, is he kidding? Apparently not. Seems his grandma made it for him. However this starts annoying Ryuuji because of the high calibre of the bento which is supposed to be just home made. Kitamura invites everyone to help finish his bento since he doesn’t want to give a wrong idea to grandma that he is ungrateful. Seems that it isn’t just the looks that is astounding, but the taste as well. Delicious! Taiga seems hesitant but only because she is rather shy in wanting to eat the lobster meat. Ryuuji thinks she is rude in aiming for that luxurious meat but Kitamura allows her. So how does it feel to have a piece of heaven in your mouth? Later as Ami takes a drink at the vending machine (not sitting between them?), Ryuuji comes by to ask more details about Kitamura’s grandma. The odd thing is why is he putting up an evil scary face?! Upon learning that old hag is Miyo (I guess he knows who she is), he gets pumped up to do a superior bento next time.

Next day in school, Ryuuji invites Kitamura to have lunch together. Judging from Kitamura’s bento, he thinks it will be plain and sweet victory is his because Ryuuji used fried pork chops from yesterday’s dinner leftovers while Kitamura’s bento is just several onigiris (Miyo made it because Kitamura requested for it). Suddenly he notices something different with the onigiris. When Kitamura tastes them, he finds them all very delicious. Some of them had several fine stuffing and one of them was his favourite tuna mayo filling. Ryuuji is left to lament the fabulous fried food he wanted to make due to Miyo’s influence and since he wanted to play by the rules, he made fried pork chops yesterday so he could mix it with eggs for today’s bento. Because of this, he had fallen into the repetition trap. Later while he is shopping for ingredients with Taiga, he is so obsessed with making his next bento that the ingredients for making dinner could wait! Noticing the junk Taiga got in the trolley, he gets an idea. Next day in school, Ryuuji is instructing Taiga to make a perfect cup noodles with hot water. Everyone wishes they had cup noodles too and once more, Ryuuji thinks victory is his because Miyo wouldn’t understand young people like them. Till Kitamura shows up also with an instant soup in hand. He thanks Ryuuji for having hot water. Because of his meeting today, grandma made him some sandwiches so he can have his lunch on the go and gave him an instant soup cup confident that somebody in class would be eating cup noodles. Well, she was lucky her predictions came true today. Taiga thinks sandwiches are cool so Ryuuji refuses to let her eat the cup noodles and snatches it back! Later Taiga visits the diner Minori works as part time as the latter gives her and extra large serving of fries. It’s not like she is going to fill herself up with carbohydrates but I guess she didn’t have a chance to eat the cup noodles. Though Taiga notes that she would’ve been fine with any normal bento from Ryuuji. Minori teases her that she can’t survive without Ryuuji’s feeding.

Back home, Ryuuji has made some magnificent dishes but feels it isn’t on a level he can compete with Miyo. He thinks up of several ideas to make the ultimate bento till his pet parrot Inko eating leftover food scraps gave him an idea. He is going to make something piping hot and fresh. Next day during class, the homeroom teacher Yuri smelt something coming from the back of the class. Also hearing some noise beneath the cloth, she takes it off to reveal a rice cooker! Oh Ryuuji, this is too much. While this really whets the appetite of the class, they start laughing at Ryuuji for doing something extreme. Ryuuji finally admits he is the one who brought the rice cooker as a last ditch attempt to save the nearly cooked rice but Yuri isn’t fazed and unplugs the machine. Hear how Ryuuji screams in despair! Depressed Ryuuji laments all his efforts to waste while Taiga talks out with him. He thinks he broke his own rules he set and even so didn’t win. Taiga tells him that he should blame himself for the failures and the mess so she hands him her bento. Inside, several onigiris she made. Can she? Well, Ryuuji did teach her how to make some so at least she can handle this. Upon tasting it, why is Ryuuji shivering? Taiga tastes one herself and realizes it is too damn salty! To stem this problem, Ryuuji mixes it with dashi and some chervil. Taiga eats it and finds it very tasty because of the plum filling. Then Ryuuji realized. Miyo made bentos with Kitamura in mind for him to be happy. The onigiris were his request and the instant soup and sandwiches was because she knew he had a meeting during lunch. Taiga finishes the bento meant for Ryuuji and is even hungrier than before. She feels she wants to have a big feast. She starts suggesting several extravagant meals she had in mind but Ryuuji will eat the onigiris she made as it is. She thinks he was being insulting. Ryuuji narrates a bento is made for someone you’re thinking of. Someone special. In that sense, it will be delicious no matter what. Ryuuji and Taiga are having a bento lunch together with their pals as Ami forces Taiga to feed Ryuuji while their cheering friends watch on.

Food For Thought
I guess for a standalone OVA that does not have anything more to do with the plot of the TV series, it is pretty okay and fun by itself. For those hoping to see Ryuuji and Taiga get closer to each other, don’t get your hopes too high up. We don’t see much chemistry and drama that brought them quite close together as a couple at the end of the TV series (there was a time they eloped together!). So that’s why I felt that this OVA wasn’t set after the end of the TV series. Another hint is that they used the first opening theme and first ending piece of the TV series, Pre-Parade and Vanilla Salt respectively so it’s an indication the setting of this OVA may be the most at halfway point. And I thought when an OVA is made, they usually come up with new songs but I guess it’s either they want to save budget, couldn’t get anyone to do it or the original ones are still popular (the bouncy Vanilla Salt still remains my favourite theme after Orange, the second ending theme in the TV series).

There is no romance factor unless you consider Ryuuji’s romance with bento as one. In fact you could say that a big part of this OVA is about Ryuuji and his worries about making the best bento to surpass Miyo. Even with all the best ingredients in the world, if you don’t put your heart and soul into making it, it won’t taste anywhere near delicious or even passable. I remember Kitamura being the crazy and eccentric guy in the series (weird sign gestures, dying his hair, acting as a topless Santa, etc. Yikes!). He seems pretty toned down here though he is still the cool and calm person we all know. Minori is still bubbly and lively but since she didn’t have much screen time, in a way it seems she too is pretty much toned down. And Ami? Not enough screen time to show her b*tchiness. So have this bento themed OVA make you hungry or at least wanting to go rewatch the TV series again? Maybe if they put in some chocolates and sweet stuff, I may have another go. There’s always room for desserts.

Chrno Crusade

March 18, 2012

I always thought the Great Depression back in the 1920’s and 1930’s were caused by the devastating collapse of the stock market prices in the USA. I didn’t know it was the preceding economic prosperity that had the wealthy and rich dabbled into something dark and sinister: Devil worshipping, that brought upon the Great Depression era. Actually, that was what I had in mind when I watched Chrno Crusade. Set in the alternate reality of New York circa 1928 AD, Manhattan is exactly what I had in mind back in those days. Bootleg liquor, mafia mobs ruling the streets, crime rates, the ever widening gap between the rich and poor. Ah, New York certainly indeed. Oh, let’s not get diverted from this blog shall we?

Being the action supernatural series this is, I guess that’s why they put demons into the picture. I guess if you have powerful demons with intentions of surfacing and wrecking the delicate balance between Heaven, Earth and Hell, you can’t have an ordinary Sunday church to stop these dark creatures, right? So herald a special organization, Magdalene Order that seeks out these creatures and banishes them to the deep depths of the earth to keep us humans safe and sound so they all can go home and have a good night’s sleep. Sometimes I always thought that humans themselves are the biggest demons. But let’s not get sidetracked again. You’re not going to just see this organization kick ass with all the demons they encounter. That would be tad boring. We have the main characters driven with their tragic and shadowy past, dark and bloody history and relationship, add a little mix of drama and comedy, you’ll have the crucial ingredients of a manga plot and development that would probably make you pray harder to God than ever before. Okay, I admit. I didn’t.

Episode 1
In 1928 at Brooklyn, New York, Sister Rosette Christopher and Chrno are rudely awakened by a phone call from Sister Kate Valentine to quickly get into action since they’re the nearest. I don’t know where Rosette got her driving licence because she crashed her car into to building! Rosette introduces herself from the Magdalene Order as they get ready to bust into the building that is under hostage situation. Let’s say these kids are like Ghostbusters of the 20’s. Trekking through the creepy hallways, they enter a room to see the culprit in some satanic ritual. Rosette removes the sheets but the ghoul is right above her. She manages to dodge and pump a few shots. The ghoul starts expanding as they make a run for it. It explodes and covers everyone in black icky gooey. And somehow the entire building comes crashing down. Back at Magdalene, Kate reprimands Rosette for the damage she has done (again). Yeah, she always goes beyond their expectations. That’s not a compliment! Kate wonders if it’s her assistant who is an inhabitant of the darkness who summoned the darkness. Rosette immediately denies and says it’s her lack of ability instead and will write an apology letter. Father Ewan Remington comes in, Rosette starts to blush. Says a lot, eh? Kate is not amused he spoils her but Rosette excuses herself to write the letter. Looks like she doesn’t listen to anybody except Remington. Meanwhile Chrno is having it tough as a bunch of sisters pester him for details of Rosette’s damage. A block? An island? Don’t let her catch you say that? Oops. Too late. During dinner, Rosette thanks Chrno and mentions that her image of her younger brother, Joshua hasn’t change and still dreams about him. Edward “Elder” Hamilton, the perverted weapon scientist appears from underneath, peeping under Rosette’s skirt. He shows her a magic bullet called Gospel, supposedly stronger than any Sacred but it’s still a prototype. He allows her to test it if she allows him to touch her tits. She allows him… To get beaten up, that is! The duo are called for another mission, this time onboard a British cargo ship. Thankfully Rosette didn’t crash the car this time. One of the survivors is seen but quickly turns into a demon. Chrno recognizes this as Calamity, the formation of overwhelming anger but this one is being controlled from somewhere else. Rosette starts firing several shots as they chase the demon into the ship. As Chrno tries to move the ship from the port, Rosette hunts the demon. Another round of pumping bullets but she is cornered and runs out of ammo. Chrno then throws her the Gospel that he stole from Elder and in 1 shot, the demon is dramatically destroyed and returns to its original form, supposedly some stolen artefact. Then they realize the ship just hit the Statue of Liberty! Oh, Rosette insists this isn’t her fault!

Episode 2
Rosette wakes up from a dream. One whereby her young self and Joshua first met Chrno and were excited of meeting a demon. Then Aion (in crow form) hypnotizes Joshua and he disappears. Elder is working on new bullets called Spirit, in which demons are inside it. More accurately when fired, it unleashes a tremendous amount of power similar to when you summon a demon. Joshua doesn’t like the sound of it as Elder instructs Kate to take this new bullets to Kate. Can she be trusted after that Gospel case? Apparently on her way, they are being called for a mission. So I guess this is perfect excuse for Rosette to ‘steal’ the bullets. At the scene, Rosette fires several shots into the flying horned demon. She is going to fire Spirit to finish it off. Chrno disagrees but that distraction has the demon creep out on her as she drops her gun into a nearby bush. Fortunately the demon has used up its remaining life energy and soon disintegrates. They search for the gun but can’t seem to find it. That’s because a suspicious guy among the crowd has already taken it. Rosette reports back to Kate and for once, she didn’t get yelled at. Actually she was lying. No wonder. But Remington can tell since she isn’t acting naturally in front of Kate but promises to keep it a secret. Elder and Chrno are checking out the horn Rosette shot off the demon. Elder is also building a sensor that detects Spirit’s demonic powers. Looks weird. But does it work? Urm… It senses one nearby. That suspicious guy breaks into the church grounds as everyone is on alert. This guy is emitting lots of dark aura and is not heeding orders to stay put as he trudges forward. To their horror, they see him holding a Government’s Exorcist Gun model (Rosette’s). He then points to his own head and pulls the trigger. The horned demon bursts out from his body and begins attacking. Chrno realizes it swallowed Spirit’s demonic power and replaced the power of its broken horn with it. Everyone fires but it has no effect. Chrno knows it wants to retrieve its horn and lures it. Rosette tries to settle this herself but gets whacked unconscious. Chrno goes berserk to see his contractor not moving and is about to lose it. His aura so powerful that it shatters glasses and on the verge of breaking his seal. But Rosette wakes up and manages to calm him down. She then fires Gospel into the demon and kills it for good. Kate wonders how she can trust that demon so Elder tells her Rosette doesn’t acknowledge him as a demon. For now they can only watch over them. Joshua is relaxing on a beautiful beach when her maid Fiore informs him of Aion’s call. Suddenly they are confronted with a huge iron dude named Bolso and his winged army. He is looking for that sinner Aion and wants to pass judgement. Joshua tells Fiore to make coffee and will finish this. By the time Fiore finishes making coffee, Bolso and his entire army are wiped out! Joshua has only a minor scratch on his hand. Now the entire beach and sea is bloodied! Who’s going to clean this up?

Episode 3
Back in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, Mother Maria and whispered words of the end of the world war to 3 little shepherds known as the Fatima Prophecy. With 2 World Wars ended, the last one was a highly classified matter by the Roman Pope. But Magdalene’s investigations show the appearance of an Apostle: The Agents of Earth sent by God. They must be put under protection so Chrno and Rosette are tasked to protect one of them, Azmaria Hendrick, a 12 year old soprano singer from Fatima. Her guardian is Ricardo and the man next to him is Relye, a demon whom Chrno recognizes. Sneaking around in the casino, Rosette almost got spotted so she hides in the staff room only to see Azmaria hiding there. She promises not to tell but when they leave, they come into Relye who brings Azmaria away. They get distracted when Chrno comes crashing in while fighting a stone gargoyle. In this moment, Rosette and Chrno snatch Azmaria away and escape. They are being chased by more stone gargoyles so Rosette fires her holy gun at them and turns them back to stone. But they are sent crashing into the party below and this causes lots of damage and people got hurt. Oh dear. Whose fault is this? But Azmaria blames herself as the cause and starts singing to heal everything before collapsing. Back at Magdalene, Rosette pesters Kate about the Agents on Earth. Since she’ll eventually have to know this, Remington says just as she suspected, Joshua is also an Agent on Earth. The Agent of God, those who have been given a gift from God and must be protected. There are probably 7 Agents on Earth. The gift given to Joshua is probably hope while Azmaria is charity. Demons can gain even greater powers by acquiring the power of God and this applies to Satanists as well. Azmaria who has lost her parents before the war is currently living and doing chores at Magdalene. Because Rosette still sees Azmaria gloomy, she takes her and Chrno out of town to the lakes in the mountains. Of course without approval. She has her loosen up a little by splashing water on her and over a warm campfire drink Rosette believes she can laugh again and putting all the burden on herself is hard. Probably she got told off many times herself.  Azmaria starts laughing but Chrno is attacked by Relye. He is here to bring Azmaria back. Azmaria agrees to return if he doesn’t harm them however he doesn’t keep his promise and fires a lightning projection at them.

Episode 4
When Relye brings Azmaria back to Ricardo (with hideous life support wires sticking out from his body) onboard his blimp, Ricardo temporarily punishes him for disobeying his orders not to scorch the Earth. He reveals his original body was blown to bits during a bombing but can’t die due to the immortality contract he made with Relye, his body was reconstructed but imperfect as it lacks life. In the past, Relye’s power was perfect but now it wasn’t so because it was carved away by Chrno. Since demonic power isn’t enough to bring his life back, they need a much perfect power: The power of God. Rosette and Chrno wakes up to find Remington and some of the sisters by their side. Then they see the sky lit with Astral Line (an indication that Ricardo and Relye has started the process), a grand wave of spirits floating in the atmosphere. All living souls obtain their lives from it while dead souls diffuse in it. In short, the source of all lives. Rosette wants to unlock the watch seal but Chrno doesn’t allow it. She insists that they both want to save Azmaria and there is no other way. Though he still doesn’t like the idea, he allows her for 10 minutes. Unlocking it, Chrno transforms into his demon self as he brings Rosette up to the blimp. Seems Azmaria’s scream is summoning Astral Line and putting the life back into Ricardo’s rotting body. Now we know why they wanted an opera singer. However Relye shuts down the machine and betrays Ricardo. His true intention isn’t to bring life to his master, but collect all the Astral in his own Receptor. With the power of God flowing through him (ironically, a demon?), he lets Ricardo’s body rot away. One bad deed deserves another.

Rosette and Chrno hop onboard the blimp. Chrno will fight a transformed Relye while he wants Rosette to rescue Azmaria. Rosette dispatches the several Legions (low-level demons mimicking human form) to save her. They see the demons in an aerial battle as Azmaria learns about Rosette’s watch seal. It is the source of Chrno’s power and draws it from the contractor’s life. At this rate, Rosette predicts she won’t make it to her 30th birthday. Azmaria wonders why she can push herself so much so Rosette throws back the question at her of why she gives up easily. Rosette continues that the future is uncertain, all the more not to procrastinate so they must do what they can now and not give up till the last moment. Relye thinks Chrno has fallen so much but it is rather the latter who doesn’t want to unleash his true power and in actual fact has powered up a lot. Relye is going to destroy the source of his concern:  Rosette. He takes aim at her but I think he missed. Rosette fires a shot directly into his Receptor, cracking it. Chrno finishes the job to turn the demon into ashes for good. The blimp starts to explode as Rosette and Azmaria fall off. Rosette’s watch seal also locks itself so Chrno returns to his human version. As they free fall, Azmaria thought hard about Rosette’s words and this causes her to spread angelic wings as the trio land to safety. In the aftermath, Rosette is disheartened to learn Azmaria has lost her powers because she used up too much of it and it may take a very long time for it to return. Azmaria thinks she no reason to stay and nowhere to go but Rosette says there is an opening in the choir she can apply.

Episode 5
Rosette and Chrno are summoned to see Kate. She asks if Relye’s actions have any direct connection with Aion. Chrno denies but Rosette can’t forget the day Aion took away Joshua. After Azmaria’s case it is clear why Aion wants God’s powers. Most probably to create a rebellion against Heaven. Not by the will of Satan but of his own to recreate the universe. Thus the need for people like Joshua and Azmaria for that crazy battle. Chrno notes that Aion often said the goal of one born with an incomplete stigma is to become complete. If the wish is to create another ending to the Apocalypse then it’s something one must do yourself. Rosette wants to join the Apostle investigation mission since she has grown stronger (of course to find Joshua too) but Kate points out that she is too emotional and for now she has to stick with normal mission. Rosette and Chrno is sneaking around but is spotted by Remington. He offers her to join the First Class Militia. One of its privileges is independent investigations and some carry long term solo mission, something which fits Rosette. All she needs to do is convince Kate with her own skills. I hope there is no hidden meaning to it. Azmaria talks to Kate over tea. Kate thought nothing of Azmaria’s words will surprise her. But when she mentions how she wants to be like Rosette, see the amount of tea she spit out! Well, not the reckless Rosette she meant, the one whereby she never gave up and to be able to do something for others. Kate brings her to a chamber. A field created by Elder which uses machine to gather energy to create artificial spiritual forms. In short, this is an exorcist’s training field with artificial poltergeists. She tells Azmaria to wait at the bottom while she heads to the control room. But it seems Rosette is preparing to head into the field for a test initiated by Remington. She needs to pass this test of eliminating all targets in an hour to at least have a chance to convince Kate. Just leave everything else to Remington.

Chrno stays put as Rosette leaves for the battlefield. Chrno senses a real demon and Remington points out he let loose a real demon from the storage warehouse as a surprise. If she can’t clear this one, there goes her chance with Kate. Unfortunately Kate heard them and isn’t too thrilled about what just happened. Azmaria is cowering in fear while Rosette is firing at her targets. Remington contacts Rosette to cancel the test since Azmaria is below and they can’t contact her. But Rosette wants to go save her even after learning the demon is Mind Eater (a demon who can possess one’s mind and slowly eats into one’s soul). After losing contact with Rosette, she comes into contact with possessed Azmaria. Though the demon is stronger, she manages to pin it down. Chrno wants to go save them but Remington tells him to stay put as there is nothing he can do. For now, there is only 1 thing Rosette can do. To mind dive into Azmaria’s mind and directly exorcise the demon. Rosette sets up the devices and dives into Azmaria’s mind to see her standing alone and gloomy at a cemetery. She calls out to her but she doesn’t respond. Mind Eater tells her it’s useless since Azmaria fears her own powers that killed her loved ones. But Rosette isn’t giving any sh*t to the demon because she’s talking to Azmaria. While the demon tries to restrain her, Rosette makes her realize she’s not alone because everyone is here for her. Azmaria’s powers awaken and expel the demon from her mind. When Rosette wakes up in Chrno’s arms, they see Azmaria sprouting angel wings as she thanks her.

Episode 6
The mafia is smuggling crates with seals. What the heck are they tampering with? Satella Harvenheit AKA Hexen, a bounty hunter that specializes in hunting demons arrives and puts a foil to their smuggle. Oddly, the mafia sends in a request to Magdalene. Kate regrets that Rosette and co are on this mission simply because there are no other Militia free. Oh, looks like Rosette got promoted too. Hope she doesn’t do any flashy stuff. Oops. Wherever Rosette goes, there’s bound to be a bang. Yeah, just arriving at the warehouse, a big explosion occurs. A demon is on the loose as the gang go into action. Satella saves Azmaria from the demon’s attack with her summoned knight. They realize she’s a Jewel Summoner. Then more demons appear. Satella wants to go after the mafia but Rosette insists she clean up the mess she started. In the aftermath, Chrno realizes the mafia released some of the ‘merchandise’ to buy time for themselves to flee. But Satella threatens to kill Chrno because during the attack she saw how Chrno got injured when Azmaria accidentally poured holy water on him. She doesn’t trust demons all the more Magdalene using one. Azmaria pleads for Chrno’s case that he’s a kind one so Satella backs off for now. Rosette gets an earful from Kate via telephone that she wrecked another car during the attack. Now she has to go home by foot. Start walking! I guess the mafia never learn their lesson because they open their crate to release a demon but got devoured. Rosette and co arrive at the horrifying bloodied scene. Satella is also there. You know she and Rosette are going to be loggerheads when the former starts mocking her inefficiency. To put salt to her wounds, she’s bragging about the hot shower she took last night. Satella is on this smuggling case and is going to finish it even if she doesn’t get paid (since her employers won’t pay the bounty for corpses – the mafia).  But Rosette agrees to help her seeing that in the end both their goals are the same. Satella walks off but Rosette and the rest follow her, giving an excuse that she just happens to be walking in front of them. Satella makes a run, they too follow. Till they run out of breathe. Taking a break at the park, they learn Satella came from Germany to USA 10 years ago to look for someone. She is still searching for her. Chrno points out to Rosette that she has crossed the line with a comment she’s wasting her time whining like that and should quit. She’s not one to say herself, right? Rosette and Azmaria join a couple of local boys playing ball when the ball came flying into Rosette’s head. During that time, a Pharaoh demon and his mummy golems attack. The gang goes into offensive action. When the Pharaoh absorbs his golems to become a giant lion, Chrno jumps in to protect Satella and got a little injured. She quickly repays her debt when the lion attacks Chrno (because she doesn’t want to be a laughing stock if people finds out she’s in debt to a demon) before Rosette finishes it off with a special bullet. In the end, Satella walks away, still not trusting demons back then or in the future.

Episode 7
Suddenly the Sun is black and the Moon red like blood. All the churches are also experiencing a phenomenon that the statue of Virgin Mary is crying blood. Chrno knows this is a sign that Aion is here. Another phenomenon rains down on Manhattan. Hail of fire, that is. It is causing buildings and properties to be damaged and casualties. There are underworld demons coming out from the ground and black evil fog. Don’t touch them or you’ll die. That’s because the fog is made up of evil aura (malice of a person’s heart that became the source of a demon’s power) lingering at the bottom of Pandemonium. Kate attends a meeting with the Council as we find out Manhattan’s Central Park is one of the many key spiritual spots. This land was connected to Pandemonium and the former Magdalene attempted to seal it. Thus the hail and appearance of demons is a sign that they are attempting to break the barrier. Kate assigns her Magdalene team to reconstruct the Barrier of Seven Wings. While Remington leads the team in setting up the barrier, Satella helps them get rid of the demons. Apparently she was asked by NYPD. Probably they didn’t trust the Magdalene much. Maybe it’s Rosette’s reputation after all… Aion makes his appearance. Satella attacks him but her attacks were backfired. Chrno uses his body to shield from her own projectiles. He wants Chrno to rejoin him but he refuses. Aion throws him away without breaking a sweat. Rosette points her gun at him but Aion is playing it cool because she won’t find anything about Joshua if she kills him. Aion continues to play mind games with Rosette. He is saying that he saved Joshua instead. He points that all this happened and is the fault of God. Have you ever heard His voice? Where is He in their time of need? He isn’t looking. He isn’t saving anyone. He is just a scoundrel full of pride. But Aion can free them from all this agony. That’s why he saved Joshua. Rosette finds it hard to believe him but she still has doubts in her heart. Aion continues that their true enemy is in heaven. That’s why he is here for Azmaria as he needs her power to save them.

Rosette covers Azmaria but Aion knows she can’t pull the trigger. With her in that stunned condition, it’ll be a miracle if she did. Oh, she did. Either she was a bad shot at this really close range or Aion is one heck of a cool baddie not to take the hit. Rosette is paralyzed in fear so Aion kisses her. This made Chrno so mad that her watch seal breaks and he is emitting evil aura and on the verge on becoming a demon. To save Rosette and Chrno, Azmaria volunteers herself to go to him. But when Aion approaches her, it’s a setup to activate the Barrier of Seven Wings. The holy light vaporizes Aion and burns away every evil into crisp. When Chrno and Rosette are back to normal, Chrno notes that Aion isn’t finished yet as that was just his shadow. What? That awesome power was just his shadow? I guess we haven’t seen the real deal yet. True enough Aion is safe somewhere and notes how they resorted to innocent bait. He will leave Azmaria to Chrno. Kate and the Council discuss the successful set up of the barrier but note a problem that it’s closely related to the act of the Sinners (demons). They also want to study the Lord’s intention on the sealed third prophecy. Joshua seems excited that there is another apostle other than him and wants to go see but Fiore seems to be against the idea as his real sister would be better.

Episode 8
Rosette is driving back from an errand. Pissed as usual she has to do this kind of stuff. The phone rings so she has Chrno pick it up since she’s driving. But when it’s from Remington, she grabs the phone and chats away. People, remember talking and driving are bad! And she’s not even using a handphone! Remington wants her to pick him up alone at the Grand Central train station. She happily accepts so she speeds up back to Magdalene to deliver the goods. Well, the sisters aren’t happy the flour got soaked so Azmaria blames herself for dropping it but Chrno mentions it was Rosette’s dangerous driving that caused her to have motion sickness. The sisters continue to berate Rosette to get a proper driving licence and talk about her dangerous driving how she rammed into a bakery and destroyed both the shop and the car after getting distracted by the fruit shop. Wow. If Rosette was a real demon, she could’ve turned into one and whack the hell out of the sisters but she soon leaves seeing her beloved Remington is waiting for her. When the sisters learn of Rosette’s haste, they are puzzled because Remington also left by car. However there is more than meets the eye. Remington was forced to make the call as he is surrounded by ordinary but strangely acting people. Flashback reveals he was supposed to meet a messenger to retrieve some documents but some guy came up to him and told him he will never show up because he got eaten (though he passed the documents to him). Remington realizes that this guy and the rest of the people in the station are being possessed and that they aren’t aligned to Aion but ‘him’. It won’t take a genius to figure out he is Joshua as he is desperately longing for Rosette and even sees her in Fiore.

I guess Remington wasn’t counting on Rosette’s punctuality. Has she ever. Maybe this is the first so she really came on time. Remington was in the midst of freeing the possessed people by cutting some spider hooked at the back of their necks. They are being controlled by a demon known as Puppeteer. But since Rosette is here, she is being told she alone needs to ride a train to see Joshua because he is suffering, his body not in good shape and only Rosette can free him. Well, if you look at it from a psychological point of view, she’s correct in a way. Rosette of course is in a dilemma to see Joshua. She really wants to and the possessed people are persuading her despite Remington’s warning that this is a trap. Just when she’s about to board the train, Remington tries his final push to stop her. Puppeteer is going to kill him so Rosette hops off to go save him. Doesn’t she want to see Joshua? Of course. She will save him from them. As much as they fight their way out, they are overwhelmed by the number of possessed people. Have faith and don’t think that they’re done for because a large cross barrier suddenly covers the entire station. It is Chrno and Azmaria to their rescue after hearing the situation from Kate. Chrno recognizes Puppeteer as Rizel. She admits defeat today and retreats. In the aftermath as Rosette is resting, she vows that she’ll save Joshua as Chrno hugs her. Later Remington shows the documents to Rosette but isn’t sure of its authenticity since it fell into their hands first. Inside the file is a picture of Joshua. Remington has been investigating for Joshua for 4 years and recently found him a few months back.

Episode 9
Rosette, Chrno and Azmaria are at Seventh Bell Orphanage, the place it all began. Entering the building, Rosette and Chrno suddenly go off themselves, leaving poor Azmaria fumbling in the dark. She got the spook of her life when she bumps into several human statues. Then when all the lights turn on, her screams go higher as she sees more of those statues. Yeah, she even screamed at Rosette’s face!  Anyway the duo went to turn on the floodlights so Azmaria can have a good view of the place and the fight she’s up against. Seems this place has frozen in time courtesy of Aion 4 years ago. Yes, even the falling structures seemed to even stop midway. It’s like in the middle of a picture. Story time. Four years ago, Rosette and Joshua grew up at this orphanage. Rosette the usual brute tomboy. Either the naughty kids pissed her for their irresponsibility or they enjoy pissing her off. Even Joshua. But I guess she has to stop being a vengeful meanie when he starts coughing since Joshua was born with a weak body. Remington often visits the orphanage to try and adopt Joshua due to his special ability. Each time this happens, Rosette takes Joshua away deep into the mountains and won’t give up till that father does. Rosette fears they’ll do weird experiments on his body? Man, she’s got a wild imagination. They must have gone out too far so much so they start slipping down river streams, falling off little waterfalls and dropping into pit holes. Rosette hurt her knee so Joshua uses his healing powers. However he laments that even if he can heal others, he can’t heal his own body. Rosette promises to protect him as he protects others. As they trek along the corridors, they stumble upon a door and accidentally opened it. Inside, a grave and a weak Chrno sitting by it. But the kids aren’t afraid even upon knowing he’s a demon. Rosette feeds him with whatever food she got and Joshua is excited to be Chrno’s friend because he’s an occult freak. The grave lies the Holy Maiden, Mary Magdalene, the name that will cause the Sinners’ heart to beat each time they hear it. The duo get acquainted with Chrno and hang out with him as he explains to them the fascinating Astral Line. This serves to excite Joshua even more as he is more determined to become an explorer with his sister and go and record places no one has ever gone before. Later when Joshua’s asleep, Rosette tells Chrno that her real dream is to be a doctor for Joshua’s sake but knows that isn’t possible. God isn’t fair? Well… The trio continue to hang out more often and even Chrno starts enjoying it and wished these days would go on forever. One night Rosette rushed to Chrno. She’s in a panic because Joshua has decided to go to Remington. The reason was because he doesn’t want to be a burden to her. He wonders if he’ll become stronger if he goes. He’ll leave in a week’s time and needs to rest because Remington says his power is causing his body pain. Chrno is horrified to see Aion (in eagle form) and the latter wants to do it together again. Nothing yaoi, mind you.

Episode 10
As reward for freeing Chrno, Aion tells Rosette that a demon’s power source comes his horn and is called Astral Absorption System. Aion is the one who broke Chrno’s horn and made him powerless. But now he wants them to put their past behind and come have fun, just like how Chrno slew a hundred million demons at Pandemonium. Chrno of course refuses seeing that he has found something more precious and obeying him will render his existence meaningless. He can keep his horn. Well, Aion has already given in to somebody: Joshua. I guess with sweet talk like him being the chosen one, would weak kids like Joshua hesitate? Speaking of which, Joshua is in great pain, bloodied and a pair of horns growing out from his head. The other kids are terrified seeing him. But Joshua couldn’t get rid of those ‘noises’ in his head (unkind comments from the kids) so he freezes them. Realizing that this will stop his pain, he goes on a freezing spree. Chrno transforms into his true form to fly back to the orphanage with Rosette. But it’s too late as they witness firsthand how Joshua freezes everyone else fleeing the building. Meeting Rosette, Joshua tells her he felt better and stronger but Rosette is upset that this isn’t the Joshua she knew. Maybe those words hurt him so he starts hearing noises again. This time his freezing power is threatening to engulf the entire area. Chrno takes Rosette away to a safe distance. He mentions he lacks his horn and without Astral power, his body can’t recover. He has no power without a horn or contractor. Desperate Rosette wants to know more about being a contractor. He explains it’ a weapon a demon worshipper uses to summon a demon but in exchange they must supply the demon with a certain thing that human’s possess: The time of their soul. Though this would shorten the human’s life, this way a demon can use his powers without a horn. Chrno wants to find another way but Rosette is bent on saving Joshua because of her promise to protect him. Chrno agrees to make a contract with her and gives her his watch seal which marks the time left in a person’s life. In present time, Rosette vows to bring Joshua and everyone else’s time back. Azmaria tells her she needs to be more considerate of herself because everyone else is here. Aion visits Joshua to tell him that he has found another Apostle in Texas. But Joshua is still seeing his sister in Fiore so Aion wants her to let him know immediately if anything happens.

Episode 11
A detective reports to Kate about a recent incident in which a mysterious creature attacked and wiped out a couple of mafia family members. Those who survived described to creature as having blue eyes. Kate recognizes it as Black Dog and already has Rosette on its tail. I hope she doesn’t wreck the car. Even at 80mph, she still can’t catch up to Black Dog chasing a fleeing mafia car. Their bullets don’t seem to pass through it. Eventually it catches up and causes the car to burst in flames. Satella’s white knight manages to wound it but it escapes. Rosette helplessly watches the dying mafia. He didn’t make it. Back at Magdalene, Remington informs the rest that thanks to Rosette’s chase, they managed to identify Black Dog’s true form. The culprit who summoned Black Dog is Bianca Winger. In exchange for the summon, she used her life. Her goal is to wipe out all the mafia in New York. Revenge? For love rather. Her fiancé Richard J Smith died in a cross-fire between the mafia and police. Black Dog is an Astral demon born from the negative emotions of the summoner. Thus it has no substantial body. But each time it eats another person, its body gets bigger and eventually will materialize. Satella sees mafia godfather Don Gotch. He doesn’t seem too worried about Black Dog and is instead thankful the city is quieter with lesser mafia family. He leaves Satella to protect him and will pay her any amount of money. Rosette disapproves Kate’s method of waiting for Black Dog to materialize before doing anything because during that moment they can do nothing but watch people get killed. Later Rosette is thrilled when Elder shows a new motorcycle he created, Gabriel Hound. Hmm… How odd will it look for a sister riding a Harley? Well, it has boosters to speed up but this baby isn’t for Magdalene. However Elder can borrow it to her if she allows him to touch her tits. Well, he gave him her fist instead.

Off she goes on another Black Dog hunt. This time Don Gotch and his men are in a shootout with the police. Don Gotch thinks he’s safe in a building but he became Black Dog’s dinner. Satella fights off the Black Dog at the subway as Rosette arrives on scene to destroy it. But it’s not over yet because there’s another one and it escapes. Rosette seems to think it’s Satella’s fault that this happened. Something about its body isn’t complete yet. But they can’t go after it since the bike crashed. Aw man! Don’t give new vehicles to her anymore. Satella seems to have given up hope that the Black Dog is gone and the mafia deserves what they get. However Rosette isn’t going to give up yet and though the mafia may be bad people and committed lots of sins, people getting killed is never good. Satella chides her for being a hypocrite and should look out for herself first. Even so, Rosette doesn’t want to do nothing and watch people die. She is going to show Satella her willpower. She then asks her if has a jewel that can make her go fast. I don’t know if that’s a jet or a fish because it’s making Gabriel Hound zooming fast enough to catch Black Dog. While Satella takes over the steering, Rosette fires her holy bullets into it but realizes shooting from the back has no effect. Using the bike’s booster, she speeds up in front of the Black Dog and fires a shot into its mouth, disintegrating it for good. The shockwave was so great that every manhole along the path gets thrown in the air. Well, the ladies are alive and that’s a good thing. But for Chrno, he isn’t happy Rosette left him behind…

Episode 12
Azmaria is so nervous in her Christmas play practice that’s she’s yelling her lines! But she is taken away by Rosette to see Kate. There have been disappearances of 3 of their investigators at San Francisco. All of them were investigating Aion. Based on the evidence left behind, they conclude that a demon was involved. Since Rosette is part of the Militia, she decides to leave this place to go find Joshua. Rosette, Chrno and Azmaria pack their bags for the trip but the other sisters are sad that they are leaving. Remington understands their haste but wish they could stay at least till Christmas. Azmaria thinks back of her bleak past celebrating Christmas alone (even her foster family mistreated her). She is snapped out by Rosette. Seems they are collecting Christmas donations for the public. Rosette’s ‘persistence’ is ‘forcing’ others to donate. Can’t say no to the House of God, eh? Rosette then spots Satella and she learns she’s the daughter of a rich family. Did anybody know she’s the owner of the Harvenheit Technology Company? At least not to Rosette. Look at all the Christmas presents in and on her car. When they learn Azmaria has never received presents from Santa before, they felt bad. Azmaria thinks she was a bad girl but Satella denies. However she notes a certain wild nun and midget demon are a different story. Let the cat fight begin. Azmaria talks to the nun trio about giving presents. Rosette and Chrno are also preparing for Christmas and they wish to make this a memorable Christmas for Azmaria. Azmaria passes by a shop and sees a snow dome. But she has no money to buy it. Though the shopkeeper gives it for free, that won’t do for Azmaria and promises to pay him on Christmas Eve. He will hold it for her till then. Oh, look at Rosette’s ‘demon face’ when she amassed all the donation money. So happy to see so much, eh? The play goes well on Christmas Eve as Azmaria rushes to the store to get the snow dome. Soon, a guy comes in asking for a snow dome he promised to get for his girlfriend. However there are none left. He leaves disappointed so Azmaria decides to give hers. Seeing how noble she is, the shopkeeper allows her to choose a replacement present. Azmaria is picked up by Rosette and Chrno who are on their way to the orphanage to hand out presents. Later Rosette and Chrno thanks Azmaria for her Christmas present, a medallion each. But Rosette notes the main show is about to start. Back at Magdalene, Azmaria is surprised that everyone threw her a grand Christmas party. So much so she is moved to tears. Azmaria freaks out upon getting a present from Satella: A talisman amulet from Africa. Can it actually keep her safe? Won’t it affect Chrno? Quick! Throw it away!

Episode 13
Joshua is in pain. He is hearing those noises again. Fiore tries to calm him down but he got annoyed and freezes her. Luckily her barrier prevented her from meeting that fate. Aion notes how the real sister is necessary so Fiore mentions Rizel is on her way to get her. Rosette, Chrno and Azmaria are travelling by train to San Francisco. It’s going to take a freaking 70 hours from coast to coast! Since the coach is crowded, they offer a mother and her son, Jimmy their seats. But guess who is onboard too? Satella! This train is too small for a cat fight but I guess they can start one if they feel like it. Since Satella has bought an entire carriage herself, the gang including Jimmy’s temporarily make themselves at home in the spacious room. As thanks, Jimmy’s mom gives Rosette some snacks. However inside the bag, there is a photo of Joshua and a note to meet in the dining car. Rosette lies to her pals to go to the dining car and is sees Jimmy’s mom as the culprit. She remembers her as Rizel from the last battle. Everyone else in the car is under her control. Rizel then separates the carriage. She also mocks how troublesome Joshua and since he calls for his sister, perhaps Rosette could meet him, soothe him and put him out of his misery with her gun. Rosette doesn’t take that lightly and points her gun at Rizel. Then she realizes Rizel is controlling Jimmy’s mom and everyone else from somewhere else. She backs off seeing she can’t hurt her. Suddenly a field barrier activates in the coach and Chrno comes barging in from above. How does he know? Well, Rosette has always been a bad liar. But they realize Rosette’s watch seal is gone.

They see Satella knocked out and Azmaria being held hostage so they have no choice but to listen to them. She wants Rosette to shoot Chrno. Chrno orders Rosette to do so but aim at his axis. She better not miss! When she fires, Chrno falls back and Azmaria uses this chance to pour her holy water and free the captives from Rizel’s control. They also got back the watch seal. After putting the passengers safe in the back, they go hunt for Rizel. Rizel surprises Rosette by binding her with her web and dragging her to the top of the train. Rizel has the upper hand in the battle but she can’t let Rosette fall off and die. Because she’s mentioning Aion’s name too many times, this pisses of Rosette and she tells her off that she is the one who is alone. She makes Rizel’s blood boil by saying how Aion needs Joshua and not her, the reason why she is desperately doing this. In the end, she isn’t even loved by Aion. Rizel is blinded by hate that this allowed Rosette to reload and fire a point blank shot and break off her horn. The recoil has her falling off but luckily Chrno catches her while riding Satella’s, urm, yeah, that fish jet thingy. Rizel is totally mad now and is going to kill them but Rosette takes and stabs her with her own horn. This sends her falling off and into the chasm. Is she dead for good? Well, when demons disappear, it’s a sign they’re gone for good. And as Aion notes Rizel’s demise, he also remarks her final effort was useless.

Episode 14
Now the trio are walking through the Prairie fields to San Francisco. Seriously?! But good news: A car is passing by. Bad news: It didn’t stop. Ugly news: The car reversed and guess who is in it? Yup. Satella. Because Azmaria’s honest personality to suck up to rich people like Satella, she allows them to hitch a ride. As usual, Satella and Rosette don’t get along and continue their poor vs rich arguments. Upon reaching San Francisco, Chrno suddenly falls into Satella’s boobs! How daring! Though he got punched, the reason wasn’t because he turned into a demon pervert, but rather he caught fever. Satella’s butler, Steiner Munchausen thinks they should take him back to their villa since it’s close by. As Chrno rests in bed, Satella deduces that it’s probably the Legions have become active. Since Chrno’s body structure is same as other demons, when he receives damage, his body tries to recover quickly. Rosette and Satella go out to buy medicine. At a drug store, Rosette asks if there is a medicine that will work on a demon. Satella pulls her out of the shop and tells her that she can’t really say that with a straight face. Besides, will normal medicine work on a demon? Satella takes her to a rumoured voodoo-like store but they got freaked out by the creepy kinds of ingredients that were suggested. Rosette doesn’t want to give up and continues going from store to store to ask for medicine. Either she gets turned down, laughed at or kicked out. Thinking the need of a magic spell, she enters a shady Chinese fortune telling tent. The fortune teller sees something ‘amazing’ in her prediction but refuses to tell her. Instead, she whispers something for Chrno’s cure that has Rosette blushing and rushing out. In the end, all they got was just a normal medicine. Then Rosette collapses on Satella’s boobs! Oh, she’s got a fever too. Wow. I didn’t know her boobs were this useful. Azmaria offers to make food for them and starts off clumsily, breaking plates and dropping pots. Eventually she makes delicious food for the sick duo. Though Rosette may be down, her appetite sure remains. Yeah, she’s devouring like a glutton. Later Azmaria and Satella talk how Rosette and Chrno care deeply for each other. Then Azmaria collapses! Not her too! Good thing was she was just sleepy. Phew. Because if it was fever, she would’ve fell on Satella’s boobs ;p. Steiner comments how Satella has wonderful friends but she denies they are. Later that night, Rosette enters Chrno’s room and remembers the fortune teller’s words to cure him: A kiss. Seriously? Serious. She kisses him on the lips and deep in the night when she wakes up, she sees Chrno up and well as he thanks her. She too is feeling fine so it’s back to normal for the duo. Yeah, Rosette ‘wrestling’ with Chrno… A mysterious person shows up at the doorstep.

Episode 15
That person is Duke Duffau the Pursuer from Pandemonium. Here is not here to fight them but requests their alliance against a common enemy: Aion. He and Chrno are imperfect creations by Number 6. He wants to return Pandemonium’s head to the depths of the earth. Kate and Remington are trying to persuade the Council to work with Duffau but they refuse seeing it’s like being a Satanist and they don’t follow the Lord. But they remind them about Chrno’s great contribution to Magdalene and that now they have a perfect opportunity to gain a source of information especially on Aion. Kate has become so much like Rosette, eh? Well, she did learn a thing or two from that wild nun. Now she even trusts her judgment. The Council hope this doesn’t become the first major mistake since the Forbidden Fruit. Chrno explains to Satella about Pandemonium’s head. Those who fell from Heaven became Pandemonium. Thus, they are fallen angels. Pandemonium hated Heaven and granted intelligence upon the people who were created in the image of those in Heaven. After this world was created, Aion wanted to change the order whereby greed wasn’t a sin and whereby hope shines when greed is born. Citing an example how Heaven requires the existence of demons to display its glory, Aion wants to be free from Heaven’s grasp. Therefore Aion and those who believed him (including Chrno) to jump into the new world of freedom, started a rebellion. Aion cut off Pandemonium’s head as a result. Duffau and his demons were going to exterminate them but Chrno’s power prevent prevented him from getting his way. The nun trio will be going to San Francisco to support Rosette and co as order from Kate. Elder gives them a briefcase containing better Gospels and magazines. Because it’s getting lonely here, he smothers his face on all their boobs!!! Maybe that’s why the babes are leaving him. Consider it as God’s punishment.

Rosette and co meet up with Duffau along with Magdalene’s West Coast branch, Gilliam. Gilliam tells them the Council has decided to trust Rosette and Chrno. At least the Council aren’t so narrow-minded. Aion sees Shader as she is near completion to find a way for an incomplete being to become complete. According to the Book of Atonement, the forgiveness of a fallen angel, when the head of Pandemonium, the 6 Apostles and 7 Virtues are gathered together, a soul shall be born from within the ball of atonement. At that time Heaven will become Earth and Earth will become Heaven. Time will draw a spiral again. Now all that’s left is the Song of Benevolence. Joshua is still weak but Jenai gets rough with him because he isn’t happy humans like him are the ones that killed Rizel. Fiore doesn’t want harm to come to Joshua so Jenai beats her up. Joshua thanks his ‘sister’ for always protecting him. Only Aion can cool that hot-headed guy down. Duffau explains to Rosette since Aion took Pandemonium’s head, light is entering darkness. Satella still doesn’t approve of Rosette working with that demon because she’ll be just like a Satanist. So where does her faith lies? In her watch seal. She will fight together with all of them. Duffau commends her words and the reason she is worthy of being called Mary of Magdalene. Rosette doesn’t know what he is talking about so Duffau says she too received powers from Heaven like Joshua. Something about her true form has been distorted as darkness is trying to corrupt her. He warns that a mark that will protect her will be etched on her body. Satella still isn’t sure about Rosette’s cooperation but Rosette mentions demons are the greatest source of information for them now. Satella will be able to find clues for her sister.  So this also means Rosette is going to stay here a little longer? Just bill the costs back to Magdalene. As Rosette takes a bath, she suddenly feels pain and emerging on her wrist is a cross symbol. It’s bleeding!

Episode 16
Satella wakes up from a traumatic nightmare that a demon massacred her clan and family. Though lacking sleep, she takes up another job request to look for another missing person. Recently there are rising cases of people missing. Rosette, Azmaria, Chrno, Gilliam and Duffau meet and discuss their next operation in taking away his source of power. In other words, devil worshippers. One of them being Eliza Brown. She gathered all believers in every district she passed through. So the fact is people weren’t disappearing but being made as sacrificial offerings as devils operate by using the strength of people itself as their food. Azmaria is disheartened that humans would sell out their own kind so Duffau reminds her that being an Apostle herself, every human and demon would want her powers badly. This was enough to make Azmaria sweat and bring back traumatic memories. Rosette tells her to go back and rest. If she can’t protect herself, she can’t do her job well. Duffau feels that since this wrongdoing is done by humans, only humans can take care of it. They aren’t going to interfere. Satella enters a mine believed to be a place turned into devil worshipping ceremonies. She falls down a pit and gets knocked out by Eliza. When chained Satella wakes up, she finds Eliza performing the ritual and to summon the devil. To her shock, he is Aion. Eliza is so infatuated with Aion that she would do anything for him and even scorn Satella for talking back. I’m sure Eliza was over the moon when he kissed her. Aion continues to mock Satella’s source of confidence and breaks it by showing her charm in his possession, making her go berserk. Aion tells a little story. Long ago, there lived a clan possessing mysterious powers hidden in their jewels living in the black forest country. In short, they were easily destroyed by a single demon’s attack. But there was only 1 survivor among them. That girl (guess who) survived due to the fickleness of a demon (also make a good guess). Now Satella goes really hysterical upon remembering those memories. Yeah, Chrno’s mug was there. Satella tries to maintain her sanity that she will not forgive and will kill him. Of course cocky Aion knows she can’t do anything with her bare hands. Because Aion is getting to close to Satella, Eliza gets jealous and plans to kill that woman. But annoyed Aion, by just saying STFU, the deluded woman falls dead. OMG! Don’t play play! Rosette and Chrno blast in before Aion could do more physical molestation and mental trauma on Satella (“God isn’t going to answer you anyway”). Wanting to speak to Rosette, he easily flings Chrno away without touching him and evades all the Gospels Rosette fires at him. It’s like he had Bullet Time mode on. Rosette fires a point blank shot into his head but he regenerates in no time. Why? Oh, you got to love his best answer, “I don’t think God’s voice reaches devils…”. With that, he’ll meet her again some other day and disappears. When they free Satella, she continues to break down over her helplessness.

Episode 17
Shader has finished her work and all they need now is to insert the last key. Satella is still weak in bed, pondering about Aion’s words that her sister could still be alive. As Rosette makes breakfast for Satella, Steiner tells her about a cup that was the only ware that was unscathed when Satella’s family was massacred. He felt helpless but Rosette notes that sometimes one can support the other just by being with that person. As they visit Satella, Rosette starts bleeding. Chrno is appalled to see her bleeding forehead and wrists. He recognizes them as stigmata, marks that indicate those who are given unto Heaven. But Rosette and Chrno will soon have to join an attack led by Duffau on some hideout. Rosette wants Azmaria to stay back and watch Satella since she is in no form to fight. Can she say the same for herself? Duffau, Rosette and Chrno barge into the villa but find it empty. But it’s a trap as Jenai and Vido knew about their plan and ambush them. So the demons fight each other while the Magdalene reinforcements do what they can to support from the ground. Duffau gives Chrno a sword to fight because he doesn’t want him to unleash his powers here. Many of the Magdalene are injured (seriously, can they actually put up a fight with powerful demons?), Gilliam orders the activation of a large attack barrier. With all the demons being stunned, Rosette fires her Gospel but Vido fires back whatever he’s got. Duffau’s underling, Calv protects Rosette and sacrifices himself by blowing himself up with Vido. Furious Jenai retreats. Wounded Jenai returns to Aion and reports what happened. Aion wants to know how Chrno fared but after learning Rosette was somewhat injured, he realizes that ‘He’ has finally begun to move his pawns. He goes to see Joshua to bring him the good news but sees him in a deteriorating state, asking for his sister. Aion assures she’ll be coming soon to see him and need to give them a grand welcome for tomorrow’s ‘carnival’.

Episode 18
Gilliam reports to Kate about the heavy losses and also notes the odd activity in the Astral Line above. Rosette is impatient in wanting to help out but Gilliam needs her to rest. Azmaria notices her pals down so she plans to take them out to the carnival. They think they shouldn’t be having fun at a time of crisis but when you hear a little girl saying things like not wanting them to carry the burden themselves, let’s not turn this beautiful day bad shall we? Aion wants Shader to thaw out the Apostles. Joshua wants to follow him to the ‘party’ so Aion lets him. As Rosette and co have fun at the carnival, there is one thing I want to mention about her. As a person who uses a gun when fighting demons, she is sure a lousy shooter at the shooting gallery. SHE HIT NONE!!! At the dance, Satella accepts a guy’s offer to dance. Rosette thought she could see her falter but Satella’s a pro. Not wanting to lose out, Rosette forcefully takes Chrno to dance. So stiff, so odd. It’s only a matter of time before those amateurs step on each other’s foot. Oops. They already did. Soon it turns into a war of trying to step on each other’s feet! Is this the new version of tango?! Soon it turns into a wild but lively dance that they and everybody enjoy. Maybe somebody should incorporate this dance. Azmaria too has her dance with Steiner. After taking a group photo, Rosette goes look for Chrno who got lost. Satella talks to Azmaria and is amazed that never in her wildest dream would find herself supporting those 2, especially a human and a demon. Azmaria wants Satella to be happy too and will pray for her every day. Rosette finally finds Chrno but ends up realizing they are lost in the crowd. Then walking to the edge of the cliff, they see the beautiful night scenery of the San Francisco city below. The talk about life, living longer than the other, they need each other, grateful for each other. Especially for Chrno because he was wandering in darkness for so long (aren’t demons so?) till Rosette showed him the path of light. And because of Chrno, Rosette doesn’t hesitate because each moment is precious and is able to move forward and never stop. The fireworks light up as they both embrace. Suddenly Rosette spots an eagle in the sky. Alarmed, she chases after it and as it leads her to Joshua.

Episode 19
However Joshua doesn’t recognize her and insists he is waiting for his sister who coincidentally shares the same name as her, much to her shock. Realizing Aion nearby and the cause of all this, Rosette points her gun at him. He dares her to shoot but Joshua snatches it away. Then he starts squirming in pain, hearing all those noises. Fiore tries to calms him down. Rosette is shock to hear him call Fiore her sister. Aion tells Joshua that Rosette is their guest of honour tonight. Rosette is filled with anger that Aion destroyed everything. Aion reminds her about the ‘pain’ he carved into her. That’s when she starts to paralyze in fear but Chrno jumps in to Rosette’s defence. When Satella goes off to get drinks, Steiner tells Azmaria how Satella has been quite caring now thanks to them. Suddenly he is slashed by Jenai. Azmaria is kidnapped by him. Satella is shocked to see bleeding Steiner upon her return. She is told to rescue Azmaria and not mind him. He’s probably going to kick the bucket anyway, by age or the wound ;p. Shader throws Aion a sword, in which he uses to stab the ground and release miasma to begin the Ritual of Atonement. Within the miasma are the Apostles, including Joshua and Azmaria. Because Joshua could still hear those noises, he fires his gun at Rosette but Chrno takes the bullet for her and is out cold. With that, the noise in Joshua’s head stopped and he wonders if he should’ve killed him earlier. Aion then uses Pandemonium’s head to create chaos all around, even reaching the Astral Line. When Magdalene receives news of this, Elder wants everyone in San Francisco to be evacuated because the scale of events would far surpass what happened in Manhattan and at worst case scenario, San Francisco could disappear from the face of the Earth.

Rosette tries to stab Pandemonium’s head but was struck by the Astral Line. Satella comes rushing in. Fiore, a Jewel Summoner is ordered to stall her. Satella recognizes her as her sister. So she’s the missing person she’s been looking for? In a way, it’s a small world. The ritual completes with the achievement of Ascension.  Aion picks Rosette up and tells her this is a ritual to awaken her. With the 7 virtues to awaken her, they needed 1 more virtue of Heaven that demons desire: Justice. Rosette is also an Apostle so in order to ‘cultivate’ her, they needed her to have the power of faith. She, who is spurred by righteousness and inherited Mary Magdalene’s love, annihilated Pandemonium’s head and become Mary, one who bestows light. Though she embodies righteousness and love, yet she used her faith to pursuit unmatched hatred and vengeance, this she is no different that he is. He wants her to come to the land of salvation with him. A very weak Rosette refuses but Aion kisses her. She pleads for Chrno’s help to kill this bugger. Hearing her voice, Chrno draws enough strength to stand up and transform into his true form after Rosette’s watch seal is released. He charges straight for Aion but Joshua steps up before Aion. On a trivial note, I don’t know how Remington arrived so fast to free Azmaria from Shader’s grasp. He was at Magdalene’s HQ when the chaos happened. New York and San Francisco are at the opposite ends of the country, right?

Episode 20
Aion gives Joshua a sword to fight Chrno. Duffau keeps Jenai at bay away from Remington and Azmaria. Gilliam fires several shells into Fiore’s arm but it turned black instead. Is that a mechanical arm? Chrno was distracted by Rosette’s plea to stop fighting and got stabbed by Joshua. In turn, he pulls Joshua’s horns out. Though the kid is screaming in pain, he promises this will end the noises in his head and breaks them off. Joshua collapses and Chrno turns into stone. As Aion takes Rosette with her, Duffau stabs and kills Jenai while Remington does the same with Shader. Later Remington reports to Kate about their failure since Rosette has been taken. Joshua is saved only because Aion doesn’t need him anymore. Kate questions how he got to San Francisco in record time. Remington reveals he is an angel. Say what? Fiore and Joshua are recuperating in hospital. Azmaria wakes up and mentions about memories from Pandemonium’s head flowed through her mind. When demons were exiled from Heaven, they made a certain covenant with God. Humans possessing wisdom will someday fall. He therefore gave demons the role of leading humans from depravity to salvation by making them fear Heaven. The reason for them Apostles to exist is to make the greatness of Heaven’s will known to the people. That’s why demons are indispensible to Heaven as because their existence made humans worship God. And when the time comes, a saviour will appear to preach deliverance to the people amid the confusion. Rosette’s stigmata must have been a message. However Duffau says it serves more of deterrence to the rise of demons. A potent deterrent is also a potent force, that’s why Aion desired Rosette since justice comes hand in hand with violence and what Aion desired is a justice that manifested as violence. Remington notes that he is powerless and prohibited from taking any action. He has been watching throughout the ages and thinks all this may have been in accordance with Heaven’s scenario all along that the Sinner s gathered the Apostles. For now, they do nothing and carry on as usual.

Azmaria sees stone Chrno in the warehouse and sings for him, pleading that he will save Rosette. Aion shows Rosette the destroyed city as a result of Chrno and Joshua’s battle and their testimony of love for her. He also says that he needs not Sinners or Apostles anymore and it’s just the 2 of them. Many have died, gotten hurt or lost their futures because of her. Everyone is praying to God for their suffering but he is sure He will never answer. He knows Rosette wants to go help them now and wants her to choose to save or not to save since she is already an accomplice. She wants to save but not with him. Aion has been waiting for her justice to grow within her as they’re going to change the world and create a new era. What developed between faith and revenge was justice. It has caused so much death due to love. And that is who she is. This city was a sacrifice made for them to win their freedom. He asks if she has the resolve to leap into freedom. Chrno told her to live but what will she accomplish by living. In the end, Rosette dons Fiore’s specially made black dress and sets out with Aion, though she still takes the watch seal with her as it is her life.

Episode 21
Kate and Elder arrive in San Francisco and being picked up by Remington and Gilliam. They are being told of the situation and since many saw Chrno, this has sparked a frenzy of everyone across the nation to go to church. Wow. I didn’t know it was this effective. Fiore wakes up to go see Joshua. She doesn’t remember who Satella is and believes she is Joshua’s sister. After all this time and finally accepting that fact, Joshua wakes up and doesn’t remember who the hell she is. So shocked that she fell back into coma. Meanwhile the spirit of Mary visits the stone Chrno. It’s time for another flashback. Back in 1870, she was visited by Chrno in the library. Though the other Magdalene Order surrounded them, Chrno listened to her advice to make their escape. Somewhere away, Chrno knows that she can predict the future. She replies that she is fated to carve the 7 sorrows of Mary into the path she walks. A fate that he wants. But she knows he hates to hurt people but will one day do so and can’t avoid it. Nearby, Chrno sees Aion pulling off his horns. Bringing him back to the other Sinners, Shader has finished a device called Astral Collection Control Unit which serves as the horn’s substitute. However it still needs an astral power source. Like a human life. Later Chrno talks to Mary elsewhere and asks if she has seen the end of their dreams. She shows him her stigmata on her wrists and notes they are marks of one chosen by God. With this, her powers of precognition manifested and began to see the past and future. Of all the dreams, she saw one about Chrno. He will take her life and will fill the emptiness in her life. She is calm and came along with him knowing that her fate is sealed because she is with him. However she cautions him that his heart is swaying. She warns his dream will fail because of his wish not to hurt others. She also wants her to be careful of Aion because although he sees him as a friend, Aion doesn’t.

That night when Shader is ready to begin the ritual as all the preparations are in place, Aion doesn’t want to go ahead. He says Mary is a decoy set by God to fail their plan. Since she has told Chrno their future, this has opened up more choices. He wants Chrno to kill her. Chrno strangles her and wonders why she is still so calm. She claims they can’t change fate and wanted to know what kind of person will take her life. Then she confesses she likes him. Chrno can’t kill her so Aion impales him and sends them both falling off the cliff. Mary uses her powers to land them safely. Chrno says her premonition was wrong since he is critically injured and lost his horn. However she gives him the Unit (which is the watch seal). She makes a contract with her life to let him live. After Chrno buries her, on occasion Mary visits him via her spirit. Because Chrno wants to protect Rosette and her, he breaks out of his stone captivity. The watch seal on Rosette activates and causes great pain. Joshua wakes up but doesn’t remember who Chrno is. In fact, he doesn’t remember anything and all his abilities have disappeared. Duffau and his underlings confront Aion but Rosette unleashes her powers to destroy them all. Before Chrno, Azmaria and Satella set out on their journey, one of Duffau’s underling, Gulio limps in to warn that Duffau has been killed by her partner and to be careful of that Saint. Then he perishes.

Episode 22
When Satella was young, she was sad when mummy told her she would never be like a Jewel Summoner like her sister. But big sis was there to comfort and give her words of encouragement. Elder gives Chrno a special sword engraved with Eruku text to fight Aion on equal terms so that he doesn’t have to revert to his original form which will be dangerous for Rosette. Fiore blasts her way out of her confinement and takes Joshua with her to see Aion, injuring several Magdalene guards. The nun trio are running a camp for the wounded when they see Rosette. Looks like she is performing some healing miracle. They are happy to see her but Aion shows up with her and takes her away. Everyone who saw that miracle starts flocking around and seeking their help. I guess in such trying times, they’d truly believe in any miracles of God, even if Aion is just playing as one. The nuns meet up with Chrno, Azmaria and Satella as they couldn’t understand what is happening. Across the street is Fiore with Joshua. Fiore is bent on seeing Aion because she believes he can heal Joshua and will not kill them as he still needs her powers as a Jewel Summoner.

Satella wants Chrno to retrieve Joshua while she takes care of her sister. She creates a barrier that transports them to another dimension. Satella tries to convince that she is her sister Florette but Fiore insists she is a mechanical doll, a huntress. Satella doesn’t want to fight her but till she frees the barrier, Fiore relentlessly attacks. With childhood memories of how they spent time together till the day Florette lost her life when Chrno killed her family, Satella tries hard to make her remember those memories. But all Fiore can say is that Florette died 10 years ago and she is just the ephemeral huntress Florette left behind. Also, she is just a doll Aion created from Florette’s corpse. Satella gets sliced and slashed so she uses her last ditch effort. If they can’t go back to the way it was, at least she wants them to go together. Running up close and hugging Fiore, Satella materializes a jewel to stab them both together. Fiore mentions Satella’s name before her death. So she finally remembered those memories? Chrno and Azmaria go up to Rosette who is doing her blessing. Chrno isn’t happy Aion did something to her but he mentions he did nothing as this is what she wants to by bestowing miracles of the Magdalene and for her personal atonement. Then as they both leave, Chrno grabs Rosette’s hand but his palm was burnt. Aion uses this chance to tell the people that this is proof for those who oppose the Lord cannot even touch the Saint. Everyone believes Chrno is a demon (which he actually is) and tries to kill him. Better run away from the ugly mob. Chrno and Azmaria see heavily wounded Satella leaning on a tree. Satella wants Chrno to save Rosette for she is bound by her past like her. Break her bonds before she becomes like her. Azmaria sings to Satella as her final wish as she peacefully passes away. The unruly crowd are trying to break into Magdalene as they think they are hiding a demon and want this satanic cult to repent their blasphemy.

Episode 23
As Chrno runs around looking for Aion and Rosette, a kid pass a letter to him to meet them at a decimated church. Rosette demands Chrno to give back her life. Aion mocks Chrno he is a hypocrite of love because all the women he loved dies at his hand. Because if Chrno continues to live, Rosette’s lifespan gets shorter. Does her really want to kill her that bad? Since Chrno isn’t going to give it up, Rosette gets permission to kill him. She splashes her burning blood at him. Chrno remembers how he first met Aion. Chrno was depressed and Aion told him about the absence of God and how men only listen to them now. Heaven is pitiful now and since men was given wisdom and the ability to think, His light no longer reaches the world of men. Aion extends his hand to Chrno to create a new freedom in the name of sin. Chrno regrets shaking his hand then. Remington picks Chrno up in the aftermath. The people continue to riot against Magdalene and burn everything down. Chrno laments due to his weakness and inability to resist his thirst for freedom, he caused the deaths of others and wonders if he should be living. The photographer who took a group photo of Rosette and co came to deliver the photos to Azmaria. He also gave them a picture he took while he was in the city: A photo of Rosette. Remington theorizes that the riot in San Francisco was a test case for Aion. With people in despair, Rosette’s stigmata have become their hope. Aion will lead this country into chaos using hope as a weapon. The Fatima Prophecy, the second prediction realization will lead to an even greater war. So they believe this is a test from God? Well, looks like everyone is still revolting, killing and destroying things. None got enlightened and followed the path of God, eh?

Back in New York, Kate reports to the Council on what has happened. There was a case that a police inspector running wild too. When interrogated, he said he heard noises in his head and carved the stigmata onto his wrists to stop the noise he believes is from the devil. Calling those who did the same as Crusaders, they are followers of the Saint will annihilate those who oppose and obtain true freedom. Doesn’t that make them any different than murderers? What is justice then? Chrno continues to regret and feel guilty on how to make up to Rosette. Azmaria also feels the same but she says they can’t deny the precious moments they have spent together. Chrno gets his confidence back and is to look for Rosette but Aion’s eagle appears and leaves a message to meet at Central Park. Chrno heads off alone and Rosette is still bent on taking back her life as she points her gun at him. Chrno is okay if she wants to kill him but before she does that he wants to end his own fight with his past. He throws his horns at Aion to turn him to stone. This breaks Aion’s spell on Rosette (the price was her last stigmata). In Chrno’s arms, Rosette reverts to her normal self. However Aion stabs Chrno with his horn since he was able to overcome his power. Rosette decides to give her life to him because if many lives can be save through her life then she would willingly died even if this is God’s plot to revive this fallen world. Unlocking the watch seal, she says that is the reason why God gave them wisdom and soul. Chrno transforms into his true form and fights Aion. He fully understands why they are incomplete. After a few clashes, Chrno kills Aion. Hold on! The ever-powerful untouchable Aion just got killed so easily?! Just like that?! Maybe Rosette’s life really Chrno powered up. In the aftermath as Remington and co search for the duo, all they could find is Rosette’s gun. Azmaria believes Rosette is still alive somewhere.

Episode 24
A year has passed. In 1929 at Seventh Bell Orphanage, time has begun moving for the kids. Kate and Azmaria pay them a visit. Azmaria’s soothing song calms the children. As for Rosette, she is still not to be found. Meanwhile Remington and Elder visit the grave of Mary and see proof that those children were here before. The horns of Aion lie on the wall sculpture. Remington says since Aion’s horns have the power to move time, it was the only way to undo the frozen time. Seems Remington have severed ties with Heaven since he has no more lingering feelings for his broken wings. He is also no longer a reverend at Magdalene. Though the city is under control, there are still bits of Crusaders everywhere and some of the more dangerous ones are thrown in prison. One of the nuns thought she saw Rosette but it turns out to be the wrong person. Remington returns to Joshua and it seems he has a mind of a 12 year old. He is trying to be a novelist and writing a story that has a certain strong girl as the heroine going around destroying bad people who are after the Astral Line. Joshua thinks it’s his original idea but I guess it’s better this way. Remington feels Joshua is proof of his sins because that child destroyed his mind to protect himself. Far away in a secluded place and an abandoned hut, we see Rosette and Chrno still alive albeit very weak. They’re enjoying their pleasant time together. She thinks of unlocking the seal to heal Chrno’s wounds but he doesn’t want to since that is precious to him. Rosette breaks down because she is scared of dying and wants to continue living. Soon the watch seal stops glowing. Kate gets a call that Rosette has been found. Azmaria and the nun trio rush to the scene and it was heartbreaking to see them both lifelessly leaning against each other holding hands. There is this gentle calmness on their faces.

Kate informs Remington about this and confirms with him and to her relief it’s just superstition for those who made a covenant with the devil will wander in hell. She truly believed Rosette’s soul was the purest because she went as far to make a demon her companion. She offers him to come back but he can’t since he has to take care of Joshua. With that, Kate assures him that he will not abandon her faith. Remington narrates that soon after, there are big riots and uneasiness worldwide. The stocks in New York crash and caused a number of suicides. And there’s a certain German fanatic organization on the rise. Remington wonders why this era has chosen confusion as many people are going to die. Kate also wonders if this is His plan. Noting that Rosette and Chrno may be experiencing happiness since they will not see the Great War and the prophecy fulfilment. Then she gets word that another person with stigmata has been spotted in Miami. Azmaria is fully part of Magdalene as she visits Rosette’s grave. She hopes they will keep an eye on her and vows to be stronger. Fast forward to around May 13 in 1981. Remington is still bumming around like a homeless hermit but not in Vatican. He notes that he is just a spectator in this era till the day he atones for his sins and will live forever. He thought he saw Aion among the crowd. So was Aion the one who assassinated Pope John Paul II?! Well, it ends with a note that the Vatican revealed the third prophecy of Fatima in the year 2000 but was never fully disclosed since it touched about the Pope’s assassination. “We can do nothing but to see the times go by in the path which God has chosen”.

Where was God when you needed Him?
Oh my. What a tragic end. Well, I did expect something like this seeing the way things were going. It was sad to see Rosette and Chrno losing their life at the end but at least they go in a peaceful manner. It is one of the very rare animes that the main protagonist dies in the end. At the rate the series is killing off characters, I thought everybody will be killed off one way or another. I mean, the riots around the world and the people just going crazy with their own version of justice. It’s like hell on Earth. Armageddon. Apocalypse. But even if it did not come, the events that eventually happened thereafter are sure to suggest so. The real life wars like World War II, the Vietnam War and the more recent war on terror on Iraq and Afghanistan. Doesn’t it feel like the prophecy is coming true? Besides, this series is based on the Bible’s Book of Revelation.

The story slowly diverges from one that has Rosette looking for Joshua into a fight against demons who are planning to create their own version of freedom. Then ultimately into something that might involve something with God and His plan. Even though God works his mysterious ways and many zealots would look at the pain and suffering as trials from the Almighty, but as far as this anime is concerned, God somehow didn’t make His presence felt. It was like He never existed if not, did not care. It was as though only demons were present. No angels, no saviour from above. Maybe it is all part of His big plan for something. But as it shows, the misery and despair that was brought upon the human race makes you question why He let it happen. Part of a bigger plan that we mere humans couldn’t even understand, that’s why. I’m not a religious person nor did this series made me into one so there are perhaps lots of things that I want to say but rather not due to my ‘shallow knowledge’.

Rosette isn’t your perfect girl. Brute and rash, living up to her wild nun nickname, only it’s because she has a limited amount of time to live so she knows too well that by not doing anything or being pessimistic would not change anything. Her methods may not be acceptable to what most believers would, at least her heart and soul are pure. How many of us could actually make friends with someone else whom we have been drilled into our heads as an eternal enemy? Ironically we have been told that demons are the villains so to have Chrno being on the good side feels like he was born on the wrong side in the first place. A kind-hearted demon that doesn’t want to hurt others? Joshua is another sad case. He has been born with a weak body and his entire childhood he has grown up in pain and ultimately being used by Aion. So when he has been discarded as useless, the turn of events did not allow for brother and sister to meet. In fact, they never really did. By the time Joshua was in Magdalene’s hands recuperating, Rosette went over to the dark side. And by the time everything is over, Rosette is dead and Joshua has no recollections of his sister. So it’s truly sad that the trio will never return to those times before again. On an unrelated note, I really missed the early Rosette when she was crashing and wrecking the Magdalene cars. She was really funny… Forgive me, sister. After she got promoted into the Militia, she hardly drives anymore, doesn’t she?

Remington’s revelation as an angel was a surprise. Even if he was a fallen angel, putting him in the role as an observer doesn’t really quite cut it. We can always say that it’s part of God’s big plan or he can always reason it’s to atone for his sin, but what good can an angel do by walking on the same earth with men? It’s no different than being one except he lives forever in his case. I believe Kate who never approved of Rosette’s brash ways has slowly become like her. Not that Kate has turned into a wild nun too but at least she steps up for what she believes in and not follow blindly just because it is not what many consider as not the path of God. In the end, she fully trusts Rosette. Maybe all that scolding for that blonde did herself some good, eh? Another sad case is Satella. She spent years searching for her sister and only for them to end up dead together. Whether or not Fiore is truly her dead sister or just a mechanical doll created by Aion, all that matters to Satella is that she loves her sister very much. Over the course of the series, she too changed from a total demon hater to one that at least accepts Chrno’s existence. Well, not all demons are bad. And with 3 out of the quartet gone, this leaves poor Azmaria all lonely, huh? Well, she’ll get stronger so long as she holds her friends close in her heart.

But the best and coolest character of the series has got to go to Aion. He is one smooth talker and a very powerful demon that you don’t want to mess with. He is so powerful that it seems he doesn’t even need to exert any effort to discard his enemies. He doesn’t hesitate to tell you the straight and harsh facts especially about God. But of course if he was that powerful, he didn’t have to go through all that trouble in getting all the Apostles and getting the ritual right for his ideal. So when he easily died in the hands of Chrno in the end, it felt somewhat improper. Big bad boss like him must be tough and hard to take down so my idea was after only Chrno gets whacked and beaten to a pulp, only then he would do some final last attempt trump card risky move to kill Aion. By making Aion get killed that fast makes me think that Chrno is actually more powerful than Aion in the first place and the only thing which prevented him from using his true form was Rosette’s life which he held ‘hostage’. And I’m going to say this again. Making Aion the demon in nearly succeeding his plan may have been part of His plan all along as hinted. Though you can’t really get rid of the devil and even that end narration did suggest Aion, just like God is an immortal, I guess it’s all part of the balance and ying yang. If devils do not exist, so will not angels, right? So having good times followed by bad times is like one big cycle. You can say history is and will always be repeating itself. The evil rises, big fight and good always triumph. Repeat cycle once more. Isn’t it amusing? Come to think of it, after Chrno’s death, aren’t there any more demons left? Chrno slew everyone in Pandemonium, Duffau and his pursuers all perished, the same with Aion and his Sinners. So are there any demons left? Maybe low-level ones.

The voice acting are all pretty okay. With the late Tomoko Kawakami (Misuzu in Air, Athena in Aria The Animation series) voicing the tomboyish and reckless Rosette, Akira Ishida (Gaara of Naruto) doing the kind demon Chrno, Michiko Neya (Melissa in Full Metal Panic) as the conceited Satella, Kazuhiko Inoue (Kakashi in Naruto) as the calm and cool baddie Aion, Junko Minagawa (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis) the weak and lost as Joshua, Sho Hayami (Aizen in Bleach), as the fallen angel-turned-reverend Remington, Yoshiko Sakakibara (Yuriko in High School Of The Dead) as the concern nun Kate, Tomomichi Nishimura (Masamune in Samurai 7) as the perverted Elder and who can’t identify with that low sexy voice of Norio Wakamoto (Onsokumaru in 2×2=Shinobuden) as Duffau. I find Azmaria’s voice very shrieky especially when she screams. So much so I thought that she could break glasses if she were to hold that note for a longer period. Then I found out she was voiced by Saeko Chiba (Dokuro in Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan, Birdy in Tetsuwan Birdy Decode) and man, it never occurred to me that it was her voice. I am also not sure if she is the one behind Azmaria’s choir and angelic-like singing voice. They sound really different but hey, some seiyuus do surprise you. I have not heard Natsuko Kuwatani’s voice for a long time but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten her role as Suisei Seki in Rozen Maiden. Of course I couldn’t identify her here as she is the voice of Fiore and with such an expressionless character with no emotions in her speeches, I guess you could say that never in a million years that I would have guessed it was her.

Initially the name of the title bugged me. No, not the meaning but rather the spelling.  Chrno Crusade was indeed spelt that way for 2 reasons. One, it was a typo error on the manga and secondly as I have found out that name was copyrighted in Japan though I’m not sure in what aspect. Originally the author wanted it to spell Chrono Crusade like it should seeing that everyone has been pronouncing ku-ro-no instead of khr-no. Later when the series was license in America, only then the name was changed back to Chrono.

Well, I didn’t become more religious after watching this. Should I? Should you? Let’s just say if this is all part of God’s big plan, then I leave it to Him for whatever may come in the future. It’s no use trying to change destiny and the future when it is all set out, right? The more you think you can outdo and alter the change, the more you will find that you will end up back in the path of God. Whether you want to believe it or not is also entirely up to you. So if it’s my destiny to watch more animes before kingdom come, so be it. Hah. Using God as an excuse… Can I say that anime is my religion then?

Kuragehime Specials

March 17, 2012

Well, well. I didn’t know Kuragehime had little extra specials when you buy the DVD or Blu-Ray discs. Which anime wouldn’t these days? I guess it serves as something little extra you get in addition to the polished and refined TV episodes. Just like any other specials, they are short, funny and have nothing to do with the plot. So it doesn’t harm if you would waste a few minutes of your life enjoying these little extra specials. For Kuragehime, there are 2 types of extra specials. The first one is Kuragehime Soreike Amars Tankentai which is about the quintet exploring the deep jungles. And I don’t mean concrete jungles but real jungles. The second type is Kuragehime Heroes and focuses on a particular character in the series. Don’t expect anything out of the ordinary here or be mislead by its title. You’re not going to see them pulling off super hero powers and is instead an extension of what their weird fetish is.

Kuragehime Soreike Amars Tankentai

There are 6 episodes but each only last a mere 30 seconds! Wow. That’s really fast. For some unknown reason, we see the Sisterhood Exploration Party exploring the uncharted jungles. For these NEETs who never seem to leave their beloved Amamizu dorm, it is a wonder why they are out on an exploration quest. Maybe facing off with animals isn’t as bad as hipsters, er? So as the first episode begins, we are told they have been trekking for hours having no clue to what they’re seeking. Did they? Should they? Suddenly they receive an arrow message that reads “Ball”. They try to figure out what this ‘ball’ means. A stamp seal? The animal seal? Then out of nowhere an electric railway bus appears before them. Say, it’s piloted by a monkey?! Well, at least Banba loves it. In the second episode, they continue their journey and are feeling hungry. Mayaya sees Banba’s afro as cotton candy and takes a bite. On the brink of starvation, they receive another arrow message, this time reading “Silver”. Again they try to decipher what it means when a swarm of locusts is heading their way. I don’t know how, they manage to catch them all and fry them for food. To not even fear locusts, they must be that hungry, huh? Delicious?! Yeah, hungry alright. Continuing in the third episode, this time they come across… Wooden bird houses? Feels like cuckoo bird clocks, do they? Then another arrow message: “Big”. Start guessing who this Dai (big) is. Daijirou? Daizaburou? While the rest are still on the topic, Jiji spots an elderly indigenous guy. She follows him and got trapped in a wooden bird house. All the other bird houses close as the other indigenous males dance around the bird house Jiji is trapped in. Eh, what just happened?

It’s raining heavily by the fourth episode and Chieko is against going out of the shelter since it will ruin her kimono. While she continues ranting on how precious they are, they receive another arrow message with the words “Platform”. Banba puts all the messages together they’ve got and thinks the message means big pachinko balls. Suddenly it stops raining as Chieko gladly makes a move. But she trips and falls into a mud. Oh, her kimono… The gang reached a lake in the fifth episode. Tsukimi got so excited of seeing jellyfish, she jumped in! The rest thought she turned into a one when a jellyfish surfaced with her spectacles. Yeah, maybe she’s so obsessed about it that she really could turn into one. They make a move after receiving another message, “Place”. Actually the real Tsukimi didn’t turn into a jellyfish and so happens she just lost her specs. Megane, megane… By the sixth episode, the message they get finally turns weird. “8”. A number now? This doesn’t make sense. “Big”, “Silver”, “Ball”, “Platform”, “Place” and “8”. What does it look like to you? Suddenly they see a silver ball rolling down towards them. After it lands in its proper place, the girls hurriedly return to Amamizu. If not for the end note, I wouldn’t have understood what happened. The big silver ball is the distinct shape of the studio’s building while the number 8 refers to the Fuji TV’s channel number.

Kuragehime Heroes

There are four episodes lasting around 5 minutes each.

Chapter 1: Mayaya
Mayaya wakes up on a rainy day. She talks nothing and only about Romance of the Three Kingdoms (ROTK). With Banba coming in, Mayaya is disheartened that her allowance has dipped even though it’s just the fifth day of the month. Why not? She spent it on some lavish ROTK anthropology book. So precious that she won’t even let Banba touch it. Then Chieko comes in with some sticky mitarashi snack. Guess what? She drops a stick on one of the books. See the horror on Mayaya’s face! When the second stick starts falling, Mayaya is going to become a hero like her ROTK and uses her head as a landing spot. Proclaiming victory like a ROTK general, Chieko points out a wet patch on the back of her head. Seems there is mitarashi sauce on it and somehow she flattened the first stick on her anthropology book. So you want to count the cost and lost?

Chapter 2: Banba and Jiji
Jiji enters Banba’s room to show her the perfect scrapbook she has made for her beloved Takeo. There are lots of nice photos in it and it seems her secret is that she saved up like hell to buy a computer and inkjet printer. All hail the internet and colour printer! Jiji and Banba start praising their older guys and train fetish respectively without even listening to what the other had to say. Banba wants Jiji to help print out a train photo but she just continues ranting the perfect Takeo she has printed out. Then Mayaya comes in and founds out about the printer so Jiji offers to help her search for ROTK images over the internet and print it out. Mayaya is thrilled with the finishing touches and gets fired up to print all 36 ROTK generals! When Kuranosuke makes a visit to Amamizu, he is spooked to see tough looking ROTK generals pasted around the walls and doors. Trying to scare away the developers? Oh, I think the printer is running out of ink…

Chapter 3: Chieko
While looking through her kimono and obi, Chieko suddenly spots something horrendous. There are holes in her kimonos that the moths have eaten in. She starts freaking out and feels the need to air them. Outside she sees Banba and Mayaya in some weird ritual. They’re trying to call for rain since they’re thinking of creating a rain dancing community on the website. WTF?! Chieko forbids and shoos them away. Since her kimonos can’t take direct sunlight, she lines them all up in the hallways of Amamizu. Erm, how is anybody going to walk? Then she feels she has to do the same to her dolls. Banba and Mayaya return from the shop and it seems Mayaya’s ice cream stick reveals she has lost a prize but Banba nails the winner. Suddenly see severed heads of several females and got freaked out. Actually from their point of view, those dolls Chieko are airing looked like freshly decapitated heads. Yeah, they even thought Chieko also lost her head. Mayaya wants her to remove them instantly since they’ll scare old people. But looks like she’ll get her wish because it starts raining. Chieko quickly keeps her dolls while telling off the duo to come help her instead of dancing in the rain.

Chapter 4: Shuu and Hanamori
While Hanamori drives Shuu to work one morning, he felt the need to tell him something but ultimately ditches the idea. Even when Shuu alights the car, he was going to say it but drops it entirely. While polishing his beloved Benz, he thinks about the worries he might have caused for Shuu. Then taking a lunch break, he is disheartened to see a black cat jumping on to the car. He drops his box and rushes to gentle take it down. Then to his dismay, paw marks on the bonnet! He starts cleaning and waxing again only to find the cat is eating his food. In the evening as he drives Shuu back, he finally gets the resolve to tell him but wants Shuu to promise not to get mad. Well, that depends. With the drama and tension building up, Shuu gets worried since it has something to do with his job. After promising, Hanamori finally reveals the thing bugging his mind. When he was running yesterday, he suddenly got cramped in his leg. Then this afternoon when he was waxing the car, he stretched his leg to fix it but when he stepped on the accelerator the pain returned. So right now he is pressing the pedal with his left foot. So can anybody not get mad at this dangerous driving? But Shuu promised…

Ah well, it may not be even a year since I watched Kuragehime but watching the specials do bring back nostalgic memories of the series. Of course I thought that there would also be an episode to further explain certain events that I was dying to know after the series ended but that was just wishful thinking. I mean, these kind of short specials won’t do any justice to it so I guess it’s best that they are kept in a random, fun and nonsensical manner. I felt that they should have one of those hero chapters on Tsukimi or Kuranosuke too. Overall the specials are just for the other ladies at Amamizu to have more screen time despite its short duration. So to conclude, everybody is still pretty much the same people we know back in the series. Nothing much changes. Whether you’re a NEET, politician or some Benz-obsessed driver, everyone has their own fetish they are obsessed with. That’s what makes us interesting.

Dog Days

March 16, 2012

I thought Dog Days had something to do with the hottest day in summer or at least with the stars. Not exactly, though it does bring you to another universe or world. Having a canine in the title, one may conjure that this is a show about dogs, right? Well, let’s just say the inhabitants of the other world are cats and dogs. Honestly, I can’t tell them apart because every feline and canine have ears and tails that look so similar. And I even thought that this was the anime version of the Hollywood TV series like how anime remade the Supernatural series. Nothing close.

So to have an idea what Dog Days is about. Picture this. A very athletic kid from Earth, gets summoned to another world whereby both nations are currently engaged in war. Fight, fight, fight with special powers and weapons. Losing nation turns the tables and ends losing streak on winning nation with new hero. Battle is won but the war is not over. And something sinister is lurking underneath it all. Get the idea? So if you like your animes in medieval fantasy-like setting with moe in your characters (animal ears and tail, that is), I’m sure you’re going to like this action and adventure.

Episode 1
In the world called Flonyard, the Biscotti Republic is in another war with neighbouring Galette Lion Army and is on the losing side. Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois AKA Leo is a 16 year old princess leading her troops to battle and is confident that tomorrow will be another day Biscotti will taste another humiliating defeat. On the other hand, the Biscotti royal committee are having an emergency meeting to take drastic measures. Also led by a 16 year old princess, Millhiore Filianno Biscotti, she feels the need to use the final trump card to win this war. Plus, her people’s morale is at all-time low due to consecutive defeats.

Back on Earth, half-British half-Japanese Shinku Izumi meets classmate Rebecca “Becky” Anderson to school. Don’t try and imitate his acrobatic stunts (like jumping down from his balcony complete with somersault) because Shinku is a professional athlete and acrobat. He came close in winning last year’s Iron Athletics (something like Ninja Warrior game show) and vows to work hard to get higher than second place this time. Today is the last day of school before the holidays. After the closing ceremony, I guess Shinku got this idea of jumping down from his classroom window as part of his practice. Little did he know, a weird dog with a dagger in his mouth, Tatsumaki activates an insignia and before he knows it, Shinku falls in and into another world. In Flonyard, Shinku meets Millhiore who is more than happy to see the hero she summoned. I guess she can explain the ongoing war on their way because Leo and her men including her general, Godwin Dorure are advancing their troops into Biscotti’s kingdom. Riding with Millhiore on her Cellkull (a dodo bird-like creature), she feeds him details of what is going on and that she needs him to lend his powers to turn the tables. Then this is the oddest part. There is a commentator for the war like in game shows?! Hey wait a minute? Is this a real war or a game show? Why are the props and obstacles looking like game shows too?! There are points earned too? Both sides even have a guest commentator to comment on the ‘war’? So is this really war?! Plus, defeated warriors get turned into feline and canine furballs and taken away by friendly medics!!! WTF?! So let me get this straight. As Millhiore said, wars in Flonyard are events for people to enjoy athletics and competition in a healthy manner? That’s not called a war, right? Maybe in this world it is? I guess Millhiore was really placing her hopes and trust in the hero to alleviate her people’s morale that Shinku agrees to help out. Taking Shinku back to the castle, she has him geared up and makes the much awaited announcement of the summoned hero. Maybe that flashy entrance was all part of the show too, eh?

Episode 2
Shinku meets up with the leader of the Biscotti Knights, Rolan Martinozzi. Apparently Millhiore had briefed Shinku the rules of war (wait a minute, there are rules for war?), so he is able to get by. Like knocking them unconscious or just tapping on their back or head with his palm will turn them into harmless cute furballs. Shinku is swift in advancing to the front of the troops, overcoming all sorts of obstacles and attacks, surprising everyone on both sides. Shinku rendezvous with the captain of the Imperial Knights, Eclair Martinozzi. Remembering further what the princess told him about the Seal Spell, collecting and mixing it his vitality with Flonyard Force allows him to convert it into spirit energy. In other words, he can shoot fireballs and the likes or conjure barriers. He was also given a Biscotti holy treasure, Palladium the heavenly sword. Though its dormant form is a ring, he can change it to any shape he desires, in which he selects a pole. Shinku and Eclair summon their Flonyard power to use a Seal Cannon to blast away the hordes of Galette foot soldiers. Leo steps into the battle as Shinku and Eclair try to stop her but got into each other’s way. It doesn’t help that Shinku accidentally ends up in perverted positions on Eclair and earns her wrath. Everyone thought they had some internal fighting. Leo unleashes her Gigantic Explosion, taking out everyone in the field from both sides. Shinku and Eclair manage to escape the impact as they come diving down from the sky. Finally their cooperation hit the right note as they both flank Leo and destroy her armour. Leo admits defeat and surrenders. Biscotti rejoices in their victory as Leo commends the hero and even shakes hand with him. So are you really convinced this is a war or just a friendly game? As it is Eclair’s turn for her comment, her clothes suddenly ripped, leaving her naked in the battlefield. Seems Shinku also accidentally hit her when he hit Leo. Shinku is going to get it… Shinku also learns that with Biscotti’s victory, Millhiore will also sing since she is a renowned singer. Shinku would love to stay for the concert but wishes to return home and contact his relatives. But he was being told (as with Millhiore too), that summoned heroes can never return to their world. That is why the ritual of summoning hero is rarely done. Oh no. See how Shinku and Millhiore are panicking?

Episode 3
Chief Researcher of the National Research School of Biscotti, Ricotta Elmar volunteers to research and help find a way to return Shinku back. In the mean time, enjoy your stay. Hope it doesn’t take 100 years. Millhiore has a busy schedule to follow following the victory but luckily she has her secretary Amelita Tremper to handle it. Shinku hangs out with Eclair and learns there was a disclaimer on the insignia that says that there is no way to return if one chooses to step in. Anyway, how the heck could he see that small print and in foreign language too?! Shinku learns the workings of the ‘war’. Ordinary people participate for fun and would at least like to retrieve the participation money. Though war is a diplomacy method (WTF?!), there are other smaller battle scales like inter-village and inter-group battles. When a war is called, both sides collect participation fees from all participants from both sides. After the war, the winner receives 60% of the ante and the loser 40%. Wow. Even losers to get something out of the war. Half of the earnings goes to those participated in the war and the balance goes to the nation’s account like building hospitals, fortresses, etc. And all these are stipulated in the treaty! This is one war I would like to have. And there are no deaths in this war because it is conducted on lands protected by the Flonyard deities. I can’t believe this. But not all lands are protected like the mountains and valleys as they tend to have dangerous wild animals. They go see Ricotta still in the midst of researching (he has to be back in 16 days). She gets an idea after seeing Shinku’s handphone signal. Modifying and using the waves to amplify this and that (don’t understand the mechanics as usual), the amazing part is Shinku is able to call Becky!!! WTF?! If it was stated that no contact no matter what could be made to the other world, how is this possible? Furthermore a signal? Yeah, I have an idea. Turn Shinku into a signal and send him back! So Shinku is able to assure Becky he’ll be away in an uncontactable place and not to worry. Shinku sees several transparent little creatures and learn they are local gods. Them showing up is a sign that nature’s harvest is plentiful. Millhiore is preparing for her concert and wonders if Leo will turn up seeing they used to be such good childhood friends. Leo is drinking alone in her camp and will not do anything shameful like interfering with the winner’s banquet. However her brother Gaul has returned and plans on invading not because as revenge for his sister, but wants to challenge the hero. Shinku is taken to freshen up at the hotspring. Because he can’t read the local language, he enters the female side. Good thing was only Millhiore was there. And that’s a bad thing too seeing that they’re both naked. She leaves to give time to himself and would like to talk to him about many things after the concert. After Shinku comes out, he sees the super sentai-like trio called Genoise (elite unites under direct command of Gaul made up of Noir Vinocacao, Jaune Clafoutis and Vert Far Breton) kidnapping Millhiore. They announce that they will be waiting at their fortress for him to come and rescue. Is this legal? Well, it is according to some treaty. Damn treaty. Of course Shinku accepts the challenge because he is the hero of Biscotti.

Episode 4
However Shinku gets a direct missile kick from Eclair for declaring war on his own. From what I understand, accepting a war declaration makes it official. So Shinku, Eclair and Ricotta ride on their respective Cellkulls to rescue Millhiore before her concert. They 1.5 hours to do so. Lots of time, eh? Meanwhile Millhiore isn’t mistreated as she waits patiently in her waiting room and being served by maid Rouge Piedmont. She also has a friendly lioness Banon and her cubs to keep her company. Gaul even sees Millhiore and apologizes for the sudden kidnapping and had his reasons. If everyone was so on good terms, why the hell are they fighting? Oh, for the fun for it. Meanwhile freelance knight Brioche d’Arquien and ninja squad leader Yukikaze Panettone return from their journey to see Galette and Biscotti in war. They think of not interfering till their little doggy returns with a message from Rolan. Shinku and Eclair charges straight into the enemy’s base. That’s the fastest way, right? Eclair provides artillery cannon backup in the forest to take out the big hordes of army. Till she got surrounded and surrendered. Shinku and Eclair are surrounded inside the base but since they’re both arguing that the other should advance to rescue Millhiore, Godwin didn’t like their petty argument and throws his giant steel ball at them. However he is interrupted by Brioche who has accepted a request from Rolan to help out. She lets the duo go ahead and stays behind to handle Godwin. Her single slash is so powerful that it took out all the archers and cut the building! Yukikaze knocks out the troops holding Ricotta as they rain fireworks all over the base. While Eclair faces off with the 3 idiots (that’s what she calls the Genoise trio), Shinku and Gaul clash weapons on their Cellkull.

Episode 5
Everyone is giving all their best in their respective fight. Gaul unleashes his Lion King Double Claw to knock Shinku off his Cellkull when both their weapons break in half. Gaul finishes him off with his Aerial Explosion Destruction Circle. However Shinku is still standing thanks to Palladium. But Shinku is still injured (since he can’t turn into a furball) and this has Gaul worried. Eh? But no time for that because Shinku counter attacks after observing Gaul powering up and does the same. Galette’s reinforcements are coming. Only one: Leo. She isn’t happy her brother has done this on his own accord. First she takes on Brioche and they’re both equally powerful. But Leo lands the devastating blow on Brioche and wins her fight. Gaul learns of Millhiore’s concert and believes he made a grave mistake. Leo barges in to yell at those kids to stop fooling around. Entering Millhiore’s room, she apologizes for what has happened and will repay her somehow. More importantly, her concert starts in 20 minutes. Shinku has an idea. Using his spirit power as booster on his feet and with Millhiore on his back, he blasts off to deliver the singing princess. Along the way, he materializes the booster into a jet board, Tornader to run faster. Since we have time, Millhiore takes this opportunity to tell him she just became the ruler of Biscotti. As a complete beginner, she feels she has failed her people and caused trouble. Shinku doesn’t feel so and in fact has gained lots of invaluable experience since his summoning. Shinku arrives even with 10 minutes to spare. Enough time for Millhiore to get ready. Shinku is completely burnt out from using too much power while Millhiore awes the sell-out crowd with her singing.

Episode 6
Millhiore rewards her royal subjects in an official ceremony. Shinku spars with Eclair as demonstration to the other knights. Both their swords broke. Eclair feels something bad but Shinku thought she slept with her tummy exposed. This embarrassing statement earned him a punch in his tummy. Then Shinku visits Brioche and Yukikaze at their village. Then Shinku remembered: He still doesn’t know how to find a way home. However they cheer him up with a little bit of hope that they heard stories about heroes finishing their job and then returned home. Shinku has an audience with the princess so he has to be cleaned by the maids once more. Meeting her, he asks her reason for choosing him. She replies that she used some star reading method to peek away into faraway worlds, though not much. She saw the one Shinku flipped and leaped his way at the Iron Athletics. It was then she wanted this kid to be her hero. However Shinku got depressed upon knowing she saw that because he lost that ‘war’ and got second place. Because he wasn’t able to reach the top, he cried like crazy despite trying his best. And the difference between the winner was just 2 seconds. However Millhiore notes that those were beautiful tears from someone who worked hard and tried his best. Elsewhere Rolan and Brioche are talking about Galette acting suspicious lately because they are waging war at a ridiculous pace. But Brioche feels it isn’t Galette but rather Leo. Meanwhile Leo is very distraught. Her star reading has made her see visions of Millhiore and Shinku’s death within 30 days. And nothing can change this fate. However Leo isn’t the kind of person who lets her destiny be determined by the stars and will do anything to change that. She is going to make a surprising declaration tomorrow.

Episode 7
Shinku and Millhiore go for a morning walk and at the flower field, Shinku plays… Frisbee catch with her? I hope he’s not treating her like a real dog. Then they talk about Palladium and how Shinku is handling it very well. He mentions he can’t turn it into a sword but she says when the time comes, it should appropriately change. As Biscotti’s ruler, Millhiore also shows her holy treasure, Excelide. It is also a sword but she has never once seen its true form (currently it is in a ring form). Excelide and Palladium are a set of divine swords that go together. Other countries also have their set of paired weapons passed down to current rulers. Like Galette, they have the magical battle axe Granveil and the Holy Sword Ex-Machina. Returning to the castle, Millhiore sees on TV a report from Galette’s castle. Leo declares a new war on Biscotti since 2 consecutive defeats will leave a black spot in their knight rounds warriors. Leo is able to rally the people from both sides to participate. However she wants wage something else. Her Granveil and Ex-Machina. She expects Biscotti to do the same and wage something of equivalent value. Can other country’s treasured weapons be waged? Yeah, read the treaty. It can. For 60 days maximum. Usage and display at the discretion of both countries. Biscotti’s committee are contemplating to do so because if they refuse, they’ll have a bad image. Gaul personally goes to see Shinku. He says he and Godwin are against the war and too many things don’t seem right (before the war both countries used to get along so well. What the f*ck happened?). It’s too late to withdraw as the people are looking forward to it. Gaul will try and get more information out from his sister but if he fails to find out her true intentions, he wants Shinku to win the war. Gaul mentions his love for Biscotti. The food, the scenery, the people and yeah, the kind princess. He also feels the people shouldn’t be burdened and it’s important they have fun, be it win or lose. What did I say about war? Taking up Gaul’s advice, Shinku sees Amelita to ask about Millhiore and Leo’s past. Before both rulers passed away, Leo used to take great care of Millhiore. So close they were like sisters. Millhiore had feelings for her people while Leo was strong in martial arts and spell casting. Both even taught what each other lacked. When they both became rulers, they continued their unwavering friendship and continued to meet officially and unofficially. Then it happened 6 months ago. Leo suddenly was concerned with Millhiore’s living conditions and her knights. She suggested increasing her military. Then about 3 months ago, Leo turned into a cold-hearted person and stopped all contacts with Millhiore. Millhiore felt deeply hurt because of both political and personal matters. Next morning, Millhiore rallies her people’s spirit and accepts Galette’s declaration. She vows not to lose and will also be staking Palladium and Excelide.

Episode 8
Millhiore announces her strategies in this fast paced battle. Everyone from both sides move out and is excited for the war. Even the commentators can’t wait. Genoise discuss about battlefields with no protective powers and that monsters do appear in such areas even if the barrier is weak. Godwin doesn’t believe in those folklore that those beasts are being spotted throughout the continent and those known as Twilight Hunters who are dispatched all over to rid of those monsters. A flashback of Leo talking to her loyal vessels, Bernard Sabrage and Violet about the vision she saw. This is the reason why she has been relentlessly trying to invade Biscotti. Six months ago, she saw Millhiore in danger. Then 3 months later she saw her dying. Then it became clearer and worse after the hero appeared. Though it is not necessarily Millhiore and Shinku dying, but the ones who are carrying Excelide and Palladium. She is worried that both countries will be unstable if they are to die. She thought of stepping down as Galette’s ruler and felt Gaul was more suitable to become one since she’s just acting as his regent. She also thought the star reading may change if she steals Biscotti’s treasured weapons. But Bernard suggests declaring war and wage each other’s weapon set as reward. After they get their hands on it, they will put it somewhere safe for safekeeping and this may change the star reading. Both sides have gathered up and await the countdown to the start of the war. A countdown? Anyway when it starts, the Galette foot soldiers surround Shinku and Eclair. Seems they are targeting Shinku and were being told they will be reward handsomely if they bring Palladium to Leo. But those guys make a wrong move because they mock Eclair in showing them some fanservice (like she accidentally did in front of national TV). So angry she will never be embarrassed like that again that she blasts them all away. The furballs are piling up at an increasing rate. With Galette targeting Palladium, Shinku is advised not to use it. Meanwhile Violet and her troops sneak into Millhiore’s base to steal her Excelide. However it’s a decoy because in place of Millhiore is actually Ricotta. Violet and co are rounded up and will have to spill everything. Ricotta sends a firework signal indicating the raid they the base. Millhiore (disguised as Ricotta) is with Shinku and Eclair and with this sneak attack, she knows Leo is clearly hiding something from her. For someone who always fights fair and square and with honour, Millhiore feels the need to talk to her and the reason why she wants her treasured weapon so badly.

Episode 9
News of Violet’s failure reach Leo. Seeing Gaul isn’t so eager about it, Leo vows she’ll do it alone and win it. Bernard requests a one-on-one fight with Brioche but Rolan offers to handle things here so that her troops can press ahead. Ricotta is to be launched in her Cellkull to Millhiore but the Galette archers led by Vert are firing a rain of arrows. Though the Galette archers are defeated, the impact ripped Ricotta and Vert’s clothes. Much awaited fanservice and morale booster for the troops? Shinku and co are being ambushed by Galette artillery troops. Shinku’s shield, Defender is able to block the blasts and even sends one back to the enemy by repelling it with his pole. Leo wakes up from her nightmare vision of seeing Millhiore getting killed and a giant beast behind her. Brioche and Yukikaze sense danger ahead. They feel this one is something big and the ones who dwell on the power of the land. The kind that burns down an entire country and kills gods. Leo and Rouge wait on top of the fortress as the Biscotti heroes arrive at the gates and a nasty storm is building up. Leo sees Shinku and Eclair and feels that they can both take on her simultaneously. She is confident the duo will bring their treasured weapons but to her shock, it is Millhiore who is seen appearing on stage. So she is doomed to meet the star’s fate? Rouge attacks Millhiore in hopes of stealing the weapons but was taken out. Millhiore wants Leo her reasons for wanting the treasured weapons and she will give it to her. However Leo remains silent but inside her heart is being torn apart seeing Millhiore’s tears as she wonders if Leo started hating her this much. Shinku and Eclair are anxious. I guess Shinku learnt how to make his way round Millhiore’s words about not following her. She didn’t exactly state from anywhere else so Shinku and Eclair climb the outside walls to the top. An announcement is made to stop all war operations due to the surrounding conditions that have made Flonyard’s protective powers weaken. Suddenly the rooftop starts floating in the air, taking Leo and Millhiore with it. A big dark ball emerges from the storm.

Episode 10
It turns into a giant ugly beast, a beast that was supposed to be sealed in the underground hundreds of years ago. Though it looks scary, Millhiore sees it crying. The monster attacks with its tentacles. Millhiore protects Leo but was impaled and absorbed inside a ball. This is what she saw in the vision. Enraged, Leo relentlessly attacks but is no match and sent back falling onto the fortress injured. Shinku and Eclair reach the top only to learn what has happened. Rouge tells them that Millhiore is in the process of being absorbed by the monster and the holy weapons are what is trying to prevent her. Once her willpower runs out, she gets digested. Shinku and Eclair ride Tornader to catch up with the beast. Eclair learns that Shinku is scared but he is more afraid of unable to meet someone’s expectations because someone who believes in him is waiting for him. Eclair uses her powers to give Shinku a boost to catch up as she falls off (don’t worry, she’ll be alright). On the beast, Shinku uses all his determination to break Millhiore out from the bubble. Meanwhile Millhiore meets a fox god. She is supposedly the mother of this beast and apologizes for her son’s evil acts. Many years ago, an evil sword fell out of the sky and pierced her son. It turned him into an evil monster that would devour mountains and one that would destroy the world. 200 years ago, it was sealed by a master of the Holy Sword. However as time passes, either the seal weakened or it got attracted to the scent of her Holy Sword. Ever since becoming a monster, her child has been crying in pain and wanting to die. The only way is to kill it by severing his head with her Holy Sword. Millhiore has to do it since mother fox can’t touch him. However Millhiore refuses to do so. If she slays him, the monster may go away but his pent-up sadness will never go away. She mentions her treasured weapons are swords that destroy evil and lead the people and their lives. Her willpower was powerful enough to break her out of the bubble. Forgive her birthday suit. The juice must’ve dissolved everything except the sword and her. The amazing part is how her treasured weapon’s glow not only allowed her to be clothed, repairs Shinku’s damaged clothes and heals all their wounds! Wow! Both Palladium and Excelide transform into their true sword form. Combining both their swords into Holy Saber to blast away those little pesky spirits, they then pull out the evil sword stuck deep in the head. The little child fox is tossed out as the monster turns into dirt. However the evil sword is trying to absorb Shinku. Leo fires her Magical Force Wave arrow to throw the evil sword off into the chasm. Shinku and Millhiore get ready to jump off the crumbling ground.

Episode 11
Shinku and Millhiore manage to get away on Ricotta’s Cellkull. Brioche, Yukikaze and their team of dogs prepare to seal the evil sword. It is revealed that they have been going around the world to seal such swords and this one is their 509th. Wow. That’s a lot. Later Yukikaze sees Millhiore to thank her for not only helping to destroy the monster but also saved one of her kind. But Millhiore insists that she got help from Shinku and Eclair. Yukikaze takes the little fox into her custody and also mentions its mom is no longer around since it was absorbed into the monster and only ‘came out’ due to their connecting hearts and concert for her child. Soon Leo makes a broadcast to both countries. She apologizes for the cancellation of the war due to the monster’s appearance. She feels it is divine retribution for wanting to get the treasured weapons and promises to prepare an enjoyable war in the future without these problems. War enjoyable? War without problems? She also vows to become a better rule and she has got the voice and support of her people as proof. As replacement for the cancelled war, Millhiore will hold a surprise live concert. Rolan talks to Shinku and assures him he shouldn’t feel worried with these many dangers in Flonyard. He lets him know the other reason why they hold such wars: To maintain power to fight such threats. Even so, I thought calling it war was so out of place. Don’t we have a better name for that? Like, a drill? Eclair accompanies Shinku out to the stalls while Ricotta and Yukikaze spy with glee over the development of the duo. Eclair is acting strange. I’m sure Shinku’s bravery and heroism weren’t what she wanted to say. Maybe it could’ve gotten further if Gaul and Genoise didn’t turn up. While they’re having their meal together, Ricotta receives a message and takes her leave. Millhiore is being prepared for the concert when Leo sees her. She personally apologizes for the trouble she has put her through. But Millhiore knew the things she did were for her sake. Leo is surprised because she came all the way to tell her about it. Seems she already know this fact from Violet and Rouge. Millhiore feels happy and angry. Happy because she protected her but angry because she believed in the star reading instead of her. Leo gets emotional because she doesn’t want to lose her and a world without her won’t do but Millhiore assures she will not disappear from this world. Then off Millhiore goes, stunning the crowd with her performance. Except for Ricotta. She totally missed the concert. Alone somewhere and with that worried look on her face.

Episode 12
Ricotta learns from her researchers that they were able to find a way for Shinku’s return. However there are 4 conditions. 1) The summoner must conduct the ritual; 2) The summoning and returning must be done within 16 days; 3) The returning hero cannot take back anything obtained in Flonyard; 4) Once returned, there is no chance to return again. Ricotta sees Shinku and tells him about it. However she is sad of the conditions that disallow him to bring back anything. This is not limited to anything physical but knowledge, feelings and experiences he had in this world. As good as a memory loss, eh? She is upset that she failed as a researcher and would still love to have him around since he got along so well with everyone. But Shinku seems pretty calm. Since Ricotta hasn’t told anyone else yet, he wants her to keep it a secret from everyone else. He doesn’t want this to be a sad farewell and would like everyone to feel that he can still come back. Besides, he is confident he will not lose his memories when he returns. How can he be so sure? Over the next few days, Shinku spends time with Millhiore playing Frisbee (she finds out about his time watch that he won as a commemorative prize for the Iron Athletics), trains with Eclair and the other knights, visit Brioche and Yukikaze to learn about their job as wanderers destroying monsters around the country (and also learn some sealing technique from Brioche) and meet up with Gaul. Shinku heads into the bath and his studies on the local language pays off. Yeah, now he is able to tell which is the male and female section. However he sees Millhiore bathing. Did he screw up? Actually the maid wrongly messed up the signage. Don’t they have a permanent sign? Millhiore feels that Shinku should bring his friends over the next time and will gladly welcome them (she really enjoys his patting and rubbing, eh? Like a real dog…). The day before his return, Millhiore holds a Hero Appreciation Banquet. Shinku gives his speech that would seem like the Oscars because he is thanking everyone. Promising he won’t forget his experience here, he pledges he’ll definitely come back whenever Biscotti needs a hero in their time of crisis. Oh really? Besides the monster incident, has everything else constituted to a crisis?

Episode 13
Millhiore organizes a farewell ceremony for Shinku as he returns his cloak and Palladium. Ricotta continues to do her research and can’t help cry while doing so. Shinku comforts her and gives her a colour ball point pen and portable speakers as memento. As Eclair escorts Shinku to the place where the ritual is to take place, she knows he won’t be able to return again based on Ricotta’s obvious body language. Yeah, everybody does. Shinku also tells her he won’t retain his memories here and gives her his wristband. Apparently he went around and gave others his stuff as keepsake. Eclair may be being tsundere says she won’t remember him because she’ll be busy with her affairs. But if he finds it sad to be forgotten, then whatever happens, never forget them. Say what? Shinku meets Millhiore as she begins the sending off ritual. Millhiore’s is thankful that she got to meet him (you know the typical emotional farewell speech). I guess her tears were infectious enough that it affects Shinku as well. So he promises to remember and come back. Can he? Soon as the ritual starts, Millhiore has a change of heart and doesn’t want him to go. She confesses she loves him. Shinku also says he loves her and promises to return. Then he vanishes into the sky. Becky visits Shinku’s home and is surprised to see him crying. From what Becky summarized, Shinku felt for the last 2 weeks of vacation, he felt he travelled to somewhere but had no clue where he went and something sad happened. She tried to Google about memory loss but it came out 84,000 hits! Forget it. Then the duo go visit Shinku’s parents and Nanami Takatsuki (Shinku’s cousin, mentor and rival). Though he has fun, he can’t help feeling something missing. That special something. That important something.

Ricotta continues her research and even Noir brought research books from her Galette library. Then a sealed letter from previous Biscotti’s rulers dropped out. Inside, notes of sending back a summoned hero. Sending back is to be strictly used when the hero disagrees to have proper relationships with either the summoner or Flonyard. When this is done, the hero is unable to take back anything including his memories. But the memories aren’t lost forever but in a locked state and will be completely lost in 6 months. Therefore to re-summon that same hero, the following conditions must apply: 1) There must be at least 91 days between the first send back and re-summoning; 2) The hero must promise to at least 3 people, not including the summoner, about his intent to return to Flonyard (which Shinku probably told the whole Biscotti); 3) He has to leave behind his a possession from his world (he nearly gave everything he had, so check); 4) To the summoner, a token of contract and a written promise must be made, in which the hero and the summoner’s name as well as the intent to be written must be stated. Phew. That’s heck lot of conditions. Ricotta rushes to Millhiore to confirm if Shinku had left any memento. Seems he did and is his watch. Plus, he had written (albeit I feel a horrible handwriting in their language) about his gratitude and promise to return. Oh, how convenient. Or rather lucky he had all those done without even knowing those conditions! With all those conditions met, Ricotta is ecstatic that she can re-summon Shinku again. When spring arrives, Shinku sees Tatsumaki. On his collar is a letter and inside it is Palladium. Shinku instantly remembers his trip to Flonyard. He is so happy that he hugs Becky and they fall over. Nanami saw the fun and decides to join in. Three idiots rolling on the ground… So it’s decided. For his next vacation, he wants to go back there again.

Every dog has its day…
The second season has been given the green light to be produced. You know what that means. That means Shinku will definitely come back to Flonyard and be reunited with the Biscotti people as well as the neighbouring Galette. What else can I say from this series? Two things continue to bug me even though they are somewhat explained. Firstly the term ‘war’. When you say that on a large scale that involves nations, you expect to see violence, blood, pain, suffering and deaths. But you know, all we see here are action and the citizens engaging in sporting fun. It’s like a game show on a national level. Call it reality TV if you want. And because there are many rules and treaties drafted for war so as to make it fair for both sides. From the world that I live in, there is no such thing as rules when it comes to war. Everything goes. You can say the other party is being unfair, bla bla bla but really, that is what war is about. So even if the war as revealed are to keep the power balance in maintaining areas that have low protection, couldn’t they just do it every other time? Maybe that will take out the fun, eh? Besides, engaging such wars with almost everyone from your country is going to cost you a lot in terms of money, time and energy. So really, I felt they should just rename this war name to something else.

Secondly, it’s how the hero is sent back and re-summoned. At first, it was surprised for everyone to know that due to the inability for the hero to return to this world, that’s why this method of summoning a hero from another world was never done very often. Then somewhere along the way with lots of hard work and research, suddenly there is a way (that handphone communication back to Earth should have been a giveaway sign). And you have lots of conditions to fulfil to do so and it’s not easy as casting and chanting a spell to send the hero back on a first class express ticket back to his world. And then, suddenly there is a way… For the same hero to return again. Yet again, another long list of conditions to be met. So long that probably I would have finished my thesis by the time all the conditions are read (please note the sarcasm). No wonder it is much easier to just tell everyone that if you summon the hero, you can’t send him back or call him again. Enough said. Amazingly such an important summon wasn’t in any of the research books and even if it was, it had to be secluded. I guess that’s what you call the fruit of your success because if you could have Google it or find it at first go, there isn’t much fun or appreciation in the amount of time and energy spent in researching this elusive subject. And for the previous rulers of Biscotti to put the caution of the re-summoning in a sealed letter instead of some official book, well, to me that means they don’t really want others to use it.

I suppose everyone in Flonyard (okay, maybe in Biscotti and Galette) get along so well with each other. So good that I thought that they should just unite into a single country. Then everyone can live happily ever after. Millhiore and Leo are close enough to be inseparable and it was Leo’s love for her childhood friend is like a double-edged sword. Because of wanting to protect Millhiore, she went and believe her star reading instead of her. Would it be different if she had told it to her? How sure is she in this star reading thingy? Besides, what happened in reality was we only see Millhiore ‘die’ and not Shinku, right? And since both of them are very much alive in the end, you can say the prediction is pretty off, isn’t it? For a tough girl like Leo, she should believe in her own hands to change destiny and not the stars. She was trying to change the outcome with her actions and her hands but that is only because she believed in the prophecy. I’m wondering if there are many evil swords all over Flonyard, it bugs me to wonder where they come from. Another world? So if Brioche and Yukikaze manage to destroy every single one of them, does that mean Flonyard will be free from these evil? Maybe something the second season could address.

I don’t know what else to say about everyone because as I have already mentioned, everybody is kind and gentle. At least between both nations. Your enemy is your friend and your friend is your, well, your friend. Eclair’s tsundere behaviour and tendency to beat up Shinku each time she thinks she is embarrassed only serves as a break and comic relief in what I would call a monotony of the other characters’ nice and friendly behaviour. So let’s see. Millhiore the nice princess, Shinku the nice hero, Rolan the nice knight head, Ricotta the nice researcher (she really wants to take apart and experiment with Shinku’s handphone but I guess if you do that, she won’t have anything memorable from him), Genoise the nice comedic trio, Leo and Gaul the nice Galette siblings though they may be a little rash. Is there anybody here who isn’t nice? As in, the real villain? That monster might appear so but that is only because it is being possessed by the evil sword. So I was hoping that Eclair would somewhat confess that she likes him but I guess Millhiore beat her to it. Okay, there was nothing to suggest Eclair may have feelings for Shinku but her body language do give off such indication. Maybe some love triangle but seeing where the series was heading, I didn’t bet much on it.

The action scenes are quite okay and with Shinku being able to pull off moves because he is athletic and fit, I guess it’s better than a certain kid dropping into another world only to realize his strength, physical abilities and eyesight improved a lot till the point he is like a super hero. Point to ponder: If the low-level soldiers turn into furballs when they are hit, I wonder how the higher ranked ones and the main characters would turn into if they ever slip up. Can’t imagine them being cute furballs, eh? Besides, with their exceptional level of skills and magic power, you can assure that they will never let that happen. Oh, don’t you just realize that the low-level soldiers of both sides look all the same? Why the need to differentiate when they’re not going to last 10 seconds on the screen? This series is without its bit of fanservice too. But they are so mild that hardcore ecchi fans would rather go and watch something else. Oh, the writings of Flonyard somewhat remind me of those error fonts you see when you print out on printers…

There are several stellar casts lending their voices to this series. Undeniably it is Yui Horie (Kotori in Da Capo series) doing her usual cutie voice as Millhiore. Likewise, Nana Mizuki puts on her cute display while voicing Ricotta like how she did as Tsugumi in Jigoku Shoujo and Shinobu in 2×2=Shinobuden. She also doubles as Nanami in the series. If you pay close attention, you can hear the similarities. If you ever need a female voice that fits the reprimanding role, hand it to Ayana Taketatsu. Just like what she did as Azusa in K-ON! and Mio in MM!, she also does the same here as Eclair. Tetsuya Kakihara as Gaul, at any point I always feel that he would burst into the character like Natsu of Fairy Tail or Kouichi of Linebarrels of Iron. The rest of the casts include Mamoru Miyano as Shinku (Kento Miura in Kimi Ni Todoke 2nd Season), Ami Koshimizu as Leo (Horo in Spice And Wolf), Takehito Koyasu as Rolan (Kururu in Keroro Gunsou), Norio Wakamoto as Godwin (Charles zi Britannia of Code Geass), Daisuke Ono as Bernard (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji), Youko Hikasa as Brioche (Mio in K-ON!), Kana Asumi as Yukikaze (Miya in Amagami SS), Sakura Tange as Violet (Suzu in Marmalade Boy), Yukika Teramoto as Rouge and Mikako Takahashi as Becky (Rushuna in Grenadier). Apparently Noir didn’t make much of an appearance, even if she did, I wasn’t paying attention so it never occurred to me that oh-so-familiar-voice belonged to Kana Hanazawa (Kobato in Kobato). Nana Mizuki does the upbeat pop Scarlet Knight for opening theme. She has quite a powerful voice so it’s a big waste if she doesn’t get to strut her stuff as a singer and reduced to a supporting character with a cutsey voice. Yui Horie then takes the ending theme entitled Presenter. Since her character in the series is a famous singer, this means all the insert songs are sung by her (I think there are 3 of them). Well, sounds Yui Horie-ish.

While there is lots of potential for this series, let me just speculate about the sequel. Since Biscotti and Galette have somewhat buried the hatchet between both princess rulers, they will meet other rulers from other countries and more danger meets them in the form of those evil swords or any other forms in areas that have low protection. Once again it is up to the hero to save the day (maybe he could bring Becky along as well since Millhiore did invite and would welcome Shinku’s friends if they come over the next time). Perhaps they could summon another new hero too. As long as they don’t summon me because I’ll be too busy in my own Iron Athletics marathon: Watching animes.

R-15

March 11, 2012

Today’s society is still pretty much taboo on the topic of sex, what more porn. That and anything associated with it feels so much like a dirty word, something so immoral, something so naughty, something so perverted. Well, sex is what defines us humans in a way, right? When we say porn, the first thing that comes to mind is either those blue films or those adult magazines. But have you heard and thought about porn novels and its authors? In R-15, we focus not on a porn model or actor, but a porn author. Hey, that is still under the porn industry, right? Oh dear, I think I’ve said too much of that “P” word.

Take for instance, Taketo Akutagawa. He may only be a 16 year old high school student, but he is a genius porn author!!! Yes, you heard that right. Porn author. Porn novelist. Porn writer. Whatever you call it, he writes porn in the form of words and aims to be the world’s greatest porn author. Wow. I can’t fathom this kind of dream. When his identity was found out, many girls in his previous school gave him ‘that stare’. You can’t blame them because after all, porn is something perverted and has lots of negative bearings, right? And thus his tormenting days in school of being discriminated began. However Taketo’s agony of discrimination won’t be for long when he enrols in a school called Hirameki Private Academy. This school is not bound by the norms and rules of regular society and every genius in Japan attends this school. He is free to let his creativity flow. Thanks to the founder who believes that everyone should believe in their inspiration and fight to the end. With that, this series basically sees Taketo and his friends’ daily lives in Hirameki as they strive to be the best in their respective field. Of course with some hijinks, mistakes and romance along the way. Hey, they may be geniuses but nobody said they were perfect.

Episode 1
This episode serves to introduce the premise and the other friends of Taketo like his male buddy Ritsu Enshuu (genius mathematician), Ran Musen (genius computer programmer) and Raika Meiki (genius photographer). I guess everybody is a genius here, eh? While Taketo may be a normal boy, having his own fantasies (heck, he wants his own harem too!), you’ll notice that he has this tendency to go into some wild erotic fantasizing trance. During that, he gets inspiration to pen down his erotic words on just about anything. Paper, wall, rock, just name it, he writes it down. Dangerous. Good thing is that he tries hard to keep his sexual arousal in check. But it’s no harm to let it loose once in a while, right? Taketo is also from the Newspaper Club, run by the very busty Kurumi Kuroki, the number 1 genius of all genius at Hirameki. I don’t know, maybe she likes wearing tight shirts. So tight that she purposely unbuttons her top to let her boobs ‘breathe’ and even so it feels like they’re going to ‘burst out’ anytime. Why nobody talks about this? See her 2 bodyguards by her? Careful what you say, dude. Kurumi wants Taketo to do an assignment for their newspaper front page: An interview with Fukune Narukara, the genius clarinettist who is also in the same class as him. Taketo doesn’t want to do it but when big boss says to take care of it, you’d better.

Along the way to interview Fukune with Raika, the latter knows of Taketo’s porn status and doesn’t mind him writing those stuff. In fact, she loves taking pictures of ‘ugly’ things (because it is when humans reveal their true self) and is always targeting Taketo as her subject. She even tries to stimulate him to awaken his ‘ugly’ side. Moving along, they pass by a concert by genius idol, Utae Sonokoe. A stray missile by genius inventor, Tsukuru Kagaku has Taketo running for his life. I wonder how he could run at the same pace with the missile which eventually crashes into him. Thank goodness he didn’t die. Taketo remembers why he is reluctant to interview Fukune. When he first met her playing her clarinet at the hilltop, he mistakes her reed for some nut and put it in his mouth. Fukune was so distraught that she hammered him with a rock! At the hilltop once more, he sees her sleeping in a sexy pose and his erotica is awakening. He’s trying to control the beast within but his hand has a mind of its own. He ends up writing on a piece of rock. Raika who was observing isn’t happy he didn’t do anything to a defenceless sleeping girl. She wants to see his ugly side so bad that she told him to go devour her like a hungry pig?! Rape her?! Violate her?! Raika runs away because another stray missile is coming. Taketo protects Fukune and in the aftermath of the explosion, Fukune opens her eyes to see Taketo on top of her. He’s breathing heavily… She misinterprets and runs away. Back in his room, he tries to write but turns out he penned out a light novel instead. He only envisions Fukune as an innocent magical girl? This has never happened before. Taketo thought Kurumi was kind enough to give him a reprieve. Unfortunately, she isn’t and ties him up in an S&M position. Maybe it’s to stimulate and motivate him?

Episode 2
Taketo is forced to cover another article by Kurumi. This time on Utae. She has so many fans and captivating the crowd. After the concert, Taketo and Raika go backstage for the interview. Seems Utae doesn’t mind him being a porn writer and is fascinated with such people. Utae has her pictures taken after that but Raika stops snapping. Thinking she was being rude, Raika notes that she doesn’t want to take fake photographs. Utae admits that part of it is true. Though she loves singing and has lots of adoring fans, but is this the real her? She feels that she is betraying her fans. I guess it wasn’t Kurumi’s threat that spurred Taketo to finish his assignment. He loves Utae’s music and doesn’t want to see the sad face on Utae. Taketo goes looking for Utae but is told that she is having a day off and won’t be coming in. He is so serious in finding her that he has no time for Ran’s teasing. Eventually with Kurumi’s help of posting arrow signs, this leads Taketo to the gym store room where he finds her sitting alone dejectedly. While she talks to him, he can’t stop himself from fantasizing. Then he got inspiration to free her. He does it via a story of a poet and a songstress with a problem. Taketo must be so smooth and convincing with his words that Utae starts stripping to the tone of the story! In the end she felt so excited, so stimulated that she felt truly free from her troubles. Utae lands a ‘killer blow’ on Taketo with a hug. He passes out with lots of nose bleeding. When he wakes up, he finds a free ticket to her concert as thanks. Taketo attends her concert and Raika senses something must’ve happened between them but he says he doesn’t remember. At the end of the concert, Utae doesn’t feel embarrassed anymore when the explosion machine malfunctions rips her dress. I guess being an idol means showing off her true self on stage, eh? Back in Taketo’s room, he still can’t find the inspiration to write.

Episode 3
Taketo and Fukune are stuck to each other’s back. How did this happen? Last morning, Taketo sees a commotion at the notice board. Courtesy of Raika, there are pictures of him in ambiguous positions with Fukune the other day! He is being called in by his teacher, Aki Yosano. Even if he’s a porn genius, he shouldn’t be taking out his pervertness, right? Anyway Ritsu believes in him and will prove his innocence. Or else it’s the death penalty! The guys go to see Tsukuru since it was her missile. But she shows them her latest Mr Sticky gadget. Guess what? It malfunctions and so happens it sticks Taketo and Fukune together. Of all people he has to be stuck with. So how long will the repair day. Somewhere between 1 day to a year. Holy sh*t! So Taketo has a tough time sticking around Fukune because he tries his best to hide all the porn novels and items in his room. Yeah, this innocent girl perhaps is the only one who doesn’t know he writes porn. The conversation shifts to Fukune’s precious clarinet. She treasures it very much as it was given by her dad and practises daily without fail. Taketo gets a call from Utae who believes he is innocent but had to lie that his editors are coming since he can’t tell her he is stuck with Fukune. To stem himself from perhaps ‘eating’ Fukune, he tries writing his porn novel but to his dismay when Fukune falls asleep, she sleep talks all those naughty words. Thank goodness they don’t have to wait a year because the next morning, Tsukuru has created a remedy as the gadget comes off. Unfortunately, it malfunctions again. This time it absorbs all the bras, panties and clothing of everyone!!! Pervy machine! Oddly, I don’t know where it got so much bras and panties to turn into a giant undergarment ball because everyone who is in that area was pretty much clothed. Then it sucks Fukune’s clarinet. Taketo jumps to save it but gets stuck. Then fantasizing the bras and panties around him are like his harem, his nose bleed causes the machine to malfunction and save the day. Don’t underestimate the power of erotica! Fukune is grateful he saved her clarinet. Tsukuru is impressed with his pervert power and wants to dissect him! Better make a run for it. At the hilltop, Fukune apologizes to Taketo and then plays her clarinet. Was he expecting her to confess? Don’t get your hopes up, pal. Point to ponder: After the machine was destroyed and everyone’s undies became free, why didn’t anybody rush to take back their lost undies? It was all strewn over the place. A pervert’s paradise, I say! So whose undies they belong to?

Episode 4
Taketo and Fukune’s relationship seems to be on the mend but she still thinks he is a romance novelist. Raika is disgusted that he lets everyone know he’s a porn writer except her. Taketo thought he found a love letter in his shoe locker but to his shock, it’s a photo of a bear print panty! In the Newspaper Club room, Kurumi praises Taketo for managing to draft an article well before the deadline. It’s the opposite for Raika and she is somewhat in a slump and has difficulties turning in her poster to attract geniuses across Japan to Hirameki. Taketo goes to find the owner of the panty and with the help of the divine wind, he is able to see the different colours and designs of the girls. This has them accusing him of really being some divine pervert. Genius fortune teller, Misa Yoruno warns him of his bad omen. (Un)fortunately, Misa tripped and revealed her panties. Nope, she’s not the one who cursed him. Taketo spots a panda print panty on the ground, takes it up and starts sniffing it?! He gets inspiration to write but unknown to him, Raika is waiting behind the bushes ready to snap his ugly side. Taketo accidentally sees Ran’s panty (something that indicates she’s a lesbian). Her high kick misses her and breaks Tsukuru’s hiding place and her divine wind machine. So that’s what making everybody’s skirt flip up so conveniently and coincidentally. Taketo learns that Raika hired her to do this. Confronting that sneaky photographer, she throws down all the photos of him in his panty search quest. Furthermore, that bear panty was hers!!! She starts blaming him of not bringing out his true pervertness (the reason for her slump) and thus not worth photographing (she really wants him to be a pervert?). Seems she wants to take a photo that will scare away people from Hirameki? Anyway she has Taketo help out or else that photo of him sniffing the panty could be used as blackmail. She brings him to the girls’ toilet and using herself as the subject, she wants him to assault her while she urinates! Sicko! Utae and her friends caught him and as he tries to clarify things, Raika activates the sprinkler to wet their clothes, starts his fantasizing so she can start snapping. Though they forgive him, Taketo isn’t pleased of her obsession in taking ugly shots. Something to do with a photo of her and her parents? Next day, she brings him to the girls’ changing room and starts stripping his pants! Not enough? She strips her own too! Then she forces herself on him and realizes herself in the mirror. She feels afraid and doesn’t want ‘them’ to look causing Taketo to enter fantasizing mode. In the end, Raika is out of her slump and finishes the poster. It’s a montage of pictures but one of them with her pants down and Taketo nose bleeding. Isn’t she embarrassed? Well, the greatest cameraman makes the greatest subject. And since they’re both ugly, she thinks they make a good pair.

Episode 5
Ran is amazing her ‘little sister’ with her hacking when one of them comes collapsing in with full body paint. It is from her senpai and avant-garde artist Beni Botan. She plans to make Fukune her next subject but big sister Ran was there to protect her. Later Fukune gets a call from the genius cultural activities committee to see her. Ran realizes that Beni is part of that committee and is a trap. Fukune is being invited to see Beni’s studio. Looks more like a horror house if you ask me if that’s her taste in art. She wants Fukune to help to be the new centrepiece and has Fukune unconscious with just the stroke of her brush! Ran hacks the entire world just to find Beni’s secret location. Finally she rushes down to the underground studio at the abandoned incinerator. Both girls are going to have a showdown over Fukune as the prize in an anything-goes one-round match. Ran is trying to make Beni fall for her onee-sama charms but the latter is using direct approach to ‘paralyze’ Ran. This allows Beni to cover Ran’s boobs with paint and makes a stamp print with it on the ring! Taketo has a plan and wants Ran to work with him. Before Beni could ‘violate’ Fukune, Ran pretends to go down to catch Beni off guard. Taketo then tells Beni that the finest canvas should be herself. Beni gets stimulated by his words as Ran moves in for the final kill. She kisses Beni! Ran wins the match. Fukune comes to and was being told that Taketo was the one who protected her. She goes to see him at the hilltop and hands him a note from Ran. It says that she was being fair as an onee-sama and still thinks he is an ero scum writer. Taketo gets motivation for them to do their best and rushes off.

Episode 6
Now it’s Taketo’s turn to be in a slump. His editors are calling and he still hasn’t come up with anything to write. Kurumi shows him a video whereby a dark horse softball team went against all odds to defeat a veteran favourite. Their secret? A girl named Katsuyo Kurabu, a genius manager who can lead any team to victory no matter how weak! Taketo and Katsuyo are locked in a canned-in room for 48 hours so he can finish his manuscript as clumsy Katsuyo cheers him on. No matter how turned on he got seeing her in a cheerleading outfit or an apron, he doesn’t get that oomph he needed. Instead, her klutz may be the one killing it. See her tuna eyeball as brain food? Scary! Later he is visited by Raika to warn him that victory comes with a price and shows him photos of that softball team all badly bruised. She starts snapping away when Taketo tries lying his way out from his editor’s call. Time ticks down as Katsuyo tries to learn about Taketo’s porn works but she was making so much squealing noises all night. He is then visited by Ritsu and subsequently Utae who made him lunch (she’s starting to show signs that she likes him). Time calls for drastic measures as Katsuyo ties Taketo up in a spot that he can’t look away from his paper for a second nor is he able to free his hand from his pen. Even with all the sexy cosplay outfits and line, Taketo still couldn’t find the inspiration. He got harsh on her annoyance and tells her to get out. Yeah, maybe with her gone, he’ll get to finish it with peace and quiet. However that is not to be as Katsuyo returns with 3 tanned macho men! She interprets that he can’t write because she’s a girl and thought these guys will help! They start rubbing their abs, biceps and muscles over him! SO GAY!!! Oddly, probably it was the trauma that managed to make him finish his new book which becomes a best seller. Taketo recuperates in hospital when Katsuyo brings in the macho men to heal him. ARGH!!! NO MORE MEN, PLEASE!!! He’s so screwed. Hope he doesn’t turn into a yaoi writer.

Episode 7
Kurumi has another wonderful idea for her newspaper that will as usual give Taketo a hard time. He has to infiltrate the girls’ dorm in a stealth suit to write his article. Of course he witnesses lots of stimulating events with the girls in their natural routine. However they freak out upon seeing a ‘ghost’. It gets worse when Taketo even nose bleeds! Beni and Ran take it upon themselves to protect the girls from this perverted spirit. Meanwhile Fukune gets an airmail from France’s musical institute and thinks her parents want her to attend. However she feels she doesn’t want to because she feels she isn’t good yet. Is that the only reason? Why does Taketo come to mind? Meanwhile Beni and Ran announce to the entire dorm to be on a lookout for a translucent figure running rampant. With a few hit-and-miss cases for Taketo, he finds out that the stealth suit slightly becomes visible because of a certain protruding part stretching the mechanism. In short, if he wants to avoid being spotted, he should keep in check his horniness. Kurumi even motivates him to carry on his secret spying seeing he wants to be the best porn author in the world. Taketo sees Utae in a leotard at the gym room and got so stimulated that he starts writing on the mirror. With his blood! This is certainly going to have a ghostly effect. The girls discuss the possibility of this ghost. Tsukuru mentions she once created a stealth suit but it had problems so she sold it off on eBay. Taketo enters the girls’ shower and it’s like his heaven harem. Too bad his stealth effect weakens and the girls panic. Beni and Ran have roped in genius exorcist, Mai Kagura and Saint Maria (eastern and western, take your pick) to help exorcise the ghost. Mai tries seducing the ‘ghost’ (is that what the shrine taught her?) but succumbed to Taketo’s smooth words. Maria flings holy water that could threaten to short-circuit it but she too gives in to the power of lust. These ladies should undergo more spiritual training. Then Ran seals the place off and there is nowhere to run. Just when he was being given the green light to get out by Kurumi, eh? Making things worse, the suit starts weakening since it is running on batteries!!! Plus, Kurumi abandons him and severs all ties with him. Yeah, the communicator exploded in 1 second! You’re on your own, pal. Or rather, you’ve been abandoned! Beni and the girls have a plan to draw the culprit out by patrolling in their bikinis. This stimulates Taketo as he flees for his life. He enters Raika’s room and it seems she knows what is going on but is not going to rat him out. Unless he wants it. He sees a photo that Raika treasures so she hopes she can take another photo like that. Raika helps him escapes via a well and then informs the rest to seal it up for good. Next day, Taketo is disheartened that Kurumi has made the mysterious spirit as her front page article and the girls’ dorm report chuck to a tiny column by an ‘anonymous reporter’. Well, if he’s unhappy with it, he can sneak back in again. NO WAY!

Episode 8
It’s that one day where Hirameki students are able to go out of their campus on their day off. Utae asks (hint, hint) Taketo if he’s free on that day but I guess he was too engrossed in his fantasies to listen to what she said. Taketo is waiting for Ritsu to show up at the bus stop on the day. But he meets Fukune (who is waiting for Ran). Before they know it, they got onboard the bus together. Late running Ritsu and Ran bump into each other instead. Fearing the worse that the ero writer may do something on her beloved Fukune, Ran furiously hacks her way to find their location. Though she is able too, she got distracted by her little sisters. Whereas Ritsu uses his mathematics calculation to determine their spot… And got it wrong!!! Haha! So Taketo and Fukune enjoy their outing together. Eating crepe, playing games and blowing balloons. Fukune is enthralled seeing a street musician performing. Utae is surprised to see Taketo and was going to call him but sees Fukune with him. Yeah, she gets disheartened. But soon gets mobbed by her fans who recognize her. Then it suddenly starts raining and the nearest shelter they could find… A love hotel?! 2,000 Yen per hour?! I guess Taketo must be giving excuses of not wanting to let Fukune catch a cold, eh? So she takes a shower, he tries not to get horny. But it’s hard seeing everything he tries to change the topic ends up with something perverted. Fukune is so dense that she doesn’t even realize it. Finally they talk about Fukune’s clarinet. She reveals her dad, also a renowned clarinettist told her that one doesn’t choose music, but music chooses them. And these people are dubbed geniuses. Taketo tries to cheer her up but she doesn’t seem too happy. She plays her clarinet and Taketo notes there’s some emptiness in it. Ritsu admits that he didn’t know what to say but all he knows that is he loves her music. They could’ve stared at each other longer if not for the call that their time is up. They meet up with their friends as Ran is relieved to find that the ero pig hasn’t stained the pure Fukune yet. At a distance, Utae watches them with much concern. Much further away, Kurumi understands what is happening and notes how interesting this is.

Episode 9
Out of the blue, Kurumi laments if the Newspaper Club comes to an end, it will be the end of her. This prompts Taketo to find out more on Kurumi which he knows nothing about. Pleading for Ran’s help, she hacks her way into the very firewalled database and though successful, they are stumped to see Kurumi in pictures and at places ranging back to 100 of years! Is she a ghost?! Taketo tails her but suddenly loses sight of her! Can’t be true, can it? That guy even has the tendency to fantasize erotic things with a ghost! Then he caresses Kurumi’s legs to confirm she’s not a ghost but gets whacked by her bodyguards. He asks for Ran’s help but the way she said things, she’s afraid of ghosts. Taketo spies and waits for Kurumi after she enters the female toilet. After a long time, he takes a peek only to be caught by Utae. Requesting her help, she finds no one in. Feeling something amiss, Taketo barges in and busts open a locked door, thinking Kurumi is in that cubicle but it was Aki instead. Slap! Utae offers to help him to tail Kurumi. Why didn’t they hire a genius detective? Unless there is none on this campus. They see her do some weird alien incantation outside. But was it a trap to reveal their location? They try to pretend to be lovers making out and Taketo could’ve been serious if Utae didn’t point out she suddenly vanished. Taketo continues searching and meets Fukune but he is so engrossed in his search that he didn’t have time to hear what she wants to tell him. Next day in class, Taketo and his pals think Kurumi may be an alien seeing there are UFOs in the background (why is there a Trekkie Enterprise too?). Taketo and Utae again try getting close to Kurumi. But seriously, in card boxes? Of course the bodyguards find out lah! Run! Later Ran thinks they should stop any further seeing it’s a warning that Kurumi doesn’t want to pursue this. Taketo wonders why Utae is doing all this for him. She replies she is his fan. I’m sure that’s not the only reason. On another tailing mission, they see Kurumi enter a music room but only Fukune was there. Fukune was happy and thought Taketo was here to see her till Utae shows up. It’s that sinking feeling in her heart. Then the duo tail her to a freezer and got locked in. Trying to find an air duct out, behind some boxes they see strange large capsules! It’s like there’s some alien experiment going on here! Suddenly Utae feels sleepy. He tries to snap her out of it but she can’t hold it any longer and needs tell him something before she regrets it. Just as she was going to confess, that stupid guy falls asleep too, missing hearing those important words. Taketo wakes up on the grass outside with Utae sleeping just fine beside him. Then he sees Kurumi and knows she was the one who rescued them. Kurumi mentions that there are things better left alone and that the Newspaper Club will continue to function normally. She cautions him that she isn’t the one he should be learning about. Make a good guess who that person is? Yeah, Fukune is weeping.

Episode 10
The first years thought they’ll be having a nice time at the hotspring. Even if it’s not Taketo’s fault of breaking down the barrier between the men and women’s section. Then as announced by Beni and genius gymnast, Meguru Tetsubou, the first years will be holding an orientation tournament to see if they’re worthy of Hirameki. They’ll be judged by second and third years based on themes that will need to bring their geniuses out with points garnered from 3 events. So for the first round in the hotspring area, Utae’s class hold a concert that blows everyone away. Nobody is coming to the stalls set up by Taketo’s class because the concert was a crowd puller. Fukune can’t come since she will be holding a concert. Though everyone supports her, Taketo not coming defeats the point, right? I mean that guy is in charge of the booths so he can’t come. How disappointing. Not what Fukune wanted to hear. Taketo’s perverted ideas has the guys streaming to their booths. Like shooting gallery with boobs as prize targets (each time they hit the nipple, Ran has to do a stimulating voiceover), real girls in bikinis in goldfish scooping and yoyo fishing. In the end, Taketo’s class manage to stage a comeback and though not enough to win, but it was a close fight. Meanwhile Fukune is nervous to go on perform on stage but manages to go out. Later as Taketo dips alone in the hotspring, Utae invites herself to soak alongside him. They talk about the money-making second round and original chorus third round. Seems Taketo is in charge of the lyrics. Yeah, a porn writer is in charge of the words but who else can do it but a writer even if it’s an erotic one? Each time they talk, Taketo brings Fukune’s name into the picture. Each time Utae tries a different name, the clarinettist’s name pops up. So disheartening, isn’t it? Because Taketo still doesn’t want Fukune to know he is a porn author, I guess Utae has had it so she just takes off her towel, tells him that Fukune too would understand, that he can write a wonderful song even if they’re a bit naughty because she believes his lyrics and Fukune’s clarinet accompaniment will produce a wonderful harmony. Utae feels better after letting it off her chest (no pun intended). Later Taketo bumps into Kurumi who hopes he hasn’t forgotten yet. She suddenly vanishes when he thinks back about her words but still ponders the person he needs to learn about. I guess he won’t be guessing it so soon. Meanwhile Utae is at the karaoke box. But she’s not singing. Just sitting there, looking very dejected. Raika sees state from outside the door. Lastly when Taketo welcomes Fukune back from her concert, she suddenly drops her precious clarinet briefcase and starts crying uncontrollably in his arms.

Episode 11
Taketo has bags underneath his eyes. Not because he was playing with himself all night long. Fukune ended up sleeping on his bed. I see he couldn’t even catch 40 winks. Next day, Taketo’s class are practising their choir. Genius songwriter Kanade Iikyouku has got the wonderful music covered. Since without the lyrics, it’s funny to hear everyone going “Lalalalala lalalala~”. For the first time, Taketo and Fukune skip class and accompanied each other. For the second round of the tournament, Ran and Ritsu team up to turn the worldwide stocks upside down to their favour. However they couldn’t convert it into real cash as required so their class ended up in last place. Bummer. Taketo must be enjoying the fact Fukune is cooking for him. If the omelette rice wasn’t so charcoal black and ‘crunchy’. Then they talk about the chorus. Taketo hides his meaning of the lyrics he plans to write. Eternal love, can’t abandon your dreams, treasure your friendship, etc. Fukune feels he is a genius so likewise he too thinks Fukune is one too. However this doesn’t cheer her up at all. Dismissing she is no genius, she blows her top she hates the clarinet and never enjoyed it. Then she runs away, leaving Taketo pretty much stunned. Crying Fukune passes by Utae on her way out. Later Taketo sees a notice that Fukune is going to be transferred out from Hirameki. Taketo confronts Kurumi about this so she tells him that her previous concert was a disaster. She stopped halfway through the performance. Then she didn’t return to her dorm and went to hide somewhere and probably wanted someone to make her feel better. Currently Fukune locks herself in her room. Taketo talks to Ran and he is going to show Fukune who he really is and write porno lyrics. He is going to bet everything on the chorus and feels there is no way Fukune hates clarinet or music. However Taketo couldn’t find the inspiration to write them. Whether his fantasizing has reach new heights and nose bleeding like hell, he still couldn’t find the right words. Meanwhile Utae gets motivation from Katsuyo to do her best and be honest about her feelings. Fukune remembers her dad told her she has to be a genius at all times because that is what her clarinet demands. Taketo has written heaps of lyrics but they don’t feel right and in a dilemma if he should really show Fukune his true self. Raika confronts him and snaps a pic of his ultimate ‘ugliness’, a man who abandons himself and runs away from everything. She tells him the ugliest thing in the world is a liar. One who talks about opening other’s heart but seals off his own. One who claims of wanting to save someone but only talks about what is convenient. In the end, excuses are all they have. Raika thought he was putting up a liar face but Taketo dismisses that this isn’t the real him. Then he rushes off and Raika noting to herself she failed as a cameraman for getting too involved with a subject.

Episode 12
Taketo gets real and starts cracking his head. With each failure, he doesn’t give up. Till early next morning he is next to dead tired (literally). He was able to pass his work to a passing girl (Utae) to hand it over to Fukune before he collapses of fatigue. But eventually Taketo is able to get up and meet up with his friends at the backstage as the chorus competition begins. They are not giving up hope that Fukune will show up. But it won’t be likely because Fukune’s father and his entourage are escorting her out of school. They are stopped by Utae who shows Fukune the lyrics. Then Tsukuru’s stray missile causes a distraction so that Fukune could ride on the missile to her friends (I don’t know if any safety precautions were taken). Her friends are relieved that she came and just in time before their turn. Fukune is disheartened to see her dad watching her at the door. But all that is dispelled when Taketo steps up in front of her and the rest as the conductor. So the music with the horny lyrics begins. Everyone was taken aback with the porn lyrics but I guess it got their attention, eh? It was funny and odd to hear them sing such a song that I couldn’t contain my laughter. It wasn’t very dirty or stimulating but at least it is still porn. Perhaps it was also filled with Taketo’s true feelings deep down that he wanted to say. Fukune is motivated and during her clarinet accompaniment part, she stuns the crowd with her amazing clarinet play. In the end, their performance was the clincher and thus they became winners of the tournament (a trip to Vienna for the entire class). Fukune’s dad leaves upon hearing her play. I guess he is satisfied in what he heard. Fukune confronts Taketo about his lyrics. Good thing or not, she doesn’t understand what certain lines mean. Yeah, maybe she will one day. Later Kurumi sees Utae and thanks her for the good work but she dismisses that she saw then both, understood and helped them both out. Nothing more. Besides, it’s her dream to make everyone’s dream come true. But looks like Utae still ‘wins’ because she will soon be on her way to Vienna for her concert.

OVA
Taketo wakes up and has a nice view of Utae and Fukune’s ass! Better (or worse), Raika is sleeping on his lap. Is this paradise or a prelude to his status as a pervert? Recollecting their memories, it seems the class did have a wonderful time in Vienna and made it for Utae’s concert. But on the trip back, everyone saw a UFO hovering close by and the next thing they know is this. They’re stranded on a deserted island. The plane is wrecked and everyone else is missing. Taketo explains the theory of cattle mutilation and abduction so Fukune starts stripping! Why? She thought the aliens did some experiment on her and wants Taketo to inspect her body! Utae doesn’t want to lose out and also strips! Is he going to give him to his bestiality? Well, he starts running his porn fantasies on the sand. The waves will wash it away, dummy. Trekking through the jungle in search of everyone else, they hear the sound of a ferocious beast followed by Ran’s scream. Seems she is being violated by a plant creature. With tentacles. So cliche. The plant also grabs the other girls and rips their clothes apart. Taketo can’t really do anything because he’s enjoying this porn scene. So by the time he starts to move, the plant already caught hold of him. But do not fear! Ritsu is here. Using his maths calculations to defeat the plant, he suddenly gets captured. WTF?! The plant is going to eat Fukune so Taketo offers himself. The plant blushes and starts undressing the porn author! OMG! I don’t know this plant swings this way too. It gives a whole new meaning to asexual. Besides, this isn’t what Taketo had in mind when he told the plant to ‘eat’ him instead. They are saved with Katsuyo’s cheering and Tsukuru’s bazooka. The plant turns into a treasure chest and inside it, cosplay outfits for the naked girls. After dividing the jobs among themselves, Taketo questions Tsukuru and Katsuyo presence on this island. Seems they were at Hirameki doing their own stuff when they saw a UFO and poof! The next thing they know, they’re on this island. Taketo and Utae go collect wood when they spot a grounded World War II American plane. Kurumi pops up to explain about the effects of Bermuda Triangle. Taketo thinks she is behind all these but she denies. Even if she is this powerful, she won’t do this sort of stuff. Did she just admit something? So before the sun sets, everyone prepares to camp for the night. After Taketo’s short chat with Fukune (the latter wants him to eat her banana?), Raika tells him that when the time comes, he needs to make his choice and choose either one.

Everyone wakes up the next morning to find themselves in a bizarre land. In the midst of the jungle, crop circles and Stonehenge? There’s a trapdoor in the middle too. Before they could open it, a giant beast emerges. It tries to snatch Utae so Taketo pushes her out of its grasp. Unfortunately it took Fukune and ran. Taketo vows to save her. Did Utae wish she was the one who got taken? Finding the beast at the cave, they also see their other classmates and teacher trapped in the cave. However due to the way they are being held, they can either save Fukune or the rest. Taketo is adamant he will save both by doing that. Kurumi throws him a pen and stupid as it seems, Taketo starts writing his porn novel in the air! How can anyone see the words? He starts off his porn chapter with Utae doing a porn photo shoot with Raika. Suddenly the beast reacted and is immobilize like as though it understood all the porn words Taketo narrated. Is this beast perverted too? Not surprise, though. The plant was, remember? Well, Taketo’s logic is that every living being shares the same instinct of being erotic. So porn isn’t just exclusive for humans, eh? He continues his porn chapters with Ran and Tsukuru yuri experiment, an S&M office romance between Kurumi and Ritsu, a steamy semi-naked clarinet practice between Fukune and Katsuyo. The beast is nailed down as teary Fukune rushes into Taketo’s arms. When they try to release the others, they realize they were just made out of card board! Taketo instantly knew this was all Kurumi’s doing. Speaking of which, she disappeared. Back in the secret lab down the trapdoor, it is revealed she along with Raika, Tsukuru and Katsuyo are in a top secret project in putting up an act to help Taketo research for his next book. A new kind of porn novel born from a new kind of situation, Kurumi will do anything for that and Raika can’t wait to see that porn kid under pressure again. Tsukuru ups the pace by releasing more dangerous traps and beasts on the island. They won’t be going home so soon.

Porn is art!
Well, though the story was rather okay and there were some laughs and funny moments, I expected it would end better. At least Fukune doesn’t have to leave Hirameki and though she still may not realize that Taketo is a porn author, she is somewhat ‘free’ from the pressure to live up to expectations. I thought the way the story was going, there was going to be a love triangle clash but from the looks of it, seems like Utae gave way to Fukune. Though Taketo may want a harem of his own, things indicate that he may have developed feelings for Fukune, just like how Fukune and Utae developed some feelings for him. Raika could be another one who has feelings for him. Though she treats him like dirt and is very rude in pushing him, but the way she does it makes it feel like she’s a tsundere. She can actually be a paparazzi with this kind of ‘rotten’ attitude. Maybe that is what true photography is about? I am pondering what that precious photo meant to her. I guess we are sidetracked by Fukune’s impending departure, these little trivia don’t seem to matter anymore.

As we know Taketo writes porn and his level of fantasizing is so great that it’s like he does it every day without fail and the slightest stimulating event can turn his imagination wild. On occasions he may get nose bleeds but notice how he still keeps himself under control and doesn’t go around violating and good lord, raping others? I suppose having written so much porn, he is accustomed to it all and it doesn’t mean that if you’re a porn writer, it gives you the right to go round messing with the bodies of other girls. Just like a race car driver. He may love speed and drives real fast on the speedway but on the normal roads with ordinary drivers, he sticks to the limits and regulations without showing off, right? The erotic fantasies Taketo fantasizes about feel novel worthy and not something that is made for TV or films. That’s because it’s the way he describes them with his words rather than in shows in which the actors ‘tell it’ with their bodies in motion, right? But the most mysterious character in this series has got to be Kurumi. At first I was just going to pass her off as a busty sadist who likes seeing Taketo in torment or give him lots of work to do. But that episode that has her suddenly disappearing in just a blink of an eye and a lab-like area in the freezer makes me feel tantalized to actually know who this woman really is because it seems she has some secrets that is more than meets the eye. Who is she anyway? You would have guessed that she is no ordinary girl if you notice her Newspaper Club room is filled with machine guns and rifles on the wall!!! A warning to be careful where you tread? So is she an alien? A time traveller? Or maybe some sort of God watching over Hirameki? That’s why I felt a little disappointed when the anime ended when we aren’t given the slightest hint to such mysteries. Maybe next time round, eh? If they ever make a sequel. I’m also not sure if she’s a porn novel fan because she would go to great lengths though in her own mysterious ways to level up Taketo and improve his next works.

Each of the characters is quirky enough to make them lovable. However with the short nature of the series, you won’t see them being fully fleshed out. It was nice to see an episode between Ran and Beni in a showdown but that’s about so much focus they’ll get. Then there are some other characters who don’t often make their appearance and felt they had the be there just because they had to be there. For instance, Misa was just, well, somebody who foresees bad luck. Kanade just writes the songs and the genius gymnast was just a co-host with Beni for the orientation tournament. Other than Taketo, Ritsu may be the other horniest guy around. In each episode, he never fails to misinterpret Taketo’s words, even if they are just ordinary words. His imagination must be kinda wild too, eh? Doing so causes him to fantasize some yaoi thing with Taketo and the only way he is to be brought back to reality and calm himself down from this aroused situation is to recite the pi formula. That formula never ends, right? Later as I discovered, each of the characters are named based on their personality or the thing that they are good at. For instance, Utae’s name means “sing with that voice”, Ran is based from the abbreviations of local area network and Raika is derived from a brand of camera called Leica.

Now, with porn as a theme of this series, you are expecting the fanservice, right? Don’t worry, there are plenty. However. Yes, it’s that but word. They are all fully censored!!! At least for the version that I saw. DAMN LIGHT CENSORS!!! I would have accepted it if they just put a small round censor on the necessary areas but to actually strike out across the entire screen is too much! In some cases they just censor so much that it feels like 4/5 of the screen is ‘brightened out’. It’s annoying! You can’t see anything! And I mean ANYTHING!!! So every panty shots and boobs shots are filled with bright lights that would probably turn the most stimulated guy off. Mind you, I’m not saying that I was really hoping to see it all but they should have the most kept the censoring to just that minimum spot instead of blotting out unrelated fanservice scenarios and backgrounds. But do not fear, if you desire so much to see all those delicious panty colours and designs, you have the DVDs and Blu-ray discs to satisfy your horny perverted lust. Guaranteed to have a full view of everything. I won’t go so far to say the fanservice scenes are close to hentai (heck, it’s your typical panty shots you can find in any ecchi series) but if you’re looking for some laughs, you have got to accept that the fanservice comes with it too. That’s one reason why we watch this show, right? At the end of each episode, there will be a nose bleed gauge of Taketo to see how stimulating today’s episode is. There was one episode it went 100% and another one a meagre 3%. Everything else was pretty much in between. And after that, we have a still picture of a girl perhaps in stimulating poses or clothes saying a short stimulating sentence.

Something bugs me about the geniuses at Hirameki. If they are all dubbed so and really smart, what the heck are they still schooling???!!! Shouldn’t they be out there lending their hand to the world and solving its problem? If Ran can hack into the Pentagon with ease, shouldn’t she be hired by the CIA operatives to do whatever that is required in her field? I mean take a look at this also, if they are so smart, they don’t need teachers, right? And if they do need teachers, that has to mean the teacher must be really, really, really, very, very, very smart, right? However with every single one of them a genius in their own field it’s hard to think that if the classes they attend are really suited to their needs. As far as I am concerned, there are no 2 same geniuses in the same field. For instance, there is only 1 genius porn author, 1 genius photographer, 1 genius computer hacker, 1 genius idol, etc. But like I’ve said, even geniuses aren’t perfect and they make mistakes. Take for instance Tsukuru. All her inventions always go haywire at some point. She may be creating lots of inventions (most of them as I see it useless) but that doesn’t mean that they’re all perfect. So back to what I was saying, if a group of geniuses are gathered in the same class, what are they actually learning together? The teacher can’t be teaching each individual to be better at his/her own ingenuity, right? And if it’s the simple geography, literature or some other subject, I’m sure these geniuses will breeze through it without sweat like child’s play. But then again, being a genius doesn’t mean you’re an all-rounder so yeah, you may be good in 1 thing but you totally suck in the other.

So still, porn feels like a dirty word at the end of the day and though Taketo may be right that sexual desires is all part of the basic instincts of human beings, but that really depends on how well you view on the topic of sex. Still, everyone is a pervert in his or her own way. If you ask me, I still prefer visual erotica to those with words :). With so many types of geniuses out there, I wonder if there is a genius idiot out there. Yeah, an oxymoron (Moron!). So idiotic that you are deemed a genius for just being silly. What about a genius otaku? Is there any out there? Perhaps not. All otakus are perverts. Why not? They spend their entire lives in front of 2D wonders and have a mass collection full of figurines, play eroges and galges, maybe a lolicon and yeah, a hard drive worth 12GB of porn. Now that’s hardcore!

Astarotte No Omocha

March 10, 2012

Wait a minute. A Succubus that hates men? It’s like a vampire that doesn’t like blood. Oh, we’ve heard that before and substitute it with tomato juice but seriously, a seductive sex-crazy creature that doesn’t even want men even if she knows this is essential to sustain her life, beautiful appearance and body? Well, seem like this is the case for a certain loli Succubus in Astarotte No Omocha (Astarotte’s Toy).

In this medieval fantasy world of Alfheim, the royal family of the Succubus who are also the rulers of the Ygvarland Kingdom must take on a male harem when they reach the tender age of 10. If this was a must for other races, you can label them as starting young to be groomed into a future pervert. At first I was having lots of trouble remembering the names of the characters and terms because majority of them are based on Norse mythology. I had a hard time trying to remember and spell their full names but it’s easier when you romanized it the Japanese style. But still, unless you have Scandinavian knowledge and background, how do you pronounce words like the tongue twisting Yggrasill? Yyyrrrgeeerrhhhdeeeraaassssiiilll… I think I may have bit my tongue too.

Episode 1
Astarotte “Lotte” Ygvar is having tea and being attended by her servants, the very busty maid Elfleda “Effie” Mirjasdottir, head of security Griselda “Zelda” Reginhard and the only guy in Lotte’s staff, the old butler-in-waiting Olaf Friomar, when head of staff Judit Snorrvevik hounds Lotte to continue her studies. Lotte runs away and asserts she hates men. At the hotspring, Lotte is being reminded she is a member of the Succubus race that has a long history with Alfheim. Just like how vampires need blood to survive, Succubus needs to absorb life of others. How? Via sucking mouth to mouth? Suck what? Sauzfryma. What’s that? Must be a fancy term for sperm. Holy crap! Is that what it means?! Lotte still doesn’t want to do it and is further reminded her mom and current queen Mercelida has been doing it when she was her age. She has 3000 handsome men as part of her harem from all sorts of races!!! Even once she had the rare human species. I don’t know, they seem to have this perception that humans are furry creatures walking on fours. So rare that nobody has seen one for a thousand years. Upon hearing this, Lotte makes a statement that she wouldn’t mind a harem if there are human males, confident that there will be none and thus she doesn’t have to ‘suck it’. However the next day, she is disheartened to learn that Judit has been researching all night to open the World Tree to Midgard (that’s where humans live and what we call Earth). Yeah, she has an arsenal of tactics to try and open the gate that was never opened for a long time. In a race to stop Judit, Lotte falls off Zelda’s dragon from the top of the tree downwards. Though not hurt, the tree starts emitting a bright light. I guess it’s a sign that it’s activated, huh? Back in her palace, she has an emergency meeting with all her staff, including maid Cuthfleda AKA Kuu. Seems Judit has gone over to the other world and Lotte wants her staff to bring her back. Well, I know they’re concern about her safety but I’m sure that heavy armour would have tire her out even before she reach the tree. And what about all those S&M accessories found in Judit’s room? They think it can help open the gate? Judit indeed has gone to the other world and starts her quest for Lotte’s male harem. She instantly gets bumped into Asuha Touhara (no pantsu loli?!). Naoya Touhara hopes Judit is alright but when the latter finds out he is looking for a job, she offers to pay him 50,000 monthly wages. She didn’t say what currency, did she? Every attempt by Lotte and co to open the gate failed. Lotte’s tail touches the tree and since she thought she heard Judit’s voice, her earnest wish from the heart for her to return has somebody coming through the gate. So happy that Lotte rushes to hug her but unfortunately it is Naoya. She gets embarrassed upon realizing this unknown guy.

Episode 2
Lotte is left ruing to eat her words since Judit really did manage to bring back a human male. Now start sucking! Judit talks to Naoya and remembers making a negotiation for his wages at 60,000 (Asuha wanted another 20 grand!). After Asuha goes off to her Seaside School, that’s when Judit and Naoya return to the pine tree Judit came from and the next thing they know, they’re back at the World Tree of Ygvarland. Lotte temporarily sees this guy and demands his presence tonight. Sounds ambiguous, eh? Judit further explains his harem job and that sucking thing. If you’re a pervert, you’ll love it. Well, Naoya isn’t. Oddly, Naoya is able to receive reception from his handphone because he gets a message from Asuha about the fun she is having. Naoya asks Olaf the reason for Lotte’s hatred for men. Explaining when she was still living with the queen, she wanted to surprise her by sleeping with her (nothing hentai, mind you). However a male harem beat her to it although he was uninvited. Mercelida was unaware of Lotte’s presence and they ‘did it’. Ever since, you could say Lotte was traumatized by that event and lived on her own. Olaf notes that Lotte is a kind princess though she may be selfish at times. Warmth is what she needs, something her servants can’t give her. As Naoya is being escorted to Lotte’s room, Lotte pretends to bump into Naoya and blames him for spilling her milk. But she can’t fool Judit’s eyes. However Naoya apologizes and will take responsibility. Naoya tastes all kinds of milk with Effie but it doesn’t seem to taste like the one Lotte wanted. After hearing Naoya’s honest words that he wants to do anything to make Lotte happy rather than being sucked on as her servant, Effie can’t hold back the secret of the milk any longer (which she was told by Lotte not to reveal). Guess where that special milk comes from? Now do you know why her boobs are so big?! Holy cow! She’s like a milking cow! Naoya sees pictures of young Lotte and notices her favourite reindeer stuffed toy. Effie says that she lost it suddenly and was quite depressed. Naoya sees Lotte and gives to her a reindeer stuffed toy he made. Looks close enough. Acting all bratty, she doesn’t want it so he has her choose between him or the reindeer to accompany her tonight. Since she can’t spend a night with a guy, I guess the stuffed toy wins. But see Lotte’s surprised reaction when Naoya leaves? She thought he was trying to get into her good books. Next morning Naoya is being called by Judit. She reads out the benefits of him staying as Lotte’s harem candidate. The pay, the accommodation, the food. Oh yeah. It’s like he almost have everything covered. However there is a condition: He will be given an official rank as Lotte’s Toy. Naughty name for a servant? Sex toy? Hope not!

Episode 3
Naoya brings his daughter Asuha to Ygvarland. HIS DAUGHTER???!!! OMFG!!! He looks too young to have a daughter!!! Well, nobody said he was her brother and it was just Judit’s assumption. Since Naoya’s job requires him to live here, he thought of bringing Asuha along. Judit can’t back out now or else Lotte will find excuse to not get a harem. Now this is the mind boggling part. Asuha = 10 years old. Naoya = 23 years old. So if you do the maths, when did Naoya lose his virginity? Lotte is so shock about this pervert she doesn’t want to see his face again. However Asuha tells her off not to talk bad about her family and takes papa’s hand and leave. Lotte do feel regretful for her actions and admits she was harsh. Asuha also feels the same and after Naoya shows her Lotte’s pretty garden flower, Asuha feels she wants to be Lotte’s friend and will go talk to her. However Lotte has left for school. Even royalties must attend school to learn about civilian’s life, right? Judit has a wonderful idea. In class, Lotte gets another surprise: Asuha the new transfer student! Asuha gets friendly with Lotte (see how eager she is in wanting to talk to her?). During recess, Asuha makes more friends with Mistrune “Mist” Asgrim, Unnbjorg “Yuna” Signar and Lucca Austri. The trio show her around school. They are amazed that Asuha was able to make friends with Lotte so fast. Something they couldn’t do in 6 months because of their difference in social standing. Asuha also doesn’t mince her words in telling that daddy works as Lotte’s harem. Asuha later finds Lotte who insists on wanting to be alone. Asuha notes that she too has a family but she doesn’t seem too happy about it. Rumours that a male human is in school. The trio wonder how he looks like. Remember all those misperception on humans? Looking very monster-like, eh? They thought they could see how he looked like when it turned out to be a llama? Did Naoya become furry? Hey, that’s Asuha happily said. The llama attacks the girls but was calmed down when Naoya throws oranges to feed the hungry animal. He is here to give Asuha and Lotte their lunch when the llama started chasing him. Lotte has lunch with the rest and thanks them for saving her. However they feel they’re doing this because they’re friends not because of some political tendency. That’s when she realized the meaning of friendship as Asuha pecks Lotte on her cheek. This is her family’s way of saying “I’m not mad anymore”. With that, Asuha starts smiling and as for Naoya, he got an apology note from the princess for yesterday.

Episode 4
Ygvarland Academy will hold a compulsory party for students and their parents or guardian. However Lotte isn’t pleased because mommy the queen is always busy. Naoya learns Lotte’s dad, King Sear died when she was at a very young age. Mercelida doesn’t have much time to see her daughter. Lotte is hesitant to go see her mom to give her the invitation but after being assured by Naoya that no parent would feel troubled seeing their child, she confidently leaves for Mercelida’s palace the next day. Since Asuha will also be going to the party, she is being helped by Effie to choose a dress. Judit recognizes her hairpin that could only be of this world. Or perhaps it’s just a replica? Lotte waits in a room for Mercelida to show up. But as she goes to the toilet, she overhears Mercelida busy talking about her schedules with her ministers. Though Mercelida wants to delay an important meeting by 30 minutes to see Lotte, the minister wants her to reconsider. Then they note how troublesome that child is to come see her mom of all days, on a very busy day. This shatters Lotte’s heart as she immediately leaves. Once Mercelida is free to see Lotte, she sees no one in the room but the invitation card on the table. She realizes what this means. Lotte returns and tries to act normal. Come the day of the party, seems there are lots of citizens vying for Lotte’s attention to introduce their son to her. Lotte meets her prideful frenemy, the vampire Erika Dracul Draupnils. Erika thought Lotte is lying when she admitted she already has a harem and already did all that stuff. Either she really is making it up or she misconstrued what she meant. The party begins as Lotte keeps looking at her watch for mommy to turn up. In the end, Lotte was all alone. Actually Mercelida did show up. Way after the party ended. And she rushed for nothing. You can’t blame Lotte for feeling depressed because she was really expecting her. Naoya tries to cheer her up as Lotte admits she never handed the invitation card to Mercelida personally. She starts breaking down but Naoya is sure her feelings reached her. Mercelida on her way back feels guilty but decides to pay Lotte a visit to at least see her sleeping face. Following a familiar scent, she is surprised to see her daughter whom she recognizes as Asuhariet (Asuha). Get this: This little girl also recognizes her mom! Oh sh*t! To further cement this fact, Naoya and Mercelida instantly recognize each other. This is getting complicated.

Episode 5
Naoya has lots of things on his mind he wants to say to her. About her sudden appearance 10 years ago (oh sh*t! They really made love then!), her sudden disappearance soon after, the sudden reappearance 3 years later and suddenly leaving him with a child. All so sudden. Mercelida may be the queen but she’s still a woman. She takes flight because she doesn’t want to hear Naoya scolding her. Confirming this fact from Judit, she realizes Asuha’s hairpiece is indeed from this world. With Mercelida as the queen and mother of Lotte, this means Asuha is Lotte’s step sister! But Judit wonders why Mercelida went so far as to hide an illegitimate child in Earth when she could have just adopted her. She wants Naoya to keep this a secret from Lotte. Naoya feels there is something he needs to talk to Mercelida. As suggested by the staff, the other way to sneak in is via the harem Peach Rose route. Security there should be thinner than the palace. How? Dress up as a maid! Yes, even Naoya too. Say, he looks pretty convincing cross-dressed as one. Even those harem guys are convinced he’s a woman. Mercelida regrets not seeing Lotte that night and relishes a chance to talk to Naoya. Because her servant, Isold is asking about her partner for today’s ‘evening session’, she gives a description that resembles closely to Naoya. Isold thinks she’ll have a hard time fulfilling Mercelida’s request when she spots Naoya and Asuha sneaking around. She knows Naoya is a guy and has him see the queen. Mercelida is surprised to see Naoya and Asuha. He mentions the one thing he forgot to say then: Thank you for everything. For Asuha and leaving her in his care. Does he look like a guy who would keep grudges? After Asuha falls asleep, it’s adult talk time. No, nothing hentai, mind you. Naoya remembers 10 years ago she told him how she didn’t like the idea of sisters fighting to death over the throne and to prevent a struggle from happening, that’s why Asuha was sent to him and avoid any animosity. Naoya clarifies that Lotte doesn’t hate her and also has a request. In class, Lotte’s friends think she is still in bad mood because of the party. Then everyone gets a pleasant surprise. Mercelida coming in and announcing a special Parent’s Day today (since after much discussion that many parents couldn’t turn up for the party and some kids were left bitter after the event). All the children got excited and start calling their parents over. Everyone has a happy day and thanks Lotte but she insists that it is the queen they should be thanking. Lotte rides with Mercelida in her carriage on their way back. Both mother and daughter made up. Inside Mercelida’s baggage filled with clothes, Lotte spots her lost original reindeer stuffed toy. Mercelida had it all along and planned to give it back to her but couldn’t find the right time. Lotte wants her to keep it because they could sleep with it the next time she comes over. Mercelida hands back the invitation card and prefers her to give it to her in person next time. Back home, Asuha and Lotte happily go over today’s event. I guess Mercelida was in plain clothes the reason why Asuha didn’t recognize her own mom.

Episode 6
Lotte got tickets for the amusement park and thinks of having Naoya come but to her dismay he is busy with errands. Calling her staffs, she chides them for using Naoya as they please when he is supposed to be her toy! How can that guy refuse any help? Because Naoya took too long to return from his shopping errand (once again he stopped to help somebody in need), Lotte’s patience runs thin. When he returns that night, he doesn’t see Lotte in her room. Instead a message calling him a womanizer. Realizing she is missing, everyone goes in search for her. Naoya eventually finds her at the World Tree. She continues to be bratty and sulking, pointing out he doesn’t come when she wants him to. Her tail touches the tree and the gate starts activating. Next thing we know, she is waking up from bed in Naoya’s house?! There are little gnomes helping out with the chores? Well, they are Guardian Spirits left by Judit to take care of his house during his absence. Naoya calls his home but Lotte doesn’t want to answer. Not knowing how to reactivate the gate, Judit suggests seeing a great master sage known as Ingrid Sorveig Sorgrims at the Ivory Tower. This 300 year old sage is known to have amassed vast amount of knowledge but is a little eccentric since you have to answer a riddle to meet. Outside the Ivory Tower, Naoya and Asuha ponder the riddle of needing to get rid of something to fly freely in the sky. Asuha gets an idea of taking off her panties! It’s that feeling of being released and freedom?! Is this the reason why she always go commando? Anyway her answer worked! WTF?! Inside, they meet the great sage: A bunny loli? WTF?! I guess old bald men only live in caves or mountain tops. Ini (nickname given by Asuha to the sage and she doesn’t mind it since she lives alone and hasn’t had visitors for a long time) tells them the magical power from the Succubus royal family gives them the power to open the gate. In other words, whatever Judit did or is doing now are useless. So it’s either Lotte herself opens the gate or the queen. Ini also notes that once Lotte realizes the difference of magical powers between the worlds, she will sense danger to her life and return. Since there is no magical powers (if not very low) on Earth, she will start to feel the drain and find it hard to continue living under such conditions. Naoya pleads for her help to go back to Earth as Asuha pecks Ini on her cheek. A gesture for asking favours? Where did she get all this ideas? Finding them interesting, Ini agrees to help. Back at the tree, Ini has equipment to view what Lotte is doing. Looks like she’s bored, bumming around and looking through a photo album of young Naoya that suddenly ‘ends’. Ini couldn’t detect any magical powers from Lotte and feels that she is unable to return home for she doesn’t have enough powers to open the gate.

Episode 7
But there is still a way. Naoya has to go over, bring this little World Tree seedling to her, which she needs to recharge her powers to open the gate. Maybe this method is the reason why nobody used it to go to the other world. Get swallowed by a giant frog. Slimy! When Naoya returns to his home, Lotte is surprised to see him and locks him out. However he has keys to his own place. I don’t know why but each time Lotte locks, Naoya unlocks. This amusing process goes on repetitively that you just wonder why Naoya didn’t jam his foot in the door. Till she latches the lock. Should’ve done that in the first place, eh? Then she challenges him to break through his own home and fight the Guardian Spirits to reach her. To her surprise, he is instantly in as the Guardian Spirits cannot go against the master of this house. Lotte is still being childish so I guess Naoya has to work his charm by promising never to let her be alone again, bla la bla to get her to agree to return home. Lotte nervously notes that they have made up so Naoya kisses her on the forehead (probably she was really expecting this) to power up the seedling and send them back. Ini notices that Lotte’s power has returned but not due to the seedling but the kiss. Judit feels it isn’t possible since in order for a Succubus to recover her magical power, exchange of fluids is necessary. So I guess this only means one thing… Erika wanted to ask Lotte out to the amusement park but was told she already went with Naoya. I have this feeling that deep down inside Erika, she may really like Lotte on a different meaning. Knowing that Asuha wants to go, she invites her. Lotte and Naoya had their fun at the park but the usual tsundere attitude from the princess. There is a ride that raised an eyebrow. The cow carousel. They’re upside-down and it’s like you’re riding on their udders! So Lotte-Naoya bump into Erika-Asuha. Then the frenemies talk and once more Erika couldn’t believe that they have gone that far. Maybe both of them are talking different things or Lotte was just bragging. However Erika tells her the ultimate feature that every adult has done: Enter the haunted house. Not wanting to lose out, Lotte takes Naoya into one but gets so scared that she wet her undies. She breaks down but cool Naoya takes her to the toilet to change into spare ones. Good thing or not, Asuha loves going commando, the reason Naoya always bring spare panties. Erika realizes the duo are fit for each other and doesn’t want to interrupt them anymore and goes off to play with Asuha. Naoya and Lotte take a ride on the Ferris wheel. Lotte thinks Naoya hates her for being childish and that it’s embarrassing she still wet her bed at this age. Naoya lets her in on a secret: He admits he wet his bed till he was 12 and Asuha by 5. Lotte feels better and with Naoya’s promise if she can stop wetting her bed before she turns 12, she can tell Asuha about this little secret. Seriously? Urinal secret for motivation? When they return home, they are shocked to see Ini’s Ivory Tower next to her palace. Seems she has moved closer because she can see her research subject any time. Plus, she kisses him on the lips and says Naoya is her lover!!! Grrr!!! Just when Lotte thought she had patched things up today, now comes this complication. See her burn in rage! And you thought it was Lotte who will be amassing her harem but looks like it is Naoya who will be getting one instead.

Episode 8
Princess Helga of the Schwartzheiss Kingdom visits Mercelida to improve relations and ties between both countries. Her brother, Prince Sigurd will be a new transfer student in Ygvarland Academy. You know what he is doing on his first day in this kingdom? He went out drinking and womanizing at a bar!!! What kind of prince is this?! Luckily he has Isadora “Dora” Finnsdottir to keep this pervert in line. Lotte is out shopping with Asuha and Naoya. She bumps into Sigurd and you can say it’s love at first sight for that prince. Maybe he saw her pantsu. He resolves to make Lotte his bride. Oh dear. However to his dismay, the academy separates both male and female. But that doesn’t stop him from sneaking in. Yeah, he’s putting his ex-military training to good use. He comes into Lucca and Asuha. Though he admits he is here to confess to his true love, Lucca remembers seeing a poster of him. A poster warning this pervert. All thanks to Dora… Run, Sigurd, run! With some guy running through the academy, don’t you think this will freak out the girls? There’s this gay teacher, Mina who thought Sigurd is cute and runs along with him!!! I don’t know how Sigurd manages to escape all that but he finally meets Lotte and her friends having tea. He spots Naoya and thought he is Lotte’s love rival and heads butt him! Then he gives Lotte a bouquet of flowers and proposes to her. The answer can wait because the security has found him. Time to run again. That night Mercelida is hosting a party and Lotte is upset that Naoya didn’t say anything when Sigurd proposed. Of course that playboy prince is trying to hit on other ladies but when he sees Lotte, he tries to approach her. Fortunately, Asuha is giving him her ‘death stare’ so he can’t get close. Heh. But still he isn’t giving up. Now he’s trying to sneak into Lotte’s room. I guess Lotte’s still mad at Naoya so she agrees to go walk with him on the shore. Just when Naoya felt something weird in his heart during Sigurd’s proposal (we call it love), he goes to see Lotte at her room but she’s not in. At the shore, Sigurd is quite the romantic considering he’s from the military school back in his kingdom. I guess it’s probably why Lotte is somewhat impressed by his words. However Sigurd needs an answer over his proposal because he really has fallen in love with her. In great timing, Naoya comes looking for Lotte and wishes for her to go back since everyone is worried (sure it’s not just you?). Sigurd tries his head butt tactic but this time Naoya has wised up and evades him and even knocking the idiot out. As Naoya take Lotte back, she is happy that he came to pick her up. As for Sigurd, his worst nightmare comes true. That Mina teacher thought he wrote him a love letter and to meet at this place. Actually it was a setup by Dora. Oh sh*t! He’s going to kiss him! SO SCREWED!!! SO GAY!!! SO ARGH!!!

Episode 9
Beach episode. Judit takes her princess, her friends and her staff to the royal private beach. As Naoya teaches Lotte to swim, idiotic Sigurd still isn’t going to give up. Dora is there to stall the pervert. Ultimately Sigurd got the best of her but has to run for his life when Zelda starts chasing him because some watermelon creature she was cutting ran away and landed on top of his head. She’s really bent on cracking it open. A distance away, Mercelida is relaxing with her bodyguard Ursula. Ursula was willing to ‘do’ it with Mercelida (I later found out Ursula is a hermaphrodite) but Mercelida was distracted by a ruckus. Thinking if there are any ‘light snacks’, she sees Lotte. Mother and daughter talk as Lotte describes her nice friends and ultimately Asuha who feels a lot like her sister. You don’t say. Plus, she loves her very much. Then mommy gives a parting hug and peck when Naoya comes looking for Lotte. However he is breathing hard. Then he collapses. He regains consciousness in the room with everyone around him very concerned. Looks like his body temperature is 38 degrees. Not good. Lotte and her friends decide to make a dish to help Naoya recover his strength. Judit notices Naoya fidgeting with something under the blanket (ahem, ahem?) so she has Effie and Zelda to strip and ‘extract’ it. Since they’re too shy and hesitating, Judit turns into a perverted demon and forces Naoya to do the unthinkable. She reminds him of why she hired him. He must do what is best for Lotte and even if she doesn’t want to do it, then he MUST make her do it. Judit isn’t all for hiring another man for the job. Of course Naoya also wouldn’t want that. Oh? You know what this mean, right? Judit also notices this and tells him to act quickly. Meanwhile the girls… They all fail in not making a single dish!!! How shameful! Herald Sigurd the saviour. Amazingly, he teaches them all how to do the basics! Shame on them! Plus, with Lotte looking so serious and concentrating, this is no time for silly revenge. Better to defeat the enemy at full strength, eh? Sigurd then meets Naoya to tell him straight what kind of relationship he is planning to develop with Lotte. Of course he has to flee when Dora is right on his tail. Lotte returns with a decent nutritious dish and a pudding that she made. Naoya finds it delicious as everyone happily watches with glee. That night, Lotte talks to Naoya that she met Mercelida. Naoya feels guilty for wasting her precious day off but Lotte is happy since she got a good experience in the kitchen.

Episode 10
Asuha writes in her picture diary of her happy days in Ygvarland. Judit explains to Naoya about the legend of the World Tree and how it allows their world and others to exist. Because of that, celebrations are held annually and it is customary that the princess of the Succubus royalty sing and dance to give thanks to it. Last year, Lotte did not participate but this year, she is. Why the sudden change? Naoya is too dense to realize that it is him that spurred Lotte to do so. Judit points this out and warns is he going to ignore Lotte’s feelings. But that guy excuses himself to go see how the rest is doing. Lotte sings in front of her friends. Honestly, she sucks. More accurately, very stiff. To help stem her nervousness, I don’t know why they strip her panties off (you build guts without wearing panties on stage?). Then Naoya comes by, the wind blows, he sees everything, Lotte not happy, somehow his fault, he has to cross-dress as punishment. After Lotte’s pals train her (whether the training itself has to do with singing or not is a different matter), they take a well-deserved hotspring bath. Lotte can’t help stare at Mist’s big boobs. You know the myth of drinking milk to increase your boob’s size? Well, they’re going to ‘rape’ Effie. Hope they had their fill. Then the girls don their yukata and head to town. Ironically, this kingdom takes on a particular Japanese culture for this festival. Also know the myth about not wearing underneath yukatas? Well, Lotte’s yukata is already so short… Very dangerous… They meet Naoya and Erika and the idiot prince. However he isn’t here to ruin Lotte’s day but to challenge Naoya over her. After playing all the stall games, it’s safe to say Sigurd sucks big time. He lost every single one to Naoya. Loser. It’s time for Lotte’s stage performance. Lotte is still nervous so Asuha gives her an identical hairpiece she bought at the stall as her charm. But when Lotte goes on stage and the music starts, it is still obvious she is very stiff and awkward. Till Asuha shows up that Lotte’s anxiety subsides as the duo do a lovely duet to captivate the audiences. Hey Sigurd, maybe you can become an idol fan of Lotte if you can’t be her bride. As Asuha writes in her diary, she notes how much fun she had while she has come here. But she wonders what they will do when summer vacation ends. Oh? She thinks all this is a fun vacation trip?

Episode 11
Lotte wakes up to find that her back is itchy. There seems to be a petal mark on it and Judit is excited upon knowing it because it marks the maturity and growth of wings as a Succubus. She is expecting Naoya to do her true job. That’s right. Let the sucking begin! Of course if you leave them alone, they’re still rather hesitant to do something like that so suddenly. Judit relays the good news to Mercelida. However the queen says that when both marks on the shoulders come together, it would form a heart. Judit senses something amiss and starts researching. Asuha is also feeling weird. Her chest is feeling uncomfortable. Odd things are starting to happen. The World Tree is glowing red, a colour never seen before. The words and pictures in Asuha’s diary start disappearing. Ini calls the gang and explains that the World Tree is displaying a huge amount of magical power. According to her research, the balance between the Word Tree and the worlds it connects has started to collapse. A thousand years ago when the World Tree was closed, the magical power circulating within it was stable. But due to the recent travel of humans through it has disrupted the flower of magical power. The distortion is causing the World Tree to begin rejecting foreign objects that entered this world. This means, Naoya and Asuha will be erased. Looks like the effect is starting because Naoya and Asuha’s words can’t even be heard by the rest. It’s like they’re just moving their lips. They try different solutions like solution or throat massage (Naoya always bearing the unfortunate brunt) but nothing works. Asuha tries to be cheery but Lotte is obviously depressed. Because of this, Naoya feels that it’s better for them to go home. They hold a farewell party for the duo and it’s odd that both sides continue to talk without able to hear what the other is saying. Maybe they have lived long enough together to know what they’re actually saying? So after all the thanks, the gratitude, the we’ll-be-friends-forever-even-if-words-cannot-reach, Asuha gives Lotte a box of stuffs to Lotte as memento but finds her panties missing. My theory is that she hardly wears them so I guess the World Tree erased that one first. Haha! Just joking. In turn, Lotte gives Asuha a hand-made little reindeer plushie. See all the cuts and bruises on her finger? She’s serious. Asuha is so touched that tears start streaming down her face even though she is smiling. And since Lotte didn’t have time to make a memento for Naoya, she wants him to go on a date with her instead. Can he actually hear that?

Episode 12
So as Naoya and Lotte have fun together at the amusement park, Mercelida pays Asuha a visit. I find it very odd because the way they are interacting feels like as though they can talk and hear each other. In the Ferris wheel, emotional Lotte calls out Naoya’s name many times and even confesses she loves him. What’s the point when he can’t hear? Then Naoya saw a reflection of his own face in the glass and realizes why Lotte was always looking at him with a face like that. He too realizes he is in love with her. Well, did she hear that? He makes a promise for them to go on another date (seriously, did she manage to listen to what he said before doing the yubikiri?). That’s when Lotte pulls him and pecks him on his forehead. Soon after, Naoya and Asuha return to their world and Asuha realizes the importance of a family. Previously she thought having daddy was all she need. But now, it’s the bigger the better. The World Tree returns to normal and life resumes for everyone on both sides. One morning, Naoya receives a surprise phone call from Lotte! WTF?! I don’t remember if the seedling was left back at his residence but it’s working something like a video conferencing. Yeah, they can see each other’s face. As they are surprised and happy to see each other (everybody trying to hog the space to see Naoya), Lotte explains that Judit’s conclusion of the mark was a misunderstanding. The flower petal was just a bug bite. Ouch. Currently Judit is having her punishment by being tied to a crazy llama. They also inform them how everything went back to normal after they left but looks like the conversation has to be cut short seeing the magical charge is running out. I wonder, if Ini had researched on trying to establish a connection between Alfheim and Earth, how the heck in the previous episode did they communicate when Lotte was stuck in Naoya’s house? But Ini’s research didn’t stop there. She has managed to find a way to establish a gate that remains connected from the World Tree with the other worlds. Everyone except Lotte is at the grand opening ceremony of the World Tree’s gate as Ini gives her speech. She got inspiration from Naoya to carry on this research and by connecting different worlds, they can understand each other’s hearts better. The world isn’t something inside our heads, but something that spans the ground under our feet. Mercelida cuts the ribbon to officially open the gate and zooming out, a dragon with Zelda, Judit, Naoya and Asuha. But it seems Naoya is being taken to the amusement park where Lotte is waiting. I guess she can’t be tsundere for ever so she is glad that Naoya is back. All the more Asuha. One big happy family again.

OVA
This is a series of 3 separate stories. In the first part, Asuha is flipping up skirts to see the different designs of panties because it’s her subject of her school assignment. WTF?! Ironically, for a girl who doesn’t wear panties, she takes great interest in them. If she was a boy, she’d definitely be called a pervert. See how Asuha takes down notes with great detail of the panties she sees? No one is spared. Not even the princess or her staff. And when Judit shows hers, I guess it is so ‘dangerous’ that it is left to our imagination. So risky that Kuu couldn’t take the heat and faints. Since discrimination is not in Asuha’s dictionary, she even goes to see the men’s, particularly Naoya and Olaf but saw the old bugger’s ‘little general’. Lotte’s assignment is a nest of a dragon’s egg on the World Tree. As they get closer to it, the nest drops. Though they are able to save the egg, the nest is a goner. Then Asuha gets an idea to have everyone contribute their panties to make a giant nest for the egg. So warm and fuzzy that the baby dragon hatches from it. I hope it doesn’t grow up to have perverted instincts. And you know what? Panty-chan. Nice name. I guess mummy dragon can keep the panty nest too, eh?

The second part sees Zelda waiting nervously. Lord Attley Reginhard is supposed to visit her today and he is not only a premier swordsman in the royal army but trained Zelda in using the sword. He’s like a father figure to her. At the age of 20, he was the very best in his field by mysteriously retired. Judit continues to explain how Zelda and Lotte met. When Judit was looking for someone with sword skills to her service, seems Lotte and Zelda didn’t like each other. Attley mentioned he already resigned and have a hard time training Zelda who doesn’t understand the concept of her sword. Though she may be lacking, Attley believes she will be a skilful dragon slayer in years to come. Judit talks to Attley alone and though he understands Judit’s intention, he cautions her that Zelda doesn’t understand what it means to protect a life. Zelda and Lotte continue to spend time together and slowly they become friends. Then a llama comes attacking. Zelda swiftly uses her wooden sword to protect Lotte and defeat the llama without the help of the adults. That’s when Zelda decided to become a knight and protect the princess. In present time, Attley blurts out several embarrassing stuff of Zelda but soon he experiences his chronic disease. Judit remembers now this was the reason for his early retirement. Yeah, a scandal with a young boy. Looks like he’s the yaoi kind and seeing Naoya’s pretty face has got his chronic disease working up…

The third part sees the important event of how Mercelida and Naoya met and thus how Asuha was conceived. When Mercelida was about to be crowned queen, she went missing. She didn’t like all this coronation stuff. Her bat chased after her at the World Tree and before they knew it, they fell through the gate. Mercelida and batty crash down into the pond and brought young Naoya who was reading a book on the pine with them. Naoya brings them back home to dry. Mercelida senses that Naoya has some insane magical power in which humans in this world do not. Plus, he’s cute. Looks like her horniness is starting to activate. So as Mercelida introduces herself, she mentions she is supposed to be the queen but ran away. She feels nobody will worry about her because she had 2 sisters who used to play with her when she was young. She felt either one of them should’ve been queen if not for a sad twist of fate that plunged everything into conflict. I don’t know what the real reason was (power struggle as once mentioned in the TV series?) but I guess they both died. Mercelida shed angry tears that if she knew this was going to happen, she wished she was never born into the royalty. Then Naoya hugs her because that’s what mommy does whenever he cried. So it took a kid to comfort her? Feeling much better that night, Mercelida decides to replenish her power and return to her own world. How? You guessed it. Sex! I don’t know, but did they have sex in a dream? Oh Naoya, welcome to manhood! Feels good, eh? Back home, Mercelida has become queen and she remembers something she forgot to do: To ask Naoya’s name.

Lotte’s Sex Toy…
Well, just not yet. It was nice on how things ended but it feels like it’s just the start. So Naoya and Asuha can continue living in Alfheim thanks to Ini’s research in maintaining the gates open at all time without the effects of unstable power again. At least for now. How she does it feels like lazy writing but I could not care less because I’m just glad that everybody gets to be together. It was already heartbreaking to see them part. Like as though it was very hard to get them to separate even if they have been living together for a while. There were a few cases that I find somewhat inconsistent. For instance if Asuha is Mercelida’s daughter, then shouldn’t she be also be considered as part of Alfheim? This means she is half Succubus and half human but the World Tree treats her like a foreign object and was attempting to erase her. See what I mean? And the odd part is that if Asuha only recently saw her mom, wasn’t she surprised to see her as a Succubus? I mean, for a normal girl, it’s normal to think that your mom is a cool busty pretty woman. But not a cool busty pretty Succubus. Unless she already knew it before Mercelida hand her over to Naoya. But then again, at that age you’d be too young to remember or understand lots of things. Then that communication thing between the worlds is another mind boggling thing. Just couldn’t comprehend how they could establish connection to a different world. Wave signals can go through other worlds without problems but not humans? And if Naoya and Asuha are at Alfheim, what about their friends or relatives back in Earth? Do they know where they have been during their absence? Do they even have any?

So looks like Naoya has been upgraded from Lotte’s personal toy to something even more? But one thing’s for sure, she looks to him more favourably now. So if he is not her toy, maybe a servant then? Sounds better right? His helpful nature can be a double-edged sword. He is so kind that sometimes it may hurt the ones around him, especially Lotte who is tsundere. I know princesses like her are stereotyped as spoilt brats but at least she too realizes the importance of others. She doesn’t mistreat people though she may be selfish and unfriendly at first, she too has conscious and would admit her mistake. Oddly if Lotte is a Succubus, one must wonder when she would develop humungous boobs. That is a must for every grown Succubus, right? So by staying flat-chested is like having a vampire without fangs. Saying a Succubus that doesn’t need sex is like saying a vampire doesn’t need blood. Eventually Lotte will have to grow up and go around that thinking. But that is completely another matter. Point to ponder: If Naoya and Lotte do have sex, would it be like incest? Well, Lotte and Naoya aren’t blood related. Asuha’s sunny disposition makes her the liveliest characters in the series. She is so sporting and is fine with everything that nothing dampens her except when you badmouth her family. She is even supportive when her daddy is supposed to ‘get sucked’. Does she understand what it means? It’s like she’s having fun all the way. But I guess it’s better to be positive than be afraid of the impact of society’s norms. Well, in Rome, do what the Romans do. But to think that she doesn’t like wearing panties, it’s like she has no modesty at all. No fear to bare all! Every lolicon’s dream loli.

I thought Sigurd’s appearance would signal the start of a serious love triangle battle between Naoya and Lotte but it wasn’t the case. That prince’s role just felt like he is just for comic relief in which he is because of his idiotic ways. You got to give him credit that he doesn’t give up easily too. The only one who can put a stop to his pranks is Dora who at times has foresight on what that pervert would do and puts her plan in motion before the idiot knew what hit him. And if Sigurd is still persistent and everybody else is okay, don’t you think he can be part of Lotte’s harem too? Think about it. She can start amassing her own harem already. Of course Naoya could be at the top of her list always. But sometimes it’s not the quantity but the quality. Something that alone Naoya can do to satisfy and bring a smile to Lotte. Speaking of love triangle, what happened to Ini’s love for Naoya? Unless the custom differs in Alfheim, kissing a guy on the lips and confessing that you love him means… You really like him, right? And you want him to be your lover too, no? Don’t tell me a sage is just saying that for fun without giving much thought? Unless she meant she loves Naoya as a research subject than that’s a different story. But the kiss… I wish the other characters would have their own screen time to flesh out their character more but given the short nature of this series, this isn’t so. Thus it is just amusing to know that Olaf writes the best haiku (at least to them) and really gets passionate about it, Effie gives the best milk in the land (I should try some too), Erika the best and understanding frenemy Lotte’s got and Judit’s dominatrix tools… Hmm… Something about that fetish makes me curious about her. Is that a reason why she didn’t get a man of her own? Nah. That’s totally unrelated.

Rie Kugimiya is once again at her best doing tsundere lolis. It is without doubt that I can picture nobody else doing this role other than her. Yukari Tamura was a surprise as Asuha. I still recognize that squeaky voice of hers and she sounds perfect and cute in voicing the cheerful Asuha. It’s not that I could recognize Rina Satou’s voice anyway but she plays Naoya here. I guess if she makes a voice like Misaki in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun, probably I would. A few of the other recognizable casts include Yui Horie as Effie (Kotori in Da Capo), Yuko Gotou as Erika (Abiru in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), Chiwa Saito as Ini (Rebecca in Pani Poni Dash) and Cho as Olaf (Brook in One Piece). At least when they open their mouth, I was able to go, “Aha! It’s that voice. I know who he/she is”. Others include Ayumi Fujimura as Zelda (Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama), Hitome Nabatame as Judit (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Yuko Minaguchi as Mercelida (Akiko in Kanon), Yuko Kaida as Ursula (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Sigurd (Firo in Baccano), Kana Asumi as Dora (Yuno in Hidamari Sketch), Ryoko Shiraishi as Helga (Hayate of Hayate No Gotoku), Miyu Matsuki as Mist (Yoshinoya in Hidamari Sketch), Ryou Hirohashi as Yuna (Kyou in Clannad) and newbie Yui Hatano as Lucca.

The opening theme is Tenshi No Clover by Aimi and sounds like your pretty generic anime pop that suits this kind of anime genre. The ending theme is Manatsu No Photograph by Azusa. Surprisingly this slow and calm ballad is to my liking. On a trivial note, each of the title has a punctuation mark in it. No, not the symbol, but the words that is part of the title to partly describe the event. So I was left pondering on what does it mean when they say “The First Semicolon”, “Backslash Fever”, “Quotation of Crossing”, “Secret Apostrophe” or “The Asterisk Over The Air”. Well, many of the objects in Alfheim have this flowery and cute pattern so maybe putting those punctuation marks may also seem like it? For the mid-intermission, we have sketches of the characters in the series. Some cute and some… Oh heck, all of them are cute. As for the fanservice, I would consider them mild. Unless you’re a total lolicon.

In the past where Succubi were depicted as frightening creatures, I guess in today’s culture and especially animes like these, nobody is going to freak out seeing one if they turn out to be super busty (cup size that are seemingly out of this world) and ultra beautiful. No guy would stand a chance or hesitate to get down and dirty with them. It only takes a ‘special’ kind not to get turned on (ED?) and not be affected by their advances. So by having a Succubus ruling a kingdom, would it mean it’s sex every day? Well, better to make love and peace than war, right? But having someone who is your sex toy in this world just means S&M play.

Nana To Kaoru

March 9, 2012

I actually waited and waited for over a year thinking that there would be more episodes of Nana To Kaoru. Then it crossed my mind perhaps this is only a one-shot OVA. So what the heck. Just watch the single episode. For those wanting to watch this OVA, it is strongly suggested that you have some sort of BDSM or S&M fetish or at be least able to stomach the kind of kinky act that is to play out. If you don’t understand what that means, it’s better you go look somewhere else.

I do not have such fetishes but after reading the short synopsis in Animenewsnetwork, which goes something like this: “Nana is an honour student who the entire school respects and admires. Kaoru is a known pervert who gives most of the girls the creeps. But these two have a secret and that secret is they both love S&M and they meet secretly to experiment with each other“. Aha. A comedy, right? So I thought. Well, it’s funny only if you think a model student is secretly into such things.

Needing more information on what it is about, I read the ‘longer’ synopsis from MyAnimeList, which turns out something like this: “Kaoru is a 17-year old virgin who has an S&M fetish. He has always dreamt about an S&M relationship with his childhood friend Nana, who is looked upon as perfect and is always the target of boys’ eyes. Their relationship has somewhat deteriorated through the years, due to them hanging out with different people and because Kaoru is not taking his education too seriously. One day though, Kaoru’s mother gives some of his S&M toys to Nana for safekeeping – Nana finds the leather one-piece that Kaoru bought and tries it on but accidentally locks herself in it and doesn’t have the key! Kaoru frees her of the one-piece, but then Nana realizes she may like Kaoru’s hobby more than she thought and subsequently the two of them start engaging in so-called “breathers”. These breathers are intended to relieve Nana of stress, stress originating from her attempts at keeping her grades and her name perfect“. Does it have any ring that indicates this is a comedy? Well, maybe my misinterpretation is to blame. But you can’t deny the fact that there is ecchi element in it. S&M style of course.

So to recap what I was in for. Nana Chigusa is your typical top and model student. She’s got the looks, she’s got the body, she’s got the brains, she’s got the grades, she’s got the activeness to be involved in club activities, she’s got the popularity, she’s got the nice personality. Oh, so perfect that she is literally everybody’s dream girl. Be it boyfriend wannabes, teachers, parents or friends. However not everyone is perfect because deep down, she has a secret fetish that would scream front page headlines scandal. She loves S&M. She gets her thrill from it. She unwinds with it. She gets her piece of mind from it. Seriously. And helping her out and the only one who knows about this secret is her childhood friend, Kaoru Sugimura. If you know a girl who is into this stuff, you’d be an idiot not to take out your fantasies on her, right? Right. Don’t blame him. That’s what being a guy is all about.

As the OVA begins, we see Nana and her class have just finished the test. Of course it’s child’s play for her. Her friend, Yukari Mutsuki is pestering her about the secret of her success. Get plenty of rest, etc. You know the usual stuff. Then they pass by Kaoru who is walking from the opposite direction. Though their eyes met, both Nana and Kaoru walk pass without greeting. And that’s when Nana notes to herself she indeed has a secret for her success. I bet we already know what it is.

Nana anxiously waits in the room for Kaoru because she can’t wait to start their soft S&M play. It’s not that she’s over excited in looking forward to it because she’s still somewhat embarrassed and nervous. The tension is killing her. Then she notices a package and inside a sexy one piece leather suit. She remembers it was this outfit that led her to realize her fetish. If Kaoru’s mom had not given her the package that belonged to Kaoru for safekeeping that day, she probably wouldn’t have been like a curious cat and tried on the suit. One thing led to another and further recalling reveals Kaoru was really taken aback on how good she looked. Nana was so embarrassed and her chest in pain but at the same time loves the kind of sensation that is giving her. Even Kaoru’s stares were enough to make her feel like as though he is touching her. And true enough, instead of just watching and admiring Nana, Kaoru ‘upgrades’ to touching and then molesting her. Feels good, right? It’s a win-win situation, I guess.

Back in reality, Nana is caught red-handed fidgeting with the outfit. Seems today’s S&M try-out is experimenting with some bonding with ropes. Since Nana can’t be totally naked, she wears her swimsuit. Seeing how erotic Nana is, Kaoru warns her that he might not control himself. Thanks. That warning really helped. I thought she was going to counter with some disclaimer too. Another part of Kaoru’s idea is to take pictures of Nana with his camera. So Kaoru snaps away, admiring every inch of Nana’s beautiful body, making that girl feeling embarrassed. I thought she was supposed to get used to it by now. Maybe you can’t be a master overnight, eh? Next, Kaoru has her squat with her legs open. He then ties her hands behind and blindfolds her before completing the bondage over her entire body. Because she can’t see him, Nana gets jumpy not knowing where Kaoru is. It sounds like he’s over there but he could be here. Before she knows it, Kaoru makes her do very embarrassing positions and snaps a picture of her expression. She thought he was forcing her but he says that she also loves it and her erected nipples are her proof.

Then he unties her blindfold to let her see for herself. Nana makes a priceless expression that Kaoru captures on his camera. Noting that her face and expression is the only thing seen, he wants to send this photo of her to everybody! Nana objects because as part of the agreement, if she says no, then Kaoru will have to stop. But you’re talking to a guy. A guy who’d say anything and give you the world just to get into your pants. Kaoru feigns he never heard of that deal. He continues that she puts up a totally different side in school and wonders what it would be like if everybody finds out. He wants to let everybody know the real Nana is a pervert. Is this considered blackmail? I’m not sure if he did because next day in school, Nana seems fine though she is cursing that pervert. Looks like he hasn’t blown her cover yet. If you can keep her all to himself for now, why not? She meets him outside waiting and realizes that she too is just like him. A pervert. Tonight’s try-out is at the park. Kaoru has Nana take off her panties as she goes to buy coffee at the vending machine while he waits. I guess there’s thrill in being ‘vulnerable’ beneath while traversing the crowd. Your fate depends on the wind…

Urm… So what else can I say? I wasn’t ‘stimulated’ to see this S&M bondage thingy even if this one is considered mild. I have to admit that I was a little disgusted in seeing this. Well, at least I know this isn’t my kind of thing. Not going to try this out ever. But as for the anime related stuff, as an OVA, it doesn’t offer much. You’d just see a couple of kids doing S&M play. That’s it. Probably it’s to introduce things but you don’t really get the feel of the deep relationship between the childhood friends and the way they showed it made it feel kinda ’empty’. I mean, if 2 parties are going to engage into this kind of stuff, there has to be a certain level of trust and feelings in their relationship, right? Unless you’re some kind of porn star that’s a different story.

One thing this OVA tells us is that it isn’t necessarily sex that many would find their thrill. BDSM is just one of the many weird fetishes that humans tend to find exciting (if you’re into it, that is). This type is something less seen and if you are curious enough, you’d probably find different types of S&M styles over the internet. I went to the series’ official website and briefly saw a handful of different bondage (it was all in Japanese so I couldn’t read, haha). There is even a live action feature on this series but of course I didn’t watch it. So if you want much more erotic and depth in story, many viewers suggested the on-going manga doesn’t disappoint. Then again, only if you are into this sort of fetish.

I can’t help notice about the drawing of the characters. The way the shading and the lines, Nana seems pretty odd. Maybe it’s her lips and big eyes. As for Kaoru, I guess they want to paint a picture that he’s a pervert and from first looks, he really does look like one. In addition to that, I thought he looked like a toad, a frog. Serious. And for a big part of the show, it’s like both of them have this permanent blush on their faces. Yeah, it’s embarrassing enough to engage in this kind of act. Nana may be giving out embarrassing voices and her facial expression may look like she’s in pain (I think those are tears of joy, no?) but I guess it’s a natural way of enjoying this kind of engagement. It would sound totally odd if you’re over happy and very noisy, right? Kaoru too is somewhat embarrassed doing this because notice his stammering whenever he wants to do something on her? Maybe a few more times they’ll both become pros in this. The close-up angles on Nana also occupy a big part of the episode and this is where the ecchi part is. Makes you feel like you want to touch her yourself, eh?

Right at the end of the episode, there is a “To Be Continued” notice so that’s why I thought there would be more episodes. Maybe, maybe not. It’s been around a year and nothing has been heard of it. Perhaps too ‘hot’ for some people to handle? If you’re wondering why this series wasn’t classified as hentai is because nobody had real sex. No penetration, no totally nude bodies with the obligatory mosaic censors. So BDSM isn’t what many would really think it is. A sick play by sickos alike. There are psychological effects of pain and pushing of limitations to take into account as well. Not to say that this kind of act is anywhere near holy or the new trend whatsoever but everyone is a pervert in their own ways. Ironically for S&M fetish, how can one feel stress-free or freedom ‘free’ when one is all bound and gag? Like they say, no pain, no gain.

Tiger & Bunny

March 4, 2012

Have you ever thought of getting a job as a Hero? Yes, the kind of hero where you get to fight bad guys and protect the city you love in the name of justice. You get to wear super cool Hero suits (some may look at it as an embarrassment), pull off cool moves and manoeuvres and perhaps come up with your own great catch phrase. Seems like a dream come true, eh? Well, in Tiger & Bunny, being a Hero is one of those full time jobs that you can get provided if you have some sort of super power. And like the over-used super hero movie line, “With great powers come great responsibilities”. Initially I thought this show has something to do by ushering the new lunar Chinese New Year. You know, it came out in April 2011. Just a couple of months when the year of the tiger has turned into the year of a rabbit. However there are no relations whatsoever to it.

In the fictitious city of Stern Bild, your typical metropolis that has everything that it needs that makes it a city status. The towering skyscrapers, the high technological facilities and amenities, the 20 million population and the crime rate. Oh yes, it sure is a city alright. Reminds you of the Big Apple that is New York, eh? Furthermore, I find that the multi-levels of the city are somewhat amusing. I guess they lack space so that’s why the city is ‘stack’ up in several layers, making it look like a layer dessert/cake plate. I wonder if those statues serving as support pillars are strong enough to hold it up. Of course they should. Don’t want everything to get crushed below, eh? Ahem, back to the blog. So in this era, there are 2 kinds of people. Those without power (ordinary folks like you and me) and those with super power termed NEXT. Gee, I thought it was a funny acronym for something. Perhaps New Evolutionary X-factor Things. Just kidding. I guess the word ‘mutant’ has been taken and trademark. So what better than to call the ‘next’ evolution in mankind as NEXT. Get it?

With different NEXT wielding different powers, there are those who use their powers for evil. But don’t despair, there are those who equally use it to uphold justice and protect the weak. That’s why with great powers come… You get the point. However another amusing thing sets this series apart than your typical superhero series. Heroes as we know here are another kind of job. Though the action in catching and fighting criminals are real, they are subjected to the cameras and videos. Yup, being a Hero here means show business and via Hero TV, everyone can watch their favourite Heroes in this so called reality programme channel. You get points for arriving on scene the quickest, saving citizens from danger and apprehending the felons. And the highest point scorer earns the MVP (Most Valuable Player) Award at the end of the season. Wow. With all the big sponsors chipping in, this is really a huge money spinning business with audience and fans guaranteed to be glued to the screen. Man, this has got to be better than the World Cup.

Episode 1
Hero TV is bringing you live the Heroes in action taking on crimes right to your living room. Three robbers are on the getaway. First Hero to arrive on scene is Fire Emblem followed by Rock Bison, Dragon Kid and Origami Cyclone. Though Dragon Kid arrests 2 of the robbers, another one flees and takes a monorail hostage. Hero TV producer, Agnes Joubert wants Wild Tiger to move in 30 seconds after the commercial but he doesn’t listen because he feels Heroes should only care about keeping the peace. He uses his super strength to bend the rail and when he smashes in, the robber somehow escaped and boarded the airship. The people’s favourite, Sky High makes his entry as the robber tries to slow them down but his missile is causing the blimp to crash. While Sky High saves the civilians, Wild Tiger goes to apprehend the criminal. Yeah, he too gives up but wants to be arrested by Sky High instead! The airship is going to crash into a passenger ship when super idol Hero, Blue Rose freezes the ocean. The robber changes his mind in getting arrested and starts shooting, making Blue Rose flee. Wild Tiger powers up but it seems his Hundred Power’s 5-minute limit is up, causing him to turn back into a normal human. Just then a mysterious new Hero shows up and saves him and at the same time saves the civilians. He lifts his mask much to the audiences’ delight as the programme ends. Later Wild Tiger lectures him about showing his face to the public but the new guy thinks he is old fashion and walks away. Wild Tiger is being reprimanded by his manager, Ben Jackson about the damages caused and being reminded that it is the sponsors that made him a Hero. As the Heroes line up for the MVP Award, as expected Sky High tops them all. Then the CEO of Apollon Media and president of OBC, Albert Maverick turns up for his speech. He introduces Barnaby Brooks Jr (that mysterious Hero) as a newly approved Hero by the Justice Bureau. Maverick makes a comparison between Barnaby and Wild Tiger’s similar power but only difference one of them is old. Wild Tiger leaves the ceremony as Maverick continues his speech on NEXT, individuals with super powers who suddenly appeared 45 years ago due to a mutation. Peace in this city has been upheld thanks to these people working as Heroes. Wild Tiger’s real life alter ego, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi isn’t impressed seeing Hero trading cards of himself unsold. It’s a huge stack as compared to Sky High or Blue Rose sold out. Yeah, even that remark as a veteran Hero making his debut 10 years ago. Feeling old, isn’t he? Better buy them up! Back home he gets a call from his daughter Kaede reminding him about her recital. Then his mom talks to him, warning him to be careful and not lose his life or else she’ll have to tell Kaede’s his true occupation. It seems he has to keep his work a secret from his own daughter. Kotetsu goes to his agency and to his surprise, a notice of closure. Ben tells him they have been bought out since they’re struggling with funds. He gives him the contacts of his new boss and doesn’t want him to worry since he’ll always be a fan of Wild Tiger and not seeing him fight as a Hero is much worse. As Kotetsu goes to his new workplace, he helps a kid with his balloon stuck on the tree. He drops his own trading cards so the kid misinterpret he is a Wild Tiger fan and gives him his own Wild Tiger card since he doesn’t need it and is a fan of Sky High. Feeling unwanted? As Kotetsu talks to his new boss, Lloyds, a Steel Hammer Statue wreaks havoc at an industrial area. Kotetsu has to go into action and reluctantly work with his new owners. He can’t be picky because Lloyds always tells him he can quit. Plus, he has to wear a totally new and enhanced suit and will be working with a new partner. He thought it was Rock Bison but it turned out to be that Barnaby guy.

Episode 2
While the statue continues to bring carnage, Tiger isn’t happy Barnaby is trying to locate the other Heroes’ whereabouts so as to time his grand entrance. As they both go into action, Tiger isn’t used in using his new string equipment so much so he blunders and ties them both up! Don’t they look comical in that position? The statue is about to smash them and all of a sudden it stopped. It has been that ever since for an hour. Kotetsu gets an earful by Lloyds that he’s supposed to be Barnaby’s foil and his assistant. You can tell Kotetsu isn’t happy. Besides, the mechanic is angry with him too. Yeah, the very soft speaking mechanic Saito that you can’t hear the f*ck his says. But when he speaks through some communicator, he sounds very loud and rash!!! Don’t underestimate people with soft voices. As the person who developed his suit, Saito demonstrates how crappy his old suit is compared to his new one. Doesn’t it make you cringe seeing your old suit blown to bits? He has also taken into account his 5 minute power limit and has equipped the new suit with a… Clock?! Yeah, it keeps track when his power is running out. You thought it was something super, didn’t you? Kotetsu is obviously late for his daughter’s ice figure skating competition. She knows he won’t make it but he insists he will. She is also excited that Isaac, the junior champion is entering the competition. True enough, the alarm sounds as the statue resumes moving. Looks like he’ll have to skip the competition. Heading on scene, they see a child on the statue. Barnaby deduces that he must be a NEXT and the culprit but Tiger doesn’t care about that crap and wants to save him. Barnaby warns him that it was his rash judgment that got them into a predicament the last time and doesn’t trust him. Flashback reveals there was a robbery-cum-hostage at a bank. Mr Legend barges in to save the day. A robber takes a kid (Kotetsu) as a human shield but Kotetsu starts glowing and repels the guy away. Kotetsu feels down as he can’t touch anyone when he’s shining like this and his powers hurt power. But Mr Legend says he saved him and that makes him a Hero. Those words cheered him up and gave him encouragement. In present time, I don’t know how but the duo are stuck in the statue’s hands. Yeah, it stopped moving again. They start arguing as Tiger calls Barnaby “Bunny” because he ‘hops’ around and his long metal things resemble like bunny ears. Yeah, Tiger childishly repeats Barnaby’s words. Tiger then uses his power to free himself and leave Barnaby behind (he has his 5 minute power limit too). Then a Lion Statue goes on a rampage and Agnes doesn’t want Tiger to damage it since it is considered a cultural artefact. Unless he doesn’t mind paying the high price. Tiger sees that same kid riding the lion as it crashes into the skating rink. While Tiger lets the other spectators escape, he sees Kaede lying on the rink. Debris are threatening to fall over her as he races over. However he was too late as the debris crush her. No way! Thankfully, Barnaby was there to take her away from being squished. The duo confront the kid, Tony who is doing this because the other kids left him out for having such powers. Even Isaac agrees it is creeping them out and wants him to go away. Tiger understands how Tony feels and relates the same experience when he was young. He persuades him that his power will be useful when he’s older but first he must apologize to everyone and go to the police. Tony believes him and turns himself in. Suddenly the building’s top is falling off (oh, why is that Isaac in it). All the Heroes try to hold the structure but Tiger’s power is reaching its limit. Tiger wants Tony to help out. Though reluctant at first, he finally uses the statue to lift the structure. Everyone applause at how cool he is. Before Tony is being taken away by the police, Tiger tells him he is a Hero because he saved them. Barnaby talks to Maverick and he isn’t happy working with Tiger but Maverick says this is his chance to sell his name. While Kaede isn’t happy about her dad’s no-show, Kotetsu insists he’ll still save her if he was there. But to add salt to wounds, Kaede mentions how Barnaby saved her has become his fan. Oh dear.

Episode 3
Tiger and Barnaby are yet in another war zone. Yet in another argument. While Tiger insists on his instincts, Barnaby would rather rely on his theories. Till Tiger gets shot. Then it’s revealed this is just simulation. Barnaby is fed up of Tiger and can’t work like this and leaves. Flashback reveals how Lloyds reprimanded Kotetsu for being unable to get along since their Hero team is the agency’s selling point. Thanks to Barnaby, their stock prices have been skyrocketing. He wants Kotetsu to guide Barnaby since he is young. Perhaps a simulation. If he doesn’t like it, he can always quit. Agnes and her crew are interviewing other Heroes on Barnaby. They all sing praises for him except for Tiger. Agnes isn’t happy his attitude is ruining her show and even comes up with words just for him to say on camera. The Hero TV crew even makes a visit to Barnaby’s home, calling it an in-depth interview as fans want to know about his private life. Later Barnaby remembers reading a newspaper article how his parents were assassinated when he was young and was left all alone. Agnes continues her filming on Barnaby and wants Tiger to take him out to town as part of the scenario. He has to, or else. Acting naturally like what they usually do, Barnaby is a hit with the kids and chicks while nobody is even looking at Tiger. Then they head to the newly opened Fortress Tower. Upon entering a lift, Tiger sees a suspicious repairman exiting though the latter insists he was just oiling the elevators. At the top, Tiger tries hard not to be a jerk but it’s tough trying to be serious when you’re not interested. Suddenly the alarm goes off and a security guard rushes to tell Agnes and the Heroes there has been a bomb detected but its location unsure. Tiger remembers the repairman and rushes to the lift while cool Barnaby directs the crowd to evacuate. Climbing to the top of the lift shaft, Tiger sees a real C9 bomb. Agnes wants to film them all the way but Tiger tells them they should evacuate too and not fool around. I guess she wouldn’t listen to him but Barnaby. Yeah, he suggests that Tiger do the filming for her. The duo go to diffuse the bomb but with Tiger’s hands full with the camera, Barnaby will have to handle this himself. He asks Tiger how he knew where the bomb is. Tiger mentions about the repairman and the dead giveaway was this building was recently opened so it’s odd to have repairs. Secondly, he was too clean and not dirty. Barnaby sarcastically praises him. As Barnaby is done with most of the work, the final hurdle is to cut one of the wires, top or the bottom one. The wrong one will of course blow up the building. Are we going to rely on Tiger’s guts? If Barnaby had a theory, he wouldn’t be in dire straits. Better hurry, the clock is ticking fast! Oh sh*t! Ten seconds left! Tiger yells “Top!”. And in the aftermath we see the Heroes still breathing and the building still intact. This was what happened. Barnaby didn’t cut the top part. Rather when both of them start to glow, Tiger destroyed layers of the building to create a gaping hole to the sky. Then Barnaby uses his kick to send the bomb flying and exploding in the air. Kotetsu meets Antonio Lopez (Rock Bison’s real identity) at the bar and they talk about the incident and Barnaby. Due to the good words he said about his partner on TV (most likely he was made to say it anyway), Antonio thinks they’re getting along well. The pianist at the bar, Karina Lyle (Blue Rose) sees Kotetsu applauding at her. She didn’t seem happy and turns around, much to Kotetsu’s bafflement.

Episode 4
Karina’s mom is telling her daughter how she should put more enthusiasm in her catchphrase. But you know teenagers in their rebellious years. Tiger and Barnaby chase a criminal running away in an armoured vehicle. That is considered a civilian vehicle? Tiger scares the felon when he climbs up on the vehicle and says hi. Effective enough to put stop him dead in his tracks. But he escapes. He is running towards Blue Rose’s direction. As she is halfway through her catchphrase, the felon starts firing, shocking and throwing Blue Rose off her balance. Luckily Barnaby was quick enough to save her as Dragon Kid make a lightning arrest (pun intended). Later Blue Rose notes Barnaby’s nasty attitude so Tiger mentions she isn’t paying enough attention due to her side job. He says he can’t be a Hero this way but she tells him to shut his trap since he hasn’t scored any points this season. Plus, he’s lame. Karina’s normal life is hectic because she has to attend supplementary classes and can’t hang out with her friends (they don’t know she’s a Hero). Then meeting her boss, he is lecturing her about that embarrassing stint that made their rival earn points. Karina blows her top about risking her life to win battles all for the sponsors’ sake. She mentions that she doesn’t want to be a Hero in the first place and the reason she is one now was because the company said it was a requirement if she wanted to debut as a singer. Karina takes out her complaints to Nathan Seymour (Fire Emblem) so Kotetsu steps in to say that they’re not risking their lives just to be appreciated by someone. She has the last straw when her mom mentions about Barnaby’s noble words (which is what Kotetsu exactly said) so she wants to quit being a Hero. Mommy is shocked. What about being a singer? She can always do that at the bar. As Karina plays her piano at the bar as Kotetsu ‘bugs’ her and gives her a dollar as tips because her singing is good. Karina asks him why he continues being a Hero so he asks her why she sings. Because she loves to and wants everyone to hear her. That’s the same answer Kotetsu gives her. Because he loves saving people and it doesn’t matter if people acknowledges him or not. Back home, Karina’s dad goes to talk to her. Not about her quitting but rather her half-assed attitude that will lead to disaster. He thinks she should quit. She then gets a call to replace a singer who couldn’t turn up but at the same time, the Heroes are being called. Which to choose? The mission today is to search and rescue at an oil rig which is being engulfed by flames. As usual, Tiger doesn’t listen to Agnes’ orders to wait and wants to head in and rescue. Barnaby also has the same idea but he’s doing it for the points. Karina chose to go singing at the bar when she notices a bunch of drunk men criticizing the Heroes and making a bet if they can rescue the victim. Karina gets pissed off and tells them off about Heroes putting their lives on the line. Tiger, Barnaby and Rock Bison are holding up a heavy beam so that Sky High can swoop down and save the victim. They are barely holding on and the structure is going to collapse on them. But what do you know, it freezes and it’s about time Blue Rose shows up. She returns her answer to Tiger that she wants to save those in trouble. Then to her dismay, she finds out Tiger had betted if she’d turn up or not with Barnaby but the latter insists he never betted. But with that, she feels better (albeit still disgusted with Tiger) and puts more effort in her catchphrase.

Episode 5
Kotetsu is in court and once again his agency will have to compensate for the damages he made. Outside, Barnaby tells him off that he has had it with his destruction, causing trouble around him and meddling in his private affairs. Suddenly a lady goes up to Barnaby to ask his autograph for her son who is his biggest fan (he’s just an infant!). She wishes him happy birthday for tomorrow but accidentally drops her pen. Kotetsu tries to pick it up for her but accidentally kicks it away and a truck goes over it. He’s just trouble, isn’t he? Because Barnaby isn’t in good mood, Kotetsu thinks he is depressed about his birthday. He wants Karina, Nathan and Antonio to throw a surprise birthday bash but they’re not interested seeing that they’re rivals. But when Keith Goodman (Sky High) agrees in doing so, the rest wholeheartedly joins in! He even said the same words Kotetsu did! Kotetsu needs to get Barnaby a present and bugs him what kind of fashion clothes he wants. Annoying. Finally he just says he wants that diamond currently being displayed at the Central Museum. Seriously? But a fat baddie, Pauly is eyeing on that diamond. Yup. He’s a NEXT who can change his skin into hard diamond. Kotetsu is out with Bunny. Bunny the stuffed doll! Haha! He’s even doing falsetto voiceovers for Bunny! They’re supposed to catch some robbers when one snatches Kotetsu’s handbag. Chasing him and cornering him at an alley, they are cornered but several robbers and their boss. The robbers fire their gun and “Happy Birthday” banners came out. So, this is their birthday surprise? The gang dressing up as robbers? Yeah, they feel pretty confident in pulling it off. While Pauly manages to steal the diamond, Kotetsu calls Barnaby to meet him. He does but isn’t interested in playing along, putting a damper on their plans. The ‘robber’ snatches Kotetsu’s bag and Barnaby still isn’t interested. They lose sight of him when they bump into a woman and her trolley. Kotetsu still doesn’t give up and drags Barnaby to find the ‘robber’ at the alley. Unknown to them, they meet the real Pauly in cloak but Kotetsu believes he is part of the play. Of course things didn’t go as plan as Pauly fires a real bullet, barely breeze past them. Then he escapes via getaway car by his henchmen. When Barnaby learns of this surprise thingy, he chides Kotetsu for meddling once more. Soon a call from Agnes to go into action. Barnaby says he will handle this one himself and under the notion that they’re not a team. Sky High, Blue Rose and Fire Emblem apprehend the underlings but Sky High say to leave the big fish to the duo since it’s their special day. Due to Tiger’s blunder, Pauly knows their power is running out soon. He lets them punch his diamond body all they want. With time running out, suddenly a part of Tiger and Barnaby’s limb transform into a bigger and super cool power up as they smash and crack Pauly together. They thought this amazing feature called Good Luck Mode boosted their power but was being told that it was their teamwork that finished the job. The feature is only for them to look cool! Of course the duo still deny that they are working together. Tiger lets Barnaby arrest Pauly as his birthday present. He wants the points, right? Sure, Barnaby may still be mouthing off about his meddling thingy but he still took Pauly in. What happened to the bunny? Antonio got arrested because the cops think he’s the real robber.

Episode 6
Remember those criminals Barnaby arrested when he first debuted? They’re sitting nicely in jail but they get suddenly burnt by a mysterious flame! WOAH! Barnaby is in a photo shoot. Kotetsu reads the newspaper and learns those criminals are dead. However Barnaby’s indifferent attitude to death has Kotetsu raising his voice. Criminal or not, it’s a person’s life. But Barnaby isn’t happy he is shoving his values down his throat. Lloyds gets a call and sends Kotetsu over since he is ‘free’. Tiger is getting burnt by Fire Emblem’s intense heat. Seems they are doing an experiment and recreating a scenario of that murder seeing Fire Emblem has been suspected as the killer. No other Hero uses flames like he does, right? Plus, if he’s a suspect, he’ll be suspended from the programme and that’s not good. Tiger isn’t too happy he has to do this over and over again. Can they use a dummy? Well, Saito wanted to show off the durability of this suit. Suddenly a prisoner in the field gets burnt quickly before the other inmates’ eyes. Kotetsu, Nathan and Agnes rush over but he is badly burnt. Kotetsu thinks he spotted the culprit but looks like he slipped away. Barnaby is going around asking people about a certain mark known as Ouroboros. He has been doing this ever since young after his parents were killed but of course nobody knows of it. This is why he hates fire and he can’t remember the culprit’s face who killed his parents before his eyes. The only clue is that mark on his hand. After Nathan drops Kotetsu off a few blocks from home, Kotetsu is suddenly attacked by a mecha. He runs for his life and tries calling Saito for his Hero suit but he doesn’t reply. As for Barnaby, he thinks this is one of Kotetsu’s pranks. I take it he’s not coming. Amazingly Kotetsu managed to escape the hail of bullets and catch up to Nathan. Then arguing for that fire guy to use his powers, the mecha reduces Nathan’s car into smithereens! Just when they thought it was out of bullets, it then spews flames. Could this be the murderer? Nathan isn’t amused that there is a more powerful fire weapon than his. He distracts the mecha so Kotetsu could rip it off. Inside it, someone piloting it. Hey, isn’t that the repairman? Once Barnaby arrives, the culprit uses a flash bomb to escape. As they discuss, seems Kotetsu can’t remember from where he has seen this guy! Unbelievable! Wondering why Saito didn’t answer his call, he mentions about being trapped in an elevator (he’s claustrophobic it seems). This has Kotetsu remembering who he is. Barnaby realizes his intention is to wipe out those who have seen his face. This means Agnes and her cameramen are in danger. As they rush to the scene, true enough, the repairman attacks Agnes. The Heroes arrive in time to save her as Barnaby puts him out of commission. Then he sees the Ouroboros mark on the back of his neck and gets rough on him while interrogating him but he doesn’t answer. Because Tiger and Fire Emblem tried to calm him down, the culprit takes Agnes as hostage. Tiger wants to know why he killed those prisoners but he has no idea what he is talking about. But he may not be that murderer because a mysterious figure from afar burns him and vanishes in the blink of an eye.

Episode 7
Barnaby becomes enraged and tries to go after the culprit but loses sight of him. He blames Tiger for stopping him back then. He can’t calm down seeing that Ouroboros killed his parents. Back in the trailer, Barnaby is visually upset. But there is nothing more he knows about Ouroboros. He wants to be left alone. Next day, Nathan shows Kotetsu a newspaper article on Barnaby’s parents’ death, the reason for him acting this way. Nathan deduces if Ouroboros is a crime syndicate, then it may be trying to wipe out its members to silence them seeing all the burnt victims are criminals. They can’t contact Barnaby because he can’t be reached. Even Lloyds is puzzled on his behaviour and never thought that this super star could get cranky. So I guess Tiger has to team up with Blue Rose to take out another bunch of criminals, save the hostage and then later a charity concert (Blue Rose steals the show in all aspects by the way). As Tiger takes a break, a kid comes up to him unhappy why he arrests criminals instead of killing them. Yeah, for nothing Tiger gets his shin kicked. Later Maverick visits Kotetsu to show his appreciation (at least somebody appreciates that veteran). He brings him to Saito who has finished creating a prototype oxygen chamber for them to test out. Barnaby is also here since Maverick called him and he couldn’t turn down his saviour’s request. Maverick understands how frustrated Barnaby is but if he gives up now, he won’t achieve his goal. Both the Heroes enter the chamber to rest. Barnaby wakes up from yet another nightmare of seeing his parents killed. Again he can’t see the murderer’s face. But it seems this time there is a call for the Heroes to go into action. This isn’t show time but the real deal. A group of criminals hiding out at an abandoned church. Agnes and her crew got approval to work with the police and shoot live footage so as to increase their studio’s reputation. While standing by, Tiger tells Barnaby what Nathan told him. Before Agnes could give the signal, the mysterious figure pops up and burns the church and blacks out the area. Barnaby loses his cool and goes after him while Tiger assures him that everyone else has this place covered. The initial goal to arrest the criminals has turned into one that saves them. However the flame was too intense so none of the criminals survived. Barnaby continues to chase hard but it seems the NEXT guy is toying with him. Then he speaks all over the city. Saying how their form of justice is weak and frail. They can’t save or punish anyone. Introducing himself as Lunatic, seeing that their justice is fake, he will follow his own code of justice. Once Barnaby catches up to him, the first thing he asks if he is part of Ouroboros. He didn’t give a definite answer but if he was, what is he going to do about it? They say action speaks louder than words. Yeah, Barnaby goes straight to tear him apart. He was about to finish off Barnaby when Tiger uses his strings to bind him. Tiger ticks him off about his sense of justice which makes him no different to committing massacre. Lunatic isn’t amused and will remember him as he breaks free and disappears. Barnaby thought it’s over but Tiger says they still have hope. One of the criminals is still breathing thanks to Rock Bison reviving him. Kotetsu and Barnaby are at the hospital and though they find out the crime syndicate isn’t Ouroboros, all they have to do is wait till he regains consciousness and interrogate him. The judge from the Justice Bureau, Yuri Petrov comes out of the ward. He doesn’t mind the trouble doing these kind of things and would like to know if there is anything he can help them with. Say, doesn’t he sound very close to that Lunatic guy…

Episode 8
Because of Lunatic’s act of killing murderers, the people are starting to like him and doubt the Heroes’ capabilities. All the Hero agency’s CEOs and Yuri meet in an emergency meeting to deal with this problem. Maverick suggests winning back public support and rebuild the trust in Heroes via Hero Campaign. That’s right. The Heroes are doing public charity work and as for Tiger, Barnaby and Origami Cyclone, they’re visiting the Hero Academy. When taking a break, Kotetsu is surprised that Ivan Karelin (Origami Cyclone) is a lot more negative than his Hero self. Then the principal comes in to see his ex-students, Barnaby and Ivan and is glad they are doing fine. Tiger and Barnaby give motivational speeches to their respective groups. Erm… Points are important to a Hero? Destroying building is okay so long you protect the people? But Origami’s speech on pleasing the sponsors did not sit well with the students. Later Ivan sees several students demonstrating their weird powers to Tiger. Erm… Sweat a lot? Able to stretch cheeks or neck? I doubt they can be Heroes with this kind of power. Looking more like circus freaks! Ivan remembers back when he was a student in this academy and his best friend Edward had all the ingredients to be a Hero unlike him. Ivan calls Kotetsu to demonstrate his powers: To shape shift into other people. However he laments he can only copy their looks but not their powers and isn’t cut out to be a Hero. Kotetsu is sure there is something his power is capable of handling but Ivan notes how his best friend once said that to him. He still thinks Edward should’ve been a Hero and not him. Later Kotetsu talks to the principal to find out more on Edward. Though he was a top student, there was an incident that left a very bitter memory for them. There was hostage incident and Edward wanted to save the lady though Ivan was scared and didn’t want to since it is against academy rules to use their powers outside. But Edward couldn’t wait and sneaks up on the baddie and grabs his gun. A struggle ensues as Edward calls for Ivan’s help. Before he knows it, Edward accidentally shoots at the hostage. Since then, he has been to prison and ineligible to become a Hero. So is he still there? Actually, he escaped a few days ago. Speaking of which, he appears right in front of Ivan and is going to kill him, blaming him for ruining his life. Luckily Kotetsu and Barnaby arrive in time so Edward backs off. Ivan feels he should’ve died to make Edward feel better since it’s his fault for ruining his life and guilty for not helping him back then. In that case, Kotetsu tells him he has to stop him since he committed a crime because of him. Is he going to let it happen again? This was enough to motivate Ivan to find Edward. It isn’t long before they find each other (he’s trying to kill him, remember?). However a warning shot from Lunatic streaks across them. Lunatic is going to punish Edward for escaping from prison without repenting. Fearful Edward flees for his life but is cornered. Ivan needs to do something drastic to save him. He morphs into Edward and tries to convince he is the real one. Since Lunatic doesn’t do mindless slaughter, he asks this ‘Edward’ if he is willing to repent. He does. Lunatic points his weapon to the real Ivan because he knows true sinners are cowards. Ivan rushes to Edward and asserts he will protect him. Thus Lunatic is going to kill him too since he is defending a criminal. Tiger and Barnaby arrive in time to battle him. Though he mentions his mission to bring atonement upon evildoers, seems he is not with Ouroboros. Tiger takes a shot meant for Barnaby and even manages to land a punch on Lunatic’s face! Lunatic doesn’t want to quarrel with Heroes and asserts his own justice of giving murderers what they deserve. So Tiger says in that case, his justice is to arrest idiots like him. Amused, he shall see where his sense of justice leads him and escapes. In the aftermath, Edward is taken into custody but thanks Ivan for saving him. Ivan becomes more motivated to doing more Hero-like things. And yeah, Lunatic is that Yuri guy.

Episode 9
The manager of Huang Pao Lin (Dragon Kid) thinks she should put up more charm and be more feminine. Of course she is quite tomboyish nevertheless to say and didn’t like the flower hair accessory gift her parents just sent. Kotetsu gets an emergency call to meet at the training centre by Agnes. Actually, he is put in charge of babysitting the mayor’s baby, Sam. Why not hire a real babysitter? Recently there are thugs who target wealthy family so he thinks of leaving it in the hands of Heroes. Well, Kotetsu’s got a 9 year old daughter so I guess that’s why he was called in. His wife? Unfortunately, an illness took her 5 years ago. However Sam not only starts crying when Kotetsu gets near him, everything seems to start flying! Oh, Sam is a NEXT too and has telekinetic powers. The other Heroes try to pacify him but he only stops crying in the arms of Pao Lin. How unexpected. Kotetsu and Pao Lin temporarily stay at Barnaby’s place. Just when Sam throws another tantrum, Barnaby saves a precious toy his parents gave him. He then gives it to Sam to play. Kotetsu teases the flower pattern so Pao Lin isn’t amused. Barnaby advises she should treasure the things her parents give her. Then another tantrum drops the controller to reveal all the newspaper cuttings Barnaby has amassed on his parents’ murderer. But Barnaby turns it off quickly. After Pao Lin and Sam are asleep, Barnaby shows Kotetsu those data and has been desperate for the last 20 years. When a criminal with that mark was sentenced to 250 years in prison, the only reply Barnaby got was Ouroboros. However he gone mad and died in prison so he lost his only lead and he still can’t remember the murderer’s face. Kotetsu tells him he should relax because you can’t remember something just because you want to remember it. Because the guys have been sleeping in the hallway and reeking of alcohol, Pao Lin decides to take Sam out for a walk. She got kidnapped by a bunch of sisters. Agnes drops by to see how the baby is doing (it’s the mayor’s baby so they better be doing a fine job). The kidnappers want Pao Lin to contact her parents so when they made the call, Agnes picks up and they think she is Pao Lin’s mom. She is to bring a million bucks to some warehouse if they want to see them alive. Barnaby has a plan. Agnes will act as the mother since they only heard her voice and the guys will barge in to save Pao Lin and the baby. Two of the sisters meet Agnes but they can smell she is a fake. They escape so the guys try to chase after them. Meanwhile Pao Lin learns that the sisters are behind the spate of kidnappings, though they prefer the term babysitters but with high fees. The sisters are NEXT and have a type of smell sense as their power. One of them could smell money, the other sniff out lies while big sister can sense danger. Big sisters mention how the marigold pattern on Sam’s cap represents health and knows the child is loved very much and thus will pay any amount to secure their release. Pao Lin reflects all the gifts her parents sent to her and realizes their importance. Big sister senses danger in Pao Lin when she tries to break loose with her lightning powers. Her other sisters come running back and they need to escape. They want to leave Pao Lin behind and take the baby but that’s when Sam starts crying. So loud that it causes the warehouse to burst into flames! They don’t trust Pao Lin to take off her cuffs to pacify Sam so she busts out herself to rescue the baby. Then she scares big sister so much that she passes out! Her sisters then surrender. The guys arrive too late but no worries since everything has been taken care off. Barnaby sees Tiger and his position with the fire in the background reminded him of the scene how his parents were killed. He got so traumatized that he breaks through the roof. Sam is handed back to his parents (I thought daddy look like Obama) in good hands. Kotetsu notices Pao Lin wearing her flower hair accessory. She looked up its meaning and discovered it meant “thinking about you always”. Kotetsu calls Kaede and wonders if she is wearing the hair clip he sent her. Yup it is being worn every day. By grandma. So disappointed… And Barnaby thinks hard to remember that killer’s face and we may have a glimpse of how this mad guy looks.

Episode 10
Kotetsu calls Kaede and you know, she’s not happy he is treating her like a kid. Well as grandma said, she’s upset probably she lost her favourite stuffed animal. Lloyds gives Kotetsu a surprise paid vacation since they don’t want to be seen in violating labour laws. But Heroes never take a day off! He can quit if he doesn’t like it. Oh yeah, Barnaby will be holding the fort then. So with his day off, Kotetsu goes to the toy store and was convinced by the store staff to buy some ugly stuffed teddy bear called Mad Bear for Kaede. Barnaby is doing research on serial killers when he stumbles upon the profile of Jake Martinez. Suddenly his face becomes clear to him and realizes that he is the murderer. He was apprehended by Mr Legend and now serving time at Abas Prison. Kotetsu drives along the bridge and as usual, Kaede knows he isn’t really coming back even if he insists he is. Plus, she even knows what kind of present he bought her and doesn’t want that ugly toy! So looks like Kotetsu has to break his promise once more when the bridge ahead suddenly explodes. Yeah, looks like his paid vacation is off and now he has to go into action. Heroes never take a day off, remember? As for Barnaby, he is heading to Abas Prison so Kotetsu allows him to go and will take care things here with the other Heroes. But the Heroes find themselves confronting heavily armed mechs in what it looks like a terrorist attack. Do Heroes handle this kind of war too? Tiger destroys one of the mechs and finds a Mad Bear piloting it! Plus, the bear is moving by itself! Seems a NEXT lady is controlling it and she has that Ouroboros mark around her place. More and more bombings occur throughout the city as the Heroes spread out but are overwhelmed by the sheer attack. Agnes is in a dilemma whether to continue or cut the broadcast as the crew don’t want another repeat whereby people lose confidence in the Heroes like Lunatic’s case. But Maverick tells them to continue since they have to believe in the Heroes. What good will it do if they don’t trust them? Though the Heroes are having a hard time, the people watching are cheering them on. Tiger is having it tough, out of power, trying to save a lady trapped in her car from being dropped into the sea and fending off those firing mechs. Somehow he manages to pull it off but is sent falling into the sea. He is saved by Barnaby (probably he was moved after seeing his fearless feat on screen). Seems Barnaby has learnt Jake has been sentenced to 250 years in prison so he can see him any time. Before the duo can get into action, the Mad Bears eject from their seat and explode in mid-air, releasing cards bearing Ouroboros mark. A blimp passes by and a voice, Kriem announces she has control of the city’s major traffic routes and has been completely cut off. In short, the 20 million citizens are now their hostage and in exchange for their lives, she wants her fellow comrade in prison to be released: Jake. Otherwise, they will destroy half the support pillars and sink the city. So much for the hard work in finding out the murderer and then suddenly this sh*t happens. And that Jake guy happily finishes his forest mural in his cell. See the death symbol between in the picture?

Episode 11
All the Heroes are on standby as the mayor and his committee meet to discuss their next step. Suddenly those mechs destroy one of the pillars. This is a warning from Kriem that she hasn’t heard a favourable answer from them and the next attack in an hour will be severe. Agnes orders Sky High and Blue Rose to evacuate the public but Kotetsu doesn’t want to wait any longer, ignoring her orders. The mayor is really panicking and unable to make any decision so Maverick says to release Jake to ensure the public’s safety. He will take full responsibility. Kotetsu and Barnaby barge in to tell them off about protecting their own self-interests (Kotetsu can’t pronounce that word?) and to make saving people’s lives top priority. However an Ouroboros members, Hans Chuckman comes in with a hostage and forces the mayor to make a decision or else. The mayor soon announces the release of Jake as he walks away coolly out of prison to Kriem and the helicopter piloted by Chuckman. However this is part of the big plan. You see, the real Chuckman has been beaten up and tied up. It is Origami who is posing as that pilot. Barnaby takes it out on Chuckman but was told to calm down by Kotetsu. Jake is suspicious of Chuckman so Kriem introduces him. Though he is not a NEXT, he believes in their cause. It doesn’t help this ‘Chuckman’ is sweating and nervous. As Kriem is going to order the release of the hostage, Jake tells her to hold the bus as he realizes her method of getting him released. 30 minutes later, the mechs haven’t been withdrawn yet. Then Jake pops up on screen and he isn’t going to release the hostages. I mean, if he’s got their lives under his thumb, he can request them to do anything, right? The press hounds the mayor for answers but he has entrusted everything to Maverick (since it was his idea and he volunteered). Maverick then holds a press conference and tells the people to direct their anger at Jake instead. He also reveals a Hero patiently waiting to fight these terrorists: Barnaby. Flashback reveals Maverick called Barnaby to reveal his past to the public so as to get them inspired. With Barnaby acknowledging everything from his parents’ death are true, the public rallies behind and supports him. Origami has infiltrated Jake’s hideout and reports back to his mates. The hard part now is to look into the secret behind those powered exosuits. Shortly after he terminates contact, Jake approaches him and starts asking him things. Then he shows a picture of a Hero and if it is his power ‘Chuckman’ would like to have. Of course Origami is unable to give a straight answer because the Hero Jake showed him is Origami.

Episode 12
Jake knows this guy is a fake and nullifies Origami’s power. He tries to escape but do you think anyone can from this guy? Thanks to Origami, the Heroes now know Jake’s location as they prepare on standby. Barnaby offers to scout the hideout first alone. Tiger wants to come along but Barnaby wants him to trust him on this one. When Barnaby arrives, he sees Jake in the warehouse and powers up. However Tiger grabs Jake away and tells him to calm down. Unfortunately this is a trap set by Jake as the ‘Jake’ Tiger caught is Origami. Jake demonstrates his power by shooting out beams by the snap of his finger. Man, it’s a big explosion! In the end, Jake got away. Barnaby lashes out at Tiger for interrupting. He knew it was Origami all along and had waited for this chance and now it’s up in smoke. Just when he thought he could trust him as he partner, this happened. He won’t trust anyone who doesn’t trust him. Well, it’s Kotetsu’s bad this time. All the while he’s been talking about being a team but in the end he didn’t have faith in him. Maverick thinks their only choice now is to release Chuckman and use him as a decoy to track Jake. But that won’t be necessary because Jake busts into the room and reveals that he has killed Chuckman for he needs not a weakling who gets easily captured. He is here to deliver a message. Seeing that NEXTs are being uses by inferior beings and to an extent reduced to a side show, he is going to wreck them all on behalf of NEXT for such embarrassment. He is going to organize a little show. Soon broadcasted to the public, Jake is going to host a series of 7 matches. The rules are simple. A random Hero will be picked to fight Jake one on one. If the Hero wins, he’ll call off the mechs. Otherwise the city collapses. The first hero drawn is Sky High. As he arrives in the stadium, Jake continues to be cocky, bored and rude to the Hero. Sky High unleashes a barrage of wind projections at Jake. It seem Jake has taken the hits but with a flick of his finger, Sky High is sent flying away. Well, Jake didn’t get hit at all because all Sky High’s attacks are deflected by his barrier. Once again, the blame goes to Tiger for giving the wrong info and jumping to conclusions about his beam because in fact he doesn’t shoot them but makes barriers which he uses to attack. Sky High is chained high up a monument as the people start losing their confidence that their King of Heroes lost. Next is Rock Bison. He is going to use his strength to break through but he lost instantly! Same hanging fate as Sky High. Next is Tiger but Jake didn’t want this dipshit so he picks another one and to his surprise is Barnaby. Meanwhile Origami is in hospital and tells the committee how the mechs are being controlled. Something about they are following orders from Kriem via communicator. This means they need time to set up jamming signals. Seems Tiger go to face Jake. He thought he could take him down with speed but he is mistaken. Then he runs out of power as he wonders why he can’t land a hit. Jake says he can hear everything. But Tiger continues to fight despite without any power. In a fluke shot, because before Tiger goes temporarily unconscious, is able to land a kick on Jake’s head! Because of that, Jake becomes furious and pounds him till he is unconscious! Agnes then persuades Jake to take a break for TV rating purposes and resume tomorrow morning. This is so that they have enough time to place the jamming signals. Actually Agnes is in awe with the high ratings… Morning comes, Jake ups the ante by saying since they are halfway through the show, if this Barnaby guy loses, he’ll level half the city. As for Tiger, he is being rushed to ICU. I wonder why he wasn’t dangled like the rest.

Episode 13
Well, it seems Sky High and Rock Bison are in the hospital ward too. Jake makes an ambush for Barnaby. But Barnaby didn’t use his power and gets beaten up by Jake. He can’t even touch him. Agnes contacts Blue Rose, Fire Emblem and Dragon Kid as they must race to the mechs and destroy them as the jamming signal will soon be up. Kotetsu wants to go to but was being told off by Blue Rose that he will only be a nuisance. Instead, he should think of a way to help his partner defeat Jake. The jamming signal activates so the trio go into action. However when they touch the mechs, they go into self-defence mode and attack them. This is going to take a while. Because Jake is rather bored and disappointed after pounding Barnaby numerous times (he’s still able to get up?), he hints to Barnaby that God has bequeathed him 2 powers. This has Kotetsu think and remembering what Jake said to him, he realizes his mind reading power. Because he needs to tell this to Barnaby, his determination was so great that he activated his powers to heal his wounds fast! Then he goes to Saito for a favour. Everything now rests on Barnaby because if they fail, the entire city may be destroyed if Jake finds out their plan. Barnaby is knocked to the top of the roof. He is about to give up on his fate when he is surprised to see Tiger. He tells him Jake’s second power as super good hearing and hands him an ultrasound grenade to wreck his ears. Barnaby still doesn’t trust him and will do it his own way. But no time to bicker because Jake wants that bunny to come back NOW! Jake could ‘hear’ Barnaby’s thoughts about his super hearing and knows he is way off. Barnaby throws the grenade so confident Jake avoids it and blasts Barnaby followed by the grenade. However it is a decoy as the grenade gives out a bright light. Tiger yells to Barnaby that this is his chance now. Barnaby is able to land him a powerful kick right up to the roof and break his ribs! Barnaby is about to strangle him to death but after seeing Tiger, he releases him and would rather have him repent for his sins. Barnaby isn’t amused Tiger lied to him but if he had told him the truth that it was a stun grenade or Jake’s ability to read minds, Jake would’ve found that out too. Plus, he realized it when Jake called Tiger by his real name then, something which he never revealed to the public. Still, Barnaby isn’t amused because there is a chance he might not have trusted him. Tiger’s answer? He believed he would trust him. That’s a big gamble but hey, that is what trust is, right? Kriem is going to have them release Jake and escape in her helicopter. True to their villain status, they’re not going to let the city free. Unfortunately for them, our other Heroes have finally taken out the mechs. Jake panics and tries to jump into the helicopter but Tiger binds him with his wire. Jake tries to free himself and shoots his barrier but it hits the helicopter as it goes crashing onto him. Well, a befitting end for this evil-doer. In the end everyone praises Barnaby’s name and the city is safe. It’s back to the hot-cold relationship of Tiger and Barnaby. But it is slightly better now because for the first time Barnaby calls Tiger by his real name.

Episode 14
It’s been 10 months since the terrorist incident. Tiger and Barnaby are now appearing on a special TV programme to acknowledge their achievements. Lot has happened. Barnaby took 1st place while Tiger got 4th in last year’s Hero TV season. They prevented Lunatic from taking more casualties. Kriem is in custody but has yet to make any statement (she jumped out of the helicopter then but is in coma). Tiger and Barnaby are so close to each other that they praised each other instead of themselves! Blue Rose is punching the bag harder than usual so Fire Emblem can tell that she’s jealous or missed that old guy. She sounds like a tsundere denying it all but Fire Emblem knows the complicated heart of a woman. Since Blue Rose is going to debut her next single with Tiger and Barnaby, she has to teach them how to dance! Seriously?! Well Tiger would rather quit being a Hero than do this but as Lloyds said, HE CAN’T QUIT NOW! Oh, how Lloyds has changed. Tiger shows her his robotic dance moves that sucks but his intention was to make her laugh. In school, she is confused and wondering if she’s in love but even so, that guy is a doofus. A friend of hers confirms she is but the other one doesn’t think so (because she is afraid that Karina may screw up herself since she isn’t honest to her feelings). Kotetsu and Barnaby practise their dance with Karina but as usual Kotetsu is a beat off and takes a break. She wonders his attitude so Barnaby lets her know that after working with him, he realized he is a man who thinks about others before himself. He believes he’ll get it right before the concert. Kotetsu returns with a new towel for Karina because he accidentally spilled his coffee previously. Not that she likes it but since she has no towel, I guess she accepts (tsundere!). Then he asks her if she is free tonight. Could it be? Turns out that he wants her to give him private practice on his dance. Disappointed? Kotetsu thought she’s upset because her boyfriend would think she’s hanging out with an old guy (he meant it as a joke). But she denies having any boyfriend and goes off. Definitely tsundere. On the day of the concert, Agnes introduces Tiger and Barnaby to a group of amateur Heroes. Due to the popularity of the Heroes, the league has been split into 2. The first division whereby the veteran Heroes will tackle major crimes while the second division with new Heroes will take on minor ones. So happen there is a backstage thief and they are having a hard time catching him. Why not? He is a NEXT with invisibility powers and snuck into Blue Rose’s room to steal her handbag. Yeah, he cross-dressed as her and looked so horrible. After the concert (it was funny to see the guys in the suit dance), the newbies report that Blue Rose’s room has been ransacked. Tiger and Barnaby will also help search for the criminal and this will go on air. What about the encore? Tiger says retrieving her back comes first. She realizes inside the bag is the towel and remembering her friends words, tears stream down her cheeks as she realizes she is really in love with him. Tiger and Barnaby come back and soon they realize strange movements in the room. Like as though there is a ghost. They realize the culprit and chase after him. Tiger uses his power to go after him and wants Barnaby to reserve his in case anything happens. During the chase, Tiger notices his powers greater than usual as he is faster, stronger and could jump further. He is confident in catching the thief but he loses power even though he has 30 seconds left on his timer. In the end it was Rock Bison that nails the sicko. Barnaby and Blue Rose think Tiger was being kind as always, pretending to lose power so that Rock Bison could get the credit. Plus, Rock Bison was undergoing depression seeing he finished in last place last season and his manager was thinking about firing him. Of course Tiger knows he didn’t do it on purpose but Barnaby praises him for his amazing work and Blue Rose will forever cherish this towel. Huh? While Kotetsu drinks with Antonio, he thinks his powers may be evolving.

Episode 15
Keith is feeling down because of his recent drop in rankings due to Tiger and Barnaby’s boost in popularity. While taking his dog, John out for a walk, he meets a white haired lady sitting on a park bench, Cis. You can tell from her body language and speech she is not normal. Keith gives her an apple but she crushes it. He thinks she’s a NEXT who just found out about her powers and has difficulty controlling them. Meanwhile Kotetsu is pumped up thinking about his power evolution. But he and Barnaby are having tight busy schedules. So tight their schedule that they do a photo swimsuit and an interview together! Kotetsu didn’t like doing all these stuff having to smile in front of the camera and not doing their Hero job. But Barnaby feels he prefers it this way since it’s better than living a life of revenge. Plus, isn’t it a good thing since they aren’t called up by Hero TV. Which means no crime, right? Nathan, Karina and Pao Lin think Keith’s depression is due to his slump but he reveals it’s more of love. They find it hard to believe. So our trio ladies (yes, Nathan considers himself to be one) give him their love advice on how to tackle a woman’s heart. Smile, compliment and physical touch. He did all but Cis wasn’t really moved (literally too). Tiger and Barnaby are in an interview conducted by kids. The little ones aren’t interested in Tiger’s boring answer about his most admired person (Mr Legend, by the way). But Barnaby’s answer how he looked up to his scientist parents who create robots to save people caught their attention. On their way to another interview, Kotetsu is surprised Hero TV is on but they are not called. Lloyds mentions their busy schedule and had permission for them to be exempted. Plus, they have those amateurs so it’s nothing to worry, right? Oh, Hero TV ends with Sky High in a big blooper. How the heck did he have his head stuck into a wall? Didn’t see where he was going? That night Keith sees Cis at the same spot in the park again and pours out his woes and complaints and his dip in form. But Cis only replies “Why?”, forcing Keith to realize that he was just giving excuses. After he leaves, Cis’ acquaintance Rotwang finds her and picks her up. Kotetsu and Barnaby are cruising along the highway when a billboard nearly smashed into them! Looks like Cis is destroying a poster of Tiger and Barnaby. The duo save Rotwang before he gets pummelled by Cis and while powering up to fight her, they realize she is an advanced android as her ‘skin’ disintegrates to reveal her steely exterior. Cis is even stronger than the duo. Rotwang explains that he is her creator and is making androids that will surpass NEXT. As for going after Heroes, that is a malfunction. In order to surpass them, she has data on all the Heroes. A few days ago as he was transporting them, a lightning strike their truck and she ‘escaped’ when the truck crashed. Thus her system appears to have been damaged by the electrical shock. Rotwang thanks Barnaby for his parents because he based Cis on their research and believes they would be proud of it. But Barnaby refuses to believe that this is what his parents want. Rotwang warns that unless they destroy Cis, she will continue to destroy the city since it is filled with Hero posters. Yeah, anything Hero, just smash! Tiger’s power runs out before the due time so as Barnaby chases her, Sky High catches her and drawing his inspiration from Cis, he breaks her into 2. With that, he gets his confidence back and it’s the reverse for Tiger (who is wondering about his power’s instability) and Barnaby (about his parents’ wish). Keith is going to thank Cis and buys a big bouquet of rose. He arrives at the park and obviously she is not there anymore but he continues to sit around. Waiting or does he already know? Lastly, Ben is working as a taxi driver as he meets up with Kotetsu. He seems to know his power boost and drain. The problem? His powers are declining. Though rare, some NEXT gradually lose their powers. Before that happens, they become more powerful. His not joking, right? Has Kotetsu ever looked this worried?

Episode 16
Flashback sees how Yuri killed his drunk abusive father when he couldn’t stop beating his mom. That’s when his powers awakened. Tiger and Barnaby are chasing after a criminal but they come face to face with Lunatic. However he didn’t put up a fight and escapes when the duo manage to prevent him from causing another death. There goes the ratings. At least for Agnes… At the party, Maverick makes a congratulatory speech that Barnaby has broken Mr Legend’s record of raking up the most points for this quarter. Yeah, he’s the runaway leader on the scoreboard. Noticing Kotetsu down, Barnaby talks to him and thanks him for his support. He also lets him know how Maverick is like a father figure to him since he and his parents were very good friends. Maverick always took care of him whenever his parents were busy doing research. Even after they are murdered, he took him in and raised him up as his own child. To the extent of suggesting him becoming a Hero despite knowing he was out for revenge. He is grateful to him and now his new dream is to make a Hero world that Maverick built become bigger and more exciting. Kotetsu’s dream? Get his kid to say he’s cool. Well, only if she knew who he was in the first place. Yuri remembers another of those abusive days from his dad. Seems his mom is living with him but she is acting as though daddy is still around. When Yuri reminds her dad is dead, she becomes violent and blames him for killing him. She was certain that he would turn over a new leaf. Instantly she becomes afraid when Yuri gives her a scary look and she fears he will kill him. Kotetsu kept the time on his declining powers. Sad to say, the limit is getting faster and faster. He gets a call from Ben to meet. He has discovered something shocking. Seems Mr Legend also experienced the same power declining thing. What about his record then? All other Heroes were told to collaborate so that Mr Legend will get all the credit. Records that didn’t make him look good were erased (the reason there weren’t any on Jake). Mr Legend didn’t like this idea too so he drowned his sorrows in alcohol. Ben wants him to think about his future and though he doesn’t want him to quit but he can’t be doing this forever. Kotetsu is adamant that he still can go on. Oh, here is another shocker: Mr Legend is Yuri’s father!!!!! I guess everything make sense, eh? Yuri sees a vision of his dad as Mr Legend and being asked if he was right in killing him. Yuri asserts that he is punishing evil-doers. Kotetsu hears a lady screaming for help. He goes to help her before the serial lady killer (literally), Benoit Depardieu could kill her. Realizing he’s a Hero, he tosses the lady away so Kotetsu could go save her and buy himself time to escape. But Kotetsu is able to save her and catch up with Benoit. Unfortunately his powers run out so he gets mocked by Benoit to quit being a Hero if he can’t catch an ordinary person. Kotetsu is sent falling below and the pile of garbage bags break his fall. Benoit is going to choose another target when Lunatic appears to put an end to his killings. Benoit feigns surrendering but each time foiled but when he truly wishes to surrender, he realizes Lunatic isn’t a Hero and bam! He’s dead. Kotetsu sees the news of Benoit’s death but the latter’s words of quitting rings in his head.

Episode 17
Kotetsu manages to get a paid leave from Lloyds to return to his countryside hometown. Barnaby will be okay handling things by himself and wants him to spend time with his daughter. Besides, she’s one of her precious fans, isn’t she? Kotetsu returns to his home, nothing much changed. Mom is there but Kaede is out to school. Mom is surprised when he first called saying to come back but I guess she wasn’t THAT happy to see him that she needs to hug and kiss him. Kotetsu looks through Kaede’s drawer and it is filled with pictures of Barnaby! Yikes! Then Kaede returns and she didn’t like daddy going through her stuff. Aside from being called a pervert, he gets ejected from her room. Even during dinner, she isn’t on talking terms. Kotetsu apologizes but she’s not buying it. Time to use his secret weapon: An autographed book of Barnaby! That did the trick! She’s so happy. But that’s about it. Oh, he still has to stay away. Dang. Later he goes talk to his brother, Muramasa at his sake shop. He is reluctant to tell the reason for his return. Eventually he lets him know about his power decline and the dilemma he is facing. Muramasa offers him good advice that he needs to rest because worrying won’t change anything. That’s why he came back, right? Plus, even if he loses his powers, it’s not that his life is over. Kotetsu watches TV and sees Barnaby continue to dominate the scene and rankings. He remembers visiting his wife Tomoe on her death bed. He had to leave due to his Hero’s call but Tomoe wanted him to promise her to be a Hero. And thus he went on his life-saving, building-destroying Hero act when he gets a call about Tomoe’s death. Kotetsu feels he can’t keep his promise anymore. Next morning, he is rudely awakened by Kaede about grandma collapse. Though she did, it wasn’t anything serious as she just hurt her back. Kotetsu tries to assure Kaede that grandma is alright and wants her to go to school but Kaede gets upset and yells he doesn’t understand anything. To top it, she now hates him. Kotetsu prays at Tomoe’s grave and is at a loss on what to do to a 10 year old with raging hormones. Muramasa comes by to tell him the reason about why Kaede was so upset. Grandma is the all she has left. So by losing her, she’ll be all alone. She has been living with that fear every day since she had an experienced with her mom. That’s why she gets upset even at the slightest thing. He isn’t trying to blame Kotetsu for this because he too has his own life to live. Kotetsu goes home, noting he really doesn’t know anything about Kaede when he is shocked to see mom doing gardening! Well, her back pain is gone so I guess you can’t keep a stubborn old woman down, eh? Kaede goes to the shrine on her way back from school to pray for her grandma’s wellbeing. A sudden storm passes by so she seeks shelter inside. A lightning strikes several trees blocking the door and the building is sitting precariously on the edge. Chances of a landslide? Somebody better hurry up and save her! What could possibly go wrong? Oh, no handphone signal. SOMEBODY!!! Of course the grownups sense something wrong so Kotetsu and Muramasa go searching in the rain. Kotetsu then uses his power to hear Kaede’s voice (I didn’t know he had this power). He does and rushes straight there to clear the trees. Unfortunately his power runs out but that didn’t stop daddy from drawing his inner father strength to reunite with his daughter. They emotionally reunite and make-up just in time before the shrine is washed away. Next day, Kotetsu is heading back but will be back soon because he is handing in his resignation and made a promise to Kaede. Leaving by train, Kotetsu realizes Kaede is a NEXT when she runs alongside the train to hand him her drawing of her family. This brings tears to his eyes so he can’t break Tomoe’s promise and feel he still can go on being a Hero.

Episode 18
Kotetsu returns back to the city and his Hero mates are happy he’s back. They sort of missed. It’s just different without him. Even tsundere Karina can’t make excuses about that. But where’s Barnaby? Seems he’s got a call from Justice Bureau that Kriem has awakened from her coma. But Kotetsu gets a call from mom, reminding him to hand in his resignation quick and to come home as soon as possible because Kaede’s NEXT’s power is wrecking the home and anything she touches! Kotetsu then confidently tells Barnaby he’s quitting. A poster of Barnaby, that is. Haha. Then he goes to meet him at the hospital but still can’t bring himself to say it. Then they enter the room to see Kriem. Barnaby asks her about Jake’s motives in killing his parents. First off, she praises Jake for saving her then goes on to reveal her past whereby she was shunned by everyone just because she’s a NEXT. Even her parents didn’t love her. One day she was kidnapped by Jake as ransom but in the end, her parents never turned up with the money. Feeling that she’s better off dead, she wants Jake to kill her. However upon learning she’s a NEXT, he manages to convince her that they are superior beings to humans and the weaklings are just out to crush people like them. He sets her free and that’s when she followed him ever since because he’s the first person who accepted her existence. She blames the duo for interfering or else Jake could still have been alive and living in their ideal world of NEXT. But Kotetsu says that will make them the same as the persecutors on the humans. Her reply that is given since humans are weak. To defend Jake’s honour and to let Barnaby live with this torment for the rest of his life, she tells him that Jake isn’t his parent’s murderer because on that day, she was kidnapped by him. Barnaby is horrified as Kriem continues that they are just a small part of Ouroboros and unplugs all of her life support. After all that spasm, she dies so she could rejoin Jake in the afterlife. Outside, Barnaby is obviously confused and feeling dismal. It’s like back to square one. Kotetsu has no heart to tell about his resignation. He tries to reason that Kriem was lying but Kotetsu mentions there are newspaper articles about her being missing so it’s true. Because Barnaby is still adamant Jake is the killer, Kotetsu takes him to rewatch videos on Jake during the 7 match series. This is to see if that mark is on his palm. Well, there is a clear shot that it isn’t. Barnaby rationales that he might have had surgery to remove but there isn’t any sign that indicates he had one. Barnaby’s mind starts going crazy as now he sees several faces in place of the murderer that includes Maverick, Rotwang and his housemaid, Samantha Taylor. Then Kotetsu’s mom calls again. Hurry up with the resignation already because it seems Kaede now has magnetism powers! She wants him back now to do something about it before something bad happens. But as Kotetsu finally summons his courage to say, Barnaby misinterprets that he wants to leave early because of Kaede’s instable powers. Then he calls Samantha and questions her on the night his parents were murdered. She was in a bed with a cold. Kotetsu didn’t like the way he is interrogating a nice old lady so he hangs up the phone for him. Depressed Barnaby is so confused with his messed up memories, he doesn’t know what to believe in anymore. He drops the bombshell by saying he will quit being a Hero since he isn’t confident in this confused state. My, this is getting more complicating, hasn’t it? So once again Kotetsu begs to Kaede for forgiveness that he can’t return and as usual he gets an earful. He tries to change the subject about her multiple powers but she mentions she only has 1: That is to automatically copy the powers of the NEXT she touches. At least that’s what Muramasa told her. And if he isn’t coming home, she’s not going to talk to him anymore. Hmph! Ah, back to square one here as well. Barnaby’s mind goes crazier when he sees more faces as the murderer. Lunatic, Kotetsu and… Himself? I wonder if he can handle this.

Episode 19
The messed up memories are really getting to Barnaby. He’s feeling so frustrated with the ever changing faces so Kotetsu suggests retracing his steps on that day to help remember the murderer’s face. The duo are at the park where Barnaby spent Christmas Eve with Maverick on the night before his parents were killed. He remembered everything they did so clearly. From buying a Santa hat to taking a picture together. Still, Barnaby breaks down upon knowing he’ll be tormented for the rest of his life. Kotetsu offers to stay by his side and support him till this case is solved. I guess Barnaby is so relieved that he collapses. Kotetsu brings him to hospital as once more Barnaby dreams of that horrifying nightmare. But this time the Ouroboros mark on the murderer’s hand vanishes. Then he wakes up and goes looking for Kotetsu. Kotetsu calls his mom and once again tries to give excuse of his delay to return home. Unfortunately, Kaede is fed up with his lies and tells him off never to come back again. Barnaby overheard all that and wants an explanation. Obviously he knows his partner too well to know about that aging crap and thinking of getting a steady job lie. This is not the Kotetsu we know, right? This has Barnaby conclude that the reason why he wanted to stop him from quitting was so because it would make it more difficult for him to say he’s quitting. Then it’s that issue of “You don’t trust me ah?” again. Barnaby is obviously upset that he believed in him so he tells him off he can quit and can handle everything himself. But he crosses the line when he says things will be better if he retires. Well, Kotetsu slaps him. Better than a manly punch, right? No? Later Barnaby goes to see Maverick and tells him the problem he is facing and that his parents’ murder isn’t solved. He agrees to help research on Ouroboros when Samantha calls to inform him that she remembers what happened on that day. She lets him know of a photo that she stumbled upon and she too is stumped. Barnaby asks Maverick about the day they spent together at the park on Christmas Eve. He assures him he was there but Barnaby shows the picture that Samantha found: It was a picture of young Barnaby and Samantha. Pestering Maverick of why he would go so far to lie, Maverick replies he should be grateful he raised him and didn’t finish him off with his parents. He was impressed with his powers and wanted to make him a Hero. When he first started Hero TV, only his parents supported him in making the Hero suits and all. But ratings weren’t good as people were still sceptical about NEXT. In other to boost ratings and make the Hero business thrive, he teamed up with a crime organization and set up flashy crimes. Then on Christmas Eve, his parents met him and are furious that he was using their nano-metal technology behind their back and giving it to criminals. Their strong sense of justice wanted him to make everything public and atone for his sins. And the rest is of course history. But he wasn’t the murderer in Barnaby’s memories so who did all this fit? You see, Maverick is also a NEXT and is able to plant new memories within people. So now it all makes sense. And he is so confident telling Barnaby everything because well, he’ll forget it soon. As Barnaby is paralyzed in shock, Maverick prepares to alter his memories once more. Kotetsu is hanging out at the bar and sees a special interview whereby Barnaby indirectly praises him for working his ability with great pride and hopes to become like him. And he doesn’t mean being clumsy or rash like him. Get it? Kotetsu calls Barnaby but obviously he isn’t picking up.

Episode 20
Now Maverick may be targeting Kotetsu seeing he learnt that he too was with Barnaby when they went to see Kriem. The other Heroes are worried about Barnaby seeing Agnes called them about Barnaby’s duty to host a dinner. They think it’s Kotetsu’s fault due to his body reaction but he can’t tell about that slapping incident. He is saved by the phone. It is Maverick and he wants to see him in his office immediately in private. Maverick tells Kotetsu about Barnaby’s strange call last night. Something about he can’t trust anything anymore and is missing ever since. Of course tells the truth on what he knows about the unsolved case of Barnaby’s parents’ murderer and their decision to reinvestigate it. Kotetsu sees a matching pin he bought for Barnaby at the park on the carpet but thinks he dropped his and picks it up. Maverick has drugged Kotetsu’s coffee but each time he is going to sip, something stops or distracts him. Frustrating, isn’t it? Then he gets a call from Samantha wanting to show him that photo so Kotetsu leaves. Maverick then makes an important call. Want to bet that call is for a terrorist explosion at a mall? Kotetsu thought he could see Samantha at the office but Lloyds tell him to jump straight into action and will keep Samantha waiting. While the Heroes easily save the people, Samantha has been kidnapped by Maverick’s MIB and thrown into some dark room. Kotetsu rushes back after done with his saving but finds Samantha has left. Barnaby wakes up in Maverick’s villa and his memories have been completely altered. Yup, Jake killed his parents for the money. Kotetsu enters his jeep to find another pin. Then he realizes the one at Maverick’s office belongs to Barnaby. He calls Maverick to tell him about it. But being a fool, he thinks Barnaby was in his office when Maverick wasn’t around. He plans to go to Samantha’s house to see her about the photo. Of course nobody is in so he enters and waits. Wait and wait and wait… With the new events unfolding, Maverick has come up with a new plan. He gathers his staff the Heroes and Agnes to tell them about some super secret project that will make Tiger the star. He also assures them that Barnaby was just tired and currently resting. Without rushing into details, he has everyone toast but then, their drinks are drugged. Maverick goes to see Samantha and burns that photo. He can’t have her bringing up the past. Doing things like this are only going to make him suffer and sometimes there are truths that are best left unknown. Normally he would just alter her memories and let her go live her normal life but he has an important new role for her. Oh no. See that fear on her face? Something tells me she isn’t going to see tomorrow. Morning comes and Kotetsu finds himself dozing off in Samantha’s home and she has not returned. Going back to the office, he sees Lloyds but he doesn’t know who this idiot is. Kotetsu thinks he offended him somehow but Lloyds isn’t joking. Even the security guy doubts who this guy is though Kotetsu has a staff pass. Not even putting up the Tiger mask could convince him. I mean, he’s got lots of fans lately who tried sneaking into the building. Suddenly Hero TV announces that today’s arrest will be the fugitive Kotetsu! There are reports that he murdered Samantha as fingerprints are found all over her home. Now the security believes he is the real Tiger. But he is so scared pointing his gun at him that his hands are shaking. Kotetsu uses his power to escape. Soon the entire city and all other Heroes are hot on his trail as Kotetsu goes into hiding. Barnaby is saddened to hear Samantha’s passing and even worse learning that Kotetsu is the one that killed her. The news even spread to Kotetsu’s hometown and poor mommy and Kaede got the shock of their lives.

Episode 21
Everyone sure now recognizes the murderer. What a way to become famous, eh? And Maverick has all data on Tiger wiped out from the network servers. Kotetsu calls Agnes but she doesn’t believe him and since his position is revealed, Sky High chases after him. Kaede still believes that her dad is innocent so grandma tells her that daddy is a Hero. The Hero named Wild Tiger. Surprised, she looks through some of the magazines and makes sense of some of the events like when he came to save her at the shrine. What is she going to do now? She breaks her piggy bank to head to the city. I hope she has enough change. Meanwhile Yuri tries to look for info on Tiger but it’s either there are no records or access denied. He smells something fishy alright. Maverick sees Barnaby who is feeling much better. He tells him that the new upgraded Hero suit has finished developed for both him and Tiger. Kotetsu bumps into the other Heroes who of course only remember him as a criminal. Plus, nobody knows Tiger’s real identity or his real face (which is partly true in reality). He is cornered by Blue Rose and tries to remind her about that towel he gave. Did it work? Well, the wall behind blew up and he is face to face with… Tiger?! Hey, he’s in a new cool suit. They fight but Kotetsu knows he is no match and makes a run. Suddenly Lunatic pops up and is going to pass judgment on the killer. He creates a wall of fire for Kotetsu to escape.  He reasons by allowing him to be captured by the hands of false justice goes against his justice ideal of passing judgment on those who are truly sinful. Kotetsu disguises as a homeless and is surprised to see the news report. A contradicting statement by Maverick that Barnaby is staying at his place when Maverick told him he didn’t even know his whereabouts. He manages to get a ride in Ben’s taxi. At first he thought Ben too forgot about him but rest assured, he’ll always be his number one fan. To prove that, Ben throws him a suitcase containing his old Tiger outfit. With the buddies giving out a good laugh and remembering the good ol’ times, Kotetsu gets down to serious business. He knows he is being framed and Maverick is behind all these but unsure if the memory lost is done by him or some NEXT. Yeah, that old geezer went as far as putting some impersonator as him. He is going to make them remember who Wild Tiger is and for that plan, he has all the Heroes gather on the rooftop of Apollon Media. Well, almost everyone except Barnaby is here. So hello everyone. Do you remember this old Tiger? Kaede has arrived in the city and is outside her dad’s workplace. She chances upon Maverick and feigns looking for Barnaby but was told he was too busy. Maverick leaves in his limo and Barnaby is with him.

Episode 22
So what is Tiger’s plan? Doing funny trademark poses to get everyone to remember?! Not working. Then he proceeds to tell the memories he had with each one, like that babysitting and hairpin thingy for Dragon Kid, Blue Rose’s ambition to be a singer and that stint at Hero’s Academy with Origami. He also reveals some personal, private and embarrassing habits that they have. Their conclusion? He’s a stalker! Okay, one final try. “Do I look like a someone who would kill?”. Everybody: “Yes”. Haha! You’re screwed. However Blue Rose slightly believes Tiger because if he is the culprit, why is he trying so hard to prove his innocence? But it’s not enough as the Heroes prepare to make an arrest when Kaede enters the scene. She pleads for them not to hurt her dad. Giving out a loud scream, suddenly her NEXT powers are activated. A white ball of light emerges over her and in a flash, the Heroes regain their normal memories back though they are still puzzled on treating Tiger as a criminal. So father and daughter the usual conversation. He apologizes for not telling he was a Hero all along. She doesn’t want to be treated like a kid. Realizing she copied the powers from someone else, he learns that the last person to touch her was Maverick (he patted her head before he left). He tells the other Heroes that Maverick was behind all this and tried to frame him by altering their memories. Perhaps Blue Rose was trying to confess (or say sorry) but Tiger thanks her first for being the only one who tried to believe in him. On the other hand, he chides Rock Bison for trying to really treat him like a criminal. Yeah, he feigns his fuzzy memory. How convenient. Then Barnaby (black bunny?) arrives on scene and he is real mad believing Tiger really killed Samantha. No amount of persuasion would do so it’s up to Kaede to work her magic. Unfortunately, she starts flying. Remember seeing Sky High pat her shoulders? Dang. There goes their only chance. The Heroes try to restrain and reason with him but it’s no good so Tiger teases him to chase after him. Tiger crashes into Saito’s lab to get his new suit (not the upgraded one) but to his surprise, Saito remembers him. Seems everyone who watched the telecast got their memories restored. I guess Barnaby was the only one left in the dark, eh? After suiting up, Tiger and Barnaby go on a high speed chase on their respective bikes. He still tries to remind him about the things they do, the place where they first met but as we all know, it’s futile. They zoom pass the vehicles as everyone recognizes them as the Heroic duo of Tiger and Barnaby. So really, Barnaby was the only one who wasn’t watching. As the Heroes wait for Tiger’s return with Kaede, the imposter Tiger shows up. He doesn’t look friendly. In their Good Luck Mode, Tiger and Barnaby’s epic clash continues as they play chicken over a raised bridge and a ship passing underneath. How epic is this going to get?

Episode 23
Well, Good Luck Mode breaks upon the high impact so it’s back to that good ol’ fists and kicks. In the end, Tiger knocks Barnaby’s helmet off. He doesn’t want to go on anymore and remembers the slap he gave him. Thinking it would jolt his memory back, he gives Barnaby that ‘pain of friendship’. Did it work? Barnaby thought he pulled off that cheap shot when he’s off guard. Now Tiger has turned into a punching bag. Persuasion didn’t work before so why is Tiger trying to reminisce the old times when they first met? I mean, yeah sure, he didn’t like working with this young smart ass but as time passes, he felt natural being his partner. Not even his tears can make that mad bunny stop. Tiger thinks he is done for but the next thing he knew, he’s still alive. How? Well, Tiger called his bunny nickname and Barnaby instantly rebuked how he hated it. That was enough to return him back to normal?! Unbelievable but thank goodness. So relieved that Tiger hugs him and wants to smooch him (just kidding on this last bit). Barnaby apologizes for turning against him and realizes he has been used by Maverick all these years. Ben then comes by in his taxi, worried about Tiger. But you know he is fine. He offers to give them a ride to anywhere but Saito picks them all up in his trailer. Saito mentions he did not develop the upgraded suits. Tiger thinks of having Agnes broadcast Maverick’s true colours but Saito says this isn’t possible. Seems when Saito talked to her, she was still under the impression that Tiger is a baddie. Either she didn’t watch the bright light or she got mind controlled again. Then they receive a call from Maverick himself. He has got all the Heroes in has palm and Kaede too. He wants them to come to Justice Tower. Riding to the top, they confront the imposter Tiger. The real Tiger unmasks him and to their shock, it is an android, H-01. What’s more, it is Rotwang who developed it as he has been working under Maverick. Rotwang is confident they aren’t able to defeat this upgraded H-01 since they have a hard time fighting Cis. Plus, even with the combined effort, all the other Heroes weren’t able to stop it, thus led to their capture. Maverick’s new plan is to have this android replace all NEXT as Heroes as he views them as the perfect embodiment of justice. He wants the duo to fight it to their heart’s content and the data from the battle will be used for future references. Unless they can defeat H-01, they can’t protect anything. You think using Kaede as a threat is going to make that father shrivel in fear. Exact opposite effect, man. Meanwhile all the other Heroes wake up in a separate room filled with spikes and a weird collar around their neck. Through a TV, Rotwang announces the end of their era and H-01 as the new Hero. The Heroes realize he is a NEXT hater. They assert it can never replace them as Heroes because androids are just weapons that only move on command. Plus, they listen to the cries of the people, being Heroes makes them human and they wouldn’t have become one if it’s not for the bond and trust for each other. Rotwang is going to put their trust to the test. Informing them the collar is a bomb, he will only save 1 of them and that is the one who is fastest to flip the deactivation switch on it. By doing so, that 1 person is saved but the bomb will explode for the rest. They have until Tiger and Barnaby’s defeat to flip it, failure in which will result in all of them blowing up. And if they do anything funny with their powers to get it off, Rotwang will manually blow it himself. So their battle starts as soon as Tiger and Barnaby start with theirs.

Episode 24
Saito is trying to find a way to reboot the android seeing it was developed based on Barnaby’s parents’ design. Of course Ben couldn’t understand a single thing he said. So do I. H-01’s powers are too much for the dynamic duo to handle. With that laser gun and sword, you don’t want to mess with it. In addition, their powers ran out so they need to stall for time till it replenishes. How? Run around! Just hope they don’t get hit. Easier said than done. Elsewhere the committee are worried that they can’t contact the Heroes. Yuri remembers when he let Kotetsu run free, the faces off with the imposter Tiger and vows to reveal its identity and the real mastermind. Unfortunately the imposter was quick enough to evade Lunatic’s flames and fire a shoot and injure his shoulder. Maverick comes in to assure everyone the Heroes are fighting a terrorist together. Just like that Jake incident, eh? But his real intention is of course to have them all die and give an excuse that they died honourably in the line of duty. Yuri feels something amiss. The other Heroes are starting to feel the strain and doubt. Rotwang broadcasts Sky High’s words to the rest. He was pondering if it would be better if one should survive rather than all to perish. This has the Heroes doubting each other and at any moment they could give in to the temptation to press the button. Yeah, Rock Bison nearly did it but was tough enough to refrain himself. Unknown to them all, Rotwang plans to have them all killed so anyone who pushes the button will blow everyone up. Finally Tiger and Barnaby got their powers back so they go into action. But even with the combined effort and their Good Luck Mode, H-01 still stands. It’s like it’s not even scratched. While the Heroes watch with baited breath, Blue Rose finally makes her decision. No, not to push the button. She is going to believe in Tiger and Barnaby. They will never lose and will trust them till the end. Her words regain confidence in the rest so they too start putting their faith in the duo. Kaede isn’t going to sit around till Prince Charming shows up. Since the last person to touch her was Blue Rose, she materializes an ice pick to cut herself free. Tiger manages to grab a hold on H-01. Now the only choice left is for Barnaby to use that laser and fire through it. What about Tiger? Just shoot! No time to be thinking about anything else so Barnaby pulls the trigger. I wonder how many walls the laser break through. The good news: H-01 is destroyed. Bad news: Where the hell is Tiger? Rotwang is totally upset that H-01 lost so he plans to manually blow up the Heroes. Fortunately Kaede shoots her ice pick and destroys the controller. Then she freezes Rotwang and destroys his command centre to free the collar off the Heroes’ neck. Everyone breaks out and rushes to meet their saviour. Barnaby finds Tiger badly wounded. His suit is vaporized. I don’t know if he had time to jump away but his powers ran out then. Barnaby learns of his declining power and realizes the events that happened. The old guy doesn’t want the young kid to worry about him. Then Tiger starts talking like as though he is saying goodbye. Thanks for everything. NOOO!!! DON’T GO!!! When the Heroes and Kaede arrive, they are shocked to see ‘the calm on sleeping Tiger’s face’ and in emotional Barnaby’s arms.

Episode 25
Too bad they won’t have time to mourn because the big bad wolf shows up. He still has his trump card. No, he’s not going to alter their memories again. Looks like he has massed produced H-01 androids and they’re attacking the Heroes on his command. If they can’t handle 1 previously, what makes them think they can handle a bunch of them now? Death of a comrade? Doesn’t look any different. Barnaby won’t forgive Maverick but he tells him to blame his parents instead for creating the androids. Of course he knows this is not what their intentions to create these androids are for. The Heroes were seconds being blasted to smithereens for good when suddenly all the androids stop functioning. Seems Saito has managed to reboot the system. Maverick is going to restart the system but Rock Bison destroys the bridge. Rotwang is holding dear to his life on Maverick’s leg. The old geezer has no further use for the scientist since the development of H-01 is complete. He reveals he is a NEXT before kicking him down and let him fall to his death. One bad deed deserves another. The Heroes confront Maverick at the system and he is confident that he will get away scot free. He has friends in high places and nobody will dare question him. Don’t forget his NEXT’s power. As for Tiger’s death, Barnaby killed him, right? Man, this guy is smooth. He is fit to be a politician. But bragging like that has its downfall because Agnes has recorded everything he said from her helicopter. Surprise! She too regained her memories after seeing that bright light but decided to play along. With the broadcast now resumed all over the city, this is the highest rating she’s ever got. Yeah, everyone is watching. Still, Maverick doesn’t know how to give up. Now he takes Kaede as hostage and plans to escape in Agnes’ helicopter. Suddenly a zombie creeps up from behind him! Oops, sorry. Tiger actually as he knocks that heartless bastard out. That’s for trying to mess with his kid. So did he come back from the depths of hell? Actually he didn’t die. He just passed out. Hey, nobody checked his pulse, right? The emotional reunion is cut short once more when Maverick (yes, this damn guy again) isn’t going to be turn himself in. He believes he has not committed any sin. What he has done is to make the public accept Heroes in which they saved the people from despair. But still, he is finished, right? He mentions Ouroboros will never be finished. Knowing this is the end for him, he uses his own powers to alter his memories and turn himself into a vegetable. As Maverick is taken away, Kotetsu apologizes to Kaede for getting her involved. He finally gets his dream when she says how cool he was. Saito meets Barnaby to show him an equation which was the password that stopped the robots. Barnaby doesn’t understand what it means though it was the password his parents used. When everyone learns of Kotetsu’s declining powers, Kotetsu takes this chance to inform he is retiring from the Hero business. Barnaby also express his wish to resign since there is no point going on without him being his partner and being a Hero was just a setup by Maverick. The security escorting Maverick is ambushed by Lunatic who then kills Maverick.

A year has passed and we see some of the Heroes incorporating changes to their life. Pao Lin becomes more feminine, Ivan thinks of incorporating sumo to his routine, Nathan trying to hit on Antonio, Blue Rose already debuted her single as Karina is reading a book on how to hit on single fathers! But still, the usual 6 Heroes continue their routine of stopping crime on Hero TV. Yeah, the Second League Heroes are still running around catching minor criminals. But wait! Isn’t that Tiger running with them?! He’s back in the Hero business after retiring? Because these amateur Heroes don’t get much screen time like the regular ones, I guess Kaede won’t get to see much of papa on TV, eh? Barnaby pays a visit to his parents’ grave. Then he realizes the meaning of the equation. It consists of his parents’ birthdays and his birthday and weight on the day he was born. This has him to remember how they told him they will protect him forever. As for Tiger, he has renamed himself as Wild Tiger 1minute and is not afraid to let others know of his limited power. Lloyds works under Ben who has become the CEO of Apollon Media. As Tiger is trying to apprehend a lowly criminal, he crashes through the roof but Barnaby catches him. Barnaby thought he retired. We learn Tiger came back because Kaede thought he was uncool for being a couch potato at home. Tiger says he realized you don’t set your own limits. Even if he loses all his powers, get mocked, ridiculed, he’s not going to let that stop him or give up. He’s going to be a Hero till the end. And if Tiger is back, this means Barnaby is coming out of retirement too? Yeah, it’s because he is his partner. So the first thing they did? Argue who should pay the fine for the damages! That’s the team we know! I guess Tiger’s popularity has increased so that Sky High fan kid who thought Kotetsu was a Wild Tiger fan and gave his card to him, yeah he buys a trading card of Tiger and Barnaby now. But as the wind blows his dollar away, we are left with another baffling teaser. The picture on the dollar upon getting soaked in the puddle transforms into an Ouroboros mark! Are they saying that crime organization runs the city or it’s just a safety and security mark on the bill?

Who says being a Hero is easy?
Wow. I didn’t expect to find myself to enjoy this series. Firstly the action was engaging enough for me to glue my eyes to the screen like all those audience watching Hero TV. Maybe it’s because that the Heroes do not pull off their powers needlessly and thus avoiding the pitfall of repetitive moves. Yes, the Heroes do not own an arsenal of unlimited moves and so you can guess they are most likely to pull off that same move whenever they fight against baddies. The other interesting bit is the interaction between the Heroes, especially Kotetsu/Tiger and Barnaby. At first the duo didn’t really like each other, getting in each other’s way. Surprisingly they are able to maintain their cool most of the time and not break into any serious physical fistfight though the sarcasm still flies. I mean if they both are going to be partners for a long time, might as well try and get used to it.

Like the opposite ends of the polar, both Kotetsu and Barnaby see the essence in working together for the greater good. It’s just their method of doing so differs. It is admirable that there are still people like good ol’ Kotetsu sticking hard to his ideal way of justice. It may not be economical (since it involves destroying buildings and monuments – things that will COST you money!) but you can’t replace a human’s life as compared to all those structures and construction. I don’t know, I wouldn’t say his way of thinking is old just because he is a veteran in the Hero business for donkey years. Maybe it’s just that with lots of new and younger Heroes, his way of thinking may not be ‘trendy’. But heed his words because what he says are usually words that make you think so and so. Barnaby may be a young cock and certainly is lucky to have Kotetsu around to guide him and the err of his ways. But can you blame him for wanting revenge after watching his beloved parents murdered in front of his eyes? It’s a good thing he still manages to keep his calm composure in front of everyone (and the camera) only when he doubted Jake was the murderer, that he is close to breaking down. Otherwise his ways of getting things done via his theories are commendable. That’s why Tiger and Barnaby both complement each other. They are after all not only partners but friends for life.

It is also nice to see that the other Heroes are given a little focus of their own albeit not much and Tiger and Barnaby are still pretty much involved in a way. For instance, Karina’s singing dilemma, Ivan’s old school buddy and the babysitting incident with Pao Lin. Even behind the masks, the Heroes are still human and face their own set of problems just like any other ordinary humans. Each of the Heroes has their own unique personality and it makes the ragtag team of Heroes a colourful bunch. From transgender Nathan to tsundere Karina and the tomboyish Pao Lin, it’s never a dull moment. Notice how when Keith talks, his hands start moving too? Your typical ‘American Hero’, good looking and upholding justice, but Keith can be a little ‘dumb’ or rather comical at times. For example, he should have guessed Kotetsu wasn’t a villain when the latter mentioned about his secret way of sucking eggs on fried rice. I don’t think that’s the problem, right? Besides, everyone is on such good terms that it’s like going out to catch the baddies in their respective agencies is like as though they’re just putting up a show. Where is the intense rivalry? Friendly rivalry, yes. But not to the extent that there will be jealousy and sabotage. These guys are truly the Heroes they are.

You thought Kaede finally be on good terms with her father, eh? Well, it was just such a short spell. Even if Kotetsu can handle and chase after bad guys, he still can’t handle his own daughter. Being a father is a much tougher job than being a hero. So Kotetsu got his dream come true that his daughter finally acknowledges the cool Hero he is but I guess he has to stay being a Hero if he wants to keep that reputation up. Maybe she can be the next generation of Heroes seeing that she did play pivotal roles in the final arc, saving the city and even the Heroes from a certain death. Ben is a true friend for Kotetsu and he stick with him at all times. So I guess it’s only timely that he deserves to get back his original job as a Hero CEO but in a bigger company. Agnes isn’t a bad woman, just that she puts TV ratings as her top priority.

Many of the villains here live up to their tag as baddies. They are really despicable. I guess if you have one who isn’t rotten, it’s either that person is an amateur or isn’t one at all. Jake and Maverick were equally dastardly. The former was more direct in his crimes against humanity whereas the latter prefers to cover his tracks. Truthfully, I had a feeling that Maverick was going to turn out to be the culprit or villain simply because… He has got the looks of one. Call it stereotypic but I mean, a big corporation boss with some sort of keloid or big protruding mole on his forehead (can’t avert… eyes… away from it…), that doesn’t make him exactly Buddha, right? Lunatic may be playing the antagonist but I don’t see him entirely as a villain. Sure, killing bad guys may seem like you are no different than the baddie themselves but if the person most important to you got killed, I’m sure you want the perpetrator dead at all cost, right? Besides, just like Barnaby, Yuri comes from a broken family, what more a father who is supposed to be the most famous Hero of all time. So can you say he is totally wrong or right in his actions? This is of course debatable and everyone is entitled to their own opinions of him. If not for Tiger and Barnaby thwarting each attempt, the crime rate may have gone down, Stern Bild a safer city but then again, Hero TV may not have enjoyed high ratings with no criminals to catch. But I learnt in Madoka that even without ordinary or super power criminals, evil will still exist in another form :). Because Maverick became the main villain towards the end of the series, Lunatic’s role was somewhat redundant because I thought there would be some epic clash with the Heroes as well. He is only reduced to an observing role (due to his shoulder injury) and the only ‘important’ thing he did at the end was to eliminate the former Apollon Media boss. And the end of the TV series left us with that Ouroboros teaser. So what is this organization exactly? If they ever make another season, my bet is that perhaps this group will take centre stage as the antagonist and hopefully Lunatic too.

The theme of this series I feel is about trust and believe. This is important in any team or partnership. Otherwise the city would have fallen into chaos and mayhem if everybody were selfish and looking out for their own interest. And even if there are those powerless and aren’t able to do anything, at least the most they can do is to put their faith in the Heroes and cheer for them to go on. Perhaps Tiger’s phrase of “I believe that you will believe in me” would catch on like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann’s Kamina’s “Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in me who believes in you” expression. So do you believe me that this is one cool series? Believe it, dattebayo!

The production of this series is very Americanised. So much so you may think that this is an American production. Heck, every word in the show is in English. You may be forgiven if you are seeing shades of New York landmarks like Central Park or Empire State Building. Even the Stern Bild dollar resembles closely to the American note! But this isn’t so bad as Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt (PSG) because in PSG, every damn thing is so Americanized that the only ‘Japanese’ thingy left is the dialogue. Even so, PSG is riddled with profanity and immoral jokes unlike this one. At least the music and songs are still sung in Japanese and though we have some characters looking very much like Americans, people like Kotetsu and Pao Lin still do have that Asian look, if not at least looking like an anime character. On a trivial note, the next episode preview is either narrated by Kotetsu/Tiger or Barnaby. The amusing part is when they read the next episode’s title. Though Barnaby can pronounce the words smoothly but heavily accented, Kotetsu has a hard time pronouncing, fumbling at each word because it sounds so foreign to him!

As seen on the outfits of the Heroes, there are several real sponsors. I’m not sure if they really do sponsor this series but I guess just like show business, these sponsors realize the importance of product placement. It isn’t the case whereby in order to avoid lawsuits, they purposely misspell popular brand names (like a certain computer operating system or an internet search engine. If you have watched many animes and have a keen eye, you’ll know what I mean). So in this series, we see big names like Bandai, Pepsi, Ustream and Calbee among the many real life brands. Speaking of Pepsi, since Blue Rose’s agency is their main sponsor, every episode in the mid-intermission, we see a short advertisement of her promoting the Pepsi NEX soft drink. I have a confession to make. I am not a Pepsi fan. Get what I mean? And with all the merchandise for each Hero, this is more than just a reality TV. I guess it isn’t a bad idea that Heroes = Idols.

Because Hiroaki Hirata is the voice behind Kotetsu/Tiger, each time I can’t help think that he may burst into his other famous role as that ladies men cook in One Piece, Sanji. Or maybe he would even unleash a Black Leg Style attack! After hearing Bleach’s Ichigo Kurosaki’s voice, it never crossed my mind that Masakazu Morita would be the voice of Barnaby in this series. I mean to me, Ichigo was always shouting and screaming in his fights, full of angst. And if he isn’t, he is like some sort of a guy with few words. So when he voices the calm and cool Barnaby, it really was a surprise. Other casts include Go Inoue as Keith/Sky High (Miura in OreImo), Minako Kotobuki as Karina/Blue Rose (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Kenjiro Tsuda as Nathan/Fire Emblem (Inui in Prince Of Tennis), Mariya Ise as Pao Lin/Dragon Kid (Stocking in PSG), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Ivan/Origami Cyclone (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Taiten Kusunoki as Antonio/Rock Bison (Uruoge in One Piece), Koji Yusa as Yuri/Lunatic (Lau in Kuroshitsuji, Gin in Bleach), Nobuaki Fukuda as Maverick (Chouza Akimichi in Naruto), Keiji Fujiwara as Jake (Sven in Black Cat), Michiko Neya as Kriem (Melissa in Full Metal Panic), Yuko Kaida as Agnes (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen), Rina Hidaka as Kaede (Last Order in To Aru Majutsu No Index) and Katsuhisa Houki as Ben (Jimbei in One Piece).

So there you have it, Heroes continuing to protect the city and unsung ones that go unnoticed every day. They may not be perfect like in fairytales but at least they have what is most important. Just like how Manhattan is to Spiderman and Gotham City is to Batman, it’s safe to say that the dynamic duo of Tiger and Barnaby will ensure baddies to think twice if they ever want to mess around in Stern Bild. I might want to try handing in my application to be a super hero but I guess the only thing I am good at is watching animes and stare at the screen all day long.

To Aru Majtusu No Index

March 3, 2012

When science and magic clash, an epic story begins. As so it is said in To Aru Majutsu No Index (Index series). After my stint with To Aru Kagaku No Railgun (Railgun series) back in 2010, a little thinking here and pondering there had me decided that I should just check the original series out and see if I can fit in some of the puzzle pieces to make me understand both series better. Well, they’re both related in the sense that they have characters appearing in both series (well, duh) and you can expect the kind of scientific-cum-magic sci-fi action adventure.

However I have one very big problem and issue while watching the Index series. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND A BIG PORTION OF WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sure, I admit I am not intelligent enough to grasp all the scientific, magical and religious terms and jargons. Even as I replay the same scene all over and over again, I just couldn’t comprehend the big picture what is going on. Not even with subs (please note, my Japanese may still be mada-mada but I wouldn’t say that for my English). So it’s as good as watching a show in foreign language without knowing what is happening and what you see is just what you, well, see. Thus my most humble apologizes that this won’t be the best or my typical standard blog in most recent years. It will be one general take on the arcs of the series. How can you expect me to blog down something which I don’t understand and in turn don’t remember? On the other hand, look on the bright side. With the shortened length of this blog, you can spend much more productive time doing something else, say, read a manga, watch more animes or play eroges instead of reading this boring words-only blog from yours truly. You have already been warned. But if you insist and want to stick around, be my guest.

Having said that, the plot isn’t that all complex. It’s just the terms. I mean to put in a nutshell, the Index series is set in the fictitious Academy City (whereby 80% of its residence are students, hence the name) and is about a not-so-normal spiky-haired high school boy, Touma Kamijou, who isn’t really an esper or magician but has a mysterious right hand. Note, this is not an ero genre. You see, his right hand has this mysterious power to nullify just about any magic or supernatural powers. So it is bloody convenient and handy if he is up against the most powerful mages and if you have magic powers that runs up to 10 digits long, you’re still going to lose sh*t to this kid. So the plot generally is something like this. Touma meets other people, usually antagonists from the Church or some magic group, some enemies become his ally later on, they fight and stop the greater evil that will spell doom to Academy City and possibly the entire world. There, simple. So as said, the bloody confusing I-don’t-get-it part all comes down to the terminologies used to express and explain the incident, how it is connected, what it does and its consequences. Each time that happens, I’ll go “What? Repeat that again, please” the first time and replay that scene. Then the second time round if I still don’t understand (which happens a lot), I’ll repeat step one till I could no longer bear it and just watch.

I guess this series was popular enough to warrant several fansites but even so, I didn’t bother go reading up because what are the chances that I will understand in somebody else’s words if I don’t understand my own? Just skimming through was already a headache so I thought it would be the case of ignorance is bliss. There is trusty ol’ Wikipedia for some episode summaries and character descriptions. I have visited other blog sites like Hanners’ Anime, A Product Of Wasted Time, Random Curiosity, Byakuya White Night, Orphic Anime, Kitaze Inbou and other little sites who have blogged partially or fully on the series. Still can’t comprehend. Can I use the excuse that I’m not a rocket scientist to understand what’s going on then?

Rescue Index Arc
As we know Touma’s right hand can nullify just about any powers, somehow it cancels out his good luck too. But if you think about it, it should cancel out his bad luck also, right? Not in his case. Thus he is somewhat a misfortune attraction magnet and his favourite line and possible the quote of the series is “Fukou da!” (Such misfortune!). It all began when he thinks of saving that tsundere biri-biri, Mikoto Misaka from a bunch of gangsters trying to hit on her. Turns out she doesn’t need his help because she busts their asses. I don’t remember how but Misaka didn’t like him too and was going to fry him. He could’ve been a goner if not for his right hand. Next morning, he finds a nun hanging out from his balcony like as though drying a futon. She is Index Librorum Prohibitorum (excuse me? Say that name again?) and she is being sought after by the Anglican Church of England and other magicians. Why? She has 103,000 grimoires (magic books) stored in her head!!! Yeah, if you get a hold of those books from this walking library, you’re literally either going to rule the world or destroy it. Touma’s right hand accidentally nullifies Index’s Walking Church (her clothes) and leaving her embarrassing stark naked. So it’s the start of a ‘beautiful friendship’, if I must say. I wonder how her clothes can be hold up with just a few safety pins. Anyway, the amusing part is to see how Touma and Index interact. Usually the latter being the brat (not to mention a very big glutton. How the heck does she stay pint size?) and biting Touma’s head if she doesn’t like it. Oh, did I say that she’s living with him? I guess he has to take responsibility after seeing her naked body, eh?

Big trouble comes when Index is slash to a bloodied point outside his apartment and so the first opponent Touma faces is Stiyl Magnus, a magician from the magical Necessarius branch of the Church of England and a fire user via invoking runes with his cards. Touma beats Stiyl and his fire creature, Innocentius via activating sprinklers around his apartment area. See, you fight fire with… Water. So to heal Index, he has to bring her to loli teacher, Komoe Tsukuyomi to take part in a healing ritual simply because his right hand will just nullify everything. After the successful healing, Touma and Index got into an argument (God knows what it was, because I can’t remember). This has Touma come face to face with his next opponent, Stiyl’s comrade and the nodachi wielding Kaori Kanzaki. In an empty street (thanks to some barrier spell thingy), Kanzaki beats Touma to a pulp to force him to hand over Index, citing she is her friend. She was the one who attacked Index but it was unintentional since she was confident her Walking Church would deflect all attacks. Well, some smart alec nullified it, right? So Touma has this dilemma to rescue Index because since a big portion of her brain is storing the 103,000 grimoires and the remaining parts storing unnecessary memories. So every year at this time, they have to painfully erase them. Probably that’s why Index is a little airhead. Ever thought of getting more RAM and memory for her. Oh right. She’s not a computer. Time is ticking and they have 3 days. But do you think Touma will just hand her over like that? No way! He lectures them back they never consider her feelings, bla bla bla, yada yada yada, among the many other dressing down speeches. He may have not thought about it but Touma promises to find another way to save Index. Better think fast. But learning from Komoe, people don’t die with information overload in their brain so this prompts Touma to think that Necessarius may have misled Stiyl and Kanzaki with false information about Index’s condition for some ulterior motive.

Touma’s desperate action to save Index has him touch a rune in her throat but this activates a security system called St George’s Sanctuary. What I understand is that she is in a mode that will find the most efficient way to kill Touma. Oh great. Stiyl and Kanzaki realize they’ve been duped by Necessarius when they see Index using some magic she has never know. Touma with Stiyl and Kanzaki’s help, defeats Index’s security system but a feather from it touches Touma’s head, frying his brain cells. As a result, Touma lost his memories and will never return. Yes, this is not a simple case of amnesia. His brain cells are destroyed so he has no prior memories of himself or anything before this. Such misfortune. It’s amazing he still knows how to talk and walk. It’s going to be hard for him to pretend he still has his memories intact. Heck, I can’t even do it for this series… And for now, Necessarius will leave Index alone. This means she gets to stay with Touma, right? Oh God. More trouble. Just make sure not to starve her to death.

Deep Blood Arc
Stiyl meets the ruler of Academy City, Aleister Crowley, some guy upside down in a tube. There has been word that there is someone out to kill vampires in Academy City. Oh yeah. Even in modern science and magic, vampires do exist. Stiyl teams up with Touma for this mission to rescue a girl named Aisa Himegami, the miko priestess Touma and Index met earlier on at the fast food joint. While Index busy takes care of a stray cat she found, Sphinx, Stiyl and Touma infiltrate Misawa Cram School to confront some alchemist guy, Aureleous Izzard and save Himegami. So something about Himegami’s power able to attract vampires naturally that’s why she is here voluntarily to lure them in exchange to protect somebody important to Izzard. Guess who that important somebody is? See, many years ago, Index was Izzard’s partner and was devastated when her memories needed erasing. So he went into hiding and learnt to use some power that will turn Index into a vampire to solve this problem. But you know what? That problem was already solved in the last arc, buddy. Unable to accept that fact, he uses his reality distorting powers on them but can it really work on Touma? But his powers aren’t really distorting reality as it seems. Something about making true of something he imagines. I mean think about it. If he really could turn his wishes into reality, why the heck does he need to go through all this sh*t and not just simply imagine for Index to be healed? That’s right. He can’t really t see how Index will turn out. So Touma uses this to his advantage and ‘turns’ into a monster (Izzard must really have one frightening imagination on Touma) to beat the crap out of him. I thought Touma’s arm got ripped was just an illusion but it was for real! I don’t know if medical science here is so damn advanced that they manage to reattach it back like as though it was never torn in the first place. And yes, Himegami will be living with them since she is now under the protection of the Church. That spells double trouble for Touma. Is he getting some kind of harem here? Oh, now he’s got the best of both religious worlds. A sister nun from the west and a miko priestess from the east.

Accelerator and Sisters Arc
You’re not seeing double, or triple, or quadruple or… How many sisters does Misaka have anyway? Well, this Misaka sister is odd. Always spotting a pair of goggles on her head and her eyes are like ‘dead’. Plus, they have this annoying tendency to narrate their lines as though reading from a book and in third person perspective. And at the same time, Academy City’s most powerful Level 5 esper, Accelerator (looks like a crazy sadistic guy who will snap your brains without mercy) is using his powers of changing vectors of just about anything with a mere touch against his opponents to dispose one of the many Misaka sisters in some heated battle. So we learn something that via some Tree Diagram, some highly confidential experiment which involves cloning of Misaka’s cells to create about 20,000 Misaka clones called Sisters. Based on some calculations, if Accelerator defeats 20 grand of Misaka clones at specific ‘battlefields’, he’ll be able to evolve into the unheard of Level 6. Going to nowhere man has ever gone before, eh? So how many Sisters has he killed? From that last one, 10,032. Oh, he’s halfway there. After learning from Misaka’s big-sister-obsessed-and-overprotective lesbian junior, Kuroko Shirai, Touma goes to confront Misaka. She does want to put an end to all this but feels helpless each time she destroys a research centre, another one crops up. Plus, Misaka thinks of sacrificing herself for her sisters since Tree Diagram was destroyed by Index and the scientists have nothing to base their calculations on. You think Touma will allow this tsundere to die? Okay, so he dies. How can anyone survive her fiery electricity shock? That’s why only Touma can. But I think he needs a little more time to get back on his feet after that tremendous shock. So is she done letting loose her pent up frustrations? Meanwhile Accelerator prepares to confront Sister number 10,032. She is easily overwhelmed by Accelerator’s power. Thankfully Touma shows up to save her. His success plan is to for him, a weak Level 0, the defeat the strongest Level 5 who is Accelerator to prove to the scientist that their theory is wrong and thus a stop to the experiments of killing the Sisters. Of course with Touma’s right hand, Accelerator is stumped that his magic is cancelled out. Then in a dust explosion, Accelerator is impressed Touma got this close in killing him. At points like this, I guess there is no rule to restrict you from using your right hand to punch your rival repetitively, right? Now it’s time for Touma’s turn to get his ass saved when the real Misaka shows up after Accelerator launches some air manipulating projectiles. Then our heroes get this idea to manipulate the wind turbines of Academy City to disrupt the wind patterns and prevent Accelerator from using his attack. Success? You bet. Now for the final knockout punch! In the aftermath, the experiment is ceased while the remaining Sisters are sent away for rehabilitation. And the real tsundere? She’s grateful for what Touma has done. That doesn’t mean they’re going steady, okay?

Angel Fall Arc
Due to that interference with the Level 6 experiment, Komoe sends Touma and Index to the beach, away from Academy City for a while. However, Touma learns his parents will join him. This is going to be hard since he doesn’t have recollections of them. But the funny thing is, while his dad Touya looks normal, his mom Shiina resembles Index and his cousin Otohime looks like Misaka! Holy sh*t! Is this fate? Well, no. As Touma soon finds out, there is this spell called Angel Fall which is distorting how others look in the eyes of one. Touma is shock to learn that his classmate friend, Motoharu Tsuchimikado is also a magician and a spy for Necessarius. He is here with Kanzaki to quell this Angel Fall thingy. Also part of the group is a girl from the Russian Orthodox Church, Misha Kruezhev of Annihilatus. So something about Touma being the centre of the Angel Fall spell and the only way to get rid of it is to defeat the caster or destroy the ritual site. They search for the source as Touma learns more about Tsuchimikado (he was an Onmoyuji priest before becoming an esper) and Kanzaki (she was once the head of the Japanese Catholics group called Amakusa but dropped out because she didn’t like her fate of being their leader). Then Touma and Tsuchimikado go back to investigate the former’s house and find lots of weird artefact souvenirs from Touya’s globetrotting expedition. Then Touma realize that in the family photo, his dad is the only one who looks the same as in the Angel Fall effect. He rushes back to confront him but looks like he isn’t aware of what is happening. The real culprit turns out to be Misha who is impersonating as the real Annihilatus member, Sasha. Misha turns out to be some fallen archangel when the Angel Fall was activated. She wants to destroy the world so she can go back to Heaven. The ritual site turns out to be Touma’s house because oddly, Touya unknowingly arranged all the artefacts in a way to activate this effect. Misha is about to destroy the world but can Kanzaki stall her in time for Touma, Touya and Tsuchimikado to destroy the ritual site? Well, she’s up against the powers of God! Keep your fingers crossed. Touma thought Tsuchimikado was going to kill Touya but instead he sacrificed himself to destroy the ritual site and at the same time, returning Misha to Heaven. In the end when Touma returns to Academy City, he is surprised to see Tsuchimikado still alive. Apparently he has healing abilities too. Then seeing his family’s real face for the first time, he realizes their home has been destroyed during the ritual. Bummer. That’s not the worst part. It’s Index biting for the mistreatment she got during Angel Fall’s effect. Such misfortune…

Replica Arc
Misaka is being stalked by somebody. It’s not Touma for your information. Seriously, somebody else has hots for Misaka? Turns out to be Mitsuki Unabara, the grandson of Tokiwadai’s principal. I think Misaka was desperate to lose him so she pretends to be going out with Touma. Oh, Shirai. The pain, the jealousy… During the ‘date’, Unabara talks to Touma when they see a look-a-like of Unabara, injured and trying to warn Misaka about being attacked. Then Touma realizes the one he is with is a fake because he suddenly tries to kill him. As Touma flees from his attacks, he calls Index to learn that the imposter is putting on some Aztec spell to camouflage as another person. We also learn this imposter was sent to be close friends with Touma’s friends to prevent something called Kamijou Faction of forming. A group of magicians and espers led by Touma that both sides of the magic and science faction will fear the uneasy truce between them will be destroyed. Wait a minute. Touma is leading that kind of group? I didn’t know. Touma certainly doesn’t know. But Unabara really fell in love with Misaka and the only way he could protect her is to kill Touma. You think he’d allow that? Touma emerges the victor in the end and promises to protect Misaka but is warned that there will be many others in the future who will target him and his pals. Nearby, Misaka blushes upon eavesdropping Touma’s answer. I really wanted to know what he said. Let’s assume, “I love Misaka!”. Nah. Never in a million years.

Last Order Arc
Could you believe it? An arc without Touma and Index in the lead? So who leads this arc then? Ever since that humiliating defeat, Accelerator is no longer feared. There are punks trying to take him down but they forgot. Even if he has lost his status as the strongest, he still packs a punch. Accelerator must be the second most misfortune kid because he meets a younger looking Misaka and shows more emotions than her Sisters. Named Last Order, because she is the last of the Misaka clones to be produced. Some name they gave her. I guess if you’re not into tsundere, a loli would do. She follows and sticks to him like a leech, much to his dismay. Though he may be cold-hearted and look crazy, I guess you can’t just abandon a loli in need. Then Accelerator meets Kikyou Yoshikawa who once headed the Level 6 project. She tells him Last Order wasn’t created as part of the Sisters’ experiment but to administer the Misaka Sisters’ network. Also, another scientist, Ao Amai has injected some virus into her and this will cause her to infect all Sisters and make them go berserk and attack people. So he has 2 choices to stop this phenomenon. Either find Amai to explain how to stop the virus (I doubt he will) or return Last Order to her incubator. Oh by the way, Last Order has been kidnapped by Amai. But don’t panic, Accelerator finds him and beats him up. Unfortunately the virus is activated earlier than expected. Yoshikawa is not going to make it in time with the incubator so Accelerator uses his powers to remove the virus from Last Order’s programme. During the midst, Amai awakens and puts a bullet into his head. Accelerator did not defend himself as he is determined to save Last Order. Man, he is one strong and tough dude. Luckily for him, Yoshikawa arrives in time to put that mad scientist out and restore Last Order in her incubator. In the aftermath, Accelerator may still be breathing but with the brain damage he has taken, he somewhat lost his powers. Don’t fret pal, at least you didn’t lose your humanity.

Hyouka Kazakiri Arc
Urm… What that heck is AIM (An Involuntary Movement)? Something to do with espers, right?  F*ck those explanations! All I remember from this arc is Himegami becomes a transfer student in Touma’s class, Index not happy that she can’t be a transfer student in his class meets and befriends a bespectacled girl named Hyouka Kazakiri and the peculiarity about Hyouka is that though she is a top student of some school, she is never seen. There is also a magician from Necessarius, Sherry Cromwell arriving in Academy City to wreak havoc with her golem, Ellis by just writing her chalk onto the surface. Something about she wants to disrupt the balance between the magic and science factions and start a war-cum-conflict between both sides. She begins her attack when Touma, Index and Hyouka are at an underground shopping area. Everyone is evacuated but Touma wants to play hero so Shirai teleports Misaka and Index out. Both girls are suspicious over the other’s relation with Touma. Let the cat fight begin! Maybe it was a mistake to leave Hyouka alone and go and try and fight Sherry and Ellis alone. Isn’t that what the Anti-skill is for? As expected, Hyouka runs into the battlefield and gets her head cracked. Shockingly, a prism is seen floating inside. Must resist… Making jokes… About no brains… Even Hyouka is shocked to find herself in this shape. From what I understand (okay, perhaps not), Hyouka is an artificial being created from the congregation of all the espers’ AIM dispersion fields. Plus, she originally exists in some dimension called Imaginary Number District, some sort of hidden dimension from Academy City. It’s like you’re moving around and everyone is oblivious to your presence. Anyway her head regenerates as Touma saves her from being crushed. Each time Touma nullifies a golem, Sherry summons another one. It’s amazing she can write spells that fast. I wonder what happens if she misspells.

Sherry makes a tactical retreat (just as Hyouka did) as Touma realizes that Hyouka isn’t Sherry’s target but anybody who could turn the factions against each other. She just needs that little spark to start a fire. And that spark-cum-target now is Index. She is attacked by Ellis but Index shows and reminds us that she isn’t an annoying damsel in distress because she activates her spells to counter Ellis’ attacks. But this is only effective to a point whereby Ellis takes on an automated mode. This was what happened to turn Ellis into that mode. Earlier on Touma came into Sherry and fights her, learns about her past whereby she had a friend named Ellis who was in some experiment to make some magician-cum-esper hybrid. But the experiment failed and she was killed. Thus to prevent this from happening again, Sherry intends to start a war and divide both factions forever. Well, seeing how they tried to combine both sides failed, I guess this is her logic of taking out her frustrations and revenge for dear Ellis. With more lectures from Touma and resulting in her face getting punched and knocked out, this means Sherry loses control of her golem and thus is put into auto-pilot. Index is about to be a squished bug when Hyouka appears to bring down the giant before Touma’s arrival to keep it down for good. Index and Hyouka made up and say their farewell before Hyouka disappears. But she’ll still be around. Just in the other dimension. Meanwhile Tsuchimikado warns Aleister for using Touma to test the Imaginary Number District and warns if he continues to play with fire, be prepared to get burnt. And Stiyl meets the Archbishop of Necessarius, Laura Stuart (she looks like a teenager?) about the disappearance of Kanzaki.

Index-tan Specials
Well, these are short nonsensical and random fun humour specials you get when you but the DVD and only lasts less than 10 minutes. However I only saw 2 out of the 4 specials. First thing that came to mind when I saw the specials was how similar it resembles the specials of Shana-tan from Shakugan No Shana. I mean, Index is her tiny cute chibi form and she’s acting like Shana from the specials. Doesn’t palm-size Index eating yakisoba over Touma’s head spilling the crumbs remind you of what Shana and her melon bread on Yuuji? What about Shana’s trademark line of “Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!”? Yup. Used by Index too. Then we have that cameo appearance of Toradora’s Taiga’s little tiger mascot, Kanzaki answering questions with the same loud rambunctious answer (did her seiyuu she really get drunk in real life?), Himegami deprived of meat during a nabe meal with Komoe, a Misaka eye-catch similar like the one in Railgun series specials and that nasi goreng reference at the public bath house. Yum, fried rice… Surprised they make a reference from this part of the world too. Then death comes twice to Index and this series would never have started if she was swooped away by a bird and then Sphinx, Sherry’s children doodle on the ground and some joke trying to break the fourth wall using some agency’s name that made famous a few of the seiyuus in this series. Then there are teasers that announced the second season (even though it was written onscreen as made up at this point) for the Index series and also that Misaka and Sisters’ ranting antic in announcing the production of the Railgun series.

Well, true enough, a second season of the Index did come about a year and a half later after the first season ended. After that cliff-hanger ending with the revelation of several plots, To Aru Majutsu No Index II should start off where it left off. But as we know, the first season’s final arc’s problems were solved and it was more of the introduction of things to come. So has life gotten better for Touma? Nope. More misery. More suffering. More misfortune. For me too. Because of all the damn confusing terms that I am having a hard time to remember. But the first episode to greet the start of the second season begins right after the fake date with Misaka as some magician, Ouma Yomisaka who kidnaps Index in hopes of learning one of the grimoires so that he can lift a curse for the woman he loves. The ritual has him excruciating in pain in both mind and body but even so, he finds that even reading 1 book is too much for a human’s brain to take. His plan backfires. Touma is able to find Index (thanks to her handphone) and nullifies the process. Any guy who has pathetically failed his mission would surely be down and close to suicide, right? Not on Touma’s watch. So how can he help this guy cure his love? Use his right hand lah. Simple. And then it hit Touma. He hadn’t any time to complete his homework and it’s already the end of the summer holidays! Well, what are a few pages of scribbled answers compared to saving the world? Okay, maybe it’ll be sh*t if he repeats the same grade next year. Such misfortune!

Liber Al Vel Legis and Roman Catholic Church Arc
The Book of Law AKA Liber Al Vel Legis, a grimoire containing very dangerous magic has been stolen by the Amakusa group so Laura sends Stiyl along with a group of battle nuns (am I hearing this right?) led by the petite Agnese Sanctis (she is so short she needs platform shoes?) to retrieve it and also the nun Orsola Aquinas, supposedly the only person who can decipher it. How does Stiyl get Touma to cooperate? Abduct Index of course! Always work. Touma coincidentally bumps into Orsola but is soon kidnapped by Amakusa. Then regrouping in a makeshift tent (Touma certainly getting into lots of ambiguous positions with Agnese), Stiyl says they may have to fight Kanzaki since she was once their head. But the Amakusa group, led by Saiji Tatemiya (I thought it was Samurai Champloo’s Mugen making his cameo!) attacks so the battle nuns fight them as a distraction for Touma, Stiyl and Index to sneak away. Touma chances upon Orsola and gives her a cross Stiyl had given him earlier. Then they meet up with Stiyl and Index taking Tatemiya. Tactical teamwork is the best key to take down your opponent. With the Amakusa group rounded up, Tatemiya reveals his group has never stole the Book of Law and that the Roman Catholics made this up and a reason to hunt and kill Orsola to prevent her from unlocking the grimoire’s secret. Something about the Roman Catholics are the largest Christian group and currently at the top. If Orsola obtains its power to knock them off from their perch and end their rule, that’s going be a big no, right? Originally Orsola came to Amakusa for help but ran away because she didn’t trust them. Touma is in a dilemma but realizes Tatemiya is speaking the truth when battle nuns Lucia and Angelene try to kill him. They retreat when Index uses her magic spell to counter attack and a call for the battle nuns to draw back.

After freeing the rest of the Amakusa members, Stiyl doesn’t want Touma and Index to have any more to do with this. You think Touma is going to leave it like this? Yeah, playing hero again by barging into the church whereby Agnese and her battle nuns are torturing Orsola. Agnese has also deceived Necessarius into helping them with their goals. Guess what? Stiyl, Index and the rest of Amakusa also come barging in. So it’s going to be one big hell of a messy battle. The cross that Stiyl gave which is now on Orsola is a symbol and proof of one’s protection under the Anglican Church. A reason to fight back, eh? As Touma rushes in to save Orsola, Index uses her Sheol Fear to instil fear and paralyze the battle nuns. However to counter her magic, they did a desperate and sickening move: They stab their ears with a pen to deafen themselves! Oh sh*t! The gang comes up with a plan to use the Book of Law via Orsola’s deciphering and Index’s library. However Index notes her translation is fake and she was never capable of deciphering it (though her intention of deciphering it was to destroy the book). In fact, there are many ways to decipher it, leading to many misleading interpretations. So all this was just a wild goose chase? Can’t back out now. Everyone has seen the dark side of the Roman Catholics. Touma faces off Agnese with her Lotus Wand that is able to send damage to her opponents if she damages the wand. But Touma learns her attack patterns and with a little help from his friends, they knock Agnese out. With their leader down, the battle nuns lose morale and surrender. In the aftermath, Kanzaki reappears after a long time and thanks Touma for his deed. Orsola and Amakusa are now under the protection of the Anglican Church and Stiyl realizes that Laura intentionally got involved with this to have the Amakusa under her control and use them to ensure Kanzaki’s loyalty to them. So Catholic or Anglican, everyone has their hidden agenda.

Remnant Arc
Well, what do you know? An arc that trusts that horny lesbian Shirai as the lead character. So much so, you thought you might be watching an extended episode from Railgun :). Shirai goes to investigate some suspicious MIBs stealing a certain suitcase containing stolen aerospace craft parts. Though she easily dispatches the guys, she meets her match in Awaki Musujime, another esper with teleporting abilities and can do so without touching objects. Not only that, Shirai got injured during the fight. Now how can she take out her horny desires on her onee-sama? Oops… I guess Misaka can sense something wrong so she goes to settle it herself. You see, the contents of the suitcase contain parts that will enable the reconstruction of Tree Diagram. If that is successful, that Level 6 experiment may highly resume, something Misaka has tried very hard to snuff out. Don’t want history to repeat itself, eh? As Shirai tails Misaka, the latter confronts Awaki at a construction site. She’s about to release her awesome electrifying powers but Awaki teleports many innocent bystanders between them to buy herself time to escape. But Shirai finds and confronts Awaki taking refuge in a nearby building. Shirai takes advantage of Awaki’s trauma of teleporting accident (I think she got stuck between a rock and hard place – thus she rarely uses teleport herself). Awaki manages to turn the tables (and other furniture) on Shirai and piles it up on her. She can’t teleport away because of her worsening injuries. Awaki tells her about the organization she works in wanting to recreate Tree Diagram to give birth to new breed of espers and offers Shirai to join them. Will she take it? Of course not. All she got was Shirai’s verbal abuse. Crazy Awaki shoots her, loses control of her powers and tries to shoot her again. Meanwhile, Misaka, one of the clone Sisters and Touma meet up to plan and save Shirai. This part just got crazier because Awai is going to kill Shirai by dropping the entire building on her!!! As Awai teleports away, Misaka’s railgun zaps a hole through the building, enough for her to fall through and Touma to run up the debris and save her! Just wow. Awai is confronted by Accelerator. She attacks but due to her trauma of teleporting, she can’t escape from that crazy bastard who can still use his abilities via some Misaka Network. The suitcase is destroyed and Awai ends up with one bloody sore face. Don’t mess with this dude.

Daihaiseisai Arc
Seems the entire Academy City is undergoing one big sports festival with various schools competing (thus the city is open to visitors from outside). What I poignantly remember from this arc is Misuzu, Misaka’s hot mom who looks young enough to be her sister (don’t laugh, everyone was even surprised by it!), Shirai sensing and seeing both the Misaka mother-daughter aura decides to get horny with both of them (and I thought she wanted to act all goody so she can be in mummy’s good books but noooo. She had to be a perverted monster), Touma’s parents making his visit, Touma’s class rep the busty and pushy Seiri Fukiyose (I think she has a crush on Touma), Misaka and Touma making a bet among themselves that the loser must abide to everything the winner wishes, Touma accidentally sees Index changing in the bushes to her sportswear (blame it on his bad luck). Okay, those side distractions were more memorable than the main story for this arc. For that, all I remember was that Touma, Stiyl and Tsuchimikado are running around Academy City to find this lady Oriana Thomson (another busty babe – look at how she dresses. Too sexy for my…) to stop her in trading a Stab Sword which is rumoured to be able to kill Saints. And Kanzaki isn’t in this mission because she has just been given Sainthood so it’ll be too dangerous for her. They have to do it discreetly so as not to cause panic to the public. Oriana and Touma ‘recognize’ each other because of his neutralizing ability when their hands met. He follows her, she gives him the slip, the chase begins. She sets lots of magical traps and counter traps to give the guys a hard time in tracking her. Tsuchimikado does some tracing spell to locate a spell located in one of the poles for the ball throwing competition. And the competition is about to start. How can a bunch of normal students go up against a handful of espers? They don’t even need to lift a finger? Touma thought one of the poles Misaka was going to touch is it (she thought he was sending mixed signals) but it turns out to be a decoy and the real one sends Fukiyose into coma.

So it’s back to another round of chase with Oriana inflicting some painful curse on Tsuchimikado in their face-off though she receives a painful punch from Touma. Then when she leaves her painting package that she has been carrying all the while, it is revealed that the Stab Sword is non-existent and the actual trade item is St Peter’s Cross, which will supposedly to put Academy City under the rule of the Roman Catholics. While Touma temporarily meets up with Index and they have lunch with Touma’s parents along with the Misaka duo, Tsuchimikado and Oriana are in another face off. Though Oriana destroys his tracking spell and has seriously wounded him (don’t worry, he’s got that healing powers, remember?), Tsuchimikado has already managed to destroy her barrier and made contact to call for Kanzaki’s help. Oriana backs off after thinking she has no chance of winning if she fights a Saint. However that call was just a lie and to throw her off her pace. Oriana bumps into Himegami and sees her cross. Thinking she is one of the reinforcements and from Necessarius, she attacks her with a spell that leaves behind a very bloodied Himegami. Komoe and Stiyl stay back to help heal her (Komoe did help heal Index before, right?) so a very upset Touma is going to make this personal to track down Oriana after 2 innocent girls got severely injured. Tsuchimikado and Touma continue to hunt Oriana. They learn from Orsola (who is researching back at the Church of England. She seems to be on good terms with Sherry) that the reason Oriana is running around Academy City is to find a suitable wide open space location at sunset in order to activate the cross via constellations. So the only place that fits this description is the city’s airport. Why didn’t she head here in the first place? Maybe as an outsider she didn’t know this city well? But surely if you need an open space, she could’ve have thought of that, right? Instead of running around the city with the skyscrapers so close to each other and that you can hardly see a clear view of the sky without seeing a tall block in your vision.

Time is ticking fast so it’s a rush to beat her before the cross is activated. It’s not easy to bring this tough chick down seeing that she is defending her stand very well and has brought down Stiyl and Tsuchimikado. Our hero and Oriana trade punches. Stiyl recovers enough to join the fray with Innocentius. Because the guys start arguing among each other, perhaps it was a perfect distraction to throw her off her pace and she got a double punch. Then Stiyl blunders with his fire move so it’s back to Touma vs Oriana. Spare us the talk of what is wrong or right because in the end, the one standing must be the one whose justice is right, right? Well, if you live by that logic I suppose then Touma has to win. Oriana is knocked out of her daylights (it’s getting dark by the way). However the Roman Catholic nun that Oriana has been secretly contacting on and off, Lidvia Lorenzetti, reveals the real St Peter’s Cross (and herself) is way outside Academy City so they definitely have no time to stop the ritual. Oh, it’s time. So the end of the world as we know it? You can’t say it’s Touma’s bad luck because based on the sports festival schedule, the programme now is the Night Parade. Which means loads of fireworks lighting up the night sky. So bright, that you can’t see a damn star in the sky. Ah, there you have it. The spanner thrown in the works. So even if the trio didn’t run around or do anything, I guess this ‘natural’ event will put a damper on Lidvia’s plan. Lidvia tries to escape via private jet but was tracked down by Laura via Stiyl’s rune cards. She is sent falling out of the plane and though Laura offers her a final salvation, Lidvia refuses and prefers to die with the cross. I’m not sure why the pilot of the jet too has to die falling with her. Did he? Anyway all’s well ends well as Himegami and Fukiyose are on the recovery path and are happy when Touma visits. Just his bad timing Fukiyose had to come in to see him changing. Yes, that is a bad thing because the girl will blame you for being indecent.

Venice Arc
No Touma. You are NOT lucky when you win a trip for 2 to Venice, Italy at a lottery draw during the sports festival. It is just the start of his nightmare. Didn’t that streak of bad luck with the girls tell you something? So this is not a relief and an end to your bad luck. Touma gets lost because he can’t speak Italian. Thankfully he is found by Orsola who is still doing her packing to move to the London. Should be finishing up soon, eh? How much stuff does she have anyway? So much so, the Amakusa group is also here to help her out. I remember Touma’s blunder about wanting to go to the toilet. He is in a dilemma to choose from 2 unmarked doors. He hears the voice of Index in one and Orsola in another. He keeps thinking that there couldn’t be possibly 2 toilets so after lots of hard thinking and analyzing, he barges in on one to find Orsola bathing. Then Index comes out from the other to check things out. So there are 2 toilets dimwit. And why didn’t he knock first? Do you think he deserves to get divine retribution? That night, Orsola comes under attack by assassins though they are thwarted by Index and Touma. They escape by summoning a large ice ship hidden beneath the canal. WTF?! How the hell can a big ship hide underneath the narrow water way?! Touma and Orsola accidentally got stow away on this ship and they realize it is part of a larger fleet of similar ships heading out to the Adriatic Sea. The ship crew tries to find the intruders so they hide in a room. When someone comes in, they are surprised to see it’s Agnese. Oh, Touma’s right hand just neutralizes a spell cast on Agnese. That means her clothes are ripped, right? Deja vu…

Agnese explains that this fleet is called Queen’s Fleet and serves as a punishment for the battle nuns for their previous failure. She agrees to let the duo escape but in exchange they must rescue Lucia and Angelene (something about they will be brainwashed to prevent them from using further magic). Later Agnese sees the fleet’s commander, Bishop Biagio Busoni while Touma and Orsola after fighting several ice knights, the duo rescue Agnese’s followers but they can’t just selfishly escape on their own after finding out that Agnese intends to use a spell that will cause severe damage to her brain. They didn’t think why she’d allow them to go rescue so easily, eh? Surely there must be some sort of sacrifice if you want your friends to escape, right? Don’t tell that to Touma. He’s going to save everybody. But the ship is being attacked and is sunk. If not for Index and those Amakusa guys, they would’ve been sleeping with the fish. Now everybody is going to save Agnese. They do several decoys and even a submarine to bluff their enemies and managed to get on board one of the ships. They are confronted with battle nuns so the Amakusas stay behind for round 2 so that Touma and co can reach the main ship. The ice knights give them problems but it should be no problem with Touma’s right hand. They just keep sliding in… Touma has a brief encounter with Biagio and gets a taste of what it’s like to be pinned and crushed under his enlarging crosses.

Index distracts the ice knights so Orsola enters the room where Agnese is held. She tries to save her but Agnese doesn’t look interested in living. If Touma was here, she would’ve got an earful. Biagio returns and explains that he needs Agnese’s power to revive some Queen of the Adriatic Sea spell that is devastating enough to wipe out a city. Guess which city he targets? Spot on. It’s that ‘A’ city again. Why is it does everybody either loves or hates this place? He attacks the ladies but they hold him long enough for Touma to come back and give him a good face punch. Thought he was dead? Next time, make bloody sure he is dead. Duh! I guess with his plans foiled, Biagio sets off a self destruction that puts Agnese in lots of pain. Since he has failed, might as well go down in history with a bang. A bang so big that it could destroy the coastlines of Venice! It’s time for a man to man fight so you ladies should take your leave and escape from the ship while you still can. Well, when you’re fighting with Touma, always remember you can never beat him in his talk, his right hand, his determination. And his bad luck. So after another round of neutralizing all his crosses, big, small and fast, Touma lands the final blow on Biagio with his left hand instead and destroys the self destruction thingy but causes the main ship to sink. Though he is rescued and taken to a local hospital, he is immediately flown back to Academy City’s hospital because it would be bad if somebody else experiments on his body. Since when is Touma monopolized by this frog doctor? Oh yeah. He is being reminded that due the fact he lost out to Misaka during the sports festival, he’s going to face a penalty game. Don’t want to go back now, do you? Lastly back in the Vatican, we see a creepy lady with lots of hideous piercings (right down to her tongue!) dubbed God’s Right Seat forcing the Pope to sign a document to investigate Touma and eliminate him if he is dangerous. I think the word ‘dangerous’ is put in very loosely here. The way she does it seems like she has no respect for the Pope or cares who he is.

Testament Arc
Yeah, the much awaited penalty game is here. At least for Misaka. She is looking so much forward to it that it’s causing Shirai sleepless nights. Yeah, it looks like she’s so hard-up for it. I guess it can’t be help if you’re a tsundere. Also, some of the Sisters are undergoing rehabilitation in this city, Accelerator and Last Order move in to live with Yoshikawa. Touma is forced to do everything Misaka said and it’s hard trying to make it not look like a date. Touma is just playing cool while Misaka is just like a typical tsundere. One of the things she has him to do is to have him sign up as a couple for a phone service so she can get that much-wanted Gekota phone strap. Sheesh. And one of the requirements is that they need to pose themselves in a picture like a couple. That’s going to be hard. Just when they are about to get it right, Shirai comes sending a drop kick on that poor guy and forces Misaka to do it with her. But I think she would prefer that guy. Last Order is wandering around after getting locked out of Yoshikawa’s apartment due to an uncalled comment. She meets a Misaka Sister, gets infatuated with her goggles and steals them. Sister responds by taking out her machine gun and going on a hunt. Oh sh*t! Sister bumps into Touma. Apart from her speech, I think he can’t tell them apart. So he buys her a necklace for differentiation. Then they start fighting over Touma and it’s ironic that the clone is more honest than the real one. Yes. She gets very clingy to Touma, something that Misaka herself will never bring herself to do. Perhaps in a million years. This attracts Last Order as she starts clinging to Touma too. WTF?! All types of Misakas are here? Real Misaka, clone Misaka, mini Misaka… And this little one, a little sister of the sister? Starting to get confuse, eh? Yeah, see how Misaka take out her frustration via punching game (with Touma’s face on its goal) and setting and all-time new record. Even if Accelerator doesn’t show the slightest bit, he goes out to look and bring Last Order back. He meets Index and treats her to hamburgers seeing that her stomach is growling. Index by the way is looking for Touma too. Index offers to help look for Last Order as thanks for the meal. So Index and Last Order spot the person they’re looking for, part ways and return to the other side. Yeah, Touma and Accelerator not even knowing about the ‘other person’. If they’ve seen each other, I’m sure sparks would’ve flown. A lot.

This arc must be something big because we are shown snippets of many of the characters. Like those Anglican nuns and their folly in using a washing machine that results in Kanzaki’s kimono totally soak (fanservice I guess), a very mad Stiyl confronting Laura about some document (she can get away no matter how much she distracts. And yeah, she got her clothes wet was probably a fanservice distraction too), Hyouka reappearing and being apprehended by Antiskill, Sasha doing some research on the side effects of Archangel possessing her body. We also have that God’s Right Seat, Vento communicating with Aleister and threatening about destroying anything in her way (she has already killed several board members of Academy City) but Aleister isn’t fazed and because he has it all well prepared. Though it just came a little earlier.

As Accelerator walks Last Order home, she trips and bruises her knee. He pretends he doesn’t care but eventually goes to buy some aids. Along the way, he is confronted by a group of armed men called Hound Dogs, manned by his former mentor, Amata Kihara, the scary scientist who is responsible for developing his powers. Well, they both don’t like each other. So fight lah. Accelerator is confident of his powers but it seems Kihara knows how to neutralize them and render them ineffective. This catches Accelerator off guard as he receives some painful blows. At first he thought it was Kihara’s gloves which are giving him the powers and destroys it. However it isn’t the case and it’s just something simpler. All Kihara need is to think in reverse, thus in perfect timing, Accelerator’s vector will have no effect. The Hound Dogs have Last Order in their custody (their primary objective) and as Kihara is about to kill Accelerator, he uses his final strength to blow her away. Hound Dogs go in search for her as Kihara prepares to finish unconscious Accelerator. Index happened to be there. With that slight distraction, Accelerator hijacks one of the Hound Dog guys to drive him and Index away. Oh, now Vento arrives on scene. Kihara fires a bazooka. No damage. Do you think a bazooka can hurt God’s follower? Kihara not interested. Goes away. Leaves his Hound Dogs to clean up the mess but they get slaughtered. Touma is looking for Index but bumps into a very emotional distressed Last Order pleading for his help.

While Accelerator tells Index to find that frog doctor to find some battery, Touma and mini Misaka (who are running away from the Hound Dogs) cross paths with Vento. Somehow, Vento’s arrival has been causing many people in Academy City to fall unconscious. So the inevitable fight begins as Touma gives Last Order time to escape. I hope Touma’s right hand can withstand all those projectiles Vento throws at him. Wouldn’t it be painful each time she strikes her chain on her tongue with her staff? The battle could’ve gone on forever if not for Vento suddenly coughing up blood. Accelerator goes hunting for Hound Dogs and turns the table on them at some plant. Yeah, he mercilessly massacres every one of them! Bloody! Tsuchimikado is also having his hands full investigating Vento’s actions as he fights a spectre creature in a place filled with sharp stakes. Touma makes a desperate call from the list of people in Last Order’s handphone. Guess who is the only person who picked up? Yeah, that loli lover Accelerator. Just kidding on the loli lover part. Both guys don’t even know the other because if they do, I’m sure they’d fight among each other than cooperate to save the city. Touma was made to head over to a bridge, a place where Accelerator and Last Order were supposed to meet. Just like fate, Vento is there too. But they have to put their grudge on hold since something unbelievable is starting to happen. Yup. They see gigantic angel wings sprouting in the middle of the city. As far as I understand, this is part of Aleister’s plan of using Testament. Summoning Hyouka whom he calls FUSE-Kazakiri, and with the authorization of Last Order (who by the way is captured by Kihara), the AIM Diffusion field that was activated will cause magicians’ to lose control of their powers. So the more you use your magic, the more you risk your life. Something that is happening to Vento. So Hyouka is the angel herself and this is a weird fusion of science and religion that Aleister has created. Hmm… I find Hyouka looking rather funny. I mean, she looks pitiful paralyzed under a spell but also the way she sticks her tongue out makes the scene rather comical and creepy. Touma rushes to save Hyouka and meets Index and Misaka along the way. Since Hyouka is now an angel, Touma’s right hand nullification powers will kill her rather than save her. So how? Don’t worry, he’ll find a way. He won’t kill his friends.

Meanwhile Accelerator gatecrashes into some office of the board members of Academy City to hack a computer to find out that Last Order has been installed some virus. He also locates her whereabouts. Once he does, he swings into the building where Kihara is and again mercilessly kills all his Hound Dogs. Last Order is safe but unconscious. It’s time for another slugfest. Accelerator’s battery runs out and he gets beaten up. But even without it, his will is strong enough to make him stand up and return a few punches. He is more dangerous than ever because he is like a wild irrational animal! Maybe even a zombie! Each time Kihara beats him up, Accelerator stands up and gives a creepy look off his face. You can tell Accelerator has gone berserk when he even pulls out Kihara’s sideburns! Touma reaches the crater where Hyouka is. Oh look. Vento is there too. Round 2. Fight! So as usual, we learn about Vento’s past, why she hates science so much. Something about some amusement park accident that caused deep injuries to Vento and her brother. There was only enough blood transfusion to save one of them and her little brother opted to save her sister instead. So all that science and technology couldn’t save him? No wonder she hates science. But do you think Touma is going to accept that? Lecture time. She’s alive, bla bla bla, you’re wasting it like this, bla bla bla, your brother wouldn’t want you to avenge him like this, yada yada yada. In short, she’s wrong. Oh screw this! To cut things shorter, Touma as the hero has always got to be the right one, right? So another ‘victim’ added to his statistic of being hit in the face. POW! Good night, lady. Index arrives and assesses the situation with Misaka explaining to her some scientific stuff. I wonder how she can concentrate over the phone with the Hound Dogs firing hot on her heels. Anyway Index deduces that she can break the spell via a song, a prayer. Why? Because prayers are always heard. So people, this is why it is important to pray to God. As Index sings to destroy the link that is binding Last Order, Kihara throws a bomb at Accelerator’s face but nothing happened! What the hell is this guy made of?! Soon Accelerator sprouts black wings and punches Kihara flying into the sky! Wow! I think nobody could survive that.

Vento’s comrade, Acqua is here to pick her unconscious body to retreat. He assures Touma that he has saved Academy City and that the Roman Catholics are withdrawing. For now. Touma did want to take him on but did the mention of Acqua being a Saint put him off? Better keep your head intact. In the aftermath of the battle, a huge portion of the city is damaged. It’s really like a warzone. Hyouka returns to her normal self and feels guilty she is the root of it all. But Touma just smiles because he knows she too tried to protect the city when she was hypnotized. Because of this, there have been talks of an impending war between Academy City and the Roman Catholics. Why does everyone want to pick on this city? How many enemies has it made? It’s really going to be an epic showdown between science and magic. Because of that, Touma’s classmates hold a sukiyaki dinner before prices of just about anything shoots up. Better have your last fun and supper before all hell breaks loose. Index, eat your heart out. And I’m not sure what this is about either. Tsuchimikado talks to Touma about protecting the city but that latter seems resolved to learn English in order not to depend on others and communicate better with others to save the world. Huh? Is English the world-saving tool?

Skillout Arc
Accelerator has been captured and as punishment, he has to join a group called, erm, GROUP. Under some guy who disguises himself as Unabara, his first job is to take out a group of Level 0 rebels called Skillout (those who have watched the Railgun series should be familiar with this). Because of Academy City’s outside defence preparation from the possible attacks of the Roman Catholics, the inner defences are stretched thin. At this point, Skillout is planning to capitalize on this so this is where Accelerator comes into the picture. All he has to do is to stop the ringleader, Ritoku Komaba and everything else will fall into its place. I see Tsuchimikado is also part of this team as he calls Accelerator to give him some advice in taking down the group. Like he would appreciate that. Anyway Awaki is also on the team as she counters all the attacks that Skillout has thrown at her. Looks like Accelerator has some competition. That’s right, a rival. I don’t think he’ll ever consider anybody his teammates anyway. However Awaki is the first one who encounters Ritoku. However Ritoku has some stolen military item called Hard Taping which enhances his strength and speed thus anything that Awaki tosses at him, he evades with ease and finishes her off with a garbage bin. Next he finds Accelerator and they fight. Though the Chaff Seed is interfering with Accelerator’s powers, Accelerator manages to create ventilation with a gun subtly left behind by Awaki (she’s not dead, by the way) and turn the tables on Ritoku. Now weakened, Ritoku tells him a what-if situation whereby ugly and evil people are using their power to do whatever they want and playing a game to see who could kill the most Level 0’s who didn’t belong to some organization. Ritoku leaves Accelerator a nice present by killing himself.

Accelerator walks off and on his way finds drunk Misuzu clinging on to a post box. Just walk away… Unfortunately his curiosity of her resemblance to a certain loli that lives with him made him take a closer look. She gets all clingy and revealing certain embarrassing information (her bust size is 91cm and likes kissing anybody younger than her. Boy or girl). He gets a taxi for her and at the end of the journey comes into Touma and Index. Still drunk, she jumps over the boy (Index so jealous…) and seems she is looking for Dangai University. Accelerator makes a call but is intercepted by Unabara. Seems he has launched an attack on Dangai University against Misuzu. Due to the impending war, concerned parents are of course pulling their children out of Academy City and this is something bad for the city. Misuzu is the representative for the parents of the students so Skillout was initially hired to handle the situation to kill Misuzu. Well, they’re bad at it. Unabara wants him to help out but he refuses and jams his powers. Then popping out right in front of his eyes is Touma (he’s on his way to save trapped Misuzu). Yeah, the grudge is coming back. He finds it interesting and decides to screw things up by saving Misuzu. The Skillout members led by Shiage Hamazura are a panic lot seeing that their leader Ritoku has died and left them in a lurch. Though they have Misuzu in their grasp, Touma barges in to help save her. Of course with a little assistance from Accelerator.

Outside, Hamazura confronts Touma and the former thinks all this has been a setup. Something about they are forced to cooperate with some higher-ups to kill Misuzu or else Skillout will be wiped out. You think Touma is going to believe that crap about him being a pawn of some grader scheme when he’s taking out innocent lives? Lecture him, buddy! Besides, it’s a normal brawl between two Level 0 guys. Touma tells him off that they should’ve been useful to help others instead of fighting espers, the reason why they’ve always been looked down. He points our Ritoku was one who fought till the end. Not because he was protecting the weak, but his comrades. Because Hamazura can’t accept his lecture, when both guys land the final punch, the victory of course goes to the one who is most righteous: Touma. Okay, I made that reason up but hey, Touma has to win, right? As Touma is sent to the hospital, Misuzu reveals her intention to take Misaka away from Academy City but can heave a sigh of relief with people like Touma protecting her and the city. Accelerator meets his other GROUP members and learns that since Misuzu has abandoned plans of taking her daughter away, orders to kill her have been suspended. They decide to cooperate together so that they can one day topple those bastards at the top.

To Aru Baka No Ahotaku (A Certain Stupid Idiotaku)
Uhm… Ahh… Erm… Oh, it ended already?! Two seasons gone just like that?! Wohoo!!! Wow. What a relief. I don’t know how I made it past 2 seasons without understanding the big picture but hey, I made it. You may not need to be a rocket scientist or genius to watch this show but I guess stupid people like me have a hard time grasping the terminologies and jargon that I dread so much. This blog may look like it was filled with lots of those terms but believe me, I was just putting down in my little note so that I could have easier reference while doing this blog. Or else, this wouldn’t even last 10 paragraphs! Is it that bad? At least for me. No wonder I hate science. Now I dislike it even more… Okay, so it’s bad to blame it on the anime because even way before I got addicted to anime, I wasn’t a science person anyway. Nor was I into magic either. The way the second season ends indicates that there is likely to be another sequel. I mean, the big war between Academy City and Roman Catholics hasn’t happened yet, right?  We hope it won’t happen but if it doesn’t, it would be a big waste, right?

Now on to the characters. Basically there is one thing that I would like to say about Touma. STFU on the heroic talks of justice!!! Actually there is nothing wrong with him spouting and lecturing his righteousness to others. But the way he says it (and too often each time he confronts the enemy) makes it feel like he is always right and the other side is wrong. In the real world we live in, you can’t blame me for being a cynic because no matter how much we love his sense of justice to prevail and come true, it just won’t happen in reality. Plus, there are some events whereby it’s an obvious choice it’s going to be either this or that (say, for the sake of this, you must sacrifice that). Touma makes a third choice. He’s going to have both. Doesn’t it feel like an insult? It’s like having all the cakes and eating it! Man, this guy should be in charge of Academy City instead since his determination to protect the city and loved ones is so extraordinary. Other than this, I guess I have no complaints about him. His right hand’s nullification is still a mystery and his bad luck is like a running gag throughout the series. If I ever keep a count on the number of bad lucks he encountered, I guess most of them should come from Index and her biting (followed by his bad luck with girls – no wonder he has no girlfriend). I suppose since he saved her, now he has a responsibility to take care of her so putting up with her bites is part and parcel of it all. Unlike many heroes and main lead characters, Touma doesn’t really possess any other special skills other than his right hand. So it’s amazing he gets to fight big bad guys and still wins in the end. Yes, it’s that trademark punch in the face and you’ll see the odd facial contortion of the ‘victim’. It’s sometimes awkward to see him punch girls right in the face too. Well, at least he doesn’t discriminate. As long as you’re bad, you’re going to get a knuckle sandwich. Though at times Touma too gets a taste of his own medicine but this is during comical scenes so whether it’s his bad luck of being at the wrong place and at the wrong time, he too gets landed in the face. Ooohh… See the contortion. Touma must be a frequent patient of the hospital too. After every major arc, he ends up in hospital under the care of that Gekota doctor. It’s like his second home. Really. And the doctor must be one hell of a doctor to be nicknamed Heaven Canceller because he can fix anything just as long as you stay alive. During that Deep Blood Arc, Touma’s arm was ripped off and I was boggled how he got it fixed back like new so much so it was never ripped in the first place. I just wonder why he can’t fix his lost memories prior to saving Index. Well, he’s not God.

As for Index, I find her annoying. Biting Touma was meant to be comic relief but she does it so often that it’s getting stale and irritating. In most arcs whereby Touma goes off to save the day, Index is left alone bumming around like as though she’s a side character. This is evident especially in the first season. With 103,000 grimoires in her head, I should be expecting her brain to swell bigger than Albert Einstein’s. Plus, it’s not that she has a solution to every spell during certain circumstances she faced. So really, what are those grimoires stored in her head are anyway? Well, perhaps something normal humans (and hence stupid idiots like me) won’t comprehend. But when she recites a counter spell, it is damn effective. Don’t mess with her when she’s in this mode. Amazingly, perhaps her head is filled with all the grimoires so this means her stomach is always left empty. Get what I’m saying? How can a glutton girl like her eat so much and not gain weight? Did she put on some spell? It’s amazing Touma isn’t broke the way she stuffs everything into her mouth. Misaka plays only a secondary role here as compared to her Railgun series. And even with her obvious tsundere-ness as annoying as ever, I’d still prefer her over Index anytime :). Yes, I’d prefer a tsundere biri-biri with a kid’s fashion fetish esper to an annoying glutton kami-korosu sister. Index fans can hate me, but I’m a Misaka fan anyway :p. If you’re hoping for a love triangle here, don’t expect too much. It can be considered as close to zero. We all know that Index and Misaka harbours a secret crush for Touma but their pride won’t admit it. I feel Misaka went so far as to ‘torture’ Touma on their penalty game date and use it as an excuse to hide her feelings for him. You won’t ever see her admitting it ever in her life. Not even if she lives to be a million years old. Unless… Nah…

Probably the best (in terms of coolness) character is Accelerator. He’s got this crazy face that could snap any time and turn you into a pile of garbage or send you on a one-day trip to Heaven. But underneath his crazy exterior, he is also a compassionate good guy. Take mini Misaka for example. If he didn’t care for that loli, he could’ve let her to die and wouldn’t have gone to great lengths to rescue her or even bring her back. I guess that’s how he shows his love. How can the best esper in Academy City show he is a caring person? Imagine, the number one Level 5 is a lovey-dovey all-smiling nice guy. Doesn’t fit the image, right? Better to be a crazy psycho that everyone should respect in fear. There are too many other supporting characters so I can’t possibly remember them all. Stiyl at least plays an active role on and off during some arcs and I thought Kanzaki would be too but after the Angel Fall arc, she’s just making cameo appearances and due to circumstances, she can’t get involved. Same case with Himegami. After her rescue, she bums around like a total minor unimportant side character. I also thought she would have an important role to play later in the series (aside from that unfortunate bloody incident when she got zapped by Oriana – okay maybe that isn’t an important role to her but it is as a turning point to Touma), but nooooo… It’s like the series can do without her. For Komoe, she does many of the scientific explanations in the first season. Whenever she goes into this rant, all I ever notice is her cute squeaky voice and perhaps fawning how moe and adorable she is blabbing. All words pertaining to the explanation never got through my head. It wouldn’t make sense even if it did. But the explanations are done in the first season and she doesn’t do anymore in the second. Heck, beats me. Tsuchimikado is well knowledgeable in his area and is like a veteran when encountered with the many situations. So what does it feel like having your best friend as a magician too? There are other characters exuding with mystery like Aleister and Laura. You’d love to find out more about them and their true intentions but you’d be distracted with what’s going on in the current arc to bother about their ulterior motive. Railgun’s Uiharu do make cameo appearances in the second season but this is only if it involves work from Judgment. Too bad no Saten. And yeah, Shirai is as horny as ever when it comes to her onee-sama. Just keep a close watch on Misaka. You don’t know when that guy will take her away. Oh, there is this side maid character, Maika. I find her really amusing because she loves to sit on top of a cleaning robot that goes spinning round and round and round. Doesn’t she get dizzy? I believe I have never seen her separated from the machine so it’s like as though it’s part of her body.

The action sequences are quite engaging though some may be exaggerative. Hey, it’s science versus magic so expect some kind of ‘sparks’ to fly. But it’s cool to see some of the effects not in only the fights but the surroundings too like the shattering of the nearby glasses or the shockwaves. But of course for me the damper comes when they start reciting the spell and explain its effects and consequences and as usual I don’t really understand so I just accept it as it is. I thought there would be a Touma-Accelerator rematch since there are a few pointers that suggest it would lead to this but I guess it didn’t materialize. It’s like yet-so-close-yet-so-far. Even if Accelerator do caught a glimpse of him in the end, I suppose there are more important things to do first than personal grudge. As some of the scenes are quite violent, it can get all bloody and gory (like the one whereby Accelerator slaughtered the entire Hound Dogs squad). So if you’re not use to blood spilling and feel queasy at the mere sight of it, be warned. Even our heroes spit out some blood when they take some hit. Hey, you can’t always give, right? Sometimes you need to receive too because it’s all part of the ying-yang balance. And what about the fanservice? A handful. Like when Touma’s right hand rips the girl’s clothes. And he even didn’t apply any force. Don’t let this guy touch you if you have magic applied.

As for the voice acting, nothing spectacular except for Accelerator who is voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto (Usui in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama). He definitely makes the character sound like an insane cold blooded kid. And here are the rest of the extensive casts. Atsushi Abe as Touma (Kosuda in B Gata H Kei), Yuka Iguchi as Index (Enri in Fractale), Kishou Taniyama as Stiyl (Tsukimori in La Cordo D’Oro), Shizuka Itou as Kanzaki (Hinagiku in Hayate No Gotoku), Rina Satou as Misaka (Haruka in Minami-ke), Mamiko Noto as Himegami (Enma Ai in Jigoku Shoujo), Kimiko Koyama as Komoe (Yukari in Rosario To Vampire), Anri Katsu as Tsuchimikado (Kaoru in Princess Princess), Ayako Kawasumi as Laura (Nodame in Nodame Cantabile), Toshihiko Seki as Aleister (Iruka in Naruto), Kana Asumi as Hyouka (Yuno in Hidamari Sketch), Akeno Watanabe as Sherry (Rito in To Love-Ru), Aya Endo as Orsola (Matsu in Sekirei), Rie Kugimiya as Agnese (Aria in Hidan No Aria), Kousuke Toriumi as Tatemiya (Kiba in Naruto), Rina Hidaka as Last Order (Kaede in Penguin Girl – I  initially thought she would be voiced by Rina Satou but their voices totally differ. Yeah, they even both shared the same first name), Harumi Sakurai as Awaki (Yuri in Angel Beats), Ryoka Yuzuki as Oriana (Tokiko in Busou Renkin), Norio Wakamoto as Biagio (Onsokumaru in 2×2=Shinobuden), Keiji Fujiwara as Kihara (Sven in Black Cat), Akiko Hiramatsu as Vento (Haruko in Slam Dunk) and Daisuke Kishio as Unabara (Kaname in Vampire Knight). Phew. That’s a long list and it would’ve been even longer if I had the will and determination to continue. Since I did not, I just left it as it is. All the opening themes of both seasons are sung by Mami Kawada who is part of the I’ve Sound group. Since all of them had that techno feel in it, the songs don’t very much appeal to me as I find it odd. The themes are PSI Missing (1st season, 1st opening), Masterpiece (1st season, 2nd opening), No buts! (2nd season, 1st opening) and See Visions (2nd season, second opening). As for the ending themes, the first season songs are done by IKU and sound like slow ballads. But Maon Kurosaki takes over the songs for the second season and they lean more towards pop rock with a hint of techno in it. These songs too didn’t appeal much to me. They are Rimless (1st season, 1st ending), Chikaigoto ~Sukoshi Dake Mou Ichido~ (1st season, 2nd ending), Magic World (2nd season, 1st ending) and Memories Last (2nd season, 2nd ending).

Well, I certainly do not want to be caught up in a war between science and magic. It can get really messy because you know people, they’re really crazy and obsessed if they really have absolute faith in their beliefs. On one hand, we have fanatics who entrust their destiny in the hands of God while on the other side, we have those who seek things that can be explained. Either way, it doesn’t matter which side you belong because if you’re a corrupted manipulative crook at the top, you’ll use such cover as an excuse for your own nefarious gains. So who says being a holy priest means you’re faithfully devoted to God? Who says being a rocket scientist means you’re dedicating yourself to the betterment of mankind? As long as you have evil intentions, anything is possible. Maybe this Touma guy can be the moderator between both feuding sides because he is on neither side as long as you don’t harm a hair of the people he cares. Maybe that’s why many see him as an interesting being. But still, will they listen? Can we all just sit down and discuss our problems and differences instead of going to great lengths to create the most powerful, the strongest, the most invincible weapon, attack, assault or offense? In turn, you can do away with all the hard-to-remember terms, convoluted processes, complicated effects and desperate counter measures. There is only so much a dumb guy like me can take. I don’t want to even think if a third season is in the works. But in the event if that happens, I’ll just say a silent prayer because when science and magic collide, an epic headache begins! That’ll be such a misfortune!

Yoiko

March 2, 2012

These days you can’t really tell a person’s age or background based on his/her looks. An old person may turn out to be someone younger or a person looking like a teenager may actually be a middle-aged person. You can’t go by the book anymore. The world is topsy-turvy, chaotic. Before this blog will make it sound like an apocalyptic confusing doomsday review, rest assured that Yoiko is more of a comedy than anything scary.

If you look at Fuuka Esumi, first thing that comes to mind is that she might be a gorgeous model. Why, she has the height (163cm if you want to know), the slender bodyline, the curvaceous curves, the busty boobs. Everything that every man and woman would dream of. However there is a catch. Despite her physical appearance as an adult, she is actually an elementary school kid! You read that right. And since she is just a kid, her mentality and thinking is just exactly like one. So when you put this conflicting inconsistencies based on society’s norms, you’re going to get some misunderstandings especially from the people around her. Sounds like fun, right? Not if you’re Fuuka. Who says being a kid is easy?

Episode 1
Fuuka’s mom is packing her things because she is going overseas due to her work. So this means Fuuka will stay at a relative’s place while continuing to attend elementary school like other normal kids. Well, if only her appearance was. At class 5-3 of Tonbori Private Elementary School, the class is abuzz that they are receiving a new teacher. Yeah, maybe their teacher Saeko Noguchi got pregnant or something. I assure you, it’s nothing like that. To the class’ disappointment, that ‘teacher’ turns out to be a fellow transfer student, Fuuka. How can this ‘giant’ be an elementary student, you say? Bewildering. As Fuuka introduces herself, her backpack filled with cosmetics fell out! Yes, Fuuka likes putting on make-up despite being a kid so can you blame the rest for being sceptical if she’s a kid? Fuuka sits next to Kenji Amimoto and even as a kid, he is pretty conscious about her bodacious body. Even Noguchi. Jealous of her hot bod? Yeah, she even tried to impress the class with her own boobs. Is she starting them young to be perverts? Not that they understand anyway. The girls of course are curious about Fuuka’s height and all as they talk to her but the guys especially naughty Ozeki starts teasing her that she is a big breast monster. Miki Kashima stands up for Fuuka telling Ozeki off that there is nothing wrong with big breasts because those twin peaks will conquer the world! Okay, so everyone in this class has a screw loose in their heads. Later Fuuka thanks Miki for that and would like to walk home with her. But Miki couldn’t so she runs away. Meanwhile, Fuuka’s cousin, Jiro is seen meeting a suspicious person. To cut things short, Jiro is a pervert and is exchanging some adult video. Too bad his steamy secret life will come to a crashing halt with Fuuka living with him. Even if she’s a kid, he can’t help getting nose bleeds seeing her well-endowed body. No more watching those videos in his safe sanctuary. No more playing with himself whenever he feels like it. No more!!! Making things worse, Fuuka loves sleeping without her clothes. Good thing is that he doesn’t pound on her and tries very hard to hold it in. If he did, will that make him a lolicon? Wait no. Oh, maybe yes. But then again… Deep into the night when they’re sleeping, Jiro hears Fuuka crying in her sleep calling for her mama. He felt sorry for her till her hand accidentally pressed the remote control to play the steamy video. Life is going to get tougher for that guy…

Episode 2
Jiro once again nearly ‘discharges’ himself when he sees sexy Fuuka taking a bath. He notes her adult panties and warns her about arousing the boys in class. Like she’d understand. Meanwhile, Noguchi is so down because her boyfriend dumped her for a woman working in a lingerie pub. So see any lingerie poster, she takes out her frustration on it. Scary… Miki once again gives Fuuka the slip to walk her home. Noticing Kenji and Ozeki following behind, to Ozeki’s jealousy, Fuuka smothers Kenji in her boobs when he agrees to help her find Miki’s house. Not to be outdone, Ozeki also offers to help out but what he got was her arm smack right across his face. Don’t worry. She didn’t harbour any grudge for those teasing that day. Rather, she got too excited. Excited people do that? The trio find themselves in a place where adult people go. Miki sees them so she has no choice but the let them in. Looks like her home is a shop but it’s closed since summer. The gang learns of Miki’s situation. Her dad ran away to parts unknown while mommy has to work in another bar to pay off debts. Yes, Miki is a poor kid in many ways but she still manages to put up a smile. So poor, she has to share her scarce food. Fuuka decides she is going to help her. Fuuka sees Noguchi to get permission to work part time but the conversation drifted off to bras and boobs. Since Fuuka doesn’t know what a lingerie pub is, Jiro tries his best to explain to her in a way she could understand. Well, hope she got that right. A group of drunk men see a poster outside Miki’s shop that has elementary student giving great service. Of course they didn’t think it really exist after seeing Fuuka but what the heck. They find her sulking cute. Then Miki serves the drinks but it’s milk actually. Hey, they’re elementary kids, right? Kenji and Ozeki put up a kiddie show. Don’t they feel ripped off? Elsewhere drunk and heartbroken Noguchi drags passing by Jiro to Miki’s store. They can’t serve her milk because she might dirty the floor like the guys did when they vomit all over. Noguchi is fluctuating between happiness and depression. Then she starts stripping and tries to strip Jiro. At the end of the day as the kids calculate, the cost outweighs the profits. But Miki doesn’t mind because it was fun teasing drunk men. Plus, she wants to have more fun with them.

Episode 3
The class prepares for pool lessons as Fuuka nonchalantly changes in front of the girls, much to their envy. It’s like showing off her nice body, eh? So Miki teaches her how girls change their clothes without completely stripping. As for the guys, they’re in their own competition to see who can change into their trunks without taking off their underwear the fastest. They start teasing fatty Matsumura because he still uses a towel to change. So when they strip him, they find out he is the ‘biggest’ of them all. Noguchi shows off her swimsuit to her students but they’re not interested. She gets even more jealous when she sees Fuuka’s erotic body. Noguchi has a special coach for today’s lesson: the muscular Sawanomori. Yeah, Noguchi is totally falling for him. She even gets excited when he wants to demonstrate mouth-to-mouth but he is more interested in Fuuka. Despite Noguchi’s explanation she’s a kid, he didn’t listen. Fuuka prepares herself but her pose was too sexy for all the guys to handle. Sawanomori is getting funny ideas on Fuuka, like releasing the pressure in her chest. Ozeki isn’t going to let anybody touch his Fuuka and is going to protect her. But his punch is like a tickle to that tough guy. In the end, Fuuka hits them both away into the pool, asserting she hates perverts. With Sawanomori taking his leave, Noguchi learns that Ozeki isn’t moving in the pool. She panics and rushes off to get help. Fuuka dives in save him. Taking advantage of her kindness, he fakes his breathing difficulty. Fuuka ‘kisses’ him and sends the other guys into utmost jealousy. Yeah, Ozeki could even do the victory sign! This has all of them jumping into the pool to get Fuuka’s treatment!!! It’s like a watery graveyard! But don’t worry, Sawanomori returns and he is willing to do CPR on all of them! Gather up you boys! Oh SH*T!!!!!

Episode 4
Miki is so poor that she gathers whatever edible food she can even if it they are scrawny. Makes you feel lucky and grateful, eh? Fuuka and Miki are on feeding duty at school. On their way, they see a cute hairy dog and Fuuka tries to kidnap it to raise it at school!!! Of course she gets reprimanded by the owner. At school, they find the rabbits in the cage missing as they have escaped and Miki starts panicking if they report to the police, she thinks they’ll accuse her for stealing and eating the bunnies! Fuuka assures her everything will be alright if they put something in. So the girls along with Kenji and Ozeki are at Tonbori’s deer park to catch a deer. Seriously? With only a deer cracker, suddenly all the deer are attracted to them. Which to choose? Well, the one that starts snuggling up to Fuuka’s boobs. Now this is the tricky part. How the heck can they sneak a deer into the train without having everyone looking suspiciously at them? You can’t. Heck, the deer is in human clothes. An otaku thinks it’s those grey aliens! Then a couple of police officers come on board. Thinking this ‘kid’ isn’t feeling well, Ozeki feigns that he has stomach pains. They mistook Fuuka as their guardian and chide her for not bringing any medicine. Then the deer starts shitting. For your information, deer’s discharge looks like little round pills. Ozeki has to swallow his pride to swallow the ‘pills’. SHHHHHHHHH*T!!! Coming out from the train station, they see Noguchi furiously waiting for her date but he never showed up. She kicks off her high heels and this causes the deer to run wild. Noguchi thought she saw a healthy child till she saw the deer face and fainted. Fuuka and co think the reason why the deer acted like that was perhaps it wanted some friends. Fuuka decides to get it some friends. Next week as Noguchi is going to feed the animals, she is shocked to see a zoo in the compound!!! This is very mind boggling. How can a lion stay in the same shed with a dog, penguin and deer without eating all these animals? And why is there a whale in the pool? HOW THE HECK DID THE KIDS BROUGHT A WHALE INTO THE POOL?! How can they bring so many animals in without getting caught?! Somebody not doing their job…

Episode 5
Noguchi isn’t happy her students aren’t participating in her class. Thus she throws a 1 million Yen reward for those who can answer. Instantly everybody raises their hands! Wow! Young kids these days learn the value of money too fast. They’re even hounding her to be picked!!! Everybody except Fuuka. Something is wrong with her. She knows the answer but doesn’t want to raise her hand. So Noguchi has her answer it. Yeah, see how disappointed everybody is. Fuuka trudges forward with the table and chair intact till she crashes! In tears, Fuuka reveals her body grew too big that she got stuck each time sitting down (thus the red rashes on her thighs). The class decides to make her a desk of her own and seeing how motivated they are, Noguchi will cover all the expenses. After getting all the equipment and expressing their dream desk, the construction begins. It must be one helluva big time desk because you need a crane to help out! Yeah, there are even livestock running around! Noguchi’s nightmare begins when the shop owners start showing her the bill. The cost comes up to about 2 MILLION YEN!!! F*CK! I don’t know how the kids manage to create a fortress-like desk for Fuuka in no time but they better hurry seek shelter because one mad teacher is coming their way. It’s so high-tech that these kids should be drafted into government R&D departments. Fuuka accidentally hits the missile button (they even installed that?) and the missiles barely miss her. After a few hit and misses, finally Fuuka rolls out. Still stuck to her desk but at least her desk has wheels and she is more mobile than before. That simple?! And all these for 2 million! Can you blame her for blowing her top?

Episode 6
As Fuuka is bathing, the water stops running. She tells this to Jiro who is in the midst of watching his porn (and probably climaxing in a funny position – oh he did anyway. In his pants). Since the pipe has been clogged up, Jiro suggests going to the public bath house. Jiro accompanies her and he got the fright of his life when he enters the men’s section to find all the old men staring at him. Are they gay? Actually Fuuka followed him in. Fuuka doesn’t want to go in alone but thankfully Miki is there. Miki mentions how she hopes this place won’t close down seeing that this is the only place she takes bath and with public bath house not popular these days, the lack of customers may force the closure of this one. Fuuka has an idea to help out. First she tries to persuade Noguchi come to Matsu’s Bath every day. Then Ozeki and Kenji but they’re embarrassed. Miki and Fuuka apologize to the bath house owner for not being able to bring more customers but he thanks them for trying to help out and is happy. As the duo help clean the bath house, Ozeki and Kenji surprisingly visit. However they cause the owner to go into near heart attack mode when they reveal their fake pubic hair. Too bushy, don’t you think? That was their mom’s wig? With the old man out, the girls reprimand the guys. Ozeki didn’t take this lightly as he throws Fuuka into the bath. A couple of guys enter the bath house to see wet Fuuka coming into the counter. With that, rumours start spreading and all the perverted guys start to patron the bath house! Are they here to bath or just stare at Fuuka? Noguchi is surprised at how crowded this place is but the horny men think she’s a new companion and takes her inside! As more guys stream in, the place couldn’t handle the capacity and crumbles! Oh damn. How are the kids going to compensate for this? But the owner thinks this new open bath house concept isn’t a bad idea.

Episode 7
Noguchi is out with a cold. The class rejoices that it’ll be free period as they start throwing things in the air. Why is there a cat, dog and a computer monitor among the items? But Fuuka and co pay Noguchi a visit. Though she’ll be fine and back tomorrow, they have bought ingredients to make her a meal. She is taken in by their kindness but who knows this is the start of her trouble. She can’t get some shut eye because the kids are struggling with a wet and slippery ugly monkfish! Is that her meal? It slips off their hands and into Noguchi’s pyjamas. Scary. I don’t know how it’s able to live so long without water because it’s still struggling in the fridge. The girls help Noguchi wipe off her sweat but make comments about her nipples. Then Fuuka accidentally opens the wrong drawer (despite being clearly told which drawer to take her extra panties) to find her kokeshi dolls collection. The boys think only a maniac would have this much collection. The girls decide to make her okonomiyaki for food (here comes Miki poor ranting drama gain). Needing to get some meat, they release the monkfish (still unbelievably alive) and it’s on a rampage. The kids innovate and use the egg beater as a gun and kokeshi dolls as bullets to kill the fish. However it ends up on Noguchi’s head. Her condition is getting worse so the kids panic. Fuuka doesn’t know how to use a telephone and somehow calls the weather station instead of the ambulance. Ozeki takes over but seeing they don’t know her address, all that’s left is to carry her the whole way to the hospital. Everybody is shocked to see them carrying a ‘dead body’! Miraculously they manage to as Noguchi recovers in hospital. The kids give her their okonomiyaki to get well. The next day, Noguchi is absent from class due to food poisoning. At this rate, they’re going to kill her!

Episode 8
It’s physical examination day and the old doctor was so surprised in seeing Fuuka’s body, she thought he is a molester! Too bad he had to leave because he suddenly got ill. So Noguchi takes over and as she measures Fuuka, she somehow understands how that doctor feels. Yeah, Fuuka is happy of her bust measurement of 86cm (D-cup worthy!). That’s because it has grown smaller the last time! No need to show off… The new replacement and young doctor turns up but he too gets the same reaction after seeing Fuuka. Later Miki teases Fuuka about her sinful body so Fuuka starts crying because she doesn’t want to have an adult’s body. She runs away and will go to a place where everybody is big. America? Does she know where that is? Oh, the nearest America is the one that costs 120 Yen because that’s all she has. However she is stopped at the gates by the officer. He thinks she is trying to get away by paying a child’s fare. Despite Fuuka telling the truth, the officer doesn’t believe her. Back home, aunty notices Fuuka not eating her usual portions. Though she gave dieting as an excuse, Jiro warns of the downside of being ‘small’. But she didn’t understand what he meant and runs away, thinking she is fully developed already. Then Miki shows up and tells her plan of transforming her into an adult. First, putting her in kiddie clothes seeing adult clothes will make men turn on. But does she really look like a kid in one? Nope. Yeah, Miki just gave up. As they walk in town, Miki notices the shop owners giving them extra services because of her sexiness. Extra toppings on their crepe. Getting a toy model free. Even the baby that they were temporarily taking care of starts fondling Fuuka’s boobs! Man, they’re useful. Actually, the baby’s hungry and sucks upon her breasts. I wonder if she really has milk. At the end of the day, Fuuka notes that though that there are bad things for an elementary kid with an adult body, there are more good things that come with it. As she crosses the street, the wind blew up her skirt and every guy who saw it was so amazed that it caused a near big fatal accident! Dangerous!

Episode 9
Oddly, Fuuka has no qualms about being naked in front of Jiro but now she is warning him not to peep her bathing. Though he isn’t interested (really?), she warns that Daruma (the doll) is watching him. True enough, curiosity got the better of Jiro as he tries to peek but doesn’t find Fuuka bathing though the water is running. It’s a trap laid out by Fuuka to catch him red handed. Regretting it, buddy? In school, the boys and girls are in a dodgeball match. With Noguchi representing the boys’ side, Ozeki is sure Noguchi will win and their lunches are guaranteed. Noguchi and Fuuka are the only ones left. Fuuka throws the ball and it somehow ended up in between Noguchi’s legs. She got so pissed off that in her fury chases Fuuka all over, stepping on the flowers. Noguchi throws the ball but it bounces back hitting her face. She squirms in pain and her rolling crushes the bed of flowers. Noguchi realizes what she has done and apologizes but the kids aren’t happy since the judging for their gardening competition is next Monday. Plus, with all the teachers commenting on the sure-win of Noguchi’s class, she has no choice but to live up to their expectations. Lamenting the expensive cost of flowers, the kids show up and they know a place at Mount Inari where they can get beautiful flowers. So Noguchi along with Fuuka and co take a ride to the mountains to get those blossoming flowers. Say, can Noguchi drive? I mean, her income is so low that this car is actually rented. Scarier fact is that she has never driven before!!! Hold on to your seats! They start blaming Fuuka about the dodgeball thingy and argue among each other. They also think their doom is near when Noguchi activates up the wipers instead of the blinkers. Yeah, she doesn’t even know where it is. Then she panics upon hitting the windscreen washer. Hell ride just begun. It is a miracle that everyone reached the destination safe. Well, the car crashed as Noguchi laments that it would’ve been cheaper to buy flowers instead. As for the flower field, turns out to be a vegetation site with various uses. Only during the fall equinox they will have long stamens and several red petals. Yeah, it would’ve been cheaper to buy flowers.

Episode 10
With the car out, now they have to trek back. Yeah, Noguchi is the one complaining a lot. They stop to have lunch and it seems Noguchi is on a bad streak. She forgot to take hers out from the car. Fuuka offer hers and she becomes a monster devouring what she can get her hands on. Now filled up, she’s like bragging and so energetic to continue searching. But they are surrounded by wild dogs. Oddly, they listen to Fuuka’s instructions to sit. Then when they run, the dogs chase after them. Miki and Fuuka got separated when they couldn’t jump over a broken bridge. I don’t know how one of the dogs got stuck in Miki’s backpack but once again, they obediently listen to Fuuka’s instruction to sit and play dead. Fuuka then throws Miki across but she falls short and into the raven and the boys caught the dog instead. Luckily Miki is hanging on a log below. Fuuka and Miki continue to walk along the river. As they squat in the river to do their business, they felt something entering their panties. Yeah, they caught eel without using bait. Don’t tell me the eels are perverts too. They come across a bunch of imitating monkeys. Yeah, monkey see, monkey do. The odd part is that they follow exactly what the girls do so Fuuka has this idea of hitting her own head with the rock. She backs out at the last minute but the monkeys fell for it. Sad to say, Miki actually hit herself too. I didn’t know they’re this dumb. The duo meet up with the rest hiding in the cave. They can’t get out since the dogs are guarding outside. But Ozeki found a path deeper through the caves and this leads them to a beautiful flower field. Noguchi can be real annoying as she pesters Ozeki to give her his overcoat since it’s getting chilly. Hey, those monkeys are still there imitating them. Meanwhile Jiro’s mom tells him to bring some clothes to Fuuka at the foothills of the mountain since she received a call from her. Yeah, he can masturbate later! Haha!

Episode 11
Everyone must be feeling a fool for putting their trust in Fuuka. Yeah, she doesn’t know anything about yo-yo and is a klutz. The only thing she somehow managed to pull off was pulling down her panties with it. There goes their grand prize trip for five to Hawaii. Even Noguchi is so fired up because she really thinks that she’ll be the fifth member on that trip. Perasan betul. Miki laments on letting Fuuka participating since the girl’s division have low numbers of participation so her chance of winning is higher. But they didn’t expect her to be this klutzy, eh? Even after a week of super hard training, Fuuka even admits she’s a dunce and no yo-yo prodigy. But is Noguchi going to throw in the towel when the Hawaiian trip is on the line? Noguchi demonstrates her yo-yo skills and is so pro that she should’ve just entered it herself!!! Noguchi tells of her story of participating in a yo-yo tournament but failed at the preliminary stage. Disheartened but never gave up, she underwent intensive training at the mountains (what does yo-yo have to do with fighting a bear?). By the time she returned as a pro, the trend had already died down. Fuuka tries to cheer her up but Noguchi takes the wrong idea and thinks Fuuka will work hard to realize everyone’s dream. Yeah, she even starts packing for the Hawaiian trip. Counting her chickens, eh? Tournament day arrives and Fuuka wasn’t able to master a single move! Sawanomori is the emcee and he is thrilled to see Fuuka there. Yes, he still thinks she’s an adult. Her friends chide him for his thinking when Miki tells them Fuuka hasn’t even had her first period yet. Yeah, see those perverted faces of the judges? Noguchi realizes the advantage of this and wants Fuuka to use her special move on the horny old men. Instead of the yo-yo pulling down her panties, it hits her own crotch. To Noguchi’s dismay, she is wearing pantyhose since it’s chilly. In the end, they didn’t even come close to winning. You didn’t expect a miracle, didn’t you? More woes for Jiro because he thought he could enjoy some porn but Fuuka accidentally destroyed his video player with her yo-yo.

Episode 12
Jiro is reading a book on how to date. Fuuka barges in to tell him something interesting. Something about when you touch your own nipples… Then Fuuka realizes Jiro is going out on a date. With the prettiest girl in the neighbourhood: Amiru! But Fuuka asks him if he knows how to kiss. When did she become an expert in this area? She even offers to practise with him. If not for that green seaweed stuck on her teeth… Jiro teases her for being a kid but she grossly mentions about unwanted hair sticking out of certain places and tries to pull them out! Jiro tells her to do such things discreetly because she’s a woman. But Fuuka says that even among girls no matter how pretty they are they do things in their own room that people won’t know like scratching their butt, picking their nose and smelling their own toenail clippings. WTF?! Still worried about Jiro having no knowledge on dating girls, Fuuka and Miki spy on them. Yeah, that guy is really dating Amiru and is quite nervous. His eyes start wandering to her breasts so she says she hates people talking about them. He wanted to consult his date advice book but realizes he has dropped them somewhere. Well, Sawanomori somehow picked it up and Fuuka is going to give it back to him. How? Disguise as a waitress. Though surprise to see Fuuka, Jiro doesn’t admit this book is his but to Amiru’s relief. Fuuka and Miki leave thinking Jiro is alright. Just when he thought he got the conversation going (because Amiru was cool about farting as everybody does it), she slaps him when he mentions about her smelling her toenail clippings. I guess the date is off, eh? Jiro gets a nightmare of being comforted by Sawanomori. Geez…

Episode 13
Fuuka is taking a bath when the water stops running and something creepy happening. But before she could finish, Noguchi screams like hell. Actually the kids are with her telling ghost stories at school and she’s not good at handling it. The truth is Noguchi has night patrolling duties at school and thought they will accompany her in exchange of helping them study. Yeah, she really can’t take all the scary stuff but has to put up with them. The kids take turn telling their ghost story like Ozeki’s woman’s cry in the women’s lavatory (the guys who explored and saw the ghost that looked like their teacher got their groins possessed and paralyzed every night), Miki’s roach motel one whereby all the cockroach in town tried to get into the trap and thus causing the entire house to be filled with roaches (more disgusting than scary) and Kenji’s missing takoyaki (it was stuck on the lid’s top). Fuuka tells them a true horror story. She bought daifukus and ate 5 of them. Next day, she gained 48 grams. Uh? That’s supposed to be scary? Noguchi decides to start her night patrol but the kids aren’t aware of this. They leave seeing their parents will be worried if they don’t. So she put up all these all for nothing? She still has to patrol, though. She thought the kids were kind enough to return and accompany her but unknown to her, they have no face!!! EEEKK!!! Real ghosts!!! Whatever happens to her that night, we’ll never know…

Episode 14
The class has a weekend assignment to draw a portrait of their mom. But Fuuka doesn’t seem up to it because she can’t remember her mom’s face since she went overseas. Noguchi realizes she has stepped on a bomb and tries to diffuse it by allowing her to draw her dad. Oh, her dad isn’t around too. Now it’s Miki’s turn to get dramatic about her missing dad. So how? Drawing her aunty will be enough. After the girls let, Noguchi takes a peek outside to see if they’re really okay. Uhm…Fuuka is breaking down while Miki is trying to console her. Yeah, she really did step on a landmine. As Fuuka and Miki walk home, they see a stranded puppy in the drain and go to rescue it. They can’t abandon it and since Miki is too poor to feed herself, looks like Fuuka will have to take it in but will aunty accept it? Talking to Jiro, he mentions that aunty hates dogs because back when he was in elementary, he tried to bring some back but had to get rid of it. Jiro suggests they should find another owner but Fuuka is reluctant because she knows how it feels to be abandoned like her mom did to her. So I guess the only way is to make aunty feel happy first. Fuuka requests aunty to be her model for her sketch. She is delighted but Fuuka feels she is lying to her. Aunty returns with her horrible make up and as Fuuka starts drawing, she brings up the topic on dogs. Why, aunty loves them so much that she’ll instantly bring it back home. So about Jiro’s case? Well, he brought back 5 of them but it was too much for her husband. In short, she doesn’t mind if they bring back one. Yeah, asking directly was a lot easier. Oh, Fuuka drew aunty like a magical girl! As the kids rejoice, uncle comes back and has bought a puppy on a whim. Aunty thought it was this puppy so looks like dejected Fuuka has to return the one she found. She and Jiro place it at the crowded park in hopes a kind soul will take it in. Though she feels sad, she eventually can’t abandon it. Suddenly the puppy gets out of its box and dash towards the road. For that moment, you thought it became road kill, eh? Amazingly it didn’t. To Fuuka’s delight, it is reunited with its mother. Lastly, the portrait that Fuuka drew was the mother’s dog. I guess it’s an exception for her.

Episode 15
Noguchi’s class are on a field trip to the aquarium. Realizing poor Miki has never before eaten toro (expensive tuna), Miki tries to sneak one out underneath her shirt! Is she serious?! She gets reprimanded by Noguchi and was told to stand outside while the rest go to watch the dolphin show. Fuuka sees a guy pleading to a lady who is refusing to do a job. Desperate, the guy begs to Fuuka as replacement and will do anything. Anything? I guess eating toro is now possible, eh? Fuuka becomes a mermaid riding on a dolphin, Iru-kun. Yeah, everyone is surprised to see her. Fuuka realizes Iru-kun struggling and in pain when another guy tries to make it do some trick. She tries to tell this to the hostess but was being told to shut her trap. She is resolved to save Iru-kun. So by gathering Miki, Kenji and Ozeki, what the heck are the quartet doing on a boat in sea? Well, Fuuka’s plan isn’t about sneaking Iru-kun out, but rather to catch a friend for it. SERIOUS?! How the heck are they going to catch a dolphin with a net and bat? Fuuka thought she got everything covered by watching that American show, Flipper. She starts stripping and this causes Ozeki to nose bleed. As he washes himself, his blood attracts… SHARKS!!! It’s amazing they didn’t get eaten. Anyway, it’s not boobs that Fuuka mentions dolphins are attracted to. She dives into the ocean and feigns for help. Eh? She thinks a dolphin will come to her rescue this way? Wrong! Seeing that it didn’t work, Fuuka thinks dolphins are smart to differentiate her bad action and needs someone genuine who can’t swim. Who? Kenji! Fuuka turns into an evil woman and throws Kenji into the sea! Heartless! He’s really drowning! Suddenly he resurfaces sitting on a dolphin. Did it really work or just coincidence. Now Fuuka wants Kenji to knock it out with a bat. So that’s what the bat for? Hey wait, can you really knock it out like that? Anyway Kenji can’t do it because the dolphin is his lifesaver. But evil Fuuka insists. Before he could whack it, the dolphin takes him on a ride. In the end as the kids wait outside the police station after reporting a missing child, it seems Kenji has been found. Yeah, all the way to Okinawa! Footage from the scene shows Kenji being restrained like a mad man, yelling to treat dolphins kindly and stop making them put on performances. Why is Kenji spotting that unshaven look if he’s just a kid? But after this incident, Iru-kun was returned to the sea.

Episode 16
Noguchi thinks of making a home visit to Fuuka’s home. Her real intention is so that she could get free dinner. She even tells Fuuka that her aunty doesn’t need to go through the hassle of dropping her routine of making dinner. Yeah, her rumbling stomach is a dead giveaway. Aunty is so looking forward to it that she makes a gourmet meal fit for a king! Isn’t that a little too much? I think she wants to have Fuuka look good in her teacher’s books too. Uh huh. Everyone has their own ulterior motive. She even has the cheek to tell Jiro not to masturbate when the teacher is around! Yeah, he should do it now since he has the chance!!! But for Jiro, he still remembers her as that drunkard who stripped and boomeranged her bra. Fuuka leaves to pick up Noguchi but was being hit by a couple of guys. When Noguchi arrives, she decides to go with the men despite being told dinner from aunty is ready. That’s because she thinks having a fancy hotel meal beats home cook meal anytime! Some teacher. Not only that, she tries to make Fuuka and pretend that they are students of some trade school. Being a pretty bimbo will allow them to have free meals, eh? That’s how the world works, eh? Well, Fuuka wonders about her teachings never to accept things from strangers and you know what Noguchi’s reply was? This isn’t school! Oh, this teacher… While the guys are contemplating which girl to do in, Noguchi is already drunk with a few drinks and is perhaps looking forward to getting one of the guys herself. However she still forbids Fuuka from any alcohol and reveals that she is still a child. The guys realize that Fuuka may be a virgin and argue that they want to do her in. Yeah, see her eating that creamy banana? So stimulating isn’t it? Noguchi thinks they’re fighting over her so they tell that old wench to shut up and that nobody wants a stupid bimbo like her. Feeling the heartbreak, Noguchi drinks the entire bottle of sake to drown her sorrows. So it’s no surprise she is drunk and emotional on her way back to Fuuka’s house. Yeah, she’s clinging to a lamp pole. She is going to puke so aunty brings her in to the toilet. I guess she has to sleep in Jiro’s room (how on Earth did this happen?) and as Jiro take a good look at her, she suddenly wakes up and gets all horny on him? Dream come true? Well, she’s going to puke on him…

Episode 17
Fuuka gets the shock of her life when aunty wakes her up while trying to do a horrible ventriloquism with an equally horror-like doll named Humming Boy. Fuuka is so scared that she is clumsy over breakfast and it doesn’t help when aunty continues using it to unintentionally freak her out. Seems aunty is doing this because she and her group volunteered to do so at a retirement home. Speaking of volunteer, Noguchi has her class split up into groups to do volunteer work. Fuuka gets this ventriloquism idea and shows it to her pals. Yeah, they’re freaking out too. It’s like watching a horror show. Is this a cursed puppet?! Even Fuuka is afraid while using it. See how Humming Boy’s eyes pop out when he ‘speaks’? Eventually Fuuka too can’t continue. They tell this to Noguchi as it’s Miki’s turn to put up a demonstration. Same result. Too scared to continue. Noguchi shows them how it’s done. But it soon turns into an erotic show and she is enjoying the puppet getting all horny with her. So much so she passes out. Can’t rely on her, can’t we? Ozeki suggests using a human doll instead. With Miki as the ‘doll’, Fuuka’s strength accidentally twists Miki’s neck! It’s amazing she’s still alive. They try to readjust her neck by doing several wrestling moves but it got worse. Ozeki tries his hand next. Literally. Fuuka sits on his lap and his inner demons start to unleash. Yeah, his hands start to wander behind her back. Unstrapping her bra and fondling around while Fuuka gives off ambiguous sounds. So stimulating that he passed out. So at Tonbori Kindergarten where the kids will be showing their ventriloquist play, it seems that the gang have blue-black eyes and stitches all over their body. What happened? Then they bring in the ‘doll’, which turns out to be Kenji but he has lots of clips over his face! Fuuka starts the show by pulling the strings, causing the clips to pull open Kenji’s eyes, mouth and ears making him look like a horror and disfigured face! So is that why everyone else were bruised? So scary that the kids didn’t cry or scream. But see how wet the floor became? I bet it is enough to fill a bathtub.

Episode 18
Fuuka and Miki prepare themselves to head to the summer festival. Don’t you think the yukata on Fuuka is a little too short? Well, aunty kept it for her when she was young. Apparently she had grown bigger. Sexy new trend? At the stalls, Fuuka only has 300 Yen to spend while poor Miki only 150 Yen! She saved that up for a year by picking up cans! She can live off this amount for 2 days?! You people should be grateful. At a secluded spot, the girls see a goldfish scooping stall. Fuuka is concerned that the goldfish aren’t looking well. The owner says they are tired after travelling from one festival destination to another. Fuuka decides to play and save them all after hearing that they will be used as bait tomorrow (not sure if the owner is lying). There goes her 300 Yen. But it seems Fuuka is an expert in goldfish scooping. She knows all the tricks and what to look out for, especially how to handle the paper scooper called poi. Man, she knows her stuff! Fuuka manages to scoop 3 full bowls of goldfish!!! AMAZING!!! But don’t they look cramped up? This attracts a large crowd but soon her poi breaks. She is unable to continue as she is out of money and feeling down but the owner gives her another poi. With the crowd cheering on and the owner pointing out all the remaining goldfish, Fuuka is able to save more. However this is part of the owner’s nefarious scheme to see Fuuka’s boobs and panty at a particular angle. Fuuka’s poi breaks again and she is depressed but owner is willing to give her many more pois for free and is going to have her do it 100 times if needed! Pervert! Her friends question him he should just save the goldfish himself but he gives excuses that he is tired and has the right to be entertained! Fuuka picks herself up and not only scoops all the goldfish but every turtle as well! In the aftermath, Fuuka and her pals free the goldfish into the sea and turtles into the sea. But they end up finding and collecting all the turtles because they aren’t sea turtles, dummy. Fuuka thought they’re so cramped up that they forgot to swim?!

Episode 19
After taking a hot shower, Fuuka goes eat with Jiro. However she is eating the cucumber and licking the ice cream in a very stimulating manner! Is this how she eats them?! I guess you can say she’s a natural. Then the cream drops onto her breast. She tries to prevent them from dirtying her shirt and panties by letting them slip through. Are you already stimulated? When it reaches her leg, she manages to lift it and it lands splat on her face. I’m sure you are very stimulated by now. Then she trips and falls down and got cream everywhere in a sexy pose. Jiro blows his top thinking she’s mocking him because he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Later Fuuka spots Miki trying to steal a matsutake mushroom! Luckily (or not, depending on how you see it) after seeing Fuuka, she backs off. Learning from Ozeki the wonders of eating that mushroom (including being able to attract woman – something that Fuuka feels Jiro needs), they decide to go mushroom picking. Er, why is Noguchi following them too? Ozeki confidently leads them to an area with black pine trees but as pointed out by Noguchi, matsutake mushrooms only grow on roots of red pines. The kids have given up but Noguchi continues to search. She really believes she’ll find one? Ozeki gets this idea to use an animal, a pig to sniff it out but all he found was animal droppings. I don’t know why but Noguchi is acting like a pig, on her fours and sniffing out the mushroom. She’s so into her role that she’s making pig noises. Oink, oink! Maybe she really is a masochist. They couldn’t find any at the end of the day when suddenly Noguchi starts running wildly. Following her, they end up in an area filled with matsutake mushrooms. To their delight they start picking. However they came home empty handed since this is a private land and have to return the mushrooms or be charged for theft. So sad… Miki and Fuuka talk about it to Jiro at home when aunty comes back with lots of matsutake mushrooms she won at a shopping district lottery. Fuuka is relieved that Jiro can attract all the women he wants. Then she proceeds to hold, smell and play with it like… Oh, this is too much for Jiro to handle!!!

Episode 20
After Fuuka takes a bath and cleans it, she feels she is forgetting something. Meanwhile Noguchi is lamenting she didn’t make any wonderful memories this year and never went anywhere. Hawaii was only a dream and the furthest she went was Mt Inari. So much so, she is oblivious to the principal calling her. Many times. Anyway he is here to remind her that her class is on duty to clean the pool tomorrow. Crap. She totally forgot about it. So how? She ropes in Fuuka and co who are passing by. Always them, eh? Next day, Noguchi seems to be having trouble fitting into her swimsuit. Has she gotten fat or her boobs too big? I think I’ll stick with the former. The ladies see Ozeki and Kenji trying to fish something out of the pool since they heard a ‘plomp’ in the water. Noguchi wants them to stop but when Ozeki mentions it may be a large koi that will be worth millions, Noguchi instantly reverses her decision. Yeah, she can go to Hawaii. No, Europe. No, travel the world! She takes the broom and throws at the supposed koi. But wait. How come it made a human ouch voice? Fuuka thinks she knows what it is but is reluctant to say. Then when a bald head surfaces on the top, everyone runs for their lives, thinking it’s some kappa that is after their shirikodama (some energy ball located in your anus). But then Ozeki has an idea. If they capture this kappa, it’ll be the find of the century! Yeah, it’s back to all those fantasizing and daydreaming of what they can do with the money. If they can get it. They corner the supposed kappa as the boys beat it. When they do, it struggles and causes Noguchi and Fuuka to lose balance and drop into the pool. However Fuuka isn’t resurfacing. As she is half unconscious, she thought she saw her own shirikodama (actually it’s a wig), the ‘kappa’ brings her out of the water and it’s revealed to be the principal. Well, he’s here to help clean with the pool but got carried away in taking a dip. Then his wig fell into the water so he dives in to get it. Fuuka concludes that the principal was a kappa in his previous life. Of course not! Back home, Fuuka remembers what she forgot: Summer vacation. Too late, it ended. But didn’t she have fun all the while? Maybe she doesn’t realize it. And why does it take the principal till nightfall just to retrieve his hairpiece?!

The Curious Case of Fuuka Esumi…
I’ve always been wondering if Fuuka really does have a mentality of a kid. Sure, she sounds childish but her tendency to like doing certain things that adult does such as wearing sexy lingerie and putting make-up doesn’t make her really feel like a kid in an adult’s body. In a way if you look at it, she’s more like a ‘dumb blonde’. But other than that, Fuuka is just like any other girl her age. Sometimes she makes mistakes, she has got her friends to support her, likes helping out as much as she can. So if she really continues to grow, would it mean that she will be a middle-aged woman by the time she enters college and a granny when she’s only hitting 30 years old? Only time will tell. But as of now, I’m sure those who do not know her will definitely view her as a busty teenager. She may be a candidate for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

The stories are pretty random and silly but I guess you can’t have a proper plot and flow of the story if you have this kind of premise. Sometimes things do not make sense like the episode whereby the kids sneak zoo animals into their compound. How they cleaned the mess up whether they returned the animals to their rightful place is still a mystery. It’s like in some episodes there are no continuity and felt like it has been ‘reset’. But I guess these parts are good for laughs and tickle our funny bones. So don’t mind these details and not let it spoil the misadventures of Fuuka and co. Plus, do not attempt to try and imitate what Fuuka and her friends do even if they look simple, fun and harmless.

So basically it boils down to the few characters that help make the show enjoyable. For instance, Miki. She is such a poor girl that sometimes that instead of feeling sympathetic at her, you’d want to laugh out loud. She is so poor that any decent food is like a luxury. She is so poor that every little cent to her seems like big money. She is so poor that each time you talk about her dad, she gets so traumatized and can only think of a way to track him down. It’s amazing how she gets by with such little stuffs each day. So I guess in Miki’s case, we should all be grateful that we have enough to enjoy even the simplest things in life. At least Miki has her friends so I’m pretty sure she is not ‘poor’ in this area. Noguchi tries hard to be a good teacher but when it comes to her personal desires, she becomes the devil. Is it no wonder why she can’t get a real man for herself? And like Jiro, he can never get a girlfriend of his own. He blew his only chance with Amiru. Better stay a bachelor virgin and masturbate every night, eh? It’s real funny that Jiro moms knows of her son’s habits and isn’t ashamed of saying it in front of his face. He must have done it so often, eh? Or maybe his clothes reek of semen when she washes them? Ozeki may be a pervert but he doesn’t do it often and even so just his tendency to get his hands on Fuuka’s boobs. Kenji is just like any other normal kid and doesn’t stand out much. Feels like he’s just making up for the numbers. Every group has to have a normal guy, right?

I would consider the fanservice level for this series to be mild and the most, moderate. While the series is focused on a bunch of elementary kids, it isn’t for young audiences because you can see a full view of Fuuka’s boobs. And at home she likes running around naked. Sleep around naked. With some of those panty shots and ambiguous scenes with sexual innuendoes, this series should be for those looking for harmless ecchi fun. At the start of each episode, you’ll see Fuuka showering naked in the bathroom because she loves keeping clean. Likewise, every episode ends with Jiro lamenting to the God of Masturbation over his frustration that he can’t ‘release it’. Jiro may be a person who is just bad in picking the erotic videos he wants to watch. Every time he picks a tape that sounds like something worthy of a porn video, it turns out to be something literal like what the title of the tape suggests. Something educational or documentary-like. No wonder he is so frustrated. And at times when he’s not watching his porn, he’d be doing something else with himself. Either way, it doesn’t end well. Why else would he cry out loud for help in the middle of the night to this God of Masturbation? If ever there was one.

On a trivial note, over the series there will be a narration voice done by a boy and a girl. The way they narrate Fuuka’s opening shower or other stuffs during the episode, it gives an impression that they are bored and lethargic. It’s like as though they are forced to narrate. But if you don’t look it at this way, they can sound pretty creepy too. Especially that one creepy episode that who knows what happened to Noguchi during her patrol with her ‘ghost students’. Surprisingly the opening theme by Juliana Schano, Akane-iro No Omoi is to my liking. It has a nice and moderate pace to it. Probably it’s the strumming of the guitar. I just wonder the use of the kokeshi dolls during the opening animation. It’s not like they have any memorable or important bearings in the series besides something Noguchi loves collecting.

Point to ponder: If you take a liking for Fuuka, does it make you a lolicon? Heck, this is a tough question. So it goes to show that in today’s time, you can’t really judge a person by his/her looks anymore because there are things hidden beneath that are more than meets the eye. Before you form your stereotypical views on a particular person, it’s best to find out more to avoid any embarrassing misunderstandings. Well, but if you ever up dating a little girl trapped in an adult woman’s body, I guess it’s better than dating a very beautiful trap and then finding out very much later. Not even the God of Masturbation can help you.